The Little Shaman is a spiritual coach & specialist in cluster B personality disorders, with a popular YouTube show and clients worldwide.
What is the most dangerous type of narcissist?
Psychopaths are narcissists. That's why there is so much overlap between them and other types of narcissist. They have a personality disorder called Antisocial Personality Disorder, which is one of the cluster B personality disorders and sits on the end of the malignant narcissistic spectrum. Also, the words psychopath and sociopath are not actually clinical terms, though people do use them and they are used here to designate between people with Antisocial Personality Disorder and other types of narcissists. But to clarify, the correct term or diagnosis would be Antisocial Personality Disorder.
People with Antisocial Personality Disorder are what we can call end stage narcissists. They are glib, manipulative and totally without conscience. They are the most dangerous type of narcissist that exists. They are what happens when it is not possible to be any more narcissistic, when the focus on the self is so total and so complete that other people don't matter in any way. One of the biggest differences would be that unlike other types of narcissist, psychopaths don't seem to have any need for other people. They don't require others to prop up their egos or sustain their self-esteem. These things just don't seem to factor in to their functionality. They like it and they will relish it, but they don't seem to need it the way that other types of narcissists do.
Most narcissists live outside of their dysfunctional ego, so to speak, and their suffering comes from the constant clash of this dysfunctional ego and the defenseless, shattered self, the constant push to appease the ego and the enormous dissonance between the ego and the self. Psychopaths seem to live inside the ego, where these things are not a problem. They don't suffer because there is no self, shattered or otherwise. There is only dysfunctional, machine-like ego. They are not complicated with the overwhelming, disproportionate emotions that torture other types of narcissists. Feelings don't matter to psychopaths the way they matter to other narcissists. Their perception is not clouded by emotion, and they are not driven by emotion. Psychopaths are driven by the fulfillment of desire, not the need for sustenance.
Most narcissists are driven by sustenance. They abuse, they manipulate, they love bomb, they discard and it is all in the name of sustenance. They are so deficient that they require a constant stream of energy and focus from other people in order to survive. You can call it supply, you can call it attention, you can call it whatever you want. It all means the same thing. Without this, they quickly decompensate and even become suicidal. People take the abusive behaviors from narcissists very personally, as of course anybody would, but the narcissist does not look at it that way. In a very real way, you can compare most types of narcissists to vampires. What are people to vampires? They are not friends. They are not lovers. They are not equals. They are food. They are sustenance.
When people eat animals, it is the same. They are doing what they need to do to sustain themselves. People don't kill a chicken because they hate him or because the chicken is bad. They kill the chicken because they are going to eat him. They eat the chicken because they're hungry and they need food to survive. People don't think about the chicken's life, or whether his friends will miss him or if he even has a life, or has friends. It isn't personal at all, mostly because the chicken is not seen as a person. Nothing about the chicken is considered at all, except how much meat there wil be and how he will taste. There is no sadistic desire to hurt the chicken; it's not about that. It's about them and their needs. People only kill the chicken as a matter of course because they can't eat the chicken if he's alive. This is how narcissists relate to other people.
In other words, sustenance is required to live. Fulfillment makes living enjoyable. This is what psychopaths are after. While most narcissists are miserable, sick individuals tortured by pathological shame, self-hatred and paranoia, psychopaths are not because they have no real feelings at all. They don't get upset, they don't get sad, they aren't afraid, they don't feel guilty. Ever. This is why they can pass lie detector tests, for instance. They have no physical reaction to stress because they are not feeling stressed. They are a void. They have instinctive reflexes and may feel a species of primitive emotion, such as the fear linked to self-preservation that stops us from walking out in front of a bus, or the rage and jealousy that a dog may feel when another dog tries to take his bone, but when it comes to true emotion, they are truly empty.
Other types of narcissists are empty in a way as well but they know they are empty and it gnaws at them. They can feel the emptiness because they are outside of it and the knowledge of this kills them. They know something is missing. The psychopath exists in the emptiness and feels nothing. They do not know anything is missing. They have no real understanding of the human experience at all. They are a black hole. You can feel that when you are around them. Narcissists' energy often feels intense and even frantic. The psychopath feels like a blank slate. There's nothing there. People sometimes say they feel evil around psychopaths. But are they feeling a presence, or are they feeling that absence?
Psychopaths are not inhuman, of course, but they are probably the closest thing to artificial intelligence that there is. They have no real feelings, no empathy, no conscience and no understanding of what it is to be a human being. Other types of narcissist may sometimes have some semblance of empathy or of a conscience, especially Histrionic and Borderline Personality Disordered narcissists, but it is maladaptive and very dysfunctional. Psychopaths have none at all, dysfunctional or otherwise. You would get more empathy from a lizard. A dog feels more shame than a psychopath.
Another difference would be that unlike some other types of narcissist, psychopaths generally do not appear "crazy." They don't appear delusional, they are not prone to emotional hysterics, they don't accuse people of things that did not happen, their perception is not clouded... Psychopaths are beyond those things. They are so narcissistic that there is no internal battle going on within them the way there is within other types of narcissist. The desperation that is so often an integral part of other narcissists is not present in the psychopath. Their only goal and their only motivation is desire fulfillment. They desire things that will excite them. They feel nothing and they like to experience things which will make them feel something.
This is why power is a large motivator for psychopaths. It's the biggest, most exciting and intoxicating feeling there is. Most people would probably say that feeling is love in their opinion but psychopaths are unable to experience love because they are unable to connect with other human beings. The closest they can get is power. Because many were abused and because they have no empathy or conscience at all, the things that excite them or make them feel powerful are often things that involve violence and hurting other living things. Psychopaths are notorious animal abusers for this very reason. They enjoy being cruel not because of the pain they cause - they have no actual understanding of it - but because of how causing the pain makes them feel. If they could get that same feeling from doing something else, they would do that instead. There are plenty of "hero" psychopaths in this world who get their power fix from doing things that are seen as good. The motive doesn't matter. The result doesn't even really matter. They care about fulfilling that desire for power.
Psychopaths are also usually better at concealing who they really are than most other types of narcissist. Most narcissists tell on themselves eventually because their feelings are such that they simply cannot hide them. They need people and their ego demands acknowledgment at all times. Psychopaths don't operate this way. They don't really need people for anything and because of this, they can remain hidden for years. Unless they slip up in some way, they may never be revealed for what they really are.
This is how serial killers are able to get away with murder after murder for so long. Other types of narcissist may be likely to kill someone they know in a fit of rage in front of 50 witnesses because they could not control themselves. They often kill partners that leave them to punish and regain control over them, or kill people they consider to be rivals. Most types of narcissists kill, in other words, in defense of their ego - which is the same reason they do everything else. They see it as killing in self-defense, as they feel they cannot survive that kind of narcissistic injury. Psychopaths generally don't do things like that. Their reasons for murder are not emotional. They are not defensive. To put it bluntly, psychopaths usually kill people for fun. They often kill people they don't even know and have no motive against. They may want to see what happens, they like the power, it is very exciting... their reasons are not ones that non-psychopathic people can understand. And because of these reasons, who they are and what they've done can remain hidden for a very long time. This doesn't just apply to murder. It applies to everything. They are often the last people you would suspect.
Rebecca on July 01, 2020:
This is the best article on the subject I've read thus far. And it's simply terrifying!