Previously I addressed whether the Lesser Narcissist knows what he or she is doing and why, but now let us examine the Mid Range Narcissist. You may well accept that the Lesser, unrefined battering ram that he or she is, just ploughs through life oblivious to the harm they cause, but surely the more cognitively blessed Mid Range narcissist is well aware of what he is doing? He plots and plans, yes? He knows precisely how to manipulate and thinks it through, scheming in advance to get the right result for him?


The Mid Range Narcissist (Lower Mid, Middle Mid and Upper Mid) has an increased level of cognitive function beyond the Lesser. The Mid Ranger also exhibits cognitive (fake) empathy, knowing enough of how he or she is expectedto behave in order to fit in, to con and thus ensnare. However, despite this increased cognitive function – and the Upper Mid Range Narcissist may be highly intelligent – it is instinct that once again rules the behaviours and response of the narcissist.

The Mid Ranger does not sit in a hollowed-out volcano like some Bond villain rubbing his hands together and scheming. He or she does not think about all the ways he or she can ruin the life of the empath in the forthcoming weeks. Their narcissism operates in a way, as ever, as a self-defence mechanism to enable the Mid Ranger to function and be effective – because he or she has not developed other coping mechanisms which non-narcissists have, to navigate a path through life. The operation of this is instinctive.

Does the Mid Ranger think that he will sit and sulk so he can assert control over his long-suffering spouse and gain fuel as she begs him to speak to her? No. He instinctively sits in silence because that is the optimum response as a consequence of him having been wounded. His narcissism operates to make him issue a silent treatment. This of course draws fuel and asserts his perceived superiority over the relevant appliance, but he does not decide to give a silent treatment, he just does it. He knows that he is not speaking to her.

Does the Mid Ranger decide that she will issue a pity play to her colleagues about the way she has been passed over for promotion, thus smearing the boss and gaining sympathy fuel from those listening? No, it is her manipulative response to having been wounded by not gaining the promotion.

Does the Mid Ranger recognise that his cold put downs upset you? Yes. He sees your tears, hears the hurt in your voice and your pained expression. This provides him with fuel (although he does not recognise as such) and he feels the power flowing from the provision of such fuel. This reaction to the flow of power might be to smile or smirk at you. You may then think, “He knows what he is doing.” No, he knows his action hurts you, but he feels no guilt, no remorse, no upset at behaving this way because as ever, from the narcissistic perspective, it is entirely justified.

To understand this further, imagine there is a Mid Range Narcissist and a victim. Husband and wife. Both have been at work during the day. The narcissist called his wife twice during the afternoon but she did not answer – this wounds him. She also failed to call him back. He is wounded again. His wife, as his Intimate Partner Primary Source is painted black as a consequence of his split thinking. Thus, from his narcissistic perspective everything she says and does will be viewed through a ‘black lens’ until she becomes painted white again. A normal, healthy person would work out that her failure to answer and return the call means she is busy, perhaps in a meeting. The narcissist, governed by paranoia and the overwhelming need to control is wounded. This person is not doing what he wants, his sense of entitlement (that she should be available) is dented. He feels like he is losing control. He starts to feel powerless and is reminded of a time when he once was regularly made to feel that way. This situation must be addressed – he must assert his superiority and his blackened view of his spouse will enable him to do this.

His wife is at home first. The husband walks through the door and she greets him with

“Hello darling, what have you been doing?”

An innocuous and pleasant question, enquiring thoughtfully about her husband’s day.

The husband does not regard it that way. His narcissism demands that he asserts control and that she is punished for her transgression. He does not think

“She did not answer my call, I must punish her. She did not call me back, I must assert control.”

Those needs for control and punishment are automatic and instinctive. Her question is viewed as prying, controlling and unnecessary.

“What’s it got to do with you?” he snaps at her. His blackened view of her meaning his response is provocative and unpleasant. His wife is taken aback, her expression changes to one of hurt and the narcissist receives fuel from this.

“Sorry? What’s wrong? Why are you being like that?” she asks in a hurt tone.

These questions are challenge fuel. Her emotion gives him fuel, but because she is querying him, she is challenging him and thus (viewed by the narcissist) continues to reject control and rebel against him.

The Mid Ranger does not think

“Ah good, she is upset and confused. I know I will keep this going.” Instead, his instinctive response, which is automatic and swift in order to preserve him as his self-defence mechanism should, causes him to respond

“There’s nothing wrong with me. It’s you, always prying, asking me questions, trying to control me.”

The wife is taken aback once again. She knows she is not controlling (but then she may start to doubt this of course) but she is confused. Her confusion is welcome, it makes her easier to control. Her responses keep fuelling the narcissist. The Mid Ranger however is not considering what he will say next in order to keep confusing her, he is not considering how to gain more fuel from her, he is not considering how to assert his control over her, it all happens as a matter of instinct. He knows she is upset, but it is her fault because the narcissism makes it anybody’s fault save that of the narcissist. He knows that his comments trouble her, but they are necessary because she is the aggressor.

A third party watching this scene would decide that the narcissist responded unpleasantly at the outset and thus he is the problem.

The narcissist does not and cannot see that. He thinks he is the victim. He thinks his spouse is the problem because she failed to answer his call and call him back. His narcissism makes him think she is controlling  and thus he RESPONDS to her abusive behaviour and accordingly he is not the instigator. This is why, coupled with a lack of remorse and guilt is why the Mid Range Narcissist sees nothing wrong with what he is doing because all he is doing is responding to the unreasonable behaviour of another and therefore he is in the right.

This increased cognitive awareness of the Mid Ranger also gives rise to the façade. A Lesser would have an affair and would not care who knows – the cuckolded spouse is at fault for whatever reason he chooses and anybody who dares to say anything bad about his infidelity is a moron. The Mid Range Narcissist knows that society regards infidelity as a bad thing. He does not and moreover his narcissism will give him plenty of reasons why he should commit it. However, because he has enough cognitive awareness to recognise that it is frowned upon, he will hide the affair (unless there is an overriding beneficial reason not to) which gives the appearance that he feels bad about his behaviour. Not so, he does not want his façade damaged, he does not want the aggravation of the steady home life (with its attendant fuel and residual benefits) damaged. but again he does not think in such terms, he just knows that people will frown on him for cheating on his wife, so he keeps it hidden.

It may seem that the Mid Range Narcissist does indeed feel guilty for his behaviour. That he is genuinely sorry and he will make amends. Not at all. Again, he knows enough from instinctive observation that not talking to someone for a week is hurtful and viewed as a ‘bad thing’ and will even go so far as to admit that BUT there will always be a reason or an excuse. He will say

“I know it hurts you when I do not speak to you for a week BUT if you didn’t nag me, I would not need a time out.”

He instinctively blame shifts within this moment of apparent contrition.

Some Middle Mid Rangers and Upper Mid Rangers may plan to correct the perceived wrongs they have suffered, but this remains an instinctive response. He does not think – “I know this is wrong what I am planning, but what the hell, I will do it anyway.” He knows people may regard it as wrong, but he knows that he is justified because he has been offended, hurt, wronged in some way – namely wounded or challenged – and thus his action is justified and necessary.

When the Mid Ranger lies, he does not know that he is lying. The lie is his truth because his narcissism causes it to be – his narcissism will deflect blame, apportion blame to you, revise history, deny and so forth – all part of the instinctive responses which are totally necessary for the narcissist to regain and maintain control and is as a result of the The Narcissist’s Twin Lines of Defence

When the Mid Ranger gas lights, he does not know he is doing so. He may be contradicting what he said five minutes ago but his narcissism blinds him to this, it has to so the defence mechanism remains intact and effective, and therefore he genuinely believes what he is saying is correct and moreover you are wrong and therefore you are the problem.

This is why Mid Range Narcissists believe that they are good people, indeed empathic people and that the other person (the real victim) is the problem. This is why the real victim is labelled as an abuser, a tormentor and even a narcissist and the Mid Range Narcissist truly believes this to be the case. He does not think “I know I am the problem and she is not, but I am going to mess with her head” – he really believes the victim is the trouble maker because that way his responses and actions have absolute conviction, have the best possible chance of a successful outcome (namely fuel and control) and thus the manipulation goes on and on with no prospect whatsoever for change.


  1. E says:

    Hi HG.
    Thank you very much for all your help on your videos and website.
    This helped me a lot.
    I escaped from the mid-range narcissist years ago but sometimes I still battle against my emotional thinking. It is very lower than the beginning but sometimes I fall again. His sweet and innocent facade is the most powerful magnet that pushed and pushes me to justify and excuse him. Still now my emotional thinking make me think that he was good and that he wasn’t so bad after all. Sometimes I also think that if he wasn’t conscious to manipulate me and if he thought to be a very good person, he wasn’t guilty. Do you confirm me that all these thoughts are of emotional thinking?
    Thank you very much for your answer.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Yes, those thoughts are emotional thinking.

  2. baileykaren2011 says:

    So very insightful yet not what I wanted to hear. I wanted to think of him as evil. Three and a half years of nothing but lies. How could he not have known what he was doing?

  3. Joanne says:

    Is it weird that I feel relieved to know his actions were instinctual versus intentionally to hurt me? He doesn’t know what he is. UGH.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      No, because then it feels less personal. However, do not fall prey to emotional thinking causing you to feel pity because he does not know what he is. GOSO.

      1. windstorm says:

        Maybe I’m just out there, but I feel better knowing that they are aware of what they’re doing and why. At least that way I can trust they won’t just do stupid things that hurt everyone. They are smart enough to realize the consequences. Otherwise they seem like loose canons. But then I’ve been fortunate never to be on the wrong side of a really malignant narc.

      2. Joanne says:

        Oh no, there will be no pity! His ways became intolerable, intentional or not. But it does give me consolation that he wasn’t sitting there like a “villain rubbing his hands together and scheming” to try and destroy me.

        Still working on my emotional thinking but with each day the scales begin to tip more and more in favor of logic 🙂

  4. DebbieWolf says:

    Regarding the dog analogy…
    I get what you mean but I disagree.

    I think wolves act a bit more like that instinctively by following the strongest one only and behaving accordingly to get by.

    Though wolves mate for life and one will stay with another if it is injured until it dies.
    Yes wolves and wild dogs like a lot of wild animals live in a pecking order… submitting and fighting, running away or standing accordingly.

    Pet dogs are related to wolves obviously as we know but act differently because of their connection to the human being on a regular basis.

    They too have learnt to fit into a different environment the one that includes the human being the one that includes their owner.

    They are much more loyal and capable of loyal affection regardless of being fed or not… regardless of what you do… or don’t do to them.

    it is true that if you are cruel to a dog it has no respect for you and acts in fear … Obviously the primal instinct kicks in…but when you are kind to a dog it stands by you whether the pair of you are starving… Or against a threat….
    no matter what occurs… No matter what.

    A pet dog that respects its owner is much more than people understand.

    A pet dog which respects the owner is not a narcissist ….nothing like it.
    It is a true loyal friend and protector.

    Any dog I’ve ever owned has behaved far better than any narcissist I’ve ever encountered.

    A loyal shepherd’s dog will lay down his life to protect the shepherd and flock…it doesn’t run away.

    There is a famous husky dog that protected the owner from a bear.. he stood at the base of a tree and fought the bear off time and time again risking his life.

    That bear could have climbed the tree and savaged that man… It was trying to do so to get up the tree after it chased him from his ski bike …the dog protected him.. guarded him for hours and fought the bear
    … How it wasn’t killed is a miracle..
    The dog ran its self ragged protecting the owner.

    You can Google that story and many others.

    Those who do not understand the true dog and I am not talking about wolves, the true loyal dog have too much of a broad-brush opinion.

    It is only natural when you don’t know canines truely, it’s only natural when you don’t know anything to give it the broad brush.

    That’s why it is a good thing to listen to those who do know about whatever it is in particular.

    No dog I know is anything like a low life fuckwit of a mid-range narcissist.

    Most dogs generally are a higher life form in my opinion.

    They don’t stick it to you for no fucking reason like a bastard narc does.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      But we stick it to you for a reason, that’s a point made clear many times in my articles.

      1. DebbieWolf says:

        What you also make clear in your articles is that it’s always our fault even when it isn’t our fault.. which by definition is for no reason at all at times.

        Uness you are referring to your ‘perspective’ and our perspective.

        Perspective was not my point.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          No, it is a reason, from our perspective, thus it is a reason. It appears to be done for no reason from your perspective, or you more usually select the wrong reason for the behaviour but ultimately there is a reason behind our actions. The validity of that reason depends on the perspective.

          1. DebbieWolf says:

            Ok HG

            Then if we are talking about a perspective here I said it was for no reason at all and you said that it is for a reason.

            But my point is made and we are both correct.

            i e.

            If from my perspective there is no reason as you have admitted..
            and from your perspective there is a reason..
            Then my comment is not flawed is it.
            Because my comment came from my perspective which said there is no reason.

            So therereally isn’t anything wrong with the comment I initially made is there.
            I haven’t missed many a point from many of your articles at all.

            That is cold hard logic isnt it… the type you prefer.

            From your perspective there is a reason from my perspective there isn’t.

            Therefore we are both correct in our perspectives.

          2. HG Tudor says:

            I was explaining that there is a reason for the behaviour, it is a mistake to think there is no reason. By understanding and recognising there is a reason for our behaviour, it assists the individual in moving forward.

          3. DebbieWolf says:


            I know what you are saying.
            I still standby what I say.
            I stand by what you say.
            We learn your perspective to understand your reasons.
            We need to do so to move forward of course.
            I am not missing the point of your work… not after all this time!

            However get out stay out is what you would voice because from our perspective there is no reason to put up with the skewed viewpoint.

            You yourself have said that things are unreasonable and done for fuel.
            I could have written they stick it to you for no reason other than for fuel..

            We know all that.

            My point was more generalized… And it was from my perspective which was not intended to undermine understanding your perspective which is outlined in your work.

            My comment about narcissists sticking it to us for no reason is not to decry or undermine the point of the work or to undermine your perspective as you explain it as to the reasons for why you do what you do.

            I do hope you do not misunderstand me here.

            the existence of a reason in one person’s mind vs the non-existence of a reason in another person’s mind… It does not mean that from this perspective the reasoning as you would call it is misunderstood…
            there is an understanding of your perspective and reason as you call it.

            To understand why you do things does not mean acceptance of the reason.

            I know you will argue then that the reason does exist at least…
            Fair enough.

            But that is not my point.

            The comment I made about a narc sticking it to you for no reason is when it is completely unfair as you would admit is not reasonable from our perspective and why you advise us to leave forever.

            my comment does not undermine learning your perspectives, your reasons as you see them … Quite the opposite.

            A lot of the time it is unfair on us as you have admitted there is no rhyme or Reason in general to it which is a general phrase.

            It is not there to undermine all the explanations as to why things are done.

            What in our perspective is unreasonable and when it is not our fault is to us no reason to do things at all..
            Not to accept the reasoning for doing it at the time and to leave.
            We can still understand what you say is the reason..we can understand why you do it …we can understand the need for fuel.

            Every body has needs.
            not everybody does things that are horrible to get those needs met because there is no reason to do that… In our perspective!

            That is a perspective and an opinion.
            Opinions are not wrong they are opinions.

            I expressed my opinion from my perspective it was not wrong and it is not intended to undermine your work.

            There’s a joke for a Christmas cracker…
            How many times can an empath say the word perspective?

            And the unfunny answer is:
            Not enough.

      2. DebbieWolf says:

        Afterall we are discussing the mid-range narcissist who doesn’t know his/her from his/her elbow most of the time.
        He doesn’t know why he does anything you only knows he want a reaction.

        There is no reason there is no rhyme or Reason half the time to the mid-range narcissist behaviour.

        Find me a mid-range narcissist who can explain themselves.
        They can’t.
        How do I know?
        You’ve written about it …those are points you’ve made clear.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          The Mid Range Narcissist will explain himself but in a manner which is not the real reason for this behaviour. There is however ALWAYS a reason for their behaviour – it may be to extract fuel, to assert superiority, to maintain control, to deflect blame, to maintain shifting sands and more.

          1. DebbieWolf says:

            I do see what you mean.
            Do not underestimate that.
            My whole comment was mainly about dogs.
            They are loyal.
            Narcissists arn’t.
            Dogs care.
            …oh yes they do.
            Narcissists don’t care.
            Dogs have been scientifically studied and so have their brains and chemical make-up.
            That is why someone like me can understand them.

            Hg… Someone like you can teach us about your kind.
            There has been far less study of your kind than there ever has been of dogs.

            Your work is valuable and important and I have always said so continually and constantly.

            I do not underestimate or misunderstand your perspectives or your teachings in any way whatsoever.

            Perhaps I am not as good at expressing what I mean in my perspective on occasion.

            I say this here so there should be no misunderstandings across the board.

          2. HG Tudor says:

            Your perspective and observations are always welcome.

          3. DebbieWolf says:

            Thank you HG.

            You as always remain tolerant and understanding of another person’s views.

            I can only aspire to follow your example in this way.

            Yours sincerely,

    2. MB says:

      DW, I think humans could learn a lot from dogs. I always think of the saying, I wish I could be the person my dog thinks I am!

      1. DebbieWolf says:


        True indeed.

    3. kel says:

      Debbiewolf, I agree, dogs are filled with empathy, and deserve far better than to be likened to narcissists. I did understand the analogy of the original comment, but wolf is a much better comparison to a narc!

      1. DebbieWolf says:



  5. Caroline R says:

    Thank you. You’ve written it so well, reading this article brings back the tight knot of tension and increasingly guarded feeling that was ever with me while with ex-N.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome.

  6. wissh says:

    So helpful, thank you, HG. You explained it so well and yet it’s difficult for me to grasp that when a narc says he spent the weekend camping with Garrett when really was shacked up with Garnet that he doesn’t know he’s lying.

  7. mommypino says:

    Amazing insight! Thank you for taking us into a Mid-Ranger’s mind.

  8. Korova says:

    HG, if a mid range acts instinctively and truly believes he is a victim and the real victim deserves hurtful discard because the victim is bad and abusive person, what makes him come back with an apologetic hoover, saying he is sorry for the hurt he caused?

    Ofc fuel. But how he explains his shift to himself?

    The Greater knows “I am short of fuel, so I will hoover the ex, I will say I am sorry (obviously, I will lie to her) but she will forgive me and I will be able to use her once more.”

    But the mid range narcissist cant do it. He is defensive, he truly thinks he is a good person and his “abusive” ex partner deserved a punishment. So how can he go from “you are the worst person, I hate you, you are abusive, I dont want to deal with you anymore, you sould see the therapist because you are a crazy borderline, die in hell” to “I really like you, I hate myself for causing you so much pain I hope we can still be friends cause you are important to me” a few months later?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are correct, it is driven by the unconscious need for fuel. He does not explain the shift to himself, he always acts instinctively. He has enough cognitive function to realise that an apology (which of course is False Contrition) will achieve the best outcome for him (and because it is not a true apology, the narcissist instinctively retains control and superiority) and it also serves to maintain the facade.

      The shift in stance is driven by the narcissism because the MR narcissist (like the Lesser) lives in the moment. He does not care what occurred 5 minutes ago or what will happen in an hour’s time, it is all about the NOW which means you see contradiction, hypocrisy and inconsistency but the narcissism blinds the narcissist to seeing this through the ever operating denial of fault and rejection of accountability.

      1. Korova says:

        Thank you. It’s so animalistic.

        Maybe its not very kind but I see a mid range N as a dog who runs away when you hurt him or barks or bites you as a last ressort then runs away and comes back when he is hungry. And when he is hungry he forgets you have hurt him, because he is hungry and needs what you have at the moment on your plate. But as other dogs he can sense if you are still a danger to him or maybe you are now in a good mood so he knows if he should attack you to get the food or maybe lick you and wag his tail.

        So in my case at first he really felt hurt by me – that’s why the sevage discard and his attack as a defense, then he came back wanting me to feed him and because he sensed negative fuel is no longer in the house (I baceme indiffetent through the months after the discard), he started to play “a good dog”. A dog doesn’t plan to be a good dog. He acts this way when he needs something from you and see that barking or attacking won’t bring the success. It’s not a plan, he insitinctively senses who has the power now, what kind of vibe you send and he acts accordingly.

        This is how I understand it.

        The Greater is more like a human haha – still he is hungry, but he knows when he is manipulating to get what he wants.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          That’s not a bad analogy.

        2. Windstorm says:

          Good analogy about the hungry dog. The biggest difference I see is that a dog has empathy and will come to love you if you treat him well. A midrange narc doesn’t and never will.

      2. Sun says:

        I have noticed this in the MMR Narc that I know.

        His behavior made me feel perplexed. When his behavior changes after few hours. I recall his admiration for me and his shiny eyes before few hours. I noticed that his admiration was only “in the current moment”. But I never understood how can someone admire a person at 3 o’clock and dislike them at 4 o’clock!

        I never met someone like this. It was really confusing.

        This is the first time I read that narcissist lives in the moment.

        Thanks for the clarification, HG.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          You are welcome.

      3. nunya biz says:

        I have this now, HG, with my consult issue. Decided on NC, I just cannot do this sort of thing anymore.

    2. Sun says:


      That’s an accurate description ( The dog description) for someone who is a Mid- range narc.

      It fits to my experience as well.

      I can add that the Mid-Range narc who I know. Will never forget if someone hurt him. NEVER. Even if he come back seeking fuel. He will wait for any chance for him to return the hurt, especially when the other person become in vulnerable position.

  9. Findinglife11 says:

    I soaked in every word. .. this is my ex narc. Well explained HG. Ty once again for the insight. I wasnt sure what he was. At 1st i thought he was a greater. Probably bc that label to me matched my level of hurt and devastation and his evilness. But as i read more, and learn, i think this is him much more. A mid range… probably upper mid, id like to think. It makes a lot of sense in understanding what he does and why he does it and how he carries on. Ty HG. Nice work.
    Impeccable! Carry on! ❤

  10. Christopher Jackson says:

    Sounds like a friend that I know he screwed over his gf he had been with her for 12-15 yrs and found a dirty little secret and decided to get with her and got engaged and scheduled wedding arrangements all the while his ipps thought they were just having a break. I feel bad for her because she really loved him….I have passed your name along to her and told her ” make sure you have some Ice cream ready and gf to talk too its gonna be a long night” hopefully she finds it freeing and hopefully she will not be ensnared again…because in the end “there can be no change”….GOSO… this paragraph explained him to the “T”

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