Pets Are Always In Style.....
The Social Diary ~
on-line magazine covering High Society ..& more
Too Good to Be True?
by The Social Diary Columnist Elizabeth Bateman
The perfect date - so romantic and charming!
The perfect job - so stimulating and challenging! The perfect
investment - an exclusive offering in a trusted market yielding
such high dividends!
Whenever you find yourself being drawn
into something which seems to be so perfect that it almost takes
your breath away - beware. Presenting a perfect situation which
fits your dreams is the modus operandi of a sociopath / psychopath
(the terms are used interchangeably). People who fit this profile
have what is called, "antisocial personality disorder."
What that means is the person has no conscience.
To most people, the terms sociopath or
psychopath conjure up mental images of knife-wielding serial rapists
or murderers. While it is true that some sociopaths do grab headlines
with their grisly crimes, most have learned to blend in very well
with society, living right under our collective noses as they
wreak their havoc and destruction upon their unsuspecting victims.
Those are the ones who don't make the headlines, but who are potentially
much more dangerous.
How many people are we talking about? Experts
estimate that at least 1% of the population in North America has
this antisocial personality disorder. Based on the most current
census figures, that means there are about 30,000 sociopaths throughout
our metropolitan area, with 13,000 of them right here in the city
of San Diego.
Think about it. There are approximately
30,000 people in the San Diego metropolitan area who are conducting
their lives by their own set of rules, with no regard at all for
the principles by which the other 99% of the population lives.
Their only thought is, "What's in it for me?" In their
minds, other people exist merely to satisfy their needs - whether
it be for money, business connections, prestige, power or sex.
And who are these people? It would be convenient
if they would go around looking like "bad guys," wearing
black hats and sporting bad teeth, scraggly beards and long, dirty
fingernails. We'd have nothing to worry about. All we'd have to
do is say, "Hey look, there's a sociopath over there - run!"
However, most sociopaths have learned to
blend very well into our society as business leaders, lawyers,
politicians, doctors, judges, church leaders, and others who hold
positions of prominence and trust in our communities. Most have
gotten as far as they have because they are masters of disguise
and manipulation. They are predators with a high level of success
because most people do not even know they exist.
Their MO, as stated earlier, is finding
a way to gain the trust of one whom they've marked as their victim.
They have the uncanny ability to decipher the dreams and wishes
of their victims and then to become whatever it is that the victim
has been seeking. Thus, they can appear as the perfect mate, the
perfect business partner or employer, the perfect agent to turn
your investments into gold. The very good ones, the Academy Award
winning ones, have a bag of tricks to use to continue manipulating
and fooling you once the glow has worn off their initial offerings.
To help us figure out how to identify them,
Dr. Robert Hare, PhD, a world renowned expert
in this area, has come up with a list of personality traits which
are commonly found in sociopaths. Here are some of them.
"A sociopath is a consummate
liar. Their credentials are usually either fabricated or greatly
"They are very charming, persuasive and manipulative."
"They are very impulsive."
Now you might think - I've told a lie or
two, I've been accused of being charming and manipulative and
I am often impulsive. So what's the difference?
The difference is the sociopath will take
each trait to the very extreme. If caught in their lies, a sociopath
will try to deflect the blame to someone else. They never take
responsibility for their actions. Another indicator is they never
feel remorse or guilt.
It is not yet clear whether a sociopath
is born or is made. Recent studies show that the brain of a sociopath
differs from the norm, both in structure and in function. However,
it's also possible that a person's environment may play an important
role. Research has not yet come up with a definitive answer. What
we do know, however, is that a sociopath doesn't follow the rules
of society. They just don't get it.
Because they don't, millions of people
are victimized by them. The damage can be catastrophic. Just look
at some business cases in the news. Dr. Hare and other experts
opine that one corporation in particular was run by a small group
of sociopaths. One thing is fact. The economic damage alone from
that corporation alone is in the billions of dollars, much coming
from the losses suffered by the thousands of employees who lost
their careers, life savings and homes because they put their trust
in the hands of the wrong people. (editor's note - The entrusted
people were tried, and convicted.)
I have become very interested in this topic
because I have known firsthand a person who fits the profile of
a sociopath. That person, as a father and businessman, nearly
bankrupted his family spiritually, emotionally, and financially
for two decades.
When I was a child, someone shined
a light which helped to show me and my family the way out from
the darkness of alcoholism. I know I am here for a reason. Now
it's my turn to shine the light and show others whose lives are
in darkness because of sociopaths that there is a way out!
* Elizabeth Bateman has
her degree in journalism from the University of Maryland and 25
years experience as a marketing director for domestic and international
design firms. Bateman and her daughters miraculously survived
a 17-year ordeal of living and working with a sociopath. For this
reason, she has given herself an honorary post-doctorate degree
from the "School of Life."
Elizabeth is in the process of forming
an organization whose mission is to provide an organizational
structure, which will serve to provide a broad range of information
and services to the millions who have been victimized by sociopaths.
This organization is meant to dispel the fear associated with
this group by providing information and raising the awareness
of the general population of a condition which already exists.
Until this new organization is operational, Bateman suggests that
you research this topic online. Two websites recommended by Bateman
are www.hare.org and
You may reach her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
** photos, video and writing on this site are the
of the author, The Social Diary, San Diego Social Diary, margomargo.com
and Margo Schwab.
reproduction of any part or parts is allowed without written permission
by Margo Schwab