By | November 18, 2013 30 Comments

Narcissists at work

Upside of narcissismA Lovefraud reader sent me a link to a free e-book. The reader’s only comment was, “ugh.”  Here’s the book:

The Upside of Narcissism in the Workplace

The book was created by Hogan Assessment Systems. On its website, this company says, “Hogan uses the powerful science of personality assessment to help you hire the right people, develop talented employees, build great leaders, and impact the bottom line.”

I downloaded the e-book. It’s very short only nine pages. It points out that young people in general exhibit more narcissism than in the past, but in “controlled doses,” narcissism may be good for an employee’s career.

The e-book points out the potential pitfalls of narcissism. For example, people high in narcissism are often impulsive, entitled, insensitive and unrealistically confident about their abilities.

The e-book suggests that by presenting personal development as a “strategy for advancing their personal agenda,” narcissists can tone down their narcissism, and improve their career success.

Narcissism and sociopathy

All sociopaths are narcissists, but not all narcissists are sociopaths.

Here’s how WebMD describes Narcissistic Personality Disorder:

Narcissistic personality disorder is further characterized by an abnormal love of self, an exaggerated sense of superiority and importance, and a preoccupation with success and power. However, these attitudes and behaviors do not reflect true self-confidence. Instead, the attitudes conceal a deep sense of insecurity and a fragile self-esteem. People with narcissistic personality disorders also often have a complete lack of empathy for others.

One of the key differences between narcissists and sociopaths is mentioned in this description: Deep inside, narcissists are insecure. Sociopaths are not insecure about anything.

Another difference is that narcissists are so focused on themselves that they are somewhat clueless when they hurt others. Sociopaths, on the other hand, often set out to intentionally exploit and damage others. All they really want is power and control.

Deal with a narcissist?

Narcissism and sociopathy are both on the same continuum of personality disorders, and the criteria overlap. It’s often difficult to tell one from the other.

In romantic relationships, I don’t think it matters sociopaths and narcissists should be avoided. I mean, what is the point of a romance with someone who has “a complete lack of empathy for others?”

But what about in the workplace? Can you deal with a narcissistic co-worker or boss?

And what do you think about the suggestion that narcissists can rein in the negative aspects of their personality and become confident and energetic members of the company team?

If you have worked with narcissists, please post about your experiences.


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I think Narcissists are disruptive on the job. They by definition cannot be team players. Instead of trying to do what is best for whoever they are working for it would all be about showboating who they are. And God forbid if anyone got in their way, client or fellow worker there would be no qualms about trampling them underfoot. I know I have read that makes them “great” CEO’s, but I think that is part of the problem with big business today.
My experience with my ex is that he is very good at finding jobs that pay well. He promises the moon in very convincing ways during the interview process. He just doesn’t stay very long, because he doesn’t end up delivering. He has been fired from three of his past four jobs, with an average stay of 1 1/2 years. The fourth job, he managed to stay longer, and left on his own terms, but with accusations of threatening to kill someone he worked with. Right now he is unemployed again.


The narcissists that I have worked with are two-faced. When they are in the company of their superiors, they turn on the charm and when they’re not, they are themselves. Every former co-worker (they all were either fired in time or quit), that I figured out was a narcissist (personally I suspect all of the ones that I encountered were female sociopaths) typically had friendly, outgoing personalities, being very dishonest (each one of them stole something from their employer, whether it be money, meds., groceries, clothing, food stamps, etc.), getting this information by talking to past and/or current employees.


”The narcissists that I have worked with are two-faced. When they are in the company of their superiors, they turn on the charm and when they’re not, they are themselves.”

How very true, bluejay. I find this especially with goverment companies, such as local authorities. I swear their employees go for the job that allows them to be narcissistic, that the employers recognise that in them, as they have no empathy at all, and even when it stands out to anyone like a sore thumb that they are at fault, they blame you, the tenant; taking responsibilty for what they do is out of the question. Yet in their private lives they wouldn’t have it done to them. And yes, the worst Are female, the ones at the top, they don’t see anything wrong in yelling at you and not allowing you to say anything when you have phoned them to discuss something important. Its all power and control :/


I like Scott Adams (Dilbert author) comment that difficult people may have some work skills, but overall it’s not worth it.

We have a narcissist in my work group. We let him go to meetings and pontificate and want to believe we are playing to everyone’s strengths. But when he is asked to provide reports, they are way below par and have to be reworked. He has a low tolerance for frustration and usually ends up huffing and puffing and walking out of meetings. He also does a lot of changing the subject when he is pressed for information or asked to provide real input.

What about taking those of us who do the work and raise our skills in communication, etc., rather than taking a narcissist and trying to raise their skills of awareness and competence. I have yet to witness him learning anything. Could he ever become an energetic member of a *team*? I’ve worked with him for 20 years – nope – hasn’t happened yet.

I wonder if this study will follow the results long term and measure how much narcissists accomplish vs. how much productivity is lost and how many deliverables have to be reworked or cancelled. It’s discouraging to see the popularity of toxic people in the media and TV shows.


I have been working with someone who I would consider to be a narcissist/borderline sociopath for 7 years now. This person has been elevated to somewhat of a team lead position as she is the longest standing team member. Our boss always directs us to her for questions and she does our reviews for us as well as our boss does not know the ins and outs of our role very well.

She will always have 1 target on the team that she turns everyone else on the team against. For the first 5 years that I worked with her, I was actually very good friends with her. I didn’t see this clearly until the day I upset her. I have always been one of her pawns in her workplace game.

I found out I was pregnant so I cancelled on a group trip to Vegas (she does not seem to understand pregnancy so is unaware how uncomfortable being 7 months pregnant and walking around Vegas sounds). Because of this she stopped talking to me altogether. When I got back from Mat Leave, she made my work life a living hell. Every day things were being over exaggerated to my boss, and “preformance issues” were popping out of nowhere when I have had nothing but amazing reviews before all of this. She convinced my boss that I needed to be completely retrained! For 4 months after my return to work it was constant attacks from this woman and she was turning the team against me.

Finally, things died down and she started talking to me again. Only this time, it was pointing out all the faults of another team member. She had switched targets! I could see exactly what she was doing. Now that I wasn’t the target of interest, I was supposed to be best buds with her and help ruin this other woman’s sanity. I am still in this sort of working relationship now. I decided it was safer for myself if I just stayed on her good side and stayed out of the drama. I would love to call her out on this stuff but I know it will ruin my career. I just can’t risk it.


How can one be positive that “narcissists are insecure” and sociopaths are not? Both conditions stem from an overwhelming love of self and belief in their superiority. But cannot both of them ultimately stem from an initial feeling of fear and insecurity? I think both the narcissist and the psychotic KNOW that they’re hurting others but neither cares any longer as in both cases, the love of self/absense of fear predominates. I often pondered this question when my family members usually espoused whatever would promote conflict and war. Thus, is war not as often motivated by defence/fear as by offense? I.e. If I get him first, then I won’t need to fear him? Questions I still ask myself in trying to comprehend the mind of the narcissist, psychotic.


Hi flicka, please do not confuse “psychopath” and “psychotic”, as they are not the same thing. Psychopaths know full well what they do to hurt people. Someone who is psychotic is suffering from psychosis, which includes hallucinations and loss of contact with reality. Again, not the same thing, and it is important that this is clarified right now so that people are properly educated. I don’t mean to criticize, but I am concerned for the person who is seeking information. It needs to be the correct information.


In a capitalist system any Cluster B disorder is an evolutionary advantage. Lacking empathy gives an NSP the ability to do things to advance himself that the normal person isn’t willing to do. It is my conviction that NSPs gravitate toward positions of power for this very reason. I also believe that the selfishness and lack of empathy that we are experiencing as a culture is a result of this gravitation, since those in power steer the media and other sources that influence culture. Whether it stems from deep seated insecurity or not it is still an advantage in a system driven by profit and greed. The laws of capitalism as a system result in wealth accumulating in fewer and fewer hands at the expense of the majority of people. These hands are undoubtedly overwhelmingly disordered.


Very well said, LK, I wholeheartedly agree with you. The government have us where they want us and I don’t see anything short of anarchy to do anything about it. We need some sort of revolution but how we get others to do this, is the problem, so we we feel forced to accept our lot. Of course this leads to medical and mental problems and so the government have to pay for it somewhere, although all they do is give us a few crumbs. One MP in the UK, wrote an article in our local paper about tenants of local authorities, he finished by saying, ”Let them eat cake”, yes, seriously.

Maybe this is why they have closed so many of our hospitals!

still reeling

No, I do not think a narcissist can be a good employee if they have to work with others. Sitting in their basement carving toys maybe. I’ve worked with them, other than path himself, and it’s hell. They are miserable and make you feel lonely and angry just being around them…at least that’s how I felt working w/a female narc. for years. Awful experience.

I went from my path experience at my last job to a new job, small firm run by a narc. It’s not fun at all. Of course, my stint with another narc and then a socio doesn’t help at all. But this guy is a pip and I’m about to walk out if they don’t dump me off. I feel that could even happen today. This guy will run his mouth for hours about himself but couldn’t care less about me. An example, he told me a looooong, very boring story about himself and when I decided to try and overcome my resistance to share my own thoughts, he (always the comedian and I might add filthy dirty comments are a highlight for him-that is ok w/me, just saying you’d think he’d be more fun)took his glasses and pretended to prop his eyes open with them. It’s all about him. I took the job because the atmosphere was supposed to be “fun” and now I’m sorry because I didn’t follow my gut. This guy can be extremely insensitive when I ask questions, even though he promised me, as I was so skeptical about the subject matter, I would be just fine and no worries. He can be so engaging and funny, then will turn around and bite my head off or snap at me. I’m trying not to take it personally but after 3 horrible employment experiences in a row, I’m very unhappy, also not young and no jobs out there. I’ve decided I have to get up my nerve and if he snaps at me again (which he does NOT do to anyone else in the office or any clients of course) I am going to tell him not to do that anymore, that when he does it makes me feel negatively about him and that will affect my ability and desire to do my best job.

Have not read other comments yet but will come back later. Going to be late if I don’t get a move on.

Hi to all and hope you are all as getting along as best as can be expected.

the sisterhood

From my experience, the narcissists I have worked with all seem to be in positions of power. No one seems to want to rock the boat and stand up to them but will, indeed, complain behind their back. The narcissists appear to have complete control over how colleagues interact with one another. The narcissists who are lower on the power ladder seems to always have the ear of the ones who are in power and they are very, very sneaky about it. I’ve come to a point where I trust very few people at work. I always think people have an agenda and am very careful about the opinions and information I share. It sucks to have to work in that kind of environment, but I don’t invest my personal life and well being on “friends” from work.

On another note, my ex narcissists who sent me on my healing journey where I discovered this very site several years back is a very, very successful executive. And from what I’ve gathered at the glimpses in to his life now, he is very well liked and respected. He has wickedly clever sense of humor and is highly intelligent…BUT, I do know him to be extremely insecure and all about image. When i was with him, he was desperate for people to like him, look up to him, etc. To the point of paranoia. Every move he has made in his life is to get to the top. The meant using people who he thought would get him there. At one time, he thought I could fulfill some power fantasy he had. When he realized that I just wanted a simple authentic relationship, I was immediately discarded. He moved onto to a woman that basically handed him his career. He was very calculating and knew where his advantages lay. I don’t think for one moment he has changed, but that doesn’t mean he is unhappy or is miserable to work with. He has learned to garner affection very well in his position of power. He is very covert and sneaky. Very unauthentic. I think that is what most narcissists in the workplace look like.


I recently worked for a narcissist for a year. I found it to be impossible to stay there and keep my sanity. The rules constantly changed to suit her mood for the day. She continually threatened my job. (I was written up because she didn’t like my FONT in an email!) Regardless of what she wanted one day, it was subject to change at a moments notice, and we were all a bunch of idiots for not knowing it! Simply IMPOSSIBLE to work for


I have recently encountered a plethora of information on how psychopaths, narcisists, malignant and narcissts can be useful citizens because of their lack of empathy. I believe that it is a backlash by the disordered themselves and thier minions to their unwanted truth coming out.

It is rampant in our current political culture. business culture and legal system. I have watched it happen in my lifetime as the drive for power and money overcame the desire to cooperate, create and produce. IMO, the cause is overpopulation, television and apathy of the masses.

These disordered losers did not get where they are without crime and corruption which was ignored or covered up with lies. Decency is being belied and the wolves are running the sheep over a cliff.


Makes you wonder if this Dr. Hogan understands Narcissim. I have a wife with NPD and living with her put me on anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medicine. I also had a boss that was a Narcissist and had a PHD, nobody could tell him anything!

As far as my wife, she has all the symptoms, abuses daughter, son is the golden child and I’m the doormat. I’m the loser who pays for everything and gets punished for doing anything right either through manipulation of the children or gaslighting and or what seems to be in retrospect well planned and executed sabatoge.

She’s got the medicine cabinet full of homeopathic remedies and all the home medicinal books, but fails to see the “forest for the trees”. She would claim to have a good understanding of medicine and healing through diet and is incredibly well read. However, does not excersice and lacks empathy when actually taking care of a sick child. When my son had pnemonia she literally through a bowl of food at him because he would not eat. (if I had done that, they’d arrest me. I told the custody evaluator she did this and no response!)

Another good example is simply never making my son’s bed, never checking the temperature and making sure he doesn’t have too little or too many blankets. He would then wake up with night terrors. I would go in and check and he would be in a full sweat. She would give him homeopathic sleeping pills, make him drink tea and warm milk, but not make the bed.

It wasn’t until started making the everynight that he slept well. He would talk to me about his day and ask me to tell him a funny story before he closed his eyes. It was a wonderful thing to have him come ask me everynight, “daddy, can you make my bed?”.

Now continuous attempts by my wife to frame and literally try to cause me to abuse her daughter through repeated harrasment and emotional cruetly, I’m in a custody battle for my son, but can’t even get to the real details of her behavior.

People have no idea how emotionally abusive and destructive these BPD and NPD people are. They are incredible liars and shrewd con artists. The laws protect these people, because a spouse cannot even “request” that the court perform psychological testing. Our divorce system is a farse!


Hello jmmira…

You have just described my daughter!! I am wondering if you are married to her except that I have not been informed she is in a custody battle.
She also prides herself on being an expert in Chinese medicine, favors one child over the other and is verbally/emotionally abusive to the children. Her husband has his own issues, but typically she sees to it that he takes the rap whenever there are brushes with the law, issues involving credit (he gets hung out to dry because she makes sure loans are in his name, whereas property is in her name!) She is never held accountable for any abuse (physical stuff seems to get the attention of the authorities,ie. “they don’t want the kids to witness violence”, yet the manipulation, verbal abuse, yelling and screaming go on unchecked by her!) And she is completely absorbed in her own needs; the kids do not know how to hug or say “I love you”.
We, as the family, have been tortured by our worry for the children. CPS will not intervene because my daughter presents such a good front when they appear. The kids have been well-versed in not disclosing anything and have been taught to lie, unaware they could receive help from doing so. They are too frightened and brainwashed! WE have disclosed what is going on there, but we are not being taken seriously!! We are encouraged by mom to ‘phone the kids’, in order to look like a “normal family” and then after one minute on the phone (speaker), they have to go for dinner, etc. They are never allowed sleepovers with family, grandparents, etc, and regularly hear their extended family berated whenever their mother turns against one or the other of us, and she does take turns on us, keeping ties with one and executing all the others (ie. when she is called to account for the threats and abuse she levies against family members.) We can’t win. We don’t want to enable her poor treatment of us but she is holding contact with the kids over our heads.
I, too, have suffered anxiety, depression, self-blame, been downright suicidal over this situation and the abuse …for years. She showed odd behavior from Day 1….crying and screaming continuously unless she was sleeping. There is much evidence to say this cluster of disorders is highly genetic (my mother had many of the same symptoms). This helped me to get over my guilt, finally. (My other children are fine except for the devastation that resulted to our family because of her terrorizing and upsetting the family.)
This is not your fault. Your best bet is to find non-threatening, calming ways to deal with her and talk things through with someone who ‘gets’ it as well, on an ongoing basis, as these people continually will try to distort your reality. Meanwhile, if you separate yourself as much as possible, you will be able to heal and be a better father to your children.
PS….If it happens you ARE my son-in-law, your initials TS, please contact me. I’ve been terrified to discuss it with you in case it gets back to my daughter!!


The problem seems to be that the courts simply will not order psych evaluations. They order these phone custody evaluations, award the evaluator a ton of money and they don’t do anything.

It’s bad enough that Psy.Ds that do proper testing are few and far between as it is. Psychology is also a soft science.

Kids really don’t know anything is wrong because they grow up in that environment. They don’t even know the feelings they are having are anxiety. The kids may be acting out, but then they put the kids on ADHD prescriptions. Either that or as teens they’ll end up self medicating.

Kids can easily talk about violence and it’s very easy for therapists to ask misleading questions, like “did your dad ever yell in the house?” or “were you afraid of your dad when he yelled?”. A kid can answer yes to this question, but not be a victim. I don’t even think they ask, “does your mom yell at you?”.

Our society wants to discredit men so badly that everyone seems to be brainwashed to ask questions in just the right way to make men out to be the bad guy. And now that supposedly they have supposedly identified that kids suffer without their dads, they still don’t know how to address it.

The issue is that when mommy says, “I’ll call daddy”. It means Mommy needs Daddy to enforce some order in the house. This typically requires a stern voice. Now on the other hand, in my house, my wife would resort to irrational yelling and naming calling over and over again. The same behavior would repeat over and over again and nothing would change.

I’d then come home or simply tell my wife I’ll handle it and say something as simple as “do what your mother asked, now!” sternly or “spend less time fighting about it and just do it” or I’d simply turn off the TV and escort the child to the dinner table, bathroom or whatever. Mission accomplished.

But nobody asks questions about this type of parenting. It really seems they WANT to assume the man is abusive. It’s very, very, very frustrating to be the rational parent/spouse. So when this person gets fed up, sometimes after months or years they explode or implode. And they look like the problem!


In 1999, I rented a chair in salon from a woman about 40 minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge. She is an attractive woman with what I thought was a seemingly amiable personality, although she clearly suffered from genetic disorder that left her with proportional dwarfism and immature vocal chords. She bleached her long blonde hair, was addicted to the electric beach, loved to dress like Britney Spears in her mid 40s…especially in mini skirts with no underwear. Her blatant sexuality which she loved to talk about in her chair attracted a garden variety of professional and blue collar men.

In time I found out she committed Love Fraud on sexually addicted single and married men and milked them out of tens of thousands of dollars. One of which was my friend’s then soon to be ex husband, who this monster dumped after getting the cold hard cash. He was devastated and committed suicide. Naturally she never showed up to his funeral where hundreds did.

She admitted to me that she “is in direct sexual competition with other women.” Her own sister who has her PhD in psychology has diagnosed her with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and has made the intelligent decision not to associate with her nymphomaniac younger sister who is bent on destroying her marriage because it is all a big game to her.

After two months of working there, the truth was coming out. She became increasingly insulting to me in front of male clients mainly. She was stealing from me if I used the bathroom; and my colors, perms, $200 scissors, implements for hairstyling, makeup in my purse, sunglasses, leather coat, and any cash I had in my wallet in my purse would be gone. Someone* even put bright fire red dye in a bottle that should have been ash brown as a joke on my client she hated. I started wearing a fanny pack and for that she got REALLY angry at me. Gee, I wonder why?

She had affairs with the live in boyfriends of two other women that had worked there. When she asked me what I thought of her going to dinner/drinks with one of their current boyfriends, I told her “Familiarity breeds contempt.” That infuriated her. In anger, she had sought out in another county two of the most abusive ex boyfriends in my life to smear in my face. Then I found out she was calling my husband (who worked nights) while I was en route to work and she would hang up as I walked in. She asked him if I was “sexually satisfying him? If not, she was a wild lover.” He told me, “This woman is a WERIDO. She is not your friend at all. I don’t think she could be anybody’s friend.” I confronted her about calling him behind my back, that it is unprofessional and not having any sexual boundaries. Big mistake on my part! Never tell someone with NPD what they should not do.

I was always getting sick if I brought my lunch to work. Then I found arsenic under the sink in the back room in a salon devoid of vermin. Not long after, someone put acid in my facial toner at work. A small zit on my cheek swelled up to the size of a Ping-Pong ball and opened up and bled for hours. I tearfully asked her, “Who would do something so evil?” She didn’t respond, her cold black eyes reminded me of a shark that had just eaten someone. I have a scar on my face there to this day. My doctor at Kaiser told me, “Unless you have a witness to her behavior, the police will not do anything to her. You must get out of there ASAP. Acid over a period of time will shut down your internal organs. She is poisoning you.”

I took my doctor’s advice, I gave the owner of the salon a 30 day written notice to vacate. To this day, she tells people she fired me after 11 months of working in the worst place ever…in hell. She stalked me at my home which is in a rural part of the county I live in, and my new place of employment a 30+ minutes north of her. I wrote to her to “please leave me alone, to stay out of my life” along with some choice words.

On my birthday in 2001 she had me served to appear in court that I was stalking her and her teenage son whom she lost custody of as a baby, because her husband had caught her in their bed with her brother, and she would not give up drinking and smoking/selling pot.

I went back to school and changed careers to law. I was tired of working among knuckleheads that condone her criminal behavior. Or slough it off to a big game. What she has done to me and many of her family members, friends, coworkers, neighbors and clients is unforgivable. I made the mistake of disclosing my life with someone with her personality disorder, and what I thought of her total lack of morality. That was my mistake. I have learned that landlords, employers, and coworkers do not truthfully want to be my friend. I keep a safe distance in my employment, do my job, collect my paycheck, and get the heck out of there at the end of the day. Bottom line, people at work are not my friends. I also have a red flag list of human behavior I do not want to deal with. Incest and no real psychotherapy seem to breed this type of societal termite. Now if a woman tells me she “Likes to compete sexually with other women” and “has a taboo relationship with her brother,” I chew my paw from the iron trap of theirs, and disappear from their lives. It seems to begat narcissism. I know it sounds mean, but I just don’t ever want to feel sexually abused, stalked, robbed, and slandered again. Narcissists have no accountability for their behavior and they can sleep their way to the top in a company with their own grandfather, out of trouble with the police and even get them to take down false reports, and commit perjury without wincing. Sex is a very powerful tool with narcissists.


WOW…..I am so sorry you endured such a hellish nightmare…the sad truth is this crazy deranged women is on to the next victims the same minute she looses the last victim from her evil grip. If you have never been destroyed by a sociopath you would never believe what you post could happen…but for all of us that have, we know this sadly happens to millions of people each day around the world.

I think you have set very strong boundaries that will keep you and your family safe from the evil of this world no doubt. glad you escape her hell.


O M G I am so shocked, I’m stunned. How awful, pity you couldn’t have got her locked up.

I hope you now have found peace.


I would agree with every poster here. When you have been in that atmosphere yourself, you recognize the dynamic when others describe it. While I technically am not an employee but a contractor or vendor, in the day to day workings there’s not much difference. The company where I did the lion’s share of my work had been through a few GM’s in the several years I had worked there before the golden one arrived. Intelligent, fun, witty, charming, good looking, sharp dresser, confident, and charismatic. The guy actually has some very credible skills and experience, has a lot of energy, is usually on top of things. While the company was producing well it became increasingly clear that under this sparkly facade there was a darker, more complex character. I saw him target others there. He would control interactions as the other poster had mentioned. One young man, the Narc. and another employee denigrated and just made his life miserable. He was very simple, and probably not the greatest employee because of his limitations. He was a kind, humble, honest, and genuine soul, and he was smarter than they gave him credit for as it was him who opened my eyes to some of their methods of control and micro management. I say they, but the GM was orchestrating it. After this employee was gone I became the primary target of this guy. One day his god complex was raging more than usual and he got in my face. He actually did that aggressive quick lunge forward and showed me his true self, the Wolfe underneath. Then he kicked me off of the property and later bragged about doing so to another contractor he was trying to intimidate. I drove down the road and called one of the owners and told him everything that happened. A meeting was set up with myself, the owners, and the arrogant one. I showed up in a pinstripe suite out of character from my usual more casual dress. I started off by saying that I came dressed this way #1 to respect the meeting, and #2 some people think that when you work in the yard and dress a certain way that you are a dog and they treat you accordingly. I explained that if you kick the dog he may bite. Of course he denied how it went down, it was misunderstood, ect. The relationship I had already built with the owners from many years of what they considered top level service is the only thing that kept me there. For the next 4-5 years I continued working directly reporting to him, and he used any opportunity he could to try to discredit me, to throw me under the bus. Why did I stay ? What was I thinking ?It was my primary source of income. I had just gotten married to a woman I am now quite sure is a psychopath. My musical director of the band I played in ( also a source of income ) I now believe is a narcissist. The shepherd that I went to for help in my brand new and rapidly failing marriage ended up being some kind of narc/sociopath ? So as you can see my life was drenched in toxicity. Because I grew up around disfunction and disordered people and hadn’t done the work to educate myself yet, I was the perfect mark for a hungry psychopath or narcissist. Along with the holes in my armor is the fact that there are just so many of these sparkly deceptecons out there. Watch out for those yellow camaros. You never know !


Hi Donna- the word that got to me is intentional- they find their
victims and intentionally go after them- could not agree more.

Thought I’d try to shed some light on perceptions about folks with moral disorders……

Narcissists and Sociopaths primarily have different end goals. Narcissists seem to be primarily motivated by self-aggrandizement, whereas, sociopaths could have multiple purposes, all aimed at fleecing or harming their victims in some way.

Narcissists are preoccupied with their “reflections,” because they really don’t think very highly of themselves under all that pomp and circumstance. They will undermine others in an attempt to shed a golden light on themselves. They are often extremely intelligent people who are soft spoken, dismissive of others and come across as intellectuals. You’ll often hear them admonish others for making “emotional” decisions because they have little emotion themselves. They will manipulate facts to preserve their image. They’re the folks who are particularly noted for holding up others to scorn and ridicule, even if they have to lie, cheat or steal in order to do so.

Does this mean that every soft-spoken, intelligent person, even ones who act like “know-it-alls,” are Narcissists? No…. but if they throw people under the bus in order to shine, they are. As a disorder, a Narcissist is not just stuck on themselves, but create harm in order to build up their self-esteem and image.

Their kids will usually feel that they don’t matter to their disordered parent. A child who pays homage to them, as if they are gods, will fare better than a child who has sufficient intellect to think for themselves.

Narcissists will often marry for money. Their interest in the imagery that wealth creates is far more valuable to them than emotion, which they have little need for. The term “Gold Digger” evokes the character of a Narcissist.

Sociopaths and Psychopaths are less concerned about being in the spotlight. Their image is not their main motivator, although they value their reputation inasmuch as it enables them to get away with murder, both literally and figuratively.

People with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) will have volatile emotions. One minute they love you, the next, they hate you. It may seem to you that they are bi-polar. They are basically oversensitive and fear abandonment. Often they encountered abandonment as small children. In their mind, if they abandon you, you can’t abandon them, so what may seem as a close relationship can quickly disintegrate. They are extremely impulsive, and are prone to self mutilation and anxiety attacks.

In each of these types of disorders, there is little or no affective empathy, and very shallow emotions. Although a person with BPD will seem to have deep affection, it is extremely transient and they will hop from relationship to relationship at the slightest provocation. They are folks who make mountains out of molehills and leave you bewildered about what you did that was so wrong.



jm_short…I’m soory but your definitions leave me more confused than before. My family has all these traits.


This posting is SPOT ON, I was married to a Narcissist, clinically diagnosed with BDP amongst other things who I truly believe is a psychopath. I was not only “thrown under the bus” I was smashed into the pavement as the bus went back and forth over and over again.

The “reflections” to which you refer are a combination of self hatred and envy, they try to emulate others as if life was a game…the Narcissist wins by virtue of insanity from which they operate and the manipulation of others to buy what they are selling so to speak.

They harm others while proclaiming to be the victim, their reign of terror never ending. I was once told that “a divorce is too good for you” the reality of this hit hard when I was advised by the police that he was plotting to have me killed. During interrogation he stated “I don’t know how to get out of this mess, she doesn’t deserve half” in his world, he deserved everything yet I was the bread winner.

The term “gold digger” was often thrown in my face because HE owned a restaurant (it was never considered as mine, married or not) it was a failing business especially when the Tribune disclosed he was under investigation regarding Murder for Hire of his wife. The failing business was never his fault, somehow it was mine. He was never charged with the crime as his family has connections with the Good Ole Boy’s Network in the small community in which he lives.

We were divorced after 10 long years of misery which continues to this day as his payback for me divorcing him was to take my children who “pay hommage” to him for fear of verbal, emotional and physical harm which the police and DCFS are well aware of, yet it continues. My kids were alienated not only in a physical sense but also emotional, they were taught to treat me like the scum of the earth and to allege that I was physically abusive toward them. It was not until they had to live with him (at his mothers, the loser doesn’t own a home and can’t afford rent) that they realized the damage had been done and they were partly to blame. My daughter just recently appoligized “for everything” I told her not to blame herself as I was manipulated also beyond comprehension.

I often referred to the BDPNP as jeckyll and hyde, I never knew who I was dealing with especially if he forgot to take his medication. Impulsivity in his change in behavior was quite scary at times but even worse the lack of. I often suspect he was trying to poison me but I could not prove it, his scheming was that of a snake and a low down dirty shame the extent he would go through to destroy me and make himself “appear” the better person. It’s all about appearances you know when dealing with a Narcissist.

The fear of abandonment overwhealms the Narcissist to the point of snuffing the life out of their victims as they cannot operate on their own or allow others to breathe. They do not have the capacity to empathize with others or see past the nose on their face as their world stops there in the mere shell of their existence.

For years I questioned what I may have done to deserve such treatment, it was not until I started working at a psych facility as a nurse that I realized, It’s impossible to change a personality disorder…medication only masks the symptoms 🙁

To work with a Narcissist is a BAD idea, trust me and anyone who truly knows one. Nothing you do is ever good enough or ever will be. They are truly incompetent beings who project their shortcomings onto unsuspecting co-workers while trying to keep up appearances AKA delusions of grandeur.


JmS …I very much appreciated this differentiation along with the comment below that says It doesn’t matter whether you get hit by a Mac, a semi, etc.,…you are still broken. I’ve spent too many years obsessing about what is wrong with my daughter and trying to nail down the exact disorder. I’ve started to realize that she is within “cluster b” and she slides from one to the other area within that range. Some of it is BPD…perhaps? ….as the mother, I feel mortified that I may have done something to contribute to this. She displayed severe behavior problems from Day 1 and we were always ‘on her’. (The other kids were ‘normal’.) She has definite anti-social characteristics and low empathy for us and for her own children; highly impulsive. You seem to have much insight. Am I pathetically misinformed to think I should still treat her with inclusion/love to try to undo some of the ‘damage’? Will it make any difference at this point in her life? Any thoughts are appreciated. Please tell me what your background/experience is with these disorders.

Sorry to confuse you! They overlap to a great degree.

Keep in mind that the most fundamental characteristic of disordered morality is a lack of affective empathy, conscience and shallow emotional connections.

They’ll all use you with little regard for the impact they cause. It’s kinda like being hit by a Mack Truck or Greyhound bus. Doesn’t make much difference which it is…. you’ll be just as broken!

Wishing you the best with your personal journey!



So true; I’ve often said that the label doesn’t matter, all these disorders are equally devastating. I could add tens of equally prominent traits they all display including: dillusions of grandeur,blaming all others for own faults (irresponsibility), cslling anyone having differing opinions “crazy”, financial leeches, chronic liars, intimidators as well as having NO empathy which allows them to “shun” (shut the door on…) supposed loved ones. Although some find them intelligent, I find them intellectually shallow (making dillusional judgements) and DANGEROUS(cannot control their tempers)!
But I must add that I feel our present society’s goals of substituting morals for monetary gain largely aidsthe illness’ proliferation.


They have no integrity…how can your business prosper when it’s run by individuals with psychiatric disorders? These people are nuts, imagine handing over your business to someone with active schizophrenia (I don’t mean to discriminate because I have known several people with controlled schizophrenia i.e. medication that worked and they were team players and compassionate) or maybe the infant analogy is better- let someone with the social skills of a newborn infant run your company…ok, This isn’t fair to infants…um, how about the notion that these people are not only are capable of stealing from you but that they most certainly will…and it won’t end with money, they are known to go after spouses, and your teenage sons and daughters or worse. Sane people have compassion, have long term goals, are able to work well with others. Spath lack empathy, tend to think of short term gain, and see no need to work well with others except to further themselves. Like I told one spath in a spath chat room who made the statement that spaths were the next stage in human development- “LOL! No sociopathic society has ever lasted- you know what a sociopathic society looks like? In the end, it’s just a pile of gnawed on dried up bones. After they’ve used up all previous society’s resources, they just end up cannibalizing each other. There weren’t spaths in caveman days because they got thrown out in the snow!”

Please do your best to be kind to other people- but use your judgment!!!


Psychopaths are at the bad end of the spectrum, and they pull off the con on the world better than the rest. Everyone else is wrong or mistaken or trying to hurt them out of jealousy for their wonderfulness. They will stab you in the back while kissing you and telling you that they love you. They will tell you they will be in the office when they are at a hotel in another county humping a student, then abuse you for trying to reach them for a legitimate reason while they were “in a meeting” at the very same time. They will be home with you every night but tell their little trollops they are separated, so they are available, and they will show off your house while you are at work as if it is theirs alone. My psychopath former husband married his student trollop but then tossed her under the bus less than two years later. Probably had to look for someone younger, thinner, prettier and more compliant, yet again. Or maybe it was because that huge lawsuit was settled that was all about the jerk getting a rival fired to hit on the trollop? Marrying her would prevent her from testifying. Divorcing her would prevent her from getting any idea of having any rights. Or children. Or ideas about a future.

It’s all about keeping things shallow for these folks. Young, thin and pretty is good. 15 or 20 years later, they will need young, thin and pretty again, with no notice to their own ageing, wrinkly, sagging and not so attractive personage.


Some good points here. Number one is that all those with a Cluster-B Personality Disorder are relationship toxic and should be avoided at all costs, be they Histrionic, Borderline, Anti-social or Narcissistic.

Equally important, trying to diagnose or categorize a Cluster-B is futile, as co-morbidity both within the spectrum and outside it is high, particularly in the continuum’s middle, the ASPDs and Borderlines. Cluster-Bs can also be depressed, anxious or Bipolar.

Coupled with all this is a high tendency for substance abuse, again particularly among the ASPDs and Borderlines.

Even for a professional mental health provider differential diagnosis is difficult. My counselor thought the x-spath was Borderline, but did not want me talking too much about him, rather focusing on me and recovery. However, once I learned about sociopaths, I realized such a diagnosis fit my x-spath even down to such “non-clinical” features as his sociopath stare and monotone speaking style, technically called lack of local effect.

Perhaps one way to differentiate a borderline from a sociopath is that borderlines are emotionally labile whereas sociopaths only emotion is anger and such is usually displayed in unusual circumstances, typical when the sociopath is caught off guard concerning an issue or situation that they are masking.

Thus, sociopaths will go from cool to off the wall at the drop of a hat, whereas borderlines circumstantially go from depressed to excited.

In addition, having some emotion and empathy, the borderline will find ending a relationship difficult whereas sociopaths have no trouble ending one. A shared trait is that once in a relationship, neither ends one until “something better” comes along. Interestingly, borderlines seem more apt to completely cut ties once a new relationship starts, but the sociopath often will attempt to keep past relationships as “friendships”.

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