What we often refer to as "sociopathy" is better described as antisocial personality disorder, or ASPD. According to the Mayo Clinic, the disorder is marked by symptoms such as a disregard for right and wrong, unnecessary risk taking, the use of charm to manipulate others, persistent lying, and poor relationship skills, among other things.
While everyone is different, if a sociopath is going to follow any type of daily routine, it's possible many of their habits may be driven by these symptoms. Oftentimes, "a sociopath is a callous, manipulative person who is devoid of empathy for others," clinical psychologist Dr. Perpetua Neo tells Bustle. And as a result, they may not be motivated by being social, or creating relationships or friendships, the way others tend to be throughout the day.
At least, not in a genuine way. Sociopaths often take great pains to blend in with others, in order to get what they want, which is where the manipulation may come into play. Some sociopaths even "thrive on harming people or using people for their own ... benefit," Dr. Neo says. Keep in mind, though, that these habits tend to be different from psychopaths. Here are a few things sociopaths might do in the morning and throughout the day, according to experts.
1. Intense Grooming Rituals
Sociopaths often have an inflated sense of self, so some may partake in particularly rigorous grooming rituals, that can border on narcissistic.
"Morning rituals could pertain to grooming and maintaining oneself and one’s appearance," Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert at Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. "This is something we all do — personal hygiene and beauty rituals — but the sociopath differs on a deeper emotional level, since they care a lot more about themselves."
2. Avoidance Of Others
Someone with antisocial personality disorder may not be too keen on interacting with others, but instead may be more likely to focus on themselves. And this can result in isolating behaviors.
"Sociopaths are anti-social at their core, so the morning routines could also be connected with avoiding others, or alternatively with putting on an acceptable mask," Backe says. "Outwardly, at least at first, there would be no discernible difference, but if you hang around a sociopath you will be able to notice the differences. Some are subtle, and some hit you like a ton of bricks."
3. Watching Movies
Dr. Neo has noticed in her practice that sociopaths tend to love watching films. "It's almost an obsession," she says. "A possible explanation is because they are trying to mimic normal human behavior and learn the correct responses ... they use movies as a reference point."
They also tend to enjoy darker themes, and seem to delight in pointing out the grosser scenes. "Whilst some of us like the darker genres ... [a sociopath's interest is] very specifically twisted rather than reflective," Dr. Neo says. Of course being a morning movie buff doesn't make someone a sociopath, but it's something interesting to note.
4. Focusing Solely On Themselves
Another trait of ASPD is arrogance, according to the Mayo Clinic. "Some go so far as to consider themselves the only real people in the world," Backe says. "This kind of acutely solipsistic view is conducive to disregarding others, and to following routines and habits which are beneficial for them."
If a sociopath does join in with others — possibly at work, with acquaintances, etc. — they may come off as a charming people-person. But whatever their reason for socializing, it'll likely be motivated by personal gain.
5. Various Risky Behaviors
Sociopathy is marked by irresponsibility and high impulsivity. So what a person with ASPD might do with their day is really anyone's guess.
"Combine irresponsibility, impulsivity, and a need for instant gratification, and it’s not surprising that sociopaths get involved in risky behavior," Rosie McCall noted in Health. "They tend to have little concern for the safety of others or for themselves. This means that excessive alcohol consumption, drug abuse, compulsive gambling, unsafe sex, and dangerous hobbies (including criminal activities) are common."
Of course, not all people with ASPD are the same. And, it's possible to have this disorder to varying degrees. Some sociopaths exist in society and are mostly functional — blending in and getting by — while for others, their symptoms may stand out more, and have a greater impact on their day.