What The Hell Just Happened?



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–         She blew it up out of all proportion –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

14 thoughts on “What The Hell Just Happened?

  1. AnneB says:

    Hope, yes, yes, yes to your last paragraph

  2. AnneB says:

    Sorry to butt in here Hope. Just wanted to say, I understand exactly what you are saying in your comment I also had a high tolerance at first – that was due to my perspective, ie. when N made those little subtle criticisms I assumed that it was friendly/loving ‘teasing. Now I know, that they were not, from the N’s perspective. They were unconscious manipulations. In the GP they were part of the seduction – I love an eccentric, I love a little banter and light hearted play. Later, during devaluation, the same subtle criticisms and then more overt ones were maliciously applied by the N. I felt the intent, more than the content.

    1. Lorelei says:

      Anne—the criticisms (any) cause me to nearly jump out of my skin due to what I tolerated. It’s really quite an aftermath response. My daughter parrots once in a great while and it takes a lot of restraint to correct her without acting on my initial knee jerk response. I’m sure it will alleviate with time but it’s a pretty intense reaction I have.

  3. Pati says:

    HG, we live in two seperate worlds and perceive things so differently.

    1. Hope says:

      Pati, I don’t know… do we really?

      I do notice subtle criticism when I really think about it and reflect on it. Didn’t you? When your narc didn’t notice, or pretended not to notice, the effort you put into your appearance, preparing a meal, organizing an event, or some other service meant to please him, did it not wound? Cause you to feel a little hurt, irritation, frustration, or helplessness?

      I think the main difference between a narcissist and the others is that it doesn’t make us furious. It’s not so intense. (Now, I do get furious if it’s the last straw so to speak in a barn full of past hurtful behavior, but initially my tolerance is very high—Especially with someone I love) What I got out of this is that a narcissist has extreme sensitivity, which doesn’t seem so bad, but then again it’s only one-way. They are only sensitive to criticism of themselves, feel it intensely, but could care less about the pain they cause to another. In that, I agree with you that we are very different. What hurts me hurts, but also what hurts the one I love hurts me too.

      What do you think? Would you agree?


      1. Notme! says:

        Hi Hope
        I completely agree. I enjoy banter and teasing, having been brought up in a large family, it seems normal. My Ex was very ‘cheeky’ initially which made me laugh. As he gathered more information though, his teasing targeted my weak spots and no matter how often I objected to certain slights, he persisted. That’s when you know it’s not ‘normal’ teasing. He always maintained plausible deniability however and made me feel bad for being sensitive – insult to injury. Also, the intent is different, or at least it feels that way to me. It was different if I teased though, he would take offence and then I’d feel bad too, as I hate to think I’ve hurt someones feelings. They know this about us. His teasing had me questioning myself constantly, still does to some extent.

        1. Lorelei says:

          Hi Notme! It is interesting to hear someone else discuss the teasing they engage in—it was a huge go to for my ex. Less to me and more toward my daughter. He disguised his intent as “ just teasing.” It was as if he used this to slide into his eventual “not teasing” (anymore) to full blown uncivil conduct. It got so bad that at the time I’d have dreamed for the days of simple teasing—to have returned. It’s almost as if his behavior escalated from bad to worse and stayed at worse for years. His brother’s wife told me once his brother hated him for relentless teasing & ridicule growing up. He started early.

          1. Notme! says:

            It is a horrible way to behave Lorelei. It was interesting at Christmas being with family and everyone teasing, no one was offended although I tease less now, having been subject to it over the past couple of years. I was away with a friend once and when N was quizzing me later about what we’d done, he was ‘teasing’ about us getting attention in a bar, ok to begin with, til he started suggesting we’d ‘got off’ with them. I told him, that that wasn’t funny and he shouldn’t make me out to be some slut. ‘Just teasing sweetheart’ – eeewww! That became his go to teasing because he knew I didn’t like it.
            My birthday hoover this year was a box of chocolate anuses, if I’d responded he’d have said it was just a bit of bawdy humour.

          2. Lorelei says:

            He sounds deplorable and the behaviors are ridiculous now that we know. I’d be really interested at hearing more about HG’s behavior modifications at some point. As a self-aware individual who possesses immense capacity I’d like to hear what changes he has made. He eludes to them but not a ton of discussion. Maybe because it’s not the focus here but it’s interesting. Our ex’s are incapable of changing behaviors. They can only shape shift into other acts of wretchedness toward others.

          3. Notme! says:

            I’d be interested in that too Lorelei, although in general, I try to avoid any thoughts of N’s changing

  4. Bubbles 🍾 says:

    Dearest cogra002,
    You’re too good for all that precious
    They either luv you 💯 % or they don’t !
    If they don’t, what’s the point …. goodbye ! 👋🏻
    Game playing messes with your head …..your head is way too talented for all that nonsense
    Please look after yourself lovely one
    Go on a holiday 🏝✈️
    Happy New Year
    Luv Bubbles xx

  5. cogra002 says:

    I know this Narc game, and was the recipient fairly recently. It was ridiculous. I felt at the time it was the Narc picking a fight due to new supply. Crazy making!

    1. Pati says:

      Cogra002 so sorry you had to go through that .

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