We come across many remarkable people, however amazing they seem, there is a chance that they are something else entirely, how do you know you are being fooled by a sociopath.
Many idolize the label 'sociopath' when they see Benedict Cumberbatch describe himself as one in the show Sherlock, and some even agree that he fits the attractive and charming persona he carries. However, sociopathy as a concept is shrouded in confusion and misinformation.
Be that as it may, one should be able to tell the difference between a friend and somebody beguiling special something, and those who use their personality for personal advantage by manipulating others. From a smooth talker to a person who can emotionally influence you, even people who seem like amazing leaders may have a sociopath lurking under their skin.
Psychotherapist Laura F.Dabney, MD, says "The tip-off to a sociopath is that the charisma is skin deep." This also includes people who seem very supportive and inspiring for almost anything. "In other words, when some actions don't match what a caring, kind person would do then you know it's not genuine. An example: if they are presenting themselves as compassionate and warm yet are speaking ill of most people behind their backs then it's probably not genuine charisma."
There is, of course, much more to it that makes it a sign of sociopathy. It is always better to know what kind of 'good friends' you are dealing with and what they could be up to. Following is a list of observable traits they may guise as charm, but could mean something more.
Lying is a playful indulgence for the sociopaths. Since their beliefs and mind have been shaped to distance themselves, they can dissociate from their current reality and make-up another version of it in their heads. This they can do without much effort. This allows them to charm people while they lie.
"A sociopath has no remorse — their actions are done to reach a goal," clinical psychologist Dr. Josh Klapow, host of 'The Kurre and Klapow Show', explained Bustle. "They see lying simply as a necessary step to move them closer to their goal," which is why they always seem to get what they want. Klapow continued.
Klapow also went on to say that sociopaths can lie more effectively because of their charm. So you should be wary the next time your 'good acquaintance' tells you a quirky story of how he had to leave your party early, you can imagine things.
Sociopaths can be very warm and magnetic people. They can make you laugh at the most unexpected off-guard moments and become your pals in seconds. They don't have much problem getting along with people and know how to impact a person's views by just suggesting.
However, they can make friends so easily because they know a set end-point to a relationship. The easiness is also reflective of the shallowness and superficiality with which they approach relationships. Dr. Dabney explained this by saying, "Sociopaths don't keep friends for long (because they are fake relationships) so [they have] many short-term relationships that end with a bad feeling on one side."
Social interaction is their jazz. They like to stay apart from the crowd, and what better way to do so but to be ahead of them or be in control of them. The faculty of controlling others gives them the chance to manipulate others, which is something they can't help doing. Guiding somebody's thoughts and see them do stuff in the society, comes as entertainment for them.
Dr. Dabney says that the ability to command people's attention makes it easy to hide the deviance that lies beneath the surface, or the wrong-doings that they are committed.
Sociopaths hate scrutiny or when someone gets too close to their thoughts. They like to keep their plans to themselves and makes sure any incoming prying is thwarted. Their true opinions are rarely expressed without them getting something from doing so. To do this in the easiest way possible, they use confidence.
They have an exaggerated sense of self, and the corresponding confidence to pull it off well. They primarily use their confidence to disarm others. Dr. Dabney says that this makes them harder to get through or throw off balance while they are hiding something.
Now, this can be seen in variations, in certain cases where sociopaths are outright lawless vagabonds, they are likely to have parasitic lifestyles. However, those who are among the people and in working scenarios, they'll be progressing with a break-neck speed.
However, this tendency can be attributed to their need for stimulation as well as a severe lack of remorse. These may be the reasons why sociopaths would not hesitate to use others as stepping-boards to get what they want. "This is a hallmark of the sociopath," Dr. Dabney says. "Faking closeness to climb a ladder, to steal something, to break another law... all common."
Their need for stimulation is the deriving factor for this characteristic. Also, they bask in the attention others give them, and what better place to get that than in a party. Since that is also the time when other people are mildly off their guard and easy to manipulate.
"This is very common," Dr. Dabney says. "Being the center of attention helps build up their fake confidence which helps them cover up their 'dark side.'"
From a biological perspective, the part of the brain responsible for learning from mistakes and responding to fearful or sad facial expressions is smaller in sociopaths when compared to normal brains.
Sociopaths with higher functioning and living in social circles would likely also be known to have ostentatious tastes and high-end indulgences. This could be a sham or a personal expression. However, this characteristic can be traced back to their need to find stimulation as well as impulsive behavior.
The magician is charming, socially adept, perhaps a bit eccentric... as a way to divert everyone's attention from breaking 'the rules' and doing the unexpected," Dr. Dabney clarifies; which can often paint a confusing blend of observable charm and darker things that hide beneath.