Communal narcissists are ones who use religious teachings to gather people to them and, once
the people have been gathered, to abuse the living crap out of them, even to the point of
death. It makes no sense, to a sane person, that the narcissist wants their followers dead.
However, and let’s be clear here, narcissists and, in particular, dark triads (narcissist,
psychopath, Machiavellian) are not sane, not in the way you and I understand sane. Oh, they
know right from wrong, but they truly do not believe the rules apply to them or their behavior.
If you study every cult in recent memory that ended with the maiming or death of the
members, every single last one of them was led by a communal dark triad. The People’s Temple
led by Jim Jones. Branch Davidians led by David Koresh. Heaven’s Gate led by Marshall
Applewhite. The most recent cult ending in the death of members was in Kenya. The Good
News International church led by Paul Makenzi. Every single one of them controlled every
aspect, especially the sexual aspect of every member of their cult. The cult leader would decide
who could sleep with who, what people ate, what they wore, all the way to how often they
were allowed to see their own children, and of course, none of the members of any of these
cults were allowed to see their family or old friends, unless they too, were in the cult.
But why kill the followers? Why kill the very people who are giving the leader narcissistic
supply? Because the name of the game with a communal dark triad, as it is with all narcissists,
is power and control. The ultimate high a narcissistic, psychopathic, control freak can get is
watching someone die for them…literally.
Dark Triads are notoriously short-sighted. They simply cannot imagine that their reign of terror
will ever be stopped or that they will be held accountable by the law or by family and friends of
the members. The rules, in their minds, simply do not apply to them, and they are all powerful
and can do whatever they want to whomever they want with no consequences.
What makes communal dark triads particularly dangerous is that they prey on people who are
lonely, or disenfranchised, or who are searching for belonging. Those that do not have a good
sense of who they are or have low to no self-esteem and boundaries are the cult leader's
favorite targets. The cult leader, like any narcissist, employs love bombing, intermittent
rewards, shunning, stonewalling or shaming, restrictions on food intake, the threat of physical
punishment, isolation, and the denial of all autonomy to make the members compliant. The
more co-dependent the target is, the more likely they will be at ultimate risk of death from the
Communal dark triads do not just lead massive cults. It can be familial. In other words, the dark
triad acts like a cult leader with his or her own family. Very often, incest is occurring behind the
closed doors, and murder is a frequent outcome. Marcus Wesson had incestuous relationships
with his daughters and granddaughters, and nieces. In the end, he murdered nine of his
children rather than to allow their mothers to see them or the police to rescue them. Lori
Vallow Daybell currently stands accused of killing not just her own son, Joshua, and daughter,
Tylee, but also her current spouse's wife Tammy Daybell. She killed her own children allegedly
because they were not buying into her claim that she was a “deity,” and in her book, they were
“zombies” and without souls, so it did not matter what she did to them. They were an
inconvenience and in her way.
So very often when a child is murdered, the parent who is a dark triad will claim that the child
was “possessed” and they were “punishing the evil out of them.” They will claim that they
tortured the family member in the name of God and to essentially do an “exorcism” on them.
The autopsies usually show multiple injuries that have healed, such as broken bones etc. Dark
Triads are sadists. Make no mistake about that. The members of the family that have been
designated as the scapegoat will be tortured for years before the Dark Triad kills them. The
family dark triad will demand absolute compliance from all the family members using fear, just
like a large cult leader does, to ensure obedience and that their crimes will never be reported.
How do you protect yourself? Work on self esteem. Work on boundaries. Get with a good
trauma therapist so you do not fall for the love bombing of a communal dark triad. Trust your
gut. Stick to your list of deal breakers.