In other words, although the narcissist is unable to directly perceive the emotions of others yet is capable of forming interpersonal relationships, the sociopath is unable to directly perceive the emotions of others.
The narcissist does feel the emotion of conscience since they have the ability to bond. However, the narcissist’s capacity to act on that conscience is seriously hampered by their utter indifference to the needs and feelings of other people.
How to distinguish between Narcissist vs Sociopath
Congenital deficiencies in the brain’s capacity to integrate emotional and interpersonal stimuli contribute significantly to the frigid coldness of sociopathy. The lack of an emotional bond between a young kid and their primary caregiver, who may also be abusive and/or narcissistic, is believed to be the main cause of narcissism’s lack of empathy.
In this instance, a dysfunctional caregiver’s refusal to mirror to a young kid the feelings they are experiencing (as in, “Seems like you’re feeling mad”) disrupts the normal development of the limbic-brain areas involved in empathy and compassion.
The divide between hot and cold behaviors is the main observable difference between narcissism and sociopathy in the real world as compared to the clinical one. The sociopath takes advantage of people by acting in a cold, heartless, and cunning manner, often with a calculated charm.
The narcissist also takes advantage of others, but they do so through emotional actions that stem from their unwavering conviction that they are superior to everyone else and that they are deserving of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
In the beginning of a relationship, the disordered individual might frequently seem “too good to be true” with sociopaths and narcissists alike. A relationship with a sociopath typically comes to an end when some act of deception is exposed that is too significant to be disregarded or misconstrued.
At this time, the victim may gaze into the sociopath’s eyes with shock and understand that they are “predatory” or “scary,” the eyes of an outsider, which makes it simpler for them to flee.
A relationship with a narcissist can be more difficult to end; the victim may persist for years or even decades in trying to convince the narcissist to change their narcissistic tendencies. The victim may scream and cry while explaining what the narcissist “must” do to undo the harm they are causing.
The victim generally develops a lifelong “kid” mentality towards the narcissist and loses all respect for them.
The Difference in a Realistic situation
Because both the normal person and the sociopath appear to react compassionately to the suffering of a family member or friend, it may be harder to tell a sociopath from a normal person in interpersonal situations than it is to tell a narcissist from a normal person.
In other words, the sociopath will frequently be receptive, frequently delightfully so, producing a greater masquerade than the narcissist has, in settings where the narcissist would be dumb, unresponsive, and possibly annoyed.
On a chilly winter day, picture two lovers strolling down a steep, slippery street. While keeping an eye on her to make sure she doesn’t fall, he himself slips and falls, breaking his arm. He begs her to take him to the hospital as pain-filled tears stream down his face.
She’s an egotist. Since her arm is not shattered, there is no pain in her universe—only annoyance.She claims, “I don’t think it truly looks that horrible. Let’s continue. In a moment, you’ll probably start to feel better.
“She gently assists him into a cab while appearing to be acting out of compassion. She helps him through the check-in process at the hospital and stays attentive until he is finally called in for an X-ray.
He begins to feel a bit better when the doctor sets his arm and gives him a painkiller in the examination room, but when he goes back to the waiting area to see her, she has left. After successfully making it home, he misses her for four days.
When she eventually arrives, she is distraught and sorry for everything. She claims that she received a call from her seriously ill sister while she was in the waiting area. She was so heartbroken that she neglected to call him as she hurried to another city to be with her.
In truth, she actually spent those four days with a different man—one who wasn’t disabled by a broken arm. She had assumed her new partner may be wealthy but later learned otherwise.
Again, the distinction is between warmth and coldness. This distinction between a basic capacity for affection and connection and a chilly absence of these capacities explains why the narcissist can occasionally be helped while the sociopath frequently cannot.
The sociopath will only go to treatment if it is required by a court order or if there is another driving factor—one that, of course, has nothing to do with the desire for psychological change—and will leave as quickly as possible.
The narcissist, on the other hand, occasionally goes to therapy on their own initiative and may stay for a while—because they are in genuine anguish, typically due to the (in their eyes) unfathomable loss of a relationship or loss of numerous relationships.
After battling with him for ten minutes, she finally calls a cab to drive him to the hospital, whining the entire way.
Imagine a second pair walking down the same chilly street. He breaks his arm after falling and requests to be taken to the hospital. But in addition to being narcissistic, this person’s companion is a psychopath.
She claims, “You miserable thing, my God! You must be taken right away to an emergency room!”