Have you ever been worked over by a malignant narcissist?
Perhaps an incredibly charming person appeared in your life and he or she seemed to absolutely worship you. You were told to an almost embarrassing extent how perfect you were, how beautiful, how intelligent, how sexy. You fell in love, let down all of your guards and boundaries, and within a year that same person was constantly devaluing your opinions and your self worth and telling you that you just weren’t quite good enough. You were too fat or too skinny or not very bright or not very well informed or your hair was too long or too short or you weren’t very satisfying in bed.
Or perhaps it was a family member, someone you’d always been fond of and trusted, but you find that they’re actually tearing you down and belittling you to other family members when you’re not there.
Or perhaps it’s a co-worker that you liked and opened up to about your personal life when you had a couple of drinks too many on a Friday night. On Monday morning you’re shocked to discover that your drinking buddy has shared your personal, “secrets,” not only with all of your co-workers but with your boss, as well.
There’s a common reaction from anyone who’s been chopped up and spit out by a malignant narcissist and that reaction is bewilderment.
“How could I have been so stupid?”
“Why didn’t I see this coming?”
“But . . . I thought he loved me . . .”
“She totally got under my radar.”
For whatever scant comfort it may provide, you’re in extremely good company. Some of the smartest, most empathetic, highly evolved people in the world have been taken to the emotional cleaners by malignant narcissists. It’s what they do and they’re experts at it. It has NOTHING to do with how intelligent you are, how attractive you are, or how evolved you are. To a malignant narcissist, you’re just a tasty snack.
The Seven of Swords is a perfect image of a malignant narcissist. He’s stealing someone else’s power, as represented by the swords slung over his shoulder. The flaps on the tent are closed, showing that the person he’s stealing from is totally unaware of what he’s doing. And even the guard posted outside of the tent – representing our conscious mind – seems to not register what’s going on.
If we type, “malignant narcissist,” into a search engine, we’ll get a huge number of results. There are literally thousands of articles and videos discussing what they do to other people, how they do it, and why they’re malignant narcissists to begin with. Really, it’s kind of astounding when we realize that they only comprise 5% of the population. To put it one way, they seem to have an over-sized footprint. To put it another way, they’ve fucked with an AWFUL lot of us.
Although the term, “malignant narcissist,” is fairly new, there’s nothing new about this personality type. In the past, they’ve been referred to as sociopaths, psychopaths, monomaniacs, and, “utterly without a conscience.”
And my favorite term for them: monsters.
There is something positively inhuman about malignant narcissists. They seem to have absolutely no sense of empathy or compassion. They have no conscience and remorse. And, far from being intelligent in the sense that most of us might use the term, their intelligence is more on the level of a vicious animal, a predator hunting down its prey.
We don’t even have to bend reality too much to see the malignant narcissist as the probable source of all of the, “monster,” legends that human cultures have promulgated. Vampires, for instance, were seen as beings with no souls, no compassion, who fed on their victims and destroyed them in the process. That’s a pretty good description of a malignant narcissist.
Of course, one of the things that folklore tells us about vampires is that they didn’t have any reflection in a mirror, which would drive a malignant narcissist nuts. They like to see how beautiful they are. It might have been the reason that vampires were always on the prowl for fresh victims: not just for fresh blood, but for more feedback.
“So . . . before I bite into your jugular vein and drain all of the life out of you, let me ask you one question. How do I look in this outfit?”
“Wha . . . wha . . . WHAT?”
“This outfit. How do I look? The tuxedo and the string tie. Too much? Does it make me look pale? I can’t see myself in the mirror, you know, and I’m just dying to know what you think of it.”
“Well . . . I mean . . . it is a little stark, I guess. Just black and white is kind of . . . I don’t know . . . a little visually boring. It could maybe use a touch of color.”
“Ah HA! Precisely what I was thinking! Just a dash of something a little brighter. A red cummerbund, perhaps, or even a pink bow tie.”
“No, no, I wouldn’t go with pink. Pink just isn’t . . . you. Red would be fine. Red would match your eyes and it’s more of a statement of who you really are. You know: the whole blood thing. You could probably even get away with a deep magenta, but no pink.”
“Ah, thank you, thank you. This conversation has been really invaluable to me. Now, just one more thing before I kill you. How do you like this hairstyle? I’ve been thinking less hair gel and more curls . . .”
We can extend the vampire metaphor even further. Like vampires, malignant narcissists just . . . won’t . . . stay . . . fucking . . . DEAD. When we finally get enough of them and tell them to get lost, they just keep coming back for another drink of our blood. It really does feel like we’d have to drive a stake through their hearts, cut their heads off, and stuff their mouths full of garlic cloves to finally make them shut up and leave us the fuck alone.
And, of course, malignant narcissists can’t stand the light of day. When they’re finally fully exposed for what they are, they crumble into dust. It becomes totally apparent that there’s no human substance to them, that there’s nothing there but sharp teeth and a giant ego.
One final thing that they have in common with vampires is that they count on us to make that one flawed decision that leads us to our own destruction, which is to get involved with them in the first place. We all know that scene in the old Dracula movies where the Intrepid Traveller is standing in front of the horrible creepy castle. There’s blood dripping down the walls, bats are flying in and out of the windows, wolves are howling in the distance and the Traveller looks at all of that and says, “By golly, I think I’ll knock on the door and see if anyone’s at home.”
The entire theater audience is mentally shrieking, “No, no, don’t get in there, stupid! He’ll bite your throat! Stay at the Motel 8 instead. I know the rooms are tiny, but there are good locks and they have those little coffee machines.”
The same thing happens with malignant narcissists. If we don’t go through their door, we don’t get our throats bitten and have the life force drained out of us. It may well be that most of us will never be smart enough to deal with malignant narcissists effectively. They are, after all, apex predators.
What we can do, though, is to learn to recognize them. If someone shows up in our lives and they’re so charming that it’s hard to believe – don’t believe it. If someone is love-bombing us WAY too early in the relationship, ask ourselves why they’re doing it. If it feels like love at first sight, take a good, hard second look.
And take a good hard look at their histories. One of the things I’ve noticed about malignant narcissists is that they have virtually NO social media presence. Which is odd, when we think about it, because narcissists love, love, love to talk about themselves. Malignant narcissists, on the other hand, are terrified of people they’ve exploited blowing their cover so they have no desire to leave a record on social media. If you knew how many ex-lovers they’d left in bloody tatters, you’d run like hell in the opposite direction.
Finally, if you’ve been victimized by a malignant narcissist even once, or if you had parents who were narcissists, I’d HIGHLY recommend watching Dr. Ramani’s series of videos on YouTube.