Um ... I don’t know.
Aware of my fascination with psychopaths, sociopaths, master manipulators, and other character-disordered and character-disturbed people, someone (with tongue firmly planted in cheek, I’m sure) asked me this question the other day, and I was almost willing to watch Armstong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey so that I could (tongue firmly planted in cheek) provide an answer. But I don’t like Oprah Winfrey and her fake brand of spirituality or the way she oozes half-baked wisdom, so I’m sorry, I couldn’t do it.
But I can tell you what others have said, and I can also tell you that if Armstrong were a sociopath or suffered from some type of character disturbance, it wouldn’t surprise me, as it seems that character disturbed/disordered people are more common than one might think, and I’m convinced (even without a doctoral degree) that I’ve personally encountered a few.
I first became acquainted with the term “character disturbance” through the writings of George K. Simon, PhD, author of In Sheep's Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People as well as Character Disturbance: The Phenomenon of Our Age. In short, and with all due apologies to Dr. Simon in advance for any clumsiness on my part, a character-disturbed individual is someone who’s moral character is “off” in marked and consistent ways. This individual has problematic beliefs and thinking patterns that result in antisocial behavior, a problematic (e.g., narcissist) view of self and others, a disregard for the truth, responsibility-resistant behaviors and manipulation tactics, a preoccupation with “impression management,” that is, with behaving in certain ways for the sole purpose of having advantage over others (e.g., keeping others in the dark about their true nature), impaired capacity for empathy and contrition, problematic temperament and moods, low impulse control, and low ability to learn from mistakes. Sociopaths are to be considered as having a character disorder, which is farther along on the spectrum than a character disturbance.
If you think I’m a little nuts to be obsessed with this stuff, then you’ve never tangoed with one of these jokers, that’s all I’m saying. If you had, you’d have been running to the bookstore (like I did) to learn everything you could about how to protect yourself from these nasty folks.
But back to Lance Armstrong. From what I’ve read about sociopaths, one distinguishing characteristic is something I’ll call “crime opportunist.” Sociopaths have such a low regard for society’s rules and the rights of others that they’ll engage in all kinds of crimes—they don’t just stick to one. For example, Sante Kimes, a pathological liar who has been classified as a sociopath by qualified professionals, engaged in fraud, forgery, robbery, enslavement, corruption of a minor, incest, petty thievery, and murder.
Lance Armstrong doesn’t have that kind of a history, but he sure sounds like someone with a character disturbance to me, because... well ... something is off with this dude. (But again, I’m not a doctor ...)
As promised, here’s a few links to what others are saying:
“Lance Armstrong Outs Himself as a Sociopathic Liar in a Staged Oprah ‘Confession’ That Smacks of Yet More Public Image Manipulation,” naturalnews.com
“Lance Armstrong, Arrogant and Unaware, Did Little to Repair His Image in Mea Culpa with Oprah,” sports.yahoo.com
“Bomani Jones: Lance Armstrong is a Sociopath,” cbslocal.com
“Lance Armstrong Proves He Is a Sociopath,” kloshemowich.wordpress.com
You be the judge.