Every now and then you’ll meet a person who throws you for a loop. You might think they’re insane, maybe sociopathic or simply a narcissist – maybe a combination of all three?

Sometimes it can be hard to tell when you’re dealing with one of these predators of the social world. They’re nothing like the Hollywood stereotypes that television has taught us about; they’re normal people who simply wreak havoc on your emotional and mental well-being.

Here are five traits that these socially manipulative individuals all share, and that you should look for:

1. Their charming and superficial personality

The psychopath has a special way of luring his or her victims into their web. While some go for the generic route of giving gifts and compliments, most spend their time figuring out what makes an individual feel special. And each person needs to be charmed in a different way.

The best way to recognize this is by looking for signs of authenticity. These will show up in their inconsistent and insincere behaviors and if others speak of them poorly or not like you know them.

2. They thrive on negative reactions

One of the psychopath’s favorite things to do is plant seeds of chaos and confusion in everyone’s mind, watch as a giant mess unfolds, and then claim to be innocent and blame everyone for reacting in a rational way. Look for signs of them luring you into arguments only to play dumb when confronted.

3. You’ve caught them in lies, again and again

The psychopath can’t help but lie to each and every person they come across in life. Even when lying will provide them absolutely no benefit, they choose to do it anyway. And if you call them out on it, they’ll be quick to write you off as being paranoid or too concerned about nothing.

4. They show zero sign of guilt or shame

Remorse, regret, whatever you want to call it, psychopaths do not have it. Normally when we do things that are morally wrong or unethical, we feel a sense of wrongness. When the psychopath engages in morally questionable behavior, they seem to thrive on it. They’re well aware that the things they do hurts others, they just don’t care.

5. They like to turn people against one another

One of the psychopath’s favorite pastimes is making people hate each other. They love to whisper venomous nothings into the unsuspecting ears of coworkers, friends and family members, weaving rumors that inspire bouts of jealousy and suspicion. They’ll make you doubt your reality.

(h/t Mind Body Green)

This blog post has been reproduced with the permission of Expanded Consciousness. The original blog post can be found here. The views expressed by the author are not necessarily endorsed by this organization and are simply provided as food for thought from Intellectual Takeout.