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The differences between a narcissist, a manipulator and a psychopath

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Quite often in my books I look at what challenging behaviours that I can build into the antagonists character, never more so than with my latest book, When We Deceive. It’s an intricately woven mix of personalities set to challenge the mild mannered protagonist DI Ziggy Thornes. As part of my research, I looked at the personality traits of a narcissist, a manipulator and a psychopath. Here’s what I found though I must stress, this content is based on my rudimentary research of the internet, and several reference books.

Do you ever feel like someone in your life is manipulating or gaslighting you? Do they seem to lack empathy and have an inflated sense of self-importance? It’s possible that they could be a narcissist, manipulator, or even a psychopath. While these terms are often thrown around interchangeably, there are distinct differences between them.

How to spot the signs of a narcissist, manipulator or psychopath

Narcissists, manipulators and psychopaths share some common traits, but there are also some important differences. Here are some ways to spot the signs of each:


– Are very self-centered and crave attention and admiration
– Are often charming and manipulative
– Can be charismatic and persuasive
– May have a sense of entitlement and take advantage of others
– Can be jealous, envious and resentful of others
– May lack empathy for others and be unable or unwilling to understand their perspectives
– Can be arrogant, boastful and pretentious
– May be insensitive to the needs and feelings of others
– Can be controlling, demanding and exploitative

– Are often skilled at persuasion and manipulation
– Can be convincing liars
– May twist the truth or make up stories to get what they want
– Can be expert at flattery and flattering others to get what they want from them
– Use manipulation tactics such as guilt tripping, playing on fears or giving ultimatums to control others


– May try to control conversations and steer them in the direction they want them to go May use emotional blackmail or intimidation to get what they want from someone

– May be charming and superficially amusing or interesting at first glance -But quickly reveal a shallow,

How to deal with a narcissist, manipulator or psychopath

    It can be difficult to deal with someone who displays narcissistic, manipulative, or psychopathic behaviours. These individuals often have a sense of entitlement, lack empathy, and may use others for their own gain. Listed below are some of the ways the characters in my books deal with them, but I think it’s good advice all round!

    • Set boundaries and stick to them. It is important to be firm with narcissists, manipulators, and psychopaths. Do not let them walk all over you or take advantage of you.
    • Keep your cool. It can be difficult to remain calm when dealing with someone who is constantly putting you down or trying to control you, but it is important to keep your emotions in check. This will only give them more power over you if you let them get under your skin.
    • Try to understand their motivations. In some cases, understanding why someone is behaving this way can help you to better deal with them. However, do not try to reason with them or change them – this will only make things worse.
    • Get support from others. It can be helpful to talk to someone else who has dealt with a narcissist, manipulator, or psychopath before – they will likely understand what you are going through and be able to offer advice on how best to deal with the situation.

    When We Deceive available 28th April 2023 – Pre Order price just 0.99p/c


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