Sociopaths and Psychopaths

When you think of a sociopath you might think deception, a double life. You might even think of Jekyll and Hyde, Sherlock (BBC series) a serial killer, or some person that just seems creepy in general. But in fact these people can be much more complex.

To even try and tell who may or may not be a sociopath you have to know what to look for. A sociopath and a psychopath are different even though some people, even experts, use the terms interchangeably even though a sociopath has ASPD and a psychopath has psychopathy. Whatever your stance on specific terms is, itʻs unanimous that both conditions are similar.

A “sociopath” is an informal term that’s often used to refer to someone who has an antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). ASPD is a personality disorder that involves a lack of empathy in addition to manipulative behaviors and impulsiveness. They can, however, have emotions just like most people.

Psychopaths are people suffering from a chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behavior who have no remorse or empathy and lack normal human emotions, like shame and guilt. They are considered to have psychopathy.

People with these disorders are somewhat common, people like the renowned psychologist and writer Martha Stout said that “sociopaths make up four percent of the U.S. population” and psychopaths around 1 percent.

Sociopaths are people too and often society forgets this. Researcher and writer M.E. Thomas, who wrote and spoke about these issues, is a sociopath herself.

“(My) fellow sociopaths, we are your neighbors, co-workers, and quite possibly the people closest to you: lovers, family, friends,” she said.

She also talked about usual recklessness, charisma, a “lack of morality ”and risk-seeking behavior found in many sociopaths in her book Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight.

M.E. Thomas, someone outspoken about some issues of sociopaths, uses a pen name. She wrote about how sociopaths think and act differently but at the core are humans with emotions.

She talks about how she, a sociopath, does things normal people might do. And, by listing common traits, posits the question: Does this sound like you?

“I donate 10 percent of my income to charity and teach Sunday school for the Mormon Church,” she wrote. “I have a close circle of family and friends whom I love and who very much love me.”

Professor Jamie Rebecca Lund of St. Mary’s School of Law was scrutinized as soon as her real name was leaked to the public — her job was at risk, personal privacy nonexistent, name and book leaked — all because she is a clinical sociopath.

Though she claims she isnʻt Professor Jamie Rebecca Lund and doesnʻt answer or read any questions on her Facebook page, she is an example of a mental disorder and claims to be the victim of stereotyping.