Who is a psychopath?
According to Wikipedia, a psychopath is a person, who is traditionally classified with a personality disorder. This disorder is characterized by persistent antisocial behaviour, impaired empathy and remorse, and bold, uninhibited, and egotistical traits.
Characteristics of the Psychopathic Personality
The study of the psychopath reveals an individual who is incapable of feeling guilt, remorse, or empathy for their actions. They are generally cunning, manipulative and know the difference between right and wrong, but dismiss it as not applying to them.
First Encounter with a Psychopath:
On the first impression, psychopaths generally appear charming, engaged, caring and friendly. Outwardly, they seem to be logical, reasonable, and with well thought-out goals, and give the impression that they can accurately reason and that there are consequences for antisocial and unlawful behaviour, and will react with the appropriate responses.
They also appear capable of self-examination and will openly criticize themselves for past mistakes.
Under clinical evaluation, psychopaths do not show the common symptoms associated with neurotic behaviour. This includes nervousness, high anxiety, hysteria, mood swings, extreme fatigue, and headaches. On the contrary, when in situations that most normal people would find upsetting, psychopaths appear unnerved, and emotionally void of fear and anxiety. Psychopaths are highly reliable, devoted and trustworthy, then suddenly and without provocation, they become extremely unreliable and show no regard or interest in how their actions affect the situation, regardless of its importance. Where they were once viewed as being honest and with sincere intentions, they will do a sudden about face and begin lying without concerns. This holds true even in small matters when there is no benefit in lying, yet the psychopath will choose to be untruthful.
Because psychopaths have mastered the art of deception by presenting such positive behaviour at first, those around them are slow to accept the abrupt change and total disregard for the relationship that was built. When psychopaths are finally confronted with their lack of responsibility, honesty or loyalty, it generally has no impact on their attitude or future performance.
They are unable to perceive that other people value truthfulness and integrity.
Unable to Accept Responsibility for Failures
Psychopaths turn into performers when they need to mimic normal human emotions that they have never felt. This holds true when they are faced with failure. When they appear to be humble and own up to their mistakes, their true goal is to be perceived as the martyr or sacrificial lamb willing to accept blame so others do not have to.
If the ploy fails to work and they are blamed, they will emphatically deny any responsibility and, without feeling any shame, turn to lies, manipulation and point their fingers at the “true” culprits. When psychopaths are unable to convince those in superior positions that they have not erred, they fume, and obsess over it, often murmuring sarcastic comments under their breath as they plot their revenge.
To be continued next week