A sociopath is someone who suffers from an antisocial personality disorder. Such a person does not feel love, empathy or affection for others and all relationships that they enter into are usually for the sole purpose of feeding their own ego. Despite a sociopath’s capacity for wrecking relationships, many men and women fall for such people and in the process destroy their personal lives. So if you feel that there is something wrong with the person you are dating or are afraid that your partner may be a sociopath, here are a few signs to watch out for.
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- Immense charm
Despite their capacity for cruelty, sociopaths are rarely marked by a brooding or fearful appearance. In fact the opposite is true. Sociopaths are usually brimming with personal charm and charisma. If you are dating one, you may be floored by the way he/she speaks and behaves in public. They are smooth talkers, always have an answer, never miss a beat. They appear to be very exciting to be with and you almost feel grateful that they have chosen you for a date. However even in the earliest dates, you can make out a sociopath by the kind of eye contact they make. You may think of it as the predatory stare, but if you get a chill down your spine when they look at you, pay attention.
- Overly attentive
In the initial stages of dating, a sociopath will be extremely attentive to you. He will woo you as though you are his soul mate; she will look after every need and comfort without your even mentioning any. A partner who is a hidden sociopath will call, text and e-mail you constantly. It is as though they want to be with you every moment. This may be the mark of a passionate lover but you should know something is amiss when your partner resents time you spend with your family and friends.
- Inevitable lies
One of earliest warning signs that you are dating a sociopath will be in the number of lies he/she tells. It is almost impossible for a sociopath to speak the truth since he/she must fib about his/her purported charms, conquests and achievements. Look out for lies and gaps in the stories that your partner recounts. If you ask questions or appear to crosscheck facts, the answers will be vague or your partner may quickly change the topic. When pushed to the wall, he/she may accuse you of being untrusting, appear tearful or even get angry. What they will not do is provide a logical, succinct explanation for the gaps in their stories.
- Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality
Very soon your partner will reveal a two-faced personality. One moment he/she may be extremely charming and attentive and the very next, they will blurt out a hateful, negative comment. People with this kind of personality disorder veer from one emotional to the other without any reasonable cause for it. When you see your date changing personalities like the flipping of a switch, you need to be realize that something is wrong.
- Inflated ego
One of the most common traits of a sociopath is an enormous ego. Your partner may act as though he/she is the smartest, richest or most successful person around; indeed he/she may actually come out and tell you that. It is very common for sociopaths to put themselves on pedestals. Their grandiose sense of self makes them feel entitled to certain things like your time, attention or money and eventually they will come to see these things as "their right."
- Look for friends and family
A sociopath has trouble making and keeping friends. Even though his/her family may be around, he/she may not be interested in remaining in touch with them. You will have a fair idea about the sociopathic tendencies of your partner from his/her social circle, or rather the lack of it. Sociopaths are usually loners and blame others for their own inability to make and nurture social contacts. So if you ever ask your partner about his/her parents, school friends or co-workers, most likely you will be told how everyone has been mean and cruel to him/her.
- Dig into their past
People don’t become sociopaths overnight. They have a history of aberrant behavior or dysfunctional relationships. If possible, speak to people who have known your partner in the past, like neighbors at his/her home town, teachers, coaches or more recently co-workers. From your conversations, you may gather evidence of several types of anti-social behaviors like stealing, lying, promiscuity and cruelty to people or animals.
- It is always someone else’s fault
Sociopaths are experts are pinning the blame for their own aberrant behavior on someone else. If your partner has trouble keeping a job, it is always the boss or the co-workers who are out to get him/her. Likewise, a history of failed relationships is never the sociopath’s fault but the unhappy consequence of getting involved with the ‘wrong’ people. It is always an abusive childhood, psychotic ex, incurable disease or financial setbacks that is to blame for his/her sorry state of affairs and never his/her own actions. Indeed your sociopathic partner may be particularly skillful at appealing to your softer, sympathetic side. This serves twin purposes – on one hand your partner manages to gain your sympathy and at the same time he/she is able to pin the blame on others instead of taking responsibility for his/her life.
- Watch how he/she treats others
Much before you personally face the consequences of your partner’s personality disorder, you can gauge their sociopathic tendencies by watching how they treat others around them. Wait until he or she says or does something wrong. The sociopath will show no remorse, shame or guilt for an obviously unacceptable action or comment. This is because he/she has no sense of morality, much less empathy and love for fellow humans. Over time though, you will come to bear the brunt of his/her sociopathic behavior – he/she will increasingly become manipulative, domineering, controlling in the relationship and take pleasure in humiliating his/her victim – you.
- Beware of moving fast
Even if you notice only some of the above traits in your partner, take heed. Your sociopathic partner will want to move fast in the relationship. He/she will pressurize you to get married or will want to move in quickly so that you don’t have much time to ponder on the warning signs.