The Signs of Psychopathy

“We are all human.”

False.

Some people are not human in that sense.

Psychopaths. They don’t feel shame, they don’t feel fear, they don’t feel love.  But from the outside, they look just like us. Sometimes they behave like us. They are fooling everyone. How can we learn to recognize them? What are the signs that you are dealing with a psychopath?

The first thing to do is listen to your intuition. You probably know a few people that give you a strange feeling but you can’t put your finger on the exact problem. They are funny, charming, maybe a little odd but you think hey, who doesn’t have a flaw? So you try to be understanding. You try to have some kind of a civilized relationship with that person. But all you notice is that your energy level plummets with each encounter. It’s as if the person is sucking you dry, leaving you powerless and confused. And hurt.

Listen to your gut feeling.

Do not get confused with the terminology psychopath/sociopath. Some psychiatrists prefer one term over the other, and some consider sociopaths to be a subcategory  of psychopaths. Essentially, for an average person trying to protect himself in day-to-day situations, it doesn’t make any difference.

Let’s look at the main characteristics of a psychopath:

 

1. They are charming.

The first impression is almost too good to be true. Usually they take good care of their physical appearance. They are well-groomed and they are usually in great physical shape. They also seem to be very friendly, trustworthy and wanting to bond with you fast. Picture a salesmen who wants to gain your trust. But with a salesman you know he has a product to sell so you are kind of reserved, you don’t jump into friendship with him right away. Now think about that same salesman but no product. You would trust him more. But you wouldn’t know about his secret agenda.

Psychopaths make great salesmen. They also make great leaders-cult leaders, political leaders, gang leaders. They are usually very good entertainers. Sometimes they are funny.

Do not let their beauty, wit, friendliness or humor fool you.

 

2. They are narcissistic.

Their self -esteem is over the top. Of course, they rarely say that they are better then everyone else. But somehow their confidence has a huge impact on others on the subconscious level.

In public speaking, psychopaths perform really well especially because they feel no anxiety. They are relaxed and their self-confidence creates a magnetic aura that the audience just loves. I am mentioning public speaking because it helps me to spot when someone is a psychopath. If someone seems too good to be true, I picture him/her in an auditorium. I watch for the unusual dramatic pauses and just a feeling of speaking to an audience.

“Humans” are shy because we are self-conscious. When we meet someone for the first time, we usually worry about what the other person will think of us. A healthy self-esteem needs constant  reassurance from others. We are social beings, we need that. Psychopaths do not. They do not really care about other people. They think only about their own needs.

Be aware of this. Is someone’s confidence too overpowering? Watch for the red flags: taking too many photos of themselves, too comfortable with receiving compliments, talking about themselves too much and having a very subjective point of view.

 

3. They are liars.

They will not only look you in the eyes when they are telling the most extraordinary lies, but they will do it even if they (should) know that you already know the truth!

Their lies are sometimes so uncalled for that people believe them just because they think it would be too much work to make it all up. A psychopath I know will go on and on about something she did that day and create scenes that are totally unreal, but very funny. If I didn’t know her that well I would probably think that she is hilarious and that her life is incredibly interesting.

Watch for the non-verbal signs that they are not telling the truth.  If they are talking about being sorry with a straight face, crying without tears, etc. Also, pay attention to the fact that they might turn things around and blame you for lying instead. They are very manipulative.

 

4. They are manipulative.

Psychopaths enjoy playing with human relations. They like to have power over others, and they will use a wide range of different tactics to achieve it. Some use their power or money to subdue their victim, while others pretend to be victims in order to get power over others. If that seems confusing, it is. Psychopaths often crate chaos around them, pinning one person against the other, creating stories and starting rumors, just to get each person on their side and away from the others.

What to watch out for: be careful if you notice that they are aiming for your most vulnerable spot. People  that mean well will not try to make you hit rock bottom before they offer their help. Also be wary if they try to demonize a lot of other people around you.

 

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5.They have “no problems sleeping at night”.

Meaning that they feel no remorse or guilt about anything. Whatever they did wrong, it was another person’s fault. Even if their own life didn’t go the way they planned, it was the fault of their parents, their teachers, their partner. An alcoholic psychopath might blame his family for the reason he has turned to drinking, or that he hit his wife because she was actively provoking him and asking for it.

Nowadays it is popular to live by the “have no regrets” rule. Of course, a person should be able to forgive himself and let go of the bad choices he made in life, but guilt and regret are very healthy roadsigns that help us stay on the right moral track. For a non-psychopath, even little things like forgetting someone’s birthday can make us feel horrible.

Learn to become a good observer. Did he come and say “sorry” just because he needed something from you? How does he feel about his failures in life?

 

6. They are egocentric and lack empathy.

Imagine living in a world where other people are like a backdrop for any given situation. How lonely that must feel! It is a two dimensional world, it must feel like being in a computer game. You are the only player, you are the only one that matters, your opinion is the only one there is. With people becoming more and more detached from the community this trait is gaining prevalence, so you probably know a few egocentrics. Did you notice how your words don’t really get through to them? You can’t make them see your point of view? They are in no way willing to compromise?

Watch out for “my way or the highway” attitude.

 

7. They have shallow emotions. (Or none at all)

Psychopaths do get frustrated, irritated or angry. But it is mostly because something or someone is in their way. Imagine a two-year old when he doesn’t get what he wants–he is frustrated and hysterical one minute, but soon he won’t even remember it.

What a psychopath doesn’t feel is the physiological response to human emotion: heart beating faster; “butterflies” in the stomach, sweating, weakness in the knees , etc.

And, of course, he does not feel the more complex of emotions like love, gratitude, sorrow or shame. At all. When you are not sure if the emotions you see are real, watch more closely: are there tears in his eyes? Is his body language a little off? Do his actions speak louder than words?

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  • Amy

    Is it possible for a physcopath to develop feelings over a period of time, or take time to be responsible in every day things?

    • http://signsofapsychopath.wordpress.com zzanita

      According to Dr. Robert D. Hare, one of the world’s leading psychopathy experts, the answer to your question would be No, psychopaths cannot develop true feelings over time. They can just learn how to mimic them better. And yes, they can be responsible enough in their every day life to stay away from violence and other trouble.
      Thanks for commenting. I will write more about this.

  • Dani

    We’re not all bad. We’re surgeons and lawyers and journalists, etc. Not all of us are killers and rapists behind bars, we just don’t get clouded over by useless emotions like everyone else.

    • Tarquin Mahoney

      yeah you are…even in those fields your arrogance and opinionated haughtiness cause massive issue, and lawyers??? you trying to make a case on that…f@@k you .you f@@king vampire…youre going down…you know it in your bones…

    • Tarquin Mahoney

      id like to cloud you over you useless piece of sh:t.
      empathy for the devil??? not for me ya cu@t

  • DianneP

    @ Dani Bad is a difficult word in this discussion. Obviously, you were socialized well. I am very interested in medicine yet cannot cut into a human, although I am fairly sure I would help at the scene of an accident. To not live with fears, sorrow, guilt, shame, is freeing for sure. As with most things about people, we like what we know. I could not imagine life without learning and experiencing love for others. It is a complexity you live without. The longer I live, it is what life to me is all about.

    • alice

      I suggest you read Interview with a Monobeing (Psychopath)…it’s lol-sad sobering & a reminder to the weak minded, that it is nothing ‘freeing’ about having no feelings.

      • http://signsofapschopath.com/ zzanita

        I will definitely do that. Thanks!

      • Tarquin Mahoney

        so sick that they dont even realise why…

    • John Silvano Carignani

      It’s about finding the right way to live within society, whether you have ASPD, Autism, Schizophrenia (not too sure how that works), or any other psychological system that isn’t “typical”. People with aspergers syndrome often become engineers or mathematicians. People with bleeding hearts often become charity workers and help the unlucky folk. Psychopaths often become surgeons, CEO’s and politicians (and yes, somebody needs to hold order in this disorganised mess – even if that means lying to you).

      I look at common people, and their love, and identity, their vanity, concern over how they appear, conforming to social norms, etc., and while I feel nothing less than disgust for it I understand that’s just how some people are, and I might not like it, but for others – that stupid family they spend all their hard-earned wages on IS their life in the same way that drugs, money and violence (not necessarily toward living things) is mine.

      Maybe the common people need to learn to do the same. I wouldn’t suggest getting close to someone like me (really – try to avoid us), because I will see the opportunity to take something and I’ll grab it and not feel sorry for you, but to hiss at us, and congregate together and talk as if we’re monsters is just a recipe for disaster, and shows a lack of intelligence and massive ignorance. (it’s also not nice).

      Plenty of people do bad things – there are people out there who steal to feed their families, sneak into your country and hold you down because their country is torn by war, fathers who understandably will beat you senseless for giving their children a well-deserved slap. When the people they love are under threat, whether good or bad, can often whip the common people into a mindless state of anger and hatred. Wrongdoing isn’t due to lack of empathy, it’s due to not being perfect.

      I hope this helps you gain some kind of inside understanding in some way, and maybe one day society can work for us, and we can work for society on some kind of mutual ground.

      • Jay

        Yes to this: “Psychopaths often become … politicians (and yes, somebody needs to hold order in this disorganised mess – even if that means lying to you).” I’ve recently started thinking this way about the G.W. Bush administration. And I personally think all surgeons are psychopaths or have some innate way to be void of certain emotions, and I think it’s a good thing. It reminds me of an episode of the final season of Dexter. The psychologist says basically that all variations of human are necessary including psychopaths and I happen to agree. I’m actually fond of a few and can spot them quite easily.

      • Tarquin Mahoney

        …ask yourself- if not other people? then what are you for?
        what happened to you- was there an event? or is your sense of entitlement in emotional discussion simply to inspire fear and pity for your disattachment from the human race?
        is this your birth right? to have no conscience?

    • Tarquin Mahoney

      my brother is a psychopath,,,his method of being “well socialised” was to spread dissnet and drive me from my family because he and my mothers faustian hypnotic, emotioanlly blackmailing pact has never worked on me…i punched fuck out of him once and ive been the family pariah ever since,,,fine by me…true scum..insidious politicking slimy insidious scum..
      you cannot socialise a psychopath any other way than locking it in a cell and not allowing it any lengthy human contact.

    • http://signsofapschopath.com zzanita

      @ DianneP Very well said! Thank you

  • Tomislav

    It seems like you are hating them, and that is not right. Not all of them are antisocial, this guy seems ok
    http://www.quora.com/What-is-it-like-to-be-a-psychopath

    • Tarquin Mahoney

      nah f@@k em all. evil is evil and we have a right to hate a being without a conscience, with dogs we take em out the back of the barn and pop..if they dont show a conscience…their brains dont work proper…something to do with inbreeding is my suspicion…we often get uncontrollable psychopathic dogs and thats the only remedy…cant let em near children thats for sure…
      the leering expectantly vacant look on their fizzogs is enough to tell you the worth of these beings and how the spread arcissism like it were some wonderful gift,.

      • Tomislav

        “with dogs we take em out the back of the barn and pop…” – Ironically, a someone with sociopathic behavior is talking bad about sociopaths.
        Good and evil do not exist as some “laws” of physics. It’s a subjective thing, something can be good for one person and bad for someone else, eventually some type of behavior are accepted as “normal”, and some are not.

        • Tarquin Mahoney

          If you have a dangerous animal, a man biter – essentially wild and other- i dont mean wolf like either- they attack their own visciously- something wrong upstairs- narcisisstic, different, other.
          no use for anything…you can placate it but dont see to its needs? under its terms?
          with dogs you will lose a finger but some of em are just wrong- theres a little king charles spaniel up the road- the thing is viscious, demonic…it flies at other dogs for no reason and causes havoc wherever it goes.
          The look on its face is severe, intense, intensely aggressive and downright violent to the core.
          Not normal for a king charles- mad but not bad usually- the inbreeding causes other mental issues but its interesting to note the presence opf quite a few like this.
          doberman dogs used to be bred for it to guard in fact.
          turns out they are better guards and friends if they breed out the psychopathy…which they did- you cant say the same for pitbulls they still breed it into them or beat it in if its not there.
          narcissism is contagious

          • Tomislav

            Dogs cant be narcissistic, and its possible to rehabilitate every single dog to the point that he/she is not a real threat to others. Humans are much, much mentally complex animal.

          • Tarquin Mahoney

            seriously some of them are plain evil- whether its nature or nurture it does happen- close set eyes, utterly dominant and if dominated they are just vicious- they drive themselves from packs- we bred dogs to be friendly- the natural characteristics of socially ordered but violent wolves- there are damaged dogs all who can be helped- usually a psychopathic owner is to blame for the worst ones- they come with some dangerous and violently inspired behaviours mostly born of fear- its very rare but you do get ones that just wont stop the violence- happens with monkeys too- they take over packs with violence but have trouble maintaining power-
            i believe it was capuchins that were observed doing this.

          • Tomislav

            It depends how much understanding and knowledge is there in person who observe that aggressive animal. I saw dogs /cats that are like that you described, but few changes in their environment and transformations occur, sometimes it needs time and sometimes its very fast. But I don’t claim that this is the case with human psychopaths, real ones, not people that had something in their life that made them bad or people who are locked up in a concrete building with thousand other people like that. Some people would call the psychopaths, but that kind of disorder is very difficult to diagnose properly or even to understand.

          • Tarquin Mahoney

            not if both your parents were sadistic narcissists it isnt, the behaviour is the problem and it can be spotted if you know that which you seek.

          • Tarquin Mahoney

            it is very easy to understand once you have been burned by one- they lie and smile about it like we breathe.

  • Moses

    It seems to be an “eye for an eye””fight fire with fire” kind of atmosphere in here. You want to go out back and shoot psychopaths and lock them up for all eternity? It seems your empathy and emotions are conditional … youre all F***ing animals psychopaths rule the world the rest of you are just pretending