The word psychopath tends to strike fear and intrigue equally within the mind of those who hear it. Hollywood depictions have encouraged much fascination with these people, who are said to feel no fear or empathy. Psychopathy is a very specific personality disorder, with a very specific checklist required for diagnosis. Dealing with a psychopath can be incredibly dangerous for us regular humans. They are cunning enough to use our own empathy against us. The first step in dealing with a psychopath is to identify them; with that in mind I thought I would list the ten major traits of a psychopath. Just to warn you, people who appear to have these traits may not necessarily be psychopaths. But every psychopath will have these traits.
They will seem warm and friendly, kind and caring. But be careful – the charm of a psychopath is purely superficial. It’s merely to mask their cold hearts. They make good use of eye-contact, which projects self confidence and makes people feel valued. And they observe everything you like and dislike, and adapt their behavior to suit your tastes. They are never afraid to say literally anything, just so long as it will help them in some way. Whether it be romantic or business in nature, they know how to present themselves as your perfect partner. But the reality is they don’t care about you at all. Their ability to charm is partly how they are such smooth manipulators.
There are 3 main types of psychopath: Those who bully, those who control others, and those who do both. One thing they all have in common is that they’re all manipulators. They will trick you into thinking you want to do something, when reallly it’s not in your interest. Maybe in the workplace they convince you to confront a coworker. They convince friends and lovers to give them money, which is where the stereotype of them being parasites comes from. They’re incredibly good liars, often inventing past lives designed solely to make people feel empathy for them. The traits of a psychopath tend to feed off each other, making psychopaths masters of manipulation.
Psychopaths have a noteworthy intensity to them. They actually need less sleep than normal humans, and it’s unknown why this is the case. Some evolutionary psychologists think it gives them more time, so that they can manipulate multiple people. Perhaps they focus on the second while the first sleep. It also may simply be so that they can spend more time working. Psychopaths tend to be fantastically power-hungry, which we’ll go into later on in the article. You’ll find psychopaths seldom require more than 5 hours of sleep per night. The way they sleep also tends to be different, with them remaining quite still while asleep. Most normal people do toss and turn. Maybe this gives them a good quality of sleep, and means they need less of it.
Maybe it’s pushing it a bit to consider it as a trait, but I think it counts. Psychopaths have different patterns of speaking than normal people. Ironically, their speech is less fluent, with their tendency for using subordinating conjunctions. These are filler words like saying “like or because” when they aren’t needed. We all do this sometimes but psychopaths do it a lot more. It’s because they carefully think about everything they say as to avoid revealing their true nature. Watch our video on this topic and you may notice my own speech patterns are slightly unusual, but I promise I’m not a psychopath. Psychopaths also use more words relating to the physical pleasures of consumption and sexual activity. This is because they are basic thinkers in what drives them, being obsessed with pleasure.
Grandiosity means a delusional sense of superiority to others. Psychopaths believe they are more important than anyone else, and also more talented regarding any skill or practice. They’re best at selling, they’re best at baseball, and everything else. They feel entitles to as much money, sex, and power as they want, in an almost theatrical way. It’s the main reason people so often confuse psychopathy with narcissism. In the official psychopath test, grandiosity is the first factor. It’s a major red flag to be aware of.
Failure too Accept Responsibility
The natural outcome of not being concerned with issues of morality is a refusal to accept responsibility for doing immoral things. Accepting blame would mean they lose social credit, which would hinder their predatory efforts. Psychopaths are constantly playing cat and mouse, looking for a new victim to support their parasitic lifestyle. So they use glib charm to convince people they are never to blame and have been unfairly scapegoated.
Susceptibility to Addiction
Several traits make psychopaths more prone to addiction than others. Firstly, they are incredibly impulsive, so they love a good drink and the odd gamble. They simply have less will power than normal people. They also feel the need for constant stimulation, which may be another reason for their lack of sleep. Psychopaths are constant thrill-seekers, usually failing to complete any task that doesn’t excite them. In many ways they’re more like hamsters than people.
Aversion to Monogamy
Apparently they are prone to being unfaithful. It’s partly due to their impulsiveness and need for excitement – but also their minimal ability to form emotional connections. People think they don’t feel emotions. They do, but in a very dulled experience. So although others may feel deep emotional connections with them, it’s unlikely they would feel the same way, and would therefore feel no obligation to stay committed.
Lack of Drive or Realistic Long-Term Goals
It’s a bizarre contradiction – despite feeling entitled to money power and high status, psychopaths aren’t exactly productive workers. They never build balanced lives or businesses, or really ever do anything of much value. So in order to achieve the wealth they desire, they live parasitic lives, taking advantage of others. Although there are some environments where they do well. Some banks and financial institutions have been know to knowingly and willingly hire psychopaths. They even used the official psychopath test to select candidates for employment.
Lack of Empathy
This is the mother of all psychopathic traits. It’s a lack of the ability to understand the pain of others. Most people feel sorry for others during times of hardships. It’s an evolutionary feature of out psychology, to help ensure group survival. But the psychopath doesn’t tend to feel sorry for anyone or anything other than themselves. This lack of empathy is why causing harm to small animals is often an early sign of psychopathy. There is some evidence to suggest they can be trained to feel empathy – but I wonder if the test subjects were merely faking their ability to learn it. That brings an end to our list of traits of a psychopath, please be careful not to label people you don’t like as psychopaths, that’s what we have psychologists for.
OUR VIDEO ON THIS: