Sociopath – Sociopathic Personality Disorder
THE FAMILY OF ANTISOCIAL PERSONALITIES – THE SOCIOPATHIC PERSONALITY & TYPES
1. Sociopaths are usually defined as people displaying anti social behavior which is mainly characterized by lack of empathy towards others that is coupled with display of abnormal moral conduct and inability to conform with the norms of the society. People suffering from antisocial personality disorder are often referred to as sociopaths. Some of the other characteristics that sociopaths may display are stealing, lying, lack of remorse for others and towards living beings, irresponsible behavior, impulsive behavior, drug or alcohol abuse, problems with the law, violating rights of others, aggressive behavior and much more.
Sociopaths are often unable to control their behavior and their expressions of annoyance, irritability and threats when faced with situations not appealing to them and they often tend to resort to threats, aggression and verbal abuse. Though no person is born with this disorder, the sociopathic personality disorder does involve a history of persistent anti social behavior during childhood before the age of 15 and if left untreated, this disorder continues into adulthood too. Sociopaths could also have been influenced by various environmental factors around the age of 15 that is also one of the main reasons for this disorder in individuals. Some of the environmental factors can include deprivation, sexual abuse, abandonment, emotional abuse, association with people who are antisocial, physical abuse and others. Though there are no distinct biological causes that have been identified as the main cause for this disorder, research suggest that for people suffering from sociopathic personality disorder, the part of the brain that is mainly responsible for an individual’s learning from his or her own mistakes and responding to fearful and sad facial expressions tends to be smaller than in a normal individual. Researchers believe that this may be the reason for lack of empathy towards others. There are theories that also indicate that hormonal fluctuations also have a role to play in this disorder, however the links have not been directly established.
People suffering from Sociopathic disorders tend to be superficially charming. They also tend to display behavior which include manipulation of people around them, desire to be in control of everything and everyone around them that usually leads to grave consequences and shallow emotions.
Tags: sociopath definition – sociopath behavior
SOCIOPATH SYMPTOMS AND TRAITS
The widely used manual that is used for diagnosing various mental disorders, DSM IV, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition, lists out some of the symptoms that have to be present in an individual in order to be diagnosed as suffering from antisocial personality disorder. According to the DSM IV, this disorder falls in the Cluster B list of personality disorder. For a person to be diagnosed as a sociopath he or she must have at least three or more of the below mentioned symptoms.
- Displays heightened levels of deceitfulness in dealings with others, which involves lying, conning others without remorse, or even using aliases
- Inability to abide by the social norms and thus violating law
- Displays aggressiveness and often tends to get into assaults and physical fights
- Displays complete lack of empathy for others and their situation for which they are responsible
- Displays no feelings or shallow feelings
- Displays impulsive behavior which is indicated by the inability to plan for the future
- Displays no concern for safety of others around them or self
- Inability to sustain a consistent behavior that stems mainly from irresponsibility especially at work place or in other dealings
- Displays promiscuous behavior
Research has revealed that since a sociopath never conforms to the rules of the society, he or she is not bothered about the consequences of his or her actions. Such people at times are also able to inspire like minded people. Some of the other traits that are common in antisocial people are that they are usually intelligent and have a superficial charm and they are able to attain success using unscrupulous methods. Thus they can also never learn from their own mistakes and they do not hesitate to indulge in certain activities that are considered immoral and taboo by the society.
Tags: sociopathic symptoms – sociopath symptoms – sociopath traits – symptoms of a sociopath
Sociopaths are known for their superficial charm, calculative and controlling behavior, which is one of the main reasons why they are able to trick people and charm them with their smiling faces and good natures in a relationship. Relationships with sociopaths are really difficult to maintain as sociopaths are also masters of manipulations and they tend to take whole control of the relationship and the other person involved, leaving them feeling inferior and unsatisfied. Sociopaths also never learn from their previous mistakes and they tend to commit the same mistake over and over again. They also never hesitate to manipulate their partners to gain control and power in the relationships and as they are remorseless, they use any means and methods possible to retain their control in the relationship. Relationships with sociopaths are often one way and do not last long as there is a lot of stress in the relationship and the partner is left feeling worthless and unhappy most of the time. If you feel you are in a relationship with a sociopath, look out for the key signs and symptoms listed above and get help.
Sometimes people suffering from Antisocial Personality Disorder also tend to suffer from another mental disorder known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Such people are often called narcissistic sociopaths or sociopaths with narcissistic traits and such a situation is a dangerous one, as these people do not want to be helped. Such people often tend to be highly manipulative and without any shred of remorse for their actions, even if their actions have harmed others who are close to them or their family members. There is nothing that can stop a narcissistic sociopath from achieving his goals. He makes use of all his charm which is highly superficial and intellect in order to attain his goals by any means possible. Such people often think that they are above all and they do not really care if anyone disagrees with them.
PSYCHOPATH VS SOCIOPATH
Many a time people tend to get confused between a psychopath and a sociopath. Though psychopathy is not a disorder that is formally recognized, it is more or less considered to be a form of antisocial personality disorder. People considered to be psychopaths are often paranoid and suspicious and the implications of this paranoia tend to be severe, with psychopaths interpreting all aggressive behavior against them as unjust. Usually psychopaths are organized and they can have normal relationships and they are successful career wise too. These people place a lot of emphasis on planning, especially when planning to commit a crime, they tend to plan for years. However when it comes to sociopaths, they are incapable of maintaining relationships, jobs and they are highly disorganized and erratic. As they have no respect for social norm, they do not hesitate to physically or verbally abuse their victims.
Today given the plethora of information available on the internet on each and every topic, it is not uncommon to find sociopath tests too being made available on websites that you can use to determine if someone you love or know is a sociopath. These sociopath tests are quite simple and they can be accessed online and they contain a set of questions to which the answers are yes or no. Once all the questions have been answered, depending on the outcome necessary actions can be taken. These questions basically checks for the typical characteristics that a sociopath displays.
If you suspect that someone you know is a sociopath it is best to take him or her to a medical practitioner. There are no set tests such as blood tests that are carried out to determine this disorder. Instead, the medical practitioner conducts a complete mental health diagnosis and interview in order to determine the mental state of the patient. People who are sociopaths are usually resistant to treatment and such situations have to be handled with care.
Treatments for sociopathology are mainly in the form of therapy. As patients are resistant to change it is very important that these treatments are doled out with care and professionally. Behavioral therapy is the most popular form of therapy that is being use all over the world as it has shown significant decrease in the repeat of such antisocial behavior after therapy. It is very important that the medical practitioner does not try to treat this disorder like every other disorder as the symptoms involved with this disease are very different. In certain cases medications such as anti depressant works wonders in controlling the erratic feelings in a sociopath.
Tigs: sociopath treatment – sociopathology
SOCIOPATHIC CHILDREN AND TENDENCIES
Sociopathic disorder as mentioned before usually tends to manifest itself in childhood and if left untreated it continues into adulthood. Most of the research studies points to environmental factors to be the main cause of this disorder. Some of the environmental factors that trigger this disorder in children are when kids trying to imitate their parents who are sociopaths or children who are deprived of parental love and affection, or the ones who have been physically or sexually abused. However recent research has shown that genetic factors could also plays a role in causing sociopathic tendencies in children. Children who have also undergone traumatic experiences in their childhood could display sociopathic tendencies.
Children often display violent behavior when they are suffering from sociopathic disorder. Sociopathic tendencies in children often tend to manifest itself as aggressive behaviors without a shred of remorse or qualms before getting into a physical fight or even hurting other children. These children do not have emotions or feelings and hence they are not able to empathize with their victims. Some of the other behaviors that they display are aggressiveness, impulsive nature, learning problems, destructive nature, inappropriate demands and even language problems. However if the condition is identified and treated, by means of therapy this behavior can be taken care of. Post therapy counseling sessions may be needed to in order to bring about positive changes in the child.
Tags: sociopathic children – sociopathic tendencies
HOW TO RECOGNIZE A SOCIOPATH, Toxic Personalities & Warning Signs
Sociopaths are very good at manipulation and deception. If you believe you might be dealing with a sociopath, psychopath or other type of toxic personality, proceed with caution. It might be best to avoid the person for your best interest. If you need help figuring out if a person is a sociopath, then you might want to consider taking a sociopath test. Bear in mind that a sociopath or a psychopath are unlikely to look for help, so you’ll be taking the test for them, hoping that the test will help you draw a conclusion with more basis. That said sociopath test should not be considered as a means for diagnosis, the test should serve like an additional tool or a helping factor to identify the condition.
- inconsistencies between what a person says and does
- excuses or subject changing when caught in a lie
- no feeling of shame when caught an embarrassing situation
- going around the question, answering it in a way that doesn’t really answer it
- ability to sense vulnerabilities and motivated in using them for personal gain or pleasure, manipulate without remorse
- seeing any social situation as a contest or a test
- ability to understand rules & laws and judging them as a part of “the game”, but no ability for empathy or emotional understanding behind the rules
- poorly connected speech and abundance of excuses, during speech using more hand gestures than normal. These tendencies reflect difficulty in converting thoughts and feelings into speech
- repeatedly performing acts that can serve as grounds for arrest
- irritability and aggressiveness, indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults
- disregard for safety of self or others
- cruelty to animal
Tags: how to recognize a sociopath – characteristics- warning signs to watch for
SOCIOPATH TYPES & SUBTYPES – THE FAMILY OF ANTISOCIAL PERSONALITIES
THE THEORY OF SOCIOPATHY
Current understanding of psychopathy, sociopathy, antisocial personality disorder, psychopathic & sociopathic personality represents ongoing pattern of braking social rules by physically or psychologically violating & ignoring other people’s rights(T. Millon, M. Birket-Smith, DSM-IV). Socioapthy is an impulsive self-gratification with disregard for other people’s feelings (Cleckley, Gough).
“Sociopathy is a syndrome in which either one or both of the orbital frontal association cortices cannot assess socially unconditioned somatic signals. Sociopaths cannot emotionally condition social experience. Because they have no capacity for emotional organization, sociopath’s source memory has no relevance to behavior.” Jay Harris
Harris divided sociopathy into 2 types, entitled & amoral.
Entitled sociopath can either be from genes or developmental. It’s a state of over entitlement , where self needs justify any ends. These type of people have no ideals & feel no shame in their actions, very often feel satisfaction in what they do. Many of them enjoy making fun of authority & feel proud of it.
For this type inexistence of morality leads to deeds committed with no sense of guilt, remorse & awareness of moral strictures. This is a developmental state, where attention deficit disorder in childhood develops into sociopathy with weak perception of pain condition. These are the people who enjoy torturing animals or watching animals kill one another. They have primitive sense of self & very likely not to acknowledge, have right distinction or boundaries or acknowledge other’s pain. Amoral sociopathy may be caused by lack of compassionate caregivers. They learn to show their parents what their parents want to see & from their parents reaction they learn the inability to feel other’s pain & get satisfaction in achieving what they desire.
David Thoreson Lykken gave the following classification to types of socipathy in “The Antisocial Personalities”. Quoted below:
THE COMMON SOCIOPATH
Sometimes called subcultural delinquents, this is the main species of the largest genus of antisocial personalities and, because of the rising incidence of incompetent parenting, they are increasing in number. They have a weak and unelaborated conscience, are not shamed by much of what would shame you and me. They have a weak future perspective because they have grown up under circumstances in which the future was unpredictable and only the pleasures and pains directly at hand could be relied on. They take pride in rule breaking rather than in rule observance and arc like feral children grown up, gratifying impulses of the moment, disinterested in long-term goals. They arc the natural result of weak parental bonding, weak parental control, and bad parental example. Most commonly they also display the effects of being turned loose in the streets to run with other sociopathic children where they assimilate the atavistic social structure of the street or of the adolescent gang. These individuals are feral creatures, undomesticated predators, stowaways on our communal voyage who have never signed the Social Contract.
THE ALIENATED SOCIOPATH
Here I refer to an individual with an undeveloped ability to love or to affiliate with others. A failure of empathy or affectional attachment is plainly a risk factor for antisocial behavior because one of the important protective factors that lead us to avoid predatory crime is our inclination to identify with and care about the victim. There are several variants.
The Alienated Sociopath: The Disaffiliated Type
The absence of a nurturant parent during a critical period may prevent the development of the normal capacity for love and attachment that, as social animals, we all presumably possess. We know that children whose innate proclivity for language is not developed during the early years may never learn to speak and it seems likely that our native affiliative tendencies also require stimulation and reinforcement early in childhood. There are children who seldom or never have nurturant, loving, or happy interactions with other human beings or whose approaches to their parent are unpredictably punished so that they become extinguished. Such a child will not develop the prosocial components of socialization and their inability to relate emotionally to other people makes his or her adult adjustment problematic. This incapacity for fellow-feeling may be as intractable as any innate defect of temperament, yet I classify such people as sociopaths rather than as psychopaths because their condition can be prevented in the same way that other forms of sociopathy could be prevented, by reducing the frequency of non-nurturant, incompetent parents.
The Alienated Sociopath: The Disempathic Type
This individual is capable of emotional investment in his family, his mate or, perhaps, his dog, but has a constricted “circle of empathy” and reacts to most people only as objects. Although it is clear that, unlike most other mammals, our species is capable of empathy, capable of sharing to some extent the pain and the joy of other human beings and even other species, it is also clear that this capacity must be cultivated by experience. There are, moreover, wide individual differences in the breadth or inclusiveness of people’s circles of empathy. My wife shares the pain of all creatures from children, wolves, and elephants to ladybugs and spiders but human hunters, trappers, and most lawyers and politicians fall outside her circle of empathy. A child reared by parents who dislike animals as well as most of their neighbors is likely to have a constricted circle of empathy. When we are exposed too long and too often to stress and the suffering of others, most of us defensively constrict out empathic tendencies.
The Alienated Sociopath: The Hostile Type
Some alienated individuals, feeling rejected by the community or unable to succeed according to its rules, repudiate the society of others and adopt a hostile, aggressive, or destructive attitude toward the group and all its members. It is a little recognized truth that feeling angry is more agreeable than feeling frightened or sad or depressed. Most people, if they try, can identify occasions or circumstances in which they self-indulgently permit themselves to cultivate and express irritation; driving alone in traffic is a situation in which many of us enjoy muttering criticisms about the skills, character, or parentage of other drivers. I can get reliably irritated reading the letters to the editor or certain columnists in the newspaper and there is no doubt that I feel stronger, more vigorous and self-confident when I am irritated than I do when I am feeling worried or apprehensive or discouraged. I can remember at least a couple of times, when my children were small, when I guiltily realized that I was being sharp and irritable with them, not as a responsible parent but because it made me feel better than I had felt before they gave me the excuse to get angry. Many people can be seen to hoard grievances and develop a kind of chronic irritability as they get older because, when one is irritated, the juices start flowing and one feels stronger, more puissant.
The Alienated Sociopath: The Cheated
Freud speaks somewhere about the individual who feels disadvantaged by appearance or physical disability, by social or class origin, minority status, or in some other way and who rationalizes his failure to follow the social rules on the grounds that, having been thus cheated at the outset, those rules do not apply to him. It is an interesting and important fact that most of the diverse criminal types suggested here do tend to justify their conduct in one way or another, at least to themselves. One 15-year-old, now residing in a local juvenile facility, took a bus to a suburban neighborhood, hoping to locate a party he had heard about. Unsuccessful, he found that the next bus home would entail an hour’s wait. Having brought his pistol along, he lurked near some cars parked by a store and, when a woman came out with her infant and opened her car door, the boy demanded her keys at gunpoint and drove off. Explaining his offense to the corrections officers, he expressed exasperation: “How else was I s’posed to get home, man?”
THE AGGRESSIVE SOCIOPATH
Some people learn to enjoy hurting, frightening, tyrannizing others; they derive from it a feeling of power and importance. Katz (1988) described rapists, muggers, and other violent criminals who report that they derive strong gratification from their sheer dominance and control over their victims. To be bold, tough, brash, and unflinching is admired and reinforced in the society of the streets and may become an entrenched personal style in those who have the temperament to carry it off. A muscular, aggressive male is more likely to take this course and become one of the Alpha baboons of his peer group.
The satisfactions of interpersonal dominance may motivate not only criminals but other bullies who happen to be parents, teachers, employers, bureaucrats, police officers, and so on. I once belonged to a political organization in which one member, a business executive, intimidated all the rest of us. His aggressive, domineering manner was so habitual and practiced—and so effective—that one felt the only way he could be resisted would be to hit him with a brick. There are disadvantages to this personal style; this man’s wife confessed to my wife that she had given up trying to invite people over. But it is an effective style in some fields of endeavor on both sides of the law.
Sadism that is specifically sexual may involve some sort of brain dysfunction as suggested earlier. However, in view of the powerful reinforcement provided by orgasm, it is easy to suppose that boys whose first sexual experiences (or whose early masturbation fantasies) involve coercion might grow up to be men who rape.
THE DYSSOCIAL SOCIOPATH
Here we have persons who are normal, both temperamentally and psychologically, but whose allegiance and identification is with a (possibly predatory) subculture having norms and mores that are foreign to and often antithetical to the norms and mores of the establishment culture. These are Fagin’s children, the offspring of the Mafia, traditional European gypsies, or the ghetto guerrilla who has been brought up to regard established society as an occupying foreign power. Members of any political underground movement or revolutionary terrorist group are thus “dyssocial sociopaths” from the point of view of the established authority.
In most inner-city street gangs there are boys capable of loyalty, of feeling guilt and shame, boys who care about their colleagues and who are capable of altruism within their own limited circle, boys who do honor a set of social rules but they are the wrong rules. It seems likely that such boys could more easily learn a new set of rules than that their truly “unruly*, unsocialized confederates could learn to be rule-governed at all; therefore, it seems appropriate to classify these former individuals separately, as dyssocial sociopaths.
SOCIOPATHY & SOCIALIZATION
- (a) monitoring the child’s behavior,
- (b) recognizing deviant behavior when it occurs,
- (c) punishing that deviant behavior,
- (d) encouraging and selectively rewarding prosocial alternatives, and
- (e) explaining what is right and what is wrong, that is, socialization by precept.
When these manifold responsibilities are grossly neglected by the parents (or parent)—and they are difficult responsibilities, not easy to fulfill—and when no other community resource takes over the socializing role, then sociopathy is a natural consequence.
Not all children in this situation become criminal, of course. Some are shaped up by outside influences (e.g., by a stint in the Marine Corps) and others have temperaments that make socialization almost automatic. By D. Lykken
SOCIOPATHY, PSYCHOPATHY, APD SUBTYPES BY T. MILLON, S. GROSSMAN
Million’s Antisocial Personality Types
COVETOUS SOCIOPATH, PSYCHOPATH, ANTISOCIAL PERSONALITY TYPE:
Feels deliberately deprived & denied, rapacious, very greedy, jelous, envoues, begrudging, endlessly yearning, seeks retribution. Finds pleasure in actual taking more than having.
NOMADIC/ SCHIZOID-AVOIDANT SOCIOPATH, PSYCHOPATH, ANTISOCIAL PERSONALITY TYPE:
Feels fated to be in the condition he/she is, condemned, Ill-destined, cast aside; the type includes those roaming like a gypsy, dropouts, misfits, long term homeless, impulsively harmful.
RISK TAKING/ HISTRIONIC SOCIOPATH, PSYCHOPATH, ANTISOCIAL PERSONALITY TYPE:
Rushes to danger, likes to venture, vibrant, bold, daring, intrepid, fearless, reckless, impulsive, excited by threat to life.
REPUTATION DEFENDING/ NARCISSISTIC SOCIOPATH, PSYCHOPATH, ANTISOCIAL PERSONALITY TYPE:
Defends his reputation of unflawed, the one with courage, unbreakable, dominant, undefeatable, formidable, untouchable; furious/relentless when status in question, overreacts to little things.
MALEVOLENT/ SADISTIC-PARANOID SOCIOPATH, PSYCHOPATH, ANTISOCIAL PERSONALITY TYPE:
Belligerent, aggressive, sarcastic, rancorous, biting, vicious, brutal, malignant, fearless, shameless, fierce, resentful; anticipates to be betrayed and seeks for punishment, yearns for revenge, has cruel disregard for others.