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# '''LackOfEmpathy and Devoid of Conscience''': Their defining feature. Utterly ruthless doesn't begin to describe them: except [[DevilInPlainSight for when trying to appear normal]], they [[TheUnfettered will disregard any social norms and semblance of morality in pursuit of their own selfish desires]]. The Sociopath will do whatever it takes: lie, cheat, steal, extort, [[ManipulativeBastard manipulate]], or use [[BloodKnight outright violence]] without the slightest hesitation, disgust or remorse, and for as little as [[EvilFeelsGood Pleasure]] or [[ForTheEvulz The Evulz]]. Murder and violence [[ButForMeItWasTuesday have no more emotional weight for them than eating Chinese takeout or some other mundane activity]], and they have no concern for the direct or collateral damage they do to other people, [[EvilCannotComprehendGood being unable to understand why anyone should]]. Likewise, they never truly [[EvilCannotComprehendGood understand the feelings of others on anything more than an intellectual level]], and may even believe that [[PsychologicalProjection everybody else is faking it too]]. As many RealLife criminal psychologists put it: "They know the words but not the music." Techniques for learning moral behaviour, such as reason, therapy, rehabilitation and behavioral reward/punishment, will not work on them or tend to only make their behavior even worse by making it easier for them to fake it. This is why the ''only'' thing resembling consistently successful treatment involves teaching them to avoid behaviors that have predictable consequences; they may still believe that consequences are bullshit, but if they have been made sufficiently aware of the fact that their behavior will always end up with them in jail, getting sued, or simply just getting jumped or killed when they fuck with the wrong people, and that they can't lie and fake their way out of it because people are wise to their game, they will usually shape up.

to:

# '''LackOfEmpathy and Devoid of Conscience''': Their defining feature. Utterly ruthless doesn't begin to describe them: except [[DevilInPlainSight for when trying to appear normal]], they [[TheUnfettered will disregard any social norms and semblance of morality in pursuit of their own selfish desires]]. The Sociopath will do whatever it takes: lie, cheat, steal, extort, [[ManipulativeBastard manipulate]], or use [[BloodKnight outright violence]] without the slightest hesitation, disgust or remorse, and for as little as [[EvilFeelsGood Pleasure]] or [[ForTheEvulz The Evulz]]. Murder and violence [[ButForMeItWasTuesday have no more emotional weight for them than eating Chinese takeout or some other mundane activity]], and they have no concern for the direct or collateral damage they do to other people, [[EvilCannotComprehendGood being unable to understand why anyone should]]. Likewise, they never truly [[EvilCannotComprehendGood understand the feelings of others on anything more than an intellectual level]], and may even believe that [[PsychologicalProjection everybody else is faking it too]]. As many RealLife criminal psychologists put it: "They know the words but not the music." Techniques for learning moral behaviour, such as reason, therapy, rehabilitation and behavioral reward/punishment, will not work on them or tend to only make their behavior even worse by making it easier for them to fake it. This is why the ''only'' thing resembling consistently successful treatment involves [[MoralPragmatist teaching them to avoid behaviors that have predictable consequences; consequences]]; they may still believe that consequences are bullshit, but if they have been made sufficiently aware of the fact that their behavior will always end up with them in jail, getting sued, or simply just getting jumped or killed when they fuck with the wrong people, and that they can't lie and fake their way out of it because people are wise to their game, they will usually shape up.


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%% MODERATOR NOTICE: This article was cut down from its former atrocious Wall Of Text length. DO NOT put all that stuff back. Analysis goes in the UsefulNotes article linked below.
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%% This list of examples has been alphabetized. Please add your example in the proper place. Thanks!
%%

->''"I see no difference between things and people."''
-->-- '''Seishiro Sakurazuka''', ''Manga/TokyoBabylon''

The Sociopath is far from your ordinary criminal or villain. Combine a willingness to cross the MoralEventHorizon without a shred of guilt, a keen sense of other people's mental and emotional fault lines, and a LackOfEmpathy, and you have the consummate evildoer. To put it briefly, the Sociopath is like a predator while everyone else is prey to them.

The Sociopath displays these following qualities:
# '''LackOfEmpathy and Devoid of Conscience''': Their defining feature. Utterly ruthless doesn't begin to describe them: except [[DevilInPlainSight for when trying to appear normal]], they [[TheUnfettered will disregard any social norms and semblance of morality in pursuit of their own selfish desires]]. The Sociopath will do whatever it takes: lie, cheat, steal, extort, [[ManipulativeBastard manipulate]], or use [[BloodKnight outright violence]] without the slightest hesitation, disgust or remorse, and for as little as [[EvilFeelsGood Pleasure]] or [[ForTheEvulz The Evulz]]. Murder and violence [[ButForMeItWasTuesday have no more emotional weight for them than eating Chinese takeout or some other mundane activity]], and they have no concern for the direct or collateral damage they do to other people, [[EvilCannotComprehendGood being unable to understand why anyone should]]. Likewise, they never truly [[EvilCannotComprehendGood understand the feelings of others on anything more than an intellectual level]], and may even believe that [[PsychologicalProjection everybody else is faking it too]]. As many RealLife criminal psychologists put it: "They know the words but not the music." Techniques for learning moral behaviour, such as reason, therapy, rehabilitation and behavioral reward/punishment, will not work on them or tend to only make their behavior even worse by making it easier for them to fake it. This is why the ''only'' thing resembling consistently successful treatment involves teaching them to avoid behaviors that have predictable consequences; they may still believe that consequences are bullshit, but if they have been made sufficiently aware of the fact that their behavior will always end up with them in jail, getting sued, or simply just getting jumped or killed when they fuck with the wrong people, and that they can't lie and fake their way out of it because people are wise to their game, they will usually shape up.
# '''ConsummateLiar and {{Manipulat|iveBastard}}or''': In the event they are ever targets of suspicion in crime dramas and thrillers, sociopaths are able to fool any [[LivingLieDetector Living Lie Detectors]] in the cast, pass polygraphs effortlessly, and [[BitchInSheepsClothing fool even you, the audience, into believing they are genuinely kind and caring people]] who are victims of a "big misunderstanding" (assuming they are not [[SmugSnake so smugly confident of their own invincibility]] that they feel no need to hide their unsavory personality). Moreover, despite their lack of empathy, sociopaths are capable of using their knowledge of others' desires, emotions and insecurities to manipulate them for their own personal gain. Because of this, many of them are FauxAffablyEvil. This is related to their lack of empathy and shame - they don't feel the slightest discomfort about lying or exploiting others, so they do so with the same ease in which normal people perform mundane activities. This is why you should ''always'' assume that any apparent epiphany from a sociopath is bullshit; as far as they're concerned, it's just another tool to get what they want, and they don't actually believe that they have done anything wrong. Don't let them know that they are full of shit, because it will just force them to become more slick, but do act with the knowledge that they will go right back to their old ways the minute that they think it is safe to do so.
#''' [[TheHedonist Pathological Need for Stimulation]]''': The Sociopath's ''raison d'etre'' (i.e.: [[MotivationIndex an overriding goal which serves as one's "reason for existence"]]). Due to their [[LackOfEmpathy inability to empathize or even care for those around them]], sociopaths largely view their existence as [[StrawNihilist boring or meaningless]] and therefore feel compelled to [[ItAmusedMe engage in "thrill-seeking" activities to alleviate their restlessness]]. How this manifests depends largely on the sociopath's personality. It can be as ''relatively'' benign as binging on video games, compulsively gambling, or leading [[TheCasanova highly promiscuous lifestyles]]. Far more dangerous examples are prone to satiate their lust for thrills by partaking in criminal enterprises, becoming {{serial rapist}}s and/or [[SerialKiller killers]], or (if they are [[BunnyEarsLawyer unusually high-functioning]]) accumulating vast [[{{Greed}} wealth]] and/or [[VillainWithGoodPublicity influence]] for the sole purpose of [[DespotismJustifiesTheMeans dominating as many people as they can for their own amusement]]. Due to their obsession with indulging their insatiable appetites ''however'' they want ''whenever'' they want, sociopaths have a '''very''' low tolerance for inconvenience or irritation which in turn leads them to have a pronounced lack of impulse control. Because of this, many of them are AxCrazy, have a HairTriggerTemper, and/or are {{Mood Swinger}}s.
# '''[[ItsAllAboutMe Shallow Affect]] and [[AllTakeAndNoGive Complete Lack of Emotional Reciprocity]]''': A Sociopath is physiologically incapable of experiencing a deep emotional attachment towards others but - being a ConsummateLiar - learns early in life how to fake them. This shallow emotional life means that the Sociopath is [[LackOfEmpathy unable to form sincere long-term relationships with anything or anyone, but will feign feelings of love and affection if they feel it serves their purposes]]. Most of the true feelings a sociopath harbors towards others, positive or negative, are rooted in an insatiable desire [[ControlFreak to dominate or control them]]. While [[{{Narcissist}} narcissists]] desire to be [[LoveHungry loved]] or [[GlorySeeker at least respected]], sociopaths don't care whether others view them positively as long as they don't stand in the way of their own [[ItsAllAboutMe self-centered gratification]]. In the rare event that a Sociopath actually ''does'' form an "attachment" to another person, it [[AllTakeAndNoGive rises no further than that between an owner and a possession and/or a valuable resource for advancing their goals]]. Thus, once such "friends" cease to be useful or entertaining, they will [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness abandon them or, in some cases, even kill them]] without any hesitation or regret. Any emotional reaction to having committed a [[KickTheDog heinous act]] is met [[ButForMeItWasTuesday indifference]] at best and [[ReminiscingAboutYourVictims gl]][[WouldYouLikeToHearHowTheyDied ee]] at worst.
# '''[[{{Pride}} Grandiose Sense of Self-Importance]]''': The trait that ties it all together - the one that changes it from moustache-twirling evil into a mental disorder. Sociopaths will go so far as to [[SmugSnake convince]] ''[[SmugSnake themselves]]'' [[SmugSnake that they have succeeded in their plan, even as failure stares them in the face and snaps on the handcuffs. They genuinely believe it]]. They don't really care what others truly think on the matter, but they do care about what they ''say'', and like to fill their social circle with people who say what they want to hear. [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder Any others - even former 'friends' - will be dismissed from the sociopath's social circle simply for doubting them]]. They consider themselves better than anybody else and that [[EntitledBastard they are entitled to special treatment]] - [[DrivenByEnvy and they can't stand anybody being considered better than them]]. However, while the {{Narcissist}} is self-conscious of how they measure up to others' standards (and therefore will experience shame or guilt for failing them), a sociopath's [[AboveGoodAndEvil grandiosity is all-encompassing to the point they have no concern how their actions reflect upon them]] ''UNLESS'' it threatens [[TheHedonist their ability to indulge their appetite for further stimulation]]. They are incapable of acknowledging personal responsibility for failure, [[NeverMyFault and will always blame others]], no matter how irrational it is. In fact, it's considerably difficult convincing them that the activity they have partaken in has even failed. This is all part of why a sociopath [[StaticCharacter can't change]] - since they [[SmallNameBigEgo consider themselves to already be perfect]], and [[NeverMyFault refuse to acknowledge failure on their part]], and [[IRejectYourReality consider the true opinions and feelings of others insignificant]], they never try to improve themselves.

Under such circumstances, high-functioning examples will [[PragmaticVillainy obey social norms to the extent necessary to sustain their hedonistic lifestyle]] while more low-functioning examples will react with unrestrained hostility towards anything resembling a challenge to their "freedom". Likewise, sociopaths are [[NeverMyFault incapable of acknowledging personal responsibility for]] ''[[NeverMyFault any]]'' [[NeverMyFault failures or disappointments they encounter]] (i.e: events which they automatically attribute to [[TheManIsKeepingUsDown those out to "keep them down"]] or [[YouCantFightFate unfortunate twists of fate entirely beyond their control]]).

Many of these traits are shared with other disorders, but it's the ''combination'' of them all that creates the true Sociopath. And, like many other disorders, sociopathy falls on a spectrum. Some sociopaths are just unusually self-absorbed. On the other end of the scale are the [[AlwaysChaoticEvil ruthless]], remorseless and totally insane monsters. Sociopaths also have varying levels of intelligence, and goals, which influences how their disorder manifests in everyday life. Some sociopaths just want a family - but the very best, most happy family, and only to reflect well on them and make them happy. At ''any'' cost. For example if another family member is 'spoiling' this dream, they may simply dispose of that person, and lack empathy and can't see why they might be at fault.

The high-functioning Sociopath will usually have better-than-average impulse control for someone with their condition, and may actually appear perfectly normal for years. They know murder is bad because they're ''told'' it's bad -- and know murderers who are caught will get in trouble -- but the action has no more emotional weight to them than brushing their teeth. They emulate the moral behaviour of society only because a failure to do so has negative consequences, and ''not'' because GoodFeelsGood. WhatYouAreInTheDark exposes them for who they are, and they do not consider something wrong if they do not get caught. If killing advances their goals more easily and they can get away with it, they will often do so. And they will often seek positions of respectability within their communities in order to maintain the façade of being just like everybody else.

They might even go their whole lives appearing almost normal... but there will always be [[UncannyValley something a little "off"]] about them; something cold and distant and fake. And they won't even care. This type can make a terrifying KnightTemplar, liable to believe that UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans -- some sociopathic serial killers claim they are simply NecessarilyEvil removing undesirable elements from society or making a political statement. They may understand intellectually that their actions are undesirable in society at large, [[BlueAndOrangeMorality but feel that they should be rewarded, not punished, for acting to solve a perceived problem]].

The low-functioning version is defined mostly by their impulse control being particularly shoddy, or having a personality type that predisposes them to violent behavior. For them, maintaining the façade of "fitting in" is simply impossible, as their violent outbursts make them highly visible. But even a low-functioning Sociopath can be glib and charming, the perfect liar, allowing them to accrue loyal followers who perceive their behavior as revolutionary and secretly having a higher purpose. The sociopath will see these followers as useful pawns at best, however, and will not return any of their loyalty in kind, though they may ''pretend'' to when it suits them.

Not all sociopaths lust for world domination, of course. Your every-day low-functioning sociopath may just want to get their next hit of crack, and not only will they go to any lengths but they won't feel bad about the distress they cause others by being an addict. Addicts do a lot to fund their addiction, but a non-sociopath will feel bad enough about it to eventually seek help to quit for the sake of others, while a sociopath doesn't give a crap. They're too great to overdose, they're not going to get caught (regardless of how little effort they put into not getting caught), and they don't get why others would get worried about what they're doing to their body or the whole family because they wouldn't care about ''them''.

One important thing to note is that even family members and long-term 'friends' are not excused from these behaviors. Even their own children mean nothing to the Sociopath. They too are tools to be used and tossed aside as soon as they reflect poorly on the sociopath or get in their way. If a character cares about ''anybody'' other than themselves; if they can hesitate, they may be terrifyingly, murderously ambitious, but they have empathy for others, and by extension they are not a sociopath. It has been noted that many sociopaths like animals, though.

If the Sociopath has [[EvenEvilHasStandards standards]], there's a good chance those standards are either carefully calculated to manipulate others, or incidental to the sociopath's personality type. Often, their lack of ''emotional investment'' in any kind of moral code or ideology can strike a person with more typical psychological makeup as BlueAndOrangeMorality.

The canonical alignment for many Sociopaths is ChaoticEvil of the Type 4 variety, though some NeutralEvil examples exist under the Type 3 variety. LawfulEvil Sociopaths are possible.

The Sociopath has become a very popular villain-type in recent years; crime dramas and thrillers, for example, will inevitably feature one as a particularly merciless and evil antagonist. Some tropes that are frequently associated with The Sociopath include SerialKiller, FauxAffablyEvil, LackOfEmpathy, TheUnfettered, ManipulativeBastard, TheChessmaster and TheUbermensch. Many [[PsychoForHire Psychos For Hire]], TheSoulless, and believers in ForTheEvulz are this as well. If the Sociopath happens to be a ruler, and considers themselves above the law, then expect them to be TheCaligula or worse, JerkassGods. If a character qualifies as a CompleteMonster, there's a good chance that this trope applies to them. Compare SociopathicHero, ComedicSociopathy, MoralSociopathy. Contrast the {{Narcissist}}, who has the grandiose ego and LackOfEmpathy, but experiences the full range and intensity of human emotion, and is capable of love -- even if it's a very one-sided, selfish kind of love.

The trope is named following an old edition of the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diagnostic_and_Statistical_Manual_of_Mental_Disorders DSM]] which used the term to refer to what is now classed as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-social_personality_disorder Antisocial personality disorder]]. Though the terms sociopathy and psychopathy are still recognized in some circles, they have no official standing. See [[Analysis/TheSociopath Analysis]] and UsefulNotes.LackOfEmpathy for more detailed information.

Note: very few fictional sociopaths -- even the ones identified as such by the work itself -- would be considered as such by a real-life psychiatrist. This is because, as Robert Hare points out in his book ''Without Conscience'', sociopaths by definition are [[FlatCharacter two-dimensional characters]], lacking an ability to have anything resembling CharacterDevelopment (not to mention that people who have the full range of human emotions may find it near impossible to conceive of a human being that truly lives without them). The biggest indication that a fictional character may score high on the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hare_Psychopathy_Checklist psychopath checklist]] is antisocial behavior (whether violent or nonviolent) coupled with their loyalty or affection to other characters being dubious at best. So if a character has a MoralityPet, MoralityChain, or [[EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas a deep attachment to a family member]] or [[UndyingLoyalty leader]] that goes beyond simple practicality, it's a good bet this trope doesn't apply to the character.
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!!Examples:
[[index]]
* TheSociopath/AnimeAndManga
* TheSociopath/ComicBooks
* TheSociopath/FanWorks
* [[TheSociopath/AnimatedFilms Films Animation]]
* [[TheSociopath/LiveActionFilms Films Live-Action]]
* {{TheSociopath/Literature}}
* TheSociopath/LiveActionTV
* TheSociopath/VideoGames
* TheSociopath/WebAnimation
* TheSociopath/WebComics
* TheSociopath/WebOriginal
* TheSociopath/WesternAnimation
* {{TheSociopath/Other}}
* TheSociopath/RealLife
[[/index]]
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to:

%%
%% MODERATOR NOTICE: This article was cut down from its former atrocious Wall Of Text length. DO NOT put all that stuff back. Analysis goes in the UsefulNotes article linked below.
%%
%% This list of examples has been alphabetized. Please add your example in the proper place. Thanks!
%%

->''"I see no difference between things and people."''
-->-- '''Seishiro Sakurazuka''', ''Manga/TokyoBabylon''

The Sociopath
"Everything is far from your ordinary criminal or villain. Combine a willingness to cross the MoralEventHorizon without a shred of guilt, a keen sense of other people's mental and emotional fault lines, and a LackOfEmpathy, and you have the consummate evildoer. To put real life when I decide it briefly, the Sociopath is"-TV Tropes

Hubbard
is admonished by every actually competent psychologist for a reason. Stop pretending like he know what a predator while everyone else is prey to them.

The Sociopath displays these following qualities:
# '''LackOfEmpathy and Devoid of Conscience''': Their defining feature. Utterly ruthless doesn't begin to describe them: except [[DevilInPlainSight for when trying to appear normal]], they [[TheUnfettered will disregard any social norms and semblance of morality in pursuit of their own selfish desires]]. The Sociopath will do whatever it takes: lie, cheat, steal, extort, [[ManipulativeBastard manipulate]], or use [[BloodKnight outright violence]] without the slightest hesitation, disgust or remorse, and for as little as [[EvilFeelsGood Pleasure]] or [[ForTheEvulz The Evulz]]. Murder and violence [[ButForMeItWasTuesday have no more emotional weight for them than eating Chinese takeout or some other mundane activity]], and they have no concern for the direct or collateral damage they do to other people, [[EvilCannotComprehendGood being unable to understand why anyone should]]. Likewise, they never truly [[EvilCannotComprehendGood understand the feelings of others on
"real life" anything more than an intellectual level]], and may even believe that [[PsychologicalProjection everybody else is faking it too]]. As many RealLife criminal psychologists put it: "They know the words but not the music." Techniques for learning moral behaviour, such as reason, therapy, rehabilitation and behavioral reward/punishment, will not work on them or tend to only make their behavior even worse by making it easier for them to fake it. This is why the ''only'' thing resembling consistently successful treatment involves teaching them to avoid behaviors that have predictable consequences; they may still believe that consequences are bullshit, but if they have been made sufficiently aware of the fact that their behavior will always end up with them in jail, getting sued, or simply just getting jumped or killed when they fuck with the wrong people, and that they can't lie and fake their way out of it because is. You people are wise to their game, they will usually shape up.
# '''ConsummateLiar and {{Manipulat|iveBastard}}or''': In the event they are ever targets of suspicion in crime dramas and thrillers, sociopaths are able to fool any [[LivingLieDetector Living Lie Detectors]] in the cast, pass polygraphs effortlessly, and [[BitchInSheepsClothing fool even you, the audience, into believing they are genuinely kind and caring people]] who are victims of a "big misunderstanding" (assuming they are not [[SmugSnake so smugly confident of their own invincibility]] that they feel no need to hide their unsavory personality). Moreover, despite their lack of empathy, sociopaths are capable of using their knowledge of others' desires, emotions and insecurities to manipulate them for their own personal gain. Because of this, many of them are FauxAffablyEvil. This is related to their lack of empathy and shame - they
don't have "real lives" and I feel the slightest discomfort about lying or exploiting others, so they do so with the same ease in which normal people perform mundane activities. This is why you should ''always'' assume that any apparent epiphany from a sociopath is bullshit; as far as they're concerned, it's just another tool to get what they want, and they don't actually believe that they have done anything wrong. Don't let them know that they are full of shit, because it will just force them to become more slick, but do act with the knowledge that they will go right back to their old ways the minute that they think it is safe to do so.
#''' [[TheHedonist Pathological Need
sorry for Stimulation]]''': The Sociopath's ''raison d'etre'' (i.e.: [[MotivationIndex an overriding goal which serves as one's "reason for existence"]]). Due to their [[LackOfEmpathy inability to empathize or even care for those around them]], sociopaths largely view their existence as [[StrawNihilist boring or meaningless]] and therefore feel compelled to [[ItAmusedMe engage in "thrill-seeking" activities to alleviate their restlessness]]. How this manifests depends largely on the sociopath's personality. It can be as ''relatively'' benign as binging on video games, compulsively gambling, or leading [[TheCasanova highly promiscuous lifestyles]]. Far more dangerous examples are prone to satiate their lust for thrills by partaking in criminal enterprises, becoming {{serial rapist}}s and/or [[SerialKiller killers]], or (if they are [[BunnyEarsLawyer unusually high-functioning]]) accumulating vast [[{{Greed}} wealth]] and/or [[VillainWithGoodPublicity influence]] for the sole purpose of [[DespotismJustifiesTheMeans dominating as many people as they can for their own amusement]]. Due to their obsession with indulging their insatiable appetites ''however'' they want ''whenever'' they want, sociopaths have a '''very''' low tolerance for inconvenience or irritation which in turn leads them to have a pronounced lack of impulse control. Because of this, many of them are AxCrazy, have a HairTriggerTemper, and/or are {{Mood Swinger}}s.
# '''[[ItsAllAboutMe Shallow Affect]] and [[AllTakeAndNoGive Complete Lack of Emotional Reciprocity]]''': A Sociopath is physiologically incapable of experiencing a deep emotional attachment towards others but - being a ConsummateLiar - learns early in life how to fake them. This shallow emotional life means that the Sociopath is [[LackOfEmpathy unable to form sincere long-term relationships with anything or anyone, but will feign feelings of love and affection if they feel it serves their purposes]]. Most of the true feelings a sociopath harbors towards others, positive or negative, are rooted in an insatiable desire [[ControlFreak to dominate or control them]]. While [[{{Narcissist}} narcissists]] desire to be [[LoveHungry loved]] or [[GlorySeeker at least respected]], sociopaths don't care whether others view them positively as long as they don't stand in the way of their own [[ItsAllAboutMe self-centered gratification]]. In the rare event that a Sociopath actually ''does'' form an "attachment" to another person, it [[AllTakeAndNoGive rises no further than that between an owner and a possession and/or a valuable resource for advancing their goals]]. Thus, once such "friends" cease to be useful or entertaining, they will [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness abandon them or, in some cases, even kill them]] without any hesitation or regret. Any emotional reaction to having committed a [[KickTheDog heinous act]] is met [[ButForMeItWasTuesday indifference]] at best and [[ReminiscingAboutYourVictims gl]][[WouldYouLikeToHearHowTheyDied ee]] at worst.
# '''[[{{Pride}} Grandiose Sense of Self-Importance]]''': The trait that ties it all together - the one that changes it from moustache-twirling evil into a mental disorder. Sociopaths will go so far as to [[SmugSnake convince]] ''[[SmugSnake themselves]]'' [[SmugSnake that they have succeeded in their plan, even as failure stares them in the face and snaps on the handcuffs. They genuinely believe it]]. They don't really care what others truly think on the matter, but they do care about what they ''say'', and like to fill their social circle with people who say what they want to hear. [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder Any others - even former 'friends' - will be dismissed from the sociopath's social circle simply for doubting them]]. They consider themselves better than anybody else and that [[EntitledBastard they are entitled to special treatment]] - [[DrivenByEnvy and they can't stand anybody being considered better than them]]. However, while the {{Narcissist}} is self-conscious of how they measure up to others' standards (and therefore will experience shame or guilt for failing them), a sociopath's [[AboveGoodAndEvil grandiosity is all-encompassing to the point they have no concern how their actions reflect upon them]] ''UNLESS'' it threatens [[TheHedonist their ability to indulge their appetite for further stimulation]]. They are incapable of acknowledging personal responsibility for failure, [[NeverMyFault and will always blame others]], no matter how irrational it is. In fact, it's considerably difficult convincing them that the activity they have partaken in has even failed. This is all part of why a sociopath [[StaticCharacter can't change]] - since they [[SmallNameBigEgo consider themselves to already be perfect]], and [[NeverMyFault refuse to acknowledge failure on their part]], and [[IRejectYourReality consider the true opinions and feelings of others insignificant]], they never try to improve themselves.

Under such circumstances, high-functioning examples will [[PragmaticVillainy obey social norms to the extent necessary to sustain their hedonistic lifestyle]] while more low-functioning examples will react with unrestrained hostility towards anything resembling a challenge to their "freedom". Likewise, sociopaths are [[NeverMyFault incapable of acknowledging personal responsibility for]] ''[[NeverMyFault any]]'' [[NeverMyFault failures or disappointments they encounter]] (i.e: events which they automatically attribute to [[TheManIsKeepingUsDown those out to "keep them down"]] or [[YouCantFightFate unfortunate twists of fate entirely beyond their control]]).

Many of these traits are shared with other disorders, but it's the ''combination'' of them all that creates the true Sociopath. And, like many other disorders, sociopathy falls on a spectrum. Some sociopaths are just unusually self-absorbed. On the other end of the scale are the [[AlwaysChaoticEvil ruthless]], remorseless and totally insane monsters. Sociopaths also have varying levels of intelligence, and goals, which influences how their disorder manifests in everyday life. Some sociopaths just want a family - but the very best, most happy family, and only to reflect well on them and make them happy. At ''any'' cost. For example if another family member is 'spoiling' this dream, they may simply dispose of that person, and lack empathy and can't see why they might be at fault.

The high-functioning Sociopath will usually have better-than-average impulse control for someone with their condition, and may actually appear perfectly normal for years. They know murder is bad because they're ''told'' it's bad -- and know murderers who are caught will get in trouble -- but the action has no more emotional weight to them than brushing their teeth. They emulate the moral behaviour of society only because a failure to do so has negative consequences, and ''not'' because GoodFeelsGood. WhatYouAreInTheDark exposes them for who they are, and they do not consider something wrong if they do not get caught. If killing advances their goals more easily and they can get away with it, they will often do so. And they will often seek positions of respectability within their communities in order to maintain the façade of being just like everybody else.

They might even go their whole lives appearing almost normal... but there will always be [[UncannyValley something a little "off"]] about them; something cold and distant and fake. And they won't even care. This type can make a terrifying KnightTemplar, liable to believe that UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans -- some sociopathic serial killers claim they are simply NecessarilyEvil removing undesirable elements from society or making a political statement. They may understand intellectually that their actions are undesirable in society at large, [[BlueAndOrangeMorality but feel that they should be rewarded, not punished, for acting to solve a perceived problem]].

The low-functioning version is defined mostly by their impulse control being particularly shoddy, or having a personality type that predisposes them to violent behavior. For them, maintaining the façade of "fitting in" is simply impossible, as their violent outbursts make them highly visible. But even a low-functioning Sociopath can be glib and charming, the perfect liar, allowing them to accrue loyal followers who perceive their behavior as revolutionary and secretly having a higher purpose. The sociopath will see these followers as useful pawns at best, however, and will not return any of their loyalty in kind, though they may ''pretend'' to when it suits them.

Not all sociopaths lust for world domination, of course. Your every-day low-functioning sociopath may just want to get their next hit of crack, and not only will they go to any lengths but they won't feel bad about the distress they cause others by being an addict. Addicts do a lot to fund their addiction, but a non-sociopath will feel bad enough about it to eventually seek help to quit for the sake of others, while a sociopath doesn't give a crap. They're too great to overdose, they're not going to get caught (regardless of how little effort they put into not getting caught), and they don't get why others would get worried about what they're doing to their body or the whole family because they wouldn't care about ''them''.

One important thing to note is that even family members and long-term 'friends' are not excused from these behaviors. Even their own children mean nothing to the Sociopath. They too are tools to be used and tossed aside as soon as they reflect poorly on the sociopath or get in their way. If a character cares about ''anybody'' other than themselves; if they can hesitate, they may be terrifyingly, murderously ambitious, but they have empathy for others, and by extension they are not a sociopath. It has been noted that many sociopaths like animals, though.

If the Sociopath has [[EvenEvilHasStandards standards]], there's a good chance those standards are either carefully calculated to manipulate others, or incidental to the sociopath's personality type. Often, their lack of ''emotional investment'' in any kind of moral code or ideology can strike a person with more typical psychological makeup as BlueAndOrangeMorality.

The canonical alignment for many Sociopaths is ChaoticEvil of the Type 4 variety, though some NeutralEvil examples exist under the Type 3 variety. LawfulEvil Sociopaths are possible.

The Sociopath has become a very popular villain-type in recent years; crime dramas and thrillers, for example, will inevitably feature one as a particularly merciless and evil antagonist. Some tropes that are frequently associated with The Sociopath include SerialKiller, FauxAffablyEvil, LackOfEmpathy, TheUnfettered, ManipulativeBastard, TheChessmaster and TheUbermensch. Many [[PsychoForHire Psychos For Hire]], TheSoulless, and believers in ForTheEvulz are this as well. If the Sociopath happens to be a ruler, and considers themselves above the law, then expect them to be TheCaligula or worse, JerkassGods. If a character qualifies as a CompleteMonster, there's a good chance that this trope applies to them. Compare SociopathicHero, ComedicSociopathy, MoralSociopathy. Contrast the {{Narcissist}}, who has the grandiose ego and LackOfEmpathy, but experiences the full range and intensity of human emotion, and is capable of love -- even if
you. Also it's a very one-sided, selfish kind of love.

The trope
"flat character" so as long as there is named following an old edition of the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diagnostic_and_Statistical_Manual_of_Mental_Disorders DSM]] which used the term to refer to what is now classed as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-social_personality_disorder Antisocial personality disorder]]. Though the terms sociopathy and psychopathy are still recognized in some circles, they have no official standing. See [[Analysis/TheSociopath Analysis]] and UsefulNotes.LackOfEmpathy for more detailed information.

Note: very few fictional sociopaths -- even the ones identified as such by the work itself -- would be considered as such by a real-life psychiatrist. This is because, as Robert Hare points out in his book ''Without Conscience'', sociopaths by definition are [[FlatCharacter two-dimensional characters]], lacking an ability to have anything resembling CharacterDevelopment (not to mention
depth, that people who have is a "real life" sociopath? Thanks for the full range of human emotions may find it near impossible to conceive of a human being that truly lives without them). The biggest indication that a fictional character may score high on the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hare_Psychopathy_Checklist psychopath checklist]] is antisocial behavior (whether violent or nonviolent) coupled with their loyalty or affection to other characters being dubious at best. So if a character has a MoralityPet, MoralityChain, or [[EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas a deep attachment to a family member]] or [[UndyingLoyalty leader]] that goes beyond simple practicality, it's a good bet this trope doesn't apply to the character.
----
!!Examples:
[[index]]
* TheSociopath/AnimeAndManga
* TheSociopath/ComicBooks
* TheSociopath/FanWorks
* [[TheSociopath/AnimatedFilms Films Animation]]
* [[TheSociopath/LiveActionFilms Films Live-Action]]
* {{TheSociopath/Literature}}
* TheSociopath/LiveActionTV
* TheSociopath/VideoGames
* TheSociopath/WebAnimation
* TheSociopath/WebComics
* TheSociopath/WebOriginal
* TheSociopath/WesternAnimation
* {{TheSociopath/Other}}
* TheSociopath/RealLife
[[/index]]
----
advice.


** ''TheSociopath/DragonBall''
** ''TheSociopath/{{Gundam}}''



** ''TheSociopath/RubyAndNora''



** TheSociopath/DCUniverseAnimatedOriginalMovies
** TheSociopath/{{Disney}}



** ''TheSociopath/ASongOfIceAndFire''



** ''TheSociopath/AceAttorney''
** ''TheSociopath/MegaMan''




Works spanning multiple pages:
* TheSociopath/MarvelCinematicUniverse
* ''TheSociopath/StarWars''


** ''TheSociopath/Gundam''

to:

** ''TheSociopath/Gundam''''TheSociopath/{{Gundam}}''


Added DiffLines:

** TheSociopath/DCUniverseAnimatedOriginalMovies
** TheSociopath/{{Disney}}


Added DiffLines:

** ''TheSociopath/ASongOfIceAndFire''


Added DiffLines:

** ''TheSociopath/AceAttorney''
** ''TheSociopath/MegaMan''


Added DiffLines:


Works spanning multiple pages:
* TheSociopath/MarvelCinematicUniverse
* ''TheSociopath/StarWars''
* TheSociopath/


** ''TheSociopath/DragonBall''
** ''TheSociopath/Gundam''



** TheSociopath/RubyAndNora

to:

** TheSociopath/RubyAndNora''TheSociopath/RubyAndNora''


# '''LackOfEmpathy and Devoid of Conscience''': Their defining feature. Utterly ruthless doesn't begin to describe them: except [[DevilInPlainSight for when trying to appear normal]], they [[TheUnfettered will disregard any social norms and semblance of morality in pursuit of their own selfish desires]]. The Sociopath will do whatever it takes: lie, cheat, steal, extort, [[ManipulativeBastard manipulate]], or use [[BloodKnight outright violence]] without the slightest hesitation, disgust or remorse, and for as little as [[EvilFeelsGood Pleasure]] or [[ForTheEvulz The Evulz]]. Murder and violence [[ButForMeItWasTuesday have no more emotional weight than eating Chinese takeout or some other mundane activity]], and they have no concern for the direct or collateral damage they do to other people, [[EvilCannotComprehendGood being unable to understand why anyone should]]. Likewise, they never truly [[EvilCannotComprehendGood understand the feelings of others on anything more than an intellectual level]], and may even believe that [[PsychologicalProjection everybody else is faking it too]]. As many RealLife criminal psychologists put it: "They know the words but not the music." Techniques for learning moral behaviour, such as reason, therapy, rehabilitation and behavioral reward/punishment, will not work on them or tend to only make their behavior even worse by making it easier for them to fake it. This is why the ''only'' thing resembling consistently successful treatment involves teaching them to avoid behaviors that have predictable consequences; they may still believe that consequences are bullshit, but if they have been made sufficiently aware of the fact that their behavior will always end up with them in jail, getting sued, or simply just getting jumped or killed when they fuck with the wrong people, and that they can't lie and fake their way out of it because people are wise to their game, they will usually shape up.

to:

# '''LackOfEmpathy and Devoid of Conscience''': Their defining feature. Utterly ruthless doesn't begin to describe them: except [[DevilInPlainSight for when trying to appear normal]], they [[TheUnfettered will disregard any social norms and semblance of morality in pursuit of their own selfish desires]]. The Sociopath will do whatever it takes: lie, cheat, steal, extort, [[ManipulativeBastard manipulate]], or use [[BloodKnight outright violence]] without the slightest hesitation, disgust or remorse, and for as little as [[EvilFeelsGood Pleasure]] or [[ForTheEvulz The Evulz]]. Murder and violence [[ButForMeItWasTuesday have no more emotional weight for them than eating Chinese takeout or some other mundane activity]], and they have no concern for the direct or collateral damage they do to other people, [[EvilCannotComprehendGood being unable to understand why anyone should]]. Likewise, they never truly [[EvilCannotComprehendGood understand the feelings of others on anything more than an intellectual level]], and may even believe that [[PsychologicalProjection everybody else is faking it too]]. As many RealLife criminal psychologists put it: "They know the words but not the music." Techniques for learning moral behaviour, such as reason, therapy, rehabilitation and behavioral reward/punishment, will not work on them or tend to only make their behavior even worse by making it easier for them to fake it. This is why the ''only'' thing resembling consistently successful treatment involves teaching them to avoid behaviors that have predictable consequences; they may still believe that consequences are bullshit, but if they have been made sufficiently aware of the fact that their behavior will always end up with them in jail, getting sued, or simply just getting jumped or killed when they fuck with the wrong people, and that they can't lie and fake their way out of it because people are wise to their game, they will usually shape up.


They might even go their whole lives appearing almost normal... but there will always be [[UncannyValley something a little "off"]] about them; something cold and distant and fake. And they won't even care. This type can make a terrifying KnightTemplar, liable to believe that UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans -- some sociopathic serial killers claim they are simply a NecessaryEvil removing undesirable elements from society or making a political statement. They may understand intellectually that their actions are undesirable in society at large, [[BlueAndOrangeMorality but feel that they should be rewarded, not punished, for acting to solve a perceived problem]].

to:

They might even go their whole lives appearing almost normal... but there will always be [[UncannyValley something a little "off"]] about them; something cold and distant and fake. And they won't even care. This type can make a terrifying KnightTemplar, liable to believe that UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans -- some sociopathic serial killers claim they are simply a NecessaryEvil NecessarilyEvil removing undesirable elements from society or making a political statement. They may understand intellectually that their actions are undesirable in society at large, [[BlueAndOrangeMorality but feel that they should be rewarded, not punished, for acting to solve a perceived problem]].

Added DiffLines:

** TheSociopath/RubyAndNora


# '''[[{{Pride}} Grandiose Sense of Self-Worth]]''': The trait that ties it all together - the one that changes it from moustache-twirling evil into a mental disorder. Sociopaths will go so far as to [[SmugSnake convince]] ''[[SmugSnake themselves]]'' [[SmugSnake that they have succeeded in their plan, even as failure stares them in the face and snaps on the handcuffs. They genuinely believe it]]. They don't really care what others truly think on the matter, but they do care about what they ''say'', and like to fill their social circle with people who say what they want to hear. [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder Any others - even former 'friends' - will be dismissed from the sociopath's social circle simply for doubting them]]. They consider themselves better than anybody else and that [[EntitledBastard they are entitled to special treatment]] - [[DrivenByEnvy and they can't stand anybody being considered better than them]]. However, while the {{Narcissist}} is self-conscious of how they measure up to others' standards (and therefore will experience shame or guilt for failing them), a sociopath's [[AboveGoodAndEvil grandiosity is all-encompassing to the point they have no concern how their actions reflect upon them]] ''UNLESS'' it threatens [[TheHedonist their ability to indulge their appetite for further stimulation]]. They are incapable of acknowledging personal responsibility for failure, [[NeverMyFault and will always blame others]], no matter how irrational it is. In fact, it's considerably difficult convincing them that the activity they have partaken in has even failed. This is all part of why a sociopath [[StaticCharacter can't change]] - since they [[SmallNameBigEgo consider themselves to already be perfect]], and [[NeverMyFault refuse to acknowledge failure on their part]], and [[IRejectYourReality consider the true opinions and feelings of others insignificant]], they never try to improve themselves.

to:

# '''[[{{Pride}} Grandiose Sense of Self-Worth]]''': Self-Importance]]''': The trait that ties it all together - the one that changes it from moustache-twirling evil into a mental disorder. Sociopaths will go so far as to [[SmugSnake convince]] ''[[SmugSnake themselves]]'' [[SmugSnake that they have succeeded in their plan, even as failure stares them in the face and snaps on the handcuffs. They genuinely believe it]]. They don't really care what others truly think on the matter, but they do care about what they ''say'', and like to fill their social circle with people who say what they want to hear. [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder Any others - even former 'friends' - will be dismissed from the sociopath's social circle simply for doubting them]]. They consider themselves better than anybody else and that [[EntitledBastard they are entitled to special treatment]] - [[DrivenByEnvy and they can't stand anybody being considered better than them]]. However, while the {{Narcissist}} is self-conscious of how they measure up to others' standards (and therefore will experience shame or guilt for failing them), a sociopath's [[AboveGoodAndEvil grandiosity is all-encompassing to the point they have no concern how their actions reflect upon them]] ''UNLESS'' it threatens [[TheHedonist their ability to indulge their appetite for further stimulation]]. They are incapable of acknowledging personal responsibility for failure, [[NeverMyFault and will always blame others]], no matter how irrational it is. In fact, it's considerably difficult convincing them that the activity they have partaken in has even failed. This is all part of why a sociopath [[StaticCharacter can't change]] - since they [[SmallNameBigEgo consider themselves to already be perfect]], and [[NeverMyFault refuse to acknowledge failure on their part]], and [[IRejectYourReality consider the true opinions and feelings of others insignificant]], they never try to improve themselves.


The Sociopath has become a very popular villain-type in recent years; crime dramas and thrillers, for example, will inevitably feature one as a particularly merciless and evil antagonist. Some tropes that are frequently associated with The Sociopath include SerialKiller, FauxAffablyEvil, LackOfEmpathy, TheUnfettered, ManipulativeBastard, TheChessmaster and TheUbermensch. Many [[PsychoForHire Psychos For Hire]], TheSoulless, and believers in ForTheEvulz are this as well. If the Sociopath happens to be a ruler, and considers themselves above the law, then expect them to be TheCaligula. If a character qualifies as a CompleteMonster, there's a good chance that this trope applies to them. Compare SociopathicHero, ComedicSociopathy, MoralSociopathy. Contrast the {{Narcissist}}, who has the grandiose ego and LackOfEmpathy, but experiences the full range and intensity of human emotion, and is capable of love -- even if it's a very one-sided, selfish kind of love.

to:

The Sociopath has become a very popular villain-type in recent years; crime dramas and thrillers, for example, will inevitably feature one as a particularly merciless and evil antagonist. Some tropes that are frequently associated with The Sociopath include SerialKiller, FauxAffablyEvil, LackOfEmpathy, TheUnfettered, ManipulativeBastard, TheChessmaster and TheUbermensch. Many [[PsychoForHire Psychos For Hire]], TheSoulless, and believers in ForTheEvulz are this as well. If the Sociopath happens to be a ruler, and considers themselves above the law, then expect them to be TheCaligula.TheCaligula or worse, JerkassGods. If a character qualifies as a CompleteMonster, there's a good chance that this trope applies to them. Compare SociopathicHero, ComedicSociopathy, MoralSociopathy. Contrast the {{Narcissist}}, who has the grandiose ego and LackOfEmpathy, but experiences the full range and intensity of human emotion, and is capable of love -- even if it's a very one-sided, selfish kind of love.


The Sociopath has become a very popular villain-type in recent years; crime dramas and thrillers, for example, will inevitably feature one as a particularly merciless and evil antagonist. Some tropes that are frequently associated with TheSociopath include SerialKiller, FauxAffablyEvil, LackOfEmpathy, TheUnfettered, ManipulativeBastard, TheChessmaster and TheUbermensch. Many [[PsychoForHire Psychos For Hire]], TheSoulless, and believers in ForTheEvulz are this as well. If the Sociopath happens to be a ruler, and considers themselves above the law, then expect them to be TheCaligula. If a character qualifies as a CompleteMonster, there's a good chance that this trope applies to them. Compare SociopathicHero, ComedicSociopathy, MoralSociopathy. Contrast the {{Narcissist}}, who has the grandiose ego and LackOfEmpathy, but experiences the full range and intensity of human emotion, and is capable of love -- even if it's a very one-sided, selfish kind of love.

to:

The Sociopath has become a very popular villain-type in recent years; crime dramas and thrillers, for example, will inevitably feature one as a particularly merciless and evil antagonist. Some tropes that are frequently associated with TheSociopath The Sociopath include SerialKiller, FauxAffablyEvil, LackOfEmpathy, TheUnfettered, ManipulativeBastard, TheChessmaster and TheUbermensch. Many [[PsychoForHire Psychos For Hire]], TheSoulless, and believers in ForTheEvulz are this as well. If the Sociopath happens to be a ruler, and considers themselves above the law, then expect them to be TheCaligula. If a character qualifies as a CompleteMonster, there's a good chance that this trope applies to them. Compare SociopathicHero, ComedicSociopathy, MoralSociopathy. Contrast the {{Narcissist}}, who has the grandiose ego and LackOfEmpathy, but experiences the full range and intensity of human emotion, and is capable of love -- even if it's a very one-sided, selfish kind of love.


The Sociopath is far from your ordinary criminal or villain. Combine a willingness to cross the MoralEventHorizon without a shred of guilt, a keen sense of other people's mental and emotional fault lines, and a LackOfEmpathy, and you have the consummate evildoer.

to:

The Sociopath is far from your ordinary criminal or villain. Combine a willingness to cross the MoralEventHorizon without a shred of guilt, a keen sense of other people's mental and emotional fault lines, and a LackOfEmpathy, and you have the consummate evildoer.
evildoer. To put it briefly, the Sociopath is like a predator while everyone else is prey to them.


One important thing to note is that even family members and long-term 'friends' are not excused from these behaviors. Even their own children mean nothing to the Sociopath. They too are tools to be used and tossed aside as soon as they reflect poorly on the sociopath or get in their way. If a character cares about ''anybody'' other than themselves; if they can hesitate, they may be terrifyingly, murderously ambitious, but they have empathy for others, and by extension they are not a sociopath.

to:

One important thing to note is that even family members and long-term 'friends' are not excused from these behaviors. Even their own children mean nothing to the Sociopath. They too are tools to be used and tossed aside as soon as they reflect poorly on the sociopath or get in their way. If a character cares about ''anybody'' other than themselves; if they can hesitate, they may be terrifyingly, murderously ambitious, but they have empathy for others, and by extension they are not a sociopath.
sociopath. It has been noted that many sociopaths like animals, though.

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