What’s the Difference Between a Narcissistic Sociopath and a Sociopath?
Although they may exhibit many of the same characteristics, there are some behaviors that are specific to either a narcissist or a narcissistic sociopath independently.
- Criminal behavior – Sociopaths often act with erratic, disorganized behavior and have no concern for upholding the law or honoring authority. Their impulsive behavior and lack of organization makes them more likely to be apprehended when they break the law. Narcissistic sociopaths generally do not intentionally harm others or commit serious crimes. Although they have some characteristics of sociopaths, remember the narcissistic side of their personality cares what others think and wants to be held in high regard, which does not go along well with criminal behavior. Usually the only time a narcissistic sociopath becomes aggressive is when they feel psychologically attacked.
- What they say reveals a lot – Sociopaths specialize in manipulation. To be an effective manipulator, a sociopath must focus on an intended target/victim. Therefore, their conversation will not likely be self-centered. A narcissistic sociopath, on the other hand, usually exhibits more of the self-centered behavior associated with narcissism. They appear to focus on others, but it is usually the means to an end that is working something in their own favor.
- Are they aware of their behaviors? – Sociopaths are more likely to be aware of their behavior and to act in a calculated manner. They generally like to plan their actions well so that they can manipulate a situation if needed. A narcissistic sociopath may be less aware than a sociopath that his behavior is inappropriate or offensive. This is largely in part because a narcissist often sees nothing wrong with his or her behavior and usually considers those who don’t understand them to be the one with the problem.
- Winning and losing – Narcissistic sociopaths aren’t usually bothered about winning or losing. They are more concerned about others admiring them. If “taking a loss” puts them in the spotlight, they are willing to take one. For sociopaths, it’s all a game, and they typically only care about winning against others.
- Awareness of the effect on others – Narcissistic sociopaths may not always aware of the effect that they have on others or how annoyed others get because of them. However, don’t underestimate them; if they find you to be a threat to them, they will act out. A sociopath, on the other hand, is utterly aware of the effect that they have on others but generally have no concern with how others feel.