12 Million Americans are Sociopaths that means in every group of 25 we can expect there is at least one individual without a conscience. According to Martha Stout in her book The Sociopath Next Door, only about 20% of these are incarcerated.
I originally read Dr. Stout's book in 2007 and recently revisited it on audio. In The Sociopath Next Door, through actual cases from her psychotherapy practice, she develops a guide for recognizing the sociopaths in our lives. Surprisingly, she has very little advice for dealing with the person and the havoc they can place on our lives.
Sociopaths are excellent actors; often having learned at a very young age the art of feigning emotions. They are typically smart, charismatic, and tireless, cunning thrill seekers, often difficult to expose. For normal empathetic persons. recognizing these individuals can be problematic. Convincing others even professionals that you are dealing with a true sociopath can be even more immense.
Dr. Stout might disapprove, but I have my own definition of a sociopath. "At the bar, the sociopath buys you your favorite drink. The bartender sets the drink in front of you and turns his back to the two of you. Just as you reach for the drink the sociopath grabs it, and spits in it before handing it back to you,fully well believing you should drink it. Further adding insult to injury, the sociopath will comment to others the he/she bought you a drink." This is a dark example, nevertheless important and a drink can be thrown away, but what about the sociopath/sociopaths we can't remove from our lives? How can we help loved ones controlled by these individuals? Although Dr. Stout offers very little help for dealing with these monsters, her book is still a Must Read.
THE SOCIOPATH NEXT DOOR at Audible
THE SOCIOPATH NEXT DOOR at Amazon