The words Sociopath and Psychopath are often used interchangeably; many prefer to use the first, as the second has darker connotations and an invariable association with the Hitchcock movie “Psycho”.
This website attempts to explain some differences between sociopaths and psychopaths. The main point being that psychopaths are born, it is in their genetic code. Whereas sociopaths are more the product of the environment the person had spent their formative years in. Other than that, many if not most of the traits are similar/identical, just with varying degrees. (Like how the colours mauve, purple, fuschia, lavender and lilac are variations of the red-blue colour spectrum). Or, Fifty Shades of Grey, my dear ;).
Here are some sites describing what a “Sociopath” is. It’s actually quite disturbing just how many sites there are that are dedicated to the research and investigation of this psychological condition. Apparently 4% of the world’s population are sociopaths. Mother God help us!
Here’s a list of characteristics of a Sociopath, according to the last site above:
Glibness and Superficial Charm
Manipulative and Conning
They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.
Grandiose Sense of Self
Feels entitled to certain things as “their right.”
Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.
Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.
When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.
Incapacity for Love
Need for Stimulation
Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.
Callousness/Lack of Empathy
Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others’ feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.
Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.
Early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency
Usually has a history of behavioral and academic difficulties, yet “gets by” by conning others. Problems in making and keeping friends; aberrant behaviors such as cruelty to people or animals, stealing, etc.
Not concerned about wrecking others’ lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.
Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity
Promiscuity, child sexual abuse, rape and sexual acting out of all sorts.
Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle
Tends to move around a lot or makes all encompassing promises for the future, poor work ethic but exploits others effectively.
Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility
Changes their image as needed to avoid prosecution. Changes life story readily.
You can even test yourself as to whether you are a Sociopath or not. Or if your husband/wife/partner is one. Be warned though, due to the inherent pathological lying nature of Sociopaths, these kind of tests may not necessarily always work…for one of the other signs is that a Sociopath knows how to play along and give the right answers. Even though he/she would be lying, of course.
I must confess what I’ve been denying to myself until now – I’ve been living with a Sociopath/Psychopath for the last 5 years. My Darling Sociopath exhibits 95% of the traits described above…or perhaps it is 100%, I can’t be sure, as what I’ve been told by him about his past is rather murky. Most recently, I threw in the towel and we have agreed to be separated under one roof. Until such a time as we are in a financial position to divvy up our assets and really go separate ways. It’s a great relief to no longer have to worry or care about whether he’s having more than one affair (of course he is), or whether he’s telling the truth (of course he’s not). We remain friends for now, though that’s somewhat tenuous too, depending on whose advice he’s been listening to, amongst his circle of family and friends.
Sociopaths are smooth talkers and can charm the birds out of the trees. I know, as I was one of those birds. It’s funny how when you’re in love you can make excuses for a person’s character faults and overlook any discrepancies or glitches. But then one day the scales fall off your eyes and suddenly you can see the real Truth of the situation. And it ain’t a purty picture. 😄
Of course My Darling Sociopath, if he bothers to read this post, would tell you that I’M the Sociopath, that I’M making all of this up and I’M the one exhibiting all the characteristics above. And those people currently under his charming spell would not like to admit to themselves that they have been cuckolded and hoodwinked by a consummate con artist.
Whatever. That’s their business, not mine. I can just see this scenario happening, though…”OMG, your ex is at it again. She’s really gone too far this time! She’s calling you a Sociopath, how dare she!! Quick, you better block her on every site connected to you, before she totally destroys your reputation!” 😄