Psychopathy may not be what you think.


I’ve been doing some reading about psychopathy and have found out some surprising things. I always was a little confused as to how psychopathy differed from sociopathy and have used those terms interchangeably on this blog due to my confusion. I’ve also used the term interchangeably with Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) and sometimes even malignant narcisissm. It turns out it’s probably something completely different from the other three disorders and may not even be a disorder at all!

Before you start laughing, hear me out.

It all started with this colorful, humorous description someone wrote on a forum I’ve been active on, describing how a Psychopath differs from a Narcissist:

When I picture a Psychopath, I think of someone who at bedtime bounces around from one thing to the next, essentially a high-energy, happy person. When I picture a Narc at bedtime, I imagine someone wearing long pajamas and a nightcap (yes, a nightcap), walking around a 19th Century house, holding a candle, checking for ghosts.

At first I thought this was a weird (but funny) analogy. But it really isn’t. According to psychologist Theodore Millon, Primary Psychopathy is something you are born with and is not due to abuse, unlike NPD or ASPD. Studies have shown that the limbic system (emotional center) of primary psychopaths is simply less active than in normal people. So they don’t experience empathy or have a conscience regardless of how they were raised, but they also don’t have very deep emotions in general.


Because they lack deep emotions, primary psychopaths tend to be fearless risk takers. They also aren’t moody because they don’t experience anxiety or depression the way others do–if they experience those states at all. But psychopathy has become associated with sociopathy and/or ASPD or malignant narcissism because a born psychopath may be more prone to developing personality disorders than the normal population, if they are abused. Because they don’t have the capacity to develop a conscience or empathy, if they do develop a personality disorder, it’s likely to be Antisocial Personality Disorder, where the right of others are callously violated. That’s why so many psychopaths are also antisocial and dangerous.

But there is nothing wrong with the cognitive functioning of a psychopath. They are able to learn the difference between right and wrong, and if they do not develop a personality disorder, theoretically they can choose to do what’s right. Only the limbic system is impaired, so any decisions a true psychopath makes are cognitively based. Emotion simply doesn’t play into it at all. They do “whatever works.” They lack a conscience because conscience is emotion- or shame-based, and a psychopath isn’t capable of much emotion in general.

So a primary psychopath can theoretically be a good person who is just extremely unemotional and only uses logic and reason to make decisions. Unlike narcissists, who actually have deep emotions but have turned all their emotions inward toward themselves and require “supply” to bolster their fragile egos, a non-disordered psychopath has no need for supply. They simply don’t care what anyone thinks. What you think is simply not something that even occurs to them. In contrast, a narcissist cares very much what you think and falls apart like wet toilet paper if supply in the form of approval or adoration is not forthcoming.

Primary psychopathy seems analogous to the Myers-Briggs ESTJ (Extroverted/Sensing/Thinking/Judging) personality type. In other words, a psychopath is an outgoing, sensation seeking, hedonistic thinker who happily jumps around from activity to activity like someone jacked up on Red Bull, yet they don’t have ADHD either because the J(udging) aspect means their high level of activity always has a goal or purpose. Such a person would be easily bored (which could also lead to antisocial behavior), never worry about things or experience (or even understand) guilt, and unafraid to try and experience new things. Their lack of emotionality would suit them well for the business world. In fact, people who have become very successful in business tend to score high in psychopathic traits.


While many high level executives do abuse the rights of others and callously close entire departments and treat their employees like so many pieces in a chess game (whatever works, right?), because psychopaths can tell the difference between right and wrong, some will try to do the right thing just the same. The difference is, they are using cognition rather than emotion to back any prosocial decisions.

Looked at this way, primary psychopathy may not be a disorder at all but a personality variation. Of course, the term “psychopathy” has negative connotations because most of us associate it with antisocial criminals, shady con artists, and serial killers. And in fact many of them are, but not all.

Sociopathy differs from primary psychopathy because (according to Millon, above), it’s antisocial behavior that may develop in a person with ASPD or NPD and is always due to abuse somewhere in the person’s past. A primary psychopath can become a sociopath if they become disordered, and that’s where you would find the serial killers and criminals (and these people usually have ASPD). But a sociopath isn’t always (or even usually) a psychopath. Sociopaths who aren’t psychopathic are usually very malignant narcissists (high spectrum NPD + ASPD) or sometimes even Borderlines, and they differ from psychopaths because there is no logic or rational thinking behind their antisocial or destructive behaviors, only unhealthy, toxic emotion. They seem to have no empathy because all their empathy–and most of their other emotions except anger–are turned inward toward themselves. The false self is what they present to others instead of their real emotions. Narcissists have plenty of empathy but it’s all for themselves–that’s why they are prone to wallowing in self pity. A psychopath would never wallow in self pity. They simply don’t care what you think.

The chilling mental landscape of a high spectrum narcissist or psychopath


I read this chilling post from a man who says he is a narcissist. Based on his description of what it’s like to be him, I would say “narcissist” is probably an understatement. My guess is he’s a very malignant (high spectrum) narcissist and a probable psychopath. Most people with NPD do have emotions, but can’t access them easily or only feel emotions when they pertain to themselves. When someone claims to have no emotions at all, that indicates psychopathy to me. This man could also be “suffering” from Schizoid Personality Disorder, another disorder where the “sufferer” feels nothing–or he may have a combination of psychopathy and SPD. It’s scary and sad to read something like this. It’s as if some people have lost every shred of humanity and seem to have no soul. They are reptilian. At least this writer is self aware though, so I guess that’s something. (Post has been edited for brevity).

Certain passages in this post would make me suspect Aspergers (social awkardness, etc.) but Aspies do have emotions and empathy, even if they don’t always express them well or at all, so I’m suspecting this man has Schizoid PD mixed with psychopathy/malignant narcissism.

Also striking are the dissociative episodes and feelings of unreality this man claims to experience. I have seen these sort of near-psychotic behaviors (talking to himself in public, strange expressions on his face, etc.) in most of the malignant narcissists and psychopaths I have known. These people are so deluded they really aren’t in touch with reality at all. They live in a barren, hellish dreamworld of their own making.


[…]I just discovered that I’ve had pathological NPD for most my life. Reading this […]has been both very frightening and a major relief. […] It’s a relief to know that many of the strange decisions I’ve made were not entirely my fault. [This material] has completely changed how I view my past. It’s like I was in a dark room and then someone finally turned the light on.

For several years, I would occasionally wake up in the early morning with a feeling that something was very wrong. I couldn’t explain the feeling but it was similar to guilt. But I couldn’t pinpoint what I had done to feel so guilty about. This has been clarified […] along with everything else about my strange life. Everyone posting on this site describes the Narcissisist as a monster, which I agree with, but it’s also a horrible disorder to have.

[…]There’s so much I want to say, but it would turn into a novel about as long as the book itself. I’m a male in my 30’s and fit every characteristic of someone with pathological NPD.

I have no emotions. When my Father left our family to fend for ourselves, I felt nothing. When my Grandmother died, I felt nothing. When I witnessed my roommate seriously injure his neck, I felt nothing at all. These events were only slightly negative, as if someone had dropped and broken a dish.

I have technical degrees from elite universities which makes it easy for me to secure employment, but when I’m at work, I hardly do anything at all because I can’t concentrate for more than a couple minutes at a time. I’m constantly day dreaming and people notice that I have strange expressions on my face when I’m supposed to be working or paying attention to a lecture. I constantly talk to myself, but I’m not sure if that’s a characteristic of NPD.

I have no social skills and am socially inept. As far as personality goes, I wouldn’t even say its a poor one, more accurate would be to say it’s nonexistent. I don’t greet anyone unless they greet me first. If someone asks “How are you?”, my reply is “Fine” and that’s about as far as the conversation goes. I can feel myself creating hatred where I work by ignoring social norms, but I don’t care how much people hate me. I feel like I’m a plague that creates pain and destruction where ever I go, and I like it. I have no friends except the ones from childhood, but I don’t feel I need them anyway. I’m more comfortable just sitting at home and playing on the Internet.

As far as looks go, I’m a 10, which makes me a somatic narcissist. I often get compared to male celebrities and women often audibly gasp when I enter a room for the first time. I’m in my 30’s but everyone assumes I’m in my 20’s. Despite this, I haven’t had a relationship with a woman my entire life (being a devout catholic when I was younger also had an influence on this). Through techniques I’ve learned from the pickup manuals available on the Internet, and by dressing fashionably, I’m able to create a huge amount of initial attraction from women. This has kept me in school much longer than necessary since there’s a huge amount of narcissistic supply in a school environment, especially in classes with many women. Despite this huge initial attraction, I always reject the (very attractive) women when they come after me, which only increases their attraction to me. I justify rejecting them by telling myself “when they see what my personality is like, they would just reject me anyway”, which is probably true considering my social ineptness. However, sometimes I will talk to a girl a few times and she still hasn’t rejected me despite my personality. At this point, I would reject her, and have no idea why I rejected her. I now know it’s due to EPIM (emotional involvement prevention disorder). It’s ironic, I’m the guy every woman in the school wants to be with, but I don’t even have a girlfriend.

I feel completely omnipotent. I will make long eye contact with girls right in front of their boyfriends, even if their boyfriends look like bodybuilders. I can hold my own in a fight with most anyone, but even if a guy is twice my size, I have no fear. I will try to seduce women who I know are engaged just to make them feel pain. I have no empathy so I don’t care about their pain and actually enjoy it. When women look at me in class and try to get me to look back, I will ignore them just to humiliate them in front of the class. Or if an attractive woman is trying to make eye contact with me, I’ll pretend I’m interested in a less attractive girl. Needless to say, I hate women. However, I also badly want to have a girlfriend. I feel this is one of the many conflicting states of the narcissist […].

Not having emotions is a powerful tool in attracting women because women are attracted to guys who don’t want them. Women want what they can’t have. It’s easy for me to play hard to get and I can easily outlast a woman who’s playing hard to get, which most men can’t do. I know I’ll never actually be able to have a relationship with these women, so it doesn’t bother me if a semester ends without having pursued a relationship. So I have many “victims” from my school years, but the biggest victim is myself since I’ve spent years upon years alone.

[…] I see women as predators who are only interested in draining a man of his money while offering as little as she can get away with in return. After the man has been consumed, he is decapitated (divorced) while she runs off with another man. I’m not sure if this view is due to NPD or what I’ve seen my friends (colleagues) go through. There is a book called “The Predatory Female” that probably helped cement this view. I’ve also noticed that in times when I’ve had no money, I didn’t exist to women.

I now realize I quit my previous well-paying job due to a lack of narcissistic supply. A somatic narcissist needs attention from women, and they were pretty much non-existent where I worked. The most abundant place for narcissistic supply is a university, and after receiving a degree, the cerebral narcissist can receive more NS because of it.

When I saw the movie Batman “The Dark Knight”, I was intrigued by the character of the Joker. He had no fear, didn’t care about anything (even money), and caused havoc ever where he went. His actions made no sense and he was unpredictable, but he wasn’t stupid. He was omnipotent because he didn’t care if he was caught, or if he was killed, and was capable of doing anything. He had no empathy caused havoc for the fun of it.

My mentality is very simple and childlike and I don’t like speaking with other adults. If someone spoke with me for 10 minutes, they would think I’m a normal person, but it’s just a matter of time before I say something factual but very insensitive, which causes the person to hate me. The only emotions I feel are jealousy and rage. When I see a guy with an attractive women, I want to attack him and have daydreams of attacking him while the woman watches in horror.

[…] the chance for healing from NPD is bleak. Even if I were to get into a relationship with a woman, I would probably just cause her a lot of pain before dumping her when she’s no longer a source of NS.