The difference between Narcissists and Sociopaths (and Psychopaths)
If you are in recovery from either a Sociopath or a Narcissist, you would have witnessed the patterning in behaviour. Many people think that because they have experienced the pattern that it is the same with both the Narcissist and the Sociopath.
This is not true.
The biggest difference is the length of time from Idealise to Discard. The Narcissist fuelled by his/her ego, moves quickly from idealise to discard. Victims of the Narcissist would have experienced idealise, devalue discard, over and over. They could experience it within days, or even in extreme cases within hours.
The sociopath is working to a different time frame. Victims would have experienced the length of time from Idealise to discard much longer.
Why do Narcissists go from Idealise to Discard in a short time frame?
Both Sociopaths and Narcissists are all about the self. However, Narcissists use others to make themselves feel good. Sociopaths do not do this. Sociopaths use others for what they can get from them. Sociopaths do not need anyone else to make themselves feel good. They already feel good, and believe that they are above other people. Sociopaths use others for manipulative gain. This could be gain of money, sex, housing, social networks, anything that they think that the victim has, that is ready for the taking.
Narcissists do not work in this way. They also think that they are superior, but they use others for emotional benefits. To make themselves feel better. Using others to make their fragile selves feel better. Nobody could ever satisfy a Narcissist, as they think they are the best. They think that they deserve the best, and they have no qualms about putting someone else down to make themselves feel better. To a narcissist you are either an asset who makes them look and feel better, propping up their own inferiority complex (that they would never admit, it runs deep), once you stop doing this, or object to their unreasonable behaviour, they drop you, for not being worthwhile.
Victims of Narcissists will experience idealise, devalue and discard within a short space of time, over and over and over. The victim might be shocked that once again, they were lured in by the narcissist, when perhaps their ego was feeling fragile, rejected, scorned, unworthy. During that time, they will be lured in (or back in), by the Narcissist, who will tell the victim just how much they love them. How great they are together. Compliments will be aplenty. The Narcissist is not mentally healthy or stable. When you are so dependent on others to feel good about yourself, it won’t be too long before the narcissist feels bad about themselves, and then deflects how they feel onto you, if they feel bad, then you are bad.It is all your fault. You represent the ugly that they feel within. The Narcissist will then shut you out, cut you off as if you are nothing. Realistically they are projecting onto you their own sense of self worth.
The Narcissist sees you as a reflection of them, and their own self worth. When they lure you in, at a time when they are feeling bad within, you are the amazing person who is reflecting yourself onto them, and making themselves feel better. However this feeling will quickly change with the Narcissist, and soon, they will begin to devalue you, projecting their disdain of you, onto you, until eventually discarding you altogether. Cutting you off, as if you meant nothing.
For you, as the victim, it can feel bewildering, the storm of idealise, devalue and discard, can be so swift, and also repetitive, if you do not leave the relationship.
This is why it can be psychologically so damaging to be around a Narcissist, for never will you fill the empty void that lies within them. Constantly you will feel like you are living on a knife edge, and treading on eggshells, trying not to trigger their fragile, damaged egos.
The Narcissist feeds off the victim. Initially, you are amazing, they are feeding off your energy vibration. But quickly this will change. The narcissist needs to bring you down, to make themselves feel better. Once they have then identified the flaws within you, which they absolutely will, they discard you, like yesterdays rubbish. For you are no longer feeding them with glory.
The longer term idealise, devalue and discard with the Sociopath
Sociopaths are different, and their need for people is very different to the need of people from the Narcissist. While Narcissists need others to provide a band aid to make themselves feel better about themselves. Sociopaths do not use people in this way.
Sociopaths are intelligent, clever, charming and can be very humorous. Sociopaths already think they are amazing. They know that they are without conscience, (Narcissists DO have a conscience), Sociopaths do not have the same range of emotions as neuro typical people. So therefore they exploit other peoples emotions to get what they want.
As the Sociopath is not using a victim for EMOTIONS, while they can and do manipulate the ‘victims emotions’ to get what they want. They are much more clever. The sociopath does not need to use others to uplift how they feel about themselves. Instead,they manipulate a victims emotions, to get what they want. This might sound confusing. Think of how a puppet master manipulates its puppets using strings. The sociopaths uses the victims strings of emotions to pull their strings, to get them to do what they want them to do, for their own manipulative gain.
As the Sociopath is using a person for WHAT THEY HAVE TO GIVE THEM… they can continue in the ‘fake’ idealise patterning for as long as they are getting what they want from the victim. The reason for this, is because they are not operating with any depth of emotions, they are literally using the victim to get what they want.
The Narcissist is using the victim to prop up their own fragile self esteem. The Narcissist needs someone else to feel good about themselves.
Sociopaths can wait for a long time before they discard, simply because why would they discard you when they are getting what they want from you? (your goods, money, sex, roof over their heads etc). When they do discard, the victim is left reeling, as they often have no idea of who the person really is. As the Sociopath is an empty entity simply mirroring whoever is in front of them, so that they can get what they want. The true chameleons of life.
I LOVE YOU
So, lets talk about the difference of the term ‘I love you’ from the Narcissist and the Sociopath perspective.
When the Narcissist says ‘I love you’. What they really mean is ‘Right now you are making me feel good about me’.
When the Sociopath says ‘I love you’ What the Sociopath means is ‘I am telling you what you want to hear, so that you will give me what I want’.
When the Narcissist says ‘I love you’ likely in their own capacity they mean it. It means that right now I feel good about me. You are making me feel good about me. I love you.
When the Sociopath says I love you, it is a lie, as they do not feel the normal range of emotions, it literally means, I am telling you what you want to hear, so that you will give me what I want. Also, by checking that YOU are in love with them, they know that they have you exactly where they want you ‘disarmed’.
People who are in love are stupid. Particularly if they are in love with a toxic abuser. Both Sociopaths and Narcissists are toxic and abusive. If you stay with the Narcissist as you will go through Idealise, devalue, discard, over and over and over again, at lightening speed.
Being with a sociopath,it will likely be more extreme, in terms of damage to your life (as they want your life and what you have within your life) they will literally take over your life and become you. But it might also be a more pleasurable experience, as the time space between idealise, devalue and discard, will be much longer. Sociopaths usually discard only when you no longer are offering or have what they want to take from you. While the Narcissist, it is about you propping up their own fragile self esteem and ego.
One thing is for certain, the Narcissist or the Sociopath will not change. Both are created in childhood (the Psychopath is born that way). But the Sociopath is much more fun to be around. The sociopath is more confusing, more complex. The Narcissist shows who they are, with flash clothes, ego, bragging. The Sociopath plays on your charitable nature. You almost feel sorry for the sociopath and want to help them. You might also feel sorry for the Narcissist, but this would be short lived, as you would quickly see their ego emerge. Sociopaths can keep their egos hidden and in check, if it is beneficial to do so.
When I began writing this website, there wasn’t too much online, that spoke to me. Today there is a lot of information online. I can see sometimes that what is clear sociopathic behaviour is described as Narcissism. To me, the two are very different. While all Sociopaths are also Narcissists, they hide this trait very well, for most of the time. The trickery with the Sociopath is their ability to hide, and appear to be very normal. In fact, you might not have any idea at all, that you are with a complete lunatic, until your entire world starts to fall apart. Sociopaths can do colossal damage to life. To every single area of your life. This makes them feel empowered, they take over every aspect of their life that they can. Many victims talk of losing everything in their lives, in terms of career, finances, social networks, many even losing their homes, and some were framed and ended up in jail.
The other main difference is that Sociopaths are pathological liars. ALL sociopaths are pathological liars. Everything about them is a lie. They are simply mirroring who is in front of them at the time. The Narcissist might be a liar if that is their trait, but they are not defined by being a pathological liar, in the same way that Sociopaths and Psychopaths are.
But perhaps this could be a post for another time.
The one thing that is for sure, is that they cannot and will not change. The Sociopath doesn’t change, why should they? They have no conscience and do not feel bad for their actions. Worse is that they can actually believe their own lies. The Narcissist simply believes that it was all your fault that it went wrong anyway.
If you weren’t fucked up before you met them, you certainly will be when the relationship ends. Psychological damage to victims, is also a different process for victims of Narcissists, and Sociopaths/Psychopaths. Again, perhaps this is a post that I can write about at another time.
It doesn’t matter who they are anyway. What matters is how their behaviour impacts you. If your life is being damaged. If you are suffering with panic attacks, low self esteem, feeling inferior, you are not in a good place. The person that is abusing you, is not the person to help heal you, no matter how much they claim they will (if they are in further need of supply) For the narcissist, a boost to ego, and for the Sociopath, supply of whatever you have to offer, home, money, sex, social networks, personal possessions, decoy to the outside world etc.
Get out, stay out. Go no contact and stick to it. Each day you are away you heal.
Love yourself, you really are worth it.
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