This was something I shared on Social Media back in October 2013. Not sure where it came from, but something I have always been curious about. I was told my father was a sociopath, so I have always been concerned if I had those traits and how to correct them in myself.

October 2013:

More info from my experience with clients. The most common arrangement I see is someone with a low self esteem or lack of social skills that gets closely involved with a sociopathic personality and is easily controlled by that person under the guise of friendship or partnership.

4 Signs That Your Friend/Partner Could Have an Antisocial Personality Disorder  A sociopath is an antisocial personality disorder that affects about one in 25 Americans, according to Harvard psychologist Dr. Martha Stout, author of “The Sociopath Next Door.” 

Most people believe that sociopaths are dangerous criminals and, while that may be true, there are many sociopaths that are not.  You may not realize this but you probably are associating with one.  While a licensed professional can truly diagnose this disorder, the following are characteristics of a sociopath at work:  

1.    Is a Great Charmer  Sociopaths are just like you or I.  They blend in and are very friendly, charismatic, and dynamic.  They are great communicators and rarely are lost for words.  They disguise themselves behind their charm to get what they want.  They are great con artists and because of their gift of gab, they get what they want.  Be wary of friends who like to hear themselves talk and try to use charm to get what they want.

2.    Has A Sense of Entitlement According to my Psychology Today colleague, Dr. Seth Meyers, a clinical psychologist with the L.A. County Department of Mental Health, sociopaths have “a sense of entitlement…that stems from an underlying sense of rage.”  It enables them to “act out in whichever way they happen to choose at that time.  Everything is up for grabs with sociopaths and nothing is off limits.”    At work, this means that nothing will stop him or her to get what he or she wants.  These are individuals that are persistent and when they want an answer to a question that he or she has, he or she will call you, instant message you, or come to your desk just because they feel you owe an immediate answer.  So stand back, if you happen to be in their way.

3.    Doesn’t Know How to Empathize Sociopaths find it difficult to understand other people’s emotions because they are incapable of experiencing guilt, shame, or even love.  So don’t expect to ever get an apology from this person.  If you do get an apology be wary because they are manipulating you.  Always remember they only care about themselves.  You are a means to an end. In an interview with NPR, M.E. Thomas, author of “Confessions of a Sociopath” stated that “Probably the biggest characteristic of a sociopath is their lack of empathy. … They can’t really imagine or feel the emotional worlds of other people. It’s very foreign to them. And they don’t have conscience.”

4.    Are Manipulative and Compulsive Liars Sociopaths are excellent liars and lie because they know they can get away with it.  They like manipulating people and typically target individuals they believe they can control. In an interview with Kate Simon from Interview Magazine, Dr. Martha Stout, author of “The Sociopath Next Door” mentioned, “the perfect victim, is …someone who is very, very loyal. Most of us consider loyalty to be a very positive trait—and it is a positive trait. But it also blinds people to some of the traits of the person they’re loyal to.” So if you find yourself listening to someone at work and doing everything he or she says, you may want to reconsider it.

For the most part sociopaths don’t have many friends and find it difficult to hold down relationships particularly romantic ones.  As you look around in your workplace and acquaintances, keep some of these traits in mind to see if you’re associating with a sociopath.

In case you were wondering if you were a sociopath, I found the following questions by Jim Edward’s piece “16 Questions That Might Tell You Whether You’re A Sociopath” on Business Insider.  He pulled it together from Dr. Hervey Cleckley’s 16 behavioral characteristics.  Please note this is not scientific but it could be a good indicator. 

1.Are you superficially charming and intelligent?

2.Do you have delusions or other signs of irrational thinking?

3.Are you overly nervous, or do you have other neuroses?

4.Are you reliable?

5.Do you tell lies or say insincere things?

6.Do you feel remorse or shame?

7.Is your behavior anti-social for no good reason?

8.Do you have poor judgment, and fail to learn from experience?

9.Are you pathologically egocentric, and incapable of love?

10.Do you generally lack the ability to react emotionally?

11.Do you lack insight?

12.Are you responsive to others socially?

13.Are you a crazy party fiend?

14.Do you make false suicide threats? 

15.Is your sex life impersonal, trivial or poorly integrated?

16.Have you failed to follow a life plan?