While not all narcissists can be described as sadists, narcissism and sadism go hand in hand. Let’s explore the relationship between sadism and narcissism, as well as the psychology of sadistic narcissists.
How is sadism different than narcissism?
Once you begin to learn the traits of a sadist, you might have trouble distinguishing them from people who have narcissistic personality disorder. Both are manipulative, arrogant, disdainful, indifferent, critical of others, controlling of others, and lacking in empathy. Both will seek to isolate their targets through the use of contempt to encourage social alienation.
What is sadism?
Sadism is the enjoyment of cruelty in others, including in oneself. To be titled a sadist, this enjoyment must be intentional, not accidental. The term is derived from the name of Marquis de Sade, an 18th-century philosopher, and writer who got pleasure from inflicting pain on others.
The diagnostic criteria of the DSM-IV-TR, a catalog of distinctive symptoms used by mental health professionals to categorize psychological conditions, lists sadism as a potential symptom of certain personalities. In particular, it is considered a symptom of antisocial personality disorder, psychopathy, and paranoid personality disorder. In the context of BDSM, the term “sadomasochism” is used.
What are the traits of a sadist?
Sadists are known for their aggressive or dominant behavior that stems from a desire to impose their will on others, whether they be friends or strangers.
Sadists often portray themselves as victims of circumstances beyond their control.
Sadists are people who have a strong interest in inflicting pain on others, especially if they derive pleasure from the suffering of others. That sounds like a lot of online commenters, doesn’t it?
A sadist is someone who takes pleasure in pain, malice, or suffering.
They don’t care about their partners, their children or even themselves.
They often make you feel like an object without a past or a future or a reason to exist.
They can be charming at first but eventually, they reveal their true nature and make you feel small, insignificant, and worthless.
More than a third of people who are diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder reportedly have a sadistic side.
Narcissists tend to be self-absorbed and self-centered. They often have no empathy for others and have difficulty identifying with the feelings or feelings of others – which leads to a lack of concern for their well-being and safety.
A sadist enjoys inflicting pain on others or being the cause of others’ pain. This may include aggression, cruelty, lack of empathy, and indifference to victimization. In other words, people who exhibit these character traits tend to derive pleasure from the suffering of others.
Sadistic narcissists combine these two personality traits into one very dangerous combination: they enjoy inflicting pain on others and enjoy seeing others hurt as well.
What is sadistic narcissism?
If sadism is to love (and/or lust after) another person’s pain, then it certainly can coexist with narcissism. Sadistic narcissism seems to be almost ingrained into the person displaying it, which is sort of possible since it most often begins to develop as early as infancy and is dependent on how the mother bonded with the child, or not. It is often also the result of being controlled, ignored, over-controlled, and/or otherwise traumatized later in childhood during important developmental years. People who become sadistic narcissists often use their lack of empathy and cunning nature to get ahead in business (ethically or otherwise) and to attract the partners they want, who will often later become their victims.
What are the traits of a sadistic narcissist?
A narcissistic sadist is someone who has both a sadistic personality and a tendency toward narcissism. The narcissist-sadist combo is especially dangerous because it can create intimidation and fear in their victims, making them more vulnerable to further abuse.
Feel superior to others.
Can be shockingly cold to people, and also irresistibly kind and warm if and when it suits them.
Indifferent to punishment (which allows them to get away with things they wouldn’t otherwise be able to)
Use their knowledge of others’ weaknesses to control them.
Find pleasure in the suffering of others and in treating others as objects – in other words, they treat people like things.
Take pleasure in hurting others by inflicting pain or humiliation, or by taunting them with cruel jibes.
.How do you deal with a sadistic narcissist?
There are several steps you can take to deal with a sadistic narcissist.
First, you’ll need to recognize that the abuse is happening. Maybe that sounds funny to you, but it is really difficult sometimes to even recognize the abuse from a sadistic narcissist, thanks to the extreme mind games they’re prone to play. In fact, many victims will describe their abusive relationships as normal and even good before they realized they were being abused. Narcissistic abuse, in general, can be subtle and sneaky, so don’t beat yourself up if you’ve missed it.
After you’ve recognized the abuse and you’ve started to learn about what you’ve been dealing with, you’ll want to know more about both narcissists and about narcissistic abuse. This is normal – take your time and do the research you need to do to fully understand it. But don’t stay stuck in research forever!
You’re going to want to assemble a sort of support system to help hold you up during this process. Start by identifying the people closest to you who you can completely trust. Don’t be surprised if this group is very small. You can also look for local support groups if you feel comfortable with in-person support.
In any case, connecting with others who have also experienced being victimized by sadistic narcissists can be incredibly validating and can help in your recovery. Whether you’re worried about face-to-face contact because you’re afraid people will find out what you’ve experienced, or because you don’t like crowds, or because you’re struggling with fear or even just social anxiety, you might not love the idea of connecting in person.
Do you feel like you’re never able to win over your narcissist husband, wife, or partner? Or maybe it’s your narcissistic parent, friend, or neighbor? Do you find that they always seem to be a step ahead of you?
Somehow, narcissists have this intrinsic ability to “know” what buttons to push that will hurt you the most. This is because narcissists are expert mind game players. The narcissist is a master of manipulation. They can get you to do things that you don’t want to do and think thoughts that you don’t want to think…all under the guise of “love.”
What are narcissist mind games?
There are so many different kinds of narcissist mind games, but in this case, we’re talking about different types of emotional manipulation. The manipulation of emotions can be so subtle, so smooth, so insidious that you hardly notice it’s happening. Sometimes the narcissist’s words and actions are so contradictory that you might even doubt your own judgment. Each game has a purpose, whether it’s to keep us hooked in the cycle of abuse, to use us for supply, or to manipulate us into giving them what they want. These games are designed to make you feel insecure, relatively inferior to them, and encourage you to compete with them or put your energy into earning their approval.
The good news is that once we know what the games are, we can work through them and learn to break free.
Why do narcissists play mind games with you?
To be able to play mind games, the narcissist has to ignore the feelings of others completely. They have no empathy and can’t see their pain or feel it. They have no ability to connect with others on any other level than a superficial one. They have no interest in others as people other than how they can use them, and they lie for no reason other than to avoid being honest.
In other words, narcissists play head games to control others and be in power. The main goal is to confuse, deceive and manipulate. They enjoy the ‘chase’ and the ‘hunt’ more than the actual ‘kill,’ so they want you to stay hooked at all times so they can keep playing this game. Whether consciously or otherwise, the narcissist’s goal is to keep you confused about and focused on figuring out how to navigate their behavior.
That way, they’ll have more control over you because you’ll be so focused on trying to figure them out that you might not recognize what’s happening. Plus, in most cases, the mind games involve tearing you down and making you feel worthless – so you won’t believe you can do any better than them. It may be hard to believe that a person who loves you would knowingly try to hurt you, but if they are a narcissist, that’s exactly what they do. But you’ve got to understand that a narcissist cannot love you in the same way you could love them.
What are the most common mind games played by the narcissist?
There are many narcissist mind games but these are the most common. They’re used often to play with your emotions, your intelligence, your sanity and they’re used often to confuse you. They don’t mean anything; it’s nothing personal (usually) It’s just for one reason or another they use these mind games to make you feel like you aren’t good enough… like you need to change something about yourself…
If you’ve ever met a narcissist, you’ll know that not only do they have a ridiculously overinflated sense of self, but they also tend to be unable to see things from a perspective other than their own. You cannot expect to have a genuinely open and honest relationship with a malignant narcissist. The narcissist’s lack of self-awareness compounds the issue significantly. That’s why, when asked certain questions, a narcissist is more likely to deflect them or walk away than to actually engage.
What are the questions that a narcissist can’t answer?
What does the narcissist have to avoid answering and why? Ask a narcissist any of the following questions, and prepare to be met with silence or some other seriously evasive response.
Narcissists can’t define happiness for themselves, let alone for someone else.
How do you feel about me?
If you ask the narcissist how they feel about you, you’ll get one of a few answers. These boil down to either a flurry of idealized qualities that you may or may not actually have, the runaround or they’ll give you a whole laundry list of things they think are wrong with you – depending on which phase of the toxic relationship cycle you happen to be dealing with in the moment. If you ask them what they love, they’ll say something you do for them – the way you rub their back or the fact that you pay all the bills – whatever it happens to be. The truth is that the narcissist doesn’t tell you exactly how they feel about you because they’re not even fully aware of who you are; instead, they care about what you do for them and how much narcissistic supply you can provide for them. So, when you’re away, they miss your acts of service, your money, your attention – not the things that make you yourself.
Who hurt you?
More often than you might expect, narcissists report that they’ve had the same kinds of childhood trauma and experiences that their victims share. They’ve just manifested their trauma differently. And, while a lot of narcissists tell sob stories to gain narcissistic supply from the people around them, they can’t always see the forest for the trees. What I mean is that by nature, narcissists avoid introspection. They hate having to deal with themselves, and even if they do share genuine stories about how people hurt them in their lives, they can’t usually admit the issues that surround their pain. If they could, they wouldn’t be likely to fall into the narcissist category – they might actually resolve their core wounds.
Why won’t you ever admit you’re wrong?
Why do you blame others for your actions and decisions? Narcissists don’t take responsibility for their mistakes, ever. They will, at every opportunity, either completely deny the things they’ve done wrong, or shift the blame to someone else. And if they are caught in the act of making a mistake, they’ll blame you for being the reason they did what they did – somehow you’ve caused it, they’ll swear.
Why do you care more about what strangers think than the people you claim to love?
Narcissists see strangers as potential new sources of supply, and they are happy to reel them into their trap. Think back before you knew your ex narcissistic partner. They were impressive to you, too, right? But they care less about what you or anyone else who is close to them thinks – they’re already thoroughly enmeshed and feel they’ve learned everything there is to know. So like any object, sometimes the narcissist puts you in the closet until they want to play with you again.
Why does it bother you so much when we don’t like the same things?
Ever notice how narcissists tend to get upset if you don’t like the same restaurants, television shows, or books that they like? It seems ridiculous when you think bout it. But narcissists cannot put into words why they find your differences so threatening. They will easily skirt away from the question and tell you that you are ridiculous for thinking that way. The truth is, they do find your differences threatening because they lack empathy. They cannot understand how you would not like the same things they do or have different beliefs. Therefore, this threatens them.
What do you need to change about yourself or your life?
If you ask a narcissist this question, they will either tell you there’s nothing they need to change, or they’ll give you answers such as they need to make more money, or they need to get a better car or move into a larger home. They will never acknowledge that there is room for improvement within. They stay away from self-reflection of any kind, so the answers they give you to this question are faithful to them. If you asked anyone else this question, they would tell you that they could eat better, exercise more, meditate more, and create a gratitude journal, be better organized, and so on.
The QueenBeeing SPANily, Official – We consider this to be the best narcissistic abuse recovery support group on the web. Offers several subgroups and features a vigilant, compassionate admin team full of trained coaches and survivors, supporting more than 12k members. SPAN is an acronym created by Angie Atkinson that stands for Support for People Affected by Narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships.
Other Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups– We also have separate groups for each stage in your narcissistic abuse recovery, as well as some for those who have moved past recovery and are evolving into the next stage of their own life. Survivors have unique and individual needs, even when they’ve moved on – so we’re still here for you.
One-on-One Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Coaching – If you prefer to get more personalized support in your recovery, you might like to schedule a session with one of our coaches to plan and execute your own narcissistic abuse recovery plan.
Find a Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Therapist – If you’re looking for a therapist for narcissistic abuse recovery, either because you cannot afford coaching and want to use your health insurance or because you have additional issues you need to address that do not fall within the realm of coaching, you will want to find the right therapist for you – and as far as we’re concerned, that therapist must understand what you’ve been through. This page offers assistance to help you do exactly that.
Until the last decade or so, I rarely felt super happy. My life seemed to alternate between feeling stressed and anxious and feeling depressed. Sure, there were occasional bouts of feeling ALMOST happy, and there were a few high points I could share. But in general, my resting state was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t focus.
Dissociation as a Symptom of Narcissistic Abuse
I was so dissociated that I struggled to even feel like a real person. But when I learned about how my toxic relationships with narcissists had affected me on some fairly profound levels, I also learned how to choose my own perception and eventually managed to switch it up. These days, my resting state is usually at the very least calm, if not actually happy.
And while my life wasn’t so great back then, it turns out that I’m not unusual in this way. See, living with constant anxiety, depression and stress is a common problem for people who are or who have been involved in longterm relationships with narcissists – whether they’re your spouse, partner, parent or someone else. And, according to a study I’m going to share with you today, we’ve been right all along: narcissistic behavior in toxic relationships literally causes anxiety and depression – even after the relationship ends.
In this video, I’ll explain all of that and give you tips on how you can manage and resolve it in your own life.
You might already know that the feeling of being anxious is something we’ve inherited from our ancestors, but did you know that anxiety developed early in our evolution in order to help prehistoric humans survive in their unstable and dangerous environment? It’s true!
Defined as an overall feeling or sense of nervousness, worry and general unease, humans of today are still plagued with anxiety, though it isn’t necessary in our current world since, for the most part, we’re not fighting to stay alive every day.
So then why is it that we still struggle with it to the point that there are a number of officially diagnosed anxiety disorders? And how is it that going through a toxic relationship and dealing with common narcissistic behaviors causes these disorders, along with clinical depression and various forms of PTSD? Well, this is where that study I mentioned comes in.
But just to summarize it for you, the study collects a number of academic psychology reports and scientific research papers that point to the issue: the anxiety orders of today all seem to indicate that any sort of psychological or emotional trauma in childhood is the culprit.
How Narcissistic Abuse Leads to Anxiety and Depression
It turns out that going through what the study authors termed “early life stress” can profoundly affect the central nervous system (CNS). In layman’s terms, that means that your nervous system becomes almost disabled, compared to that of someone who didn’t experience such traumas. That’s because these kinds of traumas and the levels of stress you experience during narcissistic abuse will lead to high amounts of inflammatory hormones being dumped into our systems. And even when we’re not actively being traumatized – and this is the worst part – our bodies begin to release these same hormones even at the memory of these traumas. Essentially, we become overloaded with emotional stress.
Study Confirms That Narcissistic Abuse Causes Lifelong Mental Health Issues
The study confirms what I’ve been saying for years: going through narcissistic abuse, whether as a child or as an adult, is now considered a major risk factor that can contribute to anxiety disorders, depression and PTSD. And, going through psychological abuse can be equally and even more profound on its effects on your mental health when compared to experiencing physical abuse and aggression.
Surviving Trauma in Childhood Doesn’t Doom Your Mental Health, BUT…
On the plus side, psychologists say, going through this as a kid doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll absolutely develop anxiety in your lifetime. Still, traumatic events in childhood – especially while your brain is still developing – can definitely contribute to the supersensitivity seen in the neuroendocrine and stress response systems. That means that going through additional emotional and/or psychological traumas as you get older can trigger anxiety, depression and other psychological disorders.
Because of the increased stress and the fact that in time, most sufferers of narcissistic abuse experience adrenal fatigue, this can be the most dangerous kind of abuse.
When the adrenal fatigue hits, you’re going to be dealing with several possible outcomes – again, including an anxiety disorder, clinical depression, or both.
What Makes You More Susceptible to Narcissistic Abuse?
Worse, feeling anxious and depressed means you’re more susceptible to narcissistic abuse and therefore less likely to be able to extricate yourself from a toxic relationship, which explains why so many of us struggle to leave or go no contact with the narcissists in our lives.
Narcissists tend to target sensitive, empathic and compassionate people. People who are wired to always see the best in other people and who by nature are helpers or fixers. People who make an effort to understand the narcissist, and who often see their glaring flaws and choose to love them anyway. People who will put the narcissist’s needs above their own at nearly any cost.
This of course leads to the narcissist’s initial recognition that this is someone they want to keep around – so they begin to create the web of crazy that we end up stuck in during these toxic relationships. They begin to try to make you emotionally, physically and/or financially dependent on them. And they do it by whatever means necessary.
But how do they accomplish it?
How do narcissists take control of you?
They start by devaluing you – at first, maybe with little jabs and undercutting comments. Later, it becomes more direct and aggressive, and before you know it, they’re deep into gaslighting. That’s where they intentionally and willfully psychologically “game” you by making you doubt your reality and question your own perception.
They start to make you feel crazy, and while some part of you KNOWS that you’re perfectly sane, deep down, the constant repetition eventually wears you down and you find yourself wondering if you really ARE crazy.
Adrenal fatigue and its effects in narcissistic abuse
This part is exactly where you begin to experience adrenal fatigue. You start to feel foggy and confused, and you question your very sanity. You doubt your morals and your ethics and honestly; you don’t even know who you are anymore.
You are living in a constant state of stress and a complete lack of self=confidence. This, of course, leaves you feeling lost, confused and alone in your relationship and in your life. You avoid your friends and extended family members. You start to feel uncomfortable in any social situation. You forget how to talk about yourself. You start to dissociate.
You might even get physically sick. It’s like you’re not even there sometimes.
This makes it feel impossible to free yourself sometimes, and many unfortunate people find themselves feeling completely stuck with literally no options.
Narcissistic abuse isn’t your fault
You might blame yourself for being in this situation. But you shouldn’t – instead, you should recognize that while the narcissist dragged you down, and while a coach, therapist or support group can help, only YOU can ultimately pull yourself out of it.
The question of the day is: are you as unshocked by this study as me? Have you experienced this kind of relationship? Share your thoughts, share your ideas, share your experiences in the comments below this video, and let’s talk about it.
Is a narcissist the same thing as a sociopath? A lot of people mistakenly think so, which is understandable considering that they share many of the same characteristics and that they’re both on the cluster B spectrum. (See video here)
What qualities do narcissists and sociopaths share?
Both narcissists and sociopaths can be very charming and charismatic. Each is known for being self-serving and manipulative, and they each tend to have no empathy. Both have personality disorders and value themselves above all others. Both are known to harm others and to negatively affect their own lives with their behaviors. Neither can step outside of their own heads enough to recognize or concern themselves with the needs of others, but each is fully focused on their own needs. It is also true that all sociopaths are narcissists. But not all narcissists are sociopaths.
How are narcissists and sociopaths different?
In most cases, sociopaths, who might be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder, are a lot more dangerous than those who are purely narcissistic. That is unless you’re talking about a malignant narcissist, who might present very much like a sociopath, but their motivations are different.
Let’s talk about five ways this manifests differently between the two personality disorders.
1. A Narcissist is Motivated by Ego and a Sociopath is Motivated by Self-Interest
The narcissist’s destructive and manipulative behaviors are all about feeling important and superior and being the center of attention, and this is driven by their overinflated ego that needs constant stroking – aka, narcissistic supply. But a sociopath’s self-interest doesn’t require stroking in the same way – so the sociopath will be whomever they need to be in order to get their needs met.
So, what’s the difference?
Since sociopaths really don’t need to have their ego stroked, they can be more sneaky and strategic with their manipulation. They don’t need you to be impressed with them and will only seek out your approval if you have something they want. They have no actual personality.
A narcissist, on the other hand, needs your approval and your attention. And since they are ego-driven, they will be less calculated in their reactions and behavior. So the narcissist is more likely to demonstrate narcissistic rage and to react emotionally than a sociopath.
2. A Narcissist Wants to Be Adored and a Sociopath Could Care Less.
Narcissists need to be adored. They are very concerned with their own image and how other people perceive them. They are known to want power, success, and plenty of admiration and adoration from the people around them and while they’re often willing to work hard to get it, they’ll also exploit and torture people along the way without a second thought. Their motivation and focus are all about themselves and their own agenda (getting the praise and attention they need). Again, they’re driven by their ego, so that makes sense.
But a sociopath doesn’t care what anyone thinks of them, which makes them more dangerous. They will spend months or years planning and scheming against you if it serves them to do so. They are much more calculating and far less emotional overall.
3. A Narcissist Talks About Themselves And A Sociopath Talks About You
As you know, narcissists only want to talk about themselves and their interests. At least after the initial love-bombing or idealization phase of the relationship, where they’ll ask you all about yourself in order to store up ammunition to use against you later. But as the relationship goes on, they make it painfully clear that they have no interest in what you care about and will always turn the topic back to themselves. In fact, many survivors of relationships with narcissists literally almost forget how to talk about themselves because they grow so accustomed to being shut down this way.
But sociopaths are very interested in knowing about your interests and everything else about you. They will ask you about what you like and what strikes your fancy. They often masquerade as empaths – as in, they appear to really care about you. They know exactly what to say and how to hold themselves so it’s almost impossible to tell that they don’t genuinely care about you. But remember that they have no empathy. They have their own reasons for caring. If they want something from you later on, they will use anything to do with your interests as a manipulation tactic to get what they want. Sociopaths are often so smooth that you miss the fact that they’re manipulating you – at least at first.
For example, a sociopath asks you what your favorite band happens to be. If you say Fleetwood Mac, they will surprise you with a Fleetwood Mac CD. It is not from the goodness of their heart. They want something from you and are using this as a jumping-off point to get it from you.
4. Neither Care About The Rules, But For Different Reasons
You already know that a narcissist is not concerned about the rules due to the fact they are so self-absorbed that they are not even aware of the rules. Or, in many cases, they literally feel that they’re above the rules or deserve special exceptions to every rule.
But a sociopath does not care about the rules for the sake of manipulating situations for their purpose. If they can get away with breaking the rules (or even the laws), they’ll do so without remorse if it serves them.
5. Narcissists Are Mean But Sociopaths Have Plans To Take You Down
This is where you see how dangerous a sociopath is as opposed to a narcissist who is mostly dangerous for your mental health. Narcissists are bullies and braggarts. They can also mess with your head, especially if they see you as a threat to their ego or fear abandonment. And, of course, that’s when they’ll throw your most painful experiences and insecurities back in your face in order to hurt you if and when they feel the need to drag you down.
So, for example, if you tell a narcissist that you are insecure about your weight, they might later try to make you feel bad about yourself by suddenly beginning to point out people who are thinner than you and telling you how attractive those people are. And then, once you’re good and insecure, you might tell them it bothers you that they’re doing this. Instantly, the narcissist will freak out and attack you, swearing that you’re excessively jealous and controlling. They’ll say something like, “What, do you want me to close my eyes and not look at people? There are other people in the world. I’m not blind!”
In this case, the narcissist is out to take your self-esteem down a couple of notches so that you’ll feel like you can’t do any better than them. The idea is that you’re more likely to stick around and be their source of narcissistic supply if you don’t feel good enough about yourself.
So once again, the narcissist is driven by ego and the need for ongoing, reliable narcissistic supply.
Sociopaths, on the other hand, will do what they can to take you down (or out completely) if they see you are trying to get in the way of what they want, even if that means you just won’t give them your time and attention. And, regardless of who you are and what your relationship happens to be, you aren’t exempt from a sociopath’s manipulation and abuse.
In fact, even if you aren’t purposely causing them trouble, but they perceive you as a threat to them or their end goals in any way, they will strategically destroy you in any way they can, and without remorse. Sociopaths want to win and will do it at the expense of anyone.
Myers-Briggs Test – The Story Behind the 16 Personalities (Plus Q&A) Did you know? Two women, Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers are credited with creating the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or MBTI, the most popular personality test in the world. More than two million people take the MBTI every year.
It is used in 26 countries to assess employees, students, soldiers, and even potential marriage partners. It is used by Fortune 500 companies and universities, in self-improvement seminars and wellness retreats.
Katharine was born in 1875, Isabel was born in 1897. When Katharine died in 1968, the MBTI test was nearly forgotten. But Isabel had codified the method of testing and categorizing personalities and copyrighted in 1943.
In 1968, a third woman, Mary McCaulley, discovered the test and teamed up with Isabel, helping to make the test a more “professional operation.” By 1980, when Isabel passed, the test’s popularity was just taking off.
While it has now become a 2-billion dollar industry, the women were not in it for the money – they actually believe they had discovered a way to help people be happier and also a way to make working more efficient (by putting people in positions that worked for them).
The basic theory behind the MBTI is that there are 16 kinds of people in the world, but that each personality type reduces to a set of elements taken from four either/or binaries.
Everyone is either extroverted or introverted, sensing (meaning relying on sense data) or intuitive, thinking or feeling, judging or perceiving. Your “score” on the test is the combination of the 4 characteristics indicated by your answers to the 93 questions
While it is widely used in organizations and HR departments around the world, the MBTI is also promoted as a means of self-discovery, and that is undoubtedly why it is so widely used today – and it is the purpose of our discussion today.
So, I test as ENFP-A, which is considered the “Campaigner.” What’s your MBTI personality type?