What is the single most powerful signifier of sociopathy?


The Single Most Powerful Signifier of Sociopathy/Psychopathy

How about, lack of empathy?
I don’t think so.
As an isolated factor, I don’t think lack of empathy best nails the sociopath.

EmpathyMany millions of people, after all, lack empathy and aren’t sociopaths. Also, exactly what constitutes empathy is a subject of some disagreement. Some LoveFraud members, in fact, question whether sociopaths even lack empathy (some asserting, to the contrary, that the sociopaths they’ve known have used their capacity for empathy to exploit them).
But the biggest problem with lack of empathy is its weakness in explaining the single, truly best signifier of sociopathy—the characterological exploitiveness of the sociopath.
It is a high level of exploitiveness that most singularly exposes the sociopath.

Read the article!

2 thoughts on “What is the single most powerful signifier of sociopathy?

  1. I understand what is being said, here. I never looked at it that way. Scientifically, empathy is as was stated in the graphic, above. Humanely, we think of empathy as feeling another’s pain, joy hurt, etc…as our own. We “understand” what another is going through/feeling. We understand what we do, affects others and how. It’s the precursor to ‘conscience’. A psychopath/sociopath understands what he/she is doing, how it will affect another, and doesn’t give a hoot! Except for the scheming that can be derived from that understanding. For that evil individual, the extent of empathy (as is scientifically/grammatically understand) is only used to exploit another, further.

    Good point!


  2. Steve Becker’s point here may or may not be shared with other authorities on psychopathy. His statement about exploitiveness being the best signifier of psychopaths brings up the question of definitions; which traits, and their respective amplitudes, that are required to ‘qualify’ for the “psychopath” label.

    It is true that psychopaths are not exclusive about their characteristic traits. Narcissists, for example, are self centered and lack empathy. People who commit horrific violent crimes are not allways categorized as “psychopaths”. To be clinicaly diagnosed as a “psychopath,” the individual must score at least 30 out of 40 points on the Hare Psychopath Check List test. Strictly speaking, this means that someone who scores 29 points on the test is not a “psychopath,” but neither is he someone you would fully trust to babysit your kids or to ‘invest’ your nest egg.

    I assume Steve means that while all of us may exhibit some characteristic psychopathic traits to a greater or lesser amount, a high degree of exploitiveness is always a most definite red flag.


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