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The Sociopath Next Door

The Ruthless Versus the Rest of Us

by Martha Stout

The Sociopath Next Door
  • Critics' Opinion:

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  • First Published:
    Feb 2005, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2006, 256 pages

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There are currently 42 reader reviews for The Sociopath Next Door
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jim (10/03/11)

Do the math
Actually Keith, one person in every 25 does equal 4. If you add up 25 four times, that makes 100; and there will be 4 persons out of 100 that fit the bill as full-blown sociopaths (one person for each group of 25.) That makes 4. However, these are just the clear and unambivalent cases. The rest of the population has tendencies either toward neurosis, or toward character disorders such as sociopathology or narcisism. It would be interesting to get a graph, scatter plot, or some type of visual depiction of the dispersal of psychological problems across the population, but it might be too scarey to look at.
Mary (09/21/11)

Excellent
I have been hurt twice by the same sociopath, the book helped me understand I wasn't losing my mind. Had no idea what a sociopath was before this. Amazing insights. I recommend this book to everyone.
this guy (08/21/11)

Too Repetitive
I saw this book, and was really excited to read it. The intro was 6 pages to long. She dwelled on the same point through out the book, how people without a conscience can do anything, and i thought, cool. It felt like a broken record. Over and over she would repeat the same thing. There were a few thing she mentioned, like superego, that were cool, but I almost felt like she tried saying so much about that and other things, that she was trying to sound real smart like. She takes the same thing and says it in 4000 ways and so you think she has all these points, but its really the same one, over and over.

It has a text book feel to it, and I feel like it could of been so much better.. honestly, don't buy it, read the first 3 pages in a book store and you gain all you need..
Abused Father (05/29/11)

They will steal your children guaranteed
I married a Sociopath and of course had no clue. We had 2 children. One of those (my only son) is her co-dependent and is showing all signs of the same disorder. Our daughter is surviving it and insisting on maintaining a strong relationship with me. It is soul shattering to live as a victim, and watch my son be turned into a Sociopath, while the family court enables and supports the fairy tales and lies this women tells. The family courts are in my view, filled with Sociopathic personalities, from the Judges and Lawyers, on down to the Guardians and Social Workers.

I think we need to make some dramatic changes in our Society to protect ourselves from this epidemic. No one in Family Court should be allowed to provide professional "opinions", "therapy", or legal advice or decisions unless they themselves have gone through a rigorous psychological evaluation. That would be pretty simple to do. Sociopaths are attracted to these positions because they can Control, Influence, and "Create" create their own desired "truth" and outcome. This "power" makes them feel good, and the destruction they impose on the lives of functional and healthy parents and their poor children is nothing less than the most heinous and socially destructive behavior the "legal" system enables and supports. This system is creating more Social Pathology, and destroying more lives than any war, disease, or natural disaster does in any given year.

This book should be required reading for every young adult, prior to marriage, and prior to any serious relationship. My children's mother is a very disturbed, abusive person, but charming and intelligent. She continues to fool many people, and surrounds herself with either ignorant "pawns" or similar people without conscience. The frustration never ends. I have attempted to get those who are her pawns and minions to accept the reality. Most of them are clueless. I have had some small successes. Generally those who have known her longer and had a more close relationship are more likely to be able to accept it. Since most of her relationships are shallow and kept at arms length, these people who do not know her well at all, but support the fraudulent presentation she makes socially, and are very difficult to convince that she is not who she pretends to be. I intend to write a book about my experience. The tentative title is "Domestic Terror and The Liar's Court".

Anyone going through a divorce with a cheating, lying, emotionally/psychologically abusive spouse should read this book first! I even have psyche Evals on her that would scare anyone to death, but somehow, with the support of the "pawns" in the system, she has managed to "win" control and custody of the children! Oh, did I mention she works for the County! She has been a Social Worker and now a nurse in a County hospital working with crisis patients for 20 years! The perfect job for someone who needs to control, manipulate, and feel superior to the clients she serves. Way to go Martha!

I would add to your list of Sociopaths we need to watch out for......Sara Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and many other politicians, Judges, Lawyers, and corporate oil executives who continue to distort the truth and use demagoguery to control and brainwash the average gullible citizen. Be careful because the ones using these tactics, as Martha points out, will make the very same accusations against those who are truly acting in the best interests of society. It is truly a mind boggling, stealthy, and destructive epidemic. We as a society are ignorant and vulnerable. The one thing I disagree with Martha on is this: We need to take these sick people on, expose them, create protection for the healthy citizen's, and establish laws to mitigate their ability to destroy lives. The "hate" crimes laws should be applied to these abusive people. Parental Alienation needs to be legally defined as a crime. We need to educate our children! We also need to require any and all professionals calling themselves "Guardians", "Therapists", "Psychologists", or any other so-called advocate for healthy human behavior to undergo extensive psychological evaluation prior to being allowed to provide "advice" to anyone! This is so logical and necessary! I don't understand why this has not been done. Wait, I do. There are many of the people who influence and control both political and legal (family Law) decisions that are themselves Sociopathic, that they fight against anything that might expose the true magnitude of the problem. Sociopaths, in my view, are drawn to these professions because of the "opportunity" it provides to "Control", "manipulate", and "use" their position to be malicious and experience the thrill this power gives them. Wake up America! This is the single greatest Civil and Social rights issue of modern times. If we do not address it, because of the influence of these disordered minds, and the positions they hold in society, this silent epidemic will eventually take over control of our Society. The ramifications of that, are eventual total destruction of the family, functional loving relationships, and a truly kind and caring country. Accepting race, religion, sexual preference is necessary. Those who are fighting against this healthy tide will eventually be accountable for the ignorance and abusive, sociopathic behaviors that will keep us from growing and evolving into a peaceful, mentally healthy, loving society. Their are many Sociopaths on the more Liberal side of the political agenda as well. They tend to be the spaths who are less intelligent, less power hungry, and more inclined to abuse and control passively and covertly in a smaller environment. Just my opinion, from very personal experience, and 4 years of researching, reading, studying, and dealing with a sociopathic mother of my children.
sdf (12/15/10)

keith, go learn some math.
Dr. Martha Stout presents extensive amounts of information based on research. in essence, the 4 she refers to is not a part of the 1 in 25 but apart of the entire population that walks among us.
This book puts questions out on the table and the reader thinks about the various natures of sociopaths which leads them into thinking that people around them are all sociopaths. She is very unorganized in her writing but presents lots of interesting information about these ruthless creatures.
Keith (09/14/10)

Bad analysis
Four percent is not one person out of twenty five. Read another book. Harry Potter is probably more realistic.
libbybear (07/05/10)

How as a Christain I cut ties with a sociopath
What an eyeopener. This book has identified people in my past and present who have such traits and have made my life and, through that extension, my family's and friends - miserable. They are even easier to understand if you take a look at the New World Translation of the Bible and read the first letter to the Corinthians chapter 13 verse 4 - 6. When you know what love is and the incapacity of a sociopath not to show it - these scriptures spell it out loudly. They read - "Love is long suffering, and KIND. Love is NOT JEALOUS, it DOES NOT BRAG, does not get PUFFED UP, does NOT BEHAVE INDECENTLY, does NOT LOOK FOR ITS OWN INTERESTS, does NOT BECOME PROVOKED. It does NOT KEEP ACCOUNT OF THE INJURY. It does NOT REJOICE OVER UNRIGHTEOUSNESS but REJOICES with the TRUTH". In the same book of Corinthians chapter 10 v 24 it says "Let each one keep seeking NOT HIS OWN ADVANTAGE but that of the other person". This ties in with the thought "love does not look for its own interests". The sociopath is incapable of doing this.

The advice to quit all contact is hard but honest and is the correct action to take.
1 Corinthians 15 v 33 says "Bad association spoils useful habits" - in other words "don't associate with them".

Matthew ch7 v 6 goes on to speak to me as a victim "Do not give what is holy to dogs, neither throw your pearls before swine, that they may NEVER TRAMPLE them under their feet and turn around and RIP YOU OPEN".

For those who are ignorant and who have a biblically trained conscience, the clinical advice to have nothing to do with the sociopath (who could be in your own congregation) appears to run contrary to the admonition to "greet your brother" but recognising the "rocks below the waters" our creator has given us some wise insight into the need, at times, to safeguard ourselves.
Therefore, as a Christain who has had two sociopathic friends trample all over my life whilst throwing the letter of the Bible with its laws in my face - the truth is - the LAW of LOVE in the bible is what will distinguish them and their "rotten fruits" from the rest of us who genuinely can love. For the Bible says quite clearly in 1 John 4 v 8 "He that DOES NOT LOVE has not come to know GOD, because GOD IS LOVE". Yes there are all sorts of laws in the bible and the sociopath will throw them at you hard, twist them and then disrupt the peace whilst failing to show, as quoted, the greatest law of all - LOVE. The fact that a sociopath is full of lies and deceit also rings true with the name SATAN and DEVIL meaning deceiver and liar. It all adds up.

My stance on this is that I have taken my doctors advice and the professional advice of a psychologist and - broken all ties. My biblical standpoint is just as I have written - I will not be a doormat to a sociopath. I choose to "hate what they do and not who they are". If they exist in my congregation, then I will let God be the judge and continue to do what the book says: Have a happy life and not include the sociopath in it. After reading the book I could have written a few chapters myself on the people who have crossed my path and who exist in our community and who are messing up other people's lives as I write. I find it a kindness on behalf of the author to warn us and inform us and now I choose to do the same. Warn and help others to find the escape I found in this book.
krazygem (07/05/10)

The Sociopath Next Door
I read this book in 2005, on the advice of a marriage counselor. If it had not been for the way in which the book was written with historical facts, supporting stories, and the author's professional expertise I may not be alive today to write this review.

This book not only gave an in-depth analysis of what a sociopath is comprised of, but a working guide on how to end the relationship, and save not only your life but your sanity as well. I recommend all women read this book as a navigational tool to a better life and relationships...both personal and impersonal.

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