According to Otto Kernberg, malignant narcissism is a syndrome characterized by a narcissistic personality disorder, antisocial features, paranoid traits and egosyntonic aggression. Other symptoms may include an absence of conscience, a psychological need for power, and a sense of grandiose importance.
A malignant narcissist, thus, has an inflated sense of self-worth, which calls for a need for admiration coupled with a disregard for others. Such individuals experience paranoia, feeling threatened or persecuted without proof and are aggressive, manipulative and abusive toward others without remorse.
Malignant narcissists usually experience significant problems in their interpersonal relationships; this is because the features of this personality disorder cause disruptive symptoms that are considered untreatable by some mental health experts and unbearable by most coworkers and partners. The malignant narcissists’ inability to sustain lasting, meaningful relationships with others and their destructive behaviour and disregard for others can make them more straightforward to spot than those with covert narcissism (or those who exhibit milder symptoms).
You can suspect such a personality when you meet someone who never takes responsibility for their actions, lacks empathy, takes everything personally, and can never forgive, abuse and disregard others. Also, malignant narcissists may demonstrate extreme antisocial behaviour.
Malignant narcissists can be very cold and calculated due to the combination of narcissistic and psychopathic traits that often lead to verbal and physical insults and abuse towards others. Recipients of malignant narcissism might be shocked and dismayed about how cold and calculated such an individual can be, primarily when the narcissist’s rage is directed at them.
Malignant narcissism is a severe personality disorder that has devastating consequences for the family and society. It requires attention within the discipline of psychiatry and the social science community. Since, more often than not, these individuals won’t ask for a personal analysis or psychotherapy, a treatment in a therapeutic community and a program of prevention that is focused on psychoeducation is often the best-recommended treatment for them.
How do you cope with a malignant narcissist? Avoid it entirely if you can. If you are in a working or personal relationship with one of these individuals, get out immediately. Unfortunately, there is no “coping with” malignant narcissists except to stand up for yourselves, speak to those who can help, assert yourselves, and enlist allies for protection.