When you think of a “sociopath,” chances are you think of a serial killer or a con man in a movie. But chances are you’ve met a sociopath — after all, according to Harvard psychologist Martha Stout, author of “The Sociopath Next Door,” one in every 25 people is a sociopath.
With so many alleged sociopaths around, and with their charming nature, it can be hard to know one when you see them. INSIDER spoke to experts about some tell-tale signs that the one you love may actually be a sociopath.
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They charm the pants off of everyone in the room.
A standard trait of a sociopath is that they are charming and gregarious people. They know exactly what to say to everyone to get them to like them. That’s probably why you were drawn to them in the first place.
“They typically know how to woo a person using incessant flattery and compliments,” psychotherapist Patti Sabla told INSIDER.
Be careful: Because a charming people-person isn’t necessarily indicative of a sociopath, you should look out for other signs, too.
They disregard your feelings.
Sociopaths lack empathy so if you get upset with them, they have a hard time understanding why. They won’t act sorry or even see a reason for you to be upset.
“They may get drunk and do something awful like tell off your mother or your best friend,” Sabla said. “When you confront them about it the next day they don’t care. They are incapable of empathy and may even try to blame you for ‘trying to make them feel bad’ about the situation.”
You don’t think even they believe what they’re saying.
Do you ever get the feeling that the person you’re talking to knows what they’re saying isn’t true? Sociopaths are skilled liars, but sometimes they’re so disingenous that their actions and facial expressions give them away.
“You feel a weird sense that he’s not really believing his own words,” Carlos Cavallo, a dating and relationship coach, told INSIDER. “Like they will tell you they love you, but their actions seem almost dissonant with it.”