Not without cause, malignant narcissism is one of the most searched for topics on the internet in part because seemingly there are so many people that appear to have those toxic traits that negatively impact on us. These individuals are notorious because they destabilize our lives, make us feel insecure, undervalued, disparaged, or inconsequential, and as I noted in my book, Dangerous Personalities (Rodale/Penguin), they can victimize us emotionally, as well as physically, even financially. They come into our lives as family members, friends, lovers, spouses, colleagues at work, bosses, or worst as national leaders. Once they enter our orbit, no matter how distant, toxicity is what they have in common and they always leave a debris field of human suffering behind them.
By now we recognize how dangerous these individuals are precisely because their pathology drives so much of their sordid behavior, especially toward others. Their common traits such as: a hyper inflated sense of entitlement, grandiose feelings of superiority or uniqueness, delusions of infallibility, incessant disregard for the truth, perennial conniving and scheming to take advantage of others, feeling that rules and laws don’t apply to them, and of course the need to debase others, coupled with callousness, not only wears on us, it can have devastating consequences.