The Difference Between A Sociopath And A Psychopath

Over the years, there has been alot of debating going on as to the differences between these two disorders: sociopathy and psychopathy.  Some say the two disorders are identical; some say there at several distinctions between the two. Psychologist have been studying both disorders for years, but with their studies have yet to be concluded because of the increased difficulty of getting their subjects to cooperate with them, therefore prolonging the results. As time moves on, more and more pertinent information is being released to the public along with the testimonies of surviving victims that can be used to help protect those potentially at harm’s risk.  The more knowledge that is released to the public, the less chances of their premeditated destructive plans succeeding against humanity.

 

There are indeed several differences between the two. It is important to understand the major difference between the two disorders. Not being able to recognize the most important signs of distinction can result in being the victim of someone with whom you will end up regretting  investing your time, your trust, your sanity, and even your life into in the long run.

 

So let’s move on with a brief list of distinctions between the two:

 

Intelligence: The sociopath has no regards for the rights, feelings, and safety of another human being, and sadly enough, sometimes no regards for their own safety as well. The psychopath also has no regards for the rights, feelings, and safety of another human being, but they are a wee bit “smarter” than the sociopath in regards to their own safety. Psychopaths are risk takers as well as the sociopath, but the sociopath is more apt to getting caught than the psychopath because they lack the wisdom to see their mistakes in their premeditated plans. A psychopath will think of a plan, will take the risk, examine how close they were to getting caught, and will try to perfect any flaws so as to not get caught the next time they try taking the same risk. The sociopath just keeps doing the same thing over and over again, in the same manner, no matter how many times that method has proved to expose them. The difference here is the level of intelligence: one has it, one does not.

 

Remorse: The sociopath feels no remorse for the destruction they cause, the feelings they hurt, and the trauma they inflict because their brain is missing the pieces that process emotions in regards to anyone else but themselves. They will imitate what remorse should “look” like, but that does not necessarily mean they feel it. Actually, they cannot feel much at all because of their limited range of emotions. The psychopath will sometimes feel remorse for what they have done after they have been caught mainly because of the fact that they were caught, not necessarily for what they did. Their brains can process that emotion, so it is possible for them to feel remorse after the fact. The difference here is the ability for both to feel: one can, one cannot.

 

History: The sociopath usually has a past history of problems with making and keeping friends, repeated behavioral problems as a juvenile, poor performance in school during their childhood years, problems with paying child support or anything that requires responsibility and/or accountability on their part. Rebellious in nature, it is their narcissistic attitude that gets them into constant trouble; they feel like they are entitled to everything and anything they want and very seldom have respect for anything that represents authority. The psychopath doesn’t have much regard for authority neither, but may have demonstrated respect for the law (to an extent, of course), had a spotless school and juvenile record, and may have been the most likable person in their social setting growing up as a child. However, the psychopath is more “classy” with how they cover up their mental illness, and this is why they are more successful in those previous areas as mentioned than the sociopath. The difference here is the history of self-discipline: one has it, the other one does not.

 

Boredom: Neither can stand boredom, however, it is what they do to relieve this boredom is what counts. The psychopath will be able to find constructive ways to relieve themselves from being bored, mainly because they can be highly intelligent creative people… that is, only when they’re not satisfying some perverted urge of theirs. The sociopath will relieve their boredom by causing drama: conflict between friends/coworkers/family, disturbing the peace in society for the heck of it, displaying age-inappropriate behaviors in public for attention, etc. The sociopath does not have the mental stability, the mental capacity, nor the self-discipline to finish what they start. The majority of them never bother to waste time or money on starting something they cannot finish. Causing conflict in someone else’s life for the fun of it is the main preferred source of entertainment for sociopaths. The psychopath can cause drama among their friends/coworkers/family and disturb the peace in society also, but this is more of a byproduct of the selfish acts they do to satisfy themselves and not necessarily intended to be something they intentionally planned to do like the sociopath. A psychopath can actually be entertained by other less destructive means to relieve their boredom. The difference here is their style of enjoyment : one is narrow, one is not.

 

Hopefully, these difference are enough to get a clear understanding of the difference between the two, and of course, the list is longer than what appears here. Is it possible for a person to be a sociopath AND a psychopath? Sure it is. In fact, some of the differences stated above can be reversed or overlapped in the personality of one person. There is no sure way to distinguish which trait belongs to whom, for that takes time and a lot of energy to invest in getting to know someone before a positive identification can be recognized. In my honest opinion, it’s not worth the risk to find out….

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2013 Learus Ohnine

 

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