“The voices of God and the Devil are scarcely distinguishable.” Loren Eiseley
The differences between sociopathy and narcissism
According to Dr. Martha Stout Ph.D., about four percent of the North American population is sociopathic. They look like you and I. But the truth is that they cannot love. They cannot feel for you. They cannot care for anything except themselves. Not their children. Not the family pet. Not their mother – no one – ever! While they project outwardly differently, on the inside, they are stone cold with no conscience. Without doubt, they are clearly some of the most evil individuals on the planet. But because they are the ultimate actors, they are virtually invisible and are able to carry out their schemes, in broad daylight, without you noticing. They ruthlessly use charm, guile, eloquence, poise and surface personality to lie, cheat, steal and callously manipulate people for their own gain without any regard for the damage they cause in your business. Every last person is nothing more than a pawn to be used in any manner they see fit. Scary! A good way to identify a sociopath is to look for the pity play. Sociopaths use the pity strategy as a tool for deception. They know that having pity for them is almost a sure bet to get carte blanche for their treacherous ways. So, if you see both poor behavior and the pity play from a team member, you are likely dealing with a sociopath. Narcissists, on the other hand, are much easier to spot. The reasons are that unlike the sociopath, the narcissist experiences all the emotions you and I do and, at the same time, do not fake those emotions as well as the sociopath. But they also have no empathy for others – again, just like the sociopath, they only feel for themselves. Because they cannot “see past their own nose,” they don’t understand or care about your feelings and thoughts. So they do not adapt and grow intellectually and are highly defensive to the point that they will block out and criticize any outside input if it does not line up with what he/she is thinking or feeling. As Dr. Stout says, the narcissist is one half of the sociopath. The sociopath is ice cold and has no feeling or empathy. The narcissist differs in that he does have the feelings but also lacks empathy. If you think you have either in your midst, best to get professional advice to minimize the untold havoc they can cause in your business or enterprise.