Malignant Narcissism

W24zith all the information available about narcissism and narcissistic personalities, chances are you’ve heard the term “malignant narcissism.” But exactly what the term means and why a certain kind of narcissism warrants such a special descriptor is not very clear to many. And while it’s hard to imagine any kind of narcissism that’s completely “benign,” it’s worth understanding why the particular brand of narcissism professionals call “malignant” is cause for grave concern whenever it’s present to any significant degree in someone’s personality structure.

The term narcissism has been around for a long time and is derived from the mythical character Narcissus, who, as the ancient Greek story goes, was a strikingly handsome and gifted young man (and who obviously knew it!) who was not at all phased by the relentless amorous advances of a nymph but instead fell head over heels in love with his own reflection as he gazed upon it in a pool of water. Narcissus, it seemed, found all he’d ever dreamed of in perfect complement to himself in himself.  Narcissism is, therefore, not the healthy love of self that leads to adaptive self-protection and care but rather the abnormal and unhealthily haughty perception of oneself as such an idol that one has no real need for anyone else.

Classical psychological paradigms conceptualized narcissistic individuals as necessarily insecure individuals who unconsciously compensated for their underlying low self-esteem with their braggadocio.  Today we know that although there are indeed some “neurotic” narcissists, there are also many more vain and self-centered folks who really believe in their superiority through and through. Such individuals are far more character-disordered than they are neurotic and their inflated views of themselves are not an anxious compensation but rather a sincere belief.  And they can be a monumental challenge to deal with, work with, and live with.

Narcissism is common during our early stages of growth. But most of us eventually grow to develop a healthier balance of perspective with respect to our regard for ourselves versus our regard for and need of others.  When a person enters adulthood retaining the narcissistic tendencies they had as a child, there’s bound to be lots of trouble in their relationships.

Narcissism becomes particularly “malignant” (i.e. malevolent, dangerous, harmful, incurable) when it goes beyond mere vanity and excessive self-focus. Malignant narcissists not only see themselves as superior to others but believe in their superiority to the degree that they view others as relatively worthless, expendable, and justifiably exploitable.  This type of narcissism is a defining characteristic of psychopathy/sociopathy and is rooted in an individual’s deficient capacity for empathy.  It’s almost impossible for a person with such shallow feelings and such haughtiness to really care about others or to form a conscience with any of the qualities we typically associate with a humane attitude, which is why most researchers and thinkers on the topic of psychopathy think of psychopaths as individuals without a conscience altogether.

I’ve posted several times before on the issues of narcissism and malignant narcissism (see, for example:  Psychopathy and Sociopathy, and Malignant Narcissism:  At the Core of Psychopathy).  And of course, I explore the topics in all my books, In Sheep’s Clothing, Character Disturbance, and The Judas Syndrome.  But in the upcoming brief series of articles, I’m going to examine narcissism from some new angles and in some unusual depth, using examples from case histories to illustrate not only how detrimental to one’s personality formation this trait can be but also how much damage it’s capable of inflicting in relationships when it reaches malignant proportions.

Stay tuned.

Dr George Simon,  December 27, 2013

malignant narcissist

More posts featuring Dr George Simon:

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The Authoritarian Personality

authoritarian_personality

Research shows that authoritarians are far more likely to exhibit sloppy reasoning, highly compartmentalized beliefs, double standards, hypocrisy, self-blindness, a profound ethnocentrism, and—to top it all off—a ferocious dogmatism that makes it unlikely anyone could ever change their minds with evidence or logic.

Authoritarian, sociopathic, and narcissistic personality traits have many similarities.

autocratic


leaders


The Authoritarian Personality

Authoritarian, sociopathic, and narcissistic personality traits have many similarities.

authoritarian_personality

Research shows that authoritarians are far more likely to exhibit sloppy reasoning, highly compartmentalized beliefs, double standards, hypocrisy, self-blindness, a profound ethnocentrism, and—to top it all off—a ferocious dogmatism that makes it unlikely anyone could ever change their minds with evidence or logic.

autocraticleaders


Narcissistic Rage


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Rage

A raging narcissist displays the emotional maturity of a young child with a temper tantrum.

Rage

 

Read more:

Narcissistic Rage, Retaliation,
and The Smear Campaign.
 


How evil are you?

(Credit: Adam Proctor)Artwork: Adam Proctor

From BBC Future, 3 December 2015
By David Robson

Do you have a ruthless streak? Psychologists believe the “dark triad” of personality—Machiavellianism, narcissism and psychopathy—might help you succeed in life. To measure your own dark side, click on the link below and choose how much you agree or disagree with 9 simple statements—and we’ll tell you how dastardly you actually are.

The questions for this quiz were inspired by questionnaires developed by Delroy Paulhus and Daniel Jones (Assessment, vol 21, p 28). Our quiz was designed solely for entertainment, and the results should not be considered a scientific measure of your personality. If you would like to learn more about Paulhus’s personality research and his serious explorations of the dark triad, read the BBC profile “The man who studies everyday evil”.

How evil are you?

BBC – Future – How dark is your personality?


The Dark Triad

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The Dark Triad

DarkTriad

The dark triad is a group of three personality traits: Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and Psychopathy. Use of the term “dark” implies that these traits have malevolent qualities:

  • Narcissism is characterized by grandiosity, pride, egotism, and a lack of empathy.
  • Machiavellianism is characterized by manipulation and exploitation of others, a cynical disregard for morality, and a focus on self-interest and deception.
  • Psychopathy is characterized by enduring antisocial behavior, impulsivity, selfishness, callousness, and remorselessness.

All three traits have been associated with a callous-manipulative interpersonal style. A factor analysis carried out at the Glasgow Caledonian University found that among the big five personality traits, low agreeableness is the strongest correlate of the dark triad.

Dark triad – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Toxic People: 16 Practical, Powerful Ways to Deal With Them

dealing with toxic people

Posted July 6, 2015 by Karen Young at Hey Sigmund:

Even if toxic people came with a warning tattooed on their skin, they might still be difficult to avoid. We can always decide who we allow close to us but it’s not always that easy to cut out the toxics from other parts of our lives. They might be colleagues, bosses, in-laws, step-someones, family, co-parents … and the list goes on.

We live our lives in groups and unless we’re willing to go it alone – work alone, live alone, be alone (which is sometimes tempting, but comes with its own costs) – we’re going to cross paths with those we would rather cross out.

Continue reading the article for some powerful, practical ways to ease co-existence with toxics:

Toxic People: 16 Practical, Powerful Ways to Deal With Them

toxic people


Word Salad and Narc Speak

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Posted on April 8, 2015 by Dana in Explaining Narcissists

Your Fault

Word Salad, also often referred to as Narc Speak, is a nonsensical mix of words, phrases, or conversations and is traditionally (and clinically) associated with a person who has Schizophrenia, Dementia, Logorrhea (a communication disorder of the brain), Schizophasia, Receptive Aphasia, or brain injuries.

manipulative word salad

In the context of Narc Speak, the word salad is a combination of intentional manipulative conversational techniques that are designed to frustrate, confuse, and erode the sanity of the victim by getting them to question their perceptions of events, as well as their own judgment in general. Narc Speak most commonly happens when the victim confronts the Narcissist with their behavior, although if the Narcissist is using these techniques to gaslight*, word salad can happen at any time.

The ten most common techniques of word salad in the context of Narc Speak are:

  1. Denying their own bad behavior, and instead, focusing on the victim’s.
  2. Continue reading: Word Salad and Narc Speak

Narc speak

*Gaslighting is a form of mental abuse in which information is twisted, spun, or selectively omitted to favor the abuser, or false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memory, perception, and sanity.

Narc speak


The Narcissism Test—What’s Your Score?

By Dr. Craig Malkin
Author, Clinical Psychologist, Instructor Harvard Medical School
Posted: 07/13/2015, Updated: 07/14/2015

Narcissism is hot. Which should make narcissists very happy.

But it’s also widely—and wildly—misunderstood, due in large part to widespread caricatures of narcissists, who are invariably depicted as vain, primping braggarts.

The problem is that many narcissists, particularly the more introverted ones, who pride themselves not on looks, but on being sensitive and misunderstood, couldn’t give a fig about fame or money. You might not even realize you’ve met one. And people end up falling unhappily in love with quieter narcissists, confused by their fate, because their distress stems from a brand of unhealthy narcissism they never knew existed. To date, in fact, there are three kinds of narcissism, which I describe in Rethinking Narcissism: The Bad—And Surprising Good—About Feeling Special. We may start finding more.

Then there’s the problem of that pesky qualifier, unhealthy.

Many would object, saying that narcissism is inherently unhealthy. And certainly the most popular narcissism assessment to date, the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI), assumes that all narcissism is bad; each and every point you score on the test inches you closer to being branded a “narcissist.” The problem is even the NPI picks up healthy components of narcissism; there’s hard evidence that one piece of the inventory, which captures extroverted leaders more than disagreeable blowhards, is associated with being a happy, healthy, if somewhat more ambitious human being.

So to summarize: three kinds of narcissism; healthy and unhealthy narcissism; and a bunch of measures that capture arrogance and grandiosity of various kinds—one of which accidentally captures healthy narcissism.

Read the full article:
The Narcissism Test—What’s Your Score? | Dr. Craig Malkin.


The Relationship Between Empaths and Narcissists

August 22, 2010 · by Lorna Tedder ·

Real empaths feel too much.  Real narcissists don’t seem to feel anything, or at least not in regard to others’ feelings.  Showing your vulnerable side to a narcissist in an attempt to explain how his or her behavior might be hurtful will just invite more abuse.

Whereas the narcissist doesn’t connect well or much with others, the empath connects too much. The empath literally feels what someone else feels, whether it’s strong emotion or physical pain.

Continue reading The Relationship between Empaths and Narcissists.


See also:


Narcissist or Sociopath?

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Which witch is which?

By  02/23/2015

Deciphering the Narcissist from the Sociopath is some tricky business because they are practically identical. The two biggies that set them apart are the disordereds’ motives and levels of self-awareness. In other words, you’d have to get the N/S to be open and forthcoming about the inner workings of his mind. As always, you can count out the Narc or Socio for assistance. Unless you crack their heads open like coconuts and unravel the twisted little rats nests that dwell within, that ain’t happening.  Continue reading this article…

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You are a tool.

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hammerAnna Valerious:

To really get a sense for how the narcissist perceives you, you will need to picture a tool. Let’s say a hammer. The hammer has no will of its own. The hammer’s value is in how it serves you. When you pick up the hammer it is like an extension of your hand. We are able to use it without regard for how it must feel when we whack a nail with it. Of course, because it has no feelings. We don’t have to think about the hammer, we simply use it to our own ends and then set it down and walk away when it has performed the function we wanted it for.

You are that hammer to the narcissist. All of us are merely tools made for their use. Extensions of themselves. We are like a table or chair or bookcase or toilet paper.

The narcissist will become enraged if such inanimate tools decide to sprout a mind of their own and not perform and conform perfectly to their will. It is perceived as an attack! The default setting in the mind of the narcissist toward the rest of humanity is that we are not worth anything except as they imbue value in us. Then we are worth something, but only as much as the narcissist decides. We can be completely devalued in a moment and thrown out with the rest of the garbage.

http://narcissists-suck.blogspot.com


Once a flying monkey, always a flying monkey…

FlyingMonkey

“These are people that are clueless when it comes to recognizing the difference between something genuine and something totally fake and unworthy.”


Madeline Scribes

dorothy red slippers

Dorothy: Lions, and tigers, and bears! Oh, my!

I was reading a status update on Facebook from my new friend Martha. She wrote that the “flying monkeys” at work were starting to be nicer to her, probably because the Narc was either losing her grip on them, or had moved on to another victim. They had been shyly asking for her help and gravitating towards her for some time and she was still avoiding them at all costs. She’s a smart lady. She knows, just like I know, that once you’re a flying monkey, you’re always going to be a flying monkey.

Flying monkeys never change.

Scarecrow: First they (the Flying Monkeys) took my legs off and they threw them over there! Then they took my chest out and they threw it over there!

Tin Woodsman: Well, that’s you all over!

Flying monkey is just another…

View original post 456 more words

Retaliation

Retaliation2

When deprived of narcissistic supply, narcissists experience symptoms similar to the withdrawal symptoms of a drug addict; becoming delusional, agitated, helpless, and emotionally unhinged. They disintegrate and crumble, and may even experience a psychotic episode. They engage in “magical thinking;” believing that they are omniscient, omnipotent, and that they cannot fail. This makes them fearless and relentless in their pursuit of revenge.


See also:
Vindictiveness
Narcissistic Supply (Wikipedia))
Narcissistic Supply (The Narcissistic Life)
Narcissistic Supply (Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers)
Narcissists, Narcissistic Supply and Sources of Supply (Sam Vaknin)


Being Victimized

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From The Narcissism Book of Quotes:

“One of the very difficult things to deal with after being the victim of a Narcissist is that most people will not want to believe what happened to you, even if they saw it with their own eyes!”

Sociopathic abuse can be most insidious. The abuser takes precautions so that there are no witnesses or hard evidence. He’ll tell others that he is being victimized and that the real victim’s reactions to his abuse are unprovoked and malicious or “irrational.” Destroying his target while attracting the attention he craves is a game to the sociopath; one he enjoys and plays with confidence. A “normal” person is easy prey to a skilled and experienced manipulator lacking a moral conscience.

“[They] count on our shame to keep their secrets. They know that exposing them means exposing our own failings. That’s what makes them so powerful. They manipulate us into these situations then sit back and watch us squirm between protecting ourselves or blowing the whistle.”

The seasoned abuser is also highly selective. He will target people who are self-conscious and reluctant to draw attention to themselves. Like predators in the animal world who concentrate their efforts on prey that is separate from the herd, he is likely to choose someone who is a loner or with weak social connections; someone who is clearly vulnerable.


Men Who Hate Women

 

Misogynist Narcissists

Heterosexual women bear the brunt of narcissistic heterosexual men’s hostility, according to a 2010 study.

Narcissists’ lack of empathy, feelings of entitlement, and perceptions of being deprived of ‘deserved’ admiration and gratification can make them prone to aggression and vengeance.

The results from this study reveal that straight men’s narcissism is linked to an adversarial and angry stance toward straight women more than toward other groups. Although narcissists may want to maintain feelings of superiority and power over all people, narcissistic heterosexual men are particularly invested in subordinating heterosexual women because they are “gatekeepers in men’s quest for sexual pleasure, patriarchal power and status,” the study authors explain.

Another conclusion from the study is that male narcissists believe that heterosexual relationships should be patriarchal rather than egalitarian.

Read the full article.

misogyny_hard_to_spell

Covert Narcissism

Covert narcissists are skilled at appearing “normal”. They choose a victim they feel they can dominate or manipulate, and they choose opportunities to abuse their victim when there are no witnesses or in a passive-aggressive, underhanded manner so that their secret mean streak isn’t exposed to others. Motivated by self-preservation and self gain, they lack fail-safes, such as empathy or a moral conscience, against selfish behavior that is harmful to others. Denial is a characteristic of the disorder. They can be highly critical of other people’s behavior, but they always feel righteous about their own.spotanarc

The Narcissist

Aside

TheNarcissist4

is a control freak. He finds pleasure in causing pain to others and thrives on the sense of power it brings. If not also physically abusive, he is an emotional bully; manipulating, overpowering, and tormenting his victims. Children, having no escape, suffer lifelong consequences at the hands of a narcissistic parent.

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Vindictiveness

Aside


Narcissists



See also:
Retaliation
Narcissistic Supply (Wikipedia)
Narcissistic Supply (The Narcissistic Life)
Narcissistic Supply (Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers)
Narcissists, Narcissistic Supply and Sources of Supply (Sam Vaknin)

No conscience = more options

Cloak of Conscience from the front

Cloak of Conscience

“Truth and reason are of no value to narcissists and psychopaths. Their aim is to defeat, exploit, and dominate—and not get caught. Lacking a conscience, they are free to use any method that will give them the upper hand without any ethical inhibitions standing in their way. Abusive people don’t feel that they owe their victims, or anyone else, a reason for their behavior. By ignoring requests for an explanation, they enjoy the sense of power they get from denying their victim the most basic respect.”

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Devalue and discard

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Devalue and Discard

Narcissism

A narcissist will quickly devalue and discard his target, claiming he is the victim. His victims are now put in a defensive role by his lies and character assassination. By involving others he is enlarging his circle of those who give him attention. Any attention you may have given him is now replaced and multiplied by other people he manages to fool. A win/win scenario for a narcissist.

He will increase his attempts to provoke his victim into some reaction—the more emotional the better to make her look crazy and himself sane. Do NOT take his bait. It is his trap and setup. Provoking you into a reaction is his goal.

Dr. Vaknin explains: “Even the victim’s relatives, friends, and colleagues are amenable to the considerable charm, persuasiveness, and manipulativeness of the abuser and to his impressive thespian skills. The abuser offers a plausible rendition of the events and interprets them to his favor. Others rarely have a chance to witness an abusive exchange first hand and at close quarters. In contrast, the victims are often on the verge of a nervous breakdown: harassed, unkempt, irritable, impatient, abrasive, and hysterical.”

“Confronted with this contrast between a polished, self-controlled, and suave abuser and his harried casualties it is easy to reach the conclusion that the real victim is the abuser, or that both parties abuse each other equally. The prey’s acts of self-defense, assertiveness, or insistence on her rights are interpreted as aggression, lability, or a mental health problem.

Dr. Sam Vaknin
Narcissism by Proxy, FAQ#42  

Narcissism

Victims of Psychopaths: True Stories

From DailyStrength.org

psychopath victim

“Is he beyond a narcissist? Is he a sociopath or psychopath? Think we’re only talking about serial killers here? Psychopaths, sociopaths, and even narcissists come in every walk of life, every career level, and every socio-economic category. They are doctors, attorneys, ministers, students, and truck drivers. They are realtors, construction workers, and professors. They are your boss, your neighbor, your family member, and your lover or husband. You might even be with one now and not know.”

psychopath victim

Read the victims’ personal accounts and notice the similarities
between the psychopathic abusers that they describe!


Love fraud

Lovefraud.com
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Lovefraud Blog and Lovefraud.com

Wake up to the danger of sociopaths/psychopaths
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New blog posts

 •  Sociopaths/psychopaths as aliens
 •  With the Penn State report, a public understanding of unbelievable betrayal
 •  How to break a “culture of silence”—remove everyone
 •  Warning others: a moral obligation or crossing the line?
 •  Letters to Lovefraud: I provided her a road map to my life
 •  Red Flags of Love Fraud featured in Courier Post newspaper
 •  Signs of a psycho/sociopath in a chilling story from New York

Grandiosity

superiority complex

 

People affected with narcissism or psychopathy have a false belief in their own superiority and a sense of entitlement. An arrogant manner can be an indication of these tendencies.


See no evil: Why is there so little psychopathy awareness?

 Reblogged from Psychopathyawareness’s Blog:

It seems like people tend to research psychopathy and other personality disorders after they’ve been burned. I have decided to repost an entry from last year that examines some of the reasons why there is so little psychopathy awareness in the general public. Ideally, this information can reach the general public, so people can spot the symptoms of dangerous personality disorders…

Read more… 1,530 more words

Criticizing a narcissist


“Narcissists mainly want to punish or defeat someone who has threatened their highly favorable views of themselves.”

“People who are preoccupied with validating a grandiose
self-image apparently find criticism highly upsetting
and lash out against the source of it.”

ASPD / NPD

“…some of the antisocial personality disorder symptoms covary with certain symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder—such as exploitativeness, grandiosity, and a lack of empathy—to form a syndrome very similar to the traditional clinical construct of psychopathy.”

(Harpur, Hare, Zimmerman & Coryell, 1990; Morey, 1988)