One of the most important statistics in this book is found at the beginning of the book:
Everyone in our country is familiar with ANOREXIA - 3.43% of our population has an anorexic eating disorder and we hear about them all the time (news/documentary reports, movies, books).
Everyone in our country is familiar with COLON CANCER – 0.04% (40 people in 100,000) of our population has colon cancer; we hear about colon cancer ALL the time (colon cancer awareness, Katie Couric’s platform because of her husband’s colon cancer).
But FOUR PERCENT (4%) of our society, one in every twenty-five people are SOCIOPATHIC PERSONALITIES! Most people do not even know what a sociopath is, yet they are more prevalent than you can imagine and you have probably been exposed to one during your lifetime (neighbors, friends, relatives, co-workers, partners/ex-partners, etc.). They are hard to initially spot because they are NICE, CHARMING, GREGARIOUS, CHARISMATIC people who will draw you in, and with no guilt or remorse at all, leave you as ‘a carcass on the landscape’ as they move onto the next thing. As a child, they were probably the kid who made up stories to pit friend against friend (outright bully, insidious bully) and they may have had other behavior problems, always including a failure to acknowledge responsibility.
Simple Definition of a Sociopath – lacking conscience (your seventh sense).
TRAITS OF A SOCIOPATH:
• Pity – something they use to get you sucked in
• Charm – they are very charming on the surface
• Liars – lying is their winning formula; they do it with ease
• Manipulative – you have something they want (parasitic relationship)
• Compassionless – No Guilt, No Remorse, No Conscience; they lack empathy, they cannot feel compassion
• Impulsive – they have a greater need for stimulation than most people; they will take risks (social, physical, financial, legal) and they will charm others into taking these risks with them.
• Irresponsible – can never take the blame
• Bullying - They enjoy publicly humiliating others
• Cunning – they possess a cunning intelligence
• Shallowness – they possess a breathtaking callousness, no interest in genuine bonding or forming deep relationships, deep intimacy. (Look for a certain ‘coldness’ in the eyes)
A sociopath can talk with you for just a few minutes, figure out what your dreams are, and hook you before you realize what is happening.
A sociopath can totally disrupt systems that have been in place for years.
You may experience some type of inner voice or nagging suspicion that you are ‘being played like a fiddle;’ yet the Sociopath easily draws you back in. Sometimes it takes someone on the OUTSIDE of the situation to see what is going on.
This staggering FOUR PERCENT of our society can wreak havoc on the rest of the planet. They will:
• drain relationships
• drain bank accounts
• devalue accomplishments of others
• destroy self-esteem of others
Remember, the sociopath will do ANYTHING to get what he or she wants.
Ask yourself the following questions when you find yourself in a relationship with someone that may be exhibiting the above tendencies/characteristics:
• Am I better off physically now that I am involved with this person?
• Am I better off mentally now that I am involved with this person?
• Am I better off spiritually now that I am involved with this person?
• Am I better off financially now that I am involved with this person?
• Is this a win-win relationship? If it is win-win, that means the Holy Spirit is present. If it is a win-lose, there is no Spirit present in the relationship.
Try to identify the thing that you ‘have’ that they want, and somehow remove that thing from the equation.
Do not get confused thinking that the sociopath only wants to ‘climb the corporate ladder,’ gaining power and influence. Some sociopaths are completely uninterested in power and influence. Their only REAL ambition is to NOT TO HAVE TO EXERT THEMSELVES to get by. Lacking a conscience, they can nap, pursue hobbies, watch tv, live on handouts from friends and relatives, not once thinking about the pain or discomfort they are causing anyone else.
A conscience is reflective and ordinary, and for the most part, goes unnoticed. We are born with it, and as we go through our daily lives, we experience feelings (hurt, pain, guilt/remorse, empathy, sympathy). The panicked feeling of a guilty conscience can squeeze at our hearts or wake us up in the middle of the night. The sociopath is extraordinary, on some level, because he experiences none of these things.
We go through life not commonly aware of the large number of nonviolent sociopaths among us – many lives can become obliterated by the conscienceless acts of this 4% of our population. He/she never feels irresponsible, neglectful, embarrassed, immoral, unethical, etc. Try to identify any sociopaths you have encountered throughout your life using the characteristics outlined above and the examples set forth in Dr. Stout’s book.
[More to be updated later]