Mental Health

Narcissistic sociopaths. How can you recognize them?

narcissistic sociopath Posted On
Posted By Alex Perez - Mental Health Writer, B.A.

Narcissistic sociopaths can often make you feel drained. You’re not sure why but you always feel exhausted in the relationship. Narcissistic sociopaths have only one concern: themselves. Every move they make and everything they put energy into is only to nourish their own image and desires.

Sometimes they don’t really realize they are doing it. And sometimes it’s because they haven’t recovered their own past traumas and like broken glass, they inflict wounds on others as they live their lives.

If you’re wondering if you’re living with a narcissistic sociopath, here are some tell-tale signs:

narcissistic sociopath recognize
  • You feel loved yet very confused when big topics in the relationships arise. You feel ashamed for feeling love for the person.
  • You feel like they don’t really know you as a person. Narcissistic sociopaths are not interested in what makes you happy or what kind of things you enjoy.
  • They may buy you beautiful gifts but are unable to really know what you want.
  • When there is a disagreement in the relationship, they make you feel very guilty and ashamed instead of trying to find a common solution and understand how both parties can be more cooperative towards a common goal.
  • Narcissistic sociopaths use words like “oversensitive”, “dramatic”, “crazy”, “losing it” to describe you when you bring up something that bothers you.
  • They often say they don’t remember when you discuss something that hurt you badly. That makes you question your reality.
  • You always feel like you are chasing their love and approval.
  • The amount of lies can be overwhelming. You are tired of believing what a narcissistic sociopath says and seeing them do the opposite.

What do you do if you realize you’re living with a narcissistic sociopath?

narcissistic sociopath leaving

Well, first we have to acknowledge that it is a huge milestone that you are able to recognize they are a narcissistic sociopath and that you are a victim of narcissistic abuse. This is a point many people have yet to arrive in their relationships and labeling it means that your healing can begin.

Second, realize that they have been this way since the very beginning of the relationship. Perhaps they had groomed you to believe otherwise until they showed their true colors. But whether it was obvious or not, your partner was a narcissistic sociopath today and on the day you met them. It is not your fault. You did not cause them to behave this way.

Third, for the whole relationship you felt like the inferior one, now it is time to give yourself the love you deserve. Though you may genuinely love your partner, you are your own individual. Learn to trust yourself, learn to practice self-love, make time for the things that bring you joy. There might be pushback from your narcissistic partner, who is not used to seeing you self-validated. But recognize that you deserve this for your own well-being.

Whether you decide to stay in the relationship or not, living with a narcissistic sociopath means you need to set your own boundaries. And distinguish the differences between their behavior and the way you feel and live in your own life.

Recognize a narcissistic sociopath
Infographic: How to Recognize a Narcissistic Sociopath

Interesting Questions and Answers about Narcissism

narcissist bird cage
Break free from the influence of a narcissist

What are the red flags of a narcissist?

  • Severe envy
  • Arrogance
  • Distorting the truth
  • Little to no sense of humor
  • Bragging
  • Stands in the way of your goals
  • Has almost no friends

*In romantic relationships, you can also add love bombing and gaslighting

Are narcissists evil?

Not all narcissists are cruel, but all narcissists are malevolent. Narcissists inherently lack empathy and will always stand in the way of your goals because their goal is to submit you to their will by manipulation. They will break your self-esteem and isolate you from your loved-ones.

Who does a narcissist marry?

Narcissists have an avoidant attachment style, and they will naturally feel attracted by persons with an anxious attachment that are insecure and in need of constant approval. These type of personalities are the easiest to manipulate for a narcissist.

Do narcissists have a lot of friends?

For the outside world a narcissist seems to be very social, but once you know the narcissist you’ll notice that he actually has no friends at all. The narcissist only surrounds himself by people that he can use and manipulate to feel better about himself.

How does a narcissist treat his mother?

A narcissist has no empathy and will therefore never be grateful towards their mother. Narcissists were ungrateful children that grew up to be unsatisfied adults. In general, they try to grab all the attention by manipulating their parents and letting them feel guilty about all kind of problems that they create.

How do you make a narcissist miserable?

A narcissist will feel miserable if he notices that you start having your own life and that you don’t need him anymore. There is nothing worse for a narcissist than not to be the center of attention any longer.

Are narcissists intelligent?

Narcissists will always think that they are more intelligent than other people, but that doesn’t necessarily make them more intelligent. In reality, a narcissist is not more intelligent than the average person.

What is the most extreme form of narcissism?

The most extreme form of narcissism is malignant narcissism. In this personality type, extreme self-centredness is combined with aggressive and abusive behavior. You recognize them by their lack of self-control and moderation, the fact that they feel no remorse, and their superficiality.

What do narcissists fear the most?

Believe it or not, but the greatest fear of a narcissist is abandonment. Actually, narcissism is not a feeling of superiority but a feeling of inferiority that is translated by toxic compensatory behaviors. If you leave a narcissist, this will be a failure for them because they will have failed to manipulate you, and they stopped being the center of attention.

Does narcissism worsen with age?

Recent studies showed that narcissism, sociopathy, and psychopathy worsen with age, especially after age fifty. Their toxic and destructive behavior will accentuate over time because their sense of control will diminish, which they will try to compensate.

How does a narcissist react when they can’t control you?

Narcissists will use the following tactics to try to regain control:

  • Respond passive-agressively
  • Ignore you, this can evolve into stalking over time if you leave
  • Talk bad about you behind your back
  • Try to ruin your new projects
  • Humiliate and belittle you
  • Make you feel guilty
  • Threaten you

* They will be angry, so don’t exclude violence

Interesting Questions and Answers about Sociopathy

sociopath dog leash
Wondering why the favourite animal of sociopaths is the dog?

Do sociopaths gaslight?

Sociopaths have a manipulative personality type. People with dealing with antisocial personality disorder are likely to use manipulative techniques like gaslighting to weaken you. The goal is to make you unable to fight back and ultimately fall prey to them.

What makes a sociopath happy?

Sociopaths are very similar to the villains that we see on television. If you combine a weak sense of empathy with the inability to find pleasure in the small things in life, this will lead to a miserable life. So, in order to feel less miserable, they will find happiness in making your life even more miserable. The sociopath will feel better of this way, not caring about the consequences.

Do sociopaths feel love?

Sociopaths love their own way, in other words, they love with limited emotions. But, because they lived an entire life being aware of their difference, they became masters at faking the emotions they lack. So, you will think the sociopath loves you back like you love him, and unfortunately that will never be the case, always resulting in you ending up hurt and he feeling no remorse.

Do sociopaths love animals?

Sociopaths love the vulnerable and obedient characteristics of animals. They specially love dogs for their loyalty. But because a sociopath has very little empathy, it will be difficult for him to pet an animal, often leading to cruelty. Knowing this, the right answer would be that in theory sociopaths, as their empathy is repressed, can love animals, unlike psychopaths who lack any form of empathy.

Do sociopaths like to argue?

Sociopaths love to argue, by arguing you will stir up their anger and comfort them in their view that it is them against the hostile world. As a sociopath will not know when to stop and will have no consideration for your feelings at all, he will likely feel great joy while crushing you in arguments. It’s like fighting an uneven battle.

Can sociopaths be nice?

Of course, they can. Being nice forms part of the very best manipulation techniques like love bombing. If the question is if sociopaths can be genuinely nice, the answer is definitely “no”, because they lack the emotions needed in order to have the willingness to be nice in a truthful way.

Are sociopaths loners?

Yes, it would be a contradictio in terminis to say that someone dealing with antisocial personality disorder is social. So, per definition sociopaths are loners, not because of their inability to make friends but rather because they like to be alone.

Why do sociopaths play mind games?

Mind games are a form a psychological warfare. Using manipulation tactics, they are able to undermine your self-esteem in order to make you easier to control.

Do sociopaths get jealous?

Yes, sociopaths can get jealous. However, sociopaths don’t get jealous because they love you, but because they don’t want to lose the little puppet that they own. Beware, when they get jealous it can be very difficult for them to control their anger, and combined with their lack of empathy you can get yourself into a life-threatening situation very quickly.

How does a sociopath react to a breakup?

They will not feel the same emotions as you do, so don’t think that they will be left heartbroken. They will be angry, because they don’t have you under their control any more. The immediate reaction will be the use of manipulation techniques to get you back under their control. Never forget that faking indifference is a manipulation technique, so it is not because they ignore you during the weeks following the breakup that you got rid of them.

What does a sociopath want in a relationship?

The favourite pet of sociopaths is a dog because they are submissive, loyal, and easy to manipulate. A sociopath looks for the same characteristics in their relationships, they basically want a puppet.

What makes someone a narcissistic sociopath?

A narcissistic sociopath that combines various traits of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and antisocial personality disorder (APD).

Major narcissistic traits are:

  • Egotistical / self-absortion
  • Selfish
  • Never feels guilt nor shame
  • Disregards for the feelings of others
  • Self-absorbed and prone to grandiosity
  • Seeks constant admiration
  • Sense of entitlement
  • Displays an inflated ego / idealized self-image
  • Arrogant
  • Exploitative
  • Envious
  • Emotionally disconnected / complete lack of empathy

Major antisocial personality traits are:

  • Antisocial behavior / Not following social norms
  • Complete lack of remorse
  • Impulsivity
  • Pathological liars
  • Irresponsible
  • Recklessness / Unreasonable / Criminal Behavior
  • Lack of conscience

Traits that NPD and APD have in common are:

  1. Sense of entitlement
  2. Exploitative
  3. Attractive / appealing
  4. Callous
  5. Capricious
  6. Manipulative
  7. Megalomaniac / fantasies of power (not always the case)
  8. Haughty
  9. Disregard for others
  10. Self-serving
  11. Dishonest
  12. Insensitive
  13. Irresponsible


Mealey, L. (1995). The sociobiology of sociopathy: An integrated evolutionary model. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 18, 3, 523-541.

Bushman B.J., Baumeister R. F. (1998). Threatened egotism, narcissism, self-esteem, and direct and displaced aggression: Does self-love or self-hate lead to violence? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 75, 219–229.

Morf C. C., Rhodewalt F.(2001). Unraveling the paradoxes of narcissism: A dynamic self-regulatory processing model. Psychological Inquiry 12, 177–196.

Carlson E.N., Vazire S, Oltmanns T.F. (2011). You probably think this paper’s about you: narcissists’ perceptions of their personality and reputation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,101, 1, 185-201.

Brummelman E , Thomaes S., Nelemans S. A. et al. (2015). Origins of narcissism in children. Psychological and Cognitive Sciences, 112, 12, 3659-3662.

Asawalqa S. O. (2019). Is the sociopath socially intelligent? A new framework for understanding sociopathy. Utopía y Praxis Latinoamericana, 24, 5, 2.

Smith, C. S. (2021). You don’t have to be a sociopath: Is evil a matter of personality or a condition of society? Times Literary Supplement, 6153, 25.

Kowalchyk M., Palmieri H., Conte E, et al. (2021). Narcissism through the lens of performative self-elevation, Personality and Individual Differences, 177, 110780.

Related article: What is Traumatic Bonding?

New York University: Narcissism Driven by Insecurity, Not Grandiose Sense of Self, New Psychology Research Shows How to Spot a Narcissistic Sociopath? 7 Warning Signs a Narcissistic Sociopath Is Exploiting You Beware the Narcissistic Sociopath The Difference Between a Sociopath and a Narcissistic Sociopath

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