What is a Sociopath, part 4


The sociopath is often quite proud of his sexual attractiveness. He is promiscuous, indulging in many brief affairs. He likes to think he is what all women want, and he has no problem being with several women. He likes to brag, too.  He believes other men envy him because he’s so irresistible.

This man’s murders always included sexual assault. Ted Bundy chose attractive young women he could charm, and it worked for him. 

That’s not true of every sociopathic killer, but it’s not unusual, either. His abberant behaviors often start before he’s 13.  He can have a history in the juvenile justice system. He may have been a bully, and was almost certainly a chronic but successful liar and cheat. His charm often fools his parents into making excuses for his terrible behavior.

The sociopath has a hard time fulfilling long-term goals. His restlessness keeps him moving toward the next new experience. He gives up one thing for another quite easily, has a hard time staying in one job for any length of time, and just generallyfloats along on a cloud of expectation that somehow things will all work out–or that other people will take care of him.

He is extremely impulsive. He doesn’t resist temptation while he thinks through whatever he wants to do. He needs gratification right now, and woe be to the one who gets in his way. He is often physically reckless, doing things most people would consider just stupid.

His irresponsibility  often gets in the way of his longed-for success. He can’t be depended upon to keep his word, to simply follow through on day-to-day obligations. He walks away from debts, loans, legal agreements and relationships without a qualm.  He has better things to do, higher mountains to climb, wider rivers to cross.

Next Friday, we should wrap this up.  I don’t know about you, but I find this study a bit depressing. The pain these people bring into the lives of others, especially those who try to help them, is difficult to see.


What is a Sociopath, part 3

In our study of this personality, we’ve learned that sociopaths differ from psychopaths mostly in the degree of violence they’re willing to use to gain their ends. Sociopaths can actually function well in society, where psychopaths tend to find social interaction very unpleasand and difficult.

The other traits we’ve looked at include surface charm and a glib tongue; an over-inflated sense of self-worth; a need for constant stimulation, and pathological lying.  Next is the sociopath’s unique ability to con  and manipulate people and situations to gain his ends. He is a master at manuevering around people and situations to accomplish his goal, which is always  involved with some kind of gain to himself. He may even seem to be trying to make things better for others.  It’s a ruse. He’s really interested only in furthering his own gain.

He is never bothered by remorse or guilt for the pain he causes others. His attitude is completely without empathy for his victims. He he tends to see them as stupid, unworthy, and getting exactly what they deserve.  He is disdainful of almost everyone else. There is no such thing as conscience.

He has what we in the mental health profession recognize as a shallow affect. His feelings don’t go very deep, in spite of his apparent charming exterior.  The only emotions he may feel deeply include anger growing into rage if he is thwarted, and a deep disdain for other people. His superiority to others is unquestioned in his own mind.  He doesn’t really feel any loyalty or commitment to anyone else, and he will leave relationships without any sense of loss when it suits his own interests to do so.

The sociopath lives a parasitic lifestyle. He expects other people to support his goals, financially and any other way they can. He expects to be boosted, given special privileges.  Anyone in his life who has money is a mark for his attention.  A refusal to give him what he wants results in his rage and desire to get revenge.

He has poor to none when it comes to behavioral controls. The unwritten rules for appropriate behavior in society don’t touch him. He expresses his negative emotions easily and sometimes physically, if he thinks he can get away with it.  Irritability, annoyance, impatience, threats, aggression, and verbal abuse are characteristic. He demonstrates inadequate control of anger and temper, and he acts hastily, giving no thought to results of his behavior. When confronted, his lies are quick, easy, and believable. He can even work up tears if he needs to, in order to convince everyone that nothing was ever his own fault.

Don’t expect these folks to “get better” with counseling or confrontation. The only thing that can come close to working positive change in their lives is the power of the Holy Spirit of God.

What is a Sociopath, #2

Glib and charming, sociopaths often seem like the most fun people you could ever be around.  When you are around them a little longer, though, you find that they are totally self-involved. Everything they do is centered on what the gain for themselves will be.  Far from lacking in self-esteem, they think very highly of themselves indeed.

These folks are full of a grossly inflated view of their own abilities and importance, truly believing that all eyes should be focused on them all the time. They are opinionated, cocky braggarts. Psychopaths are arrogant people who believe they are superior human beings.

They are often easily bored, and seek constant stimulation, something new, something just a little riskier than what they’ve already done.  They are risk-takers, and may seem very exciting to be with. However, once the excitement goes away they’re often restless, angry, and sarcastic. Easily bored, they look elsewhere for stimulation. They’re not much good at relationship once the shiny new has worn off. They are experts at finding ways to not do tasks they find boring.

They lie. As Dr. Phil would say, if their lips are moving, they’re lying. The lying can be  shrewd, crafty, cunning, sly, and clever; they’re expert at concocting stories that have no shred of truth, but are completely believable. At their worst, they are deliberately deceptive, deceitful, underhanded, unscrupulous, manipulative.They do and say what they have to in order to gain the result they want—and are entitled to. If you are hurt by their lies, then you shouldn’t have gotten in the way.

Friday Counseling Issues: What is a Sociopath?

I’ve been writing these Friday posts over at http://www.lindasbiblestudy.wordpress.com for some time now. I’ve decided to publish them here as well. Hope you all find something of interest in the coming weeks.

Linda's Bible Study

This is Ted Bundy.  He doesn’t look like such a bad guy, does he?

However, he was  a truly bad guy.  Here’s what Wikipedia has to say (Wiki isn’t always right, but this time they’ve got it.  I remember very clearly reading this same stuff in the news back then:

Theodore Robert “Ted” Bundy (born Theodore Robert Cowell; November 24, 1946 – January 24, 1989) was an American serial killerrapistkidnapper, and necrophile who assaulted and murdered numerous young women and girls during the 1970s and possibly earlier. After more than a decade of denials, he confessed shortly before his execution to 30 homicides committed in seven states between 1974 and 1978; the true total remains unknown, and could be much higher. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Bundy)

He is known as a sociopath or a psychopath.  They’re really pretty much the same thing.  To me, the most chilling…

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