The Mid-Range Narcissist – Five Facts


I have come across these five questions on a number of occasions. They are often regarded as the five fundamental queries which are raised about our behaviour. They are usually answered in a forthright manner by certain commentators in order to drive the message home. However, these observations and answers are provided by people who are not of our kind. They are naturally entitled to comment but the true value arises from someone who is on the other side of the fence, the perpetrator of the actions, the doer. Furthermore, the usual observations are provided without regard to the fact that narcissists are both similar yet different because we operate in certain schools which are linked to our degree of functioning and malign outlook. Accordingly, the traditional answer provided to one of these questions may be correct for the greater of our kind, but not for the mid-range or for the lesser narcissist. This time the focus falls on those narcissists which are from the Mid-Range school. It is usually the case that those who Mid-Range are not so much defined by what they are, but rather by what they are not. Thus if a behaviour which accords with a lesser narcissist is absent and a behaviour which accords with a greater narcissist is absent but the individual still displays behaviour which accord with narcissism as a whole, this person falls within the Mid-Range. The Mid-Range is neither a creature of complete knee-jerk reactions but nor is he or she fully aware of what he or she is and the capabilities that he or she may possess. He or she will not exhibit the driven, malign nature of those narcissists from the greater school. Here are the five answers to the five central questions.


  1. Do We Know What We Are Doing?


Whereas the lesser narcissist operates through instinctive responses and in a knee-jerk manner the Mid-Ranger knows what he or she is doing even though the response is largely still one of instinct. Most of the Mid Ranger’s response is instinctive but they have a greater awareness of what is happening, the Lesser does not really notice.

The Mid-Ranger will notice that they feel a sense of unease and being unsettled. This is when their fuel levels have dropped to a low level. They do not know that the sensation of unease is linked to the reduced fuel levels. The Mid-Ranger does know that provoking reaction in the person who is his or her primary source and other people causes the unease to diminish and vanish. He or she is aware of the link between the need to receive attention and the reduction in the state of unease. He or she realises that certain reactions do not always work (i.e. unemotional ones) and that some reactions are superior to others (the sense of unease vanishes quicker and is replaced with a feeling of power) but they do not know why that is. They do not realise the index of fuel supply governs their own state of power/unease. They do know what if they are praised they feel better, if you are made to cry, they feel better and if you are losing your temper because of something that they have done, they feel better.

  1. Do We Know That We Are Hurting You?


Akin to the lesser, the Mid-Ranger is aware of the hurt that is being caused, the major difference however is that the Mid-Ranger recognises that you are being hurt (since he possesses Cognitive Empathy) but he or she will never OWN the responsibility for that hurt. Thus, he may say

“I know you are hurt when I call you names, but if you just stopped trying to control me, then I would not have to do it.”

He knows the name-calling upsets you, he also is aware that your emotional response has a positive impact for him (although does not know why) but he will never accept that this behaviour is wrong or his fault.

The Mid-Ranger may also give some consideration to how this might be achieved whereas the Lesser just does it. This tends to be apparent with mainly Upper Mid-Rangers, Lower and Middle Mid Rangers still operate through an instinctive response.

The Mid-Ranger does not behave this way because of any innate malevolence but rather because he or she is aware that the evidence of pain on your part gives them a “good” feeling and lessens the unease which may appear. The Mid-Ranger knows that if he or she acts in a certain way, it will cause you upset. With the higher functioning Mid Ranger, he or she will take some time to evaluate how best to respond in a situation so that the “good” feeling can be obtained. This is why some Upper Mid-Rangers are often mistaken for Greaters because they have a degree of calculation to their actions.

The Mid-Ranger will be aware of what it is that you are doing which has generated contempt, irritation or annoyance. He will be able to provide you with a reason behind this sensation and moreover if there is no actual reason he is readily able to invent one. Whereas the lesser can only usually respond in a vague and amorphous fashion, the Mid-Range will provide you with a reason for this annoyance at your behaviour and why he or she is hurting you. It is most likely a lie, but a reason will be provided nevertheless.

  1. Do We Do This Deliberately?

The Mid-Ranger is deliberate in his or her behaviours but they remain governed by instinct. They do not know it is fuel, they do not know its true purpose but they are sufficiently aware and of sufficient function to link the provision of certain reactions by you to the settling and empowering effect it has on them. The Mid-Ranger is aware that he or she can provoke good and bad emotions from you and that these reactions serve a purpose.

They are also able to apply a wider range of manipulations from their repertoire as a consequence of their increased function. The response is an instinctive response but in some instances will be thought out and whilst the plotting and scheming is far removed from the grand scale of the greater narcissists, there is no doubting that the Upper Mid-Ranger will plan. He or she will consider how people can best serve them. This is not done from a malicious point of view but is more about working out what will serve him or her the best. The Mid-Ranger will consider which friends serve him best, who will make the best target and how the various people that are his fuel lines knit together. He does not behave in the random and chaotic fashion of the Lesser nor with the pinpoint, malicious accuracy of the greater but with a sense of organisation and planning so that he or she gets what he or she wants.

  1. Can We Control This Behaviour?


The Mid-Ranger is possessed of the ability to control his or her behaviour even though the majority of it is instinctive. Accordingly, he will respond to certain behaviours with his own set response but can exert some control, for instance keeping a lid on the ignited fury for a short time, since he recognises the situation demands a certain approach.

Since he or she is not a creature of base instinct like the lesser but adopts a more considered approach there is some thought given to how he or she should respond. The Mid-Ranger is not aware of why they ought to behave in this way, they only know that there is a way of behaving which suits them best and they need to tailor their responses and behaviours to accord with this way and this includes control. The Mid-Ranger only has so much control however and in situations where fuel levels plummet and there is a real or perceived threat of a primary source cessation then the Mid-Ranger will lose control when placed under such duress. This may occasionally manifest in the use of physical violence. The Mid-Ranger knows there will be consequences but is unable to contain the urgent need to “do something” and therefore control is lost. The Mid-Ranger is particularly prone to using the silent treatment as this represents a halfway house between exerting and losing control. He or she may be panicked into a sudden reaction but they do not lose control to such an extent that a frenzied response, by way of violence both physical and verbal may appear. Instead they vanish. The Mid-Ranger is also more likely to engage in emotional, financial and sexual abuse through planning and the greater subtleties and insidious nature attached to these particular machinations.

  1. Can We Stop It?

Yes, the Mid-Ranger can to some extent. Much of his behaviour is instinct. He truly considers himself to be a good person, he believes he is empathic and caring, he regards other people as the problem. He cannot understand why people have to be so unfair, so troublesome and why they cause him pain and anguish, since he has such a different perspective to you.

He has an awareness and therefore is able to decide that the behaviour can stop. Indeed, where the Mid-Ranger perceives an advantage to be acquired he will do so and amend his behaviour accordingly. Whereas the lesser narcissist will instigate a respite period instinctively without knowing why he is doing, his need to devalue will just abate and the golden period returns, the Mid-Ranger knows the value of a respite period and will grant it because he feels settled and prone to wanting the contrast of the positive fuel again. Similarly, when those fuel levels drop the Mid-Ranger knows to commence the devaluation again. His awareness and control enable him of her to stop the devaluing behaviour as and when it is required. He does not exercise this with regard to any sense of malevolence, like the greater, but rather it is driven by need. The Mid-Ranger could stop his or her abusive behaviour but will not do so if they perceive a need for it to continue. The lesser is unable to stop it because it “just happens”. Of the three schools, the Mid-Ranger is less volatile, less malicious but in some respects can be regarded as entirely culpable for the behaviours which are engaged in and that are doled out to his or her victims. The difficulty is however, you can regard the Mid Ranger as culpable but he or she will never accept any liability for their behaviour because they are automatically configured to reject any notion that they are at fault. Their default setting is always to block this, reject it and counter it – usually through Pity Plays, sulking, silent treatments, blame-shifting and projection.


42 thoughts on “The Mid-Range Narcissist – Five Facts”

  1. Dear HG, if you have been the IPPS of the mid-range narc for several years, how long can you expect the respite period, following devaluation, to last? A week, months, a year? How long can he likely keep the golden period going before reverting to type? Also, surely fhe IPPS would not ever be discarded? Thanks

  2. Share your opinion if you think you know, but I am not sure what I dated for 6 months, but I’m certain she had some kind of personality disorder. She would tell me right from day 1″ I can be a bitch “Just don’t piss me off” or “I’m a bitch” because I have a long string of broken relationships” The relationship always ran under her terms because “she was busy all the time” When we would have a disagreement she would get really mean, sarcastic and very cutting. She would continually cancel plans on me last minute. When upset her favorite go to was the silent treatment! One time for 4 days straight after asking me out of the blue via text if i was mad at her, because I was busy at work one morning and did not text her. She then said “ok just chill I won’t bug you anymore today” and went into that 4 day silent treatment. When she broke it off after I had voiced my displeasure after she again blew me off one night just before Christmas, she said “I think we are done here” “When do you wanna pick up your shit” “I will put it out behind my garage” then she went back into the silent treatment and would not respond until I wrote a not so pleasant email about how disrespectful her behavior was and why she was being such a coward and not talking face to face to end things. I think she thought she had the last say until I bruised that grandiose ego of hers. When she responded her email was full of Projection of her own actions on to me as well as a lot of deflection of her faults. I think she did me a major favor by dumping me.

  3. I believe my husband of 17 years to be a narcissist. For years I had succumbed to every trick in the book– devaluation, discrediting, gas-lighting, blame-shifting, projection… almost daily verbal and emotional abuse. Now, just finding your material, I believe he is a Mid-Ranger.

    Three years ago, I filed for divorce and left him, told him why, that I thought him to be a narcissist, which he, I think honestly and genuinely, didn’t think he was. I went no-contact until I absolutely had to make arrangements with him regarding the children. While we were waiting the state-mandated 6-month period for the the divorce to finalize because we have children, I saw the toll it was taking on them. I did not like the fact that he had them 50% of the time, to himself, treating them narcissistically, which is unprovable in court… so I went back, to protect them, knowing full-well that he is a narcissist, knowing that I’d have to wait x# of years before the kids are gone from the house (yes, I plan to leave when they are safely away from him). I told him when I went back that I would call him out on his shift-blaming, projection, silent treatments, etc *while* it’s happening, and I do, with cool and calm logic. I told him the kids are off-limits, which basically means they depend almost entirely on me for everything, which is fine– a deal! I boost their self-esteem and self-confidence yet also do all the chores associated with them, he gets very well-adjusted children that everyone adores, yet also provides for them. (Yes, he has a good job; I feel it’s perhaps now become his primary source of fuel). I also reinforce the *good* things about him– especially during those times when he is experiencing positive fuel. He doesn’t get anything from me during devaluation periods (now he usually just sulks or leaves)– I take them as a break from him, happy that he is gone and garner my own strength and reserves. I know myself deeply, and make sure that I am centered, stable, can’t get “knocked off my feet” so speak. I feel that this approach somehow makes him feel more secure and so the behaviors are now decreased in frequency and intensity. Yes, I feel it also means that I feel he doesn’t like me a lot of the time, but that’s okay with me. That’s not why I am in this marriage anymore. I am just biding my time to get through this part, and then will move on, when I am done with him.

    HG, care to assess my assessment? my approach? Your insights would be appreciated.

  4. Hi there, HG..
    I am 100% convinced the father of my daughter is a mid-ranger.. He exercises the silent treatment often and during those times and even sometimes when we are on good terms, he is consistently seeking the attention, affection, and sexual gratification of other females.. When I first got with him, he would tell me stories of certain encounters in his life in order to evoke pity from me.. This is the main reason I fell for him.. I knew he wasn’t “normal” and tried desperately to give him the tools to subside his manipulation and passive-aggressive tactics.. However, I caught him in a lie recently, face to face.. I caught him in the vehicle of another woman at 1 o’clock in the morning, on the way to her house for the night.. I believe this caused narcissistic injury to him because, unfortunately, we had a detailed discussion and slight argument about why he was not going to spend the night with me.. (He said he was going to care for his ill mother).. I would like to know, generally, how do mid-rangers respond to narcissistic injury, such as shame or being caught red-handed in a lie? That night, he just got out of the female’s car and walked into his mother’s house.. I drove off.. What can I expect from him now? I’m afraid he may seek revenge against me?

    1. Generally speaking a Mid Ranger would move to the second line of defence – see the article ‘The Narcissist’s Twin Lines of Defence’ – with regard to your own situation the appropriate way forward is to organise a consultation.

  5. This describes my experience to a tee. The thing is, I think the Mid-Ranger is the most infuriating b/c the Mid-Ranger actually believes he is a good person and somehow a ‘victim’. Then, after years of his shit, where you react to it, he then blames you for acting out. Zero accountability. Before I knew of any of this, I thought he was suffering from ‘extreme passive aggression.’ Little did I know what NPD was. Holy shit, now I do. I wasted 7 yrs trying to reason with an emotional retard.

  6. “The Mid-Ranger is particularly prone to using the silent treatment as this represents a halfway house between exerting and losing control.” <<< Good line! Apt for describing a tactic that's at once so brutal and pathetic.

  7. Mine is seeking professional help because several vics have filed ethics violations on him. He took psychological tests indicating his empathy was lower than normal. He asked me if I thought he was narcissistic at all. Is it possible for a greater than, to seek therapy and utilize tools to try and be a better person?

    1. Of all the schools, the Greater is the one who has the capacity to change. However, overcoming the fact we see no need to do so is a considerable obstacle and invariably what therapy does is make us more effective and dangerous.

  8. Hi HG,
    Would you consider writing an article on upper mid rangers please and how they present. I think my ex would have fallen into this category. It would be very interesting to of learn the differences.
    Do you think that the level of narcissism correlates to the amount of childhood abuse/neglect or does it have a genetic component?

      1. Hi HG

        I was involved with someone I believed to be mid range for six years. Your description of back and fourth behaviour along with every other scenario confirms why I went through what I can only describe as hell
        Would you mind if I digress a little to ask a question or two which no one on any other site has been able to help with?

        It is well thought that narcissists take on different personalities according to whom they are mirroring.
        There was one particular time that my ex during a discussion about certain childhood memories, claimed to have no recollection about a particular significant life event. I told him my own full descriptive account of events concerning this life event. He appeared enthralled and attentive.
        A few weeks later he brought up the subject and chose to relay his new found memories of that life event, explaining every single detail exactly as I had described to him word for word when telling him my story. I could only stare open mouthed. It was as though he didn’t remember it was my own story he’d stolen or even me who he thought he was with!
        He often confused me with someone else ( or wanted me to think he did)
        I loved him deeply for the person I thought he was…….so, I felt at the time that he was in a different place in his head like he detached from me, some kind of psychosis.

        Why would he need to devour someone else’s memories? Why would he forget it was my own story he was giving back to me?
        And thirdly, does this happen regularly within narcissism?

  9. Thank you, HG! Another tell-tale sign of him being a mid-range, based on your writings, is that he likes to draw sympathy and pity. He would often tell me how horrible his wife was. Now that he discarded her and has a new primary source, I wonder who he is blaming for any misfortunes. What do you think, dear HG?

  10. I think my narc is mid-range. One time when I was praising him extensively, he commented how I was putting him on a pedestal, which was not something he was used to. I thought I was making him feel uncomfortable. Now I think he was most likely feigning modesty. I frequently noticed he would downplay my praise and compliments making it sound like he was humble and unaccustomed to such praise. I think based on your account of a mid ranger, HG, his response described above indicated he is a mid-range. What do you think, HG? Thank you so much!

  11. I can’t figure out if my narcissist is mid-range or a greater. His mother is definitely a greater and he takes advice from her. But he seems to have a harder time controling his rage. Now what ?

  12. Is it possible to start out a mid-ranger and develop in to a Greater? It seems like my ex-narc has turned in to a Greater in the last few years.

  13. My ex did not know he was hurting me by re-scheduling our plans. He could never read my feelings properly. But when i told him, he tried his best to control it. It annoyed him, i believe, that he needed to control it, because he feels accountable to nobody, but he nevertheless tried.
    Also, he is a mid-ranger who genuinely hates negative fuel and hates making me cry.

  14. Do you think it’s the chemical releases of say, the dopamine when doing the actions that govern the feelings of power or unease that actually is the fuel you associate with our reactions to you?

  15. Do all mid range give silent treatment or vanish for new supply or to give themselves time away to plan what’s next?
    Also, a mid range is u aware that he is a narc but they know they are not like others?
    What if they are told they are a narcassist? Will they think about it or just ignore someone and carry on?

    1. 1. yes.
      2. No they do not know they are a narcissist, but they are aware that their behaviours can be regarded as different.
      3. See No! You are the Narcissist – Part Two.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.