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Are Narcissists Evil? A Definitive Answer

Reviewed by Karis A. Williams, MSMHC, LPC,   December 18 , 2023

Dorian Gray is a pretty extreme example of narcissists being evil.  Not to mention he is a work of fiction.  But oddly enough, the story of Dorian Gray is based on a true person, a man named John Gray, a struggling poet in Oscar Wilde’s homosexual circle of poets in the 1890’s.  John Gray was every bit as beautiful as Dorian, and indeed, his beauty and youth were the source of his corruption.  But unlike the fictional version, John not only came to his senses but joined the priesthood soon after the death of his good friend, Oscar Wilde.  In this case, narcissistic evil did not prevail–at least not in the public view.

So, are all narcissists evil? First, let’s distinguish between those that have narcissistic traits and those that have Narcissistic Personality Disorder.   We all have bits of narcissism in us–that’s not what I’m talking about.  I’m talking about full blown, in-your-face narcissism.

As a general rule, evil is darkness, a lack of light or lack of good.  In that vein, yes, narcissists are evil.  They are without empathy, compassion, or care for anyone.  They can only show fake empathy to get what they want out of people.  People are but a means to supply them with what they want.  And the more they get it by evil means, the less good is left in them.  They don’t show empathy, love, care, or really any other good character UNLESS they know behaving that way can get them what they want.  This all sounds very harsh, but let’s take a deeper look at why narcissism is a dark mental disorder and narcissists can be thought of as evil.

The Cause of Narcissism

The cause of narcissism is not known.  It is believed to be at least in part genetic.  Many people who have full-blown narcissism also have other family members that have it.  It is a rarely diagnosed condition, though, because narcissists deny that there is anything wrong with them.  Based on that denial, they generally refuse treatment.  (To see how my narcissistic ex-husband got diagnosed, click through to read my story.)

In addition, environmental issues are also believed to contribute to Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) in adults.  Parents that put their young children on a pedestal can cause them to grow up expecting the world to treat them the same way.

Even more insidious is the belief that parents that severely neglect and abuse their young children also cause NPD.  That abuse caused them to feel such deep shame that they could not process or work through it.  So they hide it and “invent” a person that they think the world will like.  And for the rest of their lives, they will do everything they can to prevent that shameful side from emerging or being seen.

It is this background that makes most empathetic people feel sorry for narcissists.  But unfortunately, narcissists will even take advantage of this fact.  They will use peoples’ sympathy to get what they want from those people.

Kind people will give to the narcissist willingly for two reasons.  First, because they don’t do kind things to people to get something in return.  They do them because they ARE kind.  And second, they do kind things to narcissists in the hope that it will inspire the narcissists to better themselves. Unfortunately, it does the opposite.  It shows them how to get more supply easily.

*Note:  Click through for the best resources on understanding, dealing with, and healing narcissism!

What Makes Narcissism so Evil?

Narcissists are evil because there is no humanity behind their behavior.  They have hidden their true self so deeply that it can never emerge.  Not only that, they will not allow you to think anything but the best of them.  In order to do that, they will lie, deny anything you see or hear that is negative, make up stories, gaslight, blame shift, behave passively aggressively, or other tactics.

The more ingrained in evil thought patterns and behaviors, the more the evil will prevail over any good that is in the narcissist.  That is why narcissists get worse as they age.  It is not uncommon for them to die alone because they have forced everyone to dissociate from them.  It just becomes too unbearable to be around the narcissist.  And eventually, the narcissist gets tired of having to start over with a new life to find more supply once he has become estranged from his current circles.

The evil persists, knowing that they can never turn things around because it would cause them to have to deal with the shame from their childhood.  A couple of times, my ex’s and my counselors got pretty close to helping him to reach into the childhood shame.  But ever time he realized how close they were, he shut down very quickly and angrily.  And that was usually the time he would quit counseling until another court order would make him go back.

Now the counselor he sees doesn’t really push into him to get to the bottom of anything because she fears the punishment our son will deal with if he gets angry.  So the counseling centers around ways to build a relationship with his youngest son.  But it never goes anywhere.  Everybody is just waiting it out until there is no more court-ordered visitation.  This makes the evil even more unbearable.  It is there, but we all continue to pretend it isn’t.

are narcissists evil

How the Evil of Narcissism Affects You

First, it feels like you are trapped.  That is especially true if you are a Christian or spiritual and don’t believe in casual divorce.  Because of all of the mind games, you don’t have the ability to think clearly.  It is very difficult to emerge from that fog.

Second, it feels like you have been poisoned, like there is a black cloud hanging over you.  You can feel the toxicity and negativity.  And when they are gone, you can also feel all of that lift.  But the minute they are with you again, it all comes back.

Third, it feels like you are walking on eggshells.  You need to do everything you can to not rock the boat.  Or there will be hell to pay.  So you learn to live under the radar.  And you probably get pretty good at it.  But it is not a good way to live.  And the damage done over years of this is very hard to process and work through.

It is not uncommon for victims of narcissism to be diagnosed with C-PTSD (complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).  This usually happens in a severe, long-term relationship with a narcissist or with the children of a narcissistic parent.

Regardless of the level of toxicity you have faced, the number one thing you will need to do is find a counselor who is experienced in narcissism.  Most agencies, including Christian ones, are on board with this now.  You will be amazed at how they will understand what you are going through.  But if they don’t–move on and find one that does!

Who Says Narcissists are Evil?

Actually, M. Scott Peck, an American psychiatrist and one of the fathers of the self-help movement, did!  He wrote the book, People of the Lie. I just finished it and it was amazing.  But one of the things it talked about was that while narcissists are evil, the psychology movement has not yet figured out a way to correctly deal with the word and concept of evil.  He wrote that back in 1984.  And it is still pretty much the case today.   He said in the book that evil is not just an absence of good, but also an active presence of hate.  He said, “Perhaps Satan’s best deception is its general success in concealing its own reality from the human mind.”

Additionally, he also went on to say that evil has three glaring weakness/blind spots.  The first is that pride and narcissism supersede intelligence.  Next, he said, “by virtue of its extreme self-centeredness, it has no real understanding of the phenomenon of love.  It recognizes love as a reality to be fought and even to be imitated, but utterly lacking it itself, it does not understand love in the least.  Its reality appears to Satan only like the reality of a bad joke.  The notion of sacrifice is totally foreign to it…Interestingly, Satan also does not understand science.  Science is an anti-narcissistic phenomenon.  It assumes a profound human tendency to self-deception, employs the scientific method to counteract it, and bolds truth higher than any personal desire.  Deceiver of itself as of others, Satan cannot understand why any beings would not want to deceive themselves.  Enamored with its own will and hater of the light of truth, it basically finds human science incomprehensible.”

Note:  Peck uses Satan as an equal to evil.  Most people won’t have a problem with that, but I just wanted to give  you all a heads up so you aren’t caught off guard.




Is There A Cure for the Evil of Narcissists?

There is no known cure for narcissism.  Talk therapy is the best thing there is right now.  One of the biggest struggles is that narcissists usually refuse to acknowledge that they have a problem.  While I believe that they are well aware of the shame they are hiding and how well they are protecting it, they will never admit that they are hiding anything and will insist that the “wonderful” person they are showing you around others is the real deal.

If they don’t want to heal, nobody can make them.  But there is tons of help for the victims of narcissism.  Finding emotionally stable friends to help you walk this road is the next best thing after you have found a counselor.  And there are so many great materials out there to get you on the road to healing.  I have some great free resources here as well as some great books to help you get started.  I will tell you, my favorite one was The Emotionally Destructive Marriage by Leslie Vernick.  It was life-changing for me.  I bet it will be for you too!



If you liked this article, I think you will also love the following articles:

Narcissistic Behavior:  What to Look Out For

Praying for Your Narcissistic Husband

Are Spiritual Narcissists Overt or Covert?

Religious Trauma Syndrome:  How to Preserve Your Spirituality

How to Navigate Religious Narcissistic Parents

What Happens to the Soul of a Narcissist?

How to Heal From a Spiritual Narcissist

Can You Maintain a Relationship With a Spiritual Narcissist?

Can Narcissists Have a Spiritual Awakening?

How Will God Judge a Narcissist?

When the Church Says to Move Back in With Your Narcissist

What Can We Say to a Friend Who’s Divorcing

23 Reasons Why Narcissists are Drawn to the Church

When the Church Doesn’t Recognize Narcissistic Abuse

Will the Church Support Divorcing a Narcissist?

What Does the Bible Say About Narcissism?

Can a Spiritual Narcissist Heal?

Can a Narcissist Be a Christian?

What is Spiritual Narcissism?

What Does the Spiritual Narcissist Do When You Try to Leave?

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Hi! I am the founder of Navigating Religious Narcissism after being raised under a narcissistic mother and married to a narcissistic man for 31 years. It is my prayer that I can be as valuable on your journey to healing and peace as were so many who crossed my path of healing.

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