During this post, we will explore malignant narcissism and how to recognize the #1 sign.
It is important to understand what differentiates narcissists from malignant narcissists and see where on the spectrum the narcissist in your life is. Although it is hard to believe you will see that there is a silver lining after having contact with evil.
There is a lot written about “malignant” narcissists compared to the regular narcissist. I lived with a malignant narcissist for many years so I wanted to do this post on the results of malignancy to help you recognize the #1 sign of evil in people.
What exactly does malignancy mean? And how does it shows up in abusive and manipulative people? We will delve into this so you get more insight into the narcissists in your life to better understand those who are malignant and those who aren’t.
You’ll be able to understand how you could unconsciously let evil take over your heart and mind if you’re not careful. This is exactly what happened to me and if I can open your eyes to this particular evil and save you from the pain and torture I suffered along with my children then I have succeeded in my goal to help you.
You’ll also find out about a silver lining that you can find after having contact with evil. This shift is important in the later stages of healing so you can flourish in life.
What is malignancy?
Malignancy is a term that’s used in medicine to describe the uncontrolled growth of a tumor. It’s synonymous with terms like invasive, metastatic, and cancerous.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines malignancy as “tending to produce death or deterioration; tending to infiltrate”. Beyond medicine, malignant is defined as “evil in nature, influence or effect; aggressively malicious.”
One of the synonyms of malignant is malevolent which is also a synonym of vicious. This term is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as: “evil; having, showing or arising from intense often vicious ill will, spite or hatred.” Dictionary.com defined malevolent as “wishing evil or harm to another, showing ill will, evil, harmful, injurious; the deep-seated often unexplainable desire to see another suffer.” The term vicious is defined as ” having or showing a desire to cause someone pain or suffering for the sheer enjoyment of it.”
The term malevolent comes from Latin, originally meaning “wishing for bad.” So quite simply, a person who is malignant or malevolent either wants to harm someone else deliberately or they want harm to come to someone else. The tricky part is that malignancy is often very well disguised as just the opposite.
So let’s dive a bit deeper. Looking at evil, we can see after listening to Dr. Jordan Peterson’s work, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto, evil is a betrayal of self and others. Betrayal however first requires trust. The differentiating point between regular narcissists and malignant ones is betrayal. For someone to betray you, you first have to trust them.
Peterson says, “To betray someone, you first have to get them to trust you. Trust is a moral virtue. Betrayal is like a knife in the heart through the back, especially if they betray you for your virtues.” This is usually what happens in abusive relationships. Abusers betray you for your virtues of empathy, caring, trust, kindness, generosity, and love.
Betrayal can happen in many relationships, intimate relationships, friendships, among colleagues, and other social relationships. In those situations, the person who betrays you first had to earn or in some cases, extort your trust.
When we look at the family, we see something different. In the family, there is a built-in trust. We are conditioned since birth to automatically trust our family members simply because they’re family. This can be very dangerous when there are evil people in the family who betray our trust. Abuse in the family is easy because of that automatic trust.
This is the ultimate form of betrayal when your own family has ill will toward you when your father, mother, or other family member wants to see you fail and suffer? The betrayal of lovers, friends, and coworkers hurts a lot yet it pales in comparison to the betrayal that comes from our own families. This is why families get away with abuse.
It’s very difficult for a person to realize that the people who are most meant to love and support you are the ones who are trying to hurt you.
It is our familial relationships that set us up for other kinds of interpersonal relationships in life. When the betrayal starts in childhood, it can follow us for a lifetime in adult relationships.
So how do we tell the difference between a regular narcissist and a malignant one?
Narcissism is a spectrum disorder. On one end there are people with some light narcissistic traits. They might be grandiose, superior, arrogant, self-absorbed, entitled, and have a lack of self-responsibility. These narcissists don’t go out of their way to intentionally hurt others but that doesn’t mean you won’t be hurt by them. They will usually unintentionally hurt others because they are so self-absorbed and lack awareness of the people around them how their behaviors are using or hurting others.
There may be some hope that people on the lighter end of the narcissism spectrum can become more aware of some of their behaviors that hurt others and there might even be a small chance that they will change some of those behaviors. Their personality, however, will remain the same and there will be continual setbacks as they return to who they are simply who they are. A person can work on modifying their behavior but by the time they are grown adults, their personality is usually.
You might be able to manage a low-contact relationship with someone like this. It doesn’t mean you won’t be annoyed, drained, and even hurt by them. Even though they don’t set out to hurt others, it’s just that hurting others is a byproduct of who they are.
On the other end of the spectrum of narcissism is viciousness.
These are the types who intentionally plan and want to see others hurt and suffer. They are very dangerous and sadistic to those around them in the family, in relationships, friendships, at work, and anywhere else in life. These are the types that are far gone. There is zero hope for change with these people. These are relationships of inevitable harm.
Psychologists say that malignant narcissists are usually those who have traits of narcissism and psychopathy. Psychopathy is where evil comes in.
The overt type of narcissist, no matter how ugly they may sound and look on the surface, is still transparent. You know you’re dealing with a wolf from a mile away because they don’t hide who they are and simply can’t hide. They will not admit they’re narcissists, even when confronted. However, they betray themselves. They just have to open their mouth or get on social media, and everyone can see who they are.
Now that we understand at the core of malignancy, malevolence is betrayal, it’s the covert types who can be the most malignant ones because they pretend to be something they’re not. They pretend to be caring, decent, humanitarian, and selfless when they’re doing just the opposite.
That’s betrayal and that’s evil.
You think you’re dealing with a lamb but that’s just their disguise. They know to get away with it, they have to hide who they are. Betrayal implies that you must earn someone’s trust and then hurt them. That’s exactly what the covert types do. The covert narcissist is not going to be someone who looks vicious and ugly on the surface. They someone look like an angel but is a devil inside. That’s malignant.
Some people have a parent or parents who are on the lighter side of the spectrum. Their parents have narcissistic behaviors and that affected them into adulthood, for sure. However, when it came down to it, they were on their kids’ side. They had their back even when they got in trouble. That’s very different than the experience a person will have when they’re raised by someone who was not on their side.
When you’re a kid and you realize this about your parent, it’s devastating. Most kids will have the fantasy of loving parents long into adulthood before someday the truth suddenly shatters your denial and you’re left standing among the broken shards of your existence trying to figure out where you go from there.
Here are some real examples to illustrate this so you can see how the concept of malignancy applies to the narcissists in your life or not.
A teenage girl who was a very good swimmer lost a swimming match and her father was very angry with her. Why? Because her father no doubt wanted the narcissistic supply of saying his daughter won and the status he gets from her winning. So when she let him down by not giving him that supply, he was angry and shamed her. The swim match wasn’t that important to the girl. Her father would then criticize her weight even though she was thin, he wanted to see her skinnier.
Although the father’s behavior is mean and he is narcissistic he is not a malignant narcissist. These are not good qualities but they’re also not evil. A child could develop an eating disorder when a parent is critical of their physical appearance and weight and could feel not good enough at sports if their parent is upset when they lose a sports event. All of these could affect a person into adulthood. However, these traits are still at the lighter end of the spectrum.
On the other end of the narcissism spectrum is malignancy.
As mentioned the core of malignancy is betrayal. This implies that someone betrays your trust and has ill will toward you. When you have family members who want to see you fail to feel better about themselves or to maintain their superiority and narcissistic supply sources, that’s when you know you’re dealing with evil.
It is an experience many have with their families, where they kick you when you’re down. They set you up to fail because they take pleasure watching you hurt and struggle, even when they pretend to help you.
If you have a parent like this, when you’re in trouble, they don’t have your back and take the other side. When it matters, they betray you. They will even take proactive measures to screw you over, just for spite. They will also threaten betrayal to keep you afraid of stepping out of line. When you have a parent like this, you learn from a very young age that your narcissistic parent is not a safe place to go when you get in trouble or have a problem. Those are in fact, the very moments when you will be most betrayed.
An example of a malignant narcissistic parent is this.
A father is helping his 4-year-old child learn to ride her new two-wheel bike. He pushes her off her bike because she is not doing well. He does not like that he does not look like the perfect father who taught his child to ride the new bike. Or when the child was age 9 he pushed her down a whole flight of stairs hurting her arm badly because she argued about something with him. The father showed no remorse and lied about both of these incidents to her mother.
That’s evil. It’s ill will, it’s a betrayal. That’s the malignant end of the narcissism spectrum, overlapping with psychopathy, and a very sophisticated version. It doesn’t have to be murder to be evil. Evil can be very covert and even seemingly supportive on the surface but that’s only the illusion of trust that they extort from you to betray you.
When you have a malignant parent, your wellbeing is less important to them than the gratification of their ego.
All narcissists can be dangerous because of their black hole effect, how they suck people into their life.
If you’re evaluating whether someone in your life is malignant or not, the question to ask is this: Do they have your back when it matters?
When you are in a difficult situation, do they stand by you or do they take the other side just to enjoy while watching you suffer?
When you’re raised by a malignant parent, you can feel quite alone in the world. As a kid, you can’t use your logical brain to figure that out or verbalize what’s going on. Parents are supposed to love and support their kids but in these cases, that belief is in direct contrast with reality.
Even in adulthood, it’s very difficult to be able to admit that one or both of your parents doesn’t love you, they just pretend to at times when it’s convenient for them or serves their agenda. When you’re betrayed by your family, you end up internalizing the belief that you’re worthless.
You end up in a lot of adult situations of betrayal and until you figure out the connection to your childhood, you’ll keep wondering why so many people betray you. Betrayal will become your biggest fear in relationships. You could get to the point where you don’t even know if you’re being paranoid or if the other person is betraying you, even when you’re looking at the hard evidence of betrayal.
The worst part though is how you’ll learn to betray yourself.
You’ll do this over and over again, including when it really matters, and you’ll only blame yourself, continually reinforcing the belief that you’re worthless and people can’t be trusted, including yourself.
If you’re not careful, you can get caught up in this evil energy of betrayal. When you around malignant people, that evil can contaminate your life and decisions as well. Narcissists are especially skillful at putting ideas in your head that you think are your ideas. You can end up doing something that betrays someone else you love, playing right into the agenda of the narcissist who orchestrated the whole thing just to sit back and watch the chaos unfold. You might do things that weren’t like you, things that were totally out of your integrity. This will cause you to feel filled with guilt, shame and regret because you didn’t show up as a better version of yourself. It only reinforces your belief that you’re worthless and the narcissist is the only one who will accept you.
You can get sucked into that evil without even realizing it. You’re not choosing to be evil because it’s not like you want to see someone hurt, but you let evil take you over and you can end up hurting someone you care about.
This is how malevolence can come to take over regular people. These are things that we regret and can haunt us for years because we only blame ourselves for the actions we took.
No one is immune to evil. Evil can take over the mind and heart of anyone who isn’t paying attention.
Dr. Jordan Peterson talks about how deep knowledge of evil changes people and wakes them up. This is the silver lining that we can find as we move through the healing process after abuse.
Contact with evil is an awakening. It can be unpleasant and very painful, as most awakenings are. No one will ever be the same as they were before encountering evil, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You’re fully aware that evil exists in this world because you’ve been touched by it. That was the end of your childlike innocence, which no longer serves you as an adult.
Your contact with evil might have been severe enough to destroy your faith in humanity. That’s a precarious moment because if you go too far down that path, you can end up turning into the monster who hurt you. If you find yourself nearing that point, ask yourself who in your life can you count on to be on your side?
If you don’t have someone in your corner when it really mattered, when are in trouble, when you have a problem, you probably would’ve gone to the dark side. This affects your brain development and the formation of your personality in a positive way.
That is probably the most damaging thing to a child’s psyche, not having any adults they can trust to be on their side when it matters. Kids are learning how to socialize, they’re going through the process of domestication training at home and school so they can become responsible members of society. If no one is on their side, that creates a deep sense of betrayal that can set them up to become monsters as adults.
The betrayal wasn’t fair. And if it started in childhood for you, it was written into your neurology and programming. That determines how you see the world and what you often find. But it doesn’t have to be that way anymore. You can begin to work on healing the betrayal. As you release that, you change your mental programming and your neurology responds to those changes through a process that the 40-year Harvard study called neuroplasticity.
A wound of betrayal since childhood can become bitterness in adulthood if you don’t find some kind of silver lining lesson in there.
If you are able to work through the heavy emotions caused by betrayal you can release them before they make you stuck and feel bitter. Bitterness freezes you in your recovery process. It also turns off healthy people who don’t want to be around that energy. It makes you guarded of others. When you’re closed off emotionally, you’re likely to accept another emotionally unavailable person in your life. Bitterness just doesn’t help you heal or make meaningful connections with people.
In the early stages of recovery, it’s really helpful to take time for yourself to focus on healing. But, if long-term you block out the possibility of ever letting anyone in again, then you won’t be able to flourish in life.
We grow through our meaningful connections with others. And that is the antidote to the bitterness caused by the betrayal of evil.
Believe me when I tell you that if you are with a malignant narcissist you need to find a way to leave them.
A malignant narcissist will never change and he can absolutely only cause you harm. There are Women’s Crisis Lines and Shelters that have helped and advised many women in similar situations. We don’t often want to reach out to anyone for help but believe me you don’t have to do this alone any longer.
Please reach out to me via text or email. I have been through hell with a malignant narcissist who is vicious and dangerous. I am not only out of the relationship and healed, my children are also safe and are healing. Leaving was one of the best things I did for myself, however, the deep healing I did later was what actually helped me more than I could ever thought possible.
I can help you, even if you think you are not ready. My healing sessions are affordable and they work.
Sending you love