What Is A High Functioning Sociopath And How To Identify Them


What Is A High Functioning Sociopath? Common Traits

Have you ever come across the term “high functioning sociopath”? But what is a high functioning sociopath? Do they suffer from some mental disorder? Can they pose a threat? Should you be wary of them? Let’s find out.

The mysterious allure of sociopaths has captured the attention of popular culture, with characters like Sherlock Holmes and Hannibal Lecter captivating our imagination. However, in reality, encountering a high functioning sociopath can be a complex and challenging experience. 

Today, we will delve into the depths of this enigmatic personality type, exploring high functioning sociopath traits, and how to navigate relationships with them.

What is a High Functioning Sociopath?

A high functioning sociopath is an individual who exhibits sociopathic traits while maintaining a certain level of functionality in society. 

Sociopathy, formally known as Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD), is characterized by a pervasive pattern of disregard for the rights of others, deceitfulness, lack of empathy, and manipulative behavior. 

Related: Antisocial Personality Disorder: What Is ASPD & How You Can Treat It

While the term “sociopath” often evokes images of violent criminals, it is crucial to understand that not all sociopaths engage in criminal activities or exhibit overtly destructive behaviors.

Understanding The High Functioning Sociopath

So exactly what is a high functioning sociopath? It is someone who appears decent, seemingly “normal” and even successful, but exhibits sociopathic traits. So, while they may be charming, attractive and successful, they will completely lack empathy and remorse for any unethical behavior.

They know how to navigate through life without drawing much attention to their antisocial tendencies. They may hold down a job, maintain relationships, and even excel in certain areas of life. 

However, beneath their polished exterior, they may still engage in harmful behaviors without remorse or guilt. For instance, they might manipulate people for personal gain or engage in deceitful acts without feeling any moral qualms.

Let’s consider the case of Sarah – a successful career woman admired by colleagues for her intelligence and charm. Unbeknownst to them, Sarah is a high functioning sociopath.

Behind her charismatic facade lies a calculated manipulator who exploits others for personal gain. She effortlessly climbs the corporate ladder, all while leaving a trail of emotional wreckage in her wake. For example, she has deceived her coworkers multiple times to gain a promotion without guilt or shame.

Related: Understanding Narcopathy: 20 Signs of a Narcopath (Narcissist-Sociopath Mix)

6 High Functioning Sociopath Traits You Should be Aware of

Still wondering what is a high functioning sociopath and what they are like? Here are some of the most common high functioning sociopath traits that you must know about –

1. Superficial Charm

High functioning sociopaths possess an uncanny ability to charm those around them. They have a captivating aura that can make people fall under their spell effortlessly. This charm often masks their true intentions and helps them manipulate others to their advantage.

2. Lack of Empathy

One of the defining traits of sociopathy is the absence of genuine empathy. High functioning sociopaths struggle to understand or relate to the emotions and experiences of others. They may mimic empathy to blend in socially, but it is often devoid of genuine concern.

3. Manipulative Behavior

High functioning sociopaths are skilled manipulators. They excel at using psychological tactics to influence and control others. Their manipulative strategies can range from subtle persuasion to more overt forms of coercion.

4. Grandiose Sense of Self

High functioning sociopaths often possess an inflated sense of self-importance. They believe they are superior to others and have an entitlement to special treatment. This narcissistic trait fuels their desire for power and control.

5. Impulsivity and Thrill-Seeking

Many high functioning sociopaths exhibit impulsive and thrill-seeking behavior. They may engage in risky activities without considering the consequences, as they have a diminished ability to learn from past experiences.

6. Lack of Remorse or Guilt

High functioning sociopaths rarely experience guilt or remorse for their actions. They are adept at rationalizing their behavior, often shifting blame onto others or denying any wrongdoing altogether.

Related: The Devil Next Door: 11 Warning Signs Of A Sociopath In Your Life

How to Deal with a High Functioning Sociopath

Navigating the treacherous waters of a relationship with a high functioning sociopath can be daunting. Here’s how to safeguard yourself and maintain your sanity amidst their manipulative tactics.

1. Establish Boundaries

Setting clear boundaries is essential when dealing with a high functioning sociopath. Clearly communicate your limits and expectations, and be firm in maintaining those boundaries. This will help protect your emotional well-being and prevent manipulation.

2. Trust Your Intuition

High functioning sociopaths can be skilled at deception, making it challenging to uncover their true intentions. Trust your gut instincts and intuition when something feels off, and don’t dismiss red flags or warning signs.

3. Educate Yourself

Understanding the nature of high functioning sociopathy can be empowering. Familiarize yourself with their traits and behaviors, as this knowledge will enable you to recognize manipulative tactics and protect yourself from being emotionally exploited.

4. Seek Support

Dealing with a high functioning sociopath can be mentally and emotionally draining. Reach out to trusted friends, family members, or professionals who can provide support, guidance, and a listening ear.

5. Practice Self-Care

Prioritize your well-being and engage in self-care activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally will help you maintain resilience when dealing with the challenges posed by a high functioning sociopath.

Related: Trapped In The Web Of A Sociopath: The Toxic Attraction Between Empaths And Sociopaths


Encountering a high functioning sociopath can be a perplexing and emotionally challenging experience. Their unique blend of charm, manipulation, and lack of empathy can leave those in their orbit feeling bewildered and emotionally drained. 

However, by understanding their traits and implementing strategies to protect yourself, you can navigate relationships with high functioning sociopaths more effectively. 

Remember to prioritize your well-being, seek support, and trust your instincts. Ultimately, empowering yourself with knowledge and self-care will help you maintain your emotional equilibrium while dealing with the enigma of a high functioning sociopath.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What is a high functioning psychopath? 

A high functioning psychopath is an individual who displays psychopathic traits while maintaining a certain level of functionality in society.

Do sociopaths care about their family? 

Sociopaths may care about their family to some extent, but their capacity for genuine empathy and emotional connection is limited.

Can a sociopath have a good life? 

While a sociopath can lead a seemingly successful life, their lack of empathy and manipulative tendencies can have negative consequences for others.

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