Do Narcissists Know What They Are Doing – The Mid Range Narcissist



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 (Types A and B) 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 expected to 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.

Understanding the Narcissistic Perspective

Which narcissist am I dealing with?

32 thoughts on “Do Narcissists Know What They Are Doing – The Mid Range Narcissist

  1. Fiddleress says:

    I think I have now accepted that a Mid-Ranger acts instinctively.

    I have a question please, HG: very early on (when he started becoming unpleasant) I decided not to show the MR narcissist anything at all when he upset me. Once he went on about something he thought/knew would hurt me, and said “I hope I haven’t hurt your feelings” (pfftt…) and I replied he hadn’t, at all (which was a lie, but there was no way in hell I was going to give him that pleasure, to know he could hurt my feelings).
    So if he recognised that his cold put downs could upset me, how did it make him feel that he never saw any sign of upset in me?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      It threatened his sense of control and his narcissism would make him feel furious, contemptuous, irritated and such like as well as cause him to think that you were impertinent, an upstart or problematic.

      1. Asp Emp says:

        You gave me a giggle, HG, with “you were impertinent, an upstart or problematic”.

        1. Fiddleress says:

          This made me giggle too, AE, and quite chuffed with myself that the MRN saw me as such (impertinent and problematic).
          It’s just a shame that I bottled it all up and it was no better (for me) in the end.

          1. Asp Emp says:

            Fiddleress, yes, some descriptions that we get are unfair but that is perception all around……I think following up with words like “If I am that, what does that make you?” 😉 It is good that you did well to get out and recover from your experiences. It’s good to hear from you, Fiddleress 🙂

          2. Fiddleress says:

            Hi Asp Emp 🙂
            Actually, I don’t mind being perceived as “impertinent, an upstart and problematic” by the Mid-Rangers I have known. On the contrary, hehe.
            I worked out after 4 months that he was using me, though I didn’t think “narcissist” immediately; it took me a further three months to escape, and an extra 2 weeks to really go NC (it was finding narcsite that did it).
            Of course, when he was charming he was extra charming, lots of fun, and interesting… but hey, doesn’t HG say that they are just mirroring us in their good days, especially at the start? So… wait, in fact *I* must be the one who is extra charming, lots of fun and interesting, hahaha!

          3. A Victor says:

            Fiddleress, this would mean that I was boring!! That’s so interesting! I think that’s another piece of my puzzle! Thank you!

          4. Asp Emp says:

            Fiddleress, it was never easy to spot a narcissist. Narcissism has always been around from the start of humanity – that is the shocker part that people do not know about. Yet the evidence is already present. I’ll admit to being “problematic” but then again, that is the way I learned, not taught – with ‘Love is a Construct Taught’ in mind. Thank you for your views 🙂

      2. Fiddleress says:

        Haha, excellent! Thank you for your explanation, HG. Indeed he was near constantly furious, contemptuous and irritated with me, so that explains it. And seeing me as impertinent, an upstart and problematic will explain why I didn’t really make it to IPPS (I don’t think) with that one, although the devaluatiion felt like those you describe that an IPPS is subjected to.

  2. Asp Emp says:

    RE: the last paragraph in this article – I believe that is what the narcissists at work saw me as. There was the MR I was ‘entangled’ with and his boss, and her colleague (the higher-ups I have mentioned on this blog). There was another higher-up but was not a narcissist (I ‘sensed’ it in her) and she was genuine yet was ‘brain-washed’ (I think) by the narcissist higher-ups that I was a ‘bad-un’. Now I think that one person is probably aware of the narcissists at work. Yet the damage that it did to me was in-grained. It would not have changed what happened to me. It would not have changed the whole ‘farce’ at work. Good people have left because of the higher-ups narcissistic influence. Quite a number of people went of sick with stress, some left within weeks of being employed, some people were ‘pushed out’.

    The repeated ‘patterns’ were obvious yet not “dealt” with. It was based in one main ‘component’ of the organisation, under one higher-up. ‘Aided and abetted’ by her narcissist minion (the MR) – calculated but not necessarily because of them being narcissists because they are not necessarily aware of as such.

    The way it all went and how I was treated was absolutely AWFUL but they did me a favour because I would have never have obtained what I know now. I win. Not them. HG wins too.

    1. psychologyandworldaffairs says:

      Hi Asp EMP. I can completly understand and want to send you big hugs. I too went through something simular and know how much it effects you – it makes you question your self worth and everything you are xx

      I may have taken them to court and won – but the scars are still there…

      1. Asp Emp says:

        PAWA, I agree RE: the scars. My ‘war’ marks. It certainly made me question everything. I know what I am now. That is what matters to me and to those who are in my “inner circle”, they know they have a place in it. There are people who I know that treated me with respect (outside the organisation but have ‘clout’, ie, proper ‘standing’), I think they did not really like the narcissists within the organisation. Anyway, them narcissists cannot touch me now, even if I speak up and out.

        Again, thank you for your words 🙂 x

  3. A Victor says:

    I still struggle with this concept, that they really don’t know. But it is getting closer. They know they hurt us but they don’t know why they hurt us, the real reason. And they justify the hurting so they remain without responsibility for it. It is just hard to really grasp that they don’t do it intentionally. But it helps with not taking it personal to accept this, even if I don’t yet fully comprehend it.

    1. psychologyandworldaffairs says:

      I struggle with this also AV. How can an intelligent being be so utterly unaware…

      1. A Victor says:

        Hi PAWA, it’s that wily cognitive dissonance at work in us I suppose. It’s part of their disorder but I feel like there’s still a bit of fine tuning of my understanding that I need to do. And when they behaved like they were aware… it isn’t easy. I do know I’m getting closer though, which I find encouraging. A few months ago I never thought I’d get even this far! Thanks for the comment, it helps me to know I’m not alone! 🙂

    2. Eternity says:

      A Victor , I agree with you it is done unconsciously so how would they know. They have no awareness. I see it now in a lot of my interactions with people these last few months/years. I am still having a hard time grasping it myself. It is hard not to take it personally but we need to if we want to get out with our day to day living..i do feel bad for them though I don’t know why, maybe because it is not their fault.

      1. A Victor says:

        Me too Eternity, regarding feeling bad for them. Now I just do it from a distance add much as possible. I was with a friend today who is being divorced by a narc. I had the opportunity to pass on to her that it’s all manipulations, good bad and otherwise, and that helps me not up take it personal. I got to see a lightbulb moment in her understanding, it was awesome. I am living when I have opportunities to pass the new knowledge on too others. I always try to direct them to HG but even if they won’t check the blog or yt out, he gets credit and word about narcissism is spread. I also had the chance to tell her a bit about how narcissism has been spread in our world through music, movies etc. Another light bulb moment, if people aren’t told, often they don’t realize it. I consider it having been a productive afternoon! Thank you for sharing your struggle to grasp it, that makes me feel better. As long as we see a general increase in our understanding, we’re doing okay! 😀

        1. Eternity says:

          A Victor, it is amazing that you were able to pass your knowledge to your friend. At least she is divorced from the Narc and is not with him that sure does help!
          You definitely will be ok.
          Life is a struggle what can we do. We just learn from it, and take what life throws at us sometimes. It is a sacrifice and we need to deal with it even though it hurts.

    3. Contagious says:

      I think the standard is the same in criminal law. Do they “ know”? The criminal buys weapons, calculates his kill, knows it means death. In some cases schizophrenics feel another is directing them but from Colobine to George Floyd, they know. They need to be removed from society when it comes to a crime. Most are. Not a lot of liberalism when it comes to murderers especially mass or serial. I worKed for the DA. Narcs can kill indirectly through abuse on many levels. They know. But if psychological abuse alone, the victim has the choice to stay or go. Easier said then done.

      1. A Victor says:

        That’s is am interesting way to think of it, thank you.

  4. F8ed4Pain says:

    I have been wondering, lamenting really, about the fact that everyone close to me is awful to me and how I even managed it. It seems I collect people that have compromised emotions. I’m the blue light bug zapper and they are the bugs…. Only I am the only one getting zapped. I found this site and the light in my attic clicked on. I have always thought of them as either sociopaths or psychopaths. I have been surrounded my entire life by people who felt things so differently, if they felt them at all. While I felt everything so deeply I never know what to do with it all the excess. I watched the rage and the calculating behind their eyes. Everyone with a mask, but I could see…I didn’t understand what I was seeing, but I saw it.

    This article could have been about my boyfriend and out interactions. Right down to me wondering if I was the narcissist. Part of me wishes I was. I’m tired. I’m tired of doing the best I can even when I know I shouldn’t bother. I’m tired of being the villian in everyone’s life story. I’m tired of being cut to my soul by people that are supposed to love me. I’m tired of feeling guilty for failing them when I gave them everything. I’m tired of being unable to hate them and not having any self preservation when it comes to their machinations. My upbringing trained me to be the perfect fuel, God I hate that term. Leeches. The worst part is even if I manage to break all ties… I’ll just find more or they will find me. I will think I FINALLY found someone real and different from the people in my past. It’s never different. I don’t trust myself and I don’t think I should. I have fought my whole life to hold onto the part of me that wants to be open and willing to take a chance on people. I thought I would lose a very important part of myself. I thought I would miss out on those few good ones and it would be such a shame. I thought I knew all the wily ways my self-destruct instinct insinuated my thoughts. Sometimes I hate learning new things about myself.

    Thanks HG. I don’t know what I’m going to do with all the knowledge. You remind me of my oldest brother. That’s good and bad, in case you wondered. He was brilliant and I thought he walked on water…. Until I couldn’t.

    Have a good weekend all. Chin up but keep your head down. (And if you learn to master that might let me know lol)


    1. Asp Emp says:

      The description about the blue light bug zapper was funny to read. RE: your last words in relation to chin up / head down – the only way that can be achieved is by being upside down LOL.

    2. psychologyandworldaffairs says:

      Hi June, I understand what it is like to be so weary of so many negative people in your life. Before my ex – I do not remember attracting so many negative people before. Work, so called friends and would be romantic encounters.

      When we ended – was I bleeding out emotion and attracting them like sharks. I can only feel that it must have been my emotional thinking was so high as a result of what I was going through.

      I have cut almost everyone out of my life now – I have my family and my sister is and has always been my best friend. I am content on my own – at least for the time being.

      If you feel emotional thinking might be part of the issue – it could be an idea to look into this. HG helps you understand this factor also – mine I think is still way too high – rolls eyes – but I feel I am beginning to mend 🙂

    3. Truthseeker6157 says:

      Hi June,

      My heart went out to you when I read this. You do sound tired. Sick to the back teeth of being taken advantage of, your good heart being used for everyone else’s gain. It shouldn’t have to be that way and it doesn’t have to be that way. History repeating itself is not the inevitable conclusion.

      You haven’t yet been taught defensive skills that’s all. You’ve been showing up to the gunfight without a gun. You can be weaponised though. You are part way there already. You understand that your empathic good nature has been abused by those who claim to care. You can recognise it already. Now you just need the tools to enable you to remove the leeches in your life currently and to ensure that you are better equipped to protect yourself going forward. It can be done. The information you need is all here, as is the support you need to help you along the way.

      Stick around on the blog. You are tired. Many of us were when we arrived here. If you have the energy left to learn more, there are many people here who are ready and willing to help you get back on your feet.

      Welcome to the blog June. Xx

      1. F8ed4Pain says:

        Thank you. I’m going to stick around and work on me. Unfortunately, I am at an all time low….I only thought I was low before. My energy is depleted so I can’t seem to stay on top of anything. I am going to keep at it. I do not like feeling so vunerable and weak. It is unacceptable. Thank you again!

    4. Empath007 says:

      Welcome June. Here you will find the validation you so deserve.

      1. F8ed4Pain says:

        Thanks. I don’t need validation really…i do what I do because I like to help. It isn’t validation what I’m searching for or needing. Gratitude would be nice but not expected. Mostly I am tired of being the villian. Everything that they do to me they accuse me of doing to them. It weighs on me and makes me question myself in ways I should not ever have to. Logically and rationally I know exactly what they are doing. I knew it before I ever came across this site. The little voice in the back of my head cuts right through logic. I really appreciate the welcome!

    5. Fiddleress says:

      Hello June, and welcome,
      Many of us here will relate to what you express in your comment: feeling exhausted, bewildered, thinking there is no hope for the future (when you write: “The worst part is even if I manage to break all ties… I’ll just find more or they will find me.”). Also, when you say that you don’t know what you will do with all this knowledge – it can feel overwhelming at first.
      Let it settle (what you are learning), and it will soon appear that you will be able to take it all in, and use it to protect yourself moving forward. it does work! It may take time, but the horizon will clear up especially if you manage to sever the ties that make you suffer.
      There is one article that you may like to read if you haven’t yet: “The First Emotional Battle”:
      What you wrote made me think that you may well be fighting this first battle. There are three emotional battles, and you may like to read the articles relating to the next two; although the second and certainly the third will seem a long way away just now, the relevant articles will give you a clear idea of what it is going to be like as you make progress – and you will.
      Sending lots of support your way.

      1. F8ed4Pain says:

        Thank you! I will definitely read it. It isn’t my first battle…. It’s the first time I am losing to this degree. I used to have others in my life that weren’t narcissistic. People who would help me not lose myself. I’m alone now and that’s a big part of the problem. I suffer from MDD major depressive disorder and have my whole life. A lot has happened in the last couple years and with the MDD being a full blown episode and the people in my life, I’ve just gotten lost. My oldest daughter being one of those people has brought me to my knees and I can’t seem to get up or even know if I want to. I hate the self pity crap and I know that’s how I sound and even feel. I hate admitting that. I guess I have to start somewhere. I am normally the strong one. The one who holds it all together. I don’t like this new me. Ugh… Sorry for the rambling and thanks for listening.

    6. Contagious says:

      If it helps, your shield needs waxing. Mrs. Roosevelt said no one can make you feel bad about yourself unless you let them. The more you love you. The more you value you. The more strong you are the easier it is to set boundaries and protect yourself. Not easy but a road worth taking…. X

      1. F8ed4Pain says:

        That makes perfect sense. I’ve been working on my self image and self love for a long time. I had started getting somewhere too. I’ll let myself get tripped up and lost the headway I had made. It’s a long hard road but it’s definitely one worth taking and re-taking, as the case may be. Thank you.

  5. Asp Emp says:

    giggling….. at the image.

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