The book Disarming the Narcissist lists 13 traits of narcissism:
1. Self-absorbed – Acts like everything is all about him or her
2. Demeaning – Puts you down, bullyish
3. Demanding – of whatever he or she wants
4. Unempathic – Uninterested in understanding your inner experience, or unable to do so
5. Compulsive – Gets overly consumed with details and minutiae
6. Addictive – Cannot let go of bad habits; uses them to self soothe
7. Emotionally detached – Steers clear of feeling
7. Entitled – Makes the rules; breaks the rules
9. Distrustful – Suspicious of your motives when you’re being nice to him or her
10. Perfectionistic – Rigidly high standards – his or her way or no way
11. Snobbish – Believes he or she is superior to you and others; gets bored easily
12. Approval seeking – Craves constant praise and recognition
13. Unremorseful – Cannot offer a genuine apology
In my experience, the first 7 traits are common between my narcissistic ex husband and my Aspergers husband.
Self-absorption and lack of empathy however are the key.
Self-absorption and lack of empathy are experienced in the same way by the onlooker – total lack of care and understanding of other people’s needs, wants and desires and the selfishness of only meeting their own needs wants and desires.
The reasons for the two similar types of self absorption are different.
For example an Aspie with a ‘specialised interest’ in photography might work on his photos on the computer all evening, so focused that he doesn’t want to stop to eat or even go to bed will be experienced as selfishness on his part. The Aspie is however just so focussed on their special interest that everything else pales to insignificance and they are oblivious of the effect their behaviour has on their partner. The Aspie just can’t help himself and doesn’t understand.
The same behaviour from a Narcissist, still experienced as selfishness by the partner, occurs because of entirely different set of reasons.
The self absorption of the narcissist goes hand in hand with the traits of entitlement, self importance and lack of remorse. The Narcissist is being selfish and just doing what he wants to do, despite know that it is annoying and upsetting his partner and that shouldn’t be doing it . He just doesn’t see why he shouldn’t do whatever he pleases, even if it is pissing of his partner. He just DOES IT ANYWAY.
Different reasons, same effect.