When reading these signs of a psychopath it's important to keep in mind a few things. Firstly, not all the signs may be obvious in one person. There is no stereotypical psychopath and their characteristics vary. For example, there are psychopaths who live parasitic lifestyles and have never worked a day in their lives and psychopaths who run big companies and have put in long hours to get there. Some psychopaths are better at love bombing than others, some learn how to hide aggression while others don't care to hide it.
Second, it takes 2 qualified people to interview a person and look at their past history to actually diagnose somebody as antisocial personality disorder. However, if you detect a sociopath, it's not necessary to have them diagnosed to know that they are abusing you and taking advantage of you. Likewise, you certainly shouldn't wait for a diagnosis before taking steps to protect yourself.
And thirdly, a person involved with a psychopath may read the signs of a psychopath and may not actually be able to recognize the signs in their own situation. To a third party, the signs may be unmistakable, but because the person involved has been subjected to mind control tactics by the psychopath, their perception of the psychopath is such that they have alternative explanations for what is going on. As they learn more about psychopathy and mind control, eventually the signs of a psychopath in their partner are revealed to them.
The following conditions will be present in most psychopathic relationships:
- What the psychopath says and what the psychopath does frequently do not match. Psychopaths are glib and often charming and can be experts at hiding their true nature. They do this using words. But careful scrutiny will show that their behaviors do not correspond with their words. They say they want to be with you, but stand you up a lot, or they say they will do all sorts of things, but these things never materialize.
Although this is a universal, it is often difficult for the victims to recognize this pattern of psychopath behavior initially.
- They are professional liars. Often the lies are so big that the victim does not even consider that it is a lie until it's pointed out. "I love you' coming from a psychopath is a lie, if only for the simple reason that they are incapable of love. And even if they are challenged in a lie, they will typically make up more lies to cover it up. They will even lie when it would be more sensible for them to tell the truth.
- They are always right and you end up taking the blame for things. They are masters of distortion and will twist and manipulate things to make out that you are to blame for whatever happens. They flirt with someone, it's your jealousy problem. They are not available, they accuse you of being needy. They have spent your money, they make out that you are tight fisted.
- Contradictions. One of the most significant signs of a psychopath is the amount of contradictions in a psychopath. They can change their beliefs in an instant, to something that suits them, of course. This typically means that they will be frequently contradicting themselves. If called out on it, they will just invent an excuse for themselves. They will claim to be generous and helpful, but will have an excuse not to help out. They will pretend to be tolerant, but will be racist or sexist, etc.
- The rules they apply to you don't apply to them. They are not constrained by their own rules. In fact, they frequently break the rules whenever it suits them. And remember whoever makes the rules, wins. And the psychopath makes it doubly difficult for those around them by not telling them when they have changed the rules. This is crazy making, because you are frequently wrong footed by the words coming out of the psychopath's mouth.
- The relationship goes very fast from the start. Whirlwind romances are a definite red flag. Psychopaths lead their targets through the process of forming a relationship very quickly and this often creates a bond that is even stronger than a normal relationship/marriage. The rule is that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- You have met your soul-mate and you know it after a couple of dates. This person you have met has lots in common with you, you feel safe revealing things to them, they make you feel like the most important person on the planet… You are being love bombed!! You have to get out now before it's too late.
- If you do get caught, the bad behavior starts to kick in and you justify it at the start because, well, you have met your soul-mate, the ideal mate for you. However, the bad behavior just gets worse and worse and you spend days and weeks feeling bad, but waiting to have nice times again, because after all, the relationship at the start was the best thing that ever happened to you, and if you have had nice times before, you can have nice times again.
- It's never enough for the psychopath. Another important sign of a psychopath is that it doesn't matter how hard you try, or how hard you work at the relationship, or how hard you try to please the manipulator, it's never enough. Even if there is the odd compliment, there is an ongoing avalanche of criticism (although the victim often gets so accustomed to the criticism that it feels 'normal').
- You end up arguing about the same things over and over again. This is because the psychopath is not going to change. They believe they are superior to others, and if they are the best, why should they need to change?!?
- They are never sorry or remorseful for anything they do. Even if they do apologize (and they can be very convincing!), it is a lie because very shortly after, they are doing the same bad behavior again.
- Along with the love bombing at the start of a relationship, the psychopath often tells stories of his or her past that elicit pity from the listener. They understand that normal humans are programmed to help others and if they can elicit pity from you for them, they can go a long way to controlling you.
- Pretty soon though, they are doing things that upset you, and then criticizing you for having those emotions. Either you are too emotional or too sensitive, or too easy to anger and so on. This is one of the signs of emotional abuse.
- You may notice they have difficulty expressing emotions themselves. They may seem cold, detached, or you may simply put it down to the idea that they have difficulty expressing their emotions. If you have done this, be aware that it is one of the major signs of a psychopath that you are dismissing. It's time to stop ignoring it and do something about it.
- Rage is one of the emotions that psychopaths do have. But it's very particular. It may occur for no obvious reason, but what happens is that when the psychopath even perceives a threat to their dominance, they can get very angry very quickly. Some of them even 'do anger' to teach their victims a lesson or to use it as a threat later.
On top of this, the psychopath can go from rage to calm in seconds. One second they are raging at you and you feel all over the place. The next second they are acting as if nothing happened and criticizing you for being an emotional mess. This is very disturbing for the victims.
- Every now and then you notice that they are treating you with contempt, or you see a look of contempt on their face. Remember most psychopaths consider themselves superior beings and those around them are simply objects to be used and manipulated for their benefit.
- You often end up seeking their approval. You want them to know you are not stupid, or weak that you can make your own decisions and so on. But you can never quite get there and some people can spend years trying to prove themselves to a psychopath.
- They are always in your head, your whole life revolves around them. In fact, they have become your purpose in life.
- You feel isolated and can't share what's going on with anyone else, because it will upset the psychopath, or no one would believe you anyway, because they all think he is so wonderful.
- They will do you a favor and expect that you owe them forever, but when you do them a favor, there is no obligation to pay you back.
- when they are talking of emotional things, they say 'Ummm' and 'Eehhh' a lot.
- They often tell somewhat unconvincing stories about themselves that cast them in a good light. They may tell these stories frequently. And it's usual that no-one challenges these stories.
- They make you doubt yourself. They may claim that things happened that you know did not, or try to convince you that something did not happen when you recall it vividly (this is called gas lighting after the 1944 movie by the same name). They will develop a sudden case of poor memory in relation to things they said or did when you try to remind them, but their memory can be extraordinary when they are criticizing you about what they consider to be your mistakes or faults.
If you recognize these signs of a psychopath in someone you thought was just a controlling wife or husband, it's important that you take steps to get your self out of the relationship. Get professional help because it will save you a lot of time, suffering, effort and money… and do it now. Every day that you are in a relationship with a psychopath is a day of your life wasted.
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If you think you are or have been in a cult or a destructive relationship, or a friend or family member might be in a cult and you want to talk to someone, send me a message on the Contact page and we can arrange to talk. All communication will be treated in the strictest confidence.
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