By Allison Zapata
What do you get when you cross a sociopath with a narcissist? The least funny joke and the worst kind of hybrid: a narcissistic sociopath, narcopath for short. Both a narcissist and sociopath have an inflated sense of how important they are, as well as a constant need for praise and admiration.
One commonality between the two is their ability to fool others in order to get what they want, without remorse. But what sets them apart is that a narcopath is unable to handle criticism or be viewed in a negative light, whereas a sociopath couldn't care less who thinks what or how they're perceived.
When you hear the word narcopath you may picture a deranged, knife-wielding lunatic -- at least that's what I pictured before I met my own. Unfortunately, this couldn't be further from the truth. Narcopaths are boogie men in disguise and wolves in sheep's clothing. Their abuse is sometimes so subtle that you don't see it until the curtain closes and your world is torn apart.
Still unsure if you're in a relationship with a narcopath? Here are ten telltale signs that you might be.
1. Things move from zero to one hundred in seconds.
From the beginning, nothing is normal with a narcopath. Things progress at warp speed, hop-scotching over the usual stages of a relationship.
Instead of slowly getting to know one another, you go from the first date to planning your future together within weeks of meeting. And when your gut warns you things are moving too fast, you tell it to shut up because you've finally found your soulmate.
2. They're a broken record of compliments.
A narcopath will sweep you off your feet, place you on a pedestal, then worship you from down below. They'll tell you the things you've always wanted to hear, saying them over and over and over again.
But listen closely and you'll notice there's not much variation in these love monologues, and their sweet-nothings sound more like a script than anything from the heart. "You're the prettiest. The sexiest. The skinniest. The best mom. The funniest."
If everything feels staged and too good to be true, it probably is.
3. They flatter you with comparisons.
There's no period at the end of a compliment. Instead, a narcopath compliments you by comparing you to someone else in their life.
In my case, he'd say things like, "You have such a sexy voice. Not too high, nor too low; it's just perfect. My friend Courtney's voice is super high-pitched and she has this weird way of talking through her teeth. Annoying." Or, "You have a great body. I guess I'm used to having more to hug with my ex!"
Praising you by putting down others is a huge red flag, not to mention incredibly distasteful. And while it's no doubt flattering to hear these praises, keep in mind that one day they'll be offering them to someone else and using your name to fill the second blank.
4. Your chemistry between the sheets is off the charts.
You've never felt this much passion with anyone else. Pushing all the right buttons in just the right ways, it's like they're reading your mind and its desires.
The reason sex is so mind-blowing, at least in the beginning, isn't because they know what to do with their hands; they know what to do with your mind. They'll make you feel like you're the only one who's ever existed to them.
Yes, narcopaths are indeed that great -- at acting, that is. By mirroring your every emotion they're able to make their own emotions seem genuine and fool you into thinking yours are real.
5. Their eyes are windows to nothingness.
My Narc-in-a-Box would stare at me with such intensity I'd become nervous, fidget, and quickly turn away. Speaking directly into my eyes with a deadpan and unwavering stare, I don't think he blinked once during our four months together. At times his gaze was so piercing that his pupils practically vanished.
But sadly, behind all that intensity lied a vast amount of dark nothingness. I turned away from that stare because it made me feel uneasy in all the wrong ways.
6. They always lead the conversation back to themselves.
On the surface, a narcopath seems hyper-focused on you and genuinely interested in learning all there is to know. Yet the moment you begin divulging this information, they quickly interrupt with a story of their own.
It's like a revolving door: They ask you a question to gain the opportunity to talk about themselves. They're quick to interject with their thoughts and opinions, and always have a similar experience to share with you. Experiences that, once dissected, are nothing more than sweetly camouflaged one-uppers and indirect ways to let you know that they know better.
7. They have a checkered relationship history.
I've never met anyone with such an odd and storied relationship history. He traveled to Texas after meeting a girl online, then met his ex-wife online, and later flew in another girl he met online (through a quiz website!) all the way from Europe, before finally meeting me online.
Narcopaths often leave long trails of broken relationships behind them, but of course they were never the ones responsible for breaking them. And no matter how long ago it ended, they'll claim all their former flames still burn strongly for them from afar.
8. They use big words that have little substance.
Have you ever read something that initially seems incredibly deep and profound, until you reach the end and realize it's nothing but a nonsensical jumble of fancy words? A narcopath craves superiority and thrives on being smarter than everyone in the room.
The only the problem is that often times they're not, forcing them to fake it and pray no one catches on. On the surface, a narcopath seems highly intelligent and cultured, but dig deeper and you'll discover it's nothing but fluff.
9. They give because it makes them look better.
Give and you shall receive. Or, in the narcopath's case, give and tell everyone within a thousand mile radius who you gave to and exactly how much.
A narcopath doesn't give because it makes them feel good on the inside; rather, they give because it makes them look good from the outside. No kind deed goes unnoticed, because they'd never allow it. Whether it's helping an old lady cross the street, giving a homeless person a buck, or donating to their children's PTA, they'll make sure someone knows about their generosity.
10. They're no stranger to the silent treatment.
Narcopaths love to dish it out. You may see glimpses of this passive-aggressive form of punishment early on in the relationship, or it might come on suddenly out of left field. Either way, the silent treatment is without a doubt the most vile and abusive trait that narcopaths possess.
Like a child, anytime they can't get their way or feel threatened, they stomp away with their arms crossed and punish you with a deafening silence. The harder you reach out, the more you cry, and the angrier you become, the better they feel.
It's normal for your partner to get angry, sulk, or brood sometimes. What isn't normal is using silence as a weapon to punish and control you, then sitting back and gaining pleasure from your pain.
This article originally appeared on YourTango.
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