Beware of These 15 Characteristics of a Sociopath
Sociopaths are people with no conscience. Their tendencies, which later develop into defining characteristics, go unnoticed for a long time, until a drastic episode occurs.
According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, a sociopath is defined as a person with “a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood”.
Sociopathic tendencies include certain key traits like selfishness, superficial charm and a feeling of immense pride in themselves, to name a few. Sociopaths are not born with these tendencies though, they develop these tendencies as a result of several environmental factors that they face in their childhood or early adolescence. Though sociopath characteristics begin at an early age, they go unnoticed for a long time, under the assumption that the child will grow up and learn on his own. Sometimes, sociopaths are referred to as psychopaths because the behavior projected in both cases is more or less the same. But these terms are not synonymous. While sociopathy comes about as a result of environmental factors, psychopathy is an innate phenomenon.
You may be tempted to relate these sociopath characteristics to your unreasonable friends, family and other acquaintances; however, only an expert can diagnose someone as a sociopath. Hence, tagging a person as a sociopath, without any expert opinion should be avoided.
Characteristics of a Sociopath
Sociopaths believe that much can be achieved by conning and manipulating others. In that direction, they waste no time in convincing others about their malicious ideas. They do so by putting on their charm and using clever wordplay. They victimize the other person as though he is an object to be used for implementing their plans.
Sociopaths do not possess normal emotions or feelings. They only make a superficial exhibition of their emotions. Even though they laugh, cry, get angry and depressed momentarily, the underlying reason for this superficiality is that they live in their own world and have their own set of morals. They are often ruled by a belief that their actions bear no consequence whatsoever, and they are not accountable to anyone. Incapacity for feelings and emotions allow a sociopath to elude responsibility for actions by placing the blame on others.
Sociopaths have a boundless capacity to lie. It all begins when they lie to hide something and then continue lying to cover their web of lies. Since they are incapacitated to feelings and emotions, they do not understand the impact of compulsive lying. If they are caught lying, sociopaths are clever at changing the subject by blaming someone else and escaping the situation. In fact, most sociopaths are so clever at lying that they pass lie detector tests too. Which is why, criminals who are sociopaths rarely end up in prisons.
A sociopath has shallow emotions. Shallow emotions refers to faking warmth, joy, appreciation and motivation towards others to satisfy one’s ulterior motives. Though these traits make them seem emotionally strong, they remain cold and do not exhibit emotions like a normal person would. They are known to make promises to others to get their job done. However, once their job is accomplished, they almost never fulfill the promises made.
The logic of thinking twice before doing or saying something is missing in a sociopath. They get so overwhelmed by a certain idea that they react impulsively to it. These actions are always driven by a devious acumen such as cheating, stealing and lying. In fact, the excitement of carrying through the act is so great that they never think of the consequences or whether the act is wrong.
A sociopath’s parasitic nature is highly evident in everything that they do. They act like leeches who cling on to others for their own benefit. They find people who are closest to them and make them an accomplice in their actions. Once their plan is successfully through, they conveniently slip out of the act and place the blame on the other.
Sociopaths have a highly charming personality and they know how to use it perfectly to cover up all their manipulative ways. They can be very amusing, carefree and lively when they want to be, and it is these traits that draws people to them. Once people are drawn to them and they can influence them, they use these ‘friends’ for varied acts.
Sociopaths indulge in bragging about themselves like there’s no tomorrow. They firmly believe that what they are doing is absolutely right and there’s no way they can do anything wrong. They are highly self-assured and this leads them to making highly preposterous and unrealistic plans about life, marriage, earning money and general living. Sociopaths fail to understand why others around them are so against them.
Whether it’s a murder, robbery, lie, or any other criminal act, sociopaths feel no guilt whatsoever. They live in an amoral world of their own where they can never empathize with others and neither do they feel guilt for blaming others. They are known to be compulsive liars and they lie to an extent where room for guilt gets occupied by self-made reality. They often believe that the pain inflicted on the other person is deserved by them. Many criminal sociopaths are often seen giving such explanations for when their crime is caught.
Other Common Characteristics
1. Early behavior problems which are referred to as juvenile delinquency.
2. Indulging in crime of slander.
3. Exhibiting promiscuous behavior and infidelity, often tagged as being incapable of love.
4. Having an entrepreneurial criminal mindset.
5. Being authoritarian, dominating and secretive.
6. Showing cheap goal-setting tendencies – like enslavement of victims.
Dealing with a sociopath can be very difficult on several levels. First, it takes a considerable amount of time to recognize sociopathic tendencies in a person, by which time one has already had to go through varied levels of anguish. Second, treatment for this disorder is nearly impossible because a sociopath does not believe that he has a problem. He has no conscience and therefore he does not understand the difference between right and wrong and neither does he care about the consequences of his actions. What further adds to the difficulty in treatment is that he is a compulsive liar and can thus lie during treatment sessions, thus rendering them pointless to a great extent because his improvement can never be calculated accurately. It has therefore been agreed that the most effective way to deal with a sociopath is to keep away from them in whatever way is possible.
This PsycholoGenie article is for informative purposes only and does not intend to replace the diagnosis of, and treatment provided by an expert.