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How to Tell the Difference Between a Psychopath and a Narcissist


Dr. Todd Grande

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This video answers the question: How can one tell the difference between a psychopath and a narcissist? This is a complex question because these constructs are complex. I'm going to start by defining both of the terms. When we use the term psychopath, we're talking about some who has trait psychopathy and when we use the term narcissist, we're talking about someone who has trait narcissism. Neither one of these constructs is automatically indicative of pathology. If somebody has psychopathy that doesn't mean they have a mental disorder and if somebody has narcissism that doesn't mean to have a mental disorder. Mental disorders are classifications we see in places like the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), but they don't necessarily relate to traits like certain traits that cluster together that we would call psychopathy or we would call narcissism. Psychopathy has two main types and narcissism does as well. With psychopathy, we see there's both primary and secondary psychopathy (sometimes these are called factor 1 and factor 2 psychopathy). Narcissism has two types: grandiose and vulnerable.
Primary psychopathy has characteristics like being callous, unemotional, pathological lying, being manipulative, and being bold (fearless dominance). Secondary psychopathy has characteristics like being irresponsible, being impulsive, having a need for stimulation, and being involved in activities that could result in arrest. Grandiose narcissism has fantasies of success and power, jealousy, a sense of entitlement, arrogance, and being manipulative. With vulnerable narcissism, we see some of the same characteristics like insecurity, hypersensitivity to criticism, shame, guilt, and sadness.
Psychopath narcissist psychopathy narcissism psychopathology Diagnostic and Statistical Manual DSM primary psychopathy secondary psychopathy factor 1 factor 2 grandiose vulnerable callous unemotional pathological lying manipulative bold fearless dominance irresponsible impulsive need for stimulation jealousy entitlement arrogance insecurity hypersensitivity to criticism shame guilt sadness