Merriam-Webster defines a psychopath as "a person having an egocentric and antisocial personality marked by a lack of remorse for one's actions, an absence of empathy for others, and often criminal tendencies."
Often, though, such a person is an unbelievable performer.
They inhabit a world full of people that can and do feel remorse, empathy, and carry the capacity to relate to others. For someone diagnosed as a psychopath, that means striving to feel when that is an unnatural phenomenon.
Or, for the psychopathic people who've lost all hope, that means pretending to feel.
The facade can last a while and remain convincing the whole time. But eventually, the cloak falls off and the cold lack of empathy can't help but rear its head.
For the people in that person's life who've been lulled by the performance, that moment of sudden clarity can feel overwhelming.
Tell Tale Sign
"When I was about 7 or 8 there was a kid who was about 6. We found a baby bird that fell out of its nest. In the time it took for me to go home and tell an adult he put it in the road and ran over it on his bike and laughed."
"Last I heard hes in jail for beating his girlfriend. F*** you Kevin."
The Good Faith Kind
"When he told me he was a psychopath. Not even kidding. He's a pretty cool guy though and goes to therapy and everything for it, he does his best to relate to people and judge emotion but it's difficult for him to hold relationships."
"Pretty smart and is doing the best he can, hopefully one of the more lighthearted stories on here."
A Not Spectacular, but Very Real Example
"I'm a college librarian, he was one of my students who came in a lot. He was super charming and good looking and altogether empty inside: no depth, no emotions, no regard for others."
"One of our staff straight up said, 'that boy's a psychopath;' she had been a social worker so I trusted her opinion and agreed."
"He collected types of women – he told me about seducing a female, married, military chaplain and getting her to do sexual things she didn't want to. Then he got bored with her and moved on."
"He eventually got his Master's degree and now works on the military base making big bucks, getting everyone else to do his work for him."
"Sometimes psychopaths are dangerous in other ways."
Way Too Many Checked Boxes for Comfort
"He set fire in the attic 3 times. Was disgusted by all animals and would try and abuse our cat whilst we weren't there or looking. Went out and bought a load of knives and swords and kept them in his bed...." -- Namshoke
"If someone tried to abuse my cat, imma make sure that bi*** gets flung into the stratosphere at Mach 5 with minimal acceleration"
"In all seriousness, is everything okay now? It must be/have been really difficult to live with someone like that." -- ProcrastinationKing27
All in the Act
"I met an individual who later pled guilty to his involvement in about 14 murders. During an interview about his childhood and personal life, it became very apparent that he had no interest in other people and that they were basically NPCs to him - even his girlfriend and child."
"He was in a gang and his behavior was basically shadowing the other guys with status. He had a girlfriend because that's what the other guys did. He had a fancy car. He wore the right clothes."
"The other guys figured out early on that he was not bothered by murder or gunfights, so he was their hitter. During the interview, he was perfectly polite, but utterly flat in his affect and didn't attempt to dissemble or minimize a lot of terrible things that happened to him or the things he'd done."
"It made for an interesting interview!"
"This one won't be crazy or frightening, but I remember the point at which I recognized sociopathy in my ex. We sat down on his bed at night and I asked him to tell me things about himself (because even though we were dating I knew nothing about him)."
"He could not give an answer beyond surface level on any emotional topic. I looked in his eyes and saw nothingness. I realized why I could never emotionally read him or get any sort of feel."
"He did tell me after we broke up that he can't feel emotions and how much it sucks. I didn't understand this until much later."
"Before we dated, I remember him telling me how manipulative he is, with a smile. He lied constantly about everything and had 15 other relationships before me, all ending within a month. (Yes, an obvious red flag that I ignored)."
"He would jump from religion to atheism every other month. He would repeat cycles over and over. He was known by everyone and liked by many. Very charming. Had a 'flirty' personality. Loved risk taking for no reason. Always got into trouble."
On-Field Signs of Trouble
"Played soccer with a guy in high school that had a real short temper & enjoyed playing the sport as rough as possible (even at practice). Coaches had to tell him to calm down all the time. Everyone hated him and stayed away from him."
"Several years later he murdered a classmate of mine over some weed. He hid the body under a pile of leaves in his backyard."
"When I heard the news, I wasn't surprised in the least."
An Awful Date
"She kicked my leg while we were ice skating to make me fall. I really hurt my back, I couldn't get up, could barely talk and had trouble breathing. I asked her please to call someone but she just stood there and laughed at me for a few minutes until I was able to crawl to my phone and call someone."
"She also said to my adopted brother that he is worth nothing because even his real parents left him in the trash. It was the only time I ever punched someone in the face."
"I was in the military and my roommate was over-protective over all of MY stuff, never wanted me to share, it was either his or mine. Couch, remote, TV, ps4. Like eyes can't be on the tv together."
"Anyways he gets snacks from home sent to him and a rat gets in and eats his food. He stays up for 3 days looking for this rat, doesn't sleep until he catches it, and then proceeded to cut off his toes, fingers, paws and legs in the open courtyard by us so that 'the other mice learn their place' by hearing its screams."
"I wasn't home when this happened, I was on base. Other housemates explained in detail when I got there warning me."
"Left the next day."
And She Kept Working With Kids....
"When my ex boss at the youth service actually barricaded the door of her office to stop me leaving. She had me cornered in my wheelchair, the office was too small for me to turn round. Meanwhile my colleagues were outside the office literally trying to break the door down to rescue me."
"She was given a slap on the wrist for her behaviour with me , but she still works at the youth centre, nobody I worked with at the time wanted to work with her though and they lost loads of kids from the service."
"I'm pretty sure an ex of mine is a psychopath. He had signs of it, like being manipulative, very selfish, no empathy, constant lying."
"I think the moment I twigged was when he came home early from work and said he'd been sent home because he told his boss I had hung myself the night before. I asked him why he'd said that and he just shrugged."
An Aggressive Avoidance of Responsibility
"My period was late and I had let the dude know it was (first time my period was ever late while on birth control pills but I had recently switched to a different one). He immediately started blaming me for not taking my birth control right and that if I was pregnant he would kill me."
"I even told him I doubted I was pregnant and not to worry and that the doctor told me that it might happen."
Uncomfortably Cut Out
"I went to high school with a guy; we weren't close but had a lot of mutual friends so we were around each other a lot. Once he beat a guy with a tire iron when the guy tried to scam him when he was selling some weed or something."
"Later on, he went to Iraq and was in some sh**. He came home on leave at some point and I was at a bar playing pool with him and he nonchalantly talked about killing people over there. Said he enjoyed it."
"He was always very calm and chill when I was around him, but I tried to avoid him after that- there was something broken in there. The weirdest part is that he would have these moments or anecdotes of extreme violence, but he always related them calmly. Never felt any sort of regret for any of it."
"Obviously you can't diagnose someone off of that sort of thing, but I've read that sociopaths make good soldiers- and he was fairly successful in the Army, I believe."
That Poor Child
"When I had a parent-teacher conference with a student of mine's mom and dad. This was maybe 15 years ago, but it stuck with me. The daughter had some minor issues with math (3rd grade) and the father insisted that he was a physics professor at an Ivy League university nearby."
"When I told him his daughter was struggling with the US standard algorithm, he got upset and told me he didn't understand what the word algorithm means. And he's a physics professor? Um. Ok. When I began to explain, his face got completely flat and devoid of any expression."
"His wife immediately noticed the look on his face (he was staring right at me, not blinking or saying anything) and her face blanched, and she started pulling on his arm and trying to get his attention (off me, I assume). When I described it later, I called it a 'serial killer face.'"
"He eventually let her pull him out of the room and end the conference. I immediately told my principal and said I refused to do another conference alone with these people. I definitely felt as though if I were alone with this man, he would have come after me physically. His wife's response was very telling. I only dealt with her from then on."
Not Really the Point of Martial Arts
"I think I might have posted about this before, but there was a guy I was in a couple clubs with in high school. He was always really polite but...intense. Like the kind of intense you didn't want to make direct eye contact with, if that makes any sense."
"Anyway, one day we're walking back from McDonald's or somewhere together before our club started. It's just the two of us, and out of nowhere he starts talking about how he's a black belt in some martial art, and gleefully tells me about how in one of his classes they had just learned how to break someone's neck in one move, and how cool it was."
"I was like, 'Huh. Okay then. That's interesting.' and just let him go on his merry way. In the back of my mind I was going 'This dude is totally going to kill somebody someday.'"
"Years later, he makes the local news for assault."
Nothing Casual About That
"Lady I worked with. She was a little difficult, not very technical, not very accommodating towards people trying to solve her tech problems, but nothing out of the ordinary. Except occasionally her kids would call her at work and she would say just unforgivable things to them."
"And then one day she just casually mentions that she has the family pets euthanized when she gets bored with them. I actually didn't believe her and asked her to clarify/confirm - I totally understood her correctly the first time, she just straight-up kills pets whenever she feels like it."
"And this woman kept talking about how she should totally get a dog..."
All Power, No Emotions
"I went to university with a guy I am positive is a psychopath. Quite pleasant to be around but he has no regard whatsoever for you. Quite charming actually and the best ladies man I've ever seen."
"But once he f***s them he's done. Like literally they don't exist to him. I've seen him break up 2 year long relationships of other people then dump the girl the morning after."
"I suspected he was a psychopath but we took a class psych class together and he confirmed it to me. Like straight up told me he'd been diagnosed as a teen."
"I wouldn't call him a bad guy but he didn't see me or anyone else as human. Just things he enjoyed interacting with. Played D&D and board games with him for years. Still have him on my Facebook but haven't seen him in like a decade."
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