Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Common, Everyday Sociopaths in the Workplace

The Hollywood stereotype of a sociopath is someone who is unmistakably disturbed. Their problems are clear to everyone who meets them. Most people still tend to think of sociopaths as safely locked up in jail, or at least on their way to a life behind bars.

However, the majority of sociopaths are walking and working among us. Someone on Pinterest once described them as the "everyday sociopaths." They are mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, next door neighbors and youth sports coaches. They function very well because they've learned to adapt. Most importantly, they've learned to mimic the appropriate emotional responses, even empathy, one thing in which they are grossly deficient.

In general, these people are not serial killers and usually pose no threat to your physical well being. But they can do a number on your mind, if you happen to become involved with one. Since sociopaths are not held back by the usual "constraints," such as guilt or remorse, they often excel in the workplace.

The current corporate culture prizes their more cutthroat attributes, which is why you'll find a lot of high-functioning sociopaths (also referred to as malignant narcissists) in upper management. Workplace bullying has reached epidemic levels in America, which is no surprise, given the likely number of sociopaths at the helm. Dr. Martha Stout, PhD., estimates that 1 out of every 25 people fits the criteria for anti-social personality disorder.

I'm going to venture my own unprofessional guess that this number is much higher in the average workplace, especially as you move up the ranks. That's because sociopaths love positions of power, and they will do whatever it takes to get to the top.

If you are working outside of the house, you may want to learn all you can about this insidious personality disorder, so you are better able to spot it. Forewarned is forearmed.

That's because if a sociopath targets you at work, watch out. Management will usually do nothing, and the likely result is that you'll need to resign, if you're not fired first.

Pixabay image top by geralt


  1. "If we can't spot psychopaths, we are doomed to be their victims.."-Dr. Hare https://www.facebook.com/notes/psychopathy-genetics/how-to-spot-a-pro-social-psychopath/781795738538803

  2. Hi GeneticPsycho, that's why education about malignant narcissism is a good thing. Thanks for reading.