What is the Difference Between Narcissism and Machiavellianism

The main difference between narcissism and Machiavellianism is that narcissism refers to the quality of being extremely self-centred and having an inflated sense of self-importance. But, Machiavellianism refers to the quality of being deceptive and manipulative to reach one’s goals.

In psychology, narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy are called the dark triad due to their malevolent nature. Especially, egotism, vanity, and lack of empathy characterize narcissism, while exploitation and manipulation of others and absence of morality are qualities that characterize Machiavellianism.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Narcissism 
     – Definition, Traits, Characteristics
2. What is Machiavellianism
     – Definition, Traits, Characteristics
3. What are the Similarities Between Narcissism and Machiavellianism
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Narcissism and Machiavellianism
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Egotism, Empathy, Machiavellianism, Narcissism, Psychopathy, Vanity

Difference Between Narcissism and Machiavellianism - Comparison Summary

What is Narcissism?

Narcissism is the quality of being extremely self-centred and having an inflated sense of self-importance. In fact, narcissism has been long identified as a personality disorder. Moreover, people with narcissistic personality disorder usually have a distorted and inflated image of themselves. They think that they are superior to others, and thus treat others accordingly. Psychologists have theorized that this grandiose image of themselves is due to deep-seated feelings of insecurity. They also have an excessive need for attention and admiration.

Some Traits of Narcissism

  • An exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Lack of empathy – inability to recognize the feelings or needs of others
  • Extreme jealousy and hyper-sensitivity
  • Preoccupation with fantasies about beauty, success, power and brilliance
  • Arrogant or haughty behaviour
  • Need for constant attention and excessive admiration
  • A tendency to lash out in the face of criticism or lack of attention

Difference Between Narcissism and Machiavellianism

Narcissistic people are resistant to change their behaviour and attitudes, even though they cause a lot of problems. However, narcissists usually blame these problems onto others. Also, they react badly to even the slightest criticism or disagreement and take them as personal criticize. Due to all these negative traits, these people find it difficult to maintain healthy relationships with others.

What is Machiavellianism

Machiavellianism is a personality trait involving deceit and manipulation. That is; people who have this trait tend to deceive, exploit and manipulate others to achieve their goals. Moreover, such people are cunning and calculate and have a gross disregard for other people.

Main Difference - Narcissism vs Machiavellianism

Together with narcissism and psychopathy, Machiavellianism forms the dark triad of psychology. Moreover, the term ‘dark’ actually refers to their malevolent nature.

Traits of Machiavellianism

  • Focused on their own interests and ambitions
  • May appear to be charming and confident
  • Lacks principles and values
  • Avoid emotional attachment
  • Prioritize power and money over relationships
  • May be patient due to the calculating nature

Furthermore, the term Machiavellianism is named after Niccolò Machiavelli, a philosopher who was of the view that it is not unacceptable to use immoral behaviour to reach political goals.

Similarities Between Narcissism and Machiavellianism

  • People showing either or both of these personality traits are more likely to commit crimes and create social distress.
  • Moreover, people with these traits are self-centred and have an exaggerated sense of self.
  • Besides, these people lack empathy and tend to think they are superior to others.

Difference Between Narcissism and Machiavellianism

Definition

Narcissism refers to the quality of being extremely self-centred and having an inflated sense of self-importance. Meanwhile, Machiavellianism refers to the quality of being deceptive and manipulative to reach one’s goals.

Qualities Associated

Narcissism is characterized by egotism, vanity, and lack of empathy, while Machiavellianism is characterized by exploitation and manipulation of others, and the absence of morality.

Emotion

A narcist may be quick to anger and lash out, but a Machiavellian may be patient due to his calculating nature.

Conclusion

In brief, narcissism and Machiavellianism are two qualities of the dark triad in psychology. The main difference between narcissism and Machiavellianism is that narcissism refers to the quality of being extremely selfish and having an inflated sense of self-importance. But, Machiavellianism refers to the quality of being deceptive and manipulative to reach one’s goals.

Reference:

1. Bain, Lisa. “8 Major Warning Signs You’re Dealing With a Narcissist.” Good Housekeeping, Good Housekeeping, 15 Aug. 2019, Available here.
Jacobson, Sheri. “What Is Machiavellianism in Psychology?” Harley Therapy™ Blog, 11 Oct. 2019, Available here.
3. “Narcissistic Personality Disorder.” HelpGuide.org, 6 Dec. 2019, Available here.

Image Courtesy:

1. “765217” By Min An (CC0) via Pexels

2. “The Dark Triad” By Matinee71 – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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