According to researchers, psychopaths make up about 1 percent of the general population and as much as 25 percent of male offenders in federal correctional settings. Psychopaths are typically highly impulsive and highly emotional. They are at high risk of substance abuse and incarceration. They are very difficult to have relationships with because they lack social kindness and empathy.
Researchers believe that psychopathy has roots in early childhood. Children who show an early lack of fear, indifference towards peers and appear callous in the face of emotion, are at the greatest risk. Researchers believe that psychopaths have different brain activity patterns, specifically less activity in the amygdala where fear is processed and in the orbital frontal cortex or regions where decision making happens.
There is no ‘cure’ for psychopaths, but the earlier psychopathic tendencies are spotted, the more help can be given. It is incredibly difficult to teach empathy, but loving relationships and therapy can help re-engage healthy social behaviors. The discussion on treating psychopaths is not that different from the conversation about lowering recidivism and helping criminal rehabilitation. Since researchers estimate that 25% of criminals in state facilities show psychopathic tendencies, we know that the treatment could be one in the same. One model that has had some success is called the Decompression Model.
A sociopath is actually a person with an antisocial personality disorder. An antisocial personality disorder is defined as a cluster B personality disorder of those that are dramatic or emotional. Sociopaths are often called psychopaths and vice versa but there are differences between a psychopath and a sociopath.
Psychopaths, for example, are far more likely to get in trouble with the law while sociopaths are much more likely to blend in with society. And while sociopaths and psychopaths do share some traits, sociopathy is generally considered less severe than psychopathy. Psychopathy can be thought of as a more severe form of sociopathy, with more symptoms. Therefore, all psychopaths are sociopaths but sociopaths are not necessarily psychopaths.
Discussed below are a few traits that a psychopath shows:
1. They Show No Empathy
Psychopaths don’t show any remorse. They don’t have any feelings. They don’t feel for themselves and neither do they feel for their loved ones. At one point in their lives, they have been hurt so much that now they feel no pain. They have been sucked inside the dark where the only pleasure that they get is from inflicting pain on others. They have zero emotional stability and they have an imbalanced mind.
2. Glibness or Superficial Charm
Psychopaths are live predators. They will mark you for days, follow you and try to find a pattern. Once you are in his lair, he will attack you. Most psychopaths are charmers and smooth talkers. This is one of the reasons why they are so difficult to identify. They will please you just the way you want and then finally, when you fall for the trap, they will take you out.
3. They Will Attempt to Manufacture Negative Reactions
Psychopaths are masters of illusions and manipulations. The targets don’t understand that they are being trapped until it’s too late. They will twist facts in their favor and take advantage of the confusion. They will make you look for that suspect in the crowd. They would never want your positive reaction to anything, as they would misuse your doubts. Psychopaths love fuss, commotion, and confusion.
Related article: 11 Things Most Psychopaths Do That Reveal Their True Personality
4. They Show No Remorse
Once a psychopath, always a psychopath. There is no cure for them as they will never have a sound mind. They can never take responsibility for their actions. They will try to make you believe that what they have done is right. Treating a psychopath is like drawing a line in the sand, one small whiff of air and we are back to square one.
5. They Are Master Manipulators
A psychopath gets you within his power largely through deception. The main reason why people are easily taken in by their lies is not that the lies themselves are that convincing, but because of the psychopaths’ effective rhetorical strategies. Psychopaths can be very evasive. When you ask a psychopath a specific question, he will sometimes answer in general terms, talking about humanity, men, and women. All these qualities make him a master of deception and manipulation.
Image source: No Country for Old Men