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How is Sociopathy Treated?

By R. Kayne
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Sociopathy (also psychopathy), or Anti-social Personality Disorder (APD) is treated a number of ways though there is no known cure and the effectiveness of available treatments is unclear and controversial. Several reasons exist for this including limited long-term control studies, the nature of the disorder itself, the many ways APD presents (manifests), and the tendency for co-existing disorders referred to as comorbidity. Despite these and other complicating factors, APD can be managed with one or more combinations of therapies.

Throughout this article APD, psychopathy and sociopathy are used somewhat interchangeably, though some professionals view sociopathy as a distinct type of psychopathy, while others dispute this or dispute the differences. APD is the broader, more current umbrella term for these disorders.

One basic challenge in treating APD is that the patient typically does not believe he has a problem. The outward personality is often magnetic and charming, not only defending and rationalizing behavior, but often believing the behavior works for him. A grandiose attitude towards the self with a sense of superiority makes the average psychopath believe he is smarter than everyone, including doctors. Many with APD end up in treatment programs only because they are pressured by family members or mandated by court order.

A second basic challenge in treatment is that mental health care is based upon trusting relationships built between doctors and patients. Sociopathy, by its nature, limits the viability and in some cases the feasibility of such a relationship, as sociopaths often lack the ability to develop close relationships. They can, however, mimic these behaviors. Doctors and clinicians are also subject to manipulation by the sociopath, believing a patient is improving when he’s merely saying what the therapist wants to hear. Even allowing for corroborative feedback from third parties, the lying, manipulative nature of the sociopath throws into question feedback commonly used to plan new treatments, gauge effectiveness in long-term follow up studies, and strategize ongoing research.

Treatment for psychopathy or sociopathy is individualized on a case-by-case basis — there is no “one size fits all” approach. A doctor must consider the patient’s specific diagnosis, his or her age, medical history, physical health, environment, and a range of other factors. If additional diseases are present such as alcoholism, depression, or schizophrenia, successfully treating these can, in some cases, help the individual normalize enough to exert more control over behavioral problems associated with APD, possibly minimizing its effects.

Not all sociopaths are violent, however it is an element present in many cases evidenced by some of our most notorious serial killers and countless lesser-known violent offenders. This presents another potential complication in treating APD, as doctors, clinicians, and mental health staff can feel threatened by sociopaths who have committed violent acts. With general treatment facilities overworked and the outlook for treating sociopathy questionable, it can happen that a clinic might decide its limited resources are better spent treating patients who can be helped. This doesn’t mean treatment can’t be found and many clinics do specialize in sociopathy. Treatment centers range from secure centers to voluntary facilities as well as outpatient care.

The following is a brief overview of various strategies sometimes used to treat APD. They fall into three major areas: various types of therapy, drugs, and physical treatments.

Therapies: In general terms there are three basic categories of therapy: behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy, and psychotherapy. Each have their advantages and disadvantages in treating APD, and a patient might respond better to one clinical setting or approach over another. Combinations of therapies are often used.

Behavioral therapy is based on the premise that antisocial behavior is not the result of a ‘warped set of beliefs’, but rather of undesirable conditioning or improper learned behavior within the patient’s immediate environment over time, beginning in childhood. The adult with APD reacts to stimulus in the present environment with antisocial responses learned in the past. By identifying environmental triggers that bring about the antisocial responses, then teaching new coping behaviors, therapists hope to replace unwanted behaviors with more positive behaviors.

There are several modalities of behavior therapy that target different flavors of learned response. Classical conditioning targets reflexive responses, while operant conditioning addresses voluntary responses. Aversion therapy is one type of classical conditioning that creates links between unwanted behaviors and unpleasant physical sensations. The goal is to decrease unwanted behaviors by conditioning the patient to associate unpleasant sensations with them. Covert sensitization, another type of therapy, uses imagery rather than physical stimulus.

A token economy is an approach often used in institutional settings to treat sociopathy. This type of behavior modification reinforces good behavior by rewarding it with a symbolic token. Tokens might be in the form of poker chips, play money or other objects that can be collected and traded for privileges. Antisocial behaviors will cost the patient tokens.

Social skills training takes yet another approach to behavior modification by viewing antisocial aggression as the result of a patient lacking a more positive way to handle situations that trigger aggression. Patients are taught about proper social interaction including anger control and dealing with authority through role-playing, feedback and other interactive exercises.

Cognitive therapy is based on the premise that the way we think governs our behavior, so by identifying and replacing disordered thoughts and feelings, we can change behavior. This technique also makes use of therapeutic modeling whereby a patient observes how a well-adjusted person copes effectively with challenging situations, using social imitation to help with anger management and social skills.

Psychotherapy takes an empathetic approach to sociopathy, delving into the inner world of the patient to help him or her understand the deep-rooted causes behind antisocial behaviors. Psychotherapists consider sociopathy to be a personality disturbance and will work to repair, through recognition, fractured aspects of personality structure and development.

Drugs: As with so many aspects of sociopathy, the efficacy of drugs in the treatment of APD is controversial. Sociopathy is a behavioral disorder that develops over decades and chemical masking is generally not considered an effective answer but rather a complimentary treatment. Anti-psychotic drugs known as neuroleptics are sometimes given as an adjunct to therapy, particularly in the case of patients with tendencies towards aggression or violence. These drugs, prescribed in low doses, can have a tranquilizing effect without the heavier sedation associated with lithium.

Drugs are also prescribed to manage coexisting disorders when present, such as depression, paranoia, or schizoid behaviors. Anti-depressants, lithium, anti-convulsant drugs and in some cases stimulants are used. Finding the right drug therapy and dosage for a patient typically requires cooperation, time, experimentation and patience.

While drugs can help manage the effects of psychopathy, they do not cure the disorder and come with their own side effects that must be weighed against potential benefits. It must also be taken into account that outpatients might stop taking drugs, forget to take them, or abuse drugs.

Physical Treatments: Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), known informally as “shock therapy,” and neurosurgery are two types of physical treatments, neither of which is considered in the majority of cases. ECT has not been conclusively proven to be effective in treating psychopathy, though it might be helpful in treating certain types of depression, particularly in the case of inmates with APD. Neurosurgery is mainly considered in extreme cases after all other forms of treatment have failed, and is largely reserved for patients that have brain deformity or brain trauma that has resulted in acquired sociopathy. The selective procedure targets minute amounts of brain tissue in precise areas, such as the neural circuit that links the amygdala (associated with fear and aggression) and hypothalamus.

A requirement for diagnosing sociopathy is that the patient be at least 18 years of age and have shown a disregard for the rights and safety of others as a steady pattern of behavior from age 15 or younger. Before age 18, behavior consistent with APD is referred to as “conduct disorder,” a less stigmatizing term. Conduct disorder does not always lead to APD, but by most clinical definitions must be present in a patient’s history to be diagnosed with APD as an adult.

So far, the most promising treatment appears to be in prevention. That is, addressing conduct disorder rather than waiting until a child becomes an adult with ADP. Children who show a pattern of violent tendencies, who are easily irritated, overly angry, that bully, lie and steal, that bedwet into later childhood and are cruel to animals, are displaying the types of behaviors commonly found in the childhood histories of adults with APD. Therapeutic intervention at a young age can help children to channel anger and other emotions in a healthy manner and build better behaviors that experts believe might avert APD later in life.

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Discussion Comments
By anon991275 — On Jun 08, 2015

I am a 44 year old male. I have never been diagnosed as anything other than a regular guy, but I have always known something about be was different. I don't know if I am a sociopath, but there are some symptoms in common.

It really drove home when my paternal grandfather died and everyone around me was weeping -- and while a bit saddened, it had nowhere near the emotional impact on me as it had on others. I was concerned about my own lack of empathy. Then again, I was never that close to my grandfather and I thought he was a jerk towards me.

As a younger man, I lied frequently trying to fit in. I was awkward and not athletic, and didn't fit in well. I remember being caught in a lie as a 10 or 21 year old, and it costing me my few friends. I was clever but not always smart. Quick witted and silver-tongued, but I had poor grades.

When I was very very young, I burned my bed down playing with matches. I wet my bed until I was 7 or 8, and once I bought a mouse for my cat to play with, cruelly.

I recently read that those three signs are pretty clear indicators of sociopathy in a child and it troubles me to my core to see that I exhibited all three.

What perplexes me though, is that I was never a bully -- on the contrary, I was persistently bullied at a young age. I've never been a violent person, although once while being teased by a girl on the playground, I shoved the girl and she bumped her head -- I felt terrible for her getting hurt, but I also kind of felt like she deserved it.

Contrary to what I've read about sociopathy, I do feel love, though I also have trust issues with people. At times in my life I've been manipulative, but I am not compulsively so, nor am I a compulsive liar. Contrary to being an egotist, I have always had fairly low self esteem. Contrary to being abusive towards animals, I've always had compassion for dogs and cats. When I see a stray dog running loose, I have strong feelings of empathy for the animal, running scared and without their pack. I have kept both cats and dogs as pets and was devastated when putting them down for old age/medical issues.

I feel love for family, although I am sometimes a bit paranoid and have some quick triggers to anger or defensiveness. I always used to associate that with "normal" issues of parents pushing ones buttons sort of thing, but I now believe it to be related to whatever my disorder is. That actually qualifies as introspection, although according to everything I've read about sociopathy, empathy and introspection shouldn't be possible for me? Yet they are to varying degrees. It's also why marijuana remains my self-medication of choice; it's the best way for me to step back and analyze my daily encounters, and better judge how my own behavior effected others around me.

Today I'm a fairly honest person. I make an honest living, and I strive to be a person of substance and integrity. I realize that's probably exactly the sort of lie that a sociopath would either say to others or to convince themselves, but this is an anonymous posting and I'm being 100 percent forthright. If I wouldn't lie about wetting my bed, a source of deep embarrassment and humiliation for 7 year old me, why would I lie about that? I am also charitable and conscientious, and I don't have delusions of grandeur, nor do I constantly believe I'm the smartest person in the room. I don't see myself as a great leader of men, even though I occasionally wish my peers would respect my input more in areas I have some expertise. To the contrary, I often have feelings of inadequacy.

I can be charming, and desire a relationship, but I'm not good with women. As a younger man I had some success with women, but have had only a few "good" relationships. I also kept hooking up with girls who had commitment or monogamy issues, which only fostered feelings of paranoia. (You're only paranoid if they aren't out to get you right?)

While I'd like nothing more than to have a lasting and deep relationship, I am content to be alone so long as I have hobbies to keep myself stimulated. The contradictions are many.

There is what I suppose I could call a dark side to my personality, where occasionally I will entertain fantasies of capturing and hurting those who have "wronged" me. For example, I spent the better part of a month mentally plotting the perfect murder of my boss, after he threw me under the bus to mask his own incompetence and publicly humiliated me. Any time I wasn't busy -- driving, in the bathroom, shower, etc., I'd consider how to get away with it, and what I would do. Scary thoughts, though I never blurred the line between fantasy and reality. I have too strong a sense of self-preservation to ever act on those fantasies, which may be among my biggest concerns -- that I don't kidnap and torture people not because it's wrong, but because I love my freedom too much to risk incarceration. Last I checked, mind crimes aren't illegal, and I am positive that I am not a danger to anyone. I have no compulsion towards violent acts, but that I have at times allowed myself to indulge in these fantasies is a little worry some to me since I know it's wrong but I do it anyway.

Back to the symptoms. I do seek approval of others, which I've read is also a sign of sociopathy, but honestly, doesn't everyone seek positive feedback? Doesn't everyone want to achieve things and be recognized for those achievements? Is every Olympic athlete a sociopath, or every Nobel scientist? I also maintain a level of humility about the things I have achieved, which is also somewhat contrary to what I've read.

As a youth, my parents fought for years, leading up to their bitter divorce. This all took place during puberty and had a substantial impact on my childhood development -- while it may not have caused my issues, it most certainly exacerbated them. I was a happy kid -- a little eccentric maybe, but happy. Age 9-16 was all pretty tough though.

At this point, I'm coming to terms with the fact that I may be a sociopath -- maybe just borderline, I don't know. I'm not a therapist. While I have some of the associated personality disorders (lying, manipulation, intelligence, impulsive behavior, pyromania and vandalism as a youth, lack of deep emotional connections with people, need for stimulation, some sexual deviancy) I lack others (I feel love, sadness, some empathy, guilt for my negative actions)

My last experience with a therapist was when I was caught self-medicating with marijuana in high school, and the therapist wanted to put me on prescription drugs to teach me that the marijuana was bad. It all struck me as very hypocritical, and I was pretty mistrustful of that doctor. That said, I don't judge all therapists as being dumb or inferior, nor am I mistrustful of all doctors. On the contrary, I'd love to get help for whatever it is I have, but I am a little afraid of what they'll find, and I have no idea where to start.

So I go through life doing what I need to make a living, staying out of trouble, trying to be as honest as I am capable of being, and wishing I had a bit more normalcy -- a wife, kids -- it's hard. Things that came so natural to everyone else around me seemed so difficult to me.

I thank anyone who took the time to read this, as writing it was cathartic. I spent some time reading the stories of others, and while some things didn't click, some chords resonated deeply. I feel for those suffering from any form of sociopathy, as I can relate to how difficult it can be. To fit in, you have to lie. Not in terms of fiction or falsehoods, but simply in terms of acting a certain way to fit in, which in and of itself is often a lie.

From what I gather, my condition is incurable. Even though like others, I'm not entirely convinced that I need to be cured. That said, there are contradictions: I want to share my life with someone, but I don't really want to let anyone in that deeply due to a lack of trust and a level of associated paranoia that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I want to get help, but I don't believe I can be helped, and at times I don't believe I need help.

This writing is actually the deepest that I have ever contemplated my condition to date. I wish I had something positive and optimistic to finish with, but that's just part of the difficulty of living with this condition. Good luck to anyone else suffering from a mental disorder.

By anon989436 — On Mar 05, 2015

Well, my story. I knew I was different. I have always hated myself. I hated others as well. I wanted almost everybody dead because they hurt me.

As grew older, I started to hate myself less and others, but, I have cold dark streak in me that I suppress.

Lately, I've found out that I charm pants off women. I feel I can make most women do anything I want. But, I don't. I could go down this road but won't. I don't want to hurt anybody. But, there's always the temptation there to have affairs with married women and just young, single women. But, I hold back my urges.

Now the real problem I have is I met a friend over the internet. I know she was depressed since she told me when we first talked.

I kind of knew this about her but, I looked away from the obvious thing that she is a sociopath, as well as has mood swings, and lashes out in fits of anger,

She can't feel much. She hates herself and others. She believes others are out to get her. I have grown fond of her I don't know why? She can be kind at times and no, she is not pretending, There is good person in there.

I ignored all the symptoms for months. It was just not depression. I am trying to be a good friend since she has none, and keeping my distance. We have feelings for each other but, she needs more help

than I can give.

By anon989351 — On Mar 03, 2015

I was married to a sociopath. Didn't know that he'd been diagnosed by a psychiatrist until I was 8 yrs. into a horrible marriage and had 3 kids. Back in the early 80's we didn't have the "Dr. Phil's" and so much info. I missed every red flag. Now, I have a horrible fear that my 26 year old son is also a sociopath and I just feel lost and afraid. I have no idea how to help him. There's absolutely no reasoning with him. He goes from one ridiculous extreme to another.

I tried to get help when he was a teen, to no avail. What do I do? What do my other family members do? Just cut him out of our lives? Right now I just try to communicate by texting. But, even that is a nightmare. He's so full of rage. He creates memories and fully believes them. Everyone else is always against him. He is always the giver. Because he thinks this way, he's miserable. He spends most of his time with his dad and that's only contributing to the horror of the situation. He has no remorse ever, regardless of what he's done. I'm at a total loss. Any suggestions?

By anon987159 — On Jan 30, 2015

Feelings are subjective, so take my comment with a grain of salt.

Empathy is not as grand as it is usually represented. For me at least, it's about trying to imagine myself in their situation and gauging my reaction. It's really about ourselves. Nobody else could really feel what someone has experienced, but it gives a similar feeling. That is, if we have gone through a similar experience. I often have trouble empathising because I don't have similar experiences. I'm not a psychopath or sociopath.

In my opinion, the reason non-APDs have concern about others is because they want to be treated the same way, to have others to also be concerned for their well-being as reciprocation. True, it makes them vulnerable, but it's a small price to be able to have people who will always support you, willingly. It's a greater guarantee they'll stay loyal to us. The lesson to be learned is not to easily or quickly trust others.

Emotions help people bind together and compromise, because nobody is same. And some psychopaths and sociopaths have less gray matter for the parts of brain dealing with empathy, which might lead to them not using these parts much or even ignore them altogether, which can worsen their "inability" to empathize. I can feel nothing at times. I often have trouble trying to know how someone who just shared to me feels, but try to console them as best as I can. Simply because, unconsciously, I would want to be consoled if I were in such as situation. Sometimes it's the social norm (just want to act "normal") that it becomes a habit. Although someone who weeps for every little thing can be annoying.

I also learned to control my temper. And also control myself by making borders. Because I want the same tolerance from people. For example, I do not want to be killed easily or raped. If you want to have sex, go find someone who will willingly do it with you, because then you can continuously have sex with that person.

There will always be people stronger, smarter, etc. than us, even if I sometimes think I'm actually a really smart, gifted even, person. Also, getting angry often will adversely affect the health. Besides, by dealing with people calmly, we can make them see our point of view and even make them agree with us, willingly. The point of willingness is to make sure they agree with us not just temporarily, but all the way. And they would not feel cheated or the sorts. Again, it's a greater guarantee they'll stay loyal to us.

Sometimes I try to let go and just be "nice" to people. This does not mean I trust them. Sometimes I try not to suspect others, just because optimism makes you feel free. So when I do good, I expect nothing in return, because we'll be tired of disappointments. It's just a way of doing good. If we're lucky, someone will notice and do us good, too.

As for love, it is actually temporary. You need to keep maintaining your relationship to make it work after the love "died out". This is why it's recommended that you have a relationship for some time like five years, so that you can see what your partner is truly like. Having someone who shares your likes is nice. Even then, we need to be independent because we are different beings who die at different times and there might arise circumstances such as your spouse getting fired. The accumulated wealth will be owned by both you and your spouse.

So really, sociopaths and psychopaths out there, are you able to "feel" emotions like I described above?

By anon984014 — On Jan 04, 2015

I thought I should share my painful story. I am a borderline and a sociopath. I wish I could say that it hurts me and I want to change. It does not hurt me. I wish I could say that it hurts me knowing I do not truly deeply care about those I "love". As long as they are there for me and serve the purpose of making me laugh, distract me from my inner turmoil then I am fine. I do not care when they are crying or upset. I think it is called cold empathy. I give them what they want and what they need by listening to them and wiping their tears, but I honestly have no idea what they are feeling. I cannot feel what they are feeling and I wonder do neurotypical people actually feel what others feel? It seems so absurd to me.

Many times I knew a friend was upset and crying and I screened her calls. I did not want to be mean or hurt her, but I was doing something more exciting at the time and I just did not have the energy to pretend that I could feel her pain.

If anyone knew that I am like this, they would be shocked and probably not believe it. I am so charming and sweet that people who have seen my dark side struggle to convince others that I have done the things I have done. I have a beautiful smile which can convince anyone that I am so innocent and sweet.

I will try to get some help – not because I mind being like this, but because I know that the reason I am like this is because my father abused me when I was a child, so my heart started to slowly shut down. I am curious as to how it feels to be free. I once knew, before the age of 7-8, and I often think how I would be if I never lost that innocence. I used to kick and punch kids at school and I never felt bad. I did some horrible things to my ex and truly destroyed him and he got depression and I did not care. To this day I do not feel guilt. I know that I should but it is not there. There is darkness, emptiness, nothingness. It's the exact same feeling I had when horrible things were happening in my home.

I am a master of manipulation to the point where I highly doubt I will ever be able to relate and converse with another human being genuinely and authentically. I do not think I know what that is like. Everything I say is strategically planned 10 steps ahead of what the other person can think. I do not even try to do this. If I did, it would probably not work out.

But as a child I had to plan my every move and sense what my father was feeling so that I would avoid him lashing out at me. It is almost like breathing for me to manipulate situations. I would like to be vulnerable though, but I cannot handle it. It is very sad and I do not know how much of it is genetic because my father is a psychopath too. It is quite horrifying when I realize the extent of horrible things I am capable of. It is as if I can turn my empathy on and off. It is not even true empathy.

Also, what they say about how sociopaths do not love is not true. We do love, but the love does not run deep because during a time when the love ran deep, we got abused and stripped of our dignity.

By anon958024 — On Jun 24, 2014

@anon116748: I am in love with a sociopath. You say you will stay with him and hope he finally pushes you to the point of walking away? It took my boyfriend slamming my head against the wall, attacking me repeatedly and throwing his roommate across the room into a lamp.

I am bruised from head to toe and had his roommate not intervened, I would not have been able to run and call 911! He would have killed me. Please, take the fights, controlling, guilting, cunning and manipulative behaviors very seriously. I am devastated and heartbroken as in 40 years, he was the only person I fell in love with. But I have to be realistic and know that my life is more important than the lies I once took for love!

By Squidyman — On Apr 21, 2014

I am a 17 year old male. I have never fit in well with society. When I attended public school, I got along great for the first month or so. After a while, more and more people started to dislike me. I switched schools many times because my Dad was in the Air Force and we moved a lot. I really never had a real friend. I still don't think I have ever had one.

I was friends with this nice girl, but in the last three weeks she has started avoiding me. I am not sure why. I have a very easy time lying and often getting away with things. Nothing illegal or harmful to my body, just enough to get on someone's dislike list. I don't want to expose my inner self because I am afraid to be judged. I spend huge quantities of time on my computer now that I am home schooled. I took a sociopath test, and I am not one, but I scored that I could be one.

I really do not want to be a sociopath, but I am not sure how to escape it. Unlike this article, which says that they don't love, I feel as though I have loved others. I am also really smart. Not sure if that is a quality of a sociopath or not, but it doesn't help. I often scare people away by talking like I know way more than the other person. I really don't feel guilty for much of what I do. I do feel guilty when I hurt someone I love. I have a very hard time apologizing, though.

It may save any potential future I could have if there is any advice I could use to turn myself around before it is too late. Thanks.

By anon943683 — On Apr 02, 2014

I was born evil, wicked, and only felt remorse when it was convenient. I was full of hatred and it impacted the health of my parents, and I am realizing that my presence was enough to worsen my father's cancer. My brain was damaged, but it seems that the brain’s natural coping mechanism is sociopathic. I was constantly bored because I felt empty. The only thing that cured the emptiness was something I could consume. I begged for toys, and then would complain if they weren't what I expected. I wouldn't wipe myself. I wouldn't eat mom mom's cooking. I thought that I was so much better than my family. I literally drove my poor mother to depression, and it felt good, because I wasn't alone in my hell if I brought someone else in with me. This is all I can remember of my childhood, but is it my fault for not fighting the evil urges as a young boy?

After my father died, my mom wanted to move home with her parents, but they were also aware of my issues and did not want me to infect their own lives, so my mother was forced to forget the death of her husband and work, pay for a live-in assistant, and come home to her terrible son, and a constantly harassed newborn. I literally had the power as a five year old to create hell on earth for my creator.

Although my mom was aware she could send me to a boys’ home, every time she threatened me with that punishment, I was able to be good. I was never all that clever, but I knew enough to take punishment seriously. Why? Why would I behave like that? Why would I enjoy tormenting my only source of love, shelter, and authority? I still do not know. I called her stupid, I called my brother stupid, I idolized my dead father, I told my mother I wish she had died in his place, and that I would have been fine without her. I believed this. The worst part of being a sociopath is that you believe in your own goodness, until eventually, it all crumbles. Then what?

Well, for me, I am lucky. My mother remarried, and between her and her husband’s salary earns enough, and is hopeful and kind enough to keep me off the streets. I have fallen into a safety net of free medical help, including free medication and counseling. Where am I headed?

I am not sure, but I am 30 years old now with an arrest record including sexual assault, robbery, trespassing, and driving offenses. All of the charges were dropped, but still, I was arrested for good reason, but because of my sociopathic tendencies, I was able to communicate effectively how sorry I was, and that none of it was my intention.

For most of my life, I was able to contain my rage to tormenting my family, but once I diagnosed myself with depression and started taking anti-depressants, my omnipotent delusions started becoming public. I would berate people who didn't have to forgive me. I’d quit jobs, or get fired, because I let myself think that I was too good. I took out student loans with no intention of paying them back.

That is my story. I guess I would be BPD, because my condition started so young, and I was so furious.

I recommend reading, or watching the story "We Need to Talk About Kevin", it was shocking how many similarities I had with the character, minus the pre-meditated school massacre.

If you love a sociopath, or worse, are a parent of one, know that you are what makes humanity amazing. But understand that you are a better person than they will ever be, and you must remember that, or you will be dragged into the abyss.

By anon356864 — On Nov 29, 2013

I think I am a sociopath, and I do not want to be. Is there any help out there so I do not feel so lonely and can live productively? I did things a long time ago that I am ashamed of. I have a great family and I want to be like them.

By sadm0791 — On Nov 28, 2013

Interesting. I work therapeutically with families and children, many children who can easily be diagnosed with sociopathy. The families' stories are of misery and fear, partly due to feelings of responsibility for them, and then, the hate they feel for them because of the behavior - manipulation and lies to the public about their family in order to gain trust or empathy (and the vicious circle begins over and over).

Like cockoaches, the behavior, a maladaptive social and emotional infestation of weakness persists, because they cannot experience feelings and satisfaction for respected social norms. They drain our resources, patience, and many hide out in churches pretending to be holier than thou (as they rape your child in the nursery). They are walking distorted cognitions, and a defective genetic mutation, in which there is no cure, therapy, fix, solution or spiritual salvation.

Get away from them. They are best used for experimentation. It is their only redeeming quality, one in which they have no part in falsely generating. If they breed, they teach distortion or pass on the mutation.

By anon343544 — On Jul 31, 2013

First, I would like to say I'm a Christian. What that means for me is that I had many personality issues in my life that have been healed by my admitting that I could not change myself, and needed God's help and forgiveness through Jesus.

That being said, I know many people who lie and have no conscience. I believe they, like me, have a "rejection" personality. I became a pushover due to my insecurity and low self-esteem. I think sociopaths become the bullies because of their rejection issues. I think within every sociopath is a deep hatred of themselves and a sense that they are unlovable, so they act it out.

I pray they come to know the love that Jesus offers. It will heal them and give them a place of belonging.

By anon325542 — On Mar 17, 2013

The personality disorders of psychopathy – rather than antisocial behavior disordered conditions -- and narcissism (not just strong narcissistic traits) are irredeemable conditions that aren't treatable aside from cognitive behavioral strategies where those who become incarcerated and can learn to see some modifications in acting out to be in their self interest. There are a proportion of psychopathic personality disordered types who themselves recognize that giving in to certain negative behaviors are likely to result in negative consequences for themselves and are capable of self restraint in certain areas. The most insightful of such may even exercise some caution with those they involve themselves with to not blow their cover. These aren't the psychopaths that get to be well known, but still are hazardous to tangle with or cross.

At the same time, people need to be cautious of attributing these disorders to difficult, impaired problematic persons without cautious scrutiny. One must consider other causes of disordered functioning since the true forms of psychopathy and narcissistic personality disorders disorders are actually quite easily recognizable over a bit of time. The greatest problem is most people are loath to admit someone they are connected to has these conditions and take the appropriate action of eliminating them fully and forever from their lives as soon as it's possible to do so safely. This even means cutting off their own child, relative or spouse if the person acts out towards them or their loved ones and they don't have the skills to contain it.

The neurology of such people is different and has no place for compassion since they don't have appreciation or compassion to return. It's wise to be calm, non reactive and not add frustrated, abusive responses to these people. One must enact logical rules and assure the person that breaches won't be accepted and with children, use simple forms of containment while remaining on guard whenever possible for potential forms of aggressive retaliation.

Many such persons are capable of inflicting devastating harm and even danger on those in their life paths. The best solutions are those that don't enable them to be buffered from their ways, but isolated and forced to reduce their worst behaviors when needing to survive on their own or keep the worst ones incarcerated or on death row.

Many people who try to be friends with these people get caught up in the illusions they create for a short period of time. In the end, all of them concede defeat and do terminate their involvement, though the costs in damage and potential future recovery are totally proportionate to the time spent with these people. No parent of these kinds of people ought to feel any guilt or constraint about unshackling themselves from them, regardless of the child's age, as long as they never added fuel to the fire by using abusive forms of punishment or derogatory language towards them. It's that imperative parents of these children get good help in calm, structuring methods and instructional methods to instill appropriate social responses, and use any cognitive potential or reasonable reward systems that may work until they hit a ceiling where relinquishment becomes preferable.

Extending contact with these disordered types only consolidates their negative behaviors and skills and furthers the evil they will then do and makes them more evil, not better. It is a form of harming by enabling the one they profess to be helping.

Another important point: the narcissistic disordered, while not as overtly often physically dangerous, is far more intransigent regarding any form of lasting help. They are so full of their own hubris they are truly impenetrable and can't accept anyone can know anything relevant unless there an immediate situation and it will alleviate their suffering from short term. Any persons who claim to be cured by treatments that seem effective for them probably didn't have those disorders, but other conditions with some parallel symptoms.

The sooner more people recognize these conditions and what this means for these afflicted ones and those connected with them, the sooner the extent of their damage will be reduced. They are not one of us or ever will be and it's best to develop a form of respect for their otherness and keep a suitable distance and sensible responses to them.

By anon320115 — On Feb 16, 2013

The focus should be on knowing what is right rather then feeling what is right. To follow a feeling life when there are no feelings is impossible so knowing what is right, is the only weapon that can succeed in guiding someone with APD.

A personal relationship with God equals divine authority, and destroys the pillars APD is build on!

By anon311149 — On Dec 30, 2012

Sometimes I wonder if I could be a little more than half of a sociopath, or roughly half of a person with ASPD. Maybe that doesn't make sense.

I feel guilty for some things I do, very strongly, but usually I feel nothing of the sort, and I have done some pretty bad things, even systematically ruined a friend's social life (and therefore her mental health). She's in ruin right now. I messed her life up – started small of course. I kept her isolated and hoping that one day I would return her friendship.

At the same time, I very rarely feel emotions as strongly as I witness and hear in others -- not just guilt or empathy, but also happiness and other more positive emotions, but, again, not on a consistent basis.

Looking at the DSM-IV for ASPD, I fit into more than half of the criteria listed, and some of the descriptions hit me dead center, while others were so far off mark that I actually felt like laughing at the assumptions. I never mutilated small animals. Letting my gerbil loose and chasing him is as close as I get to that one. I'm not very smart, either. Conning people isn't my second nature.

Lying -- now the lying is where I really feel like I'm part of this one in twenty five. I've lied constantly, for as long as I can remember, and I rarely have reason to. There's no satisfaction, no amusement gained. Nothing to lose, either. I'm probably just deeply screwed up without a label. All the greatest writers are.

By anon306768 — On Dec 01, 2012

As a psychologist, and currently dealing with a budding sociopath, I'd like to add some observations and I'd like to add that I learned a lot from comments here.

To you avowed sociopaths: thank you for teaching the rest of us that it is never a good idea to trust anyone until you've known them a while (that period is something they should indicate along the way). So, you are here on this planet, mixed with the rest of us, seeing where you may benefit best -as are most of us. The difference is, of course, that you prefer to benefit at another's expense, while most of us want to enjoy a win-win situation (whether they are completely aware of that or not). But, you see some kind of advantage in the former, for some reason you don't even know. But, logic is your enemy (I mean real logic, not APD logic). Obviously you don't know it now, but the win-win situation is far superior in many ways in the long run (can you conceive of that?), because those who you inadvertently help along the way in getting what you want, will thus give you more of what you want.

How do you do this? Just interact with them in a way you know they'd prefer (e.g., in a way that doesn't involve either physical or emotional pain) and they will do it! Magic, huh? Simple, yet complicated, eh?

By the way, the rest of us outnumber you, and prefer peace. Can't we call a truce, and provide one another's needs more efficiently during this short stay together here?

By anon302431 — On Nov 09, 2012

@ anon116748, Post 21. It's like you took the words right out of my mouth. You could not have expressed it better or more accurately. Last night was the last straw for me. I am trying to imagine my life without him.

By anon294455 — On Oct 01, 2012

Oh well. I am a diagnosed sociopath and decided to get therapy. Not because I want to change my personality, but because my anger issues complicate my life. I have a career, a family and status, and I do not want to lose that because I have problems controlling my behavior, especially when I drink.

In therapy I found out that frustration and boredom trigger my need for a drink and aggression, so I actually found it quite useful. For a long time I thought I could not be a sociopath, because I do have feelings for my family. Now I know that what I 'feel' is not love or an emotion, but loyalty - not because of who they are, but because I see them as a 'part of me'. Actually I am being loyal to myself.

Still, I am what society would consider to be a good parent. I am very consequence-oriented and strict, but also try to make them feel loved, whatever that feeling might be (a chemical reaction in its essence). If they do not know I am incapable of love, they will have a better life and I will feel satisfied that I did a good job in raising my kids.

My partner is aware of my personality disorder but stays with me because of the money I make, and because he is worried about the kids. I can see the logic in that and try not to be disrespectful to him, so we can live a pleasant, harmonious family life - which for me is the biggest achievement so far in my life.

By anon282860 — On Jul 31, 2012

I am confused because those writing who say they think they may be sociopath because they do not have emotion. But then they say they feel anger, left out and lonely, and different, which makes them feel bad. Our culture is very controlling and hates "different." Most people fake it to appear as they are supposed to.

America is not exceptional when it comes to parenting for sure. Sounds to me like a lot of this is our culture causing coping mechanisms. Now a child who kills animals and gets violent without remorse may have a more severe problem.

By anon276324 — On Jun 23, 2012

I love reading these posts. They make me laugh. The things some people go through because of us is purely hilarious. I mean, some of you suffer so much because of what we do and you can't even hate us enough to leave. You just come back.

I've recently been letting some people know I am a sociopath and tell them to look it up and make sure they know what I am and try to scare them away but they won't leave. It's so funny to watch the confusion when I tell them I lie all the time and they can't even tell, like I have convinced so many people so many things and they can't even tell when I'm lying or telling the truth.

You know, being a sociopath makes life so much better. We don't have to suffer the disease of humanity and we don't put up with emotions. We live and have fun. You people don't understand what we find fun because you are trapped to be ruled by your emotions and stuck being human. I think we are not human. We are better than that. We don't feel pain (well, I don't), we don't get sad, we can get away with basically everything and everyone loves us, even after we play with their pathetic emotions and break their little hearts. They all come back and want to 'help.'

I personally don't want help. It's far better this way. It's living and actually being alive. But not in a human way, in a better way, with far more fun things to do.

So I just thought I'd let everyone know why we don't want to be 'cured.' It's because we don't want to be infected by emotions and the general human thing. The idea of being human repulses me.

By salasia — On May 13, 2012

I don't know how far this article dates back and if there are still any people who pay attention to this, but thought I'd share anyway.

I recently turned 18 and two days after my birthday I tried to commit suicide resulting in my stay at a mental health hospital. I wanted nothing but to leave the place, so after noticing that I can simply give them what they wanted, for me to "open up", to get out I did just that. So I believe I wasn't given a proper diagnosis. They gave me a prescription for anti-depressants and sent me on my way. Following up with a psychiatrist an hour after my release, I was told I may be a sociopath because my reason for suicide was I wasn't happy with what I received for my birthday, that I wanted more, I felt entitled to something that simply wasn't possible.

I never paid attention to what it meant to be a sociopath until after reading this article, along with a few others. It made me realize how much she missed and how much I hid. All of the doctors failed to realize that I did what I did was for attention. I wanted everyone around me to tend to me, to be careful of what they did or said. I always enjoyed being labeled a ticking time bomb. I loved since I was young watching my parents be scared of me. Also, I expect people to do what I want, and I make this happen by any means. I kept telling the doctors I drank the ammonia because I was in a drunken blackout, but I was fully aware of what I was doing.

I never told anybody this, and honestly, the only reason I'm sharing this is because my face isn't attached.

Anyway, what I'm saying is, it is easy for people to think that they can tell a sociopath by certain very human actions like selfishness or lying and simply just wanting more. People do what they can to get ahead and like in the article, sociopaths will con a specialist into believing nothing is wrong. I can go on and on about all the rotten things I've done to people purposely to get a kick out of it and simply because I could do it and get away with it, the only reason the doctor didn't completely deem me a sociopath is because after noticing what she was doing, getting into my head, I started to adjust because I didn't want to seem crazy and I didn't need anyone labeling me as a "freak.”

I know this already, but what people don't know is I like it that way and even with family and long-time friends, whom I've hurt numerous times, and played my games with still take me back with open arms because I can guilt them into believing its all them and not me. And even when they catch on to what I'm doing, they still want me.

They all want me to see a shrink, but I don't want to. The doctors don't help me because I don't trust them. I don't trust anyone with my true thoughts and motives. Frankly, the only reason I would see a shrink is for drugs. I know this doesn't help anyone but I just needed to share with you people who are just looking for a reason for a label or looking to label someone. It just isn't that easy.

Sociopaths aren't as easy to spot as you may think. Yeah, sure, some people are rotten, but it doesn't make them sociopaths. Leave that to a doctor who really gets to know the person to make a thorough diagnosis.

I hope I could get help but it just seems like there isn't any help out there. All doctors are offering is a legal high and I can do that on my own time. I do hope someday to find a shrink worth trusting, however it seems impossible. Anyway, again I just wanted to share, and I'd love to hear feedback and I'd love to share more with you all if you're interested.

By anon254875 — On Mar 14, 2012

@anon247948 post 43: I just burst into tears. It was spot on, mate. People like us are torn, hurt and damaged like there is no escape. All I long for is to be a part of normal life, but it's one step forward and two back.

A little about me. I have long known I'm not like the others. I try to adapt to whatever situation I find myself in, then get sick of faking, then totally isolate myself from what seems inferior to me. I have

known for a long time that I have these tendencies, and I have tried to change myself. Some habits have stuck, but to the extreme end. I'm not selfish with money to the point I'm in debt to the sum of 20k, and yet I don't give a damn. I'm not even sure now if these emotions that I do feel are nothing more than a self-taught response.

I have no friends by choice because I can't feel as if I fit in. I haven't had a stable job, get sick of working with what I feel are borderline retards. At this point, I'm medicated for bipolar with seroquel 300mg. After the third day my mind got used to it and works around it. (I manipulate the doc for it because I'm willing to try anything to help).

In recent times I've experimented with illicit drugs like LSD, meth and weed – all in the same sitting. The LSD was nothing more than a mental challenge for me (just to see how far I can push my mind so it still functions). I even pulled off talking to a cop while absolutely smashed (by anyone's definition) behind the wheel of a car, let alone being capable of driving (yes stick shift). I know it sounds like bragging, but highlights the capabilities of those with this condition. There was one moment that I felt sane while in what would be a drug induced coma for others. I felt I was a completely different me.

There is something that is unique with our minds that can go one of two ways, from borderline retarded to rainman status if we are nurtured, but so often, we fall through the cracks, whether it is our own doing or the system's. We need help. --introverted schizoid sociopath

By anon253885 — On Mar 11, 2012

If a person is truly a sociopath without conscience, which includes by definition being a narcissist, there is no good ending for anyone associated with him or her. They may not all be physically violent, but the lack of empathy and conscience is replaced with a thrill seeking need to win, control and dominate in social situations, regardless of the cost to others.

That said, as most of them are charming manipulators, they may have an appearance of normalcy with family and friends, but those others are just stage dressing and pawns; they will be hurt. See "The Sociopath Next Door" and "Snakes in Suits."

By anon247948 — On Feb 15, 2012

Sociopaths by their nature are torn. We are not human and this is what gives us our enormous strength of will. You are just really weak.

But we are alone. We are a different species amongst aliens. And we feel loneliness and isolation. I do want it most of the time, but that is the schzoid personality, not a psychopath. It is not a defining feature, just a facet.

If you think there is anything about us you can understand you are wrong. We are both infinitely complex and completely simple -- something empaths will never accomplish. Guess you should stop trying.

By anon245176 — On Feb 04, 2012

It is so easy for people who do not live with the day to day stresses of coping with a child with APD to say just love your child. We do love our children, which us why we don't give up and put them into care.

I have a son who stole from us, despite having what he wanted, we had to put locks on his siblings' bedroom doors so he could not steal their things. We had our door kicked in by drug pushers he owed money to, but we never gave up on him. He told hospital staff and psychologists that he was physically abused by us, but still we never gave up. A psychologists told me there was nothing wrong with him other than he lived in an abusive home! Eventually he went on to commit rape!

Have I give up on him? No! Why? because I, like all the other parents who in their despair have posted comments on here, do love my son.

Unless you have firsthand experience at coping with someone with APD, it is advisable not to comment. I love him but I don't enjoy being his mother, I live with the stigma of having a rapist for a son. We have been attacked and ostracised because of his behavior and yet I still love him.

By anon243829 — On Jan 30, 2012

There are other conditions that do mimic psychopathy, such as mania, aspergers, borderline and narcissistic personality disorder, etc. It is so hard to know where the lines blur, but it may not be psychopathy.

Also, it appears that psychopathy exists by degree, with some who are not necessarily even bad people, just cut off from normal human emotions. I think a "cure" for psychopathy would end most wars, crime, and a host of society's ills. Research is badly needed.

At the same time, no one can be blamed for their own brain chemistry. It's very sad.

By anon241141 — On Jan 17, 2012

This is in response to the post from anon182581

Post 34. A good source for your husband, daughter and yourself is "Sanctuary for the abused." It can give you comfort and support and even help identify what is wrong with your son. He is nothing more than a person who was born without a conscience. It is a birth defect.

Tally up all the money you've spent on his care. Then add up all the people he's emotionally damaged. Then find out how much it would cost to have your son checked for psychopathy. Good luck finding a place that does this but apparently it can be done as there are videos online showing it. (Kent Kiehl performs them on prisoners.)

Now imagine if you hadn't had the money to cater to this person and you and your husband were blamed for his behavior, with no family support, no emotional support and ho hope.

And think about this. What if he had been accurately diagnosed as a psychopath as a young child? Would this have changed anything? Would you have put up with catering to one who hates everyone and will always manipulate others or would you have not put up with the insanity and just said no?

We do not help anyone by denying that psychopathy is nothing more than the way some are born. We spend billions of dollars and it does no good as we are not even dealing with the problem, which is simply that these people are born this way and are fine with it. If we would simply let them be what they are, they would be fine. Of course, this would mean civilization would crumble but maybe the rest of us could then admit that it has nothing to do with us, but everything to do with what they are.

My child has been hospitalized several times. She is not the criminal that your son is but it doesn't change the fact that she is a genetic psychopath. She has had many other diagnoses but it was all a lie. I finally figured out what it was after being emotionally destroyed. She is exactly the same but I will never be. I am ruined for life and have no hope of help, but maybe you can avoid destroying yourself.

By anon239258 — On Jan 08, 2012

I am a post diagnosed sociopath, I have been this way for 26 years. Even as a child I would hit and generally be a complete jerk to all the other children. At first, everyone thought I was just aggressive or had pent up anger but when they would ask me why I hit John or pulled Susie's hair, I would always respond with the same laugh and say because I wanted to. Since my early childhood I have become very aware of what I am.

I may not feel remorse or empathy or anything remotely close to love, but at the same time I don't try to go out of my way just to hurt others either; I see no point to it. Sure it might satisfy me for a little bit but in all honesty, I gain nothing from it so I just ignore those impulses now.

I guess what I am trying to say is, society labels us as monsters or freaks because we are different and yes, quite a few of us tend to be very bad people. But not all of us. Some of us are just here.

By anon231442 — On Nov 24, 2011

"Treatment for psychopathy or sociopathy is individualized on a case-by-case basis — there is no “one size fits all” approach."

Have we not learned that there is no one size fits all for anyone? It offends me that apparently the rest of us should be able to just moo our way through therapy like herds of cows. Yet evil psychopaths must absolutely get individualized care, even though (as stated in this article as well as every other true article on psychopathy) there is no hope to help them and they don't want to be helped!

How about a little help over here? How about psychopathy awareness and testing? How about companies that screen for this and try to ensure that their employees are protected?

Time, money, good therapy spent on those of us with a conscience is time, money and good therapy spent on one who may have the potential to turn around and help others! Psychopaths always use what they learn in therapy (and every new experience) as a new way to hunt their prey and manipulate them.

So, some hugs over here. We need them and let's see some commercials, billboards etc. with information about psychopathy and then addresses and phone numbers of places that test for this. Dude, I'm so tired!

By anon211870 — On Sep 04, 2011

@anon121058, post 22: I believe you've become very insightful into the issues of sufferers (and those who do not recognize themselves as sufferers) of APD, SSD and other such "conditions" they get labeled with. I quote you here: "But for me, 'sociopathy' just represents a disparity between two people's emotional state/response, or expectations thereof...”

In this recognition, I think you've hit the nail on the head. Although I've never been diagnosed for any of these so-called "conditions", I came to recognize, in my mid-30s, that each one of us does have the ability to choose/decide how we react to anything. I'm sure many believe they just have immediate uncontrollable knee-jerk reaction to things that happen.

However, the truth is that, if a person takes a moment (sometimes longer) to think and decide how they will react, they can and will choose to display a different reaction or behavior than their initial impulse indicates. The incredible amount of "will and mind power" it takes to decide to react in a different way is quite difficult for many of us, regardless of whether we're diagnosed with something or not.

Recognizing this can take many years of practice and maturity of thought. Teen years are such an incredible time of change and many believe that most people don't stop growing until 25 years of age. Like you, I believe it is different for everyone. I also believe some folks never seem to recognize this ability. Some of us are prone to take personal insult from statements and/or reactions others display, while other observers may say the "insulted" one was over-reacting or overly sensitive. Just remember that each person involved in a social interchange comes into it with their own perceptions and ultimately each has responsibility for making their choice of how to react. No one else in the interchange has responsibility for how any others in it have chosen to react. Yes, there are people that will try to push your buttons very very hard, but if you can come to realize that you are not the one in charge of how the other(s) decide to react, it can liberate your understanding of what is really going on. How they react is not your fault, it is their choice.

Upon gaining this insight, I've come to realize that oftentimes, when someone seems to be "over- reacting", I am sorry they choose to react the way they did, but not necessarily sorry for what I've said or done, because I had no intent to insult or injure. Then I also realize that I, likewise, have chosen my own reaction according to my own perceptions. The ability to reflect upon oneself and our own behaviors/reactions without preconceived judgment(s) is sometimes never achieved by some people, regardless of any diagnoses or labels put upon them.

Knowing that reactions/behaviors of others is "their choice" and not "our fault" lets many achieve and recognize this fact without being blinded by our own emotion.

By anon207449 — On Aug 20, 2011

@anon172991: We do not need help. Your kind is in need of help. Your cumbersome feelings of remorse and compassion make you weak.

Think for a moment of a common situation. A person is coaxed out of their life savings, virginity, etc by another person. Who is the inferior specimen here? The one who got what they wanted, or the one who lost what they needed? Enough said.

By amypollick — On Jun 02, 2011

@anon182581: Check out the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. I'm sure there's a chapter in the Boston area. Also, look for any mental health associations in your area. Your family doctor might know of where to get in touch with these groups, but I think NAMI is often in the book, or online. NAMI helps families cope with mentally ill family members, and could perhaps offer you some resources you don't know about. Good luck.

By anon182581 — On Jun 02, 2011

@anon72768, Post 14:

What you describe is exactly what my husband and I are going through with our son. I would like to share with you some information in the hopes that perhaps we could help one another. We have an older daughter who just graduated from college and never behaved like or exhibited any of our son's behavior.

He was diagnosed with ADD at a young age and my husband and I changed our working lives so that we could be with him at all times. He has had love, support from not only his immediate family but extended family. We live in a nice neighborhood, and have a nice home that was filled with love and happiness. We have had family counseling and have forgiven our son and what people may describe as "enabling" constant bad behavior. My husband and I have been married for 25 years and the last five years has put a strain on our marriage.

My son doesn't take responsibility for anything that he does. His defense mechanism is to blame others for his choices. He steals from us even though we are very generous to him and he has gotten (within reason) most of what he has asked for. He has had private schools, private tutors and finally, after being asked to leave three schools due to flunking classes or stealing or not following directions, he begged us to let him take his GED.

He just turned 18 and has his permit and although we have taken him to get his driver's license several times, he flunked the test and he continues to steal the car (we have the keys but he has somehow managed to make copies that we continue to take from him) and has crashed the car more than once. He is also refusing to look for a job. My husband takes him every day to fill out applications but it's such a huge fight. We had to pay friends to stay at our house while we attended his sister's college graduation for fear he would have parties. He abuses weed and alcohol and says everyone does it, that it's no big deal. His friends are losers and are not allowed in our home.

I understand the problems his friends have. Most have no fathers or their mothers are on drugs, or they have no role models, etc., but my son doesn't have those excuses and we are at the end of our rope. I paid for classes for him to take at the local community college and he flunked both because he was too high and forgot to take the final. This happened while we were away just for four days.

His sister does not want anything to do with him but understands that he is our son and we love him and want to help him and not give up on him. I have been looking for a support group for my husband and I to attend or an anger management class (yes my son punches walls and bangs his head on the floor like a toddler when he gets caught or doesn't get his way. He wants something but gives nothing). Any ideas? How do we get help?

We have had so many different doctors and therapists and he's been in two separate rehab programs that were in-house and seemed to work until he came home and it's back to square one. He makes some bad choices that can be sometimes explained by typical teenager behavior, but he's been arrested so many times and it's the "system" and not because he's breaking any laws but because they are after him and no one else gets in trouble but him.

He is a very unhappy child with little or no self esteem. He is what I would describe as self destructive, not suicidal. I don't feel in fear of my life because he has never threatened us but I guess I'm pretty tough and he somehow understands that if he were to cross that particular line, then he would be gone. Does anyone have a link or website I could go on to find help? I am a resident of Boston. Thanks.

By anon175419 — On May 12, 2011

To the woman who has had the year from hell, I had seven years of hell. My daughter has Borderline Personality disorder. the seven years started when she was 12 or 13. That was 20 years ago.

She's married now and has a daughter. Life is not good now, either. And her daughter exhibits problems already at age 5. To the woman who believes everything will be fine if you just love your children, good grief! You obviously have no idea what you are talking about. We all love our children. Sociopaths seem to not allow it just as borderlines do not allow it. It distresses me that you say just love your children.

While my daughter was growing up I was constantly berated and attacked by social workers and therapists. If it were as simple as loving my child, there would not have been a problem in the first place!

How dare you! How dare any of those social workers at the many mental hospitals we frequented over the years! And as to the apocalypse, it is a Christian reference, right? Read the rest of Revelation for your answer.

By anon172991 — On May 05, 2011

it seems to me, after everything I have read on millions of websites, that a sociopath simply has survival instincts that have escaped evolution unlike the rest of us. Meaning that actually our survival instincts are diminished because they are no longer needed. When the apocalypse comes, then the sociopath will survive and we will...?

By anon172259 — On May 03, 2011

my daughter has been brought up within a loving stable home. There were signs of bullying from her all through primary school, but i just put it down to childish behavior.

When she was nearly 14 she shoplifted and although lots of us do this at a young age, she appeared to have no remorse at all and would not take any consequences. This was the start of a year of hell! Within this year, she had no education and obtained a criminal record. However, the lies and nastiness were the worst as she made her way into her friends families' homes and told them all one by one that she was being abused at home. One family phoned SS and made an allegation as her lies were clever and believable. In the end, she was taken in handcuffs out of our home as she was smashing things down the stairs, but she told police that i had attacked her.

Another year has passed since that day and she has remained in care, going from place to place and abusing every carer. She wants contact with me but only to torture and abuse me. There has been no help as she herself doesn't want it and plays with psychiatrists. She has no feeling and has lost her family and home full of memories. We have lost a beautiful daughter with so much potential. All i can do now is pray! So desperately sad.

By anon163973 — On Mar 29, 2011

for those of you who believe to be a sociopath but want help, you probably aren't because you want help. however, you should maybe look up borderline personality disorder which has the lack of empathy and feelings that you describe.

By anon160179 — On Mar 14, 2011

Sociopath. It is a strong diagnosis.

I have just finished reading all the posts from people who are dealing with others who are or may be sociopaths and comments from people who are, or may be sociopaths.

If you are person who thinks you may be a sociopath and want help, you are not a sociopath. You are a person who needs help, medical attention and the love and support from family and friends. I hope for all of you seeking help that you get what you need.

I have been caring for a "sociopath" for nine years. She has no love, no compassion, no care for what is right and wrong. She is my niece and came to live with me when her mother died. I knew she was mentally disabled but did not know the extent of her condition. I do now.

At a very young age (about 10 years old) she killed kittens. She thought the kittens were getting more attention than she was. She lies about everything, it does not matter what. She believes she is perfect. She is an expert at deceiving people, therapists, doctors, everyone! She is extremely cruel, both mentally and physically, extremely violent (physically) to humans, animals and things (furniture, electronics etc.) and she has no remorse. She currently is on medication, but it just barely helps.

To all of the above posters who are now dealing with children who exhibit this behavior, I am so very sorry for you. They are your children and I understand that you love them, but if they are a true sociopath there (currently) is no help.

Medication seems to be the only way, therapy does nothing but give a sociopath a "stage" where they can display their amazing "gift" which is completely fooling the therapist. Plus, they love therapy because of the attention.

I have done it all. She is in excellent health, physical exercise, healthy, nutritional food, good doctors. but she is what she is and will not change!

I have made the decision to no longer care for her. People like her will completely destroy your life, no matter how hard you try not to let that happen, plus your own loved ones will eventually leave you because they can no longer handle being around the sociopath and cannot stand to see how the situation is destroying you.

As I mentioned, the sociopathic person I am dealing with is also mentally disabled. For others who are dealing with a true sociopath who functions as a "normal" person, run! A true sociopath has no intention of changing. They truly believe they are perfect and everyone else is wrong.

By anon149354 — On Feb 03, 2011

I'm just going to say this. All of you are horrible that assume your children have such difficulties instead of looking at what may have led them to be this way. Unless it's genetic, in which case that would make you a sociopath.

Instead of feeding them negative attention by telling them what's wrong, why not show them unrestrained love and compassion. Help them to love others and they will learn. Stop assuming that people have disorders and trying to treat them with man made pills!

Nothing beats family. Ever! Show them love and you'll find the best success! Trust me. I am presently married to my wife who was a sociopath growing up. She came from a broken family and because of her lack of love as a child became a liar and had a high self standard. She probably didn't love herself enough until i came around and showed her what it was like to be loved so she could pass that along to others.

Please love you children and show them that you do!

By anon140247 — On Jan 06, 2011

I have a 12, almost 13 year old boy who has been diagnosed ODD, Conduct Disorder and has a 71 IQ, 69 being borderline for mental retardation.

All of his doctors, phycologist, etc. believe he is a sociopath. But they can't give him that title until he is 18 years old.

I have been through hell with my son for years. We noticed his anger, etc. since he was 1 1/2 years of age. He recently tried to kill his brother, but they pretty much ignored it, saying it was just a fight between brothers.

I was told just a couple of days ago that I really can't do anything but wait for him to either hurt/kill someone -- or I can give up my parental rights and hand him over to the state. He can't stay here at our house because of what he has done. Everyone is afraid he will hurt/kill us. He is currently at his grandparents' house and they can't keep him anymore, either.

What am I to do? Please help.

By anon132792 — On Dec 08, 2010

As I read these statements, it is clear how many people are actually sociopaths on this planet. Statistics point to 4-5 percent, which is 1 in 20.

So many of these blog notes on this site, as well as countless others, have statements coming from people who claim to be sociopaths who simply state they are normal, unfeeling people or from those who claim that we should be nice to sociopaths and not try to escape them. These quotes are exactly what a sociopath would say since everything that exists is theirs.

The sociopath has a self image similar to that of a king [search Divine right of kings] except that they consider the God concept to be invalid or that God is here for their use. Typical divine right acknowledges that the king is accountable to God.

Many so-called experts attempt to suggest that the sociopath can be identified, trained and treated, but they forget the sociopath is so cunning that this training only gives them better honed skills and tools to use while they consume the lives of people around them.

If the sociopath can use the line, "I have been treated successfully" the door is open for them to begin consuming again. Some insightful references into the early indications that you have met a sociopath are that regardless of their situation, they "always" have the attitude that their rise to success is just around the corner and their current situation is a minor setback, while at the same time proposing a poor me feeling when asking for your help.

Some particularly bright people make the suggestion that a sociopath can be corralled or contained is such a way to reduce the probability that they will successfully consume other peoples lives. This has a great likelihood for success for a period of time until another sociopath enters the picture and then they both have each other to spark a coup and generate freedom for the corralled sociopath. Basically, the justice and prison system works like this, except the successful change from sociopath to human is non-existent.

A lobotomy would be successful treatment, but that is considered inhumane by those who are either [A] sociopaths or by [B] those who do not realize they are being used by one. I was in category B for a while until I realized who or what I was in a relationship with.

Question to those who propose to be converted sociopaths: How much more success have you had in your personal endeavors now that the people you interact with think you are recovered?

By anon129433 — On Nov 23, 2010

We need funds going into research for these people who truly are suffering from this along with those who love them. I have found no answers for my son. We've tried all of it! I believe cognitive therapy and meds are the only thing available at this point, and I am really sick of appointments with mental health that do nothing, but there is nothing else available.

I am not willing to give up on my 14 year old son, however, I feel I lost him years ago. It is still my responsibility to make sure he doesn't hurt anyone, and I have already been punched in the face (yes he went to court, yes he went into a home for five months).

Lithium, used for bi-polar seems to be the least detrimental to health over long term and will sedate a bit. That sounds good to me as the recipient of his outbursts, but is there a suicide risk under the age of 18? Yep, but he could kill someone else in the meantime couldn't he? So what's the lesser of two evils? Maybe a Depakote script?

From what I read from those with the disorder, they can't "feel." The therapy can help with behavior issues, boundary issues, but you've got to keep at it and that is frustrating. My Doctor is looking and is not sure what to use, but I told her to dope my son up. Better that for a while than risky behavior that could hurt him or someone else.

I don't care how that sounds anymore either. When you live with someone who disrupts your whole life, from home to work and all around the block, well you do what you can with what you have. He is going to be lost to all of us. Over the last six years since he was eight, I have had at least 20 people tell me he is heading straight for prison.

I believe that there is some biological imbalance, either electrical somewhere in the brain --or a deficiency. There has to be a solution to this issue! For those of you out there, try to get some Reiki therapy. It works with the electrical systems of the body. I am a Reiki practitioner and feel it would help my son, but he will not allow me to treat him, which is weird because everyone else loves it.

Wish us luck, please. We need it. It feels like a death, like he is gone from me, but he is still here, being abusive. Hoping I can persuade Doc to find a med to help with some of his symptoms.

By anon122069 — On Oct 26, 2010

I am 25 and have been dealing with APD for as long as I can remember. I think it started at age five, if not earlier.

I do feel alien to everyone I know and when someone tries to evaluate me or tries to pinpoint my problem, I start to hate them because they cannot even come close to understanding. I am not sure how it works, chemically most likely, perhaps some defected synapse.

When you get triggered, do you feel a pull in your chest? Restless? Violent? I have done a lot of cruel things that most people cannot forgive me for, in fact I was told to find myself a pit of fire and jump in. In general, I am the one of the nicest persons in the world, but in my core I am just laughing at everything around me.

By anon121058 — On Oct 22, 2010

I was diagnosed with a plethora of different psychiatric/emotional disorders as a child and young adult. From conduct disorder, ADHD, bi-polar disorder, SED, oppositional defiance, to all sorts of crap.

I underwent all sorts of therapy, and med-trials, literally dozens of different types of pharmaceutical medications.

I won't say that treatment doesn't work, or is largely ineffective, because I don't have the experience of someone that went without it. However I will say that psychology, psychiatry, neurology, and brain chemistry, are all very new branches of study. If I had a child, I would be very careful about employing 'western treatments' to alleged 'disorders.' The things that made the most difference in my behavior, was human relationships.

That having been said, I burned through a lot of them! But it was only through relationships with people in my community, classmates, teachers, bosses, co-workers, counselors, etc.

The frontal cortex, the part of the brain that is believed to be responsible for critical thinking, advanced cognition, and understanding cause and effect doesn't even start to develop until you are about 14, 15, 16.

Before then, I got into all sorts of mischief, I was raised by television and public schools, and wanted the attention of my peers whether it was good or bad attention. I sometimes lashed out violently, but was mostly just cruel in other ways.

In my teenage years, through human relationship (mostly people reaching out to me) I began to understand how my actions affected other people, and started to make a change. This understanding was literally not possible before I was 14, 15, 16, and now that I've learned more about child development, neurology, and psychology I totally understand why.

Now as an adult, I have worked as many things, namely a counselor at a residential treatment facility for teenagers. It has been deeply enlightening for me to be on the other side of these quote end quote "disorders."

Kids these days have a lot of problems.

Children need constant support from their families and communities. A child that grows up in an unsupportive environment will develop defense mechanisms and coping strategies to survive and maintain a level of safety that is comfortable for them. There are chemical imbalances and nerve problems, gene abnormalities, and retro-viruses that have been shown to be at the root of various disorders. However, the majority deal with instances of trauma, neglect, substance abuse, or inappropriate relationships at a young age (many that do not cross a sexual line).

I've had girlfriends call me a sociopath, for not seeming to have remorse for cruel things I've said in the midst of fights or after having committed certain transgressions. And certainly as a child, my behavior and personality was very commonly referred to as "sociopathic," "psychopathic," and it was admittedly not nice or "normal."

But for me, "sociopathy" just represents a disparity between two people's emotional state/response, or expectations thereof. All people deal with circumstances differently, and experiences varying degrees of varying emotions in response to different stimuli.

And as for aggression and violence, these qualities run so deep in human history. It is the most basic survival extinct. Any animal encountering a hostile environment will adapt violence, in ways that are fairly interpreted as cruel. Victims of violence, see it as a matter of survival to physically overpower those around them, especially those close to them. It is natural, the person feels justified and thus little remorse.

Labels like APD are much more dangerous to our society then the people that often exhibit the symptoms of diagnosis. Because they teach us to ostracize and write off people, discouraging the type of personal relationships that I believe are most helpful in inspiring a change or normalization. Inevitably deepening the wounds that are causing the behavior in the first place.

By anon116748 — On Oct 07, 2010

My partner is a sociopath. Although never formally diagnosed, there is not a single doubt in my mind. He lies, he cheats on me but can never admit guilt even when faced with undeniable proof and it is always someone else's fault. He says all the right things, professes his undying love for me, that he is a changed man, that he knows he has done wrong. But deep down inside he doesn't believe it. It is all words.

But such is the life of someone in love with a sociopath. They have this amazing ability to keep you exactly at the end of your rope. You swear one more incident will push you over the edge and you will be able to walk away but that incident comes and still you can't do it - knowing deep in your heart he will never change but somehow still believing he will.

I am not the weak victim described in all the information you read. I am a strong independent woman that fell deeply in love with the wrong person. Do not believe you are weak because you can't walk away. You are being manipulated by an expert with no feelings.

I hope with everything in me that one day he pushes me that one step too far and I will be able to walk away but the truth is I am happier with him than without him.

By anon104839 — On Aug 18, 2010

I am a sociopath. I don't share my true emotions with anyone because i have none, i dodge personal questions with cunning words, i have even hit friends for disrespecting me.

I lie repeatedly without consequence and i am very good at faking any emotion i may need to in order to seem normal. That being said i, have no intention of draining bank accounts or stripping loved ones of their emotional or personal belongings, I feel like I am on a constant quest to feel general emotion, and my actions are all inspired by emptiness, not the carnal need to con and suppress.

I just exist without emotion, so what is so wrong about that? it is not like I asked to be the way i am. i try to function normally within what seems to be my environment so shut off and enclosed by emotion. i am just able to admit that i am out for myself, like millions of other people out there.

By anon92335 — On Jun 27, 2010

We have a step-grandson whom we have been raising for the past seven years along with his other two older siblings. In the beginning we knew he had a learning disability but thought we could work with it.

He has been showing all the signs of a being a sociopath. He is entering puberty and more signs are coming out. He has been to many therapists, counselors and psychiatrists. No remorse, denial, lies and steals. Most of what he has taken are very dangerous objects. Box cutter, screw drivers, knives, scissors, etc.

He could get caught with his hand in the cookie jar and deny it. It has been suggested that we look into residential care because it is getting worse.

We are concerned about him hurting other family members and don't know where to turn. Anyone have any suggestions?

By anon81753 — On May 03, 2010

You cannot diagnose something like APD by reading a description and then attempt to apply it personally. Everyone has various levels of emotional development and tolerances. Everyone demonstrates some degree of the commonly used "symptoms" of APD.

Those who dedicate their entire lives to understanding the disorder and related subjects are unable to diagnose this accurately others (mainly because real sociopaths tend to be highly intelligent and can "mimic" normal behavior, just like every other "normal" human does to one degree or another).

A good majority of these replies are brain numbingly stupid. "I once saw a guy who said he was blah blah". And more importantly unless one's behavior is causing distress and damage to themselves and those around them, there really is no "problem". It being a disorder is contingent on it causing distress. One can be unable to "feel" (also a nonsense distinction, people with APD still have the biochemical reactions associated with "emotions") and not be a destructive force of insanity.

Most of those claiming to have APD are the same group of emo words who claim to have whatever the neato affliction of the month is.

By anon79827 — On Apr 24, 2010

I'm at least a borderline sociopath. Quite, shall we say, amusing to see you ponder at the condition I seem to have. You can barely grasp the idea of not feeling emotions, yet I can barely grasp what it is like to truly feel certain ways.

I really do try to fit in, knowing so few people would understand the things I do feel if I explained them. Sure I would be better suited for certain legal professions due to my ability to bear situation that unnerve most.

Yet the biggest problem is I feel inhuman when I look around at others. It's glaringly evident something isn't there inside me that is in you.

Sometimes I meet others like me, can see it in their eyes while they witness events. I often feel very angry and want to destroy all civilization for being able to feel when I just simply can't.

I don't have the money or time to spend on therapy but as I grow older, I'm 28 now, I feel my capacity for "human" emotions diminishing.

I continue to maintain my relationships to the best of my ability and fake a "normal" existence, all the while wondering if I can keep it up until I die.

By anon74780 — On Apr 04, 2010

Wow, after reading all of your posts I feel awful for all of you who have to deal with us who have APD.

Now, my 17 year old daughter has been showing symptoms since a very young age, it progressively is worsening. I behaved exactly as she does now. I was terrible to my parents and everyone around.

Finally, in my mid 30's I had an eye opening experience and I know some of you won't believe this, but the only way I'm coming out of it was when I began to have a sincere, very real relationship with the Lord.

I finally feel accountable/responsible to a Higher Power and it's changing my life. Once I was able to see that I have a problem, I was willing to work at changing.

Trust me, I have to work at it every day. I meditate/ pray for guidance and it helps me tremendously! There is hope for us!

By anon72768 — On Mar 24, 2010

My now 18 year old son has exhibited fits of rage when he doesn't get his way since age 13. He lies and sneaks around constantly and has been using drugs since then. When confronted with this behavior he says that he is sorry and makes us feel that he finally "gets it".

Today I asked him to leave my house because he said he hated me and my husband and was going to take us out. I feel terrible about asking him to leave but I really feel that he could do serious damage to us if I don't get him out of my home.

My question is: how do you get help to these people? He thinks that he doesn't need it. He currently has five arrests for assault and drinking charges. I believe he is really into drugs/alcohol more now and cannot hold down a job.

By anon71558 — On Mar 18, 2010

You and your friends/partners all need help now. I work in the field and you cannot dilly dally around this. Enough said. Get help!

By anon71556 — On Mar 18, 2010

Perhaps I misunderstand what constitutes sociopathic behavior and perception distortion, but the idea that something learned isn't curable, or is somehow a mystery, just seems extraordinarily absurd. Keywords: learned behavior, anti-social model, pro-social model, neuroplasticity, cognitive therapy, dialectic therapy, effort, time (those last two might sound novel to some).

By anon57050 — On Dec 19, 2009

I believe that my boyfriend is a diagnosable sociopath. He believes that his behavior and lack of emotion stem from this disorder as well, but he's been in therapy before and taken medications, but both result in an amplification of his violent and angry behaviors.

He is only twenty years old, and he wants to get help, but he also feels that it would be a losing battle. I am kind of starting to agree with him, but I love him to death and I really don't want to give up on him, but it makes me feel like the sweet man that I fell in love with is only a sham, and that he never meant anything that he said to me that made me feel good about being with him. I don't know what to do. It is tearing me up inside.

By anon56765 — On Dec 17, 2009

the article says behavior had to start before 15 years of age but my husband seemed to be a great guy until we had been together for over four years. then he started to belittle me and insult me and the kids. he has threatened and hurt me. he has been off the wall for three years now. i have decided to leave but he is now asking me how to get help(not stay) and i don't know what to tell him.

i have no idea if he was like this when he was younger (he's 38 now) as he has no contact with his family. he has a child from a previous relationship and i am concerned for him.

i would like to be able to tell him some positive information but everything i read says the chances aren't good. any light at the end of the tunnel?

By anon49281 — On Oct 19, 2009

There's this guy in my school who i fell for, *hard*. He once admitted to me that he's a sociopath. At the time I didn't know what that meant and i didn't bother trying to find out. We never went out, but we almost did, and his behavior changed a lot. It was like he didn't care about my feelings and all of the symptoms describe him perfectly. A lot of my close friends are close to him and I don't want them to get hurt too, but they see me as the bad guy because I'm trying to warn them about him, but he's all charming. I can't win them over as he can. What do I do before its too late for them?

By anon43166 — On Aug 26, 2009

I dated a guy for three years and was totally in love with him. I then caught him cheating on me. He became very angry and mean- like a totally different person. He grabbed me in anger and bruised my arem. We broke up that night. He laughed the whole time- no concern for my feelings. I thought he was mental. I then thought he had the symptoms of a sociopath. I looked it up and sure enough I was right. I then met him again for some casual sex and he and I fought again and I confronted his behavior, stating it rooted from his childhood. He denied it and yelled at me. He bruised my arm by squeezing it. He kicked me out of the hotel room. He then kept me away by saying he wanted to be alone. After talking to friends, I realize that I was on the right path and he is a sociopath. What hurts is that I want him to get help, but he will not. I then watched a show about sex addiction- that this also can become abusive and violent. He does have a sex addition. Now I think he cheated and lied to me for years. It hurts but I learned a lot. I just hope that he gets help. I think I might inform his family so then can help him. I don't know if they will believe me but, I really want him to get help. I don't know if it will help him due to the fact that it rarely works. I believe he was sexually abused/mentally/physically abused as a child. I believe it was all done by his step-father and his mother did not help him. I believe this is why he has so much anger towards his mother. He became very angry towards me. Very threatening -- it scared me. I am moving on with my life. But I am unsure if I should inform his family.

By anon41040 — On Aug 12, 2009

I believe my 20 year old daughter to be a socio/psychopath. I've been sure of it since I read the first description of the disorder, about a year ago. I'm scared to death for her, and I feel hopeless about the future of our mother-daughter relationship. #4, I don't know if you'll return to the site and see this, but reading your comments was the first time I've *ever* run across another mother expressing this concern about an adult daughter. I feel so ashamed and embarrassed about this, but I would love to get help for my daughter.

By anon38290 — On Jul 25, 2009

I believe that after reading the symptoms of APD that I suffer from this illness. my life has been one of moving from place to place, only holding jobs down for short periods of time, the longest being around 2 years. I don't know what true love is and don't know how to feel true love for another human. I have spent over 20 years of my life on all kinds of drink and drugs because I can't deal with my emotions and wander through life suspicious, angry and bitter because my life isn't as grand as I think it should be. I have spent years in therapy, hospitals, on medication, treatment centres and I still feel as full of self hatred and anger as when I first started the treatments 15 years ago. What can I do??

By anon37600 — On Jul 20, 2009

I have been married to my husband for 9 years and we have 3 children. I am slowly but surely finding out that he is a sociopath. I am heartbroken about this and feel as if a lightbulb has turned on in my head. He has lied, stolen from others, gambles has had affairs and recently we lose our home. I can't believe this is my life. I fear that my children will grow up to be sociopaths as well. He is funny, witty and a *great* liar. I love him and always will. What is the most important thing I can do to prevent my children from becoming this way???? Help!

By anon32299 — On May 19, 2009

I have an 18-year-old daughter and i'm afraid she is a sociopath. For a long time i couldn't find any explanation for her behavior. She always lies to get money, quite often big amounts, doesn't care when she hurts my feelings and believes she deserves a grand life. When i read the symptoms it felt like i read her description. What can i do?

By anon30953 — On Apr 27, 2009

I believe I may be a sociopath; where do I go to get help?

By anon25966 — On Feb 05, 2009

I am sorry to hear about your friend, and I can sense the concern in your voice, but treatment can only be decided by a qualified professional after a proper diagnosis. It could be he would benefit from something as simple as medication, or he might also require some type of counseling along with medication. There is no way to know unless he sees a doctor.

By anon25811 — On Feb 03, 2009

I have a friend who is in his mid forties. He has never been officially diagnosed APD, however, when we became closer I was sure something was wrong. So, I spoke with a clinical social worker I know who suggested unofficially that this may be. What treatment can he get? Plus, I am worried about his new wife and children ( pregnant wife and step children).

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