If someone displays these 9 behaviors, they’re probably a malignant narcissist

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Have you ever been around someone who left you feeling… well, kind of wiped out?

Or maybe you know someone who acts like they’re the only person in the world who matters, and everyone else is just a background character?

These might be signs that you’re dealing with a malignant narcissist.

But don’t panic – we’ve got your back. This article will walk you through 7 key signs that someone might be more than just a bit self-centered.

We’re not talking about the folks who can’t pass a shiny surface without checking their hair, or those who love a good selfie (or ten). Nope, we’re digging into the kind of narcissism that’s really damaging and unhealthy.

So let’s dive into 7 behaviors that could signal you’re dealing with a malignant narcissist. It’s time to understand what you’re up against.

1. It’s All About Them, All the Time

Ever been in a conversation where the other person talks non-stop about themselves? Yeah, we all have.

But when dealing with a malignant narcissist, this behavior is amplified. They don’t just like to talk about themselves – they LOVE it.

And it’s not just about sharing their experiences or feelings. They make everything about them – your promotion, your grandma’s birthday, even your dog’s new trick!

If your pal is transforming every chat into a one-man show, that’s a red flag right there! It’s not just annoying; it could be a sign of something more serious.

A healthy conversation is a two-way street, but for these folks, it’s a one-way highway… and they’re driving a monster truck.

2. Lack of Empathy is Their Thing

You know that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you share your joys or sorrows with a friend and they just…get it? That’s empathy.

But when dealing with malignant narcissists, it’s like talking to a brick wall. They just don’t care about your feelings or experiences unless it somehow affects them or gives them an advantage.

Ever tried to share a tough day’s story only for it to be brushed off or turned into another opportunity to talk about them? Yep, that’s what we’re talking about.

If someone consistently shows zero interest or understanding towards your feelings, you might be dealing with a malignant narcissist.

Remember, everyone has bad days but if someone is always too busy being self-involved to care about yours, that’s not just rude – it’s a sign of something more.

3. They’re Never Wrong (Or So They Think)

Ever known someone who would rather eat a shoe than admit they’re wrong?

I once had a colleague who was the epitome of this trait. We’d been working on a project together, and despite several team members (including myself) pointing out a flaw in his part of the plan, he simply refused to admit it.

He’d make up excuses, deflect, and even blamed us for not understanding him correctly.

The idea that he could make a mistake was just unacceptable to him. It was as if admitting a mistake would shatter his world. Spoiler alert: It didn’t end well for the project.

This stubborn refusal to accept mistakes or take responsibility is another trademark behavior of malignant narcissists.

If you’ve got someone in your life who thinks they’re perfect all the time, be cautious – it’s not confidence, it’s narcissism.

4. They’re Masters of Manipulation

Malignant narcissists are often skilled manipulators. They have a knack for twisting situations, words, and actions to suit their narrative.

They’ll play the victim when needed or become the hero if it serves them better.

Narcissists, especially those with malignant traits, are often better at strategic thinking and manipulation.

This is because they’re usually more focused on achieving their own goals, no matter what they have to do or who they have to step over.

So, if you notice someone constantly twisting things around or playing mind games, take a step back. You might be dealing with a malignant narcissist.

5. They Have No Respect for Boundaries

At the heart of any healthy relationship, whether it’s between friends, family, or partners, is respect for each other’s boundaries.

But to a malignant narcissist, boundaries might as well be invisible.

They have a hard time understanding (or just don’t care) that they can’t always have their way or intrude on your personal space.

It’s not uncommon for them to demand your time, energy or resources without considering how it may impact you.

They could call you in the middle of the night for non-emergencies, show up unannounced, or even snoop around your personal stuff.

It’s heartbreaking when someone you care about continually crosses lines and shows no respect for your personal boundaries.

Remember, it’s okay to say no and protect your space.

6. They’re Quick to Anger

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from dealing with a malignant narcissist, it’s that their mood can flip faster than a light switch.

I had a friend who would go from laughing and joking one minute to being furiously angry the next.

And the worst part? The smallest things could set her off.

Once, we were at a café, and they got her order slightly wrong. Instead of handling it calmly, she blew up at the poor barista. It was mortifying – all over a cup of coffee!

These sudden, intense bouts of anger are another sign you might be dealing with a malignant narcissist.

Their reactions are often disproportionate to the situation, leaving you walking on eggshells around them.

7. They’re Unapologetically Jealous

Malignant narcissists have a hard time dealing with others’ success. Especially when that success outshines theirs.

They’re like green-eyed monsters, but not the cute, fuzzy kind. Nope, they’re the kind that begrudges you your happiness.

Say you’ve just landed your dream job. Most friends would be happy for you, right? But if you’ve got a malignant narcissist in your life, they might try to downplay your achievement or worse, make it about themselves.

It’s raw and it’s ugly – seeing someone you thought cared about you reveal such jealousy.

But it’s important to recognize this for what it is: a clear red flag.

8. They Need Constant Praise and Admiration

Malignant narcissists have a bottomless need for admiration. They crave constant praise and recognition, and they’re not above fishing for compliments or manipulating situations to get it.

This constant need for praise and validation in narcissists is often rooted in deep-seated insecurity and low self-esteem.

Despite their outwardly confident persona, many narcissists are driven by a fear of not being good enough.

If you know someone who’s always seeking the spotlight or turning the conversation towards their achievements, beware – you might be dealing with a malignant narcissist.

9. They Hold Grudges Like No Other

I’ve learned from personal experience that malignant narcissists are the ultimate grudge-holders.

A friend of mine, who I eventually realized was a narcissist, could hold onto a grudge like a dog with a bone.

One time, I had to cancel plans with her because I was unwell. Instead of understanding, she took it as a personal slight.

She held onto that grudge for months, constantly bringing it up and making me feel guilty for something that was beyond my control.

It was exhausting and emotionally draining.

If you find yourself constantly being reminded of past mistakes and feeling like you’re walking on eggshells, it might be a sign that you’re dealing with a malignant narcissist.


In conclusion, dealing with a malignant narcissist can be both emotionally exhausting and damaging.

Their behavior is characterized by an exaggerated sense of self-importance, lack of empathy, manipulative nature, refusal to accept responsibility for their mistakes, and intense jealousy, among other concerning traits.

It’s essential to recognize these signs early on to protect your emotional and mental well-being.

Such individuals can drain your energy, violate your boundaries, and create a toxic environment that hinders healthy, reciprocal relationships.

Identifying and understanding these red flags is the first step in managing and mitigating the impact of a malignant narcissist on your life.

Establishing strong boundaries, seeking support, and prioritizing self-care are crucial strategies in navigating relationships with such individuals.

Remember, you have the right to a respectful, supportive, and caring environment, and addressing or distancing yourself from toxic behaviors is a significant step towards ensuring your well-being.

In instances where you find yourself entangled with a malignant narcissist, seeking professional help to navigate and manage the relationship might be a beneficial course of action.


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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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