We’ve all heard of people being described as a Psychopath or Sociopath, and while the personality types share similar traits, they’re not one in the same.
Both psychopathy and sociopathy are versions of a single disorder: antisocial personality disorder. The symptoms of antisocial personality disorder can vary in severity with the more egregious, harmful, or dangerous behavior patterns are referred to as sociopathic or psychopathic. There has been much debate as to the distinction between these descriptions.
Simply put – sociopathy is characterized as something severely wrong with one’s conscience; psychopathy is characterized as a complete lack of conscience regarding others.
Here are the characteristics of both…
TRAITS OF A PSYCHOPATH
Unless you have had personal experiences with psychopaths, odds are that you’re most familiar with Hollywood’s portrayal of them in film. Characters like Norman Bates and Patrick Bateman have molded our perception as to what it means to be a psychopath. But, the thing is, there’s far more to this disorder than what we see on screen.
They’re This Way From Birth.
When it comes to being a psychopath, genetics are to blame. Though scientists and medical professionals haven’t nailed down one cause for psychopathy, it’s generally rooted in brain development flaws. With that being said, the traits can also be exasperated by, and deeply rooted in, childhood trauma.
Deep Emotional Voids.
One of the biggest traits of a psychopath is a void within emotional connectedness. According to Psych Central, “Research has shown psychopaths have underdeveloped components of the brain commonly thought to be responsible for emotion regulation and impulse control.”
One major quality of psychopaths is how they form relationships. Instead of forming a legitimate, emotional connection with someone, their relationships are artificially constructed, forced, and robotic.
Manipulation of Relationships.
Psychopaths tend to form relationships for personal benefit. They’ll manipulate people and situations to get what they want.
They’re typically skilled at having social lives. They’re masters of projecting whatever they assume people want to see. Their lives are controlled and meticulous.
TRAITS OF A SOCIOPATH
We tend to assume that sociopaths are actually just psychopaths, and while they’re similar, they’re not the same.
Sociopathy tends to be learned. Children who grew up in negative environments or were victims of abuse are more likely to develop sociopathic qualities.
Sociopaths tend to be loners, and unlike psychopaths, do not excel at forming relationships with a foundation in manipulation.
Whereas psychopaths tend to be more efficient in how they approach a situation (even when it’s something criminal), sociopaths are unpredictable. This is why they are often caught in the act, whereas psychopaths can go undetected for a lifetime.
Crimes of Passion.
Have you ever felt you were arguing with a sociopath? Chances are, you were. Sociopaths are unpredictable and tend to act based on emotions. If they hurt someone, it is likely that there was a deep-rooted emotional tie driving the passion behind the crime. This is in sharp contrast to psychopaths who can inflict harm without any emotional connection or remorse.
Both psychopathy and sociopathy are serious mental illnesses, often times requiring medical attention. We hope with your newfound understanding of both disorders will help you to differentiate between the two when you recognize these traits in someone you meet or know.
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