Why Narcissistic Sociopaths Objectify Women

Why some antisocial personality types objectify women and are drawn to politics.

Posted Oct 09, 2016

Lately, a great deal of media attention has focused the misogynistic objectification of women and on corporate graft and corruption.  If one looks closely at these recently scrutinized phenomena, one will probably see narcissistic sociopaths at their centers.

Simply put, narcissistic sociopaths objectify women (indeed, all people) because they see them as somethings instead of someones.  This is also why they will not hesitate to bilk working class and even poor people out of their hard earned and desperately needed money.

The defining aspects of narcissists include a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and a serious lack of concern for other people. Sociopaths (technically people with a diagnosable antisocial personality disorder) demonstrate a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others, and a lack of remorse despite lying, cheating, and stealing.

While narcissism and sociopathy often occur as single personality disorders within a given person, it is not uncommon for them to co-occur within the same individual.

To a narcissistic sociopath (NS) there is little difference among cars, TVs, sofas, fire hydrants, and people.  They are all just things to use for entertainment or personal benefit. Hence, objectification of people can be considered a core feature of this type of psychopathology.

But, interestingly, it's not the NS's fault!  The reason they see themselves as superior, and rationalize that laws and proper social conduct needn't apply to them, is because they lack one of the most fundamental characteristics that define humans (and probably other highly evolved mammals, too). Namely, empathy.  The ability to put oneself in others’ shoes and try to sense what it's like to be them - to truly imagine and connect with their feelings, sensations, thoughts, and dignity.  That is, to actually care about someone other than themselves.

The reason NSs are devoid of empathy is because they literally lack the neurological structures or brain physiology needed to feel empathic emotions.  They just don't have the necessary brain equipment to genuinely care about anyone but themselves.

An analogy is color blindness.  Color blind people actually lack the optical or neurological processes that are necessary to perceive the full spectrum of color in the visible wave length. It's not their fault, they just can't see certain colors, hues or tones.  Similarly, narcissistic sociopaths simply can't experience the full range of human emotions that define psychologically healthy people.  They seem to literally lack the equipment to empathize.

But, that doesn't let them off the hook or excuse their appalling interpersonal and social behavior!  It just explains why they don't get it.  They simply can't get why you don't lie, cheat, steal, manipulate, betray and abuse other human beings.  After all, if you total your car, break your TV, or destroy your sofa, you can simply get another one.  And since NSs see no difference between things and humans, for them, people are easily dispensable and replaceable, too.  Thus, a NS will emotionally perceive no difference between an inflatable sex toy and a living human being.  To him (or her) they are both just things or objects to be used.

Still, explaining antisocial behavior doesn't excuse it.

So, why are some narcissistic sociopaths successful and other aren't?  Often it comes down to impulse control and intelligence.  That is, "successful" narcissistic sociopaths can exercise restraint, exert some control over their impulsive behavior, and compensate for the gaps in their emotional repertoires with sheer intellect (e.g., knowing to say "please" and "thank you" without having a clue why it is important to do so other than it won't get you what you want, or it gets you in trouble, if you don't).  Unsuccessful NSs likely have poor impulse control and probably don't intellectually compensate for their emotional deficits and thus usually end up ostracized or in prison.

It is my belief that "successful" NSs often gravitate to jobs like politics, business, medicine, and law.  Now I realize that's a sweeping generalization that I can't back up with controlled research, but it stands to reason why those career paths would attract NSs and why lacking empathy could actually be adaptive in those settings thus leading to "success."

Now the million dollar question I'm often asked is "How do you deal with a NS?"  The answer I usually give is "Put as much distance as you can between yourself and narcissistic sociopaths whenever possible!"

Remember:  Think well, Act well, Feel well, Be well!

Dear Reader,

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Copyright 2016 by Clifford N. Lazarus, Ph.D. This post is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional assistance or personal mental health treatment by a qualified clinician.

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