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I was recently posed the following question: “Are bullies sociopaths?” A few instances of bullying behavior do not a sociopath make. I do however think the majority of sociopaths are bullies. In School Bullying, Tools for Avoiding Harm and Liability, McGrath (2007) describes the following characteristics of school bullies: [they are] aggressive, lacking empathy, preferring violent behavioral expressions, entitled, self-absorbed, devoid of responsibility, and impulsive.

The difference is that sociopaths “bully with no remorse.” She further describes that sociopaths may appear “magnetic” as a result of their unusual charisma: “They are more spontaneous, more intense, more complex, and even sexier than everyone else, making them difficult to identify [difficult to detect] and leaving us easily seduced” (p. 109).

McGrath describes these conscienceless souls as evil – individuals whose primary goal is domination, and the subsequent thrill of submissive behavior. To a sociopath others are simply stumbling blocks in the quest to achieve their own way, eminent domain that is available for their personal usage and exploitation.

You may be the victim of sociopathy if you experienced a complete violation of your personal boundaries, and the perpetrator then did a one hundred eighty degree turnabout and blamed you. They experience no shame, yet they expect their victims to appear shamefaced. Consummate liars and cheats, they are masters at convincing others that they’re the wronged party.

Sociopaths do not take responsibility for their actions (no matter how beyond the pale they may be). What they are concerned with is annihilating people who stand in their way.

As long as you remain silent and allow yourself to be steamrolled, everything’s good. It’s not that they don’t care – it’s that (to them) you are inconsequential. Sociopaths are the self-imposed king/queen of their personal domains, and all others are considered their subjects.

Sociopaths take no concern for your safety, your preferences, your property, or your person-hood – they are a tour de force of one, all the while contemplating how to craftily achieve the most for themselves (regardless of who (or what) is impacted). They seek power/self-fulfillment at others’ expense, never taking stock of the human toll and the psychic wreckage they leave in their wake.

If these people turn on the charm, don’t buy into their charade. If someone invariably speaks about themselves and never inquires about you, it’s a dead giveaway that self-centeredness is their driving force. People consumed with themselves have a tough time feeling empathy for others, especially the ones trampled in their shuffle. It’s their own way or the highway.

Related posts:

Bullies in plain sight
Everyday sociopathy
Self-serving bias and self-denial

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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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