Keeping it Real

Is Your Boyfriend a Narcissist? Probably Not

Most likely, he’s just a jerk.

Manipulation, being abusive or hostile, lying and cheating are all valid reasons to seriously consider whether your partner is relationship material. However, there is a whole universe of difference between having a full-blown mental disorder and simply being a jerk.

Psychopaths, narcissists, and sociopaths oh my!

First, a word on terminology. From the established psychiatric community’s point of view, and from what is outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the term “sociopath” has not existed since 1980 and is now considered an outdated concept. These days, the diagnosis of Antisocial Personality Disorder is closest, but still quite different from what most people think of when they hear the word “sociopath”.

On the other hand, “psychopath” is not an official diagnosis at all; in fact “psychopathy” describes in very general terms any mental disorder, from anxiety to depression, and is a word used more in the media and public imagination than by mental health professionals.

Narcissism, or Narcissistic Personality Disorder, is the only diagnosis you will find in the diagnostic manual and is classed as a personality disorder that focuses on a stable pattern of behavior that persists for a very long time. This is the only legitimate diagnosis of the three, and it’s important to remember that only a psychiatrist can diagnose it.