Sociopaths are a type of anti-social personality disorder, according to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).
Sociopaths tend to be charming, likable, highly manipulative individuals, yet struggle to form emotional bonds with others. They lack empathy and remorse for their actions, and because of this, they will often lie, even about trivial things.
Sociopaths tend to be egocentric and feel superior to others. They want to be the center of attention and admiration.
They’ll cause drama where there is none to watch the fireworks. They will use other people to entertain themselves or to further their agenda. The best way to deal with these emotionally draining sociopaths is to cut them out of your life or ignore them. However, if you have one in your life that you cannot get rid of because you are a parent, child, coworker, or boss, you should know how to deal with them effectively with these nine comebacks.
What Is a Sociopath?
Sociopaths and psychopaths both suffer from antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). Having this mental disorder doesn’t always lead to criminal activity, but it does raise the risk of engaging in illegal activities. Studies estimate that most crimes involve individuals suffering from some form of ASPD. Along with a disregard for laws and social norms, a sociopath lacks empathy for others and can’t relate to human emotions.
They also have difficulty maintaining responsibilities such as a career, family life, and school work. Most people who have ASPD will exhibit deviant behavior before fifteen.
7 Red Flags That Reveal a Sociopath
Mental health professionals don’t diagnose someone as a sociopath since the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) doesn’t recognize it. Instead, the psychologist would diagnose the patient with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), including psychopathy. In general, people with these conditions have a pattern of disregard for the safety and well-being of themselves and others.
Signs and symptoms of ASPD include the following:
1. They Have No Empathy For Others.
Sociopaths don’t have the capability of feeling empathy or compassion for others. They may even laugh or smile when they see or hear about someone in pain or distress. Sadly, a sociopath only views people as chess pieces to move around to get what they want.
They might have learned this maladaptive behavior during childhood if their parents neglected or abused them. If they felt like no one would take care of them, the sociopath learned to distrust others from a young age.
So, they may seem cold and callous because they had no choice but to survive. This doesn’t excuse their behavior, but many studies show a strong link between childhood trauma and sociopathy.
2. A Sociopath Manipulates People For Their Benefit.
As we said in the first point, sociopaths can’t have normal relationships with others because they view them as a means to an end. They’re incapable of having healthy, stable bonds with people since they learned from a young age to fend for themselves. The sociopath still lives in survival mode, acting out of fear and instincts to obtain what they need.
They may act charming and cunning to reel people in at first. Before the victim knows it, they’re wrapped up in the sociopath’s game of deceit and manipulation. Sociopaths have learned how to mimic appropriate, accepted social cues to get close to others. However, the relationship remains one-sided since they’re only “playing nice” until they get what they need. They only show their true colors after the damage is done.
3. They’re Impulsive and Have Difficulty Planning for the Future.
Sociopaths have no impulse control since they’re stuck in survival mode. They act without considering the consequences first, leading to poor decision-making. For instance, instead of holding down a job to pay the bills, they may rob a bank or engage in other illegal activities to make ends meet. Their impulsive behaviors don’t just involve money; they may also suffer from substance abuse, gambling addictions, and other problems.
The future isn’t even worth considering since survival depends on what they do in the present. In other words, they can’t plan for the future when it seems uncertain due to their tendencies and learned behaviors.
4. Sociopaths Are Known For Being Aggressive and Even Violent.
Sociopaths must maintain control of people and situations at all times. They may lash out and act aggressively toward others when they feel like losing the upper hand. This could involve verbal or emotional abuse and may escalate into physically harming others.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, sociopaths are the most dangerous criminal because they are obsessed with self-gratification. Many habitual criminals, such as rapists and murderers, lack remorse and a need for instant gratification. Experts estimate that sociopaths comprise about 35% of the prison population and are responsible for 80-90% of all crimes.
5. They Show No Guilt or Remorse For Their Actions.
Sociopaths don’t live by the same laws as everyone else, so they will never admit wrongdoing. They always justify their actions somehow and have no empathy for the pain they cause. They don’t feel normal human emotions such as shame or guilt, so they cannot feel remorse.
6. They’re Arrogant and Argumentative.
To manipulate people, they have to come across as arrogant, intelligent, and superior to others. It becomes easy to gain their trust if they can project this self-confidence when talking to people. They have no problem sharing their opinions and often debate with others about politics, finance, and other topics. They’re brilliant and know a little about everything to keep their facade going.
7. Sociopaths Ignore Social Norms and Laws.
As we said earlier, a sociopath will have no regard for the law or societal norms. Since they don’t play by the standard rules of life, they do not need to follow artificial guidelines and regulations. They’re often involved in illegal activities and may break the rules at school or work. Stalking, harassment, destruction of property, stealing, and ignoring social boundaries are just ways they defy the justice system.
9 Comebacks for Dealing with a Sociopath
Here are some phrases that will stop a sociopath in their tracks.
Whenever a sociopath tries to manipulate you to do something for them, say “No.” You don’t need to justify or explain yourself; say no and walk away.
2. “I’m doing great, thanks.”
Sociopaths will try to find your weaknesses to exploit your emotional states for their ends and will often ask you how you are doing or say that you look worried, upset, or tired. So unless a close friend or family member asks the question, don’t give the person an opening.
3. “I don’t believe you.”
A sociopath may come to you with gossip about a friend, spouse, or co-worker, but there is an excellent chance that what they are saying is not valid. They are trying to manipulate you and the other person for their advantage.
4. “Hey, did you see the latest episode of ____.”
Try to keep conversations with sociopaths to neutral subjects like television, news, music, and sports. Don’t be drawn into revealing personal information about you or your family or difficulties at work or home. Sociopaths feed on drama, so don’t give anything to sustain them, and they will lose interest.
5. “I bought it at a thrift store.”
Sociopaths with use flattery and compliments to ingratiate themselves with you. Defuse their insincerity by blowing off whatever they compliment as trivial or mundane.
6. “No, thank you, I’m good.”
Sociopaths will try to offer you things or do things for you to put you in their debt. Don’t let them. Once they have that handle, they will manipulate you into doing things for them.
7. “I got that new job weeks ago.”
If you plan to change like getting a new job, moving into another house, or starting a new relationship, don’t let a sociopath know until after the fact. A sociopath will try to dissuade you from changing things to keep you under their thumb and control. They will seek to undermine your efforts to better yourself or distance yourself from them, so don’t let them know your plans until after you have fulfilled them.
8. “Could you repeat that? Just speak directly into the microphone.”
Sociopaths will often harass you to get their way. Belittling you, putting you down, or giving you a hard time are all ways to beat you down emotionally and make you easier to manipulate. They will likely find an easier target if you show that you are documenting their bad behavior.
9. “Sorry, I’m broke.”
Sociopaths will try to use you for your money or connections to fulfill their desires for wealth or power. They will lose interest if you communicate to them that you have neither wealth nor power to exploit.
We are spirits having a human experience. There are all types of people in the world. You don’t have to participate in every argument and toxic experience. You get to decide how you act, react and teach others.
Final Thoughts on Stopping a Sociopath From Getting Under Your Skin
Sociopaths aren’t easy to get along with, but it’s important to remember that they have a mental disorder. Many aren’t even aware of their actions and how they affect others. However, sociopaths can become dangerous in certain situations, so it’s best to avoid them. If you can’t ignore them entirely, you can still set firm boundaries and disengage during conversations where you feel uncomfortable.
Sociopaths need help for their disorders, just like anyone with mental health. If left untreated, they can become a danger to themselves and society. Hopefully, we’ll continue expanding our knowledge on this condition so that they can receive the proper treatments.