Do sociopaths, narcissists and mean people live happy lives?

sociopaths narcissists happy
Have you ever wondered if wrong doers, bullies, sociopaths and narcissists live happy lives? Can wrong-doers truly be happy after wreaking so much unhappiness wherever they go? If so, read on…

I’ve often wondered if the people who have “done me wrong” have gone on to live happy lives. Basically, do “wrong-doers” feel any kind of “emotional consequence” because of their cruel behavior?

For example:

I’ve written about how I was betrayed by a younger girl who I mentored and helped to publish her first book. (You can read the article here!) She turned out to be an All-About-Eve type of gal – who lied and ripped me off – illegally (and immorally) breaking our signed contract.

Although I have done the inner-work to move on, we share a lot of friends in common, and so, over time, our mutual friends have shared a wide range of personal stories of betrayal by this same All-About-Eve-Gal!

I’ve found these repeat-offender stories simultaneously shocking – and not so shocking. There’s obviously something broken inside of All-About-Eve-Gal – if she keeps breaking contracts, commitments and hearts.

At this point, All-About-Eve-Gal is now successful in her career – thanks to climbing up the broken pieces of various contracts, commitments and hearts.

I’ve wondered:

Her life looks happy on the outside – but is she really happy on the inside?

Can All-About-Eve-Gal really be happy with herself – when she knows she had to harm so many people to get to where she is in her career?

I’ve also wondered if the Prince Harmings in my life have endured any “emotional consequences”  after behaving so badly.


Do wrong doers, bullies, sociopaths and narcissists live happy lives?

Can wrong-doers truly be happy after wreaking so much unhappiness wherever they go?

I have some good news for Karma Seekers – a fascinating answer –  found in a recent study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology.

The Cliff Notes:

According to this recent study, there’s a big difference between “happiness” and “fulfillment”- and the difference between these 2 categories can affect if someone feels “shallow, fleeting happiness” or a “deeper, more meaningful happiness.”

Psssst…. I loved reading this study – because it matched up with what my favorite philosopher Aristotle wrote about in the 300’s BC. (You can read what Aristotle said by clicking here! No worries – it’s written in a funny way – so it’s a quick and playful read.)

In this recent study, researchers found that this “shallow happiness”  is characterized by following primal urges to satisfy one’s needs and desires. Shallow happiness is more about immediate gratification – and defined more by “taking” than by “giving.”

In contrast, “fulfillment” is a “deeper happiness.” It’s growth directed, instead of impulse directed. Fulfillment is all about valuing growing as a person – embracing strong character values – and pursuing meaningful connections with others – treating others with kindness and generosity. In contrast to “shallow happiness,” fulfillment is more about “giving” than by “taking.”

In other words….

“Shallow happiness” is all about giving the “self” (ego) what it wants – when it wants it!

In contrast “fulfillment” is about living with a higher meaning for one’s life. It’s not ego-directed – but growth-directed.

Guess what? Researchers found that people who pursue “fulfillment” experience  a deeper, more meaningful happiness than people who simply pursue “shallow (and thereby fleeting!) happiness”!

To be specific…

Researchers found that people who are “givers” (fulfillment-directed people who value meaningful connections and living with purpose) wind up feeling a “deeper, more lasting joy” than people who are “takers” (shallow-happiness-directed folks who are about taking what they want – when they want it to satisfy their egos and self).


Career-wise (or would that be career-unwise?) a wrong-doer is willing to impulsively grab and take and trample over others to succeed – because they’re so focused on satisfying themselves- and not at all focused on living with meaning and purpose. As a result, the wrong-doer might get to experience some  “shallow and fleeting happiness” – but they will never get to experience the “deeper and longer-lasting happiness” known as “fulfillment” – which comes when you pursue a career with high integrity values and hard work.

Love-wise (love-un-wise?!) a wrong-doer is focused on experiencing as much lust as possible – and are thereby willing to impulsively take, take, take in order to satisfy their primal urges. As a result, the wrong-doer might get to experience a “shallow and fleeting happiness” – but they will never get to experience the “deeper happiness” – known as “fulfillment” – which comes when you pursue a loving relationship with high integrity values and hard work.

It’s funny how there’s a lot of talk about the importance of “the pursuit of happiness” – but we don’t really talk about the “pursuit of fulfillment.”

We don’t even have a famous expression “the pursuit of fulfillment.”

Meanwhile – fulfillment is where the deepest happiness can be found!

Plus, pursuing fulfillment is something unique to us humans – which other animals on this planet are not privy to. We humans must recognize and honor our human uniqueness! We get to experience a deeper sense of meaning and purpose.

In summary:  

We should all feel sorry for our wrong-doers. They only get to experience a shallow sense of happiness – a fleeting happiness. Wrong-doers do not get to experience the extra-strength, longer lasting, and deeper happiness perks of fulfillment. Their lives are thereby not as rich and full!

A reminder:

I’d love for all of us humans to become more mindfully aware of our unique human perk – that we get to enjoy the “pursuit of fulfillment.” Let’s all do our part to make this expression “pursuit of fulfillment” as famous as “the pursuit of happiness.” Let’s all mindfully choose not to act selfishly and cruelly – and to choose to focus on serving something larger than our egos — by devoting our lives to a greater purpose – and living with more meaningful connections! Let’s all prioritize “the pursuit of fulfillment”!

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Karen Salmansohn (Founder)

Hi I’m Karen Salmansohn, founder of NotSalmon. My mission is to offer you easy-to-understand insights and tools to empower you to bloom into your happiest, highest potential self. I use playful analogies, feisty humor, and stylish graphics to distill big ideas – going as far back as ancient wisdom from Aristotle, Buddhism and Darwin to the latest research studies from Cognitive Therapy, Neuro Linquistic Programming, Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Quantum Physics, Nutritional Studies – and then some.

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