Can you learn to spot a psychopath before you become a victim?
The term “psychopath” is often used to describe an individual who lacks empathy and is deceptive, manipulative, unemotional (not to mention unusual outbursts of rage), morally depraved, and exhibits blunt or superficial affect.
Psychopaths – or people with psychopathic tendencies – usually want to manipulate others, are very good at identifying vulnerabilities, and superficially provide others with what they lack (like acceptance, flattery, and love).
You can learn to spot a potential psychopath by monitoring these speech patterns.
There are also a few body language cues exhibited by psychopaths which usually consist of exaggerated hand gestures and contoured facial expressions. They use them to try to convince the listener that what they are saying is true when it is not.
If you are perceptive enough, you may be able to watch for body language cues and speech patterns that identify a potential psychopath.
Of course, there are other people who have unique speech patterns, flat affect, and unexpected facial expressions who are do not Psychopaths, so you’ll need more than these clues, but these are a great place to start when combined with some dangerous personality traits.
Psychopaths rarely show emotions – at least not genuine emotions.
Studies show that psychopaths generally speak in a controlled manner. They don’t emphasize emotional words like other people do. Their tone remains fairly neutral throughout the conversation.
Although their effect is generally flat and their voice monotonous, they will adjust the pitch to emphasize or convince someone else that they are “genuine”.
Therefore, the interest shown in others is superficial – it is a means to an end designed to gain the trust of another person.
The psychopath can appear cold and emotionless most of the time. However, when they determine that emotion is necessary to persuade, deceive, or deceive someone else, they can put on the superficial charm and play it masterfully.
The emotions that are manufactured are often short-lived and quite superficial.
For example, a psychopath may show sadness when learning about the trials and tribulations of others because he recognizes that this is the expected response.
They can also show anger if they can bully someone or perceive a loss of control over the other person.
In particular, they don’t really feel these emotions, they create them.
Most psychopaths lead parasitic lives and need the charm of you to make this happen.
Like a parasite, a psychopath maintains sustained contact with its prey to the detriment of the host organism. They take full advantage of the kindness of others by relying on them to meet their needs.
The needs of a psychopath may include using another person to boost or maintain their ego, for financial gain, or to access other vulnerable people.
They use people to get all they can without caring about what a person may be feeling.
Psychopaths lie to make themselves look good or appear superior to others.
Adult psychopaths typically exhibit early psychopathic traits and behaviors in childhood that are usually not recognized or recognized until adulthood. They spend most of their lives observing and imitating the emotional reactions and responsiveness of others.
This behavior is an attempt to convey something that is not felt or experienced. The nonverbal behavior of a psychopath is often so convincing – and distracting – that people fail to recognize that they are being cheated.
Serial killers and well-known psychopaths like Richard Ramirez, Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, Charles Manson, and Dennis Rader have a lot more in common, not just the crimes they’ve committed.
Watching several filmed interviews, it was clear to me that they all looked like the guy next door, the person you were least afraid of.
They were all very intelligent, articulate, persuasive and superficially charming.
All interviews included prolonged moments of piercing stares, periods of boredom, jerky head nods when they thought they weren’t being believed, changes in tone of voice to punctuate a point, and gestures of distracting hand.
Hand gestures, I believe, are done to distract the listener from the things that are really being said and encourage them to pay attention to the action, not the words.
Every word spoken by the psychopath is spoken slowly, softly and deliberately.
Researchers and other mental health experts like me suspect that psychopaths intentionally engage in calm behavior because it helps them gain more control over their personal interactions.
By staying “calm,” they are more likely to maintain control over any emotional reactivity, such as anger.
Psychopaths do not select their victims at random; the victims are chosen deliberately.
Psychopaths, unlike most people, seem to have an ingrained “victim finder” that allows them to exploit those who seem more vulnerable. They often study potential prey as one would study for an exam.
They will seek out the victim’s social information to manipulate those around them and gain accurate insight into the other’s emotions. They are also able to accurately identify vulnerability and submission using facial and body language cues.
For example, in a 1985 interview with infamous serial killer Ted Bundy, he claimed “he could tell a victim the way she walked down the street, the tilt of her head, the way she she behaved “.
Psychopathic murderers also differ in other ways of speaking.
Their verbal language is full of disfluencies. Psychopaths can use phrases like “uh” or “umm” and have multiple pauses in communication or speech.
Compared to non-psychopaths, they refer less to social needs related to family members and friends. The needs of others are not recognized or accepted by the psychopath, so they are removed from this emotional landscape.
They also use more past tense verbs in their story, suggesting greater psychological and emotional detachment from the person or event.
For most people, attachments begin to form in early childhood, where they attach to “objects” – often parents and caregivers.
Psychopaths do not form attachments.
Therefore, it is unrealistic to believe that they can recognize or understand the social needs of others.
Individuals who do not recognize, understand or respect the needs and emotions of others are unable to tap into an emotion that they cannot feel, they can only imitate its outward appearance.
So, does this mean that someone who lacks empathy, who is superficially charming, and who has a disfluenced way of speaking is immediately a psychopath?
Not always, but you still have to be careful because whether you’re a psychopath or not, you have to protect yourself before being a victim of your behavior.
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Dr. Tarra Bates-Duford is a psychologist who has engaged in extensive work and research on family relationships, family trauma and dysfunction. To learn more, visit Family issues consultation group.