In extreme cases, a sociopath will not be difficult to recognize: They are the individual who takes great delight in torturing defenseless animals before setting fire to their neighbors’ house — while the neighbors are still in it.
Thankfully this type of sociopath is rare and most sociopaths will appear to be perfectly normal and integrate fully into everyday life. However, it is still important to learn how to recognize sociopaths in relationships and be able to deal with them effectively.
What are the Tell-Tale Signs of a Sociopath?
A person diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder, otherwise known as a sociopath, lacks empathy and finds it impossible to understand how anyone else’s feelings. Rather like a narcissist, a sociopath will display no regard for the rights or needs of others, and indeed, a sociopath often has a high degree of narcissistic traits in their personality.
Many sociopaths are also highly manipulative and will take pleasure from saying and doing hurtful things, purely as a recreational activity.
As well as little regard for the feelings of others, sociopaths also show very little regard for the law and people in authority. This often leads them into a life of crime from a very early age and many sociopaths end up as juvenile delinquents because of their aggressive behavior and unwillingness to conform to the normal laws of society.
How to Recognize Sociopaths in Relationships?
Despite many of the inherent traits associated with antisocial personality disorder, a large number of sociopaths manage to integrate successfully into mainstream society and hold down jobs and relationships.
However, the common traits found in sociopaths are quite likely to cause problems in their interpersonal relationships and sociopaths are not usually very popular in their community as a result.
While a sociopath is often a very charming and outwardly personable individual, this projection is only a veneer and the real person — a cold and calculating individual — is usually not far from the surface.
Sociopaths are highly manipulative and consummate liars. They will not think twice about selling their own grandmother if they stand to gain something from the transaction.
A sociopath is never interested in helping anyone but themselves, which is why a sociopath is not someone to have on your side when the chips are down.
It is not unusual for a sociopath to get married and have a family, and indeed they may even profess to love their spouse, but the reality is that their true self is cold and unemotional and for many partners, a relationship with a sociopath is dysfunctional and full of pain, both literally and metaphorically.
Is it Possible to Treat a Sociopath?
A sociopath is generally at their worst during their teenage years, but as the person matures, the symptoms commonly recede a great deal.
In most cases, a sociopath is virtually impossible to treat as they are unlikely to admit they even have a problem, but secondary problems such as depression are treatable and if a sociopath is willing to undergo therapy, many of the symptoms of the disorder can be alleviated.
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More About This Topic:
- Warning Signs You’re Dating a Loser, by Joseph M. Carver, Ph.D.
- Psychology Today Antisocial Personality Disorder
- Wikipedia – Antisocial Personality Disorder
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