If you are trying to find a book to read before bed, one that will lull you off to sleep with peaceful dreams to follow, don’t pick up the one I am reading. “The Sociopath Next Door” will rattle you, as you realize that Dr. Martha Stout could be describing someone you have loved for a long time – a friend, a family member, a spouse – despite the fact that they have broken your heart over and over again, continually draining your emotional tank.
Does this sound like anyone you know? The clinical diagnosis of a sociopath is a person who possesses at least three of the seven following characteristics:
1. failure to conform to social norms
2. deceitfulness; manipulativeness
3. impulsivity; failure to plan ahead
4. irritability; aggressiveness
5. reckless disregard for the safety of others or self
6. consistent irresponsibility
7. lack of remorse after having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another individual
“Sociopaths … are known for their pathological lying and conning … they fail to acknowledge responsibility for any failure … they have no trace of empathy and no genuine interest in bonding emotionally with a mate.”
Dr. Stout believes that one in every 25 people is a sociopath, “meaning, essentially, that they do not have a conscience.” I have no doubt at all at that this number is accurate. As more and more women who live in abusive relationships bravely come forward and seek help, it becomes sadly apparent that most of them have loved men who are unable to love anyone but themselves.