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Sociopath vs. Psychopath

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posted on Aug, 21 2012 @ 09:12 PM
All serial killers are psychopaths, though not all psychopaths become serial killers, of course.

A serial killer is not the same as a spree killer or mass murderer. Killing more than one person is not enough to join the club, it takes a deliberate and ongoing pattern of murder.

The other thing serial killers share is that the combination of detachment from feelings and the effect this has on the psychopath's own perception of his / her sexuality, rage, shame, etc lead them to make use of other living things, animals and people in ways normal people find abhorrent.

Where a normal person can feel sexual stimulation and excitement with the act itself being a release it's common for psychopaths to need a much larger stimulus to achieve the same thing. They get into a twisted grouping of acts that carry a strong emotional response - violence, danger, etc. It's like they substitute the flight or fight adrenaline rush for a normal person's sexual response.

This is why it's so common for serial killers to be sexual sadists and why they can achieve the same result with no sexual act being involved (which seems to happen with a lot of serial killers who remain uncaught for long periods of time). They can get the same exact sexual stimulation from stabbing someone they get from raping someone - what they feel in their reduced emotional capacity isn't actually "sexual" so they really don't know the difference. We can theorize why they became this way but even psychopaths have sexual drives, compulsions and fetishes, they are just far more likely to take them to abnormal extremes or tend towards violence against an objectified "partner".

Where the criminologist and shrinks really pause is when a serial killer has a spouse and practices a "normal" sex life with them. Is it part of keeping up the appearances or can they actually enjoy both?

Eventually science will be able to detect people with these conditions via genetic screening. The brain imaging stuff is interesting but it also creates false positives. We know a psychopaths brain will scan as different but so do more than a few "normal" people with no psychopathic symptoms. The real question is what will society do with them when we are able to detect them, will Doctors advise pregnant women to abort based on a positive DNA tests in the womb?
edit on 21-8-2012 by ecoparity because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 21 2012 @ 11:17 PM
Very interesting read. I enjoy reading comments from people who are educated and well versed on the subjects they are discussing. It is oddly comforting to think that there are people who are knowledgeable on certain subject matters, and that perhaps there are unseen forces who have a hold on our chaotic world and are valiantly defining the boundaries there in.

I would like to make a motion that we, as of this moment forth, stop the self evaluations. Unless you got papers to prove it I don't want to hear about it. I don't want to hear about how you consider yourself a psycho-disassociated-necro-beastial-homopathic mystery that defies all odds. I know it doesn't much matter what I think, but I am trying to ask politely so that I can continue to enjoy the discussion. Everyone feels a need to define themselves, but just stop it. Stop it. Seriously.

I will now continue to quietly read until the thread is either overrun or derailed.

posted on Aug, 22 2012 @ 12:05 AM
I agree with the OP of this thread when he said that re-labelling psycho/sociopathology for the new DSM is an argument in semantics. And I believe Scatterbrain hit the nail on the head describing the difference between the two.

A psychopath, as in "psychotic episode", has a poor sense of right/wrong, is a slave to their immediate desires (impulsive yet varied, opposed to addiction), incapable of empathy (and if empathy is shown it is easily identifiably faux, ie-learned behavior, acting, etc). As for the cause, well, it could be genetic, drug induced, physical/psychological damage/trauma/underdevelopment, or any combination there of.

A sociopath, root word "socio", has it's roots in social upbringing. A sociopath knows social norms and can have feelings/empathy for those close to them, but s/he can turn it off at will for their own advantage or for the protection of their interests. Moral and ethical concerns/rules are an illusion created by society and are considered a henderence to their personal interests, hence a total disregard of following the "rules" cognatively and rationally. They are not necessarily impulsive, but rather calculating and capable of bold action when it comes to their interests (unusual risk taking). They are good actors of empathy as well. As for the cause, blame it on upringing, environmental influence, indoctrination, or any combination.

Bundy = psychopath
Manson = sociopath (ok, there's a little psychopath in there
Dahmer = just messed up. That's a DSM term I think.

The key word some keep dancing around is empathy, or rather the inability to show true empathy, mixed with some compulsivness in the case of the psychopath (psychopaths are disorganised, not sociopaths). Hence the glossy broad term anti-social personality disorder. In terms of diagnosis it's kinda like saying someone who died from choking actually died from heart failure. The devil is in the details, and so to will the treatment be, if possible.

posted on Aug, 22 2012 @ 12:55 AM
An honest, experienced psychologist will admit that our full understanding of psychopathy is limited. We can only imagine what they experience and only know what they tell us. Psychopaths in mental health treatment can be manipulative to extremes, coldly intelligent and even dangerous.

I think of them as human sharks, pure predators with none of the moral or emotional tempering of their actions. That's what separates man from beast, we have emotions and reasoning which can override our more base instincts (with positive and negative results depending on the situation). A psychopath has all the same needs, desires, compulsions and obsessions but no moral hang ups to limit their exercise.

A prior poster mentioned Dalmer as being a more extreme example but this is not actually true. The acts he engaged in were more publicized, perhaps because being homosexual in nature the news media, police, etc were more willing to discuss them vs. in other cases. It's extremely common for serial killers to perform the same sexual sadistic / sadistic acts including ritualized behaviors such as cannibalism. It's just not discussed on the evening news in relation to most cases. Where they vary is the predominance of a specific aspect -

Ian Brady - Sadistic Power / manipulation
Manson - Sadistic Power / manipulation
Ted Bundy - Rape, Mommy issues, hatred of Women
Dennis Rader - Rape, fetish rituals, sexual identity
Gary Ridgway - Rape, Mommy issues, hatred of Women
Eddie Gein - necrophilia, sexual identity
Paul Bernardo - Rape, Mommy issues, hatred of Women
Jeffrey Dalmer - insecurity - wanted a partner who would never leave him

It's amazing how you can find common base motivations in serial killers over and over again. Where they vary is in methodology but no one teaches "sexual murder for beginners" so that's to be expected. At the core, however they are all the same, psychopaths one and all. They do it for fun, thrills and even love.

Now, if your idea of a psychopathic serial killer is "Dexter" you've got it all wrong.

posted on Aug, 22 2012 @ 01:21 AM
reply to post by Rubicant13

I think it's important to note that not all sociopaths are bad people. Most of them just have a personality disorder that makes it hard to feel empathy and thus relate to other people. Personally I find it very difficult to feel empathy towards people, but I've never tried to intentionally hurt someone. I guess that makes me a sociopath.
when I took Psych in college I was told sociopaths are more introverted while Psychopaths are more extroverts, and that the two classifications would rarely get along. Probably because Psychopaths feed off emotions of others for manipulative purposes, and it's hard to manipulate someone with very little emotion.

Also I don't think I've ever had a single boss that was not to some degree a Psychopath lol.

posted on Aug, 22 2012 @ 01:03 PM

hese same behaviors were now believed to be due to external influences.
reply to post by Xcalibur254

Well no, as psycho/socios have different brain reactions and most have a gene predisposing them to the condition.

posted on Aug, 22 2012 @ 01:45 PM
reply to post by graceunderpressure

My FIL has NPD. He is not a peach to deal with.

I got screamed at for an hour once because he was having a package sent and I wasn't there to receive it. He didn't tell me it wasn't being delivered.

posted on Aug, 22 2012 @ 01:48 PM
This is one of the few threads I have seen in a long, long time. Where it was just an honest exchange of information on a subject, no bickering, no junk, trolling, or spam.

I am so proud of you guys.

*wipes away a tear*

posted on Aug, 23 2012 @ 09:17 AM
I didn't mean to stop the thread!

posted on Aug, 23 2012 @ 12:19 PM
reply to post by nixie_nox

Thread killer! You must be anti-social network.

posted on Aug, 25 2012 @ 10:39 AM
i love Sociopaths and Psychopats,
it is easier to make friends with them, much more hummoristic, funny, critical, and more intelligent people they are.

posted on Aug, 25 2012 @ 10:42 AM

Originally posted by wwwchronos
i love Sociopaths and Psychopats,
it is easier to make friends with them, much more hummoristic, funny, critical, and more intelligent people they are.

I guess if you enjoy the same kind of sick humour as they do..

They are not so funny when you are the one that is tied up in a cage with slut carved on your chest, as you are filmed for the rest of the psychos to share with you in the dark underbelly of the net.

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