In recent weeks, the story broke of actor Dimitri Diatchenko’s alleged gruesome killing of his ex-girlfriend’s pet rabbit and threats to do the same to her. According to CNN, his actions closely followed his ex’s request to live separately after living together “for some time” post-breakup. The Sons of Anarchy actor has been assigned a December 30th court date. He's being charged on one count of cruelty to an animal and another for his threats to his ex-girlfriend.
It’s terrifying to think that someone you are/were in a relationship with has the capacity to do something like that. So how can you spot the signs of a sociopath before you encounter a difficult situation?
“Superficial charm and good intelligence” (Psychology Today)
Ever seen American Psycho? If so, you might remember that the main character, the Psycho himself, maintains a charming exterior with a high social status, charisma in the workplace, and an aggressive way with women, though his forwardness appears as enchanting in early stages. However, sociopaths tend to use their high intelligence in addition to their charm in order to manipulate or guilt their partners.
Sense of Entitlement
Perhaps your partner feels that they have a right to know exactly where you are and what you are doing at all times. They might feel that it is “their right” to know certain information. While there should be a high level of transparency within relationships, you are not someone’s property. They have no hold on you. There is a difference between feeling connected in a relationship and feeling caged. This impulse is a sign that your significant other may be a sociopath. At the very least, they are too controlling.
Absence of Emotion
One of the big tells of sociopathic tendencies is the lack or shallowness of emotion. Someone with antisocial personality disorder is unable to connect to others in a way that is socially normal. This may lead to a lack of empathy or sympathy that drives their abnormal behavior, particularly in interpersonal relationships.
Again, the act of lying itself may not mean that you have a sociopath on your hands. However, consistent and compulsive fabrication may be an indicator of anomalous, and possibly dangerous, behavior. If your gut tells you that you aren’t getting the entire story most of the time, it is probably worth looking into.
A sociopath can go from zero to sixty in a way that is frightening, especially in an already emotionally charged situation. If you ever feel that you are in danger, call 911 immediately.
Heavy Drug/Alcohol Abuse
Those with sociopathic tendencies are inclined to go to extremes with environments that present risk or adrenaline. Sociopaths are typically acutely aware of their displacement from normal social behavior, and might use substances to create an environment on his or her “own terms” (wisegeek.com).
If your partner meets any or some of the aforementioned descriptions, talk to a psychotherapist to determine what steps to take.