One fact most people never think of or realize is the high probability that every community, every school, and every company or organization likely has a sociopath or two in it.
The kind of sociopath we’re talking about is very different from a serial killer. This sociopath quite possibly never breaks a law and has never been to jail. This sociopath is far less obvious but far more commonplace.
He or she might be your neighbor, your brother, your mother or your father. She or he can hide behind a perfect manicure, an excellent job, charity work or the PTO. Most people would never think of this person as a sociopath.
In fact, she may have a charisma that draws people to her. She may be admired and appear selfless and kind to many. But deep down, she is not like the rest of us. Sometimes no one can see that something is wrong except the people who are closest to her. Often her children can feel it, but that doesn’t mean they understand it.
There is one main feature that sets sociopaths apart from the rest of us. That one thing can be expressed in one word: conscience. Simply put, a sociopath feels no guilt. Because of this, he’s freed up to do virtually anything without having to pay any internal price for it. A sociopath can say or do anything she wants and not feel bad the next day, or ever.
Along with a lack of guilt comes a profound lack of empathy. For the sociopath, other people’s feelings are meaningless because she has no ability to feel them. In fact, sociopaths don’t actually feel anything the way the rest of us do. Their emotions operate under a very different system, which usually revolves around controlling others.
If the sociopath succeeds in controlling you, he may actually feel some warmth for you. The flip side of that coin is that if he fails at controlling you, he will despise you. He uses underhanded means to get his way, and if that doesn’t work, he’ll bully. If that fails, he will retaliate.
Having no conscience frees up the sociopath to use any underhanded means to get her way. She can be verbally ruthless. She can portray things falsely. She can twist others’ words to her own purposes. She can blame others when things go awry. It’s not necessary to own her mistakes because it’s much easier to blame someone else.