Victims and Survivors of Psychopaths

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Homepage: APD, Sociopath, or Psychopath?

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Currently these three disorders fall under the diagnosis of APD in the American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM).  In the ICD-10, the diagnostic reference book developed by the World Health Organization, and accepted throughout Europe, these disorders fall under the diagnostic category of Dissocial PD.

The “psychopath” was the first disorder formally recognized by psychiatry.  In 1952 the word “psychopath” was officially replaced with “sociopath PD”, however, both words were often used interchangeably.  In 1968 “sociopath PD” was replaced with “personality disorder antisocial type”.  But the word “psychopath” is used extensively in the companion volume, Treatment Psychiatric Disorders, published in 1995 by the American Psychiatric Press.  The PCL-R (psychopathy checklist) is considered an integral part of forensic psychiatry. (Cook, 1997).

For researchers, due to the need for accuracy and precision, the terms “sociopath”, “psychopath”, and “APD” have different meanings.   Although most psychopaths meet the diagnostic criteria for APD, most people with APD do not meet the criteria for the psychopath.  APD is a condition commonly found in criminal populations.  The diagnosis is focused more on behavioral aspects, rather than personality traits.

On the surface, the sociopath may resemble the psychopath, but the sociopath can have a capacity to build relationships and to feel some degree of guilt or remorse over harming someone they care about.  They may feel loyalties to certain groups, such as gangs or the mafia, and will refrain from lying and exploiting within that group.  But they care nothing for social norms, have no loyalties to society at large, and will break the rules of society.  So, the sociopath will exhibit psychopathic type behavior in some contexts, but not in others.

The psychopath does not feel guilt or remorse, and must meet the criteria of the PCL-R psychopathy checklist.  Dr. Hare compared the “sociopath” and the “psychopath” as having a “cold” versus having “pneumonia”


Written by victimsofpsychopaths

January 28, 2009 at 11:39 am

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  1. I lived with a psychopath in Seattle for three years. He used me like a vampire. His manipulation skills were really good and hidden by his quiet nature and physical beauty.

    He was selfish and determined, however he was also warmly affectionate and a great lover. He was always interested in his own future, not ours as a couple, and he walked out on me when I was extremely attached.
    I was constantly trying to bring him into “normal or moderate” behavior – he was set out for the extremes and joined a cult called school of the 4th way. He is now a “Raw Foodist and he & new woman have their own little cult following” She shaped his new identity, his new friends, and all their activities in the RF world. He latched onto her quickly….

    It took me 4 months to get him out of the 4th way cult – which was heavily into mind-control… This psychopath is a bit developementally slow – and his mom committed suicide when he was 11, then he was raised by an aggressive alcholic father. Heavy Damage.

    I am in my 3rd year of recovery., progress is slow but I am making progress. I have spent these 3 years without a man, Love relationship in my life. I live alone and sometimes it feels like solitary confinement and torture –

    and for the past 2 years he has been living with another woman – the first he met after me. I feel abandoned, even though he is sick. I wonder why he gets to have a good life while I am still in pain?

    I have spent the past year making new friends, and have found a good job in a new city. I hope to one day be finished with the HeartBreak.

    Any more comments – of encouragement?
    Thanks. AngelFace


    January 14, 2010 at 8:35 pm

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