I recently heard from a man, whom we’ll call “Jeff,” who wanted to know if the woman he was involved with, “Amanda,” was a sociopath.
It started as a friendly involvement, with Jeff trying to help Amanda out. Amanda, who was from a foreign country, called Jeff her “best friend.” Jeff eventually started to have feelings for her. But then came a series of unsettling experiences:
- Amanda made pornographic videos, which were posted on the Internet.
- Amanda worked as an escort. Jeff offered to pay her rent, so she wouldn’t have to be an escort, and Amanda agreed—and continued being an escort anyway.
- Then Jeff asked Amanda to sign a contract promising that she wouldn’t be an escort. She signed it—and broke the deal again, with absolutely no guilt.
- Amanda claimed to be struggling financially. Although Jeff wasn’t well off, he gave her money—and then discovered that Amanda sent a large sum of money back to her home country.
- Jeff discovered Amanda was having multiple liaisons, often on the same day. One guy was married, one was a “sugar daddy,” and several were her “best friend.”
- Other men were also paying her phone bill and rent.
- Jeff stopped taking her calls, but did communicate via email. They agreed to get together to “talk things over.” Amanda cancelled.
- When they did finally have a conversation, Jeff thought Amanda’s words sounded hollow. He also realized her words were used for manipulation, not for communicating the truth.
- Jeff stopped talking to Amanda. But he knew that if he contacted her again, she would be nice and friendly, as if nothing ever happened.
So is Amanda a sociopath? I think so, and that’s what I told Jeff.
His next question was, “What are the most glaring indications that she is a sociopath?”
And that brings us to the point of this article: The most glaring indication of sociopathy is not any particular trait or behavior, but the overall pattern of traits and behaviors.
Sociopathy is a syndrome. What exactly does that mean? Here’s the Dictionary.com definition:
Pathology, Psychiatry . a group of symptoms that together are characteristic of a specific disorder, disease, or the like.
So, although Amanda is an escort, it doesn’t necessarily make her a sociopath. She took advantage of Jeff, but that doesn’t make her a sociopath. She had multiple sexual relationships, but that doesn’t make her a sociopath. Her words sounded hollow, but that doesn’t make her a sociopath. And, if Jeff and Amanda ever talked again, she would act as if nothing happened, but that doesn’t make her a sociopath.
Amanda is a sociopath because of her overall traits and pattern of behavior, including promiscuity, entitlement, manipulation, exploitation, breaking agreements, lying, shallow emotions and lack of remorse. All of these characteristics, taken together, add up to character disorder.