You might have come across and dealt with a psychopath or a few sociopaths in your life without even knowing it. However, the media’s portrayal of people who suffer from these disorders is highly dramatized and sensationalized. This might deceive you into thinking that all those with personality disorders are as openly wicked as Hannibal Lecter or Norman Bates. The truth is that most sociopaths and psychopaths lie hidden amidst the same society that we are a part of. Only a few of these manifests with extreme traits like the villains of psychological dramas.
Many psychological disorders go untreated and most people are unaware that they suffer from these conditions. Completely unaware, you might even live, date and work with people suffering from personality disorders or mental illnesses. A sociopath is one who completely disregards society and has no empathy for other people, while a psychopath is a violent person without morals. In general, it is good for you to know and thus stay away from the dangers that can occur, if you let people with these personality disorders into your life.
Here are six signs that can help you recognize a psychopath or a sociopath so that you can avoid them:
Generally, a psychopath is irresponsible, insincere and manipulative. They have an inflated self-confidence and lack of conscience. Although consisting of only one percent (approximately) of the population, they are not only dangerous but are also hard to spot. Here are a few signs that might help you to identify the kind of person you should avoid:
1. Aggression and violence
A psychopath tends to get violent and aggressive while dealing with people. Although they are not always violent, you should not be fooled by that sweet exterior. Underneath their pleasant exterior is a psychotic interior. Psychopaths can charm their way into your lives and then manipulate the relationship, making you miserable. They usually indulge in physical violence, angry outbursts, emotional violence against weaker people and delinquency in adolescence. If you notice these signs in your partner, employer or friends, it is advisable to avoid them and remove this toxicity from your life. They need treatment and should be asked to seek professional help.
2. Lack of emotions and moral depravity
A psychopath might take advantage of you without feeling any guilt, completely unaware that they have hurt you. You should try looking for emotions of remorse or consciousness of guilt when you call them out on their wrongdoings. A psychopath can steal, cheat and lie to you, without showing any sense of remorse or conscience. Generally, psychopaths do not follow a code of ethics like the rest of society and hence, they have no qualms about doing whatever it takes to get what they want, including murder or rape. However, most of the times, a psychopath can destroy people’s lives without it being evident that they are to blame.
3. Impulsive and irresponsible
Psychopaths are usually impulsive and irresponsible. This leads them to indulge in risky behavior such as breaking the law, erring in judgment, being unable to accept responsibility for their mistakes and sexual promiscuity. If you start detecting these signs in a person, it could just be possible that you are dealing with a psychopath. Although being impulsive and irresponsible isn’t exactly harmful, it can lead one to behave dangerously. Therefore, it is advisable to sever ties with people who display such psychopathic tendencies.
Sociopaths suffer from an anti-social personality disorder. Around 4% of the population is sociopathic, so you may come across quite a few of them in your lifetime. Here are a few signs to help you recognize them:
You can recognize a sociopath by their tendency to stay aloof in social gatherings. Since they are emotionally challenged and lack empathy, sociopaths find it difficult to form attachments with people. If you are dating a sociopath, you will notice that they have an exaggerated self-confidence, are charming but insincere, emotionally detached and are anti-social. The people who suffer from this condition do not conform to the laws of society and will even harm you, if it suits their own needs. If someone in your life is constantly mistreating you for their own good, being unfaithful to you and stealing from you, they might be suffering from a severe psychological disorder. Sociopaths are dangerous and can destroy your life, if they do not seek some form of treatment. Hence, one should always encourage professional help for them.
2. Pathological liars and blatant disregard for anyone, including themselves
Sociopaths constantly lie and deceive people. They lie to such an extent that they start to believe their own deceit. If you know someone who is constantly being dishonest compulsively, lying for their own benefit and conning people, they might be a sociopath. Most of their behavior is uncontrollable since they suffer from a personality disorder. There may be people in your life who will hurt you without any regard for your feelings; could be, just could be, that these people are sociopaths. Most sociopaths have no regard for their own health or safety, or for anyone else’s.
3. Constant agitation and incapacity to plan for the future
A sociopath often exhibits behavior such as emotional outbursts, are agitated easily and prone to fits of anger. These characteristics may not be evident and obvious in the beginning since it is difficult to identify sociopaths. However, if you meet someone who is constantly edgy and is so impulsive that they cannot plan ahead, they might be having sociopathic tendencies. It would be better for you to stay away from them, for your own emotional wellbeing. These are early warning signs that can help you to recognize a sociopath so that you can avoid them.
While these are the characteristics of people with personality disorders, not everyone who is insincere or angry is necessarily a psycho or sociopath. However, if these people are damaging your life emotionally, mentally or physically, it is important to stay away from them. If you have a psychopath boyfriend who gets aggressive and violent or if your friend is constantly manipulating you to his or her own advantage, this guide can help you to identify whether they suffer from a serious personality disorder. The best you can do for them is ask them to seek professional help for mental wellness.
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