Why Narcissists Usually Overreact

5 min readNov 5, 2022

Narcissists commonly overreact, exaggerate and dramatize situations and statements. They do this because they are always in survival mode.

If you have a narcissist in your life you have probably had at least one of the following reactions or something similar to their behavior:

· Wow, that was not necessary.

· Is he/she really upset about this?

· It was an accident, not intentional.

· Why are you screaming?

· Whoa, that was a scary reaction.

· That was an extreme response.

If you have been in a long-term relationship with a narcissist — spouse, family member, BFF — you may have grown accustomed to that narcissist’s over the top reactions. But those reactions may still puzzle you and frighten you. You have also undoubtedly been emotionally drained by their reactions. If you watch your own response to the narcissist’s overreaction you may catch yourself having a flight response or wanting to duck and cover; at the least you likely feel yourself flinching. The continuous extreme reactions of a narcissist take an emotional toll on the people around them.

Narcissists are completely unaware that their extreme behavior has any effect on anyone else. It is true that other people and their feelings do not matter to narcissists, but there is more to the overreaction of narcissists. The primary reason that narcissists overact is because they are always in survival mode.

But Why?

People default to survival mode when they feel threatened. When a child is in danger a parent will step between their child and the danger even if they would normally run from the danger. When a group or country is under attack they will go to battle. When a disaster occurs people find mental and physical strength they did not know they were capable of. Threats alter our normal responses.

Narcissists operate in a constant state of fear because they continuously feel threatened. They are always on alert. Here are the factors that cause this:

1. They create a fake self and fake world because they want to hide their real self.




Writer, observer, narcissistic abuse survivor and a traditionalist thwarted by an internal rebel. Using my experiences to entertain, help and challenge others.