Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Am I my Asperger brother's keeper?

Aspies and sociopaths have a unique relationship with one another. Asperger Syndrome is a personality disorder on the autism spectrum that is commonly described as or confused with high-functioning autism. Asperger syndrome is characterized by "a lack of empathy, little ability to form friendships, one-sided conversation, intense absorption in a special interest, and clumsy movements." It was originally labeled "autistic psychopathy." Aspies are very similar to sociopaths, with the most obvious exception being that sociopaths are socially charming and aspies are socially awkward. Despite the lack of empathy, one of the core traits of a sociopath, aspies are treated as totally legitimate in our society. Even though aspies seem to be sociopath eunuchs, their childishness and naivete is what makes them palatable to the rest of society.

This is a Cain and Abel scenario. In Steinbeck's East of Eden, the Cain characters are all smart, cunning, and effective. Cathy is the prototypical sociopath. The Abel characters are clueless. Their redeeming values are their guilelessness and ineffectiveness. They are the absence of bad, rather than the presence of good. The flighty Abel characters would be nothing without the hard-working Cain characters. And yet everyone always loves the Abel characters and hates the Cain characters. And the Lord had no regard for Cain and his offering. Cain was furious, and he was downcast.

There is a lot of aspie pride. "Celebrate neuro diversity" "Why be normal?" There is also quite a bit of aspie hate for sociopaths. Aspies villainize sociopaths and don't even want them discussed in the same breath, even though there are clear links between autism and "bad sociopath" behavior. The disparate treatment of these two classifications of individuals have some wondering, why? And how are sociopaths supposed to react to this unequal treatment? Not at all to endorse this type of behavior, but I know how one famous sociopath reacted:

Cain said to his brother Abel, "let's go out to the field." And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.


  1. Wow, a sociopath's justification for Cain's murder. Steinbeck's Ables were all incapable and simply free from evil?

  2. You need to check out the BOOK OF NOD.

  3. Aspie speaking. First, lemme just say that I've known an admitted sociopath in the past, and she was pretty nice if slightly scary, so I'm definitely not assuming all sociopaths are bad here. But here's a difference:

    You and I both can't automatically pick up the emotions of other people. However, I also can't automatically identify my own emotions. (Clarification: doesn't mean I don't have emotions. I feel the same physical reactions as everyone else but can't instinctively figure out what causes those reactions.) If I try to put myself in someone else's shoes, I still won't know what the hell they're feeling; I understand other's emotions only slightly than I do my own. How can you be narcissistic when you're not sure what you want? This is called Alexithymia and affects about 80% of aspies. Which is a lot.

    At the same time, we do have a sort of empathy. Aspies normally can't lie easily. We can hurt people unintentionally because we don't understand how our actions affect them, and we can even no feel remorse of we fail to understand the consequences of our actions as they affect others, but if we realize that our actions hurt others we can't do it without remorse. Ultimately, it's not a true lack of empathy but more a lack of understanding.

    Here's another reason aspies might dislike sociopaths. You think you've got the short end of the stick. Maybe, but you can choose to pass for normal. Many aspies can't. Also, though you've kind of said otherwise, Asperger's basically is autism. If you look at the criteria they're virtually identical, except the aspie ones require no speech delay and normal interest in the environment. So, aspies also have a lot of the problems associated with autism, such as totally breaking down in crowded places, or being unable to stand the touch of sand or water or denim or whatever. Maybe there's just a bit of envy on the other side as well? And of course, how many people have met an admitted sociopath? All most people know is 'sociopaths are charming, charismatic people who can stab me without blinking.'

    Finally, aspies, despite the lack of empathy, are less likely to commit all sorts of crimes than normal people. We really aren't a threat to anyone. The crimes we do commit are also sometimes harmless obsession related things, like 'repeatedly impersonating a train station employee.' Why would people hate or fear a group of people they see as largely harmless anti-social computer-geeks?

    1. Brilliant post. Really fascinating insight into the mind of a person with Asperger's, and a good detailed clarification on the very big differences with sociopathy. Thanks :-)

  4. I know very little about Asperberger syndrome and sociopaths, but I would think that an "Aspie's" inability to lie would be the biggest difference. Also, I've never read that they set out to hurt. I don't think it makes either disorder better or worse, just seems that fundamentally, they're completely different.

    1. Myth. Asperger's can lie, but we are not skilled, not quick at it, and not very good at getting away with it. If it's really important to lie, to avoid hurt to self or others, then we can summon the strength, but usually we neither see the point nor wish to take the risk. They say truth is 25% less effort than lying, for regular people. For the asperger, lying is 1000% more effort than telling the truth.

      Disclosure: I am a diagnosed asperger, and I cannot tell a lie, I have lied in the past and I understand when it is right to lie again.

  5. Another aspie here.
    I'll admit that there are some outward similarities here. Aspies are, as a rule, very logical rather than emotional and have low empathy in a way. However our low empathy is more because of not really understanding the emotional responses of others, whereas sociopaths understand them but simply do not care and use that to their advantage.
    I think that the reason that people tend to hold poorer opinion of sociopaths than of aspies is solely because aspies aren't really dangerous and as anon above said, you can act normal if you want but usually if we try to act normal, it doesn't work out and is totally exhausting, so we are easily identified and thought of as weird rather than as a lurking threat.
    Plus there probably have been rather more sociopathic serial killers than autistic ones. ;) haha.

  6. I am new to the concept of "aspies" and have only a rudimentary understanding of the notion based on some online reading. However, it would seem that I have known and used quite a few aspies assuming the descriptions of the condition are accurate.

    Assuming the people the people I think fit this description were truly aspies, then they are no more difficult to exploit and manipulate than anyone else, just the approach is a bit different. As long as a) they know there is something "wrong" about themselves; b) they believe I am smart enough that my advice should be seriously considered and taken into account; and c) that my intentions to help them are genuine, then they can be used as easily as anyone else. The difference is that with an aspie you win their minds first and their hearts follow, whereas with most people it works easier the other way around. Assuming my understanding is valid, there is a hint of paternalism in seducing an aspie.

    1. I am an aspie and I would agree with the theory above. The problem is the two supposedly high intelligent socios who took a shot at dominating me intelligently failed because their solutions lacked soul. Intelligence with no soul attached comes across as a lower form of intelligence to me, and I thought they were idiots for trying. I later confronted them with what they tried and they said 'it was not intentional' without contesting the effort. You knew immediately that what they were saying was 'it was intentional.' Bless the socios hard. Just go after non-aspies, brother.

    2. It's possible that those two socios were simply less intelligent than you.

  7. If you have a close, long term relationship with an aspie, you learn that they don't have a normal conscience. They don't feel remorse when they hurt you emotionally, because they can't understand that they hurt you. At the end of the day, unintentional emotional coldness and brutality is still a savage form of abuse to the normal person. A small part of the aspie brain stopped developing when they were kids; it's a neurological disorder and they need help.

    1. I agree completely and I am an aspie. I was very young when I realized people were somehow hurt around me, while I thought I was working so hard to make them happy. So, I decided no close emotional relationships. I also decided the only people who could not get hurt by me were the bad boys/girls, and sociopathics. I did not do this consciously then (meaning I was not aware of the labels) but now that I know the labels I can see the patterns. Socios are so much fun for an aspie, the trick is when to let them go.

    2. I think you've expressed well the difference. An aspie will try to prevent other people from hurt after he realizes he does it. Even it is still not under his control an he will continue to do it eventually. A sociopath will never care, the only thing the sociopath cares is his wellfare. In reality and in acting, there is often low difference, the results are sometimes identical, but the intention is always different. And the aspie is able to admit his mistake, even he is not able often to change it.

    3. "f you have a close, long term relationship with an aspie, you learn that they don't have a normal conscience. They don't feel remorse when they hurt you emotionally, because they can't understand that they hurt you."

      If you do a gesture that is perceived as insulting to another culture, and you don't realize they took it that way, is that lacking conscience? If so, you use that term *very* differently from how I use it.

    4. If you tell the person that hurt you in a clear and concise manner, exactly what they said and did to hurt you, exactly how and why you were hurt and you tell them REPEATEDLY and their reaction (every single time they hurt you) is: anger at you, blaming you for being hurt,or them running away,refusing to discuss let alone acknowledge the REALITY that you hurt someone,

    5. .....is not an excuse, aspergers or not! Sadly this is very common theme with people on the spectrum. Even lack of theory of mind (putting yourself in someone else's shoes) is not an excuse. If you have a normal or higher IQ, then it can be figured out logically. Too often people with aspergers say they trust everyone. If you are so freakin trusting, then trust the person who says " I am very hurt by what you said/did to me." And DON'T turn it around on the person you hurt. DON'T be defensive! Aspergers people with alarming regularity forget the person that was harmed, and becomes all about them. W

    6. Sometimes neurotypicals say that when people claim to be hurt. And sometimes they are right. Sometimes people are being too sensitive.

      I have Asperger's and while I consider the rights of others I also need to consider myself. Social skills aren't just for other people, they are also for understanding how to stand up for yourself and figuring out where the lines of "reasonableness" are in relationships. Sometimes people get seriously offended over stupid things, and some people particularly sociopaths may feign being offended for the sake of taking advantage of you. I used to just acquiesce every time and say I was sorry regardless, and it turned me into a doormat and people would take advantage of me. So I've learned you have to be just as careful about trying too hard to respond nicely when people say they are offended. There's a balance that needs to be found. If sometimes we do legitimately hurt someone's feelings, you bring it to our attention, and we're defensive it's because we doubt you, either that you're really offended or we doubt that your offense is reasonable. We are thinking back to past experiences and what we know and trying to piece together whether or not you are being reasonable with being offended or whether you're out of line. Typically I try to hold others to the same standards, and I see this as a generally ethically good idea. And there have been times in the past where I've been told off for being too sensitive. If I'm being too sensitive, then same scenario with the people changed so are you. But that adds the problem of people saying I'm being too sensitive when in fact I'm being just the right amount of sensitive. And then there's the variations in social norms about these things between cultures and subcultures of people. There's way too much information to keep track of and social environments often require snap judgments, often in the midst of a sea of distracting noise and stimuli. I wish I knew how sociopaths were able to keep track of all that so effectively.

    7. There are some real hands-on understanding of the relationship between an aspie and a sociopath on this site. It got me reminiscent of my time as A metaphoric roach in the cock fight between Cain and Able. Let me elaborate for the literal readers. I have been a love ( there words not mine) interest to one sociopath and three aspie's in my life time. Fortunately, i did not have children with the first. I do however have two aspie children and three close relatives including a mother. A sociopathic father. I kid you not and I’m just about living to tell the tale. Even if a few shades shy off madness and an expert in the similar types. Both types have problems with eye contact. They are both egocentric and they both lye a lot. The previous writer is correct in saying aspies are arrogant in that they cant be bothered to hide there crime or cover there tracks. All that matters is there way, prove there point and win. Most aspies are not interested in world domination unlike there sociopathic brother. Electronic, computing and sugary food is more the measure of there ambition. I now aspies have broad and sometimes frequently changing obsessions. Sociopath money corporate power deconstructing career ladders maybe. Both men tend to attract to strong women initially appearing to be the real deal alfa male. To an aspie these women represent systemic freedom with predictable food and shelter. To a sociopath a hardcore side kick they eventually take non guilty pleasure in kicking down when done. After all a strong women get you, right? Because you both don't see the value in minions, plebeians and have no time for weak sentiment. Apart from with each other, the gloves and masks come off. She thinks? Like the aspie. that intimate moment when he talks for 3 hours about capacitor, tolerance, spurs and watts. If you can listen and show interest and let him fix your coils your bedroom and marriage material. both types are potential high earners and giant financial liabilities. When all the thrill and excitement of the quirky stranger is over you are left emotionally dehydrated like a virgin at a vampire party. Except this lady was not for turning. God bless Jesus, psychotherapist, psychologist, group workers and psychiatrist. Oh and two glasses of red wine per night and a good honest blog. It got me through.

    8. An aspie can eventually learn the social skills that they are not born with. For example i never knew that my mom thought I was cold and detached. I always assumed my mom knew I loved her and enjoyed her company. Now with the hurting people. If you tell them that what they said isn't nice and it is repeated enough they will catch on. I have learned to really think before I talk, and I make sure to only give a compliment if it is a positive one. Some aspies use their diagnosis as a way to do and say whatever they want and that is very irritating. They are not stupid and after a while they have caught on that some things are just not okay to say, but they figure they can get away with it because all say have to do is say opps,I'm an aspie, I don't know better. I suppose its just like anyone though. There are plenty of people that lack regard for others emotions and they are not handicap or or have any type of disorders, they are just assholes. Same goes for aspies, their complete disregard for others emotions usually just means that they are assholes.Don't get me wrong, we will slip up every now and again, but after a certain age it shouldn't be constant thing.
      To this day I am uncomfortable with small talk, but I have learned enough to be able to fake it when and I can get by at work without too many people noticing my oddness. The people at work just assume I am more of the quite type and leave me to my solitary ways. Not one person knows about my diagnosis and I plan to keep it that way because I will not use it as a crutch or a pass to hurt people.

  8. My only true friend's an aspie, he shows people videos of people mutilating themselves, it's hilarious, he doesn't seem that clumsy, he seems have picked up on social norms, but doesn't care for them, like me. I think he was misdiagnosed.

  9. Maybe the difference between sociopaths and people with asbergers is that people with aspergers can't grasp what others are feeling but if they ever learn to they care and people who are sociopaths can grasp it but they don't care

  10. There are a lot of differences but these mainly revolve around difference in why they committed violent or plain anti-social acts. Sociopaths (or Psychopaths) do it based on weak urge that over turns a even weaker ability to inhibit what is present in everyone, whether normal or not.

    Say, an aspie and sociopath both tell a lie in order to hurt someone, somehow. The aspie would do it because he or she feels hurt by the world he or her and thus believe that they should return the favor. The sociopath though not always incline to hurt someone (in fact Sociopaths are more incline to help someone who the don't even know than empaths according to prominent researchers) does it for the sole pleasure it gives them.

    You have to remember that, as said many times before that empathy does not equal good moral standing. Morality is such a relative thing and changes constantly over time and between various races of people with a somewhat general surviving trait governed by our evolution. The same science also shows that psychopathy is not new and has been around thousands of years, much like the empath. It does makes one wonder what evolution needs from such people but perhaps it simply that not all these people follow a need to harm others and in fact a lot of their traits are very useful (and often necessary) in a good leader.

    Empaths are often are hindered by the need to think with their emotions, which often gets in the way of the need of the moment. What is so useful about emotions when it comes to tough decisions in order to save a life or lives. None. Emotions don't help but only to give us the sense enough to see why human life is valuable no matter how worthless that person is to society as a whole. It is sense of nurture and the need to nurture others that compels morality to even exist. Neither you or I for the matter can really say what is "absolutely right" or "absolutely wrong" all we are, are just bunch of living consciousnesses playing around in this wonderful accident called life.

    One last arguement against the so called moral superiority of the empaths, comes from the rather fictionalized form of psychopathy in the shape of the Joker from The Dark Knight. "They are only good as the world allows to them to be." To this extent, this quite true considering the over fearful and cautious nature of empaths when comes to the consequences of the doing "only" the right thing. The Prince of Persia film (rather surprisingly) talks about it in rather nice smart way about how doing the right thing no matter the consequences can cost us. Morality always has it costs as do many other things. Let's not forget that, ok. :D

  11. Diagnosed Psychopath here. :)

    Asperger's is not a personality disorder, it's a form of autism, and they're born with it. Personality disorders develop in a person's childhood, that's the difference between Antisocial Personality Disorder and Psychopathy. The former is developed in childhood, the other is genetic.

    "The Abel characters are clueless. Their redeeming values are their guilelessness and ineffectiveness. They are the absence of bad, rather than the presence of good. The flighty Abel characters would be nothing without the hard-working Cain characters."

    For as far as we think of Cains as sociopaths and the Abels as Aspies, Cains will never be hard workers, but Abels will if given the chance to work with something he is good at and that fits his interest. And their interests are truly versatile.

    So you could say we would be nothing without the Abels. But truth, as always, is more complex. We all have our function, and sociopaths do have something in common with aspies in this regard as both serve the function as markers for what is normal so the common person can self-regulate and "keep in line".

    That said, you're absolutely right when you say "their childishness and naivite is what makes them palatable to the rest of society".

    Society loves that which is harmless, and their reasons aren't as rosy as they like to think, but that's another discussion.

    Yet you may have noticed that society also loves psychopaths/sociopaths, but they do it less openly. If they didn't your blog would be very different, or more likely it wouldn't be at all.

    "Aspie speaking",

    your description fits a friend of mine (who has the Asperger's diagnosis) to the letter.

    "I would think an "Aspie's" inability to lie would be the biggest difference."

    in my experience aspies can lie and even a lot, but they do it defensively, and that is very different from the way some of us sometimes lie simply to get our way or because we see opportunity.

    Anon (below Dionysus' comment),

    what you say about the amygdala not developing as much in aspies as in common people, this is the case for psychopaths/sociopaths also.

    What I would like to know more about is the proposed autism that M.E. put forth the two groups - aspies and sociopaths - may be sharing.


    "in fact sociopaths are more likely to help someone who they don't even know than empaths according to prominent researchers"

    I wish you had left a few names or a link or two, because this is an unusual statement to say the least when taken out of context like this.

    I don't really believe M.E. is envious on people with Asperger's, he's just using their "weaknesses" to try and solicit his own idea which is to get society to acknowledge a group of people they can't acknowledge because they basically break the contract that a all members of a community must live up to in order to keep their bona fide position.

    A lost cause you might say, but there's something there nevertheless. The "saving point" may be in that he uses the term 'sociopath' and not 'psychopath'.

    The rantings against the autistic community is ridiculous and slightly annoying, it sometimes give the impression of someone shooting themselves in the foot. But then again, when you want to propagate a cause such as this, you need someone to play the role of being the unjust usurper of position and love. And people with Asperger's, as we all know, are always a good scapegoat.

  12. First of. My brain is too strange to be considered simply asperger or psycopath. But I have both categories in my family.

    I like diversity and neurodiversity, and I think sociopath should be included in the neurodiversity campaigns.
    The similarities between sociopath (the born ones) and Aspie are the disconnection between cognition and emotion due to a lessened link between talamus/amigdala and frontal cortex. This gave to both a logical "plus".
    The difference is in the kind of empathic difference. We can easly divide empathy in affective and cognitive empathy. Cognitive empathy is linked with emotion recognition and manipulation, while affective empathy is the physical body response to feelings. Aspergers have low cognitive and high affective empathy while sociopath are the other way around. Finally you can have Aspe-path o Socio-gers if you prefer. People with low cognitive and low affective empathy. Usually the difference is in the amigdala reactivity. Aspergers have an enlarged amygdala so they feel MORE fear, more emotion, the emotions became easly overwhelmed and so they "avoid" emotions to avoid being hurt, that's why many of them look colds. Usually sociopaths have a reduced amygdala dimension or a disconnection in some area that make them feel "less".
    Both categories can have frontal lobe problems with executive function and dopamine/serotonine differences. Making both categories less likely to find a link with people.

    Returning to sociopaths. I think everyone can have a socially acceptable role in society. Removing the stigma on sociopathy will make it diagnosticable in children and you can do early intervetion like you do on aspergers, to avoid "excessive" behaviors.

  13. An emotionally, socially informed individual with Asperger's syndrome could use his own passive neuroconfiguration in a tactically aggressive manner to defeat any form of sociopathic opposition, as many of us (Aspie here) are able to detect many sociopathic forms of passive-aggressive attack during their earliest or middle stages, unlike most neurotypical empaths, and could defeat any given target with the help of any other sociopath. This, I believe, is how Hitler, Napoleon or George Washington reached the top of the social scale and managed to destroy any form of opposition. Us and sociopaths can reach a form of comensalism or even mutualism when we can provide a sociopath with what they want, by having them provide us in turn, with what we do. Alexander The Great, for example, managed to gather a great amount of generals to stand by him -most of them probably neurotypical-, but, given his eminent leadership, he could dispose of any of them at any point, and the rest would have to follow. It is interesting how sociopaths take Asperger forms of leadership very seriously sometimes, even having these work to their demise. Remember an Asperger individual, often, is basically a sociopath with a different neuronal arrangement, and poor social skills. We do, however, have a superficial charm, which works mostly with neurotypical sociopaths/psychopaths.

  14. Speaking as an aspie, I invite any sociopath to try and manipulate me. They will be unsuccessful. While it may be true that I lack the ability to easily understand other people's thoughts and motives, I am more than capable of knowing what I think and want. If anything, being an aspie has allowed me to be more objective when looking at any issue, such that I will not be fooled by the normal arsenal in a sociopath's bag of tricks.

    Sociopaths may try to prey on our longing for connection, and they may even get us to like them, but I know better than to let a wolf in a hen house. I only trust a person when I know them better than they do, and you can imagine how often that happens. This means, the only way I would trust a sociopath is if I actually understood they were a sociopath, which would cancel out that trust anyway.

  15. I think I'm an aspie, but I'm not sure, because I feel like I have improved my social skills, but it could be another self delution, like when I thought that I've learned to keep smiling and people told me I was always serious (or worse, that I looked sad ._.). Some people say I'm a very good person and others have called me insensible and egocentric. I feel shy and introvert.
    I know a man that is like a big brother for me, we can chat for hours, he is a good strategist and knows to read and manipulate people, I thought he was a highly gifted or something like that, he gives me advice and also tells me some stories that sound like your mind games, I wonder if he have played with me, the last thing he said was that I may be interested in masks, he defines himself as a mask over more masks, no face, and he can choose which mask to use, I can't do that, I need more self control, but I think I understand him. I found this blog by clicking a link at Wrong Planet, there is a lot of interesting material, I don't know if he is a sociopath, I'm sure I'm not, it hurts me to see people getting hurt, with that I don't mean that I feel sorry for them(I do most of the times), I actually feel pain.

  16. I'm sorry the social acceptance discrepancy has hurt you. If you're in the mood to look on the bright side, you probably don't NEED a whole lot of sociopath acceptance in order to get your needs met. You're so strong and competent at navigating this world. My hypersensitive empathetic and moral reactions are a valued part of who I am, but I still really look up to your (collective) rationality and emotional stability!

  17. Aspies tend to be very good to society with their expertise and tend to be way more intelligent than average.

    That's why I like them and like to listen to what they have to say.

  18. I am very,very VERY compassionate and worried about people and I feel DEEPLY for people and yet I am in the process of being diagnosed with AS: I would never want to hurt anyone EVER. I feel that if you lack compassion you are missing a HUGE thing. That does not mean that you're not worth as much as others, but you are not in any way better

  19. Yes, take us Aspies "out to the field" and you may quickly learn that a large portion of us are violent, suspicious and calculated.

  20. The idea that AS is socially more acceptable than sociopathy is true, but only in a very limited sense, to wit: An NT, upon meeting two individuals, one a sociopath and one an Aspie, and KNOWING what the individuals are, will feel less threatened by the Aspie, and may even pity him.

    But this distinction is premised on the NT knowing each individual's diagnosis, which is rarely the case when encountering a sociopath. An Aspie, while he or she may not immediately be identifiable as such, will generally come across as "weird" or "off" to an NT (these are the words I've run into most often), whereas a sociopath will come across as normal or perhaps even charming. Thus in everyday interaction the sociopath has a large advantage. It is absurd to conclude that people like Aspies more than sociopaths. I guarantee you the average sociopath has far more friends than the average Aspie (although the sociopath may not really value this friendship). Does anyone doubt this, or that sociopaths are far more competent in their interactions with others and in getting what they want?

    I read somewhere (an English ASD-advocacy group's website, I think) that roughly 1 in 8 Aspies have a full time job. The reason for this is not that Aspies are lazy, but that they are socially incompetent, unlikeable, and terrible during interviews. I don't know how many sociopaths are employed full-time, but I suspect the number is near the norm.

    AS is a disability. Sociopathy is not (at least not when considering success as a metric). It is unsurprising NT's feel less threatened by Aspies, but this does not mean, in real life, that they will favor interactions with Aspies over sociopaths--in fact, their reaction is usually the opposite.

    I am a diagnosed Aspie. I have no friends, and have had great difficulty finding a suitable job, despite having a very high IQ and a technical college degree. I also have a host of comorbid mood disorders that I doubt are especially common among sociopaths. And I am not particularly unique for an Aspie. Most face similar difficulties. I would love to be a sociopath--the ability to deal effectively with people for personal gain is an enviable trait, but I simply lack the machinery to develop it.

    I say all this not in an attempt to elicit sympathy (which I know would be useless here anyhow), but simply to call attention to the absurdity of the notion that Aspies are somehow "treated better" than sociopaths. Ridiculous.

  21. I agree with WOLF's comment above in that the line between sociopath and aspie is sometimes blurred. I only recently found out that I live with three Aspies. After my daughter was diagnosed, I realized that my husband, my son, mother-in-law, sister-in-law and two brother-in-laws are all Aspies to one degree or another. While my son and older brother-in-law are very loveable absent-minded professor types, my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, younger brother-in-law and daughter all can be very emotionally cold, manipulative and mean. The latter group has no problem using people but since they are Aspies and lack social skills this usually means family members are their targets because they don't have a lot of friends to abuse. They are often unsuccessful because their social skills are so bad so there are just a lot of hard feelings all the time. My husband falls somewhere in the middle. I was very social and had a lot of friends and my husband-to-be played along very well for over a year but after we were married ... end of story. He didn't care for my family or my friends anymore ... only me. After three years of marriage, I began to think he didn't care for me either. Little things were always setting him off. I thought he might be an introverted sociopath until my daughter's diagnosis of AS. He is emotionally cold unless he has an ulterior motive such as wanting to buy something expensive solely for his personal pleasure b/c he will then start being more attentive and considerate for about six weeks prior to his birthday or Christmas or whenever he wants to make his purchase or he will cajole me into buying the big ticket item for him myself. My daughter is the same way. However, when they are not needing/wanting anything in particular other than what I normally provide (love, emotional support, financial support) they can be completely cold and inconsiderate. On the flip side, I have an old friend who is a sociopath and so I can see the difference. He is extremely charming with many "friends" but doesn't have any true depth of emotion. He wouldn't think twice about hurting any of his "friends" for any reason as long as he believes he can get away with it and not blow his image. My Aspie family members don't care about their image at all and will often accuse and blame others for their misdeeds while my sociopath friend is much more clever and covert. He simply manipulates his friends into feeling like his misdeeds are all their fault. It does seems like some Aspies are just awkward bumbling sociopaths b/c they never learned how to fake emotions as well as the true sociopath. The difference in my experience being that if you push past an Aspie's defenses and make them see how their behavior has been hurtful, an Aspie will apologize and even appear to feel bad about it. However, they are going to do it again and again so whether or not the apology is sincere is hard to know. It seems they are just extremely SLOW social learners. A sociopath is a fast social learner who is never going to apologize or feel bad unless they are faking it to take further advantage.

    1. make more paragraphs.
      I was interested but I couldn't do it.

    2. wait nevermind i read it and its wrong.
      Autistic and sociopaths have emotions.
      It's about social understanding OR guilt.
      Not emotions

  22. I think people who are sociopaths are a cross between autism and psychopaths because they have some characteristics of both..... Just my opinion tho and I could easily be wrong but still its how I think.

    1. sociopath approximately = psychopath.
      The difference is between Antisocial Personality Disorder and Sociopath (or psychopath).
      Your terms are dated.

  23. "quite a bit of aspie hate for sociopaths"
    Well, every group does, really. I don't see any strong reasons why AS would hate them in a lot higher frequency than any other group. Maybe be jealous of the charm, but that's all that pops out. As someone who has been likened to both groups depending what the person is able to learn, I like sociopaths because they are not so blindly swayed by the illogical heuristics of emotional processing that severely disappoints me in the sheep-like behavior of the normal population. It's a really interesting mix of impulsivity and calculation. I merely have to keep in mind not to trust them with anything too valuable, because then I'm asking for it. NOT to say that they cannot be trusted- it's common sense that if the sharing of resources is too lopsided (you take and don't pay back too often) you lose the resource... stupid people don't keep track and say "you're a friend! unlimited entitlement!". But one has to be careful as it's easy to overvalue your own value to another person and end up losing.

    "Celebrate neuro diversity" "Why be normal?"
    Emotional empathy problems provide an interesting common ground. It can be common for disdain for the common people in both groups, really. Not being tied down to social convention or freed from the trappings of society (which themselves are shifting and arbitrary, but normal people fail to see that) is a fun thing to share. Both are more capable of seeing the feeble/emotional/illogical nature of the common laws.
    Perhaps an aspie could be somewhat unnerving for a sociopath at first because they don't follow the same internal logic as is common and thus are less easy to predict At First... but its nothing some practice won't fix. For AS looking back it's hard to say; it depends on what they know or see. But they may like seeing the other not being a sheep if the chance arises.

    "How do you react to this unequal treatment?"
    Take the AS brand? It's easy to fake and can allow you to be rude to people and blame it on the disorder - so you don't need to fake as many things as often. In fact, its manipulative value is pretty strong for anyone except well-read psych-types (most psych types are poorly read even still when it comes to either autism or sociopathy). Still, this way you can behave worse and it won't matter because people will assume you're naive rather than cruel.

    "Aspie hate for socio-ways"
    The place with the negative break all depends. One hears that while AS has problems with COGNITIVE empathy AKA understanding others emotions, the amount of AFFECTIVE empathy varies widely. If they have it strong sociopaths will piss them off because being more analytical and picking up on the negative feelings they create (without really understanding them) would probably inspire some anger. If it is low affective empathy, or they have grown bitter or distant from others from mistreatment or annoyance then they will not mind the pain caused and maybe enjoy it as part of "stupid people getting what they deserve".
    Both groups can support this mindset. It's not mutually exclusive by any means.


    1. * by taking the label i mean taking it when it seems useful.
      not always. but i think that much is obvious. still. for you.

  24. Hmm, great point P. Let's assume that AS persons have consistently low cognitive empathy, and sociopaths have consistently low affective empathy. But each can also have both features co-morbidly due to variation of the other feature in the population, so the AS and sociopath can be quite similar. For eg. if an AS has low cognitive empathy due to his AS but also low affective empathy due to some other variance, then this person would perform like a bumbling sociopath. While the sociopath who normally has low affective empathy may also have low cognitive empathy due to it's variance, and would be less successful at 'charming' which sociopaths use to manipulate, however he/she may still attempt manipulation via charm due to lack of emotional empathy. Now whether this is an AS or sociopath with this similar profile of both low cognitive and low affective empathy, they are still attempt to lie and manipulate, but will be somewhat transparent due to low cognitive empathy. The more transparent the more they end up either in prison or with more superficial relationships than intimate. Just theories....

  25. On the surface, they both have similarities, but as you dig deeper you discover they couldn't be any more different. I believe Aspergers people have empathy but can't necessarily gauge it or express it. Its like when you have change in your pocket but its trapped inside a withering hole. You can hear the change jingle and feel it there, but as you reach you just cant seem to grasp it, where it should be. With autism there are emotions felt, sometimes overwhelming. A sociopath would never feel anxiety or be overwhelmed by anything. They have no fear. Aspies have fear. They also have remorse and feel guilt. Psychopaths are just evil. They feel none of those things. They enjoy using people to their advantage. An autistic person would not feel compelled nor know how to manipulate a person. They would never see the point in doing that. I believe that is why they are profoundly different.

  26. Aspie here, and I have to say that I strongly agree with many of the views expressed in this post. I have to admit that there are many noticeable parallels between sociopathy and asperger's, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that the latter is like an autistic-psychopathic cross. I'd say that they are four distinct disorders that are all closely related - asperger's parallels with sociopathy, sociopathy with psychopathy, psychopathy with autism, and autism with asperger's. They don't seem to be a spectrum with differing degrees but more like a circle, all characterized by a lack of understanding of the emotions of others.

    I also agree that all four can have their good and bad sides, unrelated to the disorders themselves. I know of many people who would gladly do horrific things to other people - my best friend is a self-proclaimed sadist - but are held back by that annoying little voice of empathy, of conscience, the argument of, "put yourself in their shoes", "consider things from their point of view", etc. But that doesn't bother people like us. I'll admit that I would probably feel guilty if I were to, for example, commit a murder, but it wouldn't last and I'd get over it with little difficulty. But the fact of the matter is that I have no desire to commit a murder, hence I wouldn't unless I had a legitimate motive to, as would anybody with any of the other three disorders if they were pushed.

    The only obvious difference between aspies and sociopaths is fear. Continuing with the example of a murder, I would worry about what would happen to me personally as a result of that crime. I'd be sent to prison, no doubt (not executed (British)), and I can't imagine myself enjoying the life of a convict. But that wouldn't bother a sociopath. If they wanted to kill, they would kill. Perhaps it is this that causes people to favor aspies over sociopaths: a normal person would be held back by feelings for the other; an aspie would be held back by feelings of the self; as neither of these affect a sociopath, they would not be held back at all. Those empathetic people don't prefer aspies because they feel for other people; they prefer us because we feel for ourselves and don't hurt people as a result.

    In this way we can draw the similarities between the four disorders. Aspies and sociopaths have little conscience, sociopaths an psychopaths have little doubt in their actions, psychopaths and auties have little control over their impulses, and auties and aspies have poor social skills.

    These are only my personal views, though. There is, of course, no way of actually proving any of this, and it is merely an opinion of a guy with little conscience and poor social skills. But I was curious if anyone shared any of these points of view, or if they disagreed, and if so what would those others say instead. Beyond that, I've written this rant for no other purpose than to relieve my own boredom


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