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How to Spot a Pro Social Psychopath

Two Methods:Uncovering Via LanguageUncovering Via Assessment of Emotion

A person with psychopathy has a neurologically impaired (lack of) conscience, and little to no empathy for others.[1] Antisocial psychopaths are the ones who are famously depicted in movies and are more clearly living outside the acceptable bounds of their culture;[2] most people are unfamiliar with the harmful effects of "prosocial" psychopaths.[3] Prosocial psychopaths often fly under the radar because they are are able to behave mostly within the expectations of their society, and they appear to live normal lives. Prosocial psychopaths are very charming, but they still lack empathy and remorse, and can cause emotional and financial damage in your life if you allow them to get too close.

Method 1
Uncovering Via Language

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    Watch for contradictions in speech. A psychopath may end a conversation with a statement that opposes what they said at the beginning. Dishonesty and pathological lying is a sign of psychopathy.[4] The person may talk about how disrespectful it is that your coworker always shows up late and does things they is not supposed to, and then moments later the person will break the rules without apology.[5]
    • The contradictions may not occur within the same conversation, so keep track of what is said over time. Log in a journal important information that you think might later be contradicted.
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    Double-check what is said. Psychopaths talk excessively about the people in their lives because they view them as extensions of themselves. A psychopath will lie about the people in their life; they will even lie about their children. [6]
    • Psychopaths are prone to giving out half-truths or disinformation. They have no problem keeping important information away from you.
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    Take note of scapegoating. A psychopath refuses to take responsibility for their own actions and will blame others for things they have done.[7][8] If there is irrefutable evidence that they are at fault, they may then admit it, but will show no remorse.[9]
    • On the other hand, because the psychopath displays a grandiose sense of self-worth, they may brag about or inflate their achievements, or even take credit for the work of others.[10]
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    Watch for quick changes in conversation. One way to spot a psychopath is through the way they hold a conversation. One second, they are talking about their kid's party, then a half-second later, they are talking about their friend's dead cat and veterinary history. The conversation will often be insincere. [11]
    • Watch also to see if they quickly and smoothly change conversation when you broach a subject that might reveal their anti-sociality. They will rapidly dismiss discussions of their odd behavior by accusing you of causing too much drama, or by insisting that you are mentally ill and need professional help.

Method 2
Uncovering Via Assessment of Emotion

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    Assess reactions to emotionally troublesome events. Because they lack empathy, psychopaths may respond to hearing of emotionally troubling events in a bland or robotic way, or in a way that seems forced and artificial.[12]
    • For example, a psychopath may repeatedly express their disappointment with words only, but in a way that lacks emotion. Psychopaths, upon hearing troubling news, may make no real effort to resolve the issue, no matter how much they talk about it.
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    Watch for signs of self-victimization. A psychopath may attempt to toy with your emotions by making you feel sorry for them. Watch for signs such as tones of voice and deflecting of blame to gain your sympathy. This is another way for them to deny responsibility of their own actions.[13][14]
    • Watch for this manipulative behavior especially when the person needs an excuse as to why they made a faux pas or blunder (e.g., "forgot" your birthday).
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    Assess how often you are questioned. If you want to spot a prosocial psychopath, keep track of each time they bug you with questions about how you would act in certain emotion-inducing situations. This may indicate that, because they lack empathy and a conscience, they don't naturally feel what is normal or appropriate in some situations and have to get the data elsewhere.
    • For example, they may ask: "What would you do if you came out of your apartment and saw me hiding in the bushes?" This is something a normal person would not need to ask.
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    Analyze desire to move quickly into a close relationship. If you are thinking of getting into a relationship with someone but you are worried they might be a psychopath, try to get a sense of how fast they want to move. There are several signs that might indicate psychopathy:
    • Do they, after no time at all, call you endearing terms?
    • Do they insist that you should freely bring them into your circle of trust?
    • Do they want you to share living quarters or share a business venture very soon after meeting?
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    Look for drastic changes in attention given to you. A psychopath may set up a dynamic in which they lavish you with attention, then inexplicably give you the cold shoulder. When you return to their good graces, you experience maximum elation and feel high from the boost of dopamine (the "love" chemical) and endorphins.[15]
    • They manipulate you into pretty much being addicted to them, so you repeatedly forgive whatever transgressions they perpetrated against you.

Tips

  • Psychopaths may work their way into your social network to get closer to you or to use your friends against you in the future.
  • Psychopaths target genuinely nice people. If you are victimized, that doesn't mean there is something wrong with you, it might means that you have something they want and they feel entitled to take it.
  • Psychopaths test boundaries to see if you are a self-sacrificing people-pleaser. They start by asking for small personal favors that make you feel included, but inconvenience you slightly ("Give me a wake-up call", "Help me with my job search", etc.)
  • For more information and one woman's personal experience, check out "Lawson List" of pro-social psychopathic habits at http://harlantaylor.com/faq.html.
  • A psychopath gives four messages: 1. I like who you are. 2. I am just like you. 3. Your secrets are safe with me. 4. I am the perfect friend/lover for you. This is how a psychopath will very rapidly create an intimate bond with their partner.[16]
  • Psychopaths are the most fun people to hang out with because they are always looking for new forms of entertainment, and will invite you along for the ride. They will take you to Disney World and tell you it's a special treat just for you, when it really is where they were going anyway, regardless of your accompanying them. Nothing is ever for you because neurologically, psychopaths can only be self-serving.[17]

Warnings

  • Never give your trust freely. Beware anyone who asks you to do so. Trust must be earned.
  • Do not confront a psychopath about your discovery of their psychopathy. That would be like backing a wild animal into a corner.
  • The most overlooked sign of psychopathy is an "eerily calm demeanor."
  • Be careful of confiding in their seemingly nice family members, since psychopathy is proven to be genetic.[18]

Sources and Citations

  1. https://nopsychos.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/a-cognitive-neuroscience-perspective-on-psychopathy-evidence-for-paralimbic-system-dysfunction.pdf A cognitive neuroscience perspective on psychopathy: Evidence for paralimbic system dysfunction by Dr. Kent A. Kiehl
  2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/antisocial-personality-disorder
  3. https://nopsychos.wordpress.com/about/ Psychopaths in society and government
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Article Info

Categories: Psychology Studies | Social Interactions