I’ve read statistics like 1 in 25 – 4 percent of Americans – millions and millions of people – are sociopaths.
Sorry, I just can’t buy that. I can’t believe there’s four sociopaths living in our neighborhood. Not accepting that there’s half a dozen in our church. No way are there twenty kids in an elementary school that are sociopaths. Almost three times as many sociopaths as there are kids with autism? NO way.
Could that many people have some sort of personality difference or disorder that makes them have some tendencies and markers for this? Oh, probably. Is it possible this is a growing problem with increasing numbers of people affected? Yes, absolutely, it is.
But that many? I’ll say it again … NO way.
I think it’s important, especially as someone who was so severely emotionally and spiritually hurt by a sociopath that I wasn’t sure I would survive, to say this. Not everyone is a sociopath. Even people who are exquisitely screwed up are not necessarily sociopaths. Even people who have some tendencies toward these behaviors may not be one. Controlling, abusive leaders are not necessarily sociopaths.
- True sociopaths take delight in pulling wings off flies – and off people – and watching them buzz. Other control-issue folks take elaborate steps to confine the fly. If they pull its wings off, it’s to keep it from flying – not to watch it buzz.
- True sociopaths are systematic and consistent in their approach, leaving no stone unturned. They may make notes or mind-maps of different people, especially their supply, and/or have a photographic-type memory. Other control-issue folks seize the moment and twist it to their advantage, inconsistently.
- True sociopaths, when confronted with their sins and offered forgiveness, will say “There’s nothing to forgive” or even “It’s not about you, it’s about me and how you’ve hurt me.” If cornered, they may offer fake apology or receive forgiveness fakely, but only if someone in authority pressures them to do it. Control-issue folks will either apologize or attack.
- True sociopaths, according to psychiatrists, cannot change. I won’t go that far, because God does impossible things. Apart from him, the only changes they make are becoming a better, more hidden, sociopath. People with control issues can make a conscious decision to change. It may be messy, but they’ll get there.
Whether you’re dealing with a sociopath or a control freak, YOU need healing. You need to be in a safe place, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. You need to take control of the situation for yourself and get help. You can’t change the person. You can’t change the situation. You can only change your participation in it.