Covert Narcissists vs. Psychopaths

You can watch the video presentation on You Tube @ Lisa Taylor-Austin

In the realm of psychology, terms like “covert narcissist” and “psychopath” often evoke images of manipulative and harmful individuals. However, despite sharing some traits, these personality types differ significantly in their behaviors, motivations, and impact on others. In this video, we’ll explore the distinctions between covert narcissists and psychopaths to gain a deeper understanding of these complex personalities.

Defining Covert Narcissism and Psychopathy:
Before delving into the differences, let’s define covert narcissism and psychopathy briefly.
Covert Narcissist: Covert narcissists display traits of narcissism characterized by a hidden sense of entitlement, a need for admiration, and manipulative behavior. They often present themselves as shy, introverted, and self-effacing, masking their grandiosity and exploiting others for their own gain. They come across initially as the nice guy and believe that they are just that.The covert narcissist has a personality disorder that is all pervasive. They often do not seek tangible rewards but seek what Professor Sam Vaknin calls the four S’s: safety, services, sex, and supply. If the partner gives him two of these, he often will remain with that person, only to leave when these are no longer serving him.
Psychopath: Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by a lack of empathy, remorse, and conscience. Psychopaths exhibit a pattern of deceit, manipulation, and disregard for the rights and feelings of others. They may engage in impulsive and antisocial behavior without experiencing guilt or remorse. Their behavior is goal oriented. They target a person to gain money, housing, or other tangible rewards.
Now, let’s examine the distinguishing characteristics between covert narcissists and psychopaths:
Motivation for Control: While both covert narcissists and psychopaths seek control and dominance over others, their motivations differ. Covert narcissists crave admiration and validation to maintain their fragile self-esteem, whereas psychopaths seek power and control for personal gain and gratification.
Emotional Manipulation: Covert narcissists use emotional manipulation tactics, such as guilt-tripping and a victim stance, to control their partners and maintain their self-image. Psychopaths, on the other hand, engage in calculated manipulation to exploit others for material or psychological gain without regard for their well-being.
Empathy and Remorse: Covert narcissists may exhibit moments of empathy and remorse, albeit inconsistently, as they unable to have empathy for their partner. Psychopaths, however, lack genuine empathy and remorse, viewing others as mere objects to be exploited for their own ends.
Social Skills: Covert narcissists often possess superficial charm and social skills, allowing them to manipulate and deceive others while maintaining a likable facade. Psychopaths excel at impression management and are adept at mimicking emotions and social cues to blend into society and gain trust.
Risk-Taking Behavior: Psychopaths display a propensity for impulsivity, risk-taking, and sensation-seeking behaviors, often engaging in criminal or antisocial activities without regard for consequences. Covert narcissists, while manipulative, tend to avoid overtly risky behaviors that could jeopardize their image or social standing.
It is possible for a person to be what I call a Narcopath. This is a person with co morbid, or dual diagnosis. This person have traits, characteristics, behaviors and reactions of both the covert narcissist and the psychopath.

In conclusion, while covert narcissists and psychopaths may share some overlapping traits, they differ significantly in their motivations, behaviors, and impact on others. Covert narcissists seek admiration and validation to bolster their fragile self-esteem, whereas psychopaths manipulate and exploit others for personal gain without remorse or empathy. By understanding these distinctions, we can better recognize and navigate relationships with individuals exhibiting these complex personality traits, prioritizing self-care and setting healthy boundaries. My advice is to remove yourself from exposure to either of these people, as the relationship is not reciprocal and usually has a traumatic ending.

If you are thinking of leaving a personal with covert narcissism or psychopathology, search the playlist for a previous video on tips to consider to make a safe exit.

If you are dealing with a relationship that sounds like what we talked about today and would like me to help you personally, please reach out on my website

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