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Malignant Narcissism

Updated: Oct 21, 2022

Malignant Narcissism

male malignant narcissist with mask

Malignant Narcissism

Written by Randi Fine, Narcissistic Abuse Expert

Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi Fine

“What's one less person on the face of the Earth, anyways?” -Ted Bundy

In 1964 social psychologist Erich Fromm coined the term "malignant narcissism". Fromm described it as a "severe mental sickness" representing "the quintessence of evil"; "the most severe pathology and the root of the most vicious destructiveness and inhumanity". {1}

Due to their relentless, cunning, diabolical, heartless and fiendish behavior, many people refer to their narcissistic abusers as being "malignant narcissists". In some cases that may be true, but in most that label is inaccurate. Malignant narcissism is theorized to be a combination of narcissistic personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, sadistic personality disorder and paranoid personality disorder.

Antisocial personality disorder is a cluster B disorder in the DSM-V, just as NPD is. It is characterized by the disregard for the feelings of others and the callous violation of their rights. Malevolent, menacing behavior patterns, also seen in sociopathic (defective conscience) and psychopathic (total lack of conscience) disorders characterize the most severe forms of antisocial personality disorder. Paranoid personality disorder is identified in the DSM-V as a cluster A disorder involving “ odd or eccentric “ behavior patterns. Sadistic personality disorder, involves a pervasive pattern of cruel, demeaning, and aggressive be