Sanctuary for the Abused

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Are You Involved With a Psychopath?



"Are You Involved With A Psychopath?"

Stop The Madness

By: Michael G. Conner, Psy.D, Clinical, Medical & Family Psychologist


For most of us the idea of a psychopath conjures up images from movies like "Silence of The Lambs" and characters with names like "Hannibal Lector." Fortunately characters like Hannibal don’t really exist. Serial killers and people involved in ritual torture are rare, but psychopathic behavior is more common than you might think.

I have known several psychopaths in my life. The clearest case involved an older teen who had no sense of guilt. He could learn the rules, but he had no sense of conscience. The only thing that saved him was a mother who loved him, took him to counseling for years and spent a great deal of time patiently teaching him right from wrong. I remember a conversation where he told me, "People know when something is wrong because it feels wrong. I have to remember or be reminded that stealing from someone is wrong. I don’t feel bad if I take something."

Meeting this young boy changed my opinion of a psychopathic personality. Why? Because children with this condition are "emotionally blind." And while I do not excuse cruelty or criminal behavior, I have sympathy and appreciate how hard it is for some people to learn how to act responsibly. Without help, potentially psychopathic children will become adults who never remain attached to anyone or anything for long. They may end up living a "predatory" lifestyle, feeling little or no regret, and having little or no remorse - except when they are caught or about to be locked up. And then they do feel bad - for themselves. They may marry but continue to have illicit relationships or promiscuous sex; the marriage is for appearances only. But they are prone to have problems with society, rules, expectations and relationships.

A psychopath will use people for excitement, entertainment, to build their self-esteem and they invariably value people in terms of their material value (e.g. money, property, comfort, etc..). They can involve and get other people into trouble quickly and they seem to have no regret for their actions. To date there is no checklist of behavior and symptoms that will tell you with certainty whether or not a person is a psychopath. But there are warning signs. The following warning signs are based on my experience but primarily research conducted by Robert Hare, Ph.D - the leading expert on the Psychopathic Personality.

Characteristics of a Psychopath

superficial charm

self-centered & self-important

need for stimulation & prone to boredom

deceptive behavior & lying

conning & manipulative

little remorse or guilt

shallow emotional response

callous with a lack of empathy

living off others or predatory attitude (taking advantage of others' trust)

poor self-control

promiscuous sexual behavior

early behavioral problems

lack of realistic long term goals

impulsive lifestyle

irresponsible behavior

blaming others for their actions

short term relationships

juvenile delinquency (some 'never caught')

breaking parole or probation, ignoring restraining or cease & desist orders

varied criminal activity (some 'under the radar')


The idea that psychopaths eat people is a myth. In reality, a person with a psychopathic personality can lead what appears to be an ordinary life. They can have jobs, get married and they can break the law like anyone else. But their jobs and marriages usually don’t last and their life is usually on the verge of personal chaos. They are almost always in some kind of trouble or they are not far from it.

A psychopath is usually a subtle manipulator. They do this by playing to the emotions of others. They typically have high verbal intelligence, but they lack what is commonly referred to as "emotional intelligence". There is always a shallow quality to the emotional aspect of their stories. In particular they have difficulty describing how they felt, why they felt that way, or how others may feel and why. In many cases you almost have to explain it to them. Close friends and parents will often end up explaining to the psychopath how they feel and how others feel who have been hurt by him or her. They can do this over and over with no significant change in the person's choices and behavior. They don't understand or appreciate the impact that their behavior has on others. They do appreciate what it means when they are caught breaking rules or the law even though they seem to end up in trouble again. They desperately avoid incarceration and loss of freedom but continue to act as if they can get away with breaking the rules. They don't learn from these consequences.

They seem to react with feelings and regret when they are caught. But their regret is not so much for other people as it is for the consequences that their behavior has had on them, their freedom, their resources and their so called "friends."

They can be very sad for their self. A psychopath is always in it for their self even when it seems like they are caring for and helping others. The
definition of their "friends" are people who support the psychopath and protect them from the consequence of their own antisocial behavior. Shallow friendships, low emotional intelligence, using people, antisocial attitudes and failure to learn from the repeated consequences of their choices and actions help identify the psychopath.

Psychopaths with low intelligence or a poor education seem to end up in jail more than ones with a higher education. The lack of emotional insight is the first good sign you may be involved with a psychopath. The second best sign is a history of criminal behavior in which a person does not seem to learn from their experience, but merely thinks about ways to not get caught.
So what happens to these poor kids if they don’t learn right from wrong? Parents with a child like this usually end up angry and frustrated. They will often shield their child from the consequences of their decisions and take the role of continuously trying to educate their child as to right and wrong. The child is always in trouble and doesn’t seem to learn. Their parents may begin to excuse their child's behavior believing their child will eventually "get it." When they don't, many parents resort to punishment. But what these children need is intensive guidance, instruction, training, choices, consequences and supervision. Severe and repeated punishment alone is the worst thing you can do. Letting a child like this run around unsupervised with violent and antisocial children is almost as bad. And child abuse is a sure way to create a social misfit or a monster.

There is a growing discussion among researchers to suggest there may be a genetic influence that creates a psychopathic personality. The psychopath may lack the ability to physically feel what others identify as the physical sensation of guilt. They can feel fear, anger, sadness in the moment but not guilt for what they did or what they are about to do. Some sociologists believe that a sexually promiscuous psychopath who can live off others is a survivor and may represent one of many genes for survival in the human species. Even more surprising has been the observation that many adult psychopaths do not seem to benefit from support, counseling or therapy and may in fact commit crimes again and sooner because of it. Research using brain scanning technology has revealed that the brain of a psychopath functions and processes information differently. One famous brain imaging study showed that psychopaths can remain calm looking photos of dead bodies in automobile accidents where as other people were clearly upset. They don't use their brain they way others do. This suggests that they may be physically different from normal people.

Are you involved with a psychopath? You may not know because they can be very charming and friendly until you get close and disappoint them. Don’t assume anyone is a psychopath based on their behavior alone. It is the pattern of their life and many other factors. Please don’t go around assuming or calling someone a psychopath just because they may have some of the warning signs. Get a professional opinion from a qualified mental health professional if you think you are involved with a psychopath.
 

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shared by Barbara at 12:36 AM


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12 Comments:

It's good that this information is becoming available. I am divorcing what I now realize is a psychopath. I had no idea. I knew things were bad, I knew there was something wrong - hell, I thought it was me - he said it was. 18 years with someone with no feelings.

12:32 PM  

That's awful. I suspect I am involved with someone who doesn't have real feelings. I have a bad feeling about him but can't quite work it out hence why I am looking at this website. Can you ellaborate on your experience?

7:08 AM  

"That's awful. I suspect I am involved with someone who doesn't have real feelings. I have a bad feeling about him but can't quite work it out hence why I am looking at this website. Can you ellaborate on your experience?"

um. The above comment by anonymous sounds like it's written by a psychopath wanting info on how to act and the right words to use so that they will have access to abuse others. Fake dr. vaknin, is that you? (How they use the word "feeling" so often. They don't KNOW.)

If you start paying attention, you will see this a lot. And if you try to point this out to them they will just change the way they act or learn a different way to milk us. They can NEVER GAIN ANY INSIGHT INTO THEMSELVES OR OTHERS. Words mean nothing to them. Words are just words.

Think of the robot from the movie "The Incredibles". How it quickly and simply learns and adapts to Bob's tactics. Nothing means anymore than the other. They just learn so as to gain access.

7:30 PM  

Yes exactly!!! I have called my husband of 23 yrs a Robot too!! His mom and dad and siblings are all robots. Memorized lines, truly boring people who are intimidated by emotionally intelligent people.
Superficial. Able to cut off a relationship with a blink. Stealing lying. I am divorcing him. They are tragic humans barely human.

5:12 AM  

In a relationship they make you feel as though you are the one with the issues when they are unable to develop intimacy. They are continual takers and give little to nothing back in terms of thanks or compromise. My ex husband who i believe is a psychopath has actually made it his mission in life to destroy me. We have two childen together and prior to me ending our 12 year relationship he did nothing with them unless asked to do a task. He treated us all as background noise. Now he is shacked up with our daughters teacher and has managed to give those people in thecfamiky court arena the illusion of father dearest as he has been able to fool them well. He has been cruel and psychologically abusive and because he is emotionally devoid he appears calm and reasonable. He has grandiose ideas of himself and his abilities and was always derisive of those who outranked him. Yes he is a policeman and has used his power against me too.
I hadnt realised how skilled a manipulator he was and what a grand liar he was untill we seperated
He used me and made me feel like i was going mad because of the kackbof genuine caringvlove and intimacy in the rellationship but i now know he was incapable. He learnt a few more skills .. bring flowers when ... happens but i knew he coukdnt actually feel remorse or kindness.
Thank god i got out and my friends saved me ..he didnt have any friendships and thatd a give away too. But its going to be a tough struggle to get my kids because others dont recognise him as a psychopath because they are skilked at presenting well on the outside.
Beware... i can spot them more easily now and body swerve big time

10:56 PM  

After 28 years of useless hell, I am almost out. Can't care less about this useless life form I was once married to. Can't care less who he is going to blame. I am going to be free and that is all that matters. I hope he wakes up and finds himself so alone. No one there to listen to him rant about HIM. No one to believe his lies. NO one to care for him. Just his cold, old ridiculous self. All alone. For ever. Yes. I am almost free.

9:32 PM  

I am divorcing a psychopath after 29 years of knowing something was not quit right but thought it was me. I am willing to give Him the hous to sell and he keep the profit just to be free of him controlling and dragging out every situation. The house won't sell well. Instead of fixing thing he alway s promised he wanted sex with me 24/7. Again thought thE robotic sex was my problem. I've left him have my own place and am healing. I do not wa.nt to pit another dime into the hous he waS always going to fix. It won't sell for enough profit that I want it . He does not want the divorce and has lied and manipulated when I finally did leave. We both have collaborative lawyers but his is like him. Never follows through. Is hard to reach and does not get back to my lawyer, thus costing us more money in legal fees. I know he would have to agree to refinance. The bank won't let me just take my name off. He did not pat the last two first mortgage payments so I had to scramble to pay. He is now paying. (It's only been one month all the 2. Nd mortgage and utilities. Those would (1/2) come out of my profit of resale ehich dwindles the longer it does not sell he is not living there and does not want to live there and neither do I. How do I end this. He may refuse offer just to stay in control. Thank you. You can email me at Sierramiles55@yahoo.com. Thanks.

11:03 PM  

Tell your lawyer to give deadlines and if or when he misses or doesn't show - charge him for your lawyer's fees and court fees. If he feels it in his wallet, I bet he stops soon.

8:55 AM  

I have been dating a psychopath for 2 yrs on and off. I didn't trust my instincts being my first relationship, even said we needed a break 2 wks in, but I was convinced it was always my fault and lack of experience. I was then raped while passed out, and convinced it was my own doing. Scared from this incident I continued to let it happen, and began to feel insane, allowing him to crush my spirit in every way possible. He even became suicidal, when my best friend took his life. The past yr especially has been hell, left me scared, isolated from everyone and unsure of what I should be doing or who I am. Any help?

8:25 AM  

Just a thank you to all...these comments and insights have been enormously helpful. I do not understand why I would stay 17 years married to someone who made my very existence all about him. I could write pages upon pages on my experience but realise that this is not necessary...I finally understand. I don't need anyone to pity my experience or understand what I have been going through...I know. My responsibility now is to make sure that I leave and I must say that this terrifies me!...at the moment he is calm but I know that this won't last. Wish me luck, I am going to need it!

6:18 AM  

Hi, I am in the same boat, only realised at the beginning of divorce and everything is exactly as described about psychopaths. Only people who have gone through same thing will understand. Everyday different story but at least once we know it is not us as I thought for years - we can now take steps to prevent the damage they create for this pleasure. Good luck with your divorce. I have choice to accept little and run or fight for my rights but that is the scary bit.

5:57 PM  

Im marred 22 years with a psychopath who may have a form of psychopathic autism formally called aspegers. He works in federal law enforcement and is a criminal. Wont go into details but he should be incarcerated. These type of individual s have no shame or feelings of empathy and they are remorseless. They have a shallow emotional intelligence and care about themselves first. They pretend to care but if you cross them they will cut you off like turning a light switch off. My husband has told me he can do this and calls it a protective behavior he learned early. He has been gaslighting me and usibg subtle emtional abuse in the form of sexual coertion. He moved to another state for his career abd it was durubg the time I had away from him that the Stockholm syndrome effect began to lift. I tried to end my life almost 2 years a go and this man showed no concern and act as if it bever happened. He rwfused yo pay the hospital co pay of 1 k because he thoufht I was going to divorce him anf the bill was in my name a lone. You cannot trust these ppl...I am afraid what will happen if I become ill since he doesnt care and its all pretend. They preyend all the while collecting information to use against you and thry share nothibg authentic. Its like being with a robot they are missing something The problem is if you come frim a family of origin with a narrsisitic parent like I did you will not see them for what they realmy are ubtil it too late. If you had a unhappy childhood its like they are sharks and can smell your blood. My teust is shattered but honestly I think that is good so I can spot these types in the furure. Morol of story is you cannot trust ANYONE. They are not all charmers thry use differebt tactics, some use sympathy playing the victim. While others are quiet and thoughtful. But the mask come off after they have you .. by then it may ve too late to cut and run esp if you have children with them. Get to kbow whoever you get involved with and the way ppl have sex so causally these days is dangerous. They use sex to hook you too and once you are hooked its so very hard to break free. I will be very careful who I let get close to me if im ever free of this menace to society.

3:28 AM  

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