Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Sociopath Next Door



My next door neighbor was a sociopath. Not only was he an evil dictator who committed numerous crimes against humanity. He also committed numerous crimes of fashion where he emulated Michael Jackson. And he didn't do it well, by the way. Yeah, Muammar Gaddafi lived just East of here, a straight shot down the road just past the goat farm on the left. And now he's dead. One less sociopath in the world. But do you know how many sociopaths there are in the world? Do you?

First I must confess that my order from Amazon.com finally arrived. So I have been a reading fiend of late. One of my latest reads? You guessed it. It's titled The Sociopath Next Door. And how befitting is that when I actually do live next to a sociopath? I actually lived close to a few sociopaths: Gaddafi, Mubarak and Bin Laden. How does this affect you, you ask? Because you live near a sociopath too. I guarantee it.

How do I know this? Because 1 in 25 people are sociopathic. I'm not a math wiz or anything, but that is like 4 percent of the population, right? Now I know you're thinkin' whhhhhhaaaaaaaatttt? This can't be true. The thing is, not all sociopaths are terrorists, dictators or murders. Being a sociopath means that you have no conscience. None. So, they can do anything they want without guilt or remorse.

So what does your run of the mill average sociopath do? They thrive on power, wealth and conquest. And in your neighborhood that could mean they're the president of your HMO, your therapist, your minister, the cop or the room mom of your kid's 3rd grade class who always gives you that creepy vibe. They drain bank accounts, your accomplishments, self-esteem and peace on earth. (That is a semi-plagiaristic, semi-altered quote from the book. And I don't even care. Ok, I totally do care. That's why I confessed. See, I can't find the page number that I got it from to go back and quote it properly and I'm totally riddled with guilt. There you have it. I'm obviously not a sociopath.)

Now, I know exactly what you're doing right now. Cause I did the same thing. You're going through the list of all the people you know. And you're putting them into categories: definitely not a sociopath, definitely a sociopath and oh-my-god-that-explains-so-much-o-path! Because there are people on the escarpment of our everyday lives who want in to yours so they can exert their power and control over you. Oh, they will pretend like they care about you, but they have no capacity for love or attachment.

Ok, so this is that weird segue way of the post where I reveal exactly how nerdy I am. (As if you don't know by now.) So I was watching this 20/20 episode on youtube recently, based on the book The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. So you know that creepy vibe I mentioned earlier about the 3rd grade room mom? We all have that instinctual creepy vibe that informs us when we're in danger. Even if we can't clearly see what the threat is, we get a feeling. A feeling like something's not right. It's our respect for authority figures, our ability to over think situations, waiting for evidence and just plain being polite that allows us to negate the threat. Thus, we become susceptible to our friendly, neighborhood sociopaths who are natural born charmers, even if they're not natural born killers. Isn't that fascinating?

So maybe you don't live next to Jeffrey Dahmer, but chances are it's just because he's dead. But you do have someone in your life who's a sociopath. We all do. So what can you do to protect yourself? First, I would recommend not moving to Iran or North Korea. Then get in touch with your creepy vibe. Don't feel guilty for being suspicious about your new neighbor Fred Bundy who has a penchant for having beautiful women over to his house late at night that you strangely never see leave. And for god's sake the next time Suzie's mom, you know the creepy room mom, brings those beautiful special family recipe chocolate cupcakes to the Halloween party at school, make sure your kid doesn't eat them!

16 comments:

MarieHarmony said...

We all know one for sure! And they are just the kind of people who make you want to escape by the first exist door but have the power to maintain you where you are and master the use of their quite creepy mind.
Have a lovely week-end!

Dangerous Linda said...

Great post -- smart & funny!

You got me thinking so I googled 'sociopath profiles' and came up with this:

http://www.mcafee.cc/Bin/sb.html

After reading that I assure you I know many more than 1 sociopath, as it seems to run in my family. I wonder if it's genetic or learned behavior ...?

I enjoyed reading you and I'll be back for more ;-)

Leah Griffith said...

This was interesting...and funny! Okay, so earlier today I was asking a friend of mine about a co-worker. I said, "How can she be so mean and evil without caring a bit who she hurts?"
You have answered my question. It's a bit scary actually. I'll have to pay extra special attention to my creepy vibometer.
Leah

Jan said...

You are so right about the amount of sociopaths out in the world. For some reason they seem to be drawn to me...i see them everywhere, the hardest to cope with is when it is a family member. Pay attention to your creepy vibometer for sure.I had early lessons on these folks of I guess I was blessed.

MuMuGB said...

The sociopath next door -creepy. I tend not to think about it every day, otherwise I wouldn't leave my house. Seriously, what can you do if 4% of the population are sociopaths?

Late Bloomers said...

This is scary! No time to comment: I've got to lock my doors!
Thanks for sharing, admire your sense of humour.
Have a lovely weekend, Barbara

Elliot MacLeod-Michael said...

Here in the States they are running some of our major corporations. They tend to excel in business because they are ruthless. I'm glad I'm not one myself. Or am I?
+followed

Lalia said...

Oh I absolutely know at least one sociopath, if not more. I always wonder how that happens, how do you go through life with no conscious? Is it something people are born with or does circumstances in their life make them this way? I don't, but I enjoyed your post!

Lucylastica2 said...

4%? That's a worrying statistic...and one that had me weighing up eeryone I came into contact with at a networking meeting this morning. All 4% in one room? Surely not! Great post :-)

Janine said...

Wow this firstly reminds me of the time I read 'Workplace Psychopaths' and I realised that I knew so many of them it wasn't funny. And neighbours...I've had my fair share of creepazoids - I don't even want to think about where I live at the moment, especially since before we moved in to our 1st ever purchased house there was a whole load of screaming coming from next door. Freaked me out - it ended up being a dog attack and not murder...still bad though. And then there was the 'equipment' we found in our shed in the back yard...we now have wicked security roller shutters - just installed!

Joy Page Manuel said...

Another great one!...I so enjoyed reading this and yes, now I am wondering about that 'list'....I find it interesting that people who drain you of your self-esteem fall under the sociopath category. Come to think of it, they do deserve to be considered such! Okay, gotta go and think about my list...hahahha!

Samantha Bangayan said...

Haha! This was soo interestingly funny in a scary way, Marie! I was thinking a lot about this the other day because there's a potential murder case here in Peru that has occupied national news for six months now -- they think the girlfriend did it and that she's a sociopath. =P You're so right that we need to pick up on our vibes because sociopaths are so excellent at being charming. I'm the worst when it comes to listening to my instinct. I definitely need to work on this! =)

Anonymous said...

I'm a little late with this comment... but this was just brilliant. Hopefully there will be a more peaceful life for the people in northern Africa, long overdue. Sheila

Dwija {House Unseen} said...

I know what it's like to live with a sociopath and it is NOT FUN. Whew. I think he's on wife #5 right now...

cath said...

I understand completely what you are saying...in my world I see them everyday, but we call them personality disorders and I can peg one about 30 seconds into the first conversation we have. They wreak havoc with our other clients... :D

Sine said...

Deliciously creepy! I am so glad you posted this on your top ten reading list. Have I told you your writing reminds me of Gail Collins at the New York Times? Very well done. Sorry I missed you during your travels here last week, hope the rest of your trip is going well!

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