In your daily life, you are likely to encounter many psycho and sociopaths. According to Psychology Today, sociopaths and psychopaths have some key traits in common. These include:
– A disregard for laws and social mores
– A disregard for the rights of others
– A failure to feel remorse or guilt
– A tendency to display violent behavior
At the same time, they do have their own unique characteristics, which sets them somewhat apart. In this article, people diagnosed with sociopathic and psychopathic tendencies share the moment they realized it and how it affected their lives.
[Source can be found at the end of the article]
I was diagnosed as a schizophrenic psychotic when I was 14, by a specialized expert that met with me for a half an hour. I have never been considered by anyone else, including myself, to be remotely close to that diagnosis. The things that I said in that half an hour which were cited as proof of my mental disturbance were that I cooked my own meals apart from my family because I was exploring vegetarianism and that I used sunscreen on a daily basis (this was 1987, a full year before the mainstream media started touting that using sunscreen was a healthy practice). My vegetarianism and sunscreen usage were used as examples of paranoia (that my family would poison my food and that the sun’s rays would irrationally burn me). I’ve saved this paperwork forever because I think it’s important to be wary how much diagnosis can get really divorced from objectivity.
Whenever I was sleeping I would have these seemingly disturbing dreams (that I thoroughly enjoyed) of me just plain massacring people endlessly, including my parents and other people I know. The the next day I spent a lot of energy stopping myself from finding something sharp and start attacking people.
It happened about 2 times before I thought “This isn’t right”, and happened a third time before I got an appointment.
I found out after admitting myself to a temporary psych ward at 17. I had been having bouts of extreme paranoia for a long time, but after a while it took over to the point I was rarely “lucid” or aware it wasn’t real. I was diagnosed as psychosis NOS (not otherwise specified) with sociopathic tendencies.
I’d say it helped having someone explain what was going on in my head. Most of my disorder stemmed from past trauma and environmental stress. They taught me how to cope and curb my behavior. I learned to express my emotions instead of twisting them into anger and hate. Most importantly I had to “learn” how to empathize. Basically putting myself in someone else’s situation.
It opened up a gateway of understanding. I sought out my own information and learned more about human behavior and emotional responses. I find that having a reason defined by psychology helps me overcome dismissing another person’s logic or emotional responses. Though most people don’t like it when you try to explain or put labels on their emotions. I’m still working on not doing that.
I had dreams of torturing chickens and other small animals which started at age 5. (The most vivid and weird one I remember was that I was a chicken farmer of chickens, and I went in their coop and crushed their eggs in front of their faces).
I was later diagnosed with ASPD with a touch of objectionable defiance disorder at teen age or something.
I realized this wasn’t good when I lost my best friend over an argument where I couldn’t admit that I was wrong. That took so much mental effort to get my head around the fact that I was wrong.
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Well nobody officially diagnosed me with antisocial personality disorder but I do lack empathy. I have no qualms with using people for my own gain or throwing people under the bus just for the fun of it. I have an inflated ego and I’m very quick to anger. I emotionally abused my ex girlfriend by manipulating her and making her feel worthless so she would do whatever I would ask her to do.
Basically all my life I just didn’t care about how I’ve been hurting others. Only when people stopped talking to me did I realize that maybe I shouldn’t be as heartless.
I realized when I was around 14 that I really had no idea how to empathize with others but I never bothered to get officially diagnosed until last year. It makes it hard to make deep meaningful relationships with others but I tend to be pretty good at getting to be friends with others. I tend to lose interest in things and people pretty quickly and previously haven’t had a huge issue with completely changing friend groups. I realize when I’m doing things that people would typically feel bad about but can’t claim to actually feel remorse or regret, I just have to act off of what my perception of empathy is.
When I was 12, I walked up to my buddy Mike after classes one day and laid out a plan where I was going to bring a gun to school and kill 4 or 5 people, then him, then myself. I had nothing against any of these people, and I have no idea what compelled me to do that. Cut to 15 years later. I’m at work. I’m looking around and absentmindedly thinking, “I’m gonna walk in and shoot her, then him, then those two in the back office.” I checked myself into a mental hospital before going to work at doing this, which I fully intended to do the very next day, and again… I really had no major grudge against these people. I didn’t like them, but I didn’t really like anyone.
I spent a week at this institution and my God was it the best week of my life. I hid from the world for most of my life because of this terrible murder monster that lurks within, but therapy helped me realize that monster are in all of us (maybe not as badly in everyone as it is in me), and you have to consciously choose to suppress it and fight towards the good.
I used to have a lot of neurological and psychological issues, so my psychiatrist recommended I get thorough neuropsychological testing done when I was 17. One of the things they uncovered was sociopathic tendencies, not a big surprise because I used to carry weapons around and be very violent (people used to call me evil a lot) and had very little empathy for others and was always paranoid. I had a lot of unresolved trauma that we think may have triggered it. A whole bunch of meditation, psychedelics, and years of constantly falling deeper in love with my best friend/boyfriend who helped restored my faith in humanity later and those tendencies are basically gone now unless I feel extremely threatened but for the most part I’m actually a highly caring respectful person right now and I was able to get past the trauma. While I still don’t necessarily find it easy to connect to other humans, my whole perspective has changed and I inherently respect and even appreciate them now.
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One of my best friends has schizophrenia and split personality disorder. Because of this he cannot feel empathy. I know that it bothers him a lot because it majorly affects his relationships with people. He loves his ex-girlfriend and wanted to marry her, but she couldn’t comprehend his inability to be empathetic. He was fine when he was physically with her because he “learned” how to be empathetic through reading body language and learning the appropriate responses even if he didn’t feel the emotion, but they were long distance and he couldn’t do it over text chat, which is where they had most of their arguments.
I always knew I was different. I knew people weren’t always saying my name in the other room and I knew people looked funny when I said something. I knew I grew afraid and paranoid at times and I knew I was bipolar… but I had no idea how bad it was.
I am so sad everyday that I’ve wasted so many years living life on legendary mode and just barely getting by. I still get upset. I still swing in temperament but it’s so much better now. You’ll take my drugs over my cold dead body. Or the zombie apocalypse. Whatever.
I have been diagnosed with sociopathic tendencies and I haven’t really cared enough to learn. I know this probably defines sociopath but whatever. There’s a little circle that I would do anything for-maybe two or three people- but that doesn’t mean I’m not disgusted by what they do sometimes. “Learning” to empathize makes me want to vomit. Why should I laugh if the joke wasn’t funny? Why should I stop a fight when I love watching him get his face beat in? It doesn’t make sense. I like playing with people’s minds more, though, in this day and age of mental disability it can do far more damage. This is serious and I don’t know if I should attempt to change the unchangeable.
I got diagnosed with ASPD half a year ago (shortly after I could qualify to be diagnosed by DSM5 at 18) whilst I was experiencing other mental health issues.
I’ve always entertained that I might be either autistic or sociopathic, sort of as a joke really, and the psychologist just confirmed my suspicions. I’ve never been very empathetic to people, or respectful to rules and guidelines; I was around 12 when I first realised that I just didn’t or couldn’t think the way other people did.
It hasn’t impacted my life too drastically, but ways it has manifested include difficulty in establishing any significant relationships and also some oopsies with the law. I don’t have much interest in relationships with others and this results in me consistently dropping and ghosting people after they lose my interest, but it doesn’t bother me.
I was always in trouble throughout schooling in the “intelligent but doesn’t apply herself” way (though that could also be from my depression). I cheat when I can. I’m very Machiavellian in the way I think.
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I was diagnosed with ADD at around the age of 9 and was on (I think) Ritalin until I chose to stop taking them a couple years later. Then at 14, after a move to a different state that I didn’t handle well, was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. Was prescribed Lexapro and Xanax (for panic attacks) for less than a year. Didn’t adjust well to those pills nor to completely stopping them. Through the rest of my teens just sort of dealt with it and/or didn’t put myself in many social situations. Then I started drinking and smoking weed, of course. Some days were amazing, others were completely consisting of freaking out. Now I’m in my 20s and have been just drinking my issues under rugs for a while now. I can’t socialize or even sleep without a few. Days where I can’t or just choose not to drink I usually spend in bed. Not long ago I quit. Spent two weeks not really talking to even family, getting easily angry, and more paranoid than ever over nothing important. I should never have stopped seeking help. Next month I’m seeing a psychiatrist for the fist time in years. I know this might not be psychosis exactly, but more of a warning tale.
I was diagnosed as a type of sociopath at 15. I started becoming more self-aware of the fact that I never cared about tragedies, people dying, people crying, etc. My parents started noticing as well and it all unfolds from there.
It’s a pretty deep web of explanation but in short, I’m lucky I just lack human empathy but have control over my actions.
Diagnosed with Sociopathic Tendancies last year, but I’ve known for quite awhile. I don’t feel love or anger like other people do. I typically avoid contact with people if it doesn’t benefit me in some way. However, I consistently am able to “turn off” these feelings for the sake of appearance. I am manipulative when things don’t go the way I want them to and have had a major hand (which neither party realizes) in several major breakups in my “friend sphere.” And sometimes, I will ruin friendships or relationships just because I enjoy watching the death of something good.
I was 13 when I realized hallucinating wasn’t normal, and 16 when I opened up about it. After about 3 years trying to fix it, we figured out it was a combination of untreated anxiety from PTSD and an allergy to wheat (wheat had been loosely linked to Schizoaffective disorders, and I have a cousin who found the same results).
Nothing is scarier, in my opinion, then realizing your image or reality isn’t accurate. For people who have taken things like LSD, or Mushrooms, it’s not the same. These aren’t a fun experience that you know will end. It’s a constant creeping doubt, that no matter what, you’re hallucinating. It took me a month for it to actually hit that the person I asked to prom said yes. I just was that scared I was hallucinating.
As I forgot the first time round; my diagnosis are MDD+Psychotic Features, PTSD, and Gender Dysphoria.
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Genetics brought mental disorder down my family line. My grandfather was a schizophrenic, and thanks to childhood trauma it was developed early for me, between the ages of 10-12. Red flags and concerns about me came earlier, and I had my first cat scan at 6. They said it was barely there, but I was loosing connections. My parents believed it wasn’t true, and because of how people reacted to my grandfather, I kept the voices a secret. At 16 I was finally institutionalize for 2 months, until they found medication for me. If I had had it earlier, I supposedly could have not degenerated so much in such a short time. Cat scans now show I’m more specifically schitzoeffective, which is the gaps of schizophrenia and the over active areas of bipolar. Although I have never been depressed, I am prone to the manic ups of bipolar people.
With the lack of connections causing the hallucinations, I also lacked in some emotions. Sociopath. Now I’m medicated, no one can tell. I’m normal and functional, unless under severe stress. And with some of the medications causing me to feel things I’m not accustomed to, and my lack of developed coping mechanisms, I tend to react badly to emotional situations. It hurts to feel empathy if you haven’t grown up with it. A unexplained knife in your stomach. I skip that pill often. I feel as though a lot of people would be more functional feeling a little less.
I had a feeling I was getting sociopathic tendencies around 18/19 years old while in college. My dad is a diagnosed sociopath, so I was aware that there might be a genetic component. Sadly, this was also my fate.
Ultimately in the end, I elected to use alcohol to help with generate emotions and to aid in my ability to relate to others’ emotional wants and needs. When I started to abuse alcohol, I had to cut down dramatically. As a result, I became exactly what I feared- cold, calculated, made great decisions without emotions but was unable to maintain relationships (all kinds). I just. Didn’t. Care. I couldn’t relate, so how could relationships possibly serve me? When I started my first company (I’m in my late 20’s), I figured my sociopathic tendencies would make me a great CEO. It did… but it also DIDN’T. I learned that to build adequate team synergy, I needed to be proactive with my emotions. Being a CEO is an emotional, emotionless profession.
I had to learn how to empathize. Fast. So in the end, with enough practice and tenacity, I have developed what’s called “Cognitive Empathy”. I can comfort and console when needed, but I still cannot feel it. The visceral reaction simply isn’t there. But I can now recognize the emotional wants and needs of others.
It took time, patience, and practice. I have relationships now, have (2) boyfriends (still working on that), but I believe I am a much better person than I was before.
Confirmed sociopath from two psychologists and one therapist. Was undiagnosed for years, thought I was just unable to feel empathy and didn’t understand feelings or why people were so damn obsessed with them.
It started to get bad when I started to get painfully bored in my mid twenties. I started getting annoyed by my lack of empathy and general feeling like a ghost, so I would go out and cause problems that I thought would make me feel something. After one bad night where I royally fucked up my life I decided I should see someone about it why i was so bored all the time. I saw one psychologist and she told me, I didn’t believe her as I thought it was too rare of a condition to actually exist. I saw another psychologist, he confirmed it and gave me some medication, it didnt work. I finally decided to see a therapist and challenge myself to alter my brain’s chemistry manually.
Took years of therapy and medication to fix my personality disorder. Therapy helped the best and I took it very seriously as I didn’t want to be “subhuman” (which is what I considered myself at the time).
Now I’m a fully functioning adult with empathy and sympathy as well as a full range of emotions. Sometimes I fall back into the whole “not caring boredom” phase. That’s when I go out and talk to friends who are currently having emotional issues and listen.
I was never violent, I never hurt someone or animals, just…. insanely bored.
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I was told I showed both psychopathic and sociopathic tendencies by a school psychiatrist when I was 16. It made sense afterwards. I was told the different things the two disorders contributed to. While I could not relate to all I could to most. I don’t really feel remorse or empathy. And while I may not be the best looking. I find if I want to. I can get people to like me (in different ways) and I do. It makes life easier. I’m not that honest either. And I’m a huge adrenaline junkie. I get angry at people for stupid things. Overall though. I don’t feel that many emotions. I’m definitely a sociopath. But I don’t know about a psychopath.
In all fairness and honesty, I have not been formally diagnosed. But a therapist I was paying to treat my depression and anxiety seemed to be hitting on it once. She pointed out that I seemingly did not develop a self identity and instead mirrored the outward behavior of others. And I think that’s when I first realized.
For a while I moderated a sociopathy forum, which was interesting. Closest description I have is “herding cats”.
To my benefit, this realization (even if it turns out to be misguided) has made me a better person. I used to be a pathological liar, so I have switched instead to only “lying by omission” to spare others their feelings. I have adopted a largely utilitarian ethical policy so I am mostly decent. And I tell people after they’ve known me a while, answering their questions to the best of my ability or pointing them to better sources where it’s necessary.
I’ve only realized recently through research, after years on the observation of how other people act, and being critical of my own personality and perspective that I’ve been on the ASPD spectrum (sociopathic/psychopathic, I don’t know cos I’m not a doctor) though I have never been officially diagnosed. My psyche kind of fits in all the definitions. I first noticed that I was very different from my family and so did my family but my mother noticed especially. Funny thing is my mom always tells me the story about my pediatrician warned her that I was not like my siblings and to keep a close eye on me. I’ve always been proud of my manipulative tendencies. Also proud of the fact that I can predict how people react to specific situations and interactions, which helped manipulate the people that felt closest to me especially my family.
I also liked how I had no fear of anything, felt no shame, and lead a generally emotionless existence. I always laughed when someone asked me to feel shame and never truly understood what it meant to feel ashamed, I always had to fake it to make it seem like I cared. When asked if I cared about such and such or so and so I didn’t know what it meant and felt like blurting out no I don’t care but restricted myself. I quickly learned how to imitate the emotions these people wanted me to feel so I could turn it around. It has bothered me that I couldn’t reason what emotions were and why I couldn’t get my head around it, just that I knew how to use them. I’ve never felt the need to brag about any of this either as some who genuinely did not care about anything it always perplexed me observing people bragging about not caring especially when I observed them as someone that holds deep emotions and is very invested in their relationships to others. I was never an artist, I don’t understand why even though I enjoy it and want to create it. I chalk it up to not being able to evoke the emotions I think are necessary to be creative. Anyway this is just a snapshot of how I think it’s affected me.