Profile of the Sociopath: some of the common features found in various descriptions of the behavior of sociopaths.
Glibness and Superficial Charm
Manipulative and Conning: They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.
Grandiose Sense of Self: Feels entitled to certain things as "their right."
Pathological Lying :Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities.
Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt: Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.
Shallow Emotions: Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.
Incapacity for Love
Need for Stimulation
Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.
Callousness/Lack of Empathy
Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.
Not concerned about wrecking others' lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.
Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity
Contemptuous of those who seek to understand them
Does not perceive that anything is wrong with them
Only rarely in difficulty with the law, but seeks out situations where their tyrannical behavior will be tolerated, condoned, or admired
Exercises despotic control over every aspect of the victim's life
Has an emotional need to justify their crimes and therefore needs their victim's affirmation (respect, gratitude and love)
Extreme narcissism and grandiose
May state readily that their goal is to rule the world
(Some of the above traits are based on the psychopathy checklists of H. Cleckley and R. Hare.)
NOTE: In the 1830's this disorder was called "moral insanity." By 1900 it was changed to "psychopathic personality." More recently it has been termed "antisocial personality disorder" in the DSM-III and DSM-IV.
Antisocial personality disorder is characterized by a lack of regard for the moral or legal standards in the local culture. There is a marked inability to get along with others or abide by societal rules. Individuals with this disorder are sometimes called psychopaths or sociopaths.
Antisocial Personality Disorder Overview (Written by Derek Wood, RN, BSN, PhD Candidate)
Antisocial Personality Disorder results in what is commonly known as a Sociopath. The criteria for this disorder require an ongoing disregard for the rights of others, since the age of 15 years. Some examples of this disregard are reckless disregard for the safety of themselves or others, failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors, deceitfulness such as repeated lying or deceit for personal profit or pleasure, and lack of remorse for actions that hurt other people in any way.
People with this disorder appear to be charming at times, and make relationships, but to them, these are relationships in name only. They are ended whenever necessary or when it suits them, and the relationships are without depth or meaning, including marriages. They seem to have an innate ability to find the weakness in people, and are ready to use these weaknesses to their own ends through deceit, manipulation, or intimidation, and gain pleasure from doing so.
They appear to be incapable of any true emotions, from love to shame to guilt. They are quick to anger, but just as quick to let it go, without holding grudges. No matter what emotion they state they have, it has no bearing on their future actions or attitudes.
They rarely are able to have jobs that last for any length of time, as they become easily bored, instead needing constant change. They live for the moment, forgetting the past, and not planning the future, not thinking ahead what consequences their actions will have. They want immediate rewards and gratification. There currently is no form of psychotherapy that works with those with antisocial personality disorder, as those with this disorder have no desire to change themselves, which is a prerequisite. No medication is available either. The only treatment is the prevention of the disorder in the early stages, when a child first begins to show the symptoms of conduct disorder.
THE PSYCHOPATH NEXT DOOR (Source: http://chericola57.tripod.com/infinite.html)
The problem with [the psychopath’s] game is that we don't often play by their rules. Where we might occasionally tell a white lie, a psychopath's lying is compulsive. Most of us experience some degree of guilt about lying, preventing us from exhibiting such behavior on a regular basis. "Psychopaths don't discriminate who it is they lie to or cheat," says Seto. "There's no distinction between friend, family and sucker."
Often they aren't even qualified for the job and use fake credentials to get it.
Even though we can't treat psychopaths effectively with therapy, it doesn't mean we can't protect ourselves, writes Hare. Willson agrees, citing the most important factor in keeping psychopaths at bay is to know your vulnerabilities. We need to "realize our own potential and maximize our strengths" so that our insecurities don't overcome us. Because, she says, a psychopath is a chameleon who becomes "an image of what you haven't done for yourself." Over time, she says, "their appearance of perfection will begin to crack," but by that time you will have been emotionally and perhaps financially scathed. There comes a time when you realize there's no point in searching for answers; the only thing is to move on.
THE MALIGNANT PERSONALITY: (Taken in part from MW -- By Caroline Konrad -- September 1999)
These people are mentally ill and extremely dangerous! The following precautions will help to protect you from the destructive acts of which they are capable.
First, to recognize them, keep the following guidelines in mind.
(1) They are habitual liars. They seem incapable of either knowing or telling the truth about anything.
(2) They are egotistical to the point of narcissism. They really believe they are set apart from the rest of humanity by some special grace.
(3) They scapegoat; they are incapable of either having the insight or willingness to accept responsibility for anything they do. Whatever the problem, it is always someone else's fault.
(4) They are remorselessly vindictive when thwarted or exposed.
(5) Genuine religious, moral, or other values play no part in their lives. They have no empathy for others and are capable of violence. Under older psychological terminology, they fall into the category of psychopath or sociopath, but unlike the typical psychopath, their behavior is masked by a superficial social facade.
If you have come into conflict with such a person or persons, do the following immediately! (The author is talking about personal acquaintances, not public figures)
(1) Notify your friends and relatives of what has happened
(2) Inform the police.
(3) …if wealthy or politically powerful individuals are involved… include state and federal agencies as well and tell the locals that you have.
(4) Make sure that several of your friends have the information in the event something happens to you. If you are dealing with someone who has considerable money, you must realize that they probably won't try to harm you themselves, they will contract with someone to make the hit. The malignant type is a coward and will not expose himself or herself to personal danger if he or she can avoid it.