Sociopathic and narcissistic tendencies are difficult to deal with on their own. When they are present in the same person, it is one of the worst things you may have to deal with.
The most visible symptoms of narcissistic sociopathic behavior are self-importance and disregard for your feelings. You need to remember that this is part of their mental health condition and not a choice they are making.
Before we try to figure out ways to deal with narcissistic sociopaths, let’s see the behavioral traits that will help us identify them.
Who is a “narcissistic sociopath”?
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5) doesn’t list “narcissistic sociopath” as a mental illness or offer formal diagnostic guidelines. However, it identifies “narcissist” and “sociopath” as personality disorders.
Someone with symptoms of both narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) is considered a narcissistic sociopath.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)
Here are the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder. DSM-5 stipulates evidence of at least 5 of these 9 symptoms for diagnosis of NPD.
- Inflated self-importance
- Fixation with power and success
- Excessive belief in own superior status
- Hunger for admiration
- Feeling of entitlement
- Use of manipulation to ensure success
- Absence of empathy
- Obsession with envy
- Arrogance and feeling of superiority
Narcissistic tendencies may occur in varying types and intensities. The two common types of NPD are covert or hidden and overt or visible NPD. The behavior of people with these two types of NPD is vastly different and the ways to deal with them also differ.
Common narcissistic tendencies include self-centeredness, craving attention, lack of empathy, a sense of entitlement, an exaggerated sense of self-importance, a feeling of being special and unique, and experiencing fantasies of being famous.
Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD)
For an ASPD diagnosis, DSM-5 insists on the person being above 18 years of age, along with at least 3 of the 7 symptoms listed below.
- Break the law
- Display deceitful behavior for pleasure or personal gain
- Behave impulsively
- Act aggressively
- Disregard for safety
- Ignore responsibility
- Virtually non-existent remorse for causing hurt to others
A history of disorderly conduct before reaching 15 years is also a requirement. Besides these, the person shouldn’t be suffering from schizophrenia or bipolar personality disorder.
Common sociopathic behaviors are lying, callousness, over-blown self-worth, boredom, parasitic traits, emotionally challenged, manipulation and defrauding for personal gain, superficial charm, lack of empathy and concern, and inability to own up to their mistakes and blame others.
Traits of a narcissistic sociopath
As there is no clear diagnostic protocol for identifying narcissistic sociopathic tendencies in a person, it is typically done by looking for symptoms of narcissism and sociopathic behavior in the person.
While going through the list of symptoms for both these mental health conditions, it is easy to note that they coincide on many occasions. This is an informal list of signs of a narcissistic sociopath.
- They believe that they are superior to others in everything.
- They don’t believe that the laws apply to them.
- They consider others as stepping stones to success and not as people with whom they want to have relationships.
- They are too self-absorbed to be affected by criticisms and negative comments. If at all there is any reaction, it can only be aggressive, bordering on violence and danger.
- They can easily adapt themselves to any situation to get into the inner circle of others and take advantage of them.
- They are kind and compassionate only when it is advantageous to them.
- They like to talk about themselves and nothing else.
- They are nice to others to create a good image for themselves.
- They give compliments without meaning them.
- They use overly flowery language and big and unnecessary words.
- They heap insults on others to make you feel special and important.
- They take longer to recover from depression.
- Their relationships don’t last long.
- They jump from one relationship to another without care.
How to deal with a narcissistic sociopath?
A narcissistic sociopath will think that they are in total control and manipulate everyone around them any way they want. They believe that they can see and understand everything. They consider themselves indispensable and smart enough to accomplish their goals. Others’ discomfort and hardship aren’t important in their scheme of things. They are masters of manipulation.
The experience can be devastating for the children of a narcissistic sociopath parent. Here are a few suggestions to deal with someone who has both narcissistic and sociopathic traits.
1. Develop insight and show empathy
Having a better understanding of mental disorders can help you identify and deal with them. Before anything else, you need to remind yourself that they are suffering from a mental health issue and their behavior is not something they chose. You need to believe that they aren’t hurting you deliberately.
Genetic factor plays a role in someone developing narcissistic and sociopathic behavior. The contribution of the environment is also substantial. Childhood trauma is considered the biggest contributor. Children brought up in dysfunctional families by a narcissistic sociopath parent have a higher chance to develop narcissistic sociopathic tendencies.
2. Focus on self-care
When you are in a relationship with a narcissistic sociopath, your emotional needs may not be met by your partner. This can make it even more difficult for you to deal with the person. The solution to this situation is to take care of your needs by yourself.
Setting aside “me-time” can help you focus on yourself and devote time to self-care. Some activities you may consider for improving your mental health are:
- Hobbies and interests
- Stress-relieving activities for relaxation
- Practicing healthy lifestyle
- Keeping in touch with your loved ones
3. Supporting and defending oneself
There is no single right way to deal with a narcissistic sociopath. As their behavior can be unpredictable at times, you need to adapt and adjust to the needs of the hour. However, you must stand up for yourself without making the situation worse. This is more so if you are a child dealing with a narcissistic sociopath parent.
Often, maintaining a calm attitude together with detachment is the ideal response to deal with a narcissistic sociopath. Setting boundaries is highly recommended for your well-being, though this may not be easy to achieve and enforce.
When you are dealing with a narcissistic sociopath, you must pick your battles. While sometimes, standing your ground is the ideal response, at other times, it is better to walk away from conflict situations. If you find yourself in a dysfunctional situation, it is best to choose not to participate in it.
4. Get professional help
It’s easy for you to feel isolated with no help at hand. You may feel ignored, disrespected, unappreciated, and all alone. No one in your family or friends circle may be able to understand what you’re going through. But don’t allow any of this to prevent you from getting the help you desperately need.
You may find the kind of support and help you want by joining support groups. Therapy is helpful to handle the situation you find yourself in. While it’s true that the narcissistic sociopath in your life needs support and professional help to deal with their mental disorder, your needs are no less important. You may need professional help to cope with the trauma of living with a narcissistic sociopath.
Here are some simple tips to help you deal with a narcissistic sociopath parent or partner.
- Don’t boost their ego and allow them to manipulate you.
- Don’t wait for their permission.
- Don’t feel blinded or persuaded by their charming behavior.
- Don’t let them control your life.
- Don’t trust or follow others blindly.
- Don’t feel afraid to stand up for yourself.
- Don’t bother to transform them. Instead, try to change the situation.
- Make them feel secure. This may help in containing their toxic behavior.
- Don’t expect them to be fair in their dealings. Safeguard your interests. Don’t compromise.
- Use public opinion and reputation to safeguard yourself. What others think matters a lot to them.
- Keep your distance from them. If possible, leave them.
- Keep your mouth shut and hold your horses in the meanwhile.
- Don’t let go of your empathic attitude. Don’t let them destroy the goodness in you.
- Don’t let go of your dreams and goals. Don’t give them the satisfaction of destroying you.
- Don’t let go of your sense of humor. This can help you survive bad times.
Final thoughts on dealing with a narcissistic sociopath
No doubt it’s challenging to deal with a narcissistic sociopath, especially if you’re living with them. A narcissistic sociopath mother or a narcissistic sociopath father can be really hard to manage. More so, if you’re still a child and under their care.
Dealing with a narcissistic sociopath boyfriend is a different ball game altogether. However, in all these situations, it would help to remember that they are not to be blamed for their behavior. Neither should you blame yourself.
You should put your needs above everything else to survive this trauma.