Psychopathy is a serious personality disorder. Psychopaths manipulate and act without feeling remorse. They lie, cheat and skillfully use their fellow human beings. They are very risk-averse and behave irresponsibly. Read how to recognize a psychopath.
What is psychopathy?
Psychopathy is considered an extreme form of dissocial personality disorders. The demarcation is scientifically not clearly defined. There are many overlaps between the two disorders. Both in psychopaths as well as in people with dissocial personality disorder, the persons show dissocial behavior. Experts believe, however, that psychopaths are more emotionally impaired. They use, for example, unrestrained aggression to exercise control over other people and to achieve their goals.
Psychopathy and crime
People with psychopathy are often indistinguishable from other people in everyday life. However, they can be very dangerous for society because they lack the ability to empathize with other people. They do not feel guilty about being anti-social or illegal. In prisons, the rate of psychopaths is very high. People with psychopathy are potentially considered the most dangerous offenders. Due to the lack of empathy, some of them are capable of extremely cruel acts of violence. However, not every psychopathic person becomes criminal. And of course not every criminal is psychopathic. Psychopathology occurs in Western societies about 1.5 to 3.7 percent of the population.
Master of manipulation
In dealing with other people psychopaths are very manipulative. They know how to use their charm. Their fellow human beings and professionals often lead them astray by playing guilt or empathy. Because they know very well which reactions are considered socially appropriate. Psychopaths, however, have no conscience that plagues them when they act immoral. The lack of emotions gives them the advantage that they can think through their actions very rationally. People with psychopathy quickly reach high occupational positions through this ability. Fear or doubt are foreign to them. They pursue their interests regardless of loss or impact on other people.
The symptoms of psychopathy are very similar to those of the dissocial personality disorders. In order to differentiate psychopathy better, the Canadian criminal psychologist Robert Hare has developed a test for the detection of psychopaths: the Psychopathy Checklist (PCL-R) It contains the following 20 criteria:
- cleverly articulated blender with superficial charm
- significantly increased self-esteem
- Need for stimulation (experience hunger), constant feeling of boredom
- pathological lying
- fraudulent-manipulative behavior
- Lack of remorse or guilt
- superficial feelings
- Cold feeling, lack of empathy
- Parasitic lifestyle: They live at the expense of others
- inadequate behavioral control
- frequently changing sexual contacts
- early behavioral problems
- Lack of realistic, long-term goals
- Lack of willingness / ability to take responsibility for one’s own actions
- many short-term marriage (similar) light relationships
- youth crime
- Disregard of ways and conditions / revocation of probation
- Compete various crimes and offenses in different ways
Each trait is rated 0 or 1 by the therapist or psychiatrist, and according to the total, he determines if the psychopath is present and how severe it is.
The dissocial personality disorder can not be adequately treated. Those affected see no reason why they should change themselves or their behavior. People who are mentally or physically ill, usually have a psychological burden and go to the doctor or therapist, so that this suffering is reduced. However, people with psychopathy do not feel sorry. In addition, they often lie and try to manipulate their fellow human beings. This and the insensitivity to other people make a relationship of trust with a therapist critical to the success of a treatment impossible. Even psychotropic drugs for the treatment of dissocial personality disorder seem to show no convincing effect.
People with psychopathy can often hide their illness well. They can mislead the therapist by pretending empathy. Psychopaths often have a strong inner urge to exercise power and power. This desire can not be erased in therapy. However, some psychopaths learn in therapy to better control this impulse.
Psychopathy and partnership
In the partnership, psychopaths are initially too good to be true. They are charismatic, give gifts and are often sexually active. As soon as possible, they lure the partner into a marriage. As soon as he gets involved, the relationship often changes radically. The psychopath no longer cares about his partner, some become aggressive and violent. People who are in partnership with a psychopath should definitely get professional support. People with psychopathy know how to manipulate their fellow human beings and often leave a lot of pain and suffering. The first painful but important finding is that people with psychopathy do not change their behavior.
Protection against people with psychopathy
Psychopaths encounter us in everyday life. It can be your own boss, partner or friend. Since people with psychopathy are difficult to identify, even for experts, it is important to take a close look. People who are overly self-confident, quick-witted, and superficially interested in others should be skeptical. It is particularly challenging not to be blinded by great promises or overwhelming speeches. People with psychopathy want to have absolute control over other people. Limiting boundaries and adherence can protect one from the bad influence of people with psychopathy.