Malignant narcissist psychopath

Malignant narcissist: Definition, signs, and more

Malignant narcissism is a personality type that causes extreme narcissism, aggression, and, sometimes, abuse of others. A person may use manipulative means or violence to enhance their own sense of wellbeing.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) does not list malignant narcissism as a diagnosis.

Some people describe malignant narcissism as a form of psychopathy, which the DSM-5 also does not list. Psychopathy is an unofficial term for people with antisocial personality disorder.

As there is not a well-validated scale to measure malignant narcissism, its characteristics are not clearly defined. It may serve as a moral judgment rather than a diagnosis, especially in online abuse recovery and self-help spaces. Whether malignant narcissism is a real diagnosis remains controversial.

Keep reading to learn more about malignant narcissism, including the signs and traits and how to deal with someone who may present characteristics of this personality disorder.

The notion of malignant narcissism originates in the self-help and law enforcement communities, not in psychiatry. These communities have focused on malignant narcissism as a behavioral judgment and a specific form of abuse rather than a mental health diagnosis.

In the popular conception, malignant narcissism is a form of narcissistic personality disorder that is highly abusive. People with this personality supposedly get a sense of satisfaction from hurting others and may manipulate people or lie to gain money, acclaim, and other things they desire.

Campbell’s Psychiatric Dictionary suggests that malignant narcissism includes traits of narcissistic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder. Narcissistic personality disorder causes a person to seek constant acclaim and admiration, often by whatever means necessary. It also includes elements of antisocial personality disorder, which causes a person to engage in harmful, and sometimes criminal, behavior.

More recently, mental health professionals have attempted to determine whether malignant narcissism is a real diagnosis. A 2022 paper tried to develop a scoring inventory for malignant narcissism.

A 2019 paper emphasizes that malignant narcissism is a judgment based on beliefs about a person’s thoughts, rather than an actual diagnosis. This judgment relies heavily on legal and forensic frameworks rather than medical science.

Malignant narcissism includes characteristics of narcissistic personality disorder. Those symptoms include:

  • lack of empathy
  • using relationships primarily as a tool for gaining self-esteem
  • having little interest in others’ experiences, needs, or feelings
  • attention-seeking behavior
  • feelings of entitlement or being special
  • believing themself to be superior to others

A person with malignant narcissism may harm others to gain attention, feed their sense of superiority, and get what they want. For this reason, a person may also have traits of antisocial personality disorder. These include:

  • disregard for or hostility toward the rights of others
  • aggression and violence
  • lack of remorse for harming others
  • a tendency to lie
  • breaking the law
  • chronic irresponsibility
  • impulsive or reckless behavior

A person with malignant narcissism may appear superficially charming. They may manipulate people to gain praise or lie about others to depict themself in a more flattering light.

People with a narcissistic personality crave attention and acclaim. They believe they are special and want others to believe this, too. They may seek the attention they want through positive strategies, such as getting a good job or being charming, or negative ones, such as lying to others or abusing loved ones.

The need for attention and love is also present for people with malignant narcissism. However, their strategies for getting this attention tend to be more aggressive, and they show less regard for the rights of others. They may have antisocial personality traits that cause them to abuse others willingly, and sometimes happily, for their own pleasure and personal gain.

There is not a clear distinguishing line between narcissism and malignant narcissism. Instead, malignant narcissism is a judgment about how a person’s narcissism affects others.

Some self-help literature labels people with malignant narcissism as sociopaths or psychopaths, both of which are unofficial terms.

Although the idea of a person without a conscience, i.e., a sociopath or psychopath, is popular in television, movies, and some psychology media, the DSM-5 does not list either as a diagnosis. These labels judge a person’s moral character or conscience, neither of which science can objectively prove the existence of or judge.

The diagnosis most similar to psychopathy or sociopathy is antisocial personality disorder. This disorder causes a person to disrespect the rights of others, disregard people’s feelings and needs, and lack empathy.

Individuals with malignant narcissism share many traits in common with those with antisocial personality disorder, including a lack of regard for others’ well-being. The label also often comes with a desire for acclaim or special treatment. Some people with traits of malignant narcissism may achieve these goals by harming, lying to, or using others.

Popular depictions of psychopathy and sociopathy emphasize that these individuals will not respond to treatment. There are several treatment options for antisocial personality disorder, though treatment can be difficult, and people with antisocial personality disorder rarely seek it. These treatments may also help individuals with malignant narcissism.

Avoiding a person with malignant narcissism is a key self-protection strategy. No one can cure another person’s mental health disorder, and those with narcissistic traits who refuse treatment can cause significant harm.

However, sometimes, a person must interact with someone with malignant narcissism. Some strategies that can help include:

  • Documentation: People working, co-parenting, or sharing a legal relationship with someone with narcissism should communicate in writing when possible and document conversations to whatever extent is safely and legally possible. This prevents the person with narcissism from making false claims and escalating abuse by, for example, trying to seek custody of children.
  • Gray rocking: Gray rocking means channeling a gray, boring rock — in other words, being as uninteresting as possible. Many people with narcissism want a reaction, even a negative one. When they do not get it, they may lose interest.
  • Establishing boundaries: Individuals with narcissism may routinely violate boundaries, so it is important to establish internal guidelines. These might include deciding to leave the room if the person becomes abusive or spending only a limited time with them.
  • Understanding narcissism: People with narcissism have a mental health problem. Learning about and understanding how narcissism functions can help others learn how to deal with people with the traits of this disorder.

People who interact with those with narcissism may experience gaslighting, a form of abuse that can make a person feel as though their reality might not be real. They may also find that the person with narcissism attempts to turn others against them. It can be difficult to recover from these situations.

Some strategies for recovering include:

  • Seeking legal help, where useful: People who have a boss or ex-spouse with narcissism may need legal help. They can work with a lawyer to identify their legal rights.
  • Seeking mental health support: Following abuse, mental health support can help a person understand how a healthy relationship should look and help them regain their self-esteem.
  • Finding peer support: Talking with others who have survived abuse can make a person feel less alone. Some people may benefit from joining an online or in-person support group.

People experiencing domestic violence can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Malignant narcissism is not a medical diagnosis, and its status as a potential diagnosis remains controversial. However, this does not mean that it is not real.

Many harmful behaviors and traits are not technical diagnoses but can still affect the person who has them, as well as the people around them. The label of malignant narcissism simply provides additional information about a group of symptoms that some people notice in others.

It is important to consider that popular ideas about malignant narcissism may not be true. For instance, there is no science supporting the idea that people with these traits can never change. However, there is also no evidence that third parties can compel them to change.

A mental health professional may be able to help people with malignant narcissism who wish to recover. They can usually also help victims of narcissistic abuse.

What People Get Wrong About These Types

One of the biggest misconceptions about psychopaths and malignant narcissists who have psychopathic traits is the idea that they are lashing out from pain when they engage in aggressive behavior. Nothing could be further from the truth. The defining characteristic of a psychopath is their tendency to engage in what is known as instrumental aggression (Glenn & Raine, 2009). Instrumental aggression is deliberate aggression waged against a victim for the purpose of fulfilling an agenda or getting some sort of reward. This type of aggression, also known as proactive or predatory aggression, is planned, premeditated, and often unprovoked by their victims; it is controlled, purposeful, and used to achieve personal gain, usually an external goal like money, social status, fame, drugs, the maintenance of their self-image, the fulfillment of grandiose fantasies, or even sadistic pleasure derived from the act of inflicting pain.

Research has found that psychopathic criminals are more likely to engage in predatory instrumental violence, while non-psychopathic violent criminals are more likely to engage in reactive violence – violence in response to a perceived threat. Psychopaths are also less likely to experience emotional arousal during their crimes than non-psychopaths (Woodworth & Porter, 2002). In fact, a psychopath’s crimes demonstrate an excessive level of gratuitous and sadistic violence in comparison to the crimes of non-psychopathic criminals, suggesting that their predatory nature works hand in hand with their sadism (Porter, et al., 2003).

In contrast to the claim that psychopaths and malignant narcissists are simply “acting out” due to some sort of trauma, or reacting out of fear, psychopaths exhibit emotional poverty and show a reduced response in their amygdala, the area of the brain associated with emotions and the fight or flight response.Brain scans have revealed a reduced gray matter volume of the amygdala in psychopathic individuals and several fMRI studies have shown reduced amygdala activity during the processing of emotional stimuli as well as during fear conditioning, where people would normally learn from experiencing aversive consequences regarding how not to behave in order to avoid punishment (Birbaumer et al. , 2005; Viet et al., 2002). This isnt surprising, considering psychopaths generally are insensitive to fear of punishment and do not appear to learn from consequences as non-psychopaths do. They also tend to show a reduced startle response to aversive stimuli.

Studies have also shown reduced amygdala functioning in psychopaths during tasks related to moral decision making and emotional moral dilemmas (Glenn, Raine & Schug, 2009). Given this, dysfunction in the amygdala may contribute to the deficits in moral behavior that weve seen in psychopaths, their lack of care regarding the harm they cause to others, their ability to manipulate and engage in callous, aggressive behavior, and their inability to empathize with others.

Instrumental aggression is not driven by a strong emotional reaction to something, whereas in reactive aggression, there is an emotional impetus (though certainly not a justification) that causes impulsive violence or aggression for example, aggression in response to threat or provocation in a heated argument. Unlike individuals with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, PTSD, or even borderline personality disorder who might show an exaggerated response in their amygdala, psychopaths are not “reacting” to something they perceive will harm them when they commit transgressions – they are enacting elaborate mind games of sabotage and going out of their way to provoke and get a response out of their victims.

While psychopathic individuals can appear to engage in both instrumental and reactive aggression, its their propensity toward instrumental aggression that distinguishes them from other antisocial individuals; any reactive aggression they do appear to engage in is more likely to be linked to their frustration of not getting a reward or a challenge posed to their grandiose self-image, not fear. Malignant narcissists and psychopaths lack remorse, are sadistic, and often react to what is known as “threatened egotism” – which in their case, is any perceived slight to their false sense of superiority (Baumeister et. al, 1996). This is seeming reactive aggression not in response to fear or trauma, but rather an aggressive response to maintain their own self-concept.

Such egosyntonic aggressive responses are not the same as reacting aggressively due to being emotionally dysregulated by suffering, pain, low self-esteem, or legitimate danger. Rather, these responses stem from their excessive sense of entitlement, a false sense of superiority, pathological envy, a need for revenge (even when no revenge is warranted), and callous self-centeredness. As researchers Goldner-Vukov and Jo Moore (2010) note, malignant narcissists in particular “are deeply envious of people who have meaningful lives… [they] have a tendency to destroy, symbolically castrate, and dehumanize others. Their rage is fueled by the desire for revenge…the paranoid tendencies in malignant narcissists reflect their projection of unresolved hatred onto others whom they persecute.” Malignant narcissists persecute others deliberately in order to fuel their grandiose self-image and for the pleasure of taking those who surpass them down; like psychopaths, they go out of their way to harm innocent people to fulfill their own sadistic goals without regard for the rights of their victims or the sanctity of human life.

The next time you are tempted to rationalize a psychopath’s malicious behavior, remember the nature of their disorder according to research and realize that you do have a right to protect and defend yourself against their manipulation. You no longer need to deny, minimize, or justify their violations against you out of the idea that they are in agony or need to be “nursed” back to emotional health. Primary, low-anxious psychopaths lack remorse, shame, and are callous individuals. They are not in pain when they harm you – they harm you to derive a sick sense of satisfaction from your pain.

in the hell of destructive relationships and unrealizable intimacy

The main signs of malignant narcissism:

1. Self-submission and dependence

Example: they make you feel bad if you do not spend time with them.

What you may have heard: "It's good that you make time for yourself, but I would like you to think about how it negatively affects me when you are not around. "

Their goal: is to make you feel guilty. They seek to make you dependent on them.

Since they are sure that they are excellent personalities, they believe that you should not spend time outside of your relationship with them, instead you should completely focus on them. Malignant narcissists have no doubts that they are better than anyone else and it is almost impossible for them to accept when you try to have your own interests or relationships outside of your social circle with them.

If you leave them alone, they manipulate you with guilt and often insist that you spend more time together. However, these efforts are not always reciprocated: victims of the narcissist may notice that they stay at home alone much more often than their toxic partner.

This is because narcissists often see their partners as safe havens, a kind of psychic retreat; they are afraid that the partner will cease to serve their needs as soon as he finds an interesting hobby, new friends or a support group, begins to enjoy his own life and enjoy activities outside of the relationship with a malignant narcissist.

2. Hidden insecurity

Example: underestimate or completely devalue the achievements and merits of a partner and other people.

What you might have heard: "What you've achieved with this project is pretty cool, but I don't think it's original."

Their goal: is to make you believe how smart and original they are.

They do their best to make you feel that they are the source of everything for you. They are competitive and always want to impress you, even if the situation has nothing to do with them.

Although most malignant narcissists strive to be leaders, they do not always achieve this goal. Those who do not find themselves in high positions often endure painful disagreements caused by how they see themselves without taking into account their own true skills in reality.

To make up for this, malignant narcissists will downplay or discount your progress and achievements. Some may go even further, telling you that you could never have achieved your goals without their help.

These people constantly seek to destroy others and have no problem doing so.

3. Psychological bullying (bullying)

Example: criticism and depreciation of everything you do.

What you might have heard: "I'm just trying to make you better."

Their goal: to make you feel that you need their advice for every aspect of your life. Bullying is a malevolent pleasure for malignant narcissists because they truly believe that they are turning you into the best version of yourself. Such constant attempts to "improve" you and the criticism you face can be a clear sign that you are dealing with a malignant narcissist.

These people believe they set the standard for attractiveness, good behavior, and well-being, so they aggressively try to impose it on everyone else.

In a relationship with a narcissist, this often manifests itself in physical abuse, the imposition of their, most often absurd, arguments on you, as well as in derogatory criticism. At times you feel like you're walking on eggshells and hesitate to stand up for your own position because you're afraid they'll always find something to say about it. As a result, you try to remain calm, giving up your own desires, in order to maintain peace in the relationship. You lose your sense of self and realize bitterly that you have nowhere and no one to share your feelings with.

How Malignant Narcissists and Other Destructive Personalities Manipulate Us - 20 Dirty Tricks

Carriers of malignant narcissism and psychopathy often exhibit destructive behavior in relationships, exploiting, humiliating and hurting their partners or partners, relatives and loved ones as a result.

They use many distractions to misinform people and make them responsible for what is happening.

It is not only narcissists who use these tricks, but it is the malignant narcissists who use them most often to avoid responsibility for their actions.

1. Gaslighting.

Gaslighting (a form of psychological abuse, the main task of which is to make a person doubt the objectivity of his perception, as well as reality itself. Psychological manipulation designed to expose an individual as “defective”, “abnormal” - wikipedia) is a manipulative technique that is the easiest illustrate with such typical phrases: “ There was no such ”, “ You thought ” and “ Are you crazy ?”. Gaslighting is perhaps one of the most insidious manipulation techniques, because it aims to distort and undermine your sense of reality ; it eats away at your ability to trust yourself, and as a result, you begin to question the legitimacy of your complaints of insults and mistreatment.

When a narcissist, sociopath, or psychopath uses this tactic against you, you automatically side with them to resolve the cognitive dissonance that has arisen. Two irreconcilable reactions are fighting in your soul: either he is mistaken, or my own feelings. The manipulator will try to convince you that the former is completely out of the question, and the latter is the pure truth, indicating your inadequacy.

In order to successfully resist gaslighting, it is very important to find support in your own reality : sometimes it is enough to write down what is happening in a diary, tell friends or share with a support group. The value of outside support is that it can help you break out of the distorted reality of the manipulator and see things for yourself.

2. Projection.

One sure sign of destructiveness is when a person is chronically unwilling to see his own shortcomings and uses everything in his power to avoid responsibility for them. This is called projection. Projection is a defense mechanism used to displace responsibility for one's negative traits and behaviors by attributing them to another. Thus, the manipulator avoids admitting his guilt and responsibility for the consequences.

While we all use projection to some degree, narcissist clinical expert Dr. Martinez-Levi notes that in narcissists, projections often become a form of psychological abuse.

Instead of admitting their own shortcomings, flaws, and wrongdoings, narcissists and sociopaths prefer to blame their own vices on their unsuspecting victims, in the most obnoxious and cruel way . Instead of admitting that they could do with taking care of themselves, they prefer to shame their victims by making them responsible for their behavior. In this way, the narcissist causes others to experience the bitter shame that he feels towards himself.

For example, a pathological liar may accuse his partner of lying; a needy wife may call her husband "sticky" in an attempt to make him dependent; a bad employee may call the boss ineffective in order to avoid a truthful conversation about their own performance.

Narcissistic sadists love to play blame-shifting. Goals of the game: they win, you lose, the result - you or the whole world as a whole is to blame for everything that happened to them. Thus, you have to nurse their fragile egos, and in return you are pushed into a sea of ​​insecurity and self-criticism. Cool idea, right?

Solution? Do not "project" your own feeling of compassion or sympathy onto the destructive person and do not accept his poisonous projections on yourself. As manipulation expert Dr. George Simon writes in his book In Sheep's Clothing (2010), projecting one's own conscientiousness and value system onto others can encourage further exploitation.

Narcissists at the extreme end of the spectrum tend to be completely uninterested in introspection and change. It is important to break off all relationships and ties with destructive people as soon as possible in order to rely on your own reality and begin to value yourself. You don't have to live in a cesspool of other people's dysfunctions.

3. Hellishly meaningless conversations.

If you hope for thoughtful communication with a destructive person, you will be disappointed: instead of an attentive interlocutor, you will get an epic brain-fuck.

Narcissists and sociopaths use stream of consciousness, circling, personalization, projection, and gaslighting to confuse and confuse you whenever you disagree or challenge them. This is done in order to discredit, distract and upset you, divert from the main topic and make you feel guilty about the fact that you are a living person with real thoughts and feelings that dare to be different from their own. In their eyes, the problem is your existence.

Ten minutes of arguing with a narcissist is all it takes, and you're already wondering how you even got involved. You just disagreed with his ridiculous statement that the sky is red, and now your entire childhood, family, friends, career and lifestyle are mixed with dirt. This is because your disagreement contradicts his false belief that he is omnipotent and omniscient, which leads to the so-called narcissistic injury.

Remember: destructive people are not arguing with you, they are, in fact, arguing with themselves, you are just an accomplice in a long, exhausting monologue. They love drama and live for it. Trying to find an argument that refutes their ridiculous claims, you are only throwing wood on the fire. Don't feed narcissists - rather feed yourself the understanding that the problem is not with you, but with their abusive behavior. Stop communicating as soon as you feel the first signs of narcissism, and spend this time doing something pleasant.

4. Generalizations and allegations.

Narcissists do not always boast outstanding intelligence - many of them are not used to thinking at all. Instead of wasting time and understanding different points of view, they make generalizations based on whatever you say, ignoring the nuances of your argument and your attempts to take into account different opinions. And it's even easier to put some label on you - this automatically negates the value of any of your statements.

On a larger scale, generalizations and allegations are often used to devalue phenomena that do not fit into groundless social prejudices, schemes and stereotypes; they are also used to maintain the status quo. Thus, any one aspect of the problem is blown up so much that a serious conversation becomes impossible. For example, when popular personalities are accused of rape, many immediately begin to shout that such accusations sometimes turn out to be false. And, although false accusations do occur, they are still quite rare, and in this case, the actions of one person are attributed to the majority, while the specific accusation is ignored.

Such everyday manifestations of micro-aggression are typical of destructive relationships. For example, you tell a narcissist that his behavior is unacceptable, and in response he immediately makes an allegation about your hypersensitivity or a generalization like: “ You are always unhappy with everything” or “You are not satisfied with anything at all” , instead of to draw attention to the real problem. Yes, you may be oversensitive at times - but it's equally likely that your abuser is insensitive and callous most of the time.

Stick to the truth and try to resist unfounded generalizations, because this is just a form of completely illogical black and white thinking. Behind destructive people who spread unfounded generalizations is not the full wealth of human experience - only their own limited experience, coupled with an inflated sense of self-worth.

5. Deliberately distorting your thoughts and feelings to the point of complete absurdity.

In the hands of a narcissist or sociopath, your differences of opinion, justified emotions and real experiences turn into character flaws and evidence of your irrationality.

Narcissists make up all sorts of tall tales, paraphrasing what you have said so that your position looks absurd or unacceptable. Let's say you point out to a destructive friend that you don't like the way he talks to you. In response, he twists your words: “ Oh, and you are with us, so perfection itself?” or “So you think I'm bad? ”- although you just expressed your feelings. This gives them the opportunity to nullify your right to think and feel about their inappropriate behavior and instills guilt in you when you try to set boundaries.

This common distraction is a cognitive distortion called "mind reading." Destructive people think they know your thoughts and feelings. They routinely jump to conclusions based on their own reactions instead of listening carefully. They act accordingly based on their own illusions and delusions and never apologize for the harm they cause as a result. Great masters of putting words into other people's mouths, they expose you as carriers of absolutely wildest intentions and opinions. They accuse you of being inadequate before you even comment on their behavior, and this is also a form of preemptive defense.

The best way to draw a clear line with such a person is to simply say, " I didn't say that ", ending the conversation if he continues to accuse you of something you didn't do or say. As long as the destructive person has the ability to shift blame and divert the conversation away from their own behavior, they will continue to make you feel ashamed that you dared to contradict him in some way.

6. Niggling and changing the rules of the game.

The difference between constructive and destructive criticism is the absence of personal attacks and unattainable standards. These so-called "critics" have no desire to help you become better - they just like to find fault, humiliate and make a scapegoat out of you. Narcissistic sadists and sociopaths resort to a sophism called "game changer" to ensure they have every reason to be constantly unhappy with you. This is when, even after you've provided all sorts of evidence to support your argument or taken all possible steps to meet their request, they make a new claim or want more evidence.

Do you have a successful career? The narcissist will nitpick why you are still not a multimillionaire. Did you satisfy his need for 24/7 babysitting? Now prove that you can remain "independent". The rules of the game will constantly change and can easily even contradict each other; the sole purpose of this game is to get you to seek the attention and approval of a narcissist.

By constantly raising or replacing expectations, destructive manipulators can instill in you a pervasive sense of worthlessness and a constant fear of inadequacy. By isolating one minor episode or one of your failures and blowing it up to gigantic proportions, the narcissist forces you to forget about your own strengths and instead worry about your weaknesses or shortcomings all the time. It forces you to think of new expectations that you will now have to live up to, and as a result, you go out of your way to meet his every demand - and in the end it turns out that he still treats you badly.

Don't be fooled by nitpicking and game-changing - if a person prefers to gobble over some insignificant episode over and over again, while not paying attention to all your attempts to confirm his case or satisfy his requirements, then he is not driven at all by the desire to understand you . He is driven by the desire to make you feel that you must constantly strive to earn his approval. Appreciate and approve of yourself. Know that you are a whole person and should not constantly feel ungrateful or unworthy.

7. Change of subject to avoid responsibility.

I call this maneuver “ How about me syndrome? ". This is a literal digression from the topic under discussion in order to transfer attention to a completely different one. Narcissists do not want to discuss the issue of their personal responsibility, so they divert the conversation in the direction they want. Are you complaining that he doesn't make time for the kids? It will remind you of the mistake you made seven years ago. This maneuver knows neither temporal nor thematic framework and often begins with the words: " And when you... »

On a societal level, these techniques are used to disrupt discussions that challenge the status quo. A conversation about gay rights, for example, can be derailed as soon as one of the participants raises the issue of another pressing issue, diverting everyone's attention from the original dispute.

As Tara Moss, author of “Speaking Out: A 21st Century Handbook for Women and Girls” points out, specificity is needed for proper consideration and resolution of issues - this does not mean that the topics raised along the way are not important, it just means that for each Themes have their time and their context.

Don't get distracted; if someone is trying to change concepts, use the “broken record” method, as I call it: keep repeating facts stubbornly without deviating from the topic. Move the arrows back, say: “ I'm not talking about that now. Let's not get distracted ." If it does not help, stop the conversation and direct your energy to a more useful channel - for example, find an interlocutor who is not stuck in mental development at the level of a three-year-old baby.

8. Hidden and overt threats.

Narcissists and other destructive personalities feel very uncomfortable when their belief that the whole world is indebted to them, a false sense of superiority or colossal self-esteem is called into question by someone. They tend to make unreasonable demands on others—and in doing so, punish you for not living up to their unattainable expectations.

Instead of maturely resolving disagreements and seeking compromise, they try to deprive you of the right to your own opinion, seeking to teach you to be afraid of the consequences of any disagreement with them or non-compliance with their requirements. They respond to any disagreement with an ultimatum, their standard reaction is “ do this, otherwise I'll do that ."

If, in response to your attempts to draw a line or express an excellent opinion, you hear an orderly tone and threats, whether it be veiled hints or detailed promises of punishments, this is a sure sign: you are facing a person who is sure that everyone owes him, and he never will compromise. Take the threats seriously and show the narcissist that you are not joking by documenting them if possible and reporting them to the appropriate authorities.

9. Insults.

Narcissists preemptively make an elephant out of a fly when they sense the slightest threat to their sense of superiority. In their understanding, only they are always right, and anyone who dares to say otherwise inflicts a narcissistic injury on them, leading to narcissistic rage. According to Dr. Mark Goulston, narcissistic rage is not the result of low self-esteem, but rather a belief in one's own infallibility and a false sense of superiority.

In the lowest of this type, narcissistic rage takes the form of insults when it fails to otherwise influence your opinion or emotions. Insults are a quick and easy way to offend, humiliate and ridicule your mental abilities, appearance or behavior, while depriving you of the right to be a person with your own opinion.

Insults can also be used to criticize your beliefs, opinions and ideas. A well-founded point of view or a compelling rebuttal suddenly becomes "ridiculous" or "idiotic" in the hands of a narcissist or sociopath who feels hurt but can't make a substantive objection. Unable to find the strength to attack your argument, the narcissist attacks you, seeking in every possible way to undermine your authority and question your mental abilities. As soon as insults are used, it is necessary to interrupt further communication and unequivocally state that you do not intend to tolerate it. Don't take it personally: understand that they resort to insults only because they don't know any other way to get their point across.

10. Training.

Destructive people teach you to associate your strengths, talents, and happy memories with abuse, disappointment, and disrespect. To this end, they, as if by chance, make derogatory remarks about your qualities and properties that they themselves once admired, and also sabotage your goals, spoil your holidays, vacations and weekends. They can even isolate you from friends and loved ones and make you financially dependent on them. You, like Pavlov's dogs, are essentially "trained", making you afraid to do all the things that once made your life rich.

Narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths, and other destructive personalities do this to draw attention to themselves and how you can meet their needs. If some external factor can prevent them from completely and completely controlling your life, they seek to destroy it. They need to be the center of attention all the time. In the idealization stage, you were the center of the narcissist's world - and now the narcissist should be the center of your world.

In addition, narcissists are naturally morbidly jealous and cannot bear the thought that anything can shield you even in the slightest from their influence. For them, your happiness is everything that is not available to them in their emotionally scarce existence. After all, if you find that you can get respect, love, and support from someone who is non-destructive, what will keep you from parting with them? In the hands of a destructive person, “training” is an effective way to get you to tiptoe and always stop halfway to your dream.

11. Slander and persecution.

When destructive personalities cannot control how you perceive yourself, they begin to control how others perceive you; they take on the role of a martyr, making you look destructive. Slander and gossip is a preemptive strike designed to destroy your reputation and denigrate your name so that you have no support left in case you still decide to break off relations and leave a destructive partner. They may even harass and harass you or someone you know, ostensibly to "expose" you; such "exposure" is just a way to cover up your own destructive behavior by projecting it onto you.

Sometimes gossip bitters two or even whole groups of people against each other. The victim in a destructive relationship with a narcissist often doesn't know what's being said about her as long as the relationship lasts, but usually the whole truth comes out when it breaks down.

Destructive people will gossip behind your back (and to your face too), tell nasty things about you to your loved ones, spread rumors that make you the aggressor and them the victim, and attribute to you precisely such actions, the accusations of which with your side they are most afraid of. In addition, they will methodically, covertly and intentionally hurt you, so that later they will cite your reactions as evidence that they are the “victim” in your relationship.

The best way to counter slander is to always keep yourself in check and stick to the facts. This is especially true for conflict divorces with narcissists, who may deliberately provoke you in order to use your reactions against you later. If possible, document any form of harassment, intimidation and abuse (including online), try to communicate with the narcissist only through your lawyer. When it comes to harassment and intimidation, you should contact law enforcement; it is advisable to find a lawyer who is well versed in narcissistic personality disorder. Your honesty and sincerity will speak for themselves as the mask begins to peel off the narcissist.

12. Love bombardment and devaluation.

Destructive people take you through the stage of idealization until you take the bait and start a friendship or romantic relationship with them. Then they begin to devalue you, expressing contempt for everything that initially attracted them to you. Another typical case is when a destructive person puts you on a pedestal and begins to aggressively devalue and humiliate someone else who threatens his sense of superiority.

Narcissists do this all the time: they scold their exes in the presence of new partners/partners, and over time begin to treat new ones with the same disdain. Ultimately, any partner of a narcissist will experience the same thing as the previous ones. In such a relationship, you will inevitably become another ex, whom he will vilify in the same way with his next girlfriend. You just don't know it yet. So don't forget about the love bombardment method if your partner's behavior towards others contrasts sharply with the sugary sweetness that he displays in a relationship with you.

As personal development coach Wendy Powell suggests, a good way to resist love bombardment from someone you see as potentially destructive is to take your time. Keep in mind that the way a person speaks of others can foreshadow how they will one day feel about you.

13. Preventive defense.

When someone strongly emphasizes that he/she is a “nice guy” or “nice girl”, it immediately starts to say that you should “trust him (her)”, or assures you for no apparent reason your honesty - be careful.

Destructive and violent individuals exaggerate their ability to be kind and compassionate. They often tell you that you should "trust" them without first building a solid foundation for such trust. They can skillfully "disguise" themselves, portraying a high level of empathy and empathy at the beginning of your relationship, only to later reveal their true identity. When the cycle of violence reaches the stage of devaluation, the mask begins to slip, and you see their true nature: terribly cold, callous and dismissive.

Genuinely good people rarely have to constantly brag about their positive qualities - they exude warmth rather than talk about it, and they know that actions are much more important than words. They know that trust and respect is a two-way street that requires reciprocity, not constant suggestion.

To counter preventive defense, consider why a person emphasizes his good qualities. Because he thinks you don't trust him, or because he knows he's not trustworthy? Judge not by empty words, but by deeds; it is actions that will tell you whether the person in front of you matches the one he claims to be.

14. Triangulation.

Referring to an opinion, point of view, or the threat of bringing an outsider into the communication dynamic is called "triangulation." A common device for asserting the rightness of a destructive individual and discounting the victim's reactions, triangulation often results in love triangles in which you feel defenseless and unbalanced.

Narcissists love to triangulate their partner with strangers, colleagues, ex-spouses, friends and even family members to make them jealous and insecure. They also use the opinions of others to support their point of view.

This maneuver is designed to take your attention away from the psychological abuse and present the narcissist in a positive way as a popular, desirable person. Plus, you start to doubt yourself: since Mary agrees with Tom, it turns out that I'm still wrong? In fact, narcissists are happy to “tell” you nasty things that others supposedly said about you, while they themselves say nasty things behind your back.

To counter triangulation, remember that whoever the narcissist triangulates you with, that person is also triangulated by your relationship with the narcissist. Essentially, the narcissist is in charge of all the roles. Answer him with your own "triangulation" - find the support of a third party beyond his control, and do not forget that your position also has value.

15. Lure and pretend to be innocent.

Destructive individuals create a false sense of security so that they can more easily demonstrate their cruelty. As soon as such a person drags you into a senseless, random quarrel - and it quickly develops into a showdown, because he does not know the feeling of respect. Petty disagreement can be bait, and even if you initially restrain yourself as polite, you will quickly realize that it is driven by a malicious desire to humiliate you.

After "luring" you with a seemingly innocent comment disguised as a rational argument, they begin to play with you. Remember: narcissists know your weaknesses, unpleasant phrases that undermine your self-confidence, and painful topics that open old wounds - and they use this knowledge in their machinations to provoke you. After you have swallowed the bait whole, the narcissist will calm down and innocently ask if you are “okay”, assuring that he “did not mean” to stir your soul. This feigned innocence takes you by surprise and makes you believe he didn't really mean to hurt you, until it starts to happen so often that you can no longer deny his obvious malicious intent.

It is advisable to immediately understand when they are trying to lure you in order to stop communication as soon as possible. Common baiting techniques are provocative statements, insults, hurtful accusations, or unfounded generalizations. Trust your intuition: if some phrase seemed to you somehow “not like that”, and this feeling did not go away even after the interlocutor explained it, perhaps this is a signal that you should slowly comprehend the situation before reacting.

16. Boundary testing and vacuum cleaner tactics.

Narcissists, sociopaths and other destructive personalities are constantly testing your boundaries to see which ones can be violated. The more violations they can commit with impunity, the further they will go.

This is why survivors of emotional and physical abuse often face even more abuse whenever they decide to return to their abusers.

Rapists often resort to "vacuum cleaner tactics", as if "sucking" their victim back with sweet promises, fake remorse and empty words about how they change, only to subject them to new bullying. In the sick mind of the abuser, this boundary testing serves as a punishment for trying to resist the violence, as well as for returning to it. When a narcissist tries to start over from scratch, reinforce the boundaries even more, rather than retreat from them.

Remember: manipulators do not respond to empathy and sympathy. They only react to the consequences.

17. Aggressive injections disguised as jokes.

Covert narcissists love to tell you nasty things. They pass them off as “ just jokes ”, as if reserving the right to make disgusting comments while maintaining an innocent calm. But as soon as you get angry at rude, obnoxious remarks, they accuse you of not having a sense of humor. This is a common technique for verbal abuse.

The manipulator betrays a contemptuous smirk and a sadistic glint in his eyes: like a predator playing with prey, he enjoys the fact that he can offend you with impunity. This is just a joke, right? Not this way. It's a way to convince you that his insults are just a joke, a way to turn the conversation from his cruelty to your alleged hypersensitivity. In such cases, it is important to stand your ground and make it clear that you will not tolerate such treatment.

When you bring these subtle insults to the attention of the manipulator, he can easily resort to gaslighting, but continue to defend your position that his behavior is unacceptable, and if it does not help, stop communicating with him.

18. Condescending sarcasm and patronizing tone.

Belittling and humiliating others is a destructive person's forte, and tone of voice is just one of the many tools in his arsenal. Giving each other sarcastic remarks can be fun when it's mutual, but the narcissist uses sarcasm purely as a form of manipulation and humiliation. And if it hurts you, then you are " overly sensitive ".

It's okay that he himself throws tantrums every time someone dares to criticize his inflated ego - no, it's the victim who is hypersensitive. When you are constantly being treated like a child and being challenged for your every statement, you develop a natural fear of expressing your feelings without fear of reprimand. This kind of self-censorship saves the abuser from having to shut your mouth because you are doing it yourself.

When faced with a condescending demeanor or patronizing tone, state it clearly and concisely. You do not deserve to be spoken to like a child, and even more so you do not have to remain silent for the sake of someone's megalomania.

19. Shame.

“Shame on you!” is a favorite saying of destructive people. Although it can be heard from quite normal people, in the mouth of a narcissist and a psychopath, shame is an effective method of dealing with all sorts of attitudes and actions that threaten their undivided power. It is also used to destroy and nullify the victim's self-esteem: if the victim dares to be proud of something, then instilling shame in him for that particular trait, quality or achievement can lower his self-esteem and stifle any pride in the bud.

Narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths love to use your wounds against you; they may even make you feel ashamed of the wrongs or abuse you have suffered, causing you new psychological trauma. Did you experience abuse as a child? A narcissist or sociopath will tell you that you somehow deserved it, or brag about their own happy childhood in order to make you feel inadequate and worthless. What better way to offend you than to pick up old wounds? Like a doctor in reverse, a destructive person seeks to deepen your wound, not heal it.

If you suspect that you are dealing with a destructive person, try to hide your vulnerable sides or long-term psychological trauma from him. Until he proves that he can be trusted, you should not give him information that can then be used against you.

20. Control.

Most importantly: destructive people seek to control you in any way they can. They isolate you, manage your finances and social circle, and control every aspect of your life. But the most powerful tool in their arsenal is playing on your feelings.

This is why narcissists and sociopaths create conflict situations out of the blue, just to make you feel insecure and unstable.

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