10 Signs of a Narcissistic Sociopath (2022)

Published: November 16, 2021 Updated: June 17, 2022

Published: 11/16/2021 Updated: 06/17/2022

Written by:

Hailey Shafir

LPCS, LCAS, CCS

Reviewed by:

Rajy Abulhosn

MD

A narcissistic sociopath describes a dangerous person who demonstrates traits and symptoms of both narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and antisocial personality disorder (APD). They derive satisfaction from manipulating, deceiving, using, and abusing others in order to get what they want.1,2,3 They may use charm, charisma, humor, or other disguises to get people to like and trust them, making it harder to detect their narcissistic and sociopathic traits.4

Therapy can help you recover from narcissistic abuse. BetterHelp has over 20,000 licensed therapists who provide convenient and affordable online therapy. BetterHelp starts at $60 per week. Complete abrief questionnaire and get matched with the right therapist for you.

Choosing Therapy partners with leading mental health companies and is compensated for referrals by BetterHelp

Visit BetterHelp

Characteristics of a Narcissistic Sociopath

A narcissistic sociopath is a person who displays both narcissistic and antisocial personality traits. NPD is characterized as a grandiose sense of self-importance, attitude of entitlement or arrogance, and an excessive need for external validation. The symptoms of ASD include impulsivity, aggression, and a total disregard for rules, laws, and social norms.5

A narcissistic sociopath (also called a narcopath or malignant narcissist) has both disorders and is considered one of the most dangerous and psychologically disturbed kinds of people.1,2,3 Their complete lack of empathy or regard for the feelings or needs of other people makes them much more likely to act out behaviors that most people would consider wrong, bad, or even evil.4

Unlike classic narcissists, sociopathic narcissists are not only driven by their own self-interest. Some experts believe that narcissistic sociopaths are sadistic, and derive pleasure or satisfaction from the suffering of other people.1,2 This makes them less predictable and also more dangerous than classic narcissists, as they may deceive, exploit, or harm someone even when there is nothing for them to “gain” from doing so.

Differences Between Narcissists & Sociopaths

Narcissists and sociopaths have distinct differences. Narcissists are people who have narcissistic personality disorder. Someone with NPD has an inflated, grandiose, or arrogant view of themselves, and demonstrates this in how they interact with others.5 They are primarily driven by a need for external validation, which they might seek out in the form of praise, power, success, or attention from others.6

A sociopath is a term used to describe someone with antisocial personality disorder. A person with APD is often described as emotionless, detached, or cold, and is either unable or unwilling to consider the feelings or needs of other people. They tend to be driven by impulses, destructive urges, and in some instances, a desire to harm others.

(Video) 7 Signs Someone Is A Sociopath

10 Signs of a Narcissistic Sociopath

In order to be classified as a narcopath, malignant narcissist, or narcissistic sociopath, a person has to display several traits of both NPD and APD. Some of these signs include delusions, an obsession with power and control, taking advantage of others, and no moral boundaries.

Here are ten signs of a narcissistic sociopath:

1. They Live In a Deluded Reality

Narcissistic sociopaths don’t see the world in the same way other people do. In their distorted version of reality, they are entitled to whatever they want, regardless of what it takes to get it or who is hurt in the process.4 They will justify their actions, even ones that are inexcusable, and show no remorse.

Their narcissism may also lead them to develop delusions of grandeur about being important, special, or exceptional in some way, or paranoid delusions that others are out to get them.1,2

2. They Are Obsessed With Power & Control

People with NPD and ADP are often power hungry, and put a lot of time and effort into acquiring positions that give them power or control over other people, bowling over anyone who gets in their way. Once they obtain power, they may demand to be addressed in a certain way or make others follow rules that don’t make sense.

Their obsession with power and control also tends to show up as a refusal to acknowledge any other authority, including rules, laws, policies, or requests made of them by others.4

3. They Take Advantage of & Use Other People

Narcissistic sociopaths have a habit of using, exploiting, and taking advantage of others. This tendency shows up in all of their relationships, including romantic relationships and any friendships or family relationships they’ve been able to maintain. They seek out codependent, nurturing types who are more easily manipulated and controlled through guilt, shame, or fear, and will hold onto these relationships only as long as the person is “useful.”4

4. They Have No Moral Boundaries

There are no lines a narcissistic sociopath won’t cross to get what they want. Their moral compass is non-existent, leaving them without the sense of “right and wrong” that most people have. After doing something harmful, illegal, or sadistic, they won’t feel remorse, regret, or guilt. In fact, they may even feel a sense of satisfaction knowing they were able to deceive, emotionally manipulate, or hurt someone.1,3,4

5. They Have a Limited Range of Emotions

Malignant narcissists don’t experience feelings of love and affection, or more vulnerable emotions like guilt, shame, or sadness. The only strong emotion they seem to be able to access is anger, which will show up as outrage when they’re slighted, offended, or not granted something they feel they deserve.4

Their stunted emotional range also keeps them from being able to have empathy for other people, and may also lead them to destructive behaviors that allow them to feel something.1,3

6. They Have a Huge Discard Pile

Narcissistic sociopaths are known to discard people and things that are no longer useful to them. Over time, their discard pile stacks up and may include former friends, lovers, colleagues, and mentors who they betrayed, abandoned, or abused. Their discard pile may also include expensive material things they got bored or tired of, as well as roles or activities that served a purpose at one time, but are no longer useful to them.4

7. They Become Hostile When Threatened

Narcissistic sociopaths are most dangerous when they feel threatened, which may be more often than most people. Because of their natural tendency to be paranoid, less trusting, and more easily offended, threats can be a routine occurrence for them. When they feel threatened, the narcopath will often become hostile and aggressive, lashing out and becoming abusive towards others.1,2,4

8. They Feed Off of Negative Energy

The narcissistic sociopath is a person who feeds off of negative emotions and energy. There is something about drama, other’s fear or pain, or the chaos of disaster that seems to excite them or give them energy. This kind of parasitic attraction to negativity is a telltale sign of a sick person, including a person who may have traits of NPD and APD.

(Video) The 5 Signs Someone Has Suffered Narcissistic Abuse

This behavior is also what makes a sociopathic narcissist sadistic and dangerous, causing them to enjoy the pain and suffering of others.1

9. They Get Bored Easily

A narcissistic sociopath is constantly seeking sensations and cheap thrills because nothing can hold their interest and attention for long. They become easily bored with people, things, and activities, and will abandon them once they are no longer entertained.

Their boredom can also turn into a restlessness that causes them to find destructive outlets, which is why people with these traits tend to be impulsive, aggressive, and engaged in crime, violence, or drug use.1,4

10. They Are Empty Inside

A narcissistic sociopath may have worked hard to craft a powerful, important-looking exterior, but this is a front. Lacking the ability to feel a full range of emotions makes them hollow and empty on the inside, keeping them from really experiencing things, expressing themselves, or connecting and relating with others.3

This internal emptiness is what they’re trying to hide from others with their narcissism, and also what they’re trying to escape within themselves by using drugs or maintaining a level of entertainment, power, or destruction.

Narcissist Abuse Support Groups

Circles offers support groups which meet weekly by video. Support groups provide a safe place to share your experiences, and learn from others going through similar experiences. Circles offers groups focused on specific relationships, like narcissistic parents or narcissistic romantic relationships. Join a Circles group for just $20 per week. Learn More

Choosing Therapy partners with leading mental health & wellness companies and is compensated for referrals by the company mentioned above.

How to Deal With a Narcissistic Sociopath

While no person is beyond hope, a person with narcissistic and antisocial personality disorder is unlikely to change. Narcissistic sociopaths can be dangerous, abusive, or violent, and should be avoided if possible. They’re most likely to become dangerous when you upset them, offend them, or fail to meet an expectation they have, but they can also be unpredictable and impulsive.1

Some narcissistic sociopaths are even sadistic and enjoy inflicting pain, which displays a level of brokenness that even therapy may not be able to correct.1,3,4 For these reasons, most experts recommend that you not get into a relationship with someone who has these traits, and to leave a relationship if you see these signs. If that’s not an option, start by learning how to deal with a narcissist, protect yourself, and behave in ways that are less likely to make you their target.

When & How a Therapist Can Help

Therapy can help you overcome a range of issues, including helping you recover from narcissistic abuse, but it cannot change the narcissistic sociopath in your life. People with this combination of personality disorders are usually unable to empathize and aren’t motivated by the same drives as others. Instead, they’re driven by self-interest, power, impulses, and in some cases, a sick need to hurt or control.1,3,4

If you want therapy to heal from abuse from a narcissistic sociopath, seek out a therapist who is knowledgeable about NPD, APD, and narcissistic abuse. Finding a therapist who is trauma-informed is also recommended. They can help you overcome common impacts of narcissistic abuse including shame, guilt, self-doubt, and codependence. Begin your search on a free online therapist directory.

Final Thoughts on Narcissistic Sociopaths

Narcissistic sociopaths are people who demonstrate traits of both narcissistic and antisocial personality disorders. People with this combination of traits and tendencies lack empathy and often behave in ways that are abusive or exploitative.1,3 Knowing the signs of a narcissistic sociopath can help you identify people with these dangerous traits so you can avoid interactions and protect yourself from their destructive impulses.

Additional Resources

Education is just the first step on our path to improved mental health and emotional wellness. To help our readers take the next step in their journey, Choosing Therapy has partnered with leaders in mental health and wellness. Choosing Therapy may be compensated for referrals by the companies mentioned below.

Narcissist Abuse Support GroupsCircles offers support groups that provide a safe place to share your experiences and learn from others going through similar experiences. Groups bring together people based on their relationship with the narcissist, like those who have been involved in a romantic relationship with a narcissist. Groups meet weekly by video and are led by expert facilitators. Learn More

BetterHelp (Online Therapy)BetterHelp has over 20,000 licensed therapists who provide convenient and affordable online therapy. BetterHelp starts at $60 per week. Complete a brief questionnaire and get matched with the right therapist for you. Get Started

Online-Therapy.com – The Online-Therapy.com standard plan includes a weekly 45 minute video session, unlimited text messaging between sessions, and self-guided activities like journaling. Recently, they added Yoga videos. Get Started

Headspace (Meditation App)Headspace is the leading mindfulness and meditation app with over 70 million members. Headspace offers guidance and exercises for all skill levels, including beginners. Free Trial

Choosing Therapy’s DirectoryFind an experienced therapist who is committed to your wellbeing. You can search for a therapist by specialty, availability, insurance, and affordability. Therapist profiles and introductory videos provide insight into the therapist’s personality so you find the right fit. Find a therapist today.

Choosing Therapy partners with leading mental health companies and is compensated for referrals by Circles, BetterHelp, Online-Therapy.com, and Headspace

(Video) 10 Signs of Narcissistic Victim Syndrome

For Further Reading

6 sources

Choosing Therapy strives to provide our readers with mental health content that is accurate and actionable. We have high standards for what can be cited within our articles. Acceptable sources include government agencies, universities and colleges, scholarly journals, industry and professional associations, and other high-integrity sources of mental health journalism. Learn more by reviewing our full editorial policy.

FAQs

How can you tell if someone is a narcissistic sociopath? ›

They may have trouble handling criticism, stress, and change, and easily become impatient or angry if they don't think they are being treated correctly. They have trouble regulating their behavior and emotions, feel easily slighted, and may have relationship problems.

What creates a narcissistic sociopath? ›

Although the cause of narcissistic personality disorder isn't known, some researchers think that in biologically vulnerable children, parenting styles that are overprotective or neglectful may have an impact. Genetics and neurobiology also may play a role in development of narcissistic personality disorder.

Can a narcissistic sociopath fall in love? ›

Sociopaths can appear to be in love

“It's common when a sociopath enters into a relationship to behave very lovingly or otherwise affectionately toward their partner—at least at the beginning.”

Can a sociopath also be a narcissist? ›

Though sociopaths may be narcissistic, not all narcissistic people can qualify as sociopaths. Both personalities may be calculating, but a sociopath may rank higher.

What does a sociopath want? ›

Sociopaths usually form relationships with people in order to get what they want — be it power, sex, money, status, and so on. "They have little capacity for intimacy, mutuality, and reciprocity in a close relationship," Dr. Durvasula says. So it's very common for them to keep score in their relationships.

How do you treat a narcissistic sociopath? ›

Treatment for narcissistic personality disorder is talk therapy (psychotherapy). Medications may be included in your treatment if you have other mental health conditions.

What kind of childhood does a narcissist have? ›

The development of narcissistic traits is in many cases, a consequence of neglect or excessive appraisal. In some cases, this pathological self-structure arises under childhood conditions of inadequate warmth, approval and excessive idealization, where parents do not see or accept the child as they are.

What makes a narcissist happy? ›

For a narcissist to be happy, you'll always have to accept their version of events as the truth. Otherwise, you'll be on the receiving end of their narcissistic rage. Even if you do everything they ask, a narcissist will still try and undermine you at every opportunity.

Do sociopaths love their children? ›

According to Perpetua Neo, a psychologist and therapist who specializes in people with DTP traits, the answer is no. "Narcissists, psychopaths, and sociopaths do not have a sense of empathy," she told Business Insider. "They do not and will not develop a sense of empathy, so they can never really love anyone."

Do sociopaths get jealous? ›

Sociopaths often have a few people around who like them and applaud them. The sociopath might be using them for favors, money, for attention or… To make you jealous and increase their appeal.

Can sociopaths feel anger? ›

Sociopaths experience anxiety and find rage far harder to control. They may act without thought and, as a result, they may have a harder time blending in.

Do sociopath hold grudges? ›

They appear to be incapable of any true emotions, from love to shame to guilt. They are quick to anger, but just as quick to let it go, without holding grudges. No matter what emotion they state they have, it has no bearing on their future actions or attitudes.

How do I talk to a narcissistic sociopath? ›

Avoid feeding their ego or making them feel superior.

Avoid telling the narcissistic that they're the "best" in any area or you'll inflate their ego. Even if you don't give compliments, try not to provide a lot of critiques, either. Sociopaths frequently lash out and may respond badly to negativity.

What does a female narcissist look like? ›

The bottom line.

While male narcissists might be more outwardly recognizable, female narcissists do exist. They tend to be more manipulative socially and can be just as vindictive as a male narcissist. They tend to play the victim, be overly jealous and competitive, superficial, and overbearing.

What are the 7 symptoms of a sociopath? ›

What are the traits of sociopathy?
  • Not understanding the difference between right and wrong.
  • Not respecting the feelings and emotions of others.
  • Constant lying or deception.
  • Being callous.
  • Difficulty recognizing emotion.
  • Manipulation.
  • Arrogance.
  • Violating the rights of others through dishonest actions.
10 Sept 2021

What makes a sociopath fall in love? ›

When love is said easily by the lips but not felt by the heart, sociopaths can love. When love is a feeling of fascination or power rather than an emotion, sociopaths can love. When love is a shallow lie told for personal gain rather than an expression of connection, sociopaths can love.

Do sociopaths ever feel happy? ›

In fact, a sociopath can sometimes be happy when others simply can't, because they don't have feelings of remorse or guilt. What is this? These particular emotions usually don't make us feel happy right away. So in theory, the complete lack of these emotions can result in more happiness.

How do you shut down a narcissist? ›

The following are 16 key phrases to disarm a narcissist:
  1. 1. “ ...
  2. “I Can't Control How You Feel About Me” ...
  3. “I Hear What You're Saying” ...
  4. “I'm Sorry You Feel That Way” ...
  5. “Everything Is Okay” ...
  6. “We Both Have a Right to Our Own Opinions” ...
  7. “I Can Accept How You Feel” ...
  8. “I Don't Like How You're Speaking to Me so I Will not Engage”
28 Dec 2021

How does a narc react when you no longer care? ›

Since narcissists require almost constant admiration, validation and even blind obedience in some cases – when you don't give them attention, they'll often become quite brittle – reacting in a variety of negative ways including rage, petulance, insults, and may even try to undermine you in other sectors of your life ( ...

How do you love a narcissistic sociopath? ›

Loving a narcissist can be rewarding as well as difficult. These ideas can help.
  1. Listen to yourself—carefully. ...
  2. Do a self-inventory. ...
  3. Reinforce positive behavior. ...
  4. Practice mindfulness yourself and bring it into your relationship. ...
  5. Be realistic. ...
  6. Be honest with yourself.
12 Nov 2017

What is the emotional age of a narcissist? ›

According to Thomaes & Brummelman, the development of narcissism begins at around the ages of 7 or 8. This is the time when children begin to evaluate themselves according to how they perceive others.

How do narcissists treat their family? ›

In many families, a narcissistic sibling or child slowly takes over by demanding the most attention and loyalty, insulting everyone (even parents), violating the family's rules, and manipulating its decision-making.

Do narcissists care about family? ›

Indeed, narcissists love the idea of family. They love knowing that they have a reliable support system. They also love knowing that they have people who will enable and even embrace their selfish behavior.

Are narcissists greedy with money? ›

They are punitive with money. Narcissists often use money as a tool for punishment. They may reward you financially when you do what they want, and then withhold money when they feel vindictive. This can feel unsafe, degrading and confusing.

Can a narcissist be happy alone? ›

Some narcissists may be very happy with themselves, happy with their lives, happy with their relationships, and may feel content. Narcissists in this category tend to look on the bright side, focus on everything being good, and honestly may not even acknowledge that there is bad stuff going on in the world.

What a narcissist hates the most? ›

The thing that narcissists hate the most is when their fears of inadequacy are triggered by narcissistic injuries, disappointment, rejection, or even feedback and/or criticism.

What is the best way to outsmart a narcissist? ›

How to Outsmart a Narcissist
  1. Separate yourself to cut off their narcissistic supply.
  2. Take time to heal.
  3. Take responsibility for your part in a conflict.
  4. React with empathy and respect.
  5. Act unresponsive around them.
  6. Disengage from their conversations.
  7. Set and enforce clear boundaries.

What are narcissist weaknesses? ›

A very obvious weakness of the narcissist is their inability to self-reflect and self-analyze. In fact, they're incapable of looking within to understand themselves. They usually use a number of defense mechanisms when it comes to accepting their many insecurities.

What's the difference between a sociopath and a narcissist? ›

Both conditions involve a lack of empathy for the needs and experiences of others. However, sociopaths are often more interested in increasing power and control over others, while narcissists are primarily interested in being admired and seen as superior.

What can be confused with narcissism? ›

Based on overlapping symptoms, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) are often mistaken for one another. The two personality disorders even have a rate of co-occurrence of about 25 percent, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

What are the 12 signs of narcissism? ›

12 signs of narcissism
  • Superiority and entitlement. The world of the narcissist is all about good-bad, superior-inferior, and right-wrong. ...
  • Exaggerated need for attention and validation. ...
  • Lack of responsibility—blaming and deflecting. ...
  • Lack of boundaries. ...
  • Lack of empathy. ...
  • Emotional reasoning. ...
  • Splitting. ...
  • Fear.
24 Nov 2018

What are the 4 types of narcissism? ›

Experts work with five main types of narcissism: overt, covert, communal, antagonistic, and malignant narcissism.

Do sociopath hold grudges? ›

They appear to be incapable of any true emotions, from love to shame to guilt. They are quick to anger, but just as quick to let it go, without holding grudges. No matter what emotion they state they have, it has no bearing on their future actions or attitudes.

What makes a narcissist happy? ›

For a narcissist to be happy, you'll always have to accept their version of events as the truth. Otherwise, you'll be on the receiving end of their narcissistic rage. Even if you do everything they ask, a narcissist will still try and undermine you at every opportunity.

What is a Narcopath? ›

Narcopath, also known as a narcissist sociopath, is a person suffering from a mental health condition wherein they reflect sadistic, evil, and manipulative tendencies.

What do narcissists say in an argument? ›

It's not my fault, it's because of you/money/stress/work.” “If you wouldn't have done this, I wouldn't have done that.” “You knew what you were getting into; this is just the way that I am.”

How do victims of narcissists behave? ›

Often, victims of narcissistic abuse spend time thinking about and hearing their abuser's voice in their heads, reminding them of all the insults. This lowers their self-esteem and sometimes results in self-sabotage. If you don't get help soon, the abuser would even lead you to commit suicide.

Do narcissists have friends? ›

Narcissists don't have actual friends. They surround themselves with acquaintances (or a posse) that they refer to as “friends”.

Videos

1. 10 Things A Narcissist Would Say
(Psych2Go)
2. 9 Signs Someone is a Narcissist
(Psych2Go)
3. Narcissism? Borderline Personality Disorder? This May Imitate Both...
(MedCircle)
4. 6 Signs of a Narcissistic Sociopath and How To Spot One If They're Around
(BehindTheScience)
5. Sociopath vs Narcissist: What's the Difference?
(Psych2Go)
6. These Are the Signs Someone Was Raised By a Narcissist
(MedCircle)

Top Articles

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Chrissy Homenick

Last Updated: 01/08/2023

Views: 6584

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (54 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Chrissy Homenick

Birthday: 2001-10-22

Address: 611 Kuhn Oval, Feltonbury, NY 02783-3818

Phone: +96619177651654

Job: Mining Representative

Hobby: amateur radio, Sculling, Knife making, Gardening, Watching movies, Gunsmithing, Video gaming

Introduction: My name is Chrissy Homenick, I am a tender, funny, determined, tender, glorious, fancy, enthusiastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.