Sometimes I wonder if everyone (myself included) throws the term “narcissist” around a little too liberally.
So I want to clarify.
I’m not just referring to difficult people.
Everyone, on any given day, can be difficult.
Some more than others.
Instead, I’m talking about treacherous people. The kind who betray you.
The kind who rip your heart out and stomp on it. Just because they can.
These sadistic narcissists are extremely clever and manipulative.
They set their “friends” and coworkers up for extreme emotional pain and humiliation.
They do this either because they are envious.
Or they just like to watch someone else being destroyed. (It gives them pleasure.)
These are sadistic narcissists. Otherwise known as malignant narcissists.
They are extremely disturbed.
Normal healthy people don’t like to watch others in distress. They will do everything they can to make it better.
A malicious individual, on the other hand, will cause the suffering and then try to make it worse.
Regular narcissists may boast and talk about themselves.
To the point of boring you to death.
They love the limelight.
But they don’t inflict pain. So they’re not dangerous.
Regular narcissists may be difficult. But usually they’re not downright toxic.
There’s a difference.
That’s why I want to be careful with the narcissist label.
You can have a relationship with a regular narcissist. And not live to regret it.
You may need to set boundaries. You may see some entitlement mentality.
Regular narcissists may bore you to death But they won’t kill you, literally and figuratively.
Malignant narcissists are highly dangerous. They’re incredibly sneaky. So no one except their target grasps their evil intent.
That’s why they get away with so much.
So it’s important to note the difference between the two types of narcissists.
One is highly dangerous.
The other kind of narcissist isn’t.
There’s no upside to a relationship with a sadistic narcissist.
You can have a relationship with a regular narcissist, although you may need strong personal boundaries.
Even non sadistic narcissists can be difficult.
Or they can be a lot of fun. Especially in smallish doses.
But I believe it’s important to make a distinction. There are two kinds of narcissists.
I want to make sure I’m helping to shed light on the huge problem of malignant narcissism.
And not make it even more confusing than it already is.
Also, this article is aimed to help you deal with anyone who is potentially a sadistic narcissist.
There are two strategies I recommend. I’m not a mental health professional. But I do have personal experience with sadistic narcissists.
So my unprofessional recommendations are to:
- Avoid these people in the first place. Learn to spot the warning signs of severe personality disorder. Note that there is no foolproof way to smoke out one of these deceivers. But learning more about narcissism gives you insight. Look for red flags and pay attention when you see them.
- Forgiving a sadistic narcissist. If a sadistic narcissist has slithered into your life, you need to take steps to protect yourself. Then, from a distance, you can work on forgiveness. Not for the narcissist. But for you. Forgiveness is the only thing that will set you free. Be patient with yourself. It’s a process and it will take time.
What Is A Sadistic Narcissist?
Sadistic narcissist. Malicious narcissist. Vindictive narcissist. Malignant narcissist.
They all mean the same thing.
Some people are simply boastful, full of themselves and appear to know it all.
They may or may not be malicious or dangerous.
That’s why it’s important to make distinctions.
Also, some of the most dangerous people I’ve met don’t even fit the classic definition of narcissist.
They come off as meek and mild. Totally unassuming. But underneath the superficial sheep-like exterior is a wolf ready to pounce.
These are what some mental health experts call “coverts.” Because no one suspects them of being so treacherous until it’s too late.
Often they dress frumpy. This turns the conventional stereotype of the flashy well-groomed narcissist on its head.
They don’t seem to have a fashionable bone in their body. Nor do they seem to care.
Stereotypical narcissists are often grandiose. And boastful. So we’re caught off guard when a mild mannered person who makes self deprecating remarks turns out to be highly competitive and envious in an otherworldly manner.
I’m of the mind that coverts should be avoided at all costs. You can read more about covert narcissism here.
Sadistic Personality Disorder
Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that sometimes looks can be deceiving.
One person can be grandiose and boastful. Annoying, yes. But not really dangers.
Someone else may be meek mannered and pleasant. The last person you’d ever suspect of being untrustworthy. So you spill your guts because this “nice” person you’ve just met is such an easy listener.
However, you don’t realize you’re dealing with a deceitful person until later. Because he or she hides behind a mask of goodness.
You willingly let coverts into your life because they seem so harmless.
Lo and behold, it causes a mess.
People don’t fit into neat little categories. This includes narcissists.
But, in general, there are two kinds of narcissists. The ones who just drive you crazy.
And the ones who’ll stick a knife into your back while they’re smiling at you.
Of course, as non professionals, we’re not able to diagnose malignant narcissism. Or sadistic narcissism. We can leave that to the professionals.
But you can look for signs that someone is potentially dangerous. (Constant lies, a trail of ruined relationships, financial problems, stories that don’t add up, substance abuse and prolific gossiping are some big red flags.)
I also found a really good article written by a psychologist published in Psychology Today. It’s titled 5 Types of Extreme Narcissists. It describes several different personality types, which you can further categorize as dangerous or not dangerous.
Forgiving A Sadistic Narcissist
I found it helpful to learn all I could about malignant narcissism. Because this knowledge helped me get my head around what had happened. It added a lot of perspective to the situation.
Knowledge that helped me see clearly, that I was dealing with a very sick person. Who didn’t feel remorse. Or shame. Unlike normal healthy people.
What I was dealing with was a shell of a person. A pathetic empty person.
This knowledge allowed me to see it from her side. This person was hurting so much that she schemed and plotted to inflict emotional pain on others.
I could see how distorted her worldview was. Because she was so sick.
This allowed me to see her as pitiful, instead of powerful. So I was able to forgive her. From the bottom of my heart.
Forgiveness is what finally set me free. I am happy and whole. She isn’t, unfortunately.
So she’ll continue hurting others going forward. Because she’s hurting so much herself.
It is possible to forgive a malicious deceitful person, who isn’t going to change. Or apologize with sincerity.
I know because I’ve had to do it. For me, to get past the devastating fallout of a platonic friendship with a dangerous covert narcissist.