I want to state right up front, I only have psychology studies, not a certificate, so as I discuss this post, I am doing so as a lay person, and this post is not to be taken as a diagnostic tool.
The internet web site “Psychology Today” defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder as:
“involves arrogant behavior, a lack of empathy for other people, and a need for admiration-all of which must be consistently evident at work and in relationships. People who are narcissistic are frequently described as cocky, self-centered, manipulative, and demanding. Narcissists may concentrate on unlikely personal outcomes (e.g., fame) and may be convinced that they deserve special treatment.”
A narcissist does not recognize the feelings of others. A narcissist believes they are entitled. A narcissist takes advantage of others or exploits them. Narcissists do not care who they hurt, as long as they are the ones not being hurt. Narcissists are very good at fooling people into thinking that they care, because ultimately the narcissist believes they will get something in return.
But that does not mean that a narcissist cannot be loved, or love someone. Quite the contrary. But there is a fine line, and at some point, the negative behaviors of narcissism will eventually reveal themselves, or perhaps, the signs were there all along.
Once you have recognized that you are dealing with a narcissist, you can then determine how to live with them. Chances are you are dealing with someone who has low self-esteem, or in some case, high self-esteem. Their behavior can be antagonistic, sneaky, and back-stabbing. They do not care about who they hurt, as long as it is not themselves being hurt.
There is a reason that narcissists are the way that they are. It could be a learned behavior, like mimicking a parent. This trait is easy to pick out. My psych professor once said, if you want to see the future of a person you are studying, look at their same gender parent. It could be a particular event in their life which has caused the person to draw all of the attention onto themselves, especially if it is a reinforcement of a “victim” status. As long as any or every situation revolves around them, they are getting the reaction that is needed for their survival. It does not matter how severe an issue a person may be dealing with, a narcissist will always have it better for a good situation, or worse for a bad situation. Bottom line, it is always going to be about them.
Sociopaths, or rather those with what is referred to as antisocial personality disorder, has absolutely no respect for anyone else, almost taking a “taking no prisoner” approach in life, no matter who the bystander may be, whether the sociopath is right or wrong, in spite of objections or feelings by those affected. This type of thinking is often dysfunctional and destructive. It is very much an “entitlement” belief, not necessarily what is right, or common sense. The person believes that no matter the costs, he/she wants what they are entitled to, and will stop at nothing to get it, even if it mean alienation of loved ones and friends, through any means possible. It is impossible to reason with a sociopath.
Like narcissists, sociopaths show no guilt or remorse, and sociopaths are more likely going to find it hard to keep employment because of their backstabbing tendencies to get what they want. A sociopath lacks empathy, constantly lie especially if it is for their own gain, regularly irresponsible when it comes to working and finances.
The bad thing is, neither the narcissist or sociopath will ever recognize their problems without being properly diagnosed and treated professionally. It is not good enough just to point out to the person that they have a personality quirk, as they will not only not see your concern, they will also deny it. And then that person will either avoid you or lash out at you.
Narcissism and sociopathy make it very difficult on relationships, employment, and friendships. These types of mental illnesses can also complicate situations that require the ability to rationalize and empathize, but because of the conditions, common sense is often perceived as threatening, instead of being helpful. But without professional help, your concerns and outreach will be futile.