What Is a Sociopathic Person Like?

What is a sociopathic person like? Let’s put it this way, they’re very charming but you wouldn’t want to fall in love with one. Read, see what I mean.

What is a sociopathic person like? Let's put it this way, they can be very charming but you wouldn't want to fall in love with a sociopath. Read on and see what I mean.

Because sociopaths exist outside the realm of typical human behavior, people frequently want to know what a sociopathic person is really like. Symptoms, signs, traits, and characteristics of a sociopath work together to explain features of antisocial personality disorder, or sociopathy. Building on them creates a picture of the sociopathic personality, a snapshot of what a sociopathic person is like.

A sociopath is a social predator who plays with people the way a cat plays with a mouse, toying with, teasing, and often tormenting them until he grows bored with the game. Mental health and criminal justice professionals describe involuntary physical reactions to sociopaths. Meeting with a sociopath can cause visceral reactions throughout the body: queasiness, weakness, shortness of breath, pounding heart, crawling skin, and general anxiety. Babiak & Hare (2006) explain these as automatic human responses to a predator. Without a doubt, the sociopathic personality is predatory.

A Sociopathic Person is Self-Important

Self-proclaimed sociopath M.E. Thomas (2013) describes herself this way: "I am generally free of entangling and irrational emotions, I am strategic and canny, I am intelligent and confident, and charming..."

A sociopath, especially a narcissistic sociopath, sees herself as a gift to the world. She's the gift; others in her life are the tattered box. To the sociopathic person, people's purpose is to serve her, elevate her, benefit her, amuse her, and then get out.

The sociopath defines herself by power and success, and she stops at nothing, including crime of any nature, to achieve it. She strives for possessions as well as perfections in appearance and demeanor, for to her these are visible, tangible signs of her achievements, her conquests.

A Sociopathic Person is a Chameleon

To achieve his goals and get what he wants, a sociopathic person morphs into a persona that will suit him in the moment. And it's only this moment, getting his way now, that he cares about. He has no concern for the past or the future.

For someone who is clinically defined as antisocial, a sociopath ironically possesses incredible social skills; amazingly, he's charming and well-liked (Symptoms of a Sociopath in Men, Women, Children). Once he identifies his pawns, his victims, he quickly learns all he needs to know by studying them, listening to them, and figuring them out. The sociopath can get people to tell him what he needs to hear because he has sharp communication skills, both verbal and nonverbal. A sociopathic person is an accomplished manipulator.

A sociopath is comfortable in any environment. Sociopaths have even been known to charm and manipulate prison guards. No matter where they are in the world, they quickly determine how to get their way, and then they do it. M.E. Thomas (2013) asserts that many sociopaths don't identify with a sexual orientation.

They'll adopt any orientation or identity that they can use to their advantage. 

A Sociopathic Personality is Parasitic

Once a sociopath has identified and charmed the next person to manipulate and gain from, she lives off his or her generosity and gullibility. She takes advantage of him and abuses his trust. Dating a sociopath is especially dangerous because sociopaths can easily and convincingly pretend to love. But the sociopath will drop her partner with no warning when the relationship no longer benefits her.

Law-breaking behavior is the rule rather than the exception for the sociopathic personality. She readily commits crimes against people and property, and she commits white-collar crimes such as fraud and embezzlement as well. When caught, she blames others rather than take responsibility. She's always ready with a story that sounds believable (High Functioning Sociopath And The Damage They Cause).

The sociopathic person creates her own unique operating system for her life. The norms and moral codes adopted by society for the safety and wellbeing of all don't suit her because they don't help her get ahead the way she wants to get ahead. Someone with a sociopathic personality lives by her own opportunistic standards of behavior.

A Sociopathic Personality is Cold, Hollow

Sociopaths are self-serving and manipulative. Sometimes just listening to a sociopathic person is frightening, as evidenced by the gut reactions of professionals mentioned above. The sociopathic person can describe horrific behaviors with not a trace of remorse. They do what benefits or amuses them in the moment, and they take no responsibility for their actions.

"In the great card game of life, psychopaths [a.k.a. sociopaths] know what cards you hold, and they cheat" (Babiak & Hare, 2006).

Want to get further inside the mind of a sociopath? Check out our "Sociopath Quotes" page for chilling insight.

article references

APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2021, December 17). What Is a Sociopathic Person Like? , HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Last Updated: January 28, 2022

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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