Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Narcissism or Psychopathy - Differences.


A Reader asks:

I would be interested in reading anything you wrote on psychopaths need for attention/acceptance. Have you? Like, how would they react to rejection?

Basically the need for attention and acceptance, if it's a prominent and dominating aspect of what drives a person, is a distinctive trait in Narcissism. As such it is not exclusively something psychopaths are known for.

It is often said that psychopaths have strong narcissistic tendencies, and the statement isn't completely wrong. But I also often see statements saying Malignant Narcissism and Psychopathy are the same, and this is not the case. There are some very important fundamental differences between psychopaths and malignant narcissists.

Narcissists may be callous and abusive - malignant narcissists definitely are callous and abusive! - and they lack empathy. These are things they have in common with psychopaths. But narcissists have a very strong emotional need for attention or Attention Seeking, Acceptance and Admiration. Their self esteem depends on whether or not they receive these things, and this makes them very vulnerable to rejection and other forms of negative attention such as humiliation, being out shined by someone else, or of being deliberately or naturally ignored.

Psychopaths do not need attention and we certainly do not need acceptance, at least not just for the sake getting it. Their emotional well being does not depend on whether or not they get these things, but they do play a part for most psychopaths' sense of satisfaction. In this we're probably not that different from normal people: We like to get attention, to be admired and respected just like everybody else, but we do not feel bad if we don't get these things.

For psychopaths getting attention and respect from others is most of all a technique to get what they want without having to resort to coercion - threats, blackmail, and physical violence, i.e. - with the same frequency as we otherwise would. Having attention and respect - and acceptance - from others is really only paramount for as far as it is necessary to avoid the risks associated with the more negative techniques. In short: Attention and acceptance to psychopaths are not goals or ends, they're means to ends.

When we (psychopaths) do care about whether or not we get attention it is not because we have an emotional dependency on being recognized or confirmed by our surroundings. It doesn't matter to us that people speak badly about us, or that they try to avoid us. Being feared makes an opening for controlling those who fear you, and control leads to possible power.

Making sure you get a lot of attention is also a kind of control, it is a potential opener for gaining power, and it is the central, and often the only, reason why we seek to get it.

This is a well known fact, and the entertainment industry - just to mention one - knows and uses it: Make yourself known, make sure people notice you and that they can't overlook you, and you have the basis for influencing how people respond to you.

If people like you, there's a greater chance that they'll support you or help you in other ways, especially if it's mutual. <-- This is what I've chosen to do, but I certainly did not always use a friendly approach. I've been very abusive in the past, and it has worked very well for me too. - But I've changed in many ways, and I find the mutual idea much more interesting now - and that is good, because it keeps me out of prison, and it has created a good possibility for me to actually do something valuable that others can benefit from... But that was a side note.

  • Narcissists seek attention and acceptance for it's own sake, and are miserable if they don't get it.
  • Psychopaths seek attention and acceptance because it is part of a technique to get something else. Attention and/or acceptance for it's own sake doesn't matter to how a psychopath feels.

A Narcissist, opposite a psychopath, is very vulnerable to Social Rejection and rejection in general. If you deny them admiration and respect, and - more important still - if you humiliate them publicly, you can crush a narcissist completely (provided you do it right and with timing).

  • Narcissists get very hurt when they get rejected.
  • Psychopaths do not feel any emotional pain or discomfort when they get rejected.

No narcissistic person can go through public humiliation and not feel emotionally very disturbed by it. With this knowledge one can destroy a narcissist quite easily... This is the typical area of most psychopaths' expertise, and it is why we so easily can control most narcissistic people. For the same reason most psychopaths have a lot of contempt for narcissistic people. We see individuals who love to abuse and humiliate, but who are even more vulnerable to these things themselves, and it's hard to find it in your heart to respect such people... 
- I suspect we may have this in common with most neurotypicals.
*

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Me again (wink)
A little lengthy, but an insightful explanation. In my experience, you are dead on. Here's how I see it:

My parents were both narcs. Dad was king narc, being heads of unions, a Hitler impersonator in the household, LOVED himself, yada, yada, yada. Of course, the very hint from any professional pointing out such obvious narcissism would lead to a demonstration of being appalled at the very idea. (Nowadays, a great source of humor for me)

Ex is one of 'you people'.
(and I say with jest)

Situation? So somebody does something to me that, while not horrific or anything, kinda bugged me. You know, just a generally shitty thing people do from time to time. If I brought it up in conversation w/dad, I'd have to endure the babbling on about how the person was jealous of me, or he'd digress to pointing out the every flaw possible (valid or not) of the person whom had offended me. My ex? He'd half assed even pay attention if I told the story (which I later learned - why bother?) and then give me his very brief point of view. It'd be something like "Why let anybody rent space in your head?"

It was the same if somebody offended him. Only mattered if the offense boggled a plan he'd had in motion. I always found it odd that when somebody screwed him big time (and it did happen, though not frequently), he rarely got overly pissed over it. That was actually one thing that I did admire him for: he was the most resilient mother-F'er I've personally known. He'd joke about it with this jingle:
"Weebles wobble but they don't fall down".

What I still can't wrap my head around is why it is so hard to respect those whom don't have equal amounts of resiliency. I mean how can you jope to learn from others if you cannot even respect them? Aren’t most folk not as equipped with such abilities as you speak of - seeing as how you are supposedly in small numbers? Seems prejudicial for a group of folks who often claim disdain for other human prejudices? I guess that's
part of the contradictory nature?

Do tell?

TheNotablePath said...

One of the key differences between Narcissists and Psychopaths is a lack of sadism. A narc might enjoy dishing out abuse, but to them it's purely revenge. It's never going out of their way to fuck someone over and enjoying it. He/she had it coming! in their mind.

Haven said...

Thank you Zhwaq! I've been trying to pinpoint the differences between malignant narcs (my ex-bf was a malignant narc) and S/P types for a while but have not been able to do so as succinctly as you have here! You have it exactly right.

Notable's comment about revenge is also spot on. My narc ex was obsessed with revenge.


"No narcissistic person can go through public humiliation and not feel emotionally very disturbed by it. With this knowledge one can destroy a narcissist quite easily"

This got me in trouble a lot. I am not the type that deals with abuse well, and while I do not have any real desire for revenge, I do not roll over easily when people treat me poorly. I knew my ex's weaknesses in maintaining his image by way of intense social approval so when I was angry enough I would use this against him. My ways were typically more subtle but sometimes I'd lose control (as happens with me) and I'd lash out and devestate his ego in front of his friends/people he needed admiration from just to watch him crumble. Of course this ended poorly for me in the long run, but it was quite easy to tear him down when I needed to.

Zhawq said...

Ma'am, I've Dreamed about this question! ;D

.....

How can I have contradicting thoughts/feelings about people? I've thought about this myself, and it's a topic I've meant to write about for some time. I wanted to wait until I felt I had enough general knowledge to give my tentative statement about it.

I'm going to work on it over the coming days. It's a bit heavy as subject, so I'm trying to not mess it up - which can easily happen if I let my impulsive streak lead me. Haha.

I wonder about my step mother. I know she had issues, but I'm not sure anymore because it's also common for parents of psychopathic children to develop a lot of symptoms that can seem as if they're unstable.

I rode her very hard from the start, no doubt about it.

My dad was a kind man, and he obviously liked me a lot. He "knew" it was my step mother who was screwed up (but clinicians say he was manipulated into thinking so by me).

Zhawq said...

Note,
A narc might enjoy dishing out abuse, but to them it's purely revenge.

I have to disagree. Many narcissists enjoy to make other people squirm, it gives them a sense of superiority and power. It boosts their self esteem.

Perhaps there're narcissists who do not have this trait in such extreme, that seems plausible. But I assure you there're quite a few who do!

It's a good point you bring up though, I'll include it in the next aricle on Narcissism.

Zhawq said...

Haven,
Thank you Zhwaq!

You're welcome, Haven, I'm glad it's useful to you.

I've heard stated offline and seen written here and there Online and even in books, that Psychopaths and Malignant Narcissists are the same thing, so I've been aware of this "glitch" in the common understanding for quite some time.

I did plan to write about it but I should perhaps have done it sooner. Better late than never, I guess!... '^L^,

Anonymous said...

It's very easy to spot a narcissist, when they have a conversation with someone they will comb through what the person is saying to look if they are being undermined, this is because EVERYTHING they do is about feeding and nurturing their sensitive ego. A therapist could reveal a narcissist by simply saying that the narcissist does not have as good a dress sense as the therapist does, you will see visible anger in the narcissists body language, but he will stay calm if he is in some way fearful of the therapist, remember narcissists are very scared and paranoid of others. The wife or kids will get the backlash of his anger when he gets back home, in private, away from the public.

The only part i didn't agree with you on, was when you claimed that psychopaths don't react to criticism with rage, they have the same response as narcissists, if not much worse, lacking impulse control.

TheNotablePath said...

You misunderstand me, Zhawq. I'm talking about Sadism, not toying with people and asserting dominance. Narcs fuck with people as a pre-emptive action to put them in the inferior role through humiliation to feul their narcsissistic supply. It has nothing to do with simply enjoying watching or causing pain in others.

There is a huge difference.

TheNotablePath said...

@Anonymous 11:23 - I don't react to criticism with rage. Some criticism (especially the kind that isn't constructive) might make me uncomfortable, or possibly even mad, but in general, I take criticism with a grain of salt, and try to shift if I feel I need to.

Perhaps you were dealing with a Malignant Narcissist, which are apparently very close to psychopaths.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0fLckfvCac

Anonymous said...

Nice blog. You are a very creative fiction writer. :D

Zhawq said...

Anon 11:23
Good description. Very typical behavior of a narcissist.

you claimed that psychopaths don't react to criticism with rage

In some regards you're right. It depends a lot upon what the criticism is about. If it is something that matters to the psychopath, if just at the moment, then yes, we can react with... rage, I guess that's a good word for it. But we tend to be "hot heads" in that our rage doesn't last very long.

Recently someone I consider with respect told me he thought I had lied to him. I hadn't lied, but I'm sure that if I had I'd have reacted the same way that I did react. At first I found his disbelief amusing, but somehow there was more to it, and later I couldn't stop myself from adding a small slightly acidic line in a mail to him.
He's a good psychologist, though (like myself), and acted as if I hadn't written it. And sure enough, the following evening when we spoke, it was over. No rage, no anger, I'm not even disappointed.

But I also don't have an unstoppable urge to prove myself. I know from experience that this would be the same if I had in fact lied to him.

(I'm not sure he believes I lied, though. I think he was testing me, ;). He'll probably smile when he reads this. lol)


Note
It has nothing to do with simply enjoying watching or causing pain in others.

It is first of all a need, as you say, but narcissists also lack empathy, and with the need to put others in an inferior position and not having the empathic bond comes naturally joy in seeing it work.

I agree the underlying motive is different, which was what I tried to describe in the article, but sadism takes many forms, and having fun at seeing others squirm is one of them.

There's a lot of gray area here.

And thus, on the other hand, the sadistic aspect does differ in between individuals. Some narcissists are so self absorbed they don't even notice the 'suffering' aspect, only the 'he's behaving as my inferior, which is good'.

As we can see from the confusion that so many display when they talk about psychopathy and malignant narcissists as the same thing, it really can be hard to see the difference. There's no doubt in my mind that many narcissists have a sadistic streak.

Perhaps you were dealing with a Malignant Narcissist, which are apparently very close to psychopaths.

I certainly beg to differ. We are nowhere near alike! Unless you mean in certain behaviors in certain situations.


Anon/Sam 4:12,
Thanks for the link. You put forth a good point! I chose to not include this aspect because I don't consider it central in regard to differences between malignant narcissists and psychopaths. But it's still a good point. I'll check out more of your videos!... '^L^,


Anon 5:50
yep, that all it is, and don't you forget it! Now find yourself a good book, there's a good boy!... Or stay and read on, if you like, you're welcome to do that too! ;)

Anonymous said...

Just a note: to me, the difference between a pathological narcissist and a malignant one is that the latter has developed a taste of enjoyment of their manipulation or sadism. The regular narc is just oblivious.

Anonymous said...

Why are you burdening yourself with such terms,to me it's just another personality.The fact is,society operates differently and accepts different things,now it depends on people whether they want to make it harder on themselves by possessing such useless traits such as utterly loving and considering oneself perfect and all that....

Anonymous said...

Do you think it's posable to be a sociopath with out narc traides?

Anonymous said...

"Psychopaths do not need attention and we certainly do not need acceptance, at least not just for the sake getting it" and " We like to get attention, to be admired and respected just like everybody else, but we do not feel bad if we don't get these things."

Mate speak for yourself, that isn't true for all of us.

Charles H Lanham said...

Psychopaths are COOL in there own way. Narcissist are only what ever the going trend is. The Psychopath has this rebellion. Or they are against the world. They are individualized. Artistic. Willing to be different. Narcissist will never do anything their own way. Everything is perfectly orderly. being in cooperation with the law. they seem to not be reckless: they are conformist. I wonder if I'm getting my point across.

Anonymous said...

Charles - I fail to see what is supposedly "cool" about being mentally and emotionally deficient, and having an abnormal brain. Creativity and individuality are not traits that are exclusive to psychopaths. So no, they are not cool. More like tragic.

Anonymous said...

Narcissists , are definitely sadistic they get much pleasure from inflicting emotional pain because it demonstrates their control and power over others and thus superiority , I do notice that psychopaths are so actively involved in their games they understand what the other is feeling (cognitively) most narcissists are so oblivious to others feelings even ones they are trying to manipulate that they stir up slot of hatred and resentment around them and some times don't even understand why people hate them.

Anonymous said...

So...I'm a young psychopath, and I was looking for a piece of advice from a more experienced psycho. I usually don't have trouble faking emotions, but lately, I've realized my fake compassion wasn't as good as thought. People are starting to see my coldness,because of something that happened a couple of weeks ago.
I was on hotel lobby with my dad, and we were both surfing the web, when a woman came by, and she started talking about sad things in her life, and started crying. I looked at her and pretended to pay attention as she went on talking and crying. I thought that would show empathy, so when she stopped talking, I went on using the computer. By the time she was gone my father started talking to me that he had no idea I was that cold, and when we met my mom back at the room, he told everything about my coldness. I'm currently worried that more people will see thru me, if I happen to find myself in such situation again, so... Any advice as to how to show empathy/compassion, or how to behave in such situations?

Anonymous said...

This should be the right distinction. The N. gets upset when he is treated negatively in public, but the fearless P. shakes it off with ease. Thank you for the clear explanation. My personal quest is how to get rid of a power-hungry un-empathic Dutch politician who is heading our country the same way of Nazi Germany. His support is growing (bullying muslims has gotten him this far) and the common people are incapable of seeing him in these terms. They have become followers, the P. has got it made and is heading towards dictatorship. What can we do? Hééélp!!!

Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon your blog while looking up traits of a psychopath, convinced my boyfriend fell into that category. However after reading at length, I will stand by my first conviction - he is a narcissist.

What a fascinating, interesting and insightful site this is. I am so pleased to have found it.

Amazingly open, honest, factual, to the point, minus the bullshit.

Thank you.
A

karen wallace said...

met a guy on dating site swept me off my feet with his charm and wit. everything great for about 4 months then he blamed me for locking his keys in his car i wasn't even there. cut a long story short i was very vunrable due to loss of family members including my husband. Eventually ide left my job, my friends, close family members even my beloved dog. He seemed to be insanely jealous of my daughter whom he never met. He was charming to everyone he met but privately i was getting hell. I am now on an assault charge after he attacked me called the police and i said nothing. turns out best thing that could have happened am not allowed any contact and now see how manipulative and dishonest he was. He was a heavy gambler womaniser and a very bad loser. The night I was arrested he was on my computer setting up a date. When i demanded my computer and phone from his house both returned smashed no apology. Is he a narcissist? gld of any replies thanks

Anonymous said...

You know what I say? ....I say if you're going to act like a psychopath, you're going to get treated like a psychopath! I saw the red flags, but so badly wanted to be wrong.

What you do could leave the psychopath much worse off than the victim...forcing him/her to leave town. Lol!!!! I swear that's what happened to my last brush with madness. That MF'r actually moved like five states away....Lmfao!!! That did give me satisfaction in-spite of all that he had cost me. He is no longer trying to text me or call me or use me or sexually humiliate me or defile me or beat me into "submission".

I went to his house after I found out he had a GF that he'd been cheating on. He'd been having sex with me and what turns out to be many others sometimes all in the same day or even same room (that ended up happening on my watch and I was utterly discusted while going through the motions after he forced me to take a "crack" "shot gun" from his mouth.

Anyway I told his GF that she needs to keep him in her house all to herself! I don't want him anywhere around me. No I don't feel sorry for her or want to help save herself from him.

As far as I'm concerned it's women like her that cultivates a psychopaths ill will and is partially to blame why a psychopath can get to be so out of control and get away with so much. Sad! Sad! Sad!

The damage he had done to me was pretty bad in the short time that I knew him, but when somebody has had enough sometimes drastic measures is what it takes to get that psycho away from you once and for all.

You do have to think on their level to hurt them good. Just like they use information about you to hurt you you can do the same.

Play their game...then escalate the madness. You will certainly shock the hell out of him/her. Especially since they see you as weak and unable to defend yourself from him/her.

Even if you are hurting you can do this. You owe it to yourself to take responsibility for your bad judgment to allow him in to your head and your bed so fast. Then set the record straight and move on (discarding him/her)with your head high. I am very proud on how I handled my "psycho"!!!!

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Anonymous said...

It's strange how these blogs seem to place some special status on 'being a psychopath', as though the rarity of the condition somehow makes you more important than the rest of humankind. There is a theme to all these threads which speak more to narcissism, imo. That persons high in 'psychopathic traits' log on and seek out a site to interact with their likeminded is also a sign to me that - many of you are probably more normal than you think. Actually a person is not a psychopath, they just happen to rate highly on the measure of psychopathy... strange isn't it how a scientific construct can be made factual and take on a life of it's own, with people left right and centre emulating these characteristics that have been sensationalised in the media, and then categorise themselves accordingly. Could it be that the whole theoretical psychopathy construct is a furphy? In my opinion there needs to be a purely objective approach to establish whether indeed this construct actually exists. Brain scans seem to offer methods for objective assessment of abnormal brain structure and anomalous brain functioning. A further comment is that research framed within the psychological view of 'psychopathy', and collects data on those who tick off the criteria (i.e. as defined by cut-off score on the psychopathy checklist, or through diagnosis using criteria within the ICD-10), very few, let me repeat that, very few actually have high IQ. That's why the prison system populations provide an excellent opportunity to sample for people who rate high on psychopathic traits. The dysfunction caused by psychopathic behaviours is actually problematic for your average IQ psychopath. My last point is that what we know about psychopathy is somewhat biased by the strangeness of psychological science - which to some extent still relies on deductive methods (trying to fit natural phenomena to theory). The definitions of abnormality are all based on assumptions (i.e. statistical deviance identified against a normal distribution). Evolutionary genetics and neurobiology offer many promising advances to our understanding of mental disorders and abnormality. Plausible alternative explanations for trait theories are coming out of genetic research (i.e. the 'warrior gene').

Anonymous said...

I was married to a psychopath for 4 years i am finally done. I always knew there was something about him i could not figure out till after he vanished without a trace for 4 months and when he got back i had all the knowledge i needed to let go of this man i thought i loved. He can't change who he is he is a 100% psychopath and all his promises and all our dreams were just bullshit and thats ok his brain formed different the part of his brain lacks what makes us human and his has no empathy, no guilt , remorse, no nothing just a man without a soul. i love him as a friend but i can't love someone that is not capable of loving me the way i need to be loved so life goes on and its ok it was a very toxic relationship and i am also toxic seems like normal people are boring but the drama with the psychopaths will suck the life out of u with never taking responablity for themselves and i mean never i was always the blame for everythng till this day. he never was able to get the power and control cause i told him since i was the bread winmer and since he wants to put me down when i was ok with supporting him so i just never gave him what he wanted and that was to control me and it drove him crazy and i told him if u want to verbal abuse me with lies its because everything u say i am is what u are . then it became violent and still i wanted him and he wanted me . the work i did he could not handle he wanted to tell me how to run my own business and thats another thing he claims he did before but actions did not meet his words. anyway

A writer said...

So, I'm a year late to reply to the "young psychopath" that posted in 2013, but I found this blog recently and found the story interesting. I'm an empath, but I dislike strangers who come by and tell you their sob story. In my experience they've usually been sincere, but also usually had an element of attention-getting/validation-demanding behavior, which grates on me. That being said, I am doing some faking, too. It's just that I have the advantage of having a little bit of genuine "awww" response to someone crying, along with experience with actual friends (which is a very different situation than some stranger who comes along). So it's not completely fake, but some exaggeration and some imagination. Personally I don't think it's a bad thing to be mostly detached from strangers telling their sob story, but there aren't a lot of empaths I wouldn't admit that to.

My observation has been that most people get something out of just being listened to. But you need to seem to be listening -- some nods and "Yeah"s are good, but too many (or you being to seem like you're inpatient or doing it for the sake of doing it... which is what you ARE doing, but you don't want them to pick up on that). There's a rhythm to it. The use of more sympathetic "Aww" or "I'm sorry" is good, but sparingly. People often frame things in terms of stories, which have an emotional buildup. Like yours. You had the introduction (people seeing your coldness) which sets up expectations and suspense. Then you start building up the plot (woman crying, etc). Then you get to a climax (she stops talking -- what is going to happen??). You go back to the computer... and the conclusion: your father lays into you. It's a story. So if you were telling it to me in person, I would show a little bit of interest at first, then building interest as the "plot" thickens, and then when you got to the part with your father's complaints, that's when I'd make my sympathetic comment, like, "That sucks man," or "Sounds frustrating" or "That must have been difficult" or whatever. (Though, given that your *particular* story is about not feeling empathy, I'd probably go with "Cool story, bro." ;)

When the person finally leaves -- on their own or after you convincingly say "That must have been awful. [beat] Listen, it's been nice meeting you, but I have to go," -- it's important to have a pause at the end before you get back to what you really want to do. It's a lot easier to fake feelings to the upset stranger (who wants to believe you're sympathetic) than to the person next to you who knows you and your body language. After something (supposedly) emotional, you need to have a brief moment of... well, look, if there is something you're truly emotionally affected by, it takes a moment to "cool off." So if you just heard someone's tragic life story, and they walk away, the person next to you is going to expect you to *need* a moment before those emotions subside. Of course YOU don't need it, but if you don't take a pause, it will betray the fact that you don't care. It will seem dismissive. It's not a long pause -- a long breath, a quiet sigh, being a teeeeeensy bit more slow at getting back to what you wanted to do... This is also the moment where, if someone is with you, they might take the opportunity to comment about what just happened. ("Wow, that woman had a sad life" or "Heh, that woman was a bit crazy" or whatever. In your case, unfortunately, it ended up being "Hey, you didn't even pause to let me comment! You're so cold!") Timing is important.

Sadly, I doubt you (the young psychopath) will see this after all this time, but maybe this post will be helpful to others trying to gain insight.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm,

I recently did some research about famous psychopaths, and one of the most frequently mentioned names is Ted Bundy's.

He seems to fit the Malignant Narcissism category rather better than Psychopathy, opposed to what most seem to believe.

Oh, and I just realized Voldemort's character makes no sense. But huzzah for Harry Potter anyway. LOL

Informative and interesting post!

Vixxi said...

What I gather in response to Zhawq is that Narcissists can be sadistic. Reason being is the very condition of Narcissism itself. Unlike psychopathy, which a person can recognize themselves to be, the narcissist will pretty much never see who they are. They are so deep into hating themselves, that they project only who they want to be outside if it. What I understand, and for me, when I read upon this I had an "oooh, now I get it" moment, narcissists believe they are the only good in the world, the only real good. They see everyone as fake, they can't understand love and think everyone is as rotten as they are. So, they push people, and hard. Say you love them and they will use it against you, because they DO NOT believe it. They will test and test. And yes, they do the revenge thing, but for the reason of testing and pushing people, they can be sadistic. When people are finally driven to call them names, call them out on their shit or don't respond to their every whim, they either play underdog "Woe is me, the world is against me" or King of the world "How DARE you say that." In my case, I had a mother that did both, mostly the underdog shtick. However, I think she also had another mental disorder, that prevented her from having the less see-through that something is wrong. Something was always off about her, she may have some spectrum of autism and possibly early onset alzheimers.

The thing she was most terrified of was not being recognized and not being able to be a leader. But she was too emotional to ever get those positions.

The real connection with psychopathy and narcissism is both can make you feel like you're the crazy one (though I think narcissists do this more often then psychopaths) and both lack empathy. They can not care about anyone but themselves emotionally. But they do have cognative empathy at least to a degree, meaning able to recognize the state of anothers emotions and react. This works in their benefit, much to the suffering of pretty much everyone else.

Narcissists are also more clear cut then psychopaths, considering a narcissist is always a terrible human being, albeit through no fault of their own, they were fucked up in childhood so far that they can't get out. However, they're always the same, similar traits and similar actions. Reason for this is that narcissism is actually a defense mechanism against going psychotic. They feel so insanely beaten down and that the world is just shit. Narcissism is the defense from going crazy. And it happens because the parents abuse or neglect or both in childhood. Even if the abuse or neglect isn't obvious nor physical.
Psychopaths can actually function normally sometimes. Some are even pro-social. Meaning they don't emotionally connect with the idea of not harming people, but they can see logically that it is not beneficial to them, or their species on a scientific standpoint.

That being said, both conditions do seem to be outright disorders, that could possibly be fixed in the future through surgery or some type of brain alteration. The narcissist would never go for that willingly. But a psychopath might. Either way, both are unfortunately dangerous and depressing conditions which are unhelpful to any species.