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How to Identify Sociopathic Behavior

By Nico Riley ; Updated July 27, 2017

A sociopath is a person who completely disregards and violates the rights of others while refusing to conform to societal norms. There are many characteristics to help identify sociopathic behavior.

Notice if the person exhibits a lack of conscience. Signs of sociopathic behavior are usually present in childhood, so take note if you witness a person torturing or killing animals, showing no emotions when something bad happens to someone else, or showing no guilt or remorse for any of his own actions.

See if there is a pattern of irresponsible or poor behavior, including doing poorly in school or on the job. Other behaviors to look for are recklessness, impulsivity and participation in illegal activities.

Pay attention to the person’s personal relationships. Many sociopathic people have an inability to love or have lasting personal relationships. This is because they can be very manipulative.

Recognize patterns of pathological lying. Sociopaths will continue to lie about things even if they are caught doing them. They can also be very charming and get others who are blind to their behaviors to side with them.

Notice if a person has an inflated sense of self-importance or narcissism. A sociopath behaves as if she is the only person who matters and she will have complete disregard for everyone else. Although she has the ability to charm people, she will take advantage of them at the same time.

See if the person exhibits a need for stimulation by engaging in risky or dangerous behaviors. These behaviors can be sexual or just thrill-seeking. Sociopaths tend to get bored easily, which is why they seldom complete tasks and seek out forms of excitement.


Sociopathic behavior usually continues into adulthood. If you recognize this behavior in someone you know, be careful if you have to be around him. For your protection, distance yourself from him altogether.

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