A sociopath can be more than just the rapists and serial killers you see on the news. They can be your family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, or even your soul mate. Sociopaths are manipulative and charming. When you first meet them, you think they are well-groomed, but in reality, they will bury lies and secrets beneath the mask they show to society of a well-mannered person just like everyone else.

If you are wondering what is sociopath, then the answer is complicated as this is actually an incredibly complex personality disorder. The condition is hard to diagnose due to the wide range of maladaptive behavior sociopaths display. Instead of being a single trait, sociopathy is a syndrome, a whole cluster of symptoms related to each other. A certain number of these symptoms must be present for a person to be diagnosed as a sociopath.

Part 1: What Is a Sociopath?

What is a sociopath? As an essential step to understand sociopath, getting to know the definition is necessary. Sociopaths are people who have antisocial personality disorder and demonstrate a pattern of disregard that is pervasive, particularly in terms of the feelings and rights of others.

Most people consider sociopaths to be criminals, but while it is possible, this is not a requirement for a diagnosis as having antisocial personality disorder. Instead, the patient must show a specific set of behaviors consistently (both in set circumstances and over time) and be over 18.

Part 2: 10 Red Flags You Should Notice of a Sociopath



Sociopaths tend to be charming and charismatic, attracting people who simply want to be close to them. When seeking answers about what is a sociopath, charming is one those traits. They typically attract those seeking direction or guidance. They usually have strong sexual attraction or seem sexy. Yet, remember that not every sexy person is a sociopath, but you should still pay attention if someone has weird fetishes and extreme sexual appetites.



Sociopaths are typically very intelligent. However, instead of letting their knowledge empower themselves, they use it for deception and advancement. This means that the high IQs of sociopaths can be dangerous, with examples being found among serial killers who evaded the law.


No Remorse, Guilt or Shame

Sociopaths can't feel remorse, guilt or shame because their brains don't have the proper wiring. This means that they can threaten or harm people or betray them without worrying about the consequences. What is a sociopath? The answer usually leads to people who pursue their self-interest, even if it harms others. As such, successful sociopaths can be found in top government positions worldwide.


Intense and Spontaneous

Sociopaths are usually more intense and spontaneous than others. They aren't bound by typical social contracts and may engage in behavior that seems extremely risky or irrational. They also do bizarre things that others wouldn't.


Seek to Win

These people will hate to lose any fight or argument, leading to defending their lies at all costs, even if it becomes absurd based on logic. They simply want to win or dominate other no matter the cost.


Incapable of Love

People with this condition are completely self-serving and cannot love. They might pretend to have compassion or feel love to get their way, but they don't actually feel the emotion in the same way that others do.


Invent Lies

Sociopaths invent lies concerning their experiences that are outrageous in nature. They rely on storytelling and their charismatic nature to achieve their words. They may exaggerate wildly, but somehow make their absurd tales seem believable when they tell them to you.


Speak Poetically

Sociopaths can speak poetically, creating a hypnotic and intriguing monologue in the stream of conscious style. They can be expert storytellers and sometimes poets as well, using their words to spread lies in a hypnotic manner.


Never Apologize

Looking at what is a sociopath shows people who never feel guilt or accept they are wrong and will therefore never apologize. Even in cases where they are given proof that they are incorrect, they won't apologize, attacking instead.


Believe They Make the Truth

Sociopaths are delusional to the extent that they think that things they say become truth just because they said it. Charles Manson, one of the most famous sociopath murderers, is known to have said that he hadn't killed anyone and doesn't have to live in the "physical realm" as he can kill people in his head.

Part 3: Differences Between Sociopath and Psychopath

What is a sociopath? Is it same with psychopath? While the two conditions both are forms of antisocial personality disorders, they are varies in many aspects, including genetic predispositions versus environmental factors.


Sociopaths suffer from antisocial personality disorder (ASPD); in addition to ASPD, psychopaths also lack conscience or empathy and are delusional in nature.



The causes of the two conditions are commonly used to differentiate between a sociopath and a psychopath.

In the majority of cases, sociopathy will develop due to upbringing and other environmental factors, leading to the development of antisocial personality disorder. Sociopathy is typically caused by nurture, such as delinquent peers, parental neglect, or poverty.

Yet, psychopathy refers to a condition that is based on a person's innate condition, according to psychologists. Psychopathy and its origins come from nature, as opposed to nurture, such as a fearlessness, cortical under-arousal, or impulsiveness.


Violence Predisposition

The difference in predisposition  to violence between sociopaths and psychopaths is also very different. While psychopaths have a high predisposition, it is varied for sociopaths. For sociopaths, it changes from person to person.



The level of impulsivity is also different for sociopaths and psychopaths. Sociopaths tend to be highly impulsive, while impulsivity in psychopaths can be varied, but is typically fairly low.



As mentioned earlier, sociopaths typically display erratic behavior that may seem abnormal to most people. Psychopaths, in contrast, tend to be more controlled in their behavior.


Criminal Issues

Criminal behavior between the two types of people is different as well, with sociopaths typically acting impulsively and leaving behind clues. Psychopaths will be more likely to make calculated risks which minimize exposure or evidence and participate in schemes.

In terms of criminal predispositions, sociopaths tend to display criminal behavior which is opportunistic or impulsive, such as opportunistic or impulsive violence or excessive risk taking. Psychopaths are more likely to take part in premeditated crimes under controllable risks, such as opportunistic or calculated violence, fraud, or criminal opportunism.


Social Relations

Sociopaths typically seem normal (superficially) in their social relationships, but are frequently social predators. They will empathize with family or close friends and may experience some guilt if they harm those that are close to them.

Psychopaths, on the other hand, cannot maintain any normal relationships, only valuing those relationships that provide benefits. Even if they hurt their close friends and family, they may not feel guilt.


A video helps illustrate the difference between sociopath and psychopathy with more details.


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  • MelissaDec.13 14:03
    5, 6, &7..... I think you are confusing psychopaths with sociopaths. What you have typed here should be the opposite. Just an FYI.
  • OuslarDec.3 00:10
    Personally, I don't like the grouping together of all sociopathic personalities. As a diagnosed and medicated sociopath myself, not all of this is true. Most certainly not the section saying that I am incapable of feelings of love. Just ask my wife or kids.
  • Last comment I saw was from "Defender", I think your mixing up sociopaths and psychopaths abit there.... I'm 33yrs old and try growing up w a sociopath as your father!!! Your mother gets beat daily and says " he can't help it, the Army diagnosed him as a sociopath" (sound familiar), and you, well you get beat so badly one time it almost kills you so you no longer get hit, just horrible mental abuse which I find much worse! No, they don't feel love, remorse, or grieve most of the time... But as they said family such as a child is normally an exception however I still get the brunt and he's 74 yrs old now, my mothers passed and I'm trying to take care of him of course I'm a stupid b*tch and nothing's ever right or good enough! He blocks the bad things he says or does to me out, and that IS a choice! A sociopath isn't someone I'd defend, especially due to the fact there has bn medication for yrs that can help w their moods!
  • @ : I think that you are confusing sociopath with psychopath. Not only that but most likely the reason behind his behavior is not related to his illness. Fathers have beat children for hundreds of years and until recently not only was it legal but it was approved. He was probably beaten by his father and was taught that that is how to successfully raise a child. Now also keep in mind that not all sociopaths are the same. As it said in the article sociopathology is more of a syndrome with many different traits which not all sociopaths have. You may be diagnosed with several sociopathic traits and not be a sociopath. I myself have been tested and found to have many sociopathic traits however I still feel love, anger, happiness, and sadness. I am also not charming and while I may lie I do not believe the lies I tell.
  • defenderJul.25 06:12
    It is not the sociopath fault. most of them can not control what they do. they might act like it but most times they dont. Even though sometimes they are totally aware. not all sociopaths are bad. The reason most sociopaths keep to them is because they know what they are capable of and they don't want to really hurt people. its just that they crave it so they do what they think they have to do
  • SarahJul.21 01:23
    My ex partner is a sociopath .. do they hurt kids .... should I keep him away from my daughter
  • Arpita Jun.29 09:07
    I think my lover is sociopath. He has left me a week ago for a very silly reason. He wasn't ready to apologise. I had proved him that he was wrong bt he was not ready to admit his fault.He tried to prove me characterless. He also don't have the feeling of remorse and guilt, he thinks he is the only person who is correct. He is 100% emotionless.He only believes in physical relationship, he don't think so that love is something which is based upon sacrifice,understanding and support. When I approached him, he was normal. His attitude was normal then bt gradually he began to hurt me for everything. I thought my love will change him one day.I did everything to make him feel special and to prove him that I really love him.Bt he always call me cheater... I don't know whether I hv made him sociopath,bt how can I?.I always loved him.I m sad coz my love proved weak. His last msg to me"I did wat I want with u and u want to live with me like this is up to u"..I still can't believe this. Unmistakably he z the same person who said to me once that I m his priority,he will love me till the end. I want to make him feel the same pain through which I m going... Bt I can't..coz he z sociopath. He is without any emotions.. I think God has punished me for cheating my parents. I deserve this.I lied to my parents for my love. And now he left. For him,I was ready to leave the world,my career and now he left me. Yes!!!! I deserve this. Emotional fools deserve this....
  • My sister is a sociapath , her job is nursing ,she bullied my 94. year old Mother and shoved her into an old peoples home and was very controlling to her and my Mother passed away February 18th! Now shes worked on my dad aged 90, wangled her way to inheriting the 3 bedroom house,ajoining garge, big back garden, small front garden and influenced dad that l only inherit £8000 !
  • Peace_StrugglerMay.16 05:03
    is there a stage between being a sociopath and a normal person. because as far as i read a sociopath would never consider him to be a sociopath and a normal person will not display such traits. what if one shows all characteristic and tries not go over the ledge by possibly harming himself or tormenting himself mentally. commit crimes and feel remorse for doing it but end up again repeating it. these turmoil stage what is it?
  • AlexMay.2 16:23
    Some people are sociopaths by their upbringing and can progress to being a psycopath as they become even less feeling towards their nearest and dearest. That combination is quite a dangerous one. As far I know, there is even less treatment available to a psychopathic as there is for a sociopath. One thing is clear that neither of them are capable of empathy or remorse. If remorse is shown, it is just an act to win the situation.
  • NickApr.26 04:30
    Thanks. This definitely helps. Everyone thought I was just a sociopath so I googled it and this confirms I'm a psychopath.
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