While the terms “psycho” and “psychopathic” have become commonly used derogatory statements, psychopathic behavior is highly severe. While many use psychopathic and sociopathic interchangeably and the conditions include similarities, such as a lack of empathy and a disregard for the law and social standards, the two are fundamentally different as well.
Scott A. Bonn, Ph.D., notes that sociopaths tend to be noticeably nervous and agitated. They “live on the fringes of society, unable to hold down a steady job or stay in one place for very long.” While psychopaths are completely devoid of empathy or the possibility of forming emotional connections, sociopaths may align with a particular person or group. The lack of impulse control associated with psychopathic behavior is thought to be rooted in genetics; sociopathic elements are more often linked to upbringing or particular life events such as abuse in childhood.
Psychologist Martha Stout is the author of “The Sociopath Next Door,” which was published in 2005. In her book, Stout claims that one in 25 Americans secretly is without a conscience and since conscience is not visible it can be feigned. Most sociopaths are adept at acting, fooling others into believing they feel love, warmth, closeness or responsibility.
Other signs of sociopathic behavior include:
Jonice Webb, Ph.D., stresses that children of sociopathic parents can experience trauma when living with a parent who is incapable of showing parental love. The child may assume his or her lack of lovability is the problem and sociopaths may use this to their advantage as a means of manipulating the child. Webb notes that in adulthood, the children of sociopaths are typically unable to confront the truth about their parents, often justifying the manipulation while maintaining their parents’ innocence. These children may believe the manipulative behavior came from a place of love despite the severity of the upbringing.
For those coming to terms with personal sociopathic behavior or the sociopathic behavior of a loved one, mental health treatment can help. Sovereign Health of Florida treats mental illnesses and behavioral problems. Whatever the origin of the mental health issue, treatment can be of assistance, oftentimes leading to life-changing circumstances. If you would like further information, please call to speak with a member of our team.
Written by Veronica McNamara, Sovereign Health Group writer
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