The Sociopath Next Door

Has anyone every read this book? I am reading it right now. It is very interesting. The Author, Martha Stout, ph.d writes about many scenarios of people who suffer from this personality disorder. 1 in 20 people are thought to be a sociopath. We often think of sociopaths in the way T.V. portrays them but this author helps us to realize the personality disorder has varying degrees of danger. While there are sociopaths that murder, many are your every day average person who has a desire to manipulate situations. They are bored with an average day and must get a certain high from what they do to others. Sadly, because they do not feel guilt about what they do, they rarely go to seek help to overcome this disorder. Has anyone had experience with this subject? 
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  • I love reading books about mental problems and disabilities, both fiction and non-fiction. If I didn't take a degree in English when I was in college, I would have chosen a degree in Psychology. I have always been an observer and I like studying different personalities and behaviors of other people. As someone who has also been through some bouts of depression and has already done self-harm like cutting, I feel for those people who have been experiencing this similar case.
  • There is a website that has some e-books downloaded for free on PDF its called, 'e-book browse' and they have this book on there for those who can't afford to buy it: 


    I view it like an online library. But your local library might have it too. I don't believe 100% what I read from books like this but I must admit some of the principles it has outlined are really practical. I think its dangerous to self diagnose people, but i am learning a lot about this interesting disorder and people definitely need to protect themselves from individuals like this. 
  • No, in fact, it is related to many of the things you listed. I am very sorry to hear you are having to deal with those type of relationships. I really hope your situation can change soon. But in the meantime, maybe the book will help. and I will look into the Joe and Reebok story. That sounds interesting. I love to read. :-) 
  • lolol No, I'm actually reading it, I forgot their names. Sorry about that.  I'm now on page 167, chapter 9. I just finished the 13 steps to defend yourself. I liked #13 best - Living Well is the best revenge. The story of the lady who was pretending to be the psychologist was the scariest to me though. But it was an interesting principle to apply: we automatically trust those who we feel are authority figures and sociopaths will use this to play on people. I had never thought of that before! That being said, I did not research the credentials of the author, so I do take it as theory and don't plan on labeling every person I meet as either sociopath or not. But for those who I am leery of, I will definitely be applying these principels. 
  • Yes, I have read this book quite a long time ago. I have also studied sociopathy, psychopathy and narcissism extensively for many years. This is a good book, very interesting, although it's important to understand that, as Martha Stout explains in the book, she uses the term sociopath universally to describe anyone who suffers with regular personalty disorder traits - not all of them, but mainly narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths. Changes have been made to the diagnostic criteria since the release of the book. Sociopaths and psychopaths are now diagnosed under the label of Anti-Social Personality Disorder, whereas narcissists are still diagnosed as having Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
  • Thank you for that update on the diagnosis! I was wondering if it could be so generally explained but now that you have described the update it makes sense to me. I will enjoy reading other posts you make since you have a back ground in this field. 
  • There does tend to be a lot of confusion over narcissism and sociopathy/psychopathy. Many people now regard them to all be pretty much variations of the same thing. Previously, a narcissist was someone with no empathy whereas a sociopath was someone with no shame/guilt and a psychopath was someone with no conscience/remorse. The terms sociopath and psychopath are actually now considered to be derogatory - they are neither. Instead, they are 'anti-social personalities' which is a description I do not like. Anti-social behaviour is a big problem in the UK and many people guilty of it are now thinking they may have Anti-Social Personality Disorder - because they don't realize it's just a new name for sociopathy/psychopathy (which have now been bundled together under the same diagnosis). I'm actually quite surprised that narcissists don't also fit into this category. Some people, however, are now using the word 'narcopath' to describe them instead.
  • That is interesting! In the book they talk about how although 1 in 20 should be sociopath there are some cultures where it does not come out because the sociopath tries to fit in with what is socially acceptable and some cultures who are not independent will not allow for the behavior to manifest itself. I wonder if the same could be said for other anti-social behaviors. My husband and I have done quite a bit of study on the culture of the people of the Indian Ocean; one island in particular. And I can say that this would be true of the peoples there. The social structure is so intertwined that there is not a lot of leeway for someone being able to dominant unless it is within the realm of an authority circle; possibly the family structure or the work place for example. This makes one wonder how much we 'incubate' sociopaths by not trying to correct social disorders feeling it is impossible. That was the one part of the book I did not agree with. The write acts as if conscience is something we have or do not have. But feel the conscience needs to be trained. 
  • My gratitude for sharing this book. I've never really taken an interest in sociopaths. Now, it's high time I seriously study about them seeing as their numbers are growing and I might deal with someone of this temperament.
  • I've serious doubts about my bio dad, he might definitely be a sociopath! That or a narcissist or both. No idea.   He is awful to my mom, but then he tries to talk to her like nothing happened, like he can't understand he did wrong? He feels no guilt. He stole a lot money from my mom recently, yet he wanted to blame it on a thief... right. Because a thief wouldn't steal the TV, the laptops.... you name it.  The he went on and bad mouthed her with all his relatives because she acted accordingly when he started yelling at her and treating her like crap, despite he stole from her!  
  • I am not aware of whether I have come across this type of person, but I may have and just not known about it. I have studied a little bit of psychology and I love to delve into the workings of the mind. I will have to check out this book as it sounds very interesting. I love to read about these types of things and try to find out as much as I can about people. Thanks for sharing it.
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