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How do Narcissists Process Shame?

When someone who suffers from narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) has their shame triggered, they go right into a cycle of abuse, exhibiting rage, anger, shifting the blame to whoever made them feel the shame.

NPD is a mental condition

People who suffer from NPD have critical problems dealing with stress and change. They often avoid or withdraw from situations where they might fail or be embarrassed. Narcissists are deeply rooted in insecurity and fear being exposed as less than perfect or a failure.

Narcissists have problems managing their own emotions and behaviors. They have very low emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to regulate, understand, and manage our emotions while recognizing, understanding, and influencing the emotions of others.

How do non-disordered people process shame or embarrassment?

For those who do not suffer from a personality disorder, processing shame and embarrassment is part of our regular emotional maintenance. We reconcile, we make amends, we apologize. Narcissists do none of these. 

Experts recommend practicing self-reflection and talking about what happened with trusted people who will show us empathy. By acknowledging it, we don’t allow it to dictate our trajectory or define us. Non-disordered people show their high emotional intelligence by exhibiting their vulnerability. They aren’t afraid to have uncomfortable conversations to deepen their relationships.  

People who suffer from NPD do not want to have uncomfortable conversations ever.

Their image reigns supreme. I learned the hard way that you can’t change someone who doesn’t see an issue with their actions.

For narcissists, once they perceive some kind of offense, they go into a cycle where they focus on their own:

  1. Ego

  2. Pride

  3. Image and then

  4. Revenge

How do people who suffer from NPD react to shame?

Narcissists launch into many forms of rage and punishment when confronted with any kind of shame or embarrassment. One example is the smear campaign. They will do anything to protect their image so they need to portray you as the bad person in their story. They launch this campaign as a way of minimizing you, dismissing you and making other people think you’re crazy. They are known liars and cheaters. The smear campaign is also a way to counteract what they’ve done. It’s not that they don’t want to apologize or take responsibility for their actions, it’s that the disorder won’t let them.

However, they won’t admit they have a disorder so the cruelty and abuse continue.

What does revenge look like?

Narcissists exact revenge on those who they believe have wronged them or offended them in some way. I offended my narcissistic father by questioning him, his words, and his cruelty. I didn’t stay on his script and do what he wanted. As a result, he was solely focused on setting a course to destroy me, his only child.


I wrote about this in my book Wrecking Ball Relationships: How to Identify, Live With or Leave the Narcissist in Your Life.” 

“He responds with an email neither admitting nor denying responsibility. He uses sweeping generalities as if everything he does is bad, more “splitting.” Then he goes on to recite his resume. A true narcissist, he uses the word “I” 47 times.

What does his resume have to do with gossip floating around town?  I asked why he’d air our private issues in public. He replied with a list of everything he does. It seems he’s decided since everything he does is bad, why not lean into his “badness” even more? His legacy in our small community has been a driving force throughout my adulthood. As a narcissist, he can’t take responsibility for his actions. It would be an admission of guilt. He turns the tables to make it seem like I’m crazy, a classic gaslighting strategy.”


People with narcissistic personality disorder don’t want to think that anything could be wrong with them, so they usually don't seek treatment.  Thus, they are much less likely to ever change. You need to change.


 Often, we stay in these cycles of abuse because we don’t believe we deserve something better.


You do deserve better.


I have a group starting soon. I have a limited number of seats available.

This is why it’s so important to talk to someone after you’ve suffered this type of abuse. But not just anyone. You need to find someone who’s familiar with narcissistic personality disorder. You see, I didn’t get here by accident. I didn't set out to become a narcissistic abuse recovery coach. But after I’d suffered this kind of abuse, I realized that my story and my experience could help so many people who’ve suffered similarly. When someone tells me about their struggles and their story, I’m not just understanding. I really get it. I’ve been there. I’ve felt those same emotions, that same rage, and loss.


Today is your day.


I can help you.


Don’t suffer in silence from narcissistic abuse, let’s talk.


Click here to book a free session with me. Don’t wait another day.


You can find my book “Wrecking Ball Relationships” on Amazon and








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