The official term for sociopathy is anti-social personality disorder, ASPD, and symptoms tend to range from the mild to the severe.
Mild sociopathic traits have been linked to successful CEOs, but in abundance, these traits can cause serious problems to one's mental health and interpersonal relationships.
While this is by no means a diagnosis, here are four traits often linked with sociopathy:
1. Having a huge ego
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), sociopaths have a very high opinion of themselves. Writing about narcissistic personalities, the manual says:
Excessive reference to others for self-definition and self-esteem regulation; exaggerated self-appraisal may be inflated or deflated, or vacillate between extremes; emotional regulation mirrors fluctuations in self-esteem.
2. Being charming
Sociopaths tend to possess a high level of charm. With this character trait comes another – to be manipulative, and the two often go together. Psychotherapist Ross Rosenberg, author of the Human Magnet Syndrome, told The Huffington Post:
[Sociopaths] are expert con artists and always have a secret agenda. People are so amazed when they find that someone is a sociopath because they’re so amazingly effective at blending in. They’re masters of disguise. Their main tool to keep them from being discovered is a creation of an outer personality.
3. Lacking empathy
The DSM identifies that sociopaths tend to exhibit a lack of empathy.
The essential features of a personality disorder are impairments in personality… Significant impairments in self (identity or self-direction interpersonal (empathy or intimacy) functioning.
4. Frequent run-ins with the law
The Mayo Clinic writes that people with antisocial personality disorder tend to be more irresponsible, which sometimes manifests in run-ins with the law.