By | September 3, 2006 6 Comments

Red flags for workplace sociopaths

Lovefraud readers continue to contribute their insights about spotting sociopaths. Last week a reader contributed her list of red flags to watch for when dating.

Of course, sociopaths do not limit their victimizations to romantic relationships. They often create havoc in the workplace. So inspired by last week’s post, Adrian Melia of Humane Resources Ltd, a UK company that helps employers recognize and prevent workplace bullying, adapted the red flags to help you spot a sociopathic boss or coworker. Here’s what he wrote:

Workplace habits of a career sociopath

  • Chooses and sucks up to allies (not “friends”) who are more powerful, or who he can use to further his aims, or who have something he can gain—especially money.
  • Constantly criticises others, and often criticises allies behind their back.
  • Says things that make no sense, gives people the feeling of walking on eggshells.
  • Treats his new recruits very favourably at first, and then gets bored with them.
  • Loves bullying, especially with someone more vulnerable or less powerful. Has and will use limitless resources for finishing someone professionally and mentally. Always has at least one he’s working on intensely.
  • Makes his victims feel guilty, useless, furious and frightened.
  • Occasionally says very charming things to people he is bullying—to keep them under his control.
  • Victims become too ill to work, are dismissed for misconduct, and the cycle starts again.
  • Thinks nothing of lying; his qualifications and experience are probably bogus.
  • Is above and outside of any rules, but tries to be seen to follow them when it suits him.
  • Sense of right and wrong dictated by what he can get away with.
  • Starts a project as Superman, runs it like Hitler, and then fails to finish.
  • Has infinite rationalisations to explain the results of his professional shortcomings— his failings are always someone else’s fault.
  • Failures covered up by chaotic reorganisations and bullsh*t.
  • Very adept at fooling others”¦ Jobsworth people think he’s great. Some call him charismatic. No one wants to believe he’s as bad and stupid as he is.
  • The only people who really can recognise him are his victims.

Thank you, Adrian. The red flags will certainly help people who are dealing with sociopaths at work.

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This is a great red flags list. Thank you for posting.

There is a website called which expands on your subject. It has a mountain of information, and it helped me to recognize what I was dealing with.

ps: may be mentioned somewhere on this site but I have not spotted it yet.


A great list of red flags. However, in my daughter’s current experience, the business owner cannot see what the psychopath is doing. He is causing disruption in the work place. Since he has come there have been a large turn over in staff. My daughter was even terminated from her job because of him. Unfortunately, my daughter is also a victim of this man who is 13 years older than she is. He has totally gained her trust and wants to marry her. The one (of many) problem is that he just happens to still be married to wife #2.

These people are extremely dangerous in all catagories. It does not matter if you think you can’t be fooled. These people are more than pros at who they are and what they do. They take their victims and change them into people that they and their family and friends never thought they could be. At times they become unrecognizable.

It was a very clear discription of a sociopath who I separated recently. Michael is the one who has been in love fraud for entire his life. I still meet with him sometimes at some social meetings, but he still trys very hard to make sure how much money I have. I am lucky to get away from his home where I lived for 6 months. I was the one who got cought and ripped off last year for his charm. My lawyer did a great job for getting my money back. Now I know a lot more so that I can stay away from him permanantly. I am still talking with his ex wife and his children they have together. She is still struggling with getting her money back which he left as a debt on her name during their marriage. He put all his debt on her name and left. She is afraid of him so she has not asked any legal help for her situation. He doesn’t pay child support either. She and I became friends for sharing our experiences with Michael and release my information about him in order to privent her to be decieved but it is very hard for her to share children with Michael. The children know what typs of person Michael is. If there is any suggetion for her to get out of her misery, I will be appreciative.


This post sent chills up my spine. I’ve worked for my brother for many years and can ascribe at least half of the items on the list to him. He doesn’t conform to a psychopath but I think he might be narcisstic and he is definitely a bully.

I’m trying to recover from years of emotional and financial abuse by my brother and the emotional rape I suffered at the hands of my psycho ex.


Excellent article. Thanks.


They do exist.

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