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Sociopathic Behavior - Dealing With Sociopaths

Updated on June 19, 2013
Sociopaths are often described as people who utilize a series of invisible masks. . .
Sociopaths are often described as people who utilize a series of invisible masks. . .

Who is a Sociopath?

A sociopath is a human being incapable of feeling empathy towards fellow human beings. This doesn't mean the sociopath is incapable of feeling emotion; indeed the sociopath may have a greater understanding of emotion than most people and utilize this to their advantage by gaining leverage.

The sociopath is without remorse. This isn't to be confused with a person who lacks an understanding of the consequences of their actions. The sociopath is quite adept in understanding that for every action there is a consequence. The sociopath, rather than have fears or moral qualms in regards to the consequences, instead studies various methods to circumvent or minimize the consequences of their actions.

For example, say you're a part of a community where stealing a certain item carries a fine of $1000. Usually the item retails for approximately $500. It is safe to say that under these circumstances the laws put in place act as sufficient disincentive for a person to steal the said item. Besides, stealing is wrong, and even if you could somehow manipulate the law to your advantage, you'll always run the risk of unpredictable reactions that could put your life in danger.

The sociopath, however, doesn't operate under these confines. To the mind of a sociopath you're lacking in ambition if you set any limits. The sociopath, rather than surrendering to the idea that he can't steal the said item instead asks "how can I steal this item and how can I get away with it?" The sociopath then proceeds with plans to manipulate the price of the said item. Perhaps he has come up with a method to limit the supply of the said item; perhaps he has convinced government officials to insert unusually high taxes and tariffs on the materials used to build the item, etc. Regardless of how achieved, the sociopath has successfully managed to manipulate the market enough that the said item now retails at $1200 no more than two years later. The sociopath then completes his swindle by stealing every item possible before anyone can react or adjust. He then simply pays the fine accordingly. After all, he manufactured the problem; it's only natural that he would achieve the initiative. He does so with no remorse towards the people from which he stole.

Even extremely alert and conscientious individuals that are not sociopaths, who may have noticed "the opportunity" as soon as it presented itself, will most likely choose not to act upon it due to issues of morality. The sociopath views such people with contempt. As far as he's concerned such people are merely jealous of what he sees as his entrepreneurism and tact. From his perspective such people are either lying that they foresaw the opportunity or they lacked the willpower to do what was necessary. In the mind of a sociopath, people who refrain in their actions due to moral concerns are seen as weak, lazy, and lacking in willpower.

To make matters worse, our charming sociopath may have convinced people to believe his own internalized propaganda. People who refuse to act due to a moral conscience are now accused of "victimization" - a term invented by sociopaths to describe what they perceive as decently intelligent people who perpetually allow themselves to become victims due to moral limitations.

Oddly enough, the same people who are victims of the sociopathic behaviour (e.g. they had to pay higher prices on the stated item because of the actions of the sociopath), may congratulate the sociopath on their cunning. The expression, "now why didn't I think of that?!" comes to mind. A lot of people have an unhealthy admiration for the sociopath. These "knights of the dark order" will be quick to rush to the defense of the sociopath when the sociopath is attacked. They will parrot the same baseless rebuttals as the sociopath himself: "You're just jealous of his success!" They commit to such immoral actions in part because they too aspire to one day become a sociopath.

The unfortunate reality for people who defend the sociopath is that they're being led astray. Being a shill for the sociopath is rarely the path to becoming a king or queen. The sociopaths regard such people as "useful idiots," they're laughing hysterically at such shills behind closed doors. Sociopaths have no interest in sharing power. The truth of the matter is it's impossible to become a sociopath once you've reached adulthood; the mental condition starts when young and it requires a genetic blueprint. Sociopaths have a "sixth sense" in detecting fellow sociopaths, and thus are tactful in welcoming "sociopathic initiates" into their exclusive clan at a young age. Sociopathy is never achieved by brown nosing sociopaths; however it's in the interest of sociopaths that people are led to believing as such, as they need the foot soldiers on the streets to enforce their various agendas. A sociopath will always strive to control others, as what you can control can't hurt you. Human control is the ultimate insurance policy the sociopath has against repercussions for his actions. The best method to control people is to get very same people being controlled to enforce the control on each other - sociopaths have mastered this craft.

While a perfectly normal human being approaches risk with a degree of caution; our sociopath finds risk a stimulating experience. In the example I gave above, a rational person may come to the conclusion that even if he could "get away" with stealing on paper, there's always the risk some trigger happy vigilante may decide to take matters into his own hands. Therefore, our normal human refrains from stealing. The sociopath, on the other hand, is stimulated by the prospect and eagerly awaits the possibility of battle.

What's fascinating in regards to sociopaths is despite the fact they lack empathy; they have found great success in occupations as CEO's of corporations, managers, media, teachers, government, etc. These are careers normally associated with having to interact with people. This is because in spite of their faults; sociopaths have qualities that are viewed with great admiration in the world of work. Sociopaths are highly intelligent. They can have a strong sense of humour. Sociopaths are incredibly reliable and loyal to their allies - as long as their allies remain useful and stick with the program. They can be incredibly charming. A person who is reliable, intelligent, and humorous can prove quite intoxicating. It's a rare combination of attributes associated to a single human being that can understandably lead to likability and admiration from other people.

Sociopaths hide their lack of emotional empathy towards people by making use of shallow emotions. For example, they may convincingly fake laughter at a joke you've told that isn't funny, all in attempts at winning your trust and asking favours. They make up for their lack of genuine emotion by being talented actors.

Sociopaths are pathological liars. They have no problem lying coolly and easily and it's almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. However, their ability to create, project, and their strong use of language, allows the sociopath to masquerade these inconsistencies on a routine basis. Sociopaths even have the ability to cheat science. There have been studies that suggest a sociopath can slightly alter the neurological chemistry of his brain when it suits him. Essentially, the sociopath has found a way to manipulate his own brain into convincing he's telling the truth. This allows the sociopath to be extremely convincing and routinely pass lie detector tests.

Although a sociopath is incapable of feeling love; they can make great lovers. They're extremely passionate and the manipulation of human sexuality is yet another tool they have at their disposal. Sociopaths are often regarded as sexually attractive. Male sociopaths are often regarded as "pick-up artists."

Although the vast majority of sociopaths are still male (which is why I have referred to sociopaths as "he"); it's important to note that female sociopathy is accelerating rapidly. Theories as to why this is have been suggested. The most plausible theory is that in the past women were encouraged during childhood to adopt less aggressive traits. Now that such restrictions have been lifted from women - the sociopathic female is starting to emerge. Female sociopaths are more likely to harm and manipulate children while male sociopaths mostly stick with adults.

Although sociopathy has been proven as genetic; there's mounting evidence that sociopathy can “be vaccinated” by having a childhood without violence. A few people have been brain scanned clearly showing the neurological characteristics of a sociopathic brain without demonstrating the typical behaviours. Indeed, they may have still failed to understand human empathy, but they for the most part respected other people. When questioned about their childhood such test subjects indicated they have a childhood history of non-violence. On the other hand, sociopaths who demonstrated the typical behaviour always had a history of childhood violence or neglect when questioned. This means that sociopathy is a mental condition that can only manifest itself through both nature and nurture. Sociopaths who experience a childhood of non-violence can remain "dormant sociopaths" once the brain reaches maturity.

Only approximately 3% of the population has the genetic makeup of a sociopath; although this number is increasing rapidly as sociopaths are having more children than non-sociopaths. There is no cure for sociopathy, once the brain reaches maturity and the individual shows sociopathic characteristics, they're at the point of no return.

The sociopath has a grandiose sense of self. They can feel entitled to certain things as "their right." The actions of a sociopath can lead to extreme reactions of being either revered or hated - this only serves to further bolster the ego of the sociopath. In fact, many sociopaths consider to be loved or hated the definition of a God, and as such many sociopaths view themselves as a God or a human of elevated genetic status.

-Donovan D. Westhaver


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    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      5 years ago from South Africa

      Sociopaths are indeed pathological liars. I still become nauseous when I remember the doings of a sociopath who had taken me for a ride. And he is still preaching the Gospel with no idea that he is a mental case. I don't think I will ever be able to forgive him for the unwanted lessons he had taught me.

      Interesting hub! Your description reminded me of the mind of a true criminal. Maybe all criminals are sociopaths?


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