How do you know when you've met a sociopath?

Why is someone a jerk all the time? What makes someone so difficult to get along with?  What makes someone an "asshole?" And how are these people different from "abusive narcissists" or "sociopaths?"

They've been called manipulators, liars, cheaters, "bad boys," "crazy bitches," assholes, crazy makers, abusers, nutcase, jerk, or just plain crazy. We also call them the personality disordered. By definition, these people have personalities that prevent them from getting along with others.

Diagnoses and labels are merely words that describe just a scintilla of the horrible behavior you have probably witnessed. Cut through the terminology and look hard at behavior, how they view the world, and how they interact with people and animals. We need to recognize them for who and what they are: dangerous. 

How do you know when you've met one of these characters? Look for the following:

  • Attitudes that impair healthy interpersonal relations

  • Erroneous and dysfunctional beliefs about how the world works

  • Unyielding disregard or contempt for the truth and honesty

  • Pervasive sense of entitlement

  • Overestimated and dysfunctional sense of their own worth; this is NOT self-esteem! It is hubris and arrogance

  • Disdain and disregard for others' value or dignity

  • Shallow, superficial, abusive, exploitative thoughts and behaviors

  • Lies, manipulations, deceptions employed to gain advantage over others

  • Impression management to keep an inflated self-image

  • Jekyll and Hyde personality or, more correctly, a False Self and his true self. The former is charming, the other abusive.

  • Keeps you at an emotional distance with the purpose of manipulating or exploiting you

  • Regrets getting caught, but not his or her actual behavior

  • Unable to feel genuinely bad or shameful about their behavior

  • Incongruity: words and behavior don't match. Remember, actions speak louder than words.

  • Problematic temperament: moody, angry, tantrums, low frustration tolerance, reactive, "walking time bomb."

  • Impulsively does things to hurt others without thinking or remorse

  • Inability to learn from their mistakes or experiences

  • Behaves as if they are the center of the universe. No one else matters

  • Oblivious to emotional injury he inflicts on others

  • Contempt for authority and following the rules

  • Validates and pursues his own goals without seeking consensual validation or consent from his partner

  • Insatiable appetite for admiration, often manifesting in multiple simultaneous sexual relationships

  • Views others as objects to meet his needs or bring him pleasure

Know someone like this? Run. Fast.