We all believe that murderers are all Psychopaths. But psychopathy is often comorbid with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. So could NPD be a contributory factor to the vast majority of mass murders and terrorists attacks?
One just has to consider the likely motivations of mass murderers against the nine criteria required to diagnose NPD according to DSM-5:
- Grandiosity with expectations of superior treatment from other people
What fantasies of grandiosity do you think one must have to think for a second that you have the right to take other people’s lives, let alone many in one incident? Tick.
- Fixated on fantasies of power, success, intelligence, attractiveness, etc.
How much power do you think personality disordered people might associate with pulling the trigger of an automatic weapon to fire rounds into crowds of people, or to set of a bomb at a rock concert, of to wield a machete amongst a bunch of party-goers enjoying a night out? Tick
- Self-perception of being unique, superior, and associated with high-status people and institutions
Again, not too difficult to put oneself into the mind of a disordered individual and consider this criteria. Would it be consistent with thinking that you had the right to play God and take other people’s lives. Tick.
- Needing continual admiration from others
Admiration is required when things are going well and are sustainable. When things turn sour, any kind of notoriety will suffice. And what better way to go down in history? When NPDs are incapable of the success and acclaim that they think that they deserve with such an insatiable appetite, of course they are going to bag a last hurrah and grab notoriety instead. After all, notoriety is admiration just twisted by disordered mind, is it not? Tick.
- Sense of entitlement to special treatment and to obedience from others
How entitled do you think someone must be to think that they have the right to take someone else’s life in order to give them notoriety? When we think of obedience, we imagine a classroom of kids all sitting quietly and attentive. But in the twisted mind of a psychopath, what better feeling of obedience would one derive than the mass panic triggered by a shooting spree, a machete attack or a bomb detonation? Thousands of people triggered in an instant to react in an incident that gives the attacker the most unbelievable hit of the drug on which they are so dependent, narcissistic supply. Tick.
- Exploitative of others to achieve personal gain
Can one imagine a way of exploiting people more than to take their lives in order to boost your notoriety? Tick.
- Unwilling to empathize with the feelings, wishes, and needs of other people
One attack. Multiple casualties and deaths. Many more lives destroyed by the maiming and passing of friends and family. Can anyone with a single grain of empathy possibly countenance committing such a crime? Tick.
- Intensely envious of others, and the belief that others are equally envious of them
Where do most these mass murders and lone psychopath attacks happen? Music concerts, schools, people out wining and dining etc. All situations where their happiness, joy, love and optimism abound. All exactly the sort of things that Narcissists are so desperately envious of. A coincidence? Tick.
- Pompous and arrogant demeanor
More of an indication than an underlying cause why a Narcissist would carry out such an act. But reports of perpetrators in the run up to such incidents do indicate a degree of normality and indeed confidence in the run up to their actions. Tick, if one were needed……
Before continuing, we should add so-called terrorist attacks to mass murders– which are likely to be nothing more than mass murders but with not-very-heartfelt justification applied. One only has to look at so many so-called “Fundamental Islamist” terrorists – who are not so fundamentalist that they don’t drink alcohol, or bet, or visit prostitutes etc. – or any other activity banned by Islam but are consistent with NPD. In addition to giving them justification, whatever the rationale they draw on for their crimes also furnishes the perpetrator with one or more accomplices. Being the cowards they are, having someone hold their hand can make the difference between undertaking an attack and spending a quiet evening in front of the telly.
It is clear that there is a very strong argument to suggest that committing mass murder is nothing more than narcissistic revenge, driven by the envy described above, following narcissistic collapse and preceding narcissistic suicide.
As it gradually becomes clear to the narcissist that their delusions of fame and success are just that, they can no longer maintain the charade. Their world comes crashing down. They are faced with the intense shame they experienced in early childhood and that their life’s endeavour has been to mask. They can face reality no longer and their lives become untenable. Suicide is the only option. But is it? To them, the thought of passing away, insignificant and unloved, is worse than death. So they instead plan a demise that ensures that they are immortalised forever – mass murder. They embark on their heinous acts not fearing their own death, but willing it on – the ultimate in Narcissistic Martyrdom. And their last hurrah is nothing more than Narcissistic Revenge – on joy-filled targets in the primes of their lives, of whom they are so envious.
Jekyll & Hyde
Just by way of post-script, we should also just consider how mass murderers and able to live amongst us, sufficiently undetected, before committing such incredible crimes. Bring on the split personality of the Narcissist, the Jekyll & Hyde, where the charade of the “false self” masks the reality of the toxicity of the “real self”.
Suddenly it all adds up……
American Narcissism and Mass Shooters | PsychologyToday
Narcissism and Terrorism | The Guardian