Sunday, October 2, 2011

When is a narcissist a psychopath?

I wrote in an old post once about the similarities between a sociopath (psychopath) and a narcissist. There aren't many differences, they are generally overlapping disorders.

The general consensus, however, is that ALL psychopaths are narcissistic, yet not all narcissists are psychopaths.

When I look back at my own experience as described in Web of Lies, it becomes clear which end of the scale my own experience was. As my therapist explained to me over a year ago, I was dealing with a narcissistic psychopath.

So, how can you tell the difference?

Well, a narcissist always seeks confirmation. He/she needs affirmation for everything they do. They look for sources of narcissistic supply and if they don't get approval from that source, they get mad, really mad. They can be sent into a narcissistic rage purely because their needs for affirmation are not being met.
A psychopath does not need this affirmation. He/she is so convinced of his/her superiority over others, that it really doesn't bother him/her if they are accepted, believed, or approved of.

I experienced this first hand when my ex was caught red-handed trying to screw over his employer by selling company secrets to a potential customer. He wasn't phased by the fact he could be about to face a criminal prosecution at all. Instead, he was genuinely amazed that anybody could believe he had deliberately perpetrated a criminal act, and poured public scorn on those who accused him, calling them 'idiots' and 'jealous fools'.

Whilst I reeled from the horror of our public ridicule, he simply got on with his life, secure in his belief that he had done no wrong, and the people who believed he was a criminal were mere idiots who didn't deserve a moment of his attention.

This is the sort of behaviour which differentiates a true psychopath from a narcissist.

Don't be lulled into any false sense of security though, a narcissist who isn't a psychopath is still a huge threat to your emotional well being. They are every bit as manipulative and controlling as a psychopath, and if they aren't getting the validation they so desperately crave, they can be equally as dangerous.

I found a good blog post about dealing with narcissists here. The crux of it is, there is no dealing with them. If you're involved with one, get the hell out as soon as you can.

There is an incredibly fine line between narcissism and psychopathy. But, in my opinion, at the end of the day the label is less important. What's important is the effect it's going to have on you, the victim.

Whichever disorder you are dealing with, you are in danger. There is no safe way to remain in a relationship with a person who has no conscience. The only solution is to escape.

There is no rehabilitation for this disorder, and the vast majority of those who have it, are walking amongst us.

Don't wait.


  1. Thanks for clarifying the difference between a narcissist and a psychopath so clearly. I was once closely involved with a narcissist and tried my best to love him enough for both of us; but as you've stated, it is an impossible situation to make work. I only ended up being used to the fullest extent emotionally, physically and wreaked havoc in my life! I lost a lucrative business as a result of the narcissists constant sabotage and that was such a shame. I too was publicly humiliated and felt like such an idiot after I finally got the narcissist out of my life for the last time. Thanks for validating my experience and I really like your site!

  2. Thank you for your words, it is terribly confusing to tell the difference between the two. Especially when "he/it/the monster carcass" is a skilled salesman, and I only a stay at home mum.

  3. I too lived through six years of blaming myself though I gained strength from somewhere within and warned others. I named and shamed him for what he did to myself and others. My friend mentioned narcissism to me, this I thought at time described him well. After reading the definition of psychopath this also had meaning. I am without doubt that he is both, I wish there was a way of informing one and all of people like this. I have empathy for those that are still in this type of relationship and those that have come out the other side. It is hard to form new relationships after going through this. I wish everyone hope, health and happiness. Thankyou for Web of Lies it helps knowing you are not alone in the suffering and gives strength in those wanting to leave.

    1. I was in a relationship for over two years with a guy who I now realise is a physcopath. I somehow found the strength to finish with him after six months of living together. He had started to stay out all night and not come home, if I had done the same thing my life would not have been worth living. I used to feel that he really loved me and he used to get very jealous and angry for no reason, he was also violent towards me.After the relationship was over a. Friend of mine told me about a website Peek you, where you can type in someone's name and see what they like to do on the Internet, I typed in my ex partners name to find he was on swingers sites, hook up sites porn sites etc all going on whilst we was together. I never thought that he would have ever have cheated on me, I believed that his jealousy issues was because he loved me so much, I feel like a complete fool. Soon after we split up he started dated another girl after three months they split, she has contacted me via faceBook and told me that he had beaten her on a night out and this was witnessed by a passer by who contacted the police, he was arrested and when questioned told the police his gf was drunk and he was slapping her to wake her up. When speaking to this girl on the phone she told me how she had fallen in love with him and she has now stop contact and I o fear that she is back with him, I have warned her all about him and I don't think there is anything else I can do.i was even thinking about contacting the police but I don't know if they will do anything.

    2. I just want share with the world what some one has actually done for me. I have been down for 5 years with PSTD post traumutic stress. i have done everything necessary, i have run a lot of tests and even became addicted to drugs, until i came across a post of Dr olumba the great spell caster and how he has been helping and curing people of such problem i quickly contacted him in the address the person left behind i got in touch with him and told him all i have been facing.He told me what to do and how to do them and after that he help me cast the spell and that was the end of my PSTD problem today am living fine all because of him. So if are mentally challenge or you have the same problem as mine pstd just get in touch with him okay. here is his contacts

  4. I have to say that there isn't much between the two. It's such a fine line.....

    But I'll say again what I've been saying in my books, and virtually all my interviews and blogs....

    A narcissist is not necessarily psychopathic.
    But a ALWAYS a narcissist.....

    Take care out there......

  5. I'm still in recovery even though it's been 8 years since my exgf threw me out for another man. I wasted 7 years of my life to "help" her get well. She kept right on playing games, emotional games, stressing me out and the only peace I had was my weekly rest at mum's place, so I was living in two homes... it wears me out.

    The funny thing is, two years after she dumped me, she came back and asks me to help her get away from her bloke, who she left me for in the first place, as he was WORSE than she was, and so I could only help her with a suggestion, she get her sister to help with getting a place of her own and get her stuff out when he's not there. Then, three times she came back asking me to come back to her, she regrets her actions and the hell she puts me through, etc. I refused to go back to her. Even when the last time she came, she brought the kids, (not mine), in an attempt to blackmail me emotionally. I refused to go. I didnt' care. I do not trust her. She broked my heart, my trust all broken. Why should I go back? I believed that it's best to walk away. So that's what I did, told her "NO", and that's it. She have not come back since, which I am grateful for.

    She was 5 years older than I, and we met when I was 15, and she was still married, or was divorced. I believed she was waiting until I was a bit older and then got me involved with her, some series of one-night-stands that sometimes I was frightened of her, but I could not figure out why. I know for a fact that she was "mirroring" me exactly... When I talk of something, she claims to know of it as well and would mirror me in this. It was so scary... seeing that. My gut instinct was to run away from her. I stood there, and I though, maybe she knows this or that. But, no, my gut was right. I settled for her years later, and so wasted 7 years of my life.

    I had thought I would make a family, with my own childrne, but I doubt it will work out after she lets the doctors aborted our babies. Damn her drugs and booze.

    Never again. I will never let no one ever mess me up ever again. The way I feel I would rather kill than let anyone near me. That's how I feel. I HATES narcissists and psychopaths. I'm sick and tired of them.

    All I want is a normal woman, is that not much to ask? (sighs).

    Now I have to be careful of women, what if this or that is a nutjob? It wears me down. So now I don't care for any women, I'm not going to get into a trap like that ever again.

    It's so hard to not pine for true love, for a good woman who won't bare her fangs at me just for the fun of it. I want a good woman who would tell anyone who tries to break us up, and so on. A good woman to be devoted to, faithful and honest and real. No more lies.

    I think I am suffering post traumatic stress disorder. Every time I reads about psychos and narciccist nutjobs, I get stressed out. I know for a fact that several of my childhood friends were like these nutcases. I remember defending meself against them, and I always wondered why they're doing tihs. Now I know. They're everywhere, these nutcases!

    I would favour culling them out of the world, then we'd be free of their stupid pointless problems that they makes up out of thin air, like my exgf always was making every time I come over... it's endless, their problems, on and on and on, unending... it's sheer torture to think of them now.

    Now I guard myself and not let no one get close to me. I don't trust people anymore.

    Where are the normal women?

  6. Get out while you can. It isn't nearly impossible for someone to have a healthy relationship with them it is impossible! They have no conscience, therefore it is impossible to make healthy human contacts with them without getting burned in the end someway. Narcissist' fear of being exposed yet they jump to the very oppurtunity of exploiting someone else. If a dog goes mad we are asigned to put them down. So why shouln't it be the same when we have nuts like sociopaths psychopaths AND narcissist running around where we live? They should be put down. Why? Because they have no conscience, they dont get better only worst as time goes on, no matter what they do to others and how evil they may be somehow they FIND a way where they can pity themselves and feel bad for the way they made themsleves look... not because they hurt someone else, mind you. They should be put down like mad dogs because thats what they resemble, self cenered, vicious, self-loathing, pity seekers.

  7. I was with a violent sadistic psychopath for 3 years and then 3 months later I met an extreme narcissist who I was with for 2 years , they were so different yet so similar . Sometimes I think the narcissist was a psycopath too except he needed others approval constantly. But other than that and the psycopaths enjoyment of hurting me physically and laughing about it afterwards there wasnt much difference.. okay I guess that makes them totally different what I dont get is how someone -me could walk out of a relationship with a psycopath right into the arms of a narcissist!

    1. It's like being in a spider web, it's not a rare case of getting involved with a few psychopaths. This is like a genetic predisposition, especialy if one of your parents was a narcissist too. That's what happened to me.

  8. Anonymous
    Just looking for tips on how to teach the children of the narcissist how to protect themselves after the marriage is over and the narcissist has half custody.
    It would be nice to know how to get invited to read the stoptherollercoaster blog...