4 warning signs to help you spot a psychopath

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I think we all agree that a relationship with a psychopath does not contribute to a happy life. If you’re not careful, they may have the ability to completely destroy your life.

But how can you work out whether someone is a psychopath?

The problem that arises for many people is that they can appear normal, even charming.

However, underneath, he/she lacks conscience and empathy, making them manipulative, volatile and often (but by no means always) criminal.

Contrary to what most people think, psychology has done a lot of research on psychopaths and antisocial personality disorders.

What is a psychopath?

From Almost a Psychopath: Do I (or Does Someone I Know) Have a Problem with Manipulation and Lack of Empathy?

“Psychopathy is a psychological condition in which the individual shows a profound lack of empathy for the feelings of others, a willingness to engage in immoral and antisocial behavior for short-term gains, and extreme egocentricity.”

Here are some signs of a psychopath.

1) Extreme arrogance

They think they’re God’s gifts to humanity. They’re a master at everything, constantly making unrealistic claims regarding their potential.

It’s important to remember that this isn’t just normal arrogance. This arrogance is beyond anything you’ve likely encountered before.

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.”

2) Manipulative

They feed off manipulating others. It gets their juices flowing.

Sure, they want to manipulate you to get what they want, but it’s the actual act of manipulating that turns them on.

No one is safe from their manipulation, and they’ll take it as far as they can to get what they want.

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.

3) No remorse

Forget about guilt or regret. They have trouble showing emotion, and won’t experience any emotional feeling that they’re doing something wrong.

A lack of guilt is usually coupled with passing the blame to others or denying responsibility.

Even when someone confronts them about what they’re doing, they’ll constantly create rationalizations for why they did what they did. The truth doesn’t matter.

Psychopaths lack empathy, and they set out to target and destroy those who can.

4) Initially charming

This is where a lot of people get tripped up as it makes them hard to spot.

Even though they struggle to understand emotion, they have become experts at pleasing people to get what they want.

So initially they’ll draw you in, however they’ll lack the ability to keep the relationship going.

According to Reader’s Digest, a psychopath hones in on his/her prey, seducing with compliments and praise to gain that person’s trust.

How to Deal With a Psychopath

So, considering the above 4 traits, what’s the best way to deal with a psychopath? Here are 4 tips:

1) Don’t

Yep, it’s that easy. Don’t deal with them!

However, it isn’t always that simple. If you can’t get away from them, the best thing to do is to not join in playing their games. Resist the temptation to compete or even banter with them. Instead focus on protecting yourself.

From The Sociopath Next Door:

“Do not join the game. Intrigue is a sociopath’s tool. Resist the temptation to compete with a seductive sociopath, to outsmart him, psychoanalyze, or even banter with him. In addition to reducing yourself to his level, you would be distracting yourself from what is really important, which is to protect yourself.”

2) Accept that some people are bad news

Yes, we’ve all heard the phrase that everyone has some good in them, or that every person can be fixed. But that won’t fly here.

Instead, accept that these are deeply ingrained antisocial personality traits and you won’t change them.

From The Sociopath Next Door:

“The first rule involves the bitter pill of accepting that some people literally have no conscience… Do not try to redeem the unredeemable.”

It’s more useful to get to know yourself and where your vulnerabilities lie, because a psychopath will go after them.

3) Pay attention to actions, not words

This is a huge one. Don’t listen to their excuses or lies. Pay attention to what they actually do.

One lie may be a misunderstanding. Two may involve a serious mistake. But three lies says you’re dealing with a liar and it’s time to move away.

From The Sociopath Next Door:

“One lie, one broken promise, or a single neglected responsibility may be a misunderstanding instead. Two may involve a serious mistake. But three lies says you’re dealing with a liar, and deceit is the linchpin of conscienceless behavior.”

4) Win-win agreements.

Psychopaths are aggressive personalities. They want to win. If you can make it so it’s easier for them to work with you rather than against you, you might be able to keep their ruthlessness in check.

From In Sheep’s Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People:

“When you bargain with any aggressive personality, try to propose as many win-win scenarios as you can. Doing this is extremely important and requires creativity and a particular mind set. But in my experience, it’s perhaps the single most effective personal empowerment tool because it puts to constructive use the aggressive personality’s determination to win.”

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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