"Psychopathy apparently affects an estimated 1-6% of the population but not all psychopaths are cold-blooded murderers. They’re best described as people without a conscience, who prey on those with high levels of empathy but they themselves lack any concern for others’ feelings and show no remorse for their actions."
Although it’s been estimated that psychopathy affects 1-6% of the population, I personally believe that it’s a lot more. Psychopaths are renowned for having an image of charm and normality to mask their complete lack of conscience, so they can appear like regular people to those around them. Because of their mask of charm, it’s hard to identify a psychopath unless you get to know them at a deeper level, i.e. if you are related to them, if they are your friend, if you are married etc. It also means that psychopaths usually don’t get a diagnosis unless they are in prison but as psychopathy exists in varying degrees (not all of them murder, as stated), there are psychopaths walking among us (and that’s a scary thing)! And a lot of them won’t even know that they are a psychopath…
Psychopathy is apparently a genetic disorder (and is 20x more likely to appear in men then women)…I can’t help but wonder if it can also form from a deep suppression of emotions through a traumatic event, or through social conditioning. Perhaps the reason why so many people do so many bad things on this planet is because they are developing psychopathic tendencies. Surely if a person genuinely has empathy, they wouldn’t want to harm others and if they do harm others, they will be drenched in guilt and remorse and learn from that mistake. Perhaps if it’s just psychopathic tendencies that develop, maybe they can be erased through intense spiritual training of the mind. Is it that we are so infatuated with the label that we forget to discover the real story beneath the mask?
These are the traits of a psychopath…(via WikiHow):
1. Look for glib and superficial charm. A psychopath will also put on what professionals refer to as a ‘mask’ of sanity that is likeable and pleasant. For example, the psychopath may do good deeds to gain his or her victims trust.
2. Look for a grandiose self perception. Psychopaths will often believe they are smarter or more powerful than they actually are.
3. Watch for a constant need for stimulation. Stillness, quiet and reflection are not things embraced by psychopaths. They need constant entertainment and activity.
4. Determine if there is pathological lying. A psychopath will tell all sorts of lies; little white lies as well as huge stories intended to mislead.
5. Evaluate the level of manipulation. All psychopaths are identified as cunning and able to get people to do things they might not normally do. They can use guilt, force and other methods to manipulate.
6 Look for any feelings of guilt. An absence of any guilt or remorse is a sign of psychopathy.
7. Consider the affect or emotional response a person has. Psychopaths demonstrate shallow emotional reactions to deaths, injuries, trauma or other events that would otherwise cause a deeper response.
8.Look for a lack of empathy. Psychopaths are callous and have no way of relating to non-psychopaths.
9. Take a look at the person’s lifestyle. Psychopaths are often parasitic, meaning they live off other people.
10. Observe the person’s behaviour. The Hare Checklist includes three behaviour indicators; poor behaviour control, sexual promiscuity and early behaviour problems.
11. Talk about goals. Psychopaths have unrealistic goals for the long term. Either there are no goals at all, or they are unattainable and based on the exaggerated sense of one’s own accomplishments and abilities.
12. Look at whether the person is impulsive or irresponsible. Both those characteristics are evidence of psychopathy.
13. Consider whether the person can accept responsibility. A psychopath will never admit to being wrong or owning up to mistakes and errors in judgment.
14. Examine marital relationships. If there have been many short term marriages, the chances the person is a psychopath increase.
15. Look for a history of juvenile delinquency. Many psychopaths exhibit delinquent behaviours in their youth (but some of them can obviously exhibit none).
16. Check for criminal versatility. Psychopaths are able to get away with a lot, and while they might sometimes get caught, the ability to be flexible when committing crimes is an indicator.
17.Check out if a person makes constant use of ‘the poor fellow’s imagery’. Psychopaths are experts at manipulating our emotions and insecurities into causing us to view them as ‘poor injusticed fellows’, thus lowering our sentimental guard and rendering us vulnerable for future exploitation. If this psychological resource is continually combined with unacceptable and evil actions, this equals to a powerful alert sign about this person’s real nature.
18. Pay extreme attention to the person’s treatment towards others. Psychopaths are generally prone to belittle, humiliate, mistreat, mock and even attack physically (or kill, in extreme cases) people who normally would bring no benefits to him/her in any way, such as subordinates, physically frail or lower-ranking people, children, elderly people and even animals.
Trust your instincts and intuition. If you believe someone displays the characteristics of a psychopath, put distance between yourself and that person so you are not manipulated or drawn into a relationship that may only cause you pain.
"…Most psychopaths can appear as ‘normal’ through their ‘mask of sanity’. They are not necessarily criminals in prisons but can be CEO’s, politicians, spiritual leaders, a husband, wife, child or the neighbour next door!"
"Too many people hold the idea that psychopaths are essentially killers or convicts. The general public hasn’t been educated to see beyond the social stereotypes to understand that psychopaths can be entrepreneurs, politicians, CEOs and other successful individuals who may never see the inside of a prison."