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.

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

  1. Monica says:

    Do MidRangers ever figure out they are Narcs, based on their high intelligence and cognitive function?

    1. HG Tudor says:


  2. Violetta says:

    So let’s see if I got this right:

    *Andy Capp
    *The roller-blader who knocked into an 80-year-old pedestrian on the boardwalk with enough force to kill her, then explained resentfully, “She got in my way.”

    *Pauline Fleming in Heathers. She has no idea how useless she is and never will. Every crisis is simply an excuse to trot out her precious Methods.
    *The vast majority of Education majors I have ever encountered, although my graduate committee member, an academically brilliant woman, may have been one. The perceptible distaste for a student who suffered first from Endo and then from a carefully monitored pregnancy, for the student who was allergic to her cats, and of course for me, a double-whammy, since in addition to lacking her version of Social Skills, I was hobbling around on crutches for a while after a Jones fracture–all characteristic of Narc-hood. The fact that every Glinda the Good who has tried to “help” me with my Social Skills never seems to know that behind her back, everyone talks about how Weird she is, seems to be a hallmark of the breed.

    Which once again reassures me that however Narcissistic I may have become in order to survive, I’m not a full narc. I’m damned well aware that outside of theatre (and occasionally in it), most people are going to find me weird as hell, and I spent a good part of my adolescence and young adulthood trying to hide it. I tried not to be weird as a child, but never fooled anyone, so I gradually gave that up. I try to hide it at work, but I’m probably not very good at that either. I need to find places and industries where weirdness is a given. Traditional academia is like that, but the newer online colleges striving for a business model are not. Times I miss NY–everyone is pretty neurotic, and I was never the craziest person in the subway car!

  3. Bibi says:

    “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.”

    HG, yup, yup and yup. When I caught the Mid Ranger in his lie about his name he still tried to say it was his name b/c it was his middle name and mother’s maiden name. ‘It’s still my name,’ he said.

    He does not believe nor see that this was a lie. During my interaction w him I didn’t see it as such either, as it wasn’t until more than a year later when I realized, ‘Hey, he was a liar!’

    I was majorly gaslighted, in other words.

    When I called him out early on–told him he was toying w me and playing games, he said, ‘I can’t believe you would say that about me. What we had in the beginning, you can’t fake that!’

    He was shocked I would even suggest such a thing.I kept wondering and could not understand, ‘How can he be so blinded by his actions? How can he not see that his actions are hurting me and thus the cause of my reactions?’

    I was always wrong. Every time, wrong. Even when I hurt, it was my fault. ‘Anyone could have told you that you set yourself up to be hurt!’ He said.

  4. Renarde says:

    What IS it with Middles? They are so pathetic. Because of the two NDCs with HG, I realise how I have become ensnared.

    My recent ex is bisexual. Initially I was proud of him for confessing. He likes to suck cock. Ok, so do I with the right person. He would go on Grindr and get men that way. He always wanted to suck and not be sucked. He has been cottaging since he was 16. Told me all sorts. The public toilets he would frequent. How you make contact. It was fascinating and disturbing in equal measure.

    He apparently came off Grindr. He has not but hes hiding his location. He also ‘strealthed’ a gay couple. How have i been brought so low that I would accept this? Oh yes, I know. My big ex driving me to suicide so I would accept even the tiniest crumbs of comfort.

    So I’m now dealing with The Law. My children’s solicitor in an almost unforgivable act, sent THE ENTIRE COURT BUNDLE to my previous address. EVERYTHING concerning my children, their details, the circumstances could have ended up on a third parties hands. Luckily, it was returned.

    This is a complete violation of the family court itself. To disclose information .

    I rang the MRN of course. He was wandering, did not make sense. It wasn’t his fault. He had a poison pill in his employment. Female, I’d guess. Who had been ‘let go off

    No shit Sherlock.

    1. Bibi says:

      Renarde, my Mid Ranger was also gay who used that grindr app to lure cock. I was not dating him–he and I corresponded–he lived in Canada–but he kept this a secret despite knowing I confessed to having romantic feelings for him. (I now think it was just his validation I craved but still he should have told me!) I found out about it when I discovered his Twitter page filled with cocks and balls and men’s hairy asses. I cried all night.

      I’m fine now, but yeah. It was bad then.

      1. Violetta says:

        If you think you can, well come on man
        I was a Green Beret in Vietnam
        No more of your fairy stories
        ‘Cause I got my other worries

        Fifty-third and third standing on the street
        Fifty-third and third I’m tryin’ to turn a trick
        Fifty-third and third you’re the one they never pick
        Fifty-third and third don’t it make you feel sick?

        If you think you can, well come on man
        I was a Green Beret in Vietnam
        No more of your fairy stories
        ‘Cause I got my other worries

        Fifty-third and third standing on the street
        Fifty-third and third I’m tryin’ to turn a trick
        Fifty-third and third you’re the one they never pick
        Fifty-third and third don’t it make you feel sick?

        Then I took out my razor blade
        Then I did what God forbade
        Now the cops are after me
        But I proved that I’m no sissy

        Fifty-third and third standing on the street
        Fifty-third and third I’m tryin’ to turn a trick
        Fifty-third and third you’re the one they never pick
        Fifty-third and third don’t it make you feel sick?

        – Ramones

      2. Renarde says:


        That’s awful. Truly. He should have told you. There is no shame. Nothing wrong with being bi but to fly under a false flag DEEPLY hurts the LGBT community and their efforts for understanding and tolerance.

        Have to laugh. In the very beginning, there was talk of a MFM. I was up for it. New experiences et al. Except, he couldn’t snag the unicorn. When he showed pictures of me to others, invariably the response was, I’ll have her, you, not so much. On fucking Grindr FFS! Bonkers!

        It’s a relief to finally be able to talk about what I’ve experienced. I feel like a fraud, counselling others, spilling my words of ‘wisdom’ but secretly knowing I was with a narc. I knew. And was going to frantic efforts to hide the truth from myself. I didnt need that. Not after what I’ve experienced. TBH, I just wanted to be held at night. To have someone think of me. That was all.

        I fooled myself. For the greater parts of last year, I knew who I was with. I had deliberately conducted the very same experiment that HG is now doing. But in reverse. My mind could not cope with it and persuaded me, in the summer of last year, that the ex wasn’t one. How fucked up is that? But his behaviour over xmas was only ever going to take me down one road.

        I had to know. From the expert. He told me and everything caved in. Ex sensed something was wrong. He started to become needy and clingy. Which he usually wasnt.

        One morning, I woke up at his and immediately had flashed into my mind, ‘Get out now or you wont be able to’.

        Make of that what you will.

        I’m a very lucky woman indeed. Bibi, are you US or UK? Have you heard of the utterly tragic death of Caroline Flack?

        I didnt particularly follow her. I thought she was an air head tbh. But when I started reading about the Court case and the assault, I recognised what must have happened.

        It was provocation. I’ve been there myself. She didnt have control of her ER and she lost it. Assaulted him. Pity she did it in such a way which left her being painted as the transgressor.

        A beautiful, kind and funny woman took her own life because she was with a man who has NPD.

        It has to stop. You, me, all the NS contributors and regulars are now at the Vanguard of ensuring no one else gets hurt. They will, of course. We cant stop it but by getting HGs words out we can minimise the damage.

        Thank you for your words and thoughts x

        1. blackunicorn123 says:

          Renarde – I’m pretty sure I read on here that HG said she was a narc. If I’ve got this wrong, apologies.

          1. A383 says:

            black123unicorn, you are correct. HG did state that Flack was a narcissist. x

          2. A383 says:

            Sorry blackunicorn123 🙃x

          3. Violetta says:

            Maybe what did it was the facade caving in at last. She’d lost two presenting gigs because of the scandal and it was Valentine’s Day, which sucks anyhow, and there was a trial looming. That’s enough to make anyone feel suicidal, but if you’re a Narc and the image is all you’ve got, it might well push you over the edge.

            I think HG said narcs don’t commit suicide all that often, though.

          4. Renarde says:

            black unicorn

            Really? I give up then.

  5. Chihuahuamum says:

    I no longer think my narc is a lower greater narc. He definitely is a midranger altho i still think hes aware of his npd. Ive seen behind his mask even more. I also wonder what else is comorbid with his npd. Hes defintely antisocial disordered and a sociopath.
    One thing i find confusing is he fits all the criteria for antisocial disorder except having committed criminal acts which as far as i know he hasnt. Npd is so messed up.

    1. NarcAngel says:

      You might consider putting him through the narc detector to find out exactly what you’re dealing with. Especially if he has any part in the situation you mentioned you’ve been dealing with recently.

  6. About the eyes says:

    Thank you very much for the diagnosis you gave me about one of my family members (upper midrange somatic narcissist). And thank you for this article as well. GOSO accounts for all types of narcissists I assume?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome and yes it does.

  7. WokeAF says:

    The LMR says he took the bus to work and had to run after it. It’s a mildly funny story.
    20 minutes later we saw his coworker who says they missed him at work today
    After , the LMR has a good laugh at the look on my face when I realized he told a pointless lie for absolutely no reason.
    He KNEW he lied (?!)

    Certainly not all the lies are believed by the MR narc, HG?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      No. Not in the instant the lie was stated. The look on your face signalled control and he laughed because of the effect of gaining control, not because he knew he lied.

      1. Renarde says:

        Bang on.

      2. WokeAF says:

        He ADMITTED he lied! He laughed about it ! Right then !

        1. WokeAF says:

          WITH the guy that caught him. He told the guy he just got caught lying to me. I laughed too bc it was so unbelievably POINTLESS. I didn’t care if he missed work- it was bizarre to me he lied and made up a missed the bus story – not even a good story- AND he’d offered it up without me asking or anything. Just out of the blue I’m gonna tell a pointless lie.

          He said he did it to see if he could.

          At what point was he aware he lied?

          1. HG Tudor says:

            After you exhibited that the lie was ineffective, therefore he sought to recover control by claiming he was aware that he did. Remember, the narcissism operates on a split second basis.

            1. Narcissism – tell lie to assert control, narcissist not aware of lie.
            2. Lie told, victim sees through it. Control not asserted.
            3. Narcissism – allow narcissist to know he lied in order to deflect from victims knowledge (which equates to superiority and a threat to control) and tell victim this, thus asserting control.

          2. WokeAF says:

            Damn. Ok thx HG!

        2. Ashley says:

          An ex of mine from a few years ago told the STUPIDEST lies similar to that lol omg I remember thinking how is it possible to be this far gone 🤣 he lied about something, I screenshotted the proof of what he did, sent it to him, he still denied it hahahha like wtf

          1. Intrepid Traveller says:

            Yes, same here,caught mine out on a huge lie and had the emails etc to prove it. Interesting because the lie came out as an automatic denial. Swift and automatic. If I hadn’t had the proof he Would have continued to use it. If I hadn’t reacted that instant with the proof then he would have denied actually saying the words of the lie further down the line. Lies within lies. But your explanation above HG makes me see how they see what they are doing but dont, like a veil in the brain, if you see what i mean.

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