When it comes to narrowing down a list of five characteristics of a sociopath, one thing is for certain: there are more than five. However, there are five common traits that most sociopaths exhibit and these can often be the first signs that a person has that they are dealing with someone who may be a sociopath.
While alone, irresponsibility isn’t a terrible characteristic, it can be one of the first characteristics of a sociopath that people have. They can bounce from goal to goal, refuse to honor their obligations, or act on a whim with no regard to who or what might be at risk because of their behavior. Irresponsibility can also take on the form of disregarding societal norms if it doesn’t suit a sociopath’s needs at the moment. It also manifests in a refusal to take on responsibility for their actions, because a sociopath seems to always assume that anyone hurt by their actions got exactly what they deserved.
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One of the top five characteristics of a sociopath is that they lie constantly. They will lie to get what they want, hurt others, or just for their own amusement. Sociopaths are adept at lying because it comes so naturally to them; in fact, many probably don’t remember a time where they didn’t lie. They also most likely don’t believe that lying is wrong. And most sociopaths can lie with such charm and grace that most people never question if the person is telling the truth. In fact, this is probably the most recognizable sign of a sociopath: they lie so much that once they’re found out, it’s hard to know if they had ever told the truth.
3. Lack of Emotion
Lack of emotion is another of the five characteristics of a sociopath. The inability to feel any emotion, with the possible exception of feigning it for personal gain, is common among this group of people and can be also one of the most destructive aspects of their personality. A person with no emotion can be eerily calm in moments that normal people would consider heartbreaking or frightening and will often drop the act of emotion when it no longer suits them. This lack of emotion also allows them to dismantle their lives quickly, with no thought to the destruction they may leave behind, and move on without baggage.
These people are masters of manipulation; it is one of the best tricks in their bag. It’s also a strong characteristic of a sociopath. They use manipulation as a tool every day to get the results they want, whether that means a promotion, a new relationship, more money, or to get revenge on a person. But their use of manipulation is most used on family members and close loved ones, such as partners and children. Because manipulation is used to get a result, they will use it every time they want something without regard to the consequences; this can lead to broken homes or people getting hurt because of their actions.
5. Superficially Charming
One of the most interesting things about sociopaths is that they can be incredibly charming, but only in a superficial way. This is a major characteristic because it helps them to blend into normal society while keeping their real agenda hidden. Most sociopaths create an outer personality that would be accepted by modern society, allowing them to get along at work, at home, and in social situations. However, it’s just a mask, and the moment someone goes against their wishes, the sociopath will show their true colors.
There are more characteristics, but these are the most common. Psychology students and astute observers will want to keep these five characteristics of a sociopath in mind if they think they might be close to one; it’s always best to be prepared than be surprised, especially when confronted with these masters of disguise and manipulation.