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Ten ways to spot a sociopath (aka con-artist) on your first date

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WHAT MAKES A SOCIOPATH?
There are people in the world who don't care about love, and who feel no remorse, empathy or emotional attachment to others. They don't even know what these feeling are. These people are called sociopaths. Most people think of a sociopath as a deranged serial killer, but, with 4% of the population having the character traits of a sociopath, most sociopaths never physically harm anyone. Sociopaths do however ruin lives, empty bank accounts, and cause untold emotional trauma, using simply the fact that they don't care. 
 
The Absence of Feelings: Sociopaths may seem to laugh or cry but they present with no depth of emotion. While easily provoked to frustration or rage, their display of feeling is little more than a momentary, isolated temper tantrum. To the sociopath, other people are tools to  get them what they want: money, sex, a job or other possessions. They live in their own amoral world where nothing they do has any consequences and where they owe no one anything. They have no empathy. Thus, they elude all responsibility for their actions, and can easily turn the tables, blaming their partner without guilt or shame.
The Relentlessness of Deception: Sociopaths lie all the time. As they don't view their spouse as a thinking, feeling person, they do not see this behavior as wrong. Their only quest is to serve themselves and, if this entails lying, cheating or even murder, they will do so. If one catches them in lies, they are brilliant at changing the subject, placing the onus on the other person, denying their involvement or trying to make their spouse seem crazy. They are even good at deceiving the police and the court system; sociopaths rarely end up in prison for their actions.
The Impulsiveness of Action: Sociopathic individuals rarely plan ahead. They undertake actions on the basis of momentary whims, often devious ones. Every act seems isolated in its own amoral universe. Thus, they cannot keep promises or repair the damage they've caused to others. When they lie, cheat or steal, the act exists solely for them; they believe it should have no repercussions or real world effects. They often appear to have "forgotten" they did something shortly after it happened. Their need for excitement encourages them to get involved in one night stands, shady deals and ill advised engagements. Sociopaths have no sense of commitment to their spouses, any children they may have together or the future.
   
HOW TO SPOT A SOCIOPATH
Sociopaths have impressive social skills, thereby making them extremely hard to spot. They are charming, funny and exciting. This is why we need to be aware. If your new romantic interest exhibits all or most of the following behaviors, be careful. He or she might be a sociopath.

1) Charisma and charm:  They're smooth talkers, always have an answer, never miss a beat. They seem to be very exciting. Their manners are impeccable; they are well groomed; they fulfill the codes of romance and courtship to a tee. They are likely to be eloquent talkers who lace their speech with impressive sounding facts and figures. They may be fun, laugh a lot, sweep their partner off their feet with their sweetness. 
2) Enormous ego:  They act like the smartest, richest or most successful people around. They may actually come out and tell you that.
3) Overly attentive:  They call, text and e-mail constantly. They want to be with you every moment. They resent time you spend with your family and  friends.
4) Jekyll and Hyde personality:  One minute they love you; the next minute they hate you. Their personality changes like flipping a switch.
5) Blame others:  Nothing is ever their fault. They always have an excuse. Someone else causes their problems.
6) Lies and gaps in the story: You ask questions, and the answers are vague. They tell stupid lies. They tell outrageous lies. They lie when they'd make out better telling the truth. If you probe deeper, you'll find that their stories never stack up.
7) Intense eye contact:  Call it the predatory stare. If you get a chill down your spine when they look at you, pay attention.
8) Move fast:  They quickly proclaim that you're their true love and soul mate. They want to move in together or get married quickly.
9) Pity play:  They appeal to your sympathy. They want you to feel sorry for their abusive childhood, psychotic ex, incurable disease or financial setbacks.
10) Sexual magnetism:  If you feel intense attraction, if your physical relationship is unbelievable, it may be their excess testosterone.

Some doctors call them sociopaths, others refer to them as psychopaths. Either way, the terms are used to describe individuals who have a range of personality disorders. These people are NOT certifiably mentally ill; they are biological carriers of socially and personally problematic traits. Such traits may have been manifested from childhood in acts of cruelty to animals, property or people. These characteristics can disrupt relationships, create financial and emotional crises, and, at their worst, lead the person to callously undertake acts of vandalism, theft, rape or murder. Being aware what constitutes a sociopath can help one resist their charm and the errors inherent in establishing a life with them.

Sociopaths know exactly what they are doing, and most of them never kill anyone. But they are social predators who exploit just about everyone they meet. They have no heart, no conscience and no remorse. 

You can't "cure' a sociopath or help them to see the error of their ways. They don't see the world as we do, so the only thing you can do, is save yourself and walk away.


Dr Annabelle R Charbit

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Author of A Life Lived Ridiculously: When a girl with obsessive compulsive disorder, falls in love with a sociopath, she must fight for her sanity and her life
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http://www.ridiculouslife.net/
I am a research scientist and a writer, with a PhD in neuroscience from University College London. I recently published the novel, A Life Lived Ridiculously, about a girl with obsessive compulsive disorder who makes the horrible mistake of (more...)
 

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