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How to Spot a Psychopath

Psychopathy is a dangerous condition with serious potential outcomes. Just ask any expert, like NYC domestic violence lawyers Tsigler Law, and they’ll be able to point out the type of damage a psychopath can inflict when they fly under the radar.

In order to better protect yourself, learning the traits and signals that are common among many psychopaths could help. Here’s what you should know.

What Is a Psychopath?

First, let’s define what we’re talking about. A psychopath, according to psychologist Robert Hare, is an individual who “lacks empathy, does not feel guilt, bores easily, and has limited emotional experience.” Psychopaths are all about themselves and the short-term, rarely focusing on long-term planning or other people’s needs.

That said, psychopaths are also charming, deceptive, and prone to masterfully manipulative tactics. This is part of what makes them so dangerous, and why it may be difficult for some people to pick them out, even when they are displaying obvious signs of their psychopathy.

Common Traits Psychopaths Share

Because psychopaths are generally manipulative, one thing that you can expect is that they’ll be good at sizing up your character, analyzing you for potential “weaknesses” and then playing upon those perceived weaknesses to exploit you.

For example, they may discern that you are a generous and trusting person, and so they will string you along to extract whatever material resources they can from you, knowing you’d give freely from the kindness of your heart.

If you aren’t careful, you won’t see their deceit coming, and part of this is because they have no qualms about telling blatant lies. Psychopaths will often just say what they know you want to hear, without any internal moral conflict, and this is because they lack a conscience.

If you manage to catch a psychopath in a lie, there’s but a slim chance they’ll own up to it. In addition to being arrogant and entitled, psychopaths are also incapable of guilt or shame. Like narcissists, they don’t feel remorse for their bad behavior. 

Taking it a step further, though, psychopaths know that what they do is harmful to other people and do it anyway because they enjoy it. To a psychopath, causing pain, confusion, and conflict is a delightful bonus added on to getting what they want.

Dealing With Psychopaths

Psychopaths are toxic individuals intent on dragging you down. It’s best to avoid them if you can, but if you have to deal with one, do so by neutralizing their go-to manipulation strategies. Show that you aren’t intimidated by them, keep from getting emotional, and check them on their lies at every available opportunity.