What we refer to as a sociopath is officially a person diagnosed as suffering from antisocial personality disorder. This is the third time the name has changed. The original description was “morally insane.” This was later changed to someone with a “psychopathic personality” – before the most recent name change. Common characteristics include the following:
· Superficial and insincere charm. Hence, they may blind people around them with their charm and wit - but it’s never genuine.
· Being domineering, manipulative and abusive.
· Expert con men. Have no problem lying; are often caught up in a web of lies, and display no remorse if their lying is uncovered.
· View people as instruments and victims for their own use. In their mind, “the end justifies the means” so they don’t allow anyone to stand in their way.
· Often derive pleasure from hurting and humiliating their victims.
· Are in love with themselves, and have a grandiose sense of what they deserve and are entitled to. For example, they see themselves as being above the Law.
· Beating the system and breaking the law without getting caught is a game for them. In fact, winning is the key motivator for this person – in everything they do and in all relationships.
· Have shallow emotions. Any warm expressive shows are merely feigned and are likely to serve an ulterior motive. They’re incapable of love and can’t experience empathy. Hence, they’re contemptuous of those who feel and show distress.
· Lack impulse control and live on the edge. They are huge risk takers so promiscuity, illegal drugs and gambling are all common. They are also likely to demonstrate criminal or entrepreneurial versatility.
· Refuses to accept responsibility for their actions. Are quick to blame others even when it’s clear that they themselves are to blame.
· Has a history of antisocial behaviours before age 15. This may take the form of repeatedly conning others, being disaffected at school, being involved in criminal activities (such as theft and arson), hurting others without remorse and being cruel to animals.
It is crucial to grasp that there is no known cure for a person diagnosed as a sociopath. In fact, it appears that therapy may even make them worse as they use what they’ve learned about human nature to exploit other peoples’ vulnerabilities. They then become more astute at manipulating others and have better excuses that are more believable.
Note: All psychopaths are sociopaths but not all sociopath are psychopaths. Psychopaths have an anti-social personality disorder that is accompanied by aggressiveness.