In a world where we hear about shocking experiences committed by someone close to us, it is difficult to understand exactly what happened. Often the path to destructive behavior seems subtle and gradual and we don’t realize until after a significant tragedy that the individual was experiencing some significant mental health struggles.
Particularly when the behavior seems psychopathic, it becomes important that those who are witnessing it are aware and hopefully can prevent the destructive impact of someone who just doesn’t appear to have a conscience.
I recently read an article by Rachel Despres that summarized some symptoms to be aware of someone who may be psychopathic. Click here for the link to the article.
Characteristics of a Psychopath
- Charming – they make good small talk and have a quick and engaging wit
- No guilt or remorse – they have no sense of responsibility if they hurt someone
- Arrogant and narcissistic – they believe they are the center of their universe
- Promiscuous – they have several relationships at once and brag about their sexual exploits
- Manipulating – they use flattery or guilt trips to get their needs met
- Constant need for stimulation – they engage in risky behaviors that may endanger them or someone else
- Pathological lying –they lie even when they do not need to
- Limited range of emotions – they seem cold and unemotional and are only able to mimic normal emotions
- Irresponsible – they will not accept responsibility for their consequences and usually blame others
- Lack of empathy – they are numb to the pain they create
- Impulsive – they often act without thought of consequences for their immediate gratification
- Poor behavior control – they are prone to angry and aggressive outbursts
- Behavior problems when young – some of the same behaviors were apparent when they were growing up
- Criminal versatility – they are habitual criminals and commit several different kinds of crime
Understanding the Trauma That Could be Behind this Disorder
We all need to be careful that we are not quick to assume that someone who demonstrates one or more of these behaviors is a psychopath. However, I think it is helpful to have a reference point for someone’s behavior that could be potentially dangerous to those around them.
As these characteristics are detected, it is important that we realize what the potential is for harm and destruction to themselves and others. It is obvious that someone who lives in this psychological condition needs significant and long-term therapy and may be a trauma victim themselves.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO