I’m willing to bet that by reading this far to ‘check’ whether you “is-or-you-isn’t” indicates you couldn’t possibly fit the bill.
A Psychopath would have immediately dismissed the question as being completely inapplicable to themselves. Yawn. Eye Roll. ‘Next!’
Why? Because they wouldn’t care either way.
Contrary to popular belief, a Psychopath is rarely a knife-wielding ‘killer’ type (as portrayed in Hitchcock’s iconic nail-biter ‘Psycho’). Noooo. A psychopath is more so, the wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing. They’re getting around looking and ‘acting’ completely normal(ish). Until such time as they’re not.
David Gillespie has recently released a *book dealing with this subject, and says there are some key traits of a psychopath that become evident (to other normal[ish]? types..ha!) over-time:
- Oh-so-charming (at least at first while they’re trying to evaluate how useful you are to them and their agenda).
- Fluent and practiced liars (they’re so good at lying they don’t even recognise they’re telling flibbly-wats..!).
- Emotionally manipulative (they’re emotionally unaffected themselves, though they recognise they can sway others to their cause by playing ‘others’ emotional strings like marionettes…).
- Impulsive and apparently fearless (Consequences?! Bah!).
- Controlling and power-seeking (in fact this is what turn them on the most; POWER. Hence, apparently, there’s a considerable number of higher-ranking pollies who tick the Psychopath checklist; Game of Cards anyone?).
- Vindictive, aggressive and intimidating (they hold your gaze, use their body size, their heel height, their calculating brain to keep you in your place, or to pay you back for a perceived wrong against their mighty selves).
- Remorse and guilt? They have none (what a waste of emotional energy!).
- Blameless (no matter what balloon they’ve just busted, the fault is never, EVER, theirs).
Why are Psychopaths such A-Holes…?
Apparently, they trace it back to the brain.
During the psychopaths’ early development, the mirror neurons in the frontal lobe crucial to the development of empathy, never got the work out they needed.
Soo.. when people with psychopathy try to imagine others in pain, the brain areas that get triggered to enable us to feel concern and empathy, just don’t fire. No activity. Nada.
What does this mean?
This means that taking into account others emotions and needs doesn’t play into the psychopaths’ decisions. In fact, psychopaths see people around them as resources, to be used as leverage for their next big (power-mongering) project.
BUT, Gillespie has said… all is not lost.
In fact, if you are working alongside a Psychopath, or (horror) happen to be in a relationship with one, here’s what to do….
“Look after yourself.”
A psychopath wants your servitude, your loyalty and your resources. Exhausting, right?
So.. to come out the other end, keep your network close. Don’t let yourself be cut-off from your play mates, your friends or your family.
Also, work with structure. Acknowledge who and what you are dealing with. If you need to quietly plan your exit, do so. Though Gillespie warns you want to do this on the down-low, and without a fall-out (because, they’re vindictive rogues, remember..?).
“Try to think of the Psychopath in your life like a piece of enriched Uranium.”
Handling it poorly, or denying it’s presence altogether, “can have horrific consequences.” But if you are careful, keep your wits about you, and “design the system containing (the stinky uranium) well… it can produce enormous benefits.”
Until next week fair friend,
*David Gillespie’s new book: Taming Toxic People; The science of identifying and dealing with psychopaths at work and at home http://davidgillespie.org/