Do Narcissists Know What They Are Doing? The Mid Ranger


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.

30 thoughts on “Do Narcissists Know What They Are Doing? The Mid Ranger

  1. Cyn says:

    @HG again not sure where to put this but just popped into my head, one of the things my narc (the recent one I loved) hated was what he called reverse reverse psychology lol. Toward the end when he would say he would be working on some project or work thing on one of our nights that I didn’t have my son I would be relieved (because I was since all of my free time was taken by him for years) and I would agree because I had other things I needed to do or wanted to do, and I would do my own thing. So then he would be offended and say well I didn’t say I wasn’t going to see you or you couldn’t come over here, and I would say no I would rather just see you tomorrow. So of course he would use it against me later accusing me of something a week later or fuming in some way, attacking in some way, or saying I was using reverse reverse psychology lol! Then he started showing up at my house to catch me caulking my bathroom all by myself, working late at the office like I said all by myself lol!

  2. Leigh says:

    Since the Mid Range narcissist doesn’t know what he is and goes by instinct, what goes through their mind when they decide to hoover you? I know the real reason is because hoover fuel is very potent, I’m just curious what they are thinking?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      All manner of different things, the question is too expansive to provide an answer in a comment, Leigh.

      1. Leigh says:

        Once I asked the question, I knew I was being to vague. Its just that I’m always so curious as to why the narcissist does the things he does. I wish I could have a clearer understanding. I will keep reading and learn as I go. Thank you for being such a good teacher.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          You are welcome.

      2. Cyn says:

        HG will you post something about how mid range operates when they agree to therapy with us (as Hoover of course). What a nightmare. Me sobbing at one end of couch followed by attack afterwards in car by wounded narc…

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Note made.

          1. Cyn says:

            I talked to a therapist the other day about this in retrospect (a ptsd therapist no less). She told me that it’s pretty common that a good therapist often gets a narc in couples therapy and it makes it worse.

          2. HG Tudor says:

            The therapist you spoke to is sensible. As for your final sentence I doubt they are good therapists then.

          3. Cyn says:

            That’s probably correct. It creates conflict. With a normal person the conflict would not result in abuse however.

  3. jessrnny says:

    The MMRN just knocked on my bedroom window at 1:30 am after almost 10 months No Contact. Such a coward. Prolly drunk. Heaven forbid he come by during the day and admit he’s a douche. Wtf….. I didn’t answer. He got back in his truck and sat outside for 5 min before driving away. My heart is in my throat. Almost peed the bed. Still trembling but atleast he’s not inside me. Maintaining defenses is not for the faint of heart.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Well done for not responding, you did not need to and by not doing so you will have caused wounding which will push the hoover bar higher for a period of time.

    2. Kim e says:

      jessrnny. I just have to tell you as someone trying NC again this scared the crap out of me!!!!! I guess there really are no boundaries.
      I just hope if my N decides to knock on my window at 1:00am he brings his own ladder………………
      Good job not responding.

      1. jessrnny says:

        I answered his knock last time and I was reensnared for three months after reading all of HG several times over. The knowledge we get here doesn’t help us with our emotional vulnerability. We need to control our ET.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          The knowledge will help you deal with your emotional thinking because logic tells you, stay away, that means reduced emotional thinking follows from that. Apply my work (not just understand it) you have to apply it and then you will move forward owing to reduced emotional thinking.

      2. Cyn says:

        I know restraining orders are just paper but that’s bullshit and I hope you are documenting and get a camera doorbell thing and a gun or a taser or a dog. I’m sick to my stomach. I know that feeling. Hypervigilence is a thing for me now.

    3. Cyn says:

      Wow! Good job! That would scare the crap out of me! You must be a wreck! Mine was spinning out then parked at the end of my dirt road when I was packing the last load of stuff into my car and moving after 8 months no contact. It was 4:45 a.m and it didn’t click what was happening until he started calling 10 minutes later. I had apparently unblocked him and heard the dumb ring tone. My hands were full of boxes. I was scared. As I was leaving I was was wondering if he was going to follow me and it felt like a movie, thankfully the sun was coming up and there’s only one long road so I could see I wasn’t being an hour later. He would be the type to make me wreck then offer help. Always saving me, helping. Now I am safe and vanished.

    4. empath007 says:

      Yikes! Good work!

  4. Narcologist101 says:

    Thanks, HG, another good one. I was dealing with a mid-range narcissistic or sociopath..I’m not sure. He love bombed in the beginning, played victim a lot…he still does, as I keep in touch w him. He exhibited strange behaviors in public, such as paranoia, grandiosity,couldn’t sit still and not really all there. I thought maybe he was just drunk. But how can he not know what he is when he clearly said to me that when people find out about him they run. He also said that he was battling demons and not well at all which is why he tries to not get close to people. This is confusing..they tell on themselves, so clearly they have to know what they are. And when I asked mine if he was a sociopath or a narcissist, he said that he wasn’t going to answer such a disrespectful question and that growing up he was around those types of people. He disappeared two days later. He hoovered about one week later at work, came by my desk to feel my out. Then he gave me the silent treatment. We communicate, but he has to know that I know what he is…and he has to know what he many of us have similar stories. Thanks for another great one!

  5. Lorelei says:

    Great! There are times I feel like I’m in a strange world and this isn’t real and none of it has been, yet you are spot on with this stuff that no one else is making sense of. Over and over. The puzzle pieces repeatedly fit and my “smug” friends who often provide “psychiatric” services often are dismissive with varying ranges of polite disapproval. (Most are clinically sub par anyway from what I have experienced—few are worth their pay..) The whole thing is so out there but not. My best friend from school read the piece on the baby fiasco the other day and said: If I didn’t know you before (insert ex’s name), I wouldn’t have believed this.
    My former child care provider—similar. Yet, she experienced a horrible work narc in her ballet studio and now looks at pieces of your work on occasion. I have to pinch myself that things really make sense and you are real and not just sitting in a call center. I’m not kidding. It’s really crazy at times, yet as I read this I see the behaviors and the accuracy is irrefutable.

  6. Victoria Holden says:

    I think once the victim realises who and what the narcissist is,it becomes easier. We just never though that there were people like this in the world.

    It is what it is and when we know we must go! We will then get to the final battle and win! I seem to forget to always be vigilant and maintain my walls and not drop my guard! As you said it is only when one of us dies that it is finally over!

    Thank you for speaking your truth and making us understand how your kind work.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome

  7. Http:/ says:

    H.G. I asked my medical doctor what a Narcisst is before reading your work. He said it is stereotyping someone e.g. calling them racist ..
    He said to me does it really matter? Why on earth would he say that.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Deflection. He does not know what a narcissist is and was embarrassed by his lack of knowledge.

  8. Kathleen says:

    This is the rub that those who have no idea what they are dealing with need to be exposed to. I had no clue people were really like this-and that I could be clueless/ doubt myself for a SHORT time- until I was the victim.
    My thoughts were- “wow how hurt and scared this person must be to behave like this… can I fox it / prove I’m safe and loving and won’t abandon them? “
    But the narcissistic disorder blinds them 100%.
    Compassion offered IS in vain.

    Thx HG – you are excellent at drawing this picture for people. I think many relationships begin like with a victim thinking-oh, I’ve got a troubled person, maybe I can help, fix them. then shortly….trauma bonding kicks in and it can turn into years- and decades of wasted time and wearing the victim down to a miserable stub.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you

  9. Cyn says:

    Also any eventual hoover apologies left on car were blanket ones not denoting specifics “I’m sorry I failed you” ( to figure out exactly what I was calling him on so he could counter since I was no contact), then followed with contradictory statement including further blame for his behavior lol 😂

  10. Pati says:

    This sounds exactly like my individual to the bone! H.G. another amazing article written well done!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you.

  11. Cyn says:

    My ex. Infuriating and confusing. But of course all my fault lol.

Vent Your Spleen! (Please see the Rules in Formal Info)

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

Next article