What if you are entangled with a Mid-Range Narcissist? How will he or she react when you decide to utilise your new found knowledge to explain to this person that they are a narcissist? What is their response likely to be? Will they accept what you are telling them ? Will they act on this revelation in a constructive way?
Like the Lesser Narcissist, the Mid-Range has no insight and no awareness of what they are. The response of the Mid-Ranger will depend generally on which sub-category he or she belongs to.
The Lower Mid-Range Narcissist
If you tell the LMRN that he or she is a narcissist and even if you try to explain it by reference to behaviours of this person and material which coincides with those behaviours, the LMRN just will not countenance it.
You can expect that if you suggest this in an angry or accusatory fashion then the LMRN’s reaction will lean more towards that of the Lesser, causing an irritated reaction because you are challenging him. However, since you are delivering this accusation with fuel, he will remain in order to draw this fuel from you, denying the suggestion and provoking further argument. The more you persist in trying to explain to him that his behaviours accord with the actions and words of a narcissist, the more he will deny and deflect all in the pursuit of the fuel that you are offering until you give up in frustration and depart the argument. The LMRN will be fuelled and content that he has seen off your nonsensical challenge. You can expect to hear comments during this argument such as:-
“I don’t do those things, stop making things up.”
“I only stay in the study when you have been horrible to me, how is that a silent treatment?”
“If you were nicer to me, I wouldn’t want to go out and see my friends as much.”
If you deliver this accusation in a no fuel manner, trying to explain it reasonably then you are criticising the LMRN. He will recognise that the behaviours you are describing are regarded as problematic, although he will not accept that they have any applicability to him whatsoever. Whereas if this was done with the Lesser Narcissist he would erupt in heated fury, the LMRN will respond with cold fury. Your criticism will wound him, his fury will ignite since he has a low control threshold over it and he will just storm away from you, fuming but not able to draw fuel from you nor seeing the potential for fuel, unlike the argumentative scenario above.
He will sulk and engage in a silent treatment in order to try to draw fuel from you. If this does not work and you persist in trying to explain your point, say by following him and continuing the commentary, he will have a pressing need to escape your criticism and halt the wounding and seek fuel elsewhere. You can expect him to leave the vicinity, seek fuel from somebody else and dole out a longer silent treatment to you. If this takes place during devaluation, as it invariably will, he will head to the prospective primary source that he is seducing and draw fuel from this person. If the other person knows about you, you will be smeared and your reasonable explanation will be portrayed as an unmerited attack in order to secure sympathy fuel. If the other person does not know about you yet, the narcissist is likely to seek fuel from your competitor by way of compliments instead.
Thus, the LMRN will either deny and stay to provoke an argument to gain fuel, or if there is no fuel available, he will try a present silent treatment to draw some from you and if this does not work he will absent himself.
The Medium Mid-Ranger Narcissist
The MMRN will seize on the opportunity to draw fuel if accused of being a narcissist. He will naturally not accept it, but if you deliver the accusation and accompanying evidence in a fuel-filled manner then he will continue the argument to keep drawing on this fuel. He will not erupt in a temper as a consequence of this challenge and to keep the flow of fuel going, instead he will issue excuses for the behaviour you challenge him with. He will deny that he has behaved in this manner, blame you instead and fail to see that there is anything wrong or narcissistic in what he does. You can expect to be blamed as being a narcissist. With sufficient cognitive function and a degree of calculating behaviour, combined with his complete inability to accept what you are saying, you will be subjected to considerable projection. The MMRN will seize on the information you present him with and concoct lies as he turns it around and projects onto you. During this exchange, you can expect to hear:-
“You are the one who goes off in a huff, you are always refusing to speak to me.”
“I don’t lose my temper over nothing, that’s your trick, only last week you went off it when I worked late.”
“I don’t bring up things from the past, you are always doing it.”
“You have some cheek of accusing me of these things when you do it all the time. Stop trying to mess with my head, it won’t work.”
“Typical. You accuse me of controlling behaviour and here you are trying to tell me what I am. You are the narcissist, not me.”
“Ask anybody who knows me and they will tell me I don’t do those things. In fact, Donna only remarked last week about how she thought you did narcissistic things.”
If you deliver the accusation of him being a narcissist in a fuel free manner, this will be criticism and he will be wounded. His ignited fury will manifest as a present silent treatment which we will punctuate with denials in the hope of drawing a reaction from you and gaining fuel. He will maintain some effort to achieve this. Never erupting in a temper but rather sulking and then stating that he is not a narcissist in the hope of causing you to show some emotion and provide him with fuel. Projection will again be engaged in.He will not need to exit with the speed of the LMRN but there will be sulking and punctuated comments as follows:-
“I cannot believe you can be so hurtful. Actually I can since you are a narcissist.”
“I cannot believe how hypocritical you are calling me a narcissist.”
“You have some cheek accusing me of the very thing you are.”
If you do not provide this fuel and continue to advance that he is a narcissist he can only withstand this wounding for a short period of time and ultimately he will leave the vicinity. You can expect a prolonged silent treatment. This is done to avoid being wounded further so that when he reappears you will have hopefully lost interest in telling him that he is a narcissist and to allow him to draw fuel from another source, which is most likely going to be the person who is being seduced to replace you as the primary source.
Thus, the MMRN will engage in argument and do so with excuses and projection. Prolonged exposure to criticism will bring about his withdrawal and a prolonged silent treatment.
The Upper Mid-Range Narcissist
The UMRN unsurprisingly will capitalise on any provision of fuel when you deliver your verdict to gain more fuel. Being closer to the Greater school, he will utilise charm and persuasion couple with the less aggressive nature of the Mid-Range school in order to work the situation to his advantage. He does not accept that he is a narcissist but he will notice some similarity in behaviours. He will therefore accept that he may behave in the way you describe BUT he will always have an excuse for why he behaves like that, be it an environmental factor (“I know I can be withdrawn but it is because I am so tired from working so hard and I am not sleeping well”) or to blaming you (“I disappear because you are so hurtful in your comments towards me and I am not going to shout in front of the children.”) Thus you will be lulled into thinking that you are making some progress because there is recognition, but this is just a form of manipulation. This is being done in order to make it seem like you are making headway but there is no real insight, merely a ruse so you keep engaging and providing fuel through the ongoing discussion as your irritation, frustration, upset and anger increase. Accordingly, if you deliver the accusation in a fuelled manner you can expect to be drawn into a lengthy discussion where there will be no acceptance and instead a continued to attempt to draw fuel from you.
If you accuse the UMRN of being a narcissist and do so without fuel, then naturally this is criticism and you wound him. He has some control and the fury will not ignite straight away. Instead, he will remain and try to draw fuel from you in order to heal the wound. This will manifest through the making of excuses, seeking to draw sympathy and then move on to projection in order to try to get an emotional reaction from you. The UMRN will have a higher energy level and a higher control threshold on his fury, so he will put extra effort in to his attempt to garner fuel from you. Thus you can expect to hear comments such as:-
“I might do those things but I am shattered from all the work I do looking after you.”
“I am not a narcissist, but I understand why you might think some of the things, not all, are hurtful, perhaps we can work something out?”
“I am not what you say I am, but I guess I have a few issues, it is just because I am so stressed. I need you to help me please. Will you help me?”
“You know, I have said I needed your help but you wont give up accusing me and do you know why that is? Because you are one and you are trying to mess with my thoughts. I don’t need help actually, you do.”
“I might do a few of those things, but who doesn’t? What we really should be talking about is your behaviour. I didn’t know what you were until you started to mentioning this narcissistic behaviours, but now I come to think of it, it is clear that you are a narcissist and we should be discussing you, not me.”
It will prove difficult in such a scenario with the initially sympathy-seeking and then projecting and blame-shifting UMRN not to provide fuel and therefore it is highly likely that he will not need to exit the scene and dole out a silent treatment because he will gain fuel and cause you to make admissions about your own behaviour not being perfect in order to deflect from discussing him. When forced to defend yourself, you will react in an emotional fashion and thus the fuel is gained.