Psychopaths are both intriguing and frightening to the heart. The media and films often paint larger-than-life portraits using far-reaching assertions and describing these supposed mental illnesses with exaggerated features. Given that the number of psychopaths fluctuates between 3% – 4% of the population, you probably know some of them right now without realizing it.
However, when we look at facts and misunderstandings, we start to see a picture of people who seem much more humane. Probably, it’s safe to say that the documentary, podcasts, or the article that you read were perhaps completely wrong.
In this article, we will also look at sociopaths. Yes, there is a difference between them, but they are almost synonymous and will be used interchangeably.
Top 5 ridiculously common misunderstanding about psychopaths and sociopaths.
1. Moral ethics
Like us, psychopaths know how to distinguish between good and evil. In fact, they may have thought more about their ethical systems than the average person.
Many psychopaths and sociopaths in history have had long ethical systems – from H.G. Allin’s bizarre world to the ambitious reassessment of the values of the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Psychopathic ethics most often deals with power and human relations.
In addition, we are beginning to challenge the old idea of a psychopath as a robotic maniac and replace it with a more accurate picture of a person whose inconsistency with reality and inability to make contact with other people can lead to strange results.
Some of these people may even be considered “good” by generally accepted moral standards, such as a risk-prone psychopath working for the bomb squad.
2. They, as a rule, have an intelligence below average
“Psychopath” the word creates images in our minds of intelligent, confident, successful people like Ted Bundy or Patrick Bateman from American Psychopath, who get away with horrible things by laughing at all of us.
We think that they have to be smart to manipulate and deceive their way in life and that they are only discovered when they want to be. Then they disappear like ninjas in a cloud consisting of a mess of those around them.
In fact, when psychopaths are discovered, this usually happens because of an error, outright laziness, or carelessness. A quick look at serial killers will show that most psychopaths are stupid. Apart from Ted Bundy and Ed Kemper, you are unlikely to find highly intelligent serial killers.
3. They will probably want to be your friend.
This starts to sound like the part in The Matrix where Agent Smith says that the human race is a ‘virus’ that moves from host to host, exploiting resources until they are depleted and then moving on. Over time, the “mask” of the psychopath begins to collapse, revealing his true inner intentions.
But what if sociopaths really go into a new environment to make friends and keep the peace? What if they don’t want to destroy the environment around them, and it just happened? When asked why things are going wrong, most sociopaths have no idea. Psychopaths have a vested interest in a peaceful atmosphere and making alliances.
Of course, psychopaths are often destructive people who are willing to trade your feelings for their own every chance they get, but that doesn’t mean that they actively seek to destroy, like a virus, for absolutely no reason. Sociopaths are very eager to have friends, like all of us. They may not understand why they cannot “connect” like everyone else. In short, most of them may not even know that they are psychopaths.
It’s completely wrong to think that they are plastic dummies who don’t need allies or friends. Although they are often alone, this is not always the case. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that psychopaths are not sincere in their search for companionship. Some even start to argue that psychopaths may be able to love, but they love a different set of traits.
4. Most of psychopaths and sociopaths are not violent.
Let us take a close look at the statistics. Although it is usually discussed that not all psychopaths and sociopaths are violent, it is rarely mentioned that violent sociopaths constitute an extremely low percentage of the population.
First of all, it should be noted that many psychopaths are not even criminals. Like autism, psychopathy occurs in the spectrum, with a small number of psychopaths at the extreme end. Recent research has shown that psychopaths are no more violent than ordinary people.
5. Psychopaths have human feelings
This is the most common misunderstanding about psychopaths. We tend to see them as robot people who feel nothing and have no negative emotions (which will not help them achieve their goals). But this is not the case.
Psychopaths experience anger, sadness, and a wide range of other emotions. However, one of the diagnostic criteria for a sociopathic and antisocial personality disorder is the low threshold for defusing aggression or the propensity for violence.
We do not think about anger outbursts when we see on television how a sociopath counts and plans. We do not think that they cry or get upset. Often we don’t think of them at all as human beings. But the fact that they seem insensitive does not necessarily make them true.
As mentioned earlier, psychopaths probably experience a standard range of emotions, just in different combinations of power and quantity. They want things like friendship, comradeship, peace, and love, but they cannot make the connection between their behavior and the lack of results in their lives.