The Malignance of NPD
There are some who cling to Dr. Otto Kernberg's description of malignant narcissism as being between Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder (virtually the same as psychopathy) on a continuum.
It seems that very few still hold that view, except those who want the malignance out of NPD.
I don't see how benign narcissism, like acquired situational narcissism, can be viewed as a "milder" form of the same thing. Let alone a personality disorder.
Maybe someone can explain it to me, but it seems to me rather like putting bats (mammals) in the same class with birds. They aren't closely related at all. So what if they both fly?
Benign narcissism comes from elevated self esteem. Malignant narcissism comes from the opposite. It is a compensatory act in denial of low esteem. So, the similarity in the way these two kinds of people behave is purely superficial.
People with benign narcissism have usually had fame, fortune, or success go to their heads. They start to believe they're really special. Sooner or later - CRASH - they find out they're not. Which is usually the best thing that ever happened to them. But they never have been malignant.
They aren't envious, so they don't go around tearing people down off pedestals to be greater than them. They can and do love and empathize. Hurting others doesn't make them feel good. They just strike us as obnoxious because they think they're God's greatest gift to the world, that's all.
At worst, they're snobby. But not abusive.
Even if they are narcissistic because they were born with a silver spoon in their mouth, I doubt people with a narcissistic personality have a disordered personality.
The DSM-IV-TR criteria don't just describe NPD as grandiosity. They specify purely negative behaviors, such as envy and exploiting others as objects, without empathy.
That is malignance.
Envy is malignance. Exploiting others is predation, which is malignant. Having no empathy is being brutally unfeeling, callous, and having utter disregard for the rights, feelings, and human dignity of others. That's malignant, too.
That's NPD. Where anyone gets the idea that it isn't malignant, I'd like to know.
It sounds to me like some folks are falling for narcissists' whining that they don't mean to be mean, that being mean just kinda happens to them.
Yeah sure. That's why they're such angels where there are witnesses and such demons in the dark.
What they are is a kind of drunk. Like the guy who hides a bottle in his desk drawer at the office. He wants it all the time. Like a narcissist wants to get the high from letting Mr. Hyde out all the time. But he doesn't dare when others might see. He can't wait for a chance to, because it's the only thing that makes him feel good. So, he just waits till no one is looking.
No, a drunk doesn't love alcohol for it's own sake, and narcissist doesn't love evil for its own sake. The drunk has a love-hate relationship with alcohol. And that's the relationship a narcissist has with evil. Vaunting himself on others makes him feel good, by reinforcing his delusions of grandeur, period.
He's just hooked on evil, because it's the only thing that enables him to maintain those delusions. For, if they fade away, he'll be left alone with the hell within.