Sometimes the most charming, charismatic people are the ones who warrant the most caution. Look for these red flags for identifying a sociopath.
Sociopath: a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.
Psychopath: a person with a psychopathic personality, which manifests as amoral and antisocial behavior, lack of ability to love or establish meaningful personal relationships, extreme egocentricity, failure to learn from experience, etc.
In most lexicons these terms are interchangeable.
Their definitions describe symptoms that would be seemingly easy to identify in a person, but the contrary is true. Sociopaths make their way into our lives with ease, and they do so in such convincing disguises that we never see them coming. They infiltrate every arena of human interaction, even the most sacred; and realizing what attracts us to them can allow us to detect and avoid them.
The Sociopath Dating Game
They say what they need to in order to gain our trust. Sociopaths share their “vulnerabilities” with us so they come off as sensitive and sincere, but this is a facade. They have no ability to feel empathy or compassion, and their only fears are being challenged and exposed.
Sociopaths focus on us with unwavering attention (often without blinking) and an attractive smile to draw us to them and make us feel special; but what they are really doing is making us relax while they scan our reactions for the things that makes us tick. They look for our weaknesses and the subjects that excite us in order to manipulate us in the future.
They have a way of doting on us that makes us feel important and loved. Sociopaths will flatter us, build us up in public, and make us feel as though we’ve found “the one.” In reality, it is all part of the game that they are constantly striving to win, the game in which the sociopath is always the most important person in the room.
Their Confidence Abounds
Wit, charm, seductiveness; these are all traits that the sociopath exudes. Combined with carefully selected, suave language, these qualities can make them irresistible. We feel undeniable chemistry with them, but this is not authentic.
Lacking any sense of risk or fear, sociopaths will act impulsively. They will seem spontaneous and courageous, and they will encourage us to follow suit. They will be full of grand and novel ideas and we will admire their intelligence. We will want to be more like them, more sure of ourselves; but their charisma is all part of the show.
Sociopaths wear this costume of power and knowledge so we will worship them. They maintain a slow heartbeat and rarely flinch, never letting their weaknesses be seen. That is, until we challenge their stories.
For more instruction on identifying sociopaths, click here.[image: via J L on flickr]