How to Recognize a Sociopath
Do You Know Someone Who Is A Sociopath?
One of your friends, family members, or work colleagues could be a sociopath, and you might not even be aware of it. That's because sociopaths can be very charming, which makes them hard to spot. Even the smartest among us can be duped by a one of these individuals.
Furthermore, sociopaths come from all walks of life. They are not always victims of childhood abuse or neglect. They could just as easily have been raised in a loving, middle class household.
So, how can an ordinary person recognize a sociopath? If you happen to know one of these people, then how can you avoid becoming a victim of their abuse?
Common Traits of a Sociopath
Although sociopaths can be hard to spot, there are some common traits that they share. First of all, this person may seem very charming and sweet when you first meet them. They may also be unusually intelligent, and can be interesting to talk to. Unfortunately this charm is only surface deep. Underneath is something far less pleasant. They are excellent at controlling other people in order to achieve their own goals. They do not see their victims as individuals with rights of their own. Instead they see others as tools to be used in order to get what they want.
A sociopath is usually arrogant and narcissistic in the extreme. They see themselves as being perfect, and feel that they know it all. This person believes that he or she is entitled to do anything they want, and have whatever they desire. They think that they are superior to everybody else. They have an unrealistic view of themselves.
A sociopath will have no problem lying to another person with confidence and ease. They will show no physical sign of discomfort while telling a lie. What's more, this person is capable of creating a complex web of deceit. They can convince themselves that their falsehoods are truths, so that they actually believe their own lies. Hence this individual might pass a lie detector test, even though what they are saying could not be further from the truth.
A sociopath can do hideously cruel and immoral things to other people without feeling any guilt. To this person, other people are not human beings with feelings and rights of their own. What's more, they do not have real friends. Instead people are either co-conspirators, casualties, or both. This individual will see you not as a person, but as a prospect to help them achieve their ultimate objective. Nobody and nothing can obstruct their will.
Victimized By a Sociopath?
Sociopaths may appear to be able to experience the full range of emotions, but in fact they feel next to nothing. An event that would distress an ordinary person will have no impact on this person. Yet a sociopath can act out the normal range of emotions. They can easily pretend to feel what they do not, and they are very convincing.
An ordinary person spends time reflecting on the relationships they have with other people. Because sociopaths cannot feel ordinary emotions, there is nothing for them to reflect on. That is why they easily feel bored. As a result of this, they will create dramas just to make life a little more interesting. They may gamble, commit crimes just for the thrill of getting away with it, or be sexually promiscuous simply to fill their time. Some are also involved in acts of sexual deviance.
The victim of a sociopath may feel physical and/or emotional pain as a result of what has been done to them. The perpetrator cannot identify with the misery they are causing for the other person. Instead they are derisive of the pain of their victims, and they may use the upset they cause to their own advantage.
Sociopaths use a very clever method to manipulate their victims. For the most part, they are abusive towards their victims. Yet this abuse is alternated with short periods of ostensible love and appreciation. This cycle can be addictive for the victim. Consequently they continue to come back for more. This cycle of "love" and abuse can have a devastating impact on the victim's self-esteem.
The sociopath does not accept the blame for any of the harm and hurt they cause other people. In fact this person is convinced that the blame for what happened belongs with someone other than themselves, even when this clearly is not the case. They don't care that they damage and destroy other people's lives. Their only concerns are winning the game and getting what they want.
Sociopaths usually lack any kind of work ethic. They may move quickly from one job to another, or simply avoid working at all. This individual has a parasitic nature. He or she will use and manipulate others to get the money they need to survive. For instance, they may ask to borrow some cash and not bother paying it back later. They are also likely to break the law in order to obtain money. Yet they are adept at avoiding detection, so they very rarely have to pay for the crimes they commit.
There is no way of treating a sociopath with psychotherapy or counseling. This person does not acknowledge that he or she has a problem. Because of this, they will neither want nor seek any type of treatment. They do not suffer because of their condition. All of the suffering is inflicted on other people.
Leaving A Sociopath
If you suspect that someone in your life is a sociopath, then you should avoid confronting or accusing them. If you tell the person that you think they are a sociopath, they are likely to laugh in your face and scorn your attempt at comprehending them. That is why confronting this type of person is a waste of time.
It is also a mistake to forgive a sociopath for the wrongs that they have done to you. They are well aware that it is human nature to want to forgive others. They will exploit this need to forgive, and use it to continue the cycle of abuse. To forgive this type of individual is to invite them to hurt you again.
The best way of handling a sociopath is to get them out of your life for good. Do not forgive them for the wrongs they have done to you. Avoid finding a reason to tolerate their company again. This is easier said than done when this person is a family member, or long-time friend. You may even miss them to some extent, even though they have hurt you. Yet if you know someone like this, the only way of protecting yourself is to avoid them completely, even if it hurts.