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Don't Share Information with a Malignant Narcissist

Updated on May 19, 2016

The Lessons We've Learned

Some of us reach middle age older and much wiser, at least in terms of knowing how a malignant narcissist operates. This particular personality disorder (I prefer the term "moral disorder") is something we once couldn't comprehend, until we found ourselves caught in a snare. This was a trap, or a series of them, set by someone we once trusted.

Then, we had to face up to the fact that some folks are so sick that they like watching others stumble.

The psychological landmines we wandered into were sprung by someone we considered a friend, a person with whom we shared many intimate details of our lives. This is very hard to come to grips with.

Or, the narcissistic abuse may have come from a coworker or a supervisor. Before we realize what's happening, they've already spent considerable time "grooming" us, in an effort to gain our confidence, and, they hope, access to our deepest secrets.

Some targets of narcissist abuse find it comes from within their family of origin. A parent, or perhaps a sibling, is morally disordered. If that's the case, this person already knows your weak spots. But they don't need to know anything else. This includes the names of your current friends, their addresses and where they work. A malignant narcissist is not above contacting someone in your social circle, or arranging a "surprise" encounter, in an attempt to ruin your other relationships. They know that isolation is the best means of control.

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The Sociopath Next Door

The Prevalence of Malignant Narcissism

According to Dr. Martha Stout, PhD, author ofThe Sociopath Next Door, narcissism and other Cluster B personality disorders, such as sociopathy, are frighteningly commonplace. About 1 out of every 25 people is disturbed enough to meet the criteria.

Any personal information that falls into their hands is dangerous. It will be used against you, even if it takes years to follow through on a particular plan.

Although we can't live in fear that everyone we meet has a deep-rooted character flaw, it's best to exercise prudence and restraint when someone new enters your life. Give it some time before you start to share.

Oftentimes, a malignant personality presents themselves as the nicest person you'd ever want to meet, until you get to know them better.

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Discerning Someone's Character

Most people are well meaning. We can't let our encounter with a malignant narcissist blind us to this fact. The majority of people want to do all they can to alleviate human suffering, whether it be physical, spiritual or psychological. A distinct minority, however, behaves much differently.

They don't appear to have the empathy needed to avoid hurting others. Or, they go out of their way to inflict pain. They damage those around them, and sow discord wherever they travel. These are the ones we need to never feed with information, as I'll explain further.

So, how do we discern if someone is trustworthy or not? Although there is no foolproof way to avoid getting burned, there are some red flags to look for.

Beware of "Instant Friendships"

Determining that someone is potentially malicious isn't always easy. Even professionals miss the sometimes subtle signals that an individual has a moral disorder. That's because malignant narcissists know they're different than the rest of humanity. So they work hard to perfect their image, in order to convince people they are virtuous.

Malignant narcissists also seem to possess superhuman abilities to size up a rival. They have excellent observational skills, coupled with the gift of gab. They are also remarkably charming and persuasive.

Be wary of "instant friendships." This is when there seems to be instant rapport, as if the other person you've just met seems to totally understand you. What could be happening, instead, is that they're reading you, and mirroring your behavior to gain your confidence.

Occasionally, you really do meet a soul mate and the two of you just happen to click. But it's also possible your gregarious new buddy may not be everything she appears to be.

Until you have a better idea of her character, consider my advice. (I have no formal education in human relations, but have gained some unfortunate first-hand experience.) Don't share your secrets until you get to know her much better.

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Watch for Loose Lips

I'm going to refer to malignant abusers in this article as "she." That's because gossip and slander form the backbone of relational aggression, a psychological device used by character-flawed females. This involves chipping away at someone's friendships, so that they become a pariah. The intent is to drive them out of a particular setting. When this happens on the job, it typically results in resignation or firing.

Pay attention if someone habitually talks badly about others. This reflects a lack of emotional maturity. Someone who gossips about everyone else will also gossip about you. Do not share any information, even if it's not considered "sensitive," when you observe this kind of conduct.

Sometimes gossip isn't immediately apparent. That's because it's camouflaged in "nice" language, such as, 'Susan's a wonderful person in all ways, except....," right before they drop the bombshell. Don't be fooled by praise, followed by a jab. This is gossip, and just as hateful as the more obvious kind.

I don't automatically assume someone is dangerous if they happen to make one, or even two, offhand comments about someone else. It could have been a slip of the tongue, and it's something they might regret. But a pattern of incessant backbiting is an ominous sign.

Understanding How the Malignant Narcissist Works

Love Bombing
Grooming
Empathy
Long-Term Memory
This only happens early in the relationship, when the narcissist idealizes you. You'll notice more disordered behavior later.
This can occur simultaneously with love bombing. This is when the narcissist explores your personality, probing for weak spots.
Morally disordered people are deficient in this department. They simply cannot relate to another's suffering.
Malignant narcissists will never forget a real or perceived slight. They may exact revenge years later.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

What About Their Other Relationships?

Everyone who's reached middle age probably had a failed friendship or two. This can happen because people simply drift apart. Or, it can be the result of a misunderstanding. We all have times in our lives when we seem to be either surrounded by people, or somewhat isolated.This, in and of itself, is not particularly alarming.

But what's potentially troubling is meeting a person who seems to have absolutely no history of previous relationships. They don't have any friends from high school or college or from any of their previous jobs. Nor do they seem particularly close, or even in contact with, any of their relatives.

Now, they've found you, and you're their main focus. They suddenly want to spend a lot of time with you. They want you to watch their children for a few days, just a week or two after you've met them. Perhaps, you've only known them a month, and they ask you to be godmother to their newborn. These are all indications they could have problems maintaining healthy relationships.

However, someone could have a legitimate social anxiety disorder or be extremely introverted, and still be a wonderful human being. That's why they don't have any close friends. But someone who fits this description is generally not extremely outgoing, and likely to form instant "friendships."

Tips on Handling a Narcissistic "Friend"

The Danger of Casual Conversation

When speaking with a potential malignant narcissist, establish a firm rule of no disclosure. Even something as innocent as what type of dog you have can be used to discredit you.

But how could that be?

Morally disordered people have no integrity. They tell outrageous lies if it suits their purpose. So, now they know you have a golden retriever. They'll use this true fact, and mix it with some very unsavory falsehoods. Because the rest of your coworkers know about your golden retriever, it's much easier to swallow the fabrications.

No fact, no matter how trivial, is too insignificant for a morally disordered person on a mission to destroy.


Disclosure

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 3 years ago from Taos, NM

    This series you are writing on narcissism is fascinating. I can see some of them in previous relationships and in my own family. This is quite and interesting and informative series. These types of people are insidious. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.

  • ologsinquito profile image
    Author

    ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

    Suzette, thank you for the kind words and thanks so much for reading.

  • rebeccamealey profile image

    Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

    Gosh, I have heard of a narcissism, but this takes it to a whole 'nuther level. I will keep my eyes open. Thanks!

  • AliciaC profile image

    Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge of malignant narcissism, ologsinquito. Your hubs on this topic are interesting and contain useful advice. I feel so sorry for people who have suffered from knowing a malignant narcissist.

  • ologsinquito profile image
    Author

    ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

    Hi Alicia, thanks for reading. It's a difficult experience to live through, but it teaches many lessons and there are also many blessings.

  • ologsinquito profile image
    Author

    ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

    Hi Rebecca, yes, we all have to be aware of this now, unfortunately.

  • VioletteRose profile image

    VioletteRose 3 years ago from Chicago

    Thanks for writing on this topic ologsinquito. Unfortunately I had to encounter a few of them in life and whenever there was a contact with those I was immediately left hurt. I try to ignore such people as much as possible, nowadays. What you mentioned about the introverts is very much right, as I am one myself. I have some really good friends, but I am not very outgoing and I really take much time to make friends.

  • ologsinquito profile image
    Author

    ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

    Hi VioletteRose, thanks so much for reading. Putting distance between you and people with this disorder is the best way to deal with them.

  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

    Very good counsel. We don't realize what we're up against when we take some people at face value. Thank you for opening our eyes.

  • Nadine May profile image

    Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

    That was a very good read on this difficult topic. I always rely on my intuition when I meet people for the first time, so I stay somewhat aloof, being in an observer mode; but not for long. If I resonate with someone then I open up. It's my intuition that has often warned me about someone who's mind chatter does not match up with the words they utter. Being very in-tune with the thought waves people give out, that has always been a blessing in disguise. Now that we interact with most ' friends' through the internet, this immediate contact has gone, but through story writing, especially through my characters, I have learned to pick up the thoughts between the words and by the signature or style of writing from a person. It takes practice to listen our intuition, especially when in our case we have to make business decisions. The ego goes for "what is in it us", but when my intuition says otherwise, I then have to share that feeling with my partner, and sometimes my feelings were ignored, but often years later we both realize that we have to take responsibility for the consequences. Thank you for that interesting article.

  • FlourishAnyway profile image

    FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

    You are absolutely correct about avoiding self-disclosure of any type. I have seen a narcissist repeat fairly innocuous but true information but then elaborate and give it an evil twist. My head about spun off my shoulders. I could not believe the deception. Good hub on an unfortunate topic. There are far too many of these folks.

  • ologsinquito profile image
    Author

    ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

    Hi FlourishAnyway, thanks again for reading. It's hard to believe, if you haven't seen it.

  • ologsinquito profile image
    Author

    ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

    Hi Nadine and MsDora, thanks so much for reading.

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Incredible! Your idea of a different hubs always gets my eye. I enjoyed learning another aspect of life from you.

  • ologsinquito profile image
    Author

    ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

    Hi DDE thanks so much for reading and for the feedback. The more we know about moral disorders the better.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

    Very interesting information. I can see the intertwining with sociopath disorder although I am sure it wouldn't have to be. ^+

  • ologsinquito profile image
    Author

    ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

    Hi Jackie, I think you're absolutely correct. There does seem to be some overlap. Some people think malignant narcissism is just short of full-blown sociopathy. In any event, individuals who fit this description are dangerous.

  • FlourishAnyway profile image

    FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

    I'm back to pin this excellent hub.

  • tambralee profile image

    Tambra Lee 2 years ago from Charlottesville, VA

    Social media adds to the fodder for narcissists. I will share two instances that I'm sure are now common. A person paid a hacker to hack into a person's Facebook just to gain access to information for evil intent. Another posed as someone the person knew and engaged in online chats via Facebook. It is difficult to stop a narcissist on the warpath, so we must be vigilant.

  • ologsinquito profile image
    Author

    ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

    Hi tambralee, I agree that social media just gives these predators one more tool with which to abuse others. That is a chilling example of what someone disordered is capable of.

  • profile image

    BCK 2 years ago

    I was married to a classic malignant narcissist for 15 years. I grew up in a home where "negative" feelings were discouraged and worked hard to be able to share feelings without guilt. My ex husband would take each and every feeling I expressed and hold it to use as a battering ram against me later on, especially during challenging times like when my mom was ill and died. It's like he unpeeled my heart and threw battery acid inside. It has been a long road back but I am getting there.

  • ologsinquito profile image
    Author

    ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

    Hi BCK, thank you so much for reading.

  • tony mcnaughton profile image

    tony mcnaughton 2 years ago

    Wow...talk about a happy , good feeling exhaustion ; the "taking-in" of this presentation was well worth it. What an incredible pulling together of the societal , politically correct narcissistic persons that I probably work , love , befriend and am joined to in family . I felt a sense of fear in the dynamics of my "trusting stance" towards and with others while I was reading . I was actually (frightfully) trying to find myself in the message and meaning of this article , so beautifully constructed . It would add much sorrow to my life/person to discover that I could be a narcissistic individual. Setting aside my self-centered concerns , this terrific , solid , insightful article has presented to me a "hope that helps" through the flow of thoughts that have already produced a positive perspective/understanding....Thank You....sincerely !

  • ologsinquito profile image
    Author

    ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

    Hi Tony, thanks so much for reading.

  • profile image

    Angelica 20 months ago

    I was married to a narcissist for over 3 years he has told ppl.I was the abusive person...drug addict and cheater...he's ruined my life in my hometown I have no friends left bc of him.....his mother taught him this behavior ..its,sad and scary at the same time...he fits every definition of a narcissist and no one but me realizes it....he tells everyone im the 'nut' and ppl believe him....theres no way to battle a narcissist.....

  • ologsinquito profile image
    Author

    ologsinquito 20 months ago from USA

    Hi Angelica, you definitely can't beat them at their game. I wish you well and thanks for reading.

  • profile image

    Howtospotnarcs 16 months ago

    I like the advice in your article because one should never feed this beast, however, I have found that even if you deprive narcissists of information about yourself, if they have targeted you, they will use your silence about your life as a blank canvas to invent whatever story that serves the purpose of targeting and undermining you. I suggest depriving them of information but providing everyone else, they might gossip to, with copious amounts of information about yourself. So their audience has a data base of conflicting information when they start their smear campaign.

  • ologsinquito profile image
    Author

    ologsinquito 16 months ago from USA

    Hi howtospotnarcs, that's not a bad idea. Feed everyone else the truth, and the lies will become apparent. Thanks so much for sharing your insights.

  • ologsinquito profile image
    Author

    ologsinquito 16 months ago from USA

    However, you have to make sure you trust the people you're speaking with. If not, any sensitive information can and will be shared with the narc.

  • moonlake profile image

    moonlake 16 months ago from America

    I have two family members that are narcissistic. The first one put stuff on facebook about a family member. It was terrible. She had the nerve to say she didn't realize anyone else could read it. I loved this person from the time she was born. When she did this I cut her out of my life completely and let her know it.

    The second family member did it to me. I cut her out of my life along with her parents. They fueled the things she said. I never loved her in the first place so no great loss. I always knew she was narcissistic.

    It's sad when people are this way and it is hard sometimes to weed them out.

    Excellent hub.

  • ologsinquito profile image
    Author

    ologsinquito 16 months ago from USA

    Hi moonlake, thank you so much for reading. I"m so sorry your family members have behaved this way. It's good that you didn't stand for this person's bad behavior.

  • profile image

    Howtospotnarcs 16 months ago

    Unfortunately, I have lived it. I never shared information with my narc- my mother- but I also never shared information with anyone else. She used that as an opportunity to use my personal life as ablank slate on which to pain a picture of me engaged to person A to person B and person B to person A, triangulating the situation, and plopping herself in the middle, then asking these powerful men for favors because she had been so helpful to them in preventing the embarrassment of trying to court me when I was taken. She destroyed my social life in this manner, and I then married poorly. It was a disaster, all because I was proper, demure and didn't share my personal information. I am a whole different creature now, and she has been sent running as a social pariah because my level of exposure of my personal information and her personal information is off the charts, without regard for being a "lady".

  • ologsinquito profile image
    Author

    ologsinquito 16 months ago from USA

    Hi howtospotnarcs, I am really sorry to hear about these painful experiences. Narcs can do a lot of damage with personal information. I sincerely hope you can move past all this and build a better life. God Bless you.

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