How to Determine if Someone Is a Sociopath

Three Methods:Identifying Traits of a SociopathCoping with a SociopathUnderstanding Sociopathy

In the mental health field, sociopathy is also known as antisocial personality disorder, a condition that prevents people from adapting to the ethical and behavioral standards of his or her community.[1] Sociopathic individuals can be dangerous, exhibiting criminal behavior, organizing dangerous cults, and causing harm to themselves and others. There are several signs that someone may be a sociopath, including showing a lack of remorse, having a disregard for the law, and frequently telling lies.

Method 1
Identifying Traits of a Sociopath

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    Consider the individual's personality and mannerisms. Sociopaths are usually extremely charming and charismatic. Their personalities are described as magnetic, and as such, they generate a lot of attention and praise from others. They also tend to have a strong sexual energy, and may have strange sexual fetishes or be sex addicts.[2]
    • Sociopaths oftentimes feel overly entitled to certain positions, people, and things. They believe that their own beliefs and opinions are the absolute authority, and disregard the opinions of others.[3]
    • Sociopaths are rarely shy, insecure, or at a loss for words. They have trouble suppressing emotional responses like anger, impatience, or annoyance, and constantly lash out at others and respond hastily to these emotions.
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    Take the person's past and present behavior into account. Sociopaths exhibit abnormally spontaneous and daring behavior.[4] They seem to act outside of the realm of social norms, and may do bizarre, risky, or outrageous things without assessing the potential repercussions.
    • Sociopaths can be criminals. Because of their tendency to disregard the law and social norms, sociopaths may have a criminal record. They may be con artists, kleptomaniacs, or even murderers.[5]
    • Sociopaths are professional liars. They fabricate stories and make outlandish, untruthful statements, but are able to make these lies sound convincing with their confidence and assertiveness.[6]
    • Sociopaths have a low tolerance for boredom. They get bored easily and require constant stimulation.[7]
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    Consider the person's relationships with others. The way that a person interacts with others may also be an indicator that that person is a sociopath. Sociopaths are very good at convincing others to do what they want, either through charm or other more aggressive means. As a result, friends and coworkers of a sociopath may find themselves doing whatever the person wants them to do.[8]
    • Sociopaths are incapable of experiencing guilt or shame for their actions. It is common for sociopaths to lack remorse when they have done something that hurts others. They may appear indifferent or rationalize their actions.[9]
    • Sociopaths are manipulative. They may try to influence and dominate the people around them and tend to seek positions of leadership.[10]
    • Sociopaths lack empathy and may be incapable of love. While some sociopaths will have an individual or a small group of people that they seem to care about, they have a hard time feeling emotions and it is likely that they have not had healthy romantic relationships in the past.[11][12]
    • Sociopaths have a hard time dealing with criticism. They often desire approval from others and may even feel like they are entitled to it.[13]

Method 2
Coping with a Sociopath

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    Talk to someone about what you are going through. If you are in a relationship with someone who is abusive to you or you have a coworker who treats you with disrespect, talk to someone about it. If the relationship has become violent or you fear for your safety, ask for help to get away from the person. Do not attempt to deal with the person alone. Ask a friend or family member to help you.
    • If you are a victim of domestic abuse, you can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.[14]
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    Maintain a safe distance from the person. If the sociopath you are dealing with is not a family member or other loved one, disengage with the person. Continuing to spend time with the person may have a negative impact on your life.
    • Stop contacting the person, and avoid situations/places where you may run into the person, if possible.
    • Let the person know that you need some space, and request that he/she refrain from contacting you.
    • If the person does not cooperate and refuses to leave you alone, then you may want to consider changing your telephone number and other contact information. If he or she proceeds to stalk you, then consider filing for a restraining order.[15]
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    Confront the person with caution. If the person you are dealing with is someone that you cannot or do not want to cut out of your life, be cautious about the way that you confront them about their behavior. Before you confront a sociopath about his or her behavior, remember that sociopaths are by nature defensive, irritable, and potentially violent. Ask for help from friends or family members and organize an intervention to prevent the likelihood of a hostile reaction.
    • Avoid making accusatory statements or pointing out specific things that the person has done wrong. Rather, focus on the bigger picture and let the person know that you are genuinely concerned for his or her health. Start by saying something like, “I am worried about you and I want to help.”
    • Avoid talking about your feelings or how the person has hurt you. Sociopaths are likely to be unresponsive to these types of statements.

Method 3
Understanding Sociopathy

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    Understand that sociopathy and psychopathy are not the same thing. Sociopathy and psychopathy are not fully understood, but they are different according to certain researchers and theorists. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders V (DSM-5), or the handbook used by mental health professionals, provides a description of antisocial personality disorder which shares many of the same characteristics of sociopathy and psychopathy.[16] Sociopathy and psychopathy are not diagnosable disorders like antisocial personality disorder, but some research has suggested that these two terms are specific kinds of antisocial personality disorder and that they share several traits. These shared traits include:
    • disregarding laws or social mores
    • failing to acknowledge the rights of others
    • being unable to feel remorse or guilt
    • displaying a tendency for violent behavior[17]
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    Consider the main indicators of sociopathy. In addition to showing signs of antisocial personality disorder, someone who is a sociopath would display additional traits. These traits are mostly related to a defect with the person’s conscience, whereas someone who is a psychopath might be said to lack a conscience.[18] Traits that a sociopath might have include:
    • nervousness
    • short temper
    • uneducated
    • loner
    • incapable of holding a job or remaining in one place for too long
    • intensely possessive or "loving" relationships hiding a fear of abandonment
    • any committed crimes will be disorganized and spontaneous, not planned[19]
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    Be aware that the cause of sociopathy is unknown. Some research has suggested that sociopathy may be inherited, while other research has suggested that it may be the result of childhood neglect or abuse. One study showed that about 50% of sociopaths appear to have inherited the disorder through their genetic makeup. But environmental factors or other conditions were thought to be the cause of the remaining 50% of sociopaths in the study. As a result of these conflicting findings, the exact cause of sociopathy is unknown.[20]


  • Keep in mind that being a sociopath does not make someone a criminal or a bad person.
  • Sociopathy is inherited through genetics so the violence,crime,hostility...runs through the blood.Only a sociopath can change him/her self.


  • Don't attempt to diagnose a sociopath or try to tell someone who you suspect might be a sociopath to get professional help. If you suspect that someone close to you is a sociopath, use that information to help you deal with the person and seek help if you ever feel endangered.
  • If you feel like you are being victimized or that you are in danger of being harmed by someone, seek help from your local police. Do not attempt to go it alone if you feel like your life is in danger.

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