What is the difference between a psychopath and a sociopath?

Sociopaths and psychopaths share a common denominator: antisocial personality disorder. But how to differentiate them in everyday life?

Last update: 04 February, 2022

They are sometimes referred to as synonyms, but they are not. From the origins to the behavior they sustain, there is a varied difference between a psychopath and a sociopath. Let’s see what they are.

Both psychopathy and sociopathy share a common label: they fall under antisocial personality disorders. However, this does not imply that we are talking about the same entities or characteristics.

Both types are characterized by being insensitive, lacking empathy, and having no guilt or remorse. One of the biggest difficulties with these diagnoses is that those who suffer from them do not usually seek help. This is because they do not believe that the problem is themselves, but the others.

Differences between a psychopath and a sociopath

The difference that we find between a psychopath and a sociopath cannot be summed up in one. We analyze the most relevant of each personality.

1. Origin

As a summary, it can be said that a psychopath is born, while the sociopath is made. Psychopathy would be found in some gene and in brain alterations, so there would be a poor influence of the context.

While sociopathy develops from interaction with the environment. In this case, it is a hostile, negligent, poor affection and abusive environment.

Psychopathy has been linked to a genetic basis, so environmental influences take a backseat.

2. The personality difference between a psychopath and a sociopath

Psychopaths are often manipulative, enveloping, and charming people. of great loquacity, they have something that convinces and seduces.

They have social skills that allow them to move between groups. They have also been described as parasites in their relationships. With that seduction they convince and bend others. They are very self-centered and narcissistic, they think they are superior to the rest.

Psychopaths are capable of read to others and detect the personalities weak, those who need affection and who are dependent. They are your target.

They are also calculating, detail-oriented people with well-designed plans. They are characterized because they are not bothered by risk or danger; they do not usually experience anxiety in situations of this caliber. In fact, they need to live that excitement of always being on the edge.

His behavior is not due to a diminution of intelligence or any affectation of his understanding or reality. Colloquially, it is often said that being a psychopath is a lifestyle.

Conversely, sociopaths lack social skills. They do not usually have an attractive personality style. In addition, they have difficulties to integrate. They can be part of a group, which they then manipulate and use to achieve their goals.



3. Impulse control

Sociopaths are betrayed by poor impulse control; they are more unstable and have a hard time postponing any kind of satisfaction. So they are more erratic. This also leads them to end up involved in situations of violence and conflict.

This is not the case with psychopaths. Being calculators, they are able to understand when it is convenient for them to behave in one way and when in another. The psychopath has a better control of his impulses.

Also, if we have to make a point of comparison between both profiles, the psychopath would be the most stable and responsible. If he commits a crime and is found out, people who know him may come as a surprise.

But nevertheless, if the sociopath commits a crime, people will say it was expected. They tend to be messy and irresponsible; many of them have problematic drug and alcohol use.

4. Behavior in relation to the rules

Neither of them is interested in complying with the rules. There is no respect for social rules or for the rights of others.

However, the sociopath is completely unaware of the laws, while the psychopath knows them and is able to understand them; only he is not interested in respecting them.

Psychopaths are cold. Good and evil do not concern them. Their compass is what they themselves want and they are able to execute a plan to get it.

The psychopath is methodical in his plans to achieve goals that do not usually respect the rules or laws.


Keep the radar on

Psychopaths hide behind the facade of being an ordinary person. For this reason, it is often difficult to detect them at first.

However, we can take as an alarm signal the fact that they are abusive with their requests, that they hide behind a waterfall of seductive words and that they have no respect for limits. Those who are in a relationship with a psychopathic personality must pay attention to the limits.

It will be better to ask for professional help, since surely a toxic relationship has begun that is difficult to get out of. On the contrary, if you cannot avoid contact with this type of personalities, it is convenient to stay on the sidelines, without getting too involved.

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