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Sociopathic Tendencies?

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I have always been very self aware. I grew up with multiple sibling but I have always felt alone. I felt different. I feel like I am better than everyone else most of the time. Nearly all the time. I feel like I shaped my personality so that others can see me as someone who is insanely special. I want to be liked by everyone. I feel as though I do things just to be liked. I want people to think I am the sweetest person in the world and I know how to achieve that. But in all reality I do not genuinely care about most people. I am scared that I will not be able to truly love somebody. I got out of my first relationship about six months ago. It was very hard for me to let him go but only because I wanted him to want me. Sometimes I see life as a big game. I lost myself in that relationship because I felt unwanted. I have never felt that way before. I have now regained my sense of self. But now I am worried that I have sociopathic tendencies. I do not see people as objects and how they can benefit me. But I do want people to see me as perfect. I spent 6 months healing from the break up regaining my sense of self. And now that I feel fully connected to myself, I am back to this mindset. I think I got too deep in a game that I ended up losing. I knew I was different when my friend said “how can someone not feel anything when their friend lost a family member.” Anyway I fear that I will feel this way forever.

Sociopathic Tendencies?

Answered by on -

A.

What you have described is not necessarily sociopathic. Also, it’s important to remember that the term sociopath was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual For Mental Disorders (DSM), the guidebook mental health professionals use to diagnose disorders, in the 60s. Most people who use the term sociopathic probably mean psychopathic.

Some of the things you have described might be characteristic of someone who is grandiose. Grandiosity is a characteristic of some personality disorders, including narcissistic personality disorder, among others. However, having a few characteristics of a disorder does not mean you have a disorder.

You described attempting to get people to like you or to see you in a particular way. On one hand, you feel like you are “better than everyone else… nearly all the time.” On the other, you spend a great deal time and effort attempting to get people to see you in a positive way. If you thought that you were better than everyone else, I highly doubt that you would be attempting to alter other people’s perceptions of you. Why would the opinions of people matter to you if you’ve already judged yourself as being better than them?

Perhaps, you want people to think positively about you as proof that you are good. If other people think highly of you, then perhaps you might think more highly of yourself. I do not know if that is your state of mind, but it may be. Individuals who care about the opinion of others, may be lacking in self-confidence or self-esteem. If you had self-confidence, the opinions of others would carry very little or no weight at all.

Regarding your statement about not genuinely caring about most people, I would want to know more about this in order to determine if it is a problem. It’s difficult to have feelings about generic “others.” When you don’t know someone, it’s normal to not have strong emotions about them.

In your case, you were able to love someone and have a relationship with them. It didn’t turn out to be the right relationship for you but you still felt love for that person. You mentioned that you “lost yourself.” It is not clear what you mean by that phase. In addition, I would need to know more about why you saw this as a “game that you ended up losing.” Relationships are not games. Without more information, it’s difficult for me to know why you felt the way you did.

You also mentioned your friend who made a statement about you’re not feeling anything when their friend lost a family member. Again, it’s difficult to feel emotional about someone you don’t know. It’s typically not due to psychopathy. It is usually because you did not personally know the deceased or weren’t close and thus there was no emotional connection. There were also some occasions in which the deceased had been a terrible person. Not having an emotional reaction to the death of someone you didn’t know, or someone you didn’t like or who was horrible person, is not unusual or a sign of psychopathy. It is normal and expected.

If you have concerns about your mental health, it’s always wise to consult a professional, in person. Obviously, with the coronavirus, that’s difficult at this time but many mental health professionals have moved their practices online. Some may be doing therapy over the phone. You could benefit from counseling, to examine your concerns in more depth. It would help to know if something is wrong and to acquire treatment, if necessary. It is always best to be proactive when it comes to mental health. The more emotionally stable you feel, the happier you will be. Good luck with your efforts. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Sociopathic Tendencies?

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Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2020). Sociopathic Tendencies?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 9, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2020/05/01/sociopathic-tendencies/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 28 Apr 2020 (Originally: 1 May 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 28 Apr 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.