What is the most promiscuous society

Narcissists, Sociopaths: Similarities, Differences, Dangers

According to a large 2008 study, 6.2% of the US adult population have narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).1 A previous wave of the same study reported that 3.6% had a disorder (ASPD - an equivalent term for sociopath).Almost 20% of people with ASPD also have NPD3, a powerful combination.

Given this large presence in society, it is important for all of us to know the warning signs, similarities and differences between these two personalities. That goes for dating, hiring, and even choosing executives. In the news almost every day, we hear about the secrets, lies, attacks or brutality of those who looked charming on the surface. Lots of people are surprised, but much of it is predictable when you recognize their behavioral patterns.

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From my decades of experience as a therapist, mediator, lawyer and trainer at the High Conflict Institute, I have seen that many people often overlook the severity of the warning signs of the NPD (“Oh, she's just lost in herself”). and totally miss the signs of ASPD ("Oh, he's just a narcissist" if he's really a sociopath or both). While I don't want to overly generalize or scare people - these personality disorders exist on a continuum of severity - I believe we all need an awareness of these personalities in today's world in order not to be misled and surprised.


Most people know that narcissists can be charming and exciting at first. They pay intense heed during the seduction process, lavish praise and gifts, and grandiose promises. (This is equally true in all situations, especially when it comes to dating, hiring, and choosing executives.) They exaggerate their skills, their friends, their history, and their plans. You increase your self-esteem by telling yourself how wonderful you are - over and over again.

When dating, they want intimacy quick. In the workplace, they want the spotlight and a lot of credit for minor (if any) accomplishments. In business and political leadership, you have the best grandiose plans to change the world with no basis to achieve it. However, your belief in yourself can be dazzling and contagious.

In reality, however, narcissists are self-absorbed and consider themselves superior to others - including those around them who may have originally seduced them with their charm. This seems irritating at first, but tolerable. But these are also warning signs of a possible danger.


Sociopaths can also be extremely charming and seductive until they get what they want (money, sex, connections, a sense of power over someone). Then they can go away or stay and become extremely cruel or manipulative. The Antisocial Personality Disorder (an equivalent term for sociopath) can be extremely aggressive and reckless, experienced cheaters, criminal behavior and no remorse.4 Some like to humiliate and hurt people.

However, many are not involved in criminal justice and instead work in business. Politics or even church leadership. When they are involved in romantic relationships, they can be very fooled about where to go and what to do when they are not with their partners. This can also be the case in the workplace, with endless excuses to supervisors and employees. They combine repetitively and lies so that very little of what they say can be true. Words are just a tool that they use to get what they want. Your topic is dominance.


According to the Diagnostic Manual for Mental Disorders - currently the DSM-5 - "Narcissistic Personality Disorder does not contain features of impulsiveness, aggression, and deceit" which are instead features of an anti-social personality disorder.5Therefore, if someone is very aggressive and lies all the time, they are more antisocial (sociopathic) than narcissistic. These are predictive characteristics for more serious problems.

Narcissists are more likely to exaggerate, even though they occasionally lie. Narcissists also care about what others think of them - mostly to admire them - compared to sociopaths who don't care what others think as long as they get what they want. Likewise, narcissists can stay in relationships longer, while sociopaths are more likely to take off when things get uncomfortable or difficult. Sociopaths seem to enjoy fighting and violence, while narcissists would prefer the fruits of superiority without having to fight for it.


Both narcissists and sociopaths invest a great deal of energy into creating a false image of themselves that others - and themselves - can see. So the charm and persuasiveness they have are the best in the world. Both are essentially cheaters: narcissists cheat people about who they are and what incredible skills they have, while sociopaths cheat people by playing with their weaknesses and desires (through charm and intimidation) to get what they want. Both have many secrets and their words cannot be trusted.

Both demand loyalty, but do not give it back. Narcissists often have two or three romantic relationships at the same time from cases I've worked with. They have an inordinate need for "narcissistic care" which often requires more than one partner. This pattern of behavior can be devastating for your main partner and, despite numerous promises, never go away.

Sociopaths, on the other hand, seem to have the most promiscuous personalities, even more so than most narcissists. You can be more sexually abusive and irresponsible. According to DSM-5, "You may have a history of having many sexual partners and may never have maintained a monogamous relationship."6Occasionally, however, they have long-term relationships, mostly for convenience, e.g. B. to be supported in a comfortable lifestyle.


People with narcissistic personality disorder can take serious advantage of others and lack empathy.7 This means that they are ready to put a lot of energy into maintaining their superior image, even if it means repeatedly insulting and overthrowing you, even in public. For more information on narcissists and sociopaths in romantic relationships, check out our book Dating Radar (co-authored with Megan Hunter).

In the workplace, they can become indifferent to your career or even use you as a target of blame to distract from their inadequacies. Sometimes a narcissistic manager or academic advisor will give you a negative review in spite of or try to harm your career for not kissing them enough or for inflicting a "narcissistic injury" on them (when exposed for not being superior at all) . For more information on serious problems with narcissists in the workplace, see our book It's all your fault at work (written together with L. Georgi DiStefano).

In business and politics, narcissists are notorious for winning allies through flattery, then abandoning them or stepping on them in order to achieve a higher position. However, many of these allies don't see it because they think they are special to the narcissist because they were charmed in the beginning. But your personality is based on being superior: you are a “winner” and eventually everyone else will be a “loser”.

Sociopaths, on the other hand, may be much more likely to seek revenge or use violence or the destruction of valuable property to end their perceived betrayal in romantic, business, or political relationships. They invest a great deal of energy and resources in keeping their past abusive behavior a secret and can cause serious harm to those who try to expose them.

Both narcissist and sociopath

As mentioned above, a percentage of sociopaths (ASPDs) also have narcissistic personality disorder. This corresponds to about 1% of the US population.8 This combination and percentage meet the criteria for psychopaths who have their own checklist of characteristics9These include pathological lies, criminal versatility, and parasitic lifestyle, as well as some of the characteristics of ASPD and NPD.

Likewise, this combination was identified over fifty years ago by Erich Fromm, who defined "malignant narcissism" as the inclusion of this combination in powerful dictators, from the Egyptian pharaohs and Roman Caesars to Hitler and Stalin. He also said that there were traits of the increase in paranoia and sadism for vicious narcissists that became more and more dangerous the longer they stayed in power - hence the term vicious meant to expand like a cancer.10


In today's news, we often hear from people who are self-centered, lie a lot, and have harmed others, including their own friends, family members, and other people who thought they looked after them. Often people are very surprised. With personality awareness for narcissists and sociopaths, we should be able to better predict problems and protect ourselves. We need to develop a healthy skepticism so that we can look beyond the bewitching false images and recognize the personality patterns that indicate that serious behavior problems have been covered up and / or are ahead of us.


1. Frederick Stinson, Deborah Dawson, Rise Goldstein, S. Patricia Chou, Boji Huang, Sharon Smith, W. June Ruan, Attila Pulay, Tulshi Saha, Roger Pickering and Bridget Grant: "Prevalence, Correlates, Disability and Comorbidity of DSM - IV Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Results of Wave 2 National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Disorders, ”Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 69, no. 7 (July 2008): 1033-45, 1036.

2. Bridget Grant, Deborah Hasin, Frederick Stinson, Deborah Dawson, S. Patricia Chou, W. June Ruan, and Roger Pickering, "Prevalence, Correlates, and Disability of Personality Disorders in the United States: Findings from the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions" , Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 65, No. 7 (July 2004): 948-58, 951.

4. American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, 5th Edition. Arlington, VA, American Psychiatric Association, 2013, 659. (DSM-5)

5. DSM-5,662.

6. DSM-5, 660-661.

7. DSM-5,670.

8. Stinson, 1038.

9. Paul Babiak and Robert D. Hare. Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work. (New York: HarperCollins ebooks. 2006).

10. Erich Fromm, The Heart of Man: There is a Genius for Good and Evil (Riverdale, NY: American Mental Health Foundation; first published by Harper & Row, Publishers, New York, 1964), loc. 998 of 2243, Kindle.