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7 Warning Signs a Narcissistic Sociopath Is Exploiting You


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Can you spot a narcissist**? And the warning signs that a malignant narcissist may be exploiting you to serve their interests at the expense of your health and wellbeing?

Narcissists self-identify with at least 7 traits they regard as evidence of their superiority, and worth, and what entitles them (in their mind) to exploit and abuse with impunity. (They would not admit this, of course; admitting the truth would take them out of hiding. Truth neutralizes the power they wield, their biggest weapon is the specific “lies” they tell to get into other’s minds, in such a way, that, unwittingly, they “participate” in their own victimization.)

1. They present a consistent pattern of predatory behaviors.

Did your relationship develop too fast, feel too good to be true at the start? Did he**** seem to be interested in what makes you happy, and said just the right things to make you feel special (love bombing), and shape a fairy tale illusion of who he is, and the kind of relationship he wants?

Looking back months or years later, did his words mirror your highest hopes of life together, yet were rarely, if ever, backed by consistent actions? Did he profess to value you as a person, care about your feelings, for example, promised to never cheat, yet dismissed your concerns about female “friends” and closely guarded his cell?

Did you often make excuses or minimize abusive actions in your mind or to others? In effect, did you develop an idealized image of him that disarmed you to the point that you to let him off the hook, regularly, for repeated actions that hurt you at emotional, mental levels, perhaps also physical or sexual? And, did this gradually lower your expectations for him, simultaneously put more and more expectations on you?

Narcissistic sociopaths prey on women with certain vulnerabilities. They go after them with a strategy to get into and control their mind, thus their behaviors. Sociopaths link their identity, and worth as men, to violence, and proving dominance by violating the rights of those they perceive as inferior. Predatory behaviors are strategic and always guarded, and predators are always on the look out for prey. Their motto is to win, and that means to “get them before they get you.”

A narcissist regards women as a sport, a thrilling erotic game between objects, hunters and prey. They study women, like hunters prey. They know, for example, what women look for in men, what words disarm or crush them, how happy “pleasing others” makes them, and how often women say ‘yes’ when they mean ‘no” in order to avoid being labeled as selfish, controlling or rejecting.

Not all narcissists are sexual predators, but all sexual predators are narcissistic sociopaths. They pretend-talk about “love” and “relationships,” especially at first, and occasionally as needed, and this works to disarm and trap women into trusting the words that are strategically designed to get into and control a woman’s behaviors and emotions by controlling what she thinks about herself, life, him. In cases of sexual abuse, similarly, predators use a combination of love-bombing to disarm those they prey upon; fear to terrorize and obtain their loyalty to a code of silence regarding their abuse, and, last but not least, predators “play the victim” to hide in plain sight, blame-shift their wrongs onto their victims, silence critics, gain witting or unwitting accomplices, and overall discombobulate their victims minds to participate in their own abuse, even to protect their predator from others’ scrutiny — at their own expense.

2. They self-identify as intentionally, willfully exploitive.

Were you flattered by an overdose of attention at the start, amazed at his interest to hear you pour your heart out, share your deepest fears, past wounds, and so on? Did you then notice his use of what you disclosed to tear you down, and build a case against you?

And now, looking back, is it nearly impossible to make a request, state an opinion, or express how you feel (about the way he treats you), without him becoming enraged, or shifting the focus to make you feel bad, tear down your sense of worth, make you feel isolated, ashamed, judged by others as unloved, crazy and controlling? If so, you’re being exposed to thought control, an attempt to train yo  to silence yourself, your wants, needs, observations, feel like an object, seen and not heard.

Gaslighting is a form of narcissistic abuse, distinct from abuse that occurs in conflict, due to its insidious goals. As predators, narcissists view others as objects to exploit for their own gain, and meticulously study those they prey on as a group. It may be that, while you were thinking you’d found a dream boat, he was really gathering data to customize a nightmare. Intentionally, he disarmed and made you feel you’d found a romantic prince charming, a soulmate, committed to you alone, a guy that sees you as his one and only.

Narcissists identify themselves by their actions, and their actions reflect their goals. They have a keen interest to know what you want in a relationship at the start, for example. It’s not to build a better life together through mutual understanding! Their goal is to use this information to get into women’s minds, gain their trust. They gather data from women in past relationships, and added to yours, fashion illusions that match your biggest wishes, and yearnings for safety and protection. The goal is to disarm and make you feel you can totally trust them, they are your savior, the one you’ve been waiting for. This, however, allows them to do wrong in plain sight.

3. They self-identify with no moral compass.

Does he predictably ruin travel plans, a scheduled event or date, things you’ve looked forward to for months? Is it impossible for him to say he’s happy? Do you blame yourself when this happens, taking responsibility for not figuring out how to make him feel less stressed, more secure in your love, loyalty? Does he regularly accuse you of doing what he does repeatedly? Do you know what he really means when he says he loves you?

It is impossible to make happy someone that derives pleasure from instilling others with pain. Sociopaths link their identity to proving their superiority by feeling no remorse, instead pleasure, manipulating, hurting and making others feel uncomfortable, getting them squirm and spin their wheels. In studies of sexual assault, psychologist Dr. Jennifer Freyd labeled the pattern D.A.R.V.O.: “Deny. Attack. Reverse Victim and Offender.

The pattern is always the same. A woman reveals domestic or sexual assault happened. He denies and plays victim, accusing her of being a narcissist, emotionally crazy, or abusing him. In the meantime, he’s been working on getting her and those that know her to think she’s emotionally crazy, has diagnosed her as borderline or bipolar, and wants her to get help and start taking medications. It’s all part of keeping handy a smear campaign of any victim (or supporter) that questions the narcissist’s perceived “rights” to abuse with impunity.

Most if not all sociopaths are pathological abusers exhibit a consistent pattern of lies and denial that seeks to normalize any violence they commit, deny any wrongdoing on their part, and shift blame onto the victim, attack the victim’s character, mental stability, and so on, in attempt to get others to side against the victim, while simultaneously portraying themselves as the “real” victim to gain sympathy.

Narcissism is a severe cognitive disturbance and is regarded as an enduring character disorder by the DSM; this means the prognosis for recovery is zero to none. This disturbance is characterized by the absence of an internal value system, a set of core emotion-drives that universally guide the decision making behaviors of human beings in relationships. Nothing repels narcissists more than human traits of caring, tenderness and compassion for others, except persons that emphasize these values in the treatment of others.

In other words, narcissistic sociopaths have no moral compass.

They lust to feel hatred and scorn for others, and lust equally for others to hate and fear them. It is not possible to make them happy. Their own cognitive disturbance keeps them in misery.

Narcissism isn’t about loving self too much! Quite the contrary, they feel hatred and rage against human traits of love and compassion, inborn “true self” capacities. This is why no one can take a psychopath’s misery away; they link their identity and sense of power over others to this hatred and scorn, a “false self” superiority they zealously fight to keep.

To heal from their misery, as a prerequisite to feel human again, they’d first have to dump the “might makes right” motto they live by. Due to the mirror neurons in human brains, to the extent narcissists hate others, they live in mind and body states of self-hatred.

The fact that a narcissist has no moral compass is what makes them a risk to others. In their worldview, caring, kindness and moral treatment of other human beings are traits of those they prey on, in their mind, that “deserve” to be exploited and lied to, as prey.

4. They self-identify as con artists, pathological liars.

Does he gaslight you to shift the focus of a topic you brought up to “his list” of complaints for what you need to fix that justifies abusive treatment, such as “overly sensitive,” “controlling,” “emotionally crazy” and so on? Do your conversations leave you confused, crazy, wondering what you could say or do to get him to understand, and work together as partners? Does he add that “everyone” who knows you agrees with him?

Narcissists are expert con artists. Their game is to con women to participate in their own abuse and exploitationThey intentionally lie, and the lies serve their interests and aims to abuse, shame, dupe, cajole and gaslight their victims, to make them feel confused, crazy, blamed, and to top it off, reverse roles by not only making their victims feel responsible for the abuse, but also for protecting and shielding them from being held accountable for their wrongs.

Nothing gives narcissists more pleasure than to deceive, manipulate another to do something against their will. It’s the purpose of the con game! To them, the means and ends are one. From their worldview, skillfully exploiting others, and getting them to blame themselves rather than the narcissist, is proof of their “intelligence and “superiority”; in their mind, this “entitles” them to dominate and exploit those they deem “feeble” and “inferior” with impunity.

Their motto is based on “might makes right” code. As they have no moral compass, narcissists regard skills in con artistry and lies as a critical assets, a means to an end — to dominate, conquer, enslave. The goal is to get into the mind of another and cause such confusion, to then slavishly participate in their own abuse and exploitation without their awareness of such.

This explains why a narcissist refuses to change! To change would mean to not exist.  To them, “healing” is talk only the weak engage in. Indeed, their greatest fear is connecting to their own “true-self” — to be a human being like everyone else! They desperately seek to deny and pathologise human yearnings for intimacy, closeness, collaboration. The only contact people require, in their view, is sex for pleasure. They need lies because their false-self does not exist in a world of truth about the power of love and creativity, collaboration and human connection!

5. They self-identify as abusers, bullies.

Does he automatically turn your every attempt to talk into a “conversation from hell”? Does he prop up a façade of superiority with intentional acts to ridicule, shame, scorn and punish you for minor things or just because?

Narcissists are chronic abusers. Like addicts, they intentionally seek to inflict pain and violate their partner’s rights. They weren’t born with this cognitive disturbance; they learned by witnessing and experiencing adult males treat women and weak persons, i.e., girls and boys,  with scorn, exhibiting no remorse, indeed, boys in particular are shamed in these settings to display a callous disregard for weak others to prove they deserve the status of belonging to the “cult of masculinity.”

The use of fear and anger to terrorize targets into submission and silence is strategic, as is instilling pain, subverting other’s will, making them uncomfortable, publicly shaming them, or taking away one’s sense of self and peace of mind.

Notably, wherever they go, sociopaths form “we versus them” religious and secular cults. All cults rigidly train followers to adopt heartless, dehumanizing “might makes right” rules that supports their supremacist beliefs. They refuse to “see” evidence, all around the world, that biologically all human beings, male and female, white and nonwhite, and so on, have tremendous capabilities, miracle making even, to excel and contribute intellectually, athletically and spiritually, etc., in meaningful ways!  They are hooked on “the lie” that they men are biologically superior, and “thus” entitled to victimize and exploit and regard women as less than human. This lie spreads forms the foundation of most supremacist ideologies, racism, classism, ageism, and so on.

6. They self-identify as heartless.

Does he question and accuse you of being a narcissist when you want attention; selfish when you make requests; sensitive when balk at abusive or sarcastic comments; or controlling when you ask him to change a hurtful behavior?

To know if a man’s love is real, never go by their words. Believe their actions.

Narcissism is not merely a label. It is a serious cognitive disturbance, a profile of one that has lost their connection to feeling human traits of kindness, empathy and caring for others wellbeing and happiness. Their loss is their doing, however. It’s because they hate and feel disgust for human traits. Their mindset is based on a misguided ideology, twisted beliefs that dehumanize them, yet also leave them with extremely fragile, weak and wounded egos. A lifetime of trying to not be human is inhumane.

As a result of the rigid belief system, a narcissist is left with no capacity to love. How can one love when they feel scorn and disgust for those that yearn to love and be loved? The more a woman signals that she wants to make a narcissist happy, the more a narcissist seeks to torment and take control of her mind.

Narcissists, nevertheless, can be skilled at play-acting love, known as love bombing, a tool to deceive and disarm. They have studied those that have hearts and may even watch “Hallmark” movies for ideas. Only someone disconnected from their ability to empathize derives pleasure from strategizing cruel treatment of those that try to love them. In their mind, this proves their superiority. Empathy is a tool they use to bait others, to snare and exploit them, to use them as punching bags. They cannot fake empathy, however, not once you become aware and informed. First, you need to understand and accept that all they do is intentional, and that, around you, they are on guard, ever strategizing their next move. Your awareness protects you, and neutralizes their ability to get into your mind and effect harm.

Narcissism is a love deficit, a mind and body state of existence that a narcissist has been tricked to believe somehow — not engaging or feeling inner human processes — proves he is superior, with entitlements over others.

7. They self-identify as entitled to exploit, con, abuse with impunity.

Does he harass you about getting on meds or seeing a psychiatrist to check if they agree with him that you’re bipolar or borderline!? Thinking back, does every “conversation from hell” make you increasingly start to blame yourself, feel bad, doubt your self and sanity? Do you spin your wheels wondering what you need to do to prove your loyalty and devotion so he would stop feeling so insecure and miserable (and blaming it on you!)?

All of the above together indicate that the narcissist feels entitled to treat those he deems inferior with impunity, and thus, to exploit, con and abuse, lie, get you to question your sanity, spin your wheels, anything to keep you in the hot seat, and appear blameless, as if nothing they do sticks.  explaining to them “why” their behavior is hurtful, and so on. The narcissist lusts to torment, make his targets feel uncomfortable. While you’re wondering why he doesn’t “get what he does hurts you,” he’s enjoying every level of discomfort, hurt, pain, frustration, you display. He thrills in his own ability to get you to deflect any doubt about him, and instead to question and doubt yourself, for example, by openly giving attention to other women, to get you to compare and doubt your ability to please and keep him happy.

Narcissistic and antisocial personality disorders, NPD and APD respectively, are listed as enduring character disorders, serious cognitive disturbances. Unlike other mental health disorders, sociopaths intentionally pose a risk of harm to others; they show no remorse, rather derive pleasure from hurting others, and feel entitled to violate other’s rights with impunity. In their mind, this is evidence of one’s superiority and rights to dominate.

 

** The terms narcissist or narcissism in this article refer to persons that fully meet the criteria (as opposed to mere tendencies) for narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) — and in this post, much more so, to the more extreme version on the spectrum, listed as antisocial personality disorder (APD) in the DSM, and more commonly known. 

**** The use of male pronouns is supported by decades of research showing that domestic violence, sexual assault, rape, mass shootings, pedophilia, and other acts of violence are based on toxic belief systems that negatively impact both men and women, and prevent them from building healthy partnership relationships. Beliefs that male violence and dominance of weak persons, and women as a group, are key drivers of male against female (and other male) violence. Domestic violence  and violence against others in general is not gender neutral. On the contrary, they are rooted in rigid adherence to gendered might-makes-right norms that idealize “toxic masculinity” for men (and “toxic femininity” for women). These norms idealize violence and intimidation as means of establishing male superiority and dominance (over females and others, i.e., “weak” males).  And though comparatively speaking, fewer female narcissists exist,  they also rigidly self-identify and act out “toxic masculinity” norms. It should also be noted that, in many cases, women are mislabeled as narcissists, because society holds women to far higher standards when it comes to being nice, never getting angry (an inhumane expectation), serving at the pleasure of men, etc. See also post on 5 Reasons Narcissistic Violence Are Not Gender Neutral.

 

 

7 Warning Signs a Narcissistic Sociopath Is Exploiting You


Athena Staik, Ph.D.

Relationship consultant, author, licensed marriage and family therapist, Dr. Athena Staik motivates clients to break free of anxiety, emotion reactivity, and other addictive patterns, to awaken wholehearted relating to self and other. She is currently in private practice in Northern VA, and writing her book, What a Narcissist Means When He Says 'I Love You'": Breaking Free of Addictive Love in Couple Relationships. To contact Dr. Staik for information, an appointment or workshop, visit www.drstaik.com, or visit on her two Facebook fan pages DrAthenaStaik and DrStaik


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APA Reference
Staik, A. (2020). 7 Warning Signs a Narcissistic Sociopath Is Exploiting You. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2020, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/relationships/2020/04/7-warning-signs-to-identify-a-narcissistic-psychopath/

 

Last updated: 9 Sep 2020
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