“The Virtuous man contends himself with dreaming that which the wicked man does in actual life.” Sigmund Freud
I have been interviewed on broadcasts on the subject of psychopathy. It is actually an interesting topic – especially as it applies to world finance and politics. Many people believe the Hollywood (fake) presentation that psychopaths are deranged misfits plotting murders in their basement apartment, or if intelligent, cooking the brains of one of their victims while a Beethoven symphony is playing in the background. This is not reality: and while psychopaths are over-represented in prisons so too are they over-represented in the chambers where laws are drafted, debated and passed. They are more likely to wear an expensive tailor-made suit or fashionable dress than an orange prison jump-suit.
Of course if you are familiar with my podcast or YouTube channel (I have interviewed pro-social psychopaths as well as experts in the field) you probably understand why psychopaths excel in all walks of life. However, I have received mail or comments posted on my website and video site asking many questions such as:
- “Is my boyfriend a psychopath?” Or “How can one tell their boyfriend is a psychopath?”
- On the flip side, “Is my girlfriend a psychopath?”
- Then there are the questions such as, “How can I tell if my husband is a psychopath?”
- And yes, “How can I tell if my wife is a psychopath?”
- “Is my boss a psychopath?”
- “What can I do if my child is a psychopath?”
- Or, “Is there a way to tell if I am a psychopath?”
- “Can a psychopath be a good Christian?”
- “Is my dad a psychopath?”
- “Is my mother a psychopath?”
- “Are psychopaths reptilians?”
Let me just say I would never attempt to give anyone personal advice in this area. They can get the facts about the personality traits, but any diagnosis needs to be done in a clinical setting. The reptilian thing I tend to ignore, although I have always had a special fondness for lizards and turtles.
All these questions tend to show that many people believe someone close to them may be a psychopath. However, I would speculate that most are not. If you are familiar with my science fiction novel, “The Destiny of Our Past” ( Link here at Amazon: http://amzn.to/2nrU3Ng ) I present two prototypical psychopathic characters; Enlil, a corporate leader and head of the society’s intelligence services who conspires to have Noah of Biblical fame assassinated and Ninhursag, a high priestess and mother to one of the protagonists in the story. Both these people are charming (trait #1), devoid of empathy (trait #2), feel no guilt (3), need for stimulation and prone to boredom (4), are grandiose (5) and highly sexual (6). I could go on, but here are some of the major components to psychopathic personality.
For someone to have enough of these traits, plus others on standard psychopathic profile determinations, it is actually not that common in the human population. Perhaps 1% of females and 3% of males would be able to qualify as psychopaths. So while it may be tempting to say that someone who has done us wrong must be a psychopath, one must remember that most are just regular people. In fact people high in empathy can be hurtful to others, and their actions, even if done for what they consider good causes, can bring as much harm as psychopaths.
So are all the people who feel they are victims of psychopaths wrong? No, they are not. One can safely assume many really were (or are) involved with a psychopath, and many are not pro-social in their actions. However, the majority of people hurt by a lover, friend, etc. likely got taken advantage of or abused by someone who would not be diagnosed in a professional setting.
The impacts of psychopaths cannot be underestimated. Many fill positions of power in our governments, corporate leadership, entertainment, and media. And these people are generally charismatic and manipulative individuals who can do a lot of damage. Yet we tend to adore them. Ironically, the traits that make up psychopathy tend to be the traits that we admire at the societal level, and are attracted to at the interpersonal level. The irony is that while they may be as gorgeous and alluring as a rose, the rose has thorns that can pierce us if we are not careful.
Yet what do we do if indeed we are married to a psychopath, have a child who is, or if a parent is a psychopath? That can be a tough one to figure out. However, I will note that even if the person was a psychopath not all psychopaths are bad people; many were raised in good homes and focus their competitive drives in legitimate areas of life…for instance in business or in academia. That is what I meant above by “pro-social” psychopaths. Just because someone might have quite a few of the traits does not mean they are going to be mean or disloyal to you. I just want to make that clear. However, one should be weary of handing over too much power to anyone: be it a relationship or in government.
I would encourage people who want to know more about psychopathy to check out my website: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3XJz3ZkzIW5sjpaaX3pp2Q Here I have both analyses of psychopaths as well as interviews with experts in the field. It is an interesting topic for study and once you understand how it affects people and society it at least gives you some insights into many of the issues facing us today.