Narcissistic sociopathy

Talking to several psychologists in the last few days, I found that every one of them has informally diagnosed our incoming U.S. president as being a classic case of narcissistic sociopathy. The narcissism is obvious. As one can plainly see, everything he says and does ends up being about him, and his self-glorification.

But the more interesting part is the sociopathy. Most people betray their true emotions when dealing with others. Sociopaths are wired differently. They too feel emotions, but those emotions are not the ones you see.

Instead, what you see is an act, a set of performances. In any situation, a sociopath will size up his audience, and gear his outward appearance of personality to suit that audience.

Which means, ironically, that a sociopath can be more effective than a sane person at convincing people he is sincere. Sane people always betray some measure of doubt and conflict. On some level, you can always sense their inner struggle to work through their emotions.

In contrast, a narcissistic sociopath is the ultimate salesman. Because he has no actual core beliefs other than self-aggrandizement, he never hesitates or wavers. He will look you straight in the eye and tell you his spiel with the appearance of utmost confidence and sincerity.

The next day he will very likely say the exact opposite, but it really doesn’t matter. He doesn’t care about the message, only about controlling the conversation.

Because most people have no actual experience, in their own lives, of encountering individuals with narcissistic sociopathy, the charismatic power of such a pure performer can often win them over. No matter how often he contradicts himself, such an individual is able to convince many people of anything, precisely because he himself believes in nothing.

4 Responses to “Narcissistic sociopathy”

  1. Hitoshi Yamauchi says:

    This reminds me “Young Zaphod Plays It Safe” by Douglas Adams.

  2. Ben Kanegson says:

    What it looks like when the rubes finally realize they have been conned by the don:

    “Even children learn…”

  3. Manu says:

    What’s important now, I think, is to find a way to unite. I mean, people voted for Trump, because for some reason or another, they didn’t feel heard.

    Here, for example, a Guardian article about Trump supporters and how they were threatened:

    How to bridge the divide?

  4. admin says:

    It is precisely because he is a narcissistic sociopath that so many people were seduced by his act. It’s not their fault — he’s extremely good at his particular brand of salesmanship.

    Yet as we have seen in the last few days, that particular brand of crazy is not the set of talents it takes to run a country.

    I found the Guardian interviews very interesting to read. But I have to say I was a pretty freaked out by the guy who explained that he voted against Clinton because (to use his words) “she is the embodiment of evil.”

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