Narcissists and psychopaths have several overlapping traits.
Kaja Perina, the editor in chief of Psychology Today, explains that both narcissists and psychopaths have fake personas. More specifically, they alter their behavior and the way they interact with people depending on their motives. According to Perina, there are five things which narcissists and psychopaths do and say in conversations:
1. They confide in you immediately.
When you talk to a narcissist or psychopath, you might be surprised at how quickly they confide in you. Even if it is the first time that you meet, they will probably share extremely personal information with you. By doing so, they try to gain sympathy and create a false sense of intimacy. Narcissists and psychopaths try to force intimacy because the quicker that they succeed in making you trust them, the quicker they can begin manipulating you.
2. They repeatedly recycle personal information.
Narcissists and psychopaths will repeat the personal and ‘confidential’ information which they shared with you over and over again. At times, it may be repeated almost verbatim and make you question whether they have actually scripted it. Perina writes that in the eyes of a psychopath or a narcissist, people are interchangeable ‘one-dimensional beings in whom they have no genuine interest’. For this reason, they might genuinely not even remember that they have already confided in you to force intimacy.
3. They ask pointed questions – if any.
One of two things can happen when narcissists and psychopaths ask you questions: they either ask you pointed questions or nothing at all. You might be asked a series of things that Perina notes could allow the narcissist or psychopath to make a list of your vulnerabilities or they might not express any interest in you whatsoever. Taking this further, by asking you questions that show your vulnerabilities, narcissists and psychopaths hope to gain an understanding of the problems in your life so that they can offer assistance and thus, gain your trust.
4. They ask for special favors.
While many people ask for favors when they genuinely need help, narcissists and psychopaths ask you for favors because they believe they are entitled to your time and efforts. What is more, Perina explains that by asking you to do them a favor, they hope to ‘create a dynamic in which you are conscious of your subservience’. With time, these favors will increase and become bigger and bigger.
5. They make strange statements about you.
Perina gives an example of a strange statement as she writes that when discussing your family, the narcissist or psychopath might say: “It must be hard to be the smartest person in the room”. This comment can destabilize you, especially if you have never before made such a claim. By saying things like this, they are ultimately testing you to see if you would stand up for yourself or the ones they have passive-aggressively put down.
It is important to make a note of these five things so that you will be able to spot a narcissist or psychopath before you form a deeper connection and end up becoming their victim.