Chances are, you’ve met someone who was a complete and total jerk who may have disregarded your feelings. Timothy J. Legg, Ph.D., CRNP describes sociopaths as, “[People who] have difficulty feeling empathy, often use tactics like lying and manipulation, and feel little to no remorse for any damage that’s left in their wake.”
This sounds quite similar to a narcissist, but they are surely different in the way they move about the world. Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT, explains, “the main distinction is that sociopaths are more cunning and manipulative because their ego isn’t always at stake… a sociopath is more calculating and might premeditate aggression in advance.”
What is a high functioning sociopath?
Legg explains the differences between high functioning and low functioning.
“A high-functioning sociopath can mimic emotions and responses and often hide their ASPD tendencies,” Legg explains. “High-functioning people can hold jobs, be in relationships, and start families.”
When trying to detect whether a person is a sociopath, Legg states that the biggest symptom to look out for is the act of not caring about others in the” hostile, manipulative, and self-serving way.”
What to Do When You Encounter a High Functioning Sociopath:
The best thing to do when you meet a high functioning sociopath is to walk away. Do not play into their games and make sure that you are able to distance yourself from their manipulative ways. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible. Sometimes, the sociopath could be a close family member or even your boss. In this case, move on to the following steps.
Come to a realization
When they are constantly in your life, you must come to a realization that you cannot fix this person. There is no cure for the condition, and they will continue to manipulate and hurt others until there is no one left.
There is good news, though. Legg affirms that you can arm yourself with the proper resources you need to defend yourself and shepherd them away from scenarios that hurt you.
Don’t make deals
Don’t make deals with sociopaths because they obviously won’t follow or will backstab you later on.
“Only you feel the compulsion to uphold the bargain. They don’t. This could lead to additional harm.” Legg states.
Trust your instincts
Although you have to get a clear diagnosis to be labeled as a sociopath, you don’t have to be the sharpest tool in the shed to know that someone who “doesn’t care about your feelings, repeatedly lie to you, and manipulate your emotions for their pleasure, they aren’t someone you should be around — ASPD or no,” as Legg asserts.
End the Relationship
You may have to cut ties if all else fails. Legg says, “The ultimate way to protect yourself from the potential harm of a person with this type of antisocial behavior is to eliminate them from your life.”
While this isn’t always easy, it may be well worth it in the end. If you feel that you cannot break off the relationship with the sociopath in your life without getting hurt, get help.
Call the police or get trained mental health professionals to help you work through the problems.
“Trained mental health professionals can help you understand what you experienced and learn from it. They can then teach you to set protective boundaries to hopefully prevent future abuse,” Legg states.