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.

5 thoughts on “What the Hell Just Happened?

  1. Becoming Observant says:

    Can the trigger be discussed with a narcissist after he’s cooled down from his fury? So as to avoid triggering his feelings again in the future? If we don’t know what your triggers are, we can’t avoid them. Empaths do not want to trigger you. We avoid confrontation.

    How do we approach a conversation like this?

    Since most narcs are not self-aware, and don’t want to understand/recognize that their actions are not normal, we (empaths) can’t start a conversation by announcing a diagnosis (given by us). We can back-peddle by saying that we may respond by (—-feelings?) when a person does ——. Keeping it impersonal, not name-calling, not pointing fingers, etc. How is it best to open communication with a narc to improve the relationship?

    1. Truthseeker6157 says:

      Hi Becoming Observant,

      You can’t avoid the triggers. It isn’t actually that you are doing anything wrong as such. In many ways the triggers aren’t within your control even if you wanted to avoid / diffuse them.

      The IPPS can be painted white one second and black the next. If painted white, everything you say or do is seen by the narcissist as wonderful. You might smile and ask the narcissist how his day was and he is charming, sits with you tells you about his day. The following evening you might do the same thing again. You smile and ask the narcissist how his day was. But this time you are subjected to a tirade of verbal abuse. You did nothing different. What changed? On day two you were painted black, you missed a call from him earlier in the day. This wounded the narcissist and you were then painted black. Now, everything you do is seen as sarcastic, sly, said on purpose just to get at him. You can’t avoid the triggers because you can’t anticipate the switch from white to black.

      Similarly, you smile and ask the narcissist how his day went, he explodes with another verbal tirade of abuse. No calls missed, all was well in the morning before he left. What changed? Before he came home he had a drink with a girl from work, a colleague, innocent enough, this time. She gives him lots of positive fuel, she is painted white, so she’s the best colleague ever, great at her job, smart etc, all because she is painted white. He comes home. He has had the positive fuel from the work colleague, and now you are painted black. A contrast to the positive fuel from her, now he needs negative fuel from you.

      Just two examples. There are plenty more. It’s impossible to avoid the triggers because often it’s the outside factors that influence the way you are perceived by the narcissist.

      You could amend your behaviour to reduce the chances of inadvertently wounding the narc. You decide not to ask him how his day went. You smile and make him a cup of tea instead. You don’t ask why he is late because that was a trigger last week. You don’t go to Friday night with the girls because last time that caused a row ( not worth it). You do everything you can to keep the peace. But you have to ask yourself, why should you? Why should you have to tiptoe round someone in your own home? You shouldn’t. You should be exactly who you are. Treading on eggshells doesn’t work but worse it chips away at who you are, it isolates, it reduces your confidence, your view of yourself, your self esteem. What happens when YOU have a bad day? Who is there for YOU?

      I was caught by an online narcissist. We would spend hours and hours online together almost every night. He was a firefighter, worked shifts. Some nights I was conscious of the time. I knew when his next shift started and wanted him to get enough sleep. Being tired on the job didn’t risk just getting a paper cut. So I’d say “Do you need to go?”Or, it’s getting late do you need to sleep?” Each time he’d react negatively. “Oh, I see, bored now are we?” Something like that. So I stopped saying it. Some nights I’d be fighting to stay awake myself but I’d carry on, waiting for him to end the conversation. Other nights I would fall asleep or he would, strangely that was ok, usually. I remember trying to work around it, head it off at the pass so one night I got in early. Explained that I often worry about him not getting enough sleep, then I imagined him going into work, making a mistake because he was tired, hurting himself. So I asked him to please keep an eye on the time, make sure he got the rest he needed so I wouldn’t feel guilty about keeping him up. The conversation went on. And on. It was a really lovely night, one of our best. This time he did end it. He said, “ Well, I’m going to go. I have three hours left before the alarm goes off. So if I end up having an accident in work, we’ll know who to blame.” He was silent for a week.

      You can’t get around the triggers no matter what you do or when. You cannot avoid conflict once the devaluation starts because the conflict has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the narcissist and his need for the Prime Aims at all costs. It’s a situation where the empath just can’t win. Sadly there is no way to fix it, the relationship will move through the various phases from golden period to devaluation to respite to devaluation again and that cycle will continue for as long as you allow it.

      Once you know you are with a narcissist you have one and only one sensible option. You get out and you stay out.


      1. lickemtomorrow says:

        TS, great comment and reflection which I was hoping someone would share.

        1. Truthseeker6157 says:

          Hi LET,

          Thank you xx

    2. NarcAngel says:

      In order to continue the relationship, you are looking for suggestions to “manage” a person with a disorder that renders that impossible. Narcissists must have control. Always. Their narcissism is a total defence mechanism that will even manufacture things if it is deemed required in order to achieve that control, so there is no avoiding triggering them. Your addiction and emotional thinking (ET) are conning you into thinking you can achieve this when the opposite is true. In order to achieve their control YOU will be managed by being reduced and recycled to depletion. You will benefit from obtaining The Triple Addiction package to help you understand why you think this is possible and why it is not. Best to you.

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