Beware of the smug and the glib. Smooth talkers and smooth operators are often among the more malignant narcissists. Trust your gut and dismiss any seemingly superficial charm and seduction.
Thinking before acting is a good thing. It’s one mark of character maturity. But what we think and how we think matters even more.
Becoming a better person takes a lot of deliberate, sustained effort. And you have to have the right motivation to do the work. External pressure can lead a person to make changes that are often superficial and short-lived. Genuine, lasting changes come when the motivation is internal. That happens when a person sets pride aside and willingly embraces a higher cause.
Making amends in a meaningful way can be a particularly arduous task. But in a loving relationship, repairing any damage done (whether inadvertently or intentionally inflicted) is not only a person’s duty but also essential for maintaining integrity of character.
There are people in this world whose main concern is being on top and in control. As long as they have their way, they’re content. But try to stand on equal ground with them, or resist acceding to their demands, and there’s bound to be trouble.
Narcissism becomes particularly “malignant” (i.e. malevolent, dangerous, harmful, incurable) when it goes beyond mere vanity and excessive self-focus. Malignant narcissists not only see themselves as superior to others but believe in their superiority to the degree that they view others as relatively worthless, expendable, and justifiably exploitable. This type of narcissism is a defining characteristic of psychopathy/sociopathy and is rooted in an individual’s deficient capacity for empathy.