The blunt and direct truth is no, although there are some situations recently that have created a re-examination of the “nature vs. nurture” question. Both sociopaths and people with autism are exceptionally bright in a lot of ways, but the sociopath is defined as one who knows the rules of society and clearly believes he is completely above them and the rules don’t apply to anything he does. A person with autism is taught the rules, but has a tendency to momentarily forget them because he doesn’t have the ability to interact with people, look for both verbal and nonverbal social cues, and refrain from acting out because he doesn’t or isn’t capable of appropriately expressing himself.
A sociopath is also one who manipulates and abuses others for his own gain. This is definitely something that has not been established with anyone with autism. The person with autism might be able to manipulate others, if they are high functioning, but only if others are willing to allow themselves, on a subconscious level, to be duped. This usually happens when people are told that somebody has autism, and people are not completely aware of what autism means, believing that the person with autism is somehow stupid, mentally challenged, or incapable of doing things for themselves.
There is also a level of control with a sociopath that doesn’t exist in anyone with autism. To be able to control someone else means that the person has to be able to understand social mores, which a person on the spectrum, by psychological definition, does not. Since there is no specific environmental factors which create a sociopath, psychologists and psychiatrists believe that it can be any number of factors, from childhood abuse to a chemical imbalance in the brain, that creates a sociopath. We know that autism is a neurological and developmental condition, and therefore it’s highly unlikely that autism AND sociopathic diagnosis can be found in the same person.
1). Autism Vs. Einstein Syndrome
2). Autism And OCD Comorbidity
My adult sister-in-law has recently been diagnosed as autistic. Indeed, she has trouble recognizing social cues, has tantrums, becomes easily overwhelmed, has said that she has trouble expressing herself correctly when speaking, and does not like bright lights or noise. At the same time, she is manipulative, greedy, splices together separate events into one event in which the other party is always at fault (that is, until further investigation), and is rude and dishonest. I feel for her, but at the same time I have no respect for her dishonesty and refusal to take responsibility for herself. Any thoughts or suggestions?
My brother-in-law is high functioning and is the same way. And I’m a highly empathetic person so his manipulation and dishonesty hurts my very being. I don’t have any suggestions really. I just wanted you to know I’m in the same boat with you.
I am a therapist who is recovering from a traumatic relationship with a young woman who was labeled “autistic” and turned out to be a sociopathic liar. My theory: no autism here, just good acting and manipulation of therapists and doctors.
My advice: when you see lying and dishonesty in an “autistic” person, it is a red flag that there are deviant character traits here which have nothing to do with autism. In fact, they are the opposite of autism! Address these behaviors asap & don’t let people hide under their “autism” label.
Thanks Amy for your honest opinion. We’ll keep that in mind.
It depends. Lying can also be a trauma response. alike to masking in a sense. I know enough autistic people who lie especially just to been seen as they are not seen at home. or at the job.. etc.