Psychopathy is a personality construct by which mental health professionals refer to a person who is charming, manipulative, emotionally ruthless, and potentially criminal. With the term constantly being used in the media, you might think psychopaths are everywhere. In fact, they only make up about 4% (1/25) of the adult population. Psychopaths, however, are very good at going unnoticed. Many of them appear normal and attractive. By analyzing certain aspects of his personality, taking into account his emotional reactions, and paying attention to his relationships, you can easily determine whether a person can be called a psychopath.
Part 1 of 3: Look for certain personality traits
Step 1. Look for a hypocritical charm
Like an actor who has played many roles, a psychopath will hide behind what professionals call a “mask” of normalcy, which is usually nice and pleasant. The psychopath is known for his joviality and he has a tendency to please people. He simply works to make himself liked by others so that he can then manipulate them more easily.
Psychopaths convey an air of confidence that naturally attracts others. They often have stable jobs and experience relative professional success. They can also be in a relationship and have a wife (or husband) and children. They are very good at playing the role of “model citizen”
Step 2. Know how to spot a grandiose self-perception
Psychopaths often think they are smarter and more powerful than they actually are. They like to connect with powerful and successful people because it elevates their own status. They think they should be entitled to special treatment.
Their disproportionate self-esteem often leads them to drop their mask of normality. If you have no value or status to give them, they will trample on you
Step 3. Look for signs of impulsiveness and irresponsibility
These two characteristics are obvious signs of psychopathy. These people tend to see no problem with the way they behave in the world. Psychopaths are notorious for their refusal to accept responsibility for the decisions they make or for the consequences of those decisions. In fact, they even refuse to make the connection between their bad behavior and their actions (their constant irresponsibility). "I don't want to work" or "I think I'll skip this meeting and go have a drink", for example, are impulsive ideas that a psychopath might implement. They are the complete opposite of a dependable person.
These people are egocentric and put their whims into action, taking into account only their own emotional state. They do what they want, when they want it. It can cause them to be unfaithful, to lie and to steal, just because that's what they want. They may tend to be light-hearted and have different partners, or they may be unfaithful. They may even quit their jobs on a whim (because that wasn't good enough for them, of course)
Step 4. Look for tendencies to break the rules
If the person you have in mind is following the rules to the letter, they are unlikely to have psychopathic tendencies. Psychopaths hate authority and consider themselves above the rules. Perhaps this is why about 25% of male criminals in prison can be called psychopaths.
Others may even avoid jail while continuing to break the laws and without having any moral issues doing so
Step 5. Find out if this person was a delinquent in their youth
Experts notice common traits in the childhood of adults that fit the criteria for a psychopath. They often engaged in delinquent behavior in their youth, including aggressive behavior towards others. In addition, they may not have responded to distress or punishment, as other young people would.
Learn about the youth of the person you suspect to be a psychopath. If she had any problems in her youth, it could confirm her psychopathic tendencies as an adult
Part 2 of 3: watch your emotional reactions
Step 1. Analyze their moral code or personal ethics
If the person in question appears to have a conscience, they are probably not a psychopath. Generally speaking, psychopaths lack any moral scale. They will do what they think is necessary to move forward and do not care that people are hurt by their actions.
For example, a psychopath will probably not follow a "code" like others would. For example, he will have no problem trying to seduce a friend's girlfriend or competing with a close friend for professional promotion
Step 2. Consider the person's affect or emotional response
Psychopaths have very superficial emotional responses and do not normally respond to death, injury, or some other event that would cause a profound response in others.
The difference between the responses of psychopaths and those of autistic people is that while autistic people may at first seem unresponsive, they may then collapse in distress or seek a way to help. In contrast, in psychopaths, no deep emotion is hidden under this apparent insensitivity
Step 3. Look for feelings of guilt
There is a general absence of remorse or guilt in psychopathic individuals. Hardness is one of the primary characteristics used to describe these personalities. A psychopath could pretend to feel guilty about bad behavior in order to manipulate someone and prevent them from becoming angry.
- For example, the person might pretend to feel extremely guilty for harming their victim, so that the victim comes to console them.
- What's interesting is that psychopathy doesn't mean a complete lack of empathy. Psychopaths don't empathize spontaneously, but they can do so on demand (to charm others, for example).
Step 4. See if the person is unable to take responsibility
A psychopath will never honestly admit that he was wrong or that he made errors in judgment. When he feels compelled to do so, he might admit to having made a mistake, but he will manipulate others in a way that avoids any consequences.
Step 5. See if that person feels sorry for themselves
Psychopaths are very good at manipulating the emotions and complexes of others and they use them to be seen as the victim. This then causes you to let your guard down and leaves you vulnerable to future exploitation. If constant recourse to the victim mentality is added to bad and unacceptable actions, you will know what that person's true nature is.
Part 3 of 3: Observe Your Behaviors in Relationships
Step 1. Notice if this person has a tendency to create stories
Psychopaths love to create drama and wreak havoc. Since they tend to get bored easily, this is a way for them to be entertained. For example, they can provoke arguments and present themselves as the victim. They wreak havoc in the lives of others, then innocently watch the drama unfold.
If someone you know is a psychopath, when you interact with them, you may come to question your own sanity. Say you are at work and the psychopath informs you that one of your coworkers has insulted you behind your back. He tricked you into confronting the person. After lashing out at the coworker in question, you finally realize that he was being manipulated the way you were
Step 2. Notice the signs of manipulation
We are all trying to get what we want. But psychopaths are particularly deceitful in this area. For example, they can get you to do things that you wouldn't normally do. They can use false pretenses, make you feel guilty or exert coercion and other methods to get their victims to do whatever they want.
For example, say you are a senior manager in a company. The psychopath makes sure to become your friend and then teases you about your weaknesses. One day you arrive at the office and learn about a new scandal involving your business. It seems that sensitive information that you shared with the psychopath has been passed on to the press. Got fired and guess who gets your job?
Step 3. Analyze his romantic relationships
Some psychopaths have several short marriages. They will accuse their ex-wives (or ex-husbands) of being responsible for the problems they have experienced in their relationship and will never suggest that they have their share of responsibility in the breakdown of their marriage.
At the start of the relationship, the psychopath idealizes his partner. Over time, he devalues her and ends up leaving her for a new and more interesting person. He never truly binds to his partners. For this, he has no difficulty in ending a relationship or marriage
Step 4. Determine if this person is a pathological liar
A psychopath will tell all kinds of lies: little lies to embellish reality, like incredible stories made up from scratch to deceive you. Even when telling the truth wouldn't hurt him, he still lies. Surprisingly, this does not make him ashamed. He is even proud of his lies. And if you think you've unmasked his lies, he'll just change his story to make it seem more true to you.
In addition, he will never seem surprised by his lies. He remains calm, relaxed and will know how to get out of any situation
Step 5. Listen to his weird and dishonest excuses
If a psychopath gets stuck and has no choice but to show his remorse, he will be able to put on a show to do what is expected of him. However, since this person is so unemotional, they will be unable to make a convincing apology.
- You might notice inconsistencies. For example, he could say "I never meant to hurt you," while displaying a mocking smile and using a tone that betrays his insincerity.
- If he notices that you are having trouble forgiving him, he might get angry. He might even say "You're so sensitive" or "I thought we could move on. "