What it is to be a Psychopath
You hear the term psychopath, and you immediately think of someone who has conducted some sort of heinous crime. The term itself “psychopath” has been synonymous with the likes of some of the world's most terrifying criminals. But what is it truly to be a psychopath?
In the 1800s, some doctors were working on patients that they notice to have what they termed “moral depravity,” or “moral insanity.” What they were noticing is that these seemingly and outwardly people were healthy, but they lacked a sense of ethics or a belief in the rights of other human beings.
The term psychopath was first used in 1900 to describe these people who were deprived of morals or ethics. Later the term was changed to a sociopath, and it eventually was changed back to a psychopath, which is the term used today. Due to the changes in terms, it is easy to mix up sociopaths with psychopaths, but there is a difference. You will learn more about sociopaths in another blog.
There are two types of psychopaths. Some primary psychopaths are victims of genetics and then secondary psychopaths who are victims of their environment. Regardless of what type of psychopath you are dealing with, they are capable of the most dangerous and unimaginable crimes.
What makes psychopaths so dangerous is that they are capable of mimicking normal human behaviour. They often hide behind a charming and profoundly manipulative character. They can hide in normal society for years, even their entire lives without raising any alarms as they are capable of cultivating a normal life.
People are terrified of psychopaths because of the ones who have been caught conducting heinous crimes. Psychopaths such as Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gracy (Killer Clown), or even Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka (Ken and Barbie Killers).
What do we know about psychopaths?
Well, there is plenty we know.
· They make up 15-20 percent of prison populations.
· Psychopaths are relatively familiar with 1 in 100 being a cold-blooded person.
· At least 70 of repeat offenders are psychopaths.
· Psychopaths make up the vast majority of serial killers and sexual offenders.
· They are challenging to diagnose and treat.
With the advent of neuroscience and the psychopathy checklist (PCL-R), there is a way to diagnose these individuals. This test is known as the golden standard for diagnosing a psychopath. Most patients who are tested are children and youth who exhibit psychopathic tendencies.
Common traits of a psychopath:
Though diagnosing a psychopath is difficult, it isn’t impossible. The most common traits are:
· Poor impulse control
· Deep-rooted dishonesty
· An inability for empathy
Are all psychopaths’ criminals?
Since the term is often in conjunction with criminals, it is easy to hear the term, and immediately your mind goes to the worst of the worst. Despite this popular perception of these individuals, the truth is most psychopaths aren’t cold-blooded or killers. As a matter of fact, most live successful lives among us using their unique personality trait to achieve their goals and get what they want in life. Many times, this is at the expense of others, but not in a dangerous way, just more manipulative.
In truth, you don’t need to be scared of a psychopath. Most are harmless and are just difficult to work with or get along with. The only real thing you need to be cautious of is if they are trying to manipulate you because they can be very crafty, so much so, you might not even notice you are being manipulated until they already have what they wanted.
Overall, most psychopaths live normal lives without harming anyone in any capacity.