8 Subtle Ways Your Body Warns You When You're Interacting With A Sociopath

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Back when we were cavewomen and cavemen, our very survival depended upon being able to sense danger from predators. We still have the ability to sense danger, even if it’s not a saber-toothed tiger, but a human with bad intentions. If we pay attention to the ways our body warns us, we can escape the clutches of dangerous humans like sociopaths.

Sociopaths are people diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder who are known to exploit and manipulate others. They can appear charming and exciting, but that’s just a façade. In reality, they’re often deceitful, lack empathy and conscience, and are prone to anger — even rage.

We can protect ourselves by listening to our intuition, which is part instinctive knowing, and part physical reaction. Our body warns us when someone or a situation poses a threat. All we have to do is notice — and act. 


RELATED: What Life As A Sociopath Is Really Like, According To Sociopaths

Here are 8 subtle ways your body warns you when you're interacting with a sociopath.

1. Fear

Fear is our body's reaction to threats in the environment around us. It's a normal response, as LCSW and mindfulness teacher Nichole Moorman points out, saying, “Our bodies and brains are designed to feel fear.”

When you feel sudden fear, consider it the ultimate warning sign that you're conversing with or are in the presence of a sociopath. If you're ever suddenly gripped by fear when this person is in your presence, trust your gut.

ways your body warns you when you're interacting with a sociopathPhoto: MART PRODUCTION / Pexels

2. Chills

Getting chills or goosebumps is a reflex that evolved in our ancestors where the hair on their necks, arms and body stood up. This, in turn, made them appear larger to scare off predators.

And while we can also get goosebumps or chills when the weather is cold, if your hair suddenly stands up in the presence of a particular person, you could be reacting to a sociopath’s predatory stare.

RELATED: 5 Little Signs You (Or Someone You Love) Has A Personality Disorder

3. Difficulty breathing

Your body goes into fight-or-flight mode when you're scared or anxious, and this can lead to difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Your heart rate will also increase, therefore leading to quickened breath.

When you find it hard to take deep, even breaths around this person, it’s probably because something about their behavior is profoundly troublesome. It's a subtle way your body warns you that you're interacting with a sociopath.

4. Crying

When your interactions with this person frequently bring you to tears, know that this is not normal. It’s a warning that something is terribly amiss.

While crying for no reason at all can be a result of many different factors, including experiencing trauma, being a highly sensitive person, being stressed or anxious, and/or feeling overwhelmed. In the presence of a sociopath, it may be your body's visceral reaction to them.

ways your body warns you when you're interacting with a sociopathPhoto: Ketut Subiyanto / Pexels

5. Pounding heart

Your heart starts pounding when you look at the object of your affection or when you're excited about something. But in this case, when you're interacting with a sociopath or someone with sociopathic tendencies, a fast heartbeat may signify that, deep down, you’re afraid.

6. Upset stomach

If you feel nauseous around this person or when you think about certain interactions you've had with them, your internal compass is sending you a message. Your body is letting you know that your anxious feelings aren't without merit.

In fact, when you feel anxious, studies say that experiencing nausea or an upset stomach is a normal response, as our brains and digestive system are incredibly interconnected.

RELATED: 1 In 100 People Are Psychopaths — The 3 Personality Traits That Give Them Away

7. Nightmares

If you have nightmares or bad dreams while involved with a sociopathic person, or you have difficulty sleeping, pay attention to what your body and brain are telling you. Something is interfering with your rest.

Nightmares are your body's way of connecting your brain to your soul, communicating your worries and anxieties from your waking life into your subconscious. If you're wary of this person in real life, that will translate into nightmares.



8. Nagging feeling

If you have a sense that something is wrong, but you can’t identify what it is, your inner self knows there's a problem and is trying to get your attention. Never play off your gut feeling as an overreaction because, more likely than not, your intuition is revealing the truth to you.

The key to escaping sociopaths is to pay attention to warning signs. But unfortunately, we sometimes don’t listen to ourselves.

Most people experience warning signs early in an involvement with someone new, but don’t know what they mean.

In fact, in a survey, I asked the question: "Did you have intuition or a gut instinct early in the involvement that there was something wrong with the person or the relationship?" An astounding 71% of survey respondents answered yes. But 40% of respondents ignored their intuition and continued with the relationship, much to their regret.

So if you instinctively have a bad reaction to someone, don’t chide yourself for being judgmental or paranoid. Don’t tell yourself that everyone deserves a chance and that you should be open-minded.

There's a reason for your reaction, even if you don't know what it is right away. If you can’t avoid the person altogether, at least be wary. Your intuition is probably trying to warn you of danger.

RELATED: How To Easily Check A Guy's Selfies For Signs He May Be A Sociopath

Donna Andersen is a writer and author who offers advice on escape and recovery from sociopaths, psychopaths, or narcissists. She has appeared on TV shows like ABC 20/20 and The Ricki Lake Show, as well as in digital and print media publications like Psychology Today, Marie Claire, Thought Catalog, and Daily Mail.

This article was originally published at Reprinted with permission from the author.