How to Spot the Sociopath in Your Midst

They always know how to get what they want from you. They know your weaknesses better than anyone, even yourself. They can always turn a no into a yes, and they don’t seem particularly concerned with laws, safety, or right and wrong. They’re the most predatory members of our society, and they’ll take what they want, and hang you out to dry.

They’re also a bit more complicated than all that.

In recent years, the term “sociopath” has become a loaded word. Uttering it creates an immediate knee jerk response in the listener, and for Snakes in Suits: When ... Babiak, Paul Best Price: $2.05 Buy New $11.47 (as of 05:20 EST - Details) anyone who doesn’t have any real world experience with a sociopath, hearing that word probably brings to mind a barrage of Hollywood villains, cop shows, and serial killers. Unfortunately, the media’s portrayal of this mental condition couldn’t be further from the truth.

For starters, the definition of a sociopath isn’t so clear cut. Most people use the terms “sociopath” and “psychopath” interchangeably, and according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) both conditions are listed together under “Antisocial Personality Disorders”. They certainly share a lot in common, including a disdain for authority and social mores, recklessness, a lack of empathy, and violent tendencies. The Sociopath Next Door Martha Stout Best Price: $2.30 Buy New $11.14 (as of 08:00 EST - Details)

But according to an article from Psychology Today, there are some significant differences as well. Sociopaths are more volatile, and can lash out unexpectedly. Furthermore, most crimes committed by them will be spontaneous and disorganized.

Psychopaths on the other hand are more cunning. Their crimes are well executed, and difficult for police to figure out. They excel at mimicking human emotions, and tend to have a good education and a steady job. They just fit right in. They’re the sorts of people who rise to the top of corporations, governments, and law firms. We probably don’t even how many psychopaths there are in the world, or what they’re really like. Without Conscience: Th... Robert D. Hare Best Price: $5.82 Buy New $12.15 (as of 08:55 EST - Details) They’re simply too elusive to pin down.

However, the biggest difference between psychopaths and sociopaths, is the context of their condition. Psychopathy is often considered to be a genetic condition, whereas sociopathy is considered a learned condition (often brought on by a volatile childhood). But more importantly, psychopaths hold no loyalties whatsoever. It doesn’t matter if they’re a member of your family, or someone you’ve known for years. If they think it’s in their best interest to hurt you, and they think they can get away with it, that’s exactly what they’ll do.

This can also be true for sociopaths, but only up to a certain extant. Sociopaths still have loyalty, and they can still feel remorse, empathy, and attachment, but they only feel that way for a limited number of people. It could be a close friend or a few members of their family. But everyone In Sheepu2019s Clothin... Dr. George K. Simon Ph.D. Best Price: $6.45 Buy New $8.50 (as of 08:20 EST - Details) outside of that inner circle is fair game.

Though for practical purposes, this may be splitting hairs. Chances are, if you have a run-in with a sociopath of any kind it’s not going to be a pleasant encounter, even if it seems like it at the time. Their chief attribute is mimicry. On the inside they’re individuals, but on the outside, they’re a blank slate. The personality they present to the world can shift and adapt, depending on the person they’re interacting with. Obviously this makes them fantastic liars, but it also presents an opportunity to see them for what they really are. By observing them around other people and in different situations, you can catch their inconsistencies.

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