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#10659 - 02/09/11 09:05 PM Re: difference between NPD and psychopathy [Re: Anonymous]
lisejade Offline

Registered: 02/05/11
Posts: 14
Thank-you Molly! To me, that seemed a very insightful post! My psychopath. husband could be the child you describe. His mother, in my opinion, is personality disordered, perhaps even psychopathic herself. What you said makes sense from the perspective that in my experience they can really hook you before the first legitimate red flag shows up.

The real self inside, imprisoned by the Dragon, is trotted out to sing and dance at the will of the Dragon, to lure and seduce. This would explain the early feelings of genuineness, of true deep connection and beginnings of hope. Pre-red-flag.

This can not last, of course. But by then it's the frog in the water scenario where the water heats up so slowly that the frog is boiled alive before he is able to hop to safety.... The early soul-connection (could it be even stronger, if you are right, because of the desperation of Real Boy to be recognized, loved and set free?)is remembered and so strong because of the 'first impression' being so deeply real and strongly felt.

But alas the Dragon rules. And the rest, therefore, plays out predictably.

#11305 - 06/28/11 12:45 AM Re: difference between NPD and psychopathy [Re: Anonymous]
Summer Offline

Registered: 06/23/11
Posts: 10
I haven't read this whole thread, so forgive me if this has been mentioned before.
There is a rule of thumb I've learned to use in dealing with my N. mother and the Psychopaths in my life: The narcissist will destroy you if it can bring some attention to themselves. The psychopath will destroy you just because they feel like it at the moment.

That may be pretty simplistic, but it's held true for me so far.

#11709 - 09/06/11 12:20 AM Re: difference between NPD and psychopathy [Re: Summer]
Dianne E. Offline


Registered: 11/15/02
Posts: 2789
Loc: United States
Here is a good article posted by Starry about Narcisstic traits:

NPD traits

#11711 - 09/06/11 01:12 AM Re: difference between NPD and psychopathy [Re: Dianne E.]
starry Offline

Registered: 01/06/11
Posts: 350
Thank you Di.

I hope the article can be of help to people. It certainly helped clarify a few things for me.

#12580 - 01/24/12 12:52 PM Re: difference between NPD and psychopathy [Re: Anonymous]
Chloe Offline

Registered: 01/22/12
Posts: 3
Hi, This is all overwhleming to read. I was in a 9 month relationship with a man who I now know to be a psychopath. He lied and wormed his way in to my life and moved in with in a week of dating me. He was like a paracite. All take but could give nothing back emotionally or in any other way. He lack of compassion was terrifying. I am intelligent and highly educated, I have amazing friends and a great job. I never thought I would be taken in by someone like him. He lied compulsivly and was increadibly violent and abusive. He studied me carefully and used my like and passions to establish a false connection between us He knew I loved animals my dog and cats. So made out he loved animals. But, within months of moving in the way he beat my dog it was very clear he did not love animals, then he started to beat me. I thought i was going mad because he always justified beating me and had a demonic like ability to convince me I was in the wrong. He was extemely manipulative and controlling and very nearly destroyed my life and almost lost me my liberty. i thought I was going insane living with him even though I have always been emotionally strong and stable. He was inceadibly sadistic and was all take. It feels unbelieveable. Becausce when I first met him, he was kind, sensitive, generous and supportive. it was like living with two different people. The police were involved in the end and I had to go to court. It was horrific. He also had an amazing ability to con me out of money and my possessions. The court case finally ended on the 2nd week of Janujary this year. So this is all very new and raw to me. Thankfully, all my friends and my work colleagues and employer have supported me all the way.

It ended very badly with the police removing him from my home. I have read that they hoard women, and I have been warned it is likely he will come back. Surely, that cannot be true can it?

#15284 - 06/05/13 01:56 PM Re: Difference between Narcisstic PD and Psychopathy [Re: Anonymous]
idiot Offline

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 5
Hello! First post here so I hope I'm not making a faux-pas commenting on an old thread like this.

Very interesting thread!The fuzzy boundaries between diagnoses (ASPD, NPD, Psycopath, Psychopath etc) are quite changable depending on where you look for info.

Anyway, I’m only seconding what has already been said but I'd like to post.

I agree Ns and Psychopaths are on a continuum – or at least that all Psychopaths are narcissistic, whereas not all Ns are psychopathic. They both seem to have a black hole at the core of their being they try to fill with an overblown sense of self worth. I see Psychopaths defending their egos a lot and never admitting to responsibility for their wrong doings – as if they’re trying to protect themselves from ‘narcissitic injury’. (Look how much criminal Psychopath’s love to blame the victim, the situation, anything but themselves or tell their victims they’re complaining about nothing, they got off lightly). They both seem desperate to delude themselves about their failings. But Ns seem more desperate – their very psychic being depends on their being adored and respected whereas the Psychopath is less concerned with other people’s perceptions of them unless they’re trying to manipulate.

I’ve been in a relationship with an N and while he was certainly potentially dangerous (impulsive, violent, grandiose and childishly volatile) I never perceived him as actively malicious. His lies and constant re-interpreting of the truth to suit his purposes seemed to be subconscious. He didn’t take any pleasure in lying just to deceive it was just that he had to protect his ego by adapting reality as he went along.
Also, he didn’t seem to have a total absence of fear. Though he was motivated almost entirely by reward he was sometimes sensible enough to be put off by the risk of punishment/negative consequences. Although, most often he was just put off from things that would have involved effort.

I’ve known two Psychopaths (not diagnosed but I’m certain of what they were) and they both seemed genuinely cruel and chilled me in a way the N didn’t. The Psychopaths constantly sought out people to manipulate and toy with for…fun I guess. They lied for the sake of it and spread conflict. The N was a psychic vampire but just wanted ego-sustenance and adoration, not to cause trouble. He was oblivious to the hurt he caused and utterly divorced from the logic and empathy most people navigate by, yet he was more of a sink-hole for love and attention than an active predator.

I’ll make another post with my observations of him/a litany of his faults wink
Not that I demand anyone reads it but the more anecdotal info the better, right?

#15285 - 06/05/13 02:11 PM Re: Difference between Narcisstic PD and Psychopathy [Re: idiot]
idiot Offline

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 5
This has turned into a long (and I admit cathartic) venting/brain dump. smirk

TL;DR version: I lived with a narcissist, it was an exhausting and brutal experience that has taken time to recover from. While I’m pretty sure he would never be considered a Psychopath and wasn’t malicious for the sake of it, it was bad enough. There was certainly a vacuum at the centre of his being and he sucks the life out of those around him to fill it.

Anyway….if you’ve got time to kill here’s my story.

2 years since I cut my losses and I’m still finding new depths of fear and anger in my feelings toward the N. I’ve certainly moved on and don’t think of him often but I still sometimes find myself puzzling over what happened and trying to understand him – if only to learn how to avoid similar people in future! I sometimes wonder who he’s leeching off and abusing now. I do think he has some potential to mature and learn to respect others but it won’t happen unless he’s forced to and he’s got a very parasitic, responsibility-adverse nature. I saw glimmers of empathy, if not a conscience in him.

However, I’ve had to realise I was basically living with an animated husk of a being, not a real person with a fully integrated personality. It was easy to give him the benefit of the doubt for a long time, to think he could care about others and feel like a ‘normal’ person. Now I see that the only motivating instinct in him, the core of his being was a grandiose sense of self that had to be protected at all costs. He avoided insight and self-knowledge like it was poison – because to him it was. He had such an inflated and unwieldy sense of self worth that he couldn’t afford to have it questioned. He couldn’t let reality and facts pop that bubble.

Sometimes he’d reveal just how skewed his mindset was and it was eerie. He genuinely couldn’t see that whatever he happened to want in any given situation wasn’t always the best option. He didn’t believe other people could have minds, wants, rights if they conflicted with his desires. He was the center of the universe.

He never bought anyone else presents, spent money time or effort on anyone else and would react to any request that he consider anyone else as if it were the greatest most unreasonable imposition. Just bestowing upon you his friendship was the greatest gift ever and you should be grateful! Demanded lifts everywhere, took a day off work every time he was hungover, made up dramatic illnesses that only caused him problems when he conveniently wanted to get out of something. Yet he demanded everyone drop everything and attend to his whims. He never saw this discrepancy, plenty of times he actually told me earnestly that his needs and desires were more important than other peoples! I was expected to be there for him and his emotional needs but if I was ever less than fine and let my feelings show he couldn’t tolerate it. He’d tell me off for bringing him down. I was really upset one day and after a couple of years together he looked at me, confused and angry and asked why he felt sad because I was sad – he’d never experienced empathy before and didn’t understand it! I realised then if he was just experiencing empathy for the first time in his mid 20s I had no chance of ever relating to this alien.

He got thousands out of me in monetary support and gifts and I think genuinely never remembered that he’d had them, he could never accept he owed anyone a debt, people asking him to return goods or loans were just being unreasonable. He’d go through my stuff when I was out, read my diary and find any alcohol I’d hidden from him and drink it. Once I demanded he replace a bottle of wine I’d planned to open that night which he’d found and drunk before I got home. He said he’d get me one when he next went out. I replied with words to the effect: you don’t get to decide when I can or can’t have a drink and you can’t just take everything of mine with no care if you inconvenience me. He genuinely didn’t understand my point of view. He got what he wanted and I was just an annoying, buzzing fly irritating him.
Often when he was doing what he wanted he’d try to spin it as if he were doing it for me, it was always totally transparent and insulting.

To support his overblown ego he believed that everyone he met loved and adored him. When he was forced to accept someone didn’t like him that person became the object of such intense, obsessional hate. I got sick of hearing about this one girl, every day he had to rant about her, just because she didn’t like him and didn’t bother to hide it. I tried to suggest to him that you can’t impress everyone, be grateful for the people who are your friends and ignore the rest but he couldn’t accept it. Everyone had to love him.

Oh and he was obsessed with his looks and terrified of aging. He liked being the young attractive one and freely admitted he didn’t want to be a ‘grown up’.

He put no effort into anything but expected to be applauded. He never accurately evaluated his work, he believed it was perfect and surely anyone who disagreed was jealous or just plain evil. If he got a bad grade at college, the system was wrong. If he got a bad review at work, he quit that job. When I had to work with him he took all the credit and did nothing but preen. His lack of shame about his laziness was staggering.

His narcissitic rages were the most dramatic symptom. When he broke up with a girl (before we were together but when we already shared a house) he seemed ok for a day or so then he ended up lying on the floor rolling around and screaming “why isn’t she upset? Why is she still fine? That heartless [censored] etc”. He couldn’t take the fact she was ok (happy to be rid of him) and not devastated by losing him. She and I both tried to talk him down but had to give up and let him calm down in his own time. The next day he was back to normal and acted like nothing had happened.
If he ever perceived a slight or was frustrated in his desires this really noticeable darkness would cloud over his eyes and he’d become totally irrational. I could actually watch him losing logic and reason putting all his effort into defending his ego, usually by lashing out at those around him. Once the storm had passed however, he’d carry on as if nothing had happened. Or he’d condescendingly forgive me for setting him off.

I have to say he was often violent and belittling to me, broke two locks off our doors (left me to fix them) trying to get to me. Called me an idiot daily (hence the username) and never had anything good to say about my achievements unless we were in public and he wanted to show me off. Then I was a status symbol.
He had little interest in sex until his friends were around, then he’d be all over me and very possessive. Liked me to wear revealing clothes when we went out but I was clearly just an accessory. He was the same with children and animals – liked the idea of having them, as possessions or reflections of himself but had no empathy for them and found them immensely irritating when they actually made demands on him.

All his threats involved withdrawing his attentions – as if he were such a prize! He’d threaten to break up with me over anything, give me the silent treatment. I was largely indifferent by that point and just hoping to one day get the chance to move out and trying to keep up an appearance of caring just to avoid more drama and violence.

His histrionics and constant demands for love and attention while giving me no support in return left me exhausted, after the first year I was pretty much brainwashed and sucked dry. Of money, confidence, motivation. I’m still trying to get my life back on track but it makes it easier to see that I only got so low because of the situation I was in with him – it’s a temporary setback and I can slowly rebuild my career, finances, sense of self.

And after all that, I have to admit we had some good times. It’s just the more I look back the more I realise when I thought we were experiencing stuff together, he saw me as just an inanimate accessory, a prop while he was taking centre stage and performing for everyone’s applause. I was just a source of ego-fuel and money for him. As far as I know he still has the same group of friends (all smart, likable guys I respect) who seem able to tolerate him. I think I could have still been having a laugh with him as a casual friend or colleague it was only when I became his main source of ego-support and shared a house with him that I saw the real N.

Oh, I must also add that he was a horribly racist, sexist bigot. At first I thought he was being ‘ironically racist’ and it was a fratboyish thing he’d grow out of (I know, I know), but no. He just hates women and other races. That’s something I can’t forgive or understand.

Thanks to anyone who read this far – I know I got off lightly compared to many and I’m not particularly bitter or hurt despite how I may sound! I’m actually increasingly positive and determined never to fall for someone like the N again.

#15288 - 06/05/13 03:32 PM Re: Difference between Narcisstic PD and Psychopathy [Re: idiot]
crocodile Offline

Registered: 04/25/13
Posts: 329
I’ve been in a relationship with an N and while he was certainly potentially dangerous (impulsive, violent, grandiose and childishly volatile) I never perceived him as actively malicious.

I've got a family member who's an N (not a strong one but still) and that seems to be a protective mechanism - you pump your ego on steroids because you were devalued by others while growing up and the only person that would tell you you're a great guy was yourself. Ns are annoying, arrogant, drive you mad while in a relationship with them but they are totally reformable if they finally get some motivation for it (read: get kicked in the ass). They also are capable of empathy, love and other normal human emotions, they just have a protective mechanism that hides them (emotions are a vulnerability as we all here know). I've seen it with this person - he changed a lot when confronted with life and straightened up by friends and family members for acting like a jerk. Psychopath is nothing like this. Psychopath is a narcisst internally but often can hide it very well and often appear humble, while N is more about showing how great his is to the world around him and subconsciously being afraid what happens when somebody discovers the truth. At least that's my (limited to the sample of 2) experience.

#15294 - 06/07/13 12:12 PM Re: Difference between Narcisstic PD and Psychopathy [Re: crocodile]
idiot Offline

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 5
I agree, crocodile, the Psychopath is a narcissist who doesn't depend on other people to validate their ego. Whereas the N is totally dependant on approval/adoration/attention.

The N I lived with came from a very privileged background and was ridiculously over-valued by his family - he could do no wrong and was constantly praised and I think that's where his problems stemmed from. Everything they created, including their children was perfect. He also never seemed to have reconciled to the birth of his younger sibling, never accepted them. I think as a 'Little Emperor' it was a big psychic wound to no longer be the sole centre of their universe as he believed he ought to be.

#16211 - 01/12/14 01:39 PM Re: Difference between Narcisstic PD and Psychopathy [Re: Anonymous]
Frank Offline

Registered: 01/12/14
Posts: 1
Being deaf and my daugther engaged to a Narcissist I started to do some research.

One thing that don't seemed to come into consideration is the cause behind Narcisstic disorder and Psychopath.

The major difference with regard to above is that it IS possible that someone can be a narcissist due to childhood circumstances and upbringing but that is not the case with a Psychopath.

With my daughter's fiance his dad kept the family away from the "bad apples" part of their family but it appear to have a TOOOOOOO much effect where the children (4 of them) all think they are superiour to others. (instead than just the bad family)

Added to the mix is a mother that will side with one child in a fight and tell him he is correct etc and the others wrong, but do that with each of them in turn so they learned that they can't be wrong and is always correct.

Coupled with their huge and powerful build their whole self-esteem become scewed and narcisstic. (They act the same as their brother but he totally mess up my daughter and can be a danger. Strange enough all of them, from father to sons, capitulate to their strong wifes but my daughter is soft, unlike his guy's previous wife that many times let him sleep outside)

The information I found that convince me (so far) he is narcisstic and not sociopatic is as follows.

A Narcissist will let you know up front what they’re about. They will tell you grandiose stories of themselves of either their accomplishments (real or fake) or of their associations with important people (real or fake). They generally do not tell these stories for any other gain than to hear praises. They have an unquenchable desire to be admired, worshiped, and adulated with no real gain from those that respond to them in this way other than to feed their own ego. They need to be the center of attention at all times in any social gathering.

A Psychopath will NOT let you know up front what they are about, because they wear a mask to hide their true identity. They will tell you grandiose stories of themselves of either their accomplishments (real or fake, but mostly fake) or of their associations with important people (real or fake, but mostly fake). They generally tell these stories to appear as a “good person” to gain trust and as a cover-up for their ulterior motives. They have the same unquenchable desires as the Narcissist as a result of the power and control they gain over their victims. They do not care to be the center of attention at all times in any social gathering unless doing so promises to earn them more unsuspecting victims.

Here’s a few more brief distinguishing characteristics:

A Narcissist can have a conscious, and will sometimes hurt others unintentionally. A Psychopath has no conscious whatsoever, nor do they have any remorse for hurting others intentionally.

A Narcissist can be constructive. A Psychopath is always destructive.

A Narcissist’s world can be built by their own hands. A Psychopath prefers their world to be built by someone else’s hands.

A Narcissist is self-deceptive. A Psychopath is socially deceptive.

A Narcissist needs admirers. A Psychopath needs victims.

A Narcissist needs to be adulated to appease their insecurities and fragile ego. A Psychopath needs to be adulated to appease their ulterior motives.

A Narcissist lacks empathy in the form of belittling, name-calling, and defaming another’s character. A Psychopath lacks empathy in a criminal or physically violent way.

A Narcissist accepts who they are but exploits themselves in a grandiose manner. A Psychopath pretends to be someone who they are not to hide their hidden agendas

The psychopath has no conscience nor normal emotions.

Psychopaths and narcissists have widely differing intentions that manifest in similar behaviors.

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