ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Narcissism: Unstable Emotions = Unstable Reality

Updated on July 13, 2018
SinDelle profile image

The Little Shaman is a spiritual coach & specialist in cluster B personality disorders, with a popular YouTube show and clients worldwide.

One of the things we most often hear about narcissistic people is that they flip-flop. About their feelings, about their truths, about their very reality. Some people call it lying, some call it changing their mind. Either way you look at it, pathologically narcissistic people are definitely known for emotional and behavioral u-turns. But why?

As with everything connected to pathologically narcissistic people, this is a multi-faceted and complex question, but probably one of the biggest reasons it happens is because narcissistic people are ruled by their emotions. In a very literal sense, pathologically narcissistic people perceive their feelings as facts. If they feel it, it's true. If facts do not support these feelings, it doesn't really matter. The feelings are more real to them than the facts will ever be.

People who are non-narcissistic fit their feelings to the facts. In other words, their emotional reactions are related and appropriate to the events that are occurring. Pathologically narcissistic people often fit the facts to their feelings. This means that they interpret events in a way that matches how they are already feeling. Unlike non-narcissistic people, if their emotions do not match the events, narcissistic people attempt to re-frame and change the events, rather than their feelings.

For example, if something happens and a person who is not narcissistic overreacts because they are already upset about something else, they can see this and adjust their reaction until it is more appropriate. At the very least, they can admit their reaction was inappropriate. People who are narcissistic do not do this. Instead, they insist that the events were bad enough to cause the overreaction. In short, they insist it was not an overreaction because the things that happened to them were so awful that they could react not other way. This may because they actually did perceive the events as abusive and horrible, or it may be because they are so disconnected from - and in denial of - their own internal landscape that they don't even understand their own emotional reality. And of course, it can be because they are simply trying to punish the person they believe they are upset with by accusing and harassing them.

This is very hard for people to deal with. They don't understand why the narcissistic person is upset, they don't understand what the problem is or what they did wrong. They often try harder to do right and not upset the narcissist or cause them to become angry or feel hurt, but somehow they just can't get it right. It seems like something always upsets this person. Something always makes them angry. Something is always wrong. The problem is that it is impossible not to upset the narcissistic person, because the narcissistic person is already upset. They are behaving the way that they are because of things that have nothing to do with anybody else. It's all inside them.

The irony is that even though narcissistic people are so controlled by their emotions, they are usually very disconnected from them consciously. They often live in almost total denial of their emotions and spend a huge amount of time avoiding and dodging them. Their entire dysfunction grew out of trying to avoid confronting or acknowledging painful and negative emotions. They are champions at doing this. However, they cannot avoid feeling these emotions. The feelings are all still there, whether a person denies them or not. You can deny that it's raining all you want, but you will still get wet. Because narcissists are in such deep denial of their feelings, they often perceive them as coming from other people, or of being caused by other people, hence the irrational insistence that you did something to make them feel the way they feel. It's a trick the mind is playing on itself in self-defense.

For instance, hatred of themselves may be projected and perceived by the narcissist as hatred for themselves that they are feeling from others. Events in reality may not match these feelings, but the feelings are real and they must be coming from somewhere, right? Therefore, they insist the other person is the one in denial. This is what often results in the crazy accusations they are known for. "You hate me! You are always faking being nice to me but I know the truth!" You of course deny this because it's not true and list things that you have done or situations that disprove it. These things will then be denied, re-framed or completely reinterpreted to fit the narcissist's current emotional narrative. Their own negative feelings are coloring their perception of everything.

Sometimes, of course, those accusations are just BS they are throwing at you to divert the subject away from what they've done wrong, but when the craziness seemingly comes out of nowhere, it can be because they are projecting their own feelings outward in self-defense. Self-hatred, for example, is very difficult to defend against. Hatred from others is easier to fight. It can be spun into many different things. Being jealous of other people is hard to live with, because it highlights your own insecurity. People being jealous of you is much easier to deal with, because it means they are the insecure one.

Because they are so disconnected from their emotional inner-world and because they perpetually deny and avoid emotions, narcissists' feelings are often chaotic and out of control. You certainly can't control something that you are pretending does not exist. As a result of this blanket denial defense mechanism, narcissists may have a lot of unprocessed trauma, and because it is unprocessed, it can be as if the trauma happened yesterday. Many also have not emotionally matured the way that most other people have; they haven't learned control over their emotions or to be able to self-soothe. It seems that for pathologically narcissistic people, their emotions present to others in one of two ways: either freewheeling with no structure at all, or so locked in that they seem to emotionally react to nothing at all most of the time. Inside, the emotional turmoil is the same and emotions are still the guiding force of their life.

These emotions color everything narcissistic people do. Feelings are the lens through which they perceive everything. This is why things are given meanings they don't have, and people are assigned motives, feelings and thoughts that do not match reality. They match the narcissist's feelings. And to the narcissistic person, that is reality. Their feelings define and create their reality - much more so than other people. It's no wonder then, that their reality is so chaotic and unstable. Their feelings are no different.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)