Do You Know a Sociopath?
Ever known anyone who was callous, cruel, arrogant and couldn’t seem to care less when it hurt you?A sociopath is generally a person, usually but not always a male, exhibiting antisocial behavior.The movies have had a field day over the past several decades portraying what they thought was a sociopath, and often leaned far too heavily on graphic violence while ignoring other traits of the sociopath.A sociopath is someone who basically doesn’t seem to possess a conscience. They have little or no remorse or regret for their impulsive acts, behavior, decisions, that hurt others.A sociopath is a habitual liar, is smooth, glib, superficial, and incredibly manipulative.These are qualities that can prove devastating to any relationship.They can somehow manage to blame their own victim; for example, “I stole the $1,200 out of your wallet because YOU left it open.It’s your fault, fool. You asked for it.”
The sociopath will always be able to justify their behavior and their treatment of others and what they cannot justify they simply don’t care about.They don’t care because they have no empathy.To ask a sociopath to have care and empathy for others is like asking a monkey to do a math problem.The sociopath cannot understand the feelings or emotional needs of others, because they are completely out of touch with their own.Their “need” for others is central only as to how it benefits them because the moment you don’t have anything to offer the sociopath, they will dust their hands of you.
Your worth to the sociopath is only as deep as the value of what you contribute. Criminal behavior? The sociopath is described as “criminally versatile”…this means they are usually willing to practice nearly any mode of crime to get what they want, and corporate America has been described as being inundated with CEOs, managers, who might be described as at least possessing some sociopathic tendencies. The sociopath is well-versed in nearly a lifetime of risk-taking, impulsive behaviors.They like excitement, risk, daring behaviors and sometimes will steal just for the thrill of it.They often have a higher threshold of fear and anxiety than normal people do.
Does a sociopath cry or feel pain?Sure.But it’s usually for themselves.Their world stops at the end of their own nose.If a sociopath ever “helps” anyone else, it is usually going to be for a hidden agenda, called “self”.If you try to reason with a sociopath to understand you or be kind to you, they may either appear indifferent or uncaring, brush it off as “you” being too needy or unreasonable or silly, or any other adjective, or smoothly promise to change – and then never do.The sociopath is adept at turning your own reasonable need to be treated with honesty, respect, dignity, care, as being needy, demanding, stupid, histrionic, pushy, and is brilliant at hurting you – and then blaming you for being hurt.A sociopath is an artist at making you feel crazy and you’ll find that they rarely become as upset as you do about the relationship.
Boundaries?You’ll have to be the one to hold them because the sociopath can always be relied upon to be the one who will run over them.The sociopath, quite simply, doesn’t get it.Don’t count on them for anything, because more often than not, you will be sorely disappointed, again and again.And they won’t care that you’re disappointed. A hallmark of the sociopath is that everyone around them cares more, invests more, loves more, hurts more, tries more, than they do.The only thing a sociopath is going to try for and invest in, is anything that will further their own ends and get their own needs and wants met.(Genuine) humility, gentleness, are absolutely not the hallmarks of the sociopath, yet they are marvelous charmers, quick wits, quick smilers, quick charmers- - and the sociopath is a quick study, literally studying normal people, much like the cobra coolly sizing up its mark.
People get hurt from relationships with sociopaths, whether those relationships are family, business, or romantic. The saying goes, “The person who cares the least in the relationship controls the relationship.”You read that right - - the person who cares the least.That will be your garden-variety sociopath who is always happy to let you do the caring, the work, the giving.Yet if you begin to figure out that you’re dealing with someone who isn’t healthy for you, they may turn on the charm and play you like a violin, pulling you back in with promises, gifts, charm…until they have you hooked once again and/or they get what they wanted from you all along. Is it always about them?Basically, yes.
Can a sociopath change?Sadly, the prognosis for sociopathy is not promising.They rarely learn from getting caught, and have poor insight and, of course, low to absent remorse or regret.There isn’t a proven pharmaceutical regimen or therapy that can help a sociopath improve on a long-term basis.In fact, if a sociopath goes to jail, they usually only learn to hone their craft, becoming more smooth and manipulative. The sociopath is a chaos-master.They walk in, create it, smile, and walk back out, unscathed and untouched.Your pain is never enough to get a sociopath to change.A true, diagnosed sociopath usually meets the American Psychological Association’s criteria for a diagnosis of Antisocial Personality Disorder.No, your child cannot be a sociopath or be diagnosed as a person with antisocial personality disorder; this diagnosis requires strict criteria and must be at least age 18. However, a child can exhibit behavior that is similar to a sociopath’s. There is a difference between “antisocial behavior”, and “antisocial personality disorder”.
Please consult a therapist if you are worried your child may be exhibiting signs of antisocial behavior. Please be careful, observant, and realistic.You will not ever be able to convince a sociopath to change.