sociopath vs narcissist
Healthy Living

Sociopath Vs Narcissist: Are They Same Or Different?

Do you know what are the perils of talking about mental health today? We all know the terms like sociopaths and narcissists. However, we are far from having any clarity about what the terms actually mean. The sociopath vs narcissist comparison comes from a similar space where we need to recognize the difference between these two mental disorders. 

Let me tell you that these two mental disorders are dangerous and even fatal. A person with these disorders can harm themselves and the people around them. So, awareness is crucial for a person with these traits and everyone who is directly or indirectly associated with them.  

So, it’s important that we know the difference between a narcissist and sociopath and the cases where they can be similar. 

Sociopath Vs Narcissist: A Detailed Overview

Sociopath Vs Narcissist: A Detailed Overview

I will start the sociopath vs narcissist discussion with brief accounts of these two mental disorders separately. I will cover the disorders with their signs and symptoms.  

After that, this sociopath vs. narcissist will focus on the similarities between these two personality disorders. Then, I will talk about the differences. So, let’s begin. 

Who Is A Sociopath?

Who Is A Sociopath?

X struggles to follow the norms and regulations at their workspace. They do not care about what others feel and what hurts the people around them. They even get pleasure in seeing other people in pain.

Further, they are insecure about themselves, and they are always eager to hide their true self from that insecurity.

X is a sociopath. It’s difficult to identify a sociopath. In many cases, they will mislead you with their charming persona. Further, they understand your emotions superficially and only to the extent they can manipulate you.  

Sociopaths have a tough time maintaining a job or relationship for longer. They love to project themselves as rebels.  

Further, though not a thumb rule, many sociopaths take refuge in violent behaviors, words, or actions to turn things in their favor.  

Genetics can be one of the reasons behind this disorder. Further, when a person faces childhood abuse or is neglected as a child, they can develop this condition. Troubled relationships in the family or previous experiences with peers at school, college, or the workplace also can be responsible for sociopathy.  

Did You Know?  

The word sociopath does not refer to any mental condition. There is a term called “antisocial personality disorder.” People with this disorder are known as sociopaths. These people have the tendency to maintain associations for as long as they find beneficial.  

So, after a point in time, they tend to abandon people and their social or professional associations.  

How Will You Recognize A Sociopath?   

As I just mentioned, a sociopath does not initially does not flaunt their true personality. They will pretend to be charming and happy-go-like. They maintain this charade to exploit you for their personal gain. 

However, if you notice a sociopath closely, with time, you will discover the following traits.  

Affinity To Lies  

A sociopath will never think twice before lying to others because of their personal gain. They often fake their personality to appear as a charming and reliable person.  

However, the mask is stripped when there is nothing more to gain from a particular situation or a person.  

Manipulative Behavior  

Sociopaths are manipulative, and they read the emotions of other people only to exploit them. Once they are aware of your emotion, they will use it as a tool to turn things in their favor.  

Lack Of Empathy 

This is one of the most dangerous traits of a sociopath. They do not care about the emotions and conditions of people who are around them. So, if you happen to be in a relationship with such a person, it’s high time you make them attend therapies and seek medical help.  

Otherwise, despite your best efforts, the person will never be able to understand your problems and what is hurting you in the relationship.  

Difficulty In Maintaining Social Norms

Sociopaths are usually reckless in nature. They struggle to follow certain rules or norms. They can even be vocal and violent about bending laws or norms to turn things in their favor.  

Getting Involved In Actions Without Thinking About Consequences

This is a harmful trait of a sociopath. They are impulsive. So, they will get involved in many actions without being careful about the consequences. As a result, many sociopaths get involved in legal cases.  

Violent Behavior And Action

Sociopaths often have anger issues. Also, they cannot control their emotions. So, whenever they find things that are not turning in their favor, they will be violent with their words or actions. 

Hurtful Behaviors To Self And Everyone Around

A sociopath cannot reason their words and actions. So, without even paying heed, they can behave in a way that hurts them and everyone around them. 

A lack of empathy is another reason why a sociopath may be hurtful in their behavior.  

Inability In Planning

Sociopaths cannot plan things as they have a non-commital attitude in general. Also, they cannot understand the cohesion between actions and consequences.  

So, if you set a particular goal for them and ask them to create a plan of action, they will eventually fail.  

Non-Commital Attitude In Personal And Professional Life

Sociopaths see almost every responsibility they have to shoulder as an obligation. They even fail to recognize their financial duties.  

So, there is a sense of detachment in almost every aspect. These are the reasons why sociopaths struggle to continue a relationship or a job for a long time.  

Who Is A Narcissist?

Who Is A Narcissist?

Y always looks for appreciation from others. Also, Y loves power and they can even lie to achieve or maintain a power position.  

Y does not care about what their partner thinks or feels as they are self-absorbed and busy feeding their vanity.  

Now, Y is a narcissist. However, you have to understand that narcissists behave in a certain way because they want to project themselves as perfect. Deep down, they often face conflicts between the actual state and the ideal state they have thought of.  

They can even feel so helpness and vulnerable that they can have suicidal thoughts.  

Narcissism has two main forms, known as vulnerable narcissism and grandiose narcissism. A vulnerable narcissist needs constant admiration and feels hurt when there is a lack of it.  

A grandiose narcissist, on the other hand, will always try to get importance and be the center of attention. Both forms of narcissism derive from a lack of empathy for others.  

Did You Know?

People who have a difficult childhood often develop narcissism. Further, those who have faced frequent rejections in their lives can grow up to be a narcissist.  

However, excessive praise during childhood can also be the reason behind a person being a narcissist.  

In addition, statistics say that 1-15% of the U.S. population can be affected by narcissism.  

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Narcissism?

A narcissistic person is ego-centric and only cares about themselves. Here are some other traits of a person with narcissism. 

Rude Behavior

Narcissistic people want to project themselves as someone superior. So, they become rude in their behavior with others.  

They are so self-absorbed that they do not care about hurting other people with their arrogant behavior and actions.  

Lack Of Empathy

A lack of empathy for others makes it difficult for people to maintain a long-term bond with narcissistic people. They fail to understand the feelings and conditions of other people.  

So, someone who is in a relationship with a narcissist is often hurt the most. The narcissistic partner is never aware of the needs and problems of the other one.  

A Constant Need To Get Admired

Narcissists cannot function without constant admiration. Some of them feel vulnerable when the people around them don’t have words of praise to share. Further, some of them feel that they deserve all the admiration because they are the best.  

A Sense Of Pride And Vanity

A person can think of themselves as omnipotent or omniscient with the development of narcissistic traits. This can be dangerous for them and the people they are closely associated with.  

Love For Power, Money And Wealth

Narcissistic people always crave attention, more power, wealth, and money. Further, when they manage to achieve these things, they think that the people around them are envious of their success.  

These baseless assumptions often trigger rude or hurtful behavior and actions. Also, narcissists love it when people are afraid of them. People scared of them make them feel more powerful. 

Israeli Writer Sam Vaknin said, 

“Hate is the complement of fear and narcissists like being feared. It imbues them with an intoxicating sensation of omnipotence.” 

Manipulative And Exploitative Personality

As narcissists love power, they will manipulate or exploit people and situations to achieve the desired. They don’t care about the feelings or problems of others.  

So, people who have regular interactions with narcissists will feel confused or scared.  

Sociopath Vs Narcissist: What Are The Similarities?

Sociopath Vs Narcissist: What Are The Similarities?

Once you are aware of the traits of these personality disorders, you will find a lot of similarities. Let’s discuss in which way narcissists and sociopaths are similar. 

Both Lack Empathy

Sociopaths and narcissists do not care about what other people feel or what their problems are. They are happy to manipulate people for their personal gain.  

They even do not hesitate to harm other people for their own benefit. So, dealing with a narcissist or a sociopath in personal or professional life becomes very difficult.  

Lack Of Self Control

Sociopaths and narcissists are unable to control their emotions and actions. They also face a lack of clarity in their thought processes.  

So, you will often see these people engaged in impulsive behaviors and actions.  

Charming Personality

People with these personality disorders are extremely manipulative. So, when they want something, they can wear the mask of a charming and charismatic person.  

Mood Disorders

A lack of clarity in thoughts and a constant conflict about the way they want to project themselves often give birth to mood disorders.  

Substance Abuse

To deal with the problem of mood disorders, many people take refuge in substance abuse. The worst thing is that these people get involved in various activities without thinking about the consequences.  

Self-Harming Thoughts

Because of mood disorders and constant substance abuse, many people with narcissism or sociopathy experience self-harming and suicidal thoughts.  

So, these people need immediate medical attention and therapies.  

Sociopath Vs Narcissist: What Are The Differences?

Sociopath Vs Narcissist: What Are The Differences?

Despite a lot of similarities, sociopaths and narcissists are different. Have a close look at the ways these two groups differ. 

Self Projection

A narcissist will always strive to protect them as the best person under the Sun. So, they will avoid activities that will question their reputation. However, a sociopath will never care about their reputation.  

They will continue doing things that will yield their personal benefits.  

Reason Behind Their Behaviors

A narcissist behaves in a certain way because they want to get all the admiration and attention. 

A sociopath, on the other hand, behaves or acts only based on their own interests.  

The Way Of Harming People

Narcissists only care about themselves. So, they will only harm people when there are some obstacles in their way to success. In most cases, the harm caused is unintentional. 

A sociopath will also harm people in the way of achieving their goals. However, they can even hurt people simply to get pleasure.  

Adherence To Norms

Narcissists want to project themselves as the epitome of perfection. So, they will seldom get involved in risky behaviors.  

However, sociopaths do not care about their image. So, they are often caught engaging in illegal activities or breaking norms.  

Narcissistic Sociopath: Can A Person Have Both Disorders?

Narcissistic Sociopath: Can A Person Have Both Disorders?

It’s rare, but a person can have narcissistic sociopath traits. Unfortunately, there is no set rule for diagnosing this personality disorder.  

In such cases, the ones with disorders need to be treated or counseled based on the specific issues they are facing.  

Final Words

I hope this sociopath vs narcissist discussion has been comprehensive enough to help you identify the similarities and differences in these disorders. However, in both disorders, people lack empathy, and they have a tendency to engage in hurtful/harmful behaviors. 

So, if you think someone around you has the same personality traits, convince them to talk to a therapist or psychiatrist.

sibashree bhattacharya
Sibashree has been into SEO and eCommerce content writing for more than 9 years. She loves reading books and is a huge fan of those over-the-top period dramas. Her favorite niches are fashion, lifestyle, beauty, traveling, relationships, women's interests, and movies. The strength of her writing lies in thorough research backing and an understanding of readers’ pain points.

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