Signs of a Psychopathic Personality

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Jokingly we refer to our friends as psycho or as psychopathic, but do we really understand the meaning of the term?

A psychopathic individual appears to be highly appealing and charismatic on the surface but deep down has no morals and is self-centered.  He is generally deceitful, manipulative, and uncaring. Such a person normally suffers antisocial personality disorder, a broader mental health issue. The psychopathic behavior varies from person to person, some might be sex offenders, others murder while some might be successful leaders.

Common Traits of Psychopathy

  1. Narcissism: Psychopaths have an inflated view of themselves. They consider themselves to be the most important person and do not abide to the laws rather like to live by their own laws and rules.
  2. Superficial Charm: Psychopaths are excellent story tellers especially which make them look good. They are good conversationalist, may be funny and definitely charismatic.
  3. Impulsivity: They exhibit impulsive behavior. They do not spend time on thinking the risks or benefits of an act or choice.
  4. Callous, unemotional traits: They do not show genuine emotions. They appear cold and unemotional most of the time. However, to serve their purpose they can exhibit dramatic feelings without really feeling them.
  5. Lack of guilt: They do not feel guilty for causing pain or hurt to others. They rationalize their behavior and blame the other for overreacting.
  6. Lack of empathy: They do not understand how others feel sad, afraid or anxious. They are not able to read other people and are completely indifferent to other’s sufferings.
  7. Antisocial behavior: They do not consider themselves responsible for any problems in their lives. They rather blame others and find fault in others. They cheat, vandalize property, abuse substances, misbehave and become may become violent.

Some researches show that about 29% of the general population exhibits one or more psychopathic traits. However, not all individuals engage in psychopathic behavior. How to determine whether one is a psychopath or not? There are assessments tests called Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) which gauge the traits and behavior. The scores of these assessments predict if a criminal will re-offend or rehabilitate.

Causes Of Psychopathy

Several factors that have come to light for causing psychopathy are

  1. Genetics
  2. Neurological alterations
  3. Maternal prenatal risks
  4. Adverse parenting

It is seen that parental rejection, emotional deprivation, lack of affection flares up the underlying cause of psychopathy. There are links between childhood issues such as maltreatment, abuse, insecure attachments, frequent separations from caregivers, and psychopathic behavior. However, at times it is difficult to say if these childhood issues are the real cause or they have fanned the fire.

Psychopathy and Violence

It is a common notion that violence goes hand in hand with psychopathy but that is not really true. Hollywood and Bollywood have left an impression of psychopaths as violent criminals or murders. This is not the case always. There may be some very successful psychopaths who become leaders. Such psychopaths have higher raking in conscientious traits are able to manage their antisocial impulses hence do not end up as criminals.

Treatment and Coping

Treatment for psychopathy is person-specific. Depending on the traits and their intensity the treatment is given. Treatment may vary with the gender too. Female psychopaths tend to be less violent and need a different approach for treatment than a similar male psychopath. Psychopaths never realize that they are unwell and need help. It is the onus of their family members or close relatives and friends to identify these characters and take them for help.

Coping is required by the people surrounded by these psychopaths. They may have manipulated others into believing several issues that affect their mental well-being. In such cases, one should not hesitate in seeking professional help and guidance to overcome and achieve psychological wellness.

One thought on “Signs of a Psychopathic Personality

  1. Nice, crisp article, covering a lot.
    There is always a room to be more comprehensive.
    Keep up the good work.

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