Difference Between Narcissist and Sociopath

Narcissist vs Sociopath

Narcissist and sociopath are two words used in describing people with extreme personalities. Both these words relate to separate sets of characteristics or traits allowing us to identify a Narcissist or a sociopath in a person. Both these types of people usually have negative effects on the society. Some characteristics of the two overlap and hence it is important to identify how these could be separated from each other, which is, in fact, the key focus of this article.


Narcissist is a person who is overly self-involved and usually vain and selfish, as well. Egotism, pride, vanity and selfishness are inseparable signs of a Narcissist. The word Narcissist arises from Greek mythology. According to the myth there was Narcissus, a Greek youth who fell in love with his own reflection in a pool and turned into a flower while gazing at his own reflection. Narcissist is easily identified by the characteristics such as obvious self-focus, problems in sustaining relationships, lack of empathy, hypersensitivity to insults and imaginary insults, heightened shame than guilt, detesting non-admirers, bragging and exaggerating own achievements, claiming to be an expert in many things, denial of gratitude, lack of respect to other people’s perspectives, pretending to be more important than they actually are, and flattery towards admirers etc.

Psychologists identify different forms of narcissism such as aggressive, collective, conversational, destructive, sexual, spiritual, primordial, and many more. The severity of Narcissism may vary depending on what form of Narcissistic behavior is prominent. A healthy level of Narcissism is not so bad because it allows a person to be confident and feel important. But if a person is excessively Narcissistic, it is considered as a mental disorder which is referred to as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NAD).


A sociopath is a person who is suffering from antisocial personality disorder. They lack the moral responsibility towards the society. Some researchers say they have found abnormalities in the brain of sociopaths and believe that this behavior arises from wrong programming in the brain. Usually sociopaths start showing disrespect to law and order and rights of others from age of 15 onwards. Characteristics and behaviors of a sociopath include superficial charm, extreme Narcissism, secretiveness, pathological lying, and lack of guilt or shame, shallow emotions, impulsiveness, unreliability, irresponsibility, being manipulative, paranoid, infidelity and many others. These characteristics may overlap with characteristics of a Narcissist because extreme Narcissism is a quality of a sociopath.

What is the difference between a Narcissist and a sociopath?

• Narcissist is not a sociopath always, but a sociopath is almost always a narcissist.

• Every Narcissist is not suffering from a personality disorder; it is only a character of extreme Narcissism. But a sociopath is a person who is suffering from antisocial personality disorder.

• A Narcissist can easily move into being a sociopath due to the overlapping characteristics of the two personalities.

• A narcissist is not always a social threat, but a sociopath is considered as a social threat most of the time.