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Narcissism or narcissistic personality disorder is a diagnosis under the classification of personality disorders. Narcissistic rage occurs when the person with narcissism perceives he's being attacked by another. To understand narcissistic rage, it's important to understand the underlying characteristics of the personality disorder. Grandiose self-worth, vanity and entitlement are the core characteristics of this personality disorder. When this is challenged, it can lead to a term coined narcissistic rage.

Challenged Confidence

An appearance of confidence, self-assurance and entitlement are significant to a narcissist. Underlying the appearance however, is a person wrought with inadequacy and insecurity. A narcissist often places unrealistic demands upon others in the course of relationships. These demands often lead to being challenged by the companion. When challenged, the narcissist's fragile ego is unable to accept the idea that he was wrong or seen as imperfect, which ultimately leads to a seething disdain for the challenger. In the instant of being challenged, the narcissist perceives an attack being placed upon him and responds with rage toward that person in order to regain feelings of superiority.

Injury to Esteem

Injury to self-esteem of the narcissist underlies a resounding sense of shame and failure. The narcissist projects entitlement and self-importance often to unbelievable extremes. When a narcissist's failures are observed and pointed out by others, the overwhelming sense of shame causes a backlash toward the person perceived as the perpetrator of the accusation of failure. The rage becomes pointed toward getting revenge upon the accuser. This often impairs the narcissist's ability to think clearly and rationally in handling the situation. The need for revenge, often called explosive rage, doesn't subside until the narcissist has placed the appropriate punishment upon the accuser. This often leads to acts of violence.

False Sense of Self

The narcissist has a false sense of who he is and his capabilities. This is often instilled in childhood and nurtured by caregivers who accept nothing less than perfection from the child. Underlying this false sense of self is the narcissist feeling that he's not lovable for who he is or what he offers in relationships. In an intimate relationship, when the narcissist perceives his lover to be in disbelief about who he is, this causes narcissistic rage to surface. The narcissist is prone to superficial relationships that nurture the false sense of self. When a person gets too close to the narcissist this upsets the balance of who he understands himself to be with who the lover truly perceives him to be, further tempting the defense of the narcissist.