Do sociopaths know what they are?

I receive a lot of email from readers, and over the years many have asked some variation of the question: Do sociopaths know what they are? Do they realize that something is wrong with them?

The answer varies with the individual sociopath, because they aren’t all the same. Generally, though, I believe sociopaths know that they are different from the rest of the human race. However, most are not bothered by their difference. They view themselves as superior.

It’s easy to see where this attitude comes from. Because sociopathy is highly genetic, and is influenced by the early childhood environment, sociopaths never were anything but sociopaths. They never experienced a true empathetic connection with another human being. They did not develop a desire to love and be loved. Therefore, they do not know what they are missing.

Talking to sociopaths about love and empathy is like talking to someone who has been blind since birth about the color blue. They simply have no frame of reference.

Sociopaths have totally different motivations from the rest of us. As I explained a couple of weeks ago in Sociopathic deceit: Plan or second nature?, they are driven by the desire for power, control and winning. Because they become so good at manipulating others to get what they want, sociopaths perceive themselves as successful, and therefore superior.

When they are diagnosed

Here’s a key point: Sociopaths do not feel any distress due to their disorder. (It’s everyone around them, who have been deceived, manipulated, cheated on, stolen from, etc., who feel distress.) Therefore, sociopaths feel no motivation to change, and do not seek treatment on their own.

When a sociopath ends up in a therapist’s office, it is because he or she was forced to go there. The sociopath was dragged in by a parent or spouse, court-ordered for an evaluation, or was incarcerated and diagnosed by prison staff.

Therefore, sociopaths may be aware of their diagnosis. Again, this does not cause them distress. They either deny it, or figure out a way to use the information to their advantage.

Lovefraud published an article back in 2007 by Dr. Steve entitled, What does the psychopath ‘do’ with this diagnosis? The article makes the point that psychopaths (the term Dr. Steve uses) don’t see themselves as having a problem. One of the most interesting things about this article was that it drew comments from someone with the user name “Secret Monster.” He said was diagnosed as a sociopath and had been in therapy. His comments gave a good insight into how a person with this disorder thinks.

In their own words

Lovefraud has heard from other people who identified themselves sociopaths. I’ve posted a few of their emails. My objective wasn’t to give them a platform; it was to show Lovefraud readers how sociopaths look at the world and how they go about manipulating others. The more we understand what they’re about, the better we can protect ourselves.

Here are two of those stories:

Letters to Lovefraud: Female sociopath shares her experience of growing up with one and using what she learned

Letters to Lovefraud: I am a sociopath

About a month after the second letter posted, I received another email from the man who wrote it:

I was very disappointed to find that you didn’t permit commenting on my letter that you posted, I was really looking forward to the responses I would receive.

I decided to search my letter online and I quickly found that it spread to numerous sites. Some of the websites allowed readers to comment and this is what I mainly gathered from the comments. People found that I was arrogant and that I enjoyed “bragging” about my intellectual ability, mainly my IQ. People also made it clear that they feel sorry for me. Fuck them.

Many readers shared that they know me but they don’t so I assume that I represent a certain sociopathic person in their lives. An archetype of what they collectively despise.

I decided to read a couple of articles on your website which you had personally wrote and you don’t have to have an aptitude at discerning to realise that you hate me. And by “me” I mean sociopaths as a whole. You do love to quote our good friends Robert Hare and Martha Stout, who are both idiots I must add.

I’ve been reading up, hitting the books ya know?, and I’ve found that some researchers and psychologists have a theory that Sociopathy/Psychopathy is not a disorder but rather an evolutionary response. Humans were created to excel and we wouldn’t be that good at it if we felt bad about our achievements.

Some people are just so stupid. They cling to their moronic convictions and when confronted with contrary evidence they still hold on to their prior beliefs. It’s pathetic. They say things that are blatantly false such as how all sociopaths are criminals or that the good ol’ anti-sociopath people are smarter than the sociopaths. Of course there are some examples when this is true but on the most part we are smarter.

I understand that it is your hobby or maybe even job, but you do seem to dislike sociopaths. I could probably find the reason if I cared enough to read your bio that you probably have on the website but where’s the fun in that? You are extremely negative towards people who you say are “struggling” with this “disorder”. Seems quite hypocritical of you to go extremely anti-sociopath. You may not know it but you are breeding the next generation of sociopath haters. Of course we don’t really care but I’d appreciate it if your website was more about raising awareness and helping people get over traumas than going on the full attack.

Proof of my point

I’ve received similar letters from a few other people who claim to be sociopaths. They say I don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m judgmental, I shouldn’t refer to sociopaths as if they are all monsters.

I look at these letters as typical sociopathic trivializing, blaming, manipulation—and proof of my point. Many sociopaths know exactly what they are and what they are doing. They know the difference between right and wrong. They know that they hurt people. But they are fine with their behavior and have no motivation to change.

So to answer the original question, yes, many sociopath know what they are, but they don’t think anything is wrong with them.


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73 Comments on "Do sociopaths know what they are?"

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my ex always told me he was “different” from anyone else, he also said some people thought he might be bi-polar…… They know they are different and they think they are Superior to everyone else, In the end (of our lives) they will Know The Truth about themselves I have Faith in that!!

My ex is probably bi-polar too. Funny how they smirk and think they’re superior. Mine kept getting in trouble at work till he got demoted, and I’m his third ex-wife, not counting his ex-girlfriends. Yep, that’s sure superior. I’m praying karma bites his big butt.

Don’t know if this is the right thread to post this question on….
I’m curious to hear if any one has experience of the disordered people in their lives being able to play a musical instrument?
In my personal experience my ex could not keep a simple beat rhythm if his life depended on it… My son tried on many occasions to learn the guitar but could never follow through…I would love some insight into this…. Is not being able to just enjoy music for music’s sake a red flag??

My spath was very very proficient at both the piano and guitar. I use the word proficient because he could because he was technically perfect. When learning a new song, if he made a mistake, like wrong tempo, he would fly into a rage. I have been told by teachers that music is very mathematical; and he was brilliant in math. Also, being able to read written music is akin to a foreign language and he was fluent in 4. So for him, rote music was very easy. There was no heart, soul, or spontaneity in his music, nothing individual. Just something to impress others, no self enjoyment.

The same was true with his double life. His first 30 or so escort appointments, were nothing more to him than classes. In his emails he refers to these ‘ladies’ as teachers. With the instruction of these escorts, he became very proficient in oral sex.; so much so that he developed an on line reputation for his ‘oral skills’. As one psychologist said to me; for a sociopath, oral sex is perfect, the mechanics can be easily learned and more important, no facial interaction.

Music, computers, sex, forgery, the art of conning people, no difference; just skills to be mastered.

Thanks Lost… I guess that makes sense…these disordered people belong to a different species!!!

I think that Sociopaths also fit into the Narcissist Personality Disorder area. My father and all of his brothers are/were musically talented. My sisters and I are also and one of my sister’s I believe is Narcissistic for sure. I love to sing, but I hate to perform on stage. My dad had a band for years and two of us sang in his band for many years. My father and sister LOVED the audience. They loved the praise. I only loved to sing harmony and back up and I preferred to just sit around with the family sing together at home rather than seeking attention for it. I will say that just about every drummer we had seemed to have very serious problems. One was so messed up, he committed suicide. I would be willing to bet that there is a narcissistic component to some musicians who also end up being sociopaths.

There was a very good article here yesterday. Donna posted something a sociopath had sent to her declaring that he, and his fellow, sociopaths are “gifted.” I think when they have a true talent to go along with that big ego, a big sociopath is probably going to come forward with just one more “gift” for the rest of the world!

Imara and Lost Everything,

My former spath was good at what he set out to do – REALLY Good! He got a harmonica for Christmas one year from his mother and within a day or 2 he could actually play recognizable tunes quite well. He saw the attention it drew and took it on the next camping trip and really showed it off. Once the newness wore off, we never heard the harmonica again. So – I agree that he never really played for the enjoyment of music. He played for the response he got from his listeners. The wow factor, the ego boost. The Oh you’re good! He also wouldn’t really practice in front of people until it was pretty good. He had a very big sense of his image being perfect and looking good (yes, impressing others). I always thought his parents raised him to be perfect and mostly if he couldn’t be perfect at something – He wouldn’t touch it. He hated not knowing, or being in the know about anything.

Lack of follow through, oh ya. That was how school was for him. I can’t tell you the number of dropped classes. Finals not taken. Books bought and never used.

Skills to be mastered is right and if the skills aren’t up to snuff, you lie about what they are or you bullshit about what they are going to be.

Hi honest,

My spath got to the point where not only I but others in the real world had to be mastered as well. If he ‘studied’ a person, he could make an educated guess at their behavior and reactions. With me, well he knew me for more than 4 decades. Others he had to establish a ‘relationship’ before mastering them. He never did anything without knowing the outcome first.

When he embarked in his double life as well as his life of crime, the one important thing to him was to cover his tracks, that he could control to a great extent. He actually posted about how to avoid getting caught. He also had to make sure that no one ever had reason to contact my mom’s stock broker as well as making sure the broker never called her. Unknown to me, he became a master forger and just as evil with ‘forging’ phone calls, skills that served him well. The phone calls, I could do nothing about, but during the legal proceeding against the brokerage, I had to get a specialized hand writing expert, one that was knowledgeable in writing as well as computer produced forgery.

For him, life wasn’t a gift to be lived but something for him to be master of. He wrote, years later, that in 2002 my mom totally losing her sight was the best thing that happened to him. When my mom’s health took a severe turn for the worse in 2008, he texted that if she died, it would be the worst thing for both his real life and his double life. He had no control of her health and if she died he knew that I would not only discover his crimes but how he spent the money, all of it in the sex world (internet escorting a world of total silence).

Still in the dark about his crimes, double life, in June/July, 2008 I had enough, the divorced I wanted since 1986 was going to happen. I started researching on the internet. Not being computer savvy, I had no idea that he was monitoring what I was doing. I didn’t find that out till way after his death via an IT expert. Looking back, it was just about the same time that his abuse turned into silence. He knew he had lost control over me.

He was having medical issues that he never spoke to me about. I was to find out shortly after his death that told someone that he was blacking out for up to 10 minutes at a time and that person told him to see a doctor, he didn’t. His texts indicate that he even blacked out in an escort’s apartment. One night in mid October he walked into the kitchen while I was taking my mother’s BP, white as a sheet. I asked him if I could take his, he allowed me; it was 190/160. I offered to call an ambulance, he said no; I then offered to drive him to a 24 hours ‘doc in a box’, again no; finally I asked if I could make a doctor’s appointment for him, to that he said yes. In the morning I phoned the office and they gave me an appointment for the following AM; I then phoned the spath’s cell and let him know. That same afternoon, I get a call from the doctor’s office letting me know that the spath called to cancel his appointment. When he came ‘home’, I asked him why he cancelled the appointment, he never answered, just walked down the basement and that was that. He knew he was ill, he didn’t seek help on his own; I offered to get him medical treatment, he declined; I could not force a 55 year old to go to the doctor, just like a hospital can not stop a person from discharging themselves.

He knew could not control people or their behavior from a sick bed, he chose to risk his life rather than take the chance of having his behavior exposed. He lost. Death mastered him.

I think they know “what” and “who” they really are. But, they may not recognize that they are sociopaths. They think everyone is like them. My spath once told me that no one cared about anyone else…this was while I was caring about HIM. I think even when we are caught up in their nightmare and don’t know yet what is happening, all of our people pleasing doesn’t even come across to a spath as authentic. I think they think we are only “acting” as they do…to get something we want from them. They think everyone thinks like them!

When this subject was previously discussed, I mentioned that on the dating site where I first came across a profile of the x-spath because of that site’s “matching” algorithm, in addition to nearly 1000 matching questions, also took many of the site’s tests.

One was the “Dating Persona Test” and his result was Manchild:

“Hopeful. Awkward. Soft-headed. Fire intrigues you. You are The Manchild.

Okay, Manchildren have some good qualities. They can be unpredictable, brash, magnetic—and therefore highly charismatic. Particularly, you’re passionate and are often a hell of a lot of fun.

But we’d like you to consider not using our site. You can be unthinking and hurtful, and we think you LIKE seeing bad things happen.

You’ve had a moderate number of relationships, but broken a disproportionate number of hearts. In total, you mean well, but don’t really have it together.

It’s up to you, of course, whether to continue dating. There are plenty out there who do deserve you. But you’ve heard our advice.”

My guess is that in his juvenile, sociopathic way of thinking, he enjoys being a Manchild.

However, his very own words ironically underscore that he really does not get it.

“I am looking for somebody that is good for me. Narcissists need not apply.”

At the very time using photos in which he appears 10 years younger than actual.

I call mine a foster monkey! Do they have that category? Interesting test scale for a dating site. I guess they let people know sort of what they are getting into. Since I have been reading the article here, reading books, sharing and reading what other people share, I am seeing a difference in myself. Thank you to all.

That test has 16 scores. The female version of Manchild is Wild Irish Rose. Several times I took that test trying to score Manchild and I could not, so it must have a reasonable algorithm.

I am the Lover Boy.

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