The Signs of a Sociopath: How to Spot Mr or Ms Cold and Charming | Suite101.com
"The following questionnaire is based on research and experiences of socialised psychopaths. For each trait, decide if it applies to the person you suspect may be a socialised psychopath, fully (2 points), partially (1 point) or not at all (0 points).
- Do they have problems sustaining stable relationships, personally and in business? (no one really likes him...after four years of knowing him...I try to be a good friend to him, but he's starting to scare me)
- Do they frequently manipulate others to achieve selfish goals, with no consideration of the effects on those manipulated? (I am beginning to think so)
- Are they cavalier about the truth, and capable of telling lies to your face? (They have before)
- Do they have an air of self-importance, regardless of their true standing in society? (YES)
- Have they no apparent sense of remorse, shame or guilt? (They will cry and apologize..but then they repeat the behavior elsewhere or later on)
- Is their charm superficial, and capable of being switched on to suit immediate ends? (I don't know)
- Are they easily bored and demand constant stimulation? (Yes)
- Are their displays of human emotion unconvincing? (Very)
- Do they enjoy taking risks, and acting on reckless impulse? (God, yes)
- Are they quick to blame others for their mistakes? (Yes, they seem to think the whole world is out to get them)
- As teenagers, did they resent authority, play truant and/or steal? (I do not believe so)
- Do they have no qualms about sponging off others? (um..what?)
- Are they quick to lose their temper? (They throw tantrums over the most insignificant things)
- Are they sexually promiscuous? (The person is not sexually active, but he keeps jumping from relationship to relationship)
- Do they have a belligerent, bullying manner? (I think they do, because they are willfully insensitive to other people's feelings)
- Are they unrealistic about their long-term aims? (I think they do, because they jump from big dream to big dream without any actual talent or knowledge of the subject at all...)
- Do they lack any ability to empathise with others? (I think so)
- Would you regard them as essentially irresponsible?(I think they behave recklessly without using any sort of logic whatsoever)
A score of 25 or above suggests strong psychopathic tendencies. This does not mean the person is a potential mass-murderer: socialised psychopaths are not mad, nor do they have to resort to violence. Even so, a close professional or emotional relationship with a socialised psychopath is likely to prove a damaging experience."
First, I would like to acknowledge that I have always associated "sociopath" with someone with a strong T preference--someone who focuses and cares only for facts that they might use to manipulate and use others towards their own personal gain; someone intelligent but not necessarily introverted or extroverted, as charisma has its charms in either case. I realize I am no psychologist. I have taken all of one psychology class in my entire life thus far and chalk the rest of my overall general knowledge to books, television, and the internet (fiction or otherwise).
Second, I realize that the case in question is just in high school; but I think the situation is rather extreme enough to raise some flags.
I met a boy my freshman year of high school, I want to say in the second semester. He was a new kid and was (is) the most socially awkward person I had (have) ever come into contact with--and I was bullied for at least two thirds of my life. He came from New York and seemed to have all of these (very immature) very stereotypical ideas of what high school was supposed to be like:
- invite Everyone to your birthday party, regardless of whether or not you know them or are sure they like you--because "a party is a party and everyone will have fun."
- immediately immerse yourself into the "school spirit" and get down in front of your entire (freshman) class next to the cheerleaders and start yelling at everyone to clap in the pep rally, because "I can make everyone have fun and everyone will like me because I'm so cool"
- threaten the life of your opponents for (freshman) class president, to intimidate them into dropping out (even if you don't really mean it, it just "seemed like a good idea at the time")---and then get called to the principal's office and kicked out of the race.
- cry about getting kicked out of the race and blamed the girl you threatened--who you really don't even know in the first place
- but into others' conversations, because everyone wants to know your opinion
- comment on Everything in a highly dramatic, stylized manner: with variations in vocal pitch, facial expression, posture, and arm movement
- be easily offended, because everyone is focused on You and the entire universe is surrounded around You
- decide you want to write a screenplay of Your dramatic "Life As A Teenage Boy" (actual title) with your angst-ridden author avatar being the central focus and immediately the center of attention with no character development or legitimate central conflict whatsoever
- expect everyone to love and praise your work above
- be immediately discouraged and trash your ideas when people don't immediately warm to your ideas and forever refer to it with your eyes raised heavenward in a dramatic pose, saying "oh, That.."
- talk about student life as if it were an episode of Gossip Girl
- Expect your life to be like an episode of Gossip Girl or Glee
- throw tantrums walking into class by throwing your books on the floor and sitting down in your desk and crying
- be as arrogant and self-assured in everything you do and say, even when you have no experience, knowledge, or talent in the subject
When I first met this guy, I immediately felt sorry for him. NO ONE liked him. EVERYONE picked on him (or just Avoided him) and he was Always left sitting alone. From my first impressions of him, he really struck me as someone who hadn’t reached puberty yet…he acted like me when I was eight (and I’m a girl). I had this strong sense of social responsibility…like if I didn’t make sure he made friends—real friends—he wouldn’t Function right later on in life…I genuinely felt like he could hurt someone someday. Then again, I was fifteen and a strong FJ; but I was thinking of the words “future sociopath” even then. He seemed so self-absorbed and I was so worried that he would do something drastic and screw his life up—because Everything to him was “high drama.”
He wasn’t particularly friendly…I mean everything he did and said seemed contrived: “trying too hard.”
Regardless, I invited him to sit with me and some of my friends at lunch. J While some of them were genuinely sympathetic to this guy, some of them were not known to be particularly friendly (and only put up with me because I neither “judged” them nor put up with their rude behavior). The latter people immediately reacted to the guy. They were rude to him to his face—which I admonished—and then tried to sit outside and “ditch” him. I took the guy outside to where they had moved and they called me a “bi*ch” but accepted the fact that I wasn’t going to ditch him and that if they were going to be my friends, they had to be civil.
That first year, Everyone I knew started going to Me for whenever this guy pissed them off. “Talk to him, Christina.” And then he came to me for everything too. Whenever he was feeling particularly bad, he’d talk to me about it and I’d try to cheer him up.
I tried to gently tell him (dozens, hundreds of times) that just because he felt threatened by someone did not mean he had to immediately be aggressive or rude to them. “People will warm up to you, but you need to be nice too;” “don’t rush headlong into a social situation you were not invited into unless you’re planning on being polite—don’t expect all these strangers to be your real friends” etc.
Within the first week he met me, he told me he was in love with me. Dazed for a moment (again, I was fifteen and only just getting used to having a wider circle of friends, myself) I responded first with “um, thank you” and then told him he was mistaken—because he didn’t really know me, didn’t really Ask a whole lot about my life to know me anyway, and that he was just feeling stronger towards me because I was nice to him.
He took it okay and we agreed never to speak of it again.
He was always very sensitive, easily hurt, and quick to shut down in the face of stress of any kind.
After a year and a half of him following me about school, I distanced myself from him so that he could learn to get along with people on his own. I wasn’t his mother and I refused to be ultimately responsible for his every mistake.
In this, he latched himself onto one of my female acquaintances—who was an extrovert like him and more eager to immerse herself in his drama (she was the kind of person who loved to know everyone else’s business.)
After a few months of it, though, she stopped being as gentle with him too and told him that he had to deal with his own crap Sometime. Then she told me that he told her that he was in love with me again, and so I wasn’t going to get close to him any time soon anyway.
Junior year this girl graduated and by then he seemed to be doing much better. His depression was gone and he “came out of the closet.”
I have always felt that his flighty, impulsive, theatrical behavior was centered on deep-seeded insecurity. He has never felt loved…and he was sexually abused by his father as a child. He continues to jump from relationship to relationship.
Friday, I was pulled out of class to peer mediate him with his ex-boyfriend. In the end, He had told people that he was thinking about suicide because no one would miss him if he was gone. He had also misinterpreted that his ex’s attempt Platonic attempt to talk to him was his ex’s way of saying that he wanted him back romantically, when there was no real evidence to suggest that whatsoever. We spent two hours working through this issue…
He told me during this time that he felt his mother didn’t accept him because he was gay…when the things he told me his mother said were very obviously directed in the fact that he was jumping from relationship to relationship and she was worried about his physical and mental security.
For instance, he cheated on a guy who he said he was in love with (and who he continues to believe is in love with Him) because one of his ex-boyfriends showed up and said that they still had feelings for him. He willingly creates his own dramas because he wants everyone to love him, and the second someone suggests otherwise or he thinks he can find something else, he’ll turn on that person.
During the second mediation he had (right after the one with me) he spent another half hour rehashing what I spent two hours working through with him just before…I thought we had resolved this, because he volunteered to apologize to this guy over the misunderstanding and left smiling and what have you…
In this second mediation, he put all of the focus on himself, as usual…only in this case, he told a girl that she was the unofficial co-president of the drama club (he is the president) without talking to the teacher/adviser in charge of the program at all. When this girl tried to take on a little responsibility, he decided that he did not like her exerting any power or control of the drama club, because he likes to lead Everything and does not like to share power. He proceeded to pull this girl out of her debate club and yell at her for it, walking away from her when she tried to explain herself. She was bawling in this second mediation and he did not care at all. He didn’t even think to talk about this, instead trying to focus on himself and this other guy.
I have come to the conclusion that as long as I have known him, he has never once displayed genuine care or concern for anyone other than himself. He seems to only display emotion for others when he feels prompted to do so...and they always seem to only draw more attention to himself than make any effort to make the other person feel cared for or respected. I believe that he cannot empathize...he can understand the concept that he Should Feel for when another person is in pain, but in the end he only makes the situation about himself. I think he is obsessed with himself to the point that he will never truly connect with another human being. He lived in New York for almost his whole life and had a strong accent when he came to the South. Within a month or two, he started talking like he was born here...when I have lived here for ten years and have never picked up that accent. In our junior and senior year, he started using cuss words and trying to "talk like he was black" to fit in with some of the people in our class...and it is very obvious that he focuses all of his efforts on being accepted and/or praised by others, no matter what it takes. However, when confronted with a situation where one or even a hundred other people may be hurt or in danger, he Makes A Scene to draw the attention solely on himself.
What do you do with this? I don't think he'll live to be thirty...someone's going to shoot him someday because he'll piss off the wrong person. He is seeing a therapist, but can someone who cannot feel or care for others ever be "cured?" Or am I way off base with this conclusion?