Recognize a person who suffers from sociopathy – a term with which the antisocial personality disorder– can be much more complicated than recognizing a psychopath. So it affirms David J Liebermanresearcher in the field of behavior and interpersonal relationships and author of the book Mindreader: The New Science of Deciphering What People Really Think, What They Really Want, and Who They Really Arewhich addresses the issue in an article published on CNBC.
According to Lieberman, who has not only spent much of his career studying personality disorders but has also trained personnel for the US military, FBI and CIA, the Sociopaths can destroy a person’s life and are much harder to identify than psychopaths. While psychopaths tend to be more manipulative and minimize risk in criminal activities, sociopaths are generally more irregular and prone to rage, and consequently more dangerous.
There are six common characteristic traits that, according to Lieberman, define a sociopath.
Knows the difference between right and wrong, but doesn’t care
For a sociopath, the right thing is simply what interests you. If it is something that is useful and convenient for him: fine, otherwise he is convinced that his actions are always fully justified. Hence sociopaths never feel any kind of remorse, regardless of who is hurt or harmed, and they act without particular anxiety.
With their way of being they try to make others participate and like them in order to link and manipulate them.
Some sociopaths do not control their impulses and develop a series of self-destructive behaviors and habits that create dependency. However, those who are able to delay gratification and play their part for a long time are more damaging because they are meticulous and refined. Usually, The first impression a sociopath makes is exceptionally good, coming across as warm, empathetic, and even altruistic..
looks visibly fake
A sociopath does not have a true sense of self, so they struggle to maintain the image they have created of themselves and project to the outside. He wears a mask to which is added that of dishonesty. It is hardly credible when she lies, since through her words she conveys a feeling of falsehood. A sociopath can often sound like a “broken record” and use stock phrases in an attempt to “sell” their truth.
Knows how to strike a chord
A sociopath knows which psychological buttons to push to gain control in a relationship. Once he has obtained a certain degree of condescension, he will try to undermine the emotional stability of his partner. This is why they love being unpredictable (a common feature in most personality disorders), although sometimes a sociopath’s behavior is due to her particular disorder, while other times it is purely tactical.
His attitude worsens when he realizes that he is about to lose control over the other person.
When a sociopath discovers that they are not as accommodating anymore, they go into attack mode. Throw all sorts of accusations at the person in question and he also does it with anyone who listens to him: friends, neighbors, relatives, co-workers…
Show false humility
A sociopath can show great humility, posing as a docile and unassuming person. However, it is another of his masks, not always recognizable to an inexperienced eye. Again, the explanation is that he “exaggerates” certain behaviors because he has difficulty gauging his handling of self-impressions.
How to manage antisocial personality disorder in a relationship
Recognizing a person with antisocial personality disorder is complicated. The indicators that we mentioned before can be useful, but they are not definitive. If you find yourself in a relationship with a sociopath, Lieberman suggests some helpful behaviors to manage the overall situation, while also keeping your distance. We can’t always change someone’s behavior, but it is possible to find a way to set limits and cope, since our emotional well-being is inextricably linked to the quality of our relationships. These are the three essential steps to take if you are in a relationship with a person with antisocial personality disorder:
1.Avoid go against him in public: The feeling of humiliation and any word or action that can make you feel ashamed affects deeply and can trigger dangerous reactions.
2. Do not directly accuse the person of being a sociopath: work slowly to get disassociate yourself from the relationship.
3.Having a sociopath in your life can be very complicated and alienating. A good solution is see a therapist or join a support group. Having someone to talk to can also be very helpful.
Article published by Vanity Fair Italia and translated by Isabel Escribano Bourgoin. access the original here.