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Asperger vs. sociopathy

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Asperger vs. sociopathy

Postby watta » Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:09 pm

Hi to all, in short, how you would describe the main difference between Asperger and sociopathy? What is missing in the first diagnosis, but is present in the second? Where is the border in some kind of pathological behaviour? What about Asperger and manipulation, is it common? What about pathological lying? And, in the real life, how is it possible to recognize with certainty someone has Asperger, but only Asperger, and he is not a sociopath? Actually are these two separated diagnosis sometimes comorbid?

Further explanation: By this question, I do not want to make the false impression that I believe something is rotten in Asperger diagnosis, on the contrary. I have a real-life problem with a family member with Asperger, I would like to know some more suggestions before a consultation with the psychologist, it could be really very helpful in my actual situation, thank you a lot. More questions expanding the main problem could be - could a person with Asperger syndrome consciously manipulate for a really long life-time period someone else? Could a person with Asperger syndrome be able to create an image of self-victim in order to victimize someone else? And again, what would you think about the border between these two diagnosis? Thank you for any new view.
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Re: Asperger vs. sociopathy

Postby TDT » Fri Oct 05, 2012 9:06 pm

They are very very different disorders

Sociopathy, according to wikipedia is defined as:
"...a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood."

The definition of pervasive is:
"(esp. of an unwelcome influence or physical effect) Spreading widely throughout an area or a group of people."

Wikipedia further goes into:
It is characterized by at least 3 of the following:
Callous unconcern for the feelings of others.

Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations.

Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships, though having no difficulty in establishing them.

Very low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence.

Incapacity to experience guilt or to profit from experience, particularly punishment.

Markedly prone to blame others or to offer plausible rationalizations for the behavior that has brought the person into conflict with society.


Lets look at each of these, individually:

Callous unconcern for the feelings of others.


This is having an insensitive and cruel behavior toward the feelings of others. ASers don't pick up on other people's feelings very easily, and therefore may act as if they are insensitive toward their feelings. It's not like the person with AS knows what someone feels and immediately is trying to be cruel back. If enough stuff builds up, someone with AS may not care about another person's feelings, but that's likely due to stress like anything else.

Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations.


There may be a bit more of an overlap here, but persistent attitude in this case means that someone is against social norms just to be against it. Someone with AS may just have no interest in some of the social norms..but isn't out there to disregard the norms. Rules, on the other hand, many ASers follow quite well. It gives a sense of structure, and as long as the rule makes sense, it may be more followed.

Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships, though having no difficulty in establishing them.


This is where they differ greatly. ASers have a very big difficulty in establishing a relationship, but also a difficulty in maintaining relationships (at times). The big hurdle, for me, is actually establishing the relationship. Keeping it going after it's started isn't so bad.

Very low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence.


I'd say that most people with AS aren't violent. There could be a low tolerance to frustration, but that may not be displayed that anyone can tell. Remember, someone with AS has difficulties showing emotion in 'standard' ways. Think of it this way, Sociopaths are out there to cause conflict with people. People with AS are unaware of conflict caused, and are more likely to avoid it..including violent acts.

Incapacity to experience guilt or to profit from experience, particularly punishment.


Again, they differ very greatly here. People with AS experience guilt just fine, they just have a harder time displaying the emotions so others can understand. And..I'm quite sure no ASers profit from punishment or enjoy it.

Markedly prone to blame others or to offer plausible rationalizations for the behavior that has brought the person into conflict with society.


I'm not sure here. I mean, from my perspective, I rarely blame others unless there's a logical reason for doing so. I think the key here is "conflict with society". Someone with AS isn't likely to seek the focus point of anyone really, or any group of people. With that in mind, one could conclude that avoiding conflict would be the goal of someone with AS.


------

Hopefully this helps with your question. You may wish to go into some more detail about what your aim is when it comes to this set of questions. The reason I'm asking this is because the set of symptoms between AS and sociopathy is very different..and very apparently different. Maybe I believe they are apparently different is because I'm on the ASD spectrum and can spot the differences easier since I can relate the traits of sociopathy directly to how I am, and can see the differences easier.
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Re: Asperger vs. sociopathy

Postby watta » Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:52 pm

Thank you very much for your very comprehensive review, thank you for your time you' ve dedicated to the answer. Yes, it is really very helpful to me. Still I am not sure about some things.

I understand the part about the social norms, I feel the difference clearly, the term "disrespect" towards the norms in case of sociopathy is quite understandably different to me from the effort of the person with Asperger which could only not be always sufficient to keep the social rule, despite the power of the effort, or it can't be followed as unlogical, or it is made impossible due to a stressful situation.

On the other hand, I am a bit confused by the relationship thing - does it mean that people who establish relationships easily, on their very beginning, and after that they are "just" not able to maintain them, are not persons with Asperger syndrome, but sociopaths? I've have heard sociopaths often are very charming persons what attracts other people to them. But people with Asperger syndrome have also an unusual charm who makes them interesting for the others, don't you think?

After your answer, my main remaining question is:
Are these two conditions - for good reasons definitely separated as two completely different states of minds, which I don't doubt - sometimes comorbid? In other words, is it possible that the person with Asperger syndrome could be also sociopath?

And the other question:
Could it be possible that to harm or simply "just" to cheat other people would bring some pleasure, or perhaps some relief (?) or I don't know what, to some people with Asperger syndrome, even if they are not sociopath?

That's the most hazy part for me. I understand there are definitely more "types" of people with Asperger syndrome, from my personal experience. My father has Asperger syndrome, but he is also the pathological liar. I haven't known it for the very long time. I've known it about my brother who has the same condition, but not about my father. I've uncovered it just by accident and confirmed repeatedly by accidents again. It is not compulsive lying, he does not lie just for the lie (it is not just his way of communication), but for the purpose, to make other people guilty for something he should be, for the excuse, and to make the impression he is nice and sometimes regrettable person (it seems sometimes he likes the idea). It looks like he continuously uses his lies, sometimes they are complete fairy tales, to his profit, to be interesting, to keep communication, and to manipulate other to think some particular things about him or about the concrete situation. The manipulation usually proceeds in the very clever way, for the first sight, people are fascinated by him. If it is conscious, which is the part of my question - actually I think there could be the possibility the person with Asperger syndrome would do the same thing unconsciously - he was very successful in that area, at the tremendous expense of other members of our family. He was violent, choleric, when he was in emotional affect, when he was younger, he was able (and he did) to use the physical power, but he also knew how to be very nice person - tried to fulfill all wishes of the other person to a tee, almost fanatically, as it would be something ill on the way how he did it, but - he was that kind of nice person. He really liked (consciously or unconsciously?) the idea other people think good things about him (is it the Aspergeric narcissism or sociopathic??) and because he is indifferent to most of things happening in the world, with the exception of his own interest, he was always agreed with the opinion of the other just to make them happy, never mind what he was really thinking of the topic (he simply does not have many true opinions on things, except he hates almost all :) ) Is there any simple way to distinguish an outbreak from such an emotional affect? And any other clue?

You write that people with Asperger syndrome don't like conflicts. He does like to create conflicts, but it can be also the only familiar way for him how to establish the communication with other people, which I fail to recognize. It is very interesting if you write that the set of both symptoms is very different, to me, it is a puzzle really. I was forced to establish the common living (in one flat) with my father after a long time we haven't almost seen each other. After these years I am now able to see some things in the new light and I don't know if I should be worry about something unexpected or even dangerous or manipulative which I would be not expected from the person "just" with Asperger (or should I even in that case?). I have to add I am in the ASD spectrum too, so maybe my ability of recognize it could be misted by the lack of interpersonal understanding, but usually my empathy is very profound, on the contrary, in the terms I am able to recognize without problems what and how a person feel. But this personality is perhaps too over-layered to me - which I see as the shady (sociopathic?) sign as well. I have recently undergone some situations with him which were very unpleasant to me. I was forced to accustomate to such "emotional" conflicts in my childhood, I got out of the habit and I don't know the way how to stop it and I don't know how to react to the pathological lying - I am on the other side of the spectrum, among the people who have real problems with lies.

Actually do someone here knows a real living person "suffering" from sociopathy?
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Re: Asperger vs. sociopathy

Postby Ellimist » Sat Oct 06, 2012 1:20 am

Go into the forum for aspd, read how those people are, and then come back to the forum for aspergers and see the difference.
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Re: Asperger vs. sociopathy

Postby TDT » Sat Oct 06, 2012 1:35 am

watta wrote:
On the other hand, I am a bit confused by the relationship thing - does it mean that people who establish relationships easily, on their very beginning, and after that they are "just" not able to maintain them, are not persons with Asperger syndrome, but sociopaths? I've have heard sociopaths often are very charming persons what attracts other people to them. But people with Asperger syndrome have also an unusual charm who makes them interesting for the others, don't you think?


If we're talking about just the initiation of relationships, without looking at any other symptoms, then personally I'd believe that they may be more on the sociopath side of things.

It's not to say that people with AS can't form relationships. What it means is that it's just much harder and isn't for manipulative purposes.

After your answer, my main remaining question is:
Are these two conditions - for good reasons definitely separated as two completely different states of minds, which I don't doubt - sometimes comorbid? In other words, is it possible that the person with Asperger syndrome could be also sociopath?


I don't know. The problem with psychology in general is that, some don't consider it a science, for good reason. This isn't like a disease such as heart disease where you either have it or don't. A lot of times it kinda depends on the opinion of the psychologist. It doesn't mean that mental diseases don't exist, just that things can be misdiagnosed.

With that said, in theory, it's probably possible that some combination of symptoms are possible in minor-amounts, that cause a dual diagnosis.

And the other question:
Could it be possible that to harm or simply "just" to cheat other people would bring some pleasure, or perhaps some relief (?) or I don't know what, to some people with Asperger syndrome, even if they are not sociopath?

That's the most hazy part for me. I understand there are definitely more "types" of people with Asperger syndrome, from my personal experience. My father has Asperger syndrome, but he is also the pathological liar. I haven't known it for the very long time. I've known it about my brother who has the same condition, but not about my father. I've uncovered it just by accident and confirmed repeatedly by accidents again. It is not compulsive lying, he does not lie just for the lie (it is not just his way of communication), but for the purpose, to make other people guilty for something he should be, for the excuse, and to make the impression he is nice and sometimes regrettable person (it seems sometimes he likes the idea). It looks like he continuously uses his lies, sometimes they are complete fairy tales, to his profit, to be interesting, to keep communication, and to manipulate other to think some particular things about him or about the concrete situation. The manipulation usually proceeds in the very clever way, for the first sight, people are fascinated by him. If it is conscious, which is the part of my question - actually I think there could be the possibility the person with Asperger syndrome would do the same thing unconsciously - he was very successful in that area, at the tremendous expense of other members of our family. He was violent, choleric, when he was in emotional affect, when he was younger, he was able (and he did) to use the physical power, but he also knew how to be very nice person - tried to fulfill all wishes of the other person to a tee, almost fanatically, as it would be something ill on the way how he did it, but - he was that kind of nice person. He really liked (consciously or unconsciously?) the idea other people think good things about him (is it the Aspergeric narcissism or sociopathic??) and because he is indifferent to most of things happening in the world, with the exception of his own interest, he was always agreed with the opinion of the other just to make them happy, never mind what he was really thinking of the topic (he simply does not have many true opinions on things, except he hates almost all :) ) Is there any simple way to distinguish an outbreak from such an emotional affect? And any other clue?

You write that people with Asperger syndrome don't like conflicts. He does like to create conflicts, but it can be also the only familiar way for him how to establish the communication with other people, which I fail to recognize. It is very interesting if you write that the set of both symptoms is very different, to me, it is a puzzle really. I was forced to establish the common living (in one flat) with my father after a long time we haven't almost seen each other. After these years I am now able to see some things in the new light and I don't know if I should be worry about something unexpected or even dangerous or manipulative which I would be not expected from the person "just" with Asperger (or should I even in that case?). I have to add I am in the ASD spectrum too, so maybe my ability of recognize it could be misted by the lack of interpersonal understanding, but usually my empathy is very profound, on the contrary, in the terms I am able to recognize without problems what and how a person feel. But this personality is perhaps too over-layered to me - which I see as the shady (sociopathic?) sign as well. I have recently undergone some situations with him which were very unpleasant to me. I was forced to accustomate to such "emotional" conflicts in my childhood, I got out of the habit and I don't know the way how to stop it and I don't know how to react to the pathological lying - I am on the other side of the spectrum, among the people who have real problems with lies.

Actually do someone here knows a real living person "suffering" from sociopathy?



I'll comment on the rest of this tomorrow, unfortunately ran out of time for being able to respond, but wanted to respond with what I had at least.
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Re: Asperger vs. sociopathy

Postby watta » Sat Oct 06, 2012 6:14 pm

If we're talking about just the initiation of relationships, without looking at any other symptoms, then personally I'd believe that they may be more on the sociopath side of things.

It's not to say that people with AS can't form relationships. What it means is that it's just much harder and isn't for manipulative purposes.


Thanks a lot for an interesting point. That's actually also the core of my question, if Asperger behaviour could be manipulative, intentionally.

I don't know. The problem with psychology in general is that, some don't consider it a science, for good reason. This isn't like a disease such as heart disease where you either have it or don't. A lot of times it kinda depends on the opinion of the psychologist. It doesn't mean that mental diseases don't exist, just that things can be misdiagnosed.

With that said, in theory, it's probably possible that some combination of symptoms are possible in minor-amounts, that cause a dual diagnosis.


Yes I understand. I have similar problem to see psychology "as a science" to be honest, I would not put it like this, in such words, but I do not like the mainstream scholar psychologist approach, by which all people have to be sorted out to categories which seems to be the goal of the diagnosis, and then anyway, all receive the same drugs ;) even I admit it is good for many practical reasons. But I do not ask because of theoretical psychological interest. I ask because of practical reason how to cope with the man (my father) I must now living with. If there is a difference between the way how to behave towards sociopaths and how to approach the person with an Asperger syndrome, I would like to avoid the mistake which can be very important for me. I really don't know at the moment, what I can expect from him. I think there would be difference in his approach towards me, when it would be manipulative but unconsciously (possibly Asperger?), or manipulative but consciously (sociopath). It could be very important for my next communication(s) and acting which is necessary to solve the situation. I would'nt like to do any harm to him. On the other hand, all these things were and are really difficult for me and I do not want to be a victim, as my mother and as is the girlfriend of my brother.

You know, it is very hard to live with such a person (as I described a little above), the more I have many serious sensoric issues which are all disrespected by him, and which he translates as "my terror on him". But if what he does he does not mean, my approach to him would be different than if it would be calculative, if you understand.


I don't know if I have the right to leave him and it would be also quite financially exhausting for me to find another flat just for him and organize again the moving which is also difficult because he has a dog and smokes (it is much harder to find a flat for rent here in the city for people with pets and smokers, the more if it has to be cheap). He is retired, he gone out of his finances, I had to take a loan to pay some things he was not able to pay and for all the moving, charges etc., he is absolutely unconcerned and expects it is all my concern as the matter of course. He did some strange things and I am now susceptible to believe it ALL was a strategy and manipulation, and if it was and is, it would really change my approach to him. Till now I think something like "he has Asperger, so it is difficult for him too". I would be really interested, if somebody has the similar experience with someone diagnosed with Asperger or the like. But in any case, thank you very much.
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Re: Asperger vs. sociopathy

Postby shock_the_monkey » Sat Oct 06, 2012 11:34 pm

i strongly suggest you find a way of living on your own. trying to understand what is wrong is less important than recognising that it is wrong. and even if you knew for sure what is wrong it wouldn't necessarily make you any happier. it's your life. you owe it to yourself to live it to the best of your ability and not let others drag you down, even if they do happen to be your kin. and in my opinion, unless you're talking about some seriously deviant behaviour, what you're describing could well simply be the inability to function on a social level that most AS types exhibit. but that doesn't mean you have to put up with it.
something knocked me out' the trees
now i'm on my knees
... don't you know you're gonna shock the monkey

there is one thing you must be sure of
i can't take any more
... don't you know you're gonna shock the monkey

don't like it but i guess i'm learning

... shock the monkey to life
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Re: Asperger vs. sociopathy

Postby Sh3ld0n » Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:08 pm

Some good posts here...
But I haven't read them all yet...

Asperians and sociopaths share some superficial similarities.
I even thought I may have been a sociopath at one time...
Perhaps I am being too simplistic but I see it like this:
I have a conscience.
**********************
The implied qualifier is probably "tendency" if not otherwise stated...
I don't generalise in the classic sense...
My default MO is to think in terms of probabilities/improbabilities...
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Re: Asperger vs. sociopathy

Postby slugger » Mon Oct 08, 2012 6:35 pm

Sh3ld0n wrote:Some good posts here...
But I haven't read them all yet...

Asperians and sociopaths share some superficial similarities.
I even thought I may have been a sociopath at one time...
Perhaps I am being too simplistic but I see it like this:
I have a conscience.


Welcome back Sh3ld0n! I'm at work so unfortunatley don't have time to read all this right now either, but after perusing it, I'd agree with your 4 word response, I think it covers a lot with a few words!
Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on it's ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid. ~Albert Einstein

It is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart. ~Ghandi
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Re: Asperger vs. sociopathy

Postby shock_the_monkey » Mon Oct 08, 2012 7:07 pm

Sh3ld0n wrote:Perhaps I am being too simplistic but I see it like this:
I have a conscience.

yes, i do think that's too simplistic. i think this is varying degress of theory of mind. and it isn't a matter of whether one thinks one has a social conscience, as this is self-determined, but rather whether society does. i'm reluctant to make an extreme parallel but hitler was a vegetarian and an animal lover. i rather doubt he thought he lacked a social conscience, and based on the aforementioned it certainly appears that he had some sort of concern for animals. even humans, as he did marry eva braun before they both committed suicide. but history hasn't judged him too kindly.
something knocked me out' the trees
now i'm on my knees
... don't you know you're gonna shock the monkey

there is one thing you must be sure of
i can't take any more
... don't you know you're gonna shock the monkey

don't like it but i guess i'm learning

... shock the monkey to life
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