Remember that some normal people may exhibit some of these characteristics and it's only careful consideration of the first group of psychopath symptoms along with this group that allows a diagnosis of psychopathy to be made. You can read more about the first group of characteristics of a psychopath here.
The decision making process of psychopaths is not complicated. They do things because they feel like it. They want satisfaction and gratification and they want it now. By the age of two we are learning to delay gratification. Psychopaths seem to never learn this. They don't seem to spend a lot of time thinking about consequences, and we've already seen that they don't consider others in their decisions, apart from how best to manipulate them!
They often have big plans for the future, but rarely carry them out. For those who do 'stick at things' it's often a spouse or partner of some sort that takes responsibility for this aspect of their lives.
Psychopath may 'lose it' at the slightest provocation. They can react badly to what they perceive as an insult or a threat. Other people may perceive it as something minor, but if they perceive it as important, they can explode. The explosion may even involve severe physical violence.
However, this one of the psychopath symptoms is typically short lived. And then the psychopath carries on as if nothing had happened. They will also typically maintain that they have control over their temper and what they did was a natural response to other people's provocation. (It's never their fault!)
Psychopaths seek excitement. They don't like to be bored. Sometimes they will break the law just for the excitement of it.
A question that is often asked is whether psychopaths know they are doing wrong or not. The answer is yes they do. For this reason, at least in the US, they are legally responsible for their actions. They are not considered mad or to have a mental illness.
Their victims, especially those who have been subject to mind control, have difficulty accepting at the start that somebody would do them such harm. It's safe to assume that psychopaths know exactly what they are doing when they are breaking the law, manipulating others or otherwise causing harm. They just don't care!
When a psychopath realizes he can no longer manipulate the people around him he may get bored and disappear and go elsewhere looking for fresh 'prey'.
They cannot be depended on to do the job. Their children may be poorly cared for. They may borrow money and never feel the need to have to pay it back. Even court orders mean nothing to the psychopaths.
And any problems or difficulties they have? They always manage to blame it on other people, bad luck, unfortunate circumstances or the fact that they are victims of 'the system'. It's never their fault or their responsibility. They are the victims.
Included in the psychopath symptoms is a history of antisocial behavior as children. Everything from lying, stealing, fire setting, truancy, bullying, drug abuse and early sexual encounters. Many children, of course, are involved in such things but when it's a psychopath it tends to be much more severe.
Cruelty to animals and to siblings is particularly worrying.
When the media report on some serious crime, and the neighbors talk about the criminal being such a nice, quiet person they typically don't know about the childhood history, plus the criminal has usually done a good job of manipulating their impressions of him!
When the self-serving child who has the preceding symptoms of psychopath becomes an adult he or she will continue with their antisocial behavior. Any obvious illegal activities will be noticed and may be punished.
However, lots of activities which are unethical or amoral or 'on the edge of the law' are much more difficult to pin down. Questionable business practices, being unfaithful in relationships, child abuse, emotional abuse of family and coworkers, sexual abuse of clients and students, all of these things can be difficult to verify.
This one of the psychopath symptoms suggests that the psychopath is playing by his own rules. He makes the rules up as he goes along. He changes them when it suits him. The people around him are playing by different rules and don't know the first thing about his rules. And he who makes the rules, wins.
Learn more by watching psychopath movies...
Remember that having the psychopath symptoms on this page is not enough to diagnose somebody as a psychopath. It is the combination of this list and the characteristics of a psychopath here that need to be present to make such a diagnosis.
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