There are no impulsive psychopaths
Sociopaths are impulsive, psychopaths are controlled
There are psychological terms that have quietly crept into everyday use. So quietly and secretly that you use them as a matter of course, but seldom think about what they actually mean. The term psychopath is one of them, as is the word sociopath.
But is it actually the same? Not at all, says US criminologist Scott Bonn from Drew University.
Although both are listed in the US manual of psychiatry, the "DSM-5", under the keyword "antisocial personalities" and therefore share some characteristics, they nevertheless differ significantly. In his book "Why we love serial killers" Bonn explains that this difference is sometimes misunderstood even by experts.
Because psychopaths and sociopaths often show the same behavior: They do not respect any laws or social norms, they recognize other people's right to self-determination, they tend to be extremely manipulative and violent and show no feelings of guilt or remorse.
But the reasons behind these behaviors are different for sociopaths and psychopaths.
Sociopaths do have feelings, but they cannot control them. Above all, fear and anger slip away quickly: They become easily nervous, feel marginalized, offended, or treated incorrectly, and then tend to be extremely impulsive and aggressive. Because of this, they often live on the fringes of society, have no permanent job and no permanent partnership.
Sociopaths often want closer ties with other people, but rarely manage to maintain them over long periods of time due to their emotional irritability. Sociopaths stand out - and other people often intuitively avoid them. When they commit crimes, it is usually impulsive and unplanned.
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