To understand well why narcissists can be so mean, I would like you to recall the last time someone emotionally hurt you. Most probably you felt angry and wished to see the person who hurt you suffer and pay for his mistake. You do not only feel emotionally disconnected from the person who hurt you but you wish to see them suffer as well. This is a normal reaction to being hurt and there is nothing wrong with it, if it only lasts for a short period of time. Now what do you think would happen if a person was constantly subjected to emotional hurt for years especially in childhood? How would this person’s personality turn out to be.
A narcissist is someone who was born psychologically stable and kind like everybody else. For them to develop narcissism as a defence mechanism, they have to go through a long-term hurtful life experience that shapes their personality completely. For most narcissists this hurtful life experience happens in childhood when they find themselves in the hands of an abusive parent or caregiver but narcissism can also develop in adulthood after a person goes through a painful life experience. The kind of painful life experience that shapes these people’s personality is something like being emotionally abused, being rejected by others, developing inferiority complex or finding oneself socially incompetent in one way or another.
Mean Narcissists Protects Themselves from Further Hurts
People usually take extra measure unconsciously to prevent the past painful experiences from happening again even if it means altering their personality. A person who was bitten by a dog in childhood may fear all dogs even in adulthood. By developing the fear of dogs he makes sure that the past will never repeat itself.
A mean narcissist is someone who is afraid that his unpleasant past may repeat itself if he became nice. For example a narcissist who felt helpless as a result of being abused in childhood can turn out to be a mean and controlling adult to make sure than he will never experience the helplessness he felt in the past. Being mean means that people around him will suffer not him.
A narcissist who developed inferiority feelings as a result of finding himself incompetent compared to his peers can be so mean towards anybody who reminds him of this inferiority in one way or another. This narcissist can do his best to sabotage the potential success of someone closer to them because outdoing the narcissist would remind him of his inferiority. The same narcissist can harshly criticize others and put them down to elevate his own superiority.
Short-term stress and Short-term Meanness
People in general usually have low tolerance of additional stresses when they are going through a stressful life event. Annoying a stressed person slightly can make them lash out at you like you seriously offended them. A narcissist can be very kind when they going through a smooth life experience but very mean when they are facing distress.
Emotional intelligence plays a huge role here. Emotional intelligence is the ability to channel emotions in the right direction. A man who is angry because he lost his job and shouts at his wife or children has low emotional intelligence. Although not all narcissists have low emotional intelligence but those who do can be so mean towards others when they are going through a tough life event.
Dealing With a Mean Narcissist
As you can see mean narcissists deserve pity. Next time a narcissist does something mean to you, you should just feel sorry for them because they are the victims of unpleasant circumstances.
In addition, you should try to avoid them if possible to avoid suffering the consequences of their own problems. (See why are narcissist so jealous)