We’ve all seen the Hollywood portrayal of the stereotypical psychopath – the cold and calculated serial killer, evil flashing in their eyes. They are always painted with this extreme image, making them easy to identify in our lives, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, experts estimate that approximately 1% of the population exhibit psychopath traits, a number which is even higher among Corporate America were as high as 3% of business leaders meet the diagnostic qualifications. If these numbers are so high, then why is it so difficult to identify these people among us. They may be our friends, family members, co-workers or even ourselves!
Have you ever felt as though your own thoughts border on the negative, leading you to wonder whether you might actually exhibit psychopathic traits yourself? An even larger part of the population will subscribe to a number of these traits, but still fall short of the full diagnosis, unaccounted for in the 1% referenced above. This is complicated by the fact that experts suggest that real-world heroes share a number of the same traits as psychopaths, just not enough to qualify for a diagnosis. It’s a fine line!
How do you measure up? Here are 13 traits that experts suggest may indicate that you are a psychopath:
#1 – You rarely stop to think through your actions, acting impulsively.
If you want something in this life, you are going to go for it, without a second thought for the possible costs or consequences associated with it. Instead, you jump in with both feet, going after your every need, want and desire the second that it crosses your mind. After all, why shouldn’t you have it? Right? Furthermore, if there’s something that you dislike, you aren’t going to waste your time, walking away without a second thought, even if society says you ‘shouldn’t.’
#2 – You regularly take big risks, especially when these choices put others at risk instead of yourself.
There are two reasons that psychopaths largely embrace the idea of risk-taking. First, they believe that they are always right, so obviously the situation is going to work in their favor when everything comes to pass, and they are proven, once again, to have already known the best approach. Secondly, this risk-taking is even greater when the potential fallout isn’t going to impact them. They have no regard for the well-being of others, so if someone else is going to be the ‘fallout boy’ then why would they hesitate?
#3 – Lying and dishonesty are natural and comfortable for you.
While most people will struggle with feelings of guilt or discomfort after telling a lie, this isn’t the case for you. You can’t be bothered with guilt and moral consequences. You are a master at coming up with lies that will advance your own personal agenda and convincing those around you that you are telling the truth. You are so convincing, that even those who pride themselves in their ability to read others can’t detect a hint of dishonesty in your face.
#4 – When it comes to sex, you’re open to anything and everything.
You love sex, and there is no kink or fetish that you aren’t willing to explore at least once, twice if you enjoy it. In fact, while most of society may shy away from a specific kink, disturbed by what it may imply, a psychopath likely won’t even bat an eye. Without having to worry about the morals associated with the sexual act, you are simply free to enjoy it, and enjoy it you will!
#5 – You take joy in getting away with breaking the rules.
While you may not subscribe to society’s rules, you are well aware that they exist. There are times that you choose to completely disregard them without giving them so much as a second thought. Other times, however, you will take note of the rule and the fact that you are breaking it, viewing that as a challenge. When you do succeed, you take great joy in this experience. For example, if you decide to shoplift something that you want, and get away with it, the enjoyment of that item is even greater because you know what you got away with in obtaining it.
#6 – You know how to turn on the charm when needed.
Charm isn’t just something that happens in your world, it’s a tool that you turn on as needed in order to ensure that you will get your way. Whether you are talking your way out of a traffic ticket, smoothing over the fact that you chose not to follow the rules at work or convincing someone to do your dirty work, you can turn on your charm and win over even the hardest of hearts.
#7 – You live your life by the rule that it’s your way or no way at all.
You firmly believe that you know the best approach in every situation in life, even if others may have more experience or greater knowledge. For this reason, you believe that everyone around you either has to buy into what you want to do, or they need to get out of the way. After all, you aren’t going to allow anyone to keep you from making things happen in your favor.
#8 – You are able to rationalize all of your actions, helping you to avoid any feelings of guilt.
You aren’t one to feel guilty for the decisions that you make or the things that you do, as you can rationalize and justify nearly anything. Sure, you may be twisting reality a little bit, and someone may be hurt along the way, but you’re not going to lose sleep over it. Lacking a true understanding of why what you did may have been morally wrong, as you don’t subscribe to the morals that most people do, you simply can’t be bothered with feelings of guilt.
#9 – You don’t see selfishness as a problem, instead, seeing it as a natural approach to life.
Sure, you are fully aware that you prioritize yourself above everything and everyone around you. While others may see selfishness as a negative quality in life, you have a very different outlook on the situation. You believe that it’s completely natural to focus on your own interests and well being, putting yourself first in all areas of your life. You love yourself too much to sacrifice.
#10 – You aren’t opposed to a bit of drama in your life.
It’s not necessarily the drama itself that you enjoy, it’s the way that it impacts everyone else. You see the people around you in life as pawns in your game, and drama is your opportunity for a little entertainment. You will stir the pot or create a scene, and then just sit back and enjoy as you watch it all unfold before your eyes.
#11 – You believe that you are more important or valuable than those around you.
Have you ever walked into a job and wondered why they aren’t immediately promoting you, after all, you know more than your manager, right? You likely have an inflated sense of your potential, seeing yourself as more talented, smarter and possessing greater skill than you actually do, determined that you are the best at everything you do without question. If someone does come alone that may challenge this belief, you will lash out or sabotage the other to prove your point.
#12 – You are sometimes described as being temperamental.
You believe that your way is the best way in every situation, so if others aren’t playing by your script or working within your rules, you can become irritated or frustrated incredibly easily. Due to the fact that you don’t worry about the feelings or emotions of those around you, when this happens you often lash out, snapping at those that you believe should be ‘doing a better job.’ They may not even understand what they did wrong, but you don’t see that as your problem.
#13 – While you may occasionally sympathize, you don’t care enough to go out of your way to help others.
Sure, there are going to be times that you acknowledge that someone is in need, and you sympathize with their situation. In fact, you are even boarding on caring for another. However, when it comes down to it you couldn’t be bothered using your valuable time and energy to help them out, even if you have the opportunity. You aren’t blind to the struggles of others, you’re just indifferent.
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