What is a sociopath?


Psychologists define sociopathy, also termed antisocial personality disorder, as a mental state where a person engages in manipulation, violation, or exploitation of other people’s rights for a long period.

The characteristic features of the type of antisocial behavior include less empathy, immoral activities, and refraining from the social norms. People who suffer from such kind of antisocial behavior are called sociopaths.

Difference between a psychopath and sociopath


Though, sociopathy and psychopathy refer to a state of personality disorder, there is a thin line that separates the two. A psychopath is equally dangerous because he is cruel and violent. They are cold-blooded criminals. They wish to dominate the whole world and the entire living system. It is caused due to a deficiency or injury to the amygdale, a neurological component that creates the emotions of judgment and fear.

A sociopath differs from a psychopath because the individual develops an impaired brain due to experiences in his childhood and upbringing. Sociopaths believe in connivance and deceit; however, from their external appearance they appear to be sincere and trustworthy. They manipulate the societal value systems and the role of judgment, because they have never been exposed to morality and a truthful life.

How do you identify a sociopath?

Sociopaths generally engage in immoral behavior such as lying, indifference or less warmth towards other people and living beings, theft, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, breaching the law, aggressive behavior as well as violation of other people’s rights.

Challenges faced by a sociopath

These people cannot control their aggressive behavior. Often, they express irritability in relation to trivial matters. Sometimes they are annoyed with the way society is working in the right manner. They are angry over circumstances that they do not like. Moreover, they threaten people in case they are involved in an unusual situation. They use anger and verbal abuse to defy the situation.

Is the problem of sociopathy inherited?

Not at all. A person is not born with such kind of antisocial personality disorder. However, such kind of behavior is a result of exposure to antisocial behavior before attaining 15 years of age. Unfortunately, if you do not treat the problem early, the problem can continue even in adulthood. As a result, the person may harm others violently in order to vent his suppressed frustration. At the tender age of 15 years, if a child is exposed to an unhealthy social environment, he may turn into a sociopath when he grows up.

Does a sociopath feel nervous?

Definitely. A sociopath is nervous and irritable. He has a volatile nature and engages in emotional outbursts. Most of them are uneducated, do not have money, and cannot continue a particular activity for a long time. They feel insecure in creating an emotional attachment with any other person.

They do not conform to the rules of the society, and most of them are socially disturbed. They may engage in unorganized or unplanned crimes such as spontaneous murders, such that they do not have a strong motive for committing the crime. They commit crimes as a way to vent out their feelings of disgust and frustration on anybody who is standing in front of them.

Why does an individual become a sociopath?

Normally, psychologists claim that sociopathy is the result of trauma or the disturbing experiences that an individual experiences in his or her childhood. Childhood trauma can also refer to physical or emotional abuse as well.

Physical or emotional trauma is the output of an unusual degree of stress that develops insecurity and helplessness, which is the lowest point of your life. Moreover, it also makes you vulnerable about other people living around you. For example, child sexual harassment is a heinous crime that is being committed across the whole world. Nowadays even the family members cannot be spared.

As a result, the child feels insecure because he cannot trust anybody. He develops evil thoughts and considers evil is the norm of the society. Hence, when he grows up he is involved in rapes, murder, etc. So then, who is the real culprit- the child who turned into a sociopath or the society itself?

A life threat or safety issues generally characterize traumatic experiences in childhood; a person can be traumatized not just by a threat to life or any physical harm but also in circumstances where he feels alienated and overwhelmed. The objective factors do not feature in the development of trauma; in fact, the subjective factors play a major role. When you feel scared and helpless, you feel more traumatized.

Environmental attributes

Environmental factors contributing to the transition of an individual to a sociopath include sexual abuse, deprivation, abandonment, emotional abuse, and meeting other people practicing antisocial behavior. Experts have not identified any particular biological factor that contributes to this behavioral transition. However, research proves that the right portion of the human brain is a crucial factor behind this development because a person learns from his mistakes and reacts to fear and sadness accordingly. People having a less–developed right brain generally tend to ignore other people’s emotions and convert into a sociopath; they are unable to judge the hormonal changes that take place due to a change in their emotions. They are indifferent to other people’s emotions, values, and beliefs.

Key interpersonal traits

  • They are highly egocentric and engage in a majestic display of behavior in order to attract public attention.
  • They possess a superficial attitude. They harbor the feeling of being the best and wish to undermine others.
  • They do not express empathy, guilt or remorse when they engage in antisocial behavior.
  • They boast about their capabilities and interests.

The antisocial behavior

Usually, a sociopath displays unusual behavior that may include:

  • Offer impulsive reactions to a situation or incident. They do not think rationally.
  • They cannot control or monitor their aggressive behavior.
  • They are always looking for a scope to boost their excitement levels. They find pleasure in harming others, physically or emotionally.

Warning signs

  • Harm animals
  • Manipulative association with people
  • Indifferent towards others’ safety
  • When their lie is spotted they make a lame excuse or change the topic of discussion
  • They do not perform according to what they say
  • They think a social circumstance or incident is a competition to prove their might
  • They engage in criminal acts repeatedly
  • They do not feel ashamed about committing heinous crimes
  • They engage in physical assaults repeatedly
  • They give ambiguous replies to questions
  • They are enthusiastic about using the vulnerabilities of other people to find personal gains or pleasure.

How to handle a sociopath

No certain cure or therapy has been discovered until date that can treat a sociopath. Few research studies believe that therapeutic treatments create greater challenges because it helps in devising newer strategies of exploitation. A sociopath discovers new ways of manipulating other people’s emotions and finds better excuses to escape after committing a heinous crime.

Sociopaths are the victims of great personality changes that help them develop a defense mechanism to avoid the pressure of emotional burden. However, since it is a personality disorder, no other person can help cure a sociopath other than the victim himself.