About Narcissistic Injury

"Narcissistic Injury"
It's like feeling deeply insulted, humiliated, because someone didn't acknowledge a person's greatness, superiority, perfectness, fabulous-ness, saintliness, genius-ness, guru-ness, 'natural entitlement' to special treatment or authority.

To be clear, this is when a person who has Narcissism traits will feel deep insult, humiliation, and therefore anger, like anyone might who feels humiliated. However~ the level and form of anger, the presence of rage, and what the insult is perceived to be ABOUT is what makes the difference.

When a person does not give a Narcissist EXTRA respect, recognition, understanding, leeway, or support, over and above others, over and above themselves, and over and above what would be considered 'normal', courteous, and healthy, and even physically over and above what the person can actually do or afford, the N. experiences "Narcissistic Injury".

The non-Narcissistic artist, for example, wants to be supported and acknowledged by their friends and family, but they don't expect to be LOVED, or LOVED MORE than others, BECAUSE OF their skill and talent. They don't feel that they hold "Higher Status" either in their family, their community, or the world because they are an artist, NOR do they think that "Artists" are Superior Human Beings. They may have "Artist" as a part of their identity, but it doesn't consume their identity, and they don't hold their family and friends to giving them constant praise, and they don't think of themselves as the "only" or "supreme" or "only REAL" Artist in their friends or family group; they aren't in competition for a "recognized position" of "The Artist".

They don't want EXTRA recognition, respect, praise, or support.
If they have healthy boundaries, they WILL expect to be treated with regular respect, civility, kindness, and support, and at the very least, that those who say they care about them acknowledge their work and respect their needs surrounding their work, just like they'd acknowledge another family member or friend who does accounting, who teaches, who knits, who restores old cars, who writes software, etc.
Expectation of normal, civil, respectful treatment from others, and annoyance, anger, or feeling insulted when one is NOT treated with "normal" respect or kindness, is HEALTHY, and is definitely not "Narcissistic Injury".

Having Narcissism means that one has poured a huge amount of energy, effort, time, and passion into their image, how they are SEEN, and their self-esteem is connected DIRECTLY to it. It's their lifeline; it's what a person with Narcissism believes is tantamount to SURVIVAL.
They don't know that they don't need it to survive or to be happy, and they don't know or understand that it's a burden for them that sucks their life energy and genuine happiness from them.

(Frankly, in some groups of humans, it actually IS tantamount to survival, or at least acceptance, which can mean survival; many  know too well what happens to people in N. atmospheres to those who don't "hone" their image and "fit in".)

A person with Narcissism may have been humiliated frequently as a child, experiencing too much injury to the natural ego and self, and therefore tried to repair the damage in this way.
(Different than a person who's brain was born as a psychopath, who would have "turned out" to have Narcissism no matter what their youth was like; that's much rarer, fortunately.)

So, when the IMAGE that a Narcissist holds of themselves is not acknowledged, is challenged, or is not catered to, it means someone is NOT SEEING and RECOGNIZING the Narcissist in the way they want and need others to see them.
This causes painful embarrassment and humiliation, it can feel like cruel ridicule, which usually results in the N. feeling anger or rage.
Because rage is so volatile and consuming, N's usually act on it, in various ways; verbal abuse; breaking down in tears and blaming the other person for making them break down; retaliating by trashing the person to others, saying that the person was abusive to them (some with N. traits may actually experience it as abuse); retaliating in other ways that may be petty or may be dangerous.

Narcissist Injury can be experienced:

~ when another person displays ability, skill, insight, and/or talent that the N. views as near, equal to, or above their own;
especially in the same or similar field, or in a field or position that the N. wishes to be in.

~ when a person points out or recalls that an N. was angry, upset, or afraid in a situation.
(not the same thing as projecting one's own emotions onto another person, or making assumptions) 

~ when an N. person does not win first place, or does not receive an award
(not the same thing as being frustrated or disappointed, and not the same thing as being angry about a "fixed" contest).

~ when a person stands up to disrespectful behavior, unfair treatment, or any other discourteous, rude, neglectful or ill treatment or behavior toward them, not excluding abuse.
If they are standing up directly to the N., a rage episode will probably occur.
If they are standing up to someone else, or talking/venting about it, and the N. hears them, the N. will nearly ALWAYS SIDE WITH the DISRESPECTFUL PERSON, NOT WITH THE TARGET OF THE DISRESPECT.
Similarly, the N. will also experience Narc. Injury if a person stands up for someone else who is being treated with disrespect.

~ when a person does not go along with or bow down to the imagined "Hierarchy" and "Status" in a particular group, family, or community.
If a person does not buy into the created "Hierarchy" of who everyone respects more and who everyone respects less, and just treats everyone equally with genuine courtesy, social grace, and respect
(not cherry picking who they treat a certain way, who they don't, or who they simply ignore), then they are a THREAT to the N's "Higher Status" as well, and will probably get scapegoated by the entire group.

~ when a person does not stand up for the N. in alignment with the N.'s agenda.
(This is also seen in psychopaths).
Such as not taking the blame for a criminal act that the N. did, refusing to participate in smearing a person's name, refusing to participate or assist in hurting someone socially, physically, or financially; refusing to "cover for" criminal or cruel behavior that the N. carried out.

~ when an N. is not being permitted to dominate a conversation

~ when a person does not follow the specific advice given to them by an N. person

~ when an N. is not being DEFERRED TO for and about everything

~ when a person infers that they need more privacy, time, or space

~ when a person does not go along with, agree with, or submit to the N.'s every minute decision, request, desire, or plan.

~ when a person says "no" to an N's request or demand (not in a mean way, just because they can't, or don't want to)

~ when an N. is not included with a group (different than being excluded)

~ when a person is excluded from a group purposely, especially if they have Narcissism.
(not the same thing as being upset about manipulative or mean treatment)

~ when an N. feels unsupported or abandoned for any reason
(not the same as feeling upset, sad, or angry about a lack of support or abandonment)

~ when an N. makes a mistake or fails something in front of others (not the same as regret or embarrassment)

~ when an N. does not get treated like he or she is BETTER THAN, MORE LOVED, MORE ACCEPTED, MORE SKILLED, MORE ATTRACTIVE, MORE INTELLIGENT, MORE POWERFUL, MORE TALENTED than another person, especially when in the presence of others.

 ~ when a person whom the N. sees as a "Superior person" does not acknowledge them as a fellow "Superior person", and seek their company or camaraderie.

~ when a person challenges the "authority" a Narcissist thinks he/she deserves to have, naturally, over others, because he/she is so much more (special) than others; not simply due to their job, or the authority elders have over children.
A person who is in any position of authority who has Narcissism is a "double threat", because they don't know the difference between the authority their job entails, and the authority they THINK they "deserve" to have because of how great they are.

~ when a person does not give high praise (not the same as acknowledgement) for an N's accomplishment, appearance, performance, or possession.

~ when a person requests an N. to discuss their relationship, their behavior, or a specific event.
(If the discussion is about how the person is sorry for their mistakes, then it's okay, but if the N.'s behavior or motives might be in question, then rage often results).

~ when a person even remotely questions an N.'s honesty, motives, or agenda.
(An N. would even feel insulted if he or she was asked for their whereabouts at a certain time during a murder investigation.)

~ when a person does not agree with an N.'s opinion or observation.

~ when a person makes a general statement that an N. identifies him or herself with, that's not flattering or praising.
(Such as: "We humans tend to treat others with less respect than they deserve." Reading that as "YOU, Sandra or Joe, treat others very disrespectfully, and you should be ashamed of yourself, and now everyone else knows it, too!")

~ when a person does not seem to feel or show ADMIRATION for the N.'s skill, strength, looks, experiences, talent, or accomplishments.

~ when a person does not treat the N. like an UBER EXPERT in their field, and behave as if they are completely clueless.

~ when a person does not ALLOW the N. to treat them like they are ignorant, stupid, weak, or clueless.

~ when a person stands up for themselves, or even moreso for someone else, against disrespect, ridicule, gossiping, bullying, unfair treatment, or abuse from the N.

Narcissistic Injury is about feeling that their CHARACTER has been questioned,
that their AUTHORITY has been rebelled against,
that their EXPERTISE has been ignored and dismissed,
that their MANLINESS or their WOMANLINESS has been insulted or challenged,
that their DESERVED SUPERIORITY has been violated,
that their ENTITLEMENT has been attacked,

It is IMPORTANT TO NOTE that most Narcissists BELIEVE, generally, that there REALLY ARE people who are superior to others, naturally.
They believe that there is a REAL hierarchy, based on innate supremacy and innate inferiority.
They SEE OTHERS, certain others, as being SUPERIOR, so therefore when they don't get to be one of those superior people, they feel like they're being cast out from that group, where the safety, warmth, love, recognition, and resources are. 

Most Narcissists, of course, learned to believe this during childhood either by watching others, or actually being taught this by others. The belief that there REALLY ARE Superior humans and Inferior humans perpetuates the Narcissistic person's perception, defensiveness, and rage.

For them, not getting recognized as a superior person is equivalent to RIDICULE, LOSS, dismissal, invalidation, and outright rejection.

A few examples of Narcissistic Injury I have personally witnessed (or caused):

While in a group of friends, one was doing tricks with his bicycle; he slipped on the curb and fell down; he was scraped but not injured, I chuckled sympathetically (as did others, just as when any of us goofed~), he threw his bicycle at me.

In an office setting, a female supervisor kept getting into a foul mood every time the good-looking male Fed-Ex delivery man showed up. I finally asked why she didn't like him, if he had done something wrong; she answered: "I don't know what you're talking about." The following day it happened again, and I overheard her (talking too loudly) to the manager about how one of the clerks always flirts so much with him, and how she thinks she's "all that". (For the record, I didn't witness any flirting, the clerk could be considered an "attractive woman", but she was just the person who was supposed to take deliveries.)

At a job site with my remodeling/carpentry contracting business, the homeowner had hired a local cabinet maker who was a friend of hers. When the homeowner introduced me as the contractor and remodeler, he actually laughed in my face, I thought "wow, issues?" But during the week, someone kept doing little things to sabotage my workspace; at one point someone had carefully stuck several razor blades into the cardboard of my boxes of screws, so if someone reached for them without looking they would get seriously injured.
(Narcissistic Injury: Apparently his identity as a "man" was insulted because a small female (with blond hair) was "being" a Contractor/carpenter, so he actually felt entitled to retaliate for this perceived "insult".)

I met a very famous music producer whom I didn't recognize, and carried on a conversation with. When he realized I didn't know who he was, he said something about my "ignorance" and stalked away.

When an acquaintance of mine attended a concert, she was quite angry and offended that the performer, whom she admired and "followed", did not come out to greet her.

When another acquaintance kept changing plans and telling me at the last minute, and refused to answer his phone when I tried to call about the schedule, I finally mentioned that I didn't like the practice and if he would please be more clear with scheduling; he flew into a rage that lasted for three days.

When I walked in on another person  trashing me to someone else, even though I said nothing at all (I wasn't surprised, I knew she did that) she flew into a rage that lasted for two days. She also revved up the trashing to anyone who would listen.

When I displayed surprise, anger, and hurt about a really outlandish, awful rumor about me that had been circulating apparently for over 20 years, not in person but in an email message; the person who told me about the rumor was offended and upset that I was upset...

When I stood up to a condescending, disrespectful manager at a local supply store where I was a regular Contractor customer. He tried to "retaliate" by demeaning me in the front of the store, loudly. (I called the main office, he was reprimanded, never condescended to me again, but I stopped buying from that store.)

One of the very worst experiences I've personally had with Narcissistic Injury was in the hospital, on the day that the Oncologist told my father that there were was no more time, that he was going to die from his illness and that was that.
First of all, the manner that my father was spoken to for months, not only by this oncologist but by other "health professionals" as well was astoundingly rude, vague, and demeaning; one general practitioner directly insulted his "fitness" when he went in with a hernia after a long round of "chemotherapy", telling him he should do crunches, and that his other patients were in much better shape. Another one made fun of his use of the word "Palpate", and then tweaked his cheek like he would a small child, put his arm around him and said in a shockingly condescending voice "Now, you just enjoy the time you have left."
But the most obvious, horrific Narcissistic Injury RAGE attack display occurred on that day when the Oncologist, with his team (posse) told my father that he was going to die. I had been encouraging my Dad to seek out alternatives, at least explore them, but he was not comfortable with that, so I didn't try to force it, I respected his decisions, of course. There were HIS decisions, HIS life, not mine. After the doctor informed him of the dire news, I asked him if he might want to speak to a certain research and care team in another state, and he agreed, saying it couldn't hurt at this point, and let's try. So, naively, I asked one of the interns on the Oncologist's team (posse) if he had any knowledge of this other place, thinking I was speaking to a fellow science person. His response was dismissive and rude, and he was obviously trying to get away from me. I persisted for just a moment, and he started DEFENDING his posse leader, the Oncologist... as if my inquiry about this other place was a direct and mean INSULT, and of course that was MUCH MORE IMPORTANT than my father's LIFE....  I walked away, obviously angry, and went back into my father's room; the intern followed me and started defending himself IN MY FATHER'S ROOM. After a few minutes, he must have caught himself, and slowed down, even apologized a little. Then he saw his posse leader in the hallway with the rest of the posse, and offered to go ask him if he'd ever heard of the place and if he knows anything... so, again, naively... I followed him into the hallway, expecting for some reason the Oncologist to behave like an adult, especially in light of the death sentence he just issued my father. But instead what I received was a RANT, insulting me and defending his expertise, in the middle of the hallway, in front of the nurse's station.
Tragically the very next day, this brilliant Oncologist administered very heavy chemotherapy to my father's weakened body, he refused to even speak about it. I did not have power of attorney so I couldn't stop it, and I think my father had given up, he didn't say anything. Immediately, his arm swelled up like a balloon, and he lost lucidity; they kept giving it to him for three days, in spite of that; he never returned to his healthy mental state and died two weeks later.  

Article in Psychiatric News
 "Accepting Loss Said to Be Key to Overcoming Narcissistic Injury"