8 Signs You're Dealing With A Sociopath

Steer clear of these master manipulators.

The National Institute of Mental Health defines sociopathy as "a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood." The NIMH continues, saying, "People with antisocial personality disorder may disregard social norms and laws, repeatedly lie, place others at risk for their own benefit, and demonstrate a profound lack of remorse. It is sometimes referred to as sociopathic personality disorder, or sociopathy."

So what are the attributes of a sociopath? We scanned a number of sites (sources below) and distilled them into this list:

8. They're particularly charming and charismatic.


Sociopaths know exactly what to say. They're master manipulators. They can pick out your weaknesses, fears, and desires almost instantly and play to them. But they're not interested in you. They're interested in what they can get from you.

7. They speak poetically. Their oration and diction can be flawless, hypnotic.


Words, for a sociopath, serve a single purpose: to get, increase, or maintain power and control. They can have silver tongues, and know exactly what to say and when. They are experts at creating illusions, building fantasies, preying on hopes.

6.They're intense and spontaneous to the point of compulsion.


Prone to thrill-seeking behavior sociopaths seek out novelty, excitement, and excess. Their thrill-seeking can take the form of gambling, drugs, extreme behavior, lawlessness, promiscuity -- these compulsions are where the sociopath's mask often slips.

5. They feel no guilt, no shame, no remorse.


Because they lack empathy, sociopaths see people as objects, or as means to an end. When they're caught doing something criminal, they will blame the victim rather than accept responsibility. They are hollow when it comes to emotions.

4. They dominate and control others and win at all costs.


As noted in #5, sociopaths view people as objects: pawns to be moved, used, manipulated... or conquered and destroyed.


3.They tend to be highly intelligent.


There seems to be little written about this, other than the basic claim that sociopaths often have high intelligence, which they use to manipulate others. We are unaware of any studies that link IQ and antisocial personality disorder, though articles about the lack of emotional intelligence in sociopaths are abundant. It stands to reason that charisma and manipulation may often present an illusion of intelligence, though in many of the professions noted above, a formal education is essential.

2. They have no sense of empathy.


For whatever reasons, sociopaths simply don't "get" other people... and so they don't care. However, recent research suggests that there may be a "morality center" in the brain and that sociopathy may have neural causes.

1. They are gifted liars: deceptive and cunning.


Sociopaths are so gifted at lying and so utterly remorseless that their deceptions create no stress for them: They can beat lie detector tests, which rely on physiological responses to stress stimuli in the form of questions. These can range from "white lies" like excuses as to why they were late for work to complete fabrications in order to cover their tracks.

Although the The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that only 1 percent of Americans fit the diagnosis of sociopath, it's worth knowing the kind of toxicity exhibited so that you can keep your life healthy and sociopath-free.


FBI, DSM-V Kevin Dutton, Forbes, Real Clear Science, Natural News, Psychology Today, National Institute of Health, The Naked Scientists, The National Institute of Mental Health, University of Buenos Aires.

Image Sources: Giphy and supermodelgif.tumblr.com.

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