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Joined: 12/13/2004
Msg: 1
characteristics of a sociopath/psychopathPage 1 of 13    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)
does any of this sound familiar...

Antisocial Personality, Sociopathy, and Psychopathy


Hare's PCL-R 20-item checklist is based on Cleckley's 16-item checklist, and the following is a discussion of the concepts in the PCL-R.

But first of all, here is Cleckley's original list of symptoms of a psychopath:

1. Considerable superficial charm and average or above average intelligence.

2. Absence of delusions and other signs of irrational thinking

3. Absence of anxiety or other "neurotic" symptoms considerable poise, calmness, and verbal facility.

4. Unreliability, disregard for obligations no sense of responsibility, in matters of little and great import.

5.Untruthfulness and insincerity

7. Antisocial behavior which is inadequately motivated and poorly planned, seeming to stem from an inexplicable impulsiveness.

7.Inadequately motivated antisocial behavior

8.Poor judgment and failure to learn from experience

9. Pathological egocentricity. Total self-centeredness incapacity for real love and attachment.

10. General poverty ot deep and lasting emotions.

11. Lack of any true insight, inability to see oneself as others do.

12. Ingratitude for any special considerations, kindness, and trust.

13. Fantastic and objectionable behavior, after drinking and sometimes even when not drinking--vulgarity, rudeness, quick mood shifts, pranks.

14. No history of genuine suicide attempts.

15. An impersonal, trivial, and poorly integrated seX life.

16. Failure to have a life plan and to live in any ordered way, unless it be one promoting self-defeat.

"...More often than not, the typical psychopath will seem particularly agreeable and make a distinctly positive impression when he is first encountered. Alert and friendly in his attitude, he is easy to talk with and seems to have a good many genuine interests. There is nothing at all odd or queer about him, and in every respect he tends to embody the concept of a well-adjusted, happy person. Nor does he, on the other hand, seem to be artificially exerting himself like one who is covering up or who wants to sell you a bill of goods. He would seldom be confused with the professional backslapper or someone who is trying to ingratiate himself for a concealed purpose. Signs of affectation or excessive affability are not characteristic. He looks like the real thing.

"Very often indications of good sense and sound reasoning will emerge, and one is likely to feel soon after meeting him that this normal and pleasant person is also one with -high abilities. Psychometric tests also very frequently show him of superior intelligence. More than the average person, he is likely to seem free from social or emotional impediments, from the minor distortions, peculiarities, and awkwardnesses so common even among the successful. Such superficial characteristics are not universal in this group but they are very common..."

"...It must be granted of course that the psychopath has some affect. Affect is, perhaps, a component in the sum of life reactions even in the unicellular protoplasmic entity. Certainly in all mammals it is obvious. The relatively petty states of pleasure, vexation, and animosity experienced by the psychopath have been mentioned. The opinion here maintained is that he fails to know all those more serious and deeply moving affective states which make up the tragedy and triumph of ordinary life, of life at the level of important human experience..."

Hare's Checklist

1. GLIB and SUPERFICIAL CHARM -- the tendency to be smooth, engaging, charming, slick, and verbally facile. Psychopathic charm is not in the least shy, self-conscious, or afraid to say anything. A psychopath never gets tongue-tied. They have freed themselves from the social conventions about taking turns in talking, for example.

2. GRANDIOSE SELF-WORTH -- a grossly inflated view of one's abilities and self-worth, self-assured, opinionated,****, a braggart. Psychopaths are arrogant people who believe they are superior human beings.

3. NEED FOR STIMULATION or PRONENESS TO BOREDOM -- an excessive need for novel, thrilling, and exciting stimulation; taking chances and doing things that are risky. Psychopaths often have a low self-discipline in carrying tasks through to completion because they get bored easily. They fail to work at the same job for any length of time, for example, or to finish tasks that they consider dull or routine.

4. PATHOLOGICAL LYING -- can be moderate or high; in moderate form, they will be shrewd, crafty, cunning, sly, and clever; in extreme form, they will be deceptive, deceitful, underhanded, unscrupulous, manipulative, and dishonest.

5. CONNING AND MANIPULATIVENESS- the use of deceit and deception to cheat, con, or defraud others for personal gain; distinguished from Item #4 in the degree to which exploitation and callous ruthlessness is present, as reflected in a lack of concern for the feelings and suffering of one's victims.

6. LACK OF REMORSE OR GUILT -- a lack of feelings or concern for the losses, pain, and suffering of victims; a tendency to be unconcerned, dispassionate, coldhearted, and unempathic. This item is usually demonstrated by a disdain for one's victims.

7. SHALLOW AFFECT -- emotional poverty or a limited range or depth of feelings; interpersonal coldness in spite of signs of open gregariousness.

8. CALLOUSNESS and LACK OF EMPATHY -- a lack of feelings toward people in general; cold, contemptuous, inconsiderate, and tactless.

9. PARASITIC LIFESTYLE -- an intentional, manipulative, selfish, and exploitative financial dependence on others as reflected in a lack of motivation, low self-discipline, and inability to begin or complete responsibilities.

10. POOR BEHAVIORAL CONTROLS -- expressions of irritability, annoyance, impatience, threats, aggression, and verbal abuse; inadequate control of anger and temper; acting hastily.

11. PROMISCUOUS SEXUAL BEHAVIOR -- a variety of brief, superficial relations, numerous affairs, and an indiscriminate selection of sexual partners; the maintenance of several relationships at the same time; a history of attempts to sexually coerce others into sexual activity or taking great pride at discussing sexual exploits or conquests.

12. EARLY BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS -- a variety of behaviors prior to age 13, including lying, theft, cheating, vandalism, bullying, sexual activity, fire-setting, glue-sniffing, alcohol use, and running away from home.

13. LACK OF REALISTIC, LONG-TERM GOALS -- an inability or persistent failure to develop and execute long-term plans and goals; a nomadic existence, aimless, lacking direction in life.

14. IMPULSIVITY -- the occurrence of behaviors that are unpremeditated and lack reflection or planning; inability to resist temptation, frustrations, and urges; a lack of deliberation without considering the consequences; foolhardy, rash, unpredictable, erratic, and reckless.

15. IRRESPONSIBILITY -- repeated failure to fulfill or honor obligations and commitments; such as not paying bills, defaulting on loans, performing sloppy work, being absent or late to work, failing to honor contractual agreements.

16. FAILURE TO ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR OWN ACTIONS -- a failure to accept responsibility for one's actions reflected in low conscientiousness, an absence of dutifulness, antagonistic manipulation, denial of responsibility, and an effort to manipulate others through this denial.

17. MANY SHORT-TERM MARITAL RELATIONSHIPS -- a lack of commitment to a long-term relationship reflected in inconsistent, undependable, and unreliable commitments in life, including marital.

18. JUVENILE DELINQUENCY -- behavior problems between the ages of 13-18; mostly behaviors that are crimes or clearly involve aspects of antagonism, exploitation, aggression, manipulation, or a callous, ruthless tough-mindedness.

19. REVOCATION OF CONDITION RELEASE -- a revocation of probation or other conditional release due to technical violations, such as carelessness, low deliberation, or failing to appear.

20. CRIMINAL VERSATILITY -- a diversity of types of criminal offenses, regardless if the person has been arrested or convicted for them; taking great pride at getting away with crimes.
characteristics of a sociopath/psychopath
Posted: 5/11/2005 4:21:29 AM
The funny thing is that you will run into many people who are for the most part balanced, though display one or a few of those traits. I for example may be considered antisocial, in the way that I don't approach many people and I'm often told that I am very quiet by most people I meet... though I tend to rationalize it with a lack of common interest, as in such, I don't relate to the things most people I meet do. Who knows, I could very well be a head case.
Joined: 12/13/2004
Msg: 3
characteristics of a sociopath/psychopath
Posted: 5/11/2005 4:35:25 AM
not everyone who falls outside the norms of society is a sociopath. these are people who care nothing for ANY of the norms, or for other people. the main criteria for a diagnosis of sociopathology is a total lack of empathy.
Joined: 4/7/2005
Msg: 4
view profile
characteristics of a sociopath/psychopath
Posted: 5/11/2005 5:58:29 AM
Ok reading the textbook definition of this means what? What purpose does this serve?

Umm.... what does the DSM-IV state for each thing? And how many "characteristics" does a person need to have to even be diagnosed with any of these?

I'm still not sure about the purpose of you typing out the characteristics. Anyone can have any number of those characterisitcs yet NOT be a sociopath or psychopath. It's similar to personality disorders.

To the author.... what is the point to this thread???????
Joined: 3/18/2005
Msg: 5
characteristics of a sociopath/psychopath
Posted: 5/11/2005 5:59:39 AM
I know alot of people with many of those characteristics. Myself included, I have some. like 40% of those characteristics are common in the general population, therefor are a little too vague to use as targeting tools in my opinion. Because many of those characteristics can be just normal personality traits developed because of how someone is raised. They arn't all bad, or indications of something more. It's just that in rare circumstances, they can be.

Information like this is generally taken extremely seriously, and re-analyzed many times over by professionals before they ever come to a decision about a sociopath or psychopath, which is also extremely rare in itself because the individual is usually in some state of captivity before they are realized to be a psycho.

But for the common person, if you give them information like this, I find it just makes them paranoid, and they start fingering sociopaths and psychopath's everywhere! lol

Just my two cents. Not to be taken as words set in stone, just what I believe.

Joined: 5/10/2005
Msg: 6
characteristics of a sociopath/psychopath
Posted: 5/11/2005 6:00:47 AM
If you have 40% all you need is a girlfriend with the other 60% and together you can have the relationship from hell. Unless these cancel each other out. I would have to see the next page of the book to know.
Joined: 4/7/2005
Msg: 7
view profile
characteristics of a sociopath/psychopath
Posted: 5/11/2005 6:01:48 AM
Read it up in the DSM-IV..... NOT all textbooks are right.
Joined: 10/18/2004
Msg: 8
characteristics of a sociopath/psychopath
Posted: 5/11/2005 6:12:50 AM
Tremendous differences between Psychopaths and Sociopaths

Just ask any of my vic.... at least people who used to know me well
Joined: 3/18/2005
Msg: 9
characteristics of a sociopath/psychopath
Posted: 5/11/2005 6:27:20 AM
whoa, if you have 40% of those characteristics in yourself alone, then sure, go seek some help, lol. I ment I have one or two, but 40% can be found in the general population via random people, no all in one person, then there is probley an issue, lol

Look, a green thing! ---->
Joined: 11/13/2004
Msg: 10
characteristics of a sociopath/psychopath
Posted: 5/11/2005 6:44:23 AM
I have a much more abbreviated definition of psycopath and sociopath:

Psychopath -> Does not know the difference between right and wrong.

Sociopath -> DOES know the difference between right and wrong but DOES NOT CARE.

To me, sociopaths are the more scary of the two.
Joined: 1/1/2005
Msg: 11
characteristics of a sociopath/psychopath
Posted: 5/11/2005 6:52:34 AM
With the exeception of charm and lying I would fit most of that description.

Does that make me a sociopath or just an azzhole
Joined: 12/13/2004
Msg: 12
characteristics of a sociopath/psychopath
Posted: 5/11/2005 6:15:42 PM
the difference between a sociopath and a psychopath is one of degree, with the psychopath being the worse or most violent of the two. a psychopath DOES know the difference between right and wrong, and like the sociopath, doesn't care.

to the guys above - which 40% applies to you? not all of the criteria need to be met for a diagnosis of sociopathology. pretty much the defining characteristic is the total lack of empathy and complete disregard for others. if you don't see the point of this thread, then maybe i overestimated the general intelligence level of the pond.
Joined: 11/13/2004
Msg: 13
characteristics of a sociopath/psychopath
Posted: 5/11/2005 6:19:39 PM
if you don't see the point of this thread, then maybe i overestimated the general intelligence level of the pond.

1,3,5,7,8,16 could be applied to the quote above......did I miss any? You asked if any of it sounded familiar. Sounds like there was an implication but without a context for the question, the question was kind of lost.

Joined: 12/13/2004
Msg: 14
characteristics of a sociopath/psychopath
Posted: 5/11/2005 6:22:29 PM
like many other threads that are meant to help people, this one was offered for those people who might be dealing with this kind of person, so that they might be able to identify them more easily. they are not uncommon. you see a lot of politicians, talk show hosts, and religious leaders who fit the profile nicely.
Joined: 5/3/2005
Msg: 15
characteristics of a sociopath/psychopath
Posted: 5/11/2005 6:22:50 PM
Bunnies.... I feel the need to boil bunnies......
Joined: 2/26/2005
Msg: 16
characteristics of a sociopath/psychopath
Posted: 5/11/2005 6:27:07 PM
[GLIB and SUPERFICIAL CHARM -- the tendency to be smooth, engaging, charming, slick, and verbally facile. Psychopathic charm is not in the least shy, self-conscious, or afraid to say anything. A psychopath never gets tongue-tied. They have freed themselves from the social conventions about taking turns in talking, for example.]

This makes me laugh as this is how I am at all times! Guess I must be a psychopath!
Joined: 4/23/2005
Msg: 17
characteristics of a sociopath/psychopath
Posted: 5/11/2005 6:27:10 PM
^^^^^^mmmmmmmm...bunnies. and ketchup.
Joined: 10/30/2003
Msg: 18
view profile
characteristics of a sociopath/psychopath
Posted: 5/11/2005 7:13:46 PM
hmm better to be dumb with empathy and sympathy with scoundrels..."Scott, I'm hip see? ,' dirka dirka dirka.'
Joined: 5/30/2004
Msg: 19
characteristics of a sociopath/psychopath
Posted: 5/11/2005 11:45:39 PM
Yeah, well, let's not forget, all of those personality traits do not describe a psychopath at all unless point #20 (the final point) is on the checklist..... the person is actually a high offending criminal. So yes, let us watch out for people who take pride in their long criminal record. What an enlightening post.
Joined: 12/13/2004
Msg: 20
characteristics of a sociopath/psychopath
Posted: 5/12/2005 6:36:21 AM

Yeah, well, let's not forget, all of those personality traits do not describe a psychopath at all unless point #20 (the final point) is on the checklist..... the person is actually a high offending criminal. So yes, let us watch out for people who take pride in their long criminal record.

yup, waaaay overestimated.....
Joined: 4/7/2005
Msg: 21
view profile
characteristics of a sociopath/psychopath
Posted: 5/12/2005 6:44:42 AM
so you are generalizing and causing us to presume that all people are either a sociopath or psychopath???

You don't say how many of those characterisitcs one needs to be labelled with either disorder... and if you want to make this an actual thread for people "dealing with someone like that" why not list all the personality disorders and their symptoms with recommendations on labelling a person as having the disorder.

I cannot get over the misconception of all of this. Pardon me if I have missed the point of this thread all together.
Joined: 12/13/2004
Msg: 22
characteristics of a sociopath/psychopath
Posted: 5/12/2005 6:46:12 AM
yer pardoned.
Joined: 4/7/2005
Msg: 23
view profile
characteristics of a sociopath/psychopath
Posted: 5/12/2005 6:47:24 AM
no explanation????

I take it you are in school studying this stuff!!!!

Been there... done that.
Joined: 5/11/2005
Msg: 24
characteristics of a sociopath/psychopath
Posted: 5/12/2005 6:51:34 AM

if you don't see the point of this thread, then maybe i overestimated the general intelligence level of the pond.

While you're out collecting information on scary personalities, can you look up something about a superiority complex?
Joined: 12/13/2004
Msg: 25
characteristics of a sociopath/psychopath
Posted: 5/12/2005 6:56:42 AM
have studied this before, but not currently. looked this up on the net because it came up in another thread. these personality types are common, and it would be helpful for people to be able to identify them. will be back when i find the other stuff i was looking for.

Most are males, but an increasing number are female. They have otherwise normal temperaments (as opposed to psychopaths who have abnormal temperaments). Some are aggressive, fearless sensation seekers, and others are Machiavellian manipulators. A Machiavellian is a personality type who is a cross between an antisocial personality and a narcissist, and someone who also has an extremely high sense of entitlement. The one thing that all sociopaths have in common is that they are "too much" to handle for their parents or anyone else. It's common to refer to them as unsocialized, but the dyssocial sociopath does socialize to the mores and values of a dyssocial outgroup, like a gang. Let's explore the four (4) subtypes of sociopaths:

COMMON SOCIOPATHS are the largest subtype and have a weak or unelaborated conscience. They are not ashamed by the same things as you or I would be ashamed of. They are like feral children grown up, taking pleasures and gratifying impulses at every opportunity or temptation. They especially enjoy and take pride in bending or breaking the rules. As teenagers, they are often runaways. As adults, they are often geographically mobile, living in shelters, or taking advantage of welfare systems. They are experienced shoplifters. They have quite active sex lives. They are usually of average intelligence, but don't do well in school and never seem to break out of low-paying dead-end jobs. Nevertheless, they seem genuinely happy with their lives, unburdened by any sense of negative self-worth or the fact that they have not been a functional, contributing member of society.

ALIENATED SOCIOPATHS have never developed the ability to love, empathize, or affiliate in real life with another person. They will show more emotion toward their pet or a personal artifact than toward a person. Or, they may hate animals and live out their emotional life by watching TV (identification with soap opera characters is a common pattern). Dating and marriage relationships will be very barren and empty. They won't get along with the neighbors. They live in a shell. They have a cold, callous attitude toward human suffering or any social problem in the society they live in. They just don't care because it's outside their range of empathy. Most will believe they are justified in this because they feel they were cheated in some way themselves by society, and a few will be more than happy to rant and rave about it to anyone who listens. They are chronic complainers, and underneath it all, they would like to see nothing better than all of society destroyed.

AGGRESSIVE SOCIOPATHS derive strong, yet nonperverse gratification from harming others. They like to hurt, frighten, tyrannize, bully, and manipulate. They do it for a sense of power and control, and will often only drop subtle hints about what they are up to. They polish their aggressive, domineering manner in such a way to disguise any intimidation others might feel. They seek out positions of power, such as parent, teacher, bureaucrat, supervisor, or police officer. Their style is one of passive aggression as they systematically go about sabotaging the ideas of others to get their ideas in place. In their spare time, they like to hunt or occasionally do sadistic things like find stray dogs and cut them up. They are usually effective at getting their way, and are especially vindictive if resisted or crossed. They don't follow the social norm of reciprocity like others do.

DYSSOCIAL SOCIOPATHS identify and hold an allegiance with a dyssocial, outcast, or predatory subculture. Any subculture will do, as long as it runs counter to established authority. They are capable of intense loyalty, and even a feeling of guilt and shame, within such limited circles. They seem to continually fall upon bad luck and bad companions, however. While they will constantly complain that none of this is their fault, behind it all is a kind of self-defeating mechanism in the poor choices they made themselves.


Psychopaths cannot be understood in terms of antisocial rearing or development. They are simply morally depraved individuals who represent the "monsters" in our society. They are unstoppable and untreatable predators whose violence is planned, purposeful and emotionless. The violence continues until it reaches a plateau at age 50 or so, then tapers off. Their emotionlessness reflects a detached, fearless, and possibly dissociated state, revealing a lower autonomic nervous system and lack of anxiety. It's difficult to say what motivates them - control and dominance possibly - since their life history will usually show no bonds with others nor much rhyme to their reason (other than the planning of violence). They tend to operate with a grandiose demeanor, an attitude of entitlement, an insatiable appetite, and a tendency toward sadism. Fearlessness is probably the prototypical (core) characteristic (the low-fear hypothesis). It's helpful to think of them as high-speed vehicles with ineffective brakes. Certain organic (brain) disorders and hormonal imbalances mimic the state of mind of a psychopath.

There are four (4) different subtypes of psychopaths. The oldest distinction was made by Cleckley back in 1941 between primary and secondary. However, we'll explore the other two subtypes first:

DISTEMPERED PSYCHOPATHS are the kind that seem to fly into a rage or frenzy more easily and more often than other subtypes. Their frenzy will resemble an epileptic fit. They are also usually men with incredibly strong sex drives, capable of astonishing feats of sexual energy, and seemingly obsessed by sexual urges during a large part of their waking lives. Powerful cravings also seem to characterize them, as in drug addiction, kleptomania, pedophilia, any illicit or illegal indulgence. They like the endorphin "high" or "rush" off of excitement and risk-taking. The serial-rapist-murderer known as the Boston Strangler was such a psychopath.

CHARISMATIC PSYCHOPATHS are charming, attractive liars. They are usually gifted at some talent or another, and they use it to their advantage in manipulating others. They are usually fast-talkers, and possess an almost demonic ability to persuade others out of everything they own, even their lives. Leaders of religious sects or cults, for example, might be psychopaths if they lead their followers to their deaths. This subtype often comes to believe in their own fictions. They are irresistible.

PRIMARY PSYCHOPATHS do not respond to punishment, apprehension, stress, or disapproval. They seem to be able to inhibit their antisocial impulses most of the time, not because of conscience, but because it suits their purpose at the time. Words do not seem to have the same meaning for them as they do for us. In fact, it's unclear if they even grasp the meaning of their own words, a condition that Cleckley called "semantic aphasia." They don't follow any life plan, and it seems as if they are incapable of experiencing any genuine emotion.

SECONDARY PSYCHOPATHS are risk-takers, but are also more likely to be stress-reactive, worriers, and guilt-prone. They expose themselves to more stress than the average person, but they are as vulnerable to stress as the average person. They are daring, adventurous, unconventional people who began playing by their own rules early in life. They are strongly driven by a desire to escape or avoid pain, but are unable to resist temptation. As their anxiety increases toward some forbidden object, so does their attraction to it. They live their lives by the lure of temptation.
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