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Malignant Narcissist: 24 Scary Traits & What Makes Them the Worst

If you come across a malignant narcissist – run, don’t look back! They’re dangerous, but these signs and traits can help you recognize and deal with them.

malignant narcissist

A malignant narcissist is an extremely dangerous individual who you need to avoid at all costs. The key is learning to read their traits and signs, and identify them. 

The different types of narcissism

It’s important to know that there are several different types of narcissists, and they’re often called different things interchangeably. It’s not easy to pinpoint and identify someone as being narcissistic at the time. You’re often blinded by their spell and can’t see the woods for the trees.

However, if you want to avoid being emotionally abused by a narcissist, it’s important to know the signs. One particular type of narcissist to avoid at all costs is the malignant narcissist.

Now, we’ve all heard the word ‘narcissist’ or ‘narcissism’. This is a common word in today’s age and something we’re learning more and more about over the years. 

There are more narcissists out there than you might realize, simply because actually diagnosing the personality disorder is extremely difficult. NPD, or Narcissistic Personality Disorder, is extremely complex. While there are many people out there who display the odd narcissistic trait from time to time, that doesn’t make them a full blown narcissist.

[Read: What causes narcissism? The facts and theories to read a narcissist]

What is a malignant narcissist?

A malignant narcissist is the single worst type of narcissist there is. The good news is that it’s pretty rare, but try telling the victim of a malignant narcissist that there is any good news to be had. This is someone with borderline sociopathic and even psychopathic tendencies. They display several different traits which combine to create the malignant narcissist. 

This is someone who will twist, turn, abuse, mentally torture, and even use aggression in some cases, to get what they want. They’re also extremely paranoid and can use sadism in some cases. 

The difficulty arises because there isn’t a huge amount of research into malignant narcissism, compared to narcissism as a general umbrella term. As with any type of mental health condition or personality disorder, there are various degrees of severity. You might get a regular narcissist who simply has a very inflated sense of self and believes they’re the bees knees.

They may be diagnosed with NPD but don’t particularly use their narcissism to hurt others. On the other hand, you may have a narcissist who regularly uses gaslighting and other forms of psychological manipulation to confuse and emotionally abuse their partner or friends. 

[Read: The 16 subtle signs of narcissistic abuse you should never ignore]

What most experts agree on however is that the malignant narcissist is the worst type. Let’s look at a few traits to make things clearer. 

The traits and signs of a malignant narcissist to recognize them

Malignant narcissism is a huge combination of various factors. NPD itself has a list of different traits, so any subtype will have those traits, along with a few others which set the type apart. As a malignant narcissist is still a narcissist, they obviously share a few traits with other kinds of narcissists as well. So let’s split this into two sets of malignant narcissist traits, the common ones, and the scary signs that are unique to a malignant narcissist.

The general narcissistic traits of a malignant narcissist include: 

1. An inflated sense of self

2. An inability to handle any type of criticism

3. Extremely concerned with how they look to other people

4. A regular need for validation 

5. Zero empathy for other people, including their partner

6. Often take advantage of people close to them to make themselves look better or get the things they want from them

7. They assume they deserve the best of the best

8. Often only concern themselves with people who are attractive, successful, or of high social standing

9. They have to own the best of everything, e.g. the best car, the best phone, etc.

10. They expect to be treated as royalty

11. Never apologize if they hurt anyone, they don’t even notice much of the time

12. Blame other people when they do something wrong

13. Believe their opinion is right and everyone else is wrong

14. Regularly use manipulation tactics, such as gas lighting and isolating their partner from friends and family 

Want to know more about the signs of narcissism? Check out these 23 secret signs of narcissism most people don’t see until it’s too late to know more about them!

The special traits and signs of a malignant narcissist

A malignant narcissist will have all of, or most of, these traits. Additionally, they’ll show a few other traits and signs which sets this dangerous type of narcissism apart. It’s important to remember that everyone is different and narcissism is a very difficult condition to pinpoint. So, a malignant narcissist might show a few of these traits, but not others. That doesn’t mean they’re not dangerous. 

The following traits set malignant narcissism apart from other types and mainly come down to Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD) and sadism. 

1. Not caring about the feelings of others

Most narcissists don’t really care about anyone else but themselves. With malignant narcissists, this is kicked into overdrive. They don’t care who they hurt, they have no intention of apologizing, and it doesn’t even register on their remorse meter. [Read: How to handle a narcissist without falling apart and losing yourself]

2. Often use in-depth manipulation tactics

Narcissists are expert manipulators, but the malignant type go a few notches beyond. They’ll use gaslighting, mental abuse, emotional abuse, and sometimes they may resort to physical abuse. However, it’s less common. [Read: Being raised by narcissists and the 18 ways it affects your life forever]

3. The use of violence or aggression

Many malignant narcissists will become aggressive or even violent when pushed but not all. As I’ve just mentioned, it’s more likely to be subtle forms of abuse, such as emotional or mental, which build up over time. However, many malignant narcissists do use physical abuse to get what they want and then turn on the charm to switch it all over to emotional abuse afterwards. 

4. Zero remorse and zero care for consequences

This is a key feature of APD *Antisocial Personality Disorder*. But it often shows in malignant narcissism too. While most narcissists don’t really care about others, they will have some care for consequences if it makes them look bad.

Some narcissists also show a very small amount of remorse. However, the malignant narcissism will not show any of this, whether they’re hurting someone, destroying something, or showing violence towards a thing, a person, or a pet. [Read: A relationship with a narcissist and what it means to love one]

5. Reckless behavior that is often impulsive

Malignant narcissists living with APD don’t have much of a conscience when it comes to destroying or hurting and they also don’t really think about their own personal safety either. This means they use a pattern of reckless behavior that is regularly impulsive. This behavior may also be illegal, but they will show little genuine remorse afterwards. 

6. A desire to hurt or damage

In some cases, malignant narcissists can also want to hurt things or people. This is at the extreme end of the scale, true, but it is a trait to look out for. If this is the case and you see this in someone you know, distance yourself as soon as possible for your own safety. [Read: 16 abusive relationship signs of a mad and devious lover]

7. Enjoyment when someone is hurt

Malignant narcissists often use sadism and this is a trait which really sets the malignant type apart from the others in the NPD spectrum. They get a kick out of seeing someone upset or hurt, or when they’ve damaged something and they look at the results of that damage.

A severely malignant narcissist might also enjoy it when someone is in physical or emotional pain; they’ll get a real sense of pleasure from it and experience no desire to help or put things right.

8. May experience sexual pleasure from seeing others hurt

Apart from enjoying seeing others hurting, some malignant narcissists may also find it sexually arousing. This isn’t all people in this category, but it is a trait that has been recognized in some malignant narcissists who have particularly sadistic tendencies. 

9. Enjoy seeing other people humiliated

Some malignant narcissists aren’t actually physically violent, but instead, they enjoy seeing people embarrassed or humiliated. This is likely to be in a public situation, and the more that person seems upset or squirming, the more enjoyment they’ll get out of it. [Read: Not wishing someone happy birthday intentionally – A narcissistic power play?]

10. Extremely controlling

A common trait of malignant narcissism is to be controlling. This can be emotionally or physically, or sometimes a combination of both. A person in a relationship with someone like this will be subjected to extreme control and is likely to notice aggression if they try and move beyond the limits which the narcissist has put in place. 

Malignant narcissist vs a psychopath

Many people wonder if malignant narcissists are dangerous. The answer is yes. Even if a particular person with this condition isn’t physically abusive, they’re likely to be extremely emotionally abusive and mentally abusive. There is also the risk that their aggression could turn physical at some point. 

[Read: The wolf in sheep’s clothing and the warning signs of a psychopath]

There is the debated link between malignant narcissism and the psychopath label. Honestly, malignant narcissists aren’t diagnosed sociopaths nor psychopaths, but they do show certain traits which fit in with these conditions. For this reason, the mixture of it all creates a dangerous situation for anyone caught up in it.

How to deal with a malignant narcissist

The single best way to deal with a malignant narcissist? Get away. 

Seriously. There is going to be no joy in your life while dealing with a person like this. Plus, it’s a dangerous situation for you to be in. The only way to deal with them in the short term is to set boundaries and make sure that you stick to them very rigidly. After that, make a plan to leave the situation and set yourself free, before they notice what you’re up to.

[Read: How to set boundaries with a narcissist and weaken their hold over you]

Many victims of malignant narcissism need therapy after the relationship ends. They need help to unpick the abuse and come to terms with it. You can’t even expose a malignant narcissist, all you can do is put yourself first and get out of the situation as quickly as possible. 

If you suspect someone in your life to be a malignant narcissist, you have to do what’s right for you. Now you know everything about malignant narcissists, so now you need to know how to deal with a narcissist and get away from them.

But the truth is that there isn’t a whole lot you can do to deal with a malignant narcissist. The single best option is to get away and start your life over. If you need help with the abuse you’ve suffered, take it and focus on yourself from this point onwards. 

[Read: How to leave a narcissist and free yourself from their web of control]

Nobody deserves to deal with a malignant narcissist. Now that you know their traits and signs, no matter how well they conceal the issue and how much they try and blame you for everything they do – you’re not wrong, they are.

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Nicky Curtis
Nicky Curtis
Having stumbled from one relationship drama to another throughout her 20s, Nicky is now somewhat of a guru in the crazy world of life and love. Telling it how i...
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