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Are You a Psychopath?

Updated on March 26, 2013
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What is a Psychopath?

People would like to think psychopaths are easy to spot. Like Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, and Jeffrey Dahmer, you’d like see their mug shot on the evening news and automatically think “Psychopath.” The truth is you are surrounded by them at work, at home, maybe even in your relationships.

A psychopath is described as a personality disorder where the person lacks a conscience. Approximately 1% of the population has a psychopathic personality disorder, which translates into 1 out of every 100 people you encounter is a psychopath. They are usually higher intelligence than normal, and wear a mask that hides the callous and self-centered human being that lives inside of them. Without empathy, they cannot feel for someone else or put themselves in another’s shoes. They can only feel their own pain.


Serial Killers are Psychopaths

Not all psychopaths are serial killers. Ted Bundy just happened to be a sadistic killer, and a psychopath. The fact that he had no conscience made it easy for him to act on his fantasies of killing women. Many psychopaths spend time in prison, but many of them are smart enough to know they’ll get caught. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t wreak havoc in the free world.

Not all pedophiles are psychopaths. Over 80% of them will never touch a child, because they know it is wrong. What makes a child predator is a pedophile who happens to be a psychopath. When a person doesn't have a conscience, they can justify any behavior that suits them.

Psychopaths work very hard at mimicking emotions from people they’ve observed. Caring and nice people get more attention from others. Usually very charming, at least at first, the psychopath eventually shows his true colors when he/she does not get their way. Explosive, even threatening, they display anger when the subject can no longer be manipulated and may retaliate with either violence or a revengeful act. The clever psychopath may empty your bank account and drive away with your furniture in a U-Haul, or make sure your boss finds something by accident at work that gets you fired.

Characteristics of Psychopaths

  • Poor impulse control
  • Superficial and aloof
  • Devious and manipulative
  • Early problems in school
  • Need for excitement
  • No remorse or guilt
  • Does not take responsibility
  • Proud of ability to lie
  • Poor judgment

Spot the Psycho

No one can see a conscience on a CAT Scan, or view it under a microscope. To identify a psychopath, you have to be aware of their motives, and spot them before they destroy your life. Watch out for the intense state of the psychopath, the fixated stare, and the winning smile. They are “too nice.” Psychopaths don't feel real emotions, and require a lot of excitement to feel any kind of stimulation. A psychopath can take a polygraph, and they won't respond with an "alert," even if they are guilty of a crime. Ted Bundy passed all his lie detector tests with flying colors. They constantly need new thrills, and they don’t exhibit fear.

They’re not Human

They have physical differences as well. Researchers have discovered the low heart rate, low anxiety, and lack of nervousness in the psychopath. This means they don’t fear the law, their parents, or respect any societal norms. This comes in handy when they calmly talk their way out of a confrontation with police.

Are You a Psychopath? This question was actually used as a screening tool for psychoanalysis. If you can answer this question, you just might be a psychopath.

Patty goes to her mother’s funeral, and meets a wonderful man. By the end of the service, she’s madly in love with him, but she never learns his name. Two weeks later, she kills her sister. Why?


See Answer Below

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ANSWER:

Patty wanted to see the man again and murdered her sister in hopes he would come to her funeral.

Are You a Psychopath

Did You Answer the Question Correctly?

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    • profile image

      Bella 4 years ago

      Just because you answer the question right does not make you a psychopath. It could also mean that you have the ability to understand how a psychopath thinks. My sister showed me this question once and I got the question correct. According to the definition of a psychopath I am nothing like one. I have always been someone to try to understand how people think and I try to walk in other's shoes before I judge, also I have lived with a psychopath, my father. These are some reasons why I knew the answer.

    • profile image

      Groid 4 years ago

      i got it, I probably am a psychopath. I doubt I'm bad. I also think there is a very grey area/spectrum of psychopathy no?

    • profile image

      shimi 4 years ago

      i am a sociopath and

    • profile image

      mirtama 4 years ago

      I got that answer right off, no problem. But I think I have family members, ex-inlaws who fit the bill and I had to learn to think that way to protect myself.

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 4 years ago from Las Vegas

      Thanks Epi, I appreciate you helping me get to know and experience other writers and interesting people!

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 4 years ago

      ....well some other interesting people and hub buddies of mine to check out are:

      Amy Becherer

      The Man with no pants

      DRBJ

      Always exploring

      Martie Coetser

      A.A. Zavala

    • eHealer profile image
      Author

      Deborah 4 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hello my good friend, Epi. You are not bipolar, you possess several gifts that enable you to write so well. The greatest, I will guess, is you have a highly developed imagination that gives you the ability to form a mental image of something that is not perceived through the five senses. It is the ability of the mind to build mental scenes, objects or events that do not exist, are not present, or have happened in the past. Memory is actually a manifestation of the imagination. Everyone possesses a certain degree of imagination ability. But you have a highly developed one and you can write about situations (like crime) that you have never experienced. I would guess that you see information as "pictures" in your mind.

      Thank you Epi, for sharing your gifts with us and creating such beautiful prose for us to pour over, sometimes it makes us smile, and sometimes it's wicked!

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 4 years ago

      ....I was just reading your 'bio' once again, Deborah, and you are truly a woman to be admired for what you have done with your life and in terms of helping so many others in life as you are doing here at the Hub now - I also consider you an earthbound angel.

      Some people have wondered if I may be bi-polar because I write in so many different styles.

      I just think that a good writer can explore any subject and has the ability to move around in different genres at ease and with confidence.

      I even find that with you Deborah. You have the ability to move around with so many different subjects on your page as well.

      I found your hub essay on psychopaths very interesting. I suppose it is one thing to fantasize or keep dark secrets to oneself (through an imagination and an outlet like writing) and then another obviously more unsettling difference - acting them out in real life - and I think that is the key difference in most people.

      Why do so many people like ultimate fighting or horror movies or action films - because they know in real life they will never be involved in these kinds of stories so they live them out through escapism and that is probably a healthy enough way to have catharsis in an outlet.

      I can write about the dark side but my true persona is one of light, laughter and love but I once heard a quote in criminology - in order to catch a criminal you have to act like one - a form of method acting or method writing if you will - and that is what I try to do in my writing .

      sending you warm wishes as always from lake erie time ontario canada 10:09am and the lake looks like an ocean today with whitecaps and high winds - perhaps a change in the weather again

      and three things that you can never change in life:

      the weather

      time

      and human nature

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hello Bulama2, you can't change a psychopath, they are a real handful in a relationship, and they will drain you emotionally dry. If he is a psychopath, he cannot put himself in your place, he has no empathy. He only lives for himself and can feel his own pain. You will know when it's time to leave, no one has to tell you. Good luck and stay strong. Thank you for sharing.

    • bulama2 profile image

      Vivianne Kanawi 5 years ago

      Took the test. Iam not one, but I think I live with one. has no remorse, inconsiderate, very promiscious, not very responsible, very good at his job, very violent when can't argue his way out and a habitual liar.

      I took the challenge thinking I can change this man but Iam exhausted and depress. Thank you for this article.

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Your intuition was telling you something, and he might have been mentally ill. Although it is important to remember, people who are mentally ill rarely hurt anyone. But listen to those red flags, you never really know what people are capable of. Thanks for your comments, and I'm so glad you said "had" a boyfriend. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 5 years ago from USA

      eHealer, My daugher had a boyfriend that made the hair on not only the back of my neck stand on end, but on my arms too when I first met him. He talked about being a vampire all the time. It makes me wonder if he wasn't a psycho.

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hello Barbara Kay, I am so glad you didn't get the answer to the question. The question is not all inclusive, but it is an indication that someone is bypassing their thoughts of empathy and critically thinking about motive, the hallmark of a psychopath. I am sure many of them live around all of us. The trick is to listen to those instinctual cues, like when you meet someone and the hair stands up on the back of your neck, or the eerie feeling that something isn't right with this person. Thanks for sharing!

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hi Relationship, thanks for the great comments on this subject. Your husband may be right. Psychopaths only feel there own pain, their motives and actions don't make sense because they are incapable of understanding the pain or distress of others. Often, negative attention from others gives a sense of power to psychopaths and feeds their ego. They need to appear normal because the sympathy of others to draws them in and sets them up to be manipulated. It's possible your husband saw through her disguise and she became angry at the fact she was exposed. Psychopaths are very good at reading people's behavior towards them. Great example and thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 5 years ago from USA

      Yikes, at this point 21% answered the question correctly. That's scary. I figured it was because he was attracted to her sister instead.

      It is scary that 1% of the population are psychopaths. I wouldn't have expected it to be so high. Hmm, the subdivision I live in has 50 houses in it. I wonder how many of them live right here. That is scary.

    • Relationshipc profile image

      Kari 5 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      First of all, loved the hook at the end. I HAD to click...I need to incorporate that into my writing.

      Secondly, I can't even imagine what it would feel like to be void of conscience. Like what would you think about during your day? Yourself and your ego I suppose.

      My husband and I fully believe my neighbor is a psychopath. She does crazy and mean things that benefit her, without (seemingly) feeling guilt or showing much emotion, but she seems to thrive off the negative attention she receives.

      And, after reading this article, I can picture her smiling (only with her mouth) and staring in a really creepy fashion while we talk to her about her behavior. She just doesn't seem to care about her actions, yet, at the same time, she also seems to want people to believe that she is normal, happy, and positive about life.

      I really like this hub!

    • eHealer profile image
      Author

      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hello Gee, thanks for your comments, yes it is very disturbing that there are people walking around with any humanity or empathy. Thanks for Sharing!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 5 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Gee, this is a very scary disorder. Glad I read about it as I doubt that I would recognize the signs. I'm still not sure I could. Mental disorders are complex and mysterious. Up and sharing.

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Thanks KT, I am so glad you found interesting. Psychopaths are scary, and they are very real. And yes, most mobsters are psychopaths. Thanks for reading!

    • KT Banks profile image

      KT Banks 5 years ago from Texas

      Wow! I write thriller novels, and I still found this hub a little scary, lol.

      When I wrote about the killer in my second novel, I kept looking up the characteristics of a lot of mobsters. The word psychopath kept coming up.

      I tried to think of various answers to the question, but I wasn't even close. This was fun. Thanks for writing it!

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      I am so glad you got the wrong answer. Lol. Thank you for your kind words and I am so happy you found it useful Pamela. See you on hubpages soon!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

      This is a very interesting hub. We think we know what a psychopath is but really most of just probably knew some of the characteristics. This is a very informative hub. Sure glad I got the answer wrong! Awesome hub.

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      hi Sueswan, they would if it benefited them. But most of the time psychopaths try to appear compassionate, helpfu and sincere but most know how callous and unsympathetic they really are.

    • profile image

      Sueswan 5 years ago

      Hi eHealer,

      I have much empathy for others and I couldn't answer the question so thank God I am not a psychopath.

      Would a psychopath admit to being one though?

      Voted up and awesome

    • eHealer profile image
      Author

      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      hello Deborah, you have a beautiful name (I'm Deborah also, lol). Thanks for your kind comments and I'm going to start reading your hubs as well. See you soon and thanks for sharing!

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      what a great hub.. and so interesting.. wow.. amazing

      I will share on facebook

      I am Deborah Brooks Langford

      on facebook

      blessings

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      BLucy, you are too funny, lol! I guess you're just a funny psychopath. Don't be worried, it's not conclusive. You just might be able to "think" like one. Thanks so much for your comments. Lol

    • B Lucy profile image

      B Lucy 5 years ago from Podunk, Virginia

      Well, I got the question right which worries me. But wait . . if I was a psychopath, I wouldn't worry, would I?!

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hi Rfordin, you were really close! I guess your 50% psychopath, or maybe you just have the ability to think like one. Thanks for your comments, and thanks for "guessing" the riddle.

    • Rfordin profile image

      Rfordin 5 years ago from Florida

      Very interesting hub. The question had me stumped...kinda... I thought maybe it was the person performing the "services" at the prior service for Patty's mother. Uh oh does that mean I would be considered 50% psychopath? 100%?

      ~Becky

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hi Hazza, I agree with you. so little is known about the brain. We are such complex human beings. The brain is a mystery, and has a mind of its own.

      Thanks for you comments!

    • Hazzabanana8 profile image

      Hazzabanana8 5 years ago from Southern Realms of England

      And so little about mental health. I may only have studied Psychology at a High School Standard but even I know that we don't know why any disorders actually happen! If it was all biological, then why are findings different in different patients. Pyshcology is such a young science mind. Hopefully we'll find out more in future.

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hey Hazza, I agree, labels are just labels, but mental health issues are more like "syndromes." The cluster of similar characteristics of mental disease identify the problem in the brain. Often, schizophrenics have lesions on the brain, and they can be seen on an MRI. This makes schizophrenia more of a "medical diagnosis." I know, it's complicated. But we know little about the brain.

    • Hazzabanana8 profile image

      Hazzabanana8 5 years ago from Southern Realms of England

      I think that the classification of any form of mental health issue is so vague that any form of diagnosis, is almost irrelevant. Why are there different classifications for the same 'issue' in different countries!?!?!?!

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hey, Nanderson, thanks for the comments. Yes, 20% of psychopaths grace the jails and prisons. It's hard to change their behavior, we don't really know what makes them tick.

    • nanderson500 profile image

      nanderson500 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Fascinating hub, this is a very interesting topic. It's too bad there's no cure for psychopaths. If there was, I think many societal problems would cease to exist.

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hi Tmbridgeland, I think most psychopaths are made, especially the ones that show signs of "caring" about anything at all, like he felt bad about the pet. He was probably created out of abuse. Thanks for your comments, they are certainly interesting and contribute to the article.

    • tmbridgeland profile image

      tmbridgeland 5 years ago from Small Town, Illinois

      I knew a psychopath. He did have a trace of a conscience, but not much of one. He told me once he would never get another pet as he had let the last one die through neglect. He seemed to feel pretty bad about that. But his treatment of women in particular was near perfect psychopathy. Scary. I think he was a 'made' psychopath, not a born one, given what I knew about his upbringing. Mother issues.

    • girishpuri profile image

      Girish puri 5 years ago from NCR , INDIA

      True, and the problem is on the rise, the statistics reveals the cut throat competition, unemployment and life style hazards are giving rise to such psycho + disease on a very dangerous scale, voted up.

    • Enelle Lamb profile image

      Enelle Lamb 5 years ago from Canada's 'California'

      Well, I know I'm not a psychopath, even though I knew the correct answer to the question...great hub :)

    • snowdrops profile image

      snowdrops 5 years ago from The Second Star to the Right

      Very clever question ehealer..I've stumbled on this once upon a time and I couldn't think of an answer..i thought the man was her sister's boyfriend..hehhe i really did my research, though.. waahh..not so close.

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hello My Minds Eye, actually the two terms are interchangeable, with an ongoing debate of the issue. Some professionals don't like psychopath because it can be confused with "psychotic, " a completely different meaning. Rarely do psychopaths seek out another psychopath for relationships, its hard to prey on another, unless one is dominate and the other submissive. Thanks your interest! Love your comments.

    • My Minds Eye53 profile image

      My Minds Eye53 5 years ago from Tennessee

      I have a brother and his wife who are sociopaths. I don't believe they would physically hurt anyone because they are both cowards, but they take great delight in trying to ruin peoples lives. Do you know if there is a fine line between the two, psychopath and sociopath? They seem closely related.

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hello My Minds Eye53, Good question! Most likely they would be proud of getting it correct and brag, but you never know. Thanks for your comments, and a really good point of view. And you're, NOT a psychopath, good news.

    • My Minds Eye53 profile image

      My Minds Eye53 5 years ago from Tennessee

      Glad that is one question I got wrong. I noticed on your poll a 100% got it wrong. Would a psychopath be honest about his/her answer?

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hello Jellygator, thanks for taking the psychopath challenge. Actually, you are right, you shoud ask people to answer the question as a screening tool, but it might make a conversation awkward. Thanks!

    • jellygator profile image

      jellygator 5 years ago from USA

      Boy, I think I'll remember that question forever and ask it before important stuff with people I don't know well.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 5 years ago from Thailand

      It is interesting, I wonder how many of the people in power are in this group ... my bet would be a lot "no conscience, not able to feel others pain, self centered, manipulators" Hmmmmm food for thought ha ha.

      Shared, up, interesting and a little funny (especially that question)

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Thanks ElijahoKelly, not being a psychopath is a good thing! This is one quiz where failing is a good thing! Thanks for you comment.

    • profile image

      Elijahokelley 5 years ago

      I'm glad I read this so I can now confirm that I am not a psychopath LOL. Very intriguing hub!

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Thanks Amuno, it's really scary when you think about it. Thanks for stopping by and I appreciate your comments.

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      Alfred Amuno 5 years ago from Kampala

      I think I know some people who are walking down that road. Hope they apply breaks at the right moment. Scary thoughts by the way. Great hub.

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hey Jeolmoz, It scary that we will never know the "yes" person. Thanks for trying the riddle, and you are not a psychopath. Congrats!

    • jeolmoz2 profile image

      Julio E Olmo Sr 5 years ago from Florida, USA

      Thank God! I said no and saw 100% voted no. I'll be curious & worry about whomever votes yes! hahahah

    • eHealer profile image
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      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hello briars2roses, psychopaths are all around us. So you didn't get the question correct, I guess you're not a psychopath. That's really good news! A psycho would get the answer, because they're decisions are not swayed by emotions. I appreciate your comments and thanks for participating.

    • briars2roses profile image

      briars2roses 5 years ago from Texas

      Wow, I have a family member that seems to fit that criteria and I have wondered. When I got to the question the first thing that popped into my mind was it was her sisters new husband. So glad I would never have thought up the answer to that question. Who would have thought.

    • briars2roses profile image

      briars2roses 5 years ago from Texas

      Wow, I have a family member that seems to fit that criteria and I have wondered. When I got to the question the first thing that popped into my mind was it was her sisters new husband. So glad I would never have thought up the answer to that question. Who would have thought.

    • Simmy George profile image

      Simmy George 5 years ago from India

      yes, yes.. it was fun all the way!

      keep posting!

    • eHealer profile image
      Author

      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hey Simmy, your not a psychopath? It was fun though, right? I'm so glad you liked it. Thanks for your comments and taking the psychopath challenge.

    • Simmy George profile image

      Simmy George 5 years ago from India

      Nice question there.. and thank God I couldn't answer it 'coz I had begun to suspect myself and think by the end 'Oh my! Am I one??' Relieved to know that I am not! .. Interesting!