Is Ashton Taylor Sperling a Psychopath or a Sociopath? The Answer is…

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At a book club event, a psychologist announced that Ashton was a sociopath. My mouth dropped. It hadn’t occurred to me that his characteristics were that of a sociopath. Another fan suggested he was a psychopath. Now what? Could either of these monikers describe a man who loves his wife and family as much as Ashton? Do you understand my confusion? Since I am thinking about the direction of number 4 in the series, I decided I needed to do some research to determine if he was either, or maybe one of the characters could be designated that more so. But, as I sit here thinking about my next blog and my next book, I wondered, could either be a family trait? If Ashton is a sociopath, has one of his children inherited the gene? Or, did he inherit the gene from his grandfather? Is it a gene? How does one become a sociopath or a psychopath? Do I really want to know? Of course, I do. I want to make sure my characters are true to life. That’s how they keep haunting people after they have put the book down.
Here is what I found out about those individuals? The sociopath has very similar traits of a psychopath. However, the psychopath’s characteristics are more extreme. And, those traits make neither of them an automatic serial killer. Some of the characters in my book have killed more than once, and the murders were not justified. But, whose killing is justified? Both the sociopath and the psychopath exhibit a lack of guilt or remorse. They don’t feel what the average person feels. For instance, if I hurt someone’s feelings, I feel remorse, and if I did it on purpose, I feel guilty. Not those antisocial personality types, they think nothing. It’s your problem, your fault if your feelings are hurt. Ah, your poor feelings keep getting in your way, not theirs. Though many traits are defining these personality disorders, what struck me most about the Ashton character was that he was very precise, minimizing the risk to himself, at least in the beginning. That trait leaned toward psychopath. However, his twin brother was more reactive and erratic in his behavior making him more of a sociopath, but he was more violent. Was either of them attached to anyone, did they have feelings? The answer was yes, which makes me consider that though they were dangerous men, did they fit the molds of sociopathy or psychopathy. I am still on the fence. Looking at the other traits is what confuses me. Ashton loves his family, he rarely lies outright but does keep a lot of secrets. He is not aggressive, yet is determined to have his way, i.e., possibly manipulative and somewhat intimidating. Most women he encounters find him very charming and sexy, especially his wife. After all, his looks take their breath away. If you are a psychologist or someone who has experienced living with one of these personality disorders, maybe you can help me out. I want to show the world how the dark side has affected his children. If you haven’t read the books, start with Dreams Thrown Away and get to know him better. Most of my readers love him, no matter how often his darkness appears.
Dilsa Saunders Bailey is an independent author who has not only self-published three novels and a non-fiction book; she has spent most of her medical services career writing policies, bylaws, operations manuals, and more over the last 27 years. Dilsa is now coaching writers through the self-publishing journey and helping them to set up their businesses using their books as a marketing tool to build their platforms. If you want to learn more about how she can help you, contact her at dilsa@simplydilsa.com or join her blog below to keep up to date with her books and seminars.

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