Malignant Narcissist

By Dana Morningstar

The term “malignant” means dangerous and harmful. A malignant narcissist is one who has all the traits of a narcissist (grandiosity, seeks approval and attention, lacks empathy, lacks remorse, is entitled, and has a fragile self-esteem) as well as a blend of Antisocial Personality Disorder traits such as charm, aggression, a lack of regard for rules or laws, paranoia, and, in addition, is often sadistic. Their level of superiority far surpasses being arrogant, obnoxious, and self-centered, and is often dangerous, destructive, and deadly. Even though they need the approval and attention of others (unlike a psychopath), they still view others as expendable and feel justified in harming them. Those who have experienced this type of person often report feeling a “dark” energy about them, and are fearful or terrified of what the abuser might do—even though they might not have done or said anything overtly that the target can point to as the reason they feel this way.


Example: Diane met George on a dating website, and before long the two were inseparable. Diane felt like she’d won the relationship lottery. No man had ever been so good to her. George would bring her coffee in bed every morning and cook dinner at night. All of his actions made her feel incredibly special and loved. Everyone seemed to really like George, except her mother, who pulled her aside and told her that she felt like something was very off about him, but that she couldn’t put her finger on it. Diane brushed off her mother’s concerns as being due to how fast they were moving, which Diane knew was probably too fast, but everything just felt so right. They were married within a few months of knowing each other, and a few months later they’d opened up a business—all of which Diane financed. Six months into the business, George had convinced Diane to add his name to everything, including her house. They also took out life insurance policies on each other.


It was around this time that a series of bizarre and dangerous events began to occur. Within a period of three months, Diane was the victim of two hit-and-run accidents and a botched home invasion. People began to joke about how lucky she was, and at one point her best friend joked that perhaps George was trying to kill her. Up until that moment Diane hadn’t even thought that could be a possibility, but now she was starting to wonder. The final straw was when the insurance company had called her to let her know that George had raised the amount on her insurance policy to over a million dollars, and that it was company protocol to let the subject of the policy know of such changes. Diane moved out that afternoon while George was away, and immediately filed for divorce. George became unglued when he saw her at the courthouse and told her that he didn’t need her smearing his name all over town. Diane was shocked at how quickly George seemed to go from loving her to hating her. Shortly after their divorce, Diane found a tremendous amount of debt that George had racked up that she never knew about, along with numerous charges to an escort service. Diane couldn’t believe what a nightmare her Prince Charming had turned out to be.

Dana Morningstar is a former psychiatric nurse turned domestic violence educator who specializes in abuse awareness and prevention. Her passion is working with survivors of abuse to reclaim and rebuild their self-esteem, boundaries, confidence, and identity. She is an author of multiple books on the subject, and also has a blog, podcast, and YouTube channel, as well as several online support groups, all of which you can find under the name “Thrive After Abuse.”

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