“The social psychologist Erich Fromm first coined the term “malignant narcissism” in 1964, describing it as a “severe mental sickness” representing “the quintessence of evil”. He characterized the condition as “the most severe pathology and the root of the most vicious destructiveness and inhumanity”. Edith Weigert (1967) saw malignant narcissism as a “regressive escape from frustration by distortion and denial of reality”, while Herbert Rosenfeld (1971) described it as “a disturbing form of narcissistic personality where grandiosity is built around aggression and the destructive aspects of the self become idealized”.
Developing their ideas further, the psychoanalyst Otto Kernberg pointed out that the antisocial personality was fundamentally narcissistic and without morality. Malignant narcissism includes a sadistic element creating, in essence, a sadistic psychopath. In his article, “malignant narcissism” and psychopathy are employed interchangeably. Kernberg first proposed malignant narcissism as a psychiatric diagnosis in 1984, but so far it has not been accepted in any of the medical manuals, such as the ICD-10 or the DSM-5.
Kernberg described malignant narcissism as a syndrome characterized by a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), antisocial features, paranoid traits, and egosyntonic aggression. Other symptoms may include an absence of conscience, a psychological need for power, and a sense of importance (grandiosity). Pollock wrote: “The malignant narcissist is presented as pathologically grandiose, lacking in conscience and behavioral regulation with characteristic demonstrations of joyful cruelty and sadism”.
Pay special attention to the last sentence of the above description: “The malignant narcissist is presented as pathologically grandiose, lacking in conscience and behavioral regulation with characteristic demonstrations of joyful cruelty and sadism“. Note also that the malignant narcissist has paranoid traits. Then meditate upon what you have, in terms of a romantic partner, in a malignant narcissist.
I have had two long-term romantic relationships with malignant narcissists, the second the most pathological of the two. N#2 was the most seductive man I have ever met. Malignant narcissists are typically seductive to an almost supernatural degree. Think Hitler and Ted Bundy. N#2 was a cleverly disguised predator extraordinaire, an extreme paranoiac, with the acting skills to convince people he was the victim of his own evil machinations. He imagined his partner—me, in this case—to be guilty of all his own evil thoughts and deeds. In his eyes, I was a scheming, conniving whore, a wanton nymphomaniac so degenerate I could not be trusted to drive the 15 minutes home from work without stopping in a parking lot to have sex with relatives in my car. I could not bring him a beer because God knows what I might have put in it. My tireless work on his house and property were a Machiavellian plot to bring him to ruin. My love was a sick joke intended to make of him the ultimate fool.
Imagine how he viewed everything I did. Planting flowers in the yard was the enemy asserting dominance over his domain. Conversation was my attempt to control his mind. My touch was traitorous as every moment I was fantasizing filthy sex with strangers. Sex was my attempt to lure and betray him. Anything I offered was laced with poison and devious designs.
Add to this picture the dynamic of “joyful cruelty and sadism” and you will arrive at what I had. Understand that not only does a malignant narcissist despise the partner and view him/her as the embodiment of his/her own hateful, traitorous thoughts and actions, but they intensely enjoy inflicting pain. In his/her mind, the victim deserves whatever sadistic torture he/she can devise. Not only does he/she deserve it, the malignant narcissist is his/her most alive, electrified and grandiose when inflicting shame, ruin, agony and death upon a victim. Remember, they feel fully justified. This is what this scum was doing to them. What power they feel to be able to snuff out the intelligence, the creativity, and the life force of a human being, and to savor every drop of their carefully measured suffering. In their minds, this makes them God.
In reality, this makes them Satan. This is the image of Satan. As Erich Fromm, the originator of the term “malignant narcissist” described, they are “the quintessence of evil.” They are essentially evil beings. Their psychology is constructed in such a way that they are mirrors of the ultimate darkness and evil in the world. They are dangerous to every life they touch.