The Little Shaman is a spiritual coach & specialist in cluster B personality disorders, with a popular YouTube show and clients worldwide.
Narcissistic people are often very contentious. They can be chronically angry, combative and irritable. Even small things that others would not get offended by or mad about can cause huge blow ups with a narcissistic person. Many times, the person on the receiving end of the rage or hysteria does not even understand what the problem is. One minute everything was fine, the next minute the narcissistic person is upset and people are at a loss to understand why. Things that are small or even meaningless are argued and raged over for hours. Attempts to get the narcissistic person to explain why they are so upset usually results in blame, or even them using a totally unrelated reason to justify their tirade. Often, trying to understand leaves people more confused than ever.
It's not uncommon for people to find themselves getting attacked even when they agree with the pathologically narcissistic person in their lives, or to find that the narcissist has suddenly completely reversed their own position so that there can be a reason to fight. They pout, they attack, they accuse, they overreact, they blame, they yell, they give people the silent treatment. And you are left trying to figure out what the problem is and wondering what you could possibly have done wrong now. This is frustrating, it's unfair and it's crazy-making. The day to day living with narcissistic people is filled with this kind of unfair behavior, and it's one of the reasons most people suggest getting away from narcissists. There's no way to navigate or circumvent this. There's no way to defuse it, other than to just ignore it completely or leave the situation. If someone is intent on behaving this way, that is what they're going to do.
The reasons for this can vary. They may be angry about something in the past, they may have misinterpreted something you said, they may even just be bored. Pathologically narcissistic people are addicted to drama as well. Drama uses the same mechanisms in the brain and causes the same chemical/hormone reaction as opiates, such as heroin. Therefore, a drama addiction is not a metaphor or a joke; it's a very real thing. This could be why no matter how good it's going, narcissists start getting edgy and irritable and eventually they cause a problem. They need their fix. People who are not narcissistic can be addicted to drama, as well. It's often one of the components of a trauma bond.
The fact that narcissistic people often cause problems over nothing is one of the more difficult aspects to deal with in any type of narcissistic relationship. There can be no resolution because there is no real problem. There is no way to solve a problem that doesn't exist and even if there were, the narcissist does not want the problem solved. They want to fight. It helps them blow off steam, it gives them their drama fix and it solidifies the fact that they matter and are powerful, because they are able to upset and affect people. They want to punish and hurt others because they feel that they are being punished and hurt, or because they feel the world owes them something. They are often threatened by positive emotions, by peace, by calm. They need stimulation and upheaval and emotional fireworks.
This is a very hard thing to live with, and it causes so much stress in the relationship that is just not necessary. It makes even basic, every day living extremely difficult. The only way to win this game is not to play. As hard as it is, you have to resist their attempts to provoke you and start a fight, or cause a problem. So many times we hear that the narcissistic person has ruined a holiday or spoiled a birthday. Don't let them have this power! You are supposed to control your feelings, not the other way around. It's up to you to decide whether you are going to let another person's behavior ruin your day. Until you realize this and start making the conscious choice not to allow it, it is always going to happen.
This is hard for many people to accept. It's easier to blame someone else for our problems, or to hide behind our own feelings. It's easier to say, "You made me do that" or "You made me say that" or "You made me feel that way." It's hard to take responsibility for our own actions and reactions, especially if we feel we haven't been treated fairly. But this mindset makes us into victims. It takes our power away and gives it to every other person in the world. Other people are not in control of you, and you are not in control of them. They don't control your actions, thoughts, feelings or anything else. Your emotions are not in control of you, either. They will run wild if you are not controlling them, but they are not in control of you. You are in control of you. All you have to do is truly realize that, and all the power you've given away will come back to you.
In the end, it's up to the individual if they want to live with the constant stress of dealing with someone who is combative and angry, who ruins every good moment and family time, who cannot be content and will not let others be content either. It's unlikely this behavior will change. It benefits the narcissist in too many ways, so they have no desire to change it. They also know no other way to relate to people or get their needs met. If you cannot get out of the situation right now, remember that you are in control of your feelings and your reactions. You don't have to react to their provocations. You don't have to surrender your peace if you don't want to.