A few common characteristics of the sociopath:
- Glibness and Superficial Charm
- Manipulative and Conning
They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.
- Grandiose Sense of Self
Feels entitled to certain things as "their right."
- Pathological Lying
Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.
- Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.
- Shallow Emotions
When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.
- Incapacity for Love
- Need for Stimulation
Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.
- Callousness/Lack of Empathy
Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others' feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.
If you watched Part 1 of Oprah Winfrey's interview with Lance Armstrong Thursday night, I think you may have seen evidence of several (or all) of these character traits in Armstrong. Armstrong seemed without real remorse or contrition. His callous disregard for others ("I may have sued her... we sued so many people") was also reflected in his inability to take advantage of his opportunity, in front of a national television audience, to offer a sincere apology for all those people he defamed, smeared, embarrassed, sued or otherwise harassed for merely telling the truth about him all these years.
I don't care how much money the man has raised for charity, how many times he says he's sorry, I cannot find much sympathy or forgiveness for him. He didn't come across as genuine to me, but rather robotic and scripted. His failure to respond to questions about the allegations from Betsy Andreu, who said she heard Armstrong admit in a hospital room in 1996 to using PEDs and testosterone, was curious -- as was his insistence that while he did call Andreu "crazy" and "a bitch" he didn't call her fat. Nice, Lance.
I have not seen Part 2 and am not looking forward to it. It's not a pleasurable thing to watch, for sure. But I will say this, kudos to Oprah for her work with the interview. She was direct, to the point, relentless and did a terrific job of allowing Armstrong to show just exactly what kind of person he is. She stayed out of it, emotionally, offering no sympathy or escape. I did not expect that and most respected it.
As far as Armstrong is concerned, I think the best thing for him is to drop out of sight for a good long while. Perhaps, in time, people will forgive and forget. Or perhaps not. But he just doesn't seem to be the type of person who can help his cause with interviews like this one.