Social Question

ilvorangeiceblocks's avatar

What is your experience with sociopaths?

Asked by ilvorangeiceblocks (865points) March 15th, 2011

Have you ever met a sociopath? What were they like? What was your first impression of them? Did they act like a sociopath is described to act? What was your view on them?

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75 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Yes,I sure have.
He was charming…..for awhile.
He sure did.
It was painful to know him.

Electra's avatar

A sociopath believes he has the right to the body and the life of any other human being on the planet. He does not believe he should be governed by the social contract that most of us feel obligated to follow. A lot of rapists are sociopaths.

Cruiser's avatar

She was a doll and alluring as any girl I ever met…but the slightest of mistakes and the claws came out. Fought over the dumbest of shit too and mean….not mad mean…psycho wide-eyed mean and 24 hours later calm and purring like a kitten like nothing happened. Sybil to a “T”.

JmacOroni's avatar

I am 99% sure my ex boyfriend is a sociopath. I’m not even joking, I really do believe he is incapable of caring for another human being. He is charming and extremely manipulative, and he uses people like.. stepping stones. If you have something he wants or needs, you become the center of his universe. I repeatedly fell for his schemes, as did many of the people in our circle of friends, and he just left chaos and devastation everywhere. Never anything that could be recognized as genuine remorse for some of the horrible things that he did to people. Friends, family, the people he was supposed to love. I can’t say beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is an actual sociopath, no one has ever diagnosed him. After years and years of observation and being sucked into his manipulations, that is really the only conclusion that I can come to. Getting him out of my life permanently felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders.

flutherother's avatar

Warm, delightful and caring on the one hand ruthless, selfish and completely cold hearted on the other. It was like two people within the one body. Where the one ended and the other began I could never figure out and it was difficult to tell which the ‘real’ one was. Dangerous and destructive to all around her.

cookieman's avatar

I have not known one (that I know of), but my wife has known many. She was a probation officer for twelve years specializing in pedophiles and domestic abuse cases. Lots of scary stories.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Most of the people on this site are probably some sort of sociopath. It’s pretty typical of our culture, because our culture is sociopathic.

janbb's avatar

I would be hesitant to label anyone a sociopath; that’s a pretty extreme diagnosis and I don’t think any of us here have to skills to make it, However, I have known some extremely volatile and destructive people and it is very painful to be in a relationship with one.

Austinlad's avatar

Worked with a woman at an ad agency who was a pathological lier. She lied so cleverly that her manager was completely fooled. She wound up getting fired, but not before she had lost an important client and damaged several work relationships. I’ve never met another person like her… thank goodness.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I had a direct boss who, if he wasn’t a sociopath, nevertheless had some very strange ideas of what it meant to be empathetic. It was as if he was faking kindness, listening, care and concern, but was really trying to find the angle so that he could get what he wanted out of you anyway.

He did this with his father-in-law (who owned the company), his employees, his clients and just people he happened to run across. When people figured out his game, they were out the door. I was shocked at how transparent it was, and later I was shocked at myself for not believing I was capable of getting another job and thus, avoiding him.

Coloma's avatar

Yep, I was married to one for 22 years. lol

Extremely selfish, no empathy, sneaky, manipulative, dishonest, no remorse, blamed me/others for all of his bad behaviors. Control freak to the 10th power.

Waking up to the reality of this person was a huge mind f—k!

Sad but true, lots of seriously disordered types out there, live and learn, and boy, have I learned what to watch for!

blueiiznh's avatar

yep. glad they are in the ex classification.
They lived on the edge. Seemed wonderful at first. Once you start to unwravel it, it got dark and ugly.
I vividly recall one event where I caught them in a huge lie. I calmly got up and said I have to leave and take time to think. They broke down and tried to say all the things they thought I wanted to hear (pathological liar). There was one thing however that was very missing from this all:
There was no remorse over the lies and actions that were hurtful.

Shegrin's avatar

My ex-father-in-law and my mother’s biological brother (note the care I take not to call him family). They are the two most manipulative, lying, cheating, stealing, tell-you-what-will-make-you-like-them males on the planet. They make my skin crawl.

KateTheGreat's avatar

I know a sociopath. He’s very charming in a way. He provokes you most of the time. But when I really got to know him, he was very dark and he had absolutely no emotion towards anything. He’s an interesting character and I talk to him all of the time. He’s just not someone I like to be around for too long of a time.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Electra Sociopath just means they’re missing all or part of their conscience. There are degrees of sociopathy, and the word is not synonymous with “serial killer” or “rapist”. Many are just the douchebag next door.

VS's avatar

I think @lucillelucillelucille and @flutherother hit on exactly how I wanted to answer. I have known one such person (I hesitate to call him ‘human’ as that would surely insult humanity as a whole). He was a helluva nice looking guy, said all the right things to make him me like him, and once he had me on the hook, he reeled me in. It wasn’t until he stole my car, hocked my expensive camera and .357 at a pawn shop 60 miles away, filed a false police report, and cried (oh yeah, real tears) about how sorry he was he let this happen, that I began to suspect anything. Very soon afterwards, one night when he asleep, I rifled his pockets and found the pawn ticket. I called the police as soon as he left my house and had him arrested on his job. He called me as they were approaching him to lock him up and expressed total surprise that I would “turn on him like that”. Yeah, sociopath to the core. I took the pawn ticket to the shop, and when the pawn merchant told me he wanted $650. for me to “redeem the merchandise”, I threatened him with a call to the police and would have him charged with receiving stolen goods. I was immediately given my camera and pistol at no charge. I have not seen the guy around anywhere in years, despite that we used to run in the same circles, and firmly believe he is either locked up in another state or dead.

Coloma's avatar


Good point.
Yep, sociopath does not mean ‘serial killer’ only.
Government and corporate management are the perfect podiums for self serving narcissistic/sociopath types.

It’s one wolf that wears many colorful sheepskins. lol

filmfann's avatar

My ex-boss, of course. I have already written quite a bit about him, but to quickly summerize, he raped a coworker, took pictures of it, showed the pictures to the crew, threatened to kill anyone who told company officials about it, purposely gave another coworker a heart attack, threatened to kill a customer, used his work truck as a weapon several times, and somehow still works for my company!
I had a therapist once tell me that my ex-boss would be considered a functional sociopath.

JmacOroni's avatar

@VS that sounds very much like the person I know.

flutherother's avatar

@filmfann Any boss that threatens to kill a customer can’t be all bad.

filmfann's avatar

@flutherother You are wrong. He is all bad.

ratboy's avatar

My experience with sociopathology is all first-person, so I can’t provide an objective account.

Electra's avatar

@MyNewTBoobs: I did not say that the word sociopath was synonymous with “serial killer” or “rapist.” Please refer to what I actually said, if you must refer to my comments, instead of making up things that I did not say and then attributing these things to me. Thank you. :)

Electra's avatar

Anyone who really thinks that I said that sociopaths’ behavior is limited to that of rapists and serial killers and that this behavior is the only way one may identify a sociopath did not understand what I posted. IJS.

filmfann's avatar

Wow, looking over my quick summary of my ex-boss made me laugh. I didn’t even put in how he used to brag about being a pedaphile.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Have you ever met a sociopath?
Yes. A guy who had seen me around nightclubs pestered mutual acquaintances of mine to get introduced so he could ask me out.

What was your first impression of them?
I disliked him immediately. He was model gorgeous, charming, extremely intelligent, confident- blah blah but I immediately didn’t like him and it took the intervention of other people to sway me to give him a chance. Other people thought he was really something so I gave in and have been sorry ever since. NEVER NEVER go against your gut instinct.

Did they act like a sociopath is described to act?
Oh yes. Textbook and more. It only took a few months before the veneer of charm, care and positivity became insane suspicion, control, threats to myself and others, actual harm to myself and others and the social spin of trying to portray themselves as the patient, all giving lover with a unstable and needy object of affection.

What was your view on them?
At first I couldn’t believe I’d fallen for facade, then I couldn’t believe they expected me to be so dumb as to buy their brainwashing, soon I was terrified that I couldn’t outwit them and get away easily. In the end it took my friends, family and coworkers conspiring with me to get me set up enough to escape.

To this day I look back on that experience as straight out of one of the The Living Channel’s nightmare episodes. I am typical of the women who say, “I never thought it would happen to me”.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Electra I’m sorry, I thought “A sociopath believes he has the right to the body and the life of any other human being on the planet” sounded like you were saying that all sociopaths were our there murdering others whenever anyone so much as cuts in front of them at the supermarket. But if I didn’t understand, then perhaps it would be more productive to expand upon your point and further clarify what you mean instead of saying that I didn’t understand.

faye's avatar

Yep, his name is Psycho Bob. He was charming, funny, handsome, and a total abuser. I shake my head now that I fell for him.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@faye Huh, you’d think that with a first name of “Psycho”, you’d have known better… ;D

faye's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs yeah, that’s how good at it he was!

Coloma's avatar

I read ‘The sociopath next door’ last year and boy, one red flag that really stood out was be careful of anyone that acts like a chronic victim of their previous relationships or life in general.

As @Neizvestnaya mentioned, ” portraying themselves as the patient, all giving lover to the unstable and needy ‘object’ of affection…” Yep, CLASSIC ‘spin’ and projection.

I dated someone a couple of years ago that started up with the ‘victim’ routine after setting things up for me to reject him, and I was so proud of myself for seeing it right away!

The guy came on like a freight train, all the classic ” you’re so perfect, wonderful, beautiful, etc.”
” I can’t wait to date you, do this, do that, blah, blah, blah, blah”...
Yet, He was not actually FOLLOWING THROUGH with ACTION!

Sooo, when I told him that he was, obviously, more into the game of chase than the reality of dating he immediatley went into his ‘poor me’ routine and actually said, ” You don;t want me!”


I just laughed and said ” No, what I don’t WANT is to play games, if you can’t make a plan to date me &, follow through you’re wasting both our time.”

It was PATHETIC how this guy shifted the blame from his lack of follow through to me not wanting him!


He claimed he wasn’t ‘good at making plans’....I told him ” Well, wanting to date someone but not being willing to make plans is like saying you want to lose weight but still have donuts for dinner” lol

Aaaah, I know, I’m sooo mean!

Spare me the bullshit.

And this was from a 49 year old MAN?

Danger, danger, unstable platform! haha

Electra's avatar

@MyNEwTBoobs: You need to learn that unless a writer has specified that ALL members of a given category are thus, it does not necessarily follow that this writer means that all members of a given category are thus. Your mistake is the sort of mistake made by people who typically didn’t do too well in Freshman Comp. classes—I’m not saying this to bash you, but because I see exactly this problem so, so frequently among Freshman Comp. students.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Electra I’d really appreciate if you stuck to the topic at hand instead of telling me what’s wrong with me and how I need to change.

Austinlad's avatar

Shoot! I just spotted my misspelling. Should have been spelled “liar.” Hate it when I do that.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I dated one for 2 years. That was about 10 years ago and I’m still really messed up.

I don’t even know where to start. She was very charming and relatively normal at first. She played the ‘life has been a total shit fest’ card with me, just one horrible story after another came out. She seemed so nice, so it was made out like she was a victim of really horrible circumstances, which in turn made me feel bad for her. I’m a sucker for broken people, what can I say.. I am a broken person, too, and I just really, really want to cuddle and soothe and fix these kinds of hurts in other people. That said, I had no idea of what I was getting myself into..

I ignored some red flags.. ended up moving across the country to be with her.. I pretty much bought it all, hook, line, and sinker. No one close to me like that had ever been so intentionally cruel and hurtful. Let’s see.. I moved, I arrived, and things were okay for a week or two. But then she refused to find a job and would blow up at me if I tried to discuss it. So, we blew through my savings and I was working 40 hours a week trying to support us, while she stayed up all night and played computer games. We ended up getting evicted because we couldn’t pay the rent.

During this time, we did some illegal things regarding money. She didn’t seem to have much of a conscience.

Really, everything was about her. She didn’t care about what other people wanted or how they felt, it was just all about her and her personal desires. She was an expert manipulator and would use sex to get money and stuff from people, then when she’d exhausted that as a resource, she’d just drop the person and move on.

We fought constantly and over the stupidest shit. Eventually, I got into placating her to avoid the huge volatile confrontations, yelling, insults, etc. One night, we got into a huge, nasty fight and when I went into my room and locked the door, she threatened to call the police to kick me out. I called her bluff and, sure enough, she called the cops. We were still fighting, but I was trying to be calm and rational and explain to the police what was going on. Once they saw I lived there, they simply asked me if I wouldn’t mind finding another place to stay for the night. I was sitting in the cop car outside, waiting for my friends to pick me up (because I’d sold my car to move, I didn’t own one), and the cop turns to me and says, “Wow. She is really crazy.duh.

Everything was my fault. It was kind of amazing, how every single thing would get twisted around and blamed on me. Then she started cheating on me, which I suspected and confronted her with, and she lied to my face repeatedly about it.

I could go on and on and on.. it’s ridiculous to me that I put up with this for so long. The last thing I will say is that she was extraordinarily perceptive, like.. it seriously blew my mind at times. She would know things about me or my behavior or that sort of thing, that no one should have known without my talking about them. It was downright creepy, actually. Kind of like she could read my mind, though I know that’s impossible… but somehow she was so perceptive and such an excellent observer of people’s behavior that she could see inside enough to predict actions, thoughts, etc. Really freaky.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
blueiiznh's avatar

@MissAnthrope Sorry to hear you had to go through this. I was in one exactly like this and know exactly what you mean about the mind blowing perceptiveness. people like this can find any crack in anything and blow it open wide. They take something and will run with it till your head spins out of control.
A Narcissistic Sociopath does make life all about them. They will take on smear campaigns to get everyone on their side. Sadly much of it comes from them having an abusive childhood.
All I can say is that if you are in a situation like this or see these signs in a person, Run like Hell!

Electra's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs: My point as before expressed: I cannot be expected to attempt to communicate with someone who is unable or unwilling to understand what I actually said. There is no communication that can proceed if you refuse to understand what I actually say. That was all I said, in effect, in the last couple of posts.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Electra If you look here, I not only apologized, but asked you for clarification. You then proceeded to insult me instead of accepting my apology or clarifying. So I’m not feeling like I did anything wrong at this point.

Electra's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs : Um, I don’t know what you think you read, but what I actually said is still up, so I don’t think I owe you another lengthy post on this matter. Your problems are your own, as are all of ours. :)

Dutchess_III's avatar

I know what you’re talking about @MyNewtBoobs~ Let’s go play somewhere else.

blueiiznh's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs I completely agree with your points.

Coloma's avatar

The only thing worse than a sociopath is a passive aggressive sociopath. lol

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
Coloma's avatar


LOL…I’ve just discovered another passive aggressive in my stable of horses of a different color. hahaha

Coloma's avatar

I think that selective inattention, purposeful ‘forgetting’ and that most amazing talent for not hearing what they don’t want to hear should be grounds for reduced murder sentences. lol

blueiiznh's avatar

@Coloma sorry to hear that. sounds like you need to go through those stable studs and set a few on their way

Coloma's avatar


This one’s a mare. She’s a crafty one. haha

Dutchess_III's avatar

Your exchange makes me curious….aren’t most people who are labeled “sociopaths” male? Why would that be?

Coloma's avatar

That’s true.
Most sociopaths are men, but, ya never know.
As far as I know the most conclusive findings are both genetic and environmental.
Males being conditioned to be more aggressive may be part of the formula.
There is also plenty of truth in the bad seed factor.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Dutchess_III Indeed, most people who are labeled “sociopaths” (or diagnosed with Anti-Social Personality Disorder) are male. The female equivalent is Borderline Personality Disorder. This is a huge problem, as it makes both of them a bit of a wastebasket diagnosis.

blueiiznh's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs I disagree. Sociopath and BiPolar are very different. While there may be a statistical swing of one gender being diagnosed more with either, it does not render them as a wastebasket diagnosis.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@blueiiznh Not Bipolar, Borderline Personality Disorder.

blueiiznh's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs and my comment still stands if you replace BiPolar with BPD. They are all different.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@blueiiznh How much do you know about either of these disorders?

blueiiznh's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs sadly a lot. If you would like to discuss in another question or offline, feel free.

Coloma's avatar

I HAD a female friend that was BPD…omg…talk about emotionally high maintainence, the woman was soooo fragile. I once told her I thought she would look nice in a certain shade of lipstick, benign girl talk right?

Nope, she flipped out and accused me of criticizing her makeup!

She was drop dead gorgeous, model material, but…. the most messed up, insecure, jealous, spiteful, grudge holding, train wreck of a female. Gah!

Sad, but..jesus….talk about walking on eggshells.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Coloma And that’s why what’s largely regarded as the best book on BPD is called “Stop Walking On Eggshells”.

blueiiznh's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs Yes, A definite read for all those who are in that type relationship or are friends with BPD or Bipolar.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@blueiiznh Not really. Bipolar isn’t the same thing as Borderline Personality Disorder. I mean, I think the book has some good tips for everyone, but not for bipolar more so than any other non-BPD mental disorder.

blueiiznh's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs I never said they were the same. I agree they are a very different diagnosis.
I stated that the book has value for co-dependents of both BPD and Bipolar. “Walking on eggshells” is a recommended read for dealing with both is all I stated.
Can you explain how a book that is recommended by therapists and support groups of people who have a SO or codependancy of someone that is Bipolar not a good read?
You stated “I mean, I think the book has some good tips for everyone, but not for bipolar more so than any other non-BPD mental disorder. How is it not a good book?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@blueiiznh Like I said, it has some good tips for everyone. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s recommended in a vast number of support groups for people who have a person with a mental disorder in their life – addictions, personality disorders, mood disorders, etc. I just don’t think it’s any better for bipolar (in addition to BPD) than it is for cocaine addiction, PTSD, depression, OCPD, etc. I think it’s a good book for everyone – I think it’s a great book for BPD.

Coloma's avatar

Ya know, while all of these disorders have their place, I don’t use them as excuses for crappy behaviors anymore.

I take what I call the ‘psycho/spiritual’ approach.

Namaste, fuck off! lol

Oooh, to think of the hundreds of hours I have spent trying to find reason in the unreasonable. Not anymore! lol

blueiiznh's avatar

@Coloma I am in that same place of approach as you.
You can’t save them, can’t change somebody else, and you certainly can’t be yourself with someone who trys to suck you into their vortex.
In my personal experiences, Sociopaths love to Fuck with your brain and see you suffer. It is their sourch of joy and energy.

I love the term psycho-spiritual!!

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

From reading the descriptions, I’m pretty sure that I hired a woman who is a sociopath. A verbal reference check with her existing boss at the time provided only positive reviews, but there was something that felt insincere in his caution of answering some of the questions. It should have been taken as a red flag, but I made the assumption that it was reluctance to let her go. I’ll spare you the details and just say that it became a high maintenance issue to have her as part of the team.

The question really comes down to how to effectively address a situation where someone has a disability and either does not recognize it or does not accept help in working through it.

Coloma's avatar


That’s the problem with a lot of character disturbed types, it can take months, if not YEARS to see the light, connect the dots.

Often there has been a lot of investmernt by the time one wakes up.

blueiiznh's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer and this is the tough part for employers and managers/supervisors as some of those disabilities are covered under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Coloma's avatar


Too funny, I’d never have thought!

noraasnave's avatar

My brother is an undiagnoses sociopath. I only discovered this because I opened up my home to him for 18 months before I had to kick him out.

I invited him in because he was claiming that he needed to get together money to fight for custody/visitation changes with his children. It sounds completely reasonable. I am the oldest sibling of three he is the youngest. I figured I would finally get to the know the brother that I never got to spend time with before even though we were only 5 years apart.

To make a long story somewhat shorter…it turns out that he postures and positions so that he is always the victim. It took me a little while to realize that he was slowly but progressively becoming MY victim…at least in his eyes and the eyes of our parents who he was feeding negative information about me to.

That is how he sets up his game….he fed negative information about his previous living arrangement and visitation…then he slowly wears out his welcome by taking over the new household….then he feeds negative information to the next place he wants to mooch.

He has no remorse, never apologizes. He feigns shame for not paying any child support for his 5 children. He currently owes ($60,000) which I found out my not opening a letter which was mis-addressed to my house after he moved.

He is always acting….I never witnessed any real emotion. He had dark moods and darker moods.

He wanted to bring my wife in on a special “welcome-home” surprise (I was coming back from deployment to afghanistan). He wanted her to pretend with him that she was cheating on me with him. My wife was horrified and avoided him for the last month or so before I arrived home. Of course this plan was after I had informed him that he would have a month after I got home to move elsewhere.

Shippy's avatar

He was charming, persuasive and alluring. Just like all sociopaths are. So I married him.

Years later he is a great guy, as most sociopaths burn out at 40.

blueiiznh's avatar

@Shippy. And they burn everything in their paths.

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