A narcissist’s ego is hyper-sensitive. Criticism causes ‘narcissistic injury,’ which can trigger an outburst of ‘narcissistic rage.’ The affected will blow a perceived slight out of proportion and lash out at its source with accusations and blame—never admitting any responsibility. The narcissist plays the innocent victim act, engages allies, and can go to great lengths to exact revenge on someone they feel offended by.
Sociopaths have a profound lack of empathy for the feelings of others. They lack the internal feedback system by which normal people monitor themselves. (Most people call this “conscience,” which is probably as useful a term as any.) Sociopaths do not have this and don’t feel bad about abusing other people. It’s not that they feel bad and ignore it—they don’t feel it at all.
The sociopath hides his or her difference. After letting it show a time or two—and probably being punished by a parent as a result—the sociopath covers up the truth and keeps it covered. But the reason for hiding it is not embarrassment (the sociopath doesn’t feel embarrassment), but because it hinders him from getting what he want.
Since sociopaths have no empathy for others, making use of normal people feels just fine to them. Likewise, they feel no remorse.
Empathy, as viewed by the sociopath, is a weakness, and he considers himself superior because he isn’t burdened by it.
Because they lack an internal feedback system, sociopaths are excellent liars. For example, they can often pass lie detector tests, since those tests register the effects of our internal feedback system, which they don’t have.
From They Walk Among Us by Paul Rosenberg
Sociopaths tend to be comfortable lying, having years of practice (and no qualms) and so can sound believable when making baseless statements. The sociopath benefits when people feel too uncomfortable to ask a seemingly sincere, respectable person to substantiate a claim, or fail to look closely at evidence—if not ignore it—because of his charm or perceived authority. He also benefits when people believe that they can “just tell” who is lying and who is telling the truth, and so fail to adequately investigate.
Expect to be on your own in your fight with a workplace bully, with no support from within the company. Co-workers are more likely to distance themselves from your problems, hoping to preserve their own positions and opportunities.
From: Fighting Workplace Bullies, Part 2: Preparing Yourself to Respond
See also: Why Workplace Bullies Thrive: The Bystander Effect