Talk

Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Have you ever come across a Sociopath / Psychopath?

(454 Posts)
Bursarymum Sun 26-Apr-15 09:25:44

I've been reading 'The Sociopath Next Door'. And it got me thinking. Psychopathic killers are rare but it seems those without any conscience are not so rare.

ALaughAMinute Sun 26-Apr-15 09:38:16

It's certainly a fascinating subject. Is it a good book?

I don't think there is any doubt that a lot of people have psychopathic traits or tenancies. I often refer to my late father as a 'successful psychopath' as he was very ruthless in business and would do absolutely anything to get what he wanted, even if it meant hurting someone's feelings. He also had lots of affairs and didn't seem to care that he was upsetting his family.

ByTheSea Sun 26-Apr-15 09:43:39

I am sure that DS2-18 (my stepson who I raised) is one. He ticks every single box. confused

Pantone363 Sun 26-Apr-15 09:46:09

Yes. I worked with someone who was a diagnosed sociopath. She was totally normal (whatever normal is!). In her words she had 'learnt' normal responses and acted accordingly.

CitySnicker Sun 26-Apr-15 09:46:37

Have met a handful of narcissists.

Joysmum Sun 26-Apr-15 09:56:46

I'll be honest, I wouldn't know what sociopathic tendencies are blush

yourlovealoneisnotenough Sun 26-Apr-15 10:02:13

My father has Antisocial Personality Disorder, among other things. I am quite certain my sister does too, although as far as I know she hasn't been diagnosed.

My father just has absolutely no empathy. He cannot relate to other people, he cannot understand other people's emotions at all. He can kind of fake it, and he'll seem to get very upset about relatively trivial things. I remember him crying when Ayrton Senna died. I also remember him shrugging and rolling his eyes when my DM told him she couldn't stay with him any longer. His faked emotion was all display and no depth.

My DH has only met him twice, and who is very objective and non-judgemental in general, said as soon as my father opened his mouth he knew there was something "off" with him. It's hard to describe, really.

cozietoesie Sun 26-Apr-15 10:08:09

Certainly have - and charming and attractive people they can be as well if all of their needs are being met. (After all, a response may be mechanical but it's not usually seen as that by other people.) In my own experience, they tend to make emotional mistakes though unless they have a ferocious memory and are pretty bright.

Bursarymum Sun 26-Apr-15 10:10:31

The one thing that really struck me was having had the experience of having to tell a grown man that he needed to try and understand how his actions might make someone else feel and he just stared at me blankly.

Pantone363 Sun 26-Apr-15 10:13:47

Yes agree about something being a bit "off". The woman I worked with was very normal but after a while you could see little glimpses of something not being quite right.
She was very very good at anticipating people's emotional responses to things and was always two steps ahead of the rest of us.

cozietoesie Sun 26-Apr-15 10:17:41

Well he might indeed. I've come across a sort of - how shall I put it - 'spectrum' of people like this and the ones at the far end of it just don't have that still small voice inside that enables them to empathise with others - no 'moral compass' as some people might describe it.

It's not perversity but rather a simple lack of something - as if they were blind to certain colours. They respond according to what's worked for them or others before so presenting them with a novel situation can faze them.

Did he like movies?

Bursarymum Sun 26-Apr-15 10:19:15

With the guy I was describing, he made me uneasy and yet I felt I wanted to please him. I've also come across a woman who was like this. She sent notes to her friend's child saying how awful her parents were. Very disturbing. They all do this stonewalling/silent treatment thing. Which I never knew what it was and now it makes perfect sense.

Annarose2014 Sun 26-Apr-15 10:21:00

I think the difference btw them is that psychopaths are guilt-free and can't feel close to anyone. They're very manipulative and very calculated and can have very successful careers. They mimic normal people and can have normal families without anyone guessing. You may never know you met one.

Whereas sociopaths are capable of forming some attachments and can feel guilt when they hurt someone. They aren't calculated and are often completely unable to hold down a job as they totally disregard normal social rules. They're pretty obviously fucked up and everyone can tell they're a mess, basically.

JoanHickson Sun 26-Apr-15 10:22:13

One diagnosed and I suspect others.

It's not surprising as there is a few in every 100 of the population.

Having affairs and being involved in positions of power and trust are natural behaviours associated with this personalit type.

You would have to have lived under a rock to never have met any.

Bonsoir Sun 26-Apr-15 10:23:55

Yes. A friend bred with one. Big, big mistake.

SnakeyMcBadass Sun 26-Apr-15 10:32:59

Not that I know of. Certainly not in close proximity for an extended period of time.

Bursarymum Sun 26-Apr-15 10:34:55

Well apparently they are incapable of bonding even with their children so the effects on them are pretty devastating sad thanks for explaining that AnnaRose.

rumtumtugger Sun 26-Apr-15 10:44:33

Yes, my mum. She's completely disinterested in me or my DCs. Doesn't have any friends. Fell out with her own mum and siblings for years. Got sacked from multiple jobs for reasons which were never ever her fault. Is very proud of the fact that she holds grudges. Lives alone.

NightsOfGethsemane Sun 26-Apr-15 10:48:23

Not in my everyday life no. Though I did work for a short time at a secure mental health unit so I've encountered a few psychopaths in a professional capacity.

Madamecastafiore Sun 26-Apr-15 11:15:56

My sister is a sociopath. I went NC with her years ago, can't deal with the drama and the blame.

Met a few psychopaths through old job. I wouldn't be surprised if a few go onto commit quite serious crimes in their lives. More girls than boys too.

Perfectlypurple Sun 26-Apr-15 11:20:21

Yes, a psychopath through work. Actually a nice guy when you are just speaking to him. I know what he has done though so he definitely isn't a nice guy.

Higgle Sun 26-Apr-15 11:21:31

Yes, charming, clever and very very funny. Excelled at his work because it involved dealing with wealthy people and their acceptance of him. Very open about his "love them and leave them" attitude to women, where he had infatuations but became bored very quickly. The big give away was no emotion or empathy at all, he would talk in the third person about some emotional or family realted things which indicated it was a learned response. Any suggestion about taking responsibility for his actions or the problems they created resulted in a YOLO response. He had masses of friends - great company but not someone to get too close to.

Skiptonlass Sun 26-Apr-15 12:11:41

Yes, I think I've met several over the course of my life and career. They always set my alarm bells off and I wonder how others find them magnetic and see nothing wrong in them

Case in point - housemate at uni. Male, medical student, God complex. Rich family. Had his girlfriend on slimming pills / sent her for a boob job etc so that she was 'perfect'. Made a move on me in a very businesslike fashion, as if it was somehow expected that every woman he met would submit (lots did, he was a serial cheat.) was absolutes amazed when I rebuffed him. I mean amazed. Like a toddler being told he could have a toy.

You can usually spot them. The professional ones are generally successful, have a coterie of hangers on and leave a trail of destruction in their wake. They have absolutely no empathy or concern for the consequences of their actions or for other people.

YouMakeMyHeartSmile Sun 26-Apr-15 12:22:04

Pretty sure my cousin is one.

PterodactylTeaParty Sun 26-Apr-15 12:28:04

Worked with someone who was, maybe not a sociopath, but definitely not right. Charismatic, professionally successful, but vindictive and destructive. Had a few devoted fans and a lot of people who loathed him.

He wrecked the life of his girlfriend in a huge and horrible way - she ended up suicidal in inpatient care - and then he was honestly puzzled that people were angry with him for it. Could not comprehend why he should care.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now