- Expected 7 May 2020
From Dr. Martha Stout's influential work The Sociopath Next Door, we learned how to identify a sociopath. Now she tells us what to actually do about it.
While the best way to deal with a sociopath is to avoid them entirely, sometimes circumstance doesn't allow for that. What happens when the time comes to defend yourself against your own child, a boss, or ruthless ex-spouse? Inspired by the many chilling and often heartbreaking emails and letters she has received over the years, from her work with the victims of sociopathy, Dr. Martha Stout uncovers the psychology behind the sociopath's methods and provides concrete guidelines to help navigate these dangerous interactions.
Organized around categories such as destructive narcissism, violent sociopaths, sociopathic coworkers, and the sociopath in your family, Outsmarting the Sociopath Next Door contains detailed explanation and commentary on how best to react in these situations to keep the sociopath at bay. Uniting these categories is a discussion of changing psychological theories of personality and sociopathy and the enduring triumph of conscience over those who operate without empathy or concern for others. By understanding the person you're dealing with and changing the rules of the game, you'll be able to gain the upper hand and escape the sociopath's influence.
Whether you're fighting a custody battle against a sociopathic ex or being gaslighted by a boss or coworker, you'll find hope and help within these pages. With this guide to disarming the conscienceless, Dr. Stout aims to give readers the tools to protect themselves while conducting a broader examination of human behavior and conceptions of normality.
Psychologist Stout follows up The Sociopath Next Door with an intriguing companion guide to dealing with people who evince "an ice-cold unfeeling emptiness." Stout addresses four main topics: sociopathy in children, at work, during child-custody battles, and in overtly "assaultive" and even "homicidal" people. To show how to maintain one's safety and well-being in such situations, she uses anecdotes, some invented, others based on readers' letters. Her examples include an 11-year-old whose mother discovered he had robbed the body of a man drowned in Superstorm Sandy, a boss who manipulates her employees to see them squirm, and a teen cyberbully who drove a classmate to suicide. Stout provides customized suggestions for each topic but also 10 general recommendations, including withholding the emotional reactions one's persecutor is seeking and enlisting allies. She also examines the difference between narcissism and sociopathy and explores sociopathy in corporations and governments. Though her tone tends toward alarmism, Stout ends on a refreshingly optimistic note, lauding the ability of the "courageous and compassionate individual" to stand up against sociopaths. Her often grim but ultimately reassuring primer will leave readers feeling better prepared to face the malign individuals in their lives.