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Is there a connection between crime and malignant narcissism?

On Behalf of | Nov 18, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Are some people just born criminals? That’s a question that psychologists and criminal justice professionals have asked for decades. In Texas, as in other states, the court system tries to strike a balance between protecting people from violence and rehabilitating those who can eventually become productive members of society.

Narcissistic personality disorder vs. malignant narcissism

Terms like narcissism get tossed around a lot in popular commentary and literature. It’s generally used to mean anyone who seems selfish, cold, or lacks empathy.

However, a true narcissistic personality disorder goes further than mere self-interest or callousness. Such individuals are simply wired differently than the rest of society. For example, they could commit a violent crime and go on with their day as if nothing happened.

There are also degrees and types of narcissistic behavior, not all of which are untreatable and poised to doom the afflicted as outcasts. Malignant narcissism is a smaller subset of a larger set of disorders under the umbrella of NPD. Milder forms, such as covert narcissism, can be managed with therapy. Malignant narcissism generally cannot.

True narcissism is also difficult to diagnose since many of the traits of narcissistic people, such as grandiose thinking and an inflated sense of self-importance, are also those of highly successful individuals and captains of industry.

What distinguishes the malignant narcissist from the rest? Character traits and behaviors like:

• Violent or aggressive behavior, especially when feeling cornered

• An emphasis on success at any cost

• Pathological lying

• Delusions of grandeur

• Manipulation

• Blame shifting

The correlation between mental health and violent crimes

A propensity for criminal behavior can be linked to a number of mental health issues, including personality disorders and substance use disorder. It can also be heavily influenced by environmental factors.

However, people who are dealing with these issues are more likely to become victims of violent crimes than they are perpetrators.

In criminal justice, it is important to distinguish between someone who has an issue that can be managed and one with a chronic propensity toward antisocial or criminal behavior with little hope for true rehabilitation.