On the surface, narcissistic sociopaths are no different than the rest of us – they are cheerful, friendly, and may be the "life of the party". However, it becomes very difficult for us to handle the situation when we come face-to-face with their real nature. SocialMettle tells you how to identify and deal with a narcissistic sociopath.
What exactly causes a person to become a narcissistic sociopath is a debatable topic. Some experts say it may be the result of a traumatic childhood incident, bad parenting, or neglect, while others say it may be a birth disorder.
Narcissism is actually a mental condition, otherwise known as the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Narcissists are people who are in constant need of adulation and admiration from others. They have extremely high opinions about themselves, at least in front of others, and believe that they are intellectually, and morally superior than everyone else. These traits make narcissists have a total disregard for responsibility, and as a result, they find it difficult to maintain personal and professional relationships. However, despite their self-importance, people suffering from NPD are mainly insecure and have a low self-esteem, even though they show otherwise. Sociopaths show almost the same character traits as narcissists, with a few additions – they have absolutely no regard for other people’s feelings or rights. A sociopath is actually known as a person suffering from Antisocial Personality Disorder, and displays antisocial tendencies from as early as his/her childhood. Such people may resort to physical aggression when criticized or defied.
A narcissistic sociopath is a person with a combination of Narcissistic Personality Disorder as well as Antisocial Personality Disorder. At first glance these people are charming, and friendly, and it isn’t easy to know if they’re actually narcissistic sociopaths or simply extroverts. Narcissistic sociopaths tend to respond strongly and aggressively even to mild criticism, and need continuous adulation and respect from others. Such people try hard to always show themselves in the best possible light, and can get away with it easily enough. Their charming natures make others like and believe them, and often trust them as well. Narcissistic sociopaths often view others as a tool to get something done, and not as human beings. This makes it easy for them to cast aside relationships, or other people easily once their work is done.
Profiling a Narcissistic Sociopath
As most people will agree, nobody gets involved with narcissistic sociopaths knowingly. It just isn’t easy to know who is what, and we may find ourselves facing someone who will wreck not only the relationship (be in personal or professional), but will also ruin our peace of mind and probably even subject us to physical, verbal, or mental abuse. While we cannot really judge any person at first sight, we can try observing the little signs of any antisocial behavior he/she may be displaying. So how do you identify a narcissistic sociopath? Try to identify if he/she has the following traits.
Is the person extremely charming, to the point that it seems superficial and shallow? Narcissistic sociopaths are very talkative, smooth, and confident. They keep praising themselves and sometimes even the opposite person extravagantly. Since they consider themselves to be above all, they barely care about letting the opposite person talk, and social etiquette matters in the least to them.
An Inflated Ego
Narcissistic sociopaths have a BIG ego, and a very high sense of self-importance. They are arrogant and brag about their supposed achievements and abilities endlessly. The bragging is intended to make them stand out in a crowd, and show how superior they are among everyone around them.
Tendency to Lie
Though this cannot be determined in the first meeting, try to identify if the person has a tendency to lie in a very convincing manner so that it actually seems true. Narcissistic sociopaths are often pathological liars―they feel the need to create stories that will portray them in the best possible form. Narcissistic sociopaths are shrewd and dishonest, and lie in a way that will easily convince and manipulate the opposite person.
Does the person never apologize if he/she does anything wrong? Narcissistic sociopaths contain no remorse or guilt for any of their actions. They never apologize for hurting anyone or deceiving anyone, and instead openly defend their own actions. At the workplace, a narcissistic sociopath will never accept responsibility for unfinished work, but will be the first one to bask in the glory of something that has been done right, even if he/she is not fully responsible for the same.
Intolerant to Criticism
Narcissistic sociopaths will never tolerate even the mildest of criticism. They lash out against their critics, often aggressively and don’t hesitate to resort to violence. Such people take criticism very personally, and assume that the person criticizing them is just jealous. At the same time, narcissistic sociopaths don’t hesitate before overly criticizing other people and making degrading remarks about them.
Narcissistic sociopaths are very often sexually promiscuous. They have a string of short-term relationships and very brief love affairs which rarely end well. They can easily and shrewdly manipulate their choice of partners to get involved in ‘flings’, and can end them just as easily. Such people also take great delight in discussing their sexual endeavors in front of others.
Poor Listening Skills
Narcissistic sociopaths are mostly poor listeners. They do allow others to talk for a bit but will barely pay attention―they will be devising ways to turn the conversation back to themselves or their choice of topic. They will take the first opportunity to steer the conversation to back where they think it belongs- to themselves.
Narcissistic sociopaths are very impulsive and cannot resist indulging in reckless behavior that could result in trouble for someone else. As long as it is entertaining for them, they will not hesitate to have fun at the cost of someone else. They cannot fight temptation and will often act in a rash and unpredictable manner, without any regard of the consequences.
Apart from these traits, many narcissistic sociopaths also wear the flashiest of clothes, talking about all their money and love for high-street fashion, will visit the most expensive restaurants and hang out at the most exclusive bars. When at these places, they will be telling anyone who will listen about their greatness, and will often make false claims of their unlimited wealth, fame and unmatched power.
How To Deal With a Narcissistic Sociopath
Nobody gets involved with narcissistic sociopaths intentionally. Sometimes we’re convinced by their facade, or sometimes we don’t have a choice―in case of a family member or someone at the workplace. Dealing with narcissistic sociopaths can be very difficult if you don’t know what to do. Narcissistic sociopaths tend to be very nice in front of other people, which makes it all the more harder to prove to friends or family their behavior with you. Read on to know more about dealing with such people whether at the workplace, or at home.
Dealing with a narcissistic sociopath parent
Parents are just meant to be there, aren’t they? To help you grow, to encourage you, and to mold you into a wonderful human being. However, what happens when the parent becomes the child, in constant need of attention and no real affection for the kid? Being nice only in front of other people and exploding with anger/acting very indifferent when alone? Life can indeed be very difficult with a narcissistic sociopath mother or father. Unfortunately, it is emotionally easier to leave a narcissistic sociopath partner than it is to leave a parent. How can you deal with a narcissistic sociopath mother or father?
Share Your Problems
Don’t hoard up your problems and feelings within you. Share them with people you know you can trust―your friends or any other relative. Talking about things helps, and you will feel much better after knowing that someone is looking out for you.
Know That You’re Not Alone
Whatever the situation may be, remember that you are never alone. There are several people out there who are in the same situation as you, or maybe even in a worse one. Just knowing that you’re not the only one going through this will definitely help you get through. Just hang in there, and know that better days are coming.
Maintain a distance
Try to maintain a distance. We know this is easier said than done, but try to talk to the narcissistic sociopath parent only when it is absolutely necessary and when you know it isn’t going to have any alarming consequences. Don’t try to go out of your way and show that you are distancing yourself, this will only make things worse. Be polite, but emotionally withdrawn. Basically, don’t let the behavior emotionally affect you.
Don’t Fight, Yell, or Argue
There is no point in fighting, yelling or arguing with a narcissistic sociopaths mother or father, as for them, your argument will always be null and void- they will always be right, and you will always be wrong. Remember, what they have is a personality disorder, and no amount of fighting is going to change it.
Accept Your Situation
This can be the hardest step, and yet, it is the most important. Children of a narcissistic sociopath parent, whether young or adult, always live in the hope that someday, the parent will change and provide them with the love, affection, and respect which they deserve. It is important to accept that a narcissistic father or mother may not ever change. Don’t hesitate in letting yourself feel bad when accepting this―if it helps, cry. After this, you will definitely feel lighter, and stronger about the whole situation.
Talk to a Therapist
Talking to a therapist will definitely help you let go of all the anger and sadness that you may hold. Don’t hesitate to let your feelings out in front of him/her―that’s what they’re there for. Don’t hold any inhibitions, and accept his/her advise. Remember, your therapist only wants to help.
Cut All Ties
If this is possible, or if the situation demands it, you can cut all ties with the narcissistic sociopath parent and move on. Establish your new life, and enjoy it with people who truly care for you as a person. However, make sure you have thought things through before taking this step and are well aware of the consequences which you may have to face.
Dealing with a narcissistic sociopath spouse/partner
Unfortunate as it is, nobody picks a narcissistic sociopath partner knowingly. Anyone who is in a relationship of any sort with a narcissistic sociopath will agree to that. It is very easy to fall for the person’s charming charade, and the mask comes off only after some time. Research suggests that more women get trapped by narcissistic sociopaths than men do, as many females believe they can help the narcissistic sociopath change. This is not true. They will not change, and instead, will end up ruining your peace of mind. How can you deal with a narcissistic husband/wife/partner?
Again, easier said than done, but you must realize for yourself what harm can come to you (and your children, if you have any) if you continue to stay with this person. A narcissistic sociopath will be all smiles one minute and will probably yell or argue endlessly the next minute. You cannot predict their behavior, and with time, it will become more rampant. If you keep letting them control and manipulate you, they will not hesitate to stoop to any levels to get what they want. File for divorce, and just walk out. Walk? Run!
If you and your partner are connected through your children, maintain a distance and minimum contact with him/her. Whenever you do have to communicate with him/her, be polite and brief- don’t let yourself get involved in any emotionally draining conversations.
This seems really unfair, doesn’t it? How can you not react when someone is so obviously trying hard to hurt or annoy you? But trust us, it will only add fuel to the fire and worsen the situation. Let the narcissistic sociopath try as much as he/she wants, don’t let it affect you, and most importantly, don’t react, especially in a negative manner. Tune them out when they’re trying to do this.
Seek Legal Help
In case of alarming situations, please don’t hesitate to contact the appropriate authorities. Living with a narcissistic sociopath can have very dangerous consequences if you’re not careful. If you are being subjected to any form of abuse, call the cops immediately. Seek legal advice. The law is always there to help you get through this.
Understand Your Partner’s Problem
Narcissistic sociopaths are victims too, but of a personality disorder. Try to understand what this problem is, and what may have caused it. We’re not saying that you have to accept the problem and continue suffering, but perhaps, understanding the problem and its consequences will give you the strength to leave your partner.
Narcissistic sociopaths will always show that they’re the victims, and their partners evil. Don’t let whatever he/she says affect you. Trust yourself, and know that you’re going to find a way out of this. You’re not the bad one, and the fault doesn’t lie with you.
See a Therapist
Get the burden off your shoulders. See a therapist and seek counseling. It will help you in getting over the trauma. Therapists will understand your problems better than your friends or family, as they know and understand the reasons behind them perfectly.
Dealing with a narcissistic sociopath at work
No matter what the pay or the position, you cannot be happy at your job if you regularly have to face a narcissistic sociopath in your workplace who constantly insults you, undermines you and basically, subjects you to harassment of some kind. The person might be your colleague or even your boss, and you need to take some firm steps to manage encounters with them well. Here’s how you can deal with narcissistic sociopaths in your workplace.
Focus on Your Work and Nothing Else
If you focus completely on your work, you will find it easier to block out the unpleasant encounters with the narcissistic sociopath. Remain cordial and professional, and instead of reacting negatively in return, ignore their attempts to get you riled up.
Don’t gossip about anyone or anything in front of the narcissistic sociopath. He/she may spread it around before you have had time to even blink. In fact, don’t gossip at all. In a workplace, gossip can get you into lots of trouble that you’re much better off without.
Talk to Someone
If your colleague is a narcissistic sociopath, talk to your manager or maybe the human resources department. They might have some advice that will help. However, assess the situation completely before going ahead with this, and take great care to get all your facts straight before you label someone a narcissistic sociopath.
Devise an Exit
Even if you have no plans of quitting your job, just plan an exit. You’ll feel much better knowing that you always have a choice.
Get Another Job
This may sound unrealistic, but what are you going to do if your boss is a narcissistic sociopath? Your self-esteem and peace of mind are more important than anything else, and you’re going to need peace of mind to work properly, anyway! Try ignoring the unpleasant encounters, but quit the company if nothing seems to be working.
Every situation is different and has to be handled differently. Understand what the problem is, and don’t hesitate to seek the required help.
Disclaimer: The information given in this SocialMettle article is solely for educating the reader. Please do not use the information as a substitute for legal advice/help.