Some of you may remember Man of the Year and model citizen John Gacey. You can find a picture of him with then First Lady, Rosalynn Carter. He was well liked by his community. What people didn’t know about him however, was that he murdered 32 young men and buried most of them under the crawl space of his home. Charming on the outside, sick and disturbed on the inside. John Gacey was one of the most infamous and notorious sociopaths.

Not all sociopaths are serial killers. But, we want to be able to spot such a person and not end up in a relationship with them. Usually a sociopath is someone who is diagnosed with anti-social personality disorder. Basically, this means that they have little regard for others and ignore the concept of right and wrong. This leads to non-conformity to social norms. High functioning sociopaths can be charming like Gacey. They are highly calculating and manipulative and know how to con you. They operate in deceit with no regard for the feelings of others. Negative consequences for actions do not deter them.

Because they can be charming and lie to make you think they are someone they are not, you have to pay attention to signs. One is, do they disregard your feelings? Another, do they have close friends or any brushes with the law? Do they have to win at all costs? Do you notice a lack of empathy for others? And if there is any vulnerability in you, are you being taken advantage of?

If you find yourself feeling uncomfortable and suspect someone might have these tendencies, cease contact if you can. If you engage at all, the sociopath will manipulate and play you. You can’t reform them. They have to recognize how dysfunctional their behavior is and want to change. This is the challenge because they often do not see the need to change. And sociopaths don’t like therapists either because they hold people accountable for their actions and treatment of others. Sociopaths will often use therapy to learn how to manipulate someone better.

Change is tough and requires a transformation of the heart. Nothing is impossible with God. But short of a genuine spiritual change, it is very difficult to help a sociopath. Medication doesn’t help because symptoms involve a searing of the conscience. Pray for a heart change and avoid contact. Eventually, the person might find themselves in legal trouble and be forced into help or prison.

How to spot a sociopath