Malignant Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Definition & Traits

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  • 0:01 Definition of MNPD
  • 1:06 Traits of MNPD
  • 2:30 Origins of MNPD
  • 3:01 Treatment for MNPD
  • 3:51 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Laura Gray

Laura has taught at the secondary and tertiary levels for 20+ years and has a Ph.D. in Instructional Design for Online Learning.

In this lesson, we will define malignant narcissistic personality disorder, explore the criteria and traits for a diagnosis, and speculate on its origins. We'll also touch upon the possibility of treatment for individuals with malignant personality disorder.

Definition of MNPD

If we are to gain a better understanding of malignant narcissistic personality disorder, we must first have a basic understanding of its more common predecessor, narcissistic personality disorder. If someone truly has narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), he or she, most often he, feels superior to others, exhibits attention-seeking behavior, and usually acts in a very callous manner. This disorder, as well as its malignant form, typically presents by early adulthood. Behaviors specific to these disorders occur across all areas of life and can cause social or occupational problems.

Individuals with malignant narcissistic personality disorder (MNPD) will also demonstrate feelings of grandiosity, or exaggerated feelings of superiority; paranoia, or the belief that people are out to get him or her; and sadism, or the need to hurt and humiliate others. So, as you can see, MNPD includes all of the symptoms of NPD, but in more extreme forms.

Traits of MNPD

It is important to know that individuals with MNPD rarely acknowledge that there's anything wrong with them. In their minds, they are 'too good' to have any sort of mental health issues. An unwillingness to seek treatment can make the disorder very difficult to diagnose. However, should someone with this illness end up either on the psychiatrist's couch or in a psychiatric hospital, the following symptoms should be present before the patient can be properly diagnosed:

  1. The person is emotionless and self-centered, or only thinks of himself or herself
  2. The person is cruel and ruthless, often torturing others emotionally, mentally, and physically
  3. The person views other people as objects and doesn't care about them at all
  4. The person takes excessive risks
  5. The person has a huge ego and a grandiose sense of entitlement
  6. The person blames others and never takes responsibility for his or her behaviors and shortcomings
  7. The person has an abnormal sex life, in which he or she often plays the role of a sadist

In short, this person can be described as a psychopath, or someone who willingly hurts and abuses others and has no regard for human life. A person who has MNPD is someone whom you truly want to avoid.

Origins of MNPD

As MNPD is a relatively new disorder and very few malignant narcissists have been studied, its exact origins are difficult to determine. However, there are three schools of thought regarding how one becomes a malignant narcissist. Some experts believe that this personality disorder is the result of extreme childhood abuse. Others, however, believe that people with this illness are just born that way. A third theory is that this disorder has some sort of inherited genetic component.

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