A recent conversation with a benefactor and Patreon supporter about Narcissism, Sociopath and Psychopath behaviours moved me to write a series of blogs on the topic this is the first one and I hope it brings you back for the others.
I have been seeing more and more talk about narcissism, sociopath and psychopathy over the last few years. It seems everyone who has ever dated seems to have found one of these wonderful humans who is devoid from all emotional connection and only cares about themselves. The interesting fact here is the actual percentage of people truly impacted by this is 5% or less, only 1% of the population is a psychopath, and 4% is a sociopath and a high percentage of these are in jail. Narcissism holds the highest at about 6% of the population.
First with the number of people claiming to have dated, known or been in some form of relationship with a narcissist, sociopath or psychopath seems to be growing daily. I want you to think about a simple question (especially if you have been in multiple relationships with them). What makes me a perfect target/match for these types of individuals? I will answer this question as best I can in future blogs. However, one answer is they saw your vulnerabilities and they capitalized.
Before moving on I want to add a few caveats. 1) Just because you have read this, read an article or read a book on any of these traits does not mean you can diagnose someone. Diagnosing someone takes specialized testing and training. 2) I am writing this for simplicity and ease of understanding this writing and future writing can be used as reference but you may require further research on certain things. 3) I have read and studied these in some great detail but I am not a trained expert in testing or diagnosing. 4) Only trained experts should diagnose someone. (I know I said that earlier, however, it can not be stressed enough.)
I want to look at all the traits these three types of people have. That way you and I are working from very similar understandings.
Narcissism impacts 6% of the population and there is some discussion that with the increase of social media it is growing. One thing we need to understand we are all narcissists in some form or fashion. Narcissism is on a spectrum and we are all on that spectrum. Some small level of narcissism is good, but it can be displayed poorly. Let’s look at the traits that make up a narcissist, they are not in any order or order of significance. These are the 9 criteria from psychology today that are typically used to classify a true narcissist.
- A grandiose sense of self-importance.
- Someone who is preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, beauty, intelligence or ideal romance.
- Believes they are special and can only be understood by other special people or institutions
- Requires constant attention and admiration from others.
- Has an unreasonable expectation of favourable treatment.
- Takes advantage of others to reach their own goals.
- Disregards feelings of others, lacks empathy.
- Is often envious of others or, feels others are envious of them.
- Shows arrogant behaviours and attitudes.
In each of these cases the person will show extremes in these behaviours. As you can read there may be times when we fall into this area. I think we all dream of being successful, it’s just most of us are not willing to sacrifice people to get there.
Sociopath and Psychopathy: I am putting both of these together as the difference is so minor and showing the differences is easier than listing the same traits twice. Also under the DSM 5 both of these names have been removed in favour of a singular term “Antisocial Personality Disorder”. This is one change in the DSM 5 that actually makes sense to me. This list is not directly from the DSM 5 and again is not put in any order.
- Superficial charm and good intelligence (High Intelligence would classify mostly to Psychopaths)
- Absence of delusions and other signs of irrational thinking
- Absence of nervousness or neurotic manifestations (Psychopathy)
- Unreliability (Sociopath)
- Untruthfulness and insincerity
- Lack of remorse andshame
- Inadequately motivated antisocial behaviour
- Poor judgment and failure to learn by experience (Sociopath)
- Pathologic egocentricity and incapacity forlove
- General poverty in major affective reactions (Does not have
- Specific loss of insight
- Unresponsiveness in general interpersonal relations (Zero emotional understanding)
- Fantastic and uninviting behaviour with alcohol and sometimes without
- Suicidethreats rarely carried out (from my reading, this was a sociopath only)
- Sexlife impersonal, trivial, and poorly integrated
- Failure to follow any life plan (Sociopath)
- Failure to accept any responsibility (Ever, even when caught it’s always someone else’s fault)
Sociopaths can form some emotional attachments usually to an individual and in some cases to a group or unit they belong to (Family). They will be limited and generally they will always struggle with emotional attachments. Sociopaths can be nervous and easily agitated they will give into impulses and can be seen if fits of uncontrolled rage. Sociopaths will more likely be seen as erratic and disturbed.
Psychopaths cannot form any emotional relationship, they do not understand attachments, and they do not feel emotions at all. However, they do learn to mimic emotions but only at a surface level. They can be seen as being driven, they can hold down jobs, they have disarming and charming personalities. Psychopaths are often well educated and appear normal to unsuspecting people.
Both require constant stimuli, they do not like the day to day or boredom at all. Both break the rules and feel that rules do not apply to them. Relationships can be seen as fast (multiple in numbers) and intense with either a sociopath or psychopath with extreme highs and in the end destructive lows.
Now there is no doubt that these types of disorders are highly destructive. Also anyone who has been caught in the web of people intent on doing them harm, I am sorry you did not deserve that.
There are some cases that I have seen where behaviours or traits that are listed above can be seen when someone does not fall into one of these categories. The first being an addict, yes their addiction behaviour is also destructive to people and once in recovery these traits will subside, or a person who was abused or emotionally manipulated as a child. They do not know any other way but once they receive help the behaviour changes.
Of the three personalities I would say that we come across narcissists way more. I have met plenty of people who show the extremes in this behaviour. As for Psychopaths I can think of coming across two (undiagnosed psychopaths) in my life, the first one gave me the chills in the first 5 minutes of meeting him, I wanted nothing to do with him and stayed clear after the initial meeting. The second slipped under my radar for a month but, an amazing person in my life pointed out some traits and I am grateful as I missed every sign, and because I missed these signs they had me as a target. If they had not pointed them out I can only imagine how long I would have stayed blind and the damage that would have been done. Sociopaths, well until I started doing the research these words were interchangeable so I will have to think on that one.
Watch for my next writing When a Narcissist, Sociopath, and Psychopath is Not One at all.
With Love, Respect and Admiration
Keep Chasing Those Cars…..
P.S. If you like what you read and want early access consider supporting my work through http://www.patreon.com/stevenarchambault