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with Sharie Stines, Psy.D.

Comparing Narcissism to Antisocial Personality Disorder

mentalillnessDo you ever wonder which personality disorder you are dealing with?  I find the following descriptions very useful in determining if you are coping with an antisocial personality or a person with narcissistic traits.  The following information is based on proposed diagnostic criteria according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition.

Before comparing antisocial and narcissist personality disorders, I would like to mention the general criteria for personality disorders.  Personality disorders are characterized by impairments in personality functioning and involve pathological personality traits.

The following list shows basic features of a personality disorder:

  1. Has a noticeable impairment in interpersonal functioning.
  2. Has at least one pathological personality trait.
  3. Impairments in interpersonal functioning and pathological traits are rigid and present in a variety of social situations.
  4. Impairments in personality functioning and pathological trait expression are stable across time.
  5. Impairments and pathology are not explained by an addiction or other mental illness, and are not considered normal for person’s stage of development.

A personality disorder involves disturbances within the person’s relationship with him- or herself and his or her relationships with others.  Here is a breakdown of these disturbances:

  • Relationship with Self

    • Identity – Poor or rigid personal boundaries; over- or under-dependence on others
    • Self-direction – Poor ability for self-reflection; difficulty achieving personal goals
  • Interpersonal Relationships

    • Empathy – Inability to consider and understand other people’s experiences; unaware of impact of own actions on others; destructive motivations frequently misattributed to others.
    • Intimacy – Capacity for enduring connections impaired; little mutuality; others conceptualized in terms of how they affect the self; cooperative efforts disrupted due to perception of slights from others.

Following is an outline of the specific characteristics of either Antisocial or Narcissistic Personalities:





Egocentric – Self-esteem gained from personal gain, power, and pleasure.Self-esteem based on reference to others; exaggerated self-appraisal; vacillation between fluctuations in self-appraisal, from one extreme to the other. Emotional extremes fluctuate as well.


Goals based on personal gratification, absence of pro-social internal standards.Goals based on gaining approval from others; needs to see oneself as exceptional; sense of entitlement; lack of awareness of own motivations.


Lacks empathy; lacks remorse when hurting or mistreating another.Impaired ability to identify with the feelings and needs of others; excessively attuned to reactions of others, but only if perceived as relevant to the self; underestimates own effect on others.


Incapable of mutually intimate relationships. Exploitation is the primary way of relating to others. Uses domination or intimidation to control others.Relationships are mainly superficial and exist to serve one’s self-esteem; mutuality is constrained due to little genuine interest in others’ experiences and also by predominance of need for personal gain.


Manipulativeness: Seduction, charm

Callousness: Lack of concern for others, sadism

Deceitfulness: Dishonest, fraudulent

Hostility: Mean, nasty, vengeful

Grandiosity: Feelings of entitlement

Attention Seeking: Admiration seeking


Risk Taking:  Engagement in dangerous and risky behaviors

Impulsivity:  Acts on spur of the moment in response to immediate stimuli

Irresponsibility:  Disregard for financial and other obligations or commitments; lacks follow-through on agreements and promises



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Comparing Narcissism to Antisocial Personality Disorder

Sharie Stines, Psy.D

Sharie Stines, Psy.D. is a recovery expert specializing in personality disorders, complex trauma and helping people overcome damage caused to their lives by addictions, abuse, trauma and dysfunctional relationships. Sharie is a counselor at LIfeline Counseling & Education Inc., in Southern California ( Lifeline Counseling is a non-profit organization 501(c)(3) corporation. Sharie is also an abusive relationship recovery coach -


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APA Reference
Stines, S. (2016). Comparing Narcissism to Antisocial Personality Disorder. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 25, 2020, from