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In everyday speak, people often use the term “antisocial” when referring to someone who prefers not to socialize much. However, the clinical term “antisocial” has a very different meaning. In the clinical sense, it has more to do with not following accepted social norms. Even if you’re not familiar with Antisocial Personality Disorder, popular culture terms like “psychopath” and “sociopath” offer a general idea of how the disorder works.
To be clear, “psychopath” and “sociopath” do not have concrete medical definitions and are not used in making diagnoses. Some people insist they mean the same thing, while others argue that those terms indicate people whose symptoms are either more or less severe. The most important common thread is that these people – “psychopaths”, “sociopaths”, or anyone with Antisocial Personality Disorder – ignore the rights of others and prioritize their own desires over everything else.
From an early age, these people have frequent conflicts with authority figures. They break rules and laws on a routine basis. They do what they want, when they want with little regard for those they hurt, and almost half end up with criminal histories. Those who manage to avoid repeatedly breaking the law still harm themselves and others in numerous ways. They cheat, deceive, and manipulate others for their own pleasure and profit.
Although they can act friendly and pleasant sometimes, this is usually just to get something they want. When this fails, they can turn aggressive quickly. Relationships mean little to them. Connecting emotionally with another person is a truly foreign concept because they believe they are better than everyone around them. They look out for themselves and no one else, always trying to prove they are superior. However, a lifetime of burning bridges ultimately hurts them the most.