Sanctuary for the Abused

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Strange Pathological Behavior

The following behaviors are probably more common amongst pathologicals (narcissists & psychopaths/sociopaths) than non-pathologicals

NOT ALL will apply to any individual pathological. Only a couple are needed!

1. Has no conscience.

2. Manipulates people by "pulling strings" or "pushing the right buttons" .

3. Is perceived to be "sticky", "slimy" or "slippery". Even "charming."

4. Is a "control freak".

5. Is a "serial bully". Has one main bully target at a time. Once he loses control of that bully target, he feels compelled to find another bully target very quickly to sink his claws into.

6. Has an exaggerated sense of self-importance, thinking that the world revolves around him. Also that when thwarted - it's a conspiracy against him.

7. Is a "fantasist". (Lives in fantasy world but blends in to the real world)

8. Glares at people with piercing but dead eyes. (Can be mistaken for attraction)

9. Would unexpectedly say very hurtful things. Confuses sarcasm with humor.

10. Consistently apportions blame to others when things go wrong, regardless of how logically an explanation was given - "whipping boy" - "fall guy".

11. Twists and distorts facts to his advantage.

12. Jekyll and Hyde personality. (Incidentally, Robert Louis Stevenson's fictional character was inspired by a real life psychopath that he had met but obviously the fictional character was an exaggerated version.)

13. Applies his distorted sense of reality (psychosis) to others, accusing them of faults and weaknesses that are actually his own. This is known as "projection".

14. Inability to accept responsibility or blame for his actions. He is always "in denial".

15. Can get vicious if cornered. (Narcissistic Rage)

16. Spin a "web of deceit".

17. Has a "hidden agenda".

18. Has a "selective memory" - remembers your mistakes but forgets his own.

19. Seldom plans for the long and medium terms, believing himself to be immune to the consequences of his own actions.

20. Takes the credit for other people's work. Can also claim other's lives & credits as their OWN!

21. Demands absolute loyalty. Only likes you if you do exactly what he wants, therefore attempting to reinforce manipulation.

22. Tries to make you feel guilty ("the guilt trip") if you protest about doing what he wants you to do. For example, saying to you "You are causing me so many problems because of your selfishness."

23. Often exhibits an unusually high level of charm. Commonly uses flattery (love bombing) to win people over so they can be manipulated.

24. May have an impenetrable veneer of charm, or "superficial politeness", that makes it very difficult to ask pertinent or searching questions that would reveal his true self. For example, he may constantly crack jokes or dwell on pleasantries with no substance. A psychopathic veneer of charm may manifest itself in organizations by using glossy brochures and marketing that portrays things in an idealistic way that has little bearing on reality - "charm offensive".

25. Happy to dish out criticism or abuse - not happy to receive criticism or abuse - "do as I say, not as I do".

26. Makes an audible noise when walking around, such as humming, whistling, singing, making duck-noises or clicking fingers.

27. Uses frequent hand movements when talking.

28. Gives you a sense of being "talked at" rather than being "talked to" when engages you in conversation.

29. Inability to understand irony.

30. He can't be trusted. Breaks promises and breaches matters intended to be in confidence.

31. Stabs you in the back. Lies about you to others and vice versa.

32. Fakes sincerity with great conviction. For example he may be profusely apologetic, if he is caught red-handed doing some misdemeanor, but then do the same misdemeanor the next week if he thinks he can get away with it. He is incapable of a sincere apology.

33. Lacks tact.

34. Is not a team player - he acts autocratically.

35. Is two-faced.

36. Hates people who are more talented than he is as it shows up his own inadequacies which he may in turn "project" faults onto that person. (i.e. they are ugly; fat; stupid; liars; etc)

37. Flies into a rage over a small problem - "nit picking".

38. Lacks any kind of personal depth.

39. Has a beaming, charismatic and even messianic smile.

40. Gets others to do his dirty work - "attack dogs" or "hatchet men"

41. Changes the rules frequently but denies the inconsistency.

42. May plunge into detail about something without appreciating that you don't know the context.

43. May express anger because you don't know something that he assumes you know but there is no reason why you should know it and no-one has told you.

44. Interprets criticism of himself (even constructive criticism) as a personal insult or personal attack.

45. Expresses anger at emotional outbursts from others.

46. May use the word "I" or "me" or "my" frequently in conversation and with emphasis.

47. May use expressions such as "I'm just looking after number one" or "I was just following orders" as an excuse to justify abuse.

48. Rarely gets depressed.

49. Is more concerned about the welfare of an inanimate object than a human being. For example, if he witnesses a person colliding with an inanimate object and hurting themselves, he may be more concerned about possible damage to the inanimate object.

50. Likes to find out about or observe other pathologicals. For example, likes to watch Hollywood action films with psychopathic characters or read books about pathological historical characters such as Napoleon.

51. Never remembers his own emotional outbursts or denies having them.

52. Sees things in black or white - something is either all "good" or all "evil".

53. Lectures you endlessly until you agree. For example, think of the tendency of dictators to give speeches that go on for hours - this is "extreme lecturing".

54. Unusual or abnormal sense of direction.

55. Has little interest in making any effort to make you feel comfortable, unless he is manipulating you.

56. They can express remorse when they lose control of someone they are abusing. This is just a form of self-pity as they now have to go to the trouble of finding, "luring" and "grooming" a new target.

57. Makes forced loud laughter - belly laugh

58. Excessive use of makeup. Preening. Excessive touching of hair. Proud of appearance - beard, hair, etc.

59. Often attributes others to saying things about them, for example, "My mother says that I have the most lovely hair." or refers to himself in the third person.

60. Inability to say thank you. Inability to return a compliment. Inability to reciprocate or acknowledge an act of kindness.

61. May make or be seen to make token acts of kindness, for example donations to charity. However these acts are not sincere and are intended just to reinforce their pretense of being a good person or as some form of manipulation.

62. Has an abnormal "startle response" - doesn't jump or startle when we would. This is documented by professionals, but not well known among the public. Rarely do they blush or feel embarrassed.

63. Abnormal sense of smell. Psychopaths may not smell things we can or not as well as we can (olfactory sense). This seems to be verified by research of psychosis variations.

64. Normal people may sense or feel the presence of "evil". It permeates from them. We react with nausea, fear, and we deny & excuse it and often say "Oh, he doesn't mean that". It is often intangible and something we can't really define.

65. Loves giving explicit details of gory operations or violent incidents that he has heard about, for example in films or on TV.

66. Thinks that normal rules of society don't apply to him - he is somehow exempt. He is not concerned with right or wrong for his own actions - only with whether he can get away with doing something without being caught. However he may insist that others adhere to strict rules of his making.

67. Dislikes plants, gardens, etc.

68. May show an odd or abnormally high fascination with fire, weapons, drugs, sex or alcohol.

69. Throws out items normally kept. Has no items or discards any with only 'sentimental connections'.

70. May have a commanding physical presence.

71. Drives recklessly

72. Homophobic / Racist (angry/protests about gays and other races).

73. Obsession with neatness and even personal cleanliness.

74. May be cruel to animals (for example, stamps on worms)

75. Thinks that it is necessary for someone else to fail for him to succeed. He will often make sure that someone fails by using deceit. A psycho manager may engineer failure in an employee by overloading with work or setting impossible deadlines.

76. Fascination with body function of bowel movements. Likes jokes about them.

77. Has a thing about cleanliness. They have to be cleaner than clean.


(the male gender has been used but females can also be pathological)

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shared by Barbara at 12:05 AM



Thanks for posting this list of psychopathic and narcissistic behaviors, Barbara. It's very interesting as well as useful.

A few comments. I'm glad you attributed it to the source (though I don't know where the Bully site got it from). However, I noticed the original introduction had been edited. In particular, a line was added reading "Only a couple [of these behaviors] are needed." That could be misleading, when the predictive power of these traits differs widely from one to another.

On the one hand, a number of them spell trouble of some kind whether or not the subject is clinically a psychopath or a narcissist. Refusal to accept responsibility, living in a fantasy world, raging, persistent deceit and many others fall into this category. In contrast, at the other end of the scale, some of these behaviors by themselves may mean nothing at all. In particular I'd single out such things as "whistling or singing," "rarely being depressed" (what's wrong with being naturally cheerful?), and "using frequent hand movements while talking." Hey, just being Italian doesn't make anyone a psychopath!

Many other behaviors fall somewhere in between: "making jokes about bowel movements" (an addition to the original), "obsessions with cleanliness," "not appreciating that you don't know the context of what's being said" (which could be accidental), "tactless" (some people just are), and so forth. These and other traits can be anything from quirky to objectionable, but don't have to make a person "bad" or even necessarily hard to live with.

I also liked the original introduction for another reason: it directed attention specifically to psychopaths, while noting that "narcissists have similar behaviors." This is significant because one or two of these traits, as curious as they are--different sense of smell, lack of startle response--undoubtedly reflect physiological differences. While people in general can be abusive for all kinds of reasons springing from their environment and upbringing, odd traits like these bear out what other research has indicated: that psychopathy in particular seems to be a congenital condition, caused by differences in brain structure.

If some additional comment is needed, I'd suggest something along these lines: that "Some of these behaviors by themselves can indicate an abusive personality, whether or not the person is a psychopath."

5:46 PM  

One matter of interest on this list: whoever compiled it originally claimed that Robert Louis Stevenson's Jekyll and Hyde was inspired by a real life psychopath he'd actually met. To the best of my own knowledge, Stevenson's novel was not based on anyone he'd met in person. However, he did take inspiration from the life of Deacon William Brodie, a notorious figure in the Edinburgh of the previous century.

Born and raised in Edinburgh himself, Stevenson must have heard the tales of Deacon Brodie's exploits from an early age. As a teenager he wrote a play about Brodie. Later, with the help of a collaborator, he revised his script and put it into production. His Jekyll and Hyde was also based on the same idea of a man leading a double life, as Brodie did. Outwardly a respected tradesman and a pillar of Edinburgh society, by night Brodie was a burglar, besides maintaining two mistresses along with his wife and all their respective children, none of whom knew anything about the others.

William Roughead, also an Edinburgh man, wrote in his own account of Brodie's life that while Stevenson's play "ought to be so much more effective than it is, Stevenson... has touched his hero to better purpose in other of his writings." Roughead's allusion here to Jekyll and Hyde shows the source of that work's inspiration was a well-known fact in his own circles. Roughead was sixteen years old when Stevenson's novel was published.

It's always educational to review the behavior of people we know or have heard about in the light of later knowledge about human nature. In this instance it's easy to see in retrospect how Brodie fits the classic model of a psychopath. He was born in 1741 to a respectable and affluent family. When his father died in 1782, Brodie inherited the sum of ten thousand pounds--a fortune in those days equivalent to several million dollars today--along with considerable house property in prime locations. Besides all this, Brodie was a skilled cabinetmaker with a profitable business, a deacon in his trade guild and a member of the Edinburgh town council, moving in the town's best social circles. He had everything he needed to make a rewarding and comfortable life for himself and his family. Yet he turned to crime in spite of all these assets he was blessed with.

But Brodie was an inveterate gambler, his favorite sports being cards, dice and cockfighting--and obviously a womanizer too, judging by his preference for a polygynous lifestyle. Unfortunately the way he treated these women is not recorded. Despite playing at times with loaded dice (and cheating at cards too, I dare say), all these pleasures cost him plenty.

It would be conventional to say his gambling losses and the burden of maintaining multiple households were what "drove" him to criminal means of subsidizing his way of life. However, looking at this instead through the lens of the psychopathic personality, it's easy to see how all of this--the crime, the gambling, even juggling three households while maintaining an outward facade of perfect respectability--sprang from the same psychopathic attraction to risk-taking and thrill-seeking--with never a qualm of conscience about any of it.

Brodie's trade as cabinetmaker gave him access to some of the wealthiest homes in Edinburgh, where he was also conveniently responsible for installing and repairing door locks. His craftsmanship was top quality. None of his clients suspected that this thoroughly professional (not to mention affable) man was exploiting these opportunities to take impressions of their keys in putty. Some time later they'd receive a follow-up visit from Brodie, this time at night, in secret. With a psychopath's ability to simulate emotion convincingly, Brodie of course was the first to express his shock and deepest sympathy when they later told him how their valuable property had vanished overnight.

His psychopathic skill at deceiving people had everyone so well fooled that nobody dreamed he was the man behind all their losses. He was only caught because he pushed his luck too far, by taking on an associate in 1786 and two more the following year to conduct still more ambitious robberies. In 1788, one of these accomplices turned King's Evidence for the sake of a reward and a pardon for his part in their crimes. The town was astonished to discover the identity of the archthief. Brodie fled and got as far as Amsterdam before he was caught hiding in a cupboard and extradited back to Britain. He stood trial for his thievery and by the law of those times was sentenced to hang, along with another of his accomplices. Reputedly he met his death with the same careless attitude toward danger that he'd shown in life. At the scaffold, one of the magistrates who knew Brodie well (or thought he did!) remarked that he was sorry to see him there. Brodie could only say with a shrug, "What would you have? It is la fortune de la guerre." An intriguing villain, to be sure--but one to be appreciated from a distance, not a man we'd want lurking around our own back door with a duplicate key in his hand to match his own duplicity.

Thanks again for this article, Barbara!

5:50 PM  

It is refreshing to read these characteristics, as they defend my decision to break up with my boyfriend 2 years ago- he exhibits 90% of these characteristics.

Unfortunately, he is still in my life as we travel in many of the same social circles in the same city. Do you have any advice as to how I should handle these occasional run-ins? I have been civil and sometimes friendly, but lately I've decided not to speak to him b/c anything more seems to lead him on. He's quite delusional.

Thank you.

12:31 PM  

Anonymous - cordial but distant. Nothing more than hello & goodbye.

That's it.

10:59 PM  

I'd love to see a list warning women and men of female psychopaths.

I think many of the traits would be the same.

9:03 AM  

psychopaths are psychopaths!

I remember the beginning of my journey, and I would look at lists? Some factors applied and some didn't.

I'm glad you pointed out ALL points don't need to be present!

If someone hadn't pointed that out to me way back when? I'm sure in my black and white world I never would have figured it out myself.

Your lists are awesome, and so validating to those on the hunt to learn what is wrong....

9:34 AM  

"Rarely gets depressed." This was a big reason I thought everything was my fault. He would start fights, then go to work, and all day long I was upset, depressed, and he'd come home and be happy. I thought I was a loser, too emotional. Nope, just poked like a bear in a cage then once he got me all destroyed, he was gleeful.

By the way Barbara, this was another of the pivotal articles from this website that opened my eyes a little further. The making sounds (duck quacking etc) is just a way to get attention. A reaction out of another person.

11:03 PM  

This leads me to confirm even more deeply that my husband is a psychopath. Only thing that he didn't share in this list was the one about the plants/gardens.
He LOVED his garden and never failed to tell me how much more important that was to him than I am.

5:49 AM  

Another trait psychopaths have is that they think that you or ANYONE in their realm somehow exists because they "created" them.

I don't know how to explain this but if they "notice" you are alive, whether it's because they find you attractive, irritating, whatever, they TRULY believe that you exist because of them! YES! IT'S INSANE, but this is how they think. The God Complex is a term used sometimes to describe psychopaths, and it's apt.

I remember reading an advice column years ago and the woman who wrote in said that whenever her ex-husband would come over to her house, he would come in the door and strut around acting like he owned the place, posturing and posing. She said that they'd been divorced for years and she was remarried and this was her house with her second husband. The columnist had no clue how this man could have felt justified to act this way. But guess what? Once you let us know about psychopathy instead of trying to "understand" these people using the same brain processes that non-psychopaths have, it all makes so much sense! They really think they are GOD! There is no way to change the way they think although they may "parrot" the phrases we teach them to say but it does nothing to change what they really think. And that is that really believe that they are GOD!

And this goes for a homeless, jobless, pediphile psychopath. THEY REALLY BELIEVE THAT THEY ARE GOD!

8:25 PM  

This is another GREAT way to bring a psychopath out into the open. Grab a camera. Many of them LOVE to be worshipped in this way.

Watch most shows that have an audience. It is grotesque and amazing how the psychopaths will blatantly stand and stare or perform in front of a camera (even in this generation when you can post all you videos on-line). It is never enough. They are never satisfied.

11:51 PM  

It's so upsetting that i am living with a psychopath. An abusive one. I wish i could wake up tomorrow morning and be in my own house doing what makes ME happy. I just want one month of serenity.

9:52 PM

2:02 AM  

The pity play. Martha Stout talks about this in her book. But this is ALWAYS right under the surface with their anger.

A psychopath I knew was always telling her "personal" stories. They always ended in how she was either the hero or the victim. I was always amazed at how she had overcome so much trauma and tragedy until I hadn't been around her for several years. It was after seeing her after this long lapse that I realized these weren't her stories at all but bits and pieces of others horrific stories. What opened my eyes to this was that she seemed to forget that many of them had happened to ME! I never knew what was wrong with her, and I didn't confront her either as she always just weaved into another lie. One thing that she always did was that if I was concerned or compassionate over another persons struggles, she always interjected with "Oh, it's not that bad for them, they have this or did this...." and then she'd turn the focus and empathy back onto herself.

I now know this is VERY typical for one who has the brain functioning of a psychopath. There could be babies crying, people being raped and stabbed and they would still insist that THEY were the ones that needed sympathy.

12:26 AM  

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