When you picture a psychopath, usually, the image you think of is a weapon-wielding individual with a crazed look in their eye. That’s the image that popular culture has portrayed, but how accurate is that definition?
It’s not as simple as the stereotypical depictions you see in films and TV shows. One of the biggest myths about psychopaths is that they are all violent or criminal. In fact, you could be in the presence of a psychopath and not even know it. The term psychopath was coined in the 1900s when doctors noticed certain mental health patients who appeared neurotypical had what they called a “mental depravity”.
Psychopathy was conflated with sociopathy at the time. Since then, researchers have amended the definition of psychopath to refer to those who lacked a sense of ethics regarding others on a genetic level. Psychopaths also lack a conscience allowing them to manipulate others without feeling a sense of wrongdoing.
Although it’s not easy to detect a psychopath by judging their appearance, there are ways to determine whether someone may be a psychopath:
1. Lack of guilt
A psychopath will do what they please without consideration for how their behavior will impact others and without feeling a sense of remorse.
2. Lack of empathy
A psychopath is unable to place themselves in another person’s shoes or see things from their perspective if it is not beneficial for them. However, they are capable of mimicking empathy or sympathy by observing others.
3. Enjoy making others feel guilty
Another way to detect a psychopath is that they like to manipulate people’s emotions in order to get them to do what they want. They pick up small details about you, and once they build your trust, they will use the information against you.
4. Only value themselves
As long as they’re doing what they want and getting what they want, they couldn’t care less if the world goes up in flames.
5. Believe they are better than others
Psychopaths think they are better than everyone else and that is why they get away without feeling any guilt.
Another clue to detect a psychopath is that they will lie about anything to get what they want, but they will also lie even if it has no benefit for them. It gives them a false sense of power over everything.
7. Often well-liked
Psychopaths are able to get along with almost everyone. They are friendly and approachable which allows them to gain your trust and learn about you.
8. Lack of accountability for their actions
This is how they are able to manipulate and bend people to their will. They feel no responsibility whatsoever.