I see but do not feel!

Fools take a knife and stab people in the back. The wise take a knife, cut the cord and free themselves from the fools.

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Psychopathy is among the most difficult disorders to spot. They can be intelligent, charming, and good at mimicking emotions. They may pretend to be interested in you, but in reality, they probably don’t care. Underneath, he lacks conscience and empathy, making him manipulative, volatile and often criminal. The possible advantages of being able to detect a psychopath quickly and reliably should be obvious, but often are not. People who are actual psychopaths, or are simply high in the personality trait of psychopathy, tend to manipulate you and will almost always lie to you.

Psychopathy is traditionally defined as a personality disorder characterized by persistent antisocial behaviour, impaired empathy and remorse, and bold, disinhibited, egotistical traits. The study of psychopathy is an active field of research, and the term is also used by the general public, popular press, and in fictional portrayals. While the term is often employed in common usage along with the related but distinct “crazy”, “insane”, and “mentally ill”, there is a distinction between those with psychosis and psychopathy.

A psychopath doesn’t have a conscience. Psychopaths are cold-hearted and calculating. They carefully plot their moves and use aggression in a planned-out way to get what they want. If they’re after more money or status in the office, for example, they’ll make a plan to take out any barriers that stand in the way, even if it’s another person’s job or reputation.

Recent research suggests a psychopath’s brain is not like other people’s. It may have physical differences that make it hard for the person to identify with someone else’s distress.

Adult psychopathy is largely impervious to treatment, though programs are in place to treat callous, unemotional youth in hopes of preventing them from maturing into psychopaths. Psychopathic traits innate, though a chaotic or violent upbringing, may tip the scales for those already predisposed to behave psychopathically.

Perhaps the most well-known interpersonal trait of a psychopath is their pathological lying. Psychopaths lie constantly to cover up their psychopathic traits and antisocial (often illegal) behaviours. Interpersonal characteristics of a psychopath include glibness, superficial charm, grandiose self-worth, a predominance to con or cheat and elevated manipulative behaviours.

Of course, the emotions of a psychopath also have specific traits. One such emotional characteristic is the lack of remorse or guilt. This psychopath emotional characteristic explains why psychopathic killers can commit heinous acts such as murder and not feel bad about them. Other effective psychopathic characteristics include shallow or fleeting emotions, callousness or lack of empathy, and a failure to accept responsibility for their own behaviours and actions.

Not only can psychopathic traits be seen in the emotions and interpersonal aspects but they can also be seen in the lifestyle and life choices. One such lifestyle trait is a parasitic lifestyle where the psychopath uses and feeds off of others. He or she likely does this by utilizing the interpersonal traits already mentioned. Other lifestyle psychopathic traits include a constant need for stimulation, a lack of realistic, long-term or life goals, impulsive and rash behaviours and of course, irresponsibility.

Antisocial traits of psychopaths are traits that go against society’s conventions. For example, juvenile delinquency and early behavioural problems are antisocial traits that many psychopaths have. Other antisocial traits of a psychopath include poor behaviour controls and criminal versatility (psychopath can be and almost always are active in multiple types of crime).

Understanding that psychopaths are some of the society’s most dangerous people and that most commit crimes – often violent crimes – it`s disheartening to realize that study after study has shown that the behaviours of the psychopath do not change in response to psychoanalysis, group therapy, client-centered therapy, psychodrama, psychosurgery, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) or drug therapy.

While there has been no cure found for psychopathy in adults, some behaviours in psychopathic children or teens

The Psychopathy Checklist has been developed by Canadian psychologist, Robert D. Hare, and it is widely used to identify psychopaths in studies. The following signs and symptoms of a psychopath are based upon that checklist. The following questions are asked as if evaluating your partner or someone you know, but you can also use them to evaluate yourself.

  1. Does the person shrug off important subjects with glibness? Does your partner exhibit superficial charm?
  2. Is the person self-centered with an inflated sense of self?
  3. Does the person need stimulation constantly or from more extreme experiences?
  4. Does the person lie to your or others?
  5. Does the person con or manipulate you or others?
  6. Does the person show a lack of guilt and/or remorse when he/she hurts someone?
  7. Does the person appear to have only shallow feelings or feel things superficially?
  8. Does the person have trouble empathizing with the pain of others? Is your partner callous towards others?
  9. Is the person in relationships where he/she uses others (i.e. parasitic relationships)?
  10. Does the person have poor control over his or her behaviour?
  11. Does the person display promiscuous sexual behaviour?
  12. Did the person have behavioural problems early in childhood?
  13. Does the person have a hard time making realistic, long-term goals?
  14. Is the person impulsive?
  15. Is the person irresponsible?
  16. Does the person refuse to accept responsibly?
  17. Has the person had many marital or significant relationships?
  18. Was the person a juvenile delinquent?
  19. Has the person been on parole and had that parole revoked?
  20. Is the person a criminal in many areas (a versatile criminal)?

When looking at the above signs and symptoms of a psychopath, you may wish to give each question a rating of 0, 1 or 2 corresponding to:

  • 0 – No, my partner doesn’t do that at all.
  • 1 – Yes, my partner does that sometimes.
  • 2. – Yes, my partner does that all the time.

When you tally up your score, then, you get a total out of 40. If the score is 30 or above, the chances are good that you are dating a psychopath (or, in the case that you did it for yourself, you are a psychopath). Remember though, professionals are specifically trained on how to assess each item and how to assign a value so your assessment will not be as accurate as theirs. If psychopathy is suspected, a professional who specializes in psychopathy should always be consulted for a proper diagnosis.

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