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Evil and immature isn't part of the diagnosis for a sociopath. A true sociopath -- and it's a rare condition -- is marked by the inability to grasp or follow social mores and limits. He has little or no compassion or empathy toward others and doesn't deal with right and wrong the way a normal person would.

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Sociopaths have NO conscience, though they know the difference between right and wrong. They also have immense problems learning from life, from experience, so in fact they are very immature. (Recklessness and failure to plan ahead figure prominently in lists of indicators). To their victims, their lack of conscience and their cruelty does often make them seem evil and even depraved. What's more, I'm not aware of any legal system anywhere that accepts 'sociopathy' or 'psychopathy' as grounds for diminished responsibility. They are held fully accountable for their actions.

Joncey

Sociopaths are not "evil" any more than are schizophrenics or dissociatives or the chronically depressed -- and, through history, all of those have also been called evil and often tortured and put to death for their illness.

Sociopaths are scary, yes, but BEING a sociopath can be scary. It is an experience of being alone even in a crowded room.

Even if one is the center of attention. It never touches the ice around one's heart.

These people know something isn't right with them, but they usually have no idea why or what.

If they did, possibly their undying hatred for the luckier, warmer, feeling members of the human race would relent...that is, if something could be done to helpthe sociopaths.

As for immaturity, what is immature on or in a sociopath is actually some parts of the brain. The cerebral cortexof a sociopath is chronically underaroused, and some parts of it that should be active are strangely silent on an EEG (electroencephalogram). Some neurotransmittersare in short supply or missing entirely. So, parts of the brain do not ever mature, remaining as they were in infancy. Others mature faster than normal to compensate, but not very well.

On top of all this is the fact that, rather than having certain functions in the left brain hemisphere and certain ones in the right, sociopaths have these things scattered seemingly randomly around in both hemispheres. This is believed to be part of what cripples them emotionally.

There are stories of people diagnosed as sociopaths who did improve to some degree, with the most ceaseless and diligent help. But since the vast majority of this huge body of people (there are more than three hundred million sociopaths on Earth) cannot get that kind of attention, they turn to abusing those they envy, and often to crime.

It is certainly vengeance: "If I can't have any of this, why should you?" This is the real reason sociopaths lash out at strong and kind people.

No matter what they say, they know that inside, they are always empty and damaged beyond repair.

Only in neuroscience is there hope for these incomplete people. The key lies in awakening the brain, which is risky because sociopaths are much more prone to seizures than the rest of the population, and that -- an uncontrolled blast of electrical discharge spreading through the brain and causing violent convulsions -- is likely to be the first response from brain pathways that, after years or even decades of silence, are suddenly flooded with impulses.

But if the devices of neurosurgeons can be tweaked to avoid this shock, and all else related to this idea is workable, it's feasible that small electronic devices planted in the brain (these already exist in a rudimentary form, but are not yet being used for mental illness) could open up a closed connection.

That leaves us with the problem of whether a lifetime of scattered information can ever be set into order. Probably the best that could be hoped for would be a kind of retraining -- like what is now done with stroke survivors and head injury patients -- that would be both intensive and compensatory.

One of the things that would be necessary would be to try to socialize the person whose congenital birth defect made such a thing completely impossible before.

Whatever intervention is used, be it drugs or computer chips or what have you, it would probably -- I'd say certainly -- be excruciating for the patient at first.

With no knowledge of how to cope with the emotions the rest of the world has been dealing with all their lives, the recovering sociopath would be rendered as vulnerable as a baby.

Which makes sense, because some of the most basic aspects of the human mind would be developing from the primordial stasis in which they had remained since birth!

A person thus treated would never be fully normal, but the human brain is amazing in the way it adapts and continues to develop all through life.

And given the utterly joyless and meaningless existence a sociopath leads, any improvement is better than none.

Robert Hare, PhD., says that the personality of a sociopath (psychopath) is essentially set in stone, so to speak, by adulthood, and incredibly hard to change.

Hard to change, not impossible.

If Robert Hare said that he is wrong, and why so negative? I'm tired of hearing about Robert Hare, cause he isn't doing anything to help. He makes it seem so fricking negative, and that is the wrong attitude. We all know what's going on, as much as any other human being does, so we can help the s

Recent research on the disparities of brain function in psychopaths/sociopaths yielded some startling results:

Structural and functional hippocampal abnormalities have been previously reported in institutionalized psychopathic and aggressive populations. This study assessed whether prior findings of a right greater than left (R > L) functional asymmetry in caught violent offenders generalize to the structural domain in unsuccessful, caught psychopaths.

Methods:

Left and right hippocampal volumes were assessed using structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in 23 control subjects, 16 unsuccessful psychopaths, and 12 successful (uncaught) community psychopaths and transformed into standardized space.

Results:

Unsuccessful psychopaths showed an exaggerated structural hippocampal asymmetry (R > L) relative both to successful psychopaths and control subjects (p < .007) that was localized to the anterior region. This effect could not be explained by environmental and diagnostic confounds and constitutes the first brain imaging analysis of successful and unsuccessful psychopaths.

Conclusions:

Atypical anterior hippocampal asymmetries in unsuccessful psychopaths may reflect an underlying neurodevelopmental abnormality that disrupts hippocampal-prefrontal circuitry, resulting in affect dysregulation, poor contextual fear conditioning, and insensitivity to cues predicting capture.

Keywords: Hippocampus, psychopathy, MRI, trauma, neurodevelopment, asymmetry.

So it is understandable why many people don't think anything at all can be done to change the sociopath, but in fact, that isn't true. Some keep trying to help them; giving up is not an option. Sociopaths cause too much trouble. And experience as much.

A good therapist can prevent you from victimizing him/her without victimizing you in the process. And, as mentioned above, recent studies made by neurosurgeons and other medical experts have finally begun to pinpoint the things that go awry in the brain that are part of what causes sociopathy.

In some cases, such medications as Depakote, Topamax, Risperdal, Dilantin, Pentobarbitol, and even Lithium are being prescribed, and although some individual therapists prescribe Ativan and the like, much more research needs to be done there on ultimate benefit of drug treatment. It is already known that drug treatment must be augmented by a very structured and positive-oriented talk therapy.

Sociopaths can get somewhere in a specialized form of talk therapy if the clinician is self-confident and relaxed, firm but never authoritarian or self-important. It must not ever become an ego-contest.

Once the process gets far enough along so that the sociopath is actually able to feel even a tiny flicker of genuine happiness, that is an impetus that will grow stronger if the process continues to move forward.

But the emotional response of a sociopath will always be to some degree abnormal.

Why does a sociopath cry? Is it like the crying of a "spoiled" child, or is it like the crying of a damaged person?

Maybe both.

The near-constant state of frustration and dissatisfaction felt by a true psychopath is the source of not only their rages but those eerie, on-and-off-like-a-faucet tears. (Yes, tearsare seen even in some men, though of course still more common in children and women.)

Another comment, thus, from the diagnosed "primary psychopath" who wrote much but not all of the text that follows [EXCEPT the input from the other two sociopaths]:

The last time I tried that tears bit, I got "stuck" crying and couldn't stop for most of THREE DAYS!!! Now I avoid it at all costs.

Anyway, don't assume anyone is a psychopath based only on the person's apparent attitude and behavior. It is far more complex than that, including factors in the pattern of the person's life and many other characteristics.

Please don't go around assuming or calling someone a psychopath just because he/she may have some of the warning signs.

For information on what the warning signs are, look up other questions with answers on sociopaths, psychopaths, and antisocial personality disorder herein.

Get a professional opinion from a qualified mental health professional if you think you are involved with a psychopath. And then ask what to do, not only for the psychopath but for yourself, because being involved with a psychopath is risky.

And what then? Only time will tell.

And some people have said that the only way to persuade a sociopath or psychopath to seek help is by threatening him/her with DEATH!!

One way -- or another...

And the main reason sociopaths don't usually seek helpfrom their fellow human beings is that they can't trust, rather than that they like being as they are. Plus, they can often sense exactly what sort of a response any call for help on their part is most likely to elicit from professionals and lay folk alike.

Sociopaths are not breezing along in paradise. It isn't all a game. It's a truly miserable existence. And it can be made better. It may not be "curable" yet, but it most certainly isn't as hopeless as so many people say. There is therefore nothing to be gained and much to be lost when therapists and lay folk try to ostracize sociopaths from the human race entirely! Sensationalism and superstition will only prevent progress.

This was written on another question on the same essential topic as this one, by a self-confessed sociopath who was officially diagnosed (other than me!) --

  • Sociopaths, though born that way, are people too. To avoid an entire group of people is absurd. That's like saying, "Since these people have dark skin, everyone should completely avert themselves from them." I am a moderate sociopath, and though part of me doesn't want to change, another does. Many times it is really entertaining to see how stupid people can be, especially when they're so gullible as to believe every word that mellifluously flows from my lips. Yes, I am parasitic, but even so, there are some people I would like to stop hurting. I can't find any websites that can provide a way to help my sociopathy. Maybe people like you should stop your self-victimisation and start trying to actually help people like me! I knew I was a sociopath before the age of ten but have only recently had it officially diagnosed. I am eighteen years old now, and I have been lying and destroying others' sanity for a long time. So, please post some helpful tidbits that might help sociopaths resist the sweet urges we get when we encounter weak human beings. When you cut us, do we not bleed? When you kill us, do we not die? Do you honestly think that you're being lied to and manipulated when we sincerely ask for help. Listen to yourselves! This is the internet; ergo, you're safe from our fortified mental grasp.

The essay that follows was written in another answer by another self-admitted sociopath, who actually might not be a sociopath. Still another person added the brief comment to that effect after her tragic essay.

  • umm... i kindof am one... just so y'all know, it's not so much fun being one either. i read that sentence up there, "Incapable of real human attachment to another." i don't even know what that is, i see it, i approximate it... it's like being outside a door looking through a dirty window and watching re-runs of people I've seen in love or with children or with friends, and scratching, sometimes banging at the glass to get in and... nothing. I'm fond of people in every sense of the word, their little quirks and habits, the way they see life, except if they went away it wouldn't bother me much other than finding someone else to be fond of. i don't have friends, i only date military men because they're ok with only having a girlfriend for a couple months and i tell them in advance i won't wait for them... i don't know what else to do to limit the damage i inflict on others just as a result of them knowing me, short of moving to the mountains... but i still move between 2-5 times a year :( it's kindof hard walking around knowing I'll never have what i see making other people so happy and running when i can tell someone is getting close just because i don't want to hurt them more later down the road... i'd like it alot to settle down, i WANT to be able to feel more with people, but it's hard to miss what you never had. i want what i THINK it would feel like... it'd be easy to give in and let someone stay because I'm so lonely... but hey, I've written enough, just know i try to be a responsible little sociopath, i won't ever get married or have kids, i practice safe sex, i won't stay in one city for long... everything you all take for granted i will never let myself have just because i WANT to take it for granted. being like this won't go away so hopefully i can limit the amount of hate thrown my way by limiting my interaction with people, i don't know what else to do. and you all might not belive this, but i am sorry, hopefully i can speak for the other people who have damaged your lives.

Comment: The above testimony is clearly not indicative of a sociopath because she seems to make efforts to keep from harming others, even if it doesn't benefit herself.

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Q: Can a sociopath be more unintentionally immature than evil?
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