One of the oft used tools in the narcissist's manipulation toolbox is disproportional response. This technique is highly effective on adults; it is devastatingly effective on children.

Any
abusive tactic is targeted at one goal: control. The narcissist is consumed with controlling his version of reality which means he must control you in order to maintain a sense of the world as he has defined it. The narcissist attempts to maintain "order" and internal cohesion in himself by shaking up your world. By confusing you, he gets to feel sane. By fragmenting your reality he gains a sense of wholeness. Yeah, it's twisted.

He keeps you off-balance by his disproportional reactions to minor affronts. He rages suddenly over what seems like nothing. It is nothing. That's part of the point. He punishes over the tiniest infractions to throw you off balance by confusing you. You gently disagree with him on some minor point and he throws a giant tantrum. Or you may have no idea what you did, but suddenly you have an enraged beast going for your throat. You start walking on eggshells around him. You never feel completely relaxed in his presence because you never know when or where the next outburst will come from.

There is an important thing to know about the narcissist's rages. A narcissist doesn't rage the way normal people do. The narcissist is in total control of his rages. They are calculated for effect. When a decent person experiences rage it is the result of extreme provocation. While experiencing the rage, this person feels out of control and it takes some time for the feelings to subside and some great effort at self-control. So when we are confronted by a narcissist's rage we wrongly assume they are feeling what we would be feeling if we were enraged. You are wrong in this belief. If you've been in the presence of narcissistic rages often enough you've likely seen that they can turn it off and on like a switch. If you haven't seen this, then try this: rage back at them. Watch them crumble into a helpless, whiny little suppliant. Or simply walk into a room where other people are and watch them flip the switch to "off". Watch them pick up the phone during one of their rages and suddenly act completely normal. This is not normal rage. This is contrived rage. They are in complete and total control even while your eyes and ears tell you they are out of control. They are using rage the same way they will use their sexuality, or their charm...for effect only. They are trying to control you with it.

The use of disproportional reactions by the narcissist will usually contain some level of rage as its component, which is why I took the time to describe what narcissistic rages are all about. Be assured that this is an abusive tactic. Don't accept it. Let them taste their own medicine. If you are willing to put up with the inevitable fall-out then get in the narcissist's face with your own disproportional reaction. Interestingly, just about any abusive tactic of the narcissist can be turned around on them. It is about the only way to penetrate their frustratingly thick skulls with any impression of your displeasure. Turning their own weapons against them can be highly effective. Don't try this with a narcissist whom you have reason to believe could turn violent though. The less confrontational approach would be to simply refuse to put up with the disproportional responses by demanding just and proportional treatment. Reject or ignore their unpredictable, volatile behavior. They can be conditioned to somewhat modify their behavior. Like any dog, they are not likely to keep up a behavior that doesn't reap rewards. They'll move onto their next obnoxious trick. Really, what is the point of keeping these bastards in your life?

If you have children with a narcissistic spouse, you owe it to those children to get them away from the narcissist parent. This type of abuse is extremely destructive to the hearts, minds and souls of children who have no power to get away from it. The capricious and disproportional reactions are corrosive to the child's sense of security which will undermine a child's psychosocial development. This abusive tactic sends adults into tail spins...multiply that effect many times when trying to measure how children are affected by it. If you're any kind of decent person, save your children from your narcissistic spouse. I could fill books with descriptions of the private terror a child under the care of a narcissistic parent while the other parent worked 16 hour days and closed his eyes to any evidence of abuse. Whatever you may be experiencing doesn't begin to compare with the reign of terror your child is enduring.

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