Psychopaths are people who exhibit a constellation of traits which include antisocial, narcissistic, and borderline behavior, lack of ability to love or establish meaningful personal relationships and extreme egocentricity. They also do not learn from failure and take it out on others.
Psychopaths are often confused with sociopaths, however, they are not synonomous. A sociopath is simply an individual who has antisocial personality disorder. However, psychopathy is an umbrella term. There are different types of psychopaths - antisocial psychopaths, narcissistic psychopaths, and borderline psychopaths. Psychopaths have traits and characteristics that are common to the Cluster B personality disorders (Borderline personality, histrionic personality and narcissistic personality).
Psychopathic traits include:
- Extreme Egocentricity
- Lack any form of both Empathy and Sympathy towards others
- Highly charismatic
- Capable liars, to the point of almost never being called out
- Inability to love or establish meaningful personal relationships
- Complete disregard for the rights of others
- High Intelligence
- Normally impulsive
- Is emotionally unstable and will fly into a violent rage if things start to go wrong
- Ability to manipulate others
On top of being labeled with Antisocial personality disorder aka psychopathy, one might have at least one other Cluster B personality disorder. Either borderline personality disorder, Histrionic personality disorder, or narcissistic personality disorder. A psychopath can have all three disorders, or he/she may have two.
Psychopaths are not always killers or violent criminals, in fact many are capable businessmen and women but have a lack of remorse and do not socialize well with others,: Sociopaths (antisocials) also have a lack of remorse but their disdainful attitudes are largely an acquired trait rather than a hereditary trait (especially in fiction).
Neither Psychopathy nor Sociopathy are accepted by modern psychiatrists yet the terms are still widely used in fiction and in the public eye. It is possible to qualify as both a psycho and sociopath, if for example, you are afflicted with antisocial personality disorder (antisocial psychopathy). Villains that qualify for both must exhibit the excessive narcissism and victim seeking pleasure of a sociopath with the cold-heartedness and cunning of a psychopath.