Passive Aggressive, Sociopath, or Both?

passive aggressive manA friend of mine brought to my attention a couple of weeks ago, that she thought the passive aggressive man she’s involved with may be a sociopath. She came to this conclusion after reading an article on the subject.

According to clinical psychologist and former Harvard Medical School instructor Dr. Martha Stout, about 1 in every 25 people in America is a sociopath. Maybe not the murdering kind, but definitely the kind without social conscience. I have to admit after reading the article and doing the research, I myself can see similarities that could cause one to think this could be one of those over lapping, combo personality disorders. In many instances it looks like the Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder and the Sociopath Personality Disorder could very well go hand in hand.

Disclaimer: I am not in any way or any form a clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, or any kind of degreed therapist. This is just my personal observation based on my own research. I am not saying that every passive aggressive is a sociopath (although sometimes in my own mind I may think it. LOL).

The Passive Aggressive Personality is usually caused from an environmental dysfunction in childhood such as drug or alcohol addicted parents, or any type of environment where it wasn’t safe for them to express their anger and frustration.  There appears to be evidence however that the upbringing of a sociopath has little or no effect on them. Like a passive aggressive elements of a sociopath’s personality first become evident at a very early age, but they appear to be due to biological or genetic factors. According to the book for medical diagnosis, one can not be diagnosed as a sociopath until the age of 15 or older, yet as stated above, there have probably been signs through out earlier childhood.

Now for some of the similarities. It is truly amazing at different points in the discussion concerning both personality disorders.It’s also pretty scary.

Let’s start with an easy one. Most of us know what makes a sociopath a sociopath is a lack of conscience. According to expert Robert Hare, author of the book “Without Conscience” the sociopath lacks guilt.

They often see themselves as victims, and lack remorse or the ability to empathize with others.

Passive aggressives also see themselves as victims. Everything that happens to them is someone else’s fault. They cannot feel remorse or empathy for others because they never believe the problem is them.

Lets try another one.  According to the psychopathy checklist of H. Checkly and Robert Hare, a deep seated rage is at the core of the sociopath. They see others around them as targets and opportunities.  With the passive aggressive, they too have a suppressed anger that they have never learned to or been allowed to express openly. This is what leads to the covert abuse and sabetoge of their victims (us).

This is getting kind of long, but lets go for number 3.

According to Martha Stout who wrote “The Sociopath Next Door”, most sociopaths would be described as “the most charming, charismatic, sexiest, or maybe the most interesting” person you ever met. Isn’t that a common reason we end up staying in a marriage or relationship with a passive aggressive for so long? Sure there are exceptions, but for the most part don’t they drive us crazy until we’re ready to walk and then they charm us back in for another period of time? In most cases didn’t we fall in love with them because they seemed so loving, so caring, until we married them or got involved? Doesn’t it really feel a lot of the time that it’s just a game to them? That’s how it is with a sociopath. It is a game. A game purely of manipulation.

There is more, and I may do a part 2 to this, but this is long enough for now. If you like, follow the link above to one of the articles regarding sociopaths and do some of your own comparisons. Then, if you would, come back and share your stories with us. Like I always say, we’re here to learn, get encouragement, and to help each other.


51 Responses

  1. The most memorable words spoken from the PA that I’ve loved.. spoken as his advice… “You don’t want to love me. It hurts too much to love me.”

    • i completely disagree with the current public acceptance that a sciopath has not emotion, this is completely backwards to the reality of what a sciopath is, in fact a sciopath has more emotional range than an ordinary joe, and in fact perhaps much more emotional range, this is why they make such ready leaders, people that except the status quo that a sciopath has no or little emotion is being mislead in a big way, and religion is a chosen field for many sciopaths, the know they have the advantage as they know they are lying, and yes they have a conscience , it simply does not work the same way as a normal persons would, in other words a normal person may feel that if they perceive they have done something out of the way , their should be no reward, (clearly this is pavlaws law), it is learned behavior, now to the sciopath, if they feel they (be it male or female), have done something out of the way, they feel they should be rewarded, in other words pavlaws law has no dominance over them, this in fact gives them more emotional range not less, so, if you look at a normal person , that person because of the fear factor will have less emotional range, the normal person will be a little retarded in that respect, not to say that the so called normal person is stupider, only that the intellectual emotional brain has been put in check, in a defensive posture, not so with the sciopath, they are no holds barred , balls to the wall, going for the gusto so to speak, this gives the sciopath more emotional latitude, king david in the holy bible is a classic example of a sciopath, that is the way it is, no one is going to change this reality any time soon

  2. The full impact of loving this man is starting to hit me and I’m scared. I feel that for my own survival I must break away and try to recover. He is not capable of caring for me or anyone except himself. I have lived 67 years without ever knowing anyone like this and never experiencing the destruction of a mentally ill individual. Yes, I am recognizing that I have been in love with a mentally ill person. All of my positive attitude and beliefs in God are not going to fix this person. No matter how much I believe in him or the power of love I am not going to fix him. He will destroy me first. I have never felt so alone or so rejected, so manipulated, so fooled. He has managed single handedly to wipe out all my self confidence and self estem. I don’t believe in the good of people anymore. I don’t trust anymore. I doubt my own judgement and I’m starting to question my belief in God. I feel like I’m being punished for all of my mistakes. God is using my love for this man who cannot love to punish me. I care too much. I never believed it was possible to care TOO much. What was wrong with the World was that people didn’t care enough. I guess I was wrong about that too. Now I will be one of those who won’t allow themselves to care because it hurts too much to care.

    • Hi Marilyn- Welcome back and thanks for commenting on the post.

      Its sad and yet amazing when we think about how much damage one person can do to us. What’s maddening is we really have to honestly realize it’s us who gives them the power. We fall in love, we trust, and we cannot imagine this person does not have our best interests at heart the way we do for them. Obviously they don’t, but we keep having faith that they love us, that they want things to work out. Then one day we realize, they don’t really care if things work out or not, just whether or not they can keep reeling us back in. By then it’s as you describe. We’ve cut off most of our friends or family (our lifelines), we’ve quit doing the things that have made us happy in the past to do as they want us to do, and all of a sudden we’re wondering who we are any more, or where the person we used to be, went.

      I’m sorry to hear you so down on yourself, on people. You need to remember, it’s not you, it’s not God punishing you, and it’s not the general populous that is like this. Remember the 3 C’s. You did not Cause him to be like he is, you cannot Control him or his actions, and you cannot Cure him. All you can do is control you, and I realize that’s easier said than done, but it’s true.

      Not to take on the role of a Preacher here, even if it is Sunday, LOL, I’m sure God is not using this as a punishment for anything you’ve done. God wants us to be happy and healthy, just like we want for our children. And just like our children when they start going against what we have taught them and want for them, things become much harder for them. I know I warned my children many times about things based on my wisdom and experience, but they went ahead and did it their own way, not heeding my warnings. The next thing you know they are either crying, or in trouble, or something making their lives harder than it had to be. If I’m not mistaken, I think God has probably shown you signs along the way that this is not the man for you, or signs that he has problems, yet you continue to hit your head against the wall. We all have chosen our own way at times instead of the way that was clearly laid out for us. The difference is what you choose to do about it once you’ve discovered you’ve followed the wrong path.

      I don’t believe there’s such a thing as “caring too much” as I believe that sometimes it gets misplaced. I hope this helps a little. Life is too short to be so unhappy. You really need to start concentrating on what’s “right” with you, what really good things you offer like love, loyalty, etc. and start taking care of you first. Get back into that person you used to have so much love and respect, and hopes and dreams for. It’s time to get back into loving you.

      Good luck. I appreciate and love to have your comments. Feel free anytime to share.

      • Well put. I’m not that religious, but I certainly understand what you’re saying. Perhaps God is not punishing us, but my philosophy has me understanding that perhaps God (or the universe…or whatever one chooses to call it) put us here to learn how to deal with such people. Perhaps each of us need to see exactly what this type of behavior looks like so we will know exactly how NOT to live, and to help others through the minefield (which is what you’re doing here).

        Thanks for sharing though…it does help.

  3. This post is a little off topic, but to bring you up-to-date I finally feel as if the “tough love” approach has finally gotten through to my son. I spent a fun weekend with him and he talked a lot about maturing. He admits that he is not smoking marijuana like he did before. He is working hard and talks about how he appreciated the tough line I took with him. I think he is ready to move forward with his life whatever that might bring. He is of course interested in girls and you know they do cost money. I believe he spent some time scraping the bottom of the barrel and up looks pretty good to him at this point in time. So I would encourage any parent that as hard as it is, tough love will eventually pay off. Of course I didn’t know if he would survive to this point and that was the hardest part of all. But he did and I feel like a terrible weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I know now the decisions he makes are going to be good ones because he understands the consequences of bad decisions.

    • pa’s mom- Ohhhh, I’m so happy to hear from you and about your son. I feel like we lead such parallel lives. LOL. Isn’t it wonderful when they finally start to “get it” and you can actually tell them you are proud of the decisions they are making? Obviously they aren’t always going to make the perfect choices even now, but isn’t it great to see that at least most of them are good ones? I know my son when he comes up to visit will get in with his old crowd and do some of his old things, but now he’s had the good life long enough he never has a problem leaving and going back to it. And there is nothing more rewarding than when your child that hated you for being so “mean” at one time comes and thanks you for it later. I’m with you. There was a time I didn’t know if my son was going to make it out alive either, and it’s pretty scary, but in the long run…

      I can’t tell you how happy I am for you, how I imagine how much happier he must be as gains self respect and direction, and thank you so much for sharing with me. It’s so nice to get good news! How are you doing?

  4. I loved this post. It’s so important, I think, to have some clear definition when one is in a troubled relationship. I think most people are easily fooled and don’t have clear boundaries anymore. That’s got to make it a lot easier for sociopaths.

    I have been married to a P. A. for many, many years. My family and I were also targeted by a female sociopath for eight years. This, I believe, has given me some context regarding the two disorders.

    My PA sounds a lot like yours: basically nice, mostly keeping to himself, just wants someone to take care of him. Oh, and someone he can be PA with!

    The sociopath who lived next door to me actively sought out people to use, including trying to destroy my family and me more specifically.

    Eventually, everyone knew there was something very ‘off’ about this person and the sociopath moved away. It was hell for the entire time that she lived next door. There wasn’t a day that went by that she didn’t attempt something with someone. She was never sad or depressed. She never had friends and even her children visited rarely and with a kind of armor on when they did.

    On the other hand, while the PA male exhibits a narcissistic persona, he can and does have remorse sometimes. He’ll be genuinely sorry…for a time, and mean it. He can be loving and kind to animals. He can be generous. He wants to be loved.

    A sociopath merely wants the benefits of someone’s love, not the experience shared.

    Sometimes it is a largely nuanced difference because they can seem to be aloof and vindictive, but they are very different.

    Unfortunately, either of them can destroy your life, if given the chance!

    • Collette- Thank you for your input here. I really thought I would get more of a response to this than I did. It was amazing to me the similarities, but at the same time remembering the differences. Sorry you got to learn about sociopaths first hand, but I appreciate benefiting from your experience. Feel free to share anytime. We can all learn a little something from each other.

    • Hello,

      I have a PA husband who walked out the door this spring. We have been together 20 years, married 15 of them. He lost two jobs in two years and I have to wonder if some of the personality is coming across in work places? I have read that the PA personalities eventually come across in other relationships, besided loved ones or spouses?

      @Colette, yes, lately he is more apt to reply to an issue as we try to “work” on the marriage, but it is with an “I get it!” that is fairly angry or animated and not an “I’m sorry”. The sorry’s come, but are short lived and it is the shortest part of the conversation, usually followed by an angry demand and accusation. Then, if there is an issue that he may be truly wrong in, it brings out this amazing self-pity, hang-dog type of expression and response, which may be part of the manipulation? Then the silence, the aweful silent treatment that can last for eternity…he wanted the problems to be all my fault very badly and when counseling uncovered that they are both of us, he stopped going.

      He has (angrily and sukingly) admitted on his own that he thinks he has PA tendancies and “is working on it”, but it is for his own benefit. He grew up the youngest of 15 with two family members dying when he was 10-15 years old, one a parent. A sibling talks of his remembering hiding when they got upset and a “don’t let mom know I’m crying” persona. Many of the siblings have it and throughout my knowing them, I have seen traumas occur with the others that perhaps with intervention, could have been avoided -at least to such extent-if they would allow frank discussion? I think many of them are actually afraid of seeing or hearing emotions from others.

      A little off topic, but I myself grew up with one parent who wanted to have emotions allowed and one who hid them, does anyone think that contributed to my insecurities? two aggressive siblings and I am the middle kid.

      Thank you for any thoughts.- It’s an amazing thing to discover and has helped me with other relationships. I my mother is the aggressive type and rather narcissistic—actually,( “hubby” and sibs have narcissists traits, too.)- Cara13

  5. Yes, I am surprised you didn’t get a ton of responses. I’m thinking that people make a lot of excuses for sociopaths, even more so than for PA’s, and when they find out that they are dealing with a sociopath, they are so horrified, so traumatized and so ashamed (as if the fault were theirs’) that they are rendered speechless, confused and upended.

    After I found out about the sociopath next door, I was relieved that I had a name for the alien among us. Yet, over time the trauma of the experience expressed itself as fear of everyone and a confusion about interacting with anyone. I started seeing sociopaths everywhere! The experience stimulates the “lizard brain” so deeply that it takes a long time, plus therapy, to calm down a bit.

    Imagine that you have a family member who is one.

    I believe my mother is one.

    Family members must spend a lifetime making excuses and rationalizing the behavior, until they can’t anymore. The others are those perpetual “frogs in the pot” that one of your commenters mentioned. They could die from extra stress, or mental illness caused by the sociopath before they’d realize what was happening. And, the family member who finally wakes up and jumps out of the “pot” is considered a traitor to the family.

    Maybe as time goes on, you’ll get more visitors and people will find a safe place to talk about these issues. If we don’t have knowledge, we perish, right?

    • Colette- I think you are right about people not really wanting to admit that they’ve been “taken in”. I also think that society in general associates the term more, or only with, serial killers. That’s usually where we hear it used or in connection with some awful crime spree. I don’t think most people realize they walk around as normal people every day just like us.

      Thank you for sharing how the incident you had made you fearful of people and relationships. I’m starting to wonder about a girlfriend of mine who seems that way. I wonder if she has had some time with someone like your neighbor, but doesn’t realize what kind of an encounter it was. Very interesting. I’ll have to discuss it with her a bit. See, if it hadn’t been for your sharing, I would have never known that might be a possibility. LOL.

      And just for the record, I think anyone who “gets it” and walks away from a terribly disfunctional family is considered a traitor. It shows the others that a fix maybe possible. Take care and thank you again.

      • This is why I write. It helps me, but it also may help someone out there struggling with confusion, fear and guilt that does not belong to them. There are so many sociopaths around us that, I think I can confidently predict that everyone who visits here knows one.

        Yes! These common, ordinary, garden variety sociopaths are emotionally deadly, but are not Hollywood worthy. In a way, this is even more insidious.

        Here’s how I deal with people now:

        Are they too fast in wanting to get to know you?

        Do they listen attentively or are they merely waiting for you to finish a sentence so that they can talk about themselves?

        Do they have genuine compassion? Or, are they faking it by responding with the group, but without sincerity?

        Do they control every social interaction with you?

        Do they try to isolate you from others?

        Do they seem to study you like an alien might?

        Do feel that there is something “off” about them?

        You might be an attractive target for a sociopath if you:

        Are a moral person with strong beliefs regarding right and wrong.

        Are someone who believes in the inherent goodness of all people, believing that troubled people may only need more love and understanding.

        Are a sensitive person, vulnerable to helping people in need.

        Are a bit isolated because you’re a stay at home mom, or shy at work.

        Are afraid to speak out, concerned that you will be seen as the trouble maker.

        Are someone they are jealous of, i., e., have things or relationships they do not have.

        These “creatures” know that there is something different about them, which makes them feel both superior and jealous of those who have real lives.

        They are masters (after all they’ve spent their entire lives honing their skills) at turning around on you what they do themselves–making you look weird, mentally ill, or bad.

        The sociopath who targeted me looked like ‘sally homemaker’, but she was capable of mutilating wild bunnies and threw them over our common wall. Twice she threatened me with her vehicle, swerving toward me while smiling broadly and waving. The list goes on and on…

        They are not redeemable. They do not feel the way real people do, but they look just like us.

        You cannot ever win in a battle with a sociopath. You’re not equipped. Avoidance is your only protection. And, your comfort is knowing that they can never love the way you do. They have failed lives. They never learn from their mistakes.

        See! They are far worse than PA’s! 🙂

        If I can help with your friend, please don’t hesitate to write.

        • Colette- Wow! Thank you so much. What a great matter-of-fact list! Excellent. I wish, just like PA traits, we could put it on a poster and give it to the general public as a natural warning. I’ll have to think about that some more. lol.

          Thanks for the offer to help with my friend. I’ll have to talk to her about the possibility a little more. Don’t worry, if I need you I’ll take you up on your offer! And I agree, much worse than PAs.

  6. Wow, I am completely flabbergasted. I found this page accidentally when looking for information to share with my ten year old son on passive aggression. I don’t know how to explain to him that what his father is doing to him and his self esteem is covert. The “accidents” which keep happening…it’s all so shocking as someone said. After living with my husband for 13 years, and thinking that I was going crazy, taking the blame constantly for everything, I have finally had enough. It wasn’t clear to me until I saw it happening to someone else. 😦 My boys. ( 10 & 5 ) When you’re part of what is happening, like that frog someone mentioned it’s so hard to realize. The narcissism, the compulsive lying which is extremely frightening because the person will lie within minutes or even seconds, and then become irate when questioned. Over the years I’ve read so many things trying to come up with some kind of answer, or something to help to change this, but I just can’t do it anymore. So back to my original point, I was looking for information for my son without scaring him, or making him think there is something wrong with him or destroying his relationship with his father.

    After 2 years of counseling following an affair my husband had, I realized my husband was not going to change because he believes he is the victim and we don’t appreciate him, all I do is complain, he’s tired of the accusations, he runs to the bathroom or another room when I try to discuss things calmly, the insults disguised as humor, the “accidents” which are becoming more frequent, the selfishness, inability to feel remorse..saying something hurtful to one of us, and acting like it never happened with a blank expression on his face, or worse. When confronted, saying things like: “OK here we go again, it’s all my fault. It’s always my fault. I’m sick of always taking the blame.” then walking away. Scary.

    End to a long story, today while at my son’s counseling session it finally came time for us to tell the boys that we are separating. THANK GOD!!!! My husband moves out tomorrow. It has taken me YEARS to get to this point, so I have a lot of mixed emotions, but I do feel relief. 🙂 So thank you, thank you, thank you for having this site here, and helping me see that I have made the right decision for our family because it’s not all in my head, and I am not bananas.

    • Cindy- Welcome, and I’m glad you find the comments here helpful for your peace of mind. I am so happy for you on a few counts. I think first of all that it is great you are able to talk to your oldest son and share with him so that he realizes, just like all these years it wasn’t you, it’s not him either. Children internalize so much that we parents never know about. It’s so much better that he has you to help guide him and explain to him that his father has a sort of personality disorder, and that your son had nothing to do with that, that it’s not his fault. Luckily the boys are both young and if you are able to maintain a close relationship with them, hopefully you can counter act any damage that has been done. I know they will still interact with their father (probably. Some PA’s walk away and never look back), as Colette pointed out below, but at least seeing him for visitation won’t be the same as having his passive aggression being taken out on them all the time. From what you told us, I do believe you’re making the right decision for the mental health and stability for you and the boys.

      What you said about how your husband reacts when confronted “it’s all my fault. It’s always my fault” sounds so much like my father when I look back. My PA usually just says “I know. I’m such an idiot” and then hangs his head or looks out into the distance, and I have to stop myself from feeling totally sorry for him.

      Congratulations on making it this far. I understand the mixed emotions and it won’t be easy. There will be times when you miss him terribly, etc. because time has a way of making the part that was miserable and hurtful not hurt that much, but if you can get through those times with friends to support you, as you said I think it will remain a relief. I also believe that as long as he rationalizes his last affair, it’s only a matter of time until the next one. As long as he feels “you pushed him to it” it’ll never change.

      Please, take care and God Bless. Feel free to stop in anytime and share how you’re doing. If you look around here much at all there is another lady who’s husband left. She has two boys and all of them are so happy about living now, and the behavior problems she was having with her youngest (3 yr. old) have almost completely gone away.

      • Cindy,
        My thoughts and prayers are with you, too. I think you are beginning a challenging but rewarding journey toward a better, cleaner life with your boys.

        It is comforting to hear that you are able to talk with your boys about this problem. Ladybeams is so right about being able to counteract the effects of the disorder on you and your children.

        With my own son, I try to be as kind as possible about his dad, even being lighthearted at times. When my son seems to exhibit PA qualities, I think of it as a teachable moment because he’s NOT his father. Therefore, I hope you’ll always see your boys as different from dad and teachable in a loving way.

        Distance from dad will be therapeutic for all of you, I’m sure.

        Seeing yourself as separate and whole from the past will bring comfort and strength, too.

  7. Hey, It’s been a little over a week. It’s been very peaceful without him, however when he has come by he’s filled with rage. Picking fights with me over every little thing. It’s helpful to see the disparity when he’s not here vs his presence. I am so exhausted when he is around.

    I noticed that my 10 yr old son goes to another room or goes outside to play when my husband comes by. He never felt empowered to this before as he knew there would be emotional blackmail later that evening if he reacted to the veiled insults and aggression directed at the three of us.

    It sounds crazy, but it feels like my husband has just begun to pull out all his tricks, or something like an arsenal the more he knows he’s losing his grip. Now that there is some distance I can clearly some of the things he’s been doing all these years. It’s disgusting. For example. After he had the first affair, I told him to leave, and he asked me: “Why would you hurt the children like this?” Why would I hurt the children???? At the time I bought it, but now SLOWLY I am beginning to catch it. How did I not see this for so long? How did I buy all the blatant lies, lying about stupid inconsequential things. Is it possible that he has multiple behavioral problems? If so, how does a person recover from pathological lying? If someone is a sociopath, can they change? It seems like it would take a really long time for that to work. He’s begun seeing a therapist, but of course he goes in and tells them how depressed he is and how horrible I am. He never tells them about the things he does. I don’t see how he will get the proper help he needs without being honest with them.

    It’s hard. A tiny bit of me has hope, but really I don’t think there is any and I’m scared to get suckered back in. bleh.

    • Cindy- While I’m sorry you’re having to go through what you are, along with the peace since he’s been gone there must also be a little sense of relief, not having to be on guard 24/7. It’s not unusual for the passive aggressive to become more “aggressive” as he/she is feeling more threatened. It’s unfortunate because it makes everything even more difficult than it is already. I have seen the most passive of passive aggressives turn very aggressive once it’s appearant that the relationship is over. Of course he’s going to blame you for everything as they never want to admit it comes from their bad behavior, even something such as having an affair. Somehow they even manage to rationalize in their minds that even something like that is our fault.

      Yes it is quite possible for him to have more than one personality disorder. I think that is part of the reason they don’t consider passive aggressive by itself to be a personality disorder any more. I think it usually overlaps with something else, just as so many of the traits fit a sociopath. Can they change? I think anyone can change, I just think the odds are slim and none. Most studies show that therapy does no good because as you say, they don’t tell the full truth. They end up just manipulating the therapist. Have you offered to go to therapy with him? I would imagine he would try to avoid that as he doesn’t want you to spoil the game he has with the therapist.

      I’m glad to hear your son feels a new sense of freedom also. That in itself should help encourage you that you are making a good decision. Hopefully the two of you are able to talk about what’s going on with you and his father, how he feels about it and that none of it in anyway is his, or actually your fault. This sounds like a chance for your son to step out into the sunshine. You should feel good that you are strong enough to be able to give him that.

      okay, My Dear, please stay in touch. Let us know how you’re doing. It sounds like your husband is definitely not going to make this easy on you and from his actions so far, I would expect the worst. All you can really do is try to prepare for it and protect yourself and your children.

  8. lol, I should have read this before. yep. this breaks it all down in a nutshell. A quote from the article you linked to. There’s my answer. I love your site. This is going to be my life jacket. THANK YOU. Thank you. Thank you!

    “SIMON: You say that the victims of sociopaths have no recourse. You say, “I don’t think that the sociopath is ever punished or ever really capable of being made aware of any of the trauma they have imposed on another person.”

    STOUT: I think they can be aware of it, they just don’t care, because they are essentially manipulative.

    SIMON: You say that the sociopath is emotionally killing . . .

    STOUT: The ultimate manipulation is to kill someone, and sociopathy is murderous in a psychological sense—there’s a kind of soul-murder going on. The reason I want to explain that you’re probably never going to get revenge and you’re also probably not going to redeem this person, is that it is not a project that will ever succeed. At present, if a person does not have a conscience, we know of no way to instill one—not even a little bit. It’s not like something you can take off the shelf and put into somebody’s brain. It makes me so sad to hear people say, “I think I can see just a little bit of a conscience,” or “Maybe if I wait a little bit longer,” or “Maybe if I love him just a little bit more,” or “Maybe if I’m a good enough role model he’ll pick up on that and learn to have a conscience, and care about other people . . .”

  9. […] understand that one of the traits of a sociopath is “They often see themselves as victims, and lack remorse or the ability to empathize with […]

  10. ive been involved with a woman i now suspect is a sociopath for over 3 years. At first i didnt want a girlfriend, (just got out of a 10 year relationship with a female narcissist) but she bought me so many gifts, and done so much for me. (bringing grocerys in and cooking elaborate meals, and wining and dining in fancy restaurants.) Until her sister which she worked for, fired her. All she ever got out of me was sex. About 2 months ago, i went to her house to see her, and it was vacant. I found out she had moved in with another man, she had been seeing for over 2 years. Quite a shocking surprise!When I confronted her, which had to be done thru text messaging, (she would never answer the phone) she told me i needed to move on, which i am trying to do. I am the winner here all the way around. but i do love her now. But she continues to contact me, and now says she wants to be friends. She came to my house last night after 2 months, and she wanted sex. Will she ever quit contacting me and go away? i should add that she told a lot of lies to me. Some not even necessary. From everything from her age, where she went to school, where her parent lived, to not beeing the natural Mother of her child. For some reason she never wanted me to meet some imediate family members, and still dont. This is the craziest thing i ever seen! I also should add that she was extremely jealuos. To the point of attempting to be violent 1 night with another woman. I know no one in their right mind would want a woman like this, but she fools ya so easily, and its so easy for a normal person to relapse and think she is capable of being normal, or changing. So what do ya think? Is she a sociopath? Am I rid of her? Or will she continue to keep attempting to contact me?

    • CJ- You accepted everything from her, from what you said she “got nothing but sex from me” and now you expect her to be different? It’s really hard to change the rules of the game when you are already half way through. And now it sounds as if you still give her sex, which was all she took from you to start with, so what is your problem? If you are done with her since she obviously found someone who would commit to her, then don’t keep having sex with her. Change your telephone number (and don’t give her the new number) change your email, and let her go. If you keep having any kind of relationship with her, why would you complain? You’re sending her signals that all this is ok.

      • ladybeams- I think i understand what you are saying, and I apreciate your responce. Im not perfect, and i know it takes 2 to tango. Heres the problem. she told me she wanted a relationship, and i decided to give her one before i found out about the other person. She never told me about him, and still refuses to acknowledge him to me. (I found out about him thru someone else) Thats where it all gets wierd. After 3 years I realized I loved her. Now she continues to tell me and her Sister, she loves me, and wants to continue to see me. Feelings are now involved. if she has normal mental health, then i would think shes not very happy where shes at, or she is happy and will leave me alone. 1 of us should be temporary and over soon, one way or another. if she has a personality disorder, i need to do what you say and end it. If not, im not so sure i should. My question is, does she have a personality disorder? Sociopath ect, And if she does have a personality disorder, do I have to go to the extremes to end it, or will she leave me alone?

        • Ladybeams- You did take note that i found out that she had been seeing this guy for 2 years or more also, right? She didn’t “just find” someone who would commit to her. Seems like if she really cared about him she would have been gone a long time ago, and I wouldnt be a issue anyway.

          • I guess i should add , that this situation, is now killing me. Im dieing a very slow death.

          • CJ- Yes I did get it that she had been seeing this guy from your first comment. I believe you are totally correct when you say that if she was really committed to this guy, you would be a non-issue. The same is true the other way around. If she were committed to you and happy, he wouldn’t be an issue either.

            I’m sorry that situation has gotten so bad that you are feeling so badly. Indecision in your love life can be very unsettling. You should make a decision either way, be very clear about what you want, and develop a plan, just like you do for goal setting. That in itself would probably help you a lot. And then do you have a therapist or anyone for emotional support while you go through all this? If not maybe you should start interviewing a few until you find one you feel good with, or join a small group at your local health dept.

            Last but not least, be sure it’s really her you want and you’re not just upset because she may not be totally in to you. This is the “I want her because I can’t have her” syndrome. Then once you get her you realize you didn’t really want her after all.

            If nothing else you need to take care of yourself. When things are bleak is when you need to keep your strength and your health up the most. Get out with some friends. Laugh at a comedy movie or something, anything that used to make you feel good before she came along.

            take care and please keep in touch. Let us know how it’s going or what you decided to do. You’re welcome to comment anytime.

        • Hi CJ- Whether she has a personality disorder or not, you really don’t want to be involved with someone who could easily be involved with you and someone else at the same time, do you? If she was dishonest about being involved with this other person all this time, and still won’t be honest with you about him, I would get out regardless.

          Whether or not she will leave you alone, I have no way of knowing that without knowing her. If she’s a true passive aggressive she may turn her back and never give you a second thought. If she’s a true sociopath, she may stalk you or whatever to get your attention. There are things you can do such as changing your phone number, getting a restraining order if that proves necessary, etc.

          I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist, and once again without knowing her, I’m afraid I couldn’t tell you if she has a personality disorder or just no integrity. She must not have been totally happy with him, or she wouldn’t have gotten involved with you. She must not be totally happy with you, or she would let him go.

          If you truly want an honest opinion, I think that you’re just looking at more of the same in the years to come if you stick with her. Good luck in what ever way you decide to go, but just remember, you know this is what she is like so don’t act surprised if you continue to have a relationship with her.

          • Ladybeams-Thank you very much for your help! I believe you are truly a wise person. You are right about everything you have said. Like I said, this is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. I will probobly be sorry about this, but I’m already sorry, if that makes any sence.
            The best plan I can come up with at this time, is to discourage any more face to face contact with her. (She was here again last night). At least for a long enough period of time to figure out what she really wants. Maybe she will quit contacting me to, and it will end.
            However, I feel that I have to be fair with her, I dont know if its because i feel sorry for her or not, but i do still love her. she was incredibly generous to me, and still says she loves me. Her exterior personality, which is all I can see, is very sweet. Maybe I made the biggest mistake I ever made in my life. You made a very valid point tho. I accepted her generosity. If she is telling me the truth, and she is normal, I cant make her stop contacting me yet. She wants me to be her friend.
            I dont know if she is a sociopath, or passive-aggresive etc. She has never stalked me that I know of, or been in any way violent to me. or even raised her voice to me. Its all the lieing, and secrets that has me concerned. But I dont believe she will stay where she is at, i believe thats all about money and security only, which is not hers anyway. She is obviously not happy about not seeing me. Whatever she is, she is obviously pretty screwed up. maybe I am to, but I feel obligated to be there for her to help her in the future. She did do a awful lot for me. “Oh the tangled webs we weave” I am a strong experienced person. This is not my first rodeo, if this could happen to me, it could happen to anybody.

  11. Just a word to anybody that thinks they know everything, or is judging. This is a great site, that I think is very helpful. We never quit learning, and we never quit making mistakes. In my opinion, it takes 60 or more years to become a man. A lot of experince and hardships. NEVER TAKE ANYTHING OR ANYBODY FOR GRANTED. If you think you are big, bad and invincible. There is always something around the corner that will take you down. It might just be a little girl.

  12. Hello, I’m really confused. I am a diagnosed sociopath but im only 16 years old. But over the pat 6 months or so I havent been able to figure this one girl out. Im also a girl so im not attracted to her or anything but everything i do to others (stealing, hurting etc.) i can refrain from doing to her. I get this weird feeling, i dont think its love since i am incapable of feeling love but its like i really want to be her friend. Not for selfish reasons, well i guess its for selfish reasons because i guess it makes me feel good that she loves me (as a friend), but theres nothing i really want from her. Shes not my usual pawn in my games. I cant figure it out and its been bugging me for a while now. I get so angry with her but can calm myself down easier instead of lashing out like on everyone else. Does anyone know what this could be? I’m really confused.

    • confused- Hi. It’s interesting that you seem to understand so much about yourself, and be willing to admit it, and you’re only 16 yrs. old. I’m afraid I’m not going to be of much help to you My Dear. I’m not educated enough to really give you a proper response. What I would suggest is 1) Maybe seeing your school counselor 2) talking to whatever therapist has already diagnosed you 3) Telling your parents you would like to go to therapy, and then find a new therapist who specializes in sociopath behavior 4) Check in with your county mental health facility to see what they have to offer. Maybe you would find a group therapy that would be helpful and fulfilling.

      I personally would say that it is a good sign that you feel so good toward this other girl. I would say that maybe you’re not a total sociopath as much as just have not found people you felt were worth, or wanted to connect with. I would also say that if you can refrain from your normal devious behavior when it comes to this girl, then you have proven to yourself that you can control your actions toward anyone. Maybe you need to look at why you play the games you do. Is it to hurt others? Is it fun? Is it because you need attention you’re not getting? Only you know the true answers to those kind of questions, but it seems to me this leads to a whole new direction you, and only you, could choose to take.

      Thank you for sharing and I hope at your beautiful, young age, you figure it out. I know it sounds like a cliche from an old lady, which I am, you have your whole life ahead of you and it can be whatever you choose to make it. By your own admission, you do have choices. Good luck, take care, God Bless, and feel free to let me know how you’re doing or what you discover.

  13. […] understand that one of the traits of a sociopath is “They often see themselves as victims, and lack remorse or the ability to empathize with […]

  14. […] understand that one of the traits of a sociopath is “They often see themselves as victims, and lack remorse or the ability to empathize with […]

  15. After 4 years of low self esteem and being so sure it was all my fault, it is both sad and refreshing to finally realize my husband is a PA. What I get the most is the cold shoulder, when he will be all calm and composed while I tear my hair out and look like a mad woman. I have suffered from panic syndrom, which is now controlled. The other day I was crying because I felt it coming back and was telling him how much it pained me. He just stood there, ignoring me, didn~t even hold me or anything. We live on our own in a different country, so he is all I have. Later when I complained, he said he was nervous and didn’t want to tell me anything because he knew I would call my therapist and how I only listen to her and not him…bla bla.

    Another thing is the sex. I always thought I was every man’s dream. Always willing, no major inhibitions, any time almost any place, you know. But he is a big witholder. He is only 26 by the way and I am most likely to get sex if :

    I told him I am not in the mood

    I said I am in the mood NOW, he will come couple hours later wanting some (hello Mr spontaneous?)

    We have a big fight (the only time I can get a REAL emotional connection, believe me).

    If I try to insinuate, he will make funny and depreciating comments…

    Maybe you are wondering: What am I still doing with him? The funny thing is, he is otherwise a fun, polite person, we have the same tastes in everything and apart from sex he is very affectionate and (most usually) pleasant.

    At the moment, I am trying to balance things out and keep telling myself I am NOT histerical, fat and unnatractive, but who know what will or worse when will the scales be tipped? Thanks for the blog, it really helps to let it all out x.

  16. Hi Cella, Wow! One thing you wrote reminds me of my ex: if I wanted something my best strategy was NOT to let him know! If he knew something mattered to me I wasn’t going to see it anytime soon. Initially I tried harder and harder. Maybe I am not good enough so if I become better I will get what I need or so I thought. Nope!

    If we are in a healthy relationship then our partner wants to work with us so that we have some kind of mutual regard and reciprocal caring happening. Not what you have is it? My ex would also just stonewall me if I was struggling. After my father died I was numb with grief. I asked both my son and ex for help with the housework. Son immediately offered while ex said nothing! I ihave many examples of this but the point is that being vulnerable just left me more exposed to him. I shut down emotionally. Getting to the other side has been challenging but worth while.

    Cella, get some professional support and get yourself out of there! The good times are only to lure you into staying. As you distance yourself is when he will become nicer to you. Try it to become aware of this sick little manipulation and use the knowledge to make a better choice for yourself. Isolation from friends and family leave you more open to the destruction of your self esteem by this person who claims to love you. That isn’t love and you can’t make him love you. Can you see that by being open, willing to please and collaborative you have made yourself a target without intending that to be? Good luck and you deserve so much more….

    • Leona- Thanks for the advice. Couldn’t have said it better myself. As soon as they know there is any vulnerability, they start pushing in that direction.

  17. I have stumbled across this blogg whilst trying to find out how the hell i ended up with a passive aggressive husband and how i can stop him from sabotaging my life from a distance (we are getting divorced). I hate him and if he fell off the planet i would be a very happy lady, but as we have three kids the youngest being two i will have to put up with him for some time. This has been a breath of fresh air. I am not alone, thank god.

  18. Ok Guys New Zealand here… AND am I grateful for finding you guys Phew – eee, You may wish to grab a coffee – make that a pot, changed my mind you may wish to grab a glass of wine or two, sit in a comfy chair but not a bed as this may send you to sleep 😉 understatement of the year (2012 !!). I met a great guy, within weeks he was madly in love with me (by the way I am 52 so not a young whipper snapper), silly woman I thought it obviously was my incredible personality, charm, good humour and great looks Ok ok ok ok !!!! 😉
    After 3 months he asked me to marry him, gave me the big diamond ring, I agreed to an engagement however not marriage.
    I quazzi moved in with him, part time during the week as I have my own home and am currently building another rather larger home which takes a lot of time to manage materials and tradesmen etc… Things went well – then he moved in with me as a lot was happening with the new home.
    Now thing started to change, I always had the feeling that my place was more; like a hotel – that the sharing time together was temporary. Nothing I could put my finger on however at the time my favourite saying was “ why don’t we feel like a real couple”, there was no obvious abuse or manipulation, just a strange detachment.
    Quite soon he started to decide what we were having for dinner without any consultation with me, which I found very strange as I believe it only common courtesy to discuss and communicate and have joint agreements to shared thing e.g. dinner etc
    You may wish to note I retired at 41 after a successful career mainly in a male dominated profession. Therefore I am used to dealing with men, being pushy is second nature and “No” in my world is a very acceptable word and one that I have no shame in using as often as I require.
    I discover he has been telling lies, dumb lies, stupid lies, lies that were of no consequence but just lies. Being a staunch woman I don’t do lies – its too hard to keep tack of who you told what to, my life is too full of wonderful things for me to even remotely wish to waste any of my precious energy tracking lies.
    We have a major discussion regarding the lies – yes he was sorry, yes he would stop this at once and that was the end of it – so we moved on. Until the next lie, then the story appeared to change from sorry, it won’t happen again to “well its not a lie unless someone gets hurt” which to me is red rag to a bull – How dare anyone presume what will and will not hurt me. My emotions belong to me, no one else these are mine and I will at all times protect my right to my emotions only I have the right to decide what hurts me or not – No other person has this right now will anyone take this away from me. After I said my piece he appeared to accept my claim to my emotions and we move on.
    His daughter in her mid 20’s started to display some very strange behaviour, rude, demanding, disrespectful, and Dad just falls in and does everything she wishes financially, emotionally, physically in everyway possible. I found this very strange a relationship between two people with no format, no common respect, no boundaries or even care.
    I put down my confusion to me never having had children, I like children, I enjoy them (especially friends children who seem to pick me as the favourite aunt) however I always knew from a vey early age I actually didn’t want children.
    The daughter’s behaviour became even more demanding more manipulative and was detrimentally impacting both our lives. I sat down and had a chat to him, requesting him to explain their relationship and where the boundaries were and where the respect lay. He was very confused, he didn’t appear to understand my questions, was amazed that a person does not need to expect respect from other that they actually have the right to demand to be treated with respect. Now I am even more confused as this is a 60 years old chap.
    Maybe I should note at this point that this guy is successful, articulate, educated and in everyway appears to have his finger in the pulse of life.
    I asked him to talk with Daughter, he said he didn’t know how, had no idea what to say or how to say it. Now I am thinking I am an alien from another planet – so I took myself off to spend time with friends, am I a nut ? No he is a bit strange was their response and the daughters behaviour is even stranger. Again we move forward.
    I decided to try out some bad behaviour of my own and find out what the response would be. Yes I do realise this was not a nice thing to do – however I was truly amazed at what I was seeing and experiencing. One evening I deliberately had a few too many glasses of wine and acted outrageously – raising my voice, challenging him and basically being pretty darned rude, obnoxious and disrespectful. Eventually after stirring up a small typhoon I stormed out and went home (very ashamed of myself I will add).
    The next morning I was expecting to at least have to account for my actions and back them up with an apology– but no, it was as though nothing out of the norm had occurred the night before, as though I was my normal sweet self the whole evening. Ok now I am truly confused and seriously starting to think I have a major mental health issue.
    We had dinner a few nights later and I approached the subject of my bad behaviour, his response was to advise “that was me and he had to accept everything I was and was not”. I disagreed and advised my behaviour was unacceptable and would not happen again – I also stupidly considered for a moment or two (yes I know there is no fool like and old fool) that maybe this was true love !!!!!!!! 100% acceptance of a person – then I told myself I should start to check out the nearest Mental Unit as fast as possible as this certainly was not normal.
    Now having retired at a relatively early age I have investments which provide my income, my man now started to discuss lots of thing we should jointly do together, financially. I was not truly comfortable with this so I popped along to my lawyer and we had a chat – he advise me to stop being so dumb – I took his advice and advised my man of this. He didn’t seem overly perturbed, so I was relaxed about the whole situation and we continued our relationship.
    The next phase which startled me were comments made about people I know and people who work for me, incredibly rude and personal comments. Things I couldn’t even think, never mind voice. I advise him that I found this unacceptable, he appeared to accept this however continued to say things about people that truly shocked me.
    I should add that by this stage Respect is starting to diminish and I am certainly taking a long hard look at things, him to be more precise.
    His emotions toward me look and feel very much like my emotions towards him. I am a pretty emotional woman, I like talking, I love touching, I am not ashamed to voice anything I feel, I am rather proud I have the courage to voice these things (note I do take into account the feelings of others), You Gotta Cute Butt in the middle of the supermarket to my man is not uncommon, fun yes, slightly naughty yes however certainly not uncommon (and not too loud). Suddenly almost everything I do he does ? And like the old fool I am I suspect that he rather admires me for my courage and my openness and rather finds open communication fun and challenging a new experience to be relished.
    Now he openly voices in a direct way but not necessarily a bad way how he doesn’t like certain friends of mine, my response to this is honest as usual that certain friend of his I am not too keen on either however I respect they are his friends and am happy to socialise on a manageable scale being with these people and sharing dinner etc he appears very acceptable of this. Nice guy huh ??
    The next phase concentrates on the body size or race of people we know and even strangers we see – I am small, he is medium however overweight people are now almost the devil reincarnated, anyone with a slight tan are prone to bazaar statements too. This I don’t like, nor do I tolerate this, therefore I advise him if he wishes to think that, that’s his prerogative however I certainly choose not to hear it and to keep his opinions and thought to himself. He appears comfortable with this, please note “comfortable and acceptance does not mean he ceases the behaviour”…. Like a fool we continue to move on further.
    I then find out that his ex wife is under suicide watch, I was aware she walked out on him. I understand “I need time to find myself” was the reason. However I hear she is in quite a bad way, emotionally and with her self confidence which I understand is almost zero. This concerns me greatly – the old saying “There but for the Grace of God” keeps writing itself on the inside of my eye lids. I approach the man about this – he is incredibly dismissive, its her own fault, what great husband he was, how hard he worked for her and the family, how little she appreciated it. I decide to agree as I figure its in my interests to more fully understand his opinion and experiences within his last marriage.
    Try these out for size:
    1) My wife loathed being in debt – and one day I had to told her we were well into debt and could possibly loose everything – You know what she did ! “What Says I ?” she curled up on the floor in the foetal position and cried. Can you believe it… she was so dumb, so useless.
    2) I sold my wife’s favourite car as she needed a larger one and she got really pissy about it, I told her she didn’t know what she was talking about it was time to sell. You may wish to note that he sold the car without any consultation nor any respect for her wishes or what he purchased to replaced the car.
    3) My wife was amazed the other day when Fred (who happens to be a very financially secure chap) said I was probably his best friend. How stupid of her to be amazed, of course I am, I have known Fred for years we go a long way back and I have done an awful lot for him, he wouldn’t be where he is today with out me.
    4) My wife did very well out of my hard work – she didn’t wok a day after meeting me. Of course this presupposes that the house work, child rearing, washing cooking and cleaning magically did itself.

    There are to many of these things, therefore I l start to bring this saga to a close.
    We have been dating now for almost 18 months, each time I understood we agreed to certain life values, principles and behaviour – I was wrong. There was no agreement for anything to change, for any consideration or boundaries. There was only his way, no fuss, no arguments only his way. Although the lip service he paid to me seems to be honest and sincere it wasn’t, it was just his way of buying time till the next time.

    Tonite I had called two girl friends to discuss more strange anti social behaviour and ask for advice, both advised me to walk away. However I am an inquisitive old bag and not one to feel threatened by a challenge, couple that with my sense loyalty and I am usually not walker.
    After my chat to friends I was terribly confused, I tripped over this site within the next hour as I was trying to identify what was actually the issue, I knew there was an issue I just didn’t understand what it was.

    I know I am no miracle worker and I feel and have experienced things which are very strange – the PA behaviour dives me nuts, makes me challenge my own sanity, what did we discuss, what did we agree, why is this unacceptable behaviour re-occurring ? My deal breaker was the realisation from this site that this was a game and I was the pawn which was being played with. OMG did that make me cross the final acknowledgement from this site that there was a total lack of any type of empathy, emotions and honesty was my deal beaker.
    I truly thought it was me – being picky, even demanding, however I think not, I have never experienced a relationship of this type, I never wish to again.
    I cannot thank you enough, the education, the empathy and support I actually felt reading the words on this site were truly awe inspiring. That was me, I see similar experiences, I felt that, I recognise an awful lot of the behaviour mentioned wayyyyy too much for it to be a coincidence.
    Therefore I am off to bed now – tomorrow …… well that’s a bright new day – as I wake up in the morning I have my life to focus on, set a few goals, catchup with a few friends and enjoy each moment God has given me to fill with fun and laughter. As of reading your site I am a very happy single and now also well educated woman. Many thanks, hugs and best wishes to all on this site, for those who like me stumble across this site – yesterday is history, tomorrow is a fantasy so get on doing the business of living, the best as you can with all you have TODAY.

    • Hi Maxine,
      It took me 11 years before I saw a little article in Cosmo about PA behaviour. I had never heard of that before as I came from a very open and direct household. I too am very collaborative but I didn’t have the clear boundaries you had or the life experience at the time. Nothing in my past had prepared or alerted me to this type of behaviour and just how damaging and subtle it is.

      Congratulations for figuring it out so very quickly and before you lost control of your life in all aspects.

      We need to share our story to help women avoid this emotional betrayal. I wish you a happy PA free future!

  19. I find myself trying to manipulate everyone in my family.

  20. As a pa, I’m out there to win. However, the way I go about doing such a thing is by making those around me in my family suffer at performing well and achieving great things.

  21. I know how all of you feel. My father a sociopath and passive aggressive, my ex a true sociopath a heart only that kept me with him was…cannot be mention God warned me about him tho but I was tryna see him for a good person. Now I’m married again to a PA 3 kids by ex 1 by hubs. My daughter (1) year is starting to act out and my(4) year old boy is starting to act out. Pastor even knows about the behavioral problem but doesn’t offer help. Ppl dismiss the problem and I was called bitter and selfish by another member because I wanted to leave the marriage!!! We was friend off and on for 2 years married 2 years. It’s been a ride.I care too much and just grins and laugh and falls asleep at my troubles. I’m only 26 stressed out.I been through this 3 years before with my ex now again with him? I can’t express how I feel without him throwing a fit. I am supposed to suppress my feelings and be his slave cook, have sex, keep silent, smile and don’t show no expressions of love don’t ask for anything. I will get shut down or rejected.He lies and says he will spend time with me and hasn’t ever unless I initiate it. Took me out couple times. If a man is gunna be with me you can’t be simple. Trust me he’s simple!! Just dinner and a movie that’s all he thinks women like. They like women who don’t care. His mother is the reason he is PA.she is the grinch that stole Christmas. He should have stayed with his mother and they should have gotten married. I hate this!! He knew I wanted a full blown out Christian home he knew I thrive on love and intimate conversation. He ripped my dreams of a decent wedding away from me. He ripped my dream of happily married away from me. I want to get over it but I can’t right now he doesn’t if this bothers or affects the kids and I promised I would protect them. Jesus how can I show agape love to This evil man

  22. My dh is PA. I’m still with him. I’m co-dependent. Anyhow, I told him this morning to remember the difference between PA and Sociopath is that PA pretend not to care and Sociopaths really don’t care. But to the people around you, the feeling is the same.

  23. A lot of falsely accusing others of having AntiSocial Personality Disorder in this thread. Passive Aggressiveness can be prominent in other Personality Disorders, as well as regular people. Someone Passive Aggressive will do something because they’re rather helpless and act like they like it, even if they do not and hate it. A Sociopath only does something if he gets something out of it in return, and will shirk responsibilities when he can, in which someone Passive Aggressive will do it anyway, just complain later. Someone Passive Aggressive need to be upset to attack another… a Sociopath does not need a negative emotion, just a gain. There is a huge difference between Passive Aggressiveness and being Anti-Social. By DSM criteria, a sociopath is a compulsive liar, in which the Passive Aggressive type will tell the truth due to appearing passive on the surface, but aggressive underneath. A sociopath can steal, can rob, can kill, and even betray those whom have treated him with the utmost respect without feeling, while a Passive Aggressive person needs a reason or trigger.

    Also, look up other Personality Disorders, namely the Cluster B ones.

    • Kyle- Thank you for your input. I’m afraid I would have to disagree with you on a few points.

      A passive aggressive will not necessarily do something whether they want to or not. They don’t and then use a flimsy excuse like “I forgot”. When it comes to a passive aggressive needing a “reason or trigger”, that may be true, but it may be a reason only in their own mind. Also I would say that someone who is anti-social isn’t necessarily a sociopath.

      I will go back and read the Cluster B personalities, and thank you again for your input. You may also want to go back and do some re-reading.

  24. Interesting comparison…I can certainly see your point. I lived with my PA brother for a few years…it was both an enlightening and very negative experience. I didn’t know he was passive-aggressive when I first offered to help him out financially and move in with him to share his expenses. It took me a few years to figure out what the problem was, and when I stumbled on passive aggressive behavior disorder I was stunned. He is a classic case, and this also explains my own upbringing…my mother was a terrible passive aggressive case too; hence, it doesn’t take a psychotherapist to figure out where his problem originated. It will take a psychotherapist to help him recover from that problem though, if you could ever convince him to go.

    Although I suffered under that same upbringing, I did realize that I had a problem and I took actions to resolve my issues. A true PA won’t (can’t) do this so I’m confident that I’m not a PA, but I certainly did have “issues” that needed to be addressed. Suffice it to say I went through a lot of self-reflection and worked hard on my issues.

    I think much of why I might have been able to do this is because my mother did not have total control over me…I was very rebellious and stood up to every bully I even encountered…including my mother. So rather than internalize my anger, I did find ways to express it, and this alone is probably what saved me from the same fate as my brother.

    This had its consequences too of course, but I feel strongly that I have overcome most of them now. If I only had found therapy at a younger age it would not have taken me this long to recover though. I’m pretty well there now, but sadly, my younger brother will probably never recover. He’s the classic, “who me?”…”I don’t have a problem…it’s everyone else’s fault” kind of guy, who is always surreptitiously out to punish you and get even, even from the smallest of things, some of which date back decades.

    However, if behavior associated with a sociopath is genetic, then wouldn’t it just be possible that a sociopath could easily (and also) be a PA, but a PA does not necessarily have to be a sociopath? PA behavior is learned, and it is true that they learn how to avoid guilt, remorse, and apathy…but unless one can convince this person to seek professional help, there is probably no way of determining whether he is a true sociopath, or simply someone suffering from PABD. If my brother is a sociopath though it would not surprise me :-).

  25. I’ve got a neighbor who is very much like what you have concluded in this article. And i stumbled upon this with intent to explain that i could see what kinda person my neighbor was cuz im his polar opposite. I am an empath. And I’ve pin pointed this person exact personalities. Yes i mean multiple. Atm, i am dealing with my teen step daughter whom ive raised since she was four yo. That has a pinch of that passive aggressive sociopath. Her biological mother is bipolar schizophrenic psychosis. And we (her biological father and I, with help from therapy) have been able to get through a few hard times. But, today she came home and told us some stories our neighbor keeps telling ppl around him. And it seems like she was disturbed about the whole situation. Cuz, she has made good friends with this guy’s girlfriend. And i read some of the behaviors and actions off to her that maybe what she was noticing. And so far she says he matches this article you’ve shared to a Tee.
    Thanks for posting all this and working as hard as you had to. To help all of us out here looking for answers.
    Much appreciation.

  26. The behaviour of passive aggressives and sociopaths may be functionally identical most of the time: blaming and finger-pointing, denial, sarcasm, dismissal, escalating conflict, back-handed compliments, backstabbing, etc. – all with a veneer of plausible deniability, of course. The difference, in my view, is that the non-sociopathic PA engages in these destructive behaviours – either consciously or unconsciously – in order to displace uncomfortable feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, self-blame, or being threatened, while the sociopath actually gets a thrill, a high, a sense of pleasure knowing he has made his victim miserable. If one imagines a baseline of feeling “normal” – okay about oneself and one’s life -, then the PA acts as he does to try to get *up* to that baseline; the empathyless sociopath has no sense of inferiority, self-blame or low self-worth and thus acts despicably in order to spike his feelings *above* his “normal” baseline feelings.
    In the end, though – when you’re the victim of such awful, manipulative, take-no-responsibility behaviour – does it really matter whether you’re being bullied by a PA or a sociopath? Get the hell away from them, as fast as you can. We may have sympathy for the PA’s miserable inner darkness in a theoretical sense, but in the real world, both types are ultimately toxic to anyone who lets them get close.

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