Who’s A Malignant Narcissist? Signs, Traits & How To Deal With A Malignant Narcissist
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Narcissism – the word – is often used to describe a self-obsessed, self-ambitious person or in other words, someone who is egocentric, self-centered, and full of themselves.
But when it comes to psychological definition, narcissism doesn’t necessarily mean self-obsession. In psychology, a narcissist is in love with their grandiose image. Why? To hide the feelings of insecurity.
In this effort to hide their insecurities, they develop dysfunctional traits and behaviors. People who develop narcissistic personality disorder develop a pattern of egoistic thinking, zero empathy, and excessive need for external validation.
Did you know that there are many types of narcissism? Yes! Some of them are:
- Overt Narcissism
- Covert Narcissism
- Hypervigilant Narcissism
- Oblivious Narcissism
- Malignant Narcissism
In this article, we’ll be exploring what malignant narcissism is, its signs, traits, and how you can deal with a malignant narcissist.
What Is Malignant Narcissism?
Malignant narcissism, although not officially recognized in the DSM-5, is an informal term to describe a person with symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder.
Among the other types of narcissism, malignant narcissism can be considered the most severe and harmful. Malignant narcissists have general traits of narcissistic personality disorder but also have traits such as poor self-identity, lack of empathy, and paranoia.
Malignant narcissists are manipulative and care less about the pain, frustration, and heartache they leave behind. Some malignant narcissists may also find the pain they leave behind as empowering and would do anything to avoid losing face or failing.
Many psychologists believe that there is not much difference between a malignant narcissist and a psychopath.
Signs Of Malignant Narcissism
While not every narcissist may have similar signs and traits, malignant narcissists are different. They have mixed traits of NPD and antisocial personality disorder.
Here are the signs you can use to identify a malignant narcissist:
- They are often preoccupied with fantasies of power
- They can’t handle criticism
- They tend to lash out when they feel neglected
- They are likely to take advantage of others
- They are extremely concerned about their image
- They expect to be treated above all
- They lack empathy towards others
- They have an inflated sense of self
- They feel no remorse for hurting others
- They don’t apologize unless it benefits them
- They feel like they deserve the best of everything
- They tend to monopolize conversations
- They mistreat people they believe are inferior
- They tend to blame others for their failures and actions
Causes And Diagnosis Malignant Narcissist
While the exact cause of malignant narcissism is unknown, it can be said that NPD develops due to genetic and external factors (or a combination of both). Some common causes can be:
- Childhood abuse
- Excessive pampering
- Authoritarian parenting
- Having a family member with NPD
And while malignant narcissism isn’t formally recognized in the DSM-5, many psychologists use a combination of narcissistic personality disorder traits and antisocial personality disorder traits along with aggression, sadistic behaviors, and paranoia to diagnose malignant narcissistic personality disorder.
What Are The Treatment Options?
Treatments for narcissism can be hard to find as narcissists often disregard their problem as a genuine problem. Although if you believe that your loved one may benefit from seeking professional help, there are therapies that can help.
Some therapy approaches that can be used to address and treat malignant narcissism symptoms can be:
- Psychodynamic therapy
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical-behavioral therapy (DBT)
- Family systems therapy
- Couples counseling
If the symptoms are severe, then a psychiatrist may prescribe medications such as anti-anxiety pills, antidepressants, antipsychotic medications, or mood stabilizers to help the distressed.
Please consult with your physician before taking any medications as some might have side effects that may worsen your condition.
How To Deal With A Malignant Narcissist?
When it comes to dealing with a malignant narcissist, there are some ways you can apply:
1. Accept The Challenge
Accept that dealing with a malignant narcissist is going to be challenging. Put some distance between yourself and them and while it can be difficult, set healthy and strong boundaries to protect yourself from their behaviors.
2. Don’t Expect Change
Change is not easy when it comes to malignant narcissists, so don’t expect it or you’re in for a bitter disappointment.
3. Don’t Confront Them Directly
When you confront a malignant narcissist directly, there’s a high chance that they may retaliate and turn the situation around. If you need to confront them regarding their behavior, do so in private and not in front of a crowd. To save face, they may threaten or humiliate you.
4. Lean On Your Support System
When you’re faced with a malignant narcissist, there’s a small chance you’ll come out unscathed – emotionally. So when dealing with a malignant narcissist, have your support system ready. Having supportive people around may help make sense of the negativity you experience in a malignant narcissist’s company.
5. Seek Help
Please understand that it can be tough to deal with a malignant narcissist. While therapy may not help people with narcissism, you can benefit from one. Therapy can help you not only understand NPD better but can also help you develop healthy coping strategies for when you need to deal with a malignant narcissist.
Knowing or living with a malignant narcissist can be challenging but you can protect your mental and emotional health simply by putting some distance and boundaries between yourself and them.
However, if this doesn’t help, you can always ask for professional help to understand how to deal with a malignant narcissist. If you believe you or your loved one is a malignant narcissist, then you should consult with a professional for a diagnosis
Remember, help is available, all you need to do is ask for it. If you’d like our help in connecting with a trained professional, you can write to us at email@example.com or DM us on social media.