Karen Turner PHD | Boomers Alert: A ‘Sociopath’ May Be Living Too Close To You
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Boomers Alert: A ‘Sociopath’ May Be Living Too Close To You

Boomers Alert: A ‘Sociopath’ May Be Living Too Close To You

Picture credit to: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v423/n6939/images/423497a-f1.2.jpg

Picture credit to: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v423/n6939/images/423497a-f1.2.jpg

by BoomerYearbook

According to the DSM-IV, (American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual), a person over the age of 18 who shows a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and the violation of the rights of others with these patterns of behavior beginning in childhood and commonly termed a ‘sociopath’, or ‘psychopath’ is assigned a diagnosis of Anti-Social Personality disorder. The primary characteristics of this disorder are ego-centrism, very fragile self-esteem, lack of empathy towards others, and envy directed at others. The clinical diagnosis of anti-social personality disorder can be confusing to non professionals as these individuals are quite interactive with others but in anti socially acceptable ways; their social actions are based in deceitful and manipulative behaviors that show a total lack of concern for the physical or emotional well being of other people.

Sociopaths live in a world that they think revolves solely around them. They tend to think they are the ones who cause things to happen. If the results are positive, they take the credit; if they are negative, they tend to blame others. For the sociopath, life, living and relationships are all games to be won; at other’s expense. Lacking empathy, they also lack remorse or guilt for their oftentimes crushingly destructive actions.

Why do people become anti-social ‘sociopaths’?

Various researchers have debated the causative factors involved in anti-social personality disorder. One theory is that children may adopt these tendencies from their parents who might be similarly anti-social and narcissistically disordered. Another is that the child was born with a genetic defect that causes the brain to function differently from that of ‘normal’ people. What is not debatable is that anti-social ‘sociopathic’ behavior is more likely to occur in men than in women. About 1% of women have this disorder, while 3% of men are affected by it.

How can you recognize one?

Sociopaths share the following characteristics which make them easily identifiable if you know what to look for:

1) They are glib and exude superficial charm.

2) They do not acknowledge the rights of others around them and see them only as targets and/or instruments to be used.

3) They lie constantly – sometimes quite unnecessarily.

4) They think they are entitled to everything they want and will do anything and use anyone to get it.

5) They feel no remorse, shame or guilt. Instead they have suppressed rage that rarely surfaces, but when it does can be quite violent. Their motto is ‘The end justifies the means.’

6) They do not have the ability to love, care or feel empathy for others.

7) They are bored easily and always need to have something interesting happening in their lives.

8) They have a history of problems as a child. Early episodes of animal cruelty are a good predictor of anti-social ‘sociopathic’ behavior.

9) They are irresponsible and unreliable. They do not keep jobs for long and do not spend a long time working on any particular project.

10) They are sexually promiscuous and are unable to be faithful in any relationship.

11) They are a dangerous combination of a predator and a parasite. They hunt down their victims (sometimes aggressively and sometimes passively) and then live off them for as long as they can. They usually only move on when they are found out and confronted or when there’s nothing left to get from the victim.

12) They change their life stories very easily to suit the situation they are in at the moment. They will even go to the extremes of changing their images to avoid prosecution.

How do you deal with an anti-social ‘sociopath’?

If you know anyone close to you who fits the above characteristics, you might know a sociopath. If this is the case, here’s how you should deal with the situation.

· End the relationship immediately. This may sound harsh, and it is, but it is very necessary. DO NOT try to confront this person with your thoughts. Sociopaths are vey skilled at making you feel as though you are wrong and/or delusional. Simply stop interacting with this person altogether. If this person is a minor child or spouse, take steps to get away from that person as soon as possible.

· Deal with initial denial. It will be hard to accept there is something horribly wrong with your family member or friend. Accept it. Do not start making excuses for them. The relationship you have with the person is not real – at least on his/her side. It is only special to you.

· Deal with the anger that follows. Once you realize you have been victimized by a sociopath, you will feel like getting even. But be warned: That would be risky and stupid. It’s better to get over your anger.

· Rescue others. If you know others who are also close to the anti-social ‘sociopath’. You have escaped and it’s a great opportunity to help others do the same. The important thing here is to stick to the facts and try not to alarm the person. Remember; do not talk negatively about the ‘sociopath’. Instead, calmly explain examples of his sociopathic behavior with which you are both familiar.

· Move on with your other friends. Go on with your life and try to forget about that person. This may be hard to do as you may have bills, illnesses or other negative reminders of their person’s presence in your life. Go to therapy if you feel you need to, but you must move on. Under NO circumstances should you allow the person back into your life…regardless of what’s going on with them.

What treatments are available for sociopaths?

The short answer is ‘None.’ ‘Sociopaths’ are not keen to change their lifestyles so they will not agree to any kind of treatment even if it were available. They are, also, so skilled at deception that they may even deceive psychologist. Many can pass lie detector tests easily. Medication does not help because they are not considered mentally ill.

However, if the characteristics are recognized in a child younger than 15 years, (DSM-IV Conduct disorder) there is a possibility that they can be taught empathy. Unfortunately, this diagnosis is rare and, sometimes, even if the child is diagnosed many parents may not take action promptly because they do not understand the full ramifications of having an anti-social ‘sociopathic child’.

Anti-social personality disordered persons do not have a conscience. As a result, they cannot understand what others might be feeling….despite recognizing their own feelings in a similar situation. They are masters at mimicking these feelings though and this makes it very difficult for ‘normal’ people to know that they are faking before it’s too late. They have the uncanny ability to find weaknesses and strengths in others and prey or play on them to get what they want. Ultimately, it only about them and you really do not matter.

Do you think you know someone with an anti-social personality disorder or a ‘sociopath’? Get help and get out. Tell us about it at BoomerYearbook.com.

www.boomeryearbook.com is a social networking site connecting the Baby Boomer generation. Share your thoughts, rediscover old friends, or expand your mind with brain games provided by clinical psychologist Dr. Karen Turner. Join today to discover the many ways we are helping Boomers connect for fun and profit.

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