In the early 1800’s, doctors who worked with mental patients began to notice that some of their patients who appeared outwardly normal had what they termed a “moral depravity” or “moral insanity” in that they seemed to possess no sense of ethics or of the rights of other people. The term psychopath was first applied to these people around 1900. The term was changed to “sociopath” in the 1930s to emphasize the damage they do to society. – Psychology Today
Psychopathy has quite an interesting history, as this passage above demonstrates. The truth is that psychopathy, or sociopathy, is a real condition encompassing real people. Furthermore, sociopaths that act upon their disturbing impulses are a real threat to society.
We need look no further than the horrific incident that occurred in Orlando. What would motivate someone to commit such wide-scale carnage? While all the details may not yet be clear, there is one inference: the shooter was almost assuredly a psychopath. Where others saw a place of dancing, laughter and love; the shooter saw a place where he could: (1) demonstrate his allegiance to a terrorist organization, and (2) cold-bloodedly murder good people that happened to live differently.
*As a side-note, this writer’s thoughts and prayers are with anyone reading affected, directly or indirectly, by this horrific incident.
Are all people with sociopathic tendencies violent? Of course not. Just as not all alcoholics consume alcohol. It’s the propensity – the chance upon which one will act a certain way – that makes sociopaths potentially dangerous.
Are there signs that someone may be a psychopath? Most definitely.
Here are 5 signs you’re dealing with a psychopath:
1. A condescending, disingenuous attitude
This is kind of interesting: a psychopath usually won’t yell or scream when they’re in an argument or upset. Instead, they’ll attempt to summon your anger through their facial expressions and arrogant tone. But this is for certain: they want to see an emotional outburst from you. Why? Because they get a twisted satisfaction from it; a sense of conquest and superiority…even if they may physically or verbally indicate the opposite.
2. They seek undeserved pity and sympathy
Psychopaths love playing on other people’s emotions. As mentioned, they get strange enjoyment out of it. In the world of a psychopath, playing on someone’s emotions is an effective way to manipulate them for personal gain (e.g. money, attention). They’ll often tell, at best, severely distorted tales that tug on our heartstrings. Maybe they’ll drone on about an abusive ex, stories of impoverishment, and so on. It goes without saying that these attempts continue until they get what they want. They also have a voracious need for attention.
And although psychopaths innately dislike people, they have a voracious need for attention. Of course, once they’ve received the attention yearned for, they’ll put their manipulative and self-serving plan into action. While those that love to start drama do so for the emotional high, a psychopath does it for (surprise, surprise) personal gain.
3. A history of lying and excuse-making
A psychopath is almost always a liar with a tendency to make excuses. If you criticize how they’re acting, they’ll come up with some kind of reason – generally criticism of your purported behavior. They’ll always rationalize their self-serving, manipulative behavior while never working to improve it. Why improve something that is already perfect?
4. They will purposely ignore you
This is especially true for those who are in a relationship with a psychopath. Again, they are experts at manipulating behavior – and it only makes sense that they’ll actively find ways to damage your self-esteem. One way they do this is by ignoring the very people that care for them, particularly their significant others. This gives psychopaths a sense of superiority and, of course, garners unmerited attention…which leads us to number 5…
5. You are (or feel like) a different person emotionally and mentally
Interacting with a psychopath over a duration of time can lead to feelings of confusion and discombobulation of your own mental and emotional state. Just ask someone that’s been in a relationship with one. In all seriousness, psychopaths only care about one person, and we all know who it is. They don’t care about the cumulative damage that they leave in their wake…as long as they satisfy their own morbid impulses.