How to detect a psychopath? 10 features
Ten traits and behaviors that warn us of psychopathic personality.
It happens all the time.
How many times have we not heard on the news: an apparently normal man, who enjoyed a good reputation and had never aroused suspicion, is one day brought before the court to testify for a series of crimes that not even those closest to him would suspect he would be capable of committing. Someone who is fully integrated into the community becomes, overnight, a criminal..
This kind of thing can lead us to ask ourselves a macabre question:
Would I be able to recognize a psychopath?
Although psychopaths do not necessarily commit criminal acts or crimes, it is true that due to their characteristics they are capable of breaking the rules of coexistence just as someone isolated, desperate and without resources would do. However, psychopaths do have social resources: they are charismatic and know how to make a good impression. That is why, many times, identifying a psychopath who is about to carry out an illegality is complicated.
Detecting a psychopath
So, is it possible to identify psychopaths? Of course, "there's a long way to go" and, regardless of the characteristics listed in diagnostic manuals or the number of experts who claim that the unmistakable traits of psychopathy are "X" or "Y," the truth is that each psychopath has a different way of functioning in society.. And, of course, it seems that psychopaths willing to commit crimes learn every day to go more unnoticed.
What do psychopaths look like? 10 characteristic traits
However, there are certain tendencies and patterns of behavior that, based on statistics, make it somewhat more possible to detect a psychopath..... Here are 10 clues that experts often find useful.
1. No long term goals
Psychopaths tend to lead a lifestyle based on immediacy, so they worry about tomorrow.They tend to be relatively unconcerned about tomorrow compared to goals that are closer in time (especially if these are very primal and impulse-based). They tend to satisfy their most basic needs (hunger, sex, housing, etc.) so they do not tend to plan their future meticulously.
They may organize themselves to pursue an end that they consider important, but generally these goals always pursue short-term results. For example, a crime-prone psychopath might steal a luxury car to impress a girl and get her to get into it to sexually abuse her afterwards.
Let's get one thing straight: everyone lies. Some more, some less. However, a "small" or "white" lie is not the same as telling lies in a pathological way.
Psychopaths have a great facility to lie, and sometimes they do it to get what they want. sometimes do so to get what they want, even if it means harming other people, because they do not foresee the nature of the lie. they do not foresee the nature of the consequences of such lies. In addition, they always tend to justify and rationalize their actions.
The classical description of psychopaths characterizes them as people who do not feel bound by "contracts" or "pacts" with the rest of humanity..
This means that they have difficulty in repressing certain behaviors so as not to harm others. It is for this reason that they have the peculiarity of being sporadic in the jobs they perform, as well as constantly moving from one residence to another. In the life history of a psychopath, it is common to find that the jobs he/she held were performed for short periods of time.
4. Superficial charm and false adaptation
Psychopaths tend to function in everyday life with relative adaptability because they have cleverly learned to earn their way. they have cleverly learned to gain the trust of others with their false charm. false charm.
These attitudes are simply ploys employed to hide their true intentions. Such is the case of John Wayne Gacy "the killer clown" in which police officers were astonished after hearing neighbors refer to Gacy as a kind and courteous man. Or that successful businessman who politely shakes hands while engaged in money laundering in his company.
5. They do not establish long-term emotional bonds
This point is intuited in the previous ones. The sentimental instability is an almost unanimous characteristic in people who have been diagnosed with psychopathy.
6. They are problematic
The DSM-IV states that people with antisocial personality disorder are characterized by an inability to understand the norms and rules of society, as well as a general pattern of disregard and violation of the rights of others.
Psychopaths tend to be confrontational, and it is not surprising to find in their history that they have been convicted of a crime on more than one occasion.. They often get into trouble and whose punishments and consequences do not seem to matter to them at all.
7. They tend to live a parasitic life
Things that have to do with routine and responsibility (such as a legal and stable job, for example) are boring to them, so they prefer to lead a parasitical lifestyle. prefer to lead a parasitic lifestyle.. That is, living at the expense of others.
8. They are manipulative
Psychopaths have an incredible, almost innate capacity for persuasion and seduction, tools they often use to manipulate others to achieve their perverse ends.
They do not skimp on treating others as objects that they can use this charisma to get what they want, even if it leads to harm or damage to other people. That is why they they like to "relate" to people who are submissive and dependent in character to take advantage of or abuse them.
9. They lack empathy
This is probably the almost unequivocal characteristic of a psychopathic disorder in the person. Psychopaths do not have the ability to "put themselves in the other person's shoes", to feel what the other person feels.to feel what the other person feels. However, psychopaths can understand other people's emotions, identify what physiological changes a mood entails, and even mimic it.
For example, a psychopath will know that someone smiling is likely to feel happy, or someone crying is sad, yet these other people's emotions are unintelligible to them beyond their understanding of them on a theoretical level. They cannot understand the joy or Pain experienced by the other.
10. They do not feel fear, guilt or shame
Psychopaths do not regret their actions, as they lack a moral conscience since they live by their own set of values, doing what they consider necessary to satisfy their needs. However, they know how to use guilt against other "good" people and in their favor with an impressive mastery of manipulation.
On the other hand, psychopaths often look for actions that are exciting, which is why routine tends to bore them. This leads to the search for flashy and even reckless activities, as they do not experience fear and are not intimidated by anything or anyone.
Who to trust?
It is currently estimated that the number of psychopaths (their prevalence) could be in the range of 1% to 3% of the total world population. of the total world population. However, although only experts can diagnose and identify cases of psychopathy, there are lessons to be learned from all this. Among them, the fact that some human beings (albeit few in number) can go to great lengths to harm others, and not all of us have immovable moral brakes.
Dr. Ana Beatriz Barbosa Silva, for example, recommends that when we must decide whom to trust, we must keep in mind that the coherent combination of evil actions with frequent scenic games that appeal to pity are like "a luminous sign planted on the forehead of a person without conscience.". The combination of emotional manipulation and lack of impulse control can be very dangerous.
Despite this, of course, people with these characteristics are not necessarily serial killers, and perhaps not even violent. and perhaps not even violent. However, they are individuals with whom it can be very difficult to form emotional bonds and build a healthy, symmetrical relationship in which we can trust each other with our possessions, leave our children in their care, do business with them, or share secrets. After all, not all psychopaths are criminals, and not all criminals are psychopaths..
- Barbosa Silva, A. B. (2011): Mentes peligrosas. Madrid: Aguilar Fontanar.
- Marchiori, H. (2002): Psicología criminal. Mexico DF: Porrúa.