Differentiating between the Sociopath and the Psychopath

Sociopath vs. Psychopath

People mistakenly use the terms “sociopath” and psychopath” as if they mean the same thing. They don’t. What they have in common is that both sorts of problematic people have an antisocial personality disorder. They are not interested in being nice, though psychopaths can trick people about that dangerous trait. Sociopaths might not try to fool anyone.

Let’s look at the differences between both types of mentally ill aka pathological people, the type sometimes called “sickos.” Here’s a chart entitled “Sociopath vs Psychopath,” to start with.

 Sociopath vs. Psychopath

SociopathPsychopath
Feels regret, sorrow and guilt because sociopaths have a bit of a conscience, not that it stops their misbehavior.  Lacks remorse for anything, Moral issues don’t fill their minds or affect their behavior and thinking.
Can be spontaneous with violence or other cruelty.Cunning and calculating. They Plan their actions and wait patiently to carry out each part of their plan. Rushing is not on their agenda; it could cause mistakes. They can charm people into dangerous even deadly situations.
Lacks empathy, the ability to sense someone’s anguish even if they understand that people suffer because of them.Lacks empathy but is skilled at conning people into trusting them in order to harm them.
Small range of emotions, all of them negative. They lack happiness.Skilled at pretending to have emotions. Satisfied with being evil Narcissistic to extremes.
Deceptive.Deceptive.
Controlling. They’d question your sanity if your self-doubt can further their goals.Controlling. They’d question your sanity if your self-doubt can further their goals.
Doesn’t respect boundariesDoesn’t respect boundaries
Blames others, not the self. Only they matterThey don’t panic, perspire or worry. They cheat, lie and steal at will.
They can distinguish right from wrong but that doesn’t stop their cruelty. If they hurt someone they like, they might wrestle with conflicting emotions later.Never considers morality. Anyone can become their target.
Cruel within limits. Goals, religious laws, and other concerns might give them pause.Cruel without limits. They can cause sickening physical and rest of us vomiting or terrified. Monstrous.
Concerned about the consequences of their actions. Seeing someone suffer bothers them.Fearless. Never breaks a sweat. All that matters is success Seeing gore calms them. They can exploit anyone and anything
Lacks psychopathic traitsHas sociopathic traits

Empathic people who sympathize with others and tend to feel their suffering are desirable targets for a sociopath’s or psychopath’s abuse. You can learn a great about them from books on the topic, especially those by Dr. Judith Orloff. As to how to protect yourself from sociopaths or psychopaths, limit your interactions to people who are cooperative, as vulnerable to feelings as you are, and pleasant company.

There is no effective therapy for antisocial personality disorder, adults or children. Evidence indicates that only psychiatric drugs stop antisocial people from fulfilling their goals of harming anyone.

If you believe that a sociopath or psychopath endangers you or someone else, keep a journal of everything that happens between you, and all relevant documents, receipts, etc. Consult a lawyer or police, for protection from suspected future harm, and stay off social media. It’s too easy to find out about you there. Limit your interactions with people who can harm you.

Concerned about the consequences of their actions. Seeing someone suffer bothers them.Fearless. Never breaks a sweat. All that matters is success Seeing gore calms them. They can exploit anyone and anything
Cruel within limits. Goals, religious laws, and other concerns might give them pause.Cruel without limits. They can cause sickening physical and rest of us vomiting or terrified. Monstrous.
They can distinguish right from wrong but that doesn’t stop their cruelty. If they hurt someone they like, they might wrestle with conflicting emotions later.Never considers morality. Anyone can become their target.