Sociopaths are individuals who do not have a conscience. They display certain characteristic traits that include a grandiose sense of self, selfish behavior and superficial charm, among others. Their behavior is generally considered harmful to the individuals around them and society in general.
Sociopathy is a subset of the antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). Though the word 'sociopath' has become outdated in psychiatry, it can still be found in use in general lexicon and pop culture.
Owing to their similar predominant characteristic traits, the terms sociopath and psychopath are often used interchangeably. And while they are similar in most respects, the focal factor that sets them apart is that psychopathy is a predominantly innate concept while sociopathy comes about as a result of certain factors in the environment.
Sociopaths are not born, they develop these traits in early childhood or adolescence due to external factors like bad childhood and/or adolescence (which may include all forms of abuse) and others. Another myth that should be dispelled is that sociopaths are not same as serial killers. In fact, only some sociopathics turn out to be serial killers.
The traits of a sociopath are many and it can be quite confusing to draw a conclusion whether one has sociopathic tendencies. That is why a set of key questions have been drawn as a part of a test that you can take.
Please Note: It is very important to note that a sociopath in his truest form could be a prolific liar and therefore he could just as easily cheat on the test. Thus making the self-assessment test for sociopaths fundamentally flawed.
Test to Check Whether You are a Sociopath
- Are your emotional responses calculated and performed?
- Do you frequently use and manipulate people (even those who are close to you) to get to your end goals?
- Do you possess a certain superficial charm that you use to convince others of 'how good you are'?
- Do you lie compulsively and have an innate need of stimulation?
- Are you filled with covert hostility?
- Do you thrive in havoc and feel rewarded when your addictive needs are fulfilled?
- Have you had a series of lost friendships and relationships?
- Do you have regular encounters with law?
- Do you believe your actions are solely your business, even if they cause devastating ramifications for others?
- Do you act on your momentary whims even if they are vicious?
- Do you consider yourself above others and see yourself as fit to dictate terms to others or control others' behavior?
- Are you very secretive and hardly ever let anyone in on your plans?
- Do you feel remorseless after cheating on your spouse and have no qualms about engaging in dubious sexual activities?
- Does your behavior tend to be more inclined towards despotic (yielding power oppressively) and self-serving?
- Do you weave elaborate justifications for your actions if caught red-handed?
- Do people find it hard to reason with you?
- Do you feel unashamed and angry if somebody caught up with your lies? Do you respond by verbally attacking that person?
- Have you ever been cruel to animals?
- Do you get easily bored with things around you?
- Are you incapable of loving someone?
- When you were younger, were you often in trouble for not adhering to the rules?
- Do you feel unsympathetic towards people in pain?
- Have you changed several jobs in the last two-three years?
- Do you feel contemptuous towards nearly everyone in your life?
Results of the Test
If most of your answers are 'never', then your behavior falls within the normal range of societal code of conduct.
If most of your answers are 'sometimes', then it means that you have some sociopathic tendencies. However, you can work towards correcting them.
If all of your answers are 'always', then you are certainly a sociopath.
Characteristics of a Sociopath
Lack of Conscience
Psychopaths never feel guilty about the harm or hurt they cause to others; be it humans, animals, or things. They never feel the pain, suffering, or concern for other people. They are calculating, cold-blooded and are highly unsympathetic. They literally feel no emotions. They always justify their wrongdoings.
They are really good at acting and can play very well with other people's emotions. They can manipulate everybody around them to get their work done. They possess a certain glibness that helps them in their deceitful endeavors.
It is impossible for sociopaths to be truthful on a consistent basis. Some sociopaths lie with such conviction that they can even pass the lie detector test. They are shrewd, deceptive, and unscrupulous.
Sociopaths are impulsive and irresponsible, as they never care about what they do to others. They can hardly fulfill or honor their commitment or promises. They use people as a means to an end.
They generally change partners and are found to be engaged in short-term relationships. They are promiscuous and have an indiscriminate choice of sexual partners.
They generally have a history of deviant behavior in their childhood and teenage years. They sometimes have an odd obsession, from which average individuals would shrink away.
Incapable of Love
The only person whom they love is themselves. Some sociopaths are also narcissists, who actually believe that they are better than others. However, they are certainly capable of feigning their emotions if that serves their purpose.
They like to win at all costs and go to any lengths to prove their point to others. They eagerly defend their lies even after being proven wrong. They take little or no time to spin up another web of lies just to save their face.
Before you jump to conclusions, bear in mind that having some of these characteristics does not make someone a true sociopath. To be a sociopath in the full sense of the word, the person needs to manifest these traits in their entirety.