15 Sneaky Signs of a Psychopath
That person may seem like your best friend with your best interests at heart. But that may just be what they want you to believe.
They’re not Hollywood stereotypes
People often associate the word “psychopath” with a menacing and easily recognizable villain in a Hollywood movie. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth, according to Psychology Today. The most chilling thing about psychopaths is most do not come across as violent or frightening like Hannibal Lechter or Norman Bates. Often they can seem perfectly normal and not exhibit any extreme or violent behaviors. Learn the state in America where you’ll find the most psychopaths.
They weaponize charm
Who doesn’t like flattery and attention? With laser beam focus, a psychopath hones in on his/her prey, seducing with compliments and praise to gain that person’s trust. A psychopath is like a black widow spider, laying out a web of sugar-coated deceit. Psychopathic cult leaders like Jim Jones and David Koresh are examples of master manipulators who had the uncanny ability to enrapture and ensnare susceptible people with words that slid right off their silver tongues.
They can be leaders
Psychopaths don’t have friends—only victims. Because they need to be in control, they can be both ruthless and charismatic and may end up in a leadership role; many CEOs have psychopathic traits, according to Business Insider. They see people as objects to use for their own personal gain, and they derive satisfaction from changing others into the distorted mirror image of themselves. Make sure you know these 9 types of anger.
They lie effortlessly
If you catch someone lying effortlessly and without flinching, be very alarmed. Psychopaths can pass polygraph tests because they don’t experience telltale reactions like an elevated heart rate when they lie. A University of Wisconsin-Madison study revealed that “psychopaths have reduced connections… between the part of the brain responsible for sentiments such as empathy and guilt, and the amygdala, which mediates fear and anxiety.” Study author Michael Koenigs, an assistant professor of psychiatry, says the study demonstrates “both structural and functional differences in the brains of people diagnosed with psychopathy.”
They’re outstanding actors
Psychopaths are the equivalent of method actors, and they will play whatever role they think you want them to play so they can use you. They get a thrill out of tricking people into believing that the image they project is real when really it is a mirage, according to Inc. They are skilled performers who hide behind masks and are adept at mimicking emotions they can never really feel. One of their known tricks is manipulating others into feeling sorry for them.
They prey on kindness
Extremely caring and sensitive people (“empaths”) are particularly vulnerable to being preyed upon by psychopaths. “Empaths’” tend to be in helping professions such as teaching or nursing, and psychopaths take advantage of their kind and giving nature. “Empaths” exemplify everything in a heightened way that the psychopath is not. Psychopaths lack empathy, and they set out to target and destroy those who can.
They will cheat
Psychopaths are serial cheaters in romantic relationships. They are only after power and sex; love is important (though a psychopath excels at faking love). Because they can’t form real bonds with others, psychopaths will quickly go through friends and lovers without feelings of remorse, according to Psychology Today. Psychopaths are disloyal, impulsive, and are typically promiscuous. Make sure you know these 9 signs of a toxic relationship.
They will gaslight
This insidious tactic gets its name from the 1944 film Gaslight: Ingrid Bergman plays the wife of a man who slowly convinces her she is paranoid and unwell. He dims the gaslight while convincing her she is imagining it, forcing her to question her own sanity. This tactic, also known as “crazymaking,” is instinctively used by psychopaths and narcissists to control and manipulate others. Gaslighting leaves people feeling worn down, confused, ganged up on and defenseless; an unstable person is easier to control.
Psychopaths are in love with beauty, power, and social status. As extreme narcissists, they often suffer from delusions of grandeur. They believe that only certain “exceptional” people can understand them and deserve to be graced by the psychopath’s presence. John M. Grohol, PsyD, writes on PsychCentral that, “A delusion of grandeur is the fixed, false belief that one possesses superior qualities such as genius, fame, omnipotence or wealth.”
They know how to love bomb
You’re being bombarded by attention and gifts—it’s tempting to believe this person truly adores you. In a column for Psychology Today, Suzanne Degges-White, PhD, describes a phenomenon she calls love bombing as “the practice of overwhelming someone with signs of adoration and attraction.” It’s natural to indulge the fantasy of sudden, intense, and undying love—but it’s not healthy or realistic. Psychopaths tend to knock down our boundaries and our common sense. Real love is not sudden, confusing and drama-filled.