The Superhuman Mind

Cases of extraordinary mental ability

Elliot Rodger’s Narcissism

"Well, now"— a theatrical pause—"I'll be a god compared to you." Read More

He seems to have had the perfect storm

of issues that he couldn't deal with. There is so much discussion on the web about how he really wasn't a misogynist or that he really didn't hate women...he was really a homosexual, etc. It seems that we want to deny that there are men out there who hate women so much that they go on a killing spree. Too bad that a lot of the other killers of recent memory didn't leave such a trove of information behind for us to know their motive(s). It's sad though to see so many deny this killer's own words and say it had nothing to do with how he felt about women. Of course it did!

I've dealt with only one other true narcissist in my life. My college roommate. Female and not violent but wreaked havoc on all of those around her. She was very pretty, from a rich family and had Elliot's same sense that everyone owed her. She was thin and blonde and had more physical capital than almost anyone I know but still couldn't keep a boyfriend for longer than a couple of months, usually just weeks. When anyone would try to give her advice, which she was constantly asking for, she would always turn it around on them and say they were wrong and that they were just jealous of her. It was amusing to watch sometimes. Such denial that anything could be her fault.

Not stand-alone narcissism........

Pundits have written that Elliot, who was the son of the Hunger Games director, was a sociopath or psychopath, bi-polar, schizophrenic, schizo-affective, with narcissistic personality disorder, social anxiety disorder, anti-social personality disorder, and obsessive-compulsive ideation. Articles have appeared saying that he "heard voices."

If you read the Manifesto, his major problem is severe social anxiety, narcissism, and obsessive compulsiveness. His 140 page diary is completely lucid. Some things really stood out in his past - the number of times his parents "sprung" major life changes on him suddenly, a divorce, changing schools, an apparent affair, new baby, sudden trips for months at a time.......Of course none of these things combined make for mass murderers, but they stood out to this kid as being formative of his feelings of rejection that somehow drove low self-esteem and later delusion, triggered by puberty, at least according to him.

A careful reading of his words reveals that his social life as a child consisted primarily of "playdates" arranged by his mother. In fact, he refers to them as playdates in the manifesto as late as the age of 15 or 16. This suggests he did not have the communication skills to find his own friends to play with. He resisted change, and suffered tantrums or apparent neurological storms through his childhood and teenage years. He graduated to throwing drinks on girls and couples, which would seem to be another form of adult tantrum.

Another piece of data is presented to us as his fear of driving. He had difficulty tolerating other people in high school and ended up taking mostly online classes in alternative ed high school. He was bullied by other children. According to news reports he lived at the Independent Living Institute in Santa Barbara, a facility that offers "living skills instruction to help adults with disabilities to live more independently in their communities," according to the website. There must have been a specific reason for this. If so, then it surely was not appropriate for him live unsupervised or to have roommates who knew nothing about his history or issues. If he was admitted to a program for adults who needed "living skills instruction" then surely there would have been a formal medical diagnosis and an intake process that evaluated him. So I guess it's just a matter of time before that diagnosis is finally revealed.

He never mentions hearing voices in his Manifesto either. I am not sure about his having any sociopathic traits. Additionally, the accusation that he was a sociopath fails for me since there was no cruelty to animals or small children. His violent traits emerged as an adult, after years of rage building up inside without relief due to lack of social skills. Nothing about his YouTube videos or Manifesto suggest schizophrenia or psychosis because he is so lucid and I'm not sure that true psychotics could plan an event out so carefully as he did. He actually does know right from wrong, but feels that he has no choice but to implement The Day of Retribution.

He was simultaneously obsessed with and terrified of beautiful blonde girls - the word "blonde" appears in his Manifesto more than 60 times. Limited, intense areas of focus such as this and his obsessive talking to people about his virginity and diatribe about women are characteristics of Asperger's. So too is the inability to perceive the thoughts of others, which he certainly did not seem to do as per his Manifesto. As is awkwardness, failure to look into the eyes during an interaction, answering in two-word responses. Yet another Aspie characteristic is also ignoring social cues to stop talking about one's obsessive focus, and his failure to notice this is what presumably drives his remaining friends away at last.

He had no concept of women as people; he didn’t seem to realize that women had their own opinions, preferences, and thoughts. They were only walking measurements of a man’s self-worth – purely sexual objects. This is not due to mere vanity on his part. He possessed the certitude that he was the perfect dating specimen. He was not only a misogynist, but he hated men as well, particularly other races and "half-breeds," which was odd since he was of Chinese/Malay and white (British) parentage.

You can see in his writings how he used neuralinguistic programming on himself by repeating the same phrases over and over again from childhood into adulthood. "It's not fair," I deserve it more," etc. etc. He rejects women for having "base instincts," but he objectifies blonde girls using the same base instincts. He never attributes any personality or other characteristics to the girls he covets, only that they must be gorgeous and blonde. Yet there's no evidence he even communicated with girls in young adulthood. In the endgame, he finds it easier to kill girls than to communicate with them.

He was certainly narcissistic, but was he a classic Narcissistic Personality Disorder? It would seem not, because in his Manifesto, he often describes much failure in his life, which he attributes to himself. This is not really characteristic of a true NPD, if you read the DSM-V. If he was actually diagnosed as a narcissist, then he would have truly been in hell on earth since he was socially paralyzed, as he would not be able to interact with those people who could gratify his ego. IMO, a true narcissist would not plan to shoot themselves in the head thus destroying the beauty they perceived in themselves as did Elliot, who referred to himself many times as beautiful, magnificent and on as a "10/10 pretty boy").

What I find most interesting is that when his family's representatives and friends watch the videos, they don't recognize him. To them he was stilted in conversation and almost completely withdrawn, capable of making little eye contact. Yet on video he is verbose, sinister, and occasionally flirtatious, all while so sensitively describing the beauty of the world around him. In some videos he seems likely to have been seriously medicated or has been drinking. He's also very theatrical in his presentation, which suggests that he has rehearsed his statements. Finally, his verbage in his writing and videos is very formal and awkward, which is also characteristic of the "little professor" observation in Asperger's people.

I am not qualified to evaluate anyone and the above is only my observation. But all the above suggests to me that he was indeed on the ASD spectrum and that he was co-morbid with several other factors.

Yours is a very thought out post... one comment.

I thought narcissists have a deep down "hole" they are trying to fill with their projections and false symbols of real success. Externally, they present themselves as "godlike" but internally there is the antithesis of this persona, the person who would desperately need such false associations with success or power.

The interesting part of of Elliot Rodgers admissions about his failings is that they are always redirected externally - someone else's fault. His step-mother, brother, other men, women who would deny him, society, humanity... So, by this extension his failings are really not his own but the result of OTHERS failing HIM. So, even when admitting his failings and hard feelings, he is coming from a purely victimized stance, where only others are accountable. He also goes on to stress the extreme injustice because to snub a regular human is bad enough, but to snub a magnificent creature like him is outrageous, the ultimate injustice and insult.

He can't look inwardly.....

at himself at all. He doesn't seem to recognize or doesn't mention that he is almost completely mute in the presence of most people. He also cannot realize that even though he has no girls, other people might have reasons to keep them from going into camps. But of course as a divine dictator, his desires trump everyone else's.

In his final days, Elliot was more calm than he had ever been, because his social anxiety was dying the closer he got to death – and the closer he got to becoming a murderous god. Feeling sympathy and revulsion at the same time is hard to reconcile. One can only wonder whether, had he lived, he would meet the legal criteria for insanity as a defence against his crimes. People who claim he was merely selfish and entitled are very cruel IMO. This kid's story really got into my head and haunted me unlike anything else I have seen or read.

You're assuming he's telling

You're assuming he's telling the truth in his manefesto, which he likely was not. The "spraying orange juice" and "dumping lattes" was more likely wishful thinking.

He was rather exploitative of

He was rather exploitative of his family... Using them for financial support and lying about dropping out of college (even though he describes their past financial trouble and repeated downsizing of their houses)- and his comments about how his mother should marry a rich man against her will so that he could be financially secure, and then being angry at her for not doing it for him.

A child's rage combined with an adult's ability to wreak havoc

Rodger dates his problems from puberty. His reports of an idealistic childhood are so romanticised as to sound like something out of a Charles Dickens novel. But reports that he was seeing a therapist from 8 years of age indicate that he had problems in childhood. I think puberty simply awakened his self-awareness (and sex drive) and made him realise how much of a social misfit he was. He simply didn't have the skills (insert medical diagnosis here) to negotiate adolescence into adulthood.

It's as if adolescence opened up a river, with him stranded on the riverbank watching as peer after peer successfully crossed the river into adolescence and young adulthood. Year after year he stood there, as the river widened and deepened, with him watching helplessly/jealously/eventually enraged from the far bank at his former peers seemingly living lives of fun and pleasure. Eventually, at 22, he lost hope of ever crossing the river.

There are parts of his 'manifesto' and videos that, if you forget the horrible consequences, are unintentionally laugh-out-loud funny. He's like a little kid prancing in front of the TV, mimicking the dancers' moves, making sexy faces, showing us how good he looks in his designer glasses, shirt and BMW (note that his videos often start with a shot of the BMW logo on the steering wheel).

Then there are his childishly ludicrous decrees, e.g. that his mother is selfish for not marrying her wealthy boyfriend so that Rodger could live the life of luxury that would attract those beautiful blonde girlfriends, his grandiose ambition of winning the multimillion lottery, his abandonment of any idea of career (including writing a film script) because success would take so long that he would be middle aged before it could pay off, and the childishly malevolent fantasy of banishing sex and housing all women in a concentration camp and watching them die from his high tower. What child wouldn't have fantasised about punishing his enemies that way!

Unfortunately, he was no longer a child and had access to weapons (including a car) and the physical capability to carry out those fantasies. It proved a deadly combination.


This is actually a fairly decent analysis of narcissism as it applies to Elliot Rodger. The guy in this video explains that, in his opinion, Elliot suffered far more from entitlement than he did from narcissism.

Ignore the cheesy music and opening:

What would we be saying about

What would we be saying about Rodger if instead of committing murder he had committed suicide? He would have still been the same narcissistic, socially awkward man but people would have been far more sympathetic.

Too young to diagnose

Elliot Rodger was still growing, its not possible to make a diagnosis of a personality disorder when a child's personality is still developing. I know he was over 18, but still immature and childlike in my opinion. I agree you can see signs and should intervene in the hopes of preventing such a future diagnosis, which is what his parents did when they sought therapy.

I'd like all of you to recall being a teenager and a child and how you acted if someone tried to 'call you out' on something, such as belief that you were rich or had successful parents, (remember his mom moved to a 'poor' area when child support was reduced)and did you keep trying to defend yourself? Sounds to me as his behavior was elicited by peers. He had also just found out that his father's last film project which he had sunk all his money into was a flop. Quite devastating to a person who thought his entire identity revolved around his father's wealth and reputation.

He killed his roommates and one had stolen a candle, which he brought up to the authorities at the school, his roommate pleaded guilty and paid a fine of $20. He continued to live with this roommate after that!?! He had no friends, no one on his side, while his roommate invited another friend to stay with them whose name was not on the lease. Wonder if the roommate was angry that such a petty theft would effect his academic record? Wonder how his roommate and his roommate's friends treated him after that?

Everyone is so quick to make a diagnosis and we don't know that his therapist's diagnosis was. We are so quick to overlook the obvious.

This man hated women. He

This man hated women. He thought he deserved access to them, that they were not human beings. This isn't as uncommon as what people seem to think/ are claiming. Lots of men think they have the right to a "hot girl" and that "ugly bitches" aren't of any worth. The "Alpha male" dating sites are proof of this type of thinking. That women use their vagina's to control men, and that men thus have the right to demand access to their bodies...its sick. But he wasn't alone in his illness. It is pervasive.

He hated women yet he killed

He hated women yet he killed more men than women. He was a crazy person who hated everyone.

Dear Elliot Rodgers out

Dear Elliot Rodgers out there, the goal is not to manipulate people into liking you. The goal is to be authentically likable

There is no such thing as "authentically likable". Everyone pretends to some extent and manipulates to be liked by others but Elliot Rodgers didn't have enough social skills for this. The goal is to learn those skills aka manipulation but it is harder to those who are on autistic spectrum or have severe social anxiety.

I can't see Elliot Rodgers as

I can't see Elliot Rodgers as a narcissist, because I don't understand how somebody who loves himself could kill himself. He seems more of a self-loathing PC-liberal male feminist more than a narcissist.

After his Friends Deserted Him

I read Elliot's manifesto, and while I"m not a professional, I've encountered more than a few Narcissists in my life ( I was raised by one - thankfully, just one), I believe he got depressed enough to kill himself after his few remaining friends cut ties/faded out of the picture. I think they were his only Narcissistic supply besides him Mom. Here's a link to info on what happens when a Narcissist loses their "supply" by Dr. Sam Vankin:

I temporarily housed a Narcissist friend (not friends now). When I wasn't available as her audience (I was working) - or if no friends were available outside our home, she tended to sleep for 12 hours at a time/seclude herself in our guest room - which is mentioned as a result of lack of Narcissistic supply, too.


What Sam Vankin said about gorging yourself with food in order to fulfill your narcisstic needs. Elliott mentions stuffing himself with food many times in his manifesto.

Food & Narcissists

Interesting angle. I hadn't thought of it that way. The NPD people in my life - My father, ate quite a bit - indulged and was blessed with a fast metabolism. An ex-friend on the opposite side of the spectrum, ate and purged/ate minimally.

I deliberately skip over

I deliberately skip over anything with a Sam Vankin mention. C'mon.

Much of his

Much of his research/findings/reportings is mirrored/repeated by other respected professionals. It's not like his work is completely opposite/out of left field of what already exists.

Comments on "Elliot Rodger’s Narcissism" | Psychology Today

It's great to read all this useful information on dog training.
I have a question however. How do you work with a younger dog?

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Berit Brogaard, D.M.Sci., Ph.D., is a Professor of Philosophy and the Director of the Brogaard Lab for Multisensory Research at the University of Miami.


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