We all know a psychopath in our environment.
At least, this is stated by several researchers. Scary idea. Or is this not so bad? By the way, how do you recognize a psychopath?
We are going to explain this here.
What exactly is a psychopath and how do you recognize a psychopath?
But also important ... Imagine that we all really have a psychopath in our environment ... How can you deal with a psychopath?
What exactly is a psychopath?
A psychopath has an antisocial personality disorder. This means that this person is constantly acting antisocial or criminally. He cannot adapt to the social norms set by society. A distinction can be made in the type of disorder of the psychopath. One form is characterized by brutal, uninhibited behavior, little fear and a feeling of disdain for everything. The other form involves criminal behavior. This form is an even meaner, more aggressive and uninhibited behavior. The psychopath can be persistent and profoundly criminal here.
Psychopaths act rude because they feel almost no fear.
They can also tolerate a lot of stress and danger. They are very confident and socially assertive.
The uninhibited behavior stems from their impulsiveness and difficulty planning and anticipating. They have few emotions, want immediate gratification, satisfaction and have little self-control. The mean behavior has to do with the lack of empathy and lack of commitment, connection with the other. They use their cruelty to become stronger themselves, to be able to express their tendencies and to experience destructive tension. A psychopath is cold-blooded.
This behavior can be reflected in how the brain works in a psychopath. The fearlessness is reflected in the amygdala (involved in controlling and processing various emotions) and other neurological systems that are important for the feeling of fear.
Nobody knows exactly what causes psychopathy.... It is probably a combination of genetics, living environment and interpersonal factors. For example, children of psychopaths are more likely to become psychopaths themselves.
Also, certain early life events can put you at greater risk of becoming a psychopath.
For example, a bad upbringing where the emphasis is on punishment instead of rewards. Or an inconsistent upbringing. Other factors that increase the risk of developing psychopathy can include:
- Alcohol or drug use by the parents
Separation from a parent, or lack of parenting
Abuse or neglect of the child
Psychopathy has no cure. The treatment of adult psychopaths by psychologists is of little benefit. In contrast, the treatment of children who are psychopaths has had some minor results.
A psychopath is mentally ill. And is he crazy? We as normal people say "yes". A psychopath, however, will mainly think the other person is crazy and find himself very normal.
Even though he enjoys all the suffering, misfortune and misfortune in the other person, it simply doesn't affect him. In fact, he will do everything in his power to make this suffering worse. In doing so, he gives the other the feeling that the other is responsible for this suffering.
A psychopath can go very far. Certainly when completely losing control, he can really go wild and do everything he can to make the other person's life impossible. This can cause delusions. His opinion and thoughts are reality. The psychopath is not satisfied until the other collapses or is even dead.
A psychopath will preferably select a somewhat weaker person as a victim. For example someone who was abused or bullied as a child. Someone who is looking for confirmation, acceptance and love. A stronger person is more likely to go against the psychopath. The psychopath is more likely to get a big mouth in their mouths or people like that to stay away from him.
That does not mean that all victims of psychopaths are weak, some psychopaths are so crafty that they also get the strongest people underneath.
What you often see is that the psychopath separates the victim from his or her environment. The psychopath will not accept the victim's defense. He does not leave the victim alone. Here he can become that pesky stalker. This is often part of a much longer process that has been going on for years. The psychopath follows and controls the other in everything. In fact, you cannot have a real friendship with him.
We will come back to this later in how to deal with a psychopath. First, we will discuss the characteristics of the psychopath. So how to recognize him.
How do you recognize a psychopath?
We do not know the exact cause of psychopathy (yet), but the characteristics of the psychopath can be clearly identified!
Canadian researcher (criminology and psychology) Robert Hare has drawn up a checklist for diagnosing psychopathy. This checklist, the PCL-R, lists 20 characteristics. And is still being used.
We have listed these 20 characteristics for you.
1. Articulate and superficial charm
The psychopath has a smooth chat, is rarely tongue-tied and makes contact easily. He's actually quite charming. And can be a very nice conversation partner. You will often hear tall stories from him. If you look a little further, especially if you have some psychological insight, you may find him a shallow, smooth talker and too unctuous.
2. Exaggerated self-esteem
The psychopath considers himself very important. He finds his skills and talents extremely interesting and good. He's a show-off. Steps to the fore and wants to be the center of attention. He likes to talk about his great achievements. These accomplishments don't really have to have happened. People who did perform arouse his jealousy. He wishes these people all disaster.The psychopath wants to be the best and the brightest. And goes a long way in that. This way he can make a bet with the people he is so jealous of. This behavior can get out of hand, for example at parties. He does not shy away from quarrels, conflicts, with people who have performed more and are more intelligent, smarter than he. Of course he is not aware of this himself. Precisely because of his excessive self-confidence and the belief in his own beliefs and delusions. He sees what it wants to see.
3. Lying pathologically
He can lie like the best. About everything and shameless. If he's caught in a lie, he'll talk himself out. He has a reason or excuse for everything. He likes to give his "word of honor". But of course this word of honor means nothing.
4. Manipulative and cunning
The psychopath also manipulates like the best. He cheats on the other quite easily and has no idea how this might feel for the other. The psychopath goes a long way here. For example, he does everything for money. Criminal behavior, fraud, cheating family... The psychopath does this unscrupulously. Why not take advantage of the other's weaknesses?
5. Lack of remorse and guilt
The psychopath has no regrets or feelings of guilt. His behavior and actions make a lot of sense to him. He denies that he is to blame for anything. The blame really lies with the victim. And it is the victim's deserved wages. The psychopath always mentions extenuating circumstances here. It's okay with what has been done to the victim?
6. No emotional depth
A psychopath is cold-blooded. He comes across as insensitive to normal people. The psychopath finds the emotions of normal people dramatic, unreal and ephemeral.
7. Chill and lack of empathy
He has a cold personality. Insensitive to the rights, feelings, opinions and well-being of the other. The other is weak, stupid to manipulate and not important. He makes use of this. The other is there for him. To take advantage of. The psychopath considers himself the most important. He is self-centered and looks at the other with contempt.
8. Not taking responsibility for your own behavior
The other is always blamed. A psychopath does not have the ability or willingness to take responsibility for his behavior and its consequences for the other. He always finds an excuse.
9. Looking for stimuli and a tendency to be bored
A psychopath is always looking for stimulation.He gets bored quickly. He finds normal things in life such as work, education and relationships boring. For a short-term relationship, he may still be poking.
10. Parasitic lifestyle
Because work, education and relationships are of no interest to the psychopath, he benefits from others. He goes to family and friends or benefits agencies for money. Here he acts like a victim, looking for sympathy and financial help.
11. Little self-control
The psychopath can be very short-tempered and quickly lose control. He feels easily attacked by another. He does not accept criticism, frustration and failure. And solve this with violence, threats and name-calling. This short-tempered behavior can also stop as quickly as he started it. With a lot of alcohol consumption, his self-control is of course even less.
12. No (realistic) long-term goals.
A psychopath lives from day to day. He does not plan or set long-term goals. If he's already making plans, these plans are constantly changing. He's not worried about anything. He does not experience his life as without content. Nor does he learn from mistakes he has made before.
A psychopath does not think about his actions and behavior. What advantages or disadvantages this could have. So he lives unpredictably and makes spontaneous decisions. The decisions he makes are not thought through. He often changes jobs, ends relationships quickly, spends a lot of money easily and moves frequently. He does not inform those involved of this.
16. Behavioral problems at a young age
Unlike his peers, a psychopath has serious behavioral problems. In his childhood he already had many problems due to lying, theft, truancy, arson, manipulation, fighting, violence against humans and animals. At his early age, he is already the black sheep of the family.
17. Violation of parole
When a psychopath is in detention, he will try to escape. He ignores all rules. For example, he does not return from weekend leave or does not comply with the conditions of the suspended sentence. He continues to commit crimes while on parole.
18. Sexual debauchery
He has random sex and only has superficial and casual sexual relationships. He likes to participate freely in various sexual activities.
19. Short relationships
If a psychopath already enters into a marriage, it is short-lived. Even before his thirtieth birthday he has had several marriages or living together. He ends a relationship very easily. And starts looking for someone else.
20. Criminal versatility
A psychopath often has a criminal record with different types of offenses. If he works smart and intelligent, he can commit various crimes without being punished. Think of fraud or stalking.
A whole list of features. This checklist may only be administered by a professional counselor. This checklist is certainly not suitable as a test to see whether yourself or someone else meets the characteristics!
So a psychopath is a charming cheater. But what if you recognize someone close to you as a psychopath and with whom you sometimes have to deal? We give you some important tips in dealing with a psychopath.
What is a psychopath?
Few psychology terms stir up confusion like the word psychopath. Even though it's commonly used to describe someone who has a mental illness, psychopath is not an official diagnosis.
The true definition of a psychopath in psychiatry is antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), explains Dr. Prakash Masand, a psychiatrist and the founder of the Centers of Psychiatric Excellence. ASPD describes an individual who shows patterns of manipulation and violation to others.
Masand says the one thing that can be confusing about ASPD are the words "anti-social."
"Most people might assume this describes someone who is reserved, a loner, keeps to himself, etc. However, this is not the case in ASPD," he explains. "When we say anti-social in ASPD, it means someone who goes against society, rules, and other behaviors that are more commonplace."
Common signs of psychopathy
Since the term psychopath is not an official diagnosis, experts refer to the signs described under ASPD. According to Masand, some of the more common signs to be aware of include:
- socially irresponsible behavior
disregarding or violating the rights of others
inability to distinguish between right and wrong
difficulty with showing remorse or empathy
tendency to lie often
manipulating and hurting others
recurring problems with the law
general disregard towards safety and responsibility
Other behaviors that may be signs of ASPD include a tendency to take risks, reckless behavior, and being deceitful with frequent lying.
Masand says someone exhibiting this behavior may also lack deep emotional connections, have a superficial charm about them, be very aggressive, and get very angry sometimes.
Additionally, people with ASPD don't care if they have hurt someone, are impulsive and abusive, and lack remorse. In the case of ASPD, abusive doesn't necessarily mean violent.
In addition to the signs and behaviors, Masand says there are certain traits associated with ASPD:
More men than women have this diagnosis.
Technically, to receive an ASPD diagnosis, you have to be 18 years of age. But some people will show signs of conduct disorder, which may be an early indicator of ASPD, as early as age 11.
It's a chronic condition that seems to improve with age.
Mortality rates are higher in people with ASPD because of their behavior.
How is psychopathy diagnosed?
Since psychopathy is not an official mental disorder, the condition experts diagnose is ASPD. Before explaining the criteria used to diagnose ASPD, it's important to mention that diagnosing and treating ASPD presents some unique challenges.
According to Masand, ASPD can be difficult to treat because the person who needs help doesn't believe there is a problem with their behavior. As a result, they rarely seek treatment.
That said, the established guidelines used to diagnose ASPD is that the behavior generally begins by age 15 or in the teenage years. However, Masand says a true ASPD diagnoses is not made until the age of 18. "For most people, the worst of the behavior occurs in the late teen years throughout the twenties," he explains.
To get a proper diagnosis, a mental health professional will conduct a full mental health evaluation. During this process, the mental health professional will evaluate a person's thoughts, feelings, behavior patterns, and relationships. They will identify symptoms and compare them to the ASPD symptoms in the DSM-5.
The mental health professional will also look at medical history. This full evaluation is a critical step since ASPD tends to show comorbidity with other mental health and addictive disorders.
What is a psychopathic person like?
Psychopathy is characterized by diagnostic features such as superficial charm, high intelligence, poor judgment and failure to learn from experience, pathological egocentricity and incapacity for love, lack of remorse or shame, impulsivity, grandiose sense of self-worth, pathological lying, manipulative behavior, poor.
Is psychopathy a mental illness?
How is psychopathy diagnosed? Since psychopathy is not an official mental disorder, the condition experts diagnose if ASPD.
Can a psychopath change?
Psychopaths cannot be cured - here's why. Psychopathy is a personality disorder, not a mental illness. There is no "cure" for psychopaths, and they will never be able to change. If they are in prison, psychopaths can be managed with reward-based treatment.
Why do psychopaths lie?
Psychopaths are likely to repeatedly attempt to deceive their partners and will lie about anything under any circumstances in order to conceal their behaviour and achieve their goals - whatever they may be.
What makes a psychopath a psychopath?
Instead, psychopathy is characterised by an extreme lack of empathy. Psychopaths may also be manipulative, charming and exploitative, and behave in an impulsive and risky manner. They may lack conscience or guilt, and refuse to accept responsibility for their actions.