Victims and Survivors of Psychopaths

from victim to survivor

Sociopath, Psychopath, APD?

with 14 comments

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).

Although all three disorders fall under the umbrella of APD in the DSM,  to researchers the terms “sociopath”, “psychopath” and “APD” have different meanings defined by different criteria.  Researchers strive for accuracy and precision and use specific criteria that must be met for each disorder, much the same as breast cancer and stomach cancer are both defined as “cancer”, yet have different symptoms the Doctor uses in defining the “type” of cancer.

 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

March 22, 2009 at 4:19 am

14 Responses

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  1. where the sociopaths in your life religious, and if so whatreligion did they follow?


    January 5, 2010 at 10:15 pm

  2. 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 developmentally slow – and his mom committed suicide when he was 11, then he was raised by an aggressive alcoholic 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 8:40 pm

  3. i was with a pyschopath for 6 years.he beat me he robbed me financially he betrayed me and then he died of cancer.he wanted me to die and i nearly did.i have ptsd and will never be the woman again that i was.i was so used of him harrassing and stalking me that i went into the most terrible bereavment and survivors guilt when he finally died.i loved that man like no other,daily he threaten my life/i use to say to him you cant kill me im already dead.thats how i feel confusing as it sounds.


    April 21, 2010 at 9:10 pm

  4. I spent 10 years with a psychopath.. In the last few months her mask dropped and she changed into this totally cold selfish bitch that didn’t care at all about me and fought over every little thing she could possibly fight over. During the relationship there were loads of hints to her true nature from gloating about past relationships and how top shit she is. To contradictions like she would say she hated a person then act like their best friend when around them.
    My mind got foggy and i found my self-esteem and confidence totally destroyed. At this point we started to build a house together and she dropped me like a stone for a work mate. Only a few weeks into building the house, yep… that’s normal.

    After a few months passed and the fog cleared i started to see all the lies and cheating this person had been doing for years. I realised I was with a psychopath when I started to research a thing she said to me, “I love you, but I’m not in love with you” This was the exact same thing said to my cousin when his wife pretty much did the same thing. I come across forums where other people had this said to them and hinted that it could be a psychopath/sociopath they were with. When I researched it all come together.

    Just about every friend and family member i had come forward and told me their impressions of this person. She has now broken up with the new man and even tried to tell me to meet her for a long in-depth conversation about why she did what she did. My friends and I think it’s purely to try to get me back into her life. The new guy saw what i didn’t very fast. She had loads of issues but i never thought in a million years there would be people that just don’t have the physical ability to love and bond.

    Now i research everything i can on these people. Its helping me get over this person and 10 months later i have more confidence and self-esteem then i have had in over 8 or so years.

    To drhelpme, don’t worry about his life; it is a constant nightmare for him with a mask showing a bs fake personality to the world. He will never be happy, ever!! I have trust issues with females atm

    Which I’m working through and will get back. Try to research these people and understand their mindsets. It will help you regain trust in humanity. I’m not sure how long it’ll take me to get back my full confidence and self-esteem to a point where i feel like i’m worth it to another female but i hope soon.
    Thats the biggest issue i have atm, feeling like i’m worth it.


    June 20, 2010 at 2:34 am

  5. yep.


    November 10, 2010 at 8:04 am

  6. I was recently accused of being a sociopath, however; I feel that I am not one. My ex girlfriend of 8 months said that I used her, ruined her self-esteem, and never even cared about her. She and I had been friends for almost four years since I was around 25? I have inattentive ADHD badly, some social anxiety, and an genius level IQ. My upbringing was far above poverty level, I was never abused, and was actually very spoiled. I’m somewhat vain, care about my looks, and am known as charming. However; I love animals(never abused one), and own cats and dogs. Hunting is something I find sickening. I also never wet my bed. I actually cared about this girl(though I did lie about loving her), and even let her stay the night here when she had nowhere else to go(and no, I didn’t try to bang her.)

    I often joke about being a sociopath or psychopath, often use charm to get what I want, because I drank and drugged my way out of baseball early in college, and though close to finishing… haven’t found the time. I’m often called aloof, erratic, eccentric, a genius, a user, a vampire, etc… Couldn’t this just be the fact that I’m a slacker, and have become apathetic? Oh, this girl also was talking to another guy, and when I tried to leave, she threatened suicide. I stayed, and things progressively got worse. I drank more, didn’t work, and really felt stuck. Was I using her as she has stated? Am I a sociopath, even if psychopath would describe a few of my traits more accurately? I never once hit her, cheated on her, and didn’t try. I had a few opportunities, but never thought of it. I do lie a lot, but this is to spare peoples’ feelings usually or to dodge having(usually)a girlfriend flip out on me. She hit me, and I didn’t touch her, but tried to leave. So I admit that I did use her financially, and never loved her like that. But she’s the one who asked me to move in with her, while I was hesitant saying that we were good friends, and she pursued the relationship. With ADHD(inattentive type), the only thing that can keep my focus is playing sports, watching sports, films, awesome shows like AD, It’s Always Sunny and a few that were on Adult Swim(hate Family Guy.)

    I woke up one day, and she said we that had had sex, and that I had told her that I loved her. Honestly, those words rarely come from my mouth. I’m a huge drinker, and I know we had sex. But doubt that I said I loved her… and I just kept on saying it. She’d tell me she’d kill herself or didn’t know what she’d do if I didn’t or if I were lying. So would I be a sociopath? Or a psychopath? I feel bad that she says that I’ve destroyed her, and she’s been quite hostile towards me the past few times we’ve spoken(I took her cat because she couldn’t handle it and now have 4.) Probably shouldn’t have been so honest and told so many personal things over the internet, but just because I am glad I’m out of the relationship, and she cried at first(even attempting suicide)… I’m a soulless, evil monster?

    There were many things about her that I did not know(pill abuse, insane spending, lack of knowledge about simple things, etc.) A few of her intimate secrets she told me were nothing but lies. I caught her more than once… she was also quite critical of fat people though she seemed to be gaining weight. She’d call other girls ugly if they were far more attractive. Or she’d call them whores, say that they were fat(yet she was bigger or as big.) She also had tons of books about sociopaths, psychopaths, loved the movie Sybil, had the novel, and liked stuff that showed me that she wasn’t as intelligent as I had previously thought. She says that I was cruel for making fun of the t.v. shows she liked, and her favorite movies(wouldn’t call them films.) My self-esteem is the same, and I’ve started working out again(without telling her cause she’d flip), and I’m fit while she isn’t. I almost think that people throw these words around because they’re the ones who got hurt. It’s not exactly subtle that I’m somewhat immature, selfish, and aloof. But I don’t hurt people on purpose, and if I use someone it’s most often a situation where the girl lets me and says don’t worry about money, it’s okay! Other times I’m unaware of it… Right now, my life is a wreck, but chaos can be fun. And I’m out of a horrible relationship in which I used someone(being somewhat facetious.) So what do ya think? Am I just an asshole who has ADHD and a drinking problem, or am I a monster?

    Leslie Vernon

    November 16, 2010 at 11:01 am

  7. In response to Leslie Vernon – On the one hand, I think if you can question yourself about whether or not you’re a monster, then you probably aren’t. Sociopaths and Psychopaths don’t question themselves; they are always right and perfect in their own mind. However, would it kill you to give a little bit more? You may even find you enjoy giving. I mean honestly, giving is good for the heart. But if someone threatens suicide if you leave, then they do have some serious personal issues to address themselves. Just something to think about. Now I have a question regarding one particularly strange albeit breif, relationship I’ve had. One where the guy left me, but wouldn’t leave me alone. Did I love him? Yes. Did it hurt when he left? Yes. Did I do anything to stop him? No. Why? Because if I wanted to leave a relationship I would not want someone to beg me to stay either. If you want to go, there’s the door. Can’t say I won’t miss you, but take of yourself. So my question is: Could you say I was involved with a sociopath/psychopath? I have struggled with this question for years. I mean, who leaves you and then proceeds to ring your phone off the hook and follow you around town? Just a question. Any help answering this question would be appreciated.


    December 14, 2010 at 10:56 am

  8. I am four months out of a ten year relationship with s sociopath. He never hit me or abused me physically, I wasn’t aware I was being used but I was. I took out loans for us to build a life together, I paid for stuff, but so did he, but when I look back I always paid the lions share! We have a son together (he told me he had a vasectomy!!!!) so sadly I will have to keep some kind of contact with him. He borrowed money from my family, in secret. Everything happened to him, it was always somebody elses fault! He wore me down but I will be fine. He tried to drive a wedge between me and everyone dear to me, but it never worked. Don’t let anyone push your friends away, you need them to keep sane. Don’t confuse a sociopath with an axe wielding crazy person, these people are more subtle than that. They need an emotional and financial crutch, they need someone to lean on and feed off to feel good, they are like big fat cuckoos in your nest. If you feel that something doesn’t seem right it probably isn’t, trust your instincts, trust your friends and family. If someone seems too good to be true one minute but makes you feel crap the next question why that is. Your lover should make you feel how your friends make you feel but ten times more.


    April 26, 2011 at 10:56 pm

  9. I have been aiding a sociopath for the last five years. A young woman in my small town community I had just moverd to, who approached me and kept approaching me untill I caved and had some real chat time with her. She was an awkward and unatural person, but her enthusiasm for a friendship and her sob story won me over. I caught her lying many many times but for the most part it seemed like false brovado and trying to impress. Little did I know that she was in fact grooming me to be available to here at moments when she needed a safety net to avoid her own self made consequences. I am a christian and in a somewhat naive and misguided way devoted myself to her personal growth. She told me things I wanted to hear and I kept helping her. But there is a big difference between deception and discretion about ones personal life and she was using me. When I found the courage to face the ‘big reveal’ facing off with the real person instead of the one she had pretended to be I set up a situation where she was suddenly out of control. She treated me like an animal trainer would treat a dog that didn’t play dead, she was infuraited, not sorry at all that her massive deceptions had been revealed. She accused me of a list of crimes against her person, when she had been bleeding me dry using my sympathy for her false sob story for years. There was no sex, I am a married woman, there was nothing in it for me. I got PLAYED. Now with new eyes I read the words of Jesus, that there are people who choose to remain in darkness because they fear the revalation that light would bring. If he allows it than so must I. I don’t have to help. Charity doesn’t save anybody, it can keep the wolves from the door but it doesn’t open any. I am AWAKE and have no guilt now about the choices other people make. I did doubt my grip on reality for a few days, but was revolted by the thought of ever being used like that again. This woman took hours out of every week, I put food in her mouth and fed her kids, clothed them, paid debts, put fuel in the car…. on it went. Thousands of dollars this year alone, but worse, my belief, my trust, and my precious time. I have another friend who just today is having a double hip replacement with no general aneasthetic( she reacts badly, so spinal only). She is young is this is her second time. She is no ones victim, she keeps her commitments, and her word.Her laugh is authentic. She is brave and a beautiful soul, one of many sisters I am blessed to know. If the sociopath gets your imagination they get you. So who else do you know that is WORTH your attention. Give them a call, tell them you love them just for who they are, and the world is better with them in it. As far as that confrontation and giving the lier the flick, think of David, who picked up enough stones to kill Goliath AND Goliaths brothers. Believe.

    Karen S

    August 9, 2011 at 10:41 am

  10. Leslie, I heard somewhere, and this may be hear-say, that alcoholics’ behavior can mimic the behavior of sociopaths. You definitely have some of the traits. You’ve already demeaned your exgirlfriend in ways that aren’t just anger and hurt; you just think you are better than her. For example, you took her cat because YOU thought she couldn’t handle the cat? Why is that any of your business?


    November 29, 2012 at 4:45 am

  11. I have a brother and he is 18 now. I am only fifteen and he has been tormenting me and using me since about th age of ten and he displays all the sighns of a sociopath almost 24/7. The only thing is he only targets my family and most of all me since he’s older and I have no authority but he is not anti social at all and dosent seem to display the behavior to his friends. Would you still consider him a sociopath?


    December 13, 2012 at 7:03 am

  12. Spot on with this write-up, I actually believe that this web site needs much more attention.
    I’ll probably be back again to see more, thanks for the info!

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    May 8, 2013 at 7:56 pm

  13. I understand what you are going through, have been there and still trying to escape. Your article touched me…. hang on


    August 7, 2014 at 6:46 pm

  14. I’ve been with psychopaths my entire life. Both parents were malignant narcissists who re-married equally evil and abusive covert narcissists.

    My birth mother is still the most dangerous and manipulator I have ever known. She lives for the misery of others …. and the closer to her they are, the more thrilled she is.

    She groomed me. – her most empathic child – to be a magnet for female abusers ranging from Borderline (BPDs) to women who were every bit as narcissisticly malignant as she was.

    Between the 4 ‘parental figures’, life has been one long, drawn-out trauma. My mother and her covert enabler run a company where the employees are dehumanized and terrorized and also own rental properties to tenants that they commonly stalked and spied upon incessantly.

    Lifestyles of the sick and (in)famous.


    December 2, 2019 at 2:20 pm

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