True Crime Analysis, Breakthroughs, Insights & Discussions Hosted by Bestselling Author Nick van der Leek

“Chris Watts is a Narcissist” – No, actually he isn’t

The experts are unanimous. Chris Watts is a narcissist. Dr. Phil has said it. Other educated psychologists have said the same. But they’re wrong.

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If Watts is a psychopath, and he didn’t get nervous during the lie detector test, then why did he fail it?

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This is the TCRS take on the Narcissism Myth:


  1. Linda Lou

    Why do you suppose that so many of the experts in the NPD field believe CW to be NPD if he doesn’t show any of the signs? I’m curious as to why you think their analyses/opinions are incorrect. What’s your theory on why they have all written/spoken extensively on Chris Watts? Do you believe him to have shown empathy and/or remorse?

    • nickvdl

      It’s not that he doesn’t show any of the signs. He shows some, very few. It’s by no means a distinguishing or identifying trait. He shows more signs that correspond to something else.

      • Linda Lou

        So that said, do you believe they do not know what they are talking about? I’m genuinely curious as to why you disagree w/ their opinions that you stated were unanimous across the board. Do you not believe they have the qualifications or expertise necessary to spot the manipulation tactics/red flags, not believe they have studied this case enough, hyping things up for the media, or some other reason?

        • nickvdl

          For starters, you might want to try listening to half or the whole video before you start questioning.

          The short answer is you only become an expert in criminal psychology by studying a particular crime and criminal. You don’t come to a brand new case and by virtue of your expert qualification immediately know everything about the case. If that’s so, what’s your source of information, and how long did you spend with it before you appeared on television? You become an expert in true crime by how much time you spend getting to know all the information and thinking about it, and yes, that includes the people involved. Labeling does the opposite. It asks us not to think. And an “expert” doesn’t suddenly confer expertise in a particular case. Spending a lot of time studying a case potentially makes you an expert, depending on how good you are in the true crime genre.

          This paragraph right here was addressed in the video. You would also have known that, and absorbed that “expertise” if you had bothered to take the time to listen to it in the first place.

          • Linda Lou

            Video? I have been viewing your articles on my iPhone, and there are no videos that I can see in this one. I was wondering why there wasn’t more commentary in the article. I just double-checked, and there are no videos loading on my end.

          • nickvdl


          • Ralph Oscar

            Vid works for me. Also, about how narcissists lie all the time – that was Shan’Ann! Chris was the gray rock silent type! Shan’Ann was the outspoken liar in that relationship – if there was a narcissist present, it was her.

          • Linda Lou

            All I can see are still shots. No play button, nothing happens when I click on it. Regardless, my question has been answered.

    • Maria McCormack

      They are dead and he is not. Tells me all I need to know

  2. Janie

    I haven’t watched the video yet, but can say that with what I’ve seen from the some of the psychologists analyzing the case, and the books that I’ve read on narcissism, I have to agree with Nick. You can’t flat out label Chris Watts as a narcissist. They were doing that right out of the gate. I thought maybe they were confusing the selfish ACT that Watts committed with the characteristic of continually BEING selfish as narcissists are.

    If you compare Watts to one of the most well known narcissists (and spouse murderers) OJ Simpson, you can see that they are almost at opposite ends of the spectrum. OJ needed attention in order to breathe, basically ignored his children, manipulated everyone around him, lied and cheated on a regular basis, and had an enormous ego and feeling of importance which if threatened, damaged, or jeopardized, would spark his anger, and fuel his abusiveness. In contrast, Watts shied away from attention which was evident in the Level Facebook videos, both in his home and during the company trips he and Shanann took part in. The videos showed that he seemed to be very caring and interactive with his children. Chris had no power in his marriage, and was treated like he wasn’t important at all. His anger, manipulation, and lying as far as we know, only took place sometime shortly after he began his affair with Kessinger, and concluded when he failed to convince the investigators that he was innocent. As far as the expert’s opinions, I’m baffled as to why they were eager to “diagnose” and put a label on Watts, when clearly this case wasn’t an example of black and white narcissism.

  3. Rachel

    The Dr. Phil panel was ridiculous, pathetic, the opposite of a scholarly approach to this case. The “FBI profiler”, the brunette with all the filler in her face, was terrible. None of them seemed very well familiar with the particulars, certainly not as familiar as most here.

    CW was NOT a narcissist. I don’t know what he was/is, but that wasn’t it. Covert narcissist? Not that, either. Beaten down, without any sense of personal agency, obscenely weak, and more. He didn’t own anything. He never did anything except what he was told to do (all which he signed up for, I say).

    • Janie

      You’ve got it right Rachel. These well known “Celebrity Psychologists” do their bit for their shows and guest appearances and then move on to their next topics and interviews. I would guess that they don’t have the time to actually research and come to a well thought out/ deeper analysis of the cases they discuss. That’s why, in my opinion, and probably most of those who enjoy the analysis on TCRS, it’s important to create documentaries by those who have dedicated their time and have the drive to research the case inside and out, regardless of the way networks think they should present the case.

  4. Leah

    Thank you for researching Chris’s psychology in depth, which no one has done at all. I am enjoying your recent YouTube videos immensely. I hope you will continue to look into Chris’s psyche and wanted to ask you your thoughts on schizoid personality disorder and if you think Chris could be afflicted with this. I do have personal knowledge of this disorder, as I have been clinically diagnosed as a secret schizoid. I know you tell us not to inject or project ourselves onto the characters and I agree, but I would just like your take on this, since no one else has even mentioned schizoid. The four elements of a schizoid personality are The Master (when we feel in control, which is when we are alone), The Slave (here is where the people pleasing part of us comes into play and where we lose our self), The Betrayer (where we realize we have lost ourselves and are overwhelmed in trying to make everyone happy and doing what we really don’t want to do because we don’t want anyone to know how we are really feeling), The Exile (where we may cut off all contact to those who are causing us so much distress). Worst case scenario the exile would be murder and that could be what happened to Chris, why he may actually not mind prison since he is mostly alone day after day. Writing or social media is usually easier for schizoids, rather than human contact. Comorbidity can occur with schizoids, I think I read Chris was diagnosed as having dependent personality disorder, I was diagnosed as having avoidant personality disorder as well. Social anxiety disorder also goes hand in hand with schizoid, though we do tend to “latch on” to one specific person, but do not want to extend ourselves outside this one relationship, so that usually ends in disaster. We can absolutely be targets for narcissists (I do regretfully believe Shanann was a narcissist) and we get stepped on a lot in trying to take care of others needs. We have very strong emotions but do not want to show them. We do not want to hurt people so I can see your theory in Chris medicating the girls and that’s how they died, I too believe he was not in a rage. Your research and writings on this case are magnificent.

    • nickvdl

      No, I don’t think schizoid applies either. As I mentioned in the video, I’m allergic to labels. The only label that informs his identity somewhat in a meaningful way is his introversion. But I get that that’s not sexy enough for some people.

      • Leah

        Thanks for replying back to me. Did you hear Cindy Watts book was leaked on Reddit? It’s called “All My Broken Pieces.” The Mommy Ramblings YouTube channel got a copy of it, she is very, very biased though and so are the comments on the video she did last night. I would like to know what your thoughts are on the book if you ever read it, thank you again for all your hard work.

        • nickvdl

          Nope, haven’t read it.

  5. Tiffany

    I honestly think he’s on the autism spectrum. I know it’s not a popular theory and people who have it dont want to hear it about it, but come on, you can’t put all the autistic people in a box and say not one of them could ever do this. There’s good and bad in people of all groups and sticking your head in the sand saying it’s not possible isnt helping anyone. This needs to be looked into.

    • nickvdl

      If someone told you yes, he’s on the autism spectrum, would that make you feel better? That now you finally understand this case?

      • Tiffany

        Nothing about this case would make me “feel” better. It would be great to find out exactly whats wrong with him and why he did what he did, perhaps maybe prevent it from happening again in the future.

  6. Tiffany

    Oh and another thing, Dr Phil calling him a malignant narcissist just shows how clueless Dr Phil is. A covert one maybe but malignant?

  7. Erica

    Whether Chris is a narcissist or not, he is likely not that is just the popular term now. He is just a breathtakingly man; unbelievable evil.

    It wasn’t enough to leave his family or divorce or even just murder his pregnant wife; he was only satisfied when he murdered his 2 precious daughters and unceremoniously dumped them in oil tanks; leaving an unbelievable amount of pain for everyone (from the men who had to fish tiny girls corpses out of huge oil tanks, to the reputation of his company, to the in-laws who trusted him to protect their daughter, etc).

    I understand that you won’t like the label of “evil” but that is more of an observation than a label. How else can we describe things than with words?

    • nickvdl

      Evil is relative. And replacing one label for another does nothing to further our knowledge of a criminal or criminal act. I get that calling people names feels good, because it separates us [the good] from the bad. But that’s not True Crime Rocket Science. It’s just adults going back to kindergarten.

  8. joanne wilkins

    I guess no one will know for sure until someone does a proper evaluation on Chris. But I did wonder if he had depended personality disorder. So I googled and found your article but unfortunately it won’t load. He does show nervousness especially if he thinks the police are onto him. His nice guy image is really important to him. Even though he explains that he killed his family to be with the mistress there seems to be no remorse. I think intellectually he knows it’s wrong but he doesn’t really see the seriousness. He said that he did one bad thing that doesn’t sum up a person or something along those lines. He also thinks that this was all a part of gods plan. I think the whole finding god is to resurrect his image again. I think there might be a tiny bit of guilt killing the girls but I think there was a lot of rage towards his wife and children. I am not sure if you can have narcissism and dependant pd. Maybe he was also emotionally immature. Like a toy he was over his family and onto the next new thing.

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