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 If self-serving or self-aggrandizing information is repeatedly recycled, the individual is likely using a script, one that he’s forgotten that he’s already deployed with you. Psychopaths in particular are glib, and mendacity is their lingua franca. Sometimes they lie for no reason other than their own amusement. But they also lie to further specific agendas, and that is when they are most likely to go on auto-pilot in the delivery of false, scripted stories. Because people are interchangeable in the eyes of a psychopath or a narcissist—one-dimensional beings in whom they have no genuine interest—it can be hard for them to remember what they’ve said, and to whom.

Kaja Perina, 5 Things Psychopaths and Narcissists Will Do in Conversation

Unpleasant remarks can be all of the above: Psychopaths and narcissists love to keep others guessing; it reinforces their power. The psychopath’s default attitude toward others is one of disdain. This person does not like you, and he is in fact inwardly mocking you throughout the conversation. Unkind remarks are but the first clue. Stick around and these statements will come faster and more furiously.

Kaja Perina, 5 Things Psychopaths and Narcissists Will Do in Conversation

Those who have engaged with psychopaths or narcissists often retroactively report having had an initial feeling that something was off, but they did not heed it. Some actually said that they felt queasy or sensed a coldness in the individual, but brushed it aside because they wanted to like the person or were flattered by his attention.


Neither a perfectly-crafted mask nor the world’s most charming repartee can fully camouflage a lack of emotional empathy, which is the defining hallmark of both psychopathy and narcissism. A person cannot wholly fake that which they do not experience, even if they say and do “all the right things.” So while your conscious mind focuses on an individual’s statements and conversational style, your subconscious registers possible discrepancies between that person’s outward comportment and his hidden feelings. Stay attuned to both avenues of information if you suspect you are in the presence of a person who wants to manipulate you, or who is nothing like the entity they are conjuring in conversation. 

Kaja Perina, 5 Things Psychopaths and Narcissists Will Do in Conversation