Sunday, August 12, 2012

Malignant Narcissism

There seems to be some cross over in public perception as to what words like "psycho" "sociopath" "antisocial" mean.

Today's entry will introduce a new term which might describe someone who fits the public definition of the above 3, but deserves its own categorical definition.

Malignant Narcissism.

In a film review: American Psycho; Malignant Narcissism on the Screen, some of the most prominent characteristics of this diagnosis are explored (Tylim, 2001).  Unlike beloved psychopathic/sociopathic antisocial killer, Dexter, Christian Bale's character in American Psycho is not driven by a desire to murder.  Murder, instead, becomes part of his plan for perfection.  Dexter might be a neat-freak as Christian-Bale is, but Dexter's lust for blood is an end unto itself, not a means to an end the way Bale's character sees it.

Adolph Hitler has also been classified as a Malignant Narcissist.  I know because I did a paper on him for my undergrad.  He was not obsessed with blood, but he was obsessed with perfection, power, and control.  Dexter doesn't think he's anything special.  He is just responding to impulse.  But not so for the narcissist.  Their drive is grandeur and perfection.

I know that in general we don't care why a murderer murders, and want to spend little time trying to understand, but I do think it's interesting that as we understand more about motives and circumstances, we might better be able to avoid, or spot trouble before it becomes too troublesome.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't Dexter more along the lines of an Affectless Schizoid? He has no criminal diversity, is not impulsive, he is not glib/superficially charming, he speaks in a monotone, engages in and is preoccupied by fantasy (speaking to his internalised vision of harry) he is solitary and baffled by social norms, and his meticulous, compulsive nature seems consistent with Millon's profile. He has even experienced remorse (when he killed the photographer's assistant) and engages in moral reasoning from time to time.

    I'm not at all qualified so I might have made some mistakes, but the "affectless schizoid" seems to fit best, down to the compulsive nature he exhibits.