Dealing with a Malignant Narcissist:
Being in a relationship with a narcissist – whether a romantic relationship, a platonic relationship, or a family relationship – will always be difficult on the victim, but in most cases, steps can be taken to adjust the narcissist’s behavior and make the relationship better for both parties.
However, relationships with malignant narcissists are exponentially more dangerous and damaging than relationships with less extreme narcissists.
The difference is in the awareness: while most narcissists are somewhat unaware of the pain they are causing, malignant narcissists feed off of it, actively seeking to increase it at every turn.
The typical narcissistic cycle of abuse consists of four steps. These are:
– Feels threatened: The narcissist feels threatened due to an upsetting event – any form of disrespect, abandonment, neglect, rejection, or disapproval. They obsess over this event over and over again.
– Causes abuse: They take out their negativity and disappointment on their closest and easiest victim through abuse. This abuse can be emotional, spiritual, verbal, financial, physical, sexual, or mental, and its primary goal is to intimidate and trigger the victim at their most vulnerable areas.
– Plays the victim: Once the abused individual tries to fight back, the narcissist will switch roles and play the victim. This causes a second bout of abuse to the original victim, who is now manipulated into believing they 1) they deserved the initial abuse, and 2) they are wrong for attacking back. They end up agreeing with the narcissist after being guilt tripped, and even apologizing and begging for forgiveness.
– Becomes empowered: The narcissist wins, and the feelings of threat from the first step become replaced by feelings of empowerment. They renew their sense of superiority and feel stronger and better than ever before.
The typical narcissist will engage in every step of the abuse cycle step by step, as each step justifies and explains the next.
This is why most narcissists do not understand their wrongness, and believe everything they are doing is justified.
However, what makes a malignant narcissist so dangerous is that they do not follow the abuse cycle at all. Rather, they feed off the knowledge that they are actively causing pain to their victims.
They have no cycle that can be broken with certain methods and techniques – a malignant narcissist is simply on a path to see how far they can go before a victim will force them to stop. If the victim never addresses their abuse, it will simply continue until they are completely broken down, or worse.