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Why Does A Narcissist Seek Revenge?

When narcissists become vindictive, they often go to great lengths to get revenge, causing much damage to the victim.

Individuals with a narcissistic personality disorder tend to get very upset and overreact emotionally when faced with anything threatening, often leading them to lash out at whoever hurt them. If you have ever been on the receiving end of a narcissist’s revenge, you know how vindictive they can get.

Perhaps you have criticized your narcissistic friend for being too demanding. In response, they flipped the whole situation around, getting upset with you, saying you are a bad friend who doesn’t provide any support. This exemplifies how a narcissist will manipulate the situation to be seen as the victim.

This article will explore why narcissists seek revenge, how far they take it, their tactics, and how to deal with a vindictive narcissist. Let’s dive in…

Why Does A Narcissist Seek Revenge?

They do this to punish their intended target for any perceived wrongs they may have committed. When narcissists feel they have been wronged, they may seek revenge to punish and regain control over the person they believe has harmed them because, in their mind, the actions are justified.

Individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) take any form of criticism to heart, getting very angry and upset. Such instances often trigger what is known as narcissistic injuries. Narcissists lack healthy coping mechanisms and have inhibited impulse control, which means they are overly sensitive and do not react appropriately.

Also, narcissists have a fragile self-image that they must protect regardless of cost. Additionally, narcissists fear being seen as inadequate or inferior. When they feel attacked or humiliated, seeking revenge becomes a means to show themselves they have power and to protect themselves. By retaliating against those they believe have wronged them, they can get one over on their victims and feel superior. Revenge reinforces their sense of dominance.

Another reason is that narcissists have a lot of difficulties with empathy. They struggle to consider the feelings and perspectives of others, which makes it easier for them to justify and engage in hurtful behaviors without experiencing remorse or guilt. Their lack of empathy enables them to be extremely selfish, disregarding the impact of their actions on others.

It is important to note that while these factors contribute to the revenge-seeking behavior of narcissists, every individual is different. Narcissistic traits exist on a spectrum, meaning that each narcissist will experience them to various degrees. Seeking revenge is a harmful behavior, both for the narcissist and those affected by their actions. By learning the tactics of a narcissist, you can better protect yourself.

What Revenge Tactics Can You Expect From A Narcissist?

Narcissists have an arsenal of manipulative techniques they employ to get revenge. Once you have done something to upset the narcissist, they will start to plot their revenge by picking and choosing which of their manipulative tactics will suit the situation best. 

These manipulative tactics can cause significant harm to their victims. Through emotional and verbal abuse and relentless sabotage, they can drive their victims to their limits, hurting them emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Here are the revenge tactics you can expect to see from a narcissist:

Smear Campaigns

Narcissists will spread lies and manipulate others into believing you are at fault to damage your credibility. In extreme cases, they may even create scenarios that shed the target negatively. These tactics affect the victim’s emotional well-being, leaving them isolated and alone.


Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic narcissists use to make you question your reality. They make you question your thoughts, emotions, and sanity, leaving you uncertain and confused, not knowing what is happening. Gaslighting can take different forms, such as twisting facts and saying things didn’t happen. It stops you from trusting yourself, not knowing if your thoughts are accurate.


Narcissists often stalk and harass their victims as a way of enacting revenge. Occasionally, when they perceive they have been wronged, the hurt is so deep that they go too far in a desperate attempt to make themselves feel better. By doing so, narcissists feel a sense of control over individuals who caused them pain.


Individuals with a narcissistic personality disorder have no problem abandoning somebody they feel they no longer need. If their target is causing them too trouble, they may simply end the relationship and move on to an easier victim. This can leave the victim feeling abandoned and alone, causing psychological trauma.


Narcissists control and manipulate others through constant criticism. They often pick apart their victims, causing self-doubt and making them feel inadequate. This relentless hypercriticism damages the victims, destroying their confidence and making them question their self-worth. It’s a way for narcissists to exert power and control over others.

Destructive Conditioning

Narcissists use destructive conditioning to ruin even your best moments. They try to punish their victims at times when they are feeling their best, such as a big achievement or an event they were looking forward to. This makes the victim fear that any happiness will be quickly ruined.

Withholding attention

Narcissists will withhold intimacy, affection, and attention to make others feel neglected and inferior. They withhold praise and downplay the accomplishments of others, especially people they deem superior. They get envious and judge those they feel inferior to.

Having explored the various tactics narcissists use to seek revenge, it becomes clear that they can go to great lengths to inflict harm on their victims. The examples we have discussed, from smear campaigns and gaslighting to cruel discards and destructive conditioning, highlight the vindictive nature of narcissistic individuals.

why-do-narcissists-seek-revenge? | vimprovement.com

How Far Will A Narcissist Go For Revenge?

Narcissists are capable of going to extreme lengths for revenge. They have no problem unleashing their bag of manipulative tricks on their victims to ensure they get even. Their need for control and feelings of inferiority drive them to behave hurtfully to those who have hurt them.

They will employ as many tactics as needed to cause emotional, mental, or physical harm to their victims. Since narcissists lack the capacity for empathy, they do not feel bad about destroying their victim’s life, especially if they think they are right.

Their entitlement makes them believe their actions are justified, meaning the extent to which they will go for revenge knows no bounds. Narcissists believe they deserve special treatment from everybody, so when anyone behaves in a way that contradicts this need, they feel fully justified in seeking revenge.

Additionally, individuals with NPD will use deception to achieve their revenge. They may manipulate others to turn against their target, spread false information, or sabotage their target’s reputation to assault their victim’s character.

If the narcissist happens to be financially savvy or has knowledge of the legal system, they may financially and legally abuse their targets. They may engage in fraud, move around assets, or use legal loopholes to harm their victims financially.

At its most extreme, a narcissist’s revenge can lead to physical threats or violence. In such cases, the narcissist aims to establish dominance and instill fear by resorting to dangerous and potentially life-threatening actions.

This greatly threatens the victim’s safety as the narcissist seeks to exert control through physical harm. It is crucial to seek appropriate help and protection when facing such dangerous situations. Your safety should be your top priority.

why-do-narcissists-seek-revenge? | vimprovement.com

How do you deal with a vindictive narcissist?

The best strategy is to distance yourself from the vindictive narcissist. Dealing with any narcissist is challenging; dealing with a vindictive narcissist is even more difficult. However, there are strategies you can employ to protect yourself and minimize the impact of their behavior.

Always approach these situations with caution; A vindictive narcissist can be dangerous. They see anything that could potentially hurt their ego as a threat and will protect themselves at all costs, no matter the consequences.

Here are some methods you can use to deal with a vindictive narcissist:

  • Limit interactions

It’s best to lower how much you interact with the narcissist. By reducing your interactions, you decrease the likelihood of becoming a target of their attacks. If the narcissist is a coworker, only talk to them briefly when needed for work. If it’s a family member, this can be a lot more difficult, and you may need to employ other methods.

  • Remain cool and distant

It’s best to maintain respect while keeping a cool and distant approach. Depriving a narcissist of attention can discourage their vindictive behavior. They may lose interest and move on to other targets, giving them the desired reactions.

  • Keep sensitive information to yourself

It’s important to avoid sharing personal and sensitive information with someone who could be a narcissist and become vindictive. Refrain from discussing anything you wouldn’t want others to know, as it could be used against you. They may try to bait you into giving up secrets by sharing some of theirs but don’t fall for their trap.

  • Watch out for manipulative tricks

Don’t be deceived by narcissists’ manipulation; they will attempt to charm their way into getting what they want. They may tell sad stories or feign interest in you to earn pity and trust. Always remain cautious because they are always trying to find a way to manipulate.

  • Look for their underlying motivations

Understanding someone’s true intentions can show you what they want, giving you some idea of what they might do. By observing their behavior, what interests them, and how they react to things, you can better understand how to anticipate their actions.

  • Set boundaries

Set clear boundaries with vindictive and narcissistic individuals. Clearly state what behavior is acceptable and unacceptable. For example, avoid engaging in casual conversations or socializing with them outside of work. Stick to your boundaries consistently.

  • Be clear and assertive

Clearly and concisely state which behaviors will and will not be tolerated. If the narcissist does not respect a boundary, assert yourself and stick to your guns. You must always hold true to these boundaries, or they will never be respected, causing you much trouble. 

  • Seek support

Support can come in many forms, such as therapy, police, other victims, or a support group. Make sure you research different supports and pursue what you think will be best for you. Always remember that help is out there; you are not alone.

If none of these methods work and the narcissist continues to wreak havoc in your life, you may need to cut them off completely. Always remember that narcissists can be dangerous. You must always be cautious and prioritize your own personal safety.

why-do-narcissists-seek-revenge? | vimprovement.com


In conclusion, dealing with a vindictive narcissist can be challenging and potentially dangerous. Narcissists seek revenge to protect their fragile egos and regain control over those they perceive as threats wreaking havoc on their victims in the process.

Narcissists can go to extreme lengths to seek revenge, causing emotional, mental, and even physical harm to their victims. They employ manipulative tactics, such as smear campaigns, gaslighting, retaliation, discarding, ruining special occasions, hypercriticism, destructive conditioning, and withholding attention or praise. They may resort to deceit, legal abuse, and physical violence to exert dominance and control. Their entitlement and lack of empathy enable them to justify their destructive actions. 

When dealing with a vindictive narcissist, it is crucial to prioritize your safety and well-being because your needs are important too. Limiting interactions, remaining cool and distant, keeping sensitive information to yourself, not falling for their manipulative tricks, and setting clear boundaries can help minimize their impact. In severe cases, seeking support from trusted individuals, therapy, or legal authorities may be necessary.

Ultimately, recognizing the seriousness of the situation and taking appropriate measures to protect yourself is essential when dealing with a vindictive narcissist. Remember, your safety and well-being should always be the top priority.

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