Psychology of Murder

Are Narcissists Dangerous? The 9 Traits of a Narcissistic Personality [Infographic]

Many of us are narcissists. We have a sense of ourselves; we can be selfish, vain and arrogant. Few of us however, have enough traits to combine into the kind of narcissistic behaviour and extent of lack of empathy where alarm bells start to ring and danger is afoot. Freudian psychologists believe we as humans are made up of three systems of the mind, which combined give us our personality. As babies we are entirely the ‘id’, all the genetic parts of us in one package which later, as we learn and grow, is joined by the ‘ego’ and the ‘superego’.

The human ego tells us who we are and what we are in the world. It is our personal identity and our individuality.

Narcissistic Behaviour and The  Human Ego

The ego has been described as a mediator, an influencer and an organiser in that it is the part of us which has our internal thoughts and understandings on one side and our influences and perceptions from the outside world on the other. Our egos use this information to decide and execute our actions.

The ego is a vital part of how we function and interact in the world. A healthy ego is advantageous in helping to develop our self-respect, self-esteem, independent thoughts and actions and our opinions and beliefs. We all have an ego, but for some this aspect of our minds can be more dominant than for others.

For some, the ego can become the driving force to their behaviour and display particular traits which, at extremes, can prove to be dangerous.

Related: Narcissistic Rage and Cold Blooded Murder

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a condition where a collection of personality traits associated with the ego have become oppressive and the more traits that are present at the same time, the higher up the narcissist scale a person becomes.

Narcissistic Personality Traits

The term ‘narcissism’ comes from Narcissis in Greek mythology who was a man who became obsessed with himself. He was shown to a pool of water by Nemesis and upon seeing himself for the first time he fell madly in love.

Unaware it was in fact his own reflection, he was unable to leave the image of such beauty and he died by that pool worshipping himself. In order to be diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, an individual must possess at least five of the nine personality traits which have been identified by psychiatrists.

Traits of a Narcissistic Personality  – Infographic

Many of us show some of these traits to various degrees and this is part of who we are as human beings. Those who show multiple traits and specifically five or more together however, are those who are truly narcissistic. Success is the driving force in all aspects of their lives; in their work, their relationships, in social circles and in their personal achievements.

Related: Pathological Narcissism and The Cult Leader

“Whoever loves becomes humble. Those who love have, so to speak, pawned a part of their narcissism.” – Sigmund Freud

The Narcissist in the Real World

Lack of empathy in an individual can be a damaging force. This can often be presented as a subtle lack of caring for others and their feelings but in reality narcissists have no true feelings for others, no guilt and no remorse. In times of happiness and emotion, a narcissist can be left feeling cold and unaffected. Marriage, births, weddings or even funerals, such individuals do not feel the emotion in these life events.

Their lack of empathy means they are rarely affected by their emotions and such emotions will not influence their behaviour in given situations. This can be very useful in business or criminal environments. As they do not feel the same level of emotion nor do they care about the emotions of others, they are able to function on a much more driven and determined road than we are.

The lumps and bumps in life where we can be happy, sad, upset or angry often affecting how we feel about something or someone, how comfortable we are performing a certain task or being involved in a particular job role, are just not obstacles for those with narcissistic personalities. They can be more flexible, more pragmatic and more ruthless because feelings and emotions are never involved in the equation. This is why they can often achieve great success in life.

“Nobody can be kinder than the narcissist while you react to life in his own terms.” – Elizabeth Bowen

Narcissists are great manipulators. They can spot the needs, emotions and weaknesses in those around them and use this information to their advantage very quickly with no sense of regret. They do not have a conscience in this sense because they do not hold themselves responsible for the consequences of their actions; they simply worked with the information that was available.

Related: Cult Leader David Koresh: The Rise and Fall of the Branch Davidians

A narcissist as a boss for example is likely to be forceful, bullying, arrogant and unforgiving. The effect of such a personality in a position of power can be devastating for others when they become the target of attack from such an individual. When a true narcissistic personality is challenged they can become unpredictable and dangerous, highlighting just how big their ego has become and how adversely they react when that is threatened.

To cite this article: Guy, F. (2016, May 23). Are Narcissists Dangerous? The 9 Traits of a Narcissistic Personality [Infographic]. Crime Traveller. Retrieved from

Recommended Books:

  • The Everything Guide To Narcissistic Personality Disorder A comprehensive resource including identifying symptoms, different types of narcissists, living in and recovering from a narcissistic relationship with a parent or spouse.

  • Narcissists Exposed Answering every question about narcissists, revealing the inside secrets to the frustrating and crazy-making games narcissists play and reveals the ins and outs of how (and why) they do what they do.

  • Disarming The Narcissist How to move past the narcissist’s defenses using compassionate communication. Learn how narcissists view the world, how to navigate their coping styles, and why it can be lonely being a narcissist.

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  • +CrimeTraveller​ ,people around the narcissists, may never know about the problem, as they were unware that such things even exists, compromising to the whims of the narcissists they become victims of either murder or of domestic abuse etc, again as it is impossible for the man with the disorder to check their ways or jusr a casual self-analysis, the already dengerous matter becomes more omenous, further people are generaly shy of pshycologist, i do not know why, a round there at their cabin can solve many a problems, but still, they just don't go there!
    A very Good morning, Madame Administrator !!!!

  • Good morning Dev. You are absolutely right from both sides, those around narcissists don't necessarily realise or recognize they are dealing with a narcissist and the dangers this could pose and equally a narcissist will never accept they have a problem.

    Of course not all people with narcissist traits are dangerous, but those who are true narcissists certainly have the potential to cause a lot of harm and in extreme cases they can be responsible for the death of others. Narcissistic rage is becoming more recognized and the behaviour of cult leaders, who are pretty much all pathological narcissists, have shown just how dangerous these individuals can be.

  • Interesting post and infographic. Narcissism is an aspect of psychology I am interested in and I found this really useful for getting an idea of whether narcissists can be dangerous and why. The term is thrown around a lot, I see in it the media all the time but I am not sure that many really understand what it is about.

  • I guess we’ll find out how dangerous a narcissist can be, when we elect a president with narcissistic personality disorder! WAKE THE HE’LL UP AMERICA

  • Having been diagnosed as a narcissist and having lived a life being driven to selfish ends I would say that I can now see the reasons for the growth of my narcissism, how I toned its skills and reinvented myself to suit it. I would however say one thing that from my point of view I feel those studying narcissists do not realise. I believe that those at the higher end of the scale are incredibly polite and kind rather than the often portrayed bully. I make a huge fuss over workers I meet enquiring about them and they in turn get me the best rooms, the best seats… I have no emotion but I can fake empathy and know better than anyone what is needed by that person… I give them that completely. The result is they are looked after, the situation I find myself in has had the best result and realistically has been fixed better because I did not allow my feelings in the way, feelings that didn’t need to be there. The problem with narcissism is that the narcisst doesn’t feel satisfaction, they seek things to be the best and are not emotionally attached. Therefore when it’s over it is over no discussion no thought of all the years the other person put in and the other person is hurt by this. As a narcisst I feel they should be happy they where on board the wave in the first place not sat cause its over. I can also say that as a narcissist I do not do things out of malice, and now that I can see the defistation others feel I try and stay away from those attracted by the bright light but deaf to the advice I give around my condition. Inevidibly they think they are the one that can change me, as if I could have changed with devotion. If anyone thinks that a true Narcissist would not change to a normal life then they have no idea of the torment it is believing you can rule the world and having the ability to surround yourselves with many many people who believe you can too. My mind never rests because it is busy being everything, it runs to extremes, it has to be constantly ahead of others and it drives the body to positions and actions it is convinced it should be in.

  • Hi Neville, it’s really interesting to hear your thoughts about your diagnosis and how you have adapted, thank you for sharing them. Narcissists I think tend to get focused on for that malicious dark side that some can display, however not all narcissists pose such a threat or is such behaviour an intentional act through clear choice as it may be in other people. I think there can be a difference between people who have a narcissist diagnosis and those who don’t with for some, a diagnosis bringing an explanation and understanding and an opportunity to work with the traits and behaviours which narcissism brings. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  • They are all evil. Very evil people and the law should deal with them accordingly. Abusers that use Physical abuse are punished. Emotional abuse is very damaging and the emotional scars can last forever. Those abusers need to be punished as well. They emotionally abuse their children. They are very sick ill people and need to be punished like the criminals they are. Robbing innocent people of their emotional stability. Young children ruined for life. Is no different than a physical crime. It’s even worse. Bruises heal. Emotional trauma doesn’t heal. It’s insidious what they do. And they have no remorse. They are the real walking dead. Vampires.

  • Hi Denise, I think emotional and mental abuse is often overlooked, but you are absolutely right the psychological damage that can be done, especially to children, can be severe and long lasting.

  • Hillary is definitely Satan in disguise. The lies she has told are beyond belief. She has targeted and went on intense smear campaigns regarding women who spoke out about Bill Clinton. She defended a rapist in 1975 who raped a 12 year old innocent girl. Hillary is pure unadulterated evil!

  • I just watched. Few episodes of investigative discovery show. all the murderers profiled are narcissists. Cluster b. They only care about themselves. This one guy covertly married and killed 3 of his wives and his own mother. For money and all to meet his own needs. Another profiled on the show was a woman. A mother. Who is no mother! She conned her young son to kill for her. Again, all she cared about was herself and her own needs. These narcissists have twisted and very sick behavior. Hopefully many end up in jail where they belong. They just destroy lives, use people, and kill people. They fake empathy. They fake even love in order to manipulate people into their web of deceit and lies and they have no remorse. This not being a human. This is being evil. Many walk around doing these things and don’t get caught. Society needs to address this disorder as it does not receive any attention. I find it quite interesting at the end of these shows they don’t say what is really wrong with the killer other than use the term sociopath. Yes. That means a narcissist. A narc is a sociopath and some go to jail and others get away with their crimes and just keep abusing and harming others. Cluster b people are dangerous and we need to stop thinking narcissists are just vain and selfish. They are, but this disorder is much much worse than that

  • America did have a narcissistic president for 8 years – President Obama. Now re-reading what Dr. Sam Vaknin, expert on narcissism, predicted then about him (truthorfiction. com/ obama-vaknin/) it’s all come true.

  • Oh, “lisa” and “lilli” – don’t fret now – you have YOUR POTUS – the most malignant narcissist your nightmares can create. Enjoy your carnage while we all LAUGH! Curious – if you know so much about narcissism, why did you vote for one?

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