O/T: What do you think the difference between an abusive person and a sociopathic person is?
It's a question I've been trying to answer for quite a while.
Many good friends of mine and I have endured abuse by the hands of men (and for this purpose I'm using the pronoun "he" and the word "men," but obviously this does not only apply to one gender) and have studied the attributes associated with sociopathy in the attempt to discern if we were dealing with a man who was raised in a manner so dysfunctional as to create an abuser versus dealing with a man who could potentially be clinically diagnosed as sociopathic (or, perhaps, narcissistic).
It can be "easy" to throw around terms such as "sociopathic" or "narcissistic" whilst describing someone who has been cruel to us, and I try hard to keep that in mind, but I do sincerely believe that true sociopaths and NPDs are around us, sometimes right under our noses, and under our roofs.
So I ask, what do you believe creates the distinction, if any? Wanton cruelty, verbal abuse, total neglect of time or respect of finances, physical abuse, no regret, remorse, or any seeming attempt to show empathy or understanding? Reckless behavior, lying? Is that "just" abusive behavior, or do you think that it could potentially reveal a darker reality?
I would appreciate your opinions and experiences. This is not for any research besides my own as an individual. If I have been unclear while posing the question, I apologize and will try to clarify.