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.
Sociopaths are rational, know why they decide to act the way they do, and why.
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.
Sociopaths are not generally considered "treatable" in the way mental health professionals can manage or treat other mental health issues. There are no medicines that can be used to help sociopaths, for instance, and other therapies have a poor prognosis.
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.

Sociopaths do not feel badly about "using" people, do not care if actions are hurtful, and are often extremely bright intellectually and psychologically. Therefore, sociopaths are often master manipulators. Many who have sociopathic tendencies will often blur the lines between what is true and what is made up. These behaviors may include a high level of charm and charisma.They often have a keen sense of how to get what they want from a person, and really do not care who it hurts.

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. 

People showing antisocial personality disorder can use deceit to gain trust or to make a buck. They may be compulsive liars, use various aliases, or use cons to profit off others or just for pleasure.[3]
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. 

Those with antisocial personality disorder tend to have a pattern of aggressive behaviors including hostility, irritability, impulsivity, and/or violence. These behaviors may be followed by a lack of remorse or empathy for people that may be hurt

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. 

Most humans feel guilty or sad following hurting someone else’s feelings. For many people with sociopathic personalities, there is a lack of remorse and perhaps pleasure in causing hurt or manipulation. They may try to rationalize their behavior or outright not care about others’ reactions.

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. 

Many people that display sociopathic tendencies tend to see themselves as superior to others in terms of wit, charm, and intelligence. They may treat others as inferior and find fault in others easily without ever finding fault in the self.

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.

Many people with sociopathic traits tend to abuse alcohol or other drugs. They can end up going to prison because of substance use and associated actions while on substances.

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. 

Those with sociopathic personalities tend to be reckless and take many risks. A person may have countless run-ins with the law, go to prison, and have a blatant disregard for rules and laws.
They may come up with excuses for why they behaved the way they did, and put the blame onto other people and never take personal responsibility.
The law breaking may also be related to substance use or abuse.

Check for irresponsibility. 

Along with rule-breaking, people with antisocial personality disorder often engage in highly irresponsible behaviors. This person may engage in unnecessary risks with money, cars, business, and people. They may not follow through on custody or child support or may neglect their children.

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.