These days in the world are troubling. It seems like so many people have taken an odd and self-destructive path. Is it my imagination? I don’t know – not a doctor – but maybe the explanation really is mental illness. I came across this information recently and it explained quite a lot.
It is hard to distinguish narcissists from psychopaths. The latter may simply be a less inhibited and less grandiose form of the former. Some scholars have suggested the existence of a hybrid “psychopathic narcissist”, or “narcissistic psychopath”. Indeed, the DSM V Committee is considering to merge these personality disorders. Still, there are some important nuances setting the two disorders apart:
As opposed to most narcissists, psychopaths are either unable or unwilling to control their impulses. They use their rage to control people and manipulate them into submission. Psychopaths, like narcissists, lack empathy but many of them are also sadistic: they take pleasure in inflicting emotional pain on their victims or in deceiving them. They even find it funny by exploiting and lying to others about their “success”.
The psychopath carries a disdain toward those different from themselves to the extreme and is likely to be a scheming, calculated, ruthless, and callous individual. Psychopaths are deliberately and gleefully evil while narcissists are absent-mindedly and incidentally evil.
As opposed to what Scott Peck says, narcissists are not evil – they lack the intention to cause harm. As Millon notes, certain narcissists ‘incorporate moral values into their exaggerated sense of superiority. Here, moral laxity is seen (by the narcissist) as evidence of inferiority, and it is those who are unable to remain morally pure who are looked upon with contempt.’ (Millon, Th., Davis, R. – Personality Disorders in Modern Life – John Wiley and Sons, 2000). Narcissists are simply indifferent, callous and careless in their conduct and in their treatment of others. A narcissist’s abusive conduct is off-handed and absent-minded, not calculated and premeditated like the psychopath’s.