When we hear the term psychopath, popular culture has conditioned us to think of serial killers on the run from the police.
The truth is, psychopaths are much more subtle than people want to believe.
If you work in the corporate world, you’ve probably encountered one or two as they climb their way to the top through any means necessary. In fact, about 3 percent of business leaders scored in the psychopathic range during a 2010 study published in Behavioral Sciences & the Law.
Contrary to what most people believe, the term psychopath does not refer to ay specific medical diagnosis; both psychopaths and sociopaths are categorized as having antisocial personality disorders. These disorders can arise due to a variety of environmental and genetic factors, which can make it difficult to pinpoint a specific, underlying cause.
Although psychopaths can be hard to spot, and may even be likeable at first, there will always be signs if you know what to look for.
Here are four traits of actual psychopaths.
1. Extreme Arrogance
Arrogance is a major sign you’re dealing with a psychopath. This doesn’t apply to the average arrogant person; this is arrogance to the extreme. Not only do they have an inflated sense of importance, but you’ll hear them explain why they’re the best at everything, they’ll make unrealistic claims regarding their potential, and they won’t believe that the typical rules apply to them.
For the psychopath, manipulation is a game. Sure, they want to manipulate others in order to get what they want, but it becomes almost like a test to see how far they can go. Everyone becomes a target of their manipulative tendencies, and they’ll take it as far as they need to in order to achieve a goal, or just to see a person at their breaking point.
3. No Remorse
Psychopaths have difficulty showing emotion, which is why they don’t feel remorse for their actions. A lack of guilt is a major sign you’re dealing with a psychopath, and it’s usually coupled with passing the blame to others or denying responsibility. If they’re confronted by someone else for their actions, they’ll create rationalizations in order to avoid dealing with the truth.
4. Initially Charming
The reason psychopaths are hard to spot is because they’re so initially charming. Although they don’t understand emotion or may not be able to express it, they have become experts when it comes to pleasing people. They have the ability to draw people in on a surface level, but can’t sustain a real relationship in the long term. Their quick wittedness and conversational skills can alleviate any suspicions had by an outside party.