No Good Deed: The Malignant Narcissist

No good deed goes unpunished, especially if a malignant narcissist is on the receiving end of it.

This past weekend I saw the film No Good Deed starring the talented, charismatic film and television actor Idris Elba. Elba won me at the first hello as the genius detective in the BBC’s hit crime drama Luther, drug lord Russell “Stringer” Bell in HBO’s the Wire, and last, but certainly not least, as Nelson Mandela in the 2013 film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. It’s clear he can play characters from the most exalted to the most corrupt of mankind. I shouldn’t thus be surprised that they chose Elba to portray a malignant narcissist in the film No Good Deed. But, I think it was wrong to call No Good Deed a thriller as, from the get go, there is little doubt who the bad guy is in the film.

No Good Deed is really a study of the more lethal form of the narcissistic personality referred to as the malignant narcissistic. As the name suggests, malignant narcissists have a fixed structure of personality defenses and behavior aimed at shielding them from perceived assault that can be as harmless as just disagreeing with them. Just like the less-lethal narcissist (the vulnerable, thin-skinned type of narcissist), malignant narcissists:

  • Believe they are entitled to special benefits and treatments because of their special intellect, talents, capabilities and circumstances,
  • Have a grandiose sense of their own self-importance,
  • A deeply rooted emotional need to have their needs and desires gratified, to the extent that family, friends, and coworkers must take a backseat to them, in order to get along, and
  • An intolerance of ambiguity in themselves and other people.

Any communication or behavior that calls their or other people’s behavior into question is an assault on their brittle self-worth, and consequently rocks them at a deeply personal level. Even other people’s needs and desires can be experienced as a challenge to their fragile sense of self.

But, unlike vulnerable, thin-skinned narcissists who direct their hurt and anger inward and against themselves, malignant narcissists strike out against their perceived opponents, which can make them dangerous. Their emotional experience of what has transpired, and their way of defensively responding to the experience, differs greatly from the more vulnerable, thin-skinned masochistic narcissist.

Malignant narcissists have Teflon defenses that completely shut down self-reflection and insight into their feelings and behavior. They are essentially incapable of learning about themselves, which makes them highly vulnerable to perpetrating violence against other people. This point is highlighted in No Good Deed when the psychiatrist on the review board denies prisoner Colin Evans (Idris Elba) parole, despite Evan’s eloquent speech about his true reform.

Malignant narcissists are much more self-assured and lethal than the vulnerable, thin-skinned narcissist because:

  • They have a highly exaggerated sense of their self-importance, which is not easily thrown off kilter,
  • Are extraverted that makes it quite easy to draw people into their web,
  • Are dominating, controlling and are very skilled at exploiting the weaknesses of people,
  • Are intensely envious, vindictive and easily insulted,
  • Tend to blame other people for their difficulties,
  • Externalize anger and rage,
  • Feel no shame, and
  • Have a profound lack of empathy.

Malignant narcissists come in many shapes and forms and many of them are as lovely as Colin Evan’s in the film No Good Deed. Many of them are in positions of power and attract partners who will readily lose themselves in relationship to them. Sleeping with the Enemy type of emotional and physical domestic abuse characterizes a lot of these dominant-submissive types of relationships. Remember, there a lot of shades of grey, if you don’t mind the pun, between the textbook malignant narcissist and the masochistic type. But, there’s no mistaking the true malignant type. The annihilation of your self-worth, right to disagree, and physical and emotional safety is a dead give away.

So, should you go and see No Good Deed? Although many of the critics gave the film a thumbs down, over 24 million moviegoers say YES. If you want to see a malignant narcissist in action played by a great actor, then, it’s definitely a must see.

I hope you liked today’s post. Let me know by selecting the Like icon that immediately follows. You can also let your friends and family know about it by selecting the Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn links. Take good care my friends. Warm regards Deborah.


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3 Responses to “No Good Deed: The Malignant Narcissist”

  1. avatar Kim says:

    Thank you for the informative and entertaining video, “So, You Want to Date a Narcissist?” I would love to see one that is, “So, You Want to Date a Commitment-Phobe!”


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