When I think about psychopaths and narcissists, I conjure up a certain image. There is the cold, manipulative psychopath and then the self-absorbed, entitled narcissist. As for their lifestyles, psychopaths need power and control and narcissists crave admiration.

That is a basic summary of their character traits I know. However, there’s an interesting connection between these two personality disorders. They both lead a parasitic lifestyle.

Having said that, there are subtle differences between a parasitic psychopath and a parasitic narcissist. This is because psychopaths and narcissists have different needs. Although they both use other people, their parasitic behaviour serves to satisfy a particular need within their psyche.

Before I delve into the psychology of their preferences, let’s first define the word parasite.

“A parasite is an organism that depends on another (the host) for its survival, often causing harm to the host.”

Living a Parasitic Lifestyle

Now, what interests me are all the ways a parasite can depend on a host and all the ways this dependence harms the host.

This is where those differences between a parasitic psychopath and a parasitic narcissist come into play.

Psychopaths and narcissists depend on other people to satisfy a need within themselves. But these needs are different and, as a result, the way they harm people is different.

Parasitic Psychopath

If you want to know why a psychopath prefers a parasitic lifestyle, you first have to ask – what does a psychopath want?

What does a psychopath want?

Psychopaths want power and control with none of the hard work or responsibility that comes with achieving those things.

Psychopaths use people as external objects to create the kind of life they want to live.

  • Easily bored

Psychopaths are easily bored. They need constant stimulation. This is why you don’t find many psychopaths in a mundane 9-5 job. They either get fired or leave. But they don’t want to live in poverty or on the breadline. So they need other people to support their lifestyle.

  • Lack of motivation and no responsibility

They also suffer from a lack of motivation and responsibility. They’d much rather put their focus on exploiting others or the system. Psychopaths don’t acknowledge the rules of society. They think nothing of engaging in fraudulent or criminal activities.

  • No long-term goals

This lack of responsibility is doubly problematic when you team it with a psychopath’s failure to plan for the future. Psychopaths won’t have life insurance or good pension plans. They are unlikely to have a mortgage or even hold down a job for more than a few months. They have to use people – otherwise, they wouldn’t survive.

  • Lack of guilt and remorse

Lots of people suffer from a lack of motivation or are easily bored and have no long-term goals, but don’t end up living like a parasite. For example, people who prefer to live off the grid, live a nomadic lifestyle, and reject the 9-5. The difference is that with a lack of guilt and remorse, psychopaths are more than happy to take advantage of you.

  • No empathy

Along with their lack of guilt or remorse, psychopaths are cold and callous. They view people as things to be used for their own gain. We might suffer from envy or jealousy at times, and wish we could have that nice new car the neighbour has just purchased. A psychopath will kill the neighbour, take the car and only get upset if he or she gets blood on the upholstery.

  • Charming and manipulative

Psychopaths can only lead this kind of parasitic lifestyle because they have the gift of the gab. They use their charm and cunning to manipulate people into giving up their life savings or funding their way of life. Then, when the money has run out, they are off to find their next victim.

Parasitic Narcissist

Narcissists also lead parasitic lifestyles but for different reasons. Narcissists use people to help present and maintain their false identity to the outside world. So – what does a narcissist want?

What does a narcissist want?

A narcissist wants an audience to flatter, validate and maintain the façade so their inner reality is not revealed. They want to feel superior to others.

  • Seeks validation

Narcissists can suffer from a sense of inferiority, usually formed in childhood. To compensate for this, they create a different reality for themselves. To maintain this new identity, they need validation from a willing audience. It is like holding a mirror up to themselves and hearing what they want to hear.

  • Needs constant attention

What is the point of being so wonderful if there’s no one to bear witness to your greatness? Narcissists need to be admired and to have their egos stroked. Your needs as a partner, relative or work colleague are irrelevant. You are only allowed around the narcissist to perform sycophantic duties.

  • Sense of entitlement

The typical narcissist is far too wonderful to work hard and save up his or her money. Yet they are so superior and entitled they can only have the best. That’s your role – as a provider of the very best.

  • Use the Halo effect

Some narcissists elevate their status by surrounding themselves with people of a higher status. This may seem counterintuitive, after all, doesn’t a narcissist want all the attention for himself or herself? Usually, the answer is yes. But some attach themselves to people of great influence and wealth, which gives them more gravitas.

  • Their needs trump yours

In the case of a narcissist parent, the child is the thing that brings them elevated status. The parent might push the child into an academic area they don’t want to study, such as law or medicine, so the parent is viewed in a favourable light. The child’s needs are discounted in favour of the parent.

  • Lazy behaviour

Narcissists are lazy unless they are showing off their talents in front of an adoring audience. As for household chores or a job – forget it. Those are for suckers like you and me. Narcissists don’t believe they should have to do menial chores or work; such things are beneath them.

10 Signs You Are Trapped in a Parasitic Lifestyle

When you are in love, it can be difficult to be objective and see any faults your partner has. So here are 10 signs you may be in a parasitic lifestyle with a psychopath or a narcissist:

  1. Refuses to get a job and lives off your earnings
  2. Won’t help around the house with chores
  3. Takes credit for doing household chores
  4. Has to be the centre of attention at all times
  5. They sulk for days if they don’t get their way
  6. You give in to their demands because it is easier
  7. They show no concern over your feelings
  8. An over-the-top reaction of aggression if you question their behaviour
  9. They have no qualms about suddenly ending the relationship and moving on
  10. You feel drained in their presence

Final Thoughts

It is easy to get caught up living with a psychopath or narcissist who traps you into providing their parasitic lifestyle. Both are charming and use manipulation and gaslighting techniques to draw you in.

Remember, you are nothing but tools to these dark personalities. Whether it is to furnish them with a certain lifestyle or to stroke their egos, don’t be fooled. These people are dangerous.


  1. www.huffpost.com
  2. modlab.yale.edu
  3. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. takeoff turbulence

    Can you just be a person who sometimes craves admiration but learns to check yourself? and is self deprecating because you’re not the glamorous glorious epitome of something special that you wanted to be in your heart? is that normal? sometimes it’s really nice to be down to earth but temptation is temptation. I think it comes down to people being incorrigible. They like being that way they just don’t want the party to ever end, they don’t secretly have humane moments or potential?

  2. Roger

    Much in pop psychology about the inhumanity of Psychopaths and unwavering self-centredness of Narcissists. Are they to be deemed evil and steer cleared of or should they be treated as anyone else with a mental disorder?

    1. Alice

      Let us just say they have a mental disorder that makes them evil Yes stay away from them or you will lose all you have plus your own mental state, what is yours belongs to them, and they will take from you till you are broke and empty than snap they replace you, very fast,

  3. Julie

    Thank you Janey. Charm and cunning. Hits close to home. The list of Ten Parasitic tendencies is interesting. Also hits close to home. Patterns of acceptance can unfortunately tend to repeat as well.

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