How to recognize a sociopath

how to recognize a sociopath

The term sociopath is used to describe a person with an antisocial personality disorder. A person diagnosed to be a sociopath cannot understand the feelings of others, often break the rules or make impulsive decisions without feeling guilty for the damage their actions cause. They also constantly manipulate and cheat others for personal gain. 

However, despite this persistent negative behavior, the sociopath is often seen as charming, even charismatic. As they are often unaware of their behavior, many sociopathic people go undiagnosed.

Interesting Read: How to recognize a hidden narcissist?

Characteristics of a sociopath

A selfish, aggressive person is not necessarily a sociopath. To establish a diagnosis, it is necessary to find several characteristic behaviors, including:

  • Lack of empathy
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Attempt to control others by threat or aggression
  • Manipulation of others by intelligence, charm or charisma
  • Lie for self-interest
  • Tendency to physical violence
  • Generally superficial relationships
  • Propensity to crime (theft, embezzlement, etc.)
  • Threatens to commit suicide to manipulate
  • Possible abuse of alcohol , drugs
  • Difficulties in taking on responsibilities such as finding a job, paying bills.

Difference between sociopath or psychopath

There is no clinical difference between a sociopath and a psychopath. These terms are commonly used interchangeably. Indeed, most experts believe that psychopaths and sociopaths share a number of characteristics. For example, they have no notion of what is right or wrong. They are also often unable to understand or share another person’s feelings.

Sometimes the distinction is made based on the severity of their symptoms. On this basis, a sociopath can be defined as someone who only commits minor crimes that do not cause serious harm or suffering. A psychopath, on the other hand, is more likely to be physically abusive or to put others at risk.

Another difference is that the “heartless” and deceitful behavior of a sociopath is primarily shaped by environmental factors, such as childhood abuse, while psychopathy is innate.

Sociopaths also behave less consistently than psychopaths. The latter plan ahead. Sociopaths experience fear and find anger much more difficult to control. They may act without thinking and therefore find it more difficult to adapt. There are more apparent contradictions between what they say and what they do. However, the two disorders fall on the same spectrum, making it difficult to determine the most appropriate term.