Both the Narcissist and Sociopath (anti-social personality disorder) are toxic people who are difficult to deal with during divorce.
The main point is a Narcissist craves attention and adoration. She has to be the star, whereas that is not the case with a Sociopath.
A Narcissist will specifically seek out publicity and a Sociopath wants power over others.
A Narcissist will have a position in a charity organization that is in the spotlight such as managing director. The Sociopath is more likely to be the one embezzling funds.
The Narcissist desires being in the news and the Sociopath is flying under the radar avoiding that in order to carry out nefarious deeds.
Sociopaths do not have a conscience and their moral code is “do not get caught.”
At a young age a Sociopath is apt to torture animals and torment those weaker than him. This child is charming to adults with exaggerated good manners as a smoke screen to disguise his true nature. They have a sense of entitlement and do not hesitate to trample upon anyone who gets in their way. Some of the financial executives who do inside trading and other illegal acts told the press that they did nothing wrong. In their eyes, this is correct.
Both manipulate others for their gain. They blame others when they make mistakes or life is not going as planned. They can ignore family or belittle spouses. Narcissists especially do not like it if a spouse rises up the career ladder and has a more important position. They do not want to share the spotlight.
Sociopaths can have a volatile temper which is unpredictable and is especially scary for children.
Sociopaths may have their children join in their immoral or illegal activities. They watch pornography with their sons. Criminal families may bring the kids into the business at a young age. The youngsters participate in a shoplifting or burglary ring. In my area recently, three generations of several families were plying the drug trade together.
Narcissists use their kids as a way to garner more attention to themselves.
They play the good parent role and march the children around the office to get praise. They see the kids as an extension of themselves and may insist that their kids follow in their footsteps. A former dancer may demand that her daughter does ballet. These parents want to bask in the admiration that surrounds their child. They want others to comment that the offspring is like their talented, beautiful, etc. parent.
In divorce, both personality disorders are capable of using the kids to get back at their other parent in retaliation. Since the Sociopath feels no remorse, they may be the more dangerous adversary.
Be cautious of safety issues especially with a sociopath co-parent. Neither are good at negotiating since they want the whole pie.
The Narcissists get through the divorce process better with lots of compliments and letting them feel like they are the star. With a Sociopath, emphasize maintenance and child support formulas to make it more impersonal. More drama and emotions can prolong divorce hearings. Having a divorce coach or therapist at least periodically check in with the children is prudent.
Both Narcissists and Sociopaths may act like they are the victim and you are the villain. They may charm your family members and end up with a few in their camp post-divorce. They are attempting to hurt you.
My sons and I have said good riddance to the ones who sided with their father. Sociopaths particularly excel in power plays and want to dominate others. Consider avoiding doing battle with these people and stay out of their way if possible.
Wendi Schuller is a published author who has conducted classes on various subjects. She draws upon her knowledge as a nurse, Neuro-Linguistic Programmer (NLP), and hypnotherapist, providing a blueprint to guide women through this difficult transition. Schuller hired an attorney for a court divorce, but decided to go the collaborative route instead and has worked with a mediator post-divorce.
Author of The Woman’s Holistic Guide to Divorce