Hallmarks of a Sociopath

What is a sociopath?

A sociopath is a term used to describe someone who has antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). People with ASPD can’t understand others’ feelings. They’ll often break rules or make impulsive decisions without feeling guilty for the harm they cause. People with ASPD may also use “mind games” to control friends, family members, co-workers, and even strangers. They may also be perceived as charismatic or charming.



Difference between a sociopath and a psychopath:

Sociopath may be someone who only makes minor transgressions that don’t cause serious harm or distress. But a psychopath may be described as someone who’s physically violent or put others in danger. Exhibiting frequently selfish behavior is in and of itself not sufficient to diagnose someone as a sociopath. An ASPD diagnosis is only given when symptoms happen for an extended period and don’t change because of punishment or lifestyle changes. Someone who’s selfish may show these behaviors for a short while, but feel bad about them or change their behavior over time or because of punishment.



Characteristics of a sociopath:

  1. Lack of empathy One of the most well-known signs of ASP is a lack of empathy, particularly an inability to feel remorse for one's actions. Many people with ASP do seem to lack a conscience, but not all of them.

  2. Difficult relationships People with ASP find it hard to form emotional bonds, so their relationships are often unstable and chaotic. Rather than forge connections with the people in their lives, they might try to exploit them for their own benefit through deceit, coercion, and intimidation.

  3. Manipulativeness Sociopaths tend to try to seduce and ingratiate themselves with the people around them for their own gain, or for entertainment. But this doesn’t mean they’re all exceptionally charismatic. It may be true of some, and it is often said of the psychopath that they’re superficially charming.

  4. Deceitfulness Sociopaths have a reputation for being dishonest and deceitful. They often feel comfortable lying to get their own way, or to get themselves out of trouble. They also have a tendency to embellish the truth when it suits them.

  5. Callousness Some might be openly violent and aggressive. Others will cut you down verbally. Either way, people with ASP tend to show a cruel disregard for other people's feelings.

  6. Hostility Sociopaths are not only hostile themselves, but they're more likely to interpret others' behavior as hostile, which drives them to seek revenge.

  7. Irresponsibility nother sign that someone might have ASP is a disregard for financial and social obligations. Ignoring responsibilities is extremely common. Think, for example, not paying child support when it’s due, allowing bills to pile up, and regularly taking time off work.

  8. Impulsivity We all have our impulsive moments: a last minute road trip, a drastic new hairstyle, or a new pair of shoes you just have to have. But for someone with ASP, making spur of the moment decisions with no thought for the consequences is part of everyday life. They find it extremely difficult to make a plan and stick to it.

  9. Risky behaviour Combine irresponsibility, impulsivity, and a need for instant gratification, and it’s not surprising that sociopaths get involved in risky behavior. They tend to have little concern for the safety of others orfor themselves.



How to cope with someone who's a sociopath?

In many cases, you may not feel comfortable leaving a family member, close friend, or spouse with ASPD. Marriage counseling or couples therapy can help you develop a positive relationship with someone who has ASPD.

To help maintain a relationship with someone who has ASPD:

  • Acknowledge that they may not be able to fully understand your emotions.

  • Explain to the person how their behavior affects others and causes harm.

  • Make your boundaries explicitly clear to them.

  • Offer specific consequences for harmful behaviors.

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