Identifying a Narcissistic Sociopath

Sociopaths aren’t just the serial killers and rapists we see on the 6 o’clock news. They are our neighbors, co-workers, friends, family members, and sometimes our “soul mates.”

Sociopaths are the charmers and manipulators. They are the people who appear together and well-groomed at first glance, but hide many secrets and lies underneath their mask of sanity.

Sociopaths, in the early love-bombing stage of an intimate relationship, use many superlatives in order to woo and control their victims.

They say things to intoxicate you into compliance:

  • “You are the love of my life.”
  • “I have never known anyone like you.”
  • “You are perfect for me.”
  • “I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
  • “I never want to leave your side.”
  • “You are the most beautiful person I have ever met.”
  • “We are perfect for each other.”
  • “You are exactly what I have been looking for my entire life.”

The following is taken from my book: Escaping the Boy: My Life with a Sociopath:


Do you know what it feels like to be locked up, placed in a dungeon of a partner’s creation? If so, you’re not alone. If not, pray you never do.

Abuse comes in many forms and affects many people in the victim’s life. Emotional, physical, and sexual abuses are equally degrading and harmful. One is not better than the other or worse than the other. They are ALL abuse.

This story is specifically about emotional abuse at the hands of a narcissistic sociopath.

According to Dr. Martha Stout’s book The Sociopath Next Door, sociopaths make up 4% of western society (Stout, 2010). That’s about 1 in 25 people walking around among us without a conscience, without the ability to measure, or care to measure, the morality of their decisions and actions. Would you know how to identify a sociopath if you saw one, met one, started an intimate relationship or entered into a business contract with one? More than likely, your answer is No, because unlike what we read on the television news or see in Hollywood movies, sociopaths aren’t just serial killers and murderers. Rather, they are members of our communities who we would never suspect of evil or wrong doing and who seamlessly blend into society with the rest of us. How? Through lies, manipulations, and more lies.

In romance, narcissistic sociopaths often appear too good to be true. They are charming, agreeable, and engaging. The narcissistic sociopath loves (or seems to love) everything about you. He hooks you. Then he breaks you. His emotional abuse is VERY subtle. The victim may not know she is being victimized until it is nearly too late.

Identifying narcissistic sociopaths

Although not all narcissists are sociopaths, all sociopaths are narcissists (Stout 2010). Therefore, if you can identify a narcissist, you’re one step closer to being able to recognize a sociopath. Below is a definition of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and a list of narcissistic traits taken directly from the website of Dr. Sam Vaknin, author of Malignant Self-Love. (If you know someone who fits at least 5 or more of these traits, a psychiatrist could easily diagnose him/her as having NPD.)

The DSM-IV-TR defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder as “an all-pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration or adulation and lack of empathy, usually beginning by early adulthood and present in various contexts,” such as family life and work.

1. Feels grandiose and self-important (e.g., exaggerates accomplishments, talents, skills, contacts, and personality traits to the point of lying, demands to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements);

2. Is obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance (the cerebral narcissist), bodily beauty or sexual performance (the somatic narcissist), or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or passion;

3. Firmly convinced that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people (or institutions);

4. Requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation – or, failing that, wishes to be feared and to be notorious (Narcissistic Supply);

5. Feels entitled. Demands automatic and full compliance with his or her unreasonable expectations for special and favorable priority treatment;

6. Is “interpersonally exploitative”, i.e., uses others to achieve his or her own ends;

7. Devoid of empathy. Is unable or unwilling to identify with, acknowledge, or accept the feelings, needs, preferences, priorities, and choices of others;

8. Constantly envious of others and seeks to hurt or destroy the objects of his or her frustration. Suffers from persecutory (paranoid) delusions as he or she believes that they feel the same about him or her and are likely to act similarly;

9. Behaves arrogantly and haughtily. Feels superior, omnipotent, omniscient, invincible, immune, “above the law”, and omnipresent (magical thinking). Rages when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted by people he or she considers inferior to him or her and unworthy (http://samvak.tripod.com).

Once it’s clear you’re dealing with a narcissist, go through the following list to see if the narcissist is also a sociopath. (You’ll discover many overlapping traits from each list.) The list below of 20 sociopathic traits is taken directly from the book Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us by Dr. Robert D. Hare, Ph.D:

1. Glib and superficial charm. The tendency to be smooth, engaging, charming, slick, and verbally facile. Sociopathic charm is not in the least shy, self-conscious, or afraid to say anything. A sociopath never gets tongue-tied. They have freed themselves from the social conventions about taking turns in talking, for example.

2. Grandiose self-worth. A grossly inflated view of one’s abilities and self-worth, self-assured, opinionated, cocky, a braggart. Sociopaths are arrogant people who believe they are superior human beings.

3. Need for stimulation or proneness to boredom. An excessive need for novel, thrilling, and exciting stimulation; taking chances and doing things that are risky. Sociopaths often have low self-discipline in carrying tasks through to completion because they get bored easily. They fail to work at the same job for any length of time, for example, or to finish tasks that they consider dull or routine.

4. Pathological lying. Can be moderate or high; in moderate form, they will be shrewd, crafty, cunning, sly, and clever; in extreme form, they will be deceptive, deceitful, underhanded, unscrupulous, manipulative, and dishonest.

5. Conning and manipulative. The use of deceit and deception to cheat, con, or defraud others for personal gain; distinguished from Item #4 in the degree to which exploitation and callous ruthlessness is present, as reflected in a lack of concern for the feelings and suffering of one’s victims.

6. Lack of remorse or guilt. A lack of feelings or concern for the losses, pain, and suffering of victims; a tendency to be unconcerned, dispassionate, coldhearted, and unempathic. This item is usually demonstrated by a disdain for one’s victims.

7. Shallow affect. Emotional poverty or a limited range or depth of feelings; interpersonal coldness in spite of signs of open gregariousness.

8. Callousness and lack of empathy. A lack of feelings toward people in general; cold, contemptuous, inconsiderate, and tactless.

9. Parasitic lifestyle. An intentional, manipulative, selfish, and exploitative financial dependence on others as reflected in a lack of motivation, low self-discipline, and inability to begin or complete responsibilities.

10. Poor behavioral controls. Expressions of irritability, annoyance, impatience, threats, aggression, and verbal abuse; inadequate control of anger and temper; acting hastily.

11. Promiscuous sexual behavior. A variety of brief, superficial relations, numerous affairs, and an indiscriminate selection of sexual partners; the maintenance of several relationships at the same time; a history of attempts to sexually coerce others into sexual activity or taking great pride at discussing sexual exploits or conquests.

12. Early behavior problems. A variety of behaviors prior to age 13, including lying, theft, cheating, vandalism, bullying, sexual activity, fire-setting, glue-sniffing, alcohol use, and running away from home.

13. Lack of realistic, long-term goals. An inability or persistent failure to develop and execute long-term plans and goals; a nomadic existence, aimless, lacking direction in life.

14. Impulsivity. The occurrence of behaviors that are unpremeditated and lack reflection or planning; inability to resist temptation, frustrations, and urges; a lack of deliberation without considering the consequences; foolhardy, rash, unpredictable, erratic, and reckless.

15. Irresponsibility. Repeated failure to fulfill or honor obligations and commitments; such as not paying bills, defaulting on loans, performing sloppy work, being absent or late to work, failing to honor contractual agreements.

16. Failure to accept responsibility for own actions. A failure to accept responsibility for one’s actions reflected in low conscientiousness, an absence of dutifulness, antagonistic manipulation, denial of responsibility, and an effort to manipulate others through this denial.

17. Many short-term marital relationships. A lack of commitment to a long-term relationship reflected in inconsistent, undependable, and unreliable commitments in life, including marital.

18. Juvenile delinquency. Behavior problems between the ages of 13-18; mostly behaviors that are crimes or clearly involve aspects of antagonism, exploitation, aggression, manipulation, or a callous, ruthless tough-mindedness.

19. Revocation of condition release. A revocation of probation or other conditional release due to technical violations, such as carelessness, low deliberation, or failing to appear.

20. Criminal versatility. A diversity of types of criminal offenses, regardless if the person has been arrested or convicted for them; taking great pride at getting away with crimes. (Hare 2011).


In addition to these two lists of traits, the biggest trait (or magic trick as I like to call it) that makes narcissistic sociopaths so dangerous and effective is their ability to divert attention away from these traits, hide their evil agendas, and convince everyone that they’re capable of being loving and caring. Using this trick, they establish a false sense of trust with their victims who, in turn, feel compelled to share their deepest and darkest insecurities and fears.

But how? How do sociopaths convince even the most guarded people to open up and share their souls with the devil?

The answer is: Through excessive charm, pretense, and an uncanny ability to hide behind whatever mask of lies they need to wear depending on their audience. They lie to everyone with calculated projection and transference, resulting in a false sense of absolute power and control over everyone in their lives. Armed with this false sense of intellectual superiority and the belief others will always comply with their whims out of fear of having their deepest secrets and insecurities exposed, sociopaths epitomize evil and everything that’s wrong in our materialistic and greed-driven society. And by remaining fearful and not speaking out or saying “no” to these fools, the rest of us perpetuate and allow their power, abuse, and destruction of our collective moral compass to grow exponentially.

Sociopaths will continue “winning” and wielding their power as long as the rest of us remain fearful of our own humanity.

I believe in the power of a collective consciousness and in the transformative powers of information and education. The more of us who awaken and become informed about the reality of sociopaths in our midst, the more likely we can shift the evil into good and strip sociopaths of their delusional power.

So join me and speak out without fear of being judged as weak for falling prey to one of these characters. Your experience doesn’t mean you’re weak, and It doesn’t mean you’re broken. All it means is that you trusted and loved someone who didn’t deserve either.

Paula Carrasquillo, author, advocate, mindfulness coach

980 Comments

  1. He also sounds identical to a socialized psychopath. Please help.

    Reply
  2. My husband wants control of all his adult kids and had intentionally wanting to turn his kids against their mother. He uses situations that are happening in my life and changes it around to make it look like this is the truth when it really isn’t he’s very good at convincing people some of his kids follow him around like a puppy will follow their mom around. He tells them stories for his own gain and doesn’t think about how its affecting them. He wants them to think highly of him and he’s always right and at the same time he is using his kids to do wrong things against their mother that will cause upsetness hurt he’s got his kids convinced that I don’t have the truth about nothing he tells them im mental. he has done already convinced four of his kids not to believe me and now they don’t have nothing to do with me he has told me 5 years ago that he was going to turn all the kids against me. So far he has succeeded with four of them out of six. He is so convincing that it’s crazy he is so good with his words that anybody would actually believe what he saying he’s even tried to convince that he knows the law better than a lawyer. He uses people’s life and their situations to convince others that it’s different from what it really is. He is ridiculous convincing that’s how bad it is. He uses kindness and charm it makes it look like he’s telling the real truth and that he’s very smart and those gossiping about anybody that he wants to hurt and turn against he wants to feel like he’s God he’s all the time walking around here like saying I don’t know what everybody’s going to do without me. He can’t stay in a relationship he’s all the time wanting to separate come back do it again the same thing over and over again. I have filed for a divorce. But how can I get him to stop using me for his own personal gain with his kids. And he’s even caused problems between me and one of my family members and looked at me with an evil smile after he did it. He is so smart about how he does it that nobody is catching on to what he’s even doing. I don’t know how to get my kids to understand that I’m not what he says I am and he has I believe narcissistic sociopath? Please help.

    Reply
  3. It’s taken me years to determine that my own daughter is a narcissist/sociopath. She showed signs of behavior problems early on, as young as 3. I tried several methods, even put her in Karate hoping they could teach her what it meant to respect your parents. But after several incidents she ended up getting kicked out of that program.
    By the time she was 12; she had assaulted someone close to me and it didn’t phase her that she was arrested and was going to have to go before a judge. When she got a slap on the hand so to speak for this assault, that just fueled her ego even more….because she basically got away with it!
    By the time she was 16 it was a spiral of out of control behaviors. Mainly aimed towards me…her mother. Always turning every situation back on the other person; never admitting ANY wrong doing at all. Violent, explosive temper; easy to anger and says anything she can to hurt you. By 17 and 1/2 I had enough….and going before a judge; the judge agreed that she was out of control. So I tried to teach her a lesson by letting the state take custody. Unfortunately; her father is a narcissist sociopath as well and he actually joined forces with his sister and they asked the court for custody of her, filing a false law suit against me for neglect just so they could make sure they won custody. *which after they won custody they miraculously dropped the lawsuit.
    Now after nearly 3 years with them feeding her ego, giving her anything she wants, and believing whatever she tells them *false about me, letting her know that she can do no wrong….she recently said F Y to me then told me that I did not deserve the title of mother….among other hurtful things. She will say anything to hurt a person and she has no guilt or empathy for doing these things.
    At this point in my life; it’s time to let go for good. I’m not saying I don’t love her…she is my daughter, but this has gone on for too long and it’s obvious that I can’t help her. That’s what hurts the most; the fact that I can’t help her. It wasn’t for the lack of trying either.
    I honestly believe that the only thing I can do at this point is to give it to God and let Him handle it.

    Reply
  4. I am researching about a guy that is a “friend” on Facebook. We went to the same school and have many mutual friends, so I accepted his friend request. We have exchanged messages, texts, and have spoken on the phone several times. He appeared nice, sincere, thoughtful, generous with compliments, etc. Then he wanted to meet. I declined. I explained I was recovering from surgery/illness and my only priorities or things to do were to focus on my health, spending time with my daughter and new son-in-law and then get back to working. He kept pushing – but used terms like – I think you are so pretty, sweet, etc. He just would not take no for an answer – so he said he was going to sit on the interstate and watch for me to drive by and then he would follow me to my home. He then went on to describe this elaborate wedding (him and me) at his retirement party with HIS co-workers, his family, his friends, in his city and state – but not my family/friends and I did not get to participate in making any decisions. AT this time I told him to leave me alone as I felt he was exhibiting stalking behavior and elaborate fantasies where he had all control and decision making….and the worst fantasy was about getting married to me when we have never even met. He recently – through another friend apologized profusely about his behavior. I accepted his apology but made it very clear – no relationship, no dates, just nothing close at all. Again, he immediately started with the pressure to meet him and yet another fantasy about a marriage where he blindfolds everyone and takes us all to Bora Bora where he thin removes the blindfolds and there is a wedding alter and he gets down on one knee to propose. And obviously, he thought in his mind that I would say yes as he had the wedding all planned out with the minister, cake, everything…. Again, I told him that there was no place – even as a friend in my life for him. I am a very independent person, I make my own decisions, goals, plans, etc – as I am single and an empty nester. His response to my email was that I encouraged him in wanting to be in a relationship, be married, be together forever. Then he went on to say that I can be so sweet one minute than complete opposite the next. I did respond to this message by saying that yes, I am a nice person and sweet (so to say) – but will not tolerate anyone disrespecting my boundaries, my decisions, my priorities and goals by bullying me into their decisions as to what I must do – or them controlling me. Is this guy a sociopathic narcissist? Or does he fall under a different category. It is obvious he has issues with reality versus fantasy and when called out on it – he twists it to make it my fault (in this case) and refuses to take responsibility for his own fantasies, demands, disrespect, etc.

    I know to never talk to him and block him from social media. I am concerned as to what to watch for because we have so many mutual friends.

    I hope you can help me sort this out. Thank you so very much for this informative writing

    Reply
  5. I think I am one. I saw to much war and hate myself because of it. I really don’t know if I am boardline or narassstic or pyschopath. I really don’t wanna be one. Or become one. It frightens me and scares me using violence or hurting someone. but I feel I’m more boardline I’m scared of people leaving me or getting too close so I self sabtoge or hurt myself cause I’m scared others are gonna leave me or hurt me: or others using sucidal thearts like my mother. When I go through hell and can’t control my who I am. I really don’t know who I am. I really don’t know my Idintey cause my father wanted me to be like him or my uncles. I don’t know. I get scared and start crying. I don’t know if I can empower myself any longer. But I I really don’t know what love is cause of the abuse I have had. I really wanna be whole love giving love and no boundaries where I just can be free worthy of love where love wont be fear to me nor it’s abuse. Where this no war inside me. Where I feel god presents and his love again. I just really wanna be free from my chaos honestly.

    Reply
  6. HELP! I am the problem in my marriage, and reflecting on my past and present, I realize I am a sociopath/narcissist. Thank god I am not everything on the list, but I can relate to far too many. I don’t feel I have done these behaviors on purpose, as in if these behaviors happen, it is in the moment. I don’t think I have ever thought about manipulating someone to get my way, or thought about “how can I turn this pain around and put it on them” but there is another problem, that I feel it is often subconscious habit based off of defense mechanisms and ego.

    I do believe I am a good person, I do not commit crimes, I cannot stand racism or sexism or any kind of bullying (having been bullied growing up). Yet I find its far too easy to set me off in an argument about nothing and my mind runs in these negative behavior circles till I can calm down and realize that I was the one who reacted in way to big of a way and get snippy and short, by then the damage is done.

    I am accepting the fact that I may have this personality disorder, and even though this article is meant to help identify and avoid sociopaths,

    I am one and I don’t want to be!

    Reply
    • Tristan, I don’t think you’re a sociopath. What I think is you have pushed a past abuse against you into your subconscious. What you describe is behavior exhibited by people suffering from PTSD whose sympathetic nervous system is out of whack as a result of abuse. More than likely, you’ve been denying you were ever abused (physically, emotionally, and it spiritually), so it’s easy to place all of the blame for your current behavior solely on yourself. But when we deny abuse, we don’t seek the right help so we can free ourselves of the power the flight/fight/freeze response has over our lives. You’re not a sociopath, and you can change and transform your behavior now that you’re more aware of the root cause.

      Reply
      • Hi Paula
        I found your article very interesting I have a question for you
        I have been watching the Johnny Depp Divorce and all the sensationalized headline his now soon to be ex wife is saying about him. And when I really get into the time line of events there have been so many outrageous lies that his wife has been caught in so many things in your article seem to fit her like a glove even the trouble as a kid she has a fellony arrest she ran away arrested for DV lied about it I could go on and on What is your opinion as nothing she says ever seems to add up yet people believe her. Plz I would love to hear your point of view!!

        Reply
        • Panda, Thank you for your question. When the news first broke, my initial gut instinct screamed to me that she was lying.

          As time as passed, I’m feeling more confident in my original instincts.

          1.) He looks terrible. He’s bloated and angry. Yes, he probably has a drinking problem, but many people who are “victims” of disordered minds self-soothe with booze and/or drugs. I’m hoping he sees this as an opportunity to reel in the self-destructive behavior and gain back his power…if, in fact, he is the one being abused.

          2.) I was surprised to see that his ex’s made statements against Amber’s, because if there were any type of non-disclosure agreement with his exes, they wouldn’t be permitted to say anything positive or negative per the agreement. So the fact they made statements at all, speaks to his character.

          3.) There was a video recently released to TMZ of him angrily slamming cabinets and pouring himself wine and screaming at her. The video was secretly recorded, and the woman holding the camera certainly didn’t seem like someone in fear for her life. There’s zero context as to why he’s angry (the tabloids call it a rage, but for those of us who have experienced a real sociopath’s rage would not define his behavior as a rage) and who secretly records a drunk person babbling and being belligerent and then calls it “proof” that the person is abusive and a threat?

          The entire coverage is dramatic and toxic. I find it interesting that she’s the one with the history of DV and there’s no one from his past or present coming forward to support her allegations, which is the general pattern when a celebrity who has abused their power over the years gets “outed” by a victim. (Cosby and Armstrong come to mind.)

          Reply
    • Hi Tristan, your comments were well wotrth reading. The fact that you have identified that yo have narccistc/sociopathic tendencies speaks well. It means that you are aware of possible effects and that you will be able to ensure that Yu can minimise the effects, should you want to.
      Never the less, no one is perfect. It is important also that you love yourself, whilst recognising the personality that you have.
      All the very best to you, and congratulations for your courage.

      Ian McCallum

      Reply
  7. Was with one for five years and had a son with him. Had to escape him and go into hiding with my two children. This evil man stole our sons SIN card (Canada)and his identity (even tho’ our son was only 3 years old when I left). One thing I know for certain is that there is NO help for these kinds of people. They simply use and abuse people leaving behind a trail of destruction wherever they go. They have no boundaries when it comes to who they will hurt and use…case in point (even their own children). The best thing I ever did was to take my children, escape and never look back!
    Many years later, we are all doing very well…including my son.
    I recently spotted this wretched man on facebook and he looks like evil incarnate. He has not aged well at all and has a look of pure anger and evil in his eyes that would scare anyone. He posted some very bizarre quotes expressing exactly who he is…and the drugs that he became addicted to have completely fried his brain. The good looks and charm that he was once able to utilize as his mask are now stripped and his true identity is there for all the world to see now. I am so grateful that we got out when we did. My son is missing NOTHING and better off without him.

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. major keys | gelle's six - […] attention, adoration and energy from those very same people they seek to destroy. MAJOR KEY per lovelifeom.com: In addition…
  2. Save yourself and the planet. Believe sociopaths and psychopaths exist. | Love. Life. Om. Mindfulness Coaching - […] Identifying a Narcissistic Sociopath […]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *