Personality Disorders – Psychopath vs Sociopath

What is a Psychopath?  Is a Sociopath a Psychopath

January 25, 2012

Antisocial personality disorder is a legal/clinical label that may be applied to both psychopaths and sociopaths  (Walsh & Wu, 2008). There is some consensus that psychopathy is more of an innate phenomenon whereas sociopathy is more the result of environmental factors (poverty, exposure to violence, permissive or neglectful parenting, etc.)

Narcissistic, Antisocial, Borderline, and Histrionic Personality Disorders are clustered together and are mostly ego syn-tonic, that is to say that the individual does not  find their personality traits or behavior ‘unacceptable’. They regard everyone and everything as mere instruments of gratification. “Business’ as usual.

What is known about psychopaths is that genetically there are significant molecular differences in the brain. They may not have ‘asked’ to be the way they are, nonetheless, psychopaths are without  conscious and do not share feelings of empathy, remorse, or guilt like the rest of us do.

Personality disorders are rigid and enduring patterns of traits, emotions, and cognitions. A condition that permeates the entire development of the individual, their mental faculty of knowing, what is perceived, recognized, and understood; the higher mental process(es) of reason, judgment,  imagining  and level of intellectual capacity is an all-pervasive state of being, or in other words a condition that is lasting and not one that is episodic.

“Sociopath” is commonly used  interchangeably with “Psychopath” are Anti-Social Personality Disorders. The psychopath has antisocial traits but they are coupled with and enhanced by callousness, ruthlessness, extreme lack of empathy, deficient impulse control, deceitfulness, involved in criminal activities, are devious, manipulative sadistic and dangerous. They are also very charismatic and are experts at seeking out their targets, it’s what they do and they do it well.

There is a main distinction between Psychotic and Psychopathy. Psychosis is marked by chaotic thinking that is the result of a severely impaired reality (schizophrenia-paranoia and the like) they experience hallucinations and delusions and confuse the external universe with their inner emotions. Whereas those with an Anti-social Personality Disorder, such as a psychopath, are fully oriented with clear senses and possess a satisfactory fund of knowledge. They fail to grasp others as full-fledged entities; they are not concerned with you as a person with feelings. They feel no remorse when they hurt or defraud others.

The psychopath has no conscience or empathy. Psychopaths are vindictive, they hold grudges & never regret or forget a thing. Psychopaths are irresponsible,unreliable & believe themselves to be immune to the consequences of their own actions. They are driven & dangerous. They are impulsive, reckless, aggressive, violent,  and irritable.

Psychopaths rationalize their (often criminal) behavior and intellectualize it.  They are abusively exploitative and incapable of true love or intimacy. They habitually lie, steal others’ identities, deceive, use aliases, and con for “personal profit or pleasure”. They exhibit a selfish, self-centered personality trait with an emotional detachment.

The capacity to feel attachment and empathy towards another and to feel guilt and shame after doing something wrong is not associated with psychopathy; however it is suggested that sociopaths can emotionally attach to others, and feel badly when they hurt  individuals that they are attached to. The sociopath will still lack empathy and attachment toward the
greater society and will not feel guilt in harming a stranger, or rebelling against laws, but he does not lack empathy entirely, as is typical with the psychopath.

The last main difference between psychopathy and sociopathy is in the presentation. The psychopath is callous, yet charming. He or she will con and manipulate others with charisma and intimidation and can effectively mimic feelings to present as “normal” to society. The psychopath is keenly aware that what he or she is doing is wrong, but does not care.



14 thoughts on “Personality Disorders – Psychopath vs Sociopath

    1. Dear Paula,

      I have been away for over 3 mos. and I remember your interest & awesome reply – I had meant to thank you right away
      and thank you for your interest in my post and my blog. I have a growing determinism to meet the challenges of my
      apparent plague with ‘chronic procrastination’ … And there really is no time like the present, so “Thank you”.

      I will be writing and making installments on that post very soon; a story very close to me in surmountable and unpredicted
      directions & byways with startlingly profound depth of personal growth. I will keep you posted, it shall truly be worth reading
      ‘Robin’! LOL

      Looking forward to sharing more with you soon and better acquainting myself with your blog as well.

      Until then –

      Warmest Regards,
      Beautiful Day ~ aeh – aka H.T.B.

  1. Reblogged this on My journey of healing from psychological abuse and commented:
    It can be difficult to distinguish between the ‘psychopath’ and the ‘sociopath’. Though they harbor some of the same traits, there are still some that are very distinguishable. The truth is in the behavior vs what they say. Either way, they are dangerous individuals…both psychologically and physically. Not to be coddled, attempt to be understood, or felt sorry for. Any one of these puts YOU directly in HARMS WAY! Best option…when your nervous system is smokin’…RUN LIKE THE WIND, BULLS-EYE!

  2. Pingback: – John Malcolm

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