Understanding Classifications: Narcissist Vs. Psychopath

By Michael Arangua

Updated December 19, 2018

Reviewer Lindi Herrin, LPC

Okay, so you think that your new partner is way too full of themselves and maybe they spend far too much time on what they think and what they want then you or even any of their friends and family. You're wondering if they could be a narcissist, or even worse, a psychopath. But how would you know exactly what they are when it's just so confusing? The truth is there are some very important differences between these two classifications and understanding them is important when you're trying to figure out if you are looking at a narcissist vs. psychopath.

What Is A Narcissist?

Let's start from the top and look at a narcissist . A narcissist is someone that is completely and utterly obsessed with themselves. They feel like they are the most important person in the world and that their thoughts, feelings, wants, and needs are the only thing that matters. They donot understand why everyone else doesnot feel the same way about them. It is difficult to comprehend someone else being even equally important to them let alone more important.

These individuals will try to focus every conversation around themselves, their interests or anything else that relates to themselves. They want people to like them and to admire them, but the way they act and talk can sometimes make this more difficult. They tend to ignore some social rules including basic manners.They are completely unaware of how off-putting their behaviors can be to others.

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If you are seen as any threat, this individual may lash out at you with bullying or even sabotage. They may attempt to tear you down if they feel like you are surpassing them in anything at all and yet they can also charm and manipulate others however they like. They can tweak their stories and adapt the things they say to fit specific audiences and have no problem with rules and established companies that make them work in specific ways or toward specific goals.

These individuals will work hard because they seek admiration and approval. They will do whatever it takes to obtain approval even if it requires deceit. They tend to have a history of past poor relationships and to get frustrated when they do nothave successfulrelationships. They donot do well on teams because they tend to serve their own needs and wants and perceive they are superior.

What Is A Psychopath?

Psychopaths generally have very high opinions of themselves and believe that they are better than everyone around them. They have an extreme level of confidence and feel a great sense of self-worth. They donot care if someone else approves of them because they already feel like they are the best and no one else could be better or more important than them. As a result, they donot care if anyone else likes them, appreciates them, pays attention to them, unless of course, it could lead to a benefit for them.

They do not base their self-esteem on what other people think. Rather, they have a strong sense of themselves that is inherent in everything that they do. They desire attention or admiration only as a means to get the things that they want. They will take on different personas to achieve their goals. In fact, psychopaths are master manipulators when it comes to getting what they want.

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These individuals rarely have an identity of their own, at least, not one that anyone sees. Instead, they are more likely to act in a way that they believe will bring them the most benefits. This may include faking friendships and relationships, displaying false feelings and emotions or even taking on beliefs and opinions of others. These individuals can tailor their personality in order to manipulate individuals and situations.

A psychopath has absolutely no conscience, which means that they do not feel bad for lying, cheating, stealing or similar actions regarding manipulating others. They will continue to convince others of false stories regarding the psychopath's life ventures.

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Getting Treatment And Professional Help

So, what do you do if you believe that you are a narcissist or a psychopath? The best thing is to reach out to a professional to get help. Just because someone is a narcissist or a psychopath doesn't mean they are dangerous. Being a psychopath doesnot automatically make someone a killer which is often portrayed in movies. In fact, many psychopaths will never become killers or even physically harm anyone in their lives, but they can still cause emotional harm.

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These types of people do not have empathy. Generally, there are many innocent victims including their romantic partners, family members, and friends. Unfortunately, these individuals are not able to form lasting and meaningful relationships on their own because they have no concern for others, This can cause pain for others in their lives.

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By working with a professional and getting help, it is possible for psychopaths to learn more about and even to start to understand different emotions. While treatment is difficult and lengthy, these individuals can learn to interact in positive and less hurtful ways with others, especially those close to them.


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