We do not have to be mental health professionals to identify the traits of the possible sociopaths among us

A sociopath is often well liked because of their charm and high charisma … but they do not usually care about other people

PA Speers, Type 1 Sociopath – When Difficult People Are More Than Just Difficult

 At their essence, sociopaths are social predators and have complete disregard for societal norms, the rules both written and unwritten that help keep the world safe and fair for all. The sociopath can be defined as someone who cares only for himself and lacks the ability to treat other people as human beings.

Unlike psychopaths, sociopaths are less able to play along. They make it plain that they’re not interested in anyone but themselves. They often blame others and have excuses for their behaviour. A sociopath typically has a conscience, but it’s weak. He may know that taking your money is wrong, and he might feel some guilt or remorse, but that won’t stop his behaviour.

Sociopaths are manipulative – they tend to try to seduce and ingratiate themselves with the people around them for their own gain, or for entertainment.

Sociopaths have a reputation for being dishonest and deceitful. They often feel comfortable lying to get their own way, or to get themselves out of trouble. They also have a tendency to embellish the truth when it suits them.

Sociopaths are not only hostile themselves, but they’re more likely to interpret others’ behaviour as hostile, which drives them to seek revenge

Combine irresponsibility, impulsivity, and a need for instant gratification, and it’s not surprising that sociopaths get involved in risky behaviour. They tend to have little concern for the safety of others or for themselves. This means that excessive alcohol consumption, drug abuse, compulsive gambling, unsafe sex, and dangerous hobbies (including criminal activities) are common.

Interpersonal: In this area, someone who is a sociopath is superficial and incapable of deep, meaningful relationships and connections. It might seem at first that this person is very attached and caring, but that’s just an act. A sociopath is antisocial; he (or sometimes she) is capable of lies and deception in order to get his or her way but cares nothing about forming real friendships and partnerships.

Affective: When it comes to the affective part of being human (dealing with feelings and emotions), sociopaths completely lack empathy. They cannot take the perspective of others or understand (or care) how someone else feels. When a sociopath is hurtful, he feels no remorse. If it’s good for him, he doesn’t care whose hurt in the process. A sociopath has no conscience.

Behavioural: A sociopath is impulsive and unreliable. As a result of these traits, the sociopath also lacks the ability to set long-term goals. Further, he can’t, or won’t, accept responsibility for his actions.

Antisocial: The sociopath stands apart from the rest of society; he exists for himself and only for himself. He cares nothing for the norms, rules, and laws of society. Accordingly, a sociopath has a history of juvenile delinquency and likely has a criminal record in adulthood.

As a personality disorder, sociopathy is pervasive; it impacts every facet of someone’s life. It’s also consistent and stable over time. The biological seeds are present in the brain of a sociopath from birth, and they’re nurtured by people and events in the childhood environment.

Research shows that at best, therapy is a useless sociopath treatment. It requires collaboration between client and therapist as well as a desire for changes. Sociopaths don’t want to change, and they are unwilling to work with someone if it doesn’t benefit them. At worst, therapy can actually worsen sociopathic behaviour because it’s a new game for the sociopath.

The unfortunate reality is that at this point, there is no evidence to show that a sociopath can change. Currently, there is nothing that has been proven effective as a treatment for a sociopath. Researchers and practitioners aren’t giving up, though.

In the meantime, professionals advise that the best way to deal with a sociopath is to cut off all contact. Doing so may be the best treatment possible, at least for the non-sociopath.

If you suspect you may have sociopathic traits, speak with someone. If you can identify behaviours in someone you know, speak to them or take the advice of the professionals and cut off all contact.

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