Friday, June 26, 2015

Who's a Sociopath? and How to Protect Yourself!

We've all met sociopaths. Unfortunately sometimes they hold a place of power in your life, whether they are your employer, your teacher, a spouse or someone you thought was your friend. Sociopaths are people that you need to be aware of so you can protect yourself from their toxic energy.

"Very little of what they say actually checks out in terms of facts or reality, but they're extremely skillful at making the things they say sound believable,"

Taken from the fascinating book, The Sociopath Next Door, which says that 4% of the population are sociopaths.

10 signs for spotting a sociopath

#1) Sociopaths are charming.

#2) Sociopaths are more spontaneous and intense than other people

#3) Sociopaths are incapable of feeling shame, guilt or remorse.

#4) Sociopaths invent outrageous lies about their experiences.

#5) Sociopaths seek to dominate others and "win" at all costs.

#6) Sociopaths tend to be highly intelligent

#7) Sociopaths are incapable of love 

#8) Sociopaths speak poetically

#9) Sociopaths never apologize.

#10) Sociopaths are delusional and literally believe that what they say becomes truth

That's how sociopaths operate. As they're speaking, they capture your imagination and sound reasonable, even authoritative. But in the clear light of day, what they are actually saying is absurd... even dangerous.

How To Survive a Sociopath Boss

Trust your instincts. Martha Stout’s research shows that statistically, the odds you are dealing with a sociopath are higher than you may think. When a boss starts to publicly castigate you (or others) for mistakes you didn’t actually make, take note. When joking becomes sarcastic, one or two individuals are perpetually targeted, or a boss maliciously plays team members against each other, there may be a deeper issue at play. Take notes, and proceed with caution.

Keep Records. A true sociopath generally operates one on one, and thrives on situations they can turn into a “he said/she said” scenario after the fact. To the extent you can document instructions and commitments in email (or even through recordings, if you are careful) you will be further ahead.

Call the person out and defend yourself (carefully). If you can do so calmly and without losing your temper, stop the meeting, stop the discussion, set a one on one appointment with the individual in question, and do whatever else is necessary to hold your ground and avoid becoming a pawn. This will send the message that you’re not a victim to be played or walked over. Proceed with care—the effort to defend yourself could backfire if it makes you an even bigger target, or allows a mean-spirited boss to view you (or paint you) as disrespectful or uncooperative—but ultimately, you will be better off for having carefully defended the boundary that you are not willing to be treated unfairly or “played”.

Never, ever trust that person again. Sociopaths are a breed of leopards that will not (and cannot) change their spots. They may be smooth and persuasive; they may promise you anything—but once a person like this has been unveiled, avoid at all costs any scenario that forces you to work with them again.

Leave. If the organization is unable or unwilling to deal with the situation, your only hope is to leave. This is a scenario that occurs with surprising frequency—it is hard for an organization to fathom that a single individual could be at the core of so much harm, or the company may fear the repercussions of firing a person whose propensity for sabotage is known to be strong. In any case, if you are unable to move or transfer and the company is unwilling to deal with the individual directly, your most productive choice will likely be to move on.

Provide help and support for others. If you’ve survived a situation like this, you are in a uniquely beneficial position to help and support others. This, too, will be a favorable outcome of the hard won experience you’ve gained.

So if you’ve met or experienced a full-on sociopath in the workplace (and statistically the odds are high there’ve been several) treat the situation with care. Move yourself as speedily as possible to the point you can remember what you learned—and perhaps even laugh about the memory—as you put it as quickly as possible into the far distant past.

How to Deal With a Sociopath

Recognize the signs that someone is sociopathic. Sociopaths have a personality disorder that prevents them from feeling empathy for others. Although they often seem friendly and likable, they use their charm to get people to do things for them. The following traits are common among sociopaths:[1]
  • Superficial charm; everyone seems to like them.
  • Lack of remorse; they don't feel guilty when they've done something wrong.
  • Lack of empathy; they don't seem to care when someone else is hurt.
  • Propensity to lie; they do it casually, like it's nothing.
  • Incapacity for love; those closest to them realize something is missing.
  • Egocentricity; they light up when they're the center of attention.
  • Delusions of grandeur; they often perceive themselves as superior to others.

Understand what drives a sociopath.
Realize that sociopaths are expert manipulators. 
Don't expect a sociopath to care about your feelings.
To deal with a sociopath, think like one.
Consider avoiding the person completely.
Put up your guard.
Be skeptical about anything the person tells you.
Carry on a neutral conversation. 
Never share personal information.
Avoid talking about what makes you happy or upset. 
  • Avoid complaining, since any information about your weaknesses, things that cause you mental, emotional or psychological pain, or anything that annoys, bothers or hurts you they will use as arsenal to terrorize you.
  • Don't let the person know when your feelings are hurt. The sociopath will be more likely to repeat the behavior so you'll get hurt again. 
Keep your cards close to your chest
Show the sociopath that you're on to him or her. 

Do not become indebted to a sociopath.
Document harassment if it takes place.

If you feel the person is trying to undermine you, it's important to start collecting evidence. Since sociopaths are often quite popular, you might find yourself in a situation where no one believes you unless you have proof that you're being wronged. Save emails and other correspondence so you can share it with the other parties involved if need be   


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