lf2

The Narcissiopath

What do you call someone you’ve been describing alternately as a narcissist and sociopath? Someone for whom neither diagnosis alone quite suffices as a complete description of the individual, but rather in whom both disorders seem as if wrapped up in one menacing individual?

Pardoning my grandiosity for daring to expand the already crowded psychiatric nomeclature, I propose to call these hybrid personalities“narcissiopaths.”

While I don’t expect the DSM folks to take me very seriously (or anyone else for that matter), I’m thinking (unfacetiously) that there’s a case to be made here.

The narcissiopath, as I envision him (using “him” for convenience’s sake) will meet many of the essential criteria for both narcissistic and sociopathic personality. The closest extant clinical description of this disordered individual that comes to mind is the confusing term “maligant narcissist.”

Now personally, I find the term “malignant narcissist” wanting: for instance, precisely at what point does a narcissist turn “malignant?” And doesn’t this imply the concept of non-malignant narcissists who, by definition, must be “benign?” (I’m not so sure their partners would attest to their harmlessness?)

My concept, the narcissiopath, suggests very directly the personality fusion of narcissism and sociopathy in this particular personality. The narcissiopath is the individual who effectively conflates narcissism and sociopathy.

Let me briefly review these separate personalities—the narcissist and sociopath—in their more classical presentations. The narcissist is fundamentally a recognition-craver, a reassurance-craver, a convenience-craver, and an inordinate craver and demander of attention, catering and special status. He is in many respects insatiably needy emotionally.

At root, the narcissist is an overly entitled personality. He feels entitled to be accomodated on a pretty much continual basis. This begs the question, on what basis does he accord himself this right—to expect, that is, the continual accomodation of his needs and desires? The answer is, on the basis of his sense of himself as “special,” and his expectation that others—indeed, the world—will also recognize him as special.

Psychologically, a compensatory process often occurs with the narcissist. His “sensed” and “imposed” specialness is often a compensation for underlying and threatening self-vulnerability; and compensation for doubts about his power, worth and attractiveness—doubts that he is too immature to face squarely and maturely.

Although exploitation is not typically the narcissist’s primary motive, we recognize his capacity to be manipulative, cruel, deceptive and abusive; yet his darker machinations are usually secondary to his demanding, and sometimes desperate, pursuit of others’ attention and cooperation.

The narcissist is imfamously inept at managing his disappointment. He feels that he should never be disappointed, that others owe him protection from disappointment. When disappointed, he will find someone to blame, and will quickly de-idealize and devalue his disappointer.

Devaluing his disappointer now enables him to abuse her or him with more righteous indignation and less guilt.

For the sociopath, this is all much easier. Unlike the narcissist, he doesn’t have to perform mental gymnastics to subdue his guilt in order to exploit others with an unburdened conscience. The sociopath has no guilt to manage.

But the sociopath’s dead conscience isn’t per se what makes him sociopathic. Many people have weak consciences who aren’t sociopaths. It is his dead conscience in conjunction with his orientation to exploit that gets to the heart (really, heartlessness) of the sociopath.

The sociopath is variously a manipulator, liar, deceiver and violator of others; and he is these things less to regulate his unstable self-esteem than, more often than not, to enjoy himself, amuse himself, entertain himself, and take what he feels like taking in a way he finds optimally satisfying.

The sociopath, as I have discussed previously, is an audacious exploiter. His lack of shame supports his imperturbability, which enhances the experience of his audacity. The sociopath leaves one shaking one’s head at his nerve, his gall. One imagines that to venture the deception and outrages the sociopath pursues with his famous, blithe composure, he must possess a chilling callousness and coldness beneath what may otherwise be his veneer of “normality.” One imagines correctly.

Now sometimes we find ourselves dealing, as I’ve suggested, with individuals who seem, at once, to be both narcissist and sociopath, as if straddling, or embodying both disorders.

These are the individuals I’m proposing to call narcissiopaths.

For a good celebrity example of this, consider O.J. Simpson. Simpson, as his story evolved, was someone you found yourself confusingly calling a narcissistic personality disorder (probably correctly) in one conversation, and in the very next, a sociopath (probably correctly).

You found yourself vacillating between the two diagnoses because he seemed to fulfill important criteria of both. There was O.J. the narcissist: publicly charming, charismatic, disarmingly engaging and seductively likeable while privately, behind closed doors, he was tyrannizing Nicole Brown whenever he felt his “omnipotent control” threatened.

Simpson came to epitomize the indulged athlete: catered to all his life for his special athletic gifts, somewhere along the line he came to believe, with ultimately violent conviction, in his right to control and be heeded, not defied.

Simpson was all about “looking good,” about public show; in Nicole Brown he’d found a woman—a “trophy wife—”who could “reflect well” on him publicly, and on his “greatness.” She was also, tragically, the “perfect” choice to engage his narcissistic compulsion to alternately idealize, and then devalue, her; that is, to idealize the perfect, and then devalue the perfectly dirty, sex object.

In other words, in choosing her, Simpson chose well for his narcissism.

In the end, Simpson was as charming, ingratiating, and as shallow and superficial as so many narcissists (and all sociopaths) are.

But he was more than that. He was also callous, and brutally violent. He descended upon Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman like the knife-wielding devil he was, nearly carving Brown’s head off and massacring Goldman.

And then”¦he lied.

He maintained his innocence with outrageous brazenness, determined to win the next stage of yet another game. And where was the remorse? There was none; just his arrogant, insulting contempt.

Simpson had executed a miraculous performance. He had escaped from double-murder and the incontrovertible evidence of his guilt as improbably, as impossibly, as he’d so often escaped (brilliantly) opposing defenses and game-plans geared to stop him.

Finally, although I’d say that Simpson probably tilts, on balance, more to a narcissistic personality structure than not, he also possesses many of the most dangerous and essential diagnostic features of the sociopath. He seems, in other words, to be not entirely one or the other, but both narcissist and sociopath all in one.

I intend to flesh out the concept of the narcissiopath in future posts. And I look forward, as always, to your feedback.

(This article is copyrighted © 2009 by Steve Becker, LCSW.)


Comment on this article

446 Comments on "The Narcissiopath"

Notify of

Excellent description of the differences between the two disorders. I found it very helpful.

And then when someone is part of each – no wonder it’s hard to sort this out.

Steve,

I want to take this “hybrid” description and paste it across his freakin’ forehead. Correct me if I am wrong, but it sure does sound like the once “Love of my life”.

I have heard over and over recently, as people reacted to our divorce , their surprise. It seems he always described me as a great wife, hard worker with a good job, good cook, good mom, smartest woman he ever met…..yada , yada.

So it puzzled me even more that he would so betray me if I were all of these wonderful things. If he never put me down or disparaged me in any way – and I was such a good wife – why all the others? Geez one wife and one girlfriend weren’t enough – why the internet stuff? Why 3, 4 or 5 ongoing relationships of varying types?

I decided to ask if he EVER said how much he LOVED ME – but the answer has always been ” Well, no -not in those exact words. But , OH, he spoke so HIGHLY of you.”

Indeed, like I was some kind of prize I guess, that he was happy to claim but not have a real relationship with.

And of course, the lack of conscience he showed in finances and conning me & friends of many years – and there will be more but he just may need to acquire a whole new crowd. The old crowd is dwindling and I don’t think they are going back for more.

Although he was never physically violent, I am learning to recognize his behaviors as abuse – even now his words are cruel and punishing. The withdrawal and silent treatment you have written of – they were brutal and empty times emotionally as well as psychologically. It is a puzzle none of us are able to figure out until it becomes so unbearable we look for help.

I wish there were something we could do for our teens in school, getting ready to experience relationships and knowing nothing of what they will most likely encounter at least once.

We have programs of Family Life, Gang education, drug ed and tolerance of differences. But nothing to prepare our kids for dating , establishing boundaries and how to recognize some of the personalities described on this site.

I thank you once again for your insight and talent in clearing the path for healing. In all my readings, and I have a shelf of info , I have not come across anything that allows for a blend of these personalities. It becomes so confusing to say – Well, he is this -but not that-or he is more of this and there is the other other stuff he does….. after awhile you would feel like you are going in a circle.

As you say about OJ, there is no remorse, he in fact acts the victim , is smug and ENTITLED to what he has taken.

I think it is his “enjoyment” of my pain, the sheer pleasure and smile that comes across his face as he spews words that he KNOWS will hurt and confuse , that sets off my alarm now in my head – HE REALLY IS SICK !!!!LOOK HOW FREE HE FEELS TO TREAT YOU LIKE CRAP!!!

It is sad – but FREEING to my soul.

Steve… your ability to explore and synthesize behaviors that at times seem incomprehendable, combined with your ability to blend those observations with new insight is priceless! My therapist has, by proxy, “diagnosed” the toxic person in my life as a “co-morbid borderline (BPD) & narcissist with socipathic tendencies” – and follows that by repeatedly saying he is one of the most disturbed people she has ever encountered… From my reading here I know that sadly he is one of many. We have discussed at length the shortcomings of the DSM IV’s antisocial personality disorder and in fact my B/N/S initiated her personal re-evaluation of the ASPD’s shortcomings. She will like your blended title and synthesis … I have shared a number of your articles here with her and 1 or 2 even served as “ammunition” in her dialogue with other therapists as to the “diagnosibility” of the Sociopath. Thank you, as always!!!!

Actually from all the psych lit reading I do, I have learned professionals tend to glom these disorders together.

Narcsocipath is about right, but I think psychopath,scoiopath and malignant narcissist are all the same just the “expression”of the traits is different. One is Madoof, another Manson and yest another Don Juan.

Thank you, Steve, for this new word! I’ve been looking for such a word that combines them both for some time. Without one word that describes my abusive EX it has been difficult to explain to others what I experienced with him.

Newlife, except that mine was periodically abusive, your story sounds identical to mine. I remember one of the last semi-civil conversations I had with him after I had fled 1800 miles away. Someone had given me a great compliment and I asked him why he never complimented me even once during our long “marriage.” His immediate answer (unusual for him because he often didn’t answer me at all) was, “Oh, I tell EVERYONE how wonderful you are.” When I responded, “Why didn’t you ever tell ME?” there was silence (USUAL) on the phone.

I was still “in the dark” about personality disorders at that time but later when I got “knowledge” I realized that I, as I had already suspected, was truly his “trophy wife,” his “arm candy.”

No wonder he would never “let” me have an opinion of my own! I was expected to be an object for him to admire only.

Thanks, again, Steve. This new word FITS perfectly for my Ex.

I meant “periodically PHYSICALLY abusive.”

I have accepted that I will never know why he’d “out of the blue” grab my elbows and toss me to and fro like a rag doll and then walk off without a word. If he was angry, he sure never showed it!

Well written. Perfect description of my ex. I’ve gone back on forth for some time on whether he’d be more correctly classified as a psychopath (or sociopath) versus a narcissist. I’ve ended up just referring to him as a cluster b in my mind. You nailed the description quite well. In a related vein, Barbara Oakley in Evil Genes refers to Mao and a few others as “borderpaths” – combination borderline and psychopath.

….Jumping topics slightly….I think the general ignorance of the general public is so profound that any use of such terms in an attempt to communicate with unitiated creates an almost impenetrable barrier. I am curious, Donna (if you are still reading) when you sent your query letters to the magazines if you used the term “sociopath.” I wonder if the use if more innocuous phraseology (at least in the query itself) such as “dangerously controlling personality”or some better, less threatening phrase would have made a difference in the editors’ reactions.

Too bad you (plural) are not writing the psych texts rather than the Zimbardo types who think evil is all due to “bad barrels” rather than “bad apples” and would rather devote more ink to schitzophrenia than the cluster Bs.

Dear Steve,

My P-sperm donor and my P-son are both perfectly described by your new “term”—both are soooooo Narcissistic in addition to being so malicious (viiolent psychoopathis) that they both make OJ look like “Mother Theresa.”

Great article—and I DO wish your term would be adopted, it is much more descriptive and understandable than some of the current “professional” terminology which is so confusing.

While all psychopaths are to some extent Narcissistic, I think some are WAAAAY off the scale in N-ish entitlement. Some like to draw public attention to themselves more than others. OJ is a perfect example, I think.

With everyone nodding agreement I have to say I am actually a bit confused… Steve or someone please explain this to me –

I can see the Narcissism as described in OJ but then I don’t get the transition to Psychopath – ie: is it not the rejection of him by Nicole and her being with other men that set off his violence – and I would think that is a Narcissistic injury and hence the murderous rage and action. So is it that a Narcissist would not go that far? Or that they would not deny their actions??? Or is it how coldly he denied guilt? I would think his Narcissism was fed immensely with the trial and all the media attention – once again he was in the public eye…

Can someone help me understand this better?

Okay Oxy – just saw your post above mine – that helps a bit.
It just seems like maybe they are really variations on a theme-

ie: there are your “look at me, look at me” end of the sociopaths and your more circumspect – “ha ha ha – I’m hiding in plain sight – look what I did” sociopaths (ie: BTK)….

Thanks Steve. This has finally ‘nailed it’ for me! Why one of the symptoms of people here who are victims of these types is that we have to have ‘definition’ specific, I don’t know – guess it’s just trying to make sense of what the hell happened to your life – I think it’s human nature to want to try to understand what you’ve been dealing with and why you feel so crazed in the aftermath involvement with them.

I never felt that he did things purely for his amusement – as would an S – more that it made him feel empowered to put people down, bully and create situations where others felt threatened and uncomfortable. Fortunately, I didn’t hang round long enough for the violence to really escalate – the threat of it was enough me. He hit me once and came back with the classic line ‘now look what you’ve made me do!” – but he was very aware of his ‘good guy’ image – not that he had one – just deluded himself that he was seen that way. – classic Narcissist eh!? This is perhaps what contained the violence but I am sure there are plenty of situations I don’t know about outside of the ‘relationship’ where he would use violence and intimidation – in fact, I know of two at least – he boasted about them – of course, painting himself as the ‘good guy’ and ‘rescuer’. (I don’t think antagonising a drunk on a train and then busting his nose – to show off to a colleage and carriage full of passengers is anything to boast about but heh ho, I’m not a deranged ‘Narciopath’ so how can I comment – who knows what goes on inside their crazy deluded brains!

I think your phrases ‘overly entitled’ and ‘insatiably needy, emotionally’ are spot-on. The constant need for recognition and to be told ‘how proud of you I am’ were totally foreign to me – I’d never come across anyone before who thought that partners/family were somehow lacking in their appreciation if they weren’t constantly ‘reassuring’ in this way – it was all very ‘wearing’ – thanks for clarifying.

Another great article Steve!

Like Oxy’s son, my ex was extremely narcissistic in addition to being malicious and criminally oriented and he liked to hide some misdeeds and brag like crazy about others. He would make no bones one day about enjoying hurting and f*cking over people, then denying it and swearing he is nice and honest to a fault the next day!

I like Steve’s new term. But here is my question to Steve for his opinion (or anyone else)….from reading, my understanding is that although the diagnostic manual lumps aspd, sociopath, and psychopath all under aspd, that the psychiatric manual still uses the term psychopath for those who meet the pcl-r criteria and that researchers do differentiate between aspd, sociopath, and psychopath.

A person can meet the criteria for aspd, but NOT be a sociopath or a psychopath. And a person could be a sociopath but NOT a psychopath. Yet most psychopaths DO meet the criteria for aspd in addition to the criteria for psychopathy.

And also that once the person scores past 30 on the pcl-r and can be determined to be a psychopath that the level of narcissism has also risen accordingly right along with their high score. So the higher level of psychopathy has a higher level of narcissism is the way I understand it.

So a sociopath who scores below the 30 would not necessarily be all that narcissistic. But if a person that scores with perfect score of 40 or very close to it, wouldn’t the level of narcissism be so great due to those traits also rising in addition to the maliciousness, that in effect you simply have a psychopath.

In other words, you have the aspd, then the sociopath, then the psychopath. But the psychopath sounds to me like what you are describing as a Narcsociopath.

But I like your term better because like someone else said it is easier to understand. But still, my question is, wouldn’t that simply be a high scoring psychopath? (sorry for the ramble and hope this is understandable)

It is very helpful to use public figures that we “know” like OJ, because it brings abstract qualities to life. Also movie characters can help. The bad guy I was involved with (I don’t like to use the phrase “my N” or “My p”..ugh…not mine, thank god) was a crueler Thomas Crown. Totally not forthright. totally loved to pull one over on “worthy” opponents just for the hell of it to prove his brilliance to himself, would not relieve other’s emotional distress when he easily could and hid behind noble reasons but really just like to be pulling the strings (as when Thomas Crown appears to be protecting the true identity of the painter’s daughter..the blond, I forget the details…and letting his lover think the blond is a lover), deliberating setting up emotional distress (watching her cry in the jet at the end), liked to test and shock, and was totally used to everyone kissing his ass. To the fictional character add sexual addiction, alcohol abuse, need to be constantly off on another trip always on the move, marriage to a heiress, cheating on the heiress with her best friend and many others, jealousy of the attention his wife gives his kids, sending kids off as soon as they outgrow the nanny to boarding schools across the country, inability to tolerate being alone, envy, deep envy and the diagnosis is……pure hell!

Love the new term!

My own personal picturing Ns and Ps is that there is a “scale” of 1 to 10 for Narcissists, with 1 being the person who will eat the last piece of cake, knowing you haven’t had any…not trying to deprive you of cake, just not being considerate.

A 10 in Narcissistic traits would be like the “public figure” who will do anything for publicity, and doesn’t really care if it is negative or positive attention as long as THEY ARE GETTING ATTENTION.

While I believe ALL psychopaths are ALSO Narcissistic to one degree or another, the worst of the worst, to me are the OJs who are HIGH IN N TRAITS, but also VIOLENT and have no remorse.

So where does “malignant Narcissism” end and psychopathic traits begin? I think there is a great deal of OVERLAP, but that some psychopaths like to do their dirty deeds in “private” and like to get away with their dirty deeds and have their victims not be aware that they were screwed by the P, and then there are the ones like OJ who pretty much want the world to know they did it and got away with it—of course DENYING all the time.

My P-sperm donor used to love to BRAG about all the people he had killed, but in his “autobiography” denied he was a murderer.

Some Ps get off on being feared and perceived as a bad ass, and others want to be perceived as “mr Nice guy”—-but in the end, ALL of them have NO EMPATHY, NO COMPASSION, AND NO REMORSE. It is just, I think, a variation on a theme.

Okay – now I’m really lost –
can someone give me a simple definition – or the distinction between-
Sociopath
Psychopath
ASPD
and finally I do think (think I think) I understand what an N is…

but I thought the other three were different terms for the same type of thinking or motives for behaviour…?

Thanks, Steve, for another wonderful article, and a really great idea. The crossover between these types — or rather the narcissists who are more toxic — has always been hard to define with the existing diagnostic terms.

Various therapists have described my ex as a “malignant narcissist,” an “aggressive narcissist,” and a “Machiavellian narcissist.” All I know is that he fits the narcissistic characteristics to a tee. But then, he seemed to cross the line as well in sociopathy. He was occasionally sadistic, but more importantly he was viciously exploitive and could stand back and watch the damage escalating with a kind of detached scientific interest.

I think that one of the difficulties in identifying these people is that they present as narcissists. They initially seem to need a lot of ego support. But then, if they can get that from you, their objectives escalate and “helping them” becomes more expensive and more fraught with threat of abuse.

If you write more about this topic, I’d be really interested to know if you have any ideas about the initial phase (which I call the “incoming” phase, and which can reoccur anytime they’re working on us for another concession or trying to keep us from resigning from the role). At the time I was impressed — and now in retrospect even more impressed — with how clever mine was. I sometimes felt like I was in a movie that he had plotted very carefully. Everything he did and said to me was like a set-up for some longer-term objective.

I don’t think that he know at the beginning exactly how far he could take it, how much he could get from me, but he was prepared at every turn. He had strategies and responses ready. I had my own needy emotional drama which dominated my emotional responses, but on another level I was aware of how very smart he was.

So when I heard the term “Machiavellian,” it seemed to really fit him. It wasn’t until the end, when my pain overtook my attachment to him and I started to disengage, that he seemed to lose control. Disengagement was the one thing he couldn’t respond to. A tremendous amount of what happened between us, I think, was about him soliciting and enforcing my engagement. And that where I think he was more of a sociopath.

Though I’m not sure. Maybe it would be equally true for a narcissist holding on to his “source.”

This is a confusing subject. And that’s one of the reasons I try to stay focused on my own reactions instead of spending too much time figuring him out. To the extent I can do anything about it, I don’t want anything like this in my life ever again.

Thanks again, Steve.

Kathy

Thank you Kathleen – what you write:

This is a confusing subject. And that’s one of the reasons I try to stay focused on my own reactions instead of spending too much time figuring him out. To the extent I can do anything about it, I don’t want anything like this in my life ever again.

this is truly the most important part for me now – I still can get distracted by the desire to define and understand but truly – it does not matter if I know why certain people are a danger to me – I just need to know what the danger signs are and then to remove myself rather than trying to “help” them – which is how I have been sucked in for the most part anyway…

Ugh.

Kathy, can so relate to what you are saying. The narcissiopath or whatever that I was involved with would always wait for the moment he knew I was totally in love, and then dump me in the most shocking unexpected way he could think of, when it appeared to even not be in his best interests. That is because his “best interests” weren’t what a normal person wants: love, sex, intimacy, etc. His self-defined “best interests” were total control (almost to the point of coming across as oppositional defiant), being able to hurt deeply but escape blame, WINNING, pulling one over, watching emotional pain with that scientific interest you mentioned, etc. For example, it was more “fun” to unexpectedly tell me “go home” after professing true love and just 20 minutes or so after lovemaking, and lose a week’s sex vacation with me….. than it would have been to have the sex , love and vacation. Oh, and yes, he’d keep the $500 gift I had just given him less than 12 hours earlier. What he got off on was being in control but behind a “good guy” mask, usually. But sometimes, like on that occasion, he was just flip. Said it maybe was because I didn’t go to breakfast with him.

I just think of them now as brain damaged. Am sad for what they could have been with a normal brain, but look at them with the same attitude as when I encounter a coiled rattlesnake shaking the rattles. I know how that story will end if I try to give it a hug. And thankfully, I no longer want to give the hug anyway.

It is disillusioning however. When I was younger, I certainly thought you could always find a way to “work things out” about any misunderstanding. No more.

Well, I think all of them are bad news, but Robert Hare says being a sociopath is like having a cold, whereas being a psychopath is like having pneumonia.

But anyways, here is also another view on the difference in the disorders if anyone wants to read the article (it is not too long) and it is written by Dr. Katherine Ramsland, a well known researcher in the field of psychopathy, a college instructor and author of a bunch of books on the subject).

http://incoldblogger.blogspot.com/2007/06/psychopath-vs-sociopath.html

Meloy says in Violent Attachments (page 80 -86) that when they (psychopaths) are compared with narcissistic males, that the psychopath males are just as pathologically narcissistic and self-absorbed (based on Gacono et al. 1992). But the narcissistic male has significantly greater capacities for attachment and anxiety and that the narcissistic male also uses the adaptive defense of idealization more readily than the psychopath.

Meloy says that in psychopaths, that entitlement may negate the possiblility of idealization, as there seems to be an expectation to be served by, rather than idealize, the object. (again Gacono et al. 1992, p. 45)

Meloy goes on to say research indicates the most frequently used defenses in psychopathy are devaluation and massive denial, followed by (in order) projective identification, omnipotence, and splitting……Narcissistic pd’s evidenced mirroring object relations almost identical to psychopaths. But unlike the psychopath, the narcissist sample (in studies) did not have the feelings of being aggressed against, and showed les frequest symbiotic merging, violent symbiosis and reuinion, and boundary disturbance.

That idealization and other higher level defenses such as rationalization and intellectualization, isolation (of the psychopath) , and repression are virtualy absent in psychopathy.

And that when idealization is used, it often is suggestive of self idealization of the enhancement of hard objecs such as the accroutements of power, weapons, money, material goods, or other individuals who have been deanimated into possessions.

meloy says when borderlie and narcissistgic males are compared with psychopathic males, the defensive operations are similar and it suggests a common borderline personality organization with associated defenses.

However, psychopaths produce significantly fewer idealization responses than other groups. That pswychopaths manipulate and destroy hope in order to ward off their own feelings of envy towards the perceived goodness in others. And that envy is a primary feeling and central to the affective regulation of the psychopath, suggestive of oral sadistic and anal sadistic destructive impulses (Klein 1957)

Another difference between the narcissist and the psychopath per Meloy seems to be alcoholism and drug problems. Smith and Newman (1990) found that psychoapths were more likely than non psychopaths to have a lifetime diagnosis of alcoholisn, any drug disorder, and also multiple drug disorders.

That substance abuse is significantly related to Factor 2 (antisocial behavior), but not to Factor 1 (aggressive narcissism).

Dear JAH, Your analogy of the rattle snake is very similar to mine, I maintain that no matter how you are kind to a rattle snake, and love it and do things fo rit, it will NEVER GROW HAIR AND LOVE YOU BACK LIKE A PUPPY! LOL

Jen, thanks for that very good and informational post. No matter what “research” does to indicate the various different levels of various traits of the TOXIC personaity disorders—by whatever name they choose to call them, or how many different “catagories” they come up with as “diagnositc” criteria for each of these “different” diaagnoses, the BOTTOM LINE, TAKE HOME LESSON is that these people are TOXIC to relationships no matter whether their “level is” great or small compared to others of their ilk, and that there is NO FIXING THEM however much therapy they get, AND THAT ANY OF THESE TRAITS (even without a professional diagnosis–which few of us on this blog are qualified to make) we are worse than idiots if now that we know what the red flags are, and realized we are dealing with toxic people, we don’t FLEE AS FAST AS WE CAN from these people at the FIRST SIGN OF A RED FLAG…we may end up fleeing frm just an “ordinary” liar instead of someone who is TOTALLY TOXIC, but so what? Do we want to associate ourselves with even an “ordinary” liar in a CLOSE relationship?

Well, maybe I am being “too judgmental” in saying that the FIRST TIME I find out someone lied to me, that is THE END of any close relationship or ANY TRUST with that person (young children excepted) and that I do not want to have anything to do with them in teh future. Maybe that makes me an “opinionated old judgmental biddy” but you know what???? TOWANDA!!! for me!!!!

The narcissist I knew was subject to crushing shame and lived with a very high degree of stress. He was constantly trying to impress the right people, and it was a lot of work. He also needed to lord it over a certain number of people, and build himself by tearing them down. He tended to have a compulsion to do absolutely crazy grands things that almost always ended badly. He suffered horrible depressions when he was unmasked in one of his schemes or thwarted. In one memorable instance, he threw a fit that bore a striking resemblance to a psychotic episode.

The narcissist absolutely had to destroy people who he associated with his humiliation, but only to prove once and for all that he was wonderful and they were dirt. He did it in an effort to stop his pain. He lived parasitically, but only because no jobs were offered that were “special” enough for his particular gifts.

The sociopath I knew experienced little or no stress or anxiety. He lived parasitically, and felt no shame over this. He manipulated people into giving him what he wanted because he could. He discarded people when he no longer had use for them, and slandered them only in an effort to cover his tracks. Over and over again he assaulted people, conned people, used and discarded people and used drugs. He was addicted to excitement, and stirred up stupid fights out of boredom.

Sure, the sociopath acted arrogant, and did some of the same things the narcissist did. Sure, the narcissist was parasitic, and did some of the same things the sociopath did.

To me, the key difference was in the two men’s emotional life. When the Sociopath said he was depressed, he meant that he was bored. When the Narcissist said he was depressed, he meant that he was crushed by anxiety, pain, shame and/or fear. The narcissist’s emotions were literally making him physically ill.

To this day, I’ll avoid both men when I can. The difference is, I’ll go to greater effort to avoid the narcissist. He’s so emotional that an encounter with me will send him into a tailspin. He’ll remember that I’m aware of certain indiscretions of his, and his shame, pain and impotent rage will boil over. He’ll act the fool, or make himself sick from his own emotions. He may lash out and impulsively harm me, because he simply isn’t in his right mind. The sociopath on the other hand, suffers not a bit if he encounters me. I avoid him because nothing good comes from being around him. If he approaches me, I assume he’s up to no good, because that’s what kind of person he is. He’ll harm me if there’s something in it for him.

So in my limited experience, the two conditions have manifested themselves as distinct. The two men are equally dangerous, but in significantly different ways.

EC,

I agree with you that sometimes their motivations are different, and other things as well…but the bottom line on either is that they are BOTH TOXIC….it doesn’t matter to me if a poison snake’s venom is hemo-toxic or is neuro-toxic, I am still going to have to deal with a POISON SNAKE BITE though the two bites and the toxins may act somewhat differently within my system….the point is that I am going to ENDURE SWELLING, PAIN, POSSIBLE LOSS OF A LIMB, OR OTHER DISABILITY, & POSSIBLE DEATH — so, ultimately a poison snake is a poison snake. Rattle snake (hemo-toxic) or cobra (neuro-toxic) I’m still SNAKE BIT!

Elizabeth Conley, thanks for that description. It relates to my experience too.

Some years ago when I was training as a consultant with Brain Technologies (with the authors of “Strategy of the Dolphin”), I worked with one of their testing instruments about personal negotiating style. The options were give in, give up, win, compromise and something they called “breakthrough,” which was a creative win-win.

But the really interesting thing about this instrument was that it showed two layers of style. One of the way we negotiate when we’re not stressed (feeling resourceful), and the other was when we’re stressed (feeling resourceless). And they were really, really different.

Later I learned about the concept of decompensation, which is how a personality type can change under stress. And that seemed to be related to this concept.

You didn’t mention any borderlines in your description. But I was involved with a borderline once. And she has two very different modes. One was how she behaved when she felt secure and getting all her needs for emotional shelter met. The other was when anything got between her and her “source” — that is the person she identified as her emotional home. And then she turned into one of the scariest people I’ve ever known. Vicious, destructive, manipulative, vindictive.

It was because of her that I first became acquainted with the concept of decompensation, and it also matched that dual strategy that I say on the Brain Technologies test.

I’m wondering if something like this is in play with this narcissists that the cross the line. I saw the same thing you did in the nature of my ex’s depressions. He was no doubt a narcissist. But when his plans were threatened, he became something else entirely. Much colder, much more grasping and destructive. He completely abandoned whatever ethical structure he had when he was in a more resourceful mode.

Maybe I’m reaching here. Or maybe, as Oxy says, it doesn’t matter. But for me, who is trying to recognize patterns of behavior for my own defense, I think this difference in the way they present might be important.

There’s something needy in narcissists. For all their arrogance and bombast, it comes across pretty clearly. Something I’ve seen over and over with myself and the people I know who’ve gotten into these relationships, we relate and respond to this neediness. It seems easy enough to give them the ego support they need. Which often involves overlooking the incongruities in their stories, their lies, because we assume they’re doing it because they have similar emotional problems as us. By us, I mean people who are looking for validation, flattery or other types of positive attention to feel secure.

We give it to them. They give it to us. We think we understand what’s going on, and we reach what we think is a nice, mutually supportive stasis.

But, as you say, their internal architecture isn’t like ours. Or rather their way of getting out of their pain. Totally different strategies.

Kathleen,

“But for me, who is trying to recognize patterns of behavior for my own defense, I think this difference in the way they present might be important.”

That’s my natural reaction too. I want to spot them earlier, and deal with them more effectively.

Elizabeth Conley,
Wow Elizabeth your description of the differences of the two that you encountered was very good.

Can you elaborate any more differences? You were able to clarify differences I had not exactly understood before.
Thanks

It is interesting to me that more women are diagnosed as “borderline” and more men as “Ns or Ps” and yet ther eis a great deal of overlap in the behaviors of Ns and Ps and BPDs when they are STRESSEd or something is threatening them.

I do know that many BPDs do have physical self mutilation issues that generally Ns, Ps don’t, and BPDs also seem to have more anxiety about losing their “supply source” than typically males do—-they have many otehr things in common though, like the “instant friendship” and the “love bombing” on the start of the relationships. Also, the “short memory” for their outbursts of violence one minute, then wanting to go on as if “nothing had happened” five minutes before when they tried to claw your eyes out.

I actually saw that behavior in a 10 year old child who attacked one of my sons when he was about that same age, and admitted later she was trying to claw his eyes out and make him BLIND—this same girl, later waltzed back into my life after a many year distance and her “life story” and her admitted behavior is so BORDERLINE she ought to be “text book” and “poster child” for BPD. Her mother’s “life story” is also very “borderline trait” heavy.

In fact, I have known the family on both sides (or my family has) for 4 generations, and there are dysfunctional and violent tendencies on both sides of her family leading back generations.

Looking back now on this episode of this girl when she was only 10, I see I think the situation more clearly now than I did then. At the time I thought it semi-serious that she would admit that she had INTENDED to make my son blind, but I didn’t see the significance I see in the incident today. I know kids get mad at each other and “fight” but the intention of BLINDING my son I think was a little over the top for a “normal” kid fighting (which at the time I thought she was.)

It seems like a good description to me.

I have come across someone on the internet who looks like a classic Cluster B. This woman abuses, lies, totally misrepresents, threatens and gaslights all over the place. Its quite incredible.

She says totally outrageous things about people she has never met and is never likely to meet – its almost like she is wanting a celebrity/politician to file slander charges against her.

If you want to see a cluster B in action, its a fascinating study.

The posts in question start around September 2008, July 2008 and May 2008.

Sure its a site that gets alot of animated discussions, but these responses seem different.

I feel very strongly that this new word is not only unnecessary and confusing, but also separates two behaviors that are equally as dangerous. I have to disagree, with Steve’s picture he has painted.
All the narcissists I have known, when disappointed enough, are quite capable of the psychopaths deadly violent behavior. And none of them have genuine guilt. They will act guilty. But what they are experiencing is only fear, NOT guilt. They are afraid that the next phase of their exploitation (to get their narcissistic supply, ( i.e. the horrific violence or exploitation or inhumane behaviour) is going to be much more difficult to get away with, (win) for them.
I believe that the narcissist, if given the circumstances, is just as equally capable as the psychopath, to do just as much damage as the latter and completely without guilt. It is only a matter of time and opportunity.
The psychopath also often idealizes and then later devalues in their treatment of their victims. It is nothing to do with their self esteem or justification. It is just a fun/game thing for them to do. They don’t NEED to justify anything to themselves…only others.
Psychopaths also often insist on all of the needy idolizing and specialness that narcissists do. Not because they “feel” anything, but just because “they can”.
In my experience, narcissists are just psychopaths in the making. They are at the kindergarten stage of the monster. Some narcissists may skip all schooling and graduate with honors in being a psychopath at a tender age or overnight.
For others, it may take until their mid fifties for them to graduate with honors in cold hearted callousness. Rarely does it take longer.
Or, like most psychopaths I know, they may go to their grave never having been caught for their murderous ways, always being seen as the “immature, funloving, childish narcissist” they pretend to be. Rather than the cold blooded crocodile waiting in the swamp, that they really are.
“Narcissiopath” is a waste of a word. There is no such thing. It is a euphemism for “psychopath in the making”, or “psychopath with their mask intact”.
.

Furtherto:
Here are some justifications from guys who started out as “immature narissists”:
“I did this not as a sex act . . . but out of hate for her. I don’t mean out of hate for her in particular, really I mean out of hate for a woman.”
ALBERT DESALVO
“Society right from the very beginning started to make me an animal. . . that’s why I started all that killing.”
ALBERT DE SALVO
“I’ve killed no one. I’ve ordered no one to be killed. These children who come to you with their knives, they’re your children. I didn’t teach them, you did.”
CHARLES MANSON
“He started messing with the Christmas tree, telling me how nice the Christmas tree was. So I shot him.”
DAVID BULLOCK
“I talked to her saying I was sorry for what I had done. It was the first time I had apologized to someone I had killed”
PETER SUTCLIFFE
“What I did is not such a great harm, with all these surplus women nowadays. Anyway, I had a good time.”
RUDOLF PLEIL

Yet another childish Narcissist got five years for murder.
Peter Rollings went to his neighbors for a Christmas party. When one of his friends (in the hallway) said “Merry Christmas Peter”, he beat him to death.
The jury decided to give “poor Peter Rollings” a charge of manslaughter instead of murder.
The reason?
Peter and his girlfriend were sick of hearing, “Merry Christmas”, because, you see, they were pagan. And poor Peter took “Merry Christmas Peter” as an offense to his religion.

The following quote perfectly sums up for me the confusion that many of us have over whether someone is a P or an N.
He said this to me in calm, cold, emotionless and menacing tone of voice the day I walked away, having confronted him about the stolen money, the Other Woman, the deceit, lies etc. etc. Nothing fazed him and his only comment:-
“You can hate me – but don’t forget me”.
The words of a Narcissopath.
Swallow

Thanks for the articles you provide. This web site has remained a source of help for me for years. What I have found is that the cops, courts, and mandated reporters are so easily manipulated and easily jump on the side of the NPD-S. In my own cases, I have brought information to the “Friend of the Court” workers documenting lie after lie that my ex has presented and yet these people refuse to hold him accountable for purjery, lying, assaults, child abuse, and domestic violence (I have been divorced from him for 11 years and it is still taking place). He even admitted assaulting me and the Friend of the Court worker “forgot” about this and VOLUNTEERED to testify on his behalf during a custody trial in which custody was changed. This Court worker and others write recommendations to the judges and the judges have always signed that won’t let parents get my son medical or educational treatment unless their NCP-S ex agrees. There are other women I have connected with who have very similar situations. One lady’s son has a growth on his leg that should be removed in order for it to be checked for cancer. The father is stopping the operation until after baseball season. Meanwhile, the child cannot sleep well and fears having cancer. I have also accompanied a friend of mine to the hospital who was beat up and bruised from her husband. When the hospital social worker contacted the cops, the cops came to the hospital and asked my bruised friend, “Well, what do you want us to do about it?” I understand why the abused want to get to safety and go to the extremem of going underground or killing their abuser. The only thing that keeps me from taking various situations in my own hands is the small Bible verse that states, “VENGENCE IS MINE SAYETH THE LORD.”

witsend said:
Elizabeth Conley,

Can you elaborate any more differences? You were able to clarify differences I had not exactly understood before.
Thanks

Sadly, no. My encounters with cluster B personality disorders have been very, very limited. People like Steve have much more experience to draw from.

I will only state that the haughty affect of the Narcissist and the Sociopath seem to draw from two distinct sources. The Narcissist is deeply anxious, and at his core he has a very, very low self image. The Sociopath suffers little or no anxiety, and tends to have a high self image. I have noticed that the sociopath tends to base his high self image on his proficiency in skills the rest of us don’t value. He’s usually very proud of his ability to manipulate people and steal from “normals”.

The Narcissist is often really, really concerned about being seen as a good person. He reasons that he is “honest” if he doesn’t make any technically false statements. He reasons that he is not stealing if someone else in his family or organization is technically the one committing the theft. He further prefers his bribes or cons to be presented to him as gifts, because this affirms his self-worth. In other words, he does a lot of really bad things, and he lies to himself about what’s actually happening. He could not do these bad things if he weren’t able to conceal from himself the reality that his behavior is bad.

A Sociopath doesn’t worry about whether anyone else thinks he’s a good person, except that a good image aids him in committing his cons. (While the Narcissist is very distressed that his former victims see him as bad, a Sociopath is derisive: “What did you expect, Sucker!”) A sociopath doesn’t have an emotional need to consider himself good. He can have a very high opinion of himself, based on his outstanding skillfulness in being bad.

The reason we get in such trouble with a Narcissist is that the ride is over once they realize you’re on to them. You’re realization forces them to see themselves, if only for a split second, in an ugly light. Their fury is overwhelming, and it doesn’t fade with time. They will do everything in their power to punish you for that split second you held up a mirror to their faces. The fact that you had no idea that you were doing this to them, or how painful the experience would be for them, does not mitigate their fury toward you.

The reason we get in trouble with a sociopath is that we were targeted by a cold-blooded, remorseless criminal.

What the two types have in common is that the rest of us are far less “real” to them than they are to themselves. They’re 2 years old, when it comes to understanding where they begin and the rest of us end, and the value of interacting in a mutually beneficial way with a separate entity.

One of the nicest things about our discussion is that we are not actualoly trying to make a “legal diagnosis” so we don’t have to stick to a “set formula” in our conversation or have the “experts” agree with us….we can use PLAIN OLD COMMON SENSE in deciding what the symptoms are and what a “name” (if any) should be. Plus, we don’t even have to AGREE to DISAGREE or anything else, we can each have our own opinions on this and still ALL BE RIGHT!

There are some things I think we all agree on for sure, and that is that WHATEVER YOU CALL THEM, they are TOXIC.

I think most of us agree on what narcissism is—self centered-ness to one degree or another, and we all pretty much agree that a socio/psycho-path has no conscience or empathy.

I think where the diffe4rences in our thought though is that some people seem to think that a person ahs to be a NARCISSIST OR A SOCIO/PSYCHOPATH (and I use both words there because though even Hare tries to differentiate between a socio and a psycho-path, and an ASPD the “reasons” I think aren’t so much a difference in behavior as a difference in internal THINKING or how they got that way (genetics or environment).

Personally, to use the snake analogy again—I don’t CARE how it EVOLVED or if God zapped it into existence or aliens dropped it on earth from a space ship—(a) the thing will bite you *(b) it is poison (c) I need to learn to recognize the EXTERIOR APPEARANCE so I can distinguish it from NON-poison snakes (d) I need to keep my eyes open so it doesn’t sneak up on me close enough to bite

Since there are SEVERAL types of poison snakes, there may be some difference in their exterior appearance, but they are all still VERY SIMILAR. ALL the poison snakes in my area are pit vipers, they are all long and skinny, they all have triangular shpaed heads, they ALL have “pits” on the front of their heads that look like nostrils. The colors may vary even withhin a species, and the usual habitatsmay vary somewhat, one kind is a primary water snake, but they all can and do swim from time to time.

They are MORE ALIKE THAN DIFFERENT, and though they are poison, they actually have some benefit to the ecology of the world, and as long as you don’t get too close to them, they can’t hurt you.

My own Personal opinion is that the Ns-Ps-Ss, ASPDs, Cluster Bs, toxic enablers, etc. are ALL toxic and all potentially harmfull, but if we recognize the GENERAL DISCRIPTIONS of the entire situation of DYSFUNCTIONAL BEHAVIOR then we are able to protect ourselves by keeping these people out of our lives.

We all know what the “RED FLAGS” are (there are tons of lists of them here on this site) and if we observe for RED FLAGS and then RUN from that person at the FIRST SIGN of a red flag waving—we are much more likely to not get bitten.

Dear Oxdrover,

I’m in complete agreement with you that the ultimate solution to dealing with an N or an S is the same: no contact.

The only reason I recognize the conditions as distinct is that I’ve observed that because of the differences in their emotional life, lumping them together can cause us to fail to identify on or the other type. For instance, the extreme shame and genuine anxiety of a narcissist can cause us to fail to identify him/her as hazardous, if we are expecting him/her to exhibit the low arousal and remorselessness of a sociopath.

Also, the emotional outbursts of a narcissist may blindside us if we’re looking out for the cold-blooded sneakiness of a Sociopath. A Narcissist in a snit is amazing to behold. Imagine a person with the strength and size of a grown man exploding like a thwarted toddler. It’s terrifying. They can totally disconnect with reality, staring into space and muttering curses, or raving like lunatics.

Mind you, I feel very sorry for Narcissists, but I consider them to be quite dangerous. Their capacity to hold on to hatred indefinitely makes them at least as scary as a sociopath. A sociopath will eventually lose interest in harming a particular target, because the target can no longer supply what the S wants. To the sociopath it’s nothing personal – just business. The narcissist won’t stop until the target is destroyed, because it’s personal as far as the N is concerned.

EC said: “A sociopath will eventually lose interest in harming a particular target, because the target can no longer supply what the S wants. To the sociopath it’s nothing personal – just business.”

Well, my opinion is that this is a dangerous misconception. From the socio blogs/forums I used to follow, the one thing most of them seemed to have in common was a great capacity to have you be out of sight/out of mind (so no they didn’t sit around and obsess over you until they could get revenge if they felt you wronged them in some way), BUT they still tried to get revenge when an opportunity presented itself, even many years later. Many of them said they could patiently wait years and years to seek revenge (and one forum actually had a thread started about the revenge subject), yet they could carry on with their life not really giving you any thought, pretty much like you did not exist for them most of the time unless they were in the mood for you to exist for them, until the time was right. But they never EVER forgot being wronged by you (in their mind) no matter how many years passed.

And another common theme was how they would appear to make up with you or be letting by gones be bygones for years so you would drop your guard, and then when the time was right for them they would strike.

My personal opinion after following all those blogs etc. is that a true sociopath or psychopath never forgives or forgets. And if you are actually with a true socio or psycho and not just a person who has some of the traits, you will NOT be allowed to win over them without some form of retribution at some point in the future if there is anyway possible for them to get retribution (like they aren’t in jail for example) . I feel the real mccoy is so dangerous that my attitude is now like that researcher in Hare’s Without Conscience who pissed that psychopath off and then was so scared he left the country and refused to come back to the country.

Instead of hanging round fighting with them over “stuff”, I say (for me anyway and it was the only thing that worked even though he still hasn;t given up) is run like hell and get as far away from them as you can to make it as difficult as you can for them to mess with you. But hey, I’m chicken like that now after my experience. The one I was with told me (and not in anger but in absolute icy calmness) that he would was going to bring me down and destroy me, that he would not rest, until he had broken me both emotionally and financially– then he set about trying to do just that and he did quite a bit of damage before I jumped ship and left the state. Then he reversed tactics and reeled me back in (talk about me being dumb) for a brief period but after a brief and glorious reunion it became obvious (even to dumb-at the time– in denial me) that all he wanted was to get assess to me so he could set about doing the above and he was setting about doing his dmanage all over again.

I have not seen or spoken to him in 17 months and no longer even live in the same state (btw, I have on tape where he left a voicemail when I moved telling me he succeeded in running me out of state and that he won. He actually says, “I won!” and LAUGHS. But anyway, he STILL periodically tries to reach and manipulate from afar. So, to my dying day, OR his dying day, regardless if he is married or seems to be otherwise occupied, I will never ever have an attitude of well, it has been xxxx number of years now so he has forgotten all about me and I am safe. I live my life (and it is good now), but I am still mindful of the fact he is and will always be a potential danger to me. My only real regret at the moment is that he does know the location of my house, due to that brief period where he reeled me back in. Not the brightest thing I did, but perhaps if the economy improves I will sell this place and move to another house. That is just how dangerous I think a psychopath is and will continue to be.

I agree with you on the danger, Jen, both my P-sperm donor and my P-son are/were extremely dangerous and NEVER forgot an N-injury, both ARE text-book psychopaths, but also a 10 on a scale of 1-10 in Narcissistic traits.

Jen – Never let your gaurd down with your X, you described someone I know too a T..He made threats and pleaded for forgiveness in the same breath. Have not seen the monster in a year and a half but I am always watching my back – the gift of fear is real. I hope he is history, I am sure he is, but if he get’s down and out and desperate he knows where I am. I lived in fear when he was with me, I dont want to stir up a hornets nest by antagonizing him and if he thinks he won (your X) power to him….also when my N mom went into a nursing home and could no longer drive or walk I felt a great sense of relief – she was capable of murder and had threatened me many times over the years…….if I had listened to my fears and gut feelings with these people from the beginning instead of giving them the benifit of the doubt I would …oh well hindsight is 20 – 20

Jen2008, I am in complete agreement with your statement, “My personal opinion after following all those blogs etc. is that a true sociopath or psychopath never forgives or forgets.”

I now live 1800 miles away and I know I will be living as you describe for the rest of my life. He, too, vowed to destroy me — and financially, he has almost succeeded.

IF the economy turns around, I MAY be able to salvage some of my financial assets that I still have. — but I’ll never let him know!!

Did anyone happen to see Oprah yesterday? It was a rerun but I watched it again because it was a good show the first time.
2 women both victims, both involved murder, one her husband and the other her father. One was a victum of domestic abuse and one was a victum of sexual abuse. BOTH of them were being “judged” by both the audience and Oprah herself. And I would imagine most everyone watching the show.

Oprah was “kinder” to the woman who murdered her father because she herself has been molested. You could tell that she “doesn’t get it” when it came to the other woman who was involved in the domestic abuse. Because of course the big question is always “why didn’t you leave?”

The general thought pattern of most people never involved in such a relationship is judgemental because they don’t understand the dynamics that go on in realtionships with an S/P/N.

ALOT has to happen emotionally/mentally between 2 people before the battered wife enters the emergency room and is bruised from head to toe, (obviously from a beating) yet claims “I fell down the stairs.”

What is MISSING from all of the shows that air on TV is the AWARENESS of the general public of what really happens to victims of such relationships.

Because LF is a place where people do “get it” because many have been walking in shoes very similar to many of these victims, maybe it would be also a place to have a “list” not only to spot the potential S/P/N and the critera they fall into but also a “list” better explaining (to the general public) how it is to be a victim of such a preditor.

My humble opinion is that the general public “gets it” that their are bad people out there…..They see enough of that on the news everyday. However they haven’t a clue on what transpires between the “preditor” and how he/she lures and then “holds” onto emotionally/mentally the victim & continues to abuse them.

Dear Witsend,

There are many books written about psychopaths, narcissists and other personality disordered people and unfortunately, even th e professionals don’t agree on the name(s) for the problems or if there is treatment for such a disorder(s).

The media doesn’t get it either, to the media, for the most part. a “psychopath” is the same as Ted Bundy, Charlie Manson etc. not the hateful physician or minister who lives next door, or even the sexual pervert who targets young children. Unless the person is a sexual saddist or a mass murderer he/she is not rated as a psychopath.

Most Judges (who are basically just attorneys) don’t get it, and too many attorneys themselves are psychopaths because this along with other “power” jobs like police officer, are target jobs for people with control and power issues. Many therapists don’t get it either, and one therapist asked a friend of mine who was with a violent psychopath asked my friend “Have you tried TALKING TO HIM?” DUH!!!!!

If our own family and friends don’t get it, how can we educate the public except slowly, one person at a time, as the chance arises. Most people who are NOT former victims of Ps would not be interested in reading LF, and even many who HAVE BEEN victims, aren’t wanting to ‘get it either.” This all makes me shake my head sadly at the cost of ignorance of this subject.

Yes, EVERYONE needs to know about psychopaths, but sometimes people respond to education about psychopaths with either a “ho-hum, not interested, it couldn’t happen to me” or with the look on their face like you tried to tell them that “the aliens are coming in a space ship to take us all to heaven.”

Oxy and Witsend, just how many people would ever pick up a book about psychopaths or narcissists to read. Not many, I’d wager.

After all, me, a voracious reader, didn’t seek out any information about such disorders until I went on the internet to try to find out what was wrong with ME because my spouse who “said” he loved me, obviously didn’t.

What a surprise it was to learn it didn’t have anything to do with me!

But, my point is that educating the public is going to be very very very difficult. Someone mentioned it would be a good course to teach in high schools across the nation, but who would the teachers be? They’d have to be people who had already experienced the trauma and gotten out.

When I first “got out” my counselors told me to tell everyone who would listen about my experiences. I did and although it did help me heal (because I mostly told strangers) I doubt if I enlightened anyone!

I don’t tell anyone any more!

NewLily
My point was more that we see these “prime time” shows ALL the time on TV.
The show on the other night was all about a guy who was a con artist and date raped the women he came in contact with.
Although the show did prtray him to be the “bad guy” (naturally they didn’t label him an s/p/n) it ALSO PORTRAYED the women to look kind of “foolish” for the contact they had with him. The questions ALWAYS went back to the women. Why did you do this? Why did you do that?

I believe the “viewers” came away from the show “scratching their heads” WONDERING what was wrong with the women that got involved with him? INSTEAD of understanding it better.
In other words this show (OR any show like it, like the Oprah show I was talking about) never really gets the POINT across to the viewers what it is LIKE to be the victim. How cunning and baffling these people are to lure you in and keep you there.

It reminded me of that movie so long ago with Jodie Foster. When she was raped and how the system raped her AGAIN. This happens to victims ALL the time.

Books about S/P/N are not read by the general public necessarily. There is a total misunderstanding out there of this type of preditor. I am not even talking about the general public understanding of the preditors themselves.

I think what needs to happen in GENERAL is that the general public need to understand more of the VICTIM mantality…..All victims. Rape, domestic abuse, con artist, sexual molestors, S/P/N targeted victims, etc.

If more programing was done on this and enlightened people to understand what it is to be victimized and HOW it happens, think about it…..In every jury trial, if just a handful of the jurors were enlightened/empathetic/understanding of the victim mantality…..Small changes might begin to happen.
That was my point I was trying to make….

Its to easy for people (without that UNDERSTANDING) to judge the victims. And that just makes it WORSE for the victim….

Elizabeth Conley:
“Sadly, no. My encounters with cluster B personality disorders have been very, very limited. People like Steve have much more experience to draw from”. I DON”T THINK SO!!! lol!!

Elizabeth Conley:
“noticed that the sociopath tends to base his high self image on his proficiency in skills the rest of us don’t value. He’s usually very proud of his ability to manipulate people and steal from “normals”.
All of the outward appearances the narcissist exhibits, the psychopath will too. I.E. To exploit, to gain, to kill, to injure, to whatever.
The whole “self esteem thing” is a tool, a strategy, to get what they want.
It is neither here nor there in the murderous, devastating. destructive intent of the narcissist or the psychopath.
Bundy went to his grave saying that he had a wonderful loving upbringing by a kind and generous Christian family. In his death speech, he “BLAMED PORNOGRAPHY” for everything he did. Why do you think he did that?

Send this to a friend