The Differences Between A Sociopath And A Narcissist

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…

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.

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

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The Sociopath: A Social Terrorist (part 2)

“So it is now just one week away from your anticipated outing with the person you have fallen in love with. All plans have been discussed, understood, and agreed upon. You find yourself constantly thinking about the perfect outfit to wear, fantasize about what you two will share, and daydream about how the day will end. Throughout this entire week, you have been feeling all giddy inside thanks to this wonderful person who has an uncanny ability to say the right things to you at the right time. You have never felt as connected to someone as you do right now.

During the outing, you two seem to be having a terrific time and you find yourself wanting to open up more and more to this person. They seem to draw it all out of you with ease by making you feel so comfortable and safe around them. They appear to be an open book; holding nothing back about their hopes, their dreams, and their fears. They mention about how they have been grossly misunderstood all their life, and all they want is to find that one person who they can connect with; someone who is not vindictive or spiteful like all the rest have been towards them in spite of their efforts to help them. This person, who seems so eager to learn what makes you tick, tells you you are like a “vacation” for them, and expresses how much they enjoy learning more about you. You cannot believe just how much ground you two have uncovered about each other in such a short period of time. It seems like you two have a real connection going on with each other along with so many things in common. You want more than anything else in the world to give a sincere honest impression of yourself, so you do not hold anything back in hopes of earning their trust. You decide to open yourself up to this person with all sincerity of the truth from your heart, just the way they did towards you. Therefore, you too begin to talk endlessly about your hopes, your dreams, and your fears… your fears.

(Uh oh, big mistake…)

After all this talk about what makes each other tick, you feel you can completely trust this person with all of your heart, mind, and soul. You confide this fact with them, and are delighted to know that they feel the same way about you, too. Because of this new revelation, you two agree to become closer and closer, making more and more plans together…

(…and then the nightmare REALLY begins…)

After a few weeks (or days even), you start to notice a considerable change in this person since the very beginning. They tell to call them anytime, but when you do, they are always unavailable. They tell you stop by anytime, but when you do, they are always too busy for company. They seem to say one thing, but do another that is nothing even close to what they say they will do. They seem to call less, text less, and when there is an open line of communication between the two of you, it is very short and very brief with little or no substance to what this person says. You start to feel as if you may have made a big mistake by trusting every word this person has said to you. You express this concern to them, who in turn assures you everything is fine, you did not make any mistakes at all, and you are just being paranoid. Your mind and heart begin to battle each other. 

Your mind considers every rational behind why they say you are being paranoid, yet your heart still tells you something is definitely not right with their rational. Before you can discuss more about how unsure you are feeling, the person has moved on to other subjects seemingly non-stop without giving you the chance to get not even one word in edgewise. The next thing you know, something has came up and the person has to end the conversation, but promises to continue it when they call you later on that day. Without thinking twice about it, you wonder exactly when will this person call again since they seem to be sporadic with keeping their word. Surprisingly, they call you later that same day just like they said they would, however, they seem very irritated when you try to pick up the conversation from where the two of you left off at. They brush your concerns off of discussing anything about the changes in their behavior, belittle you for making such a fuss over how you feel, and somehow manage to shift the blame for their behavior onto you by stating every illogical reason why it is your fault. You are stunned at their accusations that are mixed with fact and fiction, but still try to defend yourself by correcting their bizarre beliefs. They ignore what you say regardless of how accurate you point out the flaws in their theories. Suddenly they end the conversation, leaving you bewildered and confused as to what just happened.”

First, let me explain why it is a big mistake to open yourself up to a sociopath. Two of the defining traits of a sociopath are glibness and superficiality. The sociopath likes to play with words. By this, I mean the sociopath has a way of explaining  their childhood, their family, their friends, and the relationships they have experienced by mixing lies with the truth without giving away too much detail that will expose themselves for what they truly are. Most all of their stories usually entail how they were either a hero or a victim, depending on whatever tales and adventures you have told, they try to match theirs up with yours to make it appear you two have an enormous amount in common. They use this technique in order to get you to trust them quicker. When you trust someone, you are more apt to open yourself up to them with sincerity, clarity, and honesty. Remember, the core reason for everything the sociopath does is that unquenchable desire to control in order to feel powerful. The only way they can do this is by learning you, and they usually succeed through their deceptive recollections of the woes, chaos, and misery they have experienced in each relationship they have ever had. What they will fail to tell you is how they were the ones who caused all the woes, misery, and chaos.

Second, the sociopath does not begin to open up unless they have verified you will not question them too deeply about the things they say and/or do, because this will afford them space they need to tell more lies that all sound believable. As long as they know they are deceiving you, they will feel as though they are in control of you. As long as they feel they are in control of you, they feel powerful. For example, in the scenario described in the beginning of The Sociopath: A Social Terrorist (part 1) , the sociopath was never questioned for their odd change in behavior. They were never asked if anything was wrong that would warrant their strange behavior because they made sure it was clearly understood how much they despise questions. Usually, the sociopath despises questions because they tend to lie so much and so often that they lose track of what they have already told you. When questioned, they become furious. Any normal human being who is telling the truth would have no problem explaining the truth again. For the sociopath, it is mentally agonizing to recall everything that they have already said since a majority of what they have said was a lie. 

Lastly, the sociopath needs to know what makes you tick to learn how much they can get away with. They probe you looking for any weaknesses you may have. These weaknesses are what they will use to exploit you later on when they cannot have their way with having control and power over you. Remember in The Sociopath: A Social Terrorist (part 1) , they first started satisfying their need to control and feel powerful by causing enormous pain and suffering on helpless animals. The keyword here is “helpless”. During the entire time you are opening up to the sociopath, they are looking for anything they see as a sign of weakness that they can use to break you down to a level of helplessness. While you are opening up to them, the first thing that grabs their undivided attention is your fears.  If you have not already opening expressed them, they will most definitely ask about them. Your fears equals their control.

In a healthy relationship, we want to know our partner’s fears so we can make sure they never ever happen. When the sociopath know your fears, they will devise plans to make them come true in order to get their way, and more importantly, to feel like they have some sort of power and control over you. Eventually, you will give in to their unreasonable demands after they have exploited your fears in hopes the sociopath will stop this sadistic way of manipulating you into submission. They do the same with your hopes and dreams; they will deliberately find ways to intercept them, delay them, and even destroy them when they cannot have their way as a way of showing you just how much control they can have over you. In this, you will get the chance to see just how cold and heartless they can be, for they have no boundaries as to what lengths they will go to make sure they get what they want. But mostly, the sociopath will pretend to be concerned in making your hopes and dreams come true (especially if it involves a “happy ending” with them) as a way to keep you holding on to this dysfunctional relationship that will only reveal itself to be a catastrophic failure in the end. This provides them with a sense of security while they secretly plan and plot to get whatever it is they want to get out of you.

This type of behavior is called “passive aggressiveness”, and is the prime tool the sociopath uses to mentally torture you once they have won you completely. Some of the ways the sociopath might behave to achieve control are listed below:

Non-Communication: when there is clearly something problematic to discuss

Avoiding/Ignoring: when you are so angry that you feel you cannot speak calmly

Evading: problems and issues, burying an angry head in the sand

Procrastinating: intentionally putting off important tasks for less important ones

Obstructing: deliberately stalling or preventing an event or process of change

Fear of Competition: Avoiding situations where one party will be seen as better at something

Ambiguity: Being cryptic, unclear, not fully engaging in conversations

Sulking: Being silent, morose, sullen and resentful in order to get attention or sympathy.

Chronic Lateness: A way to put you in control over others and their expectations

Chronic Forgetting: Shows a blatant disrespect and disregard for others to punish in some way

Fear of Intimacy: Often there can be trust issues with passive aggressive people and guarding against becoming too intimately involved or attached will be a way for them to feel in control of the relationship

Making Excuses: Always coming up with reasons for not doing things

Victimisation: Unable to look at their own part in a situation will turn the tables to become the victim and will behave like one

Self-Pity: the poor me scenario

Blaming: others for situations rather than being able to take responsibility for your own actions or being able to take an objective view of the situation as a whole.

Withholding: usual behaviours or roles for example sex, cooking and cleaning or making cups of tea, running a bath etc. all to reinforce an already unclear message to the other party

Learned Helplessness: where a person continually acts like they can’t help themselves – deliberately doing a poor job of something for which they are often explicitly responsible

The above except was taken from the following website: What is Passive Aggressive Behavior?

(to be continued…)

© 2013 Learus Ohnine

Ways To Test Someone’s Character: The Response Test

This blog would coincide with a previous blog I wrote entitled ” A Life Without Problems: Character and Ability”, whereas I briefly defined the two terms, but for now, I would like to concentrate more on character.

The character of a person distinctly defines who they are. It is the image we build for ourselves based on our moral and ethical qualities. It is what determines how we are approached and why we are not approached by others. Unfortunately, we live in a world where imposters hide behind a fake wall of integrity, compassion, sympathy, and all other forms of “goodwill” for the sake of covering up their true identity. This, of course, is called “charm”, but that is something that only lasts for the moment. Character lasts a lifetime.

There are ways to test the character of a person, and with these tests, you may discover signs that are sometimes inadvertently overlooked when getting to know someone.
Test their response to:

How do they react to correction
How do they react to loss
How do they react to praise
How do they react to receiving a gift

Reaction to correction:

“You think I am wrong? You must be crazy!”

“You think I am wrong? You might be right!”

Note how both responses start the same but end entirely different based on the person’s own self-perception. The first response is a sign the person feels they are never wrong, and if anyone thinks they are, there must be something wrong with them. This is a sign this person is definitely hard to get along with. They want to be right all the time, even when they know they are wrong. Negotiating is obsolete for them, or just purely does not apply. They rarely apologize, and when they do, there is always some sort of condition to it, such as “I may be wrong, but you are (fill in the blank)”. If they do finally break down and admit they were wrong, they will try to turn the focus onto the millions of things they feel you did wrong regardless if it has anything to do with the situation at hand.  They can never take full blame or responsibility for their own actions without somehow pinning part of their responsibility onto you, too.

Reaction to loss:

“I am so glad it did not happen to me!”

“I hope everyone is okay.”

Keep in mind the normal reaction to hearing about someone’s loss. Usually, the first words that come out are “I am sorry to hear that”, or “are you okay”, or some form of showing concern for the other person’s well-being. The first response shows a person who obviously only thinks about themselves, how they feel, and how the situation affects them. They show no sympathy or empathy because they have none. They cannot put themselves in other’s shoes because the only shoes they have an interest in is their own. Selfish people do not make good friends, partners, or lovers since they lack the compassion. People who lack compassion are most likely to lack remorse for their actions when they have hurt you.
Reaction to praise:

“It’s about time everyone sees how great I am!”

“I do not see what all the fuss over me is about.”

I am sorry, I have to say this… that first response is just too obvious. It almost makes you want to immediately take your praise back. I have literally heard people say this out loud and expected others to cheer them on in return. Arrogance is never pretty nor is it attractive. An arrogant person will always look down on you in spite of all the palpable reasons not to. They cannot wait for the opportunity to disrespect you in some way, shape or form because in doing so gives them a sense of power. However, do not mistake pride for arrogance. A person can be proud of their accomplishments, their achievements, and so forth without expressing their sense of superiority at someone else’s expense.
Reaction to receiving a gift:

“It’s about time I got this!”

“How did you know this is what I wanted!”

Please do not dismiss the first response as a joke. This person secretly believes they deserve some sort of special entitlement or recognition. They may feel everyone should be grateful just to have them in their presence the minute they step into the room. Never expect an arrogant person to be grateful for what you do for them. They will never appreciate it no matter how much, how soon, or how effective you are at doing it.  They usually expect others to do for them what they do not want to make the effort to do for themselves.  They live their life thinking the world owes them. They rarely give gifts, and when they do, it is arranged in such a way that the gift will benefit them more than it will the recipient.

So why do we overlook these signs?

Well, the best explanation I can come up with is that we get so lost in the moment of the initial impression, in the euphoria of it all, that we tend to lose sight of what is real and what is not. Our minds go astray and begin to drift off into the portrait of what appears to be wholesome, not realizing something very different is missing from the entire equation. The next thing we know, we become overwhelmed with an inexplicable puzzling feeling that something is just quite not right with the person, yet we still find ourselves magnetically drawn to the madness to find out what is really going on beneath the surface. By this time, we are too far gone to accept the probability that maybe this person is just not who they say they are. We have invested our precious time, our energy, and unfortunately for some, our money into someone with a bogus identity who does not deserve any of it. This is when we start to want to seek closure, only to find ourselves in a whirlwind of confusing dead-end trails.

I can tell you from my first-hand experience it is not worth getting too close to a person who has forged their image in order to gain your respect, attention, and trust. Once you have realized that person is not deemed worthy of any more of your time, energy and resources, it is best to just cut your losses and walk away. You will never get closure, and they will make sure of it. The longer you stick around to figure out the real identity, the longer it will take for you to restore your own sanity, correct the damages (if any), and begin to rebuild your life.

Look into the mirror. Take each response and say them out loud to yourself. If the first response in each test makes you feel uncomfortable, remember that feeling the next time someone makes you feel the same way and avoid that person before you end up regretting it. If you are comfortable with saying all of the first responses, check yourself. Something is not right within you…

© 2013 Learus Ohnine