Narcopaths are hard to spot unless their personality disorder starts to affect their daily life and the lives of the people around them. Narcissism can often worsen with the traits of sociopathy. According to research, narcissistic sociopaths or malignant narcissists possess characteristics of:
1. Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD)
2. Antisocial personality disorder (APD)
As narcopaths possess traits of both NPD and ASPD, we need to first understand the diagnostic criteria for these personality disorders as laid down by the DSM-5:
1. Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)
In order to clinically diagnosed with NPD, a person must have at least five of the following symptoms:
- Sense of entitlement
- Strong need for excessive admiration
- Lack of empathy
- Grandiose or sense of self-importance
- Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited power, success, physical attractiveness, brilliance or ideal love
- Believes that they are unique and special and should only socialize with or be understood by other high-status or special individuals or institutions
- Interpersonally exploitative behavior for personal gain
- Arrogant and haughty attitudes and behaviors
- Envious of others or a thinks that others are jealous of them
2. Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD)
According to the DSM-5, ASPD should only be diagnosed when the person is at least 18 years of age. They should also experience conduct disorder by age 15 and the symptoms should not be caused due to bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
ASPD is “a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others,” indicated by the presence of at least three of the following symptoms:
- Persistent failure to conform to social norms leading to grounds for arrest.
- Deceitful behavior involving conning others, lying and using aliases
- Failure to plan ahead or impulsivity
- Aggressiveness and irritability leading to assaults and physical fights
- Little or no concern or disregard for the safety of others or self
- Constant irresponsibility resulting in failure to complete education or hold jobs
- Lack of remorse or indifferent about hurting & mistreating others
20 Signs of a Narcopath
If you are having a hard time identifying narcopaths in your life, then there are certain signs and symptoms that you need to look out for. While not every narcopath may display the same characteristic traits, here are some of the most common signs of malignant narcissists that you need to identify:
1. Inability to handle negative feedback due to hypersensitivity to criticism.
2. Tend to become aggressive or have angry outbursts when challenged.
3. Willfully and proactively manipulate & exploit others for personal gain or pleasure.
4. Excessively concerned about their physical appearance.
5. Believe they are superior and deserve to be treated accordingly.
6. Inflated sense of self and lack of self-regulation.
7. Lack of empathy.
8. Delusions of grandeur.
9. No remorse or regrets about hurting others.
10. Strong sense of entitlement.
11. Hidden insecurity, poor self-esteem & weak sense of self.
12. Egocentric and tend to dominate conversations.
13. Mistreat or insult others they believe are inferior.
14. Shift blame on others for their own faults and mistakes.
15. Highly charismatic, sophisticated, and witty.
16. Tend to be highly envious of others.
17. Strong need for attention, praise, and external validation.
18. Sadistic and antisocial attitudes, and behaviors.
19. Self-identify as bullies, abusers, and pathological liars.
20. Suicidal or homicidal thoughts and behaviors.
So how can you know if you have a narcopath in your life?
Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself:
- Do you feel compelled to take responsibility for their mistakes and toxic behaviors?
- Do they make you feel you are always at fault instead of them?
- Do they shower you with love and attention and then suddenly stop the love bombing?
- Do they use silence, insults or criticism to punish you?
- Do they constantly seek compliments about their appearance?
Author and marriage & family therapist, Dr. Athena Staik explains “Narcissistic sociopaths prey on women with certain vulnerabilities. They go after them with a strategy to get into and control their mind, thus their behaviors.” They often engage in strategic predatory behavior to prove their dominance. “Their motto is to win, and that means to get them before they get you,” adds Athena.