Let’s have some fun debunking an article about psychopathy that is at best, someone’s fantasy, at worse, complete misinformation. Articles like this are plentiful in number, you can find them anywhere. All you need to do is search for “psychopath relationship”, and you will be treated to a bevy of these pieces written by exes of supposed psychopaths. How do they know that their ex was a psychopath? They did a Google search that provided them the previously written garbage articles that informed them of such.
So here we are, the cycle continues, and this article is a real treasure trove of mythology.
Get some wine, this is going to take a while.
How well does this article describe psychopathy?
Not at all.
This is an article written by someone that wants to be seen as an authority on psychopaths, all the while having no idea how the brain works, how a psychopath thinks, nor being able to get past ridiculous outdated stereotypes that have nothing to do with reality.
The idea that she uses Robert Hare as her expert of reference tells me a great deal. He despises psychopaths, and only studies them in prison. He also uses his “checklist” to identify them, regardless of the fact it’s a garbage list that apparently can’t be criticized because he will sue you for defamation and slander. Not the greatest person to use as an expert, but let’s have a look at this steaming pile of… well, you fill in the blank at the end.
I would copy and paste every single point to debunk them, but she blocked the ability to do so.
All right, let’s do this.
They have a black leather toughness combined with a boyish innocence.
What is that supposed to mean? Well, you would think that she would explain, but the best she manages is to say that while she doesn’t mean that psychopaths will literally dress in black leather, it seems that the person is street smart, has been around the block, while at the same time you sense a “girlish or boyish innocence and goodness.”
That’s not something specific to psychopathy at all. I have known many people that just have a way of looking at the world that reflects that sort of innocence even after their life has a great deal of strife in it. It in no way should make someone think “THAT PERSON MUST BE A PSYCHOPATH!!!”
That is just an overly general, nonsense thing to try and tack onto psychopathy. Is it something you would see in me? Sure. I could see that. If you knew me, this would be something that you would see in me. However, a friend of mine that is so so far from being a psychopath likely would be the first person that comes to mind for this description. In fact, I am going to use him as a measurement as to whether these traits can apply to the antipsychopath that he is.
Psychopaths embody incongruity.
Basically this one claims that psychopaths will contradict themselves on sentence to the next. Yeah, no need to apply this to anyone, nor think that it has anything to do with me. Nope. Not a thing. The person that would do this would be several IQ points shy of a rock. If the writer of this article knows someone like that, it tells me she is a dreadful judge of character. This isn’t psychopathic in nature, but rather idiotic.
Mr. Antipsychopath also thinks that this is dumb, and cannot imagine it applying to anyone with brain cells that are holding hands (my translation of his far more polite saying of, “that seems a little unrealistic”). Moving on.
They exude a subtle but definite air confidence and superiority.
All right. That’s true provided it isn’t masked. However the antipsychopath that I know also does as well. He is very confident, and you can tell by his whole demeanor. He’s not a d*ck about it, but then neither am I. I also will hide it when I need to, he doesn’t bother.
They will you stories of the shady, unsavory, or criminal things that they have done in the past.
Nope, also not a thing. This would be a very dumb move if you want people to believe your mask. No criminal psychopath is going to go up to you and be like, “let me download all my nefarious criminal activities into your brain because I have nothing better to do”. Have I told those closest to me? Sure, I have. Do I think a lot of it is funny? Again, yes, I do. At the very least I don’t feel bad about it, but I recognize there is a time and a place for such things, and ninety-nine percent of the time, it is neither.
Antipsychopath has likely never done anything wrong in his entire life, so this doesn’t apply to him. He is genuinely a kind person who has a hangup about guilt. It vexes me a bit.
She also uses Sam Vaknin as a source for anything psychopathic, when that particular con artist even went and got a brain scan to prove how much of a psychopath that he was, only to find out that is not what the scan showed at all.
Psychopaths need little sleep.
Says freakin’ who? Seriously, where is she getting this information? Did she go around and poll a bunch of noncriminal psychopaths? I’m going to bet she didn’t. Sleep can be nice, I usually sleep between six and seven hours.
However, the anitpsychopath sleeps about five to six depending on how immersed he is in his work. He’s a composer, and music will keep him up until he writes it down. Sometimes he doesn’t sleep at all and passes out in his studio. This is not something that is applicable to psychopaths as a group. Some like to sleep, others don’t require it. There is a literal genetic variance that can remove the need for lengthy rest. It isn’t psychopathic in nature, and has no link to psychopaths. If you are using the amount of sleep a person gets to rate their psychopathy, you are an idiot.
They sometimes exhibit unconvincing emotional responses.
Sure, if they have a crappy mask. I am sure that there are a lot of psychopaths that this can apply to, and plenty that it will not apply to at all. It can also apply to someone that happens to be autistic or a variety of other reasons that this could exist in a person. This does not apply however to the antipsychopath. His emotional responses, when he shows them, are very genuine. However, he tends to not show them, but rather allows them to be heard in his music.
They go from complete rage to complete calm in a minute.
Uh… what? This is simply not a thing. Psychopaths lack ALL deep emotional responses. This includes rage. Rage is something that you have to have a fully firing emotional brain to even come close to understanding. If I get angry, first of all anger for me is very quick. It’s like alcohol hitting a hot pan, it flashes, then it’s gone, there is no longevity to it. I mean past a second or two, it cannot last. There is nothing to sustain it. Also, you would never know. I don’t show it, so it is never seen. This woman has no idea what she is talking about.
The antipsychopath doesn’t get mad. Strike that, he never shows when he is mad. He is an avid meditator, and apparently due to this has greatly changed his emotional responses. He says that when he was younger he was a bit arrogant, and a bit of an ass. He could also experience rage, and it could come on quickly. I am choosing to believe him. He says it’s true, but if you knew him you would be narrowing your eyes in suspicion at the moment.
I think that there might be a fundamental misunderstanding this woman is speaking about in terms of “rage”. If someone comes at me with emotions on full display in a fight and I will more than happily turn that crap right back around at them. Get personal, I will cut them so deep they will think their world is ending. However, the difference is this. There is no emotion to this at all. I am teaching them a lesson. If they want to discuss with me that I did something wrong, do so. I will listen and consider if I agree with them or not.
Decide that this is the moment to unload all their personal issues on me, and they will pay for that. I am allowing them to set the ground rules of the engagement. If they set rules that rips them to shreds that is a ‘them’ problem. Whatever they have to say to me will simply be cataloged and used for further determination of my willingness to invest in them as a person.
If they prove themselves to be a waste of my time, they will be out of my life so shockingly fast that they will have no idea what hit them. This is a choice that they are making, and the consequences that they wanted. I imagine that this could appear like rage to the other person, because they are enraged. It is common to apply neurotypical emotional experiences to us. It doesn’t make it factual, and someone’s response to what I am saying doesn’t mean that I said it with the emotions that they are feeling. It is just a mirror being held up to their face. When that engagement is over, I can immediately revert to appearing calm, because I wasn't upset to begin with.
There is a slight possibility that this is what the author is referring to, but I doubt it. First I would have to believe that she has ever met an actual psychopath and was aware of it, which I don’t, so I am disinclined to believe that she had this insight in regards to psychopathy. Rather it is more likely that she is just applying very typical human responses and deciding that they are psychopathic.
They drop hints of their true nature, but in a veiled manner.
In this one, she uses the example of someone making comments like, “you would be so easy for a con artist to dupe”, and then one about the person believing they are an alien? I have no idea. She sounds a little unbalanced really. As for the con artist one, she is saying that the person is telling them this because they themselves, the supposed psychopath, is said con artist.
I have told people this when I genuinely see that they have blind spots. It doesn’t mean that I have the slightest interest in conning them, and even if I did I use their own greed so in the end they end up with cool stuff on their side of the table. I get cooler stuff, but whatever.
Here’s the thing, the antipsychopath that I know has been in the entertainment field for a long time, and anyone in that field will tell you that there are more con artists than legit people that you are going to have to deal with. Does that mean that when he points it out to a newbie his motivations are somehow purer because he’s not a psychopath? Also, most of those con artists are neurotypical, and will tell you that they are the one you can trust. This is typical conny behavior, so you can’t sit there and pretend that it has anything to do with psychopathy. That is just straight-out confidence games right there.
Most people conning you are neurotypical, and most psychopaths that are going to con you, don’t give enough of a crap about you to bother giving you a heads up. That’s just not how things work. Also, “dupers delight” is not a thing either. It’s this belief that has taken hold on these exact sorts of websites, Love Fraud, Psychopath Free, all that nonsense, that they made up. You can put it in the same category as “narcopath”. It doesn’t exist, and frankly, anyone using it has a scheme in mind. I bet if I check right now, she has a book for sale. Let’s see, shall we?
Oh my, not just one, but many. Go figure. She’s trying to sell you a bunch of crap under the guise that she has all the answers as to why you pick sh*tty mates. Just pay her and she will tell all. Speaking of con artists, all of these sites are carbon copies of one another, and all the proprietors are everything that they claim the so-called “psychopaths” that she is going to teach you about are. It’s ridiculous, and these people need a mirror to look into so they can see the other toxic person that was in the relationship that they are whining about.
Flashes of contempt.
Here she is saying that there are flashes of contempt that will cross their faces during conversations even if it isn’t appropriate. I can have contempt for things, and I will show that contempt when it is warranted. Speak to me about what happened to Junko Furuda, and you will see contempt. However, I am not sitting here in a cloak of contempt all the time. I might be annoyed that I have to deal with some emotional BS, but that isn’t contempt, it’s annoyance.
People have this idea that psychopaths just live in this angry, rage-filled, contemptuous state of mind all the time. This is so far from the truth that it’s pretty damn funny. I am content nearly all the time. There are dips and peaks that will alter this state of mind, but for the most part, I am in a good mood. I don’t care enough about strangers to have contempt for them. I don’t consider them at all.
Mr. Antipsychopath says that he is far more likely to have this response because he does have emotional responses internally to other people and what they say. I don’t, and have to manufacture them. He says it is more likely that something that he meant to keep hidden will show, whereas I lack that, so there is nothing to see.
Swing and a miss.
They have deviant sexual desires and they will want you to fill them.
Wow lady. A little bit of projection there? Because it sure seems like it. Deviance and sex are in no way related to psychopathy. She quotes something stating “Individuals with deviant sexual preferences and normal levels of empathy, kindness, and self-control, have many strategies for satisfying their needs, including negotiation, compromise, and restraint, however individuals with high psychopathic traits might turn to sexually aggressive strategies to attain gratification”
Several problems. One, I dug up this “study” and it was done on a tiny number of college students. No formal assessment, no qualifying identification of what they are calling “psychopathic traits”, and these were undergrads. Therefore under the age of twenty-five. They do not have developed brains yet, so anything that you think you know about yourself at that age is likely to change drastically in a couple of years. There is nothing there that is indicative of psychopathy, just about underdeveloped brains. Maybe stop assigning the desires and predilections of people that don’t have developed brains to psychopaths. Here’s a hint, lack of empathy is a decidedly psychopathic trait. All psychopaths lack it.
However and this is important so read carefully. It is not in any way exclusive to psychopaths. In fact, it is standard issue brain stuff for someone under twenty-five. Now, let’s think about this a moment.
These are college-age kids. They are in what is known as the “experimental phase of their lives. Go figure they have more deviance than say a thirty-five-year-old.
They lack empathy, but the lack of empathy is but one piece of a larger puzzle. They have other emotions that a psychopath is going to lack. People seek the feeling of power in a sexual relationship, especially when they lack power in their own lives, experience humiliation, have low self-esteem, etc. In other words, the draw or desire to inflict those things on others, or assert their will.
I don’t have any of that. I just don’t care about people and have no empathy for them. I am devoid of all those emotional experiences that might spur on behavior like this, so I have no interest in forcing my will on anyone else. By contrast, the two types of people that I have personally known that have certain predilections past being twenty-five, one is a malignant narcissist, and the other suffered extreme sexual abuse and sadism of all types from their parents all throughout their childhood. Neither, however, are psychopathic.
The authors of the quote, you know, the one about empathy being the rampart against sexual deviance, apparently have not looked into the brain scans of sadists, where they have demonstrated that sadism requires emotional empathy and that psychopaths lack it. You can find the link to that information at the bottom of this answer.
Mr. Antipsychopath agrees with the experimental phase bit. The rest of it he finds questionable at best, but none applies to him.
They have a poor sense of smell.
This is another bogus claim that proves that the researchers looking into psychopathy are not equipped to do so. Likely they should just stop because they keep coming up with this nonsense, and other nonsense as well. Did you know that apparently if you have Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”, or Blacklist’s “No Diggity” on your playlist, you have a higher chance of being psychopathic because… reasons. Not that they are going to tell you those reasons, because the researcher who would be better referred to as a Eugenics inclined idiot, won’t share his reasoning. Why you might ask?
“While No Diggity and Lose Yourself were strikingly popular with psychopaths, other songs had greater predictive power. Wallisch declined to name them out of concern that doing so might compromise any future screening test.”
and that would be a bad thing because he believes;
“You don’t want to have these people in positions where they can cause a lot of harm,” said Wallisch. “We need a tool to identify them without their cooperation or consent.”
“The beauty of this idea is you can use it as a screening test without consent, cooperation or maybe even the knowledge of the people involved,” Wallisch said. “The ethics of this are very hairy, but so is having a psychopath as a boss, and so is having a psychopath in any position of power.” Fortunately for ethicists, the possibility is some way off yet. “This work is very preliminary,” Wallisch added. “This is not the end of an investigation, it is the very beginning.”
Yeah… that’s the guy I trust in determining anything regarding psychopaths because his motivations are so pure. Back to the sense of smell. I have addressed this one at length;
The long and the short of it is this. We don’t. Neurotypicals are applying their method of memory coding and thinking that it also applies to psychopaths. It doesn’t. Neurotypicals code with emotional coding, psychopaths do not. I have nothing that is going to associate the smell of coffee with the morning or chestnuts with Christmas. That is purely a neurotypical thing. I have to intentionally code anything I want to remember, but if I do so, I am excellent at recall. Better in fact than many neurotypicals.
So not only does this not apply, it is a myth that is easily debunked if you have a clue as to how my brain works. I won’t even bother asking Mr. Antipsychopath, because it doesn’t apply to anyone the way that it has been claimed.
Their speech is filled with disfluencies.
This claim basically states that psychopaths use a lot of “uh” or umms” because they are looking for appropriate wording to speak with. This is directly in contrast to a claim she will make later on about how psychopaths can launch into soliloquies at a moments notice (all right, slightly hyperbolic, but only a tiny bit), but sure, why not be incongruous (didn’t she accuse psychopaths of that earlier in this article? no matter…) in our handy dandy spot the psychopath article?
This does not apply to me at all, and I asked a couple of people. I am measured in my speaking and tend to avoid such disfluencies. The other psychopath that I know also does not do this. Perhaps the criminals that they interviewed in prisons identified with the PCL-R have this issue, but I would think that has more to do with who they were identifying as psychopathic with a flawed tool, than it does with psychopathy at all.
Mr. Antipsychopath on the other hand, he does this all the time. He is probably writing music in his head while he’s talking to you, and, I am not kidding about this, will leave a conversation in mid-sentence, sometimes mid-word, if he has something that he has to go write down. He just f*cks right off and leaves you there, only to come back later with an apology. Everyone who knows him deals with this though, and you just kind of get used to it. However, because he is constantly thinking about music and such things, he uses disfluencies all the time.
This would be a bad marker to use for psychopathy.
They can’t describe an emotion or their personal experience of one.
If I couldn’t describe emotions, I would be a pretty poor writer. However, that’s not the case because I have cognitive empathy. I also, by the way very poorly informed author lady, have emotions. Psychopaths lack some, and the rest are muted. However, they exist. It is an old and bad myth that psychopaths are lacking in emotions.
Adding to this, a lot of people are unable to identify and describe their emotions. There is an actual psychological term for this, alexithymia. It is not something that is associated with psychopathy, but rather things like PTSD. As psychopaths can’t have PTSD, this would be a very bad way to identify a psychopath, and likely would be pretty maligning for someone that actually has PTSD, but instead is accused of being psychopathic.
Mr. Antipsychopath has never had this and is very in tune with his emotions, so it applies to neither end of the spectrum.
I might have trouble explaining my emotions after the fact of them occurring, but that is not due to a lack of them but rather the lack of emotional coding. Once an event has passed, negative, positive, neutral, there is no emotion associated with it. It is simply an event that would be described without those emotional trappings unless I had to add them in. In that case, it is unlikely that it would be a factual representation, leaning more into placation so you will stop asking me.
They have a reduced startle response.
Yeah? And? So does Mr. Antipsychopath. Remember the part where he meditates? He’s probably got less of one than I do, but everyone has a startle response to some degree or another. It’s a primal survival instinct that is rooted in the brain stem. I have a really reduced one, so does he. Not an indicator of anything at all.
They participate in dangerous or extreme sports or activities.
Uh-huh. So do a lot of people. Do you think every NFL player is a psychopath? Probably not. Do you think every Army Ranger is a psychopath? Also probably not. There are entire industries that are built on people being adrenaline junkies. There are not enough psychopaths in the world to justify that being a thing. Even if all the psychopaths in the world loved, loved, loved mountain climbing (they don’t, and I don’t), it still wouldn’t justify this;
Do you know what you are looking at? Dunderheads waiting in line to summit Everest. There is this brief window in time that it is safe to head up there, get your “Look at me I climbed Everest” photograph that you will display loudly and proudly so you can brag about it, and then head back down without being caught in the dark, and out of oxygen. Do you think that all those people are a bunch of psychopaths? Just no. There’s statistically at least a couple in there, but this is a serious industry that people pay a lot of money to do. Everest has way points on the slope that are identified like;
Why? Because they are corpses, and one of them is identified by their “green boots”. If you die on the mountain, you stay on the mountain. Forever. No one can bring you down, so you serve as a point position that people use to gauge how close they are to the summit. In other words, pretty dangerous. I have no interest in such things, and I’m a psychopath.
Mr. Antipsychopath likes free climbing because he apparently wants to destroy his hands shredding them up on granite, so he can never work again. “I haven’t done it in a few years”. Uh-huh. Sure.
They invade your personal space.
She then goes on to say that they will stand super close to you. Nope, not me. Because if I do this, then you will want to talk to me, and people do, all the time. They just tell me all about everything wrong in their lives. Mind you, this is not because I give a damn, it’s because you people feel the need to get close and tell me every single intimate detail of your lives while I am waiting to get my car back from the guys washing it at the moment. This is not voluntary on my part, you people just won’t shut up. Good lord, keep it to yourselves, and stop then excusing yourself by saying that you “can’t believe you’re telling me this”. Neither can I, so maybe stop. That’s an option you know.
Mr. Antipsychopath gets this too. People just spew every single thing on their minds to him. He is a very kind man and gives amazing advice. It’s kind of eerie actually how good his advice is. I used to have a list written up of several of the profound things that just came out of his mouth at random, but not anymore. He probably took it because he found it embarrassing that I would jokingly call him a sage, which is why I started the list. He didn’t believe me.
This one is a no as well. I have no interest in trying to cultivate that need to word vomit that so many are plagued with, and closeness tends to foster this. By the way, she ends this paragraph with this extremely laughable sentence;
“In other words they want you in grabbing distance.”
Good god, that was a strenuous eye roll there. Nope, not a thing. If you’re hanging out with serial killers, get new friends. Otherwise, get over the hyperbole. Next, we’ll be hearing how psychopaths will measure your skin for their newest skin suit. Hopefully, we are out of the B movie territory and can get to something of substance.
They have an eerily calm demeanor.
This goes back to the, yeah? And? Category. Mr. Antipsychopath is obnoxiously calm, and so am I. We are very far removed from being similar, so obviously not something you can look at and say “PSYCHOPATH!!”
They have a saintly aura.
Okay… what? You can read auras now? And you want people to pay you money on the basis that they should take you seriously? All right, I’ll play. Tell me all about my “saintly aura”.
She goes on to say, they create a persona of altruism and volunteering.
Nope. Not even a little. This is something that a narcissist might do, but I can very well make people think I am a kind and good person without having to sacrifice my time or money to nonsense like that. I like my time, and I like my money, like oh so much more than I like strangers with their hands out, or a stack of envelopes that need stuffing. This is just not factual. I don’t even see the social value in it. A lot of neurotypicals simply don’t trust people that do volunteer work or are involved with charities. Frankly, I find them completely phony, so I would see no benefit to me to be bothered. I also don’t regale people with the stories of how I have helped people. Hell, I don’t remember those I do help unless someone reminds me. It’s not important to me. I don’t get that ego boost from altruism that NTs do.
Mr. Antipsychopath also is not involved in charities but is quite altruistic when the need appears in his life. I am the same way. If there is something that needs doing, and it takes nothing from me, I do it. I don’t care how my acting, or not acting reflects on me as a person because no one sees it anyway. It’s just a task, whereas for him there is an emotional component to it. This would be a bad measurement, and her logic behind it is beyond flawed.
Their speech is prolific.
They can give long interesting monologues. I mean… I guess. It’s not something that I am compelled to do, but I can speak at length about things that I know about provided I can remember that I know about it to begin with. However, my father can do this as well, and before anyone says “that makes sense, psychopathy is genetic so he’s probably a psychopath”.
A. I am adopted. There is no relation.
B. He is definitely not a psychopath.
Mr. Antipsychopath can also do this. If you ever want to hear stories about musical score construction through a very unusual lens, he’s your guy. He also knows lots of other things and will tell you about them if it comes up.
They have little to no body odor.
Huh? Psychopathy does not affect your sweat glands. That is not a thing that happens. Also, it does not determine how often you shower. If you have bad hygiene, you are going to stink. Pretending otherwise is just stupid. I haven’t even read her explanation for this, and I will, but I can already say that no matter what logic she is going to come up with (and I imagine it has to do with less emotional responses to things, therefore less stress, or some such nonsense) that it is literal garbage. Like, there are no psychopaths that like basketball in the park? Come on.
Oh good lord, it’s worse than that. First, she outright admits that this is anecdotal, and then goes on to say that “many of them shower frequently, and may even carry deodorant and an extra shirt”.
Whoooo is this “many of them”. Where is she finding this data, regardless of her claims that it’s “anecdotal”? Also, tons of dudes do this. Some guys like to hit the gym at lunch, or they find the office too warm, so they will have an extra shirt or deodorant in case they sweat in their suit (they can be pretty hot) and have to deal with people in the later part of the day. It is a strategy for good business, not psychopathy.
I ran this by Mr. Antipsychopath, and he laughed out loud. He wants to know why she is writing a whole article about psychopaths when she is clearly talking about one guy who is her ex. Yup. That’s exactly what she’s doing. Hard eye roll on this one.
They engage your curiosity. Isn’t this… like way more about the person whose curiosity has been engaged than it is about the supposed “psychopath”? She actually says that they get your attention by doing things like…standing. Yup, standing, across the room no less. Wow, that is a straight-up superpower if I have ever heard of one. You know who can do this? Attractive people. Yup, and there are a lot of them in the world.
Does it apply to Mr. Antipsychopath and me? Sure does. We’re both good-looking people, and other people take note of that. We both get hit on a lot, even when with our Significant Others, and so do our Significant Others when they are with us. This is not a psychopath thing this is who you are attracted to thing.
This woman… All right, that is the end of that dreadful article. I cannot believe people pay this woman money, and if you are thinking about doing so, don’t. She is straight-up scamming people. Not at all the person you want to be in possession of your dollars. Keep them and get a pet rock, it would be far better for your mental well-being. Both Mr. Antipsychopath, and I started off finding this a bit funny, but it quickly backslid into absurd.
Psychopathy as an imaginary entity is created and added upon every single day. This particular article comes from a blog that has hundreds of articles like this written by the same person, or links to external articles written by others. One generation spawns the next of this type of thing, and it never ceases to amaze me what people will put down on paper without a hint or irony behind their words. I have considered doing a series addressing this kind of writing in order to debunk this kind of thinking. Let me know if that interests you at all.