What happens when a narcissist has a bad day? For you and me, we might get angry, say some things we don’t mean, cry, or just pout. Then we get over it, and if we did hurt another person in the process, we apologize. The narcissist, however, takes a bad day to the next level. You want to get out of the way and do it quickly.
On their best days, narcissists are often judgmental, entitled, critical, intimidating, and needy. On a day when things haven’t gone their way, those traits escalate.
Remember what the cycle of abuse looks like. There is first love bombing, which is how the narcissist reels others into their orb. Narcissists say and do everything you want to hear. You feel special, and often the narcissist will tell you that you are their soulmate. Then comes the devaluation phase, where the narcissist picks you apart, subtly and sometimes abrasively criticizing you and belittling you. Then, as you can feel the tension rising, the narcissist finally explodes. This is the rage portion of the cycle, which often occurs when the narcissist has had a bad day.
The catch is, it may not be a bad day, but the narcissist feels slighted or put down in some way by others. Healthy people would talk it out or take some quiet time to process what happened, but not a toxic person. The narcissist gets ready for battle. And you get the brunt of it.
The narcissist often flips the script, making you the perpetrator. They may tell you that it’s your fault that their day went south. They may blame you for something inconsequential, like making the coffee too weak that morning so they weren’t their best on a conference call.
Toxic people will also begin to employ their manipulative tactics, such as using gaslighting and word salad to take the blame off them and put it on you. They want to change your reality and draw you into theirs, where you must fix things. The narcissist expects you to make their bad mood disappear.
The trouble is you become an emotional punching bag. (If there is physical abuse, you need to stop reading this article now and call the National Network to End Domestic Violence at 1-800-799-7233).
Being the receptor of all that emotional and verbal abuse can destroy your mindset and well-being. You may find yourself crying in the closet so that the family won’t see. You may find yourself unsettled, full of doubt and fearful of the future.
In your day to day life, you may find yourself trying to go “grey rock” or show little emotion around the narcissist. You calculate your every move as not to disturb the narcissist or exacerbate another lousy day. You grow exhausted, trying to manage your daily routine, be perfect and not upset the narcissist.
There are some things you can do to take some of the pressure off yourself. First, understand that you have nothing to do with the narcissist’s bad day. They want supply from you, and the bad day helps them get it.
Secondly, you can think about your options. If you don’t live with the narcissist, you can go no contact. If you are still with the narcissist, you can develop firm boundaries around yelling to caustic putdowns that the narcissist likes to use. For example, tell the narcissist that you will leave the room the next time they verbally attack you.
Finally, take a long, hard look at what your life will be like for the next five years. You are living it now. Narcissists typically don’t change. Make whatever decision best suits you, but remember, peace and joy are waiting on you, where every day is a good day without narcissistic abuse.
I know all of this is easier said than done, but there is a way to take these steps. I suggest you take a look at Dr. Carter’s brand new course Free to Be. This course will teach you how to live a life of freedom and break free from the narcissists control over you.