There’s a lot of psycho-babble out there obscuring the core truth of what it means to be a malignant narcissist, a particularly dangerous form of narcissism. From my personal experience, this is what defines an malignant narcissist.
What is a malignant narcissist? Malignant narcissists are people that suffer from delusions of grandeur, a sense of entitlement, and who exploit others emotionally. Yet, they also have a sadistic streak, where they enjoy or fantasize about hurting others.
Because narcissists are good at keeping up appearances, a malignant narcissist can be quite dangerous if not caught early. If you think you might have a malignant narcissist on you hands, or know someone that does, take the time to read the rest of the this article which explains how to spot their behavior.
Key Signs of a Malignant Narcissist
Malignant narcissist were first described in the 1960’s, but haven’t gotten much attention, even from mental health professionals, since then.
According to research from Auckland University (pdf) —
Introduction: Malignant Narcissism has been recognized as a serious condition but it has been largely ignored in psychiatric literature and research. […] Malignant Narcissism is a severe personality disorder that has devastating consequences for the family and society.
What makes a malignant narcissist different than a classical narcissist is that they tend to be much more dark and aggressive. Plain narcissus are willing to lie, cheat, and steal in order to get what they want — or think they deserve — but causing hurt in never the main motivation. On the other hand, malignant narcissist actually enjoy causing pain and suffering just for the fun of it.
For more information on classical narcissism, check out my companion article:
Things You Might Notice a Malignant Narcissist Doing
The following are examples of the types of behaviors that you would see from a malignant narcissist:
- Strict adherence to an ideology which makes them superior, while allowing them to be aggressive towards their opponents
- Seeking to destroy, symbolically castrate, or dehumanize others
- A deep seated paranoia, irrationally so
- Love conspiracy theories
- A tendency to commit aggrieve crimes like burglary, assault, or murder
- Gravitate towards fanatical groups like cults or terrorist organizations
- A rage fueled by a desire for revenge
- Torturing animals
- Assertions of dominance over the weak or children
- Having no neutral opinions of other people: either cutting them down or idolizing them
These types of behaviors are also in addition to the more typical narcissistic behaviors, such as:
- Inability co accept criticism
- Living in a fantasy world that glorifies their own success and power
- Taking credit for others accomplishments
- Engaging gossip, lies, or emotional manipulation to make themselves either:
- The hero and superior to others
- The victim of a tyrant (usually only in their own imagination)
Getting Help with a Malignant Narcissist
If you have a someone who might be a malignant narcissist in you life — or you know somebody that does — it is imperative that you seek out proper support. Malignant narcissist can be quite dangerous and difficult to deal with.
See our list of recommended resources for books, courses, and coaching options to help you get past this toxic person in your life.
What are the traits of a malignant narcissist?
Malignant narcissists have the classical self-absorbed, ego driven qualities of a narcissist mixed in with elements of aggressive and sadistic behavior. They hurt others not only to bolster their self image, but also because they enjoy causing pain.
What is a covert malignant narcissist?
A Covert malignant narcissist has the classical self-absorbed, ego driven qualities of a narcissist mixed in with introversion and sadistic behavior. While they still love to cause pain while boosting their own ego, they tend to do so in less obvious ways.