Following my first introduction of sociopaths and what they are 3 years ago, I have been deeply fascinated by these individuals. In fact, I started studying Psychology because I love to learn about the unusual people. Additionally, I seriously started to wonder one person in particular I am close with was a sociopath; she seemed to tick the boxes.
When I spoke to my friend about this, she thought I would enjoy Martha’s Stouts “The Sociopath Next Door”. I did. It was a truly curious read. I had to have a few months’ break due to how heavy the content was in pragmatic implication (as well as an increase in workload). What I mean by this is that 1 in 25 Americans – 4% of the total populations – do not have that voice in their heads that tell them what is right or wrong. Because of their lack of conscience, lots of them become leaders. The ‘weak trait’ that is conscience helps them climb up these ladders that is success. Just consider that.
This was the first time I read on psychological phenomena outside of my course work and I was pleased to see theories I learnt about used. But, luckily for your average reader, Stout did not use an overwhelming amount of Psychological jargon. Even if you did not have Psychological knowledge, you would still be able to understand what she is attempting to explain. She explains any jargon she uses quite clearly. The diction is not enticing or evocative – it is incredibly simple, which only made me want to read on.
Stout used case studies to show that, although sociopaths use their lack of moral compass to dominate other people (for the sake of dominating), this does not always manifest in the same way. Through these case, and again in elaboration, she demonstrated how the rest of us suffer when a sociopath is in our path.
She also outlines signs that could help people identify when a sociopath is in their midst. Sometimes people have that gut feeling, but they cannot explain what is. She also constructed a helpful list of healthy ways to deal with a sociopath – and I can confirm that these tips are working very well for me.
She goes into depth about the nature vs nurture aspect of how sociopathy develops, looking into cultural differences and the impact of globalisation. This was something I especially enjoyed reading out.
The last chapter seemed like a yogi approach to how she professionally considers being sociopathic to detrimental to the human wellbeing. In fact, she literally uses quotes from Buddha. I agreed with her concluding opinion, but I was disappointed that this was how she chose to end the book.