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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 behavior. It is a controversial diagnosis, recognized by personality experts but no longer identified as a distinct personality disorder in the DSM-V.

Unlike opportunistic narcissists, malignant narcissists plot, set traps and lie in wait, sometimes for long periods of time. Their methods of intimidation include stalking, cyber stalking, harassing and bullying.

Malignant narcissists are consummate liars who feel justified in doing whatever it takes to achieve their self-centered goals: cheat, accuse, spin, distort, blame. They never feel guilty for anything nor do they ever see themselves as wrong.

Frighteningly, malignant narcissists can appear to be intelligent, successful, kind and caring people with normal emotion, but they are not any of these things. They are cunning manipulators who prey on kind, gullible people. People are drawn to their charisma and charm. Many serial pedophiles fit this profile.

Malignant narcissists pretend to care about your feelings and seem to be considerate of your needs. This is a tactic used to gather information that will fool you into building a relationship with them and ultimately give them control over you.

Their illusions of superiority go well beyond vanity and excessive self-focus, and as a result they are ruthless, dangerous and sadistic. Since victims are not seen as people but rather unfeeling objects, the narcissist feels no pity or compassion for them, and no remorse for acting cruelly.

They are predatory terrorists, prone to committing inhumane acts of violence. Their lack of conscience, poor restraint capabilities, penchant toward vengeance, and paranoid “get others before they get you” attitude give them all the entitlement needed to destroy their victims.

If it sounds as if malignant narcissists are psychopaths or sociopaths, it is because they are nearly identical. There is, however, one primary distinction.

Malignant narcissists are driven by their pursuit for attention, adulation and approval. An emotional component always exists. People with antisocial personality disorder (psychopaths and sociopaths) do not operate from emotion nor do they care about getting attention.

Malignant narcissists are very dangerous people. The average person is no match for them. If you ever encounter a person like this, run the other way. Your life, your financial security and your sanity depend upon it.

Malignant narcissists who exemplify this disorder are: Ted Bundy, Charles Manson, O.J. Simpson, Saddam Hussein, Bernie Madoff, Adolph Hitler, and Joseph Stalin.

This is copyrighted material. May only be shared with author's permission and proper attribution.

Randi Fine is an internationally reknowedn narcissistic abuse expert and coach. She is the author of the groundbreaking book Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: The Narcissistic Abuse Survivor’s Guide to Healing and Recovery Second Edition, the most comprehensive, most well researched, and most up-to-date book on this subject. In addition to helping survivors recognize their abuse and heal from it, this book teaches mental health professionals how to recognize and properly treat the associated abuse syndrome. She is also the author of Cliffedge Road: A Memoir, the first and only book to characterize the life-long progression of complications caused by narcissistic child abuse.

{1} Fromm, Erich (1964). The Heart of Man: Its Genius for Good and Evil. Brooklyn, New York City: Lantern Books. ISBN978-1-59056-186-7.


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