We may have a specific image of what a psychopath or sociopath is ingrained in our minds—you can thank films like American Psycho and scores of other horror flicks for that—but the truth is they're significantly more complicated than that.
It's bad enough running into a psychopath or sociopath—I've had a negative experience with a psychopath and I lived to tell the tale—but imagine being involved with one intimately. Maybe they were a partner or even a best friend and you didn't notice their issues right away.
People shared their stories with us after Redditor DexterADB asked the online community:
"Friends of psychopaths/sociopaths, how did you realise your friend wasn't normal?"
Psychopath or Sociopath?
Psychopaths and sociopaths share a number of characteristics:
- lack of remorse or empathy for others
- lack of guilt or ability to take responsibility for their actions
- disregard for laws or social conventions
- inclination to violence
- deceitful and manipulative nature
But how to tell them apart?
Sociopaths are normally less emotionally stable and highly impulsive. They will lack patience, giving in much more easily to impulsiveness and lacking detailed planning.
Psychopaths will plan down to the smallest detail, taking only calculated risks. Psychopaths don’t get carried away in the moment.
"He could not comprehend the difference..."
"He could not comprehend the difference between harmless pranks and cruelty, which manifested in high school. Got so far that he broke into a friend's home, stole her TV, then got angry that her family called the police over a 'prank.'"
"Trying to talk to him about the difference between pranks and crime was met by a blank stare, almost confusion, followed by vicious mocking. I didn't see him much after that, then completely cut ties with him after he started casually talking about raping women."
To which this person replied:
"We had a dude like that in high school. He is now a photographer in LA, and I'm 100% sure it's only so he can have access to women's bodies."
"She let me read a written complaint from someone..."
"She let me read a written complaint from someone who claimed to have been bullied by her. It was very detailed, too detailed to be made up, but she denied all of it and played innocent. She showed it to me to gain my support against the accusations. A few months later she started bullying me with the exact same methods described in the complaint."
To which this person replied:
"People lie to others because they can't stand the truth of their own actions, in effect lying to themselves."
"He was very open..."
"He was very open with it. That guy was genuinely helpful. What he seemed to fear the most was to regress into a helpless person who couldn't fit into society, like the psychopaths that go in and out of jail."
"So, he made it a habit or a challenge to help at least one person with something every day with no strings attached, friends or strangers, as practice, to hold himself accountable. It was.. well, it was a bit weird, and he was kinda weird too, but he was open about it in advance so that he'd have a harder time screwing us over if ever he had a relapse in willpower."
To which this person replied:
"It’s always viewed as virtuous to be a nice/helpful person but people seem to forget that it’s a hell of a lot easier for some people than others. Sometimes just not doing something bad is the most good you can manage that day and no one sees that."
"He was a liar."
"There were lots of red flags. He was definitely closeted bi (which is fine, but his behavior wasn’t)."
"The main red flag is that he had a slew of ruined relationships in his wake. He was a college theater professor and had a pattern of behavior in which he would identify young men in the department who were emotionally vulnerable, often who’d had recent girl trouble and/or had no current male role model/father figure."
"Many of them had issues with their dads or their dads were deceased. He would then start spending time with them and love bombing them until they thought they were his best friend. He fed on adoration. I don’t even think he exploited all these guys for sex, though he probably did some. He just got off on people adoring him."
"When they started showing interest in other people, he’d go hard on the discard. There was a pattern of subtly putting these guys down and then building them up so they were conditioned to please him. If he got bored, he threw them aside."
"He once told me he viewed all his interactions with people through a caricature he created of them. For example, a black friend of ours was 'the loud black woman.' Another friend who’d lost his dad recently and suffering severe depression was 'Eeyore.'"
"He was incapable of self reflection. If he knew he’d upset you he’d apologize, but it was always empty. He could not reflect on his actions and actually accept accountability for wrongdoing. He was a budding alcoholic and would attend lectures and rehearsals drunk, then laugh about it later like it was some kind of inside joke."
"He was a liar. The man was pushing 40 trying to convince these college aged men he was in his late 20s so they’d hang out with him. He didn’t care about your boundaries. At his house he’d regularly expose himself 'as a joke' and acted confused when I didn’t find it funny."
"As one of these guys he love bombed and emotionally manipulated, I eventually wised up and realized that my relationship with him was not healthy, and that it was not acceptable for him to have the emotional relationships he was having with his 19-20 year old students. I cut ties and he went from love bombing to resentment so fast."
"Later on, my wife and I were visiting some friends who were also friends with him. They’d known him longer than we ever did, and let him stay in their guest room for months when he lost his living arrangements during Covid. They eventually kicked him out and cut ties too. Then they told us they had recently run into a former high school classmate of his who said “I’m so glad you got away from him. There is something wrong with him. He’s dangerous.”
To which this person replied:
"That guy reeks of narcissistic personality disorder. Their actions can be similar but the difference is that the root of narcissism is insecurities while sociopaths have none. Their egos are really that big while narcissts inflate theirs so no one finds out the truth that it's empty."
"His mom basically committed the rest of her life..."
"We were friends with him and his sister. We later realized when we could only see anger in him and pretty much nothing else. That was the first flag."
"One of the friends started dating the sister and he came to us one day and told us that our friend had taken him aside and told him that if his sister was hurt he would have no problem hurting him in turn. Our friend was terrified because he truly believed him. That was our second red flag."
The final one was when his family got T-boned at an intersection and his dad and sister were killed and his mom was in the hospital for observation and he was in there as well with some broken bones. He didn't seem to care at all when some buddies went to see him."
"The hospital was a teaching one with psychiatrists and all and one came to see if he wanted help while he was there and he basically asked why would I need help. Mom agreed to a formal evaluation and he was confirmed psychopathic."
"His mom basically committed the rest of her life to make sure he could function in society. Taught him what societal right and wrong was and laws governing behavior and stuff."
To which this person replied:
"Damn. Good for that mom though! Hope she accomplished her goal."
"I was a pretty vulnerable teen..."
"I had a friend who always seemed a little off/low empathy, but I ignored a lot of the signs. She was a destructive party girl with a weirdly hostile relationship with her mom (as in she was regularly hostile to her) and i noticed she could be a bit of a bully and thought of people as below her."
"I was a pretty vulnerable teen who always struggled making friends so I tried to brush that stuff off because she was cool with me."
"There was a point where she got super drunk, slept with my boyfriend, and they called me together to mock me about it. It was humiliating. Like peak embarrassment. What's even more wild is the week after, she approached me as if nothing was wrong and it was all just a bit of fun."
"I knew she was a bad person when she called me, but I knew she had something deeply wrong with her when she had no self awareness about the fact that an action like that would make me not want to be her friend. She seemed genuinely surprised that I was pushing her away."
"I have had some updates about her from mutual friends and it sounds like this is a pattern she continues to repeat in her adult life as well."
"She really treats everyone in her life like a disposable amusement and she's not smart enough to 'mask' and manipulate them – everything she does is extremely blunt and she doesn't seem to ever really care or register that it is hurtful."
"Losing friends also doesn't seem to bother her. She is never like "how dare you be mad at me"? She just doesn't get why people are so sensitive."
To which this person replied:
"Had a destructive party girl friend too. She also slept with two men I started dating. Twice because I was dumb enough to forgive her the first time. The second time it happened, she jokingly said she was seeing me as 'competition' and wanted to show me who was the boss."
"I cut ties with her. To her merit, she did acknowledge she had problems, sobered up, went to therapy and apologized. Honestly happy for her, but I'll never let her into my life ever again because she broke my trust forever."
"My nephew is two..."
"He yelled at me because my nephew didn't want to watch a movie with his kids."
"My nephew is two and he's scared of the dark. The kids were using a projector instead of a regular TV so the room had to be dark. Every time the door would close, my nephew would freak out, so I decided to keep him with me."
"My friend started flipping out, screaming at me, and threatening to spank one of his kids (who did nothing wrong). He started yelling at his wife also. He has five kids, mostly girls. The oldest girl tried giving him snacks to make him feel comfortable and offered to sit next to him, but my nephew was too afraid."
"It felt like she was trying to help him because the safety of her siblings depended on it."
"I didn't know what to do other than leave with my nephew so the girls wouldn't get in trouble. I tried calling social services but there's no proof that the girls are being harmed or neglected so they're still with him."
"I am afraid for the girls and his wife. Think he's suffering a mental collapse because his mom died from cancer. His mother abused him. He's become very harsh with the women in his life, including me."
"My husband doesn't want me back over there without him. I've been trying to convince their mother to take the kids and leave, but she won't listen. I'm only able to reach her through Facebook. She uses her daughters school tablet to reach me."
"She can only contact me when he leaves the house. He takes all the phones when he leaves. She's not allowed to leave the house, have friends, or have company while she's away."
"He doesn't let his wife buy clothes or do her hair. She's always calling me to cry and complain about how he's treating her but she won't do anything. I defend them all when I'm there, but I try not to because he treats them worst after I leave."
"I feel helpless. I don't know what to do. If I was wealthy, I'd buy her a house and move them far away where he can no longer scare them. I feel so helpless."
To which this person replied:
"Start a notebook so you can provide evidence if she ever pursues legal action. Character witness and detailed notes about interactions and events can make a case for a long term restraining order. Without them you likely just end up with an angry abuser in your house looking for revenge."
Some of these stories were more unsettling than others. And they might leave you wondering if you've ever run into a psychopath before. Who knows? Even if there doesn't happen to be one in your daily life, you never know who you might be sitting next to at work... or on public transit.
Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us more in the comments below!
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Have you ever been so intensely into another person you can't think straight?
Everything about them sends you into a flop sweat.
Then one day, you're out and about and they breathe wrong so you're disgusted and it's over.
A good crush can be obliterated in a matter of seconds.
But why? How can it be that fast?
Redditor6FeetDownUnderwanted to know about the times infatuation died immediately. They asked:
"What made you immediately lose interest in a crush?"
This actually a gift of mine, or a curse, depending on how you look at it. I can lose interest in the snap of a finger.
Oh Hell No!dogs biting GIFGiphy
"She not only didn't like my dog but was rude and smacked my dog."
"Hot and cold behavior."
"SO MUCH THIS! Why do people do that? I’m a guy going through that right now with a woman that I fell for… and it sucks."
"Man... I just broke up with a girl who accused me of this too many times. The first time was shortly after our first date and I was like 'WTF?'"
"'We've talked every day including this morning and have another date set later this week.' The last time she said I was icing her out, but I had already told her I was stressing about some unrelated issues that I had already talked to her about a few times."
"That she cheated on everyone she had ever been with."
"I had cheated on everyone I was with before I got sober. I have never cheated since (15 years) - I completely changed my entire lifestyle."
"I would never cheat again, I was a different person then, young, dumb, and loaded all the time making horrible decisions. Since getting sober, I’ve had 3 long term relationships that all ended for other things I have issues with. Haha. But not cheating! But I agree - most situations - would not be like this."
It was weird...
"When I realized she had to take her bestie literally everywhere. It was weird. We would hang out and she would come. We'd go on a date and she'd come. We'd go to a movie and she would either come or be texting her the entire time. Every night she would just come over and watch TV with us. It really got old."
"We are still friends on Facebook. My old crush is married now and I see all these pictures of her and her husband in Greece, Paris, Safaris in Africa, and you guessed it, the 3rd wheel is in all the pictures."
Just CuzSeth Meyers Lol GIF by Late Night with Seth MeyersGiphy
“'I dump people to feel something' nah no way."
"Recently was seeing a girl that had a family emergency in her life. She decided to end things with us because she felt destructive and wanted to feel in control."
Some people really need deeper therapy sessions before they get into relationships.
RudeTv Show Reaction GIF by The Daily Show with Trevor NoahGiphy
"Asked her on a date, said yes. Ghosted me."
6 Months In...
"Guy still flirted with other girls after expressing interest in me and let them sit on his lap. I ended it before it even really began. A year later he asked if I wanted to fool around. I said no. About a month after that I saw he had a girlfriend when she tagged him in a FB post saying 'happy 6 month anniversary.'"
The Way We See It
"Mutual codependency. I had a friend that I genuinely didn't notice a problem until I was pregnant and my daughter's father mentioned that she wouldn't be in the room for the birth. That never occurred to me. And then I was thinking of my life and how she was there for like everything. Had to set up some boundaries. She didn't like that and eventually cut herself from my life. She doesn't see it that way."
"She cheated on her bf on an international trip. He was a cool dude, felt bad for him on that one. I haven't spoken to her in years."
"Similar thing happened to me too, I liked a guy who had a girlfriend at the time (I realise this sounds bad, I couldn’t help having a crush on him but I never would’ve acted on it). Anyways he was on an international school trip with us and he was cheating on his girlfriend the whole week. Instantly couldn’t even stand the sight of him."
Instantred flag GIF by Steve Harvey TVGiphy
"'I'm not allowed to work with children' instant red flag."
Follow the clues. Read the signs. Never be afraid to run.
As consumers, we know better than to spend our hard-earned cash on things we don't really need. But we do it anyway.
That doesn't mean we should refrain from indulging every now and then in spending money on the things we really want.
But sometimes, the things we thought we really desired in our heart of hearts turn out to be impulsive purchases on things–like new clothes we never end up wearing despite looking great on us when we tried them on in the dressing room.
That is an example of buyer's remorse. And we have paid the price, so to speak, for spending frivolously on inconsequential things.
Curious to hear from previous customers of having a moment of regret, Redditor pepperpeppington asked:
"What is your greatest buyers remorse?"
The concept seemed legit, but these customers realized they had a lot to learn after committing to new prospects.
The Wrong Perspective
"Got talked into buying progressive lens glasses. I spend most of my day either reading, writing, or staring at a computer screen. With the new glasses I could only read things if it was in one particular spot in front of me or if I tilted my head to an odd angle. Hundreds of dollars down the drain. Ended up going back to buy reading glasses and they worked better than the progressives ever did."
Learning About Credit The Hard Way
"Back in the late 90’s when I was just graduating high school, I went to the mall one day (Lazarus to be exact, I know, I’m old) and some salesperson walked up wanting to know if I wanted a credit card. $500 max to be exact. Being the naive dumbass I was, I signed and got my card that day and bought $500 worth of clothing."
"It didn’t occur to me then about high interest rates and missing payments. It ended up costing me around $1500-$2000 to pay this sh*t off because I missed some payments. Teach your kids how to manage money and to be on the lookout for vultures. You’ll be doing them a favor."
That Sinking Feeling
"A Leesa mattress. I was super happy with it when we first got it because it was SO comfortable, but after a year it started sinking, and after three years I feel like I wake up in a trough every morning. I definitely need to get a new mattress because my back feels so much better any time we sleep on hotel beds."
"It's pissing me off that it only lasted three years but I've rotated that f'ker so many times that there's a trough in every direction. And it's still so comfortable when I first lie down, too."
Electrical appliances and cars are essential, but these Redditors wanted the best of the best and thought the high price tag instantly made things better.
Spoiler alert–it didn't.
"Latest remorseful purchase was my ~$2k GE refrigerator. It lasted 2.5 years and was too expensive to repair. It would have been 1,200 to fix it and even then the repair guy couldn't guarantee that it would work properly."
"I found a 'scratch and dent' Whirlpool for the same cost, brand new. So far, so good."
"ETA: before this, I've never had issues with GE appliances. This is either a fluke, or the brand is deteriorating."
"An Audi Q5 hybrid. We had a decent warranty so we thought we were okay. $6000 in repairs in one year of owning it. We traded it in and got upside down on a new car, but it was worth it to get out of that dumpster fire of a car."
Going Nowhere Fast
"Dumping 10 grand into a car worth 7k just because I wanted to make it faster. I still have the car and I love it, but that was not a smart financial decision, and I wouldn't do it again."
People didn't put any thought into these purchases and instantly regretted it.
It Didn't Compute
"My last laptop. I didn't really research properly, cheaped out and have spent the last three years regretting it."
Hard To Swallow
"I went to a burger place near Brisbane in Australia with my brother. They advertised that they had the 'hottest burgers' in the world and if you could finish, they put your name on the wall. I started to realise my mistake when the burger came out with latex gloves and a huge glass of milk. By the 2nd bite, i felt my soul start to detach from my body and my brain was recoiling in horror as pure lava was going down my throat. Halfway through, while trying to stop the tears flowing down my face, I said no more. For days after the burger my intestines couldn't handle anything stronger then yoghurt and the pain started again everytime I went to the toilet."
Taking A Stab At It
"A 400$ dagger back in 2002.. still have it, never knew what to do with it."
Went With The Flow
"A kayak that never gets used. Spent over 1 year's allowance (200$) on that thing."
Just A Stick
"buying a harry potter style wand at age 9 thinking it would actually work. it was hella expensive too."
Such A Waste
"Squatty Potty. What the f'k was I thinking? I could've just used a box, or literally stacked some books on top of each other, but to be fair I was pretty desperate."
So I saw the coolest leather jacket at a thrift store. Because I was so enamored of it–and the size was a perfect fit–I bought it there on the spot, no refunds.
I was thrilled about the prospect of looking like a greaser (because that's so my style...not), I realized I wouldn't be wearing it for a while considering L.A.'s blistering summer temperatures. Sadly, by the time temperatures cool down, I'll have forgotten all about it.
It will remain in my closet along with my other outfits I haven't worn in ages.
Careful spending money on too many clothes. You'll wind up donating them to a thrift store where another sucker like me will make an impulsive purchase.
With all the stress and anxiety in our world today, it's important to take a breath and appreciate there are still things in the world that can bring a smile to our faces.
Whether it's cuddling with a pet who adores you no matter what kind of day you're having, or sharing some cheesecake with old friends in the kitchen, we must not forget to revisit the things that bring us peace in a chaotic world.
Curious to hear what strangers online consider calming, Redditor subornion asked:
"What are some VERY comforting facts?"
In moments of reclusiveness, knowing we share the planet with other species can be a source of relief.
When Talking To Rabbits
"You can talk to your pet rabbit by quickly pushing your lips downwards and upwards as if you were trying to look up your nose in a mirror. Do it quickly and you're chatting. It mimics the nose movements they make and you can see them wiggle their noses faster out of interest. Copy their rhythm to and watch them talk back."
"Also, stomping your foot like they do as well as turning your back on them when annoyed is understood too. If they have chewed something they shouldn't have you can stomp one foot and turn around with your arms folded. Have a look over your shoulder to make sure they see you. They should come to check on you and if they don't stomp and make sure they see your back is turned. Eventually they get it and come over to make sure your ok. Then let the nose waggling commence."
"You can expect them to do the same to you as well, like when you clean their enclosure."
Wonders Of Evolution
"The North Pacific humpback whale population is estimated to be 15x greater then it was 60 years ago."
"I once found a ladybug in my room in the middle of winter. I tried to look up if I could feed it somehow, and found countless other people asking the same question."
"The world is full of people who have compassion enough to feed a lone bug in the winter."
Our Feathered Friends
"Crows will let other crows know if you’re a good person. Feeding a crow in your backyard can quickly become many crows over time since the rumour spreads. And nearby crows in your area will know you as one they like. They can also be known to be protective of you and even bring you gifts. Sufficed to say, crows are one of the most intelligent creatures on the planet and they are truly underrated."
People share wisdom pertaining to your health, well-being and healing.
You Will Come Out Of It
"If you're having a general anaesthetic for a routine operation, and worried about dying while under, please be aware there are about 7 different 'levels' of stuff we can do to bring you back."
"So if the thing we normally do doesn't work, we've got plan B, then we've got plans C, D, E, F, G& H. ( and we rarely need to even go to Plan C, let alone the rest!)"
"It's ridiculously rare for you to never wake up from a routine op, of course it happens occasionally, but for every case you've heard about it happening, there's THOUSANDS of identical operations where it didn't. I've been qualified 15 years and it's literally never happened anywhere I've worked."
Wonders Of Medicine
"A middle or even low income people in developed countries are living a much more comfortable life than the richest people centuries or even millennia ago, in large part thanks to modern medicine making death from a mere infection no longer a near guaranteed death."
There's Still Time To Ditch Bad Habits
"If you quit smoking by age 40, your life expectancy is the same as a non-smoker."
"Also: it's never too late to quit."
A Good Investment
"Switzerland has implemented a scheme ‘Time Bank’; which is an old-age assistance programme, under which, people can volunteer to look after the elderly who require assistance, and then, the number of hours they spend with or caring for seniors gets deposited in their individual social security account. Eventually, when the volunteer reaches that old age when he or she requires support, this ‘Time Bank’ can help them by providing time-based services which include consultations, babysitting, hairdressing, gardening, tutoring, or any other time-consuming job in addition to being looked after by a volunteer as well. About 34 countries are trying to apply this scheme."
"Very Wholesome and humane!"
It's the little things that can be uplifting when we're feeling low.
Best Neighbor Ever
"All of the cardigans Mister Rogers wore on camera were knit by his mother."
"There is a group of bikers called bikers against child abuse who support child abuse victims in court by looking tough and giving the kids confidence to testify against their abusers it’s actually an international group."
"Jupiter has been protecting earth from almost every stray asteroid strike coming in from out of the solar system since the planets first formed."
On The Mend
"The ozone layer is slowly repairing itself."
When I found out that pets will forgive you when you step on them, not only did that factoid bring much joy, it also made me wonder why people aren't as capable of letting minor grievances roll off their backs.
Animals are much more intellectual than we give them credit for. And knowing that my future Siberian Husky will always have my back no matter what makes me sleep at night.
'Til the day I become a Husky daddy, I'll be thinking of that to bring me a sense of calm in any kind of storm.
When you go to the food court in any of the fast-disappearing malls across America, you may find cuisine from many parts of the world.
Italy is epitomized by its delicious food staples, pizza, and pasta. Let's head to Sbarro's.
Craving Chinese food? Panda Express and other similar knock-offs using stereotypical names have got you covered.
But what is the taste of America? Is any food, distinctly American? Even hot dogs are a cultural import from Germany, as are hamburgers.
Maybe those tailgate party staples are distinctly American after they've been popularized in the heartland.
Expanding on the notion of the flavor of America, Redditor SalmonSoup15 asked:
"If American was a flavor, what would it taste like?"
Likening the flavor of America to condiments was the first thing that came to Reddtors' minds.
The Very Definition
"It IS a flavor: it’s how ranch gets named in some European countries."
"I was in the Caribbean when I found out Cool Ranch Doritos are called Cool American in some countries."
What's In It?
"Ranch dressing is an American salad dressing usually made from buttermilk, salt, garlic, onion, mustard, herbs, and spices mixed into a sauce based on mayonnaise or another oil emulsion. Sour cream and yogurt are sometimes used in addition to, or as a substitute for, buttermilk and mayonnaise. The dried version on chips is delicious."
The German Interpretation
"In Germany, American dressing is Thousand islands."
Effect On Buffalo
"Buffalo is appalled to learn this."
Let's Not Forget...
"With beer, whiskey and cigars!! Murica!"
What U.S. teenagers haven't participated in this atrocious soda trend?
The Everything Elixir
"You know when you used to mix every drink at the soda machine as a kid?"
Washingtonians Call It:
"WA state here."
"We called them 'Graveyards.'"
It Does Sound Toxic
"We called them 'suicides'"
"Edit: love hearing all the different names. I wonder if it's a geography/generational thing? I grew up in the Midwest in the 80s."
Candy You Can Drink
"We called it skittles soda."
The taste of America wasn't necessarily thought of as anything that would be beneficial to our health.
The Ingredients Found In All American Junk Food
"Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, milk solids, ascorbic acid, xanthum gum, red dye #5, MSG, marshmallow fluff, and hollow point bullets."
Vegetable Oil Jacuzzi
"That deep fried bar and grill taste. Where it's good dipped in ranch, but after a basket of any deep fried food... it just tastes and feels heavy. Like way too much of whatever it is."
Interestingly, having grown up in Los Angeles–where authentic Mexican food was in abundance–I associate the flavor of America with chili con carne in chili colorado sauce.
Additionally because of my Japanese heritage, I also associate teriyaki sauce–which my dad marinated chicken skewers in for our backyard BBQs–with 'Murica.
My American flavors are a kaleidoscopic mish-mash of different cultures. Because aren't we supposed to be a melting pot anyway? Or so I've thought.