Sociopaths (also known as psychopaths) live among us. It’s an ugly truth. Antisocial personality disorders do not discriminate–young, old, male, female–anyone can become a sociopath.
It may seem difficult to identify a sociopath, especially if he or she happens to be your partner. Nevertheless, there are several steps that you can take to identify the early warning signs of antisocial personality disorder.
Imagine – if you can – not having a conscience, none at all, no feelings of guilt or remorse no matter what you do, no limiting sense of concern for the well-being of strangers, friends, or even family members. Imagine no struggles with shame, not a single one in your whole life, no matter what kind of selfish, lazy, harmful, or immoral action you had taken.
And pretend that the concept of responsibility is unknown to you, except as a burden others seem to accept without question, like gullible fools.
Now add to this strange fantasy the ability to conceal from other people that your psychological makeup is radically different from theirs. Since everyone simply assumes that conscience is universal among human beings, hiding the fact that you are conscience-free is nearly effortless.
You are not held back from any of your desires by guilt or shame, and you are never confronted by others for your cold-bloodedness. The ice water in your veins is so bizarre, so completely outside of their personal experience, that they seldom even guess at your condition.
In other words, you are completely free of internal restraints, and your unhampered liberty to do just as you please, with no pangs of conscience, is conveniently invisible to the world.
The high incidence of sociopathy in human society has a profound effect on the rest of us who must live on this planet, too, even those of us who have not been clinically traumatized. The individuals who constitute this 4 percent drain our relationships, our bank accounts, our accomplishments, our self-esteem, our very peace on earth.
Yet surprisingly, many people know nothing about this disorder, or if they do, they think only in terms of violent psychopathy – murderers, serial killers, mass murderers – people who have conspicuously broken the law many times over, and who, if caught, will be imprisoned, maybe even put to death by our legal system.
We are not commonly aware of, nor do we usually identify, the larger number of nonviolent sociopaths among us, people who often are not blatant lawbreakers, and against whom our formal legal system provides little defense.
Characteristics of a Psychopath
- superficial charm,self-centered & self-important, need for stimulation & prone to boredom, deceptive behavior & lying,conning & manipulative, little remorse or guilt, shallow emotional response, callous with a lack of empathy, living off others or predatory attitude,poor self-control, promiscuous sexual behavior, early behavioral problems, lack of realistic long term goals, impulsive lifestyle, irresponsible behavior, blaming others for their actions, short term relationships, juvenile delinquency, breaking parole or probation, varied criminal activity
10 Ways to Identify a Sociopath
Listen to the way your partner speaks. Most sociopaths put themselves on pedestals. Their grandiose sense of self makes them feel entitled to certain things. They see these things as “their right.”
Pay attention to the way the person treats you. A sociopath is manipulative, domineering, controlling, and takes pleasure in humiliating his victim(s). Sociopaths have self-serving behaviors.
Count the lies. Sociopaths are notorious liars. It’s almost impossible for a sociopath to tell the truth.
Observe the way the person expresses his or her emotions. A sociopath has an incapacity for love. Promiscuity, addictions, verbal outbursts and physical punishments are the sociopath’s way of stimulating himself.
Wait until he or she says or does something wrong. The sociopath shows no remorse, shame or guilt. Although a sociopath may be outraged by insignificant matters, he or she will remain unmoved by serious matters.
Count his or her friends. A sociopath has trouble making and keeping friends. He will make up an excuse for this, too.
Listen to other people. Sociopaths do not become sociopaths overnight. They have a history. Sometimes these histories include aberrant behaviors, including: stealing, lying, promiscuity, and cruelty to people or animals.
Observe the way she blames others. The sociopath does not take responsibility for her actions. Instead, she blames others, even for acts she obviously committed.
Listen to his plans for the future. The sociopath makes unrealistic plans for the future. He does not fulfill his promises and exploits those that try to help him achieve his goals.
Take a step back. It may be hard to recognize a sociopath, especially when you’re in a relationship with this person. A sociopath can become very abusive. Unfortunately, the abuse will not stop. The sociopath “gets by” by promising, lying, and manipulating. This will create a sense of hopelessness in the victim, thus producing an addictive cycle for abuser and abused.
Advice For the Partner of a SociopathIf you are in an abusive relationship, it’s time to stop the violence. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.If you suspect a family member or loved one is being abused by a sociopath (physically, emotionally or mentally), encourage the person to leave the situation.Leaving a sociopath is hard but it can be done. If you do not leave the sociopath, your situation will never improve.