Home > Publications > The Role of Narcissistic Personality Disorder in Rage-Type Murder (Part 2) 

The Role of Narcissistic Personality Disorder in Rage-Type Murder
(Part 2)

Christiaan Bezuidenhout & Michelle Wharren

This research was directed at establishing whether narcissistic individuals will go to extreme
levels of violence, specifically murder, if their self-image is threatened. The aim with the
current research is to explore a possible association between rage-type murder and
narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). In Part one of the study rage-type murders as a
phenomenon was delineated and NPD was defined. The literature pertaining to the
association between rage-type murder and NPD was highlighted. A current case that
signaled the probable processes during a catathymic crisis and the gratuitous violence that
follows was interpreted against the background of the existing literature. However Part one
of the study left one with a sense of discontent as to whether NPD do play a role in cases
involving rage-type murder and gratuitous violence. In Part two of the current study (this
contribution) the researchers will use cases identified from Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital
(a hospital in Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa) to uncover the role of NPD in rage murder.
Our aim is to determine whether these perpetrators displayed narcissistic personality traits
during the commission of a rage-type murder of a loved one. All the cases we selected were
referred to the Psychiatric Hospital by order of the court for observation and involve males
who displayed traits associated with NPD and committed rage-type murders. Our intention
is to determine the extent of pre-existing NPD in these individuals and how this contributed
to the murderous action they committed. Emphasis is placed on the psychological
motivation of the perpetrator, as well as the relationship that existed between the perpetrator
and the victim prior to the event. As the subject of the research was a relatively unknown
phenomenon, a qualitative approach was used. We endeavored to identify the underlying
personality dynamics to determine whether an association between rage-type murder and
NPD exists. Although more research is necessary, our findings in Part two of the study has
established an association between the selected cases of rage-type murder and NPD and
there is historic documented evidence (Part 1) suggesting that individuals with NPD will
most likely react in a similar manner in similar circumstances, as a result of their underlying
personality disorder.

Keywords: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Text Revision) (DSM-IV-TR); Grandiosity; Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2); Narcissistic
Personality Disorder (NPD); Object; Observation; Paranoia (Pa); Psychopathic Deviance
(Pd); Rage-Type Murder; Self; Self-esteem; Self-image.