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The Sociopath

The Sociopath

sociopath two faces

It’s not easy to distinguish the difference between a narcissist and a sociopath because they share many common behaviours and motivations.  Some experts state that the term “sociopath” is the same thing as psychopath.  This is further supported by the definition offered in the dictionary.  Sociopath; “A person with a psychopathic personality whose behaviour is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.”  This does not mean that all sociopaths engage in criminal behaviour.  A high functioning sociopath can get along quite well in everyday life without breaking the law.  A doctor’s official diagnoses of either a sociopath or a psychopath will usually be the term: antisocial personality disorder.

Similarities of a narcissist and a sociopath

  • Lack of empathy; narcissists are not able to see an-other’s point of view where as a sociopath recognizes the effect they have on others but doesn’t care.
  • Both are quick to take credit when things go right but when they don’t, it’s someone else’s fault.
  • Both maintain an agenda that is self-serving.  Even when they put the needs of others before their own it serves only to supply and preserve the “false self.”
  • Both can skilfully re-create past events to suit the needs of the moment.
  • Neither will apologize for their words or actions but a sociopath may fake one in an effort to move on.
  • Both believe they are entitled to being loved, admired and obeyed, despite their behaviour.
  • Both have no idea why they are the way that they are.
  • Both can be very engaging and even charming so long as you don’t question or critique.


  • A narcissist wants to be perceived well, a sociopath wants to be perceived in what ever light suits the need of the moment.
  • A narcissist ignores social rules because they’re simply not aware but a sociopath will consciously manipulate situations to suit their agenda.
  • A narcissist doesn’t recognize how their words and actions hurt people.  A sociopath is very aware but does it anyway.
  • A narcissist may belittle and antagonize you over the short term if they perceive you as a threat but a sociopath will take you out altogether.  They are patient and methodical, often playing the long game.
  • The narcissist will feel victimized when their efforts to interact with empathetic people fail.  Not so with the sociopath, they simply disregard the feelings of others and hold to their own reasoning.

These lists are definitely not exhaustive descriptions of either personality and are intended to be food for thought only.  I encourage you to do your own research and even seek out professional help if you are unsure of what your dealing with.  It’s far more important to discover and align yourself with the truth about your own life than it is to correctly diagnose someone with NPD or antisocial personality disorder.  The heartbreak and trauma that results from being in a relationship with this kind of person can be devastating.  It is a humbling act when we say, “It’s not about me,” but in this case it’s very much about you.  What ever you tolerate, you will receive.

You do have two powerful defence tactics at your disposal, prayer and boundaries.  Never under estimate the power of prayer.  Lift the person up before the Lord and ask Him to soften their heart and open their eyes to the truth.  The first step in Alcoholics Anonymous twelve step recovery program is admitting that one cannot control their alcoholism, addiction or compulsion.  Recognizing and admitting that a problem exists is critical to the healing process.

God knows the person far better than you do so rely on Him to create the right conditions and bring about circumstances that will wake them up.   There has been a few times in my life where I was so enraged over poor and unfair treatment that I wanted to cry out for God’s wrath to crush the offender.  I know it may sound corny but I was reminded of a line from an old Spider Man movie, “With great power comes great responsibility.”  Prayer is great power.  We need to be very careful of what we pray for.  “Vengeance is Mine, says the Lord.”  Romans 12:19-21  One important reason for this is because, being human, we tend to jump to conclusions and make mistakes.  We leap into action and take matters into our own hands hoping for immediate justice.

Have faith that God will do the right thing, for the right people, in the right way at the right time.  Be persistent in your prayer life and always thank God for the blessings He has sent your way.  “Be anxious for nothing…”  Philippians 4:6.

In order for your prayers to be effective you must be right with God.  Harbouring dark vengeful thoughts about others is a condition of the heart and proves the injured person unfit for divine fellowship.  Guard against that “root of bitterness” at all cost.  Being aware of our forgiveness in Christ allows us to forgive others.


To discover if a person is capable of taking responsibility for their actions and willing to be held accountable without putting yourself at risk of yet another offence, it is highly recommended that you set boundaries.

Personal boundaries are like a line in the sand.  They are rules or limits that you create to protect yourself by identifying reasonable and permissible ways other people are allowed to treat you and how you will respond to anyone who crosses it.  They can be constructed out of your personal beliefs, conclusions and past experiences and help define who you are as an individual.  They can include physical, mental, psychological and spiritual boundaries and are two directional affecting both incoming and outgoing interactions with others.

Setting boundaries can be the catalyst by which a narcissist will hit rock bottom and wake up.  The thought of losing you can open their eyes to reality and act as a call to action.  This is the time you need to keep your eyes open as well.  The following is a list of traits a genuine person will display when healing their narcissism.

  • Display a willingness to take ownership of what they have done and be held accountable for the damage caused through a show of total remorse.
  • Full focus on helping you feel safe and cared for in an effort to rebuild trust through actions, not just words.
  • Be willing to commit to ongoing therapy and personal development.  If they only go a couple of times in an effort to appease then they are not taking it seriously.
  • Repair any damages (including financial) to the best of their ability.
  • Respect the boundaries you have put in place and cease all displays of entitlements, jealousy, guilt trips or revenge.  Accept the fact that it is because of their behaviour these boundaries now exist.
  • Grant full disclosure of their life.  Be willing to answer questions you or anyone else who cares about you may ask in order to understand and help rebuild trust.  They must do so in full humility and not deflect, distract or in anyway defend their poor behaviour.
  • Love and care for you enough that they are willing to let you go, putting your best interests before their own.

This list may seem impossible to you but there has been those who have successfully altered their narcissistic actions and become strong, supportive and nurturing friends and family members.  If you have ever experienced soul crushing, prolonged abuse of any kind you know it’s something you never want to go through again.  Without this level of authentic sincerity you should not re-engage.

Decide who it is that you want to be and set upon it right away.


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Image – Pixabay – Sociopath – What’s the Difference Between a Sociopath and a Psychopath?

The Scapegoat & The Golden Child

The Scapegoat & The Golden Child

Finger Pointing

When you are young you tend to believe and accept daily life as normal, it is your reality and all you’ve ever known.  As you get older you begin to notice and question poor behaviour and become aware of the negative effect it is having on you.  Welcome to The Scapegoat & The Golden Child.

Adult children of a narcissist typically suffer from anxiety and depression, unacknowledged anger and feelings of inadequacy.  They know something is wrong but can’t identify what it is or what’s causing it.  This is because the narcissistic household is ripe with denial.  The norm becomes, “Don’t tell anyone anything, just pretend everything is fine and what ever you do never tarnish the family image.”  Just a word on this; the family unit is meant to glorify God, not itself.

The “scapegoat” is typically assigned blame for all the family woes.  Whatever is amiss, whatever goes wrong or is wrong, it’s their fault.  Sadly the narcissistic parent projects their own feelings of inadequacy and self loathing onto the child.  They are out of touch with their own feelings and therefore not able to process them in honest healthy ways, they ooze out and stick like glue to the scapegoat.  You might be tempted to think that this poor soul is getting a raw deal, dealt a bad hand, don’t kid yourself.  While it’s easy to think that the life of the “golden child” is one to be envied, nothing could be farther from the truth.  In the formidable years they seem to have it all but this false persona quickly fades as they enter adulthood.  No member of a narcissistic family emerges unscathed.

The golden child functions as the apple of their eye, proudly displayed for all to see.  Their successes are celebrated with much pomp and any failures are either ignored or assigned to the scapegoat through the twisted reality of the narcissist.  The problem is that the child’s individuality suffers, their own thoughts and emotions are overlooked as the narcissist attempts to live out their dreams through another.  They are just as needed and used as the scapegoat in feeding the narcissist’s false self and are valued for what they do, not for who they are.  For example, a narcissistic parent who loves sports and didn’t achieve the desired level of excellence they had hoped for may now try to do so through their child, even if the child is not interested.  Love is conditional on how they perform and even the golden child endures judgment and criticism when they fall short of expectations.

In healthy families siblings are taught to love and respect each other, to support and protect the others hopes and dreams through caring words and actions.  This usually leads to (not guaranteed) a strong emotional connection with each other that lasts for a lifetime.  Children in narcissistic families rarely share this connection as they are constantly compared to each other and unhealthy competition is encouraged.  Tensions rise and mistrust is fostered through a lack of effective communication referred to as “triangulation.”  One person passes information (thoughts or feelings) on to another in the hopes that the intended target will get the message.  Family members don’t confront each other directly and when they do, anger usually follows and matters are worse.

The life of a spouse under narcissistic control revolves around the narcissist in order to keep the marriage together.  They may very well have positive traits and life lessons to teach their children but are kept so busy meeting the needs of the narcissist they are unable to take the time.  A narcissistic parent can be extremely possessive.  They may want the golden child to permanently dwell under their influence and roof.  Any indication that the child might be gaining their own independence can be met with strong opposition.  The young adult may move to another city only to have frequent visits by the jealous parent in an effort to guilt or shame them into returning home.  “How can you do this to me, don’t you care?”

Sadly, the child is not loved for who they are, the way they are but simply a means to an end.  They become emotionally and spiritually stunted, unable to formulate their own opinions and feelings without having first checked with the controlling parent.  They are often taught the same superiority complex and sense of entitlement that is so masterfully faked by the narcissist.  They willingly forfeit the plan God has for their lives and pursue the superficial trappings of wealth and ego.  I say “willingly” because they do have a choice.  They can align themselves with the truth, decide who they want to be and take a stand or they can accept the false persona and risk becoming a narcissist themselves.  Some narcissistic parents expect their children to look after them for the rest of their days and will manipulate circumstances to that end.  Of course it’s commendable to do so but there is a natural order to things.

The first book of the Bible says, “For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”  Genesis 2:24.  If you choose to take a wife, two become one and a new life begins.  If God blesses you with children, they are to be raised in the knowledge and love of Him and then released to follow their own path.  Hopefully they will have learned to seek God’s will for their lives and walk in such a way that is both pleasing and productive.  I remember the day I released my children to God in faith that He knows what’s best for them and trusted Him for that.  We don’t stop loving them and are always there for them when they need us.  We are so blessed to be able to see our kids and grandchildren often as they all live fairly close.

Coercing a child to remain under your control is suffocating and prevents them from experiencing LIFE as God intended.  The failures and successes, the joy and sadness, the happy times and the tough times; these are the experiences where their own individual faith in God will grow and a trusting relationship with Christ is forged.  Then, after getting a life of their own, they are better prepared to care for their aging parents.  This is also what God intended from the beginning.  The appearance of a potential spouse can be viewed as a threat by the narcissist and met with criticism and rejection.  What are you prepared to do?

The knowledge that a narcissist may not be capable of understanding or even recognizing the pain they inflict on others has made it a little less personal for me.  I have no professional training in psychology but I was very curious as to whether or not someone can be born a narcissist.   I have found the concusses to be, no.  It’s true that our DNA can contain information that makes us more susceptible to certain behaviours like alcohol and drug addiction but nobody is born a narcissist, they become one.  Usually the behaviour begins as a defence mechanism against some form of early childhood trauma.  If the person is a deep pool of secrets and never shares any information about their life or the pain they may have endured, then you will never know the root cause.

You won’t find the word “narcissist” in the Bible.  Instead it labels this type of behaviour as “insolent pride.”  In the time of Jesus the religious leaders, the Chief Priest, Scribes and Pharisees were referred to as “scoffers.”  According to Proverbs 21:24, scoffers is one of the names for those filled with insolent pride.  I wrote about the dangers of pride in my post “Enemies of Peace.”

A scoffer minimizes or does not want to even acknowledge their own flaws, while at the same time sets themselves up as a superior judge over others’ flaws.  They project onto others the very things they themselves are doing.  Romans 2:1.

Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive & negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others.  For example, a person who is habitually rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude.  It incorporates blame shifting.

– Wikipedia

By the same measure that we judge others, it will be measured unto us.  Matthew 7:1-5.  Jesus had already identified the Scribes & Pharisees as being under the influence of Satan when He said to them, “You are of your father the devil…” John 8:44.

It is a very difficult thing to view members of your own family as enemies and yet, it can happen.  Matthew 10: 34-36 gives this sad example.  It is important to note that we are told to love our enemies and pray for them in Matthew 5:44.  Even if we are persecuted and abandoned we can still pray for our loved ones.  Just remember that God does not expect you to stay in an abusive relationship.  Toxic people can have an extremely negative effect on your physical, mental and spiritual well being.  Your relationship to God must come first and if you have taken all the steps toward healing the relationship that He wants you to, then you may have to move on for your own sake.  Sometimes the most loving act that we can do for a loved one is to give them over to God.

Although I am referring to the “scapegoat” and the “golden child” as different children in this post, it’s worth mentioning that they can also be the same child… just not at the same time.  If the golden child begins to develop their own identity and cuts off the supply of narcissistic food to the controlling parent then they can quickly become the scapegoat.  This is all part of the twisted reality of the narcissist.

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Image – Pixabay   Collage – Mark Webb – How should a Christian view borderline personality disorder (BPD)?

Wikipedia – Psychological Projection.



Secrets covered ears covered eyes

Up until about seven years ago I had never hear of the term narcissism, I didn’t know what it was or what it meant.  A friend of mine was talking about it one night and noticed my interest in the subject.  He took me into his office and brought up a website that listed all the traits of someone with NPD.  “This is my father,” he said.  My jaw dropped, my eyes were opened.

In many cases of heartbreak the “why” will never be answered this side of heaven, but in my case it was.  I sincerely hope the following information is of help to you.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

According to the Mayo Clinic NPD is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration.  Troubled relationships and a lack of empathy for others is hidden behind a mask of extreme confidence, but beneath the mask lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

As I stated in our “About Blog/Vlog” page, I am not a doctor.  I have no specialized training in any field of human behaviour and thus I am not qualified to make a professional diagnosis of anyone.  You don’t have to be a meteorologist to know what a tornado looks like, even if you’ve never seen one for real.  We’ve all seen news coverage of the devastation they leave behind and know that when we see a funnel cloud forming we should pay attention and get out of the way.

A narcissist can be difficult to identify due to their ability to be so loving and supportive, giving of their time, money and affections for long periods of time in between narcissistic episodes.  Their ability to change from protector to persecutor in a heart beat causes mind-bending confusion, shattered trust and deep emotional pain.  Our genuine love for them makes us more than willing to stick it out because we fear losing the relationship.  They are capable of saying wonderful things and that they will always be there for you only to repeat the hurtful behaviour again and again.

It’s important to note that most of us have exhibited narcissistic behaviour at some point during our life but we are able to recognize it and take steps correct it.  We are willing to take responsibility for our words and actions and ask for forgiveness.  We genuinely try to change our behaviour, we feel remorse.  Change takes time and failures can occur but any honest attempts to heal should be noticeable and thus supported.

Someone who has full blown NPD is incapable of taking responsibility for their actions and will not be held accountable for them.  If you try and force the issue they can fly into a vengeful rage employing any tactics at their disposal to punish you.  They will often accuse you of everything that they themselves are doing and then some.  They will lay twisted guilt trips on you and lie to your face and to others behind your back.  They will enlist the support of third party allies starting with those whom they already control and then branch out to anyone else who will listen.  Drawing their attention to poor behaviour that is having a negative effect on your relationship, even when done in the most loving and gentle way possible, will be viewed as an attack and met with extreme opposition.  You become the object of their wrath and they will hit back hard.

I can relate to a recent Facebook post that read, “The only way to win with a narcissist is don’t play.”  Not that it’s about winning and losing, although, being human we tend to think of it in those terms.  To me, it’s about recognizing the truth and aligning myself with it.  There is no excuse for abusive behaviour of any kind.  If you don’t look after yourself what good will you be to anyone else, especially those closest to you?  If you tolerate toxic people in your life that cause you great pain and suffering then you are abusing yourself.

The term “False Self” has come up a lot as I have researched this subject over the years.  Apparently someone with NPD needs energy from an outside source (other people) to confirm their very existence, this is referred to as mirroring.  I can’t even begin to imagine the inner conflict that must rage when a narcissist is also a professing Christian.  Basic knowledge of who we are in Christ (His children and co-heirs) along with one look at the cross is all we should need to not only prove our existence but great worth as well.  These facts may not yet be fully realized by new believers but should most certainly be evident to more mature Christians.  Thankfully, Jesus never threatens to stop loving us, even when we fall.

Narcissism is all about control and keeping it by fostering dependence in those who are inside their circle of influence.  Codependency is often the result.  Those who never dare to question, correct or threaten the narcissist’s false self, no matter how blatant the offence, are enabling them.  The threat of love being withdrawn in response to a perceived act of disobedience is a cruel yet powerful way to keep them in line and ensure a constant supply of narcissistic food.  Anyone who has ever been addicted to drugs or alcohol knows that the effects eventually wear off and when this happens, all they can think about is getting more.  They will do whatever it takes, even if they have to lie, cheat and steal from their own families.  The narcissist’s false self needs to be fed regularly in order to maintain that inner fullness that they are unable to create for themselves.  For the believer, that inner fullness comes from trusting in Jesus Christ and we are called to “mirror” Him.

A narcissist is more than capable of saying loving, caring and supportive words.  They perform selfless acts in order to receive the attention, approval and praise they crave.  They will mention how “everybody else thinks they’re wonderful” in an effort to make you feel foolish for having the audacity to question their behaviour.  They can appear to be genuinely concerned and filled with compassion at just the right moments, usually when others are watching.  Anything to advance their agenda and maintain an image of being worthy and lovable; give a little, take a lot.  The false self has convinced them that they are entitled to be agreed with and that they have done nothing wrong.

Long periods of time can pass and everything appears to be fine.  You believe the issue has been dealt with and stability has returned to the relationship.  Suddenly, out of nowhere, it resurfaces and things are worse than before.  The painful grudge being harboured (that root of bitterness) is once again assigned to you and you must be punished.  If you’re starting to think that healing a relationship with a narcissist is impossible, that’s because, for the most part, it is.  I don’t mean to say that there is no hope, there is the possibility that they will hit bottom and wake up to the fact that they need help.  Consistent, professional therapy to address their inner issues responsible for causing the narcissistic behaviour along with a healthy support system can turn things around, but here’s the rub.  In order to seek help, they must first admit that they need it.  This is all but impossible for the pathological narcissist.  To further complicate matters, codependents and those who are being used as mirrors only serve to enable and entrench the behaviour.

If you suspect that you are in a relationship with a narcissist and find it difficult to distance yourself from them, look inwardly.  You may discover unhealed areas of your own life that are making you susceptible to the abuse.  A situation where you are heavily invested in the relationship can lead you to believe that you can’t get along without them.  A narcissist will stop at nothing to re-enforce this faulty idea in your mind.  Remember, it’s all about control and it is a great affront to them when they lose it.

Let me be very clear, THIS IS NOT LOVE LOST.

Love does not lie.  Love does not seek revenge or maliciously engage in smear campaigns against you.  Love does not abandon you nor turn hearts against you.  Love does not ignore responsibility or refuse to be held accountable.  Love is not apathetic.  Love does not seek to control everyone and everything around them through manipulation and fabrication.  Love does not hold a grudge.  In a nut shell, everything that the Bible says true love is, these things are the opposite.  Paul describes love as an action word in 1 Corinthians 13, not a feeling.  A narcissist will say and do things that make you feel loved but is only interested in the final result, getting fed.  They don’t care about how you feel or why you feel that way but are only concerned with how it reflects on them.  They care very much about their image and how things appear and are quick to establish their superiority.  Egos receive a boost by pointing out the faults and short comings of others.

The most telling characteristic is their inability to empathize.  A narcissist’s brain is simply not wired to be able to sympathize with anyone else’s pain or validate their feelings in any way; a key prerequisite to healing any relationship.  If they become fixated on you as the reason for all of their pain they will repel any attempts to be reconciled and fiercely defend the image of the false self.

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Image – Pixabay – 6 Common Traits of Narcissists and Gaslighters