09 Nov

This will be a long post – I need to get this information down before it gets lost somewhere in my “drafts” folder. If any of you are in doubt as to what kind of asshole you are dealing with the following will be very interesting.

Very interesting and informative post by Paula about identifying a narcissistic sociopath. Putting labels on people is a dangerous thing, especially when you aren’t a qualified professional, but it’s helpful for those on the receiving end of a NS’s abuse to be able to logically look at their abuser and name the behavior. Knowing, at least on an intellectual level, that it’s not your fault and has never been your fault goes a long way towards breaking the chains of abuse. For me, being able to take a step back, set aside my emotions and look at the situation as an unbiased professional might is very edifying. It also helps me connect with my anger which makes it easier to see how I will extricate myself from this situation with my wits intact.

I won’t quote the whole post, but just the relevant parts below with my comments below what I feel are the relevant traits:

Although not all narcissists are sociopaths, all sociopaths are narcissists (Stout 2010). Therefore, if you can identify a narcissist, you’re one step closer to being able to recognize a sociopath. Below is a definition of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and a list of narcissistic traits taken directly from the website of Dr. Sam Vaknin, author of Malignant Self-Love. (If you know someone who fits at least 5 or more of these traits, a psychiatrist could easily diagnose him/her as having NPD.)

The DSM-IV-TR defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder as “an all-pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration or adulation and lack of empathy, usually beginning by early adulthood and present in various contexts,” such as family life and work.

1. Feels grandiose and self-important (e.g., exaggerates accomplishments, talents, skills, contacts, and personality traits to the point of lying, demands to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements);

The last is M to a T! He expects everyone to bow down to his superior intelligence without questioning his views on the matter, especially those things he considers his “specialty.” For example, I am building a violin. I have a very clear view of what I want the front of it to look like and I spent many hours online researching how to get the effect I want. I proceeded as directed and was really happy with the outcome. Then one evening I was sanding and touching up the ground coats (I know the language will not make sense, but bear with me) and I left the violin unattended on the table along with sandpaper and various other tools. M proceeded to sand the texture off of the front of the violin with violent strokes, all the while telling me that I put too much stock in that sort of finish and it didn’t look “professional.” He sanded it down to bare wood in spots and then took a knife to clean up the edges. He had been drinking and did not have his glasses on, so you can imagine how much damage he did with his great clumsy thumbs. I was livid, but there was no getting it out of his hands – I did try. It was yet another way to punish me with his Superior Knowledge. I got a lecture about Professional Finishes and reminded of his many, many years of experience working with wood. I tried to explain that a violin is not a boat, but he kept saying that wood is wood and he knew better. Took me two weeks to fix the damage as best I could. I haven’t mentioned this incident to anyone because it still makes my blood boil.

3. Firmly convinced that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people (or institutions);

Again, right on the money. “Uneducated peasants” like me get short shrift – nothing I say is worth anything. I am of value as a sex object (but not that great, since I’m no linger “into it” like I used to be) and a money maker. I get the feeling that so long as I keep paying for the “privilege” of living in his house I can stay, but let me lose my job and I’ll be out on my ass. He says that he can only have conversations with people who share his passions, or well educated people who can converse on a wide range of topics. They are the only people of any value to him.

4. Requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation – or, failing that, wishes to be feared and to be notorious (Narcissistic Supply);

“If I can’t get respect, fear works just as well,” is his philosophy of training dogs and children. He is always fishing for compliments but never hands out any of his own. He once told me that he withholds compliments so that people (he was speaking of people who worked for him at the time, but over the years I have come to understand that he really means all of humanity) will work harder to please him. He doles out the nice words only when absolutely necessary to keep the relationship going in his favor. It’s very difficult to live with someone who expects constant praise but never even notices all the little things I do for him. Or the big things. I feel like a slave in someone else’s home.

5. Feels entitled. Demands automatic and full compliance with his or her unreasonable expectations for special and favorable priority treatment;

Totally. He should never have to wait for anything. Nothing that he wants should ever be denied him. He spends a lot of time talking about how others have “taken advantage” of his kindness and generosity, including me.

7. Devoid of empathy. Is unable or unwilling to identify with, acknowledge, or accept the feelings, needs, preferences, priorities, and choices of others;

He is constantly telling me that my feelings are “unreasonable” or “unfounded” that I have no idea what a “normal” person feels and my emotions are way out of line. He tells me what I should feel and explains in great detail why my actual feelings are wrong. He can talk on this subject for hours. He can also lecture interminably about why his way of doing things (anything, from brushing my hair to mowing the lawn to driving) is superior in all ways. When I point out that he’s being a bit obsessive over trifling things he tells me that I lack any notion of self discipline and know nothing about how “real adults” live their lives. If only I would temper my hedonistic ways we might be able to get ahead in the world before we end up “living under a bridge somewhere.”

8. Constantly envious of others and seeks to hurt or destroy the objects of his or her frustration. Suffers from persecutory (paranoid) delusions as he or she believes that they feel the same about him or her and are likely to act similarly;

He is definitely envious of his friends who have money and nice houses and boats, but I don’t think he wants to destroy them. After all, he has a much easier target right beside him every day.

9. Behaves arrogantly and haughtily. Feels superior, omnipotent, omniscient, invincible, immune, “above the law”, and omnipresent (magical thinking). Rages when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted by people he or she considers inferior to him or her and unworthy (

Right on again. Too many instances to recount here.

Once it’s clear you’re dealing with a narcissist, go through the following list to see if the narcissist is also a sociopath. (You’ll discover many overlapping traits from each list.) The list below of 20 sociopathic traits is taken directly from the book Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us by Dr. Robert D. Hare, Ph.D:

1. Glib and superficial charm. The tendency to be smooth, engaging, charming, slick, and verbally facile. Sociopathic charm is not in the least shy, self-conscious, or afraid to say anything. A sociopath never gets tongue-tied. They have freed themselves from the social conventions about taking turns in talking, for example.

Yep. He is especially powerful on the internet, as all sociopaths are. He says that we “put our best selves forward online” and that’s why online relationships go so smoothly. We all know that sociopaths stalk people on FaceBook and other social media sites, and I can see why. It’s so easy to fall for that charmer who seems to know what you’re innermost thoughts are and to understand your pain. He is currently e-mailing someone named “Joshephine.” I was not able to see the subject line, but he has 8 notes back and forth. He quickly closed the window before I could see more than that and I haven’t sussed out his new password yet. He could talk the birds out of the trees if the wanted something from them.

2. Grandiose self-worth. A grossly inflated view of one’s abilities and self-worth, self-assured, opinionated, cocky, a braggart. Sociopaths are arrogant people who believe they are superior human beings.

It’s especially telling when he comes up against one of his own kind. There is a man who has some political power in a small town who refuses to bow down to M and this is a source of constant frustration for M. I laugh on the inside whenever this other man gets the better of M and M is raging about how unfair life is, blah, blah, blah.

3. Need for stimulation or proneness to boredom. An excessive need for novel, thrilling, and exciting stimulation; taking chances and doing things that are risky. Sociopaths often have low self-discipline in carrying tasks through to completion because they get bored easily. They fail to work at the same job for any length of time, for example, or to finish tasks that they consider dull or routine.

The need for stimulation is certainly right on, but he doesn’t do many things that would be considered “risky” in the ordinary sense. He has huge self-discipline and will complete routine tasks while bitching that I should be doing them for whatever reason, or correcting me and showing me the “right” way to do these simple, everyday tasks.

4. Pathological lying. Can be moderate or high; in moderate form, they will be shrewd, crafty, cunning, sly, and clever; in extreme form, they will be deceptive, deceitful, underhanded, unscrupulous, manipulative, and dishonest.

Moderate. He constantly denies that he says hurtful things, or that he gave a specific instruction about how he wants something done. It’s constant deception designed to keep me off balance.

6. Lack of remorse or guilt. A lack of feelings or concern for the losses, pain, and suffering of victims; a tendency to be unconcerned, dispassionate, coldhearted, and unempathic. This item is usually demonstrated by a disdain for one’s victims.

He refuses to feel guilt. Oh, he will mouth the words, but his face is all lit up with glee that I’m upset (again) by something he has done or said. He does the same things over and over again, specifically to hurt me all the while denying he’s doing anything “wrong.” He is never wrong. If I point something out to him and tell him point blank that it is wrong and anyone who I asked would agree with me that it’s wrong, he will deny and argue until I just don’t care any more. His feelings are the only ones that matter.

7. Shallow affect. Emotional poverty or a limited range or depth of feelings; interpersonal coldness in spite of signs of open gregariousness.

8. Callousness and lack of empathy. A lack of feelings toward people in general; cold, contemptuous, inconsiderate, and tactless.

Yes. When I am upset about something, especially if I start to cry, he will take on a predatory stance, staring into my eyes, unblinking, with an intensity that is scary. He will ask what he said or did to make me cry, but it’s not so he can avoid that behavior in the future, but so he can remember just how far he had to go to get the initial reaction. A “normal” person is horrified when they make someone they love cry – they are not fascinated with tears and sobs.

9. Parasitic lifestyle. An intentional, manipulative, selfish, and exploitative financial dependence on others as reflected in a lack of motivation, low self-discipline, and inability to begin or complete responsibilities.

Until recently I hadn’t given this one much thought – he always had money for the things he considers important, but at the same time he managed to keep me pretty broke while constantly moaning about my financial irresponsibility, and I’ve come to the conclusion that he is a parasite. More about that in another post.

10. Poor behavioral controls. Expressions of irritability, annoyance, impatience, threats, aggression, and verbal abuse; inadequate control of anger and temper; acting hastily.

Absolutely! He goes off about the smallest things just to hear his own raised voice. He has alienated people left, right and center while protesting his innocence of any wrongdoing. He is never to blame for people suddenly taking a disliking to him – it’s always the fault of someone else. No one appreciates his special talents and knowledge.

11. Promiscuous sexual behavior. A variety of brief, superficial relations, numerous affairs, and an indiscriminate selection of sexual partners; the maintenance of several relationships at the same time; a history of attempts to sexually coerce others into sexual activity or taking great pride at discussing sexual exploits or conquests.

If online conquests count, he is certainly guilty here. He explains away his inappropriate behavior as “entertaining himself” even if it comes at the expense of what is supposed to be his exclusive relationship. Online romances are perfectly okay for him to indulge in, but not for me, oh no! Even mentioning an old boyfriend is grounds for a lecture, but he can maintain an intimate online conversation with whomever he wants to. Nice use of the Double Standard.

12. Early behavior problems. A variety of behaviors prior to age 13, including lying, theft, cheating, vandalism, bullying, sexual activity, fire-setting, glue-sniffing, alcohol use, and running away from home.

He claims that his father gave him a speech at age 14 about how he had done all he could to give him the tools to be a good man and that he was on his own from then on. He moved into a small travel trailer on his parents’ property where he fended for himself until he was finished with school. I wonder now how much of that story is true…

13. Lack of realistic, long-term goals. An inability or persistent failure to develop and execute long-term plans and goals; a nomadic existence, aimless, lacking direction in life.

For all his talk about having a “20-year plan” I no longer believe that to be true. He has never lived in one place for more than a few years and often talks about the need to “move on” as part of his Life Plan, although he hasn’t ended up where he always claims he wanted to be by this point in his life. How much of what he says is projection? How much of it is lies to make himself look like a Normal Person?

14. Impulsivity. The occurrence of behaviors that are unpremeditated and lack reflection or planning; inability to resist temptation, frustrations, and urges; a lack of deliberation without considering the consequences; foolhardy, rash, unpredictable, erratic, and reckless.

Every day there’s something that could fit into this category.

16. Failure to accept responsibility for own actions. A failure to accept responsibility for one’s actions reflected in low conscientiousness, an absence of dutifulness, antagonistic manipulation, denial of responsibility, and an effort to manipulate others through this denial.

Yep. Check, check, and check. Nothing is ever his fault. Or if he admits that it’s his fault, there were extenuating circumstances that really made it someone else’s fault.

18. Juvenile delinquency. Behavior problems between the ages of 13-18; mostly behaviors that are crimes or clearly involve aspects of antagonism, exploitation, aggression, manipulation, or a callous, ruthless tough-mindedness.

Nothing major enough to get him a permanent record (that I know of) but he does like to brag about his exploits just over the line of the law.

20. Criminal versatility. A diversity of types of criminal offenses, regardless if the person has been arrested or convicted for them; taking great pride at getting away with crimes. (Hare 2011).

Oh, yes! If he can get away with something, pull the wool over the eyes of Authority, he will, and laugh gleefully about his victory for years to come.

In addition to the above two lists of traits, the biggest trait (or magic trick as I like to call it) that makes narcissistic sociopaths so dangerous and effective is their ability to go unnoticed by the rest of us. They can do this, because they are good at pretending (lying) and wearing many masks (again, lying). Simply put, they lie to themselves and everyone else. They lie so much that some of them are convinced of their own lies, which is where evil is born.

So what can we do about these assholes? There is no hope for changing them – in their eyes they are perfect and there will always be another victim, so there
is no reason for them to maintain any relationship where the other person has finally seen through their lies.  The only way to survive is to leave them. Just go. Likely they won’t even miss you as a person, but only as a source of their Narcissistic Supply. More about that in another post.

Labeling my tormentor has been a very freeing experience – none of this is my fault. I am not damaged in some way. I love too fiercely. I care too much. I believe that there is good in everyone. Those are the reasons my Narc has made me his victim – he covets all that is good within me and will continue to suck the life out of me until I finally break the bonds of abuse. Armed with knowledge, I will triumph.


Posted by on November 9, 2012 in Emotional Abuse, Red Flags, Verbal Abuse


Tags: , ,

5 responses to “Labeling

  1. Bethany

    November 13, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    Wow! are you sure we’re not with the same guy? Your description of him- apart from a few minor details- is my husband to a ‘T’
    What is it with these guys thinking they have a right to pull this crap?

  2. El Guapo

    January 2, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    I was eating something while I read this.
    I had to stop when I read about the violin.

    Whether the final product was incredible, or barely playable, just making something like that with your own hands should be applauded.

    If that ever happened to me, I’d be in prison right now.
    I admire your restraint.

    • Sofia Leo

      January 2, 2013 at 5:54 pm

      I know, right? He refused to see how hurtful he was. He still believes he was right to do it, and asks me how I like it now that it looks “professional.” Needless to say, I have laid it aside and it is not yet finished. I hope the guy I made it for still wants it – I just can’t bear to look at it at this point.


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