If the diagnosis fits ...
Sociopaths live as permanent imposters. They function largely by imitating the behavior of others. Amoral and utterly lacking in normal emotional bonds, such individuals know right from wrong; they just don’t give a damn. Their world divides into user and used; morality consists of fear of getting caught. And whatever happens, somebody else is always to blame.
The formal term is “narcissistic personality disorder,” defined by the Mayo Clinic as “a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.”
Sound like anybody in the news?
How such individuals often self-destruct is by venturing out past the boundaries of imitable behavior. My book “Widow’s Web” describes the bizarre antics of an Arkansas woman who murdered her husband in his bed, concocting a series of wild alibis involving hit men out of Chicago that detectives never credited for a minute. But they also never found a murder weapon. Friends and family didn’t know what to think.
That is, until four months after her husband’s death, when the widow threw a champagne party celebrating her nonindictment and called in the press. See, just as the relentless skepticism of homicide cops was new to her, she’d no idea how to play the challenging role of victim’s wife. Photos of her gleefully popping champagne with her new boyfriend on the front page of the statewide newspaper stunned relatives and friends who’d been previously unable to imagine her guilt.
Then they got scared, fearing they could be next. Indeed, Mary Lee Orsini was only getting started.
More from the Mayo Clinic: Sociopaths typically “have a sense of entitlement and require constant, excessive admiration.” They “believe they are superior” and “belittle or look down on people they perceive as inferior.” They characteristically “behave in an arrogant or haughty manner, coming across as conceited, boastful and pretentious,” and “react with rage or contempt and try to belittle (critics) to make themselves appear superior.”
Mostly that’s because such individuals harbor “secret feelings of insecurity, shame,