Recognizing the Signs of a Malignant Narcissist – What You Need to Know

Dealing with a malignant narcissist can be an extremely challenging and even dangerous experience. These individuals have a distorted sense of self-importance and entitlement, and are willing to manipulate and exploit others to get what they want.

In this post, we will explore the dangers of dealing with a malignant narcissist and what you need to know to protect yourself.

malignant narcissist

Recognizing The Malignant Narcissist

Malignant narcissism involves a combination of narcissistic, antisocial, and paranoid traits. Individuals with this disorder have an inflated sense of self-importance, a lack of empathy for others, and are willing to exploit and manipulate those around them to achieve their own goals.

Malignant narcissists are often charming, charismatic, and skilled at manipulating others. They are able to project a false sense of confidence and charm, which makes them appear attractive and even admirable to others. However, behind this façade is a deeply flawed individual who is willing to disregard the needs and feelings of others to achieve their own goals.

The following are some of the main characteristics of the malignant narcissist.

Malignant Narcissist Traits – Grandiosity

Malignant narcissists have an inflated sense of self-importance and are convinced that they are superior to others. This constantly crave attention, admiration, and recognition, and they may go to great lengths to achieve this.

One of the ways they manipulate others to admire them is by exaggerating their accomplishments and abilities. They will not hesitate to fabricate stories to create a more impressive image of themselves. In addition they will take credit for other people’s achievements and use them to boost their own reputation. This behaviour can be particularly harmful in professional settings, as it inevitably damages relationships and leads to ineffective teamwork.

When they feel that their grandiose sense of self is threatened, malignant narcissists will engage in defensive behaviour. They will become agitated or even angry, and will be unwilling to listen to constructive feedback or criticism.

Malignant Narcissist Traits – Lack of Empathy

Malignant narcissists have a marked lack of empathy for others, and are often indifferent or dismissive of other people’s feelings. They view others as a means to their own ends, and are willing to manipulate or exploit them to achieve their goals.

The lack of empathy is particularly damaging in personal relationships. Malignant narcissists are likely to devalue and demean their partners, viewing them as objects to be controlled or exploited. They also tend be emotionally distant or dismissive, and struggle to form deep, meaningful connections with others.

In addition, the lack of empathy can contribute to a corrosive work environment. Malignant narcissists may be dismissive of the contributions of their colleagues, and are often unwilling to acknowledge the efforts of others. This can lead to low morale and high levels of stress, and may make it difficult for teams to work effectively together.

Malignant Narcissist Traits – Sense of Entitlement

Malignant narcissists have a sense of entitlement that is often extreme. They believe that they are entitled to special treatment and privileges that others do not have access to. They expect to be treated as if they are superior and better than everyone else, and they act in ways that reinforce this belief.

This sense of entitlement can lead to a disregard for rules, laws, and social norms. Because they feel that they are above everyone else, malignant narcissists think they are exempt from following the same rules that others do. They may break rules or laws without any guilt or remorse, believing that they are above the consequences.

In personal relationships, malignant narcissists may expect their partners to cater to their every need, without any regard for their partner’s needs or feelings. They will often make unreasonable demands, and may become resentful or even angry if their requests are not met.

The sense of entitlement exhibited by malignant narcissists can lead to problems in the workplace as well. They may refuse to perform certain tasks that they deem to be beneath them, believing that such tasks are better suited for subordinates. This can create tension and resentment among team members who feel that they are being unfairly burdened with extra work.

Malignant narcissists may also engage in behaviour that undermines the success of the team. They may refuse to share credit, downplay the contributions of others or take credit for the work of others. They may also engage in gossip, rumours, and backstabbing to manipulate team members and assert control over them.

malignant narcissist

Malignant Narcissist Traits – Manipulative

One of the most dangerous traits of the malignant narcissist is their ability to manipulate others. They are skilled at manipulating people to get what they want, and may use charm, flattery, and persuasive tactics to influence others’ opinions or actions. In addition, they also have a tendency to lie and deceive in order to achieve their goals.

Here are some of the top manipulation tactics that malignant narcissists often use:


Gaslighting is a tactic used by malignant narcissists to make someone doubt their own memories, perception or judgment. The narcissist may use lies, distortion or misdirection to make the victim question their own perception. For example, the narcissist might tell someone they remember an event incorrectly, even if that event just occurred.

Smear Campaigns

Malignant narcissists often engage in smear campaigns against those who they perceive as a threat or competition. They will spread rumours or lies about someone, or use others to harass or bully them. The goal of a smear campaign is to discredit the person and make them appear unreliable, untrustworthy or unstable.


Triangulation involves manipulating others by involving a third party to sow seeds of doubt or divide individuals. They might triangulate by playing two people against each other, in order to create a power dynamic that reinforces the narcissist’s position.


Mirroring is a tactic used by malignant narcissists where they reflect someone else’s behaviour, language or values back at them. The goal is to create a sense of rapport and establish a connection. The narcissist may fake their interest in someone’s hobbies, interests or beliefs to gain their trust.

Love Bombing

Love bombing is used to hook someone into a manipulative relationship. The malignant narcissist may shower someone with excessive attention, compliments, and flattery at the beginning of a relationship, but quickly devalue and discard them once they achieve their goal.

Pity Ploy

A pity ploy is a tactic used by malignant narcissists to gain sympathy and attention from others. They may exaggerate their own problems, create fake crises or pretend to be ill in order to gain attention.


Hoovering is a tactic used by malignant narcissists to re-engage someone after a breakup or separation. They may attempt to rekindle the relationship by reaching out to an ex and playing on their emotions, or by using guilt, fear or other persuasive tactics to get them to come back.

Malignant Narcissist Traits – Paranoid

Malignant narcissists may feel the need to constantly protect themselves from perceived threats, even when there is no real danger. They may be suspicious of others and view them as a potential enemy.

This can lead to paranoid behaviour, such as:

  • Reading into innocent actions and interpreting them as hostile or threatening.
  • Seeing patterns of persecution that others do not notice or experience.
  • Reacting with anger, hostility or aggression when they feel threatened.
  • Refusing to trust others and always assuming that they have ulterior motives.
  • Believing that others are out to get them, and that they are the target of plots or conspiracies.

Malignant Narcissist Traits – Aggressive

Malignant narcissists often display aggressive behaviour as a means of asserting their superiority and control over others. They are quick to anger and use aggression to intimidate or control others.

Some forms of aggressive behavior that they might engage in include:

Malignant Narcissist Traits – Lack of Accountability

Malignant narcissists will adamantly refuse to admit their own mistakes and will try to avoid any responsibility. They will blame others when things go wrong and are often unwilling to take corrective action themselves.

Some of the ways in which they demonstrate their lack of accountability include:

  • Refusing to take advice or listen to feedback from others.
  • Disregarding the needs and rights of others in personal or professional relationships.
  • Blaming others for their failures or mistakes, even when they were at fault.

Malignant Narcissist Traits – Vindictive

Malignant narcissists are extremely vindictive. They have a hard time forgiving others, and they hold grudges for a long time.

Some of the ways in which they demonstrate their vindictive behaviour include:

  • Trying to harm those they believe are their enemies by using any means possible, such as social relations, financial pressure or spreading rumors.
  • Refusing to collaborate or work with others who they believe have wronged them.
  • Holding onto small disagreements for an extended period of time.
  • Engaging in manipulative behavior to create chaos and win control.

The Dangers of Dealing with a Malignant Narcissist

Dealing with a malignant narcissist can be extremely harmful to your emotional and psychological well-being. These individuals have a tendency to devalue and demean others, which can result in feelings of worthlessness, anxiety, and depression. They may also be physically abusive or engage in other forms of violence towards their partners and loved ones.

One of the most significant dangers of dealing with a malignant narcissist is the potential for gaslighting. Gaslighting is a term used to describe the act of manipulating someone into questioning their own reality, memory, or sanity. This can be extremely harmful to those who are already vulnerable or struggling with mental health issues.

Another danger of dealing with a malignant narcissist is the potential for financial exploitation. These individuals may use their charm and manipulative skills to influence others to give them money or other valuable resources. They may also engage in identity theft or other financial crimes to achieve their goals.

malignant narcissist

Protecting Yourself from a Malignant Narcissist

If you suspect that you are dealing with a malignant narcissist, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself:

Set Boundaries

Setting boundaries is an essential step in protecting yourself when dealing with a malignant narcissist. Here are some tips on how to set boundaries effectively:

1. Be clear and concise

When setting boundaries with a malignant narcissist, it is crucial that you are clear and concise about what behaviour is acceptable and what is not. Use clear language to detail your boundaries and be specific with your expectations.

2. Stick to your boundaries

Once you have established your boundaries, it is essential that you stick to them. The malignant narcissist may push back or attempt to manipulate you, but it is critical that you remain firm and consistent in enforcing your boundaries.

3. Be prepared to walk away

If the malignant narcissist refuses to accept your boundaries and continues to engage in harmful behaviour, it may be necessary to cut ties with them. This can be difficult, but it is important to prioritize your own safety and well-being.

4. Consider seeking professional help

Dealing with a malignant narcissist can be emotionally and psychologically exhausting. It may be helpful to seek support from a therapist who can help you navigate this difficult situation, establish healthy boundaries, and build resilience to manage your stress.

5. Trust your instincts

If something feels wrong or unsafe when dealing with a malignant narcissist, it likely is. Trust your instincts and remove yourself from the situation if you feel threatened.

Seek Support

Dealing with a malignant narcissist can be emotionally draining and overwhelming. It is important that you seek support from friends, family, or a therapist who can help you navigate this difficult situation.

Document Everything

It is essential that you keep a record of any abusive or manipulative behaviour by the malignant narcissist. This can include emails, text messages, or recorded conversations. Having documentation will help you should you need to take legal action.

Cut Ties If Necessary

If you feel that your safety or well-being is in danger, it may be necessary to cut ties with the malignant narcissist. This can be difficult, but it is important to prioritize your own safety and well-being.

Final Thoughts about the Malignant Narcissist

In conclusion, dealing with a malignant narcissist can be extremely challenging and even dangerous. These individuals are skilled at manipulating and exploiting others, and can cause significant harm to those around them. However, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and minimize the damage caused by these toxic individuals. Remember to set clear boundaries, seek support, document everything, and cut ties if necessary. Stay safe and prioritize your own well-being.

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