Someone in our community asked: “What are malignant narcissists capable of?” I did some research, and here is all the information I found.

Malignant narcissists are capable of exploiting others and engaging in vindictive retaliation without remorse, being physically, emotionally, financially, and sexually abusive, and using fear and intimidation to control those close to them.

In this article, I will dive deeper into these to help you understand the abusive acts malignant narcissists are capable of.

1.) Exploiting Others Without Remorse

Malignant narcissists are capable of exploiting others to meet their own needs or desires, without feeling any remorse for their actions.1 

They see others as tools to be used, rather than as individuals with their own feelings and rights.2 

For example, imagine you’re working on a group project at work, and a malignant narcissist is part of your team. 

They might take credit for your ideas or hard work, presenting them as their own to supervisors to gain favor or a promotion. 

If confronted, they won’t apologize or feel guilty. 

Instead, they might justify their actions by claiming they were merely doing what’s necessary to succeed or even blame you for not being assertive enough. 

This behavior is driven by their belief in their superiority and entitlement, as well as a lack of empathy for others.

2.) Using Fear and Intimidation to Control Others

Malignant narcissists are capable of using fear and intimidation to manipulate and control those around them.3 

They may employ threats, verbal abuse, or even physical intimidation to keep others in line and ensure compliance with their wishes. 

For example, in a relationship, a malignant narcissist might use threats of leaving or revealing personal information about you to others to keep you from opposing them or to force you to do something against your will.

A malignant narcissist being abusive.

They create an environment where you’re afraid to stand up for yourself or leave the relationship, fearing the consequences of their anger and retaliation. 

This control through fear is a powerful tool, leaving the people they abuse feeling trapped and powerless.

3.) Engaging in Vindictive Retaliation

Like the other types of narcissists, malignant narcissists don’t take offenses lightly. 

They are capable of engaging in vindictive retaliation if they feel wronged or humiliated.4 

This retaliation isn’t just about getting back at someone; it’s about causing harm and ensuring the other person suffers. 

For example, if you decide to end a relationship with a malignant narcissist because of their abusive behavior, they might not just walk away. 

Instead, they could embark on a campaign to ruin your reputation, spreading lies and rumors about you to friends, family, and possibly even your employer. 

They do this to punish you for daring to leave and to regain a sense of control and superiority.

This need for vengeance stems from their fragile ego and inability to accept blame or loss.

Related: Will a Narcissist Try to Get Revenge?

4.) Financial Abuse

Malignant narcissists may manipulate their way into controlling your finances, leaving you financially dependent on them. 

This control is a powerful tool in their arsenal, as it limits your independence and options for escape.

For example, they might insist on managing all household finances, making you ask for money for basic needs, or making significant financial decisions without your input or against your wishes. 

A malignant narcissist being financially abusive.

They could also sabotage your efforts to work or earn money, perhaps by creating emergencies that require you to leave work or by belittling your career aspirations. 

This financial control is not just about money; it’s about further entrenching their power over you, making it extremely difficult for you to make decisions without their influence or to leave the relationship.5

Related: 16 Signs of Financial Abuse

5.) Physical Abuse

Malignant narcissists may resort to physical abuse as an extreme form of control and domination over their targets. 

This behavior is a manifestation of their aggression and a desire to instill fear, ensuring compliance and submission. 

For example, a malignant narcissist might react violently to perceived challenges or disobedience, such as grabbing, hitting, or using objects to cause harm. 

They may justify their actions by blaming you, claiming that your behavior provoked them, further entangling the cycle of abuse and guilt.6 

Physical abuse serves as a direct expression of their power, and the physical scars it leaves are matched by deep psychological wounds, reinforcing your feelings of helplessness and isolation.

Related: How to Know if a Narcissist Will Kill You (16 Signs to Keep You Safe)

6.) Sexual Abuse

The malignant narcissist often exploits intimacy to exert control and satisfy their own sadistic desires. 

This can include coercive sexual practices, infidelity used as a psychological weapon, or forcing you into uncomfortable or degrading situations. 

A narcissist displaying sexual abuse and exploitation.

For instance, they might coerce you into sexual activities against your will, using guilt, manipulation, or direct force, claiming that your refusal or discomfort is a sign of your inadequacy or lack of love for them. 

This form of abuse is not only a violation of your bodily autonomy but also a profound breach of trust, aimed at diminishing your sense of self-worth and independence.

7.) Emotional Abuse

Malignant narcissists often resort to psychological abuse as a way to dominate and control their targets. 

For instance, a malignant narcissist might constantly belittle your achievements and interests, making you feel worthless and unimportant.


Well. imagine you’re passionate about painting and share this with the narcissist, only for them to mock your art, call it a childish hobby, and criticize your skills. 

Over time, this type of relentless undermining can erode your self-esteem, making you doubt your worth and abilities.

They use this tactic to make you dependent on them for validation while simultaneously ensuring you’re too weakened emotionally to leave the relationship.

For more helpful information like this, visit Unfilteredd’s Institute of Healing from Narcissistic Abuse today.

What Should You Take Away from This Article?

A malignant narcissist is capable of many abusive things, such as:

  • Exploiting others without remorse.
  • Engaging in vindictive retaliation.
  • Physical, emotional, financial, and sexual abuse.
  • Using fear and intimidation to control others.

Thank you for your time! If you’ve got any thoughts or questions after reading through this article, I’d really appreciate hearing from you in the comments!

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About the Author

Hey, I’m Elijah.

I experienced narcissistic abuse for three years. 

I create these articles to help you understand and validate your experiences.

Thank you for reading, and remember, healing is possible even when it feels impossible.

Unfilteredd has strict sourcing guidelines and only uses high-quality sources to support the facts within our content. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate, actionable, inclusive, and trustworthy by reading our editorial process.

  1. Ashley Olivine. (2022. November, 3). What Is Malignant Narcissism? Verywell Health. ↩︎
  2. Anna Drescher. (2024. January, 23). Malignant Narcissist: How To Spot Them And How To Cope. Simply Psychology. ↩︎
  3. Zawn Villines. (2024. January, 31). What to know about malignant narcissism. Medical News Today. ↩︎
  4. Hailey Shafir. (2023. August, 18). Malignant Narcissist: Traits, Signs, Causes, & How to Deal With One. Choosing Therapy. ↩︎
  5. Kristy Lee Parkin. (2021. March, 26). Can’t Buy Me Love: Narcissists and Financial Abuse. Psychology Today. ↩︎
  6. Darlene Lancer. (2017. June, 6). The Truth About Abusers, Abuse, and What to Do. Psychology Today. ↩︎

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