What is a Narcopath by definition? It is a question people who read “Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Flying Monkeys — Oh My!” (TM) frequently ask our Facebook fan page mods behind the scenes in private messages. A Narcopath is the pop-psychology term for a person who shows all the signs of meeting diagnostic criteria for at least two of the Cluster B personality disorder classifications that are outlined in the DSM-5 manual used worldwide by mental health care workers and medical physicians to diagnose patients. The two specific personality disorder types include both Narcissistic Personality Disorder (or NPD) and Anti-Social Personality Disorder (or ASPD).
When searching for self-help oriented psychology information online, it’s helpful to learn all the common definitions of terms assigned by the DSM (specifically by the DSMV) for the most current terminology in use by mental health care professionals. If you are considering working with a therapist or are already engaged in psychotherapy work with a psychiatrist who is helping you comes to terms with abuse or trauma, then it’s even more crucial you be able to discuss fluently exactly what happened to you, with whom, and why.
In a normal relationship struggle, two people strive to understand one another as well as to show common civility at best at all times. In a relationship with a person who has a Cluster B personality type or who has been socially influenced to presume approaching all social interactions from the perspective of a Cluster B thinker is “right”, there is seldom any give and take.
Victims of Cluster B personality types commonly report feeling left emotionally drained and psychologically worn out after interacting with one. There’s a reason such people have been nicknamed “Emotional Vampires”.
People who come at life from a socially competitive and egocentric perspective are birds of a different sort of feather. Some may joke and say, “Yeah… the kind with reptilian leather skin that squawks more like a Pterodactyl than singing like a soft, downy canary…” but whatever. 😉
People who exhibit traits of both Narcissists and Sociopaths typically have little to no regard for the feelings or human rights of other people — unless it is someone they consider useful. They see people as objects to be used, abused, devalued, and discarded at will without remorse at any time the Narcopath deems the person is functionally obsolescent for the Narcopathic predator’s life plan or current vision.
Routinely hopping between relationships and jobs with little to no transition time or reflective thought in between, one day or year they will be married and work at job A while the next week they will hate their former partner, have walked out on the old job, and heavily ensconced themselves in taking on a new identity.
They are the parenting and co-parenting types that abandon children without a second thought. Walking away from a former love interest and never giving another second thought to the child, they will claim to be “family men” or “the motherly type” and simply will make more. Narcopathic people are the ultimate breeders.
If they are the child of living parents, expect them to pull strange stunts like sharing a love-hate relationship with their elders. One moment they will suck up and be the most charming people on the planet to mom or dad — but it always invariably turns out that’s only because they want something financial or to have some lie they have told be “backed up” legally (covering their ass in court by dragging in a “willing to lie for them” member of their own family).
Expect a Narcopath to have a terrible driving record if their personality on a day to day basis makes them reckless and prone to speeding. Not all Narcopaths will break traffic laws, noting that not all of them will have an adrenaline addiction, but all will tend to have road rage issues — at the very least always managing to rant and rave about what someone else is or is not doing on the road that they — as judge and jury — are more than happy to yell at or flip a bird to with alarming regularity.
According to the DSMV, the traits of a Narcissist include the following criteria based in part of personality type in general but also discussing outward aggressive and hostile civil symptoms:
- Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
- Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
- Exaggerating their achievements and talents
- Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
- Believing that they are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
- Requiring constant admiration
- Having a sense of entitlement
- Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with their expectations
- Taking advantage of others to get what they want
- Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
- Being envious of others and believing others envy them
- Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner
As the Mayo Clinic points out, there was a trend in psychology that surged strongly back in the 1980s and 1990s that suggested a person with NPD had low self-esteem and acted grandiose in order to mask their self-perceived inadequacies. Any child of an NPD parent is likely to tell you that’s poppycock, noting that it’s actually the NPD belief they are better than everyone else and therefore entitled to special treatment that fuels their rage when and if they don’t feel they are being treated accordingly like royalty.
According to the DSMV, the traits of an Anti-Social person include the following criteria for diagnosis:
- Disregard for right and wrong
- Persistent lying or deceit to exploit others
- Being callous, cynical and disrespectful of others
- Using charm or wit to manipulate others for personal gain or personal pleasure
- Arrogance, a sense of superiority and being extremely opinionated
- Recurring problems with the law, including criminal behavior
- Repeatedly violating the rights of others through intimidation and dishonesty
- Impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead
- Hostility, significant irritability, agitation, aggression or violence
- Lack of empathy for others and lack of remorse about harming others
- Unnecessary risk-taking or dangerous behavior with no regard for the safety of self or others
- Poor or abusive relationships
- Failure to consider the negative consequences of behavior or learn from them
- Being consistently irresponsible and repeatedly failing to fulfill work or financial obligations
However, the Mayo clinic also notes the following secondary criteria as traits that are both telling and relevant from a behavior management standpoint, as traits of personality typically manifesting by or before the age of 15 in someone who has a sociopathic nature rooted at least partially in BIOLOGY:
- Aggression toward people and animals
- Destruction of property
- Serious violation of rules
When and if a person is both narcissistic in temperament and has all the traits of a person who lacks the ability to comprehend complex emotional feelings like empathy (or to see the value in human pro-social interactions in general), that person can comfortably be referred to as a Narcopath.
As the standards of the DSM shift with the changing sands of comprehension and time, it’s likely that they will eventually include terms like Narcopath as a distinct and unique subset of their classification system. As of 2015, a large push from the Narcissistic Abuse recovery movement has started in the hopes of breaking down the ASPD classification into the following: Narcopath (acting like a Narcissistic Sociopath overtly), Sociopath (rooted in trauma, flat affectation, typically more functional and covert), Psychopath (rooted in biology with hostile or violent tendencies), and Dark Triad (Malignant Narcissist with Psychopathic and Machiavellian tendencies.
There’s also a push to discuss people who have a sadistic streak. Noting that Sadists like the historical character Marquis de Sade were most likely a version of Narcopath with a twist of something yet unnamed in the diagnostic manuals, adult children finally talking about what life was like growing up under the care of fundamentally Narcopathic parents or grandparents who lived through WWI and WWII, the Great Depression, and considered themselves to be the “Greatest Generation” in a heavily propagandized and culturally nurtured sense is just starting to make its way into first person accounts in literature.
Those folks who are unlucky enough to have gotten involved with a Narcopath romantically, in business, or to have had one as a sibling, parent, or grandparent are acutely aware of the uniquely exquisite psychological and even physical tortures they tend to heap on their preferred targets, scapegoats, and Narcissistic Supply Sources. If they had a sadistic streak coupled in, then understanding that the gleam in their eye they get after saying or doing something especially mean-spirited or undermining is exactly for the reason victims suspect — because they liked doing it.
Victims left wondering why a person or social group could be so horrible in general to a targeted person or group they like to bully should stop wasting time on that endeavor. They (meaning the people who display traits of being Narcopaths) don’t have brain structures or personality types like the majority of the planet.
As of the year 2015, it’s thought that 4% of the global population meet criteria for ASPD and another 6% meets criteria for having NPD as a true, untreatable personality disorder — NOT an illness. Such deviant personality types function incredibly well during their lifetime but leave a brutal legacy of harm and damage to any person or family member who happens to get drawn into their wake.
The reason why Narcopaths pathologically lie, manipulate, blame shift, avoid taking responsibility, stonewall, smear campaign, act aggressive and hostile, situationally abuse, rant, rave, rage, write revisionist history, constantly grandstand, demand, ridicule, promote toxic shame in their victims, and gaslight pervasively is because it releases in them the same sort of pleasure hormones normal people feel with they do NICE things. When a Narcopath bullies or gets away with pulling a social con on a target, a flood of endorphins comes across their otherwise bored and flatlined neurological system like a wave.
Boredom is the simple root of most of their desire to manufacture chaos, to sabotage other people, and to attack those who they perceive as “happy people” (for lack of a better term to say). The people they most enjoy picking on are typically the most loving and least aggressive of sorts — emotionally sensitive human beings who place a high value on humanitarian ideals and Empaths are their personal “favs”.
If and when a Narcopath can gain the trust of an innocent victim who is emotionally sensitive, their games begin. Throwing shade does not begin to describe how much a nice person makes the skin crawl when and if they are detected by a Narcopath. The more extreme that person’s ASPD aspect, the more likely they are to enact decades of smear campaigning while striving to socially and emotionally devastate their mirror-opposite personality types.
One can see hints of this based on the extreme hate speech being hurled at gays and transgender people in the 21st century — as well as refugees and people fleeing extreme poverty conditions, scared, cold, starving, brutalized, and tired. One can also see how Narcopathy left unchecked left Christians sending Jewish people to the gas chamber or forced labor prison camps to starve and die in Nazi Germany while good church going citizens cheered and their children (raised to be Narcopaths themselves) never batted an eye.
Understanding the difference between being Narcopathic at birth and having been culturally desensitized into thinking acting like an extremely toxic Cluster B predator for social, fiscal, and emotional advantage is crucial in the 21st century if humanity — as a species — is going to survive. Because true Narcopaths are the sort who devours their young while self-promoting, letting people of that ilk into positions of power and influence in the government, in science, in corporate structures, in academia, in churches as leaders or outspoken parishioners, or truly as PARENTS is to be avoided at all costs.
No parent should be allowed to have or keep a child who promotes the use of hate speech or cluster B thinking. Just because they give birth to or adopt a child does not give them the right to treat that child as an object owned like a possession. Social service agents and authorities who play religious favoritism, police who treat civilians like cattle, and civic role models like school teachers and politicians should be held to a higher secular and civic standard than they presently are, noting that not all who are religious ascribe to teaching their children that sociopathy is the way to win or that entitlement in the narcissistic sense is a value to promote that is spiritually, ethically, or morally RIGHT.
Protecting children as well as yourself from the direct or indirect social and physical impact of having to deal with a Narcopath is of the utmost importance for Narcissistic Abuse Victims. Bottom line, there are far more good people in the world than statistically is evidenced as bullies, so rafting up together with people that are kind can truly, indelible help “normal”, decent, and kind-natured people live a lifestyle that allows them to self-actualize.
The right way to deal with a Narcopath is to educate yourself about their mind control games and learn how to observe rather than react to their machinations. Then, once you have enough “proof” that your diagnostic suspicion is correct, walk away. Doing all victims can do to stop allowing themselves to be used as playthings and Narcissistic Supply Sources for Cluster B personality types is key to Narcissistic Abuse recovery.
Going NO CONTACT is the correct social, moral, spiritual, and religious advice to give any person who feels socially or morally obligated to care for, love, or protect one of these people. One can go GRAY ROCK and learn to observe without feeling compelled to engage socially to rescue or entertain such a person, loving them from a distance unconditionally without feeling the need to be abused but also respecting their personality type enough not to waste one moment in life wishing they were different or effectively striving to change them.