Narcissists and psychopaths present us with some of the most challenging behaviour
we might experience.
There are all kinds of reasons why someone might display challenging behaviour; they
might not necessarily be a narcissist or psychopath. Somebody might be overly concerned
with their own needs because their own needs are great and pressing; they may be
damaged, wounded, seeking to replay a story so that it finally turns out right. They
might just be a spoilt brat, or have poor social skills. Fear or threat can lead
to long term anger, a state of high arousal and vigilance, and a high sensitivity
to perceived threat.
Not all narcissists are unpleasant, and there are many psychopaths who never show
Narcissists and psychopaths – a genetic hypothesis
Competition and cooperation
Observe this diagram, which shows the two dimensions of social life: competition
and cooperation. All social species are both competitive and cooperative, but humans
depend upon cooperation much more heavily than any other species except for the social
insects (e.g. bees, ants, termites).
Evolution and genes
One of the central proposals in this philosophy is that the native abilities of humans
in cooperation, and the native human morality based on cooperation, are a result
of evolution (i.e. random genetic mutation, and natural selection, over generations).
From this, it follows that humans have extra genes for cooperation that other animals
do not have. Genes are transmitted from parents to offspring.
The current hypothesis is that narcissists and psychopaths are essentially lacking
in the genes for cooperation that most people have. Crudely speaking, this means
that social life for narcissists and psychopaths is self-interested rather than cooperative.