At the movies, it’s easy to spot the psychopath. He’s the one with the charm and the smile, the one who’s ready to stab you with a knife. But it’s not so easy when it’s everyday life – and we’re not trained as doctors or as psychiatrists. However, professionals have highlighted a few warning signs that might indicate that this could be a psychopath. They include:
• Playing on our sympathy: Psychopaths will use us, will hurt and rip us off – then heartlessly play to our sympathetic feelings - and we blindly believe them and tend to let them off. But if this happens often, it shows a lack of conscience so don’t be fooled by their cheap and empty words.
• Being manipulative: Psychopaths, in general, love to play with your emotions. They want you to jump, squirm, feel anxious or afraid.
• Being a parasite: The psychopath will use their charm and persuasion to get you to pay, or to meet their various needs. There’s rarely any benefit or payoff for you. You’re just being exploited – you’re a pawn in their hands.
• Being deceitful: They’re con men who’ll trick you and lie constantly. Their life is a deception; you can’t trust a word. But if you point to a snag in their tangled web of lies they’ll vehemently deny it, and jump to their defence.
• Highly charming: Psychopaths are usually charismatic characters. That is, they’re often mesmerizing, can pull in a crowd, and make a person feel like they’re a famous movie star. But it won’t last forever … they drop you and move on.
• Conceited: Psychopaths are caught up with themselves and their importance. They’re boastful, proud, haughty, heartless, arrogant – and like to undermine, criticise and put you down.
• Never accepting blame: The psychopath believes that they are never to blame - and they won’t accept any culpability.
• Being highly reactive: Although psychopaths can quickly cover up their anger, they will overreact to perceived slights and offences … or to insufficient deference, recognition and respect.
• Risk-takers: These types of individuals are extreme risk takers who draw in others to their games, schemes and plans. They’re hungry for power and they seek control – regardless of the risks or the danger this entails.
Note: Research indicates that psychopaths cannot be treated. So put up your guard and keep a healthy distance – and don’t ever form a relationship with them.