Overview. Antisocial personality disorder, sometimes called sociopathy, is a mental disorder in which a person consistently shows no regard for right and wrong and ignores the rights and feelings of others.
High-functioning sociopaths carry all the same characteristics as sociopaths, except that they're not as easy to spot in social settings. They can mimic emotions and responses, morphing themselves into what people want to see, often hide their ASPD tendencies, and can function normally in everyday society.
Although sociopathy and psychopathy cannot be diagnosed until someone is 18, one of the hallmarks of both conditions is that they usually begin in childhood or early adolescence. Usually, the symptoms appear before the age of 15, and sometimes they are present early in childhood.
Sociopaths have trouble forming and maintaining any kind of relationship with others. “A sociopath is someone with a personality disorder that includes extreme antisocial behavior,” Klow says.
They're your neighbors, colleagues, maybe even family members and lovers. Thomas admits that sociopaths can be dangerous; they're hungry for power, and they don't feel guilt or remorse. But they're not inherently evil, and some are highly productive members of society.
Early life experiences or trauma, such as extreme poverty, abuse, rejection, and other adverse conditions can, if the biological nature allows, be part of the causes of sociopathy (Sociopathic Parents and Their Effects on Children).
The short answer is yes, sociopaths are generally aware that they are sociopaths. This is one of the differences between sociopaths and narcissists. Sociopaths know they are different from other people, but can force themselves to think and act like a neurotypical person.
Most people mellow out with age, but in the case of psychopaths and those suffering from similar antisocial personality disorders such as sociopaths, bad behavior tends to get worse, according to new research from New Zealand's University of Otago.
A sociopath can sometimes be happy when others simply can't, because they don't have feelings of remorse or guilt. These particular emotions usually don't make us feel happy right away. So in theory, the complete lack of these emotions can result in more happiness.
Coined circa 1930 by George Everett Partridge, American psychologist; socio- + -path.
Sociopaths have a limited, albeit weak, ability to feel empathy and remorse. They're also more likely to fly off the handle and react violently when confronted by the consequences of their actions. However, their own behavior makes this extremely difficult, if not impossible, and most are aware of this.
“The key here is that these individuals violate social norms and expectations, which often results in negative consequences for the individual or those in proximity to the individual,” she adds. With a psychological makeup like that, it's pretty clear that a sociopath isn't capable of a normal loving relationship.
A sociopath is incapable of feelings such as empathy, regret, and remorse. She doesn't experience emotional pain herself; thus, she can't understand the expression of those feelings in others. Sociopaths don't have feelings or emotions, nor do sociopaths cry genuinely.
Do sociopaths have any feelings? Yes, people living with antisocial personality disorder experience feelings and emotions. “These [emotions] may include anger, anxiety, depression, and even fear,” says Hong. In 2013 , researchers explored the self-narratives of people living with ASPD.
They found that a brain area called the ventral striatum — a region tied to evaluating the value of immediate rewards — was overly active in participants deemed highly sociopathic on the PCR-L scale. Psychopaths, then, might simply overestimate the value of their immediate rewards.
Famous cases of acquired sociopathy include Phineas Gage, a railroad worker who in 1848 exhibited anti-social behavior after surviving an explosive blast that sent an iron rod through his brain, and Charles Whitman, the “Texas Tower Sniper,” who had a brain tumor and murdered 16 people in 1966.
Psychopaths are calm and collected under pressure, and have something called a "resilience to chaos." This means they thrive in situations that others would find highly stressful. Sociopaths, however, are more vulnerable to anxiety, so they do not do as well in those environments.
Sociopaths are highly narcissistic. So, if there's one thing that upsets a sociopath, it is being ignored. These people absolutely must have your undivided attention. You are theirs, you are their toy, their plaything, to be used as they wish.
Anger is one of the most easily accessible emotions for the sociopath, and one that shows up frequently in their relationships, work, and daily life. They are often easily angered, irritated, and prone to yelling, aggression, or outbursts when upset.