A few weeks ago I found a link to a blog written by a very strong woman. Her goal is to create awareness of personality disorders and how these disorders destroy marriages/intimate partner relationships and are at the center of abuse/domestic violence cases. She has a lot of great information. One particular post, Identifying a Narcissistic Sociopath, really struck home. I have read it many times.
I see so many characteristics of a narcissistic sociopath in Mr. Mess. So much so that I wanted to re-post the list here with my comments and maybe a few examples from my life. My comments are in blue. The rest is the text of the original blog post:
Do you know what it feels like to be locked up, placed in a dungeon of a partner’s creation? If so, you’re not alone. If not, pray you never do.
Abuse comes in many forms and affects many people in the victim’s life. Emotional, physical, and sexual abuses are equally degrading and harmful. One is not better than the other or worse than the other. They are ALL abuse.
This story is specifically about emotional abuse at the hands of a narcissistic sociopath.
According to Dr. Martha Stout’s book The Sociopath Next Door, sociopaths make up 4% of western society (Stout, 2010). That’s about 1 in 25 people walking around among us without a conscience, without the ability to measure, or care to measure, the morality of their decisions and actions. Would you know how to identify a sociopath if you saw one, met one, started an intimate relationship or entered into a business contract with one? More than likely, your answer is No, because unlike what we read on the television news or see in Hollywood movies, sociopaths aren’t just serial killers and murderers. Rather, they are members of our communities who we would never suspect of evil or wrong doing and who seamlessly blend into society with the rest of us. How? Through lies, manipulations, and more lies. “Lies, manipulation, and more lies”… Sounds familiar.
In romance, narcissistic sociopaths often appear too good to be true. They are charming, agreeable, and engaging. The narcissistic sociopath loves (or seems to love) everything about you. He hooks you. Then he breaks you. His emotional abuse is VERY subtle. The victim may not know she is being victimized until it is nearly too late.
Identifying narcissistic sociopaths
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. I don’t know about the sociopath part, but already the narcissist side is looking incredibly fitting…
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); This manifested itself very, very early with Mr. Mess. He told me when we first met that he was a construction foreman. In fact, he was a temp worker on the line at a company that formed concrete beams. He wasn’t even an employee of the company itself (and was never actually hired on there, despite his insistence that he was the best person who worked there). He had no supervisory duties at all. There are so many other examples that we could be here all day on just this one point. He always had an opinion on something, and his opinion was always right, even if it was based on absolutely nothing (no facts, no reasoning, just because he said so). He got enraged if I ever questioned his claims or lack of proof.
2. Is obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance (the cerebral narcissist), bodily beauty or sexual performance (the somatic narcissist), or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or passion; Oh, he always had this. He is studying to become a chef right now, and always talked about opening his own restaurant, becoming a famous chef, and all of these other things that are pie in the sky type fantasies because he had no concrete plans to make them happen (yet was convinced they somehow were going to come true). He would watch cooking competitions and act like he could win them with his little to no experience. He would go on about how he was the best person in his class, yet he consistently did poorly on his practical exams. Again, too many examples to go through.
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); Hmmm… maybe not so much on this one. He was never elitist about the institutions he was part of (his cooking school is a community college, not that he acted that way when he was glorifying his cooking abilities). He DID always look down at others in his classes and meetings. He thought he was soooo much better than them, and would constantly complain about the people in his groups.
4. Requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation – or, failing that, wishes to be feared and to be notorious (Narcissistic Supply); Oh, absolutely. That man wanted a standing ovation every time he did the slightest thing right. He was always wanting people to tell him how wonderful he was, and would lie to get the attention and admiration he wanted. He needed positive affirmation for every.single.thing. or he would become pouty and childish.
5. Feels entitled. Demands automatic and full compliance with his or her unreasonable expectations for special and favorable priority treatment; Entitled. That describes him to a T. He feels like he should get what he wants because it’s what he wants. He felt like he “deserved” things just because. Even with the tax refund, he feels like he should get part of it because he deserves it, because he “needs” it. He fully admits that I took a loss on the car and that he is the reason all of the extra options were added that made it upside down. He acknowledges that his “half” of the tax refund doesn’t even cover my loss and that he agreed to give me the $2K. But somehow he STILL thinks that he is entitled. He has always had completely “unreasonable expectations,” and his parents for sure set him up to believe that he should get some sort of “priority treatment.” Hell, they got him out of drug charges and school suspensions, and he still laughs at how smart he was to get away with it (with their help).
6. Is “interpersonally exploitative”, i.e., uses others to achieve his or her own ends; Without the ability to manipulate and live off of other people, I don’t think he could even exist. Before me, he was unemployed for several months and literally moving from couch to couch, bumming off of his friends. He used me to buy him a car (more than one actually – the last 3 vehicles he had were either mine, paid for by me, or financed by 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 certainly was never able to accept or empathize with my feelings, needs, preferences and priorities. He could lie and pretend for a while, but his true nature always came out. He literally had no concern for my health, and his actions made that increasingly obvious. I have never once seen him put himself last for anyone or put anyone else’s feelings or needs before his own desires. I think he is probably incapable of that.
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; Reading the first half of this, I wasn’t sure… Then I got to the second sentence and it started to make sense. He definitely did feel like people were “out to get” him. I think it’s part of the entitlement and the inability to take responsibility for his own actions. Either way, things were always someone else’s fault. If something went wrong it was because someone else didn’t want him to succeed. Just like this marriage being over is because I didn’t give him enough of a chance.
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 (http://samvak.tripod.com). Oh, yeah. His parents played a huge part in that. They got him and his brother and sister out of all sorts of legal trouble, and he felt entitled. He couldn’t stand being contradicted, especially when he was wrong. In fact, that was when he could get the most indignant and petty.
So yep, I was definitely with a narcissist. I knew that much already. It was nice to see this list here in black and white.
- 20 Signs That You’re A Narcissist (businessinsider.com)
- Films Depicting Narcissistic Personality Disorder (psychforums.com)