Characterized by anti-social behaviors, sociopaths are individuals who display aberrant moral conduct with the inability to harmonize with the rules imposed by society.
According to a psychologist at Harvard Medical School, about 4% of the current population consists of sociopaths. Technically, that’s one out of 25 people. This just means that in a room filled with 100 people, four of them are bound to be a sociopath.
Identifying a sociopath
In order to diagnose sociopaths, some guidelines must be followed. If a person manifests at least three symptoms from the long list of anti-social behaviors, there is a high possibility that the person is suffering from sociopathic inclinations.
However, aside from the usual traits, two qualities definitely stand out. Sociopaths are unusually charming and are smart. This means that they can do their deviousness smoothly and find easy success in doing their unscrupulous deeds. Because they can easily get away with almost anything, they will never admit their mistakes, becoming accountable for it, and hesitating to follow normalcy.
Relationship with a sociopath
Sociopaths masters of deception. Using their phony smiles and charming attitudes, sociopaths who are in relationships are said to be controlling. “It’s an important skill to be able to see through the charisma of a sociopath,” says Laura F. Dabney, MD. At first, sociopaths will pursue you with the enigmatic faces and hard-to-say-no charisma. They will present themselves as good-natured individuals that mean nothing but friendship. But inside their heads, sociopaths are already devising ways on how to manipulate and control their partner’s life.
Disturbingly, sociopaths are unable to maintain their relationships, since they don’t take responsibility for their mistakes and end up committing them again to a new relationship. This process becomes a cycle. Partners of sociopaths usually feel degraded and worthless, making them stressed out and miserable most of the time.
Children and sociopathic tendencies
Anti-social disorders usually manifest in the early stages of childhood and if stayed untreated, will progress into the adult stage. According to studies, the main causes for this behavior are genetics and the environment. This is also true with the statement of Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, “The collective research on sociopathy suggests that there are a number of possible interrelated causes for the condition including cultural, environmental, and genetic factors.”
As people get older, there are numerous factors in their environment that they encounter which can most likely trigger their sociopathic tendencies. Children who experienced traumatic incidents growing up are also vulnerable to developing into a sociopath if left untreated, which is why it is important to observe your children for any signs of sociopathic behavior. Some of the convincing instances would be:
- Displaying erratic, violent behavior towards other children.
- Aggression without remorse.
- Lacking empathy towards tragic events.
- Destruction of properties.
- Learning deficit with language issues.
Through early detection and immediate therapy, children may be treated and not carry these behaviors into adulthood. According to Seth Meyers Psy.D. “Individual therapy that focuses on developing impulse control, emotional regulation skills and empathy is crucial, though not enough to solidify real positive change. In addition, group therapy with other adolescents can help to improve social skills.”
Sociopath warning signs
A friend or a neighbor is having sociopathic tendencies can pose a threat to the society. Because they are good at deception, sociopaths are rather difficult to identify. But there are ways to identify sociopaths. Remember that sociopaths do not recognize the need to seek help which is why it is important that you take the first step in doing so without the person noticing so as not to cause any form of aggression towards you.
What are the different warning signs?
- Inconsistent with what they say and do
- Lies copiously, having different excuses
- Using people’s vulnerabilities to gain pleasure or for personal advantage
- Tactical manipulation without the option of defeat or remorse
- Does a lot of excuses
- Refusal to understand and follow the rules
- Frequent stints of irritation and aggression
- Cruelty to people and animals
- Indifferent to the safety of their surroundings
Once identified, the main form of treatment is seeking a therapist. Diagnosed sociopaths who undergo behavioral therapy show significant positive changes in anti-social demeanor. Considered as one of the most difficult mental disorders to treat, sociopaths are regarded with caution and sensitivity to avoid triggering negative behaviors.