The malignant narcissist is someone who has a combination of two personality disorders, which makes them extremely dangerous and manipulative.
Narcissists, they’re everywhere, aren’t they? From demanding celebrities to power-hungry presidents, narcissists have an innate sense of entitlement, a complete lack of empathy and crave the spotlight and attention.
According to the DSM-IV, narcissist tendencies include:
- Having a grandiose sense of self-importance
- Exaggerate their achievements and talents
- Are consumed about success, power, excellence, brilliance, beauty
- Think they are superior and only other special people can relate to them
- Need constant admiration
- Have an expectation of entitlement
- Are unable to recognize the needs and feelings of others
- Behave in a dismissive or arrogant way
What is a malignant narcissist?
As if the above tendencies aren’t bad enough, narcissists can also have malignant inclinations.
Renowned social psychologist Erich Fromm first coined the term ‘malignant narcissism’ in 1964 where he described it as: “the quintessence of evil”.
A malignant narcissist is a person that has a mixture of narcissism and psychopathic leanings. Typically, psychopaths have very few emotions, and cannot feel sadness, empathy, remorse or guilt. They might know what they are doing is wrong, they just don’t care.
A typical narcissist needs constant attention and validation, but your average psychopath couldn’t care less what you think of them. So how does this mixture of personalities work?
Imagine a narcissist and what they want in life. They want you to believe that they are more successful, better educated, have a much more beautiful partner, earn more than you and are generally obsessed with maintaining this façade.
Now add into this personality a malignant streak. All the wants and needs of a narcissist are now under the psychopath’s control. And a psychopath will stop at nothing to get what he or she wants.
The malignant narcissism will use any method at their disposal and are willing to sacrifice anyone who gets in their way.
The tendencies of a psychopath are:
- Anti-social behaviours
- Superficial charm
- Pathological lying
- Lack of remorse
- Parasitic lifestyle
- Emotionally shallow
- Unwilling to accept responsibility
Combine these with a narcissist and you have a person that is not only cold-hearted and manipulative but will use these characteristics to achieve their goals.
Signs of a malignant narcissist:
1. Over-exaggerated sense of entitlement
There are days where we all feel as if we should be entitled to special treatment, birthdays for instance. The difference with a malignant narcissist is that they feel like this all the time.
2. No conscience or remorse
We all have thoughts and feelings that we know we’d never act on. The malignant narcissist is incapable of putting themselves in someone else’s shoes, they will never feel remorse for their actions, however heinous they might be.
3. Are cruel and sadistic
Malignant narcissists have a cruel streak where they actually enjoy inflicting pain, whether mentally or physically on their victims.
Whilst we all want our egos to be stroked at some point in our lives, the malignant narcissist only thinks about themselves and wants everyone else to see things from their point of view.
5. Sense of grandiosity
Thinking that they are better than anyone else, these types of people feel that they are uniquely superior to others and that only the special few can understand them.
The malignant narcissist believes that everyone is out to get them, with little or no evidence to support their theories. They will take the most innocent encounter and turn it into a vendetta against them.
Who hasn’t tried to use a situation to their own advantage at some point? Someone that uses this technique on a regular basis is likely to be a malignant narcissist.
8. Glib and superficially charming
It is second nature for these types of people to sweet talk or use their charm in order to get what they want from others. They might come across as sincere and genuine, but don’t be fooled.
Why malignant narcissists are dangerous
Narcissists can be dangerous if their fragile sense of worth is shattered by the truth. They will react hysterically and do anything to protect themselves from being outed. If their façade has been broken, then the narcissist will lash out when challenged. Add to this the malignant tendency and you have a person that is emotionless, with no remorse and willing to do anything to stop you revealing their true nature.
Individuals who possess this personality disorder will be especially manipulative and cold-hearted and think that they are entitled to whatever they want and that anyone else is inferior to them.
This is a dangerous combination as they tend to look at people with no emotion, only seeing what they can offer them and they will use manipulative techniques to achieve this.
Malignant narcissists often see the world in black and white, with no grey areas in-between. This means they will not allow discussion or mistakes to be made and have problems when it comes to maintaining or even starting relationships.
Treatment for a malignant narcissist
Unfortunately, as the malignant narcissist is generally unaware that anything is wrong, it is very difficult to get them to accept treatment. Also, we have to take into consideration that these people are often in positions of great power and others around them might feel intimidated when it comes to suggesting that something is wrong with their personalities.
Often the decision is taken out of the malignant narcissists’ hands, as social services or the legal system might have to step in if others have been hurt or a criminal offence has been committed.
Suitable treatment will probably involve a variety of steps that include medication, psychotherapy and behavioural therapy.