Dateline  Newcastle upon Tyne - Saturday 25th May, 2024 22:11


by Tim Jones, 31st July, 2017

He was Mr. Perfection, would correct your grammar on the fly, he would be clever in the way he coerced you into doing what he wanted. He would try to engender arguments, evoking anger as small things.

To many people he was a conundrum, to some he was a danger, but to all he was charming. He was a sociopath.

He displayed all the usual traits of narcissism; lacking empathy, convinced of his entitlement, courting admiration from others. He seemed shallow but was unaware of this in himself.

Psychopath versus Sociopath

Mirror CrackedHow well do we know the other person?
We have all heard about the murderous inmates of Broadmoor who are so suave and sophisticated, yet cold and malevolent. The persuasive doctors dealing a deadly punch at the party, but sociopathic people are a few notches down the scale.

Not that all psychopaths are violent killers, some operate well in society, being amongst others, Managing Directors, politicians, or soldiers. The tell-tale characteristic is ruthless control.

That's not only control over those they meet, but control over themselves. Not as difficult as it may sound as the psychopath does not have to deal with emotion, guilt, remorse, or apprehension.

A sociopath is someone with an antisocial personality disorder.[1] Their control is less organised than a psychopath's; that can lead the sociopath to discovery and possible brushes with the Law. Reckless disregard for consequences and aggression lead to trouble. The psychopath is much more calculating. A sociopath can sometimes form loose bonds with others; psychopaths never do so.

The sociopath's manipulation is not black magic, neither is it covert or cunning. We have all felt used by someone at sometime. We saw the glittery thing and had to have it, whatever the price. We were captivated by our attraction to another person; it is us against the world. It's not the sociopath that exerts the power, it's our own desire fuelling the deception. The sociopath sees this in us, it seems alien to them. There's no empathy, imagination, kindred feeling. They see our puppy dog demeanour as a weakness to exploit.

Sexual Liberation

Mr. SmoothieWhat lurks beneath that alluring exterior?.
The sociopathic personality is marked by a high level of trivial sexual activity. They seek power, control, and sex. Testosterone, that fuel for so many wars and conflicts, is abundant in both male and female sufferers. Being in a relationship does not stop them; they all cheat.

High testosterone is linked with deviant, exploitative individuals. Sociopaths are likely to stalk, engaging in high risk, predatory behaviour. Because sex is such an alluring activity, sociopathic people hook their victims into a whirlpool of manipulation.

Far from being liberated by sex, the loveless sociopath is a slave to their relentless search for novelty.

I met him in a high promiscuity setting, why would I think that he would do anything other than continue that way? Buy some Blackpool rock, wherever you roam it remains Blackpool rock; it's written all through.

The Truth is a Foreign Country

Mask of DeceitBehind the mask is yet another mask.
Much of the sociopath's fabric of fantasy relies on lies. The clever ones have a set of lies for each person or group with whom they interact. The lies often seem inconsequential; one wonders why they bother.

The importance rests in the deception rather than the facts.

"Voice or no voice, the people will always be brought to the will of the leader. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them that they are being attacked and denounce the peacemakers as unpatriotic. It works in any country."

Herman Göering.

My friend felt no remorse or guilt about his lies. Why would he? They are the fabric from which his personality was woven.

The lies underpinned his grandiosity, what he would like you to believe about his personality and abilities. The easy charm, smiles that would shame a TV personality, the likable yet glib outward appearance, formed a seamless veneer.

Explosions in an Otherwise Calm Situation

AngryI am Angry, by Richardo Liberto.
So if sociopath people are low on emotions, what's this about them becoming angry? Anger is an emotion, right?

Yes it is. If you look carefully at the anger periods sociopaths display, it starts with an ordinary sounding, yet contentious, offensive, or provocative statement. When you start disagreeing with them, they have you hooked. As they continue it's your emotions that become aroused. The sociopath mirrors this back at you, with the volume turned up, so as to escalate matters. The manipulation is complete.

"You know I can't abide bad manners!" he chided as I put away the mobile phone. It was 1982 when such gizmos were rare. He made up phone etiquette as he went along, then told me off as if I were some recalcitrant second former.

Sometimes the explosions are part of a lying deception. When emerging from the hotel the morning after arriving, he insisted that the town centre was to the left when it was to the right. Last night's taxi trip was a clue.

The more he insisted, the more I contradicted. The voices soon become raised. Such was what I saw as his stubborn stupidity, that we went our separate ways, he to the railway station, I to the town. This, of course, was the situation he wished to engineer. The manipulation was a smokescreen to cover his intention.

There are More Than You Think

Spindle ShanksCan you spot the icy stare?.
Most sociopaths seem stuck in adolescence, lacking the tools for learning from experience. Modern estimates put sociopaths at one in every 25 people.[2] Should we be alarmed on meeting a sociopath? How much of a danger do they pose?

The answer lies in who we are and the strength of the bond we expect. Vulnerable people should be wary, those of strong character less so. Attempting any meaningful relationship is futile. Sociopaths are expert at playing manipulative mind games, so it's better to keep them at arm's length.

Ordinary people try to protect you from pain, confusion, and harm; sociopaths pile it on.

So, what happened to my friend the sociopath? He died, unfulfilled, aged 39, from a heart attack.

[1] Psychology Today, How to spot a Sociopath M.E. Thomas, 17th May, 2013.
[2] The Huffington Post, 11 Signs You are Dating a Sociopath, Macrina Cooper-White, 23rd August, 2013.

Timothy Pickford-Jones

Timothy is a mature northerner with a background in electronics and public transport, who lives in Newcastle upon Tyne.

As well as having a keen eye on the political scene, he is a photographer, with an interest in architecture and history. Timothy has been active on the web since the mid 1990s, having curated the Timmonet site from its inception.

Since retiring from full time work, Timothy has found time for travel, creativity, and maintaining his lifelong interest in the arts.

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