One of the search terms on my blog today was, “Does anger management work for a narcissist?
If the person asking the question had researched narcissists they would know nothing cures a narcissist, their brains are not formed like a normal brain and they don’t have the capability to feel empathy and they don’t think anything is wrong with them.
In the rare cases where a narcissist isn’t successful in getting the victim to drop the domestic abuse charges and they do make it to court it is quite common for the judge to sentence the narcissist to take anger management classes.
A few years ago I had a class with a fellow who taught anger management groups for men charged with domestic abuse and I asked him how successful the classes were. Like did the classes actually work? Personally I think most abusive husbands are narcissists, I don’t know that they all are and maybe for some it does work. But there are a few facts that make me think it is highly unlikely.
He told me he had absolutely no idea if the classes worked because there was no follow-up. He said the guys told him they were doing better but he admitted he had no was of knowing for sure that they didn’t go home after the class and beat their partner. If a narcissist feels it is the only way to get the woman to come back to him he will promise anything and go through the motions. My ex went several years without hitting me when I had kicked him out and kept him at a distance. Once he had me convinced he had changed and I went back to him the abuse started again and was 10 times worse.
The other problem with anger management not stopping the abuse is; it has absolutely nothing to do with anger. Domestic abuse is never just physical abuse, no woman would stay if it was only physical, long before the abuser hits a woman he has emotionally, mentally and often times financially or sexually abused her. He usually won’t get physical until he is sure he has her sufficiently beaten down emotionally first.
He may use anger as an excuse for abusing the woman, she made him do it by pissing him off. If only she wouldn’t make him so angry by pushing his buttons, he wouldn’t have to beat her. They can control their anger just fine in front of other people. You can be out and having a good time and the minute you are in private he is angry and looking for a fight. No matter how hard you try to avoid an argument he is like a dog with a bone and won’t let up.
I can remember on my birthday one time, he had forgotten my birthday and I had said something about him forgetting. He didn’t say anything at the time and after work he told me to meet him at his work and he would take me out for supper. I was determined to not argue on my birthday. At his work he was the epitome of the loving husband, telling everyone he had forgotten my birthday and was going to try to make it up to me by taking me out for supper. I was thrilled and looking forward to a nice night out.
We walked out the door and I said, “So, are we taking you truck or my car? Or should I meet you there?”
Him, “What are you talking about?”
Me, “Dinner. Do you want to meet there or ride together?”
Him, looking totally annoyed, “What the fuck are you talking about?, dinner? I’m going to the race track. I don’t know what you are doing.”
Me, “I wouldn’t mind going to the track.”
“No, just go home.”
Me, “But you said you were taking me out for my birthday.”
Him, “I’m broke, do you have money for dinner?”
Me, “Yeah, I do. I’ll buy us dinner.”
Him as he got in his truck, “Just go home.”
So I went and bought myself a bottle of wine and went home, determined I was not going to fight on my birthday.
I putzed in my garden until it got too dark to see and then went inside. He came home with a bottle of Rye and case of beer for himself and a carton of smokes and then proceeded to tell me how selfish I was to buy myself a bottle of wine. I said, “Please, not on my birthday.” But he would not let up and kept at me about me being so selfish and I needed to get out and support myself so I knew what it was like (I was in my 40’s and worked my whole life, raised my son on my own, it didn’t even make sense).
He would not let me defend myself and walked out of the house to go to the shop, I grabbed his arm and reached up to touch his face. I was going to say, “I love you. Please lets not fight.” But I never got it out. Next thing I know my head is hitting the cupboard behind me and I woke up on the floor with him straddling me, holding my hands above my head with one hand and his other made into a fist ready to hit me again.
I said, “Go ahead, hit me again, does it make you feel like a man?”
He stormed out to the shop.
It had nothing to do with anger, it was control, it was wanting to ruin my birthday, it was whittling away at my self esteem and keeping me off balance; but it was not that he lost his temper and hit me in a fit of rage. He had controlled his anger just fine at his work, he knew he wasn’t taking me for dinner when we were there.
A narcissist can be in the middle of beating his wife if someone rings the doorbell he can answer the door and be Mr Congeniality like the flip of a switch. He could control his anger amazingly well with everyone else. Guys would rip him off for hundred of dollars and he wouldn’t do or say anything. I would be angry for him and give people shit in his defense because he would never stand up for himself to a man.
If someone has an anger management problem it shouldn’t be selective; if they can control their anger with a man they can control it with their partner.
So, does anger management work? My guess is no. BUT even IF the narcissist stopped hitting you I know when I was with my ex, it wasn’t the physical abuse that left the deepest scars; it was the emotional abuse, the porn, cheating, controlling the money, where I went, disabling my truck and destroying my business, the rejection, the emotional roller ride from hell.