Aspergers and Psychopathy

By Jessika Endsley

I really love this topic. Seeing as neither groups need more people disliking them, I don't go on about it much but right now I want to, but I figured I could talk about it here on my blog no one reads.

I have Aspergers Syndrome - I lack empathy, I probably don't care about what you're saying and I might not know how to hide my boredom. I am an expert at one or two things and fail to do a lot of normal daily activities. My emotions are different from most, the few I have, and I don't express them well. When I do have them and want to show them, I get frustrated. Eye contact is difficult for me, and I prefer minimal socializing, although I don't experience much social anxiety. I don't want to be your friend if I don't find you interesting, and I probably won't understand you any more than you understand me. Loud noises and unexpected physical contact cause me some distress. When I do read social cues and spot weaknesses, I don't really care because that's not my area.

Most of my family, and my primary case studies, are Psychopaths - they lack empathy, but they pretend to have a lot of it. They don't care what you have to say and that's okay because they spend most of their time talking about themselves in half-truths. They may not be good at anything really, but nothing prevents them from taking care of daily needs. Their emotions aren't really emotions at all, although they'll pretend they have the same ones everyone else does. They can feel things like want, annoyance, and loss in some form, but not much else goes along with their undercurrent of hostility. They can socialize easily and maintain strong eye-contact, making other people (prey) nervous so they can use their weakness.

kllrArt by J. Endsley

My theory is that Aspergers is the neurological cousin to Psychopathy [also it was orignially called Autistic Psychopathy]. Lack of empathy is the main similarity between the two, although they are presented in such different ways that I don't think it's the main point to discuss. Neither type connects fully to the rest of humanity, neither feels the pain of others like Neuro-Typicals do. While my two descriptions based on me and on my family may suggest that people with Aspergers are all specialized and Psychopaths are not, this isn't true. The difference is that all Psychopath's have the same specialization where Aspies all have different ones. Psychopaths may be great at things and have expertise and hobbies, they are more than just shells - but they all have one basic specialization of predator. I would say that the specialization is manipulation, but an unintelligent psychopath isn't exactly specialized in this. But they do all use others as tools, because to a Psychopath, that's all that people are. They're extensions of themselves - discard-able extensions. Aspies aren't making the same connection to people that others are, but we don't tend to be intentionally parasitic. Although the chasm between Aspies and Psychopaths is large due to social victim VS social predator, there are a lot of similarities that should not be overlooked by psychologists and neurologists.

Especially when treating a hybrid. Which is what I think Dahmer was. But more on that later.

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1.  Sharon Smith    Friday, September 11, 2015

I married a man that had me fooled 100% he was extremely trustworthy and decent. He turned out to be either a physcopath or have aspergers. But truly he was both...all emotions were fake, and he didn't really have a range of them. Only self pity. His preteen son who I also lived with for 5 years was classic aspie, with a total lack of self, and who I can envision hurting others who have wronged him.
I agree the disorders are highly related.

2.  Cindy Lewis    Monday, December 14, 2015

I was just diagnosed with Asperger's, (now called ASD), last week. I've suspected I had it for months. I'm a 43 year old female.
I know that women with ASD manifest differently than men, and I'm still learning about the disorder and myself. That said, I definitely feel emotions, but compared to NTs mine are "light switch" feelings. They're either very much present or not there at all.
I love my husband of nineteen years, but when he ticks me off, (which has happened a few times), that anger overpowers everything else. I go straight from "I love you more than anything" to "get out of my house". After he apologizes, I'm fine again.
From my understanding, the big difference between psychopaths and aspies is that psychopaths *know* what others are feeling, but they don't care; where as aspies *don't know* what others are feelings, and often wish they could. Aspies *want* friends but have trouble making and keeping them, where as psychopaths don't want friends, they just use people.
It might look similar from the outside, but what's going on in the brain is very different.

3.  Lunacorva .    Thursday, April 28, 2016

I'm someone with Aspergers and I don't lack empathy. As much as I WISH I did, I very much don't. You idiots have absolutely no idea what you're talking about.

4.  tronJP    Tuesday, July 19, 2016

I have to agree with you. This article isn't totally off-base, but there is way more to it than that and it sounds like the author is a psychopath if they openly say thet don't care how people feel. Maybe they are just detached from people to defend themselves. Either way, I agree with the post I linked up below that the difference is cognitive vs. emotional empathy. Seems like that is what the author of this post was trying to articulate? If you've got an evening to kill this one was written by an NT but it's very defensive of Aspergers, actually turns the tables around a bit for once. Maybe what she says will sound more like the empathy you suffer through (despite every idiot telling you it is non-existent)?

5.  adhd    Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Autism is actually the exact opposite of psychopathy, as stated in this one article I forgot the name. They are actually exact opposites. Psychopaths are capable of very high empathy, but have the ability to "turn it off". Psychopaths brains are also the reverse of autistics.

6.  michelle    Saturday, January 28, 2017

I agree with your theory and find it odd that it's not understood as a spectrum. Social adaptations can change genetics but no one wants to talk about the dysfunctional culture of normalcy.

7.  Wally    Monday, August 14, 2017

Yea, you are idiots. Aspies have empathy.

8.  Sarah Vaughter    Monday, August 14, 2017

Aspies have SYMPATHY for sure. I think it's pretty well accepted in the professional literature that they have reduced empathy.

9.  Amanda    Monday, October 9, 2017

Comments 6,7,8

Is it possible that a large proportion of so called Neuro Typicals out there are actually Psychopaths? Of course it is, we all know that! Many are highly successful.

I don't think comment 7 was very polite or helpful. Often Aspergers appear to have little or no empathy, myself included. It's easy to sympathise and appear sympathetic/empathetic but how does that help anybody?

People need practical help and love and a way to deal with distressing situations, not empathy/sympathy. "Aaaah...didums...I feel so sorry for you..." never helped anybody. There is no way of proving empathetic feelings exist and many so-called NTs are not empathetic. Psychopaths are extremely adept at acting and manipulation and could pretend to be most people could be psychopaths haha and they are also very good at pretending to be Asperger's if it procures them benefits as in social security benefits and others too.

I know somebody doing just this-they are extremely clever. I really can't work out if they are an NT pretending to be Asperger's or a psychopath. Who cares...? They are being paid £12,000 p/a in benefits and have free housing that would cost anyone in the private sector at least £12,000 p/a as the housing is in the most expensive area of a beautiful/privileged UK city. I'm not going to say anything even though I work 38 hours a week, am a single parent and have to support 3 kids at home. I just think this government and the system is providing for the vulnerable but are also easily misled into providing free rides for people that are clever enough to persuade the authorities they also qualify for enormous free handouts and a wonderful work free life.

10.  Kay    Sunday, October 15, 2017

I looked up the comparison between psychopathy and Asperger's because I was wondering if there is the neurological similarity between the two. I got this idea watching the Netflix series about the FBI's investigation of psychopath serial killers. One of the things they distinguished was that psychopaths interpret and handle social situations much differently than most people. They're basically socially inept but also harbor distinctive, extreme anger toward someone; for example women when raised with an abusive mother.

So, with that, I wondered if some serial killers, "the less charming ones", were those with Asperger's who, through abuse, became serial killers too.

11.  For what it's worth    Thursday, April 19, 2018

An idea:

Phychopathy traits can be acquired through emotional trauma. As outsiders ASD folks stand a good chance of this happening. Therefore deductively this suggests a possible greater possibility of aspies acquiring these traits. I find myself (HF ASD) becoming more ASPD as I give up on playing the game by a conventional set of rules by which I don't stand a chance in succeeding at. Time + social isolation equals phychological issues and increasingly a-social behaviour similar to those on ASPD spectrum. More correlation than causation I expect.

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