The Narcissist’s Fuel Matrix – Part Two


As explained in Part One, understanding the fuel matrix for the relevant school of narcissist (with appropriate adjustments relevant to the cadre) allows you to understand how a particular narcissist is likely to respond to your imposition of no contact, dependent on how you fit into that matrix. It also allows you to understand what other competing interests you can expect within this fuel matrix and how the narcissist is likely to interact with these other sources. This part of the series considers the fuel matrix of the Mid-Range School of narcissist.

  1. The Lower Mid-Range Narcissist (“LMRN”)

The LMRN is of reasonable cognitive function. He has no awareness as to what he is. Whilst passive aggressive features are the forte of the Mid Ranger Narcissist, as a lower, he does gravitate towards the aggression of the Lesser Narcissist. This means that when there is an ignition of fury, the relevant victim may well experience the manifestation of physical violence. There is not the blunt fury of the Lesser, but the risk of being punched or kicked is there. The LMRN, when heated fury is ignited, will respond at times by throttling the victim.  There are potential substance abuse issues evident with the LMRN also. He or she will work and have a reasonable job albeit it is unremarkable.

The LMRN relies heavily on people feeling sorry for him or her and this arises either through the manifestation of cold fury, through silent treatments et al or having a temper tantrum as heated fury is exhibited. Unlike the Lesser who will erupt in a volcanic fashion or the Greater who will erupt with a frenzied malice, a calculated application of antipathy which will hurt his or victim, the LMRN is petulant.

Of all the schools and their divisions, the LMRN is most likely to become The Incredible Sulk . He has a fairly low threshold of control on his fury and can either erupt with heated or cold fury and pretty much does so in equal measure, something which is different from the other divisions of schools.

The LMRN has a small fuel matrix. He has little charm, if any, he will have limited financial power and relies on people feeling sorry for him and wanting to help him. The LMRN who is of the Victim Cadre is a pathetic creature indeed. In terms of the fuel matrix, it is as follows

a. The primary source will usually be intimate in nature. There may be occasions where the LMRN will skulk back to his or her parents and place them as primary source but most of the time the primary source will be intimate in nature and is often someone who is a The Carrier Empath to put up with the fairly low energy level of the LMRN and his or her propensity to sulk. The primary source is expected to work and run the house and will be denied much opportunity to socialise as the LMRN will not want that person being away from them.

b. There will be numerous familial secondary sources. Unlike the Lower Lesser or Middle  Lesser, the LMRN is able to maintain reasonably good relationships with his family because he seeks pity and sympathy more than fear and hurt. They will regard him as moody but will put up with it meaning he is able to rely on these secondary sources as reliable. This is necessary because of the point in (c).

c. The social secondary sources will be limited. Lacking charm and generally regarded as sulky, self-centred and something of a mardy arse, the LMRN struggles with creating a significant social secondary source circle. He will have a small number, three or four, inner circle friends with whom he will do most things;

d. The LMRN usually works and therefore will have colleague secondary sources. He will not be held in high regard by them but nevertheless his less volcanic nature means that he will have numerous of these colleague secondary sources dependent on the size of the organisation he works for;

e. The LMRN will have an IPSS when the IPPS is being devalued. It is unusual for him to have more than one and it is often the case that the IPSS will not be recruited from a social setting but usually through work;

f. In terms of tertiary sources, the LMRN will engage with a reasonable number of these sources as he works, he will be out and about in terms of shopping etc and his interactions will largely be benign in nature unless he perceives a criticism and then he will readily erupt in order to draw negative fuel from the offending tertiary source.

2. The Middle Mid-Ranger Narcissist (“MMRN”)

The MMRN has a little charm but his weapon is politeness and behaving in a respectable manner. He or she is well-thought of. The MMRN is not a huge attention seeker and does not exhibit grandiose behaviours. Instead the MMRN wants to be well thought of by everybody. This person is intelligent and is likely to have a good job.

Like any narcissist, the MMRN is hugely sensitive to criticism and the MMRN is more sensitive than most. This is because he lacks the dynamic aggression of the Lesser rf the malevolent charm of the Greater but instead feels constrained by his lack of ability to influence people in a sudden and meaningful manner. This means that the MMRN is an envious individual and is always looking to gain the advantage from covert and secretive means. He throws the figurative second punch (often piggybacking on the behaviour of a Greater although he does not know that this is what that person is). He is two-faced, a spreader of gossip and always looking to get other people to do his dirty work. He is cowardly but will never countenance being called as such. He ingratiates himself with people through his intelligence and limited charm and is prone to repeated pity plays. He is the archetypal architect of the silent treatment in all its forms and heated fury is rare with him. If it does appear, it will be shouting, spitting and slapping. He is an habitual liar, not just in a defensive manner (which is what Lessers and the LMRN do) but in a proactive manner, in order to cause trouble and cajole people into acting on his behalf through the dissemination of gossiping untruths.

The fuel matrix of the MMRN is not extensive but is larger than that of the LMRN.

a. The primary source. Rarely a family member and nearly always an intimate partner. This person will be guilt-tripped into doing everything for the supposedly hard-working MMRN. He will use his façade of being a ‘regular’ guy to keep the IPPS in place. He will unleash repeated silent treatments, blame-shifting and projection to maintain the upper hand;

b. Familial secondary sources.  The MMRN has reliable and extensive familial secondary sources. He is either well-regarded by those of The Coterie who consider him to be a well-brought up son, well-regarded nephew and brother, or as someone who is prone to being viewed as “sensitive” being the unknowing victim’s view of this particular narcissist. Either way the family secondary circle is one which is compliant for the MMRN;

c. Colleague secondary sources. The MMRN has a reasonable sized fuel matrix at work. This is roughly equal between those who consider him a diligent worker and reliable and those who consider him to be untrustworthy and a brown-noser. Whilst the MMRN will make pity plays concerning the unfair attitude of the latter group, the fact remains that he has engagement with well over a dozen people, possibly more dependent on the size of the workplace, all of which who are locked into his fuel matrix.

d. With respect to the social secondary sources, the MMRN does not have an extensive social circle. His matrix draws from the IPPS and the secondary sources through family and work. Lacking the charisma and grandiose behaviours which might draw people to him socially in significant numbers, the MMRN keeps his social circle small with perhaps 4-6 inner circle friends. He will not see these friends with significant regularity but instead does so more through the auspices of organised events, such as dinner parties amongst the groups or attendance at functions.

e. The MMRN will have an IPSS at the appropriate time. He is capable of securing the attentions of two IPSSs through a combination of intelligence and manipulation. He relies, like the LMRN on the workplace being the feeder ground for the selection and cultivation of the IPSS or IPSSs. Somewhat ponderous in nature and also very much aware of his façade the MMRN is careful to keep IPPS and IPSSs very separate.

f. The MMRN will engage with tertiary sources as a consequence of job, social life and general community involvement. Again, his awareness of the façade means that his engagements for the most part will be benign in nature. Should a tertiary source wound him, he is less likely to lash out at that tertiary source and instead more likely to triangulate the individual through the raising of a complaint to the relevant person.

3. The Upper Mid-Range Narcissist (“UMRN”)

This division of the Mid Range school of narcissism is of considerable intelligence. He also has some reasonable charm. People often mistake the UMRN for a Greater. This is because the UMRN has a degree of sophistication, some charm and some calculation. He is rarely physical with his victims and instead he is a master manipulator through the application of silence. Whether it is a steely gaze, a glacial shoulder or ghosting, the UMRN is able to use the silent treatment to the greatest effect. He instinctively identifies victims who find such treatment of being ignored and overlooked especially disturbing. He is also capable in terms of playing people off against one another. He does not have the tantrum behaviour of the LMRN nor the avoidant tendencies of the MMRN, instead he finds considerable fuel in playing people against one another based on petty insecurities. He will use exclusion from a group, be it work, family or social as the stick by which to bring about compliance. He does not hit, he does not threaten but rather he uses the imposition of silence through exclusion as a major modus operandi to achieving what he requires.

a. The primary source. This is nearly always going to be an intimate partner. His attributes and the fact that he will hold a senior or professional position makes him an attractive prospect. He appears lacking volatility since he has a better hold on his ignited fury than the other schools and divisions mentioned so far. He will have decent financial ability. He relies extensively on the IPPS as other narcissists do, but his reliance is not as great as the other schools and divisions touch on.

b. Familial secondary sources. He is generally well-regarded by his family secondary sources and can command numerous of them for the purposes of support and fuel. He is likely to have made an example of one or two and excluded them from the group and no longer bothers with them. Expect therefore one or two black sheep to exist in the fuel matrix of the UMRN;

c. Colleague secondary sources. The UMRN will have a significant work fuel matrix. The UMRN is less likely to be a business owner as he prefers to be part of a large machine, thus as a senior manager in a corporate setting, a partner in an accountancy practice or an academic in a college or university he is able to interface with dozens of people who he will utilise as secondary sources. The majority will regard him in a benign manner, but he will have made one or two enemies within the workplace, again arising from his ability to freeze people out;

d. Social secondary sources. The  UMRN will have the largest social circle of all mid-rangers but it is still not extensive. Work and family provide the bulk of his secondary sources and socially he will have numerous outer circle friends (often drawn from work) perhaps around a dozen and only say two or three inner circle friends who are likely to be long-standing in nature. Outer circle friends will also be lost from time to time through his exclusionary behaviours.

e. IPSSs. The UMRN is capable of operating two or more IPSSs should the need arise. He will carefully keep them separate from one another, deploying the assistance of Lieutenants in ensuring that they do not find out about one another until after the event or if he decides there is something to be served in such triangulation, but this is rare. He has the sophistication and attraction to keep several plates spinning and once people learn about such Casanova behaviour they would be rather surprised by such a revelation;

f. The UMRN knows numerous tertiary sources. He interacts with them as a consequence of his varied involvement in the community, socially and through work. He is most mindful of the efficacy of the façade and therefore is mainly pleasant and benign in his interactions with them as he wishes to remain well thought of. If a tertiary source displeases him, he will not lash out, but again will request their removal as waiter or a change of post man etc from the relevant powers that be.

Part Three examines the Fuel Matrix of the Greater school of narcissism.


30 thoughts on “The Narcissist’s Fuel Matrix – Part Two”

  1. Hi HG,

    1. What are the ways that the lower midrange narcissist reacts during rage while drunk and sober? Hitting, yelling, kicking, etc.?

    2. Can or do they self harm themselves during rage if they are in a position where they can’t express it?

    3. Are they prone to being sexually aggressive?

    1. 1. Usually pushing, shoving, grabbing, shouting – possibly it could lead to punching and kicking.
      2. Unlikely.
      3. It is a moderate risk.

      1. Thank you! And what about the MMRN? I don’t think the UMRN is on the aggressive side … more on the silent/calm side. So, I don’t need to ask about that 🙂

        1. What are the ways that the MMRN midrange reacts during rage while drunk and sober? Hitting, yelling, kicking, etc.?

        2. Can or do they self harm themselves during rage if they are in a position where they can’t express it?

        3. Are they prone to being sexually aggressive?

        1. 1. The MMRN is far more self-pitying, so physical violence of any kind would be most unusual.

          2. You may get a fake suicide threat.

          3. Highly unlikely.

  2. HG, question for you. Would a Mid-Range – really smack in the middle mid-range – cerebral narc sustain a narc injury if he were told that he was not a Greater? In other words, if he were told that he is an imperfect or weak narcissist? Thanks!

    1. More likely such a comment would be issued as Challenge Fuel because of the emotion attached with the comment.

      1. OK, thanks. Unfortunately, I never got a chance to make the comment but just as well because as you say, it would likely have been more fuel.

  3. HG,

    I wonder if we can say something about MRN fuel matrix or his internal moods based on his social media activity.

    For example Twitter. There are days when:
    – MRN is silent. No posts, no likes.
    – MRN is neutral. A few posts daily, business like, formal.
    – MRN acts really frustrated and angry. Many posts, but mainly comments to others tweets, that are mean, trying to cause a fight, pointing out that someone is wrong, criticising others. It seems like MRN is frustrated and needs to put other people down.
    – charming, paying compliments, liking women’s tweets, showing his best manners, showing his sense of humour.
    – passive agressive tweets, tweets about being disappointed, self pity.

    I can see that “normal” people (and probably the Greaters) are more stable in their social media activity, narcs are more instinctive, I think we can sense when they are fuel hungry and so on. But I don’t know what does it mean when for example they act frustrated and angry. Does it mean their fuel needs in real life aren’t met? Or maybe they have plenty of positive fuel in real life and fight online with others because they need negative fuel for contrast?

  4. Is there such a thing as a middle mid-ranger (or maybe low middle?) who has such low energy levels that he finds himself unsuccessful at obtaining enough fuel, leading to even lower energy levels, and therefore depressed/anxious? Has anyone else experienced a depressive/anxious narc? I can’t be the only one.

    1. This describes my MMRN perfectly. A very anxious individual he was. I know bc when I was around him I felt very anxious. I had my Narcmom send me Xanax from Ny and it Didnt help…. I had to go no contact and after weeks away it got better. I was literally spinning with anxiety. He was trying to probe to find out if I had bonded to him. He asked “do you have feelings for me?” I said “yes….mostly anxiety.”

  5. Luna, that’s what’s great about HG’s work. It’s not Psychology. He doesn’t use the terms or psychological diagnosis. I personally think most Midrangers are considered “Covert Narcissist”. The MMRN I mentioned above, is only treated for OCD. Does he really have OCD? I believe so, to an extent. But the OCD diagnosis is also exploited for a lot of his Narcissistic manipulations. The UMRN I mentioned above is Charismatic/Overt. If a Psychologist truly evaluated him, he would be diagnosed with some type of Machiavellian/Dark Triad/APD issue. He knows this. If his mask slips while you are still relevant in his life, he will claim he has PTSD. However, now that I have been pushed to the side, and smeared all the way to China Town as the Abuser, he will freely mention that he is a Narcissist/Sociopath to me, because no one will believe me if I tell on him. The true test on whether or not someone is a Narcissist, despite their clinical diagnosis, is whether or not the person is able to feel real empathy for other people.

  6. HG, could there be a LMR or a MMR who is an Elite, but due to low fuel supply, lower intellect, and other factors has less interest or ability to show the more somatic/cerebral traits ? He can’t be a Victim as he I’m quite sure isn’t a lesser, defin isn’t a victim in bed (yet isn’t a somatic). Isn’t a cerebral that’s a definite.

  7. This is really interesting. The kinds of people described as Mid-Rangers would not be conventionally seen as narcissists, even if people knew the classic diagnostic criteria. They just don’t seem flamboyantly grandiose enough to fit the stereotype. Actually, these people seem like the kind that USED to be diagnosed with Passive-Aggressive Personality Disorder…before the disorder was taken out of the DSM. (I personally don’t approve. There are plenty of people who fit the bill out there, my own mother included.)

    And aside from Upper Lessers, most of the people you describe as Lesser Narcissists are much more likely to be diagnosed with, say, Intermittent Explosive Disorder (uncontrollable rage issues) than as narcissists.

    But are these really completely unrelated disorders or, as you say, different manifestations of the same underlying condition? Hmm…

    Thank you for making me think, HG!

    1. Hello Luna,

      It is true that unless people fit the stereotype of the glamorous, flamboyant narcissist, they will not be diagnosed with a NPD. Psychologists say that NPD is comorbid with other mental disorders.

      IMO, people who use passive-aggression to harm others intentionally, such as ruining their reputation or relationships, have another serious disorder.

      I notice there is a lack of empathy and remorse. When confronted with their behaviour, PA individuals pretend they do not understand what you are talking about, gaslight you, deny or deflect. Their aggression is premeditated. They learn how to do it without getting caught. It may seem they do this unconsciously but this is not what I have seen. As adults, they can make decisions very quickly because they have been practising it since childhood. They learn PA behaviour from their own parents or caregivers at home and also from other people later in life.

      PA people also act pre-emptively if they perceive you are a threat or a competitor. They feel entitled to do that and they do not care about the consequences. They attack their perceived enemy without doing anything to solve their conflict.

      Since physical aggression is culturally not accepted, female MRN/GN choose PA over violence. PA-women can hide behind their Mother Theresa façade much better than men. I have seen it in my own family too. PA women were able to deceive high-functioning narcissists, who were intellectually and cognitively better developed than them.
      Unfortunately, PA is still a socially accepted form of aggression in western society.

  8. Yes! The profession has a lot to do with the school of Narcissist. When I was in my early 20’s, I started dating my Ex MMRN. I was an Exotic Dancer at that time. I was a Hood Rat. Dating him, was like becoming a Born Again Christian. The situation was very much like the movie, Pretty Woman. I had to learn how to fit in with his family and community quickly. We stayed together a very long time, had a son. He currently MANAGES-not owns, a very Sophisticated Steak Restaurant in his upper class neighborhood. Though he is such a whiney momma’s boy, he thinks he is God for being able to boss his staff around every day. He doesn’t realize, it’s a dead end job, and he should be paid more for the hours he works.
    My Ex UMRN, who I just had a daughter with, has inherited enough money to be lazy when he wants. He has little entrepreneur projects around town that he works on. He could easily turn a project into a successful business if he wanted to. He often talks about what business he should start next. But his playground, is Corporate America. He loves working for Fortune 100 companies, and playing his Narcissist games there. It’s all about recognition, being sexy, stabbing colleagues in the back, suing HR, etc. He loves all of that.He is way more aggressive than my EX MMRN, but he is still a bitch, so he is a Mid Ranger still.

    1. I wonder what the breakdown is of narc categories. Which type is most common? For example are there more mid rangers out there than the other types? From what I read on here it seems that most are whiny cowardly paranoid mid rangers!

  9. Hi HG,

    Very interesting article, just like Part One.

    So, due to the cognitive function and level of control, there is a correlation between the school the narcissist belongs to and his/her career (or lack thereof), correct? Therefore, an Upper Mid-Ranger could become a senior manager whereas a Lesser would never make it that far?

    Also, the higher the school, the bigger the fuel matrix? Because a Chevrolet would always need/use up more fuel than, say, a Peugeot?

    1. There is a correlation between school and profession/occupation it is a strong indicator but has to be viewed in aggregate with other matters.

      Your last sentence is essentially correct.

  10. Hello HG
    What can a number of facebook followers/friends (or twitter or any other sm) tell about what type of narc he is? Do UMRN have more than MMRN og LMRN? It is a strange question but i am curious if this could be used to identify them. One of my boss whom i suspect to have narc traits has approx 3000 friends on fb and she post everyday. Very polite and charming but has all the qualities of UMRN.

  11. “The MMRN has a little charm but his weapon is politeness and behaving in a respectable manner. He or she is well-thought of.”

    “He ingratiates himself with people through his intelligence and limited charm and is prone to repeated pity plays. He is the archetypal architect of the silent treatment in all its forms and heated fury is rare with him.”

    “He will use his façade of being a ‘regular’ guy to keep the IPPS in place.”

    “The MMRN keeps his social circle small with perhaps 4-6 inner circle friends. He will not see these friends with significant regularity but instead does so more through the auspices of organised events, such as dinner parties amongst the groups or attendance at functions.”

    “Somewhat ponderous in nature and also very much aware of his façade the MMRN is careful to keep IPPS and IPSSs very separate.”

    “The MMRN will engage with tertiary sources as a consequence of job, social life and general community involvement.”

    You have just described Piano Recital Middle Mid Range perfectly. Good grief, HG, your accuracy continues to shock me beyond belief, especially the part about him being so polite and the community involvement (angel with a dirty face).

      1. Why did the MMRN push for sex while in the stages of electronic hoovers? I gave in. Is that like the final hoover….the in person hoover that seals the deal? Does this reinstate the FR?
        Why the great push for sex from him if he really does not care about sex?

        1. Sex allows binding, control and provides fuel – see also the book Sex and the Narcissist.
          Having sex with you does not mean the Formal Relationship (you haven’t said what the FR was in any event) is re-instated. We can have a direct physical hoover where sex takes place, draw fuel, know we have succeeded with the hoover, retained control and interest and then leave you be until a further HT and the HEC is met.

      2. Goldie.
        You are not alone. My MMRN was the same way. Sexting, media, in person (all AFTER saying “we are never having sex again”)…round and round in a never ending loop of contradiction.

  12. My stbx fits UMRN to a T. After we separated, there seemed to be no replacement of me… until I realized he replaced me with his favorite triangulation toy – his 20 year old daughter. That only lasted until he relocated for his job and she returned to college. Now he is desperately online (ladies in PA beware) looking for his next victim!

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