Narcissistic Personality Disorders: A Case Study

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John Allen Muhammad and his juvenile accomplice Lee Boyd Malvo terrorized the Washington D.C. area from October 2, 2002 until their arrest at a Maryland rest stop on October 24, 2002. Muhammad and Malvo drove around the D.C. area in a modified blue 1990 Chevrolet Caprice shooting 13 random people as they went about their day to day activities. Their victims were pumping gas, buying groceries, mowing the lawn, reading a book at a bus stop, eating dinner, and one young victim was on his way to school (Albarus, 2012). In order to avoid detection, Muhammad transformed the Caprice into a “killing machine” (Siegel & Scharper, 2006). Muhammad rigged the back seat to pull down allowing for the shooter to fit into the trunk, concealed from view. …show more content…

While the exact causes of narcissistic personality disorder are unknown, it is believed there are genetic and neurobiological elements to the development of narcissistic personality disorder (Paris, 2014). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) has not specified any specific subtypes; however, it states a person with narcissistic personality disorder will exhibit signs of grandiosity, fantasizing about power and success, requiring constant admiration from others, feeling a sense of entitlement, and exploiting others for their own advantage (American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2013). While the DSM-5 does not specify any subtypes, many psychologists and psychiatrists have found it useful to differentiate between types of narcissists. In a recent paper Russ, Shedler, Bradley, and Western (2008) detailed three subtypes of narcissists: the grandiose or malignant, the fragile, and the high functioning or exhibitionistic narcissist. Grandiose or malignant narcissists are defined by their anger, their manipulation of interpersonal relationships, and their lack of both empathy and remorse (Shedler et al., …show more content…

Muhammad and Malvo’s vehicle was stopped multiple times by police during the height of the killing spree; however, Muhammad had the charm and charism to convince the officers they were not the snipers (Siegel & Scharper, 2006). This was a running theme throughout Muhammad’s life. Muhammad was fit, masculine, clean cut, and a formal soldier. This masculine image he portrayed made it easier for him to lure people in and charm them into doing what he wanted. This image was also one of the reasons he was likely very successful at drawing in and charming younger children. According to one of his former neighbors, “the kids would gather around him and take in all he had to say to them. They loved him” (Albarus, 2012, p. 85). According to his wife, Mrs. Muhammad states “He knew exactly what words to use to push your buttons. He studied everybody he was around. He knew what words to use in order to get you to do what he wanted” (Greene, 2002, p. 1). Muhammad’s narcissistic personality disorder was most blatantly demonstrated by his manipulation of Lee Boyd Malvo. Muhammad isolated Malvo from his family and friends, he strictly controlled every aspect of Malvo’s life including his diet, his exercise plan, and he also lectured Malvo on Islam and race issues in the United States. This control over Malvo extended to the crimes themselves, Muhammad was without doubt the mastermind of the

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