The term psychopath is frequently associated with a scary and easily identifiable villain you see in horror movies. But psychopaths aren’t always as aggressive or threatening in real life.
In fact, many of them are successful members of society and there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve come across one of them at some point and didn’t even realize it. Nevertheless, psychopathy is a severe form of anti-social personality disorder that affects a person’s mood, thinking, decision-making, and overall behavior.
An estimated 1% of the general population can be classified as psychopaths. They exist across different cultures and ethnic backgrounds. It is also possible to display multiple traits associated with psychopathy without qualifying as a psychopath.
And since many of these individuals learn to blend in and act like everyone else, you must learn to spot them so that you can protect yourself.
Here are 10 warning signs to look out for!
1 – Superficial Charm and Charisma
Psychopaths tend to appear rather engaging on the surface.
They’re often charming and good conversationalists who seem to know just the right things to say. While these people lack genuine empathy, they are typically skilled at faking prosocial behaviors such as flattery, kindness, and even sympathy.
They’re able to transform into a completely fabricated persona in order to influence others.
2 – Underlying Cruelty or A Mean Streak
That superficial charm and charisma tend to wear off with time, revealing an underlying coldness, and a psychopath will start to display frequent moments of cruelty or meanness.
They have a propensity toward discounting communication itself by inflating and distorting it for their own selfish objectives. This includes gossiping, biting comments, lashing out at others, or being entertained by hurting or embarrassing someone.
Cruelty and meanness are common characteristics of psychopaths, and they typically lead to a pattern of violating other people’s rights.
3 – Abnormal Ways of Thinking
Because their brains are wired differently, psychopaths are more prone to having abnormal thoughts.
As a result, they often make bizarre, odd, or off-putting comments and observations during regular, everyday interactions.
A psychopath may also give you a disturbing glimpse inside their twisted mind when talking about things they like, revealing that they have absolutely no regard for others.
4 – Need for Power, Control, and Dominance
Since psychopaths enjoy domination and control, many seek out positions of power and authority.
They are more likely to secure leadership positions in the corporate world where they can exert the most power over the highest number of people.
Psychopaths are often found among political leaders, CEOs, and managers.
5 – Calculated and Strategic Planning
When it comes to decision-making, psychopaths tend to be cool-headed and calculated.
They often plot out intricate schemes to deceive, manipulate, and take advantage of those who are inherently kind, generous, and trusting.
This makes them potentially dangerous since it’s difficult to predict what they’ll do or when they’ll make their move.
6 – Disregard for Rules, Laws, and Norms
Psychopaths do not adhere to the same ethical code as the rest of society, which is why they frequently engage in immoral or even illegal behavior.
These might range from minor offenses such as insulting comments or profanity to more serious ones, such as crime and violence. And while not all psychopaths are violent criminals, psychopathic traits are present in a large percentage of those who commit crimes, particularly violent crimes.
7 – Exploitation of Others for Personal Gain
When it comes to getting something they want, a psychopath will use, abuse, and exploit others.
The hunger for power, fame, wealth and other material gains drives them to extremes and they will go to any extent to obtain what they want.
They have no problem throwing anyone under the bus in order to advance, even if it’s someone who’s been of support to them.
8 – Lack of Accountability
Psychopaths are responsible for some of society’s cruelest, most violent, and atrocious acts.
But they rarely take accountability for their actions. They’re much more likely to place blame on others, make excuses, and attempt to justify their actions no matter how awful they may have been.
Even if they harm someone, a psychopath will not feel genuine remorse. They may not even be fazed by the consequences of their action when they get in trouble.
This makes them especially dangerous because they are less inclined to restrict their behavior based on fears of getting caught and feeling guilty afterward.
9 – Lies, Exaggerations, and Dishonesty
Pathological lying is a common trait among psychopaths. They easily exaggerate the facts to inflate their ego or sway others to think, feel, or do what they want them to.
In general, most people feel guilty about getting caught in a lie. But psychopaths lie guilt-free due to their lack of conscience.
In fact, deception is a common sign of anti-social personality disorder. It can even manifest as faking remorse, care, and concern for others.
10 – Detached Demeanor
Psychopaths do not have the same emotional wiring as ordinary people, which explains why they are generally cold, cruel, and relatively unconcerned.
Their brain structural abnormalities seem to restrict their capacity to experience a full spectrum of human emotions, making them less likely to experience strong feelings.
In settings where others are sad, upset, anxious, or excited, a psychopath may appear unusually detached or apathetic. Since many psychopathic individuals are pathological liars and master manipulators, spotting the signs can be challenging.
Nonetheless, when you have more frequent interactions with someone, it is more likely that their psychopathic traits will become more apparent.
What do you think?
Do you know anyone who has some or all of these traits?
Let us know in the comments below!