Sunday, June 29, 2008

one in twenty-five-

I was at Elann's chat a few weeks back, and Amy recommended The Sociopath Next Door. I just HAD to read that one! The book's main premise is that four percent of the population act without conscience. This explains a lot. Some earmarks of behavior include:

1) failure to conform to social norms
2) deceitfulness, manipulativeness
3) impulsivity
4) irritability, aggressiveness
5) reckless disregard for the safety of self and others
6) consistent irresponsibility
7) lack of remorse after having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another person

Of course, I am all those things when I have PMS. Yeah well, it's true. (Only kind of kidding.) Stout gives examples of a sociopath's types of behaviors and types of motivation. The book is not a pleasurable read, but it is a very interesting one.

I know I have a least one sociopathic character in my life, and upon reflection, there are several I've known that just stood out as "not right." Interestingly enough, Joey Buttafuco's wife (remember her, she was the one who was shot by his teenaged girlfriend) was on TV last week, promoting a book she wrote. She finally came to the conclusion that HE was a sociopath, and she needed to divorce him. (Took her long enough to figure THAT out.) Good girl.

Anyhow, the book also outlines some self defense strategies for dealing with sociopaths-

1) The first rule involves the bitter pill of accepting that some people literally have no consience.

2) In a contest between your instincts and what is implied by the role a person has taken on-educator, doctor, leader, animal lover, humanist, parent-go with your instincts.

3) When considera a new relationship of any kind, practice the Rule of Threes regarding the claims and promises a person makes, and the responsibilities he of she has. (three lies, broken promises, or neglected responsibilities indicate you are dealing with a liar. Deceit is the lynchpin of consciencelessness.) So cut your losses and move on.

4) Question authority. Stout points out it's easier to behave badly when people are lumped into groups. "They" are easier to villanize.

5) Suspect flattery.

6) If necessary, redefine your concept of respect. Fear is not respect.

7) Do not join the game.

8) The best was to protect yourself from a sociopath is to avoid him, to refuse any kind of contact or communication.

9) Question your tendency to pity too easily. (raises hand guiltily)

10) Do not try to redeem the unredeemable.

11) Never agree, out of pity or for any other reason, to help a sociopath conceal his or her true character.

12) Defend your psysche.

13) Living well is the best revenge.

I wish I had known these things 10 years ago. My life would have been much simpler. But having read them, and written them down (that was just as much for me as it was you, dear reader), I will be more likely to remember them.

It is kind of a relief to know that I didn't do anything that caused certain events.

BTW, the sampler square background is Two Color Star Stitch, from the red Barbara. I think this is an excellent stitch to break up multi-colored pooling.


smariek said...

Oooh, that sounds like a very interesting book, one that I could have used over a decade ago. I'm putting that on my list of books to look for, although it may be a while before I get to it. I just started The Lord of the Rings cuz I've never read it before, and it is long !!!

Enid said...

All I have to say is "WOW" and Thanks.

Anonymous said...

4%?! That's quite high. You just performed a public service with that masterful summary...