The stereotypical psychopath is often associated with the images of bloodthirsty murderers, criminals or outlaws that you might encounter in a cinematic classic or the latest Hollywood horror blockbuster.
However, it’s likely you’ve encountered psychopaths in real life - they’re actually quite common in the corporate business world for example.
Before you can spot a psychopath, you need to know what traits you’re looking out for. In this article, we’re going to look at what a ‘psychopath’ really means. Psychopath is not considered a medical diagnosis, rather more, it fits under the umbrella of ‘antisocial behaviour disorder’ - the same categorisation as a sociopath.
You might be surprised to find that some of the most common features found in people with a strong psychopathic traits are not necessarily disadvantages, in certain situations they could be actually be seen as advantages.
To help to weigh up whether or not you’re dealing with a psychopath or not, here’s 10 telltale signs...
A lack of empathy - cold hearted
The mother of all psychopathic traits is a lack of ability to understand the pain of others. A psychopath simply cannot feel what others feel, they understand feelings but have no emotional connection to them. Thinking of an example, a psychopath might see you crying for one reason or another, they might show you compassion, but this is not because they feel any actual emotion towards you or the situation. Any demonstration of compassion would be simply out of courtesy or an attempt to please or impress you.
The use of deceit and deception to cheat, con, or defraud others for personal gain are strong signs that you’ve encountered a psychopath, according to research project, The Sociopathic Style. Psychopaths have an obsessive need to control other people and manipulate their actions. Psychopaths thrive given opportunity to gain at another person’s expense, as they do not have any regard for others’ feelings.
Irresponsible and impulsive
Psychopaths are often inconsistent in their actions. Impulsive behaviour and irresponsibility are a normal part of their lifestyle. A psychopath would never admit to errors or making a mistake. It is also highly likely that a psychopath would become aggressive with anyone who challenges their choices or behaviour.
Narcissism is the obsessive preoccupation with your own ability and physical appearance, a quality that psychopaths have in abundance. Psychopaths generally see themselves as more intelligent, more powerful and more valuable than everyone else. Essentially, for psychopaths, the world revolves around them.
Lying is the daily weapon of a psychopath. Psychopaths are not just two faced, they usually have many faces and tend to lie continuously. Lies range from little ‘white’ lies to grand expressions of mistruths. One thing is for sure, if you’re dealing with a psychopath - you cannot not trust anything they say.
Don’t be fooled by someone’s kind words. People with psychopathic tendencies are often funny, sociable and charming at first. However, they tend to be charming - simply to get what they want. Due to their lack of emotional understanding, they don’t care about the consequences of their words or actions if it means they ‘win’ something.
Lack of remorse
Psychopaths show a lack of emotion, especially social emotions such as shame, guilt, remorse or embarrassment. They simply do not feel guilty for the suffering and pain they inflict on others, or for any of their actions in general.
Boredom and constant searching for thrills
Psychopaths have an uncontrollable need for adrenaline overdoses. They get bored very easily and are particularly attracted to stress. Perhaps the best solution for them is extreme sports.
Harassment or bullying
Psychopaths often use intimidation to control others. It’s likely they’ll use subtle threats or stand over you while talking. They like to make other people feel small, so often abuse those more vulnerable than them; for example, the elderly, children or in many cases animals.
Thirst for power
We’ve already mentioned that psychopaths have an obsessive need to control others. They also have an overwhelming need for power. They love it when they have control everyone and everything, hiring and firing people only based on what they want, not on objective facts.