Sociopath vs. psychopath: is there a difference?

psychopathy

I’ve been using the terms psychopath and sociopath interchangeably on this blog, even though I’m aware there are differences between the two. I was curious enough to Google what the difference is, and came across an article in Psychology Today that explains how they are alike–and how they differ.

How to Tell a Sociopath from a Psychopath
By Dr. Scott Bonn

Many forensic psychologists, psychiatrists and criminologists use the terms sociopathy and psychopathy interchangeably. Leading experts disagree on whether there are meaningful differences between the two conditions. I contend that there are clear and significant distinctions between them.

The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), released by the American Psychiatric Association in 2013, lists both sociopathy and psychopathy under the heading of Antisocial Personality Disorders (ASPD). These disorders share many common behavioral traits which lead to the confusion between them. Key traits that sociopaths and psychopaths share include:

A disregard for laws and social mores
A disregard for the rights of others
A failure to feel remorse or guilt
A tendency to display violent behavior
In addition to their commonalities, sociopaths and psychopaths also have their own unique behavioral characteristics, as well.

Sociopaths tend to be nervous and easily agitated. They are volatile and prone to emotional outbursts, including fits of rage. They are likely to be uneducated and live on the fringes of society, unable to hold down a steady job or stay in one place for very long. It is difficult but not impossible for sociopaths to form attachments with others. Many sociopaths are able to form an attachment to a particular individual or group, although they have no regard for society in general or its rules. In the eyes of others, sociopaths will appear to be very disturbed. Any crimes committed by a sociopath, including murder, will tend to be haphazard, disorganized and spontaneous rather than planned.

Psychopaths, on the other hand, are unable to form emotional attachments or feel real empathy with others, although they often have disarming or even charming personalities. Psychopaths are very manipulative and can easily gain people’s trust. They learn to mimic emotions, despite their inability to actually feel them, and will appear normal to unsuspecting people. Psychopaths are often well educated and hold steady jobs. Some are so good at manipulation and mimicry that they have families and other long-term relationships without those around them ever suspecting their true nature.

When committing crimes, psychopaths carefully plan out every detail in advance and often have contingency plans in place. Unlike their sociopathic counterparts, psychopathic criminals are cool, calm, and meticulous. Their crimes, whether violent or non-violent, will be highly organized and generally offer few clues for authorities to pursue. Intelligent psychopaths make excellent white-collar criminals and “con artists” due to their calm and charismatic natures.

The cause of psychopathy is different than the cause of sociopathy (1). It is believed that psychopathy is the result of “nature” (genetics) while sociopathy is the result of “nurture” (environment). Psychopathy is related to a physiological defect that results in the underdevelopment of the part of the brain responsible for impulse control and emotions. Sociopathy, on the other hand, is more likely the product of childhood trauma and physical/emotional abuse. Because sociopathy appears to be learned rather than innate, sociopaths are capable of empathy in certain limited circumstances but not in others, and with a few individuals but not others.

Psychopathy is the most dangerous of all antisocial personality disorders because of the way psychopaths dissociate emotionally from their actions, regardless of how terible they may be. Many prolific and notorious serial killers, including the late Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy, and Dennis Rader (“Bind, Torture, Kill” or BTK) are unremorseful psychopaths. Psychopathic killers view their innocent victims as inhuman objects to be tormented and violated for their amusement.

Contrary to popular mythology, most serial killers are not mentally ill or “evil” geniuses. See my related article: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wicked-deeds/201406/serial-killer-myth-1-theyre-mentally-ill-or-evil-geniuses

tedbundy ed_gein
Although both were deadly serial killers, Ted Bundy was a psychopath who gave a good impression and knew how not to get caught; Ed Gein was most likely a sociopath who acted more impulsively, was more disorganized and didn’t give a very good first impression. Though both men’s crimes were equally heinous, Bundy’s eyes seem “colder” than Gein’s.

Although the traits of a psychopath more closely resemble those of a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) than those of the more impulsive, disorganized sociopath, both are actually described here as variations of ASPD, not NPD. Once again, if ASPD is really “NPD on crack” then it follows that NPD and ASPD are both on the same spectrum, with ASPD (and psychopathy/sociopathy) at the top of the spectrum. If this is in fact the case, people with NPD, even malignant narcissists, may border on psychopathy, but would not actually qualify as true psychopaths.

Here’s a little graph I devised to illustrate where all the Cluster B disorders may fall on a spectrum. These are just my guesses and are not based on psychological research, just my instinct and gut feelings.

psychopathy_graph
Click image to enlarge.

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About luckyotter

Recovering from BPD and C-PTSD due to narcissistic abuse from childhood. Married to a sociopath for 20 years. Proud INFJ, Enneagram type 4w5. Animal lover, music lover, cat mom, unapologetic geek, fan of the absurd, progressive Catholic, mom to 2, mental illness stigma activist, anti-Trumper. #RESISTANCE
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38 Responses to Sociopath vs. psychopath: is there a difference?

  1. This was a walk down memory lane. When you find out who they are, run as fast as possible, before it is too late…

    Liked by 3 people

  2. marilynmunrow says:

    Reblogged this on Marilyn Munrow and commented:
    This is interesting and very good readng, thank you sugar.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A very interesting article. I have a story related to this. A few years ago I was renting a room to a young college guy. He and I got along well, but he noticed that I was fascinated by TV shows about criminals and serial killers. This interest relates to my father, who was physically violent – I’ve always been fascinated by crime and psychopaths, even though I am not antisocial myself (or at least, I don’t appear to be… you never know 🙂 )
    One day the tenant came in and I was watching a crime show from the living room couch. I was also holding a long, sharp knife and playing my hand along the blade. He looked at me and was like, “What the fuck Edward? Are you becoming like the people in those shows? I’ll have to start locking my bedroom door!”
    We both started laughing. I told him the reason I had the knife was because it was actually a big unfoldable glass-breaker/knife combination. The kind of thing you keep in your car to either break the window or cut your seatbelt if you’re in trouble. I had bought it for my car and just opened it when he walked in. He felt a little better after that!

    As for this so-called expert’s opinion, I don’t think much of it! Saying that one group of antisocial individuals’ problems come from “nature” (genetics) and another group of antisocial individuals’ problems come from “nurture” (trauma/abuse etc.) is all-or-nothing and simplistic. I would be more impressed if this doctor admitted that there is no clear way to classify antisocial individuals into clear demarcated categories. Nature-influences and nurture-influences operate in a complex, interpenetrating way, and they work to different degrees and in different ways in different individuals. And also one cannot operate without the other. So, one just cannot make a strong argument, given our present state of knowledge, that there is one group with antisocial problems arising from nature and another group with problems from nurture.

    There is a good book about this called “The Mirage of a Space Between Nature and Nurture” by Evelyn Fox Keller. It details how Francis Galton, Charles Darwin and others developed a way of thinking about nature and nurture as distinct separable entities, that has now been fallaciously applied to human emotional-social problems. I think one can learn more from epigenetics, i.e. the study of how nature and nurture constantly modify each other, cannot be considered in isolation, and cannot be easily quantified. In this regard, for example, the studies that say that “NPD is 55% genetic” or whatever, are misleading. Not only is NPD not a valid or reliable object of scientific inquiry – but even if it were valid, one could not reliably break up how much genetics and how much environment play into it.

    Your notion of the continuum of antisociality is probably loosely correct / reflective of reality. However my criticism of it would be again that strict, scientifically valid demarcations or separations between different “disorders” within that continuum would be impossible. This is because of many factors including the uncertain influences of nature and nurture together in each case, plus the subjective-descriptive unreliable nature of the symptoms for each supposed “disorder” (which would confound any attempt by “experts” to study them objectively, i.e to clearly separate who fits into one group and who fits into another… in other words, the problem being that such rigid static groups do not exist in the real world of constantly varying symptoms of different intensities and kinds).

    It is more useful in my opinion to talk about behaviors or experiences rather than labels. That is what is fascinating for me about people who are criminal, their subjective experience.

    Have you ever seen the character T-Bag from Prison Break season 1? If not you might really enjoy that show, it’s free on Netflix. T-Bag is one of the ultimate heartless villains. But he’s also a fascinating character because he cares about his family. The facial expressions by the actor are just incredible.

    Here’s a sneak peak of T-Bag –

    Liked by 3 people

    • luckyotter says:

      thanks for the link, first of all. i was looking for something entertaining to watch tonight (and possibly tomorrow–we have an ice storm going on outside and I’m stuck at home).

      Your story about the knife is funny and made me laugh.

      I agree with you that the nature/nurture distinction is probably inaccurate, especially because other experts believe psychopathy (a higher degree of malignant narcissism) has its roots in childhood abuse or neglect.

      I used to also be fascinated by serial killers and mass murderers (but especially serial killers) and I still am, though less so than I was. I used to read books about them all the time. I still regularly thumb through my dogeared copy of “Encyclopedia of Serial Killers.”
      People thought I was kind of crazy to be so fascinated by them. But anyway, if you read up on the backgrounds of most serial killers–both psychopathic and sociopathic–almost all of them had horrific childhoods. (Jeffrey Dahmer was a rare exception–he appeared to have normal, loving parents from all accounts, who stood by him even after he was caught and sent to death row–but perhaps they were MNs whose abuse was more subtle, who knows?)

      The graph was fun to do, and based on what I have learned, it seems loosely accurate. I’m not sure about the non-psychopathic ASPD category though–I’m not sure it’s possible to have ASPD and not be a psychopath or sociopath.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Alaina says:

      I agree, bpdtrans, epigenetics is the key.

      Beyond that, I am speechless…. and wondering how high is your IQ? Your writing is beyond brilliant.

      Liked by 1 person

      • luckyotter says:

        It really is, isn’t it? His blog astounds me because of the high quality of his writing. It goes over my head sometimes though.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Alaina says:

          I agree about some of it going over my head!

          I get frustrated sometimes because in a lot of ways I’m like an Idiot-Savant. I know that’s a politically incorrect thing to say these days, but it used to be an actual medical diagnosis for people who are profoundly cognitively impaired, to the degree that they can’t learn to speak or tie their shoes, but in just one area they are a mega-genius, for example having the ability to do long, complex math equations instantaneously, or hear a complicated piece of music for the first time and then sit down at the piano and play the whole thing flawlessly.

          In my case, the “idiot” parts of me and the “savant,” or genius parts of me, are not that well defined. Almost forty years ago, when I was in my twenties, I took a proctored IQ test through Mensa and was told that my IQ was 156. That’s just four points below Einstein! But I would not want to take an IQ test today, because I have no doubt that I have lost quite a few points over the years, due to a couple of really bad concussions, one Transient Ischemic Attack (mini-stroke), plus I did almost two years of hard drinking when I was in my thirties. I suspect that repeated episodes of trauma has knocked some cogs out of my mental wheels, as well.

          Oh, well, at least it helps keep me humble. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

      • Wow thanks… if I were a narcissist I would be in heaven with this “narcissistic supply”! Oh and I must acknowledge Vaknin here, seeing as we owe him for inventing these terms 20 years ago, just like Al Gore invented the internet 🙂

        Sorry, being serious I appreciate your comment. I did do an IQ test as a boy… it was 123. Not genius level but above average! But I have learned over the years that intellectual ability is not worth as much as people think. Persistence, having good relationships, and love are worth so much more.

        I am fascinated by the strange way that psychiatry has developed in the last several decades, and have a lot of experience in the mental health system myself. That is why I do a lot of reading about it.

        Liked by 2 people

        • luckyotter says:

          BPDT, you are too funny! 😀
          123 is a good IQ, definitely above average. I agree with you that IQ doesn’t mean a whole lot. There are people with extremely high, almost genius IQs who have accomplished nothing…and others with pretty average IQs who have achieved a lot….I think it all boils down to ambition, focus, and self esteem.
          My IQ is high but I haven’t achieved very much due to having dismal self esteem most of my life and not having a clear goal until this past year. Better late than never though! Hey, grandma Moses didn’t start painting until she was in her 70s. Or was it her 90s?

          The mental health field is fascinating. It is infuriating and frustrating the way the APA keeps changing the criteria and categories in teh DSM though. Is it true they are considering TAKING OUT NPD as a mental disorder? Because narcissistic traits have become so adaptive in our type of society?

          Liked by 1 person

          • No I don’t think they are considering taking out NPD… I never heard that? I’m sure they’re not, since NPD has long been one of the prime personality disorder “diagnoses”.
            Interestingly, it was not too long ago, relatively speaking, that homosexuality was removed from the DSM, in the 1970s.

            And before that, there was drapetomania. Have you heard of that? It was the disorder in the 1800s that doctors saw in slaves who wanted to run away from the plantations.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drapetomania

            However, fortunately, as grievous a personality dysfunction as drapetomania was, it was more treatable than many people consider personality disorders to be today.

            Of course I’m not being serious. I just like to make you think. But we should question whether “mental illnesses” today are any more valid or reliable, scientifically speaking, than drapetomania and homosexuality were when they considered “illnesses”.

            Liked by 2 people

            • luckyotter says:

              It’s strange…some “mental illnesses” are really only “maladaptive” because of the society mores at the time. Yes, I remember when Homosexuality was removed from the DSM. Today one couldn’t even imagine it being considered a mental illness, but not all that long ago it was. (of course there are those who would probably want to put it back in there–you know, the “pray away the gay” types).

              Drapetomania–you would think wanting to run away from the plantation owners would be adaptive, but at the time slaves were supposed to uncomplainingly accept their lot.

              Some Aspies want Aspergers to be removed as a mental disorder; they want it to be recognized as a neurological variation instead. I don’t altogether disagree with this.

              And there are those who believe the whole idea of mental illness is a construct invented to explain the failure of a group of people to adapt to sick society. I believe it was R.D. Lainge who said, “insanity is the only sane way to cope with an insane world.” He was right–all mental illnesses are “coping mechanisms” and the world we live in is at least as if not more insane than the “crazy” people who are having trouble adapting.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Yes R.D. Laing and even more so Thomas Szasz were the big proponents of that idea. I still don’t feel as if psychiatrists have adequately answered these criticisms!

              Through this interview, it makes clear Szasz’s thinking on diagnosis –

              http://www.psychotherapy.net/interview/thomas-szasz

              Liked by 2 people

            • luckyotter says:

              Oh, yes I remember Thomas Szasz too, he was discussed in one of my college psych classes. Also, during the short time I got involved with scientology (I have a blog post about this and can provide the link if you want to read it) , Szasz’s book “The Myth of Mental Illness” was the ONLY psychology book they considered acceptable, and even sold it at some of their centers.

              Like

            • Wow that would be rare today! (for Szasz’s book to be promoted in an American psychology course)

              Liked by 1 person

            • luckyotter says:

              It wasn’t really being promoted…I just remember it came up during a discussion.

              But this was in the early 80s too, and Szasz’s ideas may have been considered more acceptable then, with revolutionary ideas still being more acceptable than they are now

              Like

  4. Alaina says:

    Drapetomania?!? Wow. I guess that’s what I had when I had just turned 15 and I asked the ward psychiatrist of the state mental institution where my abusive mother had put me, how soon did he think I would be able to go home – and he coldly replied that 97% of the people in that “hospital” were never permanently released. Furthermore, he added, if I were to remain there past one year, my odds of ever being free again would then be less than 1%.

    When he saw the shocked look of disbelief on my face, this great mental health professional suggested that I ask the other patients on my ward how long they had been there, if I doubted him. I did, and the shortest answer I got was 8 years, the average closer to 20 years and up.

    So then, in addition to my “acute schizophrenia” that I had apparently developed at the age of 14, I then came down with drapetomania. I ran away, you see, at the first opportunity. My “treatment” for this dreaded ailment, after I was caught and brought back, was being restrained to a narrow bed with leather-wrapped metal belts that went around my ankles, around my wrists, and around my waist, and were padlocked beneath the bed. Plus I was also in solitary confinement. In addition to being injected with a massive dose of something that made my mind separate from my body for awhile.

    Terrible thing, this drapetomania. The third time I ran from the institution, I managed to elude recapture for two whole days and my escape was broadcast on the news. When I was caught and brought back that time, an irate, and undoubtedly highly embarrassed hospital administrator cursed me out, then ordered my transfer to Maximum Security, where they kept the criminally insane. Murderers, people like that. I was 15 still, very skinny and frail, and I had never in my life harmed nor tried or threatened to harm anyone…. unless you count that cheating lying boyfriend I had threatened to slap when I was 13.

    Deep breaths…. It’s over now, it’s long ago and far away in the past… WHEW. Memories can be a killer sometimes.

    The institution where I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life was closed and torn down in the 1990s. My husband and I drove there last year and walked across the park-like grounds where it used to be.

    But I didn’t have to wait until 1990 to be set free, I was lucky enough to get a new psychiatrist, after the evil one… uh… never mind, that’s another long sick story…. anyway, thanks to the new psychiatrist deciding that I was not and never had been schizophrenic, after the longest two years of my life, I was released from that hellhole of a human warehouse in December, 1969. I’ve had a life. A bit scarred and a lot traumatized, but still, thank God in heaven, I have had a life. So many didn’t.

    Psychiatric labels… I’ve had several. They are definitely not black and white, nor are they set in stone.

    Eeek. I’m doing it again… writing long-winded comments on Lucky O’s blog, instead of posting on my blog. Gee I wonder if there is a label for that? 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • luckyotter says:

      State hospitals are awful places–worse than prisons, really. They used to be worse (now the indigent “insane” are just left to fend for themselves on the streets)
      I am sorry you had to go through such a horrible experience, Alaina. It sounds like the staff and doctors there were sadistic and the institution itself was psychopathic. People in such places do not get better–they are given drugs that turn them into zombies so they become placid and lifeless and are “less bother” to the staff. They become ever more inequipped to cope with the world if they ever are released or escape.
      Once again, Alaina, you need to blog about this. You do have some incredible stories to tell, and you tell them so well….they read like movies or novels.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Interesting story Alaina. I missed this post before…. well done on your escape! I am reading a book ride now called the Mammoth Book of Prison Breaks. Your story made me think of that. It’s incredible what people can think of when they are confined but have a lot of time on their hands.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Alaina says:

        Thanks. I actually managed to escape from Maximum Security, twice. Once from inside a solitary confinement cell while on Max Security.

        While I was locked up in that horrible place, my maternal grandfather was the associate warden of Leavenworth Federal Prison. He and my grandmother lived in the huge warden’s mansion on the prison grounds, because the warden had his own home nearby. Strange paradox, wouldn’t you say?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Alaina says:

          CORRECTION: I’m so sorry, I was thinking more about this as I was getting dinner and realized that I made a couple of factual errors in my last comment. (I’m writing about events that happened in 1968-1969, more than 45 years ago, so I guess it’s understandable that some of the details are a bit fuzzy. Plus I was on a massive dose of Thorazine at the time, which messes with your head in more ways than one, believe me.)

          Here’s what really happened: I escaped from the Maximum Security ward twice, this is true, but neither of those escapes involved me getting out of a solitary confinement cell. I did, however, almost escape from solitary confinement once, while I was on the max security ward. What happened was this: I was sitting in solitary confinement, bored out of my mind (pun intended), when I noticed that the hinges of the big metal door that opened into the room, were held together with a large screw inside each hinge, the kind you can unscrew with a flat head screwdriver. I was wearing a piece of clothing that was held together with a small metal hook. So I used the hook like a screwdriver to remove the screws from the hinges.

          Before I could try opening the door from the now unhinged side, I heard a nurse coming, so I quickly got back into bed. She unlocked the heavy metal door and… man oh man, did she look surprised when the entire door fell in onto the floor!

          I remember she looked extremely spooked, too, like I was some kind of a magical Houdini! LOL! But it was really simple, you know? Even my two escapes from the max security ward were simple, and happened more because of dumb luck than anything. I was talking with a social worker counselor in her office one day when we heard a disturbance of some kind out on the hall. The counselor told me to wait there and she stepped out into the hall to see if she could help. She had left her keys lying on top of the desk. The moment she was out of the room, I grabbed the keys and stuck them in my bra. Later, when I used them to escape, I hid the keys so that I could use them again, the second time I escaped.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Wow that is awesome. Can you write a story about how you escaped from max security, please? 🙂 Maybe change the details but preserve the essence…

          When I was in the psych hospital several years ago… I made friends with this gorgeous 20 year old girl, the one who I describe in my article #21 as the one who ran through the halls naked and kept a magic hard-boiled egg in her room. She eventually escaped over a 20-foot fence and ran into the surrounding city. I witnessed it and I have never seen anyone climb like that. In about 8 seconds she had scaled the wall (which had an overhang) and then dropped down after getting halfway down the other side. The only problem was she dropped down right next to the guard station outside. They quickly followed and caught her.
          Another funny thing with that was that having nothing better to do in the hospital, I befriended this girl and she wanted to teach me about sensual massage. We ended up getting in trouble for that as apparently sensual massage is not one of the therapies that’s allowed in psych hospitals!

          Liked by 2 people

  5. Thanks for this. What I’d be interested to know next is what makes someone a “malignant” narcissist as opposed to someone with just NPD? While I don’t know for sure bc of NC I think my N knows something is wrong with himself and wants to change it. If I brought up the subject he’d fly into narcissistic rage, of course, but he seems to actually have a desire to be a decent person. I think he’s completely blind to his narcissism bc it’s too painful for him to go there. I have seen him a few times show signs of real empathy that had nothing to do with anything that would benefit him (unless of course he wanted to just make himself feel like a decent guy). But his standard default is definitely narcissism. It’s hard to know how I should think about him bc he seems borderline btwn having NPD and having just done higher than average narcissistic traits. Sometimes I feel like he’s gained some headway towards becoming a normal person but that interacting w me brings his N out. But of course an N would make you feel like it’s your own fault.I haven’t been around my N in over a decade. He has a new life and I was only in contact w him via email a few months ago so it’s hard to know. I suppose he could be whoever he wants me to see him be since I can’t see him iRL to know for sure. That’s the maddening part. This need to know drives me crazy. He has this weird way of teasing me w information. I think he gets off on confusing me but doesn’t even know it. What do I make of a guy like that? I’d rather he come across as flat-out vain and self-focused so I could just brush him off as a jerk and move on.

    Liked by 2 people

    • luckyotter says:

      Hi, QF–
      I’m sorry, I almost missed this.
      Because narcissism is on a continuum, from barely narcissistic at all, all the way to murderous psychopaths, it’s hard to demarcate malignant narcissists from non-malignants. But there are some things to look for. A garden variety (non malignant) narc will be easier to deal with. They might be conceited or vain, or manipulative or dishonest, but they don’t ruin lives. They’re more annoying than dangerous, but day after day of being annoyed can be like chinese water torture, so that can be bad too.

      Malignant narcs can be hard to spot, especially if they have lots of charisma or charm. Some are very skilled at faking emotions, like empathy. Some are very good actors. Many of them hold important and respected positions (although many do not) and have committed no crime, at least not one where they’e been caught.
      If you haven’t already found out they’re malignant the hard way (by being abused by one), the best way to tell a malignant narcissist from the rest is by the way they make you feel. If you feel very nervous or uncomfortable around a certain person, listen to your sixth sense and get away. Another way to tell is by their faces, especially the eyes. Malignant narcissists have very hard, cold eyes that show no emotion. They can turn on the emotion if they want to though, so watch out. It won’t be sincere though, and there are ways to tell it’s not the real deal. If they smile, it’s a fake smile, and their eyes remain flat. They don’t sparkle.

      Crying is a good way to tell. Many MNs can make themselves cry if that’s going to benefit them or keep them out of trouble. The best ones can even make it seem like their tears are empathic or sad, but really it’s all about them. Others who aren’t such great actors will hide their face while “crying” because their eyes are dry.

      I posted a couple of videos, one of a woman named Kathy Bush who deliberately made her daughter sick (Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy). In it, you can see her eyes fill with tears as she talks about how she was just trying to be a good mom. But even so her eyes still look flat and emotionless, and she sounds like she’s reading from a script.
      Here is the video for that (scroll down to see the video):
      https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/02/10/mom-you-make-me-sick/
      Watch her carefully; that scene is in the beginning (and a similar one later on).

      I posted an article about the eyes of malignants and psychopaths that might explain this more. Scott Peterson, who murdered his pregnant wife, is an interesting example, and there’s a video of him being interviewed by police after the murder. Peterson wasn’t just a malignant narcissist, he was a straight up psychopath . Watch his fake manufactured tears in this video, at about 27:20.

      *shudder*
      But more tellingly than that is the strange fake hesitant way he speaks. You can TELL he is lying.
      Also watch his “smile” at 25:58. It makes chills run up and down my spine. 😮

      Here’s my article about the way these monsters look:
      https://luckyottershaven.com/2014/11/11/the-distinctive-look-of-psychopathy/

      Another way to tell a malignant is the BLACK EYES. You won’t see this in all of them, and you won’t see it all the time, but if you make a MN angry or threaten their narcissistic supply or fail to adulate them they way they require, they will go into a narcissistic rage, and it’s during these times you may see their eyes go solid black, like demon or alien eyes, with hardly any whites showing. I’ve seen it twice, and believe me it’s the scariest thing you’ll ever see.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m still goin through your links. There is so much there! Thanks for sharing. I think I recognize MNs pretty easily now. But there are some non-malignant ones that I wonder about. I was tempted to ask if I could send u some pics of some suspected narcissists to see what you think.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for this post. But oh my gosh… Ted Bundy’s eyes/picture. Sent chills down my spine…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Tricia says:

    Well that’s interesting stuff. I often wondered if my narc was a sociopath or psychopath because he seemed to share traits of both and I was confused about the their meanings. Upon reflection, I think waded in to sociapathy but didn’t make a permanent home there. Didn’t matter as his NPD was bad enough for me!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. storynetwork says:

    Unfortunately, I’m realizing the narc I was with is probably a psychopath. I don’t want to dwell on it too much though. It’s only been a month since I left him. We were together eighteen months and he never abused me physically and barely got away with any psychological crap. I was “onto” him from the gate – the second time we were together he told me he was a narcissist. And I believed him. I was only biding my time waiting for my brother to die which is why I had moved across the country in the first place. So I was pretty much just using him for a job and a place to live in the meantime. We had dozens of conversations about his narcissism – and he copped to a lot of things – but it’s so nearly impossible to tell lies from truth. He did, however, have brief moments of what I considered sincerity. He was impossibly gorgeous and charming outside but horribly sad and broken inside.

    After spending the past few weeks researching here as well as other blogs including sam’s, I made the decision a couple of days ago to demand all contact cease. I followed sam’s advice about acknowledging threats, calling bluff, etc and sent an email with some cryptic messages only he would understand. According to sam, the paranoia will set in.

    Still, it’s terrifying. I am 3,000 miles away, living with family which includes wolves 😉 guns and a former Marine. I only mention this because this is information I also fed the narc. I didn’t have to exaggerate anything, it’s all true. That the “wolves” are as loving as cubs, that the Marine is a sweet and loving man, and that the guns are locked up is irrelevant yes? However, his first and only “threat” came after he already knew that. I lived through a day of complete terror yesterday but it’s so exhausting I want to go back to my life of creating art and being calm and productive.

    How scared should I be? I’m being vigilant of course, but reading about psychopaths does cause me concern. Does anyone have any input?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. storynetwork says:

    This is a great blog, full of information and outstanding links. Just curious about the etiquette – is it inappropriate to ask for ideas and input?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Interesting post and fascinating comment thread. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it all.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks for explaining the difference between psychopath and sociopath. I always suspected (given the Greek roots of each) that they must mean different things, notwithstanding the way they are used interchangeably most of the time. Very informative and interesting.

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