Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sociopaths Among Us

I've previously confessed I'm addicted to bulletin boards, more for the interplay of personalities than anything else. Yet, despite being a bulletin board aficionado, I'm surprising naive at recognizing the power plays that some of the more sociopathically inclined individuals engage in. Perhaps, because, those of us with consciences cannot suspend our moral sense enough to comprehend the actions of people with no moral compass whatsoever.

We might be able to imagine getting angry, feeling slighted or wanting to make a point, but we can not understand the actions of one to whom other people are simply objects to be manipulated, for sport, for power, or, as one sociopath said, simply "because I can."

Spotting a sociopath is not as easy as you may think. Contrary to popular opinion, sociopaths function quite well in society, often rising to positions of power, and are not all incarcerated for heinous crimes. Instead, they walk among us glibly fabricating images of themselves as intelligent, talented, rational individuals. As they have no compulsion about truth telling they build facades of intricate lies and we seldom recognize them for what they are until it is too late.

Those with weak characters and self-delusion tendencies flock to sociopaths for the feeling of power they get when drifting behind in their wake and will frequently staunchly defend them. Perhaps these weak willed individuals are borderline sociopaths themselves and recognize that it is safer to ally oneself with a sociopath than it is to denounce them. Fellow sociopaths frequently form alliances which enables both of them to continue operating outside the bounds of normal convention.

What those of us with normal moral development must understand is that a sociopath will never change and will never abide by normal conventions, nor even the conventions that they insist we abide by. They will always be "beyond the pale." The best and safest thing you can do is to run, not walk away. Sociopaths are dangerous people. 


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