Narcissists are some of the most dangerous people on the planet. In public they present themselves as charming, charismatic, articulate, desirable, composed, etc., but behind closed doors they are unpredictable, lack empathy, exploitative, full of rage, dangerous, and sometimes even deadly

If you have a narcissist in your life, you have to learn about the signs that indicate that your life is in danger. A common mistake people often make is assuming that they don’t need to worry about their physical safety because the narcissist in their life is only emotionally/psychologically abusive. 

This is a dangerous way of thinking because in a survey we conducted among 100 survivors of narcissistic abuse in our article What Happens During Narcissistic Rage, we discovered that 85/100 of the participants experienced emotionally/psychologically abusive forms of narcissistic rage first and 96% of those 85 participants reported that physical forms of narcissistic rage followed soon after.  

This survey served as an important reminder of the famous quote from Maid, a Netflix series centered around domestic violence, “Before they bite, they bark. Before they hit you, they hit near you.” What this means is that abuse is progressive, it is only a matter of time before yelling and screaming turn into life threatening forms of abuse. 

Right now we are going to guide you through the 16 signs that a narcissist is capable of homicide. After this section of the article we will also guide you through three incredibly helpful resources that we have teamed up with mental health professionals to create that you can use to help keep yourself as safe as possible.  

16 Signs That the Abuser in Your Life Is Capable of Homicide

  • Has Your Abuser Ever Choked, Strangled, or Suffocated You With either His/Her Hands or an Object?
    • The chances of homicide increase by 750% for people who’ve been choked, strangled, or suffocated by their abuser versus those who haven’t. 
  • Does the Abuser in Your Life Express Ownership Over You?(“You can never leave me;” “Death before divorce;” “If I can’t have you, nobody can.”)
    • The risk of the violence escalating to serious injury or homicide is significantly higher when your abuser makes statements that imply he/she owns you. ‘
  • Has the Abuser in Your Life Threatened or Expressed Dreams, Fantasies, or Ideas About Killing You, the Children, Your Relatives, and/or Himself/Herself? 
    • Threatening to kill you, your children, relatives and/or expressing such ideas is one of the strongest risk factors commonly linked to homicide. 
  • Does Your Abuser Have a History of Domestic Violence? 
    • A history of Domestic Violence is the second most common risk factor found to be present in Domestic Homicides. Research studies indicate that those who are severely verbally abusive are very likely to become physically violent against their partners.
  • Is the Abuser in Your Life Dependent on You? Put You Above Everyone Else? Isolate You From Friends, Family, and/or the Community?
    • Experts say that when an abuser exhibits these behaviors, the violence often escalates after the abused woman leaves the relationship. This is the third most common risk factor (62%).
  • Has There Ever Been Any Weapons (firearms, knives, bats etc.) Involved in Domestic Violence? 
    • Weapons are present in 40% of death review cases. 
  • Is Your Abuser Depressed or Not Seeing the Value of His/Her Own Life? 
    • Depression is a common precursor to murder-suicide and is something that should be taken seriously when considering your own safety. 
  • Has There Been Violence When You Left the Relationship and/or Violence When You Tried to End the Relationship? 
    • Domestic violence circulates around your abuser’s need for power & control. If they were to feel that they were losing power & control, you could be at a greater risk of deadly violence. 
  • Has Your Abuser Stalked You, Held You Hostage, or Taken You Against Your Will?
    •  The risk of violence and/or homicide rises.
  • Does the Abuser in Your Life Frequently Use Drugs and/or Alcohol? 
    • Drug and/or alcohol use is present in 42% of Domestic Homicides. 
  • Have You Ever Experienced Physical Abuse During a Pregnancy? 
    • Pregnancy increases the risk of serious assault or homicide. In fact, domestic violence often escalates from verbal/emotional abuse to physical abuse during pregnancy. 
  • Have You Noticed an Increase in Violence and/or Other Dangerous Behavior?
    • The risk of violence and/or homicide rises.
  • Has Your Abuser Violated a Restraining Order or Protection Order Before? 
    • The risk of violence and/or homicide rises.
  • Is There Any Kind of Sexual Violence or Sexual Coercion Going On? 
    • Abusers who tend to force sexual encounters are more likely to move to lethal actions. 
  • Has Your Abuser Ever Abused You In Public? 
    • The risk of violence and/or homicide rises.
  • Is There Any Kind of Cyberstalking Going On? 
    • Constant texts and phone calls, a need to be updated on your whereabouts, or the installation of spyware/tracking devices on your computer or phone are huge indicators of potential violence and/or homicide. 

Resources That You Can Use to Create a Safety Plan

The second resource that we want to share with you is our community. This is a safe space that we have teamed up with mental health professionals from all over the world to create and it provides the ongoing education and support that those affected by a narcissist need to protect themselves and heal from narcissistic abuse.

The third resource that we have for you is a podcast episode about physical abuse that came from a question that one of our amazing community members asked: 

“Hey there, I have been in an abusive marriage for three years. I have gotten really good at managing emotional abuse but I am wondering what advice you have for escaping the physical abuse.”

Janine Hayter, Psychodynamic, CBT Therapist & Narcissistic Abuse Specialist, and a survivor of narcissistic abuse answered it in podcast episode 1 incredibly well. 

The fourth resource that we need to provide you with is a list of domestic violence hotlines and suicide prevention hotlines (click here). If you are experiencing abuse and/or feeling suicidal, we urge you to get help. Abusers aren’t going to change, you have to make the change yourself by saying enough is enough and getting out of the relationship. 

Which Type of Narcissists Are Most Likely to Kill You?

There are four major narcissistic personality types: malignant, communal, covert, and grandiose. Narcissists with a malignant personality are often labeled as the most dangerous types of narcissists so it would make sense that they are the most likely to kill someone. 

Their behavior patterns and characteristics are so closely related to those of a psychopath that malignant narcissism often gets misidentified as psychopathy.

Malignant narcissists are:

They are very exploitative.
They are extremely cruel.
They are pathological liars.
They are willing to oppress others for power, profit, and pleasure
They disregard the safety of others.
They’re drawn to addictive and compulsive behaviors.
They’re psychologically and physically aggressive.

With that being said, it is very important to remember that narcissism is on a continuum. A continuum is a continuous sequence in which adjacent elements are not perceptibly different from each other, but the extremes are quite distinct. 

This means that  narcissists who are on the extreme end of the continuum for a specific personality type (malignant) are clearly different from those who are on the extreme end of a different personality type (covert).

As you travel closer to the center of the continuum, you will begin to notice that a lot of the characteristics each narcissistic personality has (grandiose, covert, communal, malignant) will begin to overlap with one another.

The reason that we wanted to point this out to you is because on paper narcissists who are extremely malignant seem to be the ones who are most likely to kill you. But the fact of the matter is that all narcissists are capable of homicide because they are all on the same continuum. 

What Should You Take Away From This Article?

Abuse of any kind (e.g. physical, sexual, emotional/psychological,) is never justifiable. If you are in an abusive relationship, we strongly encourage you to reach out to anyone and everyone you can (e.g. friends, family, coworkers, domestic violence/suicide prevention hotlines) to get the help that you need to escape the relationship. 

“Before they bite, they bark. Before they hit you, they hit near you.”

Get a Free Healing Bundle Every Week!


  • 1 Educational Video From a Mental Health Professional
  • 1 Informative PDF About Narcissistic Abuse
  • 1 Journaling Exercise With Multiple Prompts
  • 7 Affirmations for the Upcoming Week
  • Lifetime Access to Our Private Online Community

Get a Free Healing Bundle Every Week!

  • 1 Educational Video From a Mental Health Professional
  • 1 Informative PDF About Narcissistic Abuse
  • 1 Journaling Exercise With Multiple Prompts
  • 7 Affirmations for the Upcoming Week
  • Lifetime Access to Our Private Online Community

References:

See “Risk Factors for Femicide in Abusive Relationships: Results From a Multisite Case Control Study,” Jacquelyn C. Campbell, PhD, RN, et al., Am J Public Health 93(7): 1089–1097 (July 2003)

See, for example, Murder-Suicide: A Review of the Recent Literature, Scott Eliason, MD, J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 37:3:371-376 (September 2009)

See How to Recognize and Act on Risk Factors for Domestic Violence Homicide, Ralph J. Riviello, MD, ACEP Now (May 2014); see also Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Intimate Partner Violence During Pregnancy, A Guide for Clinicians

Glass et al. Non-fatal strangulation is an important risk factor for homicide of women. J Emerg Med. 2008 Oct; 35(3): 329–335 (2008).

Kjærvik, S. L., & Bushman, B. J. (2021). The link between narcissism and aggression: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 147(5), 477–503. 

https://news.osu.edu/narcissism-linked-to-aggression-in-review-of-437-studies/


All of the content that Unfilteredd creates is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for clinical care — please visit here for qualified organizations and here for qualified professionals that you can reach out to for help. This article has been reviewed by our editorial board and has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policies.