Everyone has had the occasional bad date or even bad relationship. Someone so promising turns out to be not who you thought at all. Maybe the person you are seeing is boring or conceited or just plain unintelligent.
Or maybe the person you're seeing is actually a psychopath.
The term "psychopath" has been thrown around for decades and is used to describe someone who is too interested in you, someone who seems like they are stalking you, or someone who is extra emotional and lashes out in a confusing manner.
The colloquial definition of psychopath is much different from the medical definition, though.
The term psychopath originated from the early psychologists who worked with mental patients they defined as displaying “moral depravity” or “moral insanity.”
They found that these patients appeared to look and behave within the normal standards for human beings, however they didn’t seem to have a sense of ethics or understand the rights of other people.
This term was first used around the year 1900. To define someone as a psychopath, they must possess specific core characteristics:
1) They Are Uncaring
Questions to ask yourself: Does your significant other seem cold and callous sometimes? Does he not seem to care about other people’s feelings, including yours, at times?
2) They Have Shallow Emotions.
Questions to ask yourself: Have you noticed your significant other is lacking in deep feelings? Does he seem to never be ashamed or embarrassed, or show signs of feeling guilty?
3) They Are Irresponsible.
Questions to ask yourself: Does your significant other pass the blame on to others, even when something is clearly his fault? Does he have a problem taking ownership of an issue?
4) Their Speech Is Insincere.
Questions to ask yourself: Is your significant other a con-man? Does he say things that are glib or outright lies without a shred of guilt?
5) They Are Overconfident.
Questions to ask yourself: Does your significant other boast about accomplishments, real or imagined? Does he not seem accurate in their assessment of himself?
6) They have Narrow Focus.
Questions to ask yourself: Is your significant other impulsive? Does he have a hard time altering his behavior even if something relevant changes after the task has begun?
7)They Are Selfish.
Questions to ask yourself: Does your significant other only think about his own gratification? Does he have a big ego and there doesn’t seem to be room for you?
8) They Are Unable to Plan for the Future.
Questions to ask yourself: Is your significant other carefree and without a realistic life plan? Does he have a lack of long-term goals?
9) They Are Violent.
Questions to ask yourself: Is your significant other violent toward you, others, animals, or himself? Does he seem to grow violent very easily?
If the answers to some of these questions hit close to home for you, then you need to consider that your significant other might be a psychopath and you should get out of the relationship right away.
The path to leaving a relationship with a psychopath will most likely not be easy. People with this personality disorder do no like to lose. Be sure you have a safety plan for yourself and any dependents you may have. The National Domestic Violence Hotline has some useful and specific recommendations to leaving a relationship or situation where violence may be possible, or where there has been violence in the past. Visit their site for tips for leaving safely: www.thehotline.org/help/path-to-safety/.
Maybe you're not in a relationship with a psychopath, maybe you are instead dealing with a jerk or immature or a narcissist. But don't get hung up on the label — all of those are good reasons to run for the hills. Be sure you are being open and transparent with someone outside the relationship, including family members or girlfriends. Having a third party perspective on your relationship can be helpful as well as give you the support you need whether you choose to stay or leave the relationship.
Being a psychopath is a clinical diagnosis, and not something you can change in someone else with your love. Remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible, and reach out to the authorities if you think you are in danger.
Reviewed March 3, 2016
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith
“What is a psychopath?” PsychologyToday.com. Web. 30 January 2013.
“10 signs you are dating a psychopath.” HuffingtonPost.com. 24 January 2014.