Are You Dealing with a Psychopath?

Are You Dealing with a Psychopath?


When you hear the term “psychopath,” you may think of the stereotype presented in movies and books. Psychopaths comprise one percent of the general population, but the overwhelming majority of them are not serial killers. Instead, they are manipulators who are willing to cause intentional harm to others, with no sense of remorse or responsibility.

Psychopaths are brilliant social chameleons, expert at adjusting their identities so they can get what they want from other people. That may be money or sex, or simply attention. To normal people, psychopaths often seem innocent, charming, and fun to be around. But they have another side.

A psychopath’s true personality emerges when he or she is feeling threatened or bored. They are experts at drawing people into intense arguments. The fights usually begin with something hurtful or inappropriate he, or she, said or did, but if you are on the receiving end of the interaction, you may soon yourself in the position of defending yourself. During that kind of heated exchange, you may begin to feel you’re in a situation of “good cop, bad cop, demented cop, stalker cop, scary cop, baby cop.”

Here are some warning signs that you may be dealing with a psychopath. If you are, move away quickly.

1. Psychopaths tell lies and make excuses.

Most people offer an excuse occasionally, but psychopaths rely on excuses in every situation, and rarely follow through on their promises. Their words are rarely backed up by actions, and they lie so often you are constantly disappointed. They actually condition the people who care for them to be grateful for even mediocre treatment.

2. Psychopaths use a tone that is condescending and patronizing.

During an argument, psychopaths are usually calm and collected. Their attitude may be slightly mocking as they try to push your buttons. When they get an emotional reaction from you, they may raise their eyebrows, smirk, or tell you you are overreacting and need to calm down.

3. Psychopaths are huge hypocrites.

When an argument heats up, psychopaths often use a technique that looks like projection (in which people unconsciously project their personal traits onto others), but is much more intentional. Psychopaths are trying to confuse you by accusing you of their own flaws. They are seeking to get a reaction from you that will make you look “crazy” to people outside the situation.

4. Psychopaths often present multiple personalities.

Psychopaths will use a variety of techniques to manipulate you and throw you off balance during a disagreement. They may change quickly from aggressive to whining, from seeming powerful to seeming helpless. If you start to detach, they may begin to apologize and try to flatter you. You are left hurt and confused.

5. Psychopaths play the part of the victim.

Psychopaths will tell you about their abusive childhoods, or crazy ex-spouse, or stories of persecution at work. They want you to feel bad for them, even when they are clearly in the wrong. Once they have succeeded in diverting your attention, they turn on you again.

6. Psychopaths make you feel the need to explain basic human emotions to them.

Faced with their lack of empathy and kindness, you may try to explain to a psychopath why you are hurt, hoping he will understand and stop. You want to see the good in them, because there is good in you and you have faith in human nature. But psychopaths operate outside normal behavior. They want to hurt you.

There is only one defense against this kind of behavior. You have to disengage. Thinking of logical points of argument, trying to elicit their understanding, hoping for a change are all hopeless. As long as you remain available, they will continue to set you up and knock you down.

Psychopaths are consistently crazy, and their game is to make you crazy, as well. You may encounter them in business, at school, or in social or romantic relationships. Wherever you connect, however long you may have taken to identify them, once you do, walk away. Nothing you do will change their patterns of behavior.


  1. Excellent information. And since this personality type is much more prevalent than most people realize, ignore it at your own peril. Been there, done that.

  2. They also identify themselves as Democrats, and show support to certifiably crazy politicians, such as Hillary, Sanders, Pelosi, Reid, and the like. No amount of reasoning will ever get them to see reality.

  3. I’m dealing with two of them at the same time, both women: a manager at work and a school director (where I volunteer). They set you up to fail, and then act all hurt when it doesn’t work out, even when you warn them of the flaws in their plans. They’ll deny you ever warned them or talked to them about the problems to avoid. You’ll have everything worked out with them, then they’ll ask for the opposite and pretend it’s what you’ve agreed to all along. Two at once is driving me nuts. I have plans to move out of state…I’ll be so happy when they’re history. The mocking smiles, the condescending corrections, the lies, all to put them in control and on top. And to make it worse, they both claim to be Christians, and all I see is evil.

    Yeah, that’s Obama and a majority of progressives.

  4. Sounds exactly like Ted Cruz to me!! I’m sorry I voted for him for senator.
    By the way–where are all the “Obama birthers” when it comes to Cruz? As a lifelong Republican, I’m appalled that the GOP leadership hasn’t said a word about the fact Cruz is NOT qualified to be POTUS after all that went on concerning Obama’s place of birth. But what did this article say about psychopaths? Ooooh, right! They’re hypocrites!

    • You are a nitwit. Move to NM. You’ll feel at home.

      Ted Cruz is the closest to Ronald Reagan this country is likely to see!

      • You need to go back and reexamine Reagan. He was great at bringing people together to compromise for solutions. Ted Cruz has done nothing more than divide and obstruct.
        BTW–you showed your true colors with your first four words.

          • So you have no evidence to refute what I’ve said (because I’m correct–I’m also a Reagan Republican) and the best you can do is try to insult me. Okay. Better than you have tried and failed just as you have. Don’t feel badly.
            BTW–why do you think I’d feel right at home in New Mexico?

  5. This describes a lady ( and I use the term “lady” loosely) that I befriended a few years back. She was needy and she made me feel sorry for her because everyone had treated her poorly…everyone…
    Long story short-as soon as I helped her get an appointment to a chair that she wanted, I was all of the sudden her enemy. Do what?! She not only tried to hurt me, but also my spouse.
    We later learned that she had a long history over about 5 counties of just this type of behavior. She also seems to forget the things that does to people and will approach them out of nowhere as if they are lifelong good friends. Strange person!

  6. I just recognized that my sister is one. She fits all the criteria. She is awful to live with and I finally told her to leave me alone. She has isolated me all her live and now has convinced my only cousin that she is an angel and I am crazy. It is insane what she can get people to believe. She lies and lies and then lies to cover up the first lie. And no one gets it. Who else does this sound like?