The Psychopathic Personality
Are the psychopath, sociopath, and someone with the Antisocial Personality Disorder one and the same? The DSM says “yes”. The psychopath has antisocial traits for sure but they are coupled with and enhanced by callousness, ruthlessness, extreme lack of empathy, deficient impulse control, deceitfulness, and sadism.
The psychopath refuses to conform to social norms and obey the law. He often inflicts pain and damage on his victims. But does that make this pattern of conduct a mental illness? The psychopath has no conscience or empathy. But is this necessarily pathological? Like narcissists, psychopaths lack empathy and regard other people as mere instruments of gratification or as objects to be manipulated.
Most people accept that others have rights and obligations. The psychopath rejects this. As far as he is concerned, only might is right. People have no rights and he, the psychopath, has no obligations that derive from the “social contract”. The psychopath holds himself to be above conventional morality and the law. The psychopath cannot delay gratification. He wants everything and wants it now. His whims, urges, catering to his needs, and the satisfaction of his drives take precedence over the needs, preferences, and emotions of even his nearest and dearest.
Consequently, psychopaths feel no remorse when they hurt or defraud others. They don’t possess even the most rudimentary conscience. They rationalize their behavior and intellectualize it. Psychopaths fall prey to their own primitive defense mechanisms. The psychopath firmly believes that the world is a hostile, merciless place, prone to the survival of the fittest and that people are either “all good” or “all evil”. Psychopaths are abusively exploitative and incapable of true love or intimacy..
Psychopaths are irresponsible and unreliable. They do not honor contracts, undertakings, and obligations. They are unstable and unpredictable and rarely hold a job for long, repay their debts, or maintain long-term intimate relationships.