Research Output

Voicing the Victims of Narcissistic Partners: A Qualitative Analysis of Responses to Narcissistic Injury and Self-esteem Regulation

  Addressing an under-researched aspect of narcissism, this study investigated subclinical ‘grandiose’ and ‘vulnerable’ narcissism within the context of domestic violence. Common triggers evoking narcissistic rage, and differences in narcissistic injury response were explored. Qualitative semi-structured interviews with seven participants who reported being in a relationship with a narcissistic partner were thematically analysed. Three overarching themes emerged: (1) Overt and covert expressions of abuse, (2) Challenge to self-perceived authority, and (3) Fear of abandonment. Findings suggest both grandiose and vulnerable narcissists’ reactions to narcissistic injury are most likely covertly and overtly aggressive and violent; however, the underlying motives for the behaviour differed. For grandiose narcissists, violence was commonly triggered by threats to self-esteem, whereas vulnerable narcissists commonly experienced significant injury and rage from fear of abandonment. It is argued that attempts to regulate and restore self-esteem for the two subtypes of narcissistic presentation will differ, thus providing further support for theoretical distinctions between grandiose and vulnerable narcissists in intimate relationships. It is concluded that popular images of the narcissist are overly simplistic as the personality trait is more complex than the grandiose type typically presented. This study contributes new understanding to the nature of narcissism in domestic violence. Limitations and suggestions for future research are discussed.

  • Type:

    Article

  • Date:

    28 April 2019

  • Publication Status:

    Published

  • DOI:

    10.1177/2158244019846693

  • ISSN:

    2158-2440

  • Library of Congress:

    H Social Sciences

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded

Citation

Valashjardi, A., & Charles, K. (2019). Voicing the Victims of Narcissistic Partners: A Qualitative Analysis of Responses to Narcissistic Injury and Self-esteem Regulation. SAGE Open, 9(2), https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244019846693

Authors

Keywords

narcissism, narcissistic injury, rage, domestic violence

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