(NC) Malignant narcissists are the personification of human evil. Well-known psychologist and author, Erich Fromm, coined the phrase “malignant narcissism” back in 1964 and characterized it as the “quintessence of evil.” Psychoanalyst Otto Kermberg claimed that the antisocial personality was essentially narcissistic and lacked morality, indicating that malignant narcissism includes a sadistic element, which serves to create a sadistic psychopath. In 1984, Kermberg proposed malignant narcissism as a psychiatric diagnosis. Writer and psychiatrist M. Scott Peck (People of the Lie) identified malignant narcissism as “the primary root of most human evil.” Peck further characterized it as “militant ignorance.”
According to Wikipedia and Richard N. Kocsis in Criminal Profiling, “malignant narcissism can be described as ‘an extreme form of antisocial personality disorder that is manifest in a person who is pathologically grandiose, lacking in conscience and behavioral regulation, and with characteristic demonstrations of joyful cruelty and sadism.’
“As a syndrome, it may include aspects of schizoid and narcissistic personality disorder, as well as paranoia — recent ‘contributions have confirmed the importance of malignant narcissism and the defense of projection’ in the latter syndrome, as well as ‘the patient’s vulnerability to malignant narcissistic regression.’
Malignant narcissism can be comorbid with other psychological disorders such as borderline personality disorder, sociopathy, even psychopathy. Malignant narcissists, however, cannot be helped by therapy. According to Jacques Lacan in Écrits: a Selection, “the patient attempts to triumph over the analyst by destroying the analysis and himself or herself.” The patient cannot stand the idea that anyone other than his own lofty self has the power to free him from his condition which, all too frequently, the narcissist sees as being preferable—even superior—to being mundanely normal.
In What Makes a Narcissist Tick by Kathy Krajco, it is stated that while a personality disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis, in the law the narcissist’s behavior is viewed as “premeditated and volitional.” She later opines “…it is quite likely that psychopathy (Antisocial Personality Disorder) and malignant narcissism are one and the same. [They] go through life doing their thing by laying waste to lives in other ways like malignant narcissists do, as “love thieves,” parasites, gold diggers, climbers, slanderers, verbal abusers, child abusers, wife beaters, pied pipers (i.e., religious and political messiahs), and the like…leaving poverty, destroyed careers, ruined potential, lost nest eggs, psychological injury and even suicide in their wake.” I can personally attest to poverty, ruined potential, psychological injury, and even near-suicide as the result of relationships with malignant narcissists. These people are just plain dangerous. They are evil.
Peck says that evil has to do with killing, it is that which is against life and liveliness. “When I say that evil has to do with killing, I do not mean to restrict myself to corporeal murder. Evil is also that which kills spirit. There are various essential attributes of life–particularly human life–such as sentience, mobility, awareness, growth, autonomy, will. It is possible to kill or attempt to kill one of these attributes without actually destroying the body.” Emotional abuse, manipulating and controlling another person, denying them autonomy and freedom: these acts, common to narcissists of all stripes, are acts of evil.
Evil, however (according to Peck) is not so much the sin itself but the refusal to acknowledge the sin, to admit you were wrong and seek to make amends. So while any person may do something that hurts another, like participating in the bullying of a co-worker, for example, the truly evil are those who refuse to acknowledge their wrong-doing. This is the difference between having a conscience, knowing remorse, and the narcissistic lack of conscience, even going so far as to blame the victim for his feeling hurt: “…he was asking for it, wearing those pink socks with yellow pants, dressing like a geek—we just gave him what he had coming…”
Malignant narcissists take it one step further: instead of waiting for an opportunity to ride someone, they make their own opportunities. They stalk, cyber-stalk, harass, bully, and even plot against their targets for extended periods of time. There is nothing too low for them to stoop to, no behavior too extreme for them as they pursue their goal of power and dominion over those around them. A malignant narcissist will do anything she thinks she can get away with in order to get what she wants. There is nothing they will not do to get their way, to create ways to get gratitude and admiration from others, to punish those who thwart them. From intentionally digging at someone’s emotional tender spots to stealing their children, to keeping a terminally ill man home until he collapses on the way to the bathroom and breaks a bone, then concealing both his illness and death from an adoring daughter (who didn’t so much adore the narcissistic mother), these people have no boundaries, no sense of shame, no limits to what they are willing to do to get what they want.
Malignant narcissists: they are the evil that walks among us.