What do you think of when you hear the word sociopath? (I know many of you are thinking exes, horrible bosses, etc)
Probably the same thing I used to think of: a person with no conscious who kills.
I thought that all or most sociopaths fit this description until two recent events. The first was when my husband bought and had us listen to Confessions of a Sociopath on one of our road trips to
audible). Great book that I recommend. Louisiana
The book was VERY interesting and VERY enlightening.
The second event was an article I read recently where a neuroscientist who studies this type of information found out that he actually fit the definition of a true “sociopath”.
Here is the official definition according to dictionary.com: a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.
Most sociopaths are not killers! They are normal people!
It is estimated about 4% of the population (1 our of 25) people you know would be classified as a sociopath.
Think about your family, friends, and acquaintances. These are people that don’t necessarily feel the empathy that most people feel in certain situations. The book was very interesting. The lady who wrote it talked about living her life for “herself”. She is very smart, but very manipulative. She can “pretend” to have feelings, but most of the time it is an act. She tells the story of living in a duplex. The lady that lived in the other half had a bike. This “sociopath” decided that she wanted to ride the bike whenever she felt. She knew that society’s norms would dictate “you should not just use things that are not yours”, but she didn’t’ care. She used it until she got caught. She told stories of manipulating professors into giving her higher grades, getting promotions that she didn’t necessarily deserve, and pushing the boundaries.
Here are some common characteristics of a sociopath.
· Superficial (surface level people)
· Feel entitled
· Have no problem lying (often create complex lies and can even pass lie detector tests)
· Lack of remorse, shame, guilt
· Cold, lacking in emotions
· Need for stimulation
· Con artists from an early age
· Not worried about others….worried primarily about themselves
· Promiscuous behavior
Think Scott Peterson:
But remember, most don't go through with the violent acts. They think about it every once in a while, but are smart enough to realize the consequences.
When I think of this behavior, I think of kids and adults who are bullies or make fun of others. When a grown adult is making fun of someone, there is something wrong. These people can’t put themselves in others places.
So here are my questions:
- Do you think you know someone who fits this description?
- Do you think politicians would have higher numbers?
- Do you think this condition is hereditary, environmental, or a combination of both?
I’m not going to lie. Teaching over a thousand high school students in my teaching career, I had a few. We have probably all dated a few of these types of people.