All abusive relationships have one thing in common – causing pain and breaking the heart of the person who loves the abuser the most.
Most narcissists are so centered on their own interests that they don’t pay much attention to the wants or needs of others.
But there’s a big difference between this relatively passive disregard and the very active disregard the more malignantly narcissistic and various aggressive characters display. Their disregard goes far beyond simply not caring very much to purposely wanting to hurt, exploit, manipulate, and most especially, to dominate those with whom they come into contact, and that makes this group capable of the most serious kinds of relational abuse.
I’ve written before about malignant narcissism and what differentiates it from the garden variety egotism of narcissists. All of the various “aggressive personalities” have this more malignant narcissism at the core of their personality (The most seriously disturbed aggressive personalities, such as the sadistic-aggressive and predatory-aggressive or psychopathic personalities have the most virulent form of this narcissism).
Aggressive characters not only see themselves as above others and therefore entitled to treat them as inferiors, but also are determined to dominate in all situations. It’s not just that they don’t respect any “higher power,” it’s that they always strive to be the highest power. They’re determined fighters who try to dominate in all situations, even when taking a more subordinate position would actually better serve their interest. And each of the various aggressive personality sub-types is prone to unique forms of abuse and exploitation in relationships.
I give the label “unbridled aggressive” to those disturbed characters who have often been called “antisocial personalities,” (and sometimes also called, although erroneously, “sociopaths”). These are individuals who have been openly “at war” with authority, the established rules, and even sometimes with God (if in fact, they profess a belief in God) for much of their lives. They know what most of the world expects from them but resist conforming. They can’t stand to accede to anyone else’s expectations or demands. Submission of any type is anathema to them, even if it would mean winning in the long run.
To them, any kind of capitulation is tantamount to personal annihilation. Such folks are very prone to all forms of abuse, including physical violence. They want their way and are determined to have it regardless of cost and no matter who might get hurt. For them, life is a contest and they must always emerge the victor. They always want to be on top, in control, and in charge. And while they submit to no one, they expect everyone else to be subject to them.
Many break the major rules of society and often spend a lot of time incarcerated as a result. But not all antisocial personalities are criminals. And while they’re prone to violating the major rules, not all get caught or sanctioned. Still, they go through life as undisciplined thugs. They’re also among those who, despite occasional sanction (e.g., police visits, arrests, restraining orders, confinement, probation, etc.) are generally undeterred in their aggressive, abusive ways.
Because their aggressive styles are so brazenly open and self-evident, and because mounds of trouble seem to follow them wherever they go, it’s always been baffling to me why and how anyone would even consider getting involved with unbridled aggressive personalities (many times, poor self-image or some degree of character deficiency is to blame).