Two Parts:Reading the Signs Getting Away
A sociopath can be defined as a person who has Antisocial Personality Disorder. This disorder is characterized by a disregard for the feelings of others, a lack of remorse or shame, manipulative behavior, unchecked egocentricity, and the ability to lie in order to achieve one’s goals. Sociopaths can be dangerous at worst or simply very difficult to deal with, and it’s important to know if you’ve found yourself with a sociopath, whether it’s someone you’re dating or an impossible coworker. If you want to know how to spot a sociopath, then you have to pay careful attention to what the person says or does. See Step 1 to get started.
Part 1 of 2: Reading the Signs
Look for a lack of shame. Most sociopaths can commit vile actions and not feel the least bit of remorse. Such actions may include physical abuse or public humiliation of others. If the person is a true sociopath, then he or she will feel no remorse about hurting others, lying, manipulating people, or just generally acting in an unacceptable way.
- When a sociopath does something wrong, he or she is likely to accept none of the blame and to blame others instead.
- Sociopaths are willing to hurt whomever whenever if it means that they will achieve their goals. This is why many sociopaths are highly successful people, unfortunately.
- Sociopaths may be cruel to animals and will show absolutely no remorse for that, either.
See if the person is constantly lying. Sociopaths are perfectly comfortable going through their lives telling a series of lies. In fact, true sociopaths are uncomfortable when they are telling the truth. If they are finally caught in a lie, then they will continue to lie and backpedal to cover up the lies. If they are really on the verge of being caught in a major, major lie, though, they may then wildly confess everything in order to maintain your loyalty.
- Sociopaths love to lie about their pasts, too. Look for inconsistencies in their stories.
- Some sociopaths will go to great lengths to make you believe their lies. For example, a sociopath may pretend to leave “to go to work” every single day even if that person is unemployed.
- Many sociopaths are delusional to the point where they believe that their lies are the truth. For example, Charles Manson once said, “I’ve never killed anyone! I don’t need to kill anyone!”
See if they are able to stay eerily calm in spite of circumstances. A sociopath can experience a highly emotional event without displaying the least bit of emotion, at least on the surface (silent scorn). They often respond to “good news” with cold blank stares. Sociopaths don’t register events the same way as non-sociopaths and may barely react in dangerous or scary situations.
- If you find yourself flustered or panicked and the person you’re with looks barely perturbed, then he or she may not register an event as seriously as you do.
- Check to see if the person has ever seemed anxious or nervous, especially in situations that should naturally cause this behavior. Though some people are more even-keeled than others, most people demonstrate some form of anxiety eventually.
- Studies show that sociopaths do not demonstrate anxiety when shown disturbing images or when they’re given small electrical shocks, while non-sociopaths do register anxiety and fear in these situations.
See if they are extremely charming — at first. Sociopaths are great at charming people, because they know how to get what they want. Charming people know how to make people feel special, to ask people the right questions about themselves, and to generally be perceived as fun, likable, and interesting. Truly charming people possess the ability to charm almost anyone, from little kids to old ladies. If the person is incredibly charming at first glance, while his or her later behavior scares or confuses you, then you may have a sociopath on your hands.
- You can think of sociopaths as con artists who always have a secret agenda. They need to know how to charm people in order to get what they want. To advance their goals, they first have to blend in with the crowd, which means they need to know how to smile, greet people, and make people feel comfortable.
- Although many sociopaths can be extremely charming, they harbor strong antisocial inclinations and can exist in isolation (without feeling deprived) for weeks at a time.
- Many sociopaths are so charming that they have a glow about them and even oftentimes radiate sexuality.
See if the person is exceptionally intelligent. Some of the famous sociopaths possess a strong mental acumen and can perform well in academics/skill without cracking a book. If they apply themselves they obtain perfect grades. However, sociopaths use their intelligence in order to manipulate and hurt people, instead of to help them. Their extreme intelligence is part of what makes them so dangerous, because they will often be several steps ahead of people who are on to them and are able to cover their tracks.
- Many of the most notorious serial killers had very high IQ’s; this is part of the reason that they were able to evade the police for so long.
See if the person is manipulative. Sociopaths understand human weakness and exploit it maximally. Once determined, they can manipulate individuals to do just about anything. Sociopaths prey on weak people and often stay away from equally strong people; they look for people who are sad, insecure, or looking for a meaning in life because they know that these people are soft targets. Check to see if the person is great at getting other people to do what he or she wants.
- True sociopaths will slowly gain dominance and control over a person without the person realizing it. They like to be in control of every situation and are uncomfortable being around other strong people.
- See if the person is completely comfortable deceiving people and blatantly telling lies to get what he wants.
Look for signs of violent behavior. As children some sociopaths torture defenseless animals such as frogs, kittens, or puppies, or even defenseless people. (This behavior can surface in adulthood, but then damage is delivered via mental and emotional abuse.) The person may also be violent toward other people or may get enraged and punch walls, throw objects on the floor, or demonstrate other angry behavior.
- If you have the sense that, while the person is outwardly calm, he or she can snap and get violent at any moment, then he or she may be demonstrating sociopathic behavior.
See if the person has a huge ego. Sociopaths often have delusions of grandeur and think they are the greatest people in the world. They will be completely unresponsive to criticism and have an extremely inflated sense of self. They will also have a huge sense of entitlement, thinking that they deserve to have amazing things to happen to them, even after little effort.
- They may also have a completely unrealistic view of their own abilities; for example, they may think that they are extremely talented at singing or dancing, when in reality, they possess almost no skills in these fields.
- The person may also think he or she is better than everyone around him or her, without evidence that he or she is superior.
- The person may also be completely narcissistic. Thus, the person is far more interested in talking about him or herself than hearing what others have to say. Also, the person spends a great deal of time staring in the mirror rather than observing others in the world. The person, in general, doesn’t want to hear what anyone else has to say.
See if the person makes uninterrupted eye contact. Sociopaths are known for giving intense uninterrupted eye contact. The person stares because he or she is completely comfortable staring at people to make them uncomfortable. Staring at others intently is a way to further his or her own means. In her memoir, Confessions of a Sociopath, M. E. Thomas talks about her frequent tactic of giving people long, uninterrupted stares to get what she wants.
Face reading. Face tells a lot about personality. Every feature in the face has some story to tell. If one is careful about face readings then its easy to distinguish between a normal person and sociopath. Eyes are a good way to know mental state of a person.
See if the person has few real friends. Though not everyone gets lucky in the friends lottery, your guard should go up if the person has virtually no real friends. He or she may have lackeys, people who hang around him just to get bossed around, or people who hover around him to try to mooch off of him, but try to see if the person has any meaningful connections with people. If the person has almost no friends, then there’s a high chance that there’s something wrong with him or her, unless he’s very shy or has another compelling reason to lack friends.
- This goes for family members, too. If the person isn’t in touch with any family members and never talks about them, there may be a problem, too. Of course, that person may have other reasons for not talking to these people, such as having a difficult childhood.
- Look for a lack of connection to the past. If the person has virtually no friends from high school, college, or any past part of his or her life, then he or she may be a sociopath as well.
See if the person likes to isolate you. Sociopaths like to meet people and to move fast and come in close. This is so you don’t have a chance to pull back or change your mind. You may find that, after just a few weeks, the sociopath is acting very intensely around you, if you’re romantically involved. He or she may even make you feel like you’re soul mates because he or she is so good at reading people that he or she can say exactly what you want to hear. Ultimately, the sociopath will want to have you all to him or herself instead of “sharing” you with the world.
- If you’re dating, the sociopath will quickly try to get you to stop hanging out with your friends, because he or she will feel threatened by them. He or she will make excuses for not hanging out with your friends, saying things like, “They don’t really get you like I do” or “They never gave me a chance,” trying to make you feel like everyone is against you and that you should spend all of your time with him or her.
See if the person is immature. Sociopaths do not learn from their mistakes and repeat the same ones again and again. Therefore, they do not grow or develop as much as other people do. Look for immature behavior that may be hidden underneath the person’s veneer of charisma and charm. Here is some behavior to look for:
- Extreme Selfishness. The person may want everything for him or herself at any cost. With this comes an unwillingness to share.
- A huge ego. The person may be so obsessed with him or herself that he or she doesn’t care for others at all.
- The person may want you to be there for him or her whenever you are wanted.
- Unready for responsibilities. The person may not be prepared or able to deal with or be given any form of meaningful responsibility. They will either pass any work off onto others and take credit whilst excusing failure, or will avoid responsibility entirely.