Psychopaths (or ‘born criminals’) tend to leave a trail of destruction behind them, with many bitter victims in their wake. This week we will focus on the behavioural clues to help you identify a psychopath to enable you to guard yourself against their manipulations. Also note that Sociopaths are similar to psychopaths, with almost identical characteristics. The primary point of difference is that psychopaths are born whereas socio paths (anti personality disorder) are a product of their upbringing.
It is believed that roughly 1% of the population, and 25% of the US prison population are psychopaths. But what exactly is a psychopath? Well that is a long complicated answer, but the short answer is people who disregard the emotions and rights of others. It is similar disorder to ADD or dyslexia, whereas instead of missing letters, they are missing empathy. Unfortunately psychopaths are very hard to spot as they do not tend to have devil style goatee and a red and black fashion sense like our friend pictured.
Now we will start with the tips…
1). Your colleagues describe them as selfish, arrogant, power tripping, dishonest shallow and / or cruel. This alone does not make someone a psycho (other wise we would all be ‘psycho)’, but should be used as a que to watch out for our other indicators
2). Lack of empathy. Psychopaths will have no, or positive reactions to things that make the rest of us cringe. However this does not mean that anyone who laughs at British comedy a psycho. This only applies to a lack of empathy for real suffering. (not fictional)
3). They are pathological liars. And they have been doing it so so long that the only reason we know they are lies is because we see hard proof. (not in body language). Psychos see no reason to be honest, or to care for others. They also often spread gossip about others to make it harder for everyone else to unite against them.
4). Self Lovers – The most tell tale sign of a psycho in my opinion is that they think that they are too good for everyone and everything. They often have an inflated sense of entitlement, expect big rewards for mediocre efforts, apply for jobs they are under qualified for and resent anyone who calls them up on their power trips. They also demand and take privileges which are above their rank.
5). Cheater (and especially if a serial cheater) – If a colleague of yours cheats on the one person they are supposed to be loyal to, what chance do the rest of us have. This is confirmed with personal experience, and I do distance myself from acquaintances who cheat on their partners. Do not be fooled by any ‘bro code’, just distance yourself from them and advise your close friends to do the same. It is believed by some researchers that psychopath ism may be genetic and that psycho males, father more children than their non psycho counter parts as they have more partners (as they are willing to abandon them).
6). Troublesome childhood – It is common knowledge that some psychopaths torture animals as children, but what is less know is that arson, and vandalism are also precursors.
7). Re offenders – Studies have been conducted in prisons which have proven that non psycho criminals are able to rehabilitate while psycho offenders are serial re offenders. A less dramatic example of this would be someone who violates office rules again after discipline.
8). Career Jumper - Contrary to popular belief that all psychopaths are in parliament or the billionaires club, psychopaths sometimes struggle to be successful with their careers. While some are able to lie and manipulate their way through the ranks, others never leave the ground floor. A big reason for this is due to their inability to commit to a profession. As mentioned in point 4, they feel that they deserve grand rewards for mediocre efforts, and thus become frustrated and move on the grand rewards do not come. They also never feel they owe any organisation any loyalty which is often a key tool which enables us to rise the ranks. However also note that there are many reasons to rapidly change careers, which do not involve mental disorders so only use this in conjunction with other signs.
9). Parasitic Lifestyle – Beware of gold diggers, and toy boys. If everything to a person is about living like a gansta in an R&B music video clip, take caution.
10). Trust your instincts - Many victims of psychopaths, have stated that they ignored their personal intuitions as they did not want to judge a book by its cover. Sometime you can tell everything about a book by its cover. Our brains subconsciously read body language better than what we could ever hope to achieve on a concious level. Trust your instincts!
11). Gamblers – Not all psychos are gamblers, and not all gamblers are psychos, but there have been many reported cases of gamblers manipulating family members and friends for money. And when the money is lost they feel no guilt for the victim, as they believe they are more important.
12). The Crime and the Excuse – This point separates the Psychopaths from the Sociopaths. Sociopaths explode into violence with slight provocation, and when they are caught they lie about the crime ever been committed, whereas psychopaths plan their crimes (eg fraud) and when confronted they do not deny the crime, but look for someone / something else to blame.
I hope this helps. Although it is sad that these people have this disorder, we need to remember that the harm to their victims is far more depressing. There is nothing you can do about them except to distance yourself, and those dear to you away from the psychopath.