Malignant Narcissism

…and things that go bump in the night

The term “malignant narcissism” was first coined by Dr. Sam Vaknin, author of the famed Malignant Self Love: Narcissism Revisited. We now have a website by a Dr. George Simon called, subtitled Your resource for coping with life’s most troubling characters. Dr. Simon offers Consultations, Seminars, Workshops and Webinars. Dr. Simon advises, “The consultations are neither meant to be construed as therapy nor are they meant to supplant therapy.  As such, they are not billable to George-Simon-5254-214x300-214x270insurance.” However, “payment for the consultations can be made via PayPal and credit card.” He advertises himself as “an internationally-recognized expert on manipulators and other problem characters and the author of 3 bestselling books: In Sheep’s Clothing (which has been translated into 12 foreign languages), Character Disturbance, and The Judas Syndrome.” He now has an essay entitled Malignant Narcissism: At the Core of Psychopathy.

Interesting for a number of reasons. I always thought there was a difference between narcissism and psychopathy. Most psychopaths certainly think there is a difference. Narcissists are not highly regarded by my kind. The difference is that “narcs” need “narcissistic supply” (another term coined by Sam Vaknin) and psychopaths do not. Just knowing we’re ahead of our own game is usually enough to keep us happy. (We have other problems, such as boredom and loneliness but the intense need for validation is not one of them.) The film IPsychopath, starring Sam Vaknin has perhaps begun to blur the distinction. Sam is a self-professed “malignant narcissist” and is very well known as such. But in IPsychopath, he also claimed to be a psychopath. The film ends with him taking the PCL-R and proving his psycho-creds. So when Simon speaks of “malignant narcissism” being the “core of psychopathy,” it has precedence.

SamSam Vaknin is an interesting person. He seems to be working both sides of the street. He is simultaneously a proud predator, as he declares on a website called The Art of Charm, “As a psychopath I abuse as thoughtlessly and automatically as you breathe … I find it pleasurable to inflict pain on people.” At the same time, he is helping victims of narcissists. On Narcissistic Abuse Recovery, he says, “Are you walking on eggshells with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?  Welcome to our Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Psychopath Survivors Group. A Learning, Resource and Support Forum.” Perhaps Sam wants to be a resource for those who would embrace their narcissism and psychopathy as well as for those who reject it in others.

Laura, an administrator of the Cassiopaea Forum  confronts the contradiction straight on. When asked how he can be a healer and a narc, “Mr. Vaknin replies, ‘Indeed, only seeming. I may have misphrased myself. By “helpful” I meant “intended to help.” The martyr.jpgbook was never intended to help anyone. Above all, it was meant to attract attention and adulation (narcissistic supply) to its author, myself. Being in a guru-like status is the ultimate narcissistic experience. Had I not also been a misanthrope and a schizoid, I might have actually enjoyed it. The book is imbued with an acerbic and vitriolic self-hatred, replete with diatribes and jeremiads and glaring warnings regarding narcissists and their despicable behavior. I refused to be “politically correct” and call the narcissist “other-challenged.” Yet, I am a narcissist and the book is, therefore, a self-directed “J’accuse.” This satisfies the enfant terrible in me, the part of me that seeks to be despised, abhorred, derided and, ultimately, punished by society at large.'” Um…OK.

fishDr. Simon is a fish of a different color. He isn’t a narc (as far as we know) and he is firmly on only one side of the street, the side that declares itself normal and good. He does something I have yet to encounter in discussions or narcissism or psychopathy. He calls them character disorders. I googled the term and found a definition by Dr. Simon! under Counselling Resource. “Personality and character disorders are not the same thing. Our personality defines the stylistic way we tend to interact, while our character is defined by the level of social conscientiousness and virtue in our personality.” If I’m not mistaken, we are back to old fashioned morality. Sure enough, “the term ‘character’ generally refers to the extent of one’s virtuousness and social conscientiousness.”

lostinsnowIt figures. The experts have already said “psychopathy is forever.” Incurable. Writing someone off seems to have already left the medical model behind. Dr. Hare has said we’re “probably not very nice people.” Has psychology taken us, declared us “sick” and then thrown away as too far gone for redemption. Is psychopathy something that needs redemption? I always suspected that psychiatry was another system of morality in medical drag. What is a disorder? A disease? Aren’t they something that has been deemed a problem? Something that shouldn’t even be? Something that needs to be fixed?

cancerWhat does the word “malignant” mean? calls it “A descriptive term for things or conditions that threaten life or well-being. Malignant is the opposite of benign. Note: The term malignant is used in describing cancerous tumors (see cancer) because such growths are a threat to the health of the individual.” It sounds like malignant is the worst thing anything can be. MedicineNet says, “The word malignant comes the Latin combination of ‘mal’ meaning ‘bad’ and ‘nascor’ meaning ‘to be born’; malignant literally means ‘born to be bad.'” There we have it. Psychopaths are born with “aberrant” brains. We are simply born to be bad. 

I guess I’ve always known in my heart that I was rejected by society on a very deep level. One of my earliest memories was seeing myself as an “outlaw.” Of course, being seen as and treated as an enemy can only confirm the deepest level of alienation. What kind of loyalty can I owe the world that collectively disowns me? Is this the price of freedom? Alive and free. Or, in the words of Tom Petty, “Free Falling.”


11 thoughts on “Malignant Narcissism

  1. How does spirituality rate in this group. Could this possible lack of belief contribute to this disorder. A lot of people offer opinions but proper studies have yet to be done on an appropriate amount of individuals with varying backgrounds. Maybe because they don’t care enough to volunteer to be evaluated and studied. I don’t know, just thinking. Genetic factors are noted, a lack of a brain connection is noted (in some of my searching for answers) but how can one be cured if someone feels there’s nothing to cure. They’re content with the lack of care and desire to hurt or maybe not desire l, just ability to hurt without any thought about it. It’s disturbing.


    1. I don’t believe in god but I am a spiritual person. My spirituality involves being in the present. When I fully succeed in this, it’s like waking up. I speak of spirituality in some of my posts such as
      Life and Death
      Blank Space
      Am I Evil?
      Another website has a whole section on spirituality

      You can see I’m quite alive to spirituality which tends more in the direction of Eastern philosophy.


      1. I’ll read your other posts later, when I have more time, but just one quick question, so you are spiritual but you don’t believe in a higher power, correct?


      2. I read the life and death post and I now have more questions (thank you for helping me explore these issues with you). You speak of near death experiences and you say you’re spiritual, so why don’t you believe in God (no criticism, just interest). How were you raised? We’re you introduced to religion as a child? Did you have any strong God loving role models?
        I watched both my parents die. My mom of a terrible autoimmune disease and the other of kidney failure. Both were very strong Christians. I felt their presence after they passed and I know, because of my personal beliefs, that they’re in Heaven.
        Wouldn’t you rather believe and be wrong ? These are just curiosities and never criticisms as that’s not who I am. I just find so much peace is my faith.
        My husband had/has a very hard time with faith. I’ve always thought it was a part of his problem. Something that hold him back from being someone great.


  2. Right. I am spiritual and don’t believe in a “higher power.” You ask why don’t I? I think the question should be “Why should I?” Doesn’t one need a reason to believe something? Why would anyone need a reason NOT to believe something? How was I raised? My father was an atheist and I think my mother was as well although she hedged the question by saying, “we are our own heaven and hell.” I was taken to some sort of Orthodox synagogue when I was very young and I was blown away by the beauty and mystery. But, without follow-up, this memory didn’t have a lasting affect on me. I still love mystery but I don’t attach it to any specific belief system.

    I didn’t actually see my parents die but I have seen pets die. There is a perceptible change in them when the spirit leaves their body. Scientists have actually demonstrated a loss of weight at the moment of death. So I do believe that spirit exists independently from matter and life goes on after death and that spirit is the creative force that creates life.

    You ask “wouldn’t you rather believe and be wrong?” Why on earth would I choose to be wrong? I think clinging to a belief you know is wrong because it makes one feel better or something is unworthy of us. Your husband had/has a hard time with faith? I don’t. My faith is that the air will be there when I take my next breath, that my next word will be available in explaining or talking or just reciting, as in a ritual. I don’t think faith has to be in any supernatural being. I don’t believe that my lack of faith in “god” holds me back from being someone great. I am great.


  3. Pingback: evil | CLUSTER B

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