First and foremost, I would love to dive into this topic by clarifying a top major misconception about sociopaths that a lot of people have no idea about. If you are one of those, I want you to know that there is a huge mega difference between someone who is an antisocial in the sense of just having social phobias or feeling too uncomfortable in the crowds, and someone who actually suffers from Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD). I wouldn't want you, my reader to just brush through the concept of sociopathy one day, and then be prompted to start eyeing your neighbor’s kid simply because you noticed that the child is super uncomfortable around other people.
We need to recognize that nowadays, the term “antisocial” is becoming more of a slang word used to describe all sort of people who just don’t want to hang out with other people. So what I am basically saying here is, not all people called “antisocial” are actually sociopaths. On one hand, there are people who are born shy, people who are introverts, people who choose to be alone, and people who just don’t know how to relate with other people. And on another hand, there are people who are actual sociopaths because they suffer from an Anti-social Personality Disorder which is a mental health disorder characterized by a natural sense of disregard for other people’s feelings.
Second misconception I would love to clarify is that, although sociopathy is a mental health disorder that involves lack of empathy and conscience, it does not seriously mean that people who suffer from it would be inspired and motivated to become serial killers through watching crime movies or reading crime novels. Sociopaths lack empathy and compassion for other people neither because they trained themselves to be like that, nor because they just decided on their own, to be like that. Their attitude towards people is simply as a result of their mental health disorder, there is no sort of arrogance and show off attached to it.
Finally, its true that “some” sociopaths can be dangerous because they don’t feel remorseful or guilty, and they disobey societal norms and values but not all of them are going to be a threat to you and your family so do not break out in sweat when a doctor tells you that your new driver might be a sociopath. There are sociopaths who positively contribute to the society and you wouldn't even know they are one because they can easily blend in, they can try to learn how to cope with people’s behaviour and feeling, and they can even work their way towards becoming better at helping another person in need.
With these few misconceptions cleared, I do hope that people become more aware of mental health challenges, and possibly try to be more supportive and understanding towards a family member, friend, loved one, or even co worker who struggle everyday with mental health problem.
Written By: Karima Shehu