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How to Spot and Handle a Sociopath

Posted on June 21, 2006 in Scoundrels

square003This is for my true friends out there.  I always appreciate sincerity and trust.  It’s been circulating among DBSA chapters across the nation and is well worth your time to read.  Doubtless you have met someone like this.  The name of the game is STONEWALL.

Protect yourself.  This information comes from The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout

Trust your instincts.  In a contest between your instincts and what is implied in someone else’s role — as a doctor, animal lover, parent — go with your instincts.  Your unfiltered impressions may help you if you let them.  Your best self understands that impressive and moral-sounding labels do not bestow conscience on anyone who didn’t have it to begin with.

Practice the rule of three.  One lie, one broken promise or one neglected responsibility may be a misunderstanding.  Two may involve a serious mistake.  But three lies says you’re dealing with a liar, and deceit is the lynchpin of conscienceless behavior.  Cut your losses and get out.  Do not give your money, your work, your secrets, or your affection to a three-timer.

Question authority.  Especially when people claim that dominating others, violence, war or some other violation of your conscience is the grand solution to some problem.  Do this even when everyone around you has stopped questioning authority.  At least six out of ten people will blindly obey official-looking authority.

Suspect flattery.  Flattery is extreme and appeals to our egos in unrealistic ways.  It is the material of counterfeit charm and nearly always involves intent to manipulate.  Manipulation through flattery is sometimes innocuous and sometimes sinister.  Peek over your massaged ego and take a closer look.

Redefine your concept of respect.  Too often, we mistake fear for respect, and the more fearful we are of someone, the more we view him or her as deserving of our respect.

Do not join the game.  Intrigue is a sociopath’s tool.  Resist the temptation to compete with a seductive sociopath, to outsmart him, psychoanalyze or even banter with him.  Instead of reducing yourself to his level, focus on protecting yourself.

Question your tendency to pity.  Respect should be reserved for the kind and the morally courageous.  If you find yourself pitying someone who consistently hurts you or other people, and who actively campaigns for your sympathy, chances are you are dealing with a sociopath.

Can you see a few sociopaths in the newspapers?  Or in your church?  Or in other places where trust is important?
I’ve learned zero tolerance works the best.

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