An encounter with a malignant narcissist is much like a scorpion's sting. Or, make that a million stings, because the type of abuse they dole out is done incrementally over time. Morally disordered people also recruit others to participate, so the stings can be delivered by multiple players. What makes us easy prey is that the element of shock and awe. We are caught off guard because we find it hard to fathom that someone who looks so nice could be so devious and engage in such evil behavior.
This is precisely why having a working knowledge of how a narcissist operates can serve us well. Once we learn to recognize the signs of this condition, we can navigate ourselves away. Of course, the easiest type of narcissist to spot is the grandiose variety. This would be the female corporate executive who wears expensive business suits and pushes other people around. All of her conversations are focused around one central theme - herself.
Less easy to detect is the covert narcissist. She often wears frumpy clothes and appears meek and mild. Underneath this disguise, however, she is seething with rage, envy and ambition. She appears to be perfectly content with her unassuming lot in life. But she's not. Because she likes to listen to your problems, you are apt to rely upon her as a confidant. This is a big mistake, and it's one I made myself. A covert, church mouse narcissist ended up being a very destructive force in my life for a number of years. This is even after I was very well aware of malignant narcissism and similar personality disorders. I didn't see what I needed to because I was looking for something else.
Make no mistake. These types of exceedingly dangerous. How do you spot them? Watch for anything that seems even slightly amiss. For instance, a mother who spends next to no time with her young children, despite a most pious exterior, is a very bad sign. This means she is more focused on herself than on her loved ones. She is neglecting her duties and has, basically, abandoned her children. If you see this, be careful about getting involved.