I was sitting with my therapist the other day. We were (as usual) discussing my ex and the book I have just
written 'Web of Lies - My Life with a Narcissist.' She made an interesting observation.
She told me that although she's never met my ex, she would describe him as a 'Narcissistic Sociopath'. This
description actually send shivers down my spine. I'm no psychiatrist, but the word 'sociopath' is scary to me. It
conjures up visions of Ted Bundy or Charles Manson. Surely I didn't marry one of those?
My therapist smiled and tried to reassure me. As with all personality disorders, there are varying degrees of
each. And it's perfectly possible for a person to suffer 'complex personality disorders', which to you and me,
means there is an overlapping of disorders.
She got me thinking, so I researched a bit about APD (Antisocial Personality Disorder) and was amazed to
discover the similarity with NPD.
Put the two together, and you surely have a recipe for disaster.
No wonder my shrink can't wait to get her hands on the book!
Profile of a Sociopath
* Glibness and Superficial Charm
* Manipulative and Conning - They never recognize the rights of others and see their
self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing
their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.
* Grandiose Sense of Self - Feels entitled to certain things as "their right."
* Pathological Lying - Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible
for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own
powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.
* Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt - A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed,
is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of
friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let
nothing stand in their way.
* Shallow Emotions - When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it
is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining
unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.
* Incapacity for Love
* Need for Stimulation - Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are
normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.
* Callousness/Lack of Empathy - Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having
only contempt for others' feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.
* Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature - Rage and abuse, alternating with small
expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness
in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries,
no concern for their impact on others.
* Early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency - Usually has a history of behavioral and
academic difficulties, yet "gets by" by conning others. Problems in making and keeping friends; aberrant behaviors
such as cruelty to people or animals, stealing, etc.
* Irresponsibility/Unreliability - Not concerned about wrecking others' lives and dreams.
Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even
for acts they obviously committed.
* Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity - Promiscuity, child sexual abuse, rape and
sexual acting out of all sorts.
* Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle - Tends to move around a lot or makes
all encompassing promises for the future, poor work ethic but exploits others effectively.
* Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility - Changes their image as needed to avoid
prosecution. Changes life story readily.
Other Related Qualities:
- Contemptuous of those who seek to understand them
- Does not perceive that anything is wrong with them
- Only rarely in difficulty with the law, but seeks out situations where their tyrannical behavior will be
tolerated, condoned, or admired
- Conventional appearance
- Goal of enslavement of their victim(s)
- Exercises despotic control over every aspect of the victim's life
- Has an emotional need to justify their crimes and therefore needs their victim's affirmation (respect,
gratitude and love)
- Ultimate goal is the creation of a willing victim
- Incapable of real human attachment to another
- Unable to feel remorse or guilt
- Extreme narcissism and grandiose
- May state readily that their goal is to rule the world
(The above traits are based on the psychopathy checklists of H. Cleckley and R. Hare.)
Sarah Tate - Author of Web of Lies Read more of her articles here