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A psychopath is a person who suffers from a mental disorder that makes them incapable feeling sympathy or empathy, usually take no responsibility for his/her actions, and often act out in very dangerous and violent manners. Most psychopaths are grandiose, meaning that they consider themselves above others. Psychopaths are characterized as being remorseless, narcissistic, usually violent, and also may appear to be a "blank slate" when in the depths of their pathology.

Traits

As stated before, people of this personality disorder may display no empathy towards others and no remorse or guilt. However, they can mimic emotions almost perfectly to further their own personal agendas, are very skilled in the arts of deception, and may actually appear charming, friendly, or even likable. Some psychopaths will engage in severe antisocial behavior, such as murder (even serial or spree murder), animal cruelty, or sexual crimes. Conversely, some never do at all, and the manifestation of their pathology is limited to non-criminal behavior such as promiscuity, cheating, or lying.

Sociopathy

A sociopath is a person with a form of ASPD (Anti-Social Personality Disorder) that has developed based on their environment and/or surroundings, whereas psychopaths are born with psychopathic personality disorder. It is vital to acknowledge the difference between ASPD and psychopathy; ASPD is characterized by antisocial behaviors, while psychopathy is a combination of behavioral traits and interpersonal traits. Psychopaths easily meet the criteria for ASPD and psychopathy, while individuals with ASPD meet the criteria for that particular condition but not psychopathy. Sociopaths are like psychopaths in the sense that they have a significative reduction in their capability of feeling empathy, guilt, and remorse. Unlike psychopaths, they aren't as capable of feigning emotions, and are unable to maintain social relationships and hold down a steady job. The chances of them feeling love for somebody else (wether Romantically or other) is also more likely than the odds of a psychopath feeling love for somebody else, although this is possible in both cases.

Sociopathic serial killers are extremely disorganized and are much easier to catch than psychopathic serial killers, who are obsessively organized. Sociopaths are extremely prone to violent bursts of anger and cannot appear to be normal while psychopaths can keep their anger bottled up for excessive amounts of time and are masters at the art of deception. Sociopaths also differ from psychopaths in the sense that the former cannot plan ahead while the latter is a master at planning ahead.

Treatment

There are currently no medical or medicinal treatments for psychopathy, and talk therapy only serves to further the ability to mimic emotions. There is believed to be a genetic propensity in the cases of psychopathy, as the trait appears to run in families. As a possible genetic disorder, there may never be an effective treatment. It must be observed that one possible common cause of psychopathy is abuse.

Diagnosis

Aggressive Narcissism

  1. Glibness/superficial charm
  2. Grandiose sense of self-worth\High narcissism
  3. Pathological lying
  4. Cunning/manipulative
  5. Lack of remorse or guilt
  6. Emotionally shallow
  7. Callous/lack of empathy
  8. Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
  9. Placing blame on others

Social Deviance

  1. Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
  2. Parasitic lifestyle
  3. Poor behavioral control
  4. Promiscuity\hyperactive sexual behavior or desires
  5. Lack of realistic, long-term goals
  6. Impulsiveness
  7. Irresponsibility
  8. Juvenile delinquency
  9. Early behavioral problems
  10. Revocation of conditional release\
  11. Complete disregard for others (which may even include themselves, such as Suicide Bombers)
  12. Violent and dangerous behavior
  13. Sadism

Examples

Known psychopaths and sociopaths:

On Criminal Minds

Other Fictional Psychopaths and Sociopaths

  • Patrick Bateman (American Psycho)
  • Norman Bates (Psycho)
  • Dimentio (Super Paper Mario) is referred to by Tippi as a psychopath.
  • In the BBC drama Sherlock, Sherlock Holmes is labelled a psychopath, to which he replies, "I am a high-functioning sociopath." His nemesis, Professor James Moriarty, on the other hand, is a clear-cut example of a psychopath and proudly admits it.
  • The Joker (Batman and related DC Comics media)
  • Dexter Morgan (Dexter series of novels) is a self-proclaimed sociopath.
  • Kefka Palazzo (Final Fantasy VI)
  • Diogenes Pendergast (Preston-Child series of novels)
  • Bill Cipher (Gravity Falls) may characters point out that he's insane and he proudly agrees with them.
  • Jerome Valeska (Gotham)
  • Ted Warnicky (Psycho Cop)
  • Michael "Mick" Taylor (Wolf Creek)
  • Frieza (Dragon Ball franchise)
  • Charles Lee Ray/Chucky (Child's Play)

Notes

  • Although some psychopaths and sociopaths appear outwardly evil and violent, some may adhere to a moral code that prevents them from harming a particular demographic. Frank Breitkopf, for example, while being a merciless killer, would never harm children. Even though he kidnapped a group of school children, he made every effort to ensure their safe return. When he explained the situation to Jason Gideon concerning the busload of children, he told him that he would never harm them. Jason believed him, as he knew Frank had no reason or desire to harm them, only to use them as an escape route. However, Frank says this because he gets no sexual gratification out of harming children, not because he cares about their well-being. Harming them, further, would likely have jeopardized his escape and his life on the run now that the FBI knew his identity.
  • George Foyet is a sociopath who displays the worst of the common traits of these individuals. He feeds off of his victims fears, and does everything in his power to impart absolute terror in his victims before he kills them. He also wants to ensure that they know he is going to kill them, an example of the narcissistic side of this disorder. If unable to (such as the victim being unconscious), he will leave a bullet beside them showing that he could have.

Further Reading

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