From: Dave U. Random on 18 May 2010 21:04
(A super accurate portrait of Raid/Dustin Cook. Fits him perfectly. Even
some of those who know him will be taken aback and rethink their
association with him. He will eventually stab you in the back. It's a
given. Every psychologist will tell you, get away from the sociopath.
He is sick animal in pain and will strike out at the nearest target.
They care for no one. No one is immune to their self-pitying rage.
WHEN YOU SAY THE WORD "sociopath" most people think of serial killers.
But although many serial killers are sociopaths, there are far more
sociopaths leading ordinary lives. Chances are you know a sociopath. I
say "ordinary lives," but what they do is far from ordinary. Sociopaths
are people without a conscience. They don't have the normal empathy the
rest of us take for granted. They don't feel affection. They don't care
about others. But most of them are good observers, and they have learned
how to mimic feelings of affection and empathy remarkably well.
Most people with a conscience find it very difficult to even imagine
what it would be like to be without one. Combine this with a sociopath's
efforts to blend in, and the result is that most sociopaths go undetected.
Because they go undetected, they wreak havoc on their family, on people
they work with, and on anyone who tries to be their friend. A sociopath
deceives, takes what he (or she) wants, and hurts people without any
remorse. Sociopaths don't feel guilty. They don't feel sorry for what
they've done. They go through life taking what they want and giving
nothing back. They manipulate and deceive and convincingly lie without
the slightest second thought. They leave a path of confusion and upset
in their wake.
Who are these people? Why are they the way they are? Apparently it has
little to do with upbringing. Many studies have been done trying to find
out what kind of childhood leads to sociopathy. So far, nothing looks
likely. They could be from any kind of family. It is partly genetic, and
But researchers have found that the brains of sociopaths function
differently than normal people. And their brains function in a way that
makes their emotional life unredeemably shallow. And yet they are
capable of mimicking emotions like professional actors.
Sociopaths and psychopaths are the same thing. The original name for
this disorder was "psychopath" but the general public and media confused
it with "psycho" and "psychotic" so in the 1930s the name was changed to
sociopath. Recently the media again caused a misperception that
sociopaths were always serial killers, so now many call the condition
"antisocial personality disorder (ASPD)."
But some experts think ASPD includes many things like narcissism,
paranoia, etc., including sociopathy. And others think ASPD is the same
thing as sociopathy, but the diagnostic criteria used to describe and
diagnose ASPD is different than sociopathy, so for the purposes of this
article, we'll stay with the term "sociopathy."
Sociopaths don't have normal affection with other people. They don't
feel attached to others. They don't feel love. And that is why they
don't have a conscience. If you harmed someone, even someone you didn't
know, you would feel guilt and remorse. Why? Because you have a natural
affinity for other human beings. You know how it feels to suffer, to
fear, to feel anguish. You care about others.
If you hurt someone you love, the guilt and remorse would be very bad
because of your affection for him or her. Take that attachment and
affection away and you take away remorse, guilt, and any kind of normal
feelings of fairness. That's a sociopath.
HOW COMMON ARE THEY?
Some researchers say only about one percent of the general population
are sociopaths. Others put the figure at three or four percent. The
reason the estimates vary is first of all, not everyone has been tested,
of course, but also because sociopathy is a sliding scale. A person can
be very sociopathic or only slightly, and anywhere in between. It is a
continuum. So how sociopathic does someone have to be before you call
them a sociopath? That's a tough question and it is why the estimates vary.
But clearly sociopaths are fairly common and not easy to detect. Even
when the evidence is staring you in the face, you may have difficulty
admitting that someone you know, someone you trusted, even someone you
love, is a sociopath. But the sooner you admit it, the faster your life
can return to normal. Face the facts and you may save yourself a lot of
Most of the information in this article is from two excellent books I
strongly recommend: Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the
Psychopaths Among Us, and The Sociopath Next Door. The first book is by
Robert Hare, who has made his career out of studying sociopaths. He is
one of the leading, if not the leading expert on the subject. His
insights and examples are compelling. But because Hare has done most of
his research in prisons, sometimes his book seems a little removed from
everyday reality. We don't very often run into rapists and cold-blooded
killers. The second book, by Martha Stout, brings it to the everyday
level, describing the kinds of people we are likely to meet in ordinary
HOW TO KNOW
The big question is, of course, how can you know whether someone is a
sociopath or not? It is a difficult question and even experts on the
subject can be fooled. If you suspect that someone close to you is a
sociopath, I suggest you read both of the books I mentioned and think
hard about it. Compare that person to the other people in your life. Ask
yourself these questions:
1. Do you often feel used by the person?
2. Have you often felt that he (or she) doesn't care about you?
3. Does he lie and deceive you?
4. Does he tend to make contradictory statements?
5. Does he tend to take from you and not give back much?
6. Does he often appeal to pity? Does he seem to try to make you
feel sorry for him?
7. Does he try to make you feel guilty?
8. Do you sometimes feel he is taking advantage of your good nature?
9. Does he seem easily bored and need constant stimulation?
10. Does he use a lot of flattery? Does he interact with you in a
way that makes you feel flattered even if he says nothing overtly
11. Does he make you feel worried? Does he do it obviously or more
cleverly and sneakily?
12. Does he give you the impression you owe him?
13. Does he chronically fail to take responsibility for harming
others? Does he blame everyone and everything but himself?
And does he do these things far more than the other people in your life?
If you answered "yes" to many of these, you may be dealing with a
sociopath. For sure you're dealing with someone who isn't good for you,
whatever you want to call him.
I like Martha Stout's way of detecting sociopaths: "If ... you find
yourself often pitying someone who consistently hurts you or other
people, and who actively campaigns for your sympathy, the chances are
close to one hundred percent that you are dealing with a sociopath."
WHAT DO THEY WANT?
This is an interesting question. Of course most of our purposes are
strongly influenced by our connections and affections with others. Our
relationships with others, and our love for them, give us most of the
meaning in life. So if a sociopath doesn't have these things, what is
left? What kind of purposes do they have?
The answer is chilling: They want to win. Take away love and
relationships and all you have left is winning the game, whatever the
game is. If they are in business, it is becoming rich and defeating
competitors. If it is sibling rivalry, it is defeating the sibling. If
it is a contest, the goal is to dominate. If a sociopath is the envious
sort, winning would be making the other lose, or fail, or be frustrated
A sociopath's goal is to win. And he is willing to do anything at all to
Sociopaths have nothing else to think about, so they can be very clever
and conniving. Sociopaths are not busy being concerned with
relationships or moral dilemmas or conflicting feelings, so they have
much more time to think about clever ways to gain your trust and stab
you in the back, and how do it without anyone knowing what's happening.
One of the questions in the list above was about boredom. This is a real
problem for sociopaths and they seem fanatically driven to prevent
boredom. The reason it looms so large for them (and seems so strange to
us) is that our relationships with people occupy a good amount of our
time and attention and interest us intensely. Take that away and all you
have is "playing to win" which is rather shallow and empty in
comparison. So boredom is a constant problem for sociopaths and they
have an incessant urge to keep up a level of stimulation, even negative
stimulation (drama, worry, upset, etc.).
And here I might mention that the research shows sociopaths don't feel
emotions the same way normal people do. For example, they don't
experience fear as unpleasant. This goes a long way to explaining the
inexplicable behavior you'll see in sociopaths. Some feelings that you
and I might find intolerable might not bother them at all.
HOW TO DEAL WITH A SOCIOPATH
There is no known cure or therapy for sociopathy. In fact, some evidence
suggests that therapy makes them worse because they use it to learn more
about human vulnerabilities they can then exploit. They learn how to
manipulate better and they learn better excuses that others will believe.
Given all that, there is only one solution for dealing with a sociopath:
Get him or her completely out of your life for good. This seems radical,
and of course, you want to be fairly sure your diagnosis is correct, but
you need to protect yourself from the drain on your time, attention,
money, and good attitude. Healing or helping a sociopath is a pointless
waste of your life. That is not your mission. It's not your
responsibility. You have your own goals and your own life, and those are
In Hare's book, he says before you diagnose someone as a sociopath, he
recommends you get a full clinical diagnostic, including an extensive
interview with the sociopath by a qualified psychotherapist, plus
interviews with the sociopath's bosses, co-workers, friends, and family.
Yeah, right. Good luck on that one. I agree, that would be ideal, but if
you can get a sociopath to submit to an interview, I would be
astonished. So you'll have to do the best you can with the information
you can get.
I don't recommend you tell anyone you have diagnosed him as a sociopath.
In fact, I strongly urge you not to. I don't even know if it's a good
idea to tell anyone about your conclusion. Just get the sociopath out of
your life with as little fanfare as you can. The only exception I would
make to this rule is if the sociopath is making someone else's life a
living hell, it seems wrong to leave her to the wolves while you slink
off. I don't recommend you try to convince your friend she is dealing
with a sociopath. I recommend that you simply say you got a lot of
insight from this or that book or whatever, and let your friend draw her
own conclusions. It is not your mission to save your friend, either.
Tell her what you know and if she ignores your warning, that's her
problem, not yours. Because you said something, she may figure it out
If this all sounds cold or heartless, maybe you're not dealing with a
sociopath, or maybe she or he hasn't driven you to the point of madness
(yet). But remember what the solution is; you may someday need it.
And besides, the point of all this dismal information is so you no
longer need to think about such negative things and so you can turn your
attention to positive, life-affirming, uplifting goals of your own.
You may also want to check out a support group for people who are in a
relationship with a sociopath:
If you have a sociopath in your life, you should take it seriously.
Learn what you need to learn, and if you are pretty sure you have
correctly identified one, do what needs to be done to protect yourself
and your non-sociopathic loved ones. Then get back to your own life.
Accomplish your goals. Nurture your relationships. Learn and grow and
Summary Of Sociopaths
1. They make you feel sorry for them.
2. They make you feel worried or afraid.
3. They give you the impression you owe them.
4. They make you feel used.
5. Sometimes you suspect they don't care about you.
6. They lie to you and deceive you.
7. They take a lot from you and give back very little.
8. They make you feel guilty (and use that to manipulate you).
9. They take advantage of your kindness.
10. They are easily bored and need constant stimulation.
11. They don't take responsibility but place blame elsewhere.
The estimates given in the research on sociopaths is that one to four
percent of the population is sociopathic. Now with this study, coming
from an entirely different field, maybe we can be more specific and
narrow it down to two percent. One in fifty. If you know more than fifty
people, chances are you know a sociopath.