Are Narcissists Dangerous?

There is a wide range of behavior of the narcissist from an unaware self centered person who acts out of narcissistic tendencies, to a full blown NPD Psychopath who stalks and harms to satisfy a need.

Narcissists can be annoying or they can be dangerous. You will never be able to test their capacity until you draw boundaries. 

The short answer is yes, the long answer is there are grey areas. Let me provide you with some definitions, and then examples to further clarify. 

Narcissistic Tendencies

A person with narcissistic tendencies is one whom has an inflated ego, and act out of a self centered viewpoint. With this person you can point out how they are being selfish, and if they are open to change can recognize and wake up to these and do the work to change. Others may not want to do the work and change and continue to repeat their offenses no matter how many times you tell them “No.” 

With this person, who is asleep to their tendencies and their ego is in the way of them changing, you must set boundaries. That does not mean talk about your boundaries and tell them over and over. That is not a boundary. There must be a consequence if they continue to push your boundary (which they will — because they don’t listen to anyone and they do what they want to do.) This type of person is not dangerous. They are just selfish. 

You must follow through with the consequence in order for you to gain sanity, and for them to get the message you mean business. For example, if you mother keeps giving your child treats immediately after you said “don’t give them that right before bed.” Then you must lay down a boundary and state, “You are not respecting my role as the parent, and if you continue to do that, I will not be able to have you over after dinner / or even for dinner.” 

You must see the point of no return for the behavior and cut them out of experiencing that and having the chance to disrespect you again. 

Photo by Hans Isaacson on Unsplash

NPD

In the DSM, NPD, Narcissistic Personality Disorder is defined as: Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a cluster B personality disorder defined as comprising a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), a constant need for admiration, and a lack of empathy.

This could look like any number of scenarios, but it consistently shows up with a partner doing what they want at any cost, and certainly at the expense of your peace or happiness. 

The signs to look out for are: 

  • They are good story tellers
  • They over exagerate themselves or their role in the story
  • They underwhelm you about others in a story. 
  • They have multiple failed relationships that are never their fault
  • They play the victim
  • They do not ask personal questions about the other, but will listen when someone shares
  • They do not repeat back to you or acknowledge how you feel (or felt.)

Once you are in their intimate life, the emotions and focus will always revolve around them. 

If they are happy, you are happy. 

If they are mad, you are to blame to trying to fix things. 

If they are sad or the victim, you take on the their burden to be their rescuer.

They take zero responsibility for their actions causing any negative emotion. 

Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

When you try and break free, their loving ways come back out and try and lure you back in like a fish on a hook. And it works most of the time. It takes, on average, seven times to leave an emotionally abusive relationship.

They can become dangerous, because throughout the relationship they have slowly chipped away at your autonomy, explaining it as a loving guesture. They move your money into their bank account, they put your name on businesses, or leases, then remove it in secret. Your name will suddenly not be on home utility bills, you will have not money, and no will to work and be who you truly wish to be. 

Or they may make you feel a slave to the job you have now, and squash your dreams of starting up your own enterprise. They may have you buying their alcohol every week because you need it too. 

You are left in a puddle of no self power, no money, and no way out. This can be dangerous because they are banking on you staying because now it is too hard to start over and leave without them. They need you to need them. Because without your as a toy and supply to feed their self worth, they are hurt. 

In a lot of cases when you try and leave they confront you with threats or violence to keep you. It is their last resort in attempting to not lose you. And a lot of the times it works because they will threaten the kids and you stay to protect them. 

Psychopath

In the DSM-5, under “Alternative DSM-5 Model for Personality Disorders”, ASPD with psychopathic features is described as characterized by “a lack of anxiety or fear and by a bold interpersonal style that may mask maladaptive behaviors (e.g., fraudulence)”.

Now the NPD is dangerous until you find your power, and they are a fly you can squash with your will to rise up and thrive. 

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

But the psychopath is physically dangerous. If you notice they have a lack of fear in situations rational people would have you may be dealing with a narcissist. 

Now everyone deals with panic in different ways, some may appear fearless, but their fight response is based out of fear, and as they walk away you will see their body agitated and calming down. That is a response to a state of fear. 

But when a psychopath is faced with danger they laugh at it. They careen 100 miles per hour around a windy road at midnight. They stand stoic, not frozen, and have no emotional response when an animal bites them. 

Now not every psychopath is a narcissist, but narcissists can also be psychopaths. The symptoms are:

  •  a lack of attachment to others
  • superficial charm
  • dishonesty
  • manipulativeness 
  • reckless risk-taking come into play

Certainly, psychopathic narcissists exist, but they are not the norm.

And in order to fit into society, much like a narcissist, they put on masks that are appropriate for the situation. They can learn empathy to fake empathy, and tell you what you want to hear. But they don’t truly feel it. This is why this personality can kill so easily, and this is why this person is dangerous.

Get Help

If you are caught in any of these situations, reach out for help

Call 988 for emotional emergency

Find a Social Worker or Therapist to go on your own

And develop a plan, with one trusted friend whom the narcissist does not know, to get you and your loved ones safely. 

Gain support emotionally — listen to Empath & The Narcissist Podcast

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