The Difference Between A Sociopath And Narcissistic Sociopath?

By Nadia Khan

Updated May 09, 2019

Reviewer Wendy Boring-Bray, DBH, LPC


As we all heard of sociopaths and maybe some of us have even had an encounter with one at some point in our lives. In addition to sociopaths, some people display sociopathy, but also have traits of narcissism. These individuals are called narcissistic sociopaths. A narcissistic sociopath is someone who also has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. NPD involves a distorted self-image with intense, unstable and excessive emotions.

Just like sociopathy, narcissistic sociopathy is more common in men than women. It also occurs in younger people than older people. According to the National Institutes of Health, Narcissistic sociopathy is more common in black men and women, and Hispanic women. It also often occurs in people who are either divorced, widowed, separated and among those who have never been married, however, the disorder can affect people of any race, gender, class, sexual orientation or religion. It doesn't discriminate.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with having a healthy self-image of oneself and having a good self-confidence. However, a narcissistic sociopath has an unusual love for oneself. This type of self-love is abnormal.

What Is A Narcissistic Sociopath?

There are a lot of similarities between a sociopath and a narcissistic sociopath. Sociopaths are narcissistic; however, people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder may not necessarily be sociopaths. Although, they have very similar traits and characteristics. However, in a lot of cases both narcissism and sociopathy become linked and that's where the term "narcissistic sociopaths" come into play. Sociopathy is scary enough, and narcissistic sociopathy takes it to a whole new and higher level.


According to Healthy Place, The American Psychiatric Association (2013) describes and defines both Antisocial Personality Disorder (the clinical term for what is commonly called psychopathy or sociopathy) and narcissistic personality disorder in its authoritative Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition.

Now let's look at the clinical definitions of these two disorders separately:

Narcissistic Personality Disorder:

People with NPD have an excessive pattern of grandiosity. Individuals with this order have an extreme need for admiration from others. They also have a lack of empathy and sympathy for others. Narcissistic personality disorders begin in early adulthood, and a series of events can trigger it.

Antisocial Personality Disorder:

This disorder involves a lack of and sympathy towards others. They also disregard others and the feelings of others. This disorder can occur at a young age of 15. People with an antisocial personality disorder can also manipulate others for their benefit and feel no guilt or remorse over their actions.

Now that we have looked at both a sociopath and a narcissistic sociopath, it's possible for an individual to get diagnosed with both disorders. A combination of a lack of empathy for others plus a grandiose self-admiration receives the diagnosis of a narcissistic sociopath. They can use other people, exploit them and then dump or dispose of them when they're done, without feeling any guilt whatsoever.

Signs And Symptoms Of A Narcissistic Sociopath

If you suspect that someone might be a narcissistic sociopath or if you suspect that you might be a narcissistic sociopath, here are the symptoms of a sociopath:

They Seem Perfectly Normal:

Narcissistic sociopaths can appear to be completely normal. They can also live normal lives just like everyone else. They can be at your workplace, in your neighborhood or anywhere else. Both sociopaths and narcissistic sociopaths can hide their identities, and they can pretend to be perfectly healthy. They can also pretend to be emotional and appear to care about others. It makes it more difficult to spot a narcissistic sociopath.


Narcissistic sociopaths have a high grandiosity. Some of it is even fake and unrealistic. They believe to have superpowers, and they're superior to others. They might tell lies about their lives to others. Some sociopaths might even perceive themselves to be like that of a God.


Both sociopaths and narcissistic sociopaths have this trait in common. They can manipulate others to their benefit. They are also good at finding people who are too trusting and those who are vulnerable. Once they discover such people, they become victims, and they begin to use them. They lure their victims in with their charm and they can even fake problems and emotions to get their victims to sympathize with them. A lot of "nice" people fall into their traps and end up getting hurt by them.


Lack Of Sympathy And Empathy:

Both sociopaths and narcissistic sociopaths lack empathy and sympathy for others. Even the ones who are close to them. They can't help but feel like this. They only care about themselves and won't do anything for others unless they benefit from it somehow.

Require Excessive Admiration:

Narcissistic sociopaths require excessive admiration from others, even more than sociopaths. They also tend to feel envious of others and in some cases, they feel as though others are envious of them; Even when it's false. They can also be quite arrogant and proud, merely because they think that they are better than others. They also love the spotlight and require lots of attention from others.

Charismatic And Charming:

Like sociopaths, narcissistic sociopaths are also incredibly charming and charismatic. It's is their way of reeling people in for their benefits. Once you fall for it and they have succeeded, they begin to show their true colors, and by then it's usually too late for the victims.

Sociopath Vs. Narcissistic Sociopath

As many of you might be wondering what's the difference between a narcissistic sociopath and a sociopath because they have similar traits and characteristics, and it's true. However, there are few differences between the two. Here's the sociopath vs. narcissistic sociopath verdict:


Crimes And Danger:

A narcissistic sociopath won't necessarily harm others or commit serious crimes. The numbers of sociopaths in prisons are much higher than narcissistic sociopaths mainly because sociopaths disregard the law and don't care about it. Their impulsive behavior also makes them dangerous. Narcissistic sociopaths only become aggressive when they feel injured psychologically.


A narcissistic sociopath talks only about themselves and doesn't care about you. On the other hand, a sociopath doesn't talk much about themselves, and they want to talk about you and want to get to know you better.

Are They Aware Of Their Behaviors?

A narcissistic sociopath is likely to be unaware of their actions and behaviors, whereas a sociopath is entirely aware of their behavior and actions. It was most likely planned by them so that they can manipulate the situation for their reasons.


Winning And Losing:

A narcissistic sociopath isn't bothered about winning or losing. They are more concerned about others admiring them. For sociopaths, it's all a game, and they only care about winning against others.


A sociopath gets bored quickly and is always seeking new thrills whereas a narcissistic sociopath doesn't require stimulating activities all the time.

Awareness Of The Effect On Others:

A narcissistic sociopath isn't 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 is utterly aware of the effect that they have on others.

Causes Of Narcissistic Sociopathy:

The origins of narcissistic sociopathy are unclear. However, genetics could be a possible cause of narcissistic sociopathy. Other factors such as child abuse and neglect could also cause narcissistic sociopathy. Even over pampering as a child could be a probable cause.


As children, they can also pick up and learn manipulative ways from their parents and other family members.

How To Deal With A Narcissistic Sociopath

Dealing with narcissistic sociopaths can be difficult for anyone especially when it's someone who's close to you. Read on for some tips on how to deal with a sociopath:


Psychotherapy is necessary for narcissistic sociopaths. A mental health professional will most like use cognitive behavioral therapy. This type of therapy will allow the patient to recognize their behavior. It will also help them with accepting criticism, and it will help them with setting realistic goals.

A psychotherapist will also assist you on how to handle them and how to react in certain situations. They will teach you how to deal with your loved one, healthily.

What To Do When Taking Your Loved One To A Mental Health Professional:

Once you have found a mental health professional to help your loved one. It is vital to give the professional a full breakdown of the patient's history, any traumatic events, and family history, if possible; o, that the expert can do an evaluation and determine the cause of the illness. You should also make notes of their behavior and symptoms and show it to the professional.

It is also important to ask the mental health professional if you can keep their phone number in case of any emergencies that might require the help of a professional.

Keep Them Away From Alcohol And Substances:

If your loved one already has a problem with either alcohol or drugs, then you will need to get them admitted to a rehab center. These substances and alcohol can aggravate their condition.


There are medications as such that can help with treating narcissistic sociopathy. However, some medications such as anti-depressants, antipsychotics and mood stabilizers can help with treating their symptoms.

Offer Support And Encourage Them To Lead A Healthy Lifestyle:

These are the most critical factors when helping anyone out who is suffering from a mental health condition. Encourage them to have a healthy diet, encourage them to get exercise and do some therapeutic activities that will help them.

Offer Support And Encourage Them To Lead A Healthy Lifestyle:

These are the most important factors when helping anyone out who is suffering from a mental health condition. Encourage them to have a healthy diet, encourage them to get exercise and do some therapeutic activities that will help them.


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