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My boss is a sociopath, and I don’t say this lightly. He has a tendency to deal with his employees in a merciless way, and he will literally wring the last drop of blood from you before casting you aside for the newbie at work.
Sick days are a nightmare as he doesn’t understand when you are sick and need to stay home to recover. He always thinks people are just lazy, and he seems to enjoy playing one employee off against another. Whenever there’s office politics stirring, he’s at the center of it.
The odd thing is that he’s highly intelligent but also totally psychotic. He only lives for work and the opportunity to stir up the office. As a result, nobody likes him, even though he can be super charming.
But he has his weaknesses… and I’ve found that now I know a sociopaths weakness, I can use these weaknesses to live in peace and not get dragged into drama by him.
If you’ve ever wondered how to win in a personal battle with a sociopath, I’ve got the answers right here – once you know what their weaknesses are.
What Is a Sociopath?
Let’s start at the beginning – what is a sociopath? A sociopath is a personality type that is characterized by a lack of empathy and understanding. Sociopathic behavior is when you get what you want by undermining and harming others.
Sociopaths are known for being argumentative, difficult to work with, narcissistic, and self-centered in all their dealings. Since sociopaths don’t care about other people, they will ignore rules and regulations and often end up on the wrong side of the law.
The highly intelligent (and truly scary ones) manage to create a public persona that keeps them out of trouble and under the radar, but they still see people as toys to use and abuse.
A sociopath often gets what they want through manipulation of others. Perhaps the sociopath you know is like my boss who acts erratically, often raising their voice, and easily gives in to their desires.
Common Characteristics of a Sociopath
Knowing the common characteristics of a sociopath can help you spot them in your inner circle and professional arena too. Of course, healthcare professionals won’t refer to a sociopath as such since the clinical term is someone with an antisocial personality disorder. But this term is wide in scope and covers anything from sociopaths, narcissists, and gaslighters to psychopaths.
So, differentiate between someone in your life who is being difficult as a sociopath, instead of a narcissist or psychopath based on these characteristics. Sociopaths:
The Dangers of Being around a Sociopath
If you haven’t realized it yet, being around a sociopath is dangerous. With their volatile and criminal nature, they can easily become violent, destructive, and aggressive to those around them.
When you have a choice, it’s best to avoid a sociopath as much as possible; however, when you don’t have a choice, it is often a game of survival to keep yourself sane around a sociopath employer, relative, or friend.
Spending time around a sociopath is emotionally damaging, and if you let them, they will ruin your life with no sign of remorse. Sociopaths will mess with your perception of reality, damage your sense of self, and drain your sense of purpose – if you let them.
Fortunately, sociopaths also have weaknesses that you can exploit to help you stand firm and avoid their manipulation tactics.
7 Sociopath Weaknesses to Exploit
Sociopaths have weaknesses that can help you evade their manipulations and bypass their plans so you can protect yourself and stay strong in any future dealings with them.
1. Target Their Insecurities
Most sociopaths, like my boss, pretend they have a super high sense of self. They may come across as believing they walk with diamonds on their shoes, but they are actually really insecure and have low self-esteem.
If you can look past their supposed super ego, you can target their underlying insecurities and cut them to size or get them to back down when they are confronting you. Where they are usually the ones who criticizes and gaslights, you can fight fire with fire and criticize them back.
Criticizing can help bring them down to earth if you can outlast them. Of course, they can be hyper critical of others, but they don’t handle criticism well at all. Making them doubt themselves can help keep their attention off their next manipulation scheme.
How do you do this? The important thing is to not attack them, but rather to point out a flaw or low point in their behavior that will remind them of their own insecurities. Say something like, “I’m sorry you have to express yourself like this because you lack the confidence to say what you mean,” if they try to rattle you with harsh comments.
2. Direct Them Away With Excitement
In a relationship, it can be challenging to be the one who has to keep their sociopath partner entertained.
Sociopaths want excitement and entertainment, so you can get them to give you space by pointing out alternative entertainment that will satisfy their boredom.
How do you do this? Ensure your sociopath partner casually happens to find the sport pages with the latest racing event, which will make them focus on the excitement and not on you. Directing them away from you with excitement can help carve out time to rest and recover.
3. Load Their Stress Levels
Sociopaths are highly stressed people, and they don’t do well with constant stress. They never learned to process complex emotions like anxiety or fear.
Instead, they have always bulldozed through their emotional interactions, and they don’t know what to do when they feel stressed or pressured into a complex emotion.
By adding more stress to their load, increasing their anxiety, and becoming demanding, they won’t know what to do or how to handle the situation. They expect that you will be the one cowering and backing down, so if you suddenly demand they treat you fairly, you increase their tension, leaving them vulnerable.
You can also use gaslighting to turn the tables on them. Remember, a sociopath wants to be in charge, which is why bosses often gaslight their employees as a way to keep their power. When you swing it around and stir their own insecurities and doubts with gaslighting of your own, you can make them back off.
Likewise, if you can prove they have been the cause of a deal failing or suddenly being left without a partner or job, you can remind them of their fallibility and banish their delusions of grandeur.
To do this, you will need conclusive proof, so keep track of everything with them and ensure you have concrete proof of their flaws before you take them on.
How do you do this? Bring more challenges to them to deal with. Continually talk about problems near them, and when they try to manipulate you, turn the tables and talk about people they don’t like instead – speaking of how successful that person is.
Soon, the sociopath will feel totally unhappy and stressed, and they will be too confused by their own raging emotions to focus on you.
4. Be a Kill-Joy
Sociopaths are impulsive people, and they want nothing more than to suddenly, spur-of-the-moment do something. They get really excited about their impromptu plans and expect you to also get excited with them.
In a way, wanting your approval and participation in their plans matters to them, and they are like a kid at Christmas when it comes to their plans.
This is an ideal opportunity to rain on their parade. Simply point out the flaws in their impulsive plans, explaining why something won’t work. Use this opportunity to show your sociopath partner how much they need you and that they aren’t able to do everything themselves.
How do you do this? It’s important to master your own emotions before you apply this strategy.
This means you need to find inner calm. If you are overly excited or agitated when you point out their plan’s failings you will reward them with an emotional reaction. Instead, you need to seem almost bored, which will upset and stress your sociopath out even more.
The sociopath will think twice before trying to manipulate you into one of their schemes again.
5. Catch Them in a Lie
Sociopaths lie. You’ve probably had to deal with the manipulation of the truth with a sociopath, and there’s nothing worse. However, when you catch them in a lie, you disarm them entirely.
Wait for that opportune moment when you can prove the sociopath is lying, then calmly point it out and use the facts to back you.
In a self-defense strategy, your sociopath will become a lot less sure of themself and end up on their back foot.
How do you do this? To catch a sociopath in a lie, you need to be extremely alert. You will have to wait until their lying ways have tied them down, and then reveal their issues with evidence such as keeping a journal, which can help you prove their lies.
6. They Can’t Keep a Relationship
Unlike a traditional narcissist, a sociopath struggles to keep a relationship. They are unable to maintain their charm long-term, which leads to them quickly showing their true colors.
As a result of not being able to keep up social appearances, a sociopath will quickly be outed and can’t keep up their manipulation game.
If you are being targeted by a sociopath, a quick solution is to simply maintain disinterest and stick to your guns, not letting them manipulate you in a toxic relationship. Eventually, (and sooner than you think) the sociopath will lose interest in you and move on.
Remember, they crave excitement, and if you don’t let them get an emotional reaction or successful manipulation from you, they will become bored and look for the next thrill.
How do you do this? When you need to use this tactic against a sociopath, remember that it’s about outlasting them. You will need loads of patience and emotional resilience as you need to give them no reward for their actions at all.
Continue to never rise to their snide remarks or criticisms, never letting them get the satisfaction of a response or emotional reaction. Remember, they like to pull the strings, so don’t let them make you dance.
7. Its All Charm and No Empathy
Truly empathic and charming people are fun to be around as they create a safe space for those they interact with. A sociopath can’t do empathy, and while they may be charming, it’s all about getting information from you so they can exploit and manipulate you.
Turn the tables by not offering information or oversharing when around a sociopath. When you can remain a mystery (boring and not interesting or challenging to them), you can help ensure they lose interest in you.
Remember, sociopaths thrive on a new “toy,” and if you’re not hitting their fun-o-meter, they will move on.
How to do it? Place a careful sensor on what you say when near a sociopath, and ensure the people who know you are aware you don’t like information about you being shared with the sociopath.
You will also have to switch off your own empathy when near the sociopath as they may tell you lies so they can get you to feel sorry for them and reciprocate by sharing too.
If they can’t charm information from you, they will try to win it with sympathy.
Final Thoughts on What Is a Sociopaths Weakness
Sociopaths are dangerous, especially when they are naive sociopaths who haven’t learned to function in society. Their emotions are unregulated, and they can easily turn violent and abusive if their thrill seeking behavior isn’t satisfied.
Managing your interactions with someone who is on the far end of the sociopath spectrum is all about denying them access to your feelings, information, reactions, and sympathy. To do this, you need to use the sociopath’s own weaknesses against them and protect yourself.
You can target their own insecurities, redirect their attention, increase their stress (making it uncomfortable for them to be near you), destroy their interest in you by being “boring,” and prove them to be liars.
Ultimately, you don’t want to be in a relationship with a sociopath, so choose not to fall for their charm, instead seeing them for the weak and emotionally insensitive people they are.
For more information on how people use words to manipulate you (like sociopaths and psychopaths do), read our guide on the manipulative sentences and phrases people use to get what they want from you.
And if you're looking for more resources on sociopaths and other toxic personality types, be sure to check out these blog posts:
- 20 Manipulation Tactics Used by Gaslighters, Narcissists & Sociopaths
- Are Narcissists Evil? How to Find Out
- 33 Toxic Personality Traits You Should Watch Out For
Finally, if you want to identify YOUR personality type, then take one of these 11 personality tests to better understand what makes you tick.