There are many different types of personality disorders. However, none are more perplexing or misunderstood than Psychopathic Personality Disorder. Individuals with this disorder are commonly referred to as psychopaths or sociopaths. Although they are often confused with individuals who are diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder, sociopaths/psychopaths (referred to as psychopaths for brevity’s sake throughout the remainder of this article) have qualities that far exceed those of antisocial individuals, making them, as a group, the most dangerous of all personality disordered individuals.
Further Reading on Sociopath Definition – 11 Signs of spotting a sociopath
Psychopaths typically present as charmers. They tend to be extroverted and verbally skilled. Many of them are intelligent; others “seem” intelligent because of their verbal ease and charm.
Because of these qualities, psychopaths generally are well liked – at least initially. Yet, the truth is that these individuals are extremely manipulative, cold, calculating, self-centered, and devoid of any real emotions, making their relationships with others one-sided and often parasitic in nature.
Their repertoire of behaviors can range anywhere from serial murders to junk bond swindlers to con artists. However, their underlying motivations are the same – gratification of their impulses without care or concern for the consequences of their actions on others. Socially, they often are involved in multiple relationships, most of which fail over time. But this is of no concern because they don’t share an emotional connection with those they claim to care about or love. As long as they can live off of and manipulate others, they are satisfied, and once a relationship ends, they move on to another to accomplish the same parasitic purpose.
Yet, the most disturbing of all of the behavioral characteristics of psychopaths is their propensity for unprovoked and predatory violence. This generally takes the form of some of the most heinous crimes committed in our society, including murder, rape and aggravated battery. The reason they are able to commit such callous and offensive crimes is that they are don’t experience the emotions that are essential to normal relationship formation. In other words, because they don’t experience emotional connections with others, they don’t feel empathy for their victims and they don’t experience remorse for their actions.
Unfortunately for their victims, their strong verbal and acting skills often convince others that they are quite caring and emotional individuals. In fact, psychopaths are often so skilled at manipulation and conning that it is not unusual to find that before they were “discovered” (usually meaning arrested), they were working in trusted positions in the community, married with children, and socializing with people who considered them to be their best friends. And that is probably the most frightening thing of all.