HERE ARE 2 MAJOR DIFFERENCES BETWEEN A NARCISSIST AND A SOCIOPATH
1. A NARCISSIST HAS AN INFLATED SENSE OF SELF-WORTH OR IMPORTANCE
Whether or not the narcissist’s self-importance is apparent, they believe they are the most important person to walk into a room. They feel that everyone should respect them (usually above all others) and that everything they have to say is worth hearing. Narcissists often talk over people, forcing their narrative into a conversation. What is more, they clearly consider theirs the most important viewpoint.
In their own mind, the narcissist is the only one whose opinion matters. Anyone who dismisses them has simply not been “enlightened” to their truth.
A SOCIOPATH IS MORE LIKELY TO WANT TO GET TO KNOW YOU
Instead of having an inflated sense of self-importance, the sociopath is much more likely to want to talk about you. This is because a sociopath thrives on their ability to manipulate other people. They need to know all of your vulnerabilities in order to manipulate you. In this way, sociopaths can be incredibly charming. They are very good at making themselves seem like they’re interested in what other people have to say.
Often, they will choose to minimize or downplay their own issues or accomplishments as a tactic to appear more concerned about others than themselves.
2. NARCISSISTS EXPERIENCE “NARCISSIST RAGE” OR “NARCISSIST INJURY”
Mark Goulston, M.D., explains that the rage of a narcissist rises due to a lack of admiration from the rest of the world. To the narcissist, Goulston explains, anything less than total admiration and obedience is “an assault” to the narcissist’s ego. When the narcissist feels their sense of self has been challenged, they often experience “narcissist injury,” which causes them to lash out at the people who caused the injury to their sense of self.
SOCIOPATHS EXPERIENCE SHORT-LIVED EMOTIONS
As opposed to the all-consuming rage of narcissist injury, sociopaths tend to feel emotions in a very “shallow” sense. They tend not to be particularly in touch with emotions in the same way other people generally are. At the same time, they can use emotions to manipulate the people around them. Sociopaths have the ability to mimic emotions when it’s convenient for them in order to make someone else do something they want.
In both cases, the narcissist and the sociopath use emotions to control their victims.