Do you think most psychopaths are deranged murders? Do you believe all narcissists are womanizers who seduce young women to abuse them? Most sociopaths, psychopaths and narcissists are normal people, like us and they can belong to any gender. There are certain signs of a sociopath that can help you spot them.
Who are the sociopaths, psychopaths & narcissists in your life?
They can be your family member, your neighbour, your friend or even your coworker. They are toxic people who spread their negativity into others and enjoy watching you suffer. They can make you question your sanity and doubt yourself as they strategically eat away your self-esteem and self-confidence. They are sadistic people who lack empathy and compassion. But they are people who have severe insecurities about themselves and have a poor sense of self. They are weak individuals who prey on others to feel better instead of coping with their own shortcoming and inner demons.
Yes, they can be mass shooters, serial killers, and abusers. But most of the time, they are someone you know or work with. They are normal people with malicious intent and dangerous, yet hidden personalities. They are highly manipulative pathological liars who love to dominate and control your life. They can be your parents, your partner, your colleague, your boss, or even your child. They deliberately use and exploit people for their personal gains and pleasure. They are masters of charm and deception who can abuse you for years without hesitation and then pretend to be the victim themselves.
Usually, sociopaths, psychopaths & narcissists tend to have antisocial personality disorder or narcissistic personality disorder which can often make them dangerous. “They slip under our radar because they put so much energy into deceiving us. But most people don’t know what to watch out for and are shocked at how they can be manipulated. Anyone can be a target,” writes lawyer and therapist Bill Eddy, LCSW, JD.
3 Signs of a sociopath
If you are having trouble identifying the charming, heartless and evil people in your life, then here are some warning signs of a sociopath, psychopath and narcissist that you must watch out for:
A. Dominance without hesitation
Toxic people do whatever they want without having any concern about the consequences of their actions or how their behavior may affect others. They do not care about or conform to social norms. They are free from feeling guilt, shame, anxiety or fear which most of us struggle with almost on a daily basis. They lack compassion and conscience which makes them fearless and allows them to be dominant. Although they may be exceptionally charismatic, convincing and outgoing, they thrive on dominance and power.
Even though they may intimidate and discourage you, you need to remember that these people are weak individuals who constantly seek external validation and assurance as they have poor self-identity. “They’re beneath you. These losers deserve to lose – they had it coming all along,” says Ellen Hendriksen, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Boston University’s Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders. They are master manipulators who are perfect for the role of a dictator, a cult leader or even a CEO.
B. Impulsive and self-centered
Another prominent sign of a sociopathic narcissist is that they are highly impulsive, irresponsible and completely focused on their own selves. They are prone to boredom which can make them both ruthless and reckless. Psychopaths need constant attention and stimulation. So they may criticize you for no reason, insult their coworkers, abuse their partners, get into fights or physically assault someone without provocation or even torture animals for their own sadistic pleasure. Studies reveal that psychopaths are even highly likely to commit sexual murderers. On 2003 study explains “Most of the psychopaths exhibited some degree of sadistic behavior in their homicides”
Ellen explains that if you have a sociopathic personality then you are probably “totally irresponsible. You don’t need to pay people back. You don’t go to work if you don’t feel like it… You’ll walk out of a job, break off relationships, drop out of school – which is for losers anyway – and have sex with many partners, even if you’re in a relationship.”
C. Poor autonomic arousal
Why are sociopaths or narcissists so different from us? Sociopathy or psychopathy is a personality disorder that is characterized by impulsive and remorseless antisocial behavior. “The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is likely to play an important role in psychopathy,” explains a 2012 study. They are dysfunctional people with different physiology and brain structure. Due to their emotional deficit, they can often remain calm intense, and stressful situations. They have a lower resting heart rate which enables them to calmly strategize how to abuse and humiliate you while you start to freak out. Violence is not always equal to rage when it comes to psychopathy. Remember “Dr. Hannibal Lecter?” A person’s temperament is one of the signs of a sociopath.
Read also: Is Your Partner A Sociopath Or A Narcissist?
8 Traits of a sociopath
Here are some prominent characteristic traits and other signs of a sociopath, psychopath and narcissist:
1. They are superficially charming
They can make you feel special like you have never felt before. However, they can rapidly shift their attitude, personality and behavior once they gain your trust.
2. They often have distorted and contrived reactions
They are masters in driving you insane and make your question yourself. They can effectively use gaslighting to make you react negatively while they remain calm. They will then use your reaction to prove that you are crazy and they are the victims.
3. They are pathological liars
Compulsive lying is one of the warning signs of a sociopath. For them, lying is an instinctive trait that they use to make them look better. This is often motivated by their feeble self-esteem. Telling unreal, fantastical stories, and lying is an intrinsic part of their identity.
4. They don’t feel shame or guilt
Sociopaths, psychopaths and narcissists are unable to feel shame, remorse or guilt even when they have hurt another person beyond repair. They never regret their actions and will never apologize for hurting you. They are sadistic individuals who love abusing others for pleasure.
5. They are not trustworthy
Sociopaths are not loyal in general. In romantic relationships, they are likely to cheat repeatedly with multiple partners. In friendships, they may betray and backstab you when you least expect it for their own personal gain. They are deceitful people who do not value loyalty.
6. They spread toxicity and negativity
When you are in the company of a psychopath, you will start hating everyone around you. As they spread their inner toxicity and corrupt your thoughts, beliefs, and perspectives, you will begin doubting everyone, even your loved ones. They will make you feel jealous, insecure, and distrustful of others.
7. They will make you doubt yourself
Being in the company of sociopaths and psychopaths can often lead to cognitive dissonance. It is a mental state where you have contradictory thoughts, beliefs, values, or attitudes, particularly regarding attitude change and behavioral decisions. One recent study explains “Cognitive Dissonance Theory proposes that individuals experience psychological discomfort when they are confronted with inconsistent cognitions.” Psychopaths will project themselves as perfect and make you question your every thought and decision. They will lie, manipulate, cheat, and con you until you doubt your own sanity.
8. They are spontaneous and intense
Sociopaths tend to be highly intense and erratic.They often do weird things that lack logic and act spontaneously without putting much thought into things. They are prone to take unnecessarily high risks only to prove their version of the story.
Dealing with sociopathic behavior
Psychopaths are not always murderous maniacs. People with high-functioning antisocial personality disorder are part of our society and our lives. They can be your spouse, your boss or even your parents. If you have a sociopath in your life, then the best thing to do is to get away. If you are in a relationship with this person, then walking away is your safest bet. However, in case ending the relationship is not an option, then make sure to set strong personal boundaries to protect yourself. Trust your instincts, identify the warning signs and be assertive.