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the sociopath next door
1 in 25 ordinary Amercians secretly has no conscience and can do anything at all without feeling guilty. Who is the devil you know?
by Martha Stout, PhD
Edition: Paperback; 256 Pages
Price: $15.00  Deliver for as little as $3.50
Availability In stock - ships in next US mail pickup
Publisher: Broadway Books
ISBN: 0-7679-1582-8

Commentary by Richard Skerritt: When someone struggling in a relationship with a disordered partner or family member first asks for help, I recommend two things: learning as much as possible about their significant other's disorder, and learning to know themselves and what is really important to them. Tears and Healing comes in with the second part. When the disorder looks like sociopathy, then I recommend the sociopath next door, written by Martha Stout as the way to learn about the disorder.

This book gives a practical, real-world account of sociopathy - the feelings and lack of feelings; the kinds of behaviors; the characteristic markers; and the sad reality that improvement is almost impossible. Stout's writing is clear and easy to follow, and her perspective is especially helpful for those involved with someone with sociopathy because her work focuses on helping trauma victims. Many of her patients have been victims of sociopaths in their lives, and she understands the damage these people can do.

In a pragmatic approach, Stout bases her description of sociopathy (also called psychopathy or the clinically correct antisocial personality disorder) on the key idea of the absence of conscience. An amazing 4% of the world's population suffers from this disorder. Key chapters in the book cover:

  • understanding conscience and the difference between conscience and guilt;
  • the sociopath: a person without conscience, with a lust for control of other people;
  • understanding how power or the successes of others are the critical goals for a sociopath;
  • the tools of a sociopath: charm and distortion of reality;
  • causes of sociopathy: both genetic and environmental, yet not fully understood;
  • rules for recognizing and dealing with sociopaths.

the sociopath next door stands out for its practical approach, which contrasts with a clinical approach by some other authors. The cases described by Stout are realistic and almost all of us can relate to someone in our life experience that is similar to those described. This book will give you a clear idea what sociopathy is, and just as important, it will help you to recognize, avoid, and cope with this disorder.

Are you facing a sociopath, or a narcissist? BOTH display a lack of empathy. Both are accused of constant lying. Which is it? Ask this: is the person intensely sensitive to judgment or criticism by others? Does the person flare up or rage when criticized in private? This hypersensitivity points to narcissism. For a thorough explantion get my book Meaning from Madness  in which I describe both disorders, explain what motivates their disordered behavior, and describe the psychological distortions that arise. If you like both Meaning from Madness and The Sociopath Next Door, check out my Sociopath Pack  which has both.

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