NARCISSIST, SOCIOPATH, OR PSYCHOPATH?: HOW TO RECOGNIZE THE DISTINCTIONS

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  • Published: 30 January 2019
  • As you learn more about narcissism, you may uncover a distinct lack of conscience in some. You wonder, "Am I dealing with a sociopath, or worse? Psychotherapist Dr. Les Carter explains commonalities and distinctions regarding narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths.

    Dr. Les Carter is a best selling author and therapist who lives in Dallas, Tx. Over the past 39 years he has conducted many workshops and over 60,000 counseling sessions.

    Sign up for the Surviving Narcissism email list and receive extra videos, articles, and promotions: http://survivingnarcissism.tv

    Books by Dr. Carter: https://www.amazon.com/Anger-Trap-Yourself-Frustrations-Sabotage/dp/0787968803/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1534952299&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Anger+Trap
    https://www.amazon.com/Enough-About-You-Lets-Talk/dp/0470185147/ref=pd_sim_14_4?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=0470185147&pd_rd_r=4897231b-2324-11e9-81c1-55944d4ed8db&pd_rd_w=o5BO7&pd_rd_wg=BDTjw&pf_rd_p=90485860-83e9-4fd9-b838-b28a9b7fda30&pf_rd_r=D2VZEQT6TTCCY4GGZ7EA&psc=1&refRID=D2VZEQT6TTCCY4GGZ7EA
    https://store.bookbaby.com/book/When-Pleasing-You-Is-Killing-Me
    https://www.amazon.com/When-Pleasing-You-Killing-Me/dp/1543935125

    While Dr. Carter and Laura do not conduct online counseling, we have vetted a group that can meet such a need: https://betterhelp.com/survivingnarcissism
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    Dr. Carter's other YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/drlescarter

    Dr. Carter's online workshops on narcissism, anger management, and overcoming infidelity: http://drlescarter.com/video-workshops/
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Comments • 2 950

  • Griffin Barnett
    Griffin Barnett  6 hours back

    I feel like this is a very "black and white" generalization of human behaviour. Life sits in a grey area and if you chose to spend time learning all the "rules" you'll waste a lot of time experiencing life. Just don't be a shitty person and be self reliant. Dependencies are much scarier than any narcissist.

    • Monica Martella
      Monica Martella  11 hours back

      Thank you.

      • tori2dles
        tori2dles  12 hours back

        If they tell you that Hitler would have been an amazing leader “if not for that extermination thing,” run.

        They are trying to get you to imagine a monster who’s been redeemed. They want to see if they can convince you that Hitler had “a good side and a bad side” and if only he’d not given in to the bad side, he would have been brilliant. He’ll then go on to talk about his childhood needs that weren’t met and how sad it is that he never had the unconditional love that would have brought him to a place of goodness instead of hatred.

        If you begin to empathize and go down that path of imagining, they have succeeded in grooming you for who THEY are.

        They want you to believe people have a good side and a bad side. They want you to believe that your unconditional love can transform them. They want to give you hope so that you remain when they’re horrible.

        But you can’t separate Hitler between good and bad anymore than you can the narc, soc or psych in front of you. And here’s why. Anytime they do something on the outside that could be considered as “good,” they are not doing it from a good heart. There is always an ulterior motive. It’s always some form of manipulation, a way of repositioning themselves so they may gain or remain in control, get narc supply, dupe or, ultimately, destroy.

        Their example doesn’t have to be Hitler, of course. It’s just that the one who duped me used Hitler. I wish so badly I could go back in and undo all that. I wish I had never met him and I wish he hadn’t been able to fool me when I did meet him.

        • Brad Stevens
          Brad Stevens  15 hours back

          Most women nowadays are a combination of all three.

          • David Kennaugh
            David Kennaugh  20 hours back

            Love this guy.

            • Jaime Gonzalez
              Jaime Gonzalez  21 hours back

              I think that would be Trump our president.

              • Diana Fahey
                Diana Fahey  1 days back

                To answer your question, Dr. Carter, the reason that a person is attracted to a sociopath/narc/psychopath is because they grew up with a parent or caregiver that has these traits. Therefore it seems NATURAL. Nobody would choose these type of people unless they think it is "normal" by virtue of seeing it modeled before them.

                All a child knows if they grow up a vegan is vegan foods. You take them to a BBQ cookout and they will probably get sick and leave. Vegans and omnivores both deserve to be loved. So maybe my example is not super precise. But I am sure you get my meaning.

              • A
                A  2 days back

                Best explanation I’ve heard of what defines the differences between the three, and why I had been confused with a program I’d bought to heal from Narcissistic Abuse. I love the delivery you have given - very simplistic and easily understood. Thank you.

                • Scott Aaron
                  Scott Aaron  2 days back

                  11:54 wait, how much do you like getting the comments? Have I been trapped by another narcissist? Just kidding, great video! Thank you!

                  • Zu Byerly
                    Zu Byerly  2 days back

                    Narcissists sound like white supremacists. Am I wrong?

                    • Bob Tangle
                      Bob Tangle  2 days back

                      God bless you sir. With yourself and Richard Grannons videos im really getting a handle on the abuse Ive coped with all these years and can now develop suitable defense strategies. Thankyou again.

                      • Snow Flake
                        Snow Flake  2 days back

                        Bob Tangle Zoe on live Abuse Free has a helpful playlist about narcissists in your life

                    • Luke Sessions
                      Luke Sessions  3 days back

                      Dr. Carter
                      Is there a way I can email you?

                      • Jenn Simon
                        Jenn Simon  3 days back

                        Do you believe that Narcissists, Sociopaths or Psychopaths calculate their schemes or are they done at a subconscious level?

                        • Surviving Narcissism
                          Surviving Narcissism   3 days back

                          They are usually very calculating. That's scary when you consider that they have such a poorly developed conscience.         Dr C

                      • AishaVonFossen
                        AishaVonFossen  3 days back

                        Um, so I'm probably gonna look not so smart here... LOL But is it just me or do narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths sound like the exact same people? I mean, they're all manipulative, predatory, scheming, self-centered, have little to no empathy, are cold blooded, see people as pawns...they sound exactly the same to me. I'm sorry, I don't understand, what am I missing here? (Really, I want to know. LOL)
                        However, the message is driven home of, is this really what we want to aspire to be and/or who we want to be around? Why do we glamorize these people if we don't want to be like them?
                        And I get what you mean, by saying we as a culture tend to glamorize the bad boy/wild girl characters. I have been guilty of this quite a few times as a writer myself. I haven't published anything yet, but when I was younger I tended to be attracted to the bad boy a lot more than I am now. I think we tend to be attracted to them because in at least fictional works, they tend to be portrayed as some of the most interesting characters. And since they're opposite of what we really want in life, they tend to feed into this curiosity we have to be attracted to the taboo. And, well, since they're not real in media, we have that safe distance from them that we can admire them in the taboo sense. On paper and on screen, they look and sound great, also because they cause high drama. And that's what we like in storytelling, high drama.
                        But I am realizing more and more that in real life, they look as they really are, HORRIBLE. I don't think anyone in their right minds wants to be around a real life Disney villain, or the Joker from Batman. These characters in fiction are awesome and it can be fun to watch how they operate from the safety of our theater screens, but the real life Disney villains and Jokers, your narcissists, sociopaths, or psychopaths, are truly demonic and not to be taken lightly. When we start wanting these kinds of people in real life is where things get dangerous, because we've let our desires for the thrills of fiction blur the lines of reality.
                        Funny, one of the narcissists I used to live with many a year ago told me I shouldn't try to live my life like a Disney movie...for some reason (it was out of context for the word salad monologue he was on). But as I thought about that on and off since, I thought, such fictional works as characters like Disney villains weren't just pulled out of thin air. As a lot of fiction is inspired by real life, many of these characters were inspired by real evils. All we did was dress them up with cool character designs and give them dark powers. LOL I mean, people exist like Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, using religious gain to get away with countless atrocities. We've got our real life narcissistic parents like Mother Gothel from Tangled who use children as their pawns for whatever they want, and gaslighting their kids into believing they love them. Narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths are so insecure that they're jealous of people for literally no reason, like Lady Tremaine from Cinderella. We got real people like Ursula from The Little Mermaid who preys on the naivete of others like Ariel...complete with having you sell everything you are, except your soul. But God, you'll bet they'll try to get that, too! Many of them have deity complexes, after all.
                        And for the love of God, don't even get me started on the Joker! LOL Just watch the YouTube channel "From Surviving to Thriving", Michelle refers to him and Harley Quinn in one of her books on narcissistic abuse. The Joker is basically your textbook narcissist, sociopath, and psychopath rolled into one!
                        Anyway, I guess that's my two cents tangent of thoughts on this. Good video! :D

                        • M W
                          M W  3 days back

                          One word: Trump

                          • Teresa C.
                            Teresa C.  4 days back

                            Thank you for the very informative video. The way you labeled the 3 disorders with common terminology will make it easier to remember and distinguish between them. I am a fresh grad about to start my first nursing position in behavioral health and this helps. Thank you.

                            • MightyTenor
                              MightyTenor  4 days back

                              PRESIDENT TRUMP.

                              • Debbie Bassett
                                Debbie Bassett  4 days back

                                Sir, you have absolutely described Hillary Clinton to a tee!

                                • Fry Sause
                                  Fry Sause  4 days back

                                  I was in a relationship with a narcaasist/borderline sociopath when I was 17, she was 22. We were together for almost 3 years. She used to abuse me both mentally and physically. She cheated on me and stole from me. I finally broke if off and told her to leave. She came back several months later asking for money for food and rent. Said her roommate moved out and she lost her job. Later found out because her roommate couldnt stand her, and fired I assume for stealing. As that was the reason she was fired from her 2 previous jobs. I told her no on money, but bought her food for at least 2-3weeks. She came back again and tried to seduce me for money. Again refused then she became angry. But this time did not give in. Anyway, after that I cut off contact with her completely. It was hard for me because I actually loved her, but i knew she would never love me. Only herself. Anyway the point it is not only men, but women can be just as bad or even more abusive. Don't do what I did and play the "man card" and say I'm tough, I can take it, only women get abused. It is not true, and it is not worth it in the end. They don't care at all. Just get out.

                                  • Jeremy Sears
                                    Jeremy Sears  1 days back

                                    Sorry you had to go through this. Glad you got out without truly serious damage to yourself.
                                    Great job taking care of yourself.

                                • Andy larue Smith
                                  Andy larue Smith  4 days back

                                  i am bit of all 3. Cool. Normal people are stupid and useless. Easy to con and easy to cheat.

                                  • Matt Winstead
                                    Matt Winstead  4 days back

                                    2:00 " narcissist will overvalue themselves which means they undervalue you." How SOME OF THEM they get their foot in the door is that they PRETEND to overvaulue you.

                                    Then another year or three later THEIR TRUE FACE sorta comes out.

                                    You look back and see that there are clues/signs always symptoms that you conveniently overlooked when they seldomly reared their ugly head.

                                    At this point you are FINALLY taking a stand. Thisis is where the discard or the initially/purposelt failed attempts of discard occur. Yet in your heart of hearts you really miss must do NO CONTACT because they're already starting to DAMAGE. ALSO BECAUSE THE GOOD TIMES ARE REALY OVER.

                                    Oh, sure, they'll give you a little taste of their formerly feigned good at this stage, and you wonder if you aren't just being crazy or over-critical?

                                    this is where the GASLIGHTING or temper tantrums come in. Because you JUST FINALLY get to a point where you just have to take their little passive-aggressive comments and take their gaslighting in defense of their rotten former behaviors right out and say "HEY you know who the fuck you're talkin to here?!"

                                    But at THIS POINT OF THE GAME their CRAZY FURNACE just WANTS some MORE ANGER FUEL FROM YOU--and if they can paint you as THE BAD GUY who overreacted--then they win! (IN THEIR OWN TWISTED SICK HEADS! But they're going to start smearing you with this supposed social sin of yours by SLANDERING stuff about you to other people too.)

                                    • NidgeDFX
                                      NidgeDFX  5 days back

                                      You're wrong. SocioPaths have remorse but are very impulsive. PsychoPaths lack remorse/conscious.

                                      • Dorothy from Oz
                                        Dorothy from Oz  5 days back

                                        I love your videos! I've learned so much from you.

                                      • MrQuagmire26
                                        MrQuagmire26  5 days back

                                        I think the "nice guys finish last" issues would sort itself out if the nice guys became more alpha. Still nice, but law-abiding, but adopting some traits of the badboy.

                                        • MrQuagmire26
                                          MrQuagmire26  4 days back

                                          @Matt Winstead Yup. Some women are "just being women". They often times don't even like each other. But there's a limit on everything. If it reaches the point where she physically attacks, gaslights, screams, takes literally 0 accountabillity, constantly seeks narcissistic supply online, collect data to use against you in fights, gets a high out of pissing you off etc... then this woman got issues. She's damaged. I've met some pretty rational women out there. But we need to stop pandering to their ego.

                                        • Matt Winstead
                                          Matt Winstead  4 days back

                                          I am REPORTING this post for pornography and cuckaphobia! All kidding aside, you nail it here and to be honest, as many wonderful women are talking about the narcissist issue on these places, BY DEFAULT there are more NPD women than men. ( I can hear the cackling hens SCEAMING their delusion that there are more narcissistic men than women with pitchforks. this is nothing more than feminist social engineering because accountabilities like Kryptonite to women!)

                                          That being said, I'm here because of a narcissistic father and former best friend forever. My ex girlfriends have problems, but NPD was not the main board

                                      • E. Fitzgerald
                                        E. Fitzgerald  5 days back

                                        I've lived with a narcissist/sociopath for 28 years (I'm an empath) ... I was highly damaged (and my kids even more so :( BUT after a year and half away from it all....we are learning more and getting stronger and stronger. Thank you for your helpful videos!!

                                        • Helene Piffard
                                          Helene Piffard  5 days back

                                          ......U KNOW THAT'S WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE. IVE BEEN DOING!"%;^!💜🖤💜🖤💜🖤 ON THESE VIDEOS, BRAKING MY HEAD TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHO. THIS NARCISSIT IS,💜🖤💜🖤💜🖤💜🖤 WHEN ALL ALONG. UVE BEEN ACTING JUST LIKE A NARCISSIT DOES & MAKES US QUESTION OURSELVES ! IS💜🖤🖤💜🖤🖤🖤
                                          THIS WHAT THIS WAS ALL ABOUT???
                                          OTHERWISE. IM NOT IN A NARCISSIT RELATIONSHIP,💜🖤🖤🖤💜🖤💜 UNLESS THERES SOMEONE ON HERE WHO IS, . THAT I'M NOT AWARE OF. CAUSE U DON'T💜🖤💜🖤🖤 KNOW ME OR ANYTHING ABOUT MY LIFE! ???--
                                          IM AFRAID. UNLESS U TELL ME DIRECTLY BY UTUBE EMAIL! IM DONE GOING AROUND IN💜🖤💜🖤💜🖤💜🖤🖤💜 CIRCLES...U CAN'T EVEN ANSWER ME CAUSE ITS A ONE WAY VIDEO!💜🖤💜🖤🖤💜🖤
                                          THIS COULD PERHAPS HELP UTUBE TO GET PEOPLE TO MANAGE H9W THEY DO🖤💜🖤💜🖤🖤💜🖤💜💜🖤🖤💜 THINGS. AS TO NOT CONFUSE ITS FOLLOWERS. !!IT CAN IN SOME CASES CAUSE DAMAGE & ANXIETY. WHEN UR TOLD ONE THING &;DON'T SEE IT!!!!...💜🖤🖤🖤💜🖤💜🖤💜🖤 . ..

                                          • I am Jaguar Paw! This is MY forest!

                                            Your videos are excellent. Thank you.

                                            • I am Jaguar Paw! This is MY forest!

                                              Hillary Clinton is a sociopath. She has NO shame. 'I'm with her' was her campaign slogan.
                                              But was she with YOU? Nope.
                                              Bill Cosby is a sociopath. He is STILL denying what he did. He is like Hillary: DEFIANT.

                                              • I am Jaguar Paw! This is MY forest!

                                                Feminists are narcissists.
                                                Feminism is narcissism.

                                                • Andrew Berger
                                                  Andrew Berger  5 days back

                                                  I guess it doesn't help that most world leaders of politics, business, financial and media are suffering from these traits - I suspect that they are selected because they will do anything

                                                  • Irina K
                                                    Irina K  5 days back

                                                    The most informative video (and channel) on the subject. Thank you!

                                                    • D S
                                                      D S  6 days back

                                                      Narcissists are one thing but psychopaths are far far worse. I dated a psychopath and am in fear of my life to this day. To help discriminate the differences, anxiety or panic are traits I have never seen in the psychopath I know. In otherwise really stressful situations, psychopaths are not bothered and will make up whatever lie they want with no guilt or going back on it to get out of the situation. Psychopaths are superficially charming just as narcissists can be but psychopaths see people as utterly disposable. If they dont have a consistent relationship with family, that says something. They cant hold jobs and especially jobs where they have any level of inferiority and if they are in such positions, they will turn to whatever underhanded means necessary if they are crossed. Psychopaths also dont feel jealousy or envy like narcissists do. At the closest level, they may be possessive of having control over you-- to some end or as a personal object to torture for their pleasure. They may let slip a story of how someone they know was hurt or injured without saying they were the cause (and without showing any negative emotion at the tale), just to revel in the memory of their insidious actions. Watch out for these people please! They are stone cold awful people and dont care.

                                                      • Alan Coker
                                                        Alan Coker  6 days back

                                                        HELP !!!... I allowed a friend to move in with me. After six months she changed and began acting different. As time went on things got worse. I am afraid of her. Police have been called. They cant help. Her case worker... I dont know.... BUT I NEED HER OUT OF MY LIFE !!!!!!

                                                        • Steve Brummer
                                                          Steve Brummer  5 days back

                                                          What action do you want us to assist with? Kick her out, change the locks, get a personal defense weapon, and watch your back.

                                                      • fern Haloo
                                                        fern Haloo  6 days back

                                                        I gave up @2 minute mark, just sizzle it for us doc. He kept setting up the talk, setting up. Just give the XY&Z of it all.

                                                        • violin614
                                                          violin614  6 days back

                                                          I too, find it really amazing, how wrestling fans are made to glamorize the most cruel fighter. Eg Vince Macmahon gets the most wicked and cold bloodied fighters to injure the most talented fighters, over a period of time and to ruin their future lives. And he thinks its worthwhile because its best for business because it appalls people so much that it makes them watch more to see if everything turns out ok or not in the end, the next time or later.
                                                          Thats the GOOD people.
                                                          The bad people simply seem to love to see talented geniuses get literally murdered by real psycopathic thugs who really wish it was permitted to complete the job of murder.
                                                          Many children like it, because psycopathic fighters know how to get children to like them.

                                                          • Nyctophora
                                                            Nyctophora  6 days back

                                                            Thank you.

                                                            • Aimsmall CQ
                                                              Aimsmall CQ  6 days back

                                                              Did he just define most police officers?

                                                              • opticalriot
                                                                opticalriot  6 days back

                                                                this is everyone in Buffalo, NY

                                                                • Jason Johnson
                                                                  Jason Johnson  6 days back

                                                                  I think the powers at be dont want this to be taught in school because it exposes them i think this should be taught the first semester of middle school

                                                                  • Owen Campbell
                                                                    Owen Campbell  6 days back

                                                                    How about judging yourself? is no one allowed to critisize or know something better? are teaching teachers the wisdom in person? we got to be aware and beware to watch our steps or we'll be cornered as narcissists, sociopaths and psycopaths ? from who? these topics are delicate and confusing for average people, if we don't want to hurt more the uncertainty of a society we should stop trying to lecture what cannot be learned in minutes.

                                                                    • Frank Jackson
                                                                      Frank Jackson  6 days back

                                                                      When one of us confronts the narcissist he closes his eyes.

                                                                      • bignass04
                                                                        bignass04  7 days back

                                                                        My father is a somewhere between narcissist and sociopath based on your descriptions. And things just ended with a woman who, I realized as things were ending, reminded me strongly of him...and my mother and I are strong codependents...I'm never gonna find someone.

                                                                        • Shannon Dunham
                                                                          Shannon Dunham  7 days back

                                                                          I just left a man that has symptoms all of these

                                                                          • Kerry Watson
                                                                            Kerry Watson  7 days back

                                                                            Absolutely agree about Hollywood glamorizing bad behavior.

                                                                            • Greg Zeng
                                                                              Greg Zeng  1 weeks back

                                                                              About 6 per cent of the population have full Cluster B disorders? Those who have parts of these disorders must be much more numerous. Then there are the temporary attacks of parts of these disorders.
                                                                              As fashions change, these disorder increase or decrease. Interested in the sequence for not-ok (narcissism) to the medium rating "sociopath", to the worst "psychopath". Upset that there seems no permanent "cure" for these emotionally retarded adults.
                                                                              Educational cures? Classrooms? My wife mentioned to me that some Scandinavian nations have abolished "schooling" by subjects (writing, maths, etc) into integrated education instead. Team work & group skills are needed to bypass this power politics?
                                                                              The teenagers & adults already existing however continue their cluster B personalities & behaviours. Perhaps other social game playing might be able to "teach" empathy to non-children? Tv's Ellen Degeneres has many such "games". These can be used much more by legal, health & education people.

                                                                              • Marie McDonald
                                                                                Marie McDonald  1 weeks back

                                                                                Love all your videos. I'm so glad I found your channel it has helped me immensely. Ps. I really like your painting

                                                                                • Surviving Narcissism
                                                                                  Surviving Narcissism   7 days back

                                                                                  Glad you found us. BTW, my wife and I like good art, and I got a great deal for that painting at a resale shop about 12 years ago.      Dr. C

                                                                              • byronofcalgary
                                                                                byronofcalgary  1 weeks back

                                                                                Narcissus fell in love with himself - maybe only infatuated - - narcissists take any view of them personally
                                                                                - if you're not an admirer it's seen as betrayal - if you don't obviously envy them it's war - mirror their own fantasies or get lost - it's an Affair with themselves - at best you get to be in an emotional threesome with another "couple" who are madly in love with each other.... but need an admirer as proof

                                                                                • Pacific Dragon
                                                                                  Pacific Dragon  1 weeks back

                                                                                  1, 2 and 3 can be applied to the show, Survivor. All the contestants are skilled at manipulating others.