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12 Signs You're Friends With a Psychopath

By HERWriter
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How you can tell you're friends with a psychopath via Pexels

In college I came across a book called “The Sociopath Next Door,” written by Martha Stout in Barnes & Noble and it immediately drew my attention. I mean, don’t we all want to know if a sociopath or psychopath is living next to us, or even walking nearby?

And just a few days ago I found an article online called “How I discovered I have the brain of a psychopath,” written by James Fallon, a neuroscientist. The book was first published in 2005, and the article was written earlier this month.

So nine years later we are still fascinated with the topic of psychopaths.

Part of the reason could be the fact that we still don’t have many answers. Depending on who you ask, "psychopath" and "sociopath" are either interchangeable terms or completely different.

For example, according to the book “The Sociopath Next Door,” the terms “psychopath,” “sociopath” and “antisocial personality disorder” are used somewhat interchangeably.

Antisocial personality disorder is an actual diagnosable mental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

It is briefly defined as “a pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others,” according to the DSM-5, although it is of course much more complicated than that.

There are other personality disorders that also share some traits of sociopaths and psychopaths, such as narcissistic personality disorder.

However, in society we tend to use phrases like “sociopath” or “psychopath” casually to describe someone who lacks a conscience, needs constant stimulation, tends to have social charm and a ”grandiose sense of self-worth,” according to Stout. They tend to lack empathy and affection, and engage in criminal behavior.

Ronald Schouten, MD, and James Silver, JD, are the authors of the book “Almost A Psychopath.” They argue that “psychopathy is a psychological condition in which the individual shows a profound lack of empathy for the feelings of others, a willingness to engage in immoral and antisocial behavior for short-term gains, and extreme egocentricity.”

Add a Comment11 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I've been guilty of calling my partner "psychotic", because I didn't understand the term.

She has Narcissistic Personality and is Sociopathic - she is also in her late 80s, needs 24 hour care, and no home would take her. She takes away my will to live

February 13, 2016 - 11:14am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I hope things get better for you. That is definitely a combination. Off the subject, since you brought up "psychotic". Always remember; A Psychopath and Sociopath are not clinically insane, nor legally insane, they are not crazy at all, but they will make you feel crazy. They ARE morally insane, as they have little to no conscience at all. Unlike the "Psychotic" (mental illness stemming from psychosis, schizophrenia, brain damage etc.), Psychotic's are legally insane. In rare cases there have been Psychotic-Psychopaths, Ed Gein is a prime example, and a fictional example would be Norman Bates. God Bless You.

March 3, 2016 - 5:31pm
EmpowHER Guest

There are so many articles on the internet of this type, telling you how to identify a psychopath. So I'm going to help you with this one, so you get it right. A lot of times when people have an argument or a disagreement, one of them may say to the other "You're crazy... You're psycho...". Because they're angry or upset. But most people do not know the meaning of that word. "You're schizo!". People are emotional beings and they sometimes exhibit irrational behavior. Getting angry or upset even yelling or throwing things, while childish, may scare others into labeling you. But they're wrong, you are only human. I used to wonder if someone was schizo... But then I was at a friends house and their uncle was schizo and he held a conversation with the fridge and the dishwasher for 6 hours. A real eye opener. Some of the sweetest kindest people in the world can't hold a job, usually because they let themselves be walked all over, or in the case of social anxiety, because they are afraid to talk to people in authority such as bosses. Because they are afraid, they never explain anything, while others constantly complain to the boss. You'd think the boss would be greatful but usually it bosses direct their focus and anger at the one who is not telling on the others, believing it's all their fault. Sociopaths manipulate people, and lie constantly. Psychopaths murder people. Psychopaths usually have a body somewhere, if they are bad. Good psychopaths raised in a good home, by good parents, on the other hand, become excellent public speakers, policemen, fbi agents, and even firemen. Phrases like "psychopathic tendencies" annoy me, b/c people try to put their inexperienced and limited view of the "crazy" arena on normal people who are angry, or having a bad day. I see a lot where a sad individual has written about his or her psychopath boyfriend/girlfriend on the internet. Maybe the truth is that they are not psycho, maybe they just didn't really love you, or maybe they got to know you and decided you are not the person you claim to be. It does not make them a psychopath, and to demonize someone that way is a bit disconcerting I think, especially by liquor bar and church fence psychologists.

September 9, 2015 - 5:52am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

spoken like a neutral intelligent human being, though psycho behaviour should not be underestimated. Everyone is a psycho sometimes, only the real ones are all the time. But they can also help for "good". Whatever good means nowadays in a world of sociopathic behaviour - reconnaissance through digital media.

February 13, 2016 - 6:22am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Spoken like a true psychopath.

January 5, 2016 - 10:34am
EmpowHER Guest

Quick to anger, bad drivers, liers, makes you feel unsafe, not adhering to laws... Sounds like the police to me

July 6, 2015 - 3:23pm
EmpowHER Guest

"sociopaths make you feel uncomfortable and unsafe"

quite the opposite.
otherwise we'd be no good at what we do ;)

March 5, 2015 - 12:38pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Your statement made me feel uncomfortable and unsafe, and you claim to be a sociopath, so...

July 8, 2015 - 9:34am

Great article.  We all make mistakes in relationships, but the glaring difference with sociopaths is their inability to apologize.  For me, that's the telltale sign.



December 19, 2014 - 10:15am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Misty Jacobs)

In my experience you're very wrong.I know several sociopaths between family and "friends", they can and do apologize if it's going to be beneficial for them, it's just usually a lie and for me when i apologize it's usually only because i will benefit from it in someway, at least that's how I personally am, I can't really speak for others

May 6, 2015 - 5:07pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.