Are you dating a ‘dirty John’?

With TV shows like Dirty John and YOU becoming cult hits this Summer, they’ve certainly sparked conversations around ‘Narcissistic Sociopaths’. These topics will always draw a range of opinions from ‘Wow, it’s crazy how manipulative he is’, to ‘wow that woman is crazy to stay through all that’.

What I take away from these series is that these men are so manipulative, that even the most intelligent, most successful of women can fall prey to their manipulation. It’s a sudden progression and it is always about control. It’s easy to watch a series or see your situation in hindsight and think ‘why did I not leave’, but while you’re in the situation and when emotions are involved, us women will look past a lot….

Here are some tips for you to identify if you are dating a dear John…. AKA a narcissistic sociopath….

Let’s start off with the definition of a narcissistic sociopath, this is someone who has a combination of narcissistic personality and sociopathic traits. This is one of the most worrying personality types. There are a lot of similarities between a sociopath and a narcissistic sociopath. Sociopaths are narcissistic, however people with narcissistic personality disorder may not necessarily be sociopaths.

The below info is taken from  I’ve just shortened and re-written some of the below points.

Signs and Symptoms of a Narcissistic Sociopath

If you suspect that someone might be a narcissistic sociopath or if you suspect that you might be a narcissistic sociopath, here are the symptoms of a sociopath:

They Seem Perfectly Normal:

Narcissistic sociopaths can appear to be completely normal. They can also live normal lives just like everyone else. They can be at your workplace, in your neighbourhood or anywhere else. Both sociopaths and narcissistic sociopaths can hide their identities, and they can pretend to be perfectly healthy. They can also pretend to be emotional and appear to care about others. It makes it more difficult to spot a narcissistic sociopath.


Narcissistic sociopaths have a high grandiosity. They believe they’re superior to others. They might tell lies about their lives to others.


Both sociopaths and narcissistic sociopaths have this trait in common. They can manipulate others to their benefit. They are also good at finding people who are too trusting and those who are vulnerable. Once they discover such people, they become victims, and they begin to use them. They lure their victims in with their charm and they can even fake problems and emotions to get their victims to sympathize with them.

Lack of Sympathy and Empathy:

Both sociopaths and narcissistic sociopaths lack empathy and sympathy for others. Even the ones who are close to them. They can’t help but feel like this. They only care about themselves and won’t do anything for others unless they benefit from it somehow.

Require Excessive Admiration:

Narcissistic sociopaths require excessive admiration from others, even more than sociopaths. They also tend to feel envious of others. They can also be quite arrogant and proud, merely because they think that they are better than others. They also love the spotlight and require lots of attention from others.

Charismatic and Charming:

Like sociopaths, narcissistic sociopaths are also incredibly charming and charismatic. It’s is their way of reeling people in for their benefits. Once you fall for it and they have succeeded, they begin to show their true colours, and by then it’s usually too late for the victims.

Sociopath Vs. Narcissistic Sociopath

As many of you might be wondering what’s the difference between a narcissistic sociopath and a sociopath because they have similar traits and characteristics, and it’s true. However, there are few differences between the two. Here’s the sociopath vs. narcissistic sociopath verdict:

Crimes and Danger:

A narcissistic sociopath won’t necessarily harm others or commit serious crimes. The numbers of sociopaths in prisons are much higher than narcissistic sociopaths mainly because sociopaths disregard the law and don’t care about it. Their impulsive behaviour also makes them dangerous. Narcissistic sociopaths only become aggressive when they feel injured psychologically.


A narcissistic sociopath talks only about themselves and doesn’t care about you. On the other hand, a sociopath doesn’t talk much about themselves, and they want to talk about you and want to get to know you better.

Are They Aware of Their Behaviours?

A narcissistic sociopath is likely to be unaware of their actions and behaviours, whereas a sociopath is entirely aware of their behaviour and actions. It was most likely planned by them so that they can manipulate the situation for their reasons.

Winning and Losing:

A narcissistic sociopath isn’t bothered about winning or losing. They are more concerned about others admiring them. For sociopaths, it’s all a game, and they only care about winning against others.


A sociopath gets bored quickly and is always seeking new thrills whereas a narcissistic sociopath doesn’t require stimulating activities all the time.

Awareness of the effect on others:

A narcissistic sociopath isn’t always aware of the effect that they have on others or how annoyed others get because of them. However, don’t underestimate them, if they find you to be a threat to them, they will act out. A sociopath is utterly aware of the effect that they have on others.

Causes of narcissistic sociopathy:

The origins of narcissistic sociopathy are unclear. However, genetics could be a possible cause of narcissistic sociopathy. Other factors such as child abuse and neglect could also cause narcissistic sociopathy. Even over pampering as a child could be a probable cause. As children, they can also pick up and learn manipulative ways from their parents and other family members.

How to Deal with A Narcissistic Sociopath

Dealing with narcissistic sociopaths can be difficult for anyone especially when it’s someone who’s close to you. Read on for some tips on how to deal with a sociopath:


Psychotherapy is necessary for narcissistic sociopaths. A mental health professional will most like use cognitive behavioural therapy. This type of therapy will allow the patient to recognize their behaviour. It will also help them with accepting criticism, and it will help them with setting realistic goals. A psychotherapist will also assist you on how to handle them and how to react in certain situations. They will teach you how to deal with your loved one, healthily.

What to Do When Taking Your Loved One to A Mental Health Professional:

Once you have found a mental health professional to help your loved one. It is vital to give the professional a full breakdown of the patient’s history, any traumatic events, and family history, if possible; o, that the expert can do an evaluation and determine the cause of the illness. You should also make notes of their behaviour and symptoms and show it to the professional.

It is also important to ask the mental health professional if you can keep their phone number in case of any emergencies that might require the help of a professional.


There are medications as such that can help with treating narcissistic sociopathy. However, some medications such as anti-depressants, antipsychotics and mood stabilizers can help with treating their symptoms.

Offer Support and Encourage Them to Lead A Healthy Lifestyle:

These are the most critical factors when helping anyone out who is suffering from a mental health condition. Encourage them to have a healthy diet, encourage them to get exercise and do some therapeutic activities that will help them.

Offer Support and Encourage Them to Lead A Healthy Lifestyle:

These are the most important factors when helping anyone out who is suffering from a mental health condition. Encourage them to have a healthy diet, encourage them to get exercise and do some therapeutic activities that will help them.

Photo by Joshua Reddekopp on Unsplash


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