Who Is A Psychopath?
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Sometimes we come across certain people whose behavior towards us and others leaves us mouth ajar. You ask yourself if these ones have a conscience at all. They don't seem to care even if your life or family is crashing; everything they are after is themselves and they don't want to know what becomes of other people. These set of people are surely toxic and may be psychopaths. But psychopathy is far more than that. It isn't just an occasional display of meanness or arrogance. Some psychologists and psychiatrists may even want to see it as a health condition for which victims may have to seek help. That's because psychopaths are heartless, irresponsible, and lack the morality to respect other people's rights. So, let us attempt to give this abnormal social behavior a definition that can help you grasp the concept better. Psychopathy is a social cum psychological condition in which a person displays an extreme lack of respect for other people's feelings and is even willing to engage in anti-social and immoral acts just for a temporary gain, ego, or selfish purpose. Does this definition portray a person you know or are working with? Well, it may be that they are psychopathic. Get this clear; both male and female can display this psychological condition. In fact, it has no respect for age or color. Don't be surprised if you find some people like this in your religious gatherings too. Historically, the concept was birthed in the 1980s when psychiatrists attending to their patients discovered that though some of the patients appeared to be outwardly okay, they seemed to be morally depraved. To the doctors, it was as if those people were morally insane. Their reason for this submission was that those patients appeared not to have any sense of ethics for the rights of other people. To this effect, the concept of psychopathy became widely used beginning in 1990 to describe toxic individuals who manifest the behavior we have earlier mentioned. Later on, in order to show the havoc these people cause the society, in the 1930s, it was changed to sociopathy. But again, many researchers feel it should still be left as psychopathy. Today, a difference has been made between psychopathy and sociopathy. Researchers often use sociopathy to refer to the condition when it is environmentally induced. That is, the person came up to behave that way because of his or her upbringing. However, where it can be established that the psychological condition is genetic and as such reproducible, such an individual is said to be psychopathic.
How Do You Identify Psychopaths?
You would not see anyone label themselves psychopath but you need to be able to identify them if you hope to be able to deal with them appropriately. Just because a person is not treating you well perhaps in your workplace or family does not make the individual a psychopath. You need to look out for their prime characteristics as described here before coming to a conclusion. And for the purpose of this piece, both psychopathy and sociopathy would be treated as the same because both are closely related.
a) Psychopaths Are Uncaring
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It doesn't matter how pressing your need may be, a psychopathic person doesn't just care. It's only if granting your request would serve their selfish purpose that you sometimes see them display what looks like a show of care. They find it hard to put themselves in other people's shoes and see how it feels. It's like their emotional sensitivity has been blocked and as such, what would even move some hardened criminals to help won't move a psychopath. This emotional disconnect is a reason many of them behave violently and eventually end up in the cell. Nothing disgusts them; not even a face filled with blood. So, if you see someone, whether in your family or workplace, manifest this uncaring attitude, chances are that they are psychopaths.
b) Psychopaths Are Shameless
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This is not limited to psychopaths alone; even sociopaths too don't feel embarrassed or shamed by anything. Can you just imagine how cruel and daring someone without shame, guilt, or feeling of embarrassment would be? No matter how brave or well-trained a normal person is; when there is a real cause for fear, It's just normal to be afraid. But sociopaths and psychopaths are emotionally shallow and practically fear nothing. Such ones, if in a corporate environment, won't consider what they say twice before saying it. They are never afraid of consequences and display little or no remorse for their deeds. They may understand that you are getting hurt by their words or actions but it doesn't just strike a chord in their hearts. Is it not when you recognize shame that you would work to avoid doing something that would bring it on you? Sociopaths and psychopaths don't alike get shamed for anything.
c) They Are Typically Violent
Often, one way to tell if a person is psychopathic is to observe their tolerance level to provocations. Psychopaths have an extremely low threshold for provocations and this is displayed in their incessant fighting and violence with everyone around them. If you have them as a boss in your workplace or a sibling in your family, what you would notice is that they do not cherish forgiveness and must respond to whatever they consider provocative with an assault.
d) Psychopaths Don't Like Taking Responsibilities
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Sociopaths and psychopaths are not usually the ones responsible for anything that is not going right in the workplace, society, relationships, and even in their family. They must find someone to put the blame on. Don't be alarmed if you seem to have such a one as your boyfriend or family members; they would be there to quickly point fingers at everybody else except themselves and why they do this is because they do not like to be held responsible for anything. The blame game is one of their manipulative tactics. It seeks to paint them in a good color while everyone else is seen as the bad person not willing to make things work out.
e) They Are Narcissistic
Talk of a person that is self-absolved and you are talking about a sociopath or psychopath. These individuals just live in their own self-acclaimed world. They seem to be very obsessed with self and believe there is nothing they cannot do. When you analyze their speeches, you see pride and overconfidence all embedded. They are usually the 'best' family friend, boss, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, and what have you. Any attempt to make them keep a low profile is met with the strictest resistance.
How Psychopaths Get The Better Of You
Although we may want to look at these people as being violent and irresponsible, some of them have some good traits that make them maneuver us even without us knowing. Psychopathic individuals at the workplace or family circle employ some tactics to get the better of you and these we shall discuss here. First among their tactics is to study your weak points and capitalize on them. So, if you are the type that loves to wash your dirty linen in public, you are an easy prey to psychopaths. Let's say a psychopathic boss has discovered that you are easily frightened, you can expect that they would always shout down at you. And maybe we should bring it down to the family level and relationships now. A psychopathic husband or boyfriend, for instance, would always operate behind the knowledge that females are generally emotional and need one form or the other of support to get some things done; this, they use to screw them up. They yell and shout at you threatening to withdraw their support if you don't dance to their tune. Another approach is violence. Not very many people love to be involved in violence and if they can notice someone is hell-bent on perpetuating it, there is nothing they won't do to dissociate themselves from it. However good this attitude may sound, it only helps to further fuel the narcissistic tendencies of a psychopath. You can expect them to always cow you with this approach. Again, some of them are sweet-mouthed and highly intelligent. If they discover that you are no easy match for them, they can pretend to be a friend throwing flattery at you here and there. And if you are the type who loves accolades, that becomes a means by which they control you. Imagine you have a psychopathic girlfriend; if she knows she cannot intimidate you and has no idea of what your weakness is, she can use the Delilah approach. By praising you and making you feel great, you may end up doing her selfish bid. And for women, they can decide to shed crocodile tears claiming you don't love them or that you've caused them pain. However, their aim is to control you. Experts have also discovered that psychopaths can abandon you if several attempts made by them to invade your life keep proving abortive. And in the workplace, most of them get over this by promotions. Actually, some less dangerous psychopaths in offices get promoted faster than their pairs because some of their traits help them to succeed in business. They don't make decisions based on emotion or sentiments and are usually not afraid to take risks.
Dealing With Psychopaths And Sociopaths
Having itemized some of the core traits of sociopaths and psychopaths, it would be nice to know how these very toxic individuals can be dealt with. You see, it is not in your power to determine who a person is or should become but you can pretty much determine how you would relate or deal with them. When you have identified that your husband, boyfriend, family member, or whoever is a psychopath using the above personality traits, you can employ the ten tactics below to deal with them.
1. If You Can, Avoid A Psychopath
At the fundamental level, dealing with a psychopath would require that you avoid them. Psychopaths are like a war that should only be fought when every other means intended to broker peace have been used but things are still not working. If they aren't your boss at work, husband, siblings, boyfriend, girlfriend, or other family relatives, it would be better to distance yourself from such toxic individuals. You cannot change them especially if their psychopathy is genetically ingrained. In fact, except you are prepared to be used by someone else, you may want to abandon your relationship with a psychopath. They are incapable of genuinely loving you in the first place. Avoiding psychopaths is great because they can wear you out emotionally. Their several annoying and shameless behaviors are one thing you don't want to keep stressing yourself about every now and then. It's only when avoidance is not practicable that dealing with them can be justified. As such, you would have to proceed to the other points below.
2. Deal With A Psychopath: Take Them As Who They Are
This is not the time to rationalize or help others give excuses for their anti-social behaviors. If you have recognized that a person is psychopathic, it doesn't matter how close they are to you, just take them at their face value. It's good to say this because when such individuals are your husband, siblings, or close family pal, you may be tempted to think they aren't bad. In fact, you may be working so hard to change them to a better person you want them to be. Psychologists have opined that this is a fruitless adventure. You cannot change a psychopath. Psychopaths are also like the biblical leopard that cannot change its own skin. They can't change who they are. The best you can do is to study how they behave and understand yourself more so you don't place yourself at a disadvantage. Studying yourself more would require that you identify your weaknesses and your vulnerabilities and then work more on them. It's not clear how psychopaths are able to do this but the truth is that by studying you for a few days, they can intuitively guess what your weaknesses are. It would, therefore, be good if you take care of those things before they start exploiting them. To leave your weaknesses unaddressed is to make yourself an easy prey for a psychopath. Again, to deny a person's real self is to give them more power to control you. Psychopaths are psychopaths and they must be seen as such.
3. Deal With Psychopaths By Refusing Intimidation
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Intimidation is a tool commonly employed by most psychopaths to cow their victims. But as it is, before they intimidate you, they would have seen that you can be intimidated. As such, gaining a victory over them in this wise would mean you are now willing to be assertive. Never mind their threats and loud voices; stand your ground and make your point. The only time you may have to run is when they have weapons in their hands that they can injure you with. Apart from that, let them see from your actions that intimidation is the least they should think about. If you have a psychopath as a sibling, rather than becoming terrified at what they threaten to do, let them know you don't give a damn and report them to a higher authority (your parents) straight away. If at work, dismiss their threat right before their eyes and report them to human resources. If they are your spouse, don't resort to crying or brooding. Tell them you aren't intimidated by their threats and in case of any bullying or abuse, report them to appropriate security agencies. Don't be surprised you are asked to report your psychopathic spouse to the security; that's necessary to safeguard you from any life-threatening harassment. If a psychopathic husband, for instance, threatens to stab or shoot you, it won't be enough to display the courage to stand up to him. The right decision would include that you report this threat. Psychopaths, as we have earlier stated, are mindless. They actually can do what they say and that's why it is good that you take a further step to limit their anti-social tendencies. Again, it's good to state that this is not a male thing alone; females too can be psychopathic. As such, if such females are your wife, mother, sister, girlfriend, or boss at work, you shouldn't bow to their threats too. When you have displayed a kind of resilience against these people, they too would start taking you for who you are. But as it goes, a single surrender to their bullyings or harassment can make you their lifelong prey.
4. Dealing With Psychopaths? Be Guided By Actions
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If intimidations fail, the next approach a psychopath would want to use to bring you down or use you is flattery and lies. If they fail at a responsibility, they may give excuses. If they are about being caught in a fraud, they may tell outright lies. But the best way to deal with these people is to watch what they actually do and not what they say. It's hard to pick a psychopath just by their words whether it be promises, excuses, praises, or lies. They can be very intelligent and outspoken and to trace their intentions based on what they utter from their mouth may be next to impossible. However, if they are psychopaths indeed, their actions and words would not always tally. So, when a psychopath comes to you and tries to make you feel like the best in your workplace, family, or environment; be careful. Something ominous is definitely behind the flattery. Check available facts to see if indeed you are who they say you are. And for them, if they are your employees, check their track records and see how consistent they have been rather than falling for their excuses and rationalizations.
5. To Deal With A Psychopath, Just Be Calm
Have you noticed how frustrating it can be when you are trying to get the life out of someone and they just feel unperturbed? That's a good way to deal with a psychopath. Never give them the impression that whatever they are doing to you is affecting you in any way and they would soon lose their grip on you. The principle here is to make them see themselves for who they are. And you cannot achieve this if you react to whatever they are doing to you. So, you have a boss who has been unreasonable in their demands from you and you still manage to put up a calm and happy composure regardless? It stings more than the venom of a serpent. Or let's say it is your husband that has been psychopathic in his dealings with you and instead of you becoming downcasted or angry, you just maintain a calm composure maybe even enjoying your favorite TV show, he would have to find another approach if there is still any courage left in him to continue the obstinacy. That said, we must establish the fact that being calm in the face of serious provocations isn't a natural instinct of most human being; it is a learned behavior. That is why it is said that in dealing with a psychopath, you would have to deal with yourself too. It won't be easy to remain unperturbed when a person (especially a family member) is just being unreasonable. However, if you can learn it, it is a potent way to deal decisively with toxic individuals. They would either have to move on, that is, leave you alone or keep trying another tactic which if you continue to remain calm, would also eventually prove abortive.
6. Deal With Psychopaths By Building Relationships
The natural thing a psychopath would want to do is to control how people see you. Let's say you have one in your workplace or family, apart from them making attempts to use you for their egoistic and selfish purposes, they also would want to control how the management (in a company) or other family members see you. They will do this by spreading lies and unfounded information about your person. That can also happen if you are in a relationship with them. They would try to make others see you as a shit. And unless you have built for yourself a formidable relationship and reputation, this psychopathic tactic can prove lethal for you and your career. Get this right; psychopaths know how to build relationships especially with people at the top, that is, the employers. Their intention is that these ones would be able to shield them should their shady deals and behaviors become known to all. That's why if you are in a department with one in your workplace - you also need to build your own network of friends and supporters. Let everyone know you as a hardworking person. Don't indulge in complaining and absenteeism; respect everyone that you work with and let that psychopathic man or woman be the only one having issues with you all the time. It won't be long before everyone would see the truth of the matter. You can't vindicate yourself by being retaliatory. Let your reputation speak for you. Even in your family, if you keep playing your roles and relating well to everyone around, whoever is being unreasonable would soon be seen for who they are. And since you aren't the complaining type, if you have to complain about them either to the seniors or elders in the family, you can be sure everyone would want to listen.
7. To Deal With Psychopaths, Feed Their Ego
One thing a psychopath wants whether they are a male or female, boss or employee, is to be seen as a winner and achiever at all times. If you have a psychopathic boyfriend or girlfriend, their aim is always to outshine you and steal the show always. Where making them feel this way removes nothing from your personality, you may want to give it to them. This is the point: you know your husband, sibling, or subordinate at work wants to always win an argument and\or a deal, don't contest it with them. Make them feel at ease by deliberately making them the champions that they want to be. By so doing, their zeal for prominence can be redirected to a productive outfit. Apart from this, you would also be spending less time on distractions that can from fights and disagreements. This time can be harnessed to improve yourself at work or to rest. But you should only feed a psychopath's ego when doing so wouldn't be against your interest or that of someone else.
8. Remind Them Of Their Failures
If you've got a psychopathic husband, sibling, or colleague, one way you can deal with them is to remind them of their failures. Usually, being psychopathic makes them a narcissist who is lost in their self-professed world. They love to blame other people for even their own faults and they are very good at doing this. One way to clip their feathers as it were is to bring their attention to their failures and hold them accountable. They would want to divert the discussion because of their manipulative prowess but always guide it well so as to make them accountable for their deeds. When they know you are aware of their flaws, they are likely going back off.
9. To Deal With Psychopaths, Keep A Boundary
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It doesn't matter how close a psychopathic person is to you, make sure to keep a boundary that can never be crossed. Yes, it's true that psychopaths can be insensitive but if you have a boundary that you wouldn't sacrifice for anything, you can keep them in check. Typically, they hate boundaries and would always test to see if they would be permitted to go further. If you allow them to cross your personal boundary unopposed, you can hardly liberate yourself from them. So let's say your husband or boyfriend is psychopathic, they would naturally want to break down all your boundaries especially since they know you are a female. But if you have been steadfast in saying No, they can't go far before they back off. If he knows you would rather die than take an insult (just an example), your husband or boyfriend would think twice before insulting you.
10. Empower Yourself
Whether a male or female, the more depending you are, the more susceptible you'd be to psychopathic individuals. That is if you look forward to people too much to get the basic things of life done, you may find breaking loose from their stronghold very difficult. If you really want to deal with a psychopathic person, you cannot afford not to be self-reliant or sufficient at least to some extents. There comes a time when the tables may want to turn against you because of the anti-social behavior of a psychopathic person; if you haven't learned to be a man or woman of your own, you can easily fall for their threats. Empowerment, however, comes through learning and self-will. It doesn't matter whether you are a male or female neither does it has to do with your degrees; there is always something to learn, re-learn, and unlearn. Stay up-to-date so you won't be intellectually bullied because this isn't beyond psychopaths too. Get more than one source of income and if you are a female, don't depend too much on your boyfriend. Your psychopathic boyfriend will always get an upper hand on you if they are the ones feeding you. Even as a wife, don't depend too much on your husband; find a means by which you can survive with or without him. The same applies to men too. Depending on anyone gives them more say on us for which we may have no option than to sheepishly concur. Likewise, if you are empowered, you can decide to leave a company if you consider it to be too full of toxic people. Remember, you cannot change anyone.
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Psychopathy is no doubt, a social menace. It is a psychological condition that if not dealt with appropriately, is capable of setting workers against workers, females against male; male against female, and siblings against one another. The key to dealing with psychopathic ones is not to try changing them because you really cannot. You can't even change someone who isn't psychopathic let alone a mindless human being. However, the ten ways discussed in this piece highlight how you can relate to them so their toxic effects don't get you down. Recall that where avoiding them is possible, that remains the best option. But where they are your siblings or boss, dealing with them requires calmness and refusing to be a victim. Again, set a limit that even your siblings cannot cross without being crushed. That's because if you don't stand for something, you will surely fall for anything. Ultimately, remember that argument does you no good; it only wearies you out. If you argue from now till forever with a psychopathic sibling or co-worker, you aren't going to achieve any tangible result as you would be meeting them where they are best suited. Turn the table around and act in a manner they least expect and you are sure to send them packing.