How to Recognise Sociopaths in Relationships

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 behaviour 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.

Whilst 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.

Related Youtube Videos

Read 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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2 Responses to “How to Recognise Sociopaths in Relationships”

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  1. Leroy Clarke says:

    This is what my stepson sent to his Dad on 20/7/11.

    Well, i am sorry you had a breakdown, but when i was in the same position, mentally ill, no one gave a shit. You would exhort me to ‘ get over it and earn money’. Even though i needed help, even the doctors said i needed help and they are professionals but you qsesqpiqleople who seem infalable and knew zwebetter and denied me of that i support. Why dont you just ‘ snap out of it and work’ , as i was advised by you on numerous occasions. I dont want to see you or kiss your ass for approval anymore. If I lost five cents it would’nt concern me, likewise, your approval and opnion means shit. Where were you when i had a breakdown? Are you so innocent? If AVO orders existed when you abused mum for going to church years ago, you’d have ample issued against yourself, as you would have legally and rightly desirved, and you deem me the nutter? Hey, get over it, go earn your money; take your own empathitic advise you’d recite to me. You havent got a clue. Hardnen up you weak man. I would never cut my sons off regardless of what they did but you,re a different breed. Frankly, I dont give a shit what happens to you,
your are just a weak prick. If you think i am not in proceddiongs fighting to see my kids then your greatly deluded. To me your just a sperm donar, i have no dad, your’re just a couple of people living in templestowe who are try hard yuppy tossers. Blame me for all the shit, look what you did when i was a kid, and remember what cecular psychologist say ‘ a child is a product of their enviroment’. Raises a question dosent regarding liability ? Or are you that innocent, Oh great man.

  2. Zhawq says:

    The book ‘Without Conscience’ by Robert Hare describes better than most what psychopathy is. He also makes clear what the differences between Psychopaths and Sociopaths are. In this article the author use the label Sociopath, but describes people who are almost certainly Psychopaths.


    1*) – Sociopaths are not likely to integrate into mainstream society, it’s part of the very definition of Sociopathy that these people are “at odds” with established society. They are therefore very unlikely to even attempt a life within the status quo.

    2*) – People with Antisocial Personality Disorder are not likely to integrate into mainstream society either as their condition makes it difficult for them to comply and function within the mainstream status quo.

    3*) – Not all psychopaths have Antisocial Personality Disorder, and not all psychopaths identify with sub-groups like the mafia i.e. – as is very typically the case with sociopaths. As such it is very likely that not only a few, but many psychopathic individuals live an integrated life within the mainstream status quo.

    I have written about some of the differences between psychopaths and sociopaths in a couple of articles at my website. The author and readers are all welcome to pay a visit.


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