This was originally a post on my previous blog, Loner’s Highway, where I was describing the different types of loner.
Sociopaths (sometimes called psychopaths, an older term) are a very different kind of loner.
Contrary to what most people think, they are not demented haters of humanity. They like the rest of us very much. They don’t care about us, but they want as much contact with us as possible so they can take advantage of us as much as possible.
They are rarely killers, torturers or murderers. Studies have revealed that the sociopathic personality is more common among business leaders than it is among criminals (see the book by psychologist Kevin Dutton, The Wisdom of Psychopaths).
They’re often intelligent, smooth talkers. Dutton says they’re often charming and persuasive, talented at disguising their insensitivity and lack of remorse.
I call them loners not because they avoid people – they don’t want to be alone at all – but because they exist only for themselves. Emotionally they are detached from everyone.
Unlike the introverted or autistic loner, the sociopathic loner is well equipped to succeed in society.
They pay a lot of attention to you, flatter you, say whatever it is that you want to hear, gradually breaking down your resistance to them.
You might think insensitivity wouldn’t equip someone to succeed in the social world, but it’s just the opposite. When insensitivity is coupled with an acute sense for identifying weaknesses in other people, and an appetite for social manipulation, it becomes an asset.
One successful venture capitalist told Kevin Dutton that insensitivity “lets you sleep when others can’t.”
No, they’re not inhibited by concern for you. Its full steam ahead for them, one reason why they’re often the winners in social contests, whether it’s climbing ladders in the business world or stealing lovers from friends.
Sadly, the world is full of people who are innocent and naive enough to be easy fodder for sociopaths.
Since shy people are often innocent and naive, I’m going to say more about them in future posts.