There is a subgroup of human beings that walk unnamed among us. They are called sociopaths or psychopaths. These individuals cause a great deal of pain to other human beings in the world through their cruelty, manipulation, deception and power plays. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual V(newest version of the book most commonly used by mental health providers to diagnose mental health concerns), scheduled to come out in May 2013, classifies the constellation of behaviors and personality traits as sociopathic/psychopathic personality disorder. Scientists studying how many sociopaths there are in the general population estimate that roughly 4 percent of the population has sociopathic personalities (or one in 26 people).
The most shocking characteristic that we encounter in the mind of the sociopath is the lack of a conscience. This means that the guilty feelings most of us get when we do something wrong does not trouble the sociopath. Nor can the sociopath feel our pain. Most of us have had that strong feeling of connection to another’s pain. We empathize. We cry at sad movies; we cried when the Twin Towers came down. Sociopaths do not feel empathy. They cannot share another person’s suffering or loss. In fact, they seem to underreact to all painful stimuli. This is a consistent finding in research.
Continue reading at How to Recognize a Sociopath | In Good Health.