(c) 2013 Rhonda Freeman, PhD | All rights reserved
If I were to ask you: “What is it that you want to give to your relationships?” What would you say? Would you tell me you want your partner to have experiences such as,
In the absence of pathology, most people would mention positive emotional states associated with merging together and functioning as a team.
Walking through life as an ‘us’ rather than ‘me versus you’ is what healthy relationships are about.
But if you have been in a relationship with someone who is severely emotionally dysregulated, lacking in empathy, self-awareness, morality, and bonding ability, you know not everyone wants this.
Their ‘goal’ is different. People with narcissistic personality are more concerned with keeping their superiority at the forefront. They are better than you, smarter than you,
more enlightened than you, possess better instincts than you, and will shatter like glass if you attempt to touch any of those beliefs.
Psychopaths are more concerned with keeping their power at the forefront. They can be impulsively reactive or patiently calculating.They are not opposed to breaking the rules, lying, deceiving, or hurting others (physically, emotionally, or psychologically) to get what they want. They have no internal brakes to stop them from egregious, perhaps dangerous, behavior (i.e., taking the life of a living being.)
Although in psychology and psychiatry we discuss these conditions as 2 very separate disorders, they do have some overlap. A psychopath will have the traits of narcissistic personality disorder and at some point the two conditions even seem to blend.
In my practice, I have evaluated people with Narcissistic Personality disorder with Borderline traits, as well as Antisocial Personality Disorder (psychopathy) with Borderline traits. There are several blends with the personality diagnoses that clinicians get to see with much frequency.
I mention this only because when you read something regarding psychopathy and narcissistic personality disorder, you might think, “Why does my partner seem to demonstrate most behaviors and symptoms of both conditions?!” I want you to understand that that is very possible and is not uncommon.
Below is an illustration of the opposing relationship goals commonly present when involved with a pathological narcissist or psychopath.
Power | Morality
Psychopaths lack a form of morality that allows us to feel accountable to others, be concerned, or actually care about the impact of their behavior upon others. However, they do understand right from wrong. The type of morality I am referencing is ‘care based morality.‘
‘Care-based morality’ is nearly zero or absent for those who are extremely selfish and callous (i.e., narcissistic and/or psychopathic). They do not care – period.
Moral values are not implemented by psychopaths. This means loyalty, trust, honesty, and caring are not within their capacity. However – they absolutely expect it (require it) of others. They cannot give it in return and will feel slighted, offended, and may launch into retaliation if they suspect anyone in their circle is not loyal or submissive.
These individuals control their relationships and set up the dynamics to be in the power position. From that vantage point they can derive all the benefits, such as pleasure and freedom for themselves while their partners are treated with disrespect and minimal regard.
Many psychopaths within relationships will fill their partner’s life with deception, betrayal, and blame. If you have found yourself in this type of relationship, please take steps to protect yourself.
(c) Rhonda Freeman, PhD