When we try to analyze the people we cross paths with in society, it is possible to misinterpret our analysis for lack of a better understanding. For those who have crossed paths with a sociopath and a narcissist on separate occasions, it may seem like there is little to no difference between the two when in fact one can be mistaken for the other. Both are considered to be social terrorists, however, there are distinguishing characteristics that would imply neither of them are one in the same. Therefore, I would like to explain briefly the differences in character between these two personality disorders…
A Narcissist will let you know up front what they are about. They will tell you grandiose stories of themselves of either their accomplishments (real or fake) or of their associations with important people (real or fake). They generally do not tell these stories for any other gain than to hear praises. They have an unquenchable desire to be admired, worshiped, and adulated with no real gain from those that respond to them in this way other than to feed their own ego. They need to be the center of attention at all times in any social gathering.
A Sociopath will NOT let you know up front what they are about, because they wear a mask to hide their true identity. They will tell you grandiose stories of themselves of either their accomplishments (real or fake, but mostly fake) or of their associations with important people (real or fake, but mostly fake.) They generally tell these stories to appear as a “good person” to gain trust and as a cover-up for their ulterior motives. They have the same unquenchable desires as the Narcissist as a result of the power and control they gain over their victims. They do not care to be the center of attention at all times in any social gathering unless doing so promises to earn them more unsuspecting victims.
Here’s a few more brief distinguishing characteristics:
A Narcissist can have a conscious/conscience, and will sometimes hurt others unintentionally. A Sociopath has no conscious/conscience whatsoever, nor do they have any remorse for hurting others intentionally; the more damage, the better they feel.
A Narcissist can be constructive. A Sociopath is always destructive.
A Narcissist’s world can be built by their own hands. A Sociopath prefers their world to be built by someone else’s hands, and will take full credit for it.
A Narcissist is self-deceptive. A Sociopath is socially deceptive.
A Narcissist needs admirers. A Sociopath needs victims.
A Narcissist needs to be adulated to appease their insecurities and fragile ego. A Sociopath needs to be adulated to appease and camouflage their ulterior motives.
A Narcissist lacks empathy in the form of belittling, name-calling, and defaming another’s character. A Sociopath lacks empathy in a criminal or physically violent way.
A Narcissist accepts who they are but exploits themselves in an overly-exaggerated and excessively-dramatic grandiose manner. A Sociopath pretends to be someone who they are not to hide their hidden agendas in order to keep from being exploited.
Both think they are superior to anyone and everyone they meet. Both think they deserve special treatment. Both process the world differently, and both play to “win.” However, it is possible for both personality traits to be combined into one, which is called a “Narcissistic Sociopath” , and is more dangerous to deal with than the two individuals separately.
© 2013 Learus Ohnine