What the Hell Just Happened?



–         One minute I was serving lunch and everyone was talking away, the next he flung the plate at the wall and called me a fucking selfish bitch –

–         I only asked how his day was and he just turned around and walked back out; that was yesterday evening and I haven’t heard from him since –

–         I mentioned I was going away with my friends for the weekend and before I know it he is accusing me of having an affair and telling me I have to cancel the trip and stay at home –

–         All I said was that the blue shirt suited him better, he tore both of them in half and pushed me over –

–         How did I end up looking like this; I said that maybe he had had enough to drink –

–         I was sat watching television and she came in full of hell and laid into me, I had no idea what I was supposed to have done –

The overriding response to such scenarios and others is what the hell just happened? At the time these instances happen, the recipient of the behaviour does not know that they have become entangled with one of our kind. The recipient expects the other person to operate by their standards of behaviour, their own mature and reasonable responses and their own healthy reactions. Not only do they find that the response is anything but like how they would respond, they struggle to discern any logic in or reason in how we have behaved. Common reactions to such instances as the above along with asking what the hell just happened would include

–         She blew it up out of all proportion –

–         I don’t know what got in to him, there was nothing the matter –

–         It was such an extreme reaction I am at a loss to understand why she did as she did –

–         Everything was going really well and then wham; I’ve no idea what set that off-

Indeed, you would have no idea at all what is going on and why would you? At the time you did not know that you had become entangled with a narcissist and this is an entirely typical and standard response. Even when you ascertain, most likely sometime after the relationship has been brought to an end through a callous discard, that you had become involved with a narcissist, these eruptions, disruptions and volcanic responses still mystify and bewilder. In order to comprehend what on earth has just happened in such instances it is necessary to adopt the narcissist’s perspective. Despite the boldness, the grandiosity and the confidence, we are suspicious of the world. The world has treated us badly. It is a treacherous place which has sought, from the very beginning, to destroy us and this remains our mind set. As we move through life, climbing higher and higher, driving forward and conquering, we remain vigilant, wary and indeed often paranoid. There are those traitors, those betrayers and those plotters who would love nothing more than to do us down, dethrone us and topple us. Hence we often strike first before those who conspire to harm us can do so. Our view of the world means that we see criticism, which we despise and hate more than anything else, lurking around every corner, in the words of those who speak to us and most of all through the actions and gestures of the shadowy snakes who infest the world.

Oh we are not stupid, we know only too well that you prefer to criticise us through actions and gestures, that way you are able to diminish the impact by suggesting that we are over-reacting, reading too much into it and seeing things that are not there. Of course we often accuse you of doing this but we are never guilty of behaving in this manner. We are always right when we see a criticism arising from something. We are finely tuned to pick up on these criticisms and therefore we spot them straight away.

Notwithstanding our ability to spot these criticisms, we are unable to evade them and instead like a serrated dagger they wound us and make us feel weak, vulnerable and pathetic. They are an unwanted and horrendous reminder of the very thing we seek not to be. In order to cope with this unwarranted wounding of us, we have an excellent self-defence mechanism. Fury. Our fury is always there, churning away beneath the surface and when we are wounded by criticism, this fury ignites and manifests either as heated fury or cold fury. This means that we lash out at you and others, smash things up, assault people, stand and glare, dole out silent treatments and so forth. This will nearly always cause the recipient of this manifestation of ignited fury to respond in an emotional manner – fear, hurt, anger, surprise, annoyance, upset and so forth – which of course equates to fuel.

The provision of fuel as a direct consequence of the manifestation of this ignited fury means that the wound caused by the criticism is healed and eventually the ignited fury will dissipate as it has served its function. A Mid-Range narcissist has some control over the ignition of his fury and if he deems that exploding in a certain situation would be detrimental to how he is viewed he may switch to cold fury or even withdraw and seek fuel elsewhere to quell the ignited fury and heal the wound. A Greater Narcissist has substantial control and for instance if he deems it necessary to preserve the façade he will keep the fury under control until there is an appropriate moment to unleash the fury and gain the fuel. Thus in some instances the ‘what the hell moment’ may not happen at the time the criticism occurred but be a time afterwards. You can see now just how bewildering and disorientating it is.

Be aware that a criticism which is allied with emotion is fuel and will not wound us. Thus shouting at us and calling us all the names under the sun only provides us with fuel. Crying and telling us that we are a complete bastard and useless in bed is fuel. That is why the criticism often arises from perception and from actions and gestures as they tend to be fuel free.

Returning to the instances at the outset of this article, let’s examine how the perception of criticism manifested in my kind’s mind.

–         One minute I was serving lunch and everyone was talking away, the next he flung the plate at the wall and called me a fucking selfish bitch –

The criticism arose because the narcissist was served with his food behind everybody else thus insinuating that other people were more important than him.


–         I only asked how his day was and he just turned around and walked back out; that was yesterday evening and I haven’t heard from him since –

The criticism arose because the speaker failed to smile and look delighted at the return of the narcissist, thus implying that he was not worth shining for.


–         I mentioned I was going away with my friends for the weekend and before I know it he is accusing me of having an affair and telling me I have to cancel the trip and stay at home –

The criticism was spending time with other people and therefore suggesting that the narcissist was not interesting enough to spend the weekend with.


–         All I said was that the blue shirt suited him better, he tore both of them in half and pushed me over –

The criticism was to suggest that the shirt he preferred was not the one he looked best in. This not only criticised his choice but also how he looked.


–         How did I end up looking like this; I said that maybe he had had enough to drink –

The criticism is to suggest that the narcissist has a drink problem and that his activities ought to be curtailed, by you, somebody who is inferior to him.

–         I was sat watching television and she came in full of hell and laid into me, I had no idea what I was supposed to have done –

This may be an example of delayed fury arising from an earlier criticism and/or it might be the fact that the person was watching television and not providing attention to the narcissist.


You will have no doubt deduced from this that occurrence of a what the hell just happened moment can happen at any time, can come out of nowhere and is not based on anything significant, from your perspective. From our perspective there is the potential for criticism on a repeated and frequent basis. This is what leads to the second-guessing, hypervigilance, anxiety and treading on egg-shells that is so often associated with our kind.

In terms of dealing with it, it is nigh on impossible to predict. You will at least know what it is and why it has happened. In certain circumstances it can be used to your advantage to cause a wound and then not to provide fuel when the ignition of fury takes place. This will weaken us and cause us to go elsewhere, but care should be exercised in doing this as it may escalate the reaction initially with severe consequences. The most appropriate way to deal with this is to be able to know what it is, understand why it has happened, that it will blow over and that you may be best providing positive fuel, rather than becoming scared, bewildered or upset, since you know what is behind it. You can then manage it in that way until such time as you can escape the effect and influence of the narcissist as a whole.

25 thoughts on “What the Hell Just Happened?

  1. daydreamer says:

    Something you said struck “another” cord with me.
    One thing we always disagreed on was his pessimistic way of seeing things. He believed that he would never make plans because they will be tempting fate and therefor be broken.

    He doesn’t believe in therapists, lawyers, judges and police because they don’t care about you, all they care about is how much you pay them.
    I would explain that doctors go to medical school because they want to save lives, it’s not about money.
    He told me that it’s all about how much money they can make so no one cares about his struggles or situation. They just want him to pay them.

    HG is the something familiar to the way you think?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Those comments stem from the inherent distrust of others. In particular, the group you mention contains those that might exert or try to exert control over him and thus he has to respond in this way to maintain control.

      I take the view that if I was rehabilitating I would want an nurse who was an empath.
      If my life was in the balance, I would want one of my kind as the surgeon.

  2. Jane says:

    This. OMG this is uncannily spot on.

    My first ex husband threw a plate of steak at me that I made him for lunch.

    What the hell just happened?

    Was it too well done? Did he want vegetarian? Was he hungover and needed a drink?


    My own Matrinarc sat there unsurprised. She explained, “he’s jealous you are headed out to Europe (for work, later that day).”

    Thank you, this post was so validating.

  3. Lou says:

    My mother is a greater narc. Have the impression she was always provoking my anger. She would criticize me in many different ways, very subtle ones, and that would ignite my anger. Then she would just say I was too sensitive and crazy, and would make fun of me. My sisters would participate too. Have the impression it was amusing to them to do it. I guess it is part of the ‘disease’ transmission in families. I do have this hypervigilance and hypersensitivity to criticism and I do have anger issues. I am aware of them now and this has helped me to have them more under control. I am not a narc but I do have this virus 😞

  4. High Octane Fuel says:

    The more I learn, the more these people reveal themselves to be nothing more than 5-year-olds trapped in adult bodies. Yes, they do have the cognitive capacity to be able to manipulate in sophisticated adult ways (e.g. subtle forms of triangulation, insults masked as compliments, learning how to find/press others’ buttons while pretending not to do so) but then you witness the tantrums and it’s hard to see them as anything more than spoiled brat children. The tantrums (and this includes the silent treatments) are an antidote to the golden period illusion. They make it so much easier to walk away.

    1. Brian says:

      Nice fuel

  5. Indy says:

    I always loved this Meme(you used it the first time I read this too)…it shows WTF just happened so perfectly.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      I am obliged Indy.

  6. Not So Sad says:

    HG three years ago narc decided he was going to throw on of his ” what the hell just happened” moments. Normally they were reserved just for me but on this occasion my family were present inc my two adult sons.

    Lets just say it didn’t go to plan for him & he showed what an absolute coward he really is .. From then on in he’d either stay away from my home or scurry off to hide somewhere if one of them came back unexpectedly .
    I’m not saying all narcs are cowards but faced with someone physically/emotionally stronger if they cant control them I think the majority may well be .? Any thoughts on this please ? thank you.

  7. AH OH says:

    Did you now that lack of sleep causes heart issues. Fact
    Did you know that the added drinking and smoking will compound this? Fact

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Indeed I do. I do not have a lack of sleep, I get sufficient for me. I do not smoke, it is a filthy habit. I drink and I enjoy it.

      1. AH OH says:

        Drink often?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Only when there is an impressive lime to hand.

          1. AH OH says:

            A green lime it is then. A floral scented fruit.

            I like it with my blanco, some prefer to call it silver, tequila. A shot with a squeeze and down it goes. My choice of poison for the high. I am good with 4-5 shots. Heavy pour then I am good with 3-4. H2O in between. I become a fabulous dancer.

            But one wrong word and I will turn like a rabid dog ready to kill. Happens rarely.

  8. VictimNoMore says:

    My ex fiancé and I have been off and on for about 5 years. He has triangulated between myself and another woman. Being fed up with this, during one of our breaks, I started talking to another man. We made a connection emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. But then my ex fiancé narc came back and I of course dropped the other guy & ended up getting pregnant 4 mos later. Throughout my pregnancy, the narc father continued triangulating between his ex and Me and I started talking to the other guy. 2 mos before our baby was born the narc dad and I decided to make it work and got engaged. All was well until my daughter was born. He cheated yet again two weeks after her birth. He denied it and not wanting to face it at the time, I went along with his lies. A week later, he intercepted a message from my guy friend. The narc went ballistic and for the first time became extremely violent – in the past he had called me names and shouted but was never physical – but after getting the message, he proceeded to point a gun at me while I was feeding our daughter, threw things at me, spit in my face, and threatened to punch me. I showed no fear of the gun, didn’t cry, or yell back (seemed to make him angrier – guessing no fuel)…. He walked out 3 mos ago and neither of us have attempted to make contact. Of course he is back with the ex…. Shortly after that madness I realized he is a narc and I want nothing more to do with him nor do I want him in my daughter’s life.

    My questions are:
    Do you think he has discarded me? We have gone as long as 6 mos apart with no contact.

    Have you ever had a girlfriend cheat on you?

  9. JC says:

    Yes. This. Just last night…
    What started as a lovely evening filled with laughter and good conversation ended with him screaming from the top of his lungs “F*** off, get the f*** out of my house, I can’t even stand you right now!!!!” Cold shoulder turned firey rage.
    I’m fairly certain that this all started because I forgot to bring cash to the grocery store and he had to pay for my 10 dollars worth of groceries unexpectedly, but the jury is still out. He hasn’t spoken to me since. Blocked from Facebook. The usual routine for being so.. Careless?
    If 10 dollars is an issue I’m assuming I won’t be getting any Christmas presents this weekend. What a surprise!! 😂😂 Or maybe that’s the actual reason for starting such ridiculousness???!!
    It’s taken 2 years but at least I’m at the point where I can laugh these things off. Last year I would have checked myself right into the mental institution. Baby steps… Right?
    Thanks for all of your insight HG, it’s proven to be quite useful! 🙂

  10. Adele says:

    Its so hard to know what sets the narc off. You have to take into account that they have many sources so depending on how things went with those sources they could be in a pissy mood. The primary is the one that takes the brunt of their changing moods and is the emotional punching bag. they hurt the one theyre closest to and take the mask off around them. Its futile to try to answer wth happened bc they think very differently. Also boredom. They hate it and will trigger a fight or emotional response to spice things up. Ive stopped trying to figure out my narcs mood swings. When he starts to act out i give him space and greyrock.

  11. Janie says:

    Thank you HG for explaining this blow by blow of how The Narcissist has interpreted what was said by empath. My eyes are opening more each day about myself and why I seemed to need The Narcissist in my life. I have worked hard not to feel like a victim but would repeat experiences again and again with a different Narcissist. A lesson is repeated until learned and finally I am learning. I am really grateful that you are willing to open up about Narcissistic thinking. Thank you so much.

  12. Z says:

    The Narc I was with said that he never ever dreamt!

  13. Brian says:

    Talking of sleep , everyone with NPD i’ve known can fall asleep on a dime, whenever they want.
    There can be lights on, a TV on, anything, they don’t care.

    I , however, need almost total darkness, no noise, nothing touching my back, no recent disturbance. Even then it takes at least 30 minutes on a good day.

  14. Z says:

    I do not mean any disrespect, Mister Tudor, and I hope I am saying this respectfully, but in thinking about your above response, I can see how your writing -[which helps us so much]- can be therapeutic for YOU in the sense that it might be helping to deter you from the porn sites late at night- with your door closed. It’s just a thought!

  15. Brian says:

    When I saw posts appearing at 3AM UK Time I was thinking “he has some kind of system of delayed posting, ” like how on youtube you can set a video to appear public at a certain time.
    While the video maker is sleeping.

    These situations seem unavoidable except for the most servile,co-dependent unhealthy ,low self-esteem person.

    It is exactly like Joe Pesci from the Goodfellas, “what?youre saying im funny? like a clown?”

  16. Cara says:

    Anything will set us off…nothing will set us off (as in “I’m bored, let’s have a knock down drag out battle)

  17. Leigh says:

    So I’ve lurked all day, and unsurprisingly, you’ve won me over. Consider my mind blown. Its like you cracked my ex boyfriend’s head open and explained the contents. I was love bombed, who knew! And the arguments, oh the arguments that would twist and turn all over the place leaving me confused and apologising, and yes, asking ‘What The Hell Just Happened?’. It has been a day of revelations, especially the explanation of what constitutes fuel for the narcissist, and how this can be achieved even just by the knowledge of eliciting a response, even remotely! Oh how I played right into his hands there. I still have many more posts to read. Where do you find the time to write so much, considering the amount of energy you must dedicate to scheming and plotting?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You made me smile when you stated you have lurked all day, I am pleased you have come into the open and said hello. Hello! I am also pleased you have found what has been written useful in allowing you to attain understanding. There is plenty more. I tend to write late at night and I had a stock of material which I have drawn down on over time. I enjoy writing and I do not need a lot of sleep.

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