5 Reasons Why Narcissists Are So Dangerous

Why narcissists and danger go hand in hand.

Posted Sep 02, 2020

Narcissists have a tendency to make the lives of those around them miserable. They bully, dominate, gaslight and disrespect boundaries. If you’re on the receiving end of this type of behaviour, it’s frustrating and demeaning and it deeply affects your self-esteem. Narcissists get away with this behaviour for years by destroying the confidence of family members and by choosing to surround themselves with people who will shore up their fragile sense of ego. Sometimes, however, the way narcissists act in more acute situations is downright dangerous. Here’s why.

They do not respect experts. My client, a doctor, related the frustration she felt when dealing with one particular family whose father was a patient. “His daughter will not respect my decisions at all. She spends all day researching her father’s condition on the internet and then tells me how to do my job. She rings up constantly, takes up the nurses’ time, and her manner to me is quite rude on occasion. I’ve tried to be patient, but I’m getting so angry”. Although my client was overriding her patient’s daughter, she was experiencing unnecessary anger and anxiety in the process. “This is making my job so much harder”, she told me. Narcissists attempt to push people in positions of expertise into following their wishes because they think they know better than the experts. Hopefully, anyone in a position of expertise recognises the narcissist for what they are, but at the very least, they cause stress and extra work.

They act without consulting others’ opinions. No matter how dangerous an action is, if a narcissist thinks they are right in taking it, they will pursue it without consulting anyone else. “My dad put us in some real positions of danger”, Matt recalled. “I remember once it was snowing really heavily. My mum had told him not to even take the car out, but he picked us up from school and then decided to visit our gran and take the back road which was quite steep. I remember my brother and I were really upset and scared but he said it would be an adventure. We managed to make it, but it was so dangerous – the road was closed soon after and we had to stay at my gran’s”. It doesn’t matter how dangerous other people think something is – if a narcissist wants to do something, they will.

They’ll put other lives in danger if it meets their needs. “My mum loved showing off to people, getting a laugh, doing anything to be the centre of attention”, Danielle told me. “One day I was riding a horse we had. I was a very unconfident rider and it was a very skittish horse. I’d made her promise not to let me off the lead rope. There were a few people around – girls who hung around the field to watch the horses – and with no warning, mum took the rope off the horse and slapped its bum hard. It took off”. As they were approaching a big fence, Danielle threw herself off the horse which was travelling at speed rather than risk jumping it. “I could have broken my neck. Everyone thought this was the funniest thing ever. That was a story that was repeated for years”. Not considering Danielle’s wishes, and getting a laugh, put Danielle in an extreme position of danger.

They have low empathy. Hopefully, most of us consider not only the needs of others before taking action, but also how a situation will make them feel. We have the ability to see things from their perspective – to walk in their shoes. Narcissists typically have far lower levels of empathy toward other people. Being right, winning, and dominating are far more important than worrying about how someone will feel. Like the examples of Danielle and Matt above, narcissists place others in danger by failing to consider their needs.

They like drama. Narcissists thrive on drama, on playing people off against each other, on keeping dangerous secrets and leaving a trail of upset and powerless people in their wake. Creating dangerous situations is one way to create drama – particularly when it’s going on within a web of deceit. The fact that some people are undoubtedly going to emerge from the drama weakened, upset, and scared because of the dangerous situation they’ve been pulled into is a win-win situation for the narcissist.

Whether you’re involved with a narcissistic parent or sibling, or have a narcissist for a boss or political leader, the likelihood is that their inability to listen to experts, autonomous decision-making processes, need for attention, low empathy, and love of drama is going to place you in a dangerous situation at some point.

If you need help dealing with any of the above issues, please contact a qualified professional.