Healthy Living

The 8 Traits of a Sociopath

The 8 Traits of a Sociopath

Have you ever known someone who tends to be jittery, gets easily agitated on the slightest matters, seems nervous with certain situations, or may have a violent response towards others in certain cases? You may find yourself concerned that this individual could pose a potential threat to the people around him or her. These may possibly be traits of a sociopath.

A sociopath usually displays certain antisocial personality traits, aggressive behaviors, does not follow any roles, and tends to isolate themselves from others.   

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Who Is a Sociopath?

An official resource, which is used by psychologists and psychiatrists, states that a sociopath is someone who has a personality-related disorder wherein they tend to “display tendencies of being antisocial which are attributed to various environmental and social factors.” The traits of a sociopath (mentioned above) need to begin either before or around the age of 15.

Sociopathy is basically considered a kind of personality-related disorder. This personality-related issue has some traits in common with other types of personality disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), narcissistic personality disorder, or avoidant personality disorder.

Individuals who suffer from personality-related disorders tend to display certain social patterns that are different in comparison to the patterns of ordinary people. They have a unique way of thinking, feeling, perceiving, and relating.

Sociopaths often display three or more of the following dysfunctional behaviors or traits:

  • Reckless disregard for safety of self or others.
  • Total lack of remorse for anything or anyone. They are often seen as being indifferent to others or rationalizing.
  • No interest in planning for the future.
  • Aggressiveness or getting very irritated. At times, this aggression leads to fights as well as assaults.
  • Consistently being irresponsible.
  • Repeated cases of lying, conning others, and being deceitful to others.

Common Traits Found in a Sociopath 

Sociopaths look like normal human beings and work normal jobs just like anyone else. They get married and have children as well. Sociopaths tend to appear successful in their life and career; however, the moment they are under stress, abnormal behaviors tend to emerge or worsen.

  1. Relationships difficulties: Individuals who suffer from this personality trait often find it difficult to form any kind of emotional bonds. Due to their abnormal nature, their relationships are often in turmoil and very unstable. There are lots of ups and downs within the relationship of a sociopath. Instead of forging connections with individuals who are in their life, they often tend to exploit the relationship or person for their own benefit. This is often done through deceit, intimidation, or forceful behavior.
  2. Lack of empathy: Feeling no empathy is one of the most well-known signs of a sociopath. It is the inability to feel remorse for their own actions. They will experience no pain or guilt after hurting someone. Additionally, they will also have no concern for the feelings, needs, or sufferings of others. Most sociopaths seem to lack a conscience; however, this is not the case for all patients with this personality trait.
  3. Hostile and callous nature: Sociopaths tend to be hostile towards others. They often see other’s behavior as hostile which leads them to be hostile in return. Some individuals become openly violent as well as aggressive without care of what others may think of them. Some show their aggressive nature in the form of verbal abuse or cutting someone down verbally. Sociopaths often tend to disregard the feelings of others or isolate themselves from others.
  4. Sociopaths are often deceitful: Sociopaths often tend to have a reputation for being dishonest. They frequently use lying as a tool to get what they need or to get out of trouble if they have done something wrong.
  5. Impulsive nature: Another common trait found in sociopaths is a lack of regard for social or financial obligations. For the sociopath, it is very common to ignore responsibilities. They do not care about the responsibilities they may have to their home, parents, or society. Occasionally, we all have the tendency to make certain impulsive decisions, ranging from a last-minute trip, a sudden new hairstyle, or making an expensive purchase. However, when it comes to a sociopath, this impulsive behavior is a normal part of their everyday routine. Sociopaths often make sudden decisions without thinking of the consequences.
  6. Irresponsible behavior: It is not abnormal for sociopaths to be heavily involved in gambling, abusing drugs, having unsafe sex, alcoholism, criminal activities, or other dangerous hobbies. They can act responsibly only if it benefits them in some particular way or hurts someone they wish harm to. When their irresponsible nature is brought to their attention by another, they will completely refuse to take ownership of their actions, deny any wrong doing, and often cast blame on others. Sociopaths are very much aware of their actions and do not have any shame or remorse for what they have done. They do not take responsibility for their actions because they always feel as though their actions were justified. The sociopath is often of the opinion that the individuals they hurt deserved what they got.
  7. Untrustworthy: Sociopaths tend to lie in order to get their way, hurt someone, or simply for amusement. The term that is often used to describe this type of individual is a “pathological liar”. They constantly make up stories to be the center of attention. A sociopath can be so good at lying that they can often trick everyone around them. While lying, they can make good eye contact, smile sincerely, and speak with a tone of confidence, which makes their lies that much more believable.
  8. Manipulative: In the mind of a sociopath, people are often mere toys to be played with or pawns with whom they can manipulate in order to get what they want. For them, the entire world is a circus and they are essentially the ringmaster. A sociopath will manipulate and control whomever they want and whenever it is needed. The sociopath is not restrained by feelings of anxiety, depression, guilt, love, or remorse. Thus, they can move through life freely doing whatever benefits or amuses them.

Key Takeaways

  • It is not abnormal for sociopaths to be heavily involved in gambling, abusing drugs, having unsafe sex, alcoholism, criminal activities, or other dangerous hobbies. 
  • A sociopath usually displays certain antisocial personality traits, aggressive behaviors, does not follow any roles, and tends to isolate themselves from others.
  • This personality-related issue has some traits in common with other types of personality disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), narcissistic personality disorder, or avoidant personality disorder.