Some of my readers have wondered how it can be possible to hurt a sociopath's feelings. In other worlds, given that sociopaths seem so calloused and unemotional, how can their sudden bouts of moodiness and hurt feelings be reconciled with their general icy, insensitive demeanor?
Sociopaths tend to have a double standard for lack of empathy, manipulation, bluntness, lack of manners, and generally people's inability to conform to social norms to avoid becoming a boorish leech. I am known for being very frank and upfront with people, calling things as I see them with little to no attempt to use tact, but I can get very offended when normal people do the same thing back to me. They don't do it right (without the same charm, insight, timing, or finesse), and to me it means something different than when I do it -- typically I don't do it with an intention to hurt. Maybe a good analogy is when a small child hits you or lashes out at you emotionally and you retaliate in kind. The child cannot really control himself -- you can. The child does not really know better -- you do.
If you're in a seemingly loving relationship with a sociopath and he reacts with a lack of empathy at something you have said, it is probably because he is unaware of the need for empathy, or he is trying his hardest but is still coming up short, or he would try but he is too tired, or at the worst, he simply cannot be bothered to summon up the emotional reaction you seek. He is like the child, unable to raise his behavior to that particular standard. When people react that way to him, he correctly recognizes that there is latent hostility in the behavior -- an intentional attempt to slight. He knows how normal people treat each other. If you don't treat him that way, he will wonder why (and probably assume the worst).
I don't cry myself to sleep about people hurting my feelings or otherwise being insensitive to me. I'm sure I deserve it most of the time. But if people are wondering how or why sociopaths could be offended by behavior that the sociopaths themselves seem to engage in almost daily, I think it is a little more complicated than a case of being able to dish it out, but not take it.