In my experience (having been married to one for almost 15 years)…this is what I know. Any victim like myself who has spent a great deal of time in this kind of marriage finds themselves to where we are EXPECTED to read their mind and act accordingly to what THEY would want us to do… which is whatever they (in all their perfection) would do. To survive, you get very good at it and learn to predict their thoughts, reactions, and triggers alike. So you find you spend a great deal of time inside their head…to avoid their wrath, you have learn to think like THEY do.
Many people assume from the name “narcissist” that these people are in love with themselves, arrogant, etc. In reality, a narcissist loves noone BECAUSE they actually have a very deep inner loathing of themselves. I know that sounds contradictory compared to their outward behavior ..and in many ways narcissists are nothing if NOT a mass of contradiction. They loathe happiness (in all of its forms) especially in others, because they themselves are never truly happy. They at some point learned to despise all they don't or cannot have. (When the deep envy of a narcissist turns ugly, and it always does, it's always in the form of disgust, hatred, and loathing of whatever it is). No amount of admiration, praise, attention, etc makes them “happy” in anything other than an instantaneous way, and then it's gone just as quickly. This drives their rage…always chasing what always seems to elude them. Nothing is ever enough, good enough, or “right”. Perfection or utter failure, there is no in between.. No amount of material possessions, money, sex, etc ever satisfies them.
The malignant narcissist is sadistic. They consciously enjoy putting people in pain and this will manifest in various ways…they will try to destroy other people's relationships as cruelly as they do their own…they will be sexually sadistic, they will be intentionally cruel at every opportunity that presents itself, or even fabricate a reason to do so if needed…their love and need for constant drama will allow them to fabricate such events and justify it through the “gossip mill” that swirls around them at all times. They can be paranoid and delusional, always on guard for any hint of a possible “threat” (real or imagined). If the threat they perceive fails to manifest even in the teensiest of ways, they will push the situation to create a reaction that will “validate” that the threat is real and retribution, revenge, and punishmrnt are all “in order”. This can make them extremely volatile and even violent and utterly destructive to themselves and everyone close to them.
The dual mirror is extremely obvious with a malignant narcissist. Not only do they want to reflect all of your good qualities to everyone else, they want you to be a true reflection of all they see and view in themselves…which in a word, is PAIN. They need to blame someone for all of this hatred and anger and rage and loathing they feel…by turning you into a mirror of all that is inside of them (the actual cause of their pain is themselves)…it justifies their ruthless devaluation, torture, and brutal discard thinking “now, the problem is gone because YOU are the cause of all of this”. But it isn't, and so the cycle repeats with someone else.
These things are very difficult to describe in words. But in all honesty, I'd rather try to describe it, than you to ever have to experience it.
Tami McConnell on Quora