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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Many people lie or exaggerate about seemingly little things. For example, I've wondered if many are lying or at the very least stretching the truth about the number of partners they've had.
One of those strange things where half of the people are lying and making the number higher, and the other half are lying and making it lower.
It's funny, isn't it? But you do you! What do we know?
People shared some of their thoughts with us after Redditor SleepingOmibozu asked the online community,
"What's something you're 100% sure most people are lying about?"
"How much their side hustle nets them."
When it comes to side hustles, everyone is much more successful than they actually are.
"Steroid abuse in the fitness industry."
This is a big one. So many people who say they're natural are juicing.
"I have read..."
"I have read and understood the terms and conditions..."
Stop attacking me! I did not ask for this!
"That they don't..."
"That they don’t pick their nose."
Yeah, right. The number of people I've seen digging for gold in public is so high.
"Fully understanding the plot of the Metal Gear Solid series."
I stopped trying to. Do I get a cookie? I'd love one.
"How often they clean..."
"How often they clean their bed sheets."
I'm not even going to ask. I think I will be seriously horrified by the answer.
"If you're not busy..."
"About their productivity levels. If you’re not busy, you’re not a good person."
Yeah, whatever. This is as bad as bragging about not taking breaks at work. It's not a good look.
"So many lies."
"Their income. So many lies."
Many people feel very self conscious about their salaries. It's sad.
"Why they're late."
"Why they’re late."
I'm not late often but when I am it's usually because of something ridiculous where if I said the truth it would sound like a lie.
"Hating the word..."
"Hating the word 'moist.'"
I love the word moist and I won't apologise.
You mean there are still people going on about this? It's just a word, people. Calm down.
Life's a competition, apparently. Take what a lot of people tell you with a grain of salt. That's the best advice.
Have some observations of your own? Tell us more in the comments below!
I once met a guy who, by all accounts, appeared to have given up. And by that, I mean that they had pretty much decided that life basically ended in the 1970s and early 1980s. He had no interest in modern technology, was remarkably out of the loop when it came to technology or even current events.
This was all very frustrating to witness, but he was actually proud of himself! Proud to not know much–if anything–about the modern world. (And then he complained about how he kept having trouble finding a job.)
It was quite the flex–an unimpressive one at that.
People shared some of their thoughts with us after Redditor metallicmuffin asked the online community,'
"What unimpressive things are people idiotically proud of?"
"Missing breaks at work for a company that wouldn’t care if they died the next day."
This is a big one. It's not cute. Take your break! There's more to life than work!
"Not eating any vegetables. Known a few people state it as if it's some kind of achievement giving themselves constipation."
Knew somebody like this. They wanted to go out on a date.
We did not go out on a date.
"Going into work while sick. Had a coworker who bragged on social media about having strep throat, but was still working because she 'values hard work.'"
Some people appear to have missed the memo that risking other people's health is not a bragging right.
"I know people..."
"Drinking a lot. I know people, grown @ss people in their late 20s, who will brag about passing out on their lawns because they couldn’t make it from the car to the front door."
To be fair, they're in their 20s and most people are idiots then. They might grow out of it!
"I once had..."
"I once had a coworker brag about how dark his pee is."
Are you seriously telling us that they bragged about their kidneys not working correctly?
"I've heard that..."
"Driving better when drunk. I’ve heard that ridiculous statement more times than I should."
If some people seriously believe that, then they should not be allowed to drive.
"I overheard a co-worker recently brag to a girl that he'd already had COVID three times and during his most recent bout, he went to the gym every day that he had it."
There are so, so many things wrong with that person's statement. Can you imagine? "Sure, I got COVID, but at least I didn't miss leg day!"
"I keep hearing people..."
"Not being able to cook. I keep hearing people bragging about how the only thing they can do is boil water."
If you've made it to adulthood and you don't know how to cook for yourself, there's something gravely wrong with this picture.
"Nothing surprises me..."
"Nothing surprises me more than when people are proud of their ignorance."
Knowledge is no guarantee of wisdom but prideful ignorance is proof of its absence.
"I worked with a guy..."
"I worked with a guy who, otherwise very smart, was extremely proud of the fact that he could remove the foil from the neck of a wine bottle without cutting it. He brought it up so many times I lost count. I just let him have it, though, because he seemed to need it."
Of all the things in this thread this is the most reasonable thing to be proud of.
Let's face it, it seems like a lot of people have made over-compensating a part of their personalities.
Sadly, they don't even seem to be doing that all too well, which means we'll continue to be largely unimpressed.
Have some observations of your own? Feel free to share them with us in the comments below!
Who hasn't partaken in a trend everyone was doing at one point, but which quickly became passé?
Indeed, 90's children probably have mountains of POGs which are collecting dust in their parent's attics, and their parent's probably made every effort to hide any pictures of them attempting a mullet.
But seeing the long lineage of fads, from bellbottoms to beanie babies, we can't help but wonder what current trend people will look back on with regret, if not outright disdain, in the not-so-distant future.
Redditor stoopididiotface was curious to hear what the Reddit community thinks will be passé in a matter of time, leading them to ask:
"What current trend will be the most regrettable 20 years from now?"
I update my status much less often these days...
"Posting about almost every aspect of your life on social media."
"I posted some pretty cringe sh*t as a kid that is still floating around somewhere, and that was before social media became big."
"I can't imagine what it's going to be like now."- video_2facebook update GIF by Christina LuGiphy
Parenting should be a personal choice.
"I hope mommy bloggers who post constant pics and details of their children."
"Robbing children of privacy for likes and money is sickening."
"Don’t even get me started on ones with sick kids."- nikki_therese
Everyone was watching it... back then...
"I think people are just starting to regret naming their kids Danerys and Sansa."- Wazula42game of thrones boom GIFGiphy
Felt "kute"... will regret later
"Quirky misspelling of names."- Virghia
Natural beauty is destined for a comeback
"Too much plastic surgery, fillers and Botox on young people."- factchecker8515
"Holy sh*t, there’s no way that your kids won’t be horrified by those weird eyebrows."- DelicaEyebrow Raise GIFGiphy
Here's hoping actions will one day have consequences
"Ignoring criminal acts by politicians."- Max-lower-back-Payne
Contemporary views of education
"The destruction of public education."
"Squeezing and outright sabotage of public schools, prohibitive costs for secondary education."
"The normalization of being undereducated either through apathy or because of forces outside your control."
"The idea that opinion is equal to fact and that sticking to your original viewpoint is heroic."
"'Yeah, your studies may say that, but this is how I FEEL about it'" and similar arguments."
"The reason we are no longer a minor species of omnivorous hunter-gatherers is our ability to pass along knowledge to others."
"Each generation building on the achievements of prior generations is the path to progress in health, quality of life, equality, production and so much more."
"Worse yet, technology now is at a level where if the masses are uneducated, they are also powerless."
"Small groups of people with specific knowledge have become outrageously powerful and this gap in individual power will only get worse with advances in fields like AI and robotics."
"If we allow whole generations to grow up undereducated, it will be very difficult for them to understand and affect their world."
"I feel the exponential growth of wealth gaps across the world is a symptom of this deliberate enforced ignorance."- GrymEdm
Some things we'll laugh about, other's we'll look back on in disdain and horror.
And Ironically, we'll probably be enjoying another current fad which will be outdated in another five years.
When the global pandemic hit in March of 2020, everyone hoped that after two weeks or so of social distancing, cases would begin to drop and things would quickly get back to normal.
And though life is slowly getting back to what it once was, cases of COVID-19 continue to ebb and flow.
It almost feels like everyone must have caught COVID-19 at least once by now.
But even three years in and with multiple variants, there are still a very lucky, select few who have yet to test positive for COVID-19.
Redditor jwa8808 was curious to hear how those who have yet to see two red sticks on their rapid tests have managed to avoid catching COVID-19, leading them to ask:
"For people who have never caught covid even once, what's your secret?"
Having no social life comes with its advantages.
"I'm not very social even without a pandemic."- phorq
"Have no friends, lol."Season 5 Friends Tv Show GIF by FriendsGiphy
Fear of big crowds... and everything else.
"Social anxiety."- mungiga123
"Extreme health anxiety."
"It sucks since its unnerving but I took every precaution in the book to not get sick."- _Lost__LightHorror Reaction GIF by SpongeBob SquarePantsGiphy
You tell me!
"I really have no idea."
"I've been on building sites with people taking zero precautions, worked in London for a while, delivered into hospitals during lockdown, been surrounded by people who then go on to have covid a few days later."
"Not a clue how I haven't had it yet."- sammykoejoe
Best perk of a home office!
"Working at home and having no social life or sex."- I-P-Freely4ever
Pure, dumb luck!
'Neither me or my kids have been hit."
"The secret, I have no idea besides lure luck."- Hugh-MahnSt Patricks Day Illustration GIFGiphy
I can stay perfectly entertained at home!
"Don't go out."- To_enrich_my_life_17
Dilligence...or common sense?
"Wear masks, go out when you need to, get all the covid shots you are entitled to, stay away from ill people."- kitchen_clintonThe Grand Mask GIF by The Grand HealthcareGiphy
One can't help but sympathize with those too afraid to partake in outings and activities they enjoyed prior to the pandemic.
But hopefully the fact that they've avoided catching an illness which has taken the lives of over six million people worldwide is the comfort they need to feel good about their decisions.