Malignant Narcissist

You've probably heard of the term malignant self-love, which is used to describe Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Also sometimes used is the term 'malignant narcissist' which suggests that the narcissist themselves is malignant, rather than their narcissism. As far as I can tell, the term 'malignant narcissist' is used to describe quite vicious narcissists who may have a sadistic streak about them. So, is a 'malignant narcissist' and a 'sadist' the same thing?
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  • Well not really. In short, a narcissist couldn't care less if you are hurt or not, their focus revolves solely on their happiness. Sadists derive pleasure from hurting someone. It may be that a person exhibits these two traits together, but I don't think one term can be substituted for the other.
  • I'm not sure how the two personality disorders are related. All I know is that a narcissist can harm others in an attempt to elevate his ego. Perhaps that would make him a sadist in some sense but it's not because he enjoys hurting people.
  • @TommyVercetti
    As I understand it, Sadistic Personality Disorder used to be included in the DSM-III-TR as diagnostic critera but was removed in the following edition. It was removed because of it's comorbidity with so many other personality disorders and because researchers had difficulty distinguishing it from other psychopathological disorders.

    According to Wikipedia, the definition of 'sadism' does also seem to include those types of behaviours and includes emotionally cruelty. It doesn't say that there has to be indications of pleasure present:

    "Sadism can also include the use of emotional cruelty, purposefully
    manipulating others through the use of fear, and a preoccupation with

    "Sadistic Personality Disorder is often found to occur in unison with
    other personality disorders. In fact, studies have found that sadistic
    personality disorder is the personality disorder with the highest level
    of comorbidity to other types of psychopathologic disorders."

    It also seems that Theodore Millon identified four types of sadism - Explosive, Tyrannical, Enforcing and Spineless.
  • I don't think they are the same , I think the term malignant is just used in a descriptive sense to  state that the personality disorder is severe and deep seated. While it is true that the malignant narcissist tends to be a lot more rabid, I am not total certain it is because they want to just be nasty. It has been my experience in this personality disorder that the farther apart the reality is for the idealization the greater the intensity of the manipulation or that failing the anger. It is sort of like, if I can't convince you to see/do it my way I will be angry/nasty/vindictive or sarcastic so you will/might fear me instead.  In fact I can tell you from first hand experience that a person with malignant narcissistic personality disorder wil take it a step further and actually try to bring you down in any way they think they can.Just because to them it makes the playing field "feel" more level.  For example if they know you are going out for dinner and may have a few drinks they will call the police, your family, friends anyone they think might exert a pressure on you and weave some tail how you are a dangerous drunk. the goal is to get you in trouble and prove you are not all that great yourself.  That's how the cruelty comes in to play, they make it out as if they are sooooo caring and sooooo concerned and feed off of how easy it was to manipulate someone (a third party) to do what they (meaning the narcissist) want to happen to you. It makes the narcissist feel smart, it makes them feel powerful and it feeds into their sense of false self. In their mind they can even convince themselves this is true stuff and it really is because they love and care about you. It all becomes okay because "they" didn't do it, someone else did. In some cases you may never even know or find out the narcissist had a hand in it.

    A sadist just gets off on another persons pain. It isn't triggered by the same thought process but a narcissist could be sadistic. Both states are about control.
  • @SunnyDaze
    Interesting thoughts. However, don't confuse malignant narcissism with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). As stated in the first reply to this thread, they are not the same thing. There is no such thing as Malignant Narcissistic Personality Disorder. NPD is an official diagnosis, whereas malignant narcissism is an experimental category. I'm not really talking about malignant narcissism though, I'm talking about malignant narcissists - that is, they are also sadistic. It is possible for sadism to exist with no other symptoms of any other personality disorder though, so then they would be considered to be a true sadist even though there is no official diagnosis for sadists any more.
  • It seems to me that its basically the same, with different motivations. One thing is for sure, though... I don't want to know either one of them!
  • @kana_marie
    Unfortunately, I have been involved in the past with both narcissists and sadists - and no, they are not all that different to each other. The narcissist I know has sadistic traits and the sadist I know has narcissistic traits. What I find crazy is that there is no longer an official diagnosis for being a sadist yet it is officially acknowledged that sadists do indeed exist. Essentially, that means that sadists, if they have no other personality disorder, are considered normal healthy people - there is no label or illness or diagnosis and therefore no treatment or therapy to give them.
  • @androl ; what do you make of the odds that you have been unfortunate enough to be involved more then once with people that have sadistic or narcissistic traits? This is a serious question, I think about this myself, what is it in me that makes me attractive to this type of person? and more important what can or should I do to change this? I hardly feel that I should have to change some of my better qualities, but at the same time I don't think that being fodder for someone else's amusement is a great idea.

    I have read that the people that end up victims of narcissists and other predatory mental disorders, are so because they are actually co-dependent on each other. Do you think this is true?

  • @SunnyDaze. I know exactly what you mean. I attract schitzophrenics. They'll hate everyone else, and wanna talk to me about all of it. For me, though, I think it's because they can tell I'm not judging them. They know they can tell me anything and I will still want to talk to them and be their friend. I'm sure there is something that attracts certain people to you, but I wouldn't take it as anything you need to change.

    @androl. How can they take the sadist diagnosis. Out of all the personality disorders, it seems like the one they would definitely have a diagnosis and treatment for, would be the one where hurting people makes you happy. I feel like I should write someone a letter over this. Maybe start a movement.
  • @SunnyDaze I have thought about that too. After I learned about NPD I see that my former BFF of 10 years was one that discarded me as soon as it was clear I far surpassed her in an aspect of life that was important to her. I also realize now my spouse and I were both raised by narcissists. 

    I suppose we are just used to being treated a certain way and the narc can sense our willingness to participate in their drama. 
  • @SunnyDaze
    Yes, I think it can be true a lot of the time but not in all cases. In the case of being brought up by narcissistic parents then yes, you can be conditioned into co-dependence. Your level of narcissism may increase in order to protect from the abuse. On the other hand, narcissists/sadists exploit empathy so anyone with high levels of empathy, or people who can easily relate to others emotionally (which is a positive trait and is the direct opposite of narcissism), are a target to be exploited. Unfortunately, malignant narcissism is often something which can run throughout a family, therefore when you get involved with one narcissist, there could be others. It's true that everybody knows a narcissist.
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