Therapists Reveal The Difference Between A Sociopath And A Psychopath

According to experts, there are significant dissimilarities between a sociopath and a psychopath. Though people tend to toss these words around like their distinction were of no importance, there is a compelling reason why one should be knowledgeable about their differences.


By being aware of their different characteristics, a person would know how to deal with sociopaths or psychopaths or eventually avoid them. However, it doesn’t matter who’s who, for as long you bail out on them once you’ve managed to identify these troublesome anomalies. Better safe than sorry.

What The Therapists Say

Since they are trained and are adept at figuring out what’s mentally misconstrued in people, therapists are knowledgeable in identifying which is which. According to Scott A. Bonn, Ph.D, “Sociopathy and psychopathy has both been listed under the Antisocial Personality Disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-Fifth Edition (DSM-V), sharing traits such as disregard for laws and social mores, disregard for the rights of others, failure to feel remorse, and tendency to display violence.” So based on studies and observations, here are the main differences between sociopaths and psychopaths.

Sociopathic characteristics are:

  • Charming and manipulative with situations and people surrounding them.
  • Dominant with their victims, using them for personal gain.
  • Adept at lying to get what they’re after. In fact, sociopaths are so skilled at lying that they can pass a lie detector test.
  • See themselves as people who are great, powerful, and authoritative.
  • Cruel to humans and animals.
  • Not guilty of their ill behavior and instead, blame the erratic outcomes to other people.
  • Incapable of having friends and don’t have long-term relationships.
  • Involved with promiscuity that often leads to sexual abuse.
  • Keen on changing their image to avoid execution and will go to great lengths just to convince people of their innocence.
  • Developed by factors such as delinquent peers, neglect by people in the society and most likely their families, poverty, unemployment, and childhood trauma. As John M. Grohol, Psy.D. states that, “Most people who can later be diagnosed with sociopathy have had a pattern of behavior where they violate the basic rights or safety of others.”

Scheming as they are, sociopaths build relationships for the sake of taking something from the other person. Love and affection do not affect sociopaths and they find no value in such emotions.

Psychopathic characteristics are:

  • Evildoers; psychopaths may or may not murder, but they will plan their crimes to make sure they are accomplished smoothly.
  • Persuasive to the point of dazzling other people into believing their pure intentions until they wake up to the realization that the psychopath has already destroyed their lives.
  • Attentive to the needs of their lovers in order to take advantage. Besides, it’s impossibly difficult to turn down a favor, like paying for large purchases, if you are constantly showered with excessive, exaggerated care and attention.
  • Great lovers. Psychopaths are so great that they can get away with their infidelities.
  • Without conscience. Once psychopaths have exhausted your resources and have gratified themselves, they will leave you without remorse.
  • Good at turning situations around to make it look like they’re the victims and people will eventually believe these psychopaths, forgiving and trusting them all the while.
  • Aggressive and quickly loses one’s cool over superficial matters.
  • Self-centered and is prone to boredom.

A psychopath’s nature is entirely due to their genes or biology and not because of crooked upbringing. Getting tangled up with a psychopath can turn out to be pretty messy since chromosomal errors are usually hard to cure or treat. Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D. says that, “If you see all these psychopathic tendencies on an individual, these can be an advantage in knowing who to avoid.”

Regardless of the condition, the best way to deal with sociopaths and psychopaths is to get as far away from them as possible before things can turn for the worse. Click this link for more information