characteristics of a sociopath

This is a fascinating clinical list. I leave it to you to apply these elements to any politician or talk show host you choose.

  1. Glibness/superficial charm.
  2. Grandiose sense of self-worth.
  3. Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
  4. Pathological lying
  5. Conning/manipulative
  6. Lack of remorse or guilt
  7. Shallow affect
  8. Callous/lack of empathy
  9. Parasitic lifestyle
  10. Poor behavioral controls
  11. Promiscuous sexual behavior
  12. Early behavior problems
  13. Lack of realistic, long-term plans
  14. Impulsivity
  15. Irresponsibility
  16. Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
  17. Many short-term marital relationships
  18. Juvenile delinquency
  19. Revocation of conditional release
  20. Criminal versatility (Hare, 1986)

(Narcissism also a characteristic)

“It must be remembered that even the most severely and obviously disabled psychopath presents a technical appearance of sanity, often with high intellectual capacities and not infrequently succeeds in business or professional activities for short periods, some for considerable periods .Although they occasionally appear on casual inspection as successful members of the community, as able lawyers, executive or physicians, they do not, it seems, succeed in the sense of finding satisfaction of fulfillment in their own accomplishments. Nor do they, when the full story is known, appear to find this in an ordinary activity.”

–H.Cleckley, “The Mask of Sanity”


“Psychiatrists are often helplessly manipulated by the psychopath; just as are the psychopaths other victims.”

–Dr. Ken Magid, “High Risk, Children Without a Conscience.”


“There are psychopathic personalities in the highest echelons of government, and even within religious hierarchies in America. You can t just assume that a person with the title judge or hospital orderly got there honestly and won t manipulate the hell out of you.”

–Personal communication from Psychologist Schreibman to H. Cleckley, 2/10/86

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