“I think a lot of psychopaths are just geniuses who drove so fast that they lost control.”-Criss Jami, Killosophy
Our society is obsessed with the very thought of psychopaths and to an extent have even romanticized them. Movies, shows, documentaries, you name it! We are fascinated by the way their minds work, what pushes them to such an extreme and how can we better understand them? Those questions may never get answered, as the psychopathic mind is more complex than we thought. However, there are some great shows and movies out there to help you get your daily dose of psycho featuring the likes of Hannibal Lecter, Ted Bundy, and Elizabeth Bathory. Their twisted version of reality keeps us intrigued and hooked in our seats.
But what is it about psychopaths that draw us to them? Maybe we just want to find that line makes us so much different them, or could it be that we are not so different after all? Let’s see what the experts have to say. According to them, psychopaths are masters of manipulation and will go to any lengths to achieve their objective. They are cold and calculate every step, so there is no room for mistakes when they’re on top of their game.
According to Robert Hare, “Not surprisingly, many psychopaths are criminals, but many others manage to remain out of prison, using their charm and chameleon-like coloration to cut a wide swathe through society, leaving a wake of ruined lives behind them.”
The real question is, who will know if someone is a closet psychopath? I’ve got you covered, make sure to watch for 14 signs, you never know who is who or what is what nowadays.
Many psychopaths have a history of childhood trauma.
If you were to dive into the history of psychopaths, you would get a one-way ticket to child abuse (both physical and verbal), neglect, and early trauma. Combine all this and you get a recipe for desensitizing of any emotions and feelings towards others. However, not all psychopaths have a traumatic past and this is where it gets a bit tricky! Some psychopaths come from stable and happy homes.
They believe they are the center of the universe
Psychopaths are extremely focused on themselves and believe that they are the center of the universe. They are extremely selfish and have only one goal in mind, that is do whatever it takes to get what you want. They don’t care about others and will only befriend those who seem to be of any benefit to them. You might think you are their friend, but you are nothing more than a pawn in their highly calculated chess game.
They lack any semblance of a conscience.
Have you ever lied or cheated? Or hurt someone intentionally? That horrible feeling you get in your gut is called guilt and remorse. That’s the one thing that makes you different from a psychopath. You psychopaths have no conscience. They lack empathy, sympathy, guilt, remorse, anything that would make you feel for another human, they simply don’t have. This is, why, it’s so easy for them to lie, deceit, cheat, and even steal. They will also manipulate you into loving them, living off you like a parasite. Infidelity is nothing to them since they could care less about hurting someone. They somehow have it in their heads, that whatever they are doing, needs to be done in order to reach their main goal. So, they’re not sitting around thinking how their actions have hurt you, they’re thinking about how their actions will get them what they desire the most.
They are impulsive by nature
They are fearless and impulsive. These two ingredients together can be dangerous. On one hand, who doesn’t want to be fearless? This is probably the brighter side of being a psychopath. They experience no anxiety and aren’t afraid of anyone or anything! This allows them to make moves, the normal person would have to think twice about. This impulsivity gives them an adrenaline rush and they literally live for it. This is the more dangerous side when they want something, they don’t think twice, they go after it. Meaning if they must hurt a few people to get what they want, so be it!
They are narcissistic
Narcissism and psychopaths go hand in hand. Psychopaths believe they are special or unique and better than everyone around them and can only be understood by people on their level, or having a high status in society. They also feel as if they are entitled to everything and therefore lack empathy. They can be extremely envious of other people and their success or be paranoid with the thoughts of people being envious of them. They need constant admiration from those around them or they cannot function. They seem to be ling in a fantasy world, where they dream about excessive fame, power, beauty, and wealth. Now there is nothing wrong with dreaming, but using extreme methods to achieve those means is a no in our books. A group of Dutch researchers conducted a study to better understand the mind of a psychopath and what pushes him to act without any guilt of hurting the other person. This research was published in Nature Magazine with the conclusion that psychopaths show a complete disregard for others and labeled it as malignant narcissism.
They actively prey on the emotions of others
Unlike the rest of us, psychopaths aren’t ruled by their emotions, a matter of fact some would go even as far as to say they might not even feel them at all. They’ve learned to numb their emotions at an early age and don’t see it as a necessity, more like a weakness. But they are skilled in mimicking emotions and know just what to say and when to say the appropriate things, to get what they want. This is how they manipulate their victims! Psychopaths love to guilt-trip their prey and will use tactics of flattery when deemed necessary.
They are masters of manipulation
As if preying on the emotions of others wasn’t enough, psychopaths use the art of manipulation to achieve their end goal. They are masters of manipulation and surprisingly very charming. Psychopaths come off as very out-going and life of the party type of people. They certainly know how to grab the attention of anyone in the room no matter where they go and make a great first impression. They understand what means to maintain a positive image in order to make contacts with people of high status and value.
Psychopaths are pathological liars.
We all have a tendency to tell little white lies whether it’s telling your friends she doesn’t look fat in her dress or lying to your husband about his cooking, but psychopaths take lying to a whole new level. They lie about everything, from what degree they majored in, to what they’re having for lunch. They do this all, without even thinking about it like word vomit! This is called Pseudologia Fantastica, a mental health disorder which allows them to lie pathologically. This skill in lying allows them to manipulate their victims with ease, empowering them to say whatever needs to be said to lure their prey in.
They are driven by their basic animalistic instincts
While you may think they have more sophisticated means due to the level of intelligence they use in their tactics, they are driven by basic human instincts. Just like us, they have basic human needs like food, water, and shelter but in their heads, they feel they have to go the extra mile in order to achieve them. They have a very eat or get eaten perception of life.
They have no regard for when others are in pain
A study was published by ScienceDaily, their goal was to try and figure out if psychopaths felt any empathy for those in pain. During this study, they were asked to imagine themselves in pain as well as the people are them. While they seemed to respond the same way, an average person would respond to being in pain, there was no response in the area of the brain that shows empathy, but what was intriguing the area of the brain that indicates pleasure was very responsive. Could this mean, psychopaths, get some sort of twisted arousal from seeing others in pain?
They are very unpredictable
Manipulation, the need to constantly lie, and being highly impulsive, these characteristic traits makes them highly unpredictable. They come off as highly likable and charming individuals making it very hard to see through their cold and calculated demeanor. It’s next to impossible trying to pin down the next step of a psychopath, I guess if you want to catch a psychopath, you have to think like a psychopath. Good luck with that because it won’t be easy!
Their speech pattern can often give them away
If you’re looking for clues to spot a psychopath, look for small details like the words they use when they speak. Their linguistic patterns often give them away. Fifty-two convicted murderers were questioned and interviewed, to try and distinguish their speaking patterns. Out of the fifty-two criminals, fourteen were classified as psychopaths. The researchers found that these psychopaths are more likely to stutter and use “uh” and “um” repeatedly along with “so that” and “because”. These patterns show someone who is lying and can’t seem to get their story straight. There would be no need to stutter or pause repeatedly if they were telling the truth.
They are highly irresponsible
Psychopaths are very organized and seem to have every detail calculated when they are trying to achieve a goal, however, experts have labeled them as highly irresponsible when it comes to dealing with other matters of life like financial stability. You would think the amount of time and detail they use to carry out their manipulation tactics would be reflected in their day to day activities. But, you would be surprised as most psychopaths find themselves in a bad spot because they failed to plan ahead for any bumps in the road they would face later on in life.
They are incredibly charming
Psychopaths need to win over their victims by charming the pants right off of them. They create this fake persona of being witty, friendly, amusing, charming and extremely likable. They know in order for them to win the trusts of others, they will have to become someone completely different, a fake identity you can say. One they can easily switch on and off. It’s no wonder psychopaths like Ted Bundy were able to lure in his victims so easily, he was known to be extremely charming and good looking too!