Recognize an individual suffering from sociopathy, a term that indicates the antisocial personality disorder, it can be much more complicated than recognizing a psychopath. The psychotherapist claims it 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 subject 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 in the U.S. military, the FBI and the CIA, sociopaths can destroy a person’s life and are much harder to spot than a psychopath. Because, while the latter tends to be more manipulative and minimizes the risk in criminal activities, the sociopath is generally more erratic and prone to anger and, consequently, more dangerous.
There are six, in particular, the most common character traits that, according to Lieberman, define a sociopath.
He knows the difference between good and evil, but he doesn’t care
For a sociopath, what is right is simply what is in his interest. If it is something that he considers useful and convenient, otherwise he is convinced that his actions are always completely justified. As a result, the sociopath feels no remorse, regardless of who is hurt or harmed, and acts without particular anxiety.
His ways aim to involve and enchant, in order to bind and manipulate
Some sociopaths lack impulse control and suffer from a variety of self-destructive behaviors and addictive habits. However, those who are able to delay gratification and get involved for a long time are more harmful because they are meticulous and refined. Generally, the first impression it makes is exceptionally good and comes across as friendly, empathetic, and even selfless.
It appears visibly false
A sociopath has no real sense of self, so they struggle to maintain the impression they have created of themselves and projected outward. He already wears a mask to which is also added that of dishonesty. He is not very credible when he lies, since through his words he conveys a sense of falsity. A sociopath can often sound like “a broken record” and use clichés in an attempt to “sell” the truth about him.
He knows how to affect emotionally
The sociopath knows how to press the right psychological buttons to gain control in a relationship. Once he has some degree of condescension, he will try to undermine the partner’s emotional stability. For this reason, they like to be unpredictable (common to most personality disorders), but sometimes a sociopath’s behavior is due to her particular disorder, 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 finds out that he / she is no longer so compliant they will switch to attack mode. He will throw all kinds of accusations on the person in question and will also continue to do so with anyone who listens to him: friends, neighbors, family members, co-workers.
Show false humility
The sociopath can however show great humility, posing as a meek and unpretentious person. However, it is yet another mask, not always recognizable by an inexperienced eye. Once again, the explanation is that he “exaggerates” with a certain behavior because he has difficulty in calibrating his management of the impressions he gives himself.
How to manage antisocial personality disorder in a relationship
Recognizing someone with antisocial personality disorder is complicated. The above indicators can be useful, but they are hardly definitive. If you are in a relationship with a sociopath, Lieberman suggests some behaviors that can be useful for managing the situation in general, while remembering the importance of distancing yourself. We can’t always change someone’s behavior, but it is possible to find ways to set boundaries and make it happen, as our emotional well-being is inextricably linked to the quality of our relationships. Here then is the three basic steps to take if you are in a relationship with a person with antisocial personality disorder:
1.Avoid being in disagree with him publicly: the sense of humiliation and any word or action that can make them ashamed affects them very deeply and can trigger dangerous reactions.
2.Don’t directly accuse him of being a sociopath – work slowly for disengage yourself from the relationship.
3. Having a sociopath in your life can be very challenging and alienating, a good solution is see a therapist or join a support group. Having someone to talk to can be very helpful.
Other stories of Vanity Fair that might interest you are:
When “financial” infidelity puts a relationship at risk
6 Signs Your Couple Lacks “Emotional Integrity”