Sunday, March 09, 2008

Malignant Narcissism and Evil

There's much ink wasted on the subject of whether narcissists are evil.

Well, yes, obviously they are. But they don't fit our traditional concept of the evil.

In our traditional concept, the evil one is evil because he loves evil and wants to be evil. He does evil for its own sake, just to do evil.

Narcissists aren't like that. They do evil for the same reason an alcoholic takes a drink - because it makes them feel good. It keeps a pain repressed.

Indeed, does an alcoholic like whiskey? No! He has a love-hate relationship with it. He knows it's killing him. But it has a hold on him. He's addicted to the high.

Narcissists are addicted to the high they get from harming others.

Yes, they DO act out of malice, because they will to hurt you. That's no accident: they hurt you on purpose and as much as they can. But only because hurting you makes them feel good.

Like any addict, their addiction is no excuse. It gives them no right to abuse. It doesn't relieve them of their responsibility for whatever they do to get that next high. So, for example, if they rob someone for the money for whiskey, they can't use their addicton as an excuse. The addiction is just a temptation, not an excuse.

Narcissists know that if you kill, you are a killer; if you lie, you are a liar; if you abuse, you are an abuser; and so forth. So, they invent an elaborate fantasy to remain in denial of what they are - what they have made themselves.

They can't bear knowing they are evil, just as you or I couldn't bear that. So they make sure they UNKNOW it, no matter what. Hence the twisted thinking and elaborate facade.

Facing the fact that they act out of malice is pointless if all it does is puff up self-righteousness. The important thing is that facing this fact breaks the narcissist's spell over you. Now you are no longer naive.

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6 Comments:

At 2:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I realy like this comparison. I also believe they know it and they hate it. They hate it cause they know it's about them. Lie upon lie, the truth gets more cruel. There is no escape left after too many lies and abuses, they believe, for then, their persona fals apart and nothing is left.
It must- or can be something like this.
They hate themselves so much, they twist it around in loving themselves and hating everyone instead.
It scares them to death to get exposed and confronted by anyone and have to look at themselves.
Like Hitler they rather kill themselves than to look and admit they lost.
I know by now my ex is terrified about what I became to know about her. She still fights sometimes with all means to stop this from being known.
She'll lose I know now anyway, even if she wins her game.
When she has to leave this world she'll know. And going to the other side this way isn't the way I would prefer.
It must be very painfull.

Gerard

 
At 6:24 AM, Anonymous Troubled Family said...

That really clicked for me. Thank you for fitting yet another piece into the puzzle.

It's been a year now since I've severed ties for the most part with my brother (the N). While this has been the most peaceful, drama free year of my life, I have dealt with a twinge of guilt. I've mentioned on here before that I am very forgiving, and tend to play peace-keeper with my family and I've had a really difficult time not feeling like I've abandoned him somehow. He's 40, I'm 35 and we've played the abuse/forgive game for as long as I can remember.

I've come to realize that I was nothing more than that bottle of whiskey for him. By cutting ties and not allowing him to "drink" off of me any longer, I am no longer contributing to his problem. I truly hope it is possible for him to "fix" himself, but it won't happen as long as we (his family) continue to give him drinks.

So ultimately I think I'm doing exactly what I should be. Keeping him at a distance. On the rare occation I do have to deal with him I will continue to show him that he doesn't intimidate in the least, and that he simply CAN'T hurt me ever again. I won't let him.

I guess I'm hoping that if enough of us (his family/bottles of whiskey) force him to see that we will no longer ALLOW any abusive/inappropriate behavior from him, maybe something will "click" in his mind.

As always, Thanks & Fingers crossed!
Jen :o)

 
At 9:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kathy, can you please tell us what exactly is the difference between a "malignant narcissist" and a psychopath? From everything I have read, there is no difference.

To me, it's like the "Emperor's New Clothes". Some people say, "Oh, it's just a MN." "No," says the little boy in the crowd, "it's a P."

 
At 10:09 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

See Are NPD and Psychopathy the Same?.

I can't tell a difference either.

 
At 12:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some will tell an N. has a surpressed consience and a psychopath hasn't got a consience at all.
I met some diagnosed psychopaths in my work. Striking is the indifference in everything that happens; if they get caught; indifference, if everything around them falls apart; indifference. No emotions but frustrations that are acted out and vanishe then. It's all only skinndeep.
The N's I knew were different; the oppossit of indifference: everything to keep up the image: all kinds off emotions when this was threatend or to keep the image alive. They fight dirty like hell if they get exposed or confrontated.

But when the outcome of their behaviour is the same and it's irreverseble what does it matter?
Then a m.N. is just the same as a psychopath.
In this view there is no difference at all in my opinion.

Gerard

 
At 1:15 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

I see no difference in conscience, except what you might find naturally along a coninuum. Some kill/repress their consciouses more completely.

The difference of indifference could be a difference in circumstance. When a psychopath has been caught red-handed, he will show indifference = no shame. But that's only because he can do nothing to fool people and maintain his illusion of rigteousness. So, he does the next-best thing.

Also,if he gains absolute power like Saddam Hussein, he can ditch the good-guy act and feel no need to pretend that he feels bad about the bad things he does.

Any narcissist might well do the same thing in the same situation.

Nonetheless, these gradations of difference are consistent with a continuum of pathology too. That would make psychopathy a more extreme/developed case of NPD.

I tend to doubt there's any real difference - I suspect that these are just indivual difference among narcissists/psychpaths and not actually a different disease. But the "continuum" theory is a reasonable possibility that must be kept in mind till we know for sure. The psychopath could be much farther down the same road, and a dividing line somewhere between narcissism and psychopathy might make sense.

 

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