The “sociopath,” boiled down, is someone who routinely does, and takes, what she wants, unconcerned with the impact of her behavior on others. Nothing in my mind defines her essence more than this concise, factual description. She 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 she has the “right” to what she’s pursuing, or planning to take.
Rather, she doesn’t feel she needs the right. She just needs the want.
Simply wanting what she wants, with or without the right to it, meets her standard for laying claim to her quarry.
Because after all, you may ask the sociopath, “Did you have a ‘right’ to take that? To steal it?” And she 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 her condition: Her “right” to what she wanted wasn’t relevant, didn’t even enter her thinking; rather, her wanting it was the sole factor necessary to support her comfortable, non-conflictual pursuit of it.
To sum up, the sociopath’s disordered essence is captured best in her pattern of taking, without remorse, what intellectually she may very well know doesn’t belong to her—she has no right to it—yet she takes it anyway.
To be clear: when I say that the sociopath intellectually can understand she may lack the “right” to what he’s taking, I’m not suggesting that she lacks a sense of entitlement. Quite the contrary: her sense of entitlement is all the more astounding for her intellectual awareness that she may lack the “right” to what she wants, yet still takes it. In doing so, she 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 her with an impoverished sense of shame and remorse. When you confront an individual with this history and pattern, you are dealing with a sociopath.
Source Steve Becker, LCSW.
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