PREVIOUS: Personality Disorders (Part 4b)
POSTs on Emotional Immaturity
3. PERSONALITY DISORDERS
4. SOCIOPATHS (Ss) & PSYCHOPATHS (PSs)
Sociopathy – a pervasive & persistent disregard for morals, social norms, and the rights and feelings of others
Psychopathy – characterized by
These are both antisocial PDs, at the far end of the spectrum. he FBI identifies them both as sensation-seeking, with predatory behavior, a lack of remorse & the need for control or power over others. There is some debate as to whether they’re fundamentally different or just different in degree of mental illness. While there are overlaps, & psychiatrists often considering them as the same, criminologists treat them differently because of their outward behavior.
Some Ss & PSs will seem cold, indifferent & mysterious, but not all – because they’re can be very skilled at social camouflage. Around the average, unaware ‘normal’ they can hide in plain sight, like being the perfect neighbor or partner. But it’s all a con job, using fake charm to achieve whatever their goal happens to be in each situation.
✥ SIMILARITIES ✥ They:
• begin to show up around age 15, & may start with cruelty to animals
• can be charming, despite being unable to empathize with others
• don’t feel guilt or remorse
• convincingly seem to show fear or disgust, but lack both
• can have intense emotional outbursts, or be violent
• are completely self-serving & don’t care about putting themselves or others at risk
• disregard laws, social mores, conventions & the rights of others
• some can be treated with medication, & sociopaths perhaps with therapy
(Artwork by Chato Stewart)
✥ Lisa E. Scott’s article “Narcissist or Sociopath? What’s the Difference?” suggests that Narcissists are a subset of Sociopaths. The following distinction can be useful, altho too simplistic:
“Narcissists see others as a means to validate their existence. The less validating you are, the less useful you are to them.
Sociopaths see others as entertainment. The less entertaining you are, the less useful you are to them.”
NOTE: If someone complains about being abused by a PS or S, they’re not likely to be believed because those types seem to be so friendly – even helpful! HOWEVER – Superficial pleasantness is one of the top criteria for both disorders. Often these anti-social predators will appear nicer, more honest & more interesting than the person they’re abusing!
Shannon Thomas (Salt Lake City therapist) says: “Narcissist, Sociopaths & Psychopaths are notorious for picking targets that initially boost their ego. It could be someone’s appearance, age, intellect, career success, family & friends….
Once the target is hooked, the toxic person sets out to tear down the exact qualities that attracted them to their victim in the first place. It’s entertainment for the abuser to destroy an originally healthy & happy person.”
NOTE: However – co-dep ACoAs make the best targets. Without a strong sense of identity (“I don’t know who I am”), we will look to anyone who initially makes a fuss over us, guides & helps us (controlling) & makes us feel needed. But without Recovery we’re just sitting ducks, manipulated & then thrown away. So we feel abandonment devastation & think: “See I knew I was defective!” ✳️ See how she’s sitting forward & he’s not?!
✥ DIFFERENCES ✥
ORIGIN: Sociopathy can either be congenital (inborn emotional deficiency), or from brain injury or lesions. But most often it’s developed – from a combination of family tree inheritance, the child’s personality makeup, & either very low or very high intelligence. These under-pin negative social factors: a severely destructive early family life, poverty, lack of education, direct exposure to violence to self & others, delinquent peers…..
Continual abuse & neglect harm neurological growth in children, affecting the autonomic nervous system, which results in long-term physical & psychological damage. (MORE..“….abuses scar the brain….“)
— S. can be caused by years of childhood trauma, as well as parental addictions, dissociation, narcissism, …. OR
— S. can be caused by damage in the form of parental over-protection, over-indulgence, lack of boundaries, emotional unavailability….. (More in #5b)
NEXT: Disorders #5b