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What Happens When Narcissists Meet Each Other or a Psychopath?

Uploaded 3/8/2024, approx. 5 minute read

A normal person comes across a narcissist, the reaction is known as uncanny valley.

It's a kind of gut instinct or intuition, feeling of all pervasive discomfort, almost a menace or an ambient threat, which cannot be reduced to words, cannot be analyzed and cannot be understood.

So we tend to deny or to ignore these toxins, these harbingers, these red alerts.

The uncanny valley reaction signifies that something is off key, off color.

The narcissist is perceived as an imitation or a simulation of a human being, but not a very good one actually. It's as if the narcissist were half baked or not full fledged or in the process of manufacturing.

The narcissist is a glitchy, buggy person, so to speak.

And 'cannibal' is a term borrowed from robotics, coined in 1970 by Masahiro Mori, the Japanese roboticist.

He said that people are likely to react to humanoids, robots who mimic humans or robots which resemble humans.

He said that people are likely to react to near human robots with extreme unease and precisely because these robots are such good imitations and such good simulations of humans.

We have this in us. We have this kind of device or mechanism that alerts us to faking, to forgery, to erzatz, rather than echt.

When we come across a narcissist, it's as if the narcissist is an attempt to recreate or constitute a human being with a variety of raw materials that fit ill together.

The narcissist's behaviors, the narcissist's pattern of speech, the narcissist's body language, they're stilted, they're stunted, they're wrong somehow. We can't put our finger on it, our collective finger on it.

And this even adds this inability to say what's wrong, to tell what's wrong. It adds to our innate discomfort and wish to kind of evade or avoid the narcissist, if at all possible.

Now in many situations we deny or repress or bury the uncanny valley reaction because we are lonely and we're looking for a partner or because the narcissist bribes us somehow with promises of flourishing business and prosperity and wealth and money, get rich quick schemes or scams. Whatever the reason may be, we are motivated to ignore our gut instinct and intuition to our ultimate detriment.

Never do.

But what happens when an overt narcissist comes across another overt narcissist?

Irritation. Irritation in instant one-upmanship, instant competition and better than you and wiser than you, more educated, more well-traveled, more well-rounded, more anything. It's like two children, my father is bigger or better or stronger than your father, mine is bigger than yours. Let's not go into details. It's very immature, very infantile and it's accompanied with a lot of ego-dystonia and a lot of, as I said, annoyance.

And so they grate on each other to overt narcissist, piss each other off almost instantly.

By the way, it's one hell of a way to find out if someone is a narcissist. Simply introduce him or her to another narcissist and sit back and enjoy the show, enjoy the fireworks.


When an overt narcissist comes across a covert narcissist, the overt narcissist perceives the covert narcissist as a supreme, unadulterated, pure and perfect source of narcissistic supply.

The overt narcissist becomes addicted to the covert narcissist. And the covert narcissist, in a Machiavellian manipulative way, provides this endless stream of narcissistic supply in order to captivate the overt narcissist and render the overt narcissist an extension of the covert narcissist.

It's very ironic because overt narcissists tend to become gullible, naive, susceptible and vulnerable in the presence of covert narcissists.

Covert narcissists are under the radar. They're stealthy. They're passive-aggressive. They cannot be decoded as openly and as instantly as the overt narcissist can.

So the overt narcissist, who considers himself to be infallible, all-knowing, godlike, omniscient, omnipotent and so on and forth, it never occurs to the overt narcissist that he can fall prey to a cunning, manipulative, Machiavellian, narcissistic and possibly sub-clinically psychopathic person.

So it is a paradox and an irony that overt narcissists are the prime targets and victims of other covert narcissists and of psychopaths.

It's a chain of food, the food chain and the chain of being in nature.

And finally, what happens when an overt narcissist comes across a psychopath?

Well, you see in nature displays of dominance and submission. That's what happens. The overt narcissist, let alone the covert narcissist, they immediately submit to the psychopath. They recognize the psychopath's superiority in many ways. They're not. The psychopath is way more callous, way more ruthless, way more ruthless, way more dominant, way more manipulative. In short, it's an apex predator and the narcissist gives in, obeys, becomes obsequious and submits to the wishes of the psychopath and caters to the psychopath's needs.

These displays, these reactions are all immediate. When you're in the presence of a narcissist, the uncanny valley reaction is instantaneous. That you deny it is your problem. Similarly, when two overt narcissists meet, they fly into mutual self- denigration, attack, competition, irritation, annoyance, belittling, demeaning and degrading each other, insults, slides, threats almost instantly.

And when an overt narcissist comes across a covert narcissist, the interplay of addictive narcissistic supply and the growing dependence of the overt narcissist on the covert narcissist are immediately to observe. It's a pretty revolting display.

And when a narcissist, any kind of narcissist comes across a psychopath or a psychopathic narcissist, the immediate groveling and submissive obeisance is also on display. This instantaneousness, this immediacy allows us to actually use these various types of people, the various types of personality disorders to test other personality disorders. They serve as a litmus test. So if we want to be sure, we want to ascertain the fact that someone is a narcissist, we can introduce him to another narcissist and watch what's happening.

Or to a psychopath and observe the outcomes. These are great ways of diagnosing almost without fail.


So happy 8th of March, women and women-ettes all over the world from your heart, Rob Samvaknin, former visiting professor of psychology currently on the faculty of CEAPs, author, only author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.

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