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How to deal with a sociopath – antisocial personality disorder.
The answer to how to deal with a sociopath is actually very simple.
I know, it’s probably not the answer you were expecting. But this is the only answer if you want to stay emotionally healthy.
These are great references for helping you understand the definition of antisocial personality disorder and characteristics of a sociopath.
They also provide you with the behavioral traits of a sociopath, and what to look for when trying to identify one. This is important to know, because you need to be able to distinguish whether or not you are actually dealing with a sociopath.
The first step is to identify the symptoms. In understanding the traits and mindset of someone with antisocial personality disorder, it can help you to understand exactly what it is you’re dealing with.
For a person to be diagnosed as a sociopath he or she must have at least three or more of the below mentioned symptoms.
- Displays heightened levels of deceitfulness in dealings with others, which involves lying, conning others without remorse, or even using aliases
- Inability to abide by the social norms and thus violating the law
- Displays aggressiveness and often tends to get into assaults and physical fights
- Shows a complete lack of empathy for others and their situation for which they are responsible
- Displays no feelings or shallow feelings
- Behavior is impulsive and unpredictable, which is indicated by the inability to plan for the future
- Displays no concern for safety of others around them or self
- Inability to sustain a consistent behavior that stems mainly from irresponsibility especially at work place or in other dealings
- Displays promiscuous behavior
Once you understand how they think, and how they work, it can make it easier to separate yourself from that person.
And while there is no appropriate answer for how to deal with a sociopath, the best answer is to avoid them completely, if possible. You also need to understand that you cannot help them. You cannot fix them.
Most importantly, their behavior is not your fault.
But what if it isn’t possible to avoid them? What if the sociopath is a family member?
This may make it more difficult to completely cut them out of your lives, but there are some ways to deal with their sociopathic behavior.
Tips on how to deal with a sociopath
- Do not be afraid to tell them no. If they call you up needing a favor, tell them no, you can’t help them. You have to be firm
- Don’t share anything personal with them – they will find a way to use it against you
- Don’t make them aware of your weaknesses, as they will exploit them. If they already know some of your weaknesses and use them to try and hurt you, just ignore them. They’re looking for a reaction, and if they don’t get one, they’ll lose interest
- Never give or loan them money. They will never stop asking for more, and you will never get it back. Tell them you’re broke, or you don’t have it to spare.
- Always be skeptical of anything they tell you. More often than not, it’s a complete fabrication. Call them out on their lies, let them know you are not fooled
- Save your breath. Telling them how you feel, showing emotion, or trying to get them help is futile. They do not have the capacity to care or understand
- Keep any interactions or conversations with them vague and non-specific. No details about how you’re doing, or how your life is going.
- Do not leave anything of value lying around or unattended in their presence; such as a wallet or purse, jewelry, etc. – otherwise these items may disappear
- Keep your guard up, and stay strong and calm – make it clear that you are not intimidated by them or their behavior
These tips will help you when you find yourself in a situation that makes interaction with the sociopath unavoidable.
But the only way to truly protect yourself, and the best advice to follow on how to deal with a sociopath truly is to just stay away.
I know it sounds dramatic and harsh. But if you don’t have a lot of experience in dealing with a sociopath, or you don’t take these behaviors seriously, you can, and more than likely will, get hurt.
My advice and my feelings on this subject come from my personal experience of growing up with a brother who has antisocial personality disorder.
It took me until just recently to realize he was a sociopath. The symptoms and behaviors are similar to other personality disorders. I tried for years to figure out what exactly was wrong with him, I tried talking to him, I tried to help him, to no avail.
And then I spoke with my counselor about his behavior. Together we looked up antisocial personality disorder. We went over the traits specific to this disorder, as well as the causes and risk factors.
After reading up on it, everything about his behavior from our childhood on, made sense. I read over each symptom, and even looked they symptoms up on other sites, just to be sure. As stated above, in order to be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder, he or she must have 3 or more of the listed symptoms.
My brother possesses every single one.
Related – My Borderline Mother – “The Witch”
In no way does it make me feel good to come to this realization. In fact, it makes me quite sad to know that my brother will never change. His personality and behavior has had an affect on me over the course of my life. He has both physically and verbally abused me since we were younger.
He would do things to purposely hurt me, and would laugh about it. When around other people, he liked to criticize, demean and humiliate me. There were several instances where he would get so angry, he would attack me – once, as kids, he almost drowned me.
Another time, as teenagers, he came at me with a butcher knife, and was on top of me with the knife in my face. It took every ounce of strength I had to hold his arm back. If my arm had given out before he backed off, it would have stabbed me in the face.
I’ve been shot by both a BB gun and a pellet gun by him. I’ve been kicked, punched, pushed and threatened by him.
He has stolen from me, my kids, his own kids, as well as other family members, and even friends and strangers. Everything that comes out of his mouth is a lie.
I could go on, but I think you get the idea.
The crazy part is, I would still help him. I would still do things for him, felt bad for him…that’s how good at control and manipulation a sociopath is. He could even be almost likable at times, but it never lasted very long.
Needless to say, I don’t have a relationship with him at all anymore. I avoid contact with him at all costs. What gets me the most is that there are so many people who find him quite charismatic and likable.
They believe his crazy lies, and think he’s fun to be around. Most people have no idea, and are completely fooled. I don’t know that they’d even believe me if I told them he was a sociopath. I can’t worry about that, I can only worry about protecting myself.
So that’s why my response to the question of how to deal with a sociopath is, you don’t.