The sociopath takes what he wants

The “sociopath,” boiled down, is someone who routinely does, and takes, what he wants, unconcerned with the impact of his behavior on others. Nothing in my mind defines his essence more than this concise, factual description. He is rather unique, and thus diagnosable as a sociopath, to this precise extent.

Sure, we’ve discussed this before, but it always merits, in my view, fresh reconsideration. And so let me add, I think, an important caveat: The sociopath doesn’t necessarily feel he has the “right” to what he’s pursuing, or planning to take.

Rather, he doesn’t feel he needs the right. He just needs the want.

Simply wanting what he wants, with or without the right to it, meets his standard for laying claim to his quarry.

Because after all, you may ask the sociopath, “Did you have a ”˜right’ to take that? To steal it?” And he may answer, with intellectual honesty, “No. I realize, intellectually, that I had no right to what I took.”

Which gets to the nub, the essence, of his condition: His” right” to what he wanted wasn’t relevant, didn’t even enter his thinking; rather, his wanting it was the sole factor necessary to support his comfortable, non-conflictual pursuit of it.

To sum up, the sociopath’s disordered essence is captured best in his pattern of taking, without remorse, what intellectually he may very well know doesn’t belong to him—he has no right to it—yet he takes it anyway.

To be clear: when I say that the sociopath intellectually can understand he may lack the “right” to what he’s taking, I’m not suggesting that he lacks a sense of entitlement. Quite the contrary: his sense of entitlement is all the more astounding for his intellectual awareness that he may lack the “right” to what he wants, yet still takes it. In doing so, he is exhibiting self-entitlement, and attitudes of contempt,  in their gaudiest, most audacious forms.

One always must beware of oversimplifying complicated concepts. The sociopath’s disorder is complex on many levels. Yet on some levels the sociopath’s mentality isn’t so complicated at all. In some respects it’s pretty simple.

In this article I suggest the sociopath is, essentially, that strange, disconcerting, disruptive individual with a history, and pattern, of taking from others what doesn’t belong to him with an impoverished sense of shame and remorse. When you confront an individual with this history and pattern, you are dealing with a sociopath.

What he takes, and even how he takes it, are less relevant considerations that that he takes, with no right.

(This article is copyrighted © 2011 by Steve Becker, LCSW. My use of male gender pronouns is strictly for convenience’s sake and not to suggest that females aren’t capable of the behaviors and attitudes discussed.)


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Great! I’m going to go see 3! I can catch 2 on cable sometime. Thanks!


I posted my story about the spath leaving town (due to legal and financial issues) but later deleted my posts after the story hit the media (t.v. and newspaper) – I didn’t want anyone in my town to recognize me and my family due to the details. Anyway, the spath is still on the run (over a month now) and it has been HARD on all of us (I never want to see him or talk to him for the rest of my life). He is alive (my friend was right about him being too narcissistic to off himself), my oldest son having found evidence (on his dad’s e-mail account), proving that the spath is still in our state (my son reported his findings to the detective). The whole story is bizarre and embarrassing. I have come to realize that I can’t completely trust the spath’s family members (that’s another story), having experienced some definite red flag moments with some of them. In the end, I am wondering if they know where the spath is and are “helping” their brother stay on the run. I am listening to “my gut”( although it doesn’t come naturally to me). I just want to be free of the hellish drama that we’re living with. Normally, I am not a suspicious or a conspiracy-minded person, but things that have occurred during the past month, lead me to wonder about the spath’s family (his siblings).



Wow, you poor thing. I will definitely have you in my prayers…you have a lot going on and NO, do not trust his family.

Ox Drover


I agree with Louise about DO NOT TRUST HIS FAMILY…..that is the thing that people do, they “protect” their “family” and some how feel like it is their “duty” to do so….well, it is NOT!

Just like my egg donor trying to “protect” my psychopathic son, denying what he has done, etc. Oh, they probably have some “reason” (read: excuse) why they are protecting him, and it is probably YOUR FAULT HE HAD TO RUN….poooooor him, mean old you!

Yea, all the suicide letters to the kids—-that’s enough to make me puke! I hope that in the end though it makes the kids SEE what kind of snake he is and makes it easier for them to disconnect from anyone who would do something that mean! (((hugs))))

Ox Drover

p.s. BlueJay,

I finally decided I would quit owning THEIR SHAME and so that was why I “came out of the closet” using my name on the Aftermath radio and on the articles I write here…it is THEIR shame, not mine.


I’m sorry you had to experience that. I agree with Louise and Oxy, do not trust the family. They will try to charm, pity ploy and love bomb you when they want something. Know that they are unlikely to be very different.

And I agree with Oxy, don’t own his behavior. Own your own behavior. You didn’t do anything wrong – he did.


Ox Drover and Louise,

I appreciate everyone’s prayers and support at this time. This is a mind-boggling, horrible experience, one that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Peace.


My emotions fluctuate, rarely being even-keeled, worrying about the future. Like that’s going to help me. I have to give it to God because it’s all too much for me (too heavy, too draining). If we could go back in time, you can bet I wouldn’t have gotten involved with the spath (none of us would). Anyway, I keep plugging along because that’s what I have to do. I am tired and don’t think that I can rebound permanently (I don’t see a silver lining behind the cloud), having had too many awful experiences via the spath.



I can’t even imagine what you are going through. Please keep us posted and know that we are here for you.

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