Sociopath Definition
And Explanation

Medical Dictionary

A sociopath definition in a medical dictionary is something like:

  • a personality disorder characterized by a lack of social responsibility and failure to adapt to ethical and social standards of the community, or
  • a former term for antisocial personality disorder.

But that doesn't tell us very much!

The best way to think about a sociopath is somebody who does not have any conscience. That means they don't feel any guilt, shame, remorse or embarrassment about anything they do. This may seem very strange to those people who do live with a conscience because it's incredibly difficult to imagine what it would be like.


Sociopath definition: No conscience

It means that sociopaths can do bad or evil things and feel no regrets whatsoever. This explains how some serial killers or serial rapists can do what they do. They feel nothing for their victims. Absolutely nothing!

Such extreme sociopaths are very rare, however. Much more common are the sociopaths who live seemingly normal lives, but who are lying, cheating, swindling and manipulating everybody around them for their own selfish gains.

They can be incredibly difficult to spot because they are charming, friendly and witty and make friends easily. They like to make friends because friends trust each other. And it's easier to get friends to do what you want.

They have an ability to spot the needs, desires and weaknesses of others and will use them to control and dominate for personal benefit.

The relationships they build are totally fabricated, deliberately designed to manipulate the emotions of their victims in order to be able to take advantage of them. And they may do it really well! So well, in fact, that even when they are abusing people, stealing from them and lying, the victim still wants to maintain the relationship with them!

This can occur within a husband wife relationship, in a business setting or even large group settings such as destructive cults, or you may have a sociopath next door!

The wife who treats her husband badly, having many affairs, spending a lot of money, having him look after the house and children when she's out socializing, may be a sociopath.

That high-powered exec who has climbed the corporate ladder very rapidly, walking all over everybody else, who never quite gets the job done on time, or ends up tricking somebody else to do it for him, but somehow is always in the good graces of his superiors, may be a sociopath.

And that group or cult leader, with his adoring acolytes who sound just like him and carry out his every wish, is usually a sociopath using mind control techniques on his unsuspecting victims.

The important thing to recognize is that these monsters want to control, manipulate and dominate others. For some that is the end game. Sometimes the seemingly stupid things they do can be understood only if you consider that the aim of their game is control.

Perhaps we should add something about this to our sociopath definition - "No conscience and wants to dominate.'


Antisocial personality disorder

A third group of sociopaths are those with overtly antisocial behavior.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders describes the criteria for antisocial personality disorder as follows:

  • the person must be over 18 with a history of conduct disorder before age 15 (This is defined as repetitive and persistent behaviors in which the basic rights of others or societal norms are violated)
  • they may repeatedly perform acts that are grounds for arrest (whether they are arrested or not)
  • they disregard the wishes, rights or feelings of others
  • they will deceive and manipulate to obtain money, sex or power, basically for their own profit or pleasure.
  • they may repeatedly lie, use an alias, con others, or malinger.
  • they may be impulsive and fail to plan ahead
  • they make decisions without consideration for the consequences to self or others
  • very frequently they change jobs, residences or relationships
  • they tend to be irritable and aggressive and physical fights or physical assaults are common.
  • there is a reckless disregard for the safety of themselves or others. For example, reckless driving, substance abuse, or failure to care for children in a way that puts them in danger
  • they tend to be very irresponsible, at work, in their financial dealings, and in their relationships
  • they may show little or no remorse for the consequences of their actions. They typically blame their victims for being foolish or helpless

Obviously not every one of the sociopathic symptoms need to be present to make a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder!


Any sociopath definition includes a spectrum

You could say that in any sociopath definition there is a spectrum in the symptoms that sociopaths display, from serial killers on the one end, to those with obvious illegal and destructive antisocial behaviors, to those who are 'socialized' or integrated into the community but who nevertheless are destroying people's lives but in a way that is more difficult to recognize.

And it seems that they are all controlling and domineering.

Learn how to detect a sociopath here...

And psychologists who work with clients to undo the mind control of sociopaths suggest that if a sociopath has not had problems with the law, it's only because they haven't been found out yet!


Terminology of sociopath definition

Whatever sociopath definition you use, these people are sometimes also known as psychopaths. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders they say that antisocial personality disorder is also known as sociopathy or as psychopathy.

Dr. Robert Hare, a psychologist who has studied psychopaths for many years, believes that most sociopaths psychopaths have antisocial personality disorder, but not everybody with an antisocial personality disorder is a sociopath.

For example people can engage in antisocial behavior for a variety of reasons including traumas in childhood, childhood abuse or neglect and so on. Sociopaths, however, do it because they have no conscience. They know they're doing wrong or evil, and it doesn't bother them.

Some people believe there is a difference between sociopathy and psychopathy but there is often disagreement about what the differences are. You can find out more about sociopath vs psychopath here.

Read more about the symptoms of a sociopath and what to do if you think you might be dealing with a sociopath...

Like this page?

Need Answers?

Mind Control Manual
mind control manual s Vital concepts about mind control, cults
and psychopaths

Are you realizing that your life is not how you want it to be, despite following your group's ideas faithfully? Do you have conflicts about what you see going on in the group?

This manual will give you a different perspective!
(pdf, kindle)


What Is Narcissism?
what is narcissism small
A practical guide to protecting yourself

Do you think you are being taken advantage of emotionally, physically, sexually or financially in your relationship? Do you want to leave but you can't seem to get away?

Learn how to break free, and why you need to!
(pdf, kindle)


Would you prefer to talk to someone about your situation?

If you think you are or have been in a cult or a destructive relationship, or a friend or family member might be in a cult and you want to talk to someone, send me a message on the Contact page and we can arrange to talk. All communication will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Decision Confidence

Monthly newsletter with helpful tips and tricks
Learn more...
'7 Vital Do's and Don'ts
of Decision Making'
when you subscribe!



Don't worry -- your e-mail
address is totally safe.
We promise to use it only
to send you this newsletter

Frustrated with your web site?

Difficulty deciding with so much information that is often contradictory?
The steps to success - with unmatched proof!