Narcissist or Psychopath: How You Can Tell One From The Other

Narcissist or Psychopath

8. It’s not my concern if someone suffers. 

They shouldn’t have been there—it was their bad luck. Accidents happen all the time; this was no different.

Related: 10 Signs You Are Dating An Emotional Psychopath

9. I don’t know why I did it. 

I just felt like doing it.

10. I don’t feel emotions like everyone else. 

I just don’t. I don’t get it. I feel the same every day.

11. Yeah, I have a long rap sheet. 

I’ve been in and out of jail all my life—but that’s not who I am. The police are always picking on me.

12. She begged for her life, but at that moment, it didn’t mean anything—I had control over her, and it felt good.

13. She kept saying no, but I couldn’t stop. 

I didn’t want to stop.

14. She kept arguing with me, so I punched her, and that stopped her complaining. 

What’s the big deal? She asked for it. She knew better than to push me.

15. All investments are risky—in a way they, too, are to blame for being so greedy. 

It’s their greed that made them invest with me.

Take a deep breath. Did you note how callous and indifferent these individuals are? They truly have no conscience, as Robert Hare pointed out so well in his book Without Conscience. They do as they please, and they rationalize everything they do. In most cases, they will not change, and they don’t respond well to therapy. They are out to get you or something you value or hold dear with as much concern as a snake has for a passing rodent.

In Dangerous Personalities, we enumerated over 200* specific traits that differentiate the narcissist from the predator, and those should be examined closely if you truly want to differentiate these two personality types. Nevertheless, one of the things that I look for in people flawed of character is this: What are they after? Do they want recognition and praise? Or do they want something from you? If so, what?

Another differentiator is that narcissists tend to do things in public; they cherish public adulation and recognition and love a servile, laudatory audience. In contrast, the social predator, for the most part, wants to work in secret and prefers isolation. Any effort to isolate you should be a red flag saying danger!

These individuals want to separate you from family and friends or isolate you from public view. In isolation, they can do their deeds. They may seek to control your mind or emotions (as in a cult), or worse, they will want you in a place or situation where they can take control of your body. Thus, they may corner you between parked vans, try to get you into the car, or get you to go to their hotel room or a house out of the way; anywhere they can have their way with you in isolation.

Narcissist or Psychopath
Narcissist or Psychopath

Alternatively, the conman/swindler may want you to invest your money with them without telling anyone: They restrain you from asking others for their opinions; they create an exigent circumstance where time is a factor or any other excuse to keep you from thinking about what you are doing or making a phone call.

By the way, there is nothing that says a person cannot be both a malignant narcissist and a social predator. History is replete with these individuals who, when they act out, bring pure misery. Just take a look at Jim Jones of Jonestown in Guyana and Charles Manson, for starters. But that’s for a different day.

Related: 12 Weird Things You Might See A Narcissist Do.

As you can imagine, there are many more differences between the narcissist and the so-called psychopath that should be explored—this is a brief take from my perspective. There are many books that can help you study the differences between the two if you are so interested, I have listed some below.

I will caution you that at some point in your life you will either associate with, work alongside, work for, or be governed by a narcissist or a social predator. The quicker you identify these individuals for what they are as a result of their behavior, the greater your chances of avoiding being victimized. Lastly, after talking to hundreds of victims over the years, it bears repeating here: “You have no social obligation to be tormented or to be victimized—ever.” Stay safe.

*For a full checklist of the traits of the narcissist and the social predator, please see Dangerous Personalities (Rodale) chapters I and IV.

Copyright © 2017, Joe Navarro.

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