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How can I tell if my partner is a psychopath?

Updated on August 27, 2012

Have you ever wondered if you are living with a psychopath? Is it possible you suspect you might be dating a psychopath? If you are reading this I am guessing there is a distinct possibility that you personally feel you could be, or maybe suspect someone you know already is. The reason I am writing this article is that I have just realised I probably spent two and a half years of my life living with a psychopath, but I just never recognised that he was one. It was such a traumatic time in my life that I previously wrote an article on my experience called Living with a Control Freak. The article I wrote was a lengthy one, not least because it was really hard to condense everything he did to me and put me through, into a five minute read. If you do decide to read the article be prepared to spend a good ten to fifteen minutes on it in order to hear the two and a half years of my life condensed as much as I can without excluding too much of the hell he put me through.

So right now you are probably curious to know how I am now certain he was a psychopath, and you also want to know how you can determine if the person you suspect is also one. I want to share with you how I realised that my ex was truly psychopathic in nature, and give you an actual checklist that was recently given to me, and that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.

"Is My Partner a Psychopath?" Checklist

This list was passed on to me by a family member, and whilst I had long since accepted that my ex-fiance was a control freak, I had not even considered he might have been an actual psychopath. Now I am absolutely positive he was a psychopath in the true sense of the word, and God knows what he is capable of. Apart from anything else I am extremely concerned that this man is still walking around in society, and I am actively checking the obituary columns regularly in the hope I see his name listed. Does this make me a bad person? I don't believe it does as I can never totally relax as long as this man is free to mix with society.

The Psychopath Checklist

  • Grandiose sense of self-worth
  • Impulsiveness
  • Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
  • Pathological lying
  • Lack of realistic long term goals
  • Need for stimulation / proneness to boredom
  • Cunning and manipulative
  • Callous lack of empathy
  • Promiscuous sexual behaviour
  • Lack of remorse or guilt
  • Glibness or superficial charm
  • Shallow affect (superficial range or depth of feelings)
  • Early behaviour problems
  • Parasitic lifestyle
  • Irresponsibility
  • Many short term relationships
  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Revocation of conditional release (e.g. probation)
  • Poor behavioural controls
  • Criminal versatility


Comparisons to my Ex!

I won't bore you with every last comparison I drew from the list to my ex partner, (you will need to read the Living with a Control Freak hub if you want the full picture), but I would like to list just a few points he was a sure fire match on:

Grandiose sense of self worth: A definite tick on this one. As a singer by profession he was adamant he was 'the best singer there had ever been', and he based this on the fact he could 'do what they all could do, but they couldn't do everything he could do'.

Failure to accept responsibility for own actions: Whether he was hitting me, trying to strangle our dog or stabbing our mutual friend, he always blamed this on the other party.

Pathological lying: A trait this man had for the many years I knew him, and one that everyone who knows him to this day would confirm. If his lips are moving he is lying.

Cunning and manipulative: Most definitely! He could creep around anyone and convince them he was a nice guy, yet as soon as they were out of earshot he would slate them completely to anyone who would listen. In the meantime these people would help him out and he would happily use them, in the much the same way as he did me.

Lack of realistic long-term goals: He talked about trying to get his ex-girlfriend to move to Tenerife purely so he could be near his baby daughter who he had never met (and later discarded). He must have known he could never have afforded a second apartment for them, and could not have had them living with us. Even if we had split up he would have found having them around interfered with his ability to bring other women home with him. Later he tried to get custody of his daughter even though she had an excellent Mother. I am sure he only did this out of spite and his control freak tendencies, but no Guernsey court would ever have awarded him custody, especially if they had found out about his history of having stabbed someone in Tenerife. To make matters worse all his legal action was paid for by legal aid as he wasn't working, so the taxpayer paid for a case that was always unrealistic.

Callous lack of empathy: Another big tick. If I ever mentioned my first Husband who had died a few years earlier, I was accused of 'still being in love with a dead man'. If other people were suffering and fundraising events were organised, he would get involved in the charity events (as a singer / compere), but then find a way to pocket some of the proceeds for his own gain.

Promiscuous sexual behaviour: For sure. Even when I first met this man when I was a naïve teenager he had a history of being promiscuous, usually with teenage girls barely of legal age, and who were generally virgins. The fact that by then he was on his second marriage did not stop him, and later he married a third time and was subsequently divorced. After I got together with him and we moved to Tenerife he still managed to claim indignation at infidelity, even though I found out about at least one girl he brought back to his apartment for an overnight stay (during a time we continued our relationship from separate apartments), and two weeks after he left me to move back to Guernsey, he announced he had a new girlfriend he had met in Tenerife. In spite of his denials I am positive he was sleeping with her during her holiday on Tenerife. He is now married to this woman too, and she is actually a very nice person. What she doesn't know which I do, is that he has already been unfaithful to her at least once.

Lack of remorse or guilt: All I can say on this is that if you punch your own fiancé more than once, try to strangle a frightened pet poodle, play constant mind games with your partner, are unfaithful to a loving, adoring woman, and ultimately stab an innocent man for simply protesting with you face to face for lies you told about his fiancé, and then still claim you were innocent of any wrongdoing, then you have a serious problem.

Glibness or superficial charm: This is something he spent his life doing. Convincing other people he was 'Mr Likeable', a nice bloke, helpful, intelligent etc. He actually had a stack of people, both male and female who genuinely gravitated towards him and strongly believed every word he said. He was, and probably still is, the ultimate conman.

Shallow affect (superficial range or depth of feelings): He would claim to care for people, not just in relationships, but also in family members, but when it came to being there for them he could not sustain it. Even those women he committed to could not hold his attention for long because he had the mentality that needed constant proof of his own continued ability to attract the opposite sex. As for his family, he had no interest in paying maintenance for his daughter back in Guernsey. When he finally returned there he had no choice (although his new wife ended up paying this as she was the only one working because he found a way to claim he couldn't). After his return to Guernsey he tried to get custody of his daughter from her natural Mother, including using lies to try to achieve this. When things over time went wrong he refused to see his daughter any more, even though she was still under six years old. She is now over nine years old and has no contact with him, nor does she want any!

Parasitic lifestyle: This is one that particularly grates with me. When I got together with this man I made the mistake of mentioning I had £5000 in the bank, a small legacy from my late Husband. It was amazing how quickly he managed to then persuade me to move to Tenerife with him, so using this money to get us (him) started in an apartment and give him time to secure work singing. I strongly suspect I would have held far less interest for him if I had been penniless other than the fact he knew I was totally committed and in love with him. He also freely admitted to me that he had moved in with his ex girlfriend purely because she had a council house and it saved him paying out the high Guernsey rental prices. This same young woman ended up pregnant by him and is the mother of the child he now has nothing to do with. She is a good and decent person who did not deserve any of his appalling treatment of her.

Additionally at the time of our relationship I was receiving a small £168 a month pension from my late Husband. This man told me I should be handing this over to him each month to control where it went. He was not at all happy I refused to do this, even though most of that money got spent on household stuff like food. When I did spend about £500 over several months on some new clothes, he gave a mutual friend, (a male saxophonist) of his the impression he had bought the clothes. It took yet another row in the presence of both him, the friend and myself, for me to find this out, and then set the record straight. I still don't know if the 'friend' believed me or him, as my ex had the uncanny knack of getting people to see me as the problem, and this friend clearly favoured his opinion in general.

Revocation of conditional release (e.g. probation): I found this one of the most stunning examples on the psychopath list. The reason this made me choke out loud was because after my ex-fiance stabbed a man innocent of any wrong doing, he was arrested by the Guardia Civil in Tenerife and kept in custody overnight. The following day he was in court and was released on the condition that he reported to the Police station every Wednesday until further notice. The only reason he was released is that (in my opinion), the legal system in Tenerife has some major flaws, one of which is that they let him go based on the fact this incident happened in his own kitchen, and (according to him) they said it is acceptable to defend yourself in your own property. This would be okay to a point if the guy had attacked him, but I was there, as was another passer by, and this guy did not attack my ex at all, he merely tried to take the knife off him. The Guardia Civil and the Policia Locale both failed to even attempt to interview either myself, the other witness or the victim. Essentially he got off because of a non-existent investigation. For about five months my ex did report in to the Police station every Wednesday, but before they ever got to the stage where they told him he need not 'sign in' every week any more, he decided to return to Guernsey, and he simply got on a plane and left. This must surely come under the heading of 'Revocation of conditional release (e.g. probation)'.

Poor behavioural controls: Assuming this means 'by the parents' I totally saw this. His Mother honestly thought the sun shone out of his backside. She was visibly jealous of any woman he was with in a romantic sense of the word, and was known to offer to 'cover for him' if he wanted to sneak off and have sex with a random woman behind his current partner's back! Clearly she could not differentiate between right and wrong where her son was concerned and was a terrible role model. The irony was out of the four children she had, this level of over protection and adoration only appeared to be aimed at this one adult child.

If it doesn't refer to the parents, then as a person he had very poor behavioural controls. Attacking me, trying to strangle our dog, stabbing our friend, and throwing major tantrums if I disagreed with his opinion or refused to do as I was told and knuckle down to his demands. This man is mentally sick, and even told me that he had previously had a breakdown and had been diagnosed as Schizophrenic. Now whether this is true or not I might never know, but if it was he should surely have been on medications, which he certainly wasn't taking. I do however know someone who used to drive on the mini-bus service for the local psychiatric hospital here in Guernsey, and they told me they recalled him, but I cannot prove for sure they are correct.


I could cover pretty much all of the other characteristics on the list here, although many of them merge into other headings. Certainly anyone who reads my 'control freak' article will recognise other similarities to the psychopath list that I have probably omitted here. I would urge any of you reading this who suspects your boyfriend, Husband, girlfriend, Wife, family member or friend might be a psychopath based on what you have experienced or witnessed, to act on this now, either by getting out of the relationship, or by warning others or encouraging the individual to get help before it is too late.


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