When the most common psychological defense mechanism — denial — hardens into an outer shell so impenetrable as to be worn like armor, you have yourself a clinical narcissist. They may not — and probably will never — be diagnosed; but unmistakably, you cannot seem to find empathy in them no matter how high or low you look.
They think of themselves as special; chosen; beyond the fray — rules do not generally apply to them, but oh do they ever to you. They tend to see the world in black and white terms, a Manichaean struggle with strict social hierarchies to abide by and perpetuate — a world of dominance and submission, with themselves at the top.
The higher on the Cluster B scale you go (with psychopathy at the top), the less empathy these individuals possess. Without empathy, there is no basis for forming a conscience. One could say the classic defining hallmark of this group of personality disorders is that the people exhibiting them have little to no conscience.
Cluster B includes:
- Narcissism — the root trait of all the Cluster B personality disorders
- Psychopath — this is the scariest of the bunch. Gentle folks like Ted Bundy and Hannibal Lecter were almost certainly psychopathic — committing horrific and murderous crimes that have shocked generations in their brutality and stomach-churling details.
Common traits and behaviors:
- Grandiosity; extremely high self-regard, often out of proportion to actual achievements
- Splitting; black and white thinking
- Malignant envy
- Narcissistic rage
- Right-wing authoritarianism