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Malignant Narcissist + Communal Narcissist: Toxic Personalities In The Real World (Part 4)

Updated: Nov 17, 2021

In part 4 of the "Toxic Personalities in the Real World” for the second week, Dr. Phil is examining traits particular to the malignant narcissist, who he says “is the most dangerous narcissist of all!” Learn why it’s vital to get away from a malignant narcissist just as quickly as you can safely do so. And, find out the one big characteristic that Dr. Phil says differentiates the narcissist and the malignant narcissist from the psychopath. Plus, what is a communal narcissist, and why does Dr. Phil say they may be the least dangerous of all?

“If you ever start defending yourself with a narcissist, you will never ever stop. They simply can't be confronted. That's why you can't win an argument with them. They are relentless. They will argue until the end of the earth.”

This series addresses Narcissistic Personality Disorder; how to recognize it, establish boundaries, and how to coexist with those in your life who may have it with tools and guidelines that can help minimize damage to oneself and loved ones.


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Psychopath vs Malignant Narcissist

Communal Narcissists

Communal narcissists are the ones that will throw a ten thousand dollar gala to raise a hundred dollars. They do this because they want their picture in the paper. They want to talk about all of their "do-gooding". They want to wear that on their sleeve and beat the drum and beat you over the head with it to show how much better they are than you. They want their picture in the paper holding that puppy, at the hospital with the nurses, planting trees in the park. Communal narcissists want to have credit for every charitable thing you can possibly imagine.

Malignant narcissists can be highly manipulative, and they don't care who they hurt as long as they get their own way.

Other signs of malignant narcissism include:

  • Seeing the world in black-and-white terms, including seeing others as either friend or foe

  • Seeking to win at all costs and generally leaving a great amount of pain, frustration, and even heartache in their wake

  • Not caring about the pain they cause others—or may even enjoy it and experience it as empowering

  • Doing what it takes to prevent themselves from loss, inconvenience, or failing to get what they want in any situation

Does Social Media Contribute To Narcissistic Personality Disorder in Young Adults

  • Research shows that today’s young adults are more narcissistic than ever before.

  • More than 10 percent of people in their 20s are believed to suffer from subclinical narcissism, according to Psychology Today.

  • Social media is contributing to the problem.

  • A study published in the Journal of Personality found that, between 1982 and 2006, college students’ NPI scores significantly increased by about two narcissistic answers.

  • “Receiving a “like” on social media produces a physiological high by triggering our reward cycle. This good feeling is due to a dopamine rush in the reward center of the brain.”

  • A follow-up study “Is “Generation Me” Really More Narcissistic Than Previous Generations?” found further increases in narcissism in young adults through 2008.

  • Two reasons for this increase:

  • A greater focus in recent years on building self-esteem in young people;

  • The internet and social media, which encourage young people to focus obsessively on themselves and their public image.

(Source: Newport Institute)


Narcissistic personality disorder: a pattern of need for admiration and lack of empathy for others. A person with narcissistic personality disorder may have a grandiose sense of self-importance, a sense of entitlement, take advantage of others or lack empathy.

There are no medications specifically to treat personality disorders. However, medication, such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication or mood stabilizing medication, may be helpful in treating some symptoms. More severe or long lasting symptoms may require a team approach involving a primary care doctor, a psychiatrist, a psychologist, social worker and family members.

In addition to actively participating in a treatment plan, some self-care and coping strategies can be helpful for people with personality disorders.

  • Learn about the condition. Knowledge and understanding can help empower and motivate.

  • Get active. Physical activity and exercise can help manage many symptoms, such as depression, stress and anxiety.

  • Avoid drugs and alcohol. Alcohol and illegal drugs can worsen symptoms or interact with medications.

  • Get routine medical care. Don’t neglect checkups or regular care from your family doctor.

  • Join a support group of others with personality disorders.

  • Write in a journal to express your emotions.

  • Try relaxation and stress management techniques such as yoga and meditation.

  • Stay connected with family and friends; avoid becoming isolated.

Source: Adapted from Mayo Clinic, Personality Disorders

Family members can be important in an individual’s recovery and can work with the individual’s health care provider on the most effective ways to help and support. But having a family member with a personality disorder can also be distressing and stressful. Family members may benefit from talking with a mental health provider who can provide help coping with difficulties.


  1. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). American Psychiatric Association. (2013).

  2. Lenzenweger MF, Lane MC, Loranger AW, Kessler RC. 2007. DSM-IV personality disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Biological Psychiatry, 62(6), 553-564.