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.

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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.
 


“Psychopathy is our number one public health risk.”

Published on Apr 28, 2014

Sandra L. Brown, M.A., is the founder of The Institute for Relational Harm Reduction & Public Pathology Education. She is a former psychotherapist, community educator on pathological love relationships, clinical lecturer and trainer, TV and radio guest, and an author. Her books include the highly popular How to Spot a Dangerous Man Before You Get Involved, the award-winning Women Who Love Psychopaths: Inside the Relationships of Inevitable Harm With Psychopaths, Sociopaths & Narcissists, as well as the clinically relevant Counseling Victims of Violence: A Handbook for Helping Professionals.

Sandra is recognized for her pioneering work in women’s issues related to relational harm from dangerous and pathological partners. She specializes in the development of Pathological Love Relationship training for other professionals and the development of survivor-based support services.


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


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:


How to Spot a Sociopath: 11 Traits

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The Red Flags

Sociopaths are manipulative, and some are dangerous. If you know someone with several of the following attributes, your best bet is to stay away from them.

 1  Superficial Charm

 2  Narcissistic

 3  Pathological Lying

 4  Manipulative and Cunning

 5  Shallow Emotions

 6  Lack of Remorse, Shame, Or Guilt

 7  Incapable of Human Attachment

 8  Constant Need for Stimulation

 9  Lack of Empathy

10  Poor Behavioral Controls / Impulsive Nature

11  Promiscuous Sexual Behavior / Infidelity

If you have a sociopath in your life, especially in a romantic relationship, you are going to suffer. Avoid these people. Don’t be fooled by their charms—it is just an act to get what they want. Sociopaths are extremely cold-hearted. The only person they care about is themselves. They see all other people only in terms of usefulness and as potential targets.

via How to Spot a Sociopath: 11 Signs & Traits of A Sociopath.


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


Flying Monkeys

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The sociopath is a high level con who manages to dupe people so thoroughly that his/her fans will persecute, silence, and ostracize a victim who complains about mistreatment. These people are in denial and they will reject information that doesn’t correspond to their highly favorable perception of the sociopath. The victim’s accounts of abuse will upset them, and may anger them. By defending an influential sociopath and abusing his/her target by proxy, the followers prove their loyalty and hope to win favor while getting closer to the influential sociopath they are instinctively attracted to.

See also:
Denying, Discounting, and Dismissing Abuse
Denial and DARVO

Cognitive Dissonance

Gail Meyers writes:

A narcissistic personality disordered mother has flying monkeys. This is a term taken from The Wizard of Oz, where the flying monkeys do the bidding of the Wicked Witch.  The flying monkeys may be your neighbor, church members, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandmother, grandfather, nieces, nephews, etc. These people do the narcissist’s dirty work and often pour their own abuse on the scapegoat.

cautionflyingmonkeysI spent years of my life trying to show various flying monkeys the truth. It virtually never worked, not once in the twenty or so years I kept trying to “clear the air” or to finally be understood. They do not understand because they do not want to understand. Many are willfully ignorant and blind to the situation.  There is not some magical phrase and method you have not yet discovered that is suddenly going to cause these people to stand up for the truth.flying-monkeys-sign

What I have realized is the flying monkeys generally have their own reasons for behaving the way they do. Some may truly do it out of ignorance, truly fooled for years by the narcissist. However, it is my experience that most flying monkeys have weak characters.

Continue reading…


Being Victimized

shame

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.


Narcissistic Supply

Things Toxic People Do
Narcissistic Supply
From LightsHouse.org

Narcissistic supply — it’s number one on the list of a narcissist’s “must-haves.” Simply put, narcissistic supply is anything (or anyone) that feeds the narcissist’s ego and keeps them artificially pumped up with the attention, admiration and deference of others. Narcissists have been described as people who are like balloons […]


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

Bystanders and Bullying

Rev. Martin Luther King
“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.”
Martin Luther King Jr

In most bullying situations, the target finds himself isolated and alone. Work colleagues, who may have been friendly and supportive previously, melt away. The people he thought were “friends” turn out to be mere fair-weather friends and he is left feeling like a pariah and an outcast.

There are many reasons why people fail to come to the aid of someone who is being bullied. These include:    Read more…

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Someone who is being subject to narcissistic abuse may rarely leave the house, never go out with friends, or speak to strangers because he doesn’t know who’s been turned against him; he doesn’t know who he can trust. The experience is painful and can lead to mental and physical problems, including depression and anxiety. In some cases, feelings of despair lead to suicide.

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.

controlfreak


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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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.


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)

NPD

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

It is believed that narcissism is an attitude which is present in every individual and is actually important to be confident individuals. However, when this feeling of self worth exceeds certain limits, where one cannot see anyone other than oneself, one is said to have narcissistic personality disorder.

Read more…

Challenging a narcissist

Narcissists hate being challenged. Because they’re such superior, perfect people, how dare you, a mere nobody, challenge them in any way?

This is why Narcissists react out of all proportion to the smallest slight, or perceived slight. Or even, to the slightest request for better treatment.

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