Psychopathy is a personality disorder suffered by approximately 1% of the world’s population. Psychopaths are characterised as being devoid of empathy and remorse and as having no respect for social norms. This piece will look at 10 classic traits that can help you identify a psychopath.
The first thing to know about psychopaths is that they are essentially lovely and charming people. They tend to be very friendly and have the ability to rapidly seduce those they wish to be close to. They have the gift of the gab and seemingly enjoy being sociable and getting along with almost everyone they meet. However, this charm is superficial and it goes hand in hand with exaggerated self-esteem and ego. They are overly confident and think they are better and more capable than other people. In their mind, they believe they cannot be rivalled by anyone.
Lies and manipulation
Another issue to consider when trying to detect whether an individual is a psychopath is to decide whether or not they are lying and manipulative in nature. Psychopaths are extremely skilled at changing to suit developing scenarios, turning situations around to benefit themselves and adapting what they say to protect the fabricated worlds they have created. Of course, they continually lie in order to justify the behaviour that is brought about by their disorder. Therefore, you must take extreme care upon suspecting you are in the presence of a psychopath as this person could end up causing great damage to your life.
Emotionally shallow and lacking empathy
Another step towards unmasking a psychopath is to be aware that they do not usually show genuine emotions, although they often attempt to fake emotions for personal benefit. Psychopathic people are emotionally frivolous and superficial when it comes to relationships, although they will try to keep this fact hidden. Individuals suffering from this personality disorder are unable to empathise with others and they do not suffer remorse or guilt over their actions.
Cruelty and irresponsibility
This trait is well known to all who has seen films or read books on the subject. Psychopaths are essentially cruel because they lack empathy and are capable of doing anything to achieve a given task. They are usually indifferent to the feelings and sufferings of others and for that reason act in the way they do. According to experts, they also have a pathological inability to take responsibility for their actions and the consequences that come with them. It is for this reason that such people do not usually seek psychological help.
The next step in considering whether or not you are dealing with a psychopath is to analyse how they live and what activities they do. According to experts, psychopaths often lead a parasitic existence, living off the back of the achievements and efforts of the people in their immediate surroundings. Of course, they also take great pride in their ability to live in this way, believing they are outsmarting everyone around them. Psychopaths also tend to get bored easily and need constant stimulation, so they will probably not last very long in any type of capacity that demands routine.
An inability to control their actions
A lack of control over their own behaviour is another common trait of people who suffer from this rare disorder. We know that psychopaths tend to be impulsive and act without thinking. Indeed, their plans will often end up be being discovered because of this defect. They tend to suffer from an inability to create both short-term and long-term goals and for this reason end up living out a nomadic lifestyle, never putting down roots in any one place or committing to any one person or thing.
People suffering from this disorder often commit spontaneous acts without premeditation. However, if the psychopath is sufficiently intelligent, they will be able to cover up such tell-tale acts of impulsivity by manipulating others. It is very unlikely that they will ever own up to the damage they have caused as they will never reflect upon the consequences of their own actions.
Behavioural problems and delinquency
According to specialists, psychopaths show adjustment problems from a young age. They will generally prove to be rebellious children who do not respond well to authority. For example, they will usually not respect the boundaries and limits set by their parents or guardians. Psychopaths will also often be involved in crime from a young age and are likely to have a criminal record upon reaching adulthood. Indeed, they will typically relapse into criminal activity throughout their lives as they cannot control some of their actions.
Taking into account the last point, the next step in determining if you are dealing with a psychopathic personality is to find out if they have ever broken the law. Most psychopaths will have a preference for offences that allow them to implement their manipulative skills. They usually make excellent fraudsters and con artists and, even if caught, are likely to continually reoffend.
Promiscuity and lack of commitment
Finally, you will need to examine your suspect’s relationship history. Expert psychiatrists argue that psychopaths tend to be sexually promiscuous, commonly maintaining numerous short-lived sexual relationships at the same time. Many will have been married several times and the marriages will have ended in divorce after a short period because psychopaths lack the ability to commit to long-term relationships.