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Sociopath Traits: Characteristics of a Sociopath

Know the sociopath traits and characteristics of a sociopath before you run into big time trouble. Take a look at this.

Sociopath traits; wouldn't it be nice to know them before you run into trouble?

A sociopath can be a bit of an enigma, for he's someone who stands out in a rather obvious way or he hides deceptively, right out in the open. Despite his confusing nature, there are sociopath traits and characteristics of a sociopath that help people recognize the sociopathic personality.

Sociopathic personality traits and characteristics are sometimes subtle aspects of her character that drive what she does. Together, they form a persistent and pervasive pattern that define a sociopath. They are consistent over time and are part of all aspects of her life. A sociopath test may or may not reveal a person's true nature (take the sociopath test, Am I A Sociopath? screening to understand what traits and characteristics of a sociopath the tests measure).

Sociopath Traits Delineated

The characteristics of a sociopath make up who he is. Sociopathic traits influence what he does. A sociopath is a cold, callus, and calculating individual who has a pattern of

  • Lying
  • Irresponsibility
  • Manipulation
  • Lack of emotion

Some famous sociopaths have stories that illustrate the depravity of a sociopath in a way four bullet points cannot.

Untrustworthiness as a Sociopath Trait

Never trust a sociopath. He's a liar. He lies to get his way, he lies to hurt, and sometimes he lies just for his own amusement. A sociopath is extremely skilled at lying, so much so that it always seems as though he's telling the truth. As a pathological liar, a sociopath constantly makes up stories so captivating that people easily believe them. 

A sociopath lies with natural deftness. Stories are compelling and believable, and he tells them so very well. A sign of a sociopath is the ability to maintain eye contact. He does so even while lying. An underhanded trait of a sociopath is the ability to control people through his presence and communication style. He makes eye contact, smiles sincerely and confidently. He is magnetic and draws in his audience whether it's a crowd of one or one hundred or more. The sociopath is that charismatic. If you come across a narcissistic sociopath, beware of his sense of entitlement. If you don't worship him, you will pay.

A characteristic of a sociopath is that he is so charming, so personable, that you want to believe him. Many people do believe him, which is why he gets away with it. Don't believe him.

A Trait of a Sociopath: Irresponsibility

Sociopaths can be incredibly successful, excelling in powerful careers. A sociopath characteristic is that her motivation differs drastically from everyone else's. She can be responsible in the way that the world defines responsibility if it suits her whim; that is, if it helps her or hurts someone she wants to hurt. Otherwise, a sociopath doesn't care about conforming to someone else's definition of responsibility.

This irresponsibility includes a complete refusal to take ownership of her actions. Denial and blame are prominent sociopath traits. Sociopaths can hurt someone and feel nothing. When accused of anything, the sociopath shrugs it off in cool denial. She is acutely aware of her actions and has neither shame nor remorse for what she has done. She just won't take responsibility, ever, because she genuinely believes her actions are always justified. Victims deserve what they get, thinks the sociopath.

Manipulation, No Emotion: Chilling Sociopath Traits

To a sociopath, people are toys or pawns to mess with and manipulate. The world is but a circus, and the sociopath is the ringmaster. He manipulates and controls who he wants, how he wants, and whenever he wants. He plays the game of life for fun and personal gain.

Perhaps one single trait of a sociopath allows all of the others to exist. This one trait leads to the other characteristics of a sociopath. The sociopath feels no empathy, no emotion.

The sociopath is unencumbered by feelings such as fear, anxiety, stress, depression, remorse, guilt, caring, and love (Do Sociopaths Cry or Even Have Feelings?). This allows him to move through life freely, doing what profits and amuses him. When he tires of one circus, he closes it down and, feeling nothing about the destruction he leaves behind, he sets out to create a new one.

A woman who for a long time was married to a sociopath and suffered many consequences, writes, "One of the most prominent and telling traits of many sociopaths is their fantastic ability to manipulate others and lie for profit, to avoid punishment, or simply just for fun" (Buttafuoco, 2009).

The traits of a sociopath portray someone who doesn't care what his traits and characteristics are, as long as he can use them to his advantage.


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next: Sociopath Causes: The Making of a Sociopath
~ all articles on Personality Disorders
~ all Sociopath Articles

Last Updated: 17 July 2017
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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