We may not know what we are experiencing when we encounter a sociopath, but most people near a sociopath know something isn’t quite right, there is an uneasiness and tension when you encounter them. The best predictions are that the sociopath’s among us constitute 2-4% of the general population.
The mental health official handbook, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, doesn’t recognize “Sociopath” as an official disorder. They instead use the term Antisocial Personality Disorder to define a Sociopath.
Most mental health professionals agree that sociopath’s share a similar set of traits. Sociopath’s have a poor or absent sense of right or wrong. Sociopath’s may appear to have empathy for other’s, but any empathy shown is for the purpose of being able to control their victims.
Many Sociopath’s are very successful as measured by our society. They often rise to positions of leadership in our culture. “Winning at any cost”, is often what drives their behaviors. They may be able to look you in the eye and lie to you very convincingly. From the perspective of the sociopath a lie may be the same thing as the truth. This is often because the are void of a conscience and really can’t discern between the lie or truth or between right or wrong. Many trusting people that encounter them don’t realize that they’re being lied to and thus fall victim to them.
How can you determine if you meet a sociopath? Here are 10 signs that can clue you in that you may be dealing with a sociopath.
- They tend to be more intense and spontaneous than others.
- They can be very charming with a high degree of charisma which often attracts a following of others that desire to be around them.
- They often truly believe that their lies are sincerely the truth.
- Most are incapable of feeling any guilt, shame or remorse.
- Invention of outrageous lies about their experiences are often shared with others that they seek to influence.
- Most everything in their lives is a “contest” that they must win at any cost.
- They tend to have high IQ’s and are highly intelligent, making them very dangerous to others.
- Most are incapable of little if any love for others.
- Their speech patterns are very eloquent.
- They never apologize.
Are there any close relationships in your life where you may be dealing with a sociopath? Most of us are exposed to the sociopath’s among us unaware! Many individuals who are exposed to the games of sociopathic behavior feel like they are the one’s who are going crazy. Most people want to be able to trust others, but when you’re dealing with a sociopath mutual trust can lead you down a dark path.
There are three things that have proven to be helpful when dealing with sociopathic behaviors in others. First, recognize the behavior for what it is. You’re not the one that’s crazy. Second, stick to the facts! Fact check their claims. Don’t accept what they say at face value. Third, set firm boundaries for their behaviors. Of course with every boundary there must be an adverse consequence for the offender.
If you would like more help in dealing with the sociopath’s in your life relationships please contact me at Family Christian Counseling Center in Phoenix, AZ, http://www.familyccc.com