How to Understand and Help Sociopaths
How to Understand and Help Sociopaths
The way sociopaths think and operate is deeply different from most of us because of a difference in brain structure, and behaviors can be very different because of that. Sociopaths are noted for violent and abnormal behaviors. People considered sociopaths are classified as having antisocial personality disorder (APD). Although individuals with this condition can be dangerous, be aware that many are not violent or "bad people", but simply do not feel the guilt or sense of compassion that most of us have. While you may genuinely want to help someone with APD, recognize that the best course of action involves creating clear boundaries and recommending treatment.
Recognizing A Person With Sociopathic Traits
Understand the Features of Sociopaths.These individuals defined as a personality disorder, characterized by persistent antisocial behavior, impaired empathy and remorse, and bold, dis-inhibited, egotistical traits.
The reasons behind sociopathic behavior is due to brain structure, although there are an interplay of genetics and environment. It can also be caused by brain injury.
Sociopaths often (although not always) have a history of antisocial behavior, including criminal activity, violence, substance abuse, and inter-personal discord such as family issues, divorce, no real friends, and so on.
A sociopath typically does not want to be cured, even if there was a really treatment. (There are a few exceptions) They may take advantage of a person seeking to reach out to "cure" them through kindness, financial support, emotional bonding, and the like.
Be aware of manipulation.
They may manipulate you by over exaggerating their good qualities or by trying to sell you something that may not be all that they say it is. They may also try to stress the apparent safety of a clearly unsafe situation.
Feel free to say “I feel like this is manipulation, and I don’t feel comfortable with this situation.”
Sociopaths can be very socially and psychologically savvy, and may use this to manipulate you without you being fully aware. If your gut feeling is that you should not agree to something, honor that feeling, no matter what they say or do.
Being a check against manipulative behavior is very important in helping sociopaths. Since sociopaths are fully aware of their behavior, they are beholden to such actions. Understanding the limits of what is appropriate, and not, and letting them know the consequences of bad behavior is key.
Avoid being conned.
If someone seems to be sweeping you off your feet or wants you to commit to buying something immediately without having time to think it over, walk away.
Be wary of doing business with someone who shows sociopathic traits. They may trick you into thinking things are wonderful when they are not. Often, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Watch for aggressive behavior.
They may be physically aggressive and want to fight, or they may be verbally aggressive and be prone to loud shouting.
Be careful when engaging with someone you think may have antisocial personality disorder. Guard your emotions (and perhaps even your physical body) if you fear harm.
Look out for a lack of remorse.
If you find yourself hurt after an interaction with someone yet they don’t seem to care about how they hurt you, this could indicate sociopathic tendencies.
If you find yourself demanding an apology or wanting a sociopathic person to take responsibility for their actions, you may need to accept that they may not be able to do this at this time. It is more important for you to accept this and move on as best as you can.
Watch for intense ego-centrism and a sense of superiority.
They may talk about the self endlessly and embellish stories or events in a way that makes the self appear superior to others.
They may outright consider other people inferior to themselves and live life within this mentality.
Recognize patterns of substance abuse.
Substance abuse can look like uncontrollable use of a substance to a point that is physically dangerous, or frequent continued use over time. They may engage in risky behaviors as a result of the abuse.
Often, those with sociopathic tendencies grew up in a home or with a caretaker that also abused drugs or alcohol.
Look out for repeated law breaking.
Check for irresponsibility.
They may have poor work habits or not show up for work.
They may engage in poor interpersonal relationships, have very rocky romantic relationships, and may not learn from their mistakes.