Hadley Finch Intro: Hell hath no fury as a narcissist who fails.
See if you agree with the views in the article courtesy of PsychologyToday.com
written by former FBI counterintelligence agent Joe Navarro
Not without cause, malignant narcissism is one of
the most searched for topics on the internet in
part because seemingly there are so many people
that appear to have those toxic traits that
negatively impact on us. These individuals are
notorious because they destabilize our lives, make
us feel insecure, undervalued, disparaged, or
inconsequential, and as I noted in my
book, Dangerous Personalities (Rodale/Penguin),
they can victimize us emotionally, as well as
physically, even financially. They come into our
lives as family members, friends, lovers, spouses,
colleagues at work, bosses, or worst as national
leaders. Once they enter our orbit, no matter how
distant, toxicity is what they have in common and
they always leave a debris field of human
suffering behind them.
By now we recognize how dangerous these
individuals are precisely because their pathology
drives so much of their sordid behavior,
especially toward others. Their common traits such
as: a hyper inflated sense of entitlement,
grandiose feelings of superiority or uniqueness,
delusions of infallibility, incessant disregard
for the truth, perennial conniving and scheming to
take advantage of others, feeling that rules and
laws don’t apply to them, and of course the need
to debase others, coupled with callousness, not
only wears on us, it can have devastating
The one area that is rarely talked about when it
comes to the malignant narcissist is what happens
when they fail? Failure in private, at work, or as
leaders for the narcissist can be quite
disquieting if not traumatic for the rest of us.
As Stuart Yudofsky notes in Fatal Flaws, these
individuals are so severely “flawed of
character,” that they handle failure much
different than you and I because they are not
introspective or capable of reform, and are
lacking in empathy for others.
We often see narcissists in glowing terms as
successful leaders of industry, or as heads of
state, and yet, more often than not, their
malignancy will likely, in time, ensure their own
downfall, failure, or even arrest. Be it because
they cheat on taxes, because they embezzle
money, they circumvent rules and laws, they cheat
business partners, they devalue and torment their
family or domestic partner to the point
of divorce, or in the case of cults (thinking of
Jim Jones and Charles Manson here) or as
national leaders, they can lead their followers or
their nation into actions that are destructive.
And so, when calamity strikes or failure of some
sort is inevitable, how the narcissist reacts and
what we, as potential victims of their actions can
expect to see, is what this article is about.
As with many personality disorders, those who are
severely flawed of character, but especially the
narcissist, when they face public disgrace, when
they are outed as criminals or for their
misbehavior, or when they fail in a very public
way—that is when they become metastable, placing
us as family, friends, co-workers, corporations,
the public, or a nation in greatest danger. When
things begin to sour for the narcissist here is
what we can expect:
They will falsely claim that everything is fine
and that there is nothing wrong. They will try to
first misdirect us or claim there is nothing to
the allegations or circumstances.
If evidence is presented, they will seek to have
it invalidated or claim that it is false, fake, or
a product of vague conspiracies, but most
certainly not true.
Any evidence presented, and those that present it
will be attacked aggressively and vindictively.
The better the evidence the more aggressive the
attack. Individuals who are doing the right thing
by reporting criminal acts, unethical behavior, or
failings are to be discredited, humiliated,
hounded and bullied—not even their families are
to be spared if need be. The narcissist will
engage supporters or enablers to simultaneously
attack those who offer proof or evidence, even if
it embarrassingly exposes their poodle-like
behavior as that of spineless sycophants.
Foolproof evidence will be portrayed as false and
the result of: pettiness, jealousies, bad actors,
malicious individuals, negativity, haters,
enemies, losers, conspirators, opposition, gain
seekers, the faithless (usually seen in religious
groups or cults), or as we are seeing now in
American politics, “fake news” or “deep
state” actors. There is always a large
constellation of people to blame, the narcissist
casts wide to see which vacuous claim resonates,
especially with their supporters.
As they lash out with vindictiveness, the
malignant narcissist will continue to talk about
themselves in glowing terms; irrespective of their
actual situation, as they are incapable of
introspection, much less contriteness. They will
trumpet their greatness, their achievements (real
or imagined), their faux infallibility, and even
portray themselves as worthy of being revered
rather than reviled.
They will seek to find someone to blame for their
troubles or downfall, preferably someone that
cannot defend themselves. A scapegoat is always
useful and when there is not a real one, one will
be invented. If they are not promoted or fired, it
is because a cabal at work was against them. If
they cheat their business partners, it was because
they deserved it. If the wife gets the kids in a
divorce settlement, it is because of her dastardly
attorney, not his abominable behavior. If they
lose an election it is because of campaign
managers, unappreciative voters, trickery, fraud,
or some other kind of malfeasance on the part of a
conspiracy (conspiracies are useful to the
narcissist because they conveniently require no
evidence). As they are not married to the truth,
they will prattle countless baseless reasons that
all point away, never at themselves.
As circumstances become dire, the narcissist will
not take any responsibility—EVER! Anything that
has gone wrong is the responsibility of others.
They will blame spouses as undeserving of their
greatness, ignorant colleagues who just don’t
measure up, the disloyal (Oh, they love to blame
the disloyal), those who abide by rules and laws
because ironically, they abide by rules and laws,
or those that just clearly did not understand the
very specialness of the narcissist. Everyone, and
I mean everyone from people long gone, to the
peripherally connected, to the earthly departed
will be blamed for the failure or downfall of the
narcissist. Once more it is never their fault.
In the process of casting blame, even the most
loyal and stalwart will be discarded and
denigrated if needed with reptilian indifference.
For the malignant narcissist there is only the
“good” — those that provide blind unwavering
loyalty who are useful, and everyone else who is
an enemy, useless, and thus “bad.” Whether you
are in or out, good or bad, is not determined by
history, by friendship, sacrifices, or how well
you have performed in the past—it is determined
by the capricious and selfish needs of the
narcissist, and that can change in a moment.
Expect lies to increase and to be repeated
exponentially. They will, even in light of factual
evidence to the contrary, lie more profusely and
adamantly. Lies are and always will be the number
one tool of the malignant narcissist. The only
difference now is that in facing failure or public
ridicule, the lies must increase in frequency and
audacity to the point of incredulity. The
narcissist will expect supporters, the unethical,
and enablers to lie for them or even create
plausible alibies. That they imperil others by
compelling them to lie is the collateral damage
the malignant narcissist does as they thrash in
despair when they are failing or caught.
And while lies will increase, so too will be the
need to devalue others in order to further value
themselves. They will attack everyone and anyone
in the most vicious and vindictive ways. This is
when we see their rage come through. Not
just anger, but unbridled rage. They will say
things that shock the conscience and they expect
everyone to swallow what they say, much as their
enablers do. The most decent of persons will be
attacked, mocked, ridiculed, and turned into a
human chew-toy as the narcissist unleashes
untethered rage and hatred. They will dip down
into a bottomless cauldron of antipathy and like
an arterial spurt, will spew this toxic brew far
and wide with metronomic regularity.
The malignant narcissist lacking guilt or a
conscience, is only concerned with respect and not
being publicly shamed. Any kind of
public embarrassment will cause them further
anger, further rage, further attacks, further
unethical comportment, and unprecedented
If the narcissist is going to be brought down,
they will also seek to bring everyone else around
them down to vindictively make them suffer. How
the narcissist vilifies, lashes out, or destroys
others (spouse, friends, business partners,
workmates, the general public) is up to the
morbid creativity and depravity of the malignant
narcissist, the viable tools they have available,
and of course how dire or desperate the situation.
The internet and social media are certainly useful
as lives can be ruined with a single tweet. But so
are guns and rifles, poison, and even assassins
for hire. And if they command a country, they can
put the security organs or the military to work on
In certain situations, as the end nears, the
suffering of others is paramount to the malignant
narcissist. It is their way of elevating
themselves—sick as that
sounds—by malevolently paying back society
with even more suffering. As they lash out, they
will show no concern or empathy because they have
none. If others are suffering because of their
actions, the narcissist simply does not care.
Lacking a conscience or any kind or remorse, much
like Robert Hare’s psychopath, they sleep very
well at night while everyone else is anxious,
worried, stressed, physically or psychologically
traumatizes all the while nervously and
justifiably pondering what further malevolence
will take place.
As they face failure, arrest, indictment, or
dismissal, they will endlessly air their
grievances. Narcissists are natural wound
collectors and as such, they have been collecting
and nurturing social slights and perceived wrongs
just for this occasion. They will wallow in
victimhood claiming they have been relentlessly
and needlessly persecuted. They, of course, expect
their attorneys, followers, or enablers to
subserviently echo their flatulent claims.
So, what happens in the end? Difficult to predict.
Each circumstance is different. Some will kick and
flail and disappear for a while, intentionally or
thanks to incarceration—biding their time until
they can do it all over again. Others regroup,
plan, scheme, and prepare another triumphant entry
into the lives of the unsuspecting to victimize
them when the opportunity arises. Others
unfortunately, will seek to do harm as they face a
breakup, a divorce, are fired from a job, are
outed for their crimes, or are removed from
office. Others will hound, stalk, or just make
life intolerable for those they deem responsible.
Their past can often give us insight as to what
they might do, but one can never be sure—humans
are terribly complex and as with many afflicted
with a personality disorder, sensitive to the
smallest of unrecognized but catalytic triggers.
In the case of narcissistic cult leaders, the
cult members often pay with their lives as they
did in Jonestown Guyana when Jim Jones came
under investigation. In interpersonal
relationships, violence is always something to be
concerned about as J. Reid Meloy reminds us in his
book, Violent Attachments.
And of course, in politics, much harm can be done
when power can be wielded—but the worst comes
when a malignantly narcissistic leader or head
of state, severely flawed of character, claims
that only they can fix things, that only they can
shape the future, that only they have the answers,
and that only they have a grand vision for the
future and so out of necessity they must stay on
to save us.
When you hear that, it should give you pause. That
is when we have to worry the most. If you don’t
believe me, let me tell you about one malignant
narcissist of note. You may have heard of him—he
was an Austrian corporal who painted
postcards for a living. Full of himself and with
no shortage of grandiose ideas, he decided on his
own to run for office with one goal among various,
which was to “Deutschland wieder großartig
machen” — to make Germany great again.
See REFERENCES below.
Notice how this scenario is unfolding after
America’s Presidential election 2020,
after our defeated President had tweaked
Hitler’s slogan for his own campaign,
Make America Great Again.
Let’s support President-elect Biden’s efforts
to heal America’s great divide,
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