I just received this comment under the currently spiking article (linked in the previous post).
I’ve embellished my reply into an article because this was such a fascinating issue to me.
Malignant narcissists who became that way later in life by making an evil choice (such as making a genuine deal with the devil, becoming involved in the dark arts, or committing a heinous crime against their will, such as in war, may not be entirely seared and the real self can occasionally shine through. But they can’t leave the darkness without an almost supernatural force of will. They may know they’re this way and may even hate it and suffer, but THEY CANNOT LEAVE THE DARKNESS once they’ve made that choice. It’s like they already died and went to hell (I’m not sure I believe in a literal place called Hell, but I think you know what point I’m making here).
Malignant narcissists are incredibly dangerous because they can infect you with their sickness. They can literally rip out your soul and replace it with emptiness and blackness. A formerly good person can also become MN themselves if they associate too long with an MN abuser. There are several stages to this process. It doesn’t happen immediately. It’s very insidious.
Here is the machinery of evil:
1. The Honeymoon: The MN love bombs the intended victim with charm, fake love, gifts, and kindness so they learn to trust them.
2. The MN will pretend to agree with everything the victim says and seem empathic. What’s really happening is the opposite. The victim already trusts the MN and has been partly brainwashed already, so whatever the MN says, the victim agrees with and think it was themselves who thought it
3. The MN changes and his games become cruel and anything but loving. The honeymoon is over. The blatant mindfuck begins.
4. Over time, the spirit of the abused breaks down. They begin to feel like they’re worthless and the insane and abnormal begins to seem normal.
5. The MN abuse becomes worse. They make it impossible for the victim to escape, using various means and separating them from friends and other loved ones, often through turning everyone they both know against the victim through the MN’s lies, gaslighting, and triangulation. The victim becomes isolated and thinks they might be going crazy and start to doubt their own reality. If the victim has figured out the MN has turned everyone into their flying monkeys and started a campaign against them and try to call out the MN, they will be told they are crazy or imagining things. The classic psychological horror movie “Gaslight” shows this process so well that the term “gaslighting” was named after it. At the same time the victim realizes they have become entirely dependent on the MN.
6. This is the make or break moment. The abuse escalates into abject, intolerable cruelty. The victim may begin to fight back (this is the point at which a person can still leave the relationship before their soul is destroyed). If they don’t fight back they will succumb even further and are doomed, because…
7. As a defense mechanism, the victim begins to identify with the MN. This is known as Stockholm Syndrome. It’s the only way they can cope with what their life has become and the pain they are undergoing at the hands of the MN. They begin to collude with the MN.
8. Once they collude with the MN (even if it’s to insure their survival or the survival of others like their children), the transformation is complete. The victim, newly turned MN, can never go back. As they age they will keep getting worse.
9. The MN who infected the victim at this point will probably leave and move on to his or her next victim. There is nothing more he can with the first victim.
I got to Stage 6. Thank God I didn’t get any further along than that. Once I began to identify with my abuser(s), it might have been too late…
I’m getting mega chills writing this. This is scary stuff. But it’s real.
Moments of Clarity
On the other side of the equation, the opposite could happen (the MN turning good), but it’s far less likely than the first scenario, which is all too common. If it does ever happen to an adult, it’s extremely rare.
Even the most malignant narcs have these bizarre moments of clarity. They don’t happen often. It’s kind of spooky because it’s like all of a sudden they have another personality, but it’s fleeting. It’s as if they wake up for a second and even their look changes to a different, more human one. It’s very, very weird. I’ve seen it myself. It’s a moment that could change them if they really wanted help. Usually it passes too quickly unless God steps in. A really good therapist might be able to get through if the narc presented themselves for therapy, which they sometimes do (when they’ve lost all their supply and have sunk into depression).
Still, we can’t delude ourselves into thinking they will get better. The vast majority will not. In fact they grow worse with age.
I’m reminded of a scene in “The Shining” (the book, not the movie), where Jack Torrance (the possessed father) comes out of his trance for a second or two and tells his son Danny, “RUN! Get away from me, I love you!” Then he goes back into his murderous rage. It was incredibly creepy.