The subtle signs of a narcissist, psychopath or antisocial personality

Sometimes people aren't an open book, but rather a complex labyrinth we'd do better not to wade through. As we get to know someone, we discover that seem familiar or attractive.

Yet from one day to the next, they may surprise us with something unexpected and outside our usual social framework. For example, Marion, the protagonist of the famous film “Psycho”, probably found this young man called Norman Bates rather “nice”.

Narcissism and psychopathy: two sides of the antisocial coin

What narcissism and psychopathy have in common is that they are classified as antisocial personality disorders. These disorders appear when a person is unable to distinguish right from wrong (“rejecting moral principles”) or ignores and disregards the rights and feelings of others. This may result from an inordinate egololatry (narcissism) or a lack of empathy and moral sense (psychopathy).

Narcissism: an insidious threat

Narcissists can make life very difficult if we let them into our lives. This is especially true if you're going through a period of doubt or weakness. As the Mayo Clinic reminds us, “Narcissistic personality disorder occurs when a person has an inordinate sense of his or her own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, conflicted and a lack of empathy for others.”

How to detect antisocial personalities?

So how do you spot someone with these traits? Often, they hide behind other, more relaxed attitudes. For example, they tend to be born manipulators, whether directly through conscious deception or more subtly through emotional blackmail. If someone around you is constantly blaming you for things, especially things that haven't happened yet, be on the lookout – they may be trying to manipulate you using the most powerful weapon of all: emotions.

Impulsivity: an alarming trait

Another characteristic trait of narcissists or psychopaths is their impulsiveness, which can lead to aggressive or reckless behavior. This is particularly dangerous when they needlessly endanger others. This brings us to another characteristic for spotting a psychopath: their lack of remorse when they know full well that their actions have caused harm.

Denial: a warning sign to identify a manipulator

The most effective way to recognize a born manipulator is to catch him lying, yet he continues to deny the truth or refute that lie with more lies. If you find yourself in such situations, it's best to be wary. At first, they may succeed in deceiving, but once you catch them, trust is shaken. And when you feel that everything that comes out of their mouth is a lie, and yet you remain by their side, it's best to end the relationship as soon as possible: if you know objectively that they keep lying to you and you're still there, it's because they've achieved their goal of manipulating you into excusing them even when the truth is right in front of you.

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