Was Raoul Moat a narcissist?

Sadly, the extreme violence of Raoul Moat ended tragically with his death after he had shot and wounded his ex-girlfriend, killed her new boyfriend, and then shot a policeman.  Looking at his behavior, he clearly demonstrated narcissistic traits during this period.  Only days earlier he had just been released from jail after serving a short sentence for assault, it would seem that violence was not new to him, as he was arrested a number of times in relation to violence.  The chances are that this final incident of violence was not a spontaneous crime of passion, but acting out of his vigilante fantasies due to his humiliation at being abandoned and rejected by his ex-girlfriend.  Fantasy is a big part of a Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Narcissists can become very dangerous when their partner leaves them.  They do not handle rejection or abandonment well, this is seen in the actions of Moat, who went into a rage, and stalked down his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend, with the intention of killing them both, erasing them altogether.  The narcissist personality does not operate from reality, but rather, they live in a fantasy.  A fantasy where they are above the law, that they are omnipotent, and always right.  In truth they lack emotional involvement, remorse, empathy and conscience. They see their relationships in terms of assets, so when a relationship is being ended by the partner, they feel threatened that they will lose their identity (i.e. their home, status, money, reputation, etc.), demonstrating that everything in their life is about them.  This sends the narcissistic personality into a rage of envy and revenge.  Moat wanted to be seen as an ordinary man who had been wronged, he even comparing himself with the Hulk, whose character was depicted as a force for good in the community.  But Moat was not able to see beyond his own needs, he thought more of getting his revenge than he did about leaving a child without a mother or father.  Getting “even” is part of the fantasy and goal of the narcissist.

Due to constant feelings of inferiority, narcissists are consumed by negative pathological envy and jealousy which leaves them unstable.    Envy and jealousy lead to completely different feelings that are highly corrosive to the heart of the narcissist: one leads to the desire of what another person has, while the other leads to a fear of loss (that another person can take what they have away from them).   These two emotions work in tandem for the narcissist, leaving them like a ticking bomb.  So when they cannot have what they desire and see it possessed by someone else (i.e. a possessions, achievements, or a quality, etc.), they will try to destroy it, this may be done either literally or figuratively.  Furthermore, narcissists are perfectionists whose image to the world is hugely important to them.  There is no place for chinks in their armor; this is totally unacceptable to them as it provokes shameful feelings to arise.  So when a girlfriend moves on with her life, as in the case of Moat, the narcissist cannot bear not being in control, and his jealous and envious nature explodes.  He becomes enraged and out of control, yet he remains enough in control to plan and plot his revenge.    It eats at him to think of another man enjoying anything that he deems to be his own, whether it is his woman, his house, his sense of security, or his financial assets.  This then becomes a very dangerous time for any woman (or indeed man) in a narcissistic relationship.

Even after the killing, typical of any narcissist, Moat was not willing to take ownership of his violence; he projected his anger outward, blaming everyone in order to justify his narcissistic behavior.  This was seen in the callous act of shooting the policeman on the bridge.  Because he thought the new boyfriend of his ex-girlfriend was a policeman, he projected those feelings on to the first policeman he came across.  Narcissists are unable to admit that they are wrong; they blame anyone and everyone to avoid losing face.  Losing face is a fate worse than death, and many narcissists quite literally suffer death to avoid the possibility.  We saw this with Moat who preferred to write a 49 page letter justifying his behavior after his death, rather than be found guilty in the eyes of the world.  He spoke about having lost everything, and that his life was not worth living, like he was the victim.  Thinking like that allowed him to justify all of his actions.  In effect he saw that he had nothing to live for, he had lost everything when he lost his ex-girlfriend, as she was his main source of narcissistic supply.

Narcissists panic without their source of supply available to them.  At such a low ebb, suicide can look like a friend to the narcissist.  Moat’s obsession with regard to the reactions of others would have filled him with terror, without his narcissistic supply (his partner, house, status, financial insecurity etc.) and his feelings of rejection; he would have been rendered impotent.  The shameful feelings that he would have experienced was enough to turn him into a raging killer.   The need for attention, whether positive or negative, would have been a driving factor for Moat, and he was about to change all of that by becoming famous through his infamy.  Being famous fills the narcissist with power, and power makes him feel in control again.  The publicity and exposure that he had up to the end insured that people were watching him, talking about him, fearing him, therefore, in his mind, once again he “existed”.  This attention gave Moat the Primary Narcissistic Supply that his grandiose self craved up to the bitter end, a glorious end where he would go out in a blaze of glory of his own making while flaunting his control.  But in reality, there are no winners in this scenario, just pain and agony for all involved.  One of the last things that Moat was heard to utter was “Nobody cares for me” and “I have not got a dad”.  Like all Narcissists, Moat did not feel loved by the world.  The chances are that he experienced people coming in and going out of his life since childhood, consequently narcissists don’t expect their relationships to last, people always seem to leave them and let them down.   They don’t ever seem to work it out that people leave them because they are a mixture of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde who create great love, havoc and fear around them.  Yet like all mankind, the narcissist hungers for connection.  Perhaps now Moat will be able to rest in peace, but it will be a long time before all of the families and friends who have been touched by this tragedy will be able to have such luxury.

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Christine is a Psychotherapist, Educator, Author and Supervisor of mental health professionals for over 28 years. She was part of a team in the Trauma Unit of St. Brendan’s Psychiatric Hospital, Dublin, and has worked specifically with victims of pathological narcissistic abuse in her private practice for many years.
Her books, “The Three Faces of Evil: Unmasking the Full Spectrum of Narcissistic Abuse” and “When Shame Begets Shame: How Narcissists hurt and shame their victims” set out to to help those who have been affected by a narcissist and also to address the shortfalls in a therapist’s education, so that they become better equipped to work with survivors of narcissistic abuse.Much of her knowledge has come from her post-grad studies in Criminology and Forensic Psychology, and it is through these disciplines that she has gained her understanding of “The Dark Triad”, (Narcissism, Machiavellianism and Psychopathy).
These three faces of evil are vital information for understanding the full spectrum of narcissistic abuse and the dire effects on the victims.It is her vision that narcissistic abuse becomes part of the curriculum of all Mental Health clinicians.
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