Q. My sister is dating someone who I think is showing sociopathic tendencies. Can you help me better understand what’s going on in that type of brain? I’m frightened although she doesn’t seem to be.

A. I can understand your concern. You may want to review a book entitled The Sociopath Next Door. It was written by Martha Stout, PhD, a clinical psychologist in private practice, who served on the faculty in psychology in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School for twenty-five years. According to Stout, 4% of the population can be considered sociopathic.

Perhaps the chief symptom of a psychopathic is an apparent lack of conscience (as most people perceive conscience). The person exhibits no ability to exhibit (or perhaps even experience) any guilt, shame, or remorse and seems oblivious to the pain of others.

According to investigative journalist Mike Adams, NaturalNews Editor, sociopaths he has investigated often have a little group of spellbound followers who consider him/her to be a prophet. Jim Jones of the Jonestown poisoned Kool-Aid is a particularly frightening example. Other examples include Marshall Applewhite of the heaven’s gate group and Charles Manson.

Some sociopaths reportedly are highly intelligent but extremely self-serving at the same time. They are determined to win at all costs and will not be reasoned with. As one person put it, attempting to reason with a sociopath only wastes your time and annoys the sociopath.

There may be little you can do for your sister if she has fallen under a charismatic spell, so to speak. Perhaps you could try to research some of the things this individual has claimed and determine if they check out in the real world, outside the person’s sphere of direct control. Unfortunately, most of the stories presented by sociopaths cannot really be confirmed or denied. The sociopath relies on them, however, to shore up an aura of wisdom, authority, knowledge, etc.. Whatever you do, be very careful. These individuals can be extremely dangerous if confronted or exposed.