Do you know what a sociopathic person is? You may have heard of this term on occasion. When we hear this word, we may think of people who are cold, lacking in empathy and sensitivity, manipulative….
And we are not misguided. These and some others are traits of sociopaths. In this article, specifically, we will know the 14 traits of sociopathic people that appear most frequently.. Before, however, let’s see what sociopathy consists of.
- Recommended article: “What are the 8 differences between Psychopathy and Sociopathy?”
What is sociopathy?
Sociopathy is categorized as such in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders) as an antisocial personality disorder. A personality disorder, of whatever type, involves a dysfunctional cognitive, relational and behavioral pattern, which makes it difficult to adapt to life, as well as functional impairment and/or discomfort for the individual.
In the case of antisocial personality disorder, such a pattern is characterized by the is characterized by seeking to violate the rights of others, as well as their exploitation and manipulation.. That is to say, sociopaths are people who manipulate and who can even assault or harm without feeling the slightest remorse.
But we should not relate sociopaths directly to murderers or rapists, for example, since not all sociopaths are sociopaths (nor are all murderers or rapists sociopaths). That is, we should tread carefully in this regard. However, if the sociopathy is severe and the person is unable to adapt to life, he or she may commit serious criminal acts.
- You may be interested in: “How to know if your boss is a psychopath (and survive it)”.
14 traits and habits of sociopathic people.
After defining, in broad strokes, what a sociopathic person is like, let’s get to know the 14 traits of sociopathic people.. These traits allude to different spheres of personality, such as cognition, affectivity, interpersonal relationships…
1. Suspiciousness and mistrust
At the cognitive and behavioral level, sociopaths show suspicion and distrust of messages that are not in line with their own interests. Such suspicion may even develop into paranoid thinking.
Thus, they easily distrust the actions of others, and their thinking is often particularly suspicious.
2. Affective lability
Affective lability is another characteristic feature of sociopathic persons, corresponding to the affective sphere. Affective lability implies that the patient changes his or her affective expression rapidly, for example from laughing to crying in a matter of seconds or minutes.
3. Lack of empathy
Continuing with the affective sphere, the next trait of sociopathy refers to empathy; thus, this type of patient presents an absence of empathy. Thus, it is impossible for them to put themselves in the place of others (for example by feeling their pain or sharing their happiness).
Another trait of sociopaths is their egocentrism. They are people who focus on themselves, and find it difficult to shift the focus to others. On the other hand, they only care about the benefits they can get from others.
5. Manipulation and charm
At the relational level, sociopaths manifest manipulative behaviors towards others. They manipulate people mainly through deception and lies.
On the other hand, they are charming in order to get what they want; they appear to be kind and sympathetic and adapt to situations according to their interests.
6. Avoidance of social contact
In general, sociopaths are people with poor socialization. In extreme cases, sociopaths may even avoid social contact. If they do not avoid it, they have difficulties in establishing and maintaining stable relationships, as we will see below.
7. Use of defense mechanisms
Another characteristic feature of these people is that they present certain defense mechanisms, such as denial, projection, fantasy or rejection. These mechanisms help them to commit their criminal or abusive acts towards others without feeling remorse or guilt.
8. Marked cruelty
In the field of interpersonal relationships, sociopaths can behave with great cruelty towards others, i.e. extremely ruthless. They act without compassion, and usually have no resentment after their actions.
In this way, they may have done a lot of harm to someone (reaching extreme cases of rape, murder…) and not feel guilty about it.
9. Interpersonal relationships: lack of stability
Another trait of sociopaths is their lack of stability in interpersonal relationships, i.e., they do not usually have stable friendships or relationships because they have great difficulty (or impossibility) to really connect with people.
Thus, their relationships are rather superficial (and if they are “deep,” they are probably acting out). Moreover, as we have already said, they see others as a source of satisfaction of their own needs, not as anything else.
10. Immersion in a world of self-deception.
As we have seen, sociopaths use lies as one of their main tools to manipulate others. In addition, however, they can also lie to themselves. This immersion in a world of self-deception makes them particularly vulnerable.
11. Absence of fear
It is difficult for a sociopath to experience real fear. This is extrapolated even to high-risk situations, where their life is in danger. That is, their perception of fear is absent.
12. Emotional coldness
They are people who present emotional coldness; this helps them to calculate, plan and execute their plans without being influenced by emotions. In other words, reason always prevails.
13. Good intelligence
The next of the traits of sociopathic people is their intelligence. They are generally very intelligent people. In addition, they have a good mental agility. These are some of the reasons why they can do very well at work (in business, for example), obtaining a great success in this sense.
On the other hand, once again, they use this intelligence to manipulate others and to get what they want.
14. Verbal skills and persuasion
They are people with good verbal skills and great capacity for persuasion. This makes it easy for them to manipulate others without them noticing, appearing charming. In addition, they know what they have to say, when and to whom, to get what they want.
It can also help them a lot in the work environment (and in the economic one), since thanks to their “lip service” they can create a powerful network of contacts.