From Profile of the Sociopath:
- Glibness and Superficial Charm
- Manipulative and Conning
They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.
- Grandiose Sense of Self
Feels entitled to certain things as “their right.”
- Pathological Lying
Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.
- Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.
- Shallow Emotions
When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.
- Incapacity for Love
- Need for Stimulation
Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.
- Callousness/Lack of Empathy
Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others’ feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.
- Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.
- Early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency
Usually has a history of behavioral and academic difficulties, yet “gets by” by conning others. Problems in making and keeping friends; aberrant behaviors such as cruelty to people or animals, stealing, etc.
Not concerned about wrecking others’ lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.
- Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity
Promiscuity, child sexual abuse, rape and sexual acting out of all sorts.
- Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle
Tends to move around a lot or makes all encompassing promises for the future, poor work ethic but exploits others effectively.
- Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility
Changes their image as needed to avoid prosecution. Changes life story readily.
I need to integrate the concept of sociopathic through lines with the checklist concept. I’ll add it to my to do list.
In a rough way, I certainly do refer to check lists in my own thinking when considering possible sociopaths. However it is a mistake to overly rely upon them in my opinion. It is not possible to successfully follow a reverse engineering cookbook approach — ‘these are the ingredients, so this is the dish.’ I’m not arguing with Dr. Hare’s systemized use of PCL-R with trained raters in a prison setting. However you will never catch an advanced SAP (socially adept psychopath) with one. Basically I pay attention to sociopathic levels of arrogance/attitude and look for signs of severe arrested development, i.e., age inappropriate behaviors (even small behaviors), childish thinking patterns, etc.
Checklists can rise to the fore again however, when dealing with SAPs. If behavior falls apart ( the “adult act” of sociopaths) under certain situations, checklist items can be of great help in recognizing sociopaths. At one bank I worked at, we had a managing director who was ordered never to attend company parties, his behavior fell apart under the influence of alcohol. (For those unfamiliar with corporate structure, managing directors are essentially standalone profit centers, they have to be rainmakers (profit-wise) for the company.) This individual was widely considered to be a wild and crazy, fun guy. Or sometimes sociopathic individuals will show their true character based on “food chain calculations” — when dealing with those they deem lower, their “inner sociopath” comes out; or when deeming themselves at the top of the food chain, the same occurs.
[A version of the first of the two above paragraphs was here earlier. I have no idea what happened, perhaps I failed to save it correctly, perhaps there was a technical glitch, or perhaps . . . EGADS! HAVE I BEEN GASLIGHTED BY A SOCIOPATHIC HACKER? “Why no, PW, whatever paragraph are you talking about. You’ve been so stressed out lately, etc., etc.” Sociopaths just love gaslighting campaigns, it gives them the “chortle, chortle” response that they cherish. Gaslighting depends on the target not entertaining seemingly paranoid lines of thought. However, in this case the paragraph did probably disappear due to technical issues. Incidentally, I see my external links have disappeared. I don’t know how that happened.]
At the bottom of the above factsheet, the author says “You may also find more at http://sociopathworld.com/.” You certainly will, it is a sociopath website.
Finally the author says, “I . . . am not a psychologist and [claim] no special expertise in the subject.” Imo, no special expertise is needed, or rather, anyone who has had intense emotional experiences with sociopaths suddenly does have special expertise. Everyone needs to know sociopaths are out there and that they will interact with them. If the so-called experts don’t tell us this, we have to inform each other.
Just came across another worthy checklist site: The List of Psychopathy Symptoms: Hervey Cleckley and Robert Hare