Friday, June 17, 2011

Update: Psychopaths, Sociopaths, ASPD and ASD/Aspergers: Recap and Resources

A few years ago there was a rage among psychologists and sociologists looking at the prevalence of sociopaths/psychopaths in the workplace. I got caught up in that and did a ton of research; at one point it was going to be my master's thesis.  As a wrap up of my series on psychopaths, sociopaths & narcissists in the workplace I wanted to collect the links to the previous articles as well as some other links to books and articles on the subject.

To recap my main points: People with Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) like psychopaths/sociopaths look for certain types of victims. Those on the Spectrum often have traits that play right into the ASPD individuals hands and potentially make us targets more often than others. I discuss some of the characteristics you can spot that might mean someone is ASPD and how to protect yourself as well as note that those with narcissistic personality disorder may seem similar to an ASPD but in reality have different motivations and are easier to protect yourself.

[Update: fixed the protection link]


Other Resources:

Wikipedia for Robert Hare, preeminent researcher on Psychopaths

Hare's first book: Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us
Hare's Second book (with Paul Babiak): Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work

Paul Babiak; industrial psychologist who studies bullying and ASPD disorder in the workplace

Mask of Sanity, a PDF of Hervey M. Cleckley's groundbreaking work on ASPD

Martha Stout's book The Sociopath Next Door

Article: Red Flags for workplace sociopaths
Article: How to Deal with a Sociopath
Article: Coping with Psychopaths @ work
Article: Workplace Psychopaths: how to deal with them
Article: What is the difference between a narcissist and a sociopath?
Article: The Borderland of Narcissism and Sociopathy


  1. hey, thanks for posting this info. the past two jobs i've had, i end up working with "this one guy" who makes my worklife hell. i always feel like the lone sheep separated from the pack whose an easy target.

    i work with computers and web programming and i'm very good at what i do, but at these last jobs, i always end up getting gamed and manipulated. i lack the tools (and desire) to "fight back". in the past two jobs, i've had this one guy on my team that seems like the nicest, most normal guy you'd know.

    and these guys never attack directly, they always set up some game where they avoid looking like the bad guy. and i see it coming, i try to ignore it but that doesn't seem to work. and the 'games' if you will are always very public. if i'm not in front of other people, they will say nice things and try to establish a relationship.

    after three or four indirect (or direct) attacks, my problem is that i just shut off and ignore the person. and by this point, i haven't established enough strong relationships with other people in order to have friends willing to stand up for me. i'm only concerned with the challenge at hand and i know that's how it is, but it's hard for me to relate to other people.

    and once i start ignoring them, then it only gets worse. until it's at the point where i can't stand it and i quit and become unemployed for a few months, dreading the next job, where there's no doubt another sociopathic shark. at my first real job, there was no one like this. everyone was completely genuine.

    and the frustrating part is that none of this has anything to do with competency. i am perfectly capable. and in fact i excel. but it's hard for me to establish relationships because my interests are so narrow. i'm afraid of social failure so i've sort of shrunk back into my shell so to speak.

  2. Gee you don't need to have a list of degrees and working on a masters thesis to spot these people. I have none of these things but after falling victim to someone I consider dangerous, I can spot these traits, they are common amongst a select group of nutters. I quit a good job because of this person, spreading lies etc and all the associated bs, I consider myself lucky to have got away from this dreadful woman, she even tried to become friends with my mother in law, who is elderly and too nice to know any better, until I told her the truth and even she was horrified. This woman contacted anyone I knew she could to spread her venom. Yes they are out, listen and be careful who you share any info with.