By Dr. Martha Stout
The Sociopath Next Door
1 Accept that some people have no conscience; that there are evil people in this world who do not act out of concern or love for another.
2 Listen to your instincts — labels (professional roles) do not make a good person. Look carefully at someone who “carries” a professional label, judging whether that individual’s behavior fits what is expected of that professional role.
3 Practice the rule of threes — One lie or broken promise may be a misunderstanding, two lies may involve a serious mistake, three lies — the individual is not trustworthy. Stay away from that individual.
4 Question authority.
5 Suspect flattery — when someone flatters you excessively, telling you how much they appreciate you or like it when you visit or how much they enjoy your conversations.
6 Redefine your concept of respect — respect must be earned. Don’t automatically give respect to an individual because of her professional role or her relationship to you.
7 Refuse to join the game — do not try to outsmart the sociopath. Do not reduce yourself to his level.
8 Once you identify a sociopath, avoid him, refuse any kind of interaction. It is the only way to protect yourself.
9 Question your tendency to pity too easily. Anyone who actively campaigns for your pity or consistently hurts others is likely a sociopath. Pity should be reserved for those who truly deserve it. Make sure the individual who seeks your help really needs it.
10 Do not try to redeem the unredeemable. If you are dealing with someone without a conscience, you cannot change them, no matter how educated or loving you are. Sociopaths have no reason to change; they like who they are.
11 Never agree to help a sociopath conceal her true character. You don’t owe the sociopath anything. Don’t believe that you are like her, no matter what she says. You are nothing like her.
12 Defend your psyche. Humanity is not a failure. Being kind and loving and caring is the best way to live. It is the way most people live their lives.
13 Living well is the best revenge.