Interest in the most severe form of character disturbance (psychopathy) has grown rapidly in the past several years, thanks mainly to the research conducted by Dr. Robert Hare of Canada and others.  And one of the more interesting findings to come out of clinical studies on brain functioning is evidence of a possible biological basis for the psychopath’s diminished capacity for empathy.  So does that mean that the most seriously disordered characters among us – or for that matter, all disturbed characters – are simply born the way they are?

It’s been established for some time that genes play a significant role in the makeup of those individuals eventually diagnosed with such conditions as Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD, sometimes also now termed Dissocial Personality Disorder or DPD).  And while the concepts of psychopathy and sociopathy have been around for a long time, neither has been recognized as an official disorder (although it’s likely that the upcoming revision of the official diagnostic manual will include the key aspects of psychopathy as a variant form of APD).  Historically, the evidence for a genetic predisposition to APD has come from studies of monozygotic (identical) twins reared apart.  The fact that the twin of an individual with an antisocial behavior history is more likely to show the same kind of behaviors despite being raised in a different environment argues for a genetic predisposition to the disorder.  And it’s of particular interest that twin studies have shown that the key component of psychopathy (i.e. lack of guilt or remorse and callous use and abuse of others rooted in empathy deficits) also appears to be influenced by biological factors.  The “concordance” rate between twins reared apart for the various traits associated with APD, DPD, psychopathy and sociopathy is not strong enough to confirm a strictly genetic basis, but there can be no doubting a strong biologically-based predisposition.  And one fairly recent study on monozygotic twins reared apart demonstrated that the biological predisposition toward empathy deficiency shows up even in children as young as 7 years old (see: Evidence for Substantial Genetic Risk for Psychopathy in 7-Year Olds).

In the past several years studies of brain activity in individuals meeting the criteria for psychopathy have yielded some groundbreaking findings. CAT scans reveal that with psychopaths, areas of the brain typically associated with emotion, especially the integration of emotion with other mental constructs, do not operate in the same manner as they do with normal individuals.  Show most people a picture of something typically associated with a sentiment (e.g., a wedding ceremony), and areas of the brain that process information about the event as well as areas of the brain involved in emotion both show activity.  But show the same image to a psychopath, and although the area of the brain recognizing the image or event is active, the area of the brain typically associated with an emotional response appears dormant.  Other brains studies measuring different aspects of the integration of emotions with other human experiences have shown the same abnormalities when it comes to psychopaths.

So, what does this all mean?  And would it be fair to say that all the disturbed characters among us are simply born the way they are?  Naturally, the answer is not all that simple.  Suffice it to say that many of the traditional assumptions about traumatic or impoverished environments being the “cause” of some of these conditions have now been rightfully and significantly challenged.  There are biological factors at work and some of these factors are strong contributors to some of our more serious character disturbances.  And there at least appears to be a strong genetic component to an individual’s capacity to experience empathy, guilt, and remorse.  And while all this might come as welcome news to those exasperated parents who used to blame themselves and who we used to blame for raising monsters, there’s still a lot we don’t know about all the factors that contribute to someone becoming a full-blown psychopath.

While for some time I was nearly alone in the field, many other professionals are recognizing the broad continuum of character disturbance that plagues society these days.  And while much of the research of late has focused on the most extreme cases (i.e. psychopathy, sociopathy), we’re gradually coming to understand more about the entire spectrum of character disturbance as well as the various factors, the presence and intensity of which might largely determine the kind of character disturbance that might develop.  We’re also gradually coming to understand the phenomenon of character disturbance within the context of evolutionary history.  There was a time – back in our more primitive days – when two of the factors we now think of as highly problematic:  fearlessness and the capacity for the remorseless perpetuation of violence,  were the very qualities the tribe valued most in its dominant leaders.  The truth be told, psychopaths probably helped us survive and get to where we are.  But in an evolved and civilized world, they have little place.  They’re natural predators, but there are no wild beasts to slay.  So, as Hare notes, they’ve become intra-species predators (which is why in both of my books I suggest that the most appropriate descriptive label for these personalities is “predatory aggressive”).  They’re also not killing each other off in great numbers in tribal wars.  As a result, they’re now estimated to make up between 2 – 5 percent of the population.

In In Sheep’s Clothing, I expose the manipulative characters who fall just short of being true psychopaths.  And In Character Disturbance, I not only outline the entire spectrum of character dysfunction but also address the biological, environmental, and other factors thought to contribute to character development.  And I make the case that the degree to which genetics outweighs other factors as the main causal agent for a disturbance varies.  Suffice it to say, however, that when it comes to severe character disturbance, the evidence is strong that biology might be the greater culprit.  That’s why it’s so important to cultivate good “radar” for the predators among us and to keep a safe distance.  We’re not in caves anymore and we don’t need a champion with ice water in their veins slaying every potential threat for our survival.  And we have to remember, that given their predatory instincts, and the lack of dragons in our midst, if we’re not careful, they’ll prey on us.

Some have suggested that psychopaths might rightfully be considered a different species because they’re so different with respect to the critical attributes that most of us think define us “human.”  But there’s certainly no solid scientific foundation for that notion.  Nonetheless, during my many years dealing with psychopaths, I was most struck by the fact that many considered themselves not only very different from the rest of us, but also clearly superior to us because they did not carry with them the vulnerability that typically accompanies having feelings and a conscience.  And it’s their pathological sense of superiority, a truly malignant narcissism, that gives rise to their sense of entitlement to prey on those they regard as inferior creatures.

Whether it’s the result of genes, a peculiar mindset, an ingrained pattern, or even an evolutionary variation, psychopathy is a very different and dangerous animal indeed.  And according to DeBecker, nature has given us the “gift of fear” (e.g., hair standing up on the back of our neck, uneasiness and queasy stomach, etc.) to alert us when we’re in the presence of a predator.  Unfortunately, some of us fail to trust our instincts and allow ourselves to be taken in by the the great charm of which they’re capable and to fall under their spell.  And by the time the spell is broken, it’s often too late.  That’s why, as I advise in all my writings, it’s so crucial to trust your gut over your heart or even your head.  And when your gut tells you you’re in the presence of a predator, run!

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51 Responses to Is Psychopathy Genetic?

  1. Sarah
    Aug 29, 2012

    Psychopathy is without a doubt genetic. My x-husband is a psychopath . . and my X-son (brought up by me exclusively) is a clone of his psychopathic father. i.e., the lying, the blaming, the aggression, the need to dominate, the need to win, the inappropriate rage outbursts, the constant put-downs, the manipulation, the sense of entitlement, the lack of empathy & compassion, the unbridled narcissism, the sadism…the EMPTY SHELL!

    • Kane
      Apr 20, 2013

      Is there any treatment for this ? My mom was in exactly same condition as you. She divorced my father and i am in her custody. The trouble is i am too a clone of my father(i think that, not her) because i have felt and committed all those actions which make me a psychopath. But i want to change myself, i don’t want her to think that her efforts went in vain. I do not want to end up like my triple-damned father, who used to beat her every night after getting drunk and sometimes for no reason at all. He used to dominate us, abuse us. He made our life hell !! I repeat i do not want to be like him, but sometimes i just can’t stop myself from doing those psycho-things, it makes me feel so helpless. For example – Lying, i don’t know why i lie, i feel like i am on auto-pilot.. PLs help !!

      • Dr. Simon
        Apr 20, 2013

        Reckoning with a problem is such an important first step. And yes, there are several help options available. Although I can’t give direct advice here, I can give you some options to consider when seeking the right kind of help that you might find useful. Contact me through the back channel, using the “Contact Dr. Simon” feature.

      • Ross
        Dec 22, 2013

        You are not a psychopath if you are able to realize you’re a psychopath. I think these would be considered sociopathic tendencies, which a significant portion of society suffers from, including my father and myself. I recall my father once sh*tkicking me for serving my own food at the dinner table after he said he was dishing it out. The emotional abuse through my preteen years is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I don’t believe Dad is capable of reconciling his issues, let alone admitting there are any, but I am very aware and swear to never become that. You are obviously on the same path

        • Puddle
          Dec 22, 2013

          Ross, Im not sure about the first sentence in your post. I think they do realize it but don’t admit it CERTAINLY! Although some do.

          • Maria
            Jan 07, 2014

            Yeah thats true beca use antisocial people nowdays have information at their hand so they can identify T. Themselves.

      • Dave
        Apr 08, 2014

        Good for you Kane. Admitting you have a problem and seeking help proves you are not pre-destined because of gentics. You can control your life. Its unfortunate your hardrive got programmed when you were young, but like a computer you can reboot and make a permanent change. My advise…..try yoga. Its something new, deeply spiritual and will create a new part of your brain that will be pure, calm, beautiful and free from the viruses that haunt your old hardrive. Wish you luck!

    • Maria
      Nov 17, 2013

      Reading your words its like if I my self had written them….I go through this pain every day of my life with my son who has all those personality traits you describe and he is the son of a psychopathic person my ex husband….

    • old
      Dec 19, 2013

      Oh my God Sarah. I’m in the same predicament. soon to be ex husband and son. how do you deal with the son if you don’t mind me asking? mine is a young adult.

    • Alex
      Apr 08, 2014

      I hope your not serious. You have ONE personal experience and it MUST be true. Have you ever wondered that maybe your son was just into his father more and developed some of his same qualities due to living with him? Children adapt to their environments. For example, if a child listens to, I don’t know, rock at a young age, then as he gets older, he will have a preference towards it since it’s what he grew up with. If your ex-son was raised with a psychopath, then he may become psychopathic too. What you stated is like someone else stating that they once saw a turtle that was angry around other turtles, and one of those other turtles was also angry.

      • Dr. Simon
        Apr 08, 2014

        Points well taken, Alex. As all my articles on the topic assert (as do my book), biological factors are only a part of the picture, albeit in some cases, a greater part than we once thought. I resisted a forceful contest to the comment here because Sarah and I have debated this point before, and quite intensely. But many factors shape personality development (e.g., temperament, biology, early learning and environment, cultural “reinforcement”, etc.) and the extent to which one factor or another plays a more dominant role in someone’s character formation varies. It’s always dangerous to paint with a broad brush or to overgeneralize based on unique experiences (Freud made this very same mistake when fashioning what he thought were general rules about human behavior based on his observations of one very small non-representative group of patients). And one does have to be able to explain why some folks, despite the most optimal of environments turn out horrendously evil whereas others, despite the most hostile and neglectful environments emerge with a most impressive character. That’s why the longstanding “nature vs. nurture” debate has always been a red herring of sorts. It’s not an either-or thing. Both, along with other factors, play roles in character formation, and as I mentioned earlier, the degree to which any factor or cluster of factors plays a more dominant role varies from individual to individual.

  2. vera
    Aug 31, 2012

    I lived with one. There were a few times when he talked about the roots of his — what we called mental disorder, the dark hole inside him — and he thought it began in babyhood. He *knew* as a small child, suffered from terrible nightmares then, then as he grew just started to run amok, confident that he could game anyone… and did.

    The rest of his family had issues, but were mostly very supportive of him all his life. Nice upstanding folks. Maybe sometimes it jumps generations.

    • vera
      Aug 31, 2012

      I should add that his parents reported nightmares. It could have been, he was manipulating them with “nightmares.” He manipulated me with “anxiety” as in, ‘why did you lie to me? Well, I got anxious.’ Ha.

  3. Jannie Roux
    Sep 26, 2012

    40 Years ago I was awarded my PhD in Psychology on a thesis of the criminal psychopathic offender. I published it in book form in Afrikaans my home language. I am South African and was for 18 years involved with the Prison Department and when I left I was the first prison clinical psychologist and head of the Psychological Department.

    In spite of the fact that genetic and neurological studies were very limited because modern technology was not available I indicated in my book that there are indications of a constitutional (genetic/hereditary) and neurological basis combined with some environmental factors which predispose individuals to psychopathy.
    I plan to update my book with the latest scientific research as indicated in your fascinating article above.

  4. Dan
    Dec 30, 2012

    Predators don’t lack empathy or feelings like psychopaths. It’s wrong to compare the two.

    • Dr. Simon
      Dec 31, 2012

      Not sure of the validity of the distinction you’re trying to make here, Dan, or the support you have for your contention. Perhaps you could explain a bit more and clarify. Perhaps it might be a matter of semantics. The link between the predatory victimization of others and impaired empathy capacity or the capacity to compartmentalize empathy, however, is extremely well-established. It’s true that not all persons who engage in some types of predatory behavior are full-blown psychopaths, but a lack of concern for the welfare of others, rooted at least in part in deficient or compartmentalized empathy, is almost always at play in predatory aggression.

  5. Charm
    Apr 30, 2013

    Hi Dr Simon. My father is a classic & authentic psychopath. He meets every single definition and criteria for a psychopath (not sociopath). Thankfully I seem to have inherited all his good traits (intelligence, heightened emotional/people awareness, leadership qualities, etc) but none of his psychopathic ones. Which in the end was my saviour growing up as I was able to see right through him when no one else could and it in fact honed my radar for abnormal behaviour saving me from the resultant self destructive behaviour many abuse victims experience. So against all odds, despite the abuse and manipulation I was able to come out of it on the other side damaged certainly but in many ways stronger and more able. There is no doubt that being in a situation like that, if you are lucky enough to come out the other side, promotes a very deep rooted and rapid sense of character development and maturity that take most people half their life to achieve. However, my concern is not for myself but for any future children I may have. Are the odds high that those children (particularly the males, as I know psychopathy is highest in males) will inherit the genetic & brain abnormalities of my father and therefore be pre-disposed to psychopathic behaviours? My children will be raised in a loving, well adjusted and balanced home environment but as per your article, twins raised in separate environments still displayed similar traits, thus this issue is rapidly becoming recognised as a genetic pre-disposition. I don’t want to be selfish and have children if there are very high odds that they will suffer the same fate as my father. I also don’t think it’s fair to expose society or my partner to a potentially dangerous criminal if that could have been avoided, just because I want a family one day. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks.

    • Dr. Simon
      Apr 30, 2013

      You might find some of the many articles I’ve written on psychopathy helpful, including not only those I’ve posted on this blog but also other articles posted on popular international blogs (e.g., http://www.counsellingresource.com) as I address in these articles the current state of our understanding about the biological factors thought to be at play. Suffice it to say, however, that while it is fairly well-established that there is a genetically-based predisposition for the development of the condition, we still know very little on personality development in optimal environments in a child predisposed to the condition. And we know even less about personality development in a predisposed child where detection has been made early and appropriate early interventions have been employed. We also lack sufficient, reliable data on the probability of passing the predisposition along (especially via genetic contribution through the mother) to advise all children of a genuinely psychopathic parent to not have children.

      It appears fairly obvious that you possess some highly desirable personality characteristics of your own. It would be great if we could reliably predict whether you might necessarily pass those traits on to your children or predict what the most likely combinations of predispositions resulting from the co-mingling of traits of your partner might be. But the state-of-the-science is just not there yet.

      • Charm
        May 01, 2013

        Thank you so much for taking the time out of your already busy day to not only answer my question but answer it so fully and promptly. It really means a lot to me and it is greatly appreciated. Based on your response it would seem that at this stage we just don’t possess the required level of understanding to predict accurately whether my children will be at risk. I think in that case the best way to look at it would be the same as assessing any risk in having a child. Which is that, unfortunately, as much as we want them to lead a happy healthy life and as much as each child deserves that, the reality is not everyone is so lucky. We can’t stop having children just because something might go wrong because you can do everything right and it still happens. I just wanted to rule out the option only if it was fairly certain that it would happen but that doesn’t seem to be the case. So I guess all I can do is raise those children with love, fairness, balance and boundaries and hope for the best :) And I will certainly look into those articles you mentioned, thank you for suggesting them. Kind Regards.

      • Charm
        May 01, 2013

        As a sidebar, I forgot to mention that all my experiences left me with a really wonderful gift…..a high aptitude for understanding human behaviour coupled with a healthy fascination of how the brain and behaviour works thus leading me to a career in Psychology. I am in the early stages of my degree right now. So you never know, perhaps one day you might be reading my articles on this very topic ;-)

        • Dr. Simon
          May 02, 2013

          Now THAT’S profiting from one’s experience! Bravo!

        • Clare
          Jun 03, 2013

          I’ll definately read your articles and doesn’t have to be one day, post them now and keep posting the more and more you learn and grow along the way. I instantly related to your situation. A lifetime of being dominated by psychopaths and narcissistic people. It’s all i knew but slowly started to see over years that I and my younger sister as opposed to my two elder siblings were similar in high intelligence and being able to understand human behaviour and see alot more about a person than others but we have empathy. I have too much sometimes and it sounds like i’m tooting my own horn, it’s not bragging, it overwhelms me and I find myself habitually use to the mentality of “i have to help”. I get walked over alot but trying to change this happening and seek as much knowlege as possible and surround myself with similar minded and compassionate people. I have two boys and thought with nothing but psychopaths and narcissists in my life… i swear i’m a magnet and taken many blows but finally becoming aware that it isn’t me, it is them and i need to distance myself from them and seek knowledge on prevention from future revictimization and establishing firm boundaries on what is allowed and not allowed and that respect should be given by both sides, not just one. I look forward to reading both Dr. Simon’s articles and yours aswell. Your going to excel in life. Good luck friend :-)I got my mission to look forward to, spreading awareness and using my experience to educate parents of signs of peodophiles and women about signs of how psychopaths lure women in with a false charm and to help other women with further revictimization as adults. I got my whole 30 years of daily experiences with different ones male and females. They are all i have known in life, but i have true friends my whole life still here to help me handle them and help me recover everytime i’m left picking up the pieces of the chaos around me. I believe your mind turns off auto-pilot and starts to function only when addressed with a problem, i have had 30 years of constant dramas around me. i may have done average at school but this field of experience has given me so much knowlege with depth that others couldn’t possibly understand. Always take a negative and turn it positive. Like my ex’s, negative but my kid’s – POSITIVE! Life is a lesson and will never stop repeating until you learn from it. I’m finally ready and learnt more than many i know could believe and thats without even really knowing the other 90 percent, and it’s time to focus on me and help others with my knowledge. We victims or shall i say survivors whom were once their victims and seen as weak to them are in fact their biggest threat in stopping them and exposing them. It’s our duty to use our knowlege to not only educate others but also ourselves. Keep writing guys. I’ll be reading. :-)

  6. Eman
    May 04, 2013

    Hello Dr.Simon I just want to say I just can’t believe that genes
    have the upper hand in this development. will as we know some people have higher risk to cancer due to their genes but if they take care of themselves they won’t get cancer by god will so their got to be someways to protect those kind of people from becoming psychopath right ??
    And also we know that we all have Spiritual Intelligence which contain • wisdom • compassion • integrity • joy • love • creativity • peace

    • help others and improve society by using a higher dimension of your intelligence .

    • J
      May 04, 2013

      I think having true spiritual intelligence requires certain emotional development. Something psychopaths, manipulators, bullies and other people with deficient moral integrity don’t have.

    • Dr. Simon
      May 04, 2013

      It’s the sweeping generalizations (e.g., “we know that we all have”) that get us in trouble, Eman. The biological components of psychopathy (notice, I didn’t say merely genes) and their causal influence in the condition are very well-established. And very few clinicians have spent much of their careers dealing with severely disturbed characters. I know first hand how much easier it is to be and work in the world of neurotics, where “wisdom, compassion, joy, love, integrity,” etc. are more common.

  7. Charlotte
    May 30, 2013

    Dr, is there a posibility that, aside from brain trauma, a person could lose the ability to empathize later in life? For example: could a person 40 years of age, after experienceing the loss of a child, or extreme betrayal or abuse by a loved one that resulted in astrangement, be traumatized enough to become a kind of sociopath?

    • Dr. Simon
      May 30, 2013

      There are many possible scenarios under which a person’s once intact capacity to empathize becomes diminished. An adverse response to extreme trauma is only one possibility. Loss of certain cognitive capacities through disease is another. And while certain behaviors that might result from such an impairment might look like psychopathy or sociopathy, it wouldn’t be fair to say that they’re the same thing.

      • Charlotte
        May 31, 2013

        Thank you very much for the reply.

  8. KW
    Sep 04, 2013

    Here’s a question I hope you’ll weigh in on. According to articles about research done by Mehmet Mahmut and Kevin Dutton, not all psychopaths are criminals. But, my friend getting a PhD in Psychology says this is incorrect and that these researchers are using the term psychopath incorrectly; they should be using the term sociopath because Hare is the standard and Hare requires one to be a criminal in order to be a psychopath. Is this true? It’s very confusing to us lay people trying to understand the differences and when we see and hear all this conflicting information we don’t know who we should believe. Thanks in advance for any response.

    • Dr. Simon
      Sep 04, 2013

      Your friend has Dr. Hare’s assertions completely wrong. Hare points out that while all criminals are not psychopaths, some of the worst criminals are psychopaths. And he definitely does not insist you must be a criminal to be a psychopath. In fact, he was among the first to empirically demonstrate the “2 factor” model of psychopathy (and BTW, he uses the term psychopath as opposed to sociopath) and insists that only the first factor, which is the callous, heartless, remorseless, and senseless use and abuse of others rooted in severe empathy deficits is the essential factor for psychopathy, whereas the second factor or social parisitism, criminal behavior, etc. is a sometimes accompanying feature but not essential to the condition.

      Now as for all the confusion about the terms psychopathy, sociopathy, and antisociality (which are all indeed rampantly misused even by professionals), that’s a whole other matter, and one I’ve written about in several posts on the subject and in my book Character Disturbance. Your friend is right when he says there is rampant misunderstanding about these concepts and terms.

      • Lilly
        Sep 19, 2013

        Dr Simon, I have read your article with great interest. I believe psychopathy/sociopathy is genetic. I have two children, raised the same way. One is neurotic, sensitive, conscientious, too feeling; the other meets all of Dr Hare’s criteria for psychopathy. From the time she was born she was different. My question is: how do you raise a teenager with this traits? Tough love, consequences? Easier said than done. I have always been someone who mothers with feeling, but I am now realising this is not the way to go with a sociopath teenager. I am unable to find much literature on raising these children.

        • Tina
          Oct 02, 2013

          Hi Lilly, I have the same experience with my kids. All you can do for either of them is provide guidance and consequences according to your values. The one with the conscience will be able to make the proper self-guided behavioral choices early on. The one with no conscience will *always* need outside controls, way past his childhood. Rest easy knowing that you are doing your job, and you can do no more.

          • Tina
            Oct 02, 2013

            oops, I meant “her” childhood. My daughter, 23 yo, is the psychopath,(my son is not.) She is a lovely person, until the self-ishness makes her betray people who think she is their “good” friend. It is not the way she was raised, but it happens nonetheless. Honesty is not part of who they are, and no amount of consequences will change that. I have seen that getting caught, and being punished, just makes the psychopath perfect their lying ways. Again, I say, just rest easy knowing you are doing your job as mom. :-)

      • KW
        Oct 04, 2013

        Thanks for your reply. I’ll pass it on to my friend.

  9. Tina
    Sep 11, 2013

    My family is living proof that psychopathy can be traced genetically. It is neurological and I would like to change terminology to something akin to emotional retardation. My observations are that psychopaths simply are born incapable of having a conscience. The state of not having a conscience then manifests different personality issues, (the most prominent being telling lies without remorse.) There are many “successful” psychopaths in my family, and only a couple that resorted to crime.

    Butterflies in the stomach, and goosebumps, and nausea are unknown by psychopaths, which leads me to conclude the neurological aspects of them being physically disconnected from their unpleasant emotions.

  10. Puddle
    Sep 11, 2013

    Tina, I wonder if they NEED their extreme behavior?? because they have to turn up the volume in life to get it to register? The drama, the sexual deviancy, the tendency to get bored with everyday levels of life, love, etc…. So they need to magnify life in a weird kind of way.

  11. Puddle
    Sep 11, 2013

    Tina, Do you see any evidence of the psychopaths in your life LOVING others? Like genuine caring behavior? Or do you see them more shallow in their connections to other’s?

    • Tina
      Oct 02, 2013

      One of them have admitted to me that he needs the extremes because the feelings are fleeting, if even present. My brother, (who at first broached the subject by telling me that he thought he had Asperbergers) said that he doesn’t immediately know when something bothers him. Example – troubles with his girlfriend. He said that he gets diarrhea the next day, and that’s the signal that it’s important. But he still can’t feel “bad”. lol. No nervousness during the troubles, he says.

    • Tina
      Oct 02, 2013

      My family is all I know, as far as being “loving” is concerned. It isn’t true love, it is convenience. When it comes down to it, “Out of sight, Out of mind.” But, when you’re around, they show “love.” And with some of them, if you let them know (that you know they are psychopathic), then they will purposely choose not to be around you because they can no longer “fool” you into thinking they understand feelings… they are all different from each other. They have the common facet of being really the most fun people you will ever meet! Darn, because they only can care about themselves.

    • Tina
      Oct 02, 2013

      I asked one of them if he ever “suffered”? He asked, “What does that mean?” He was over 40 at the time, and he only had nausea once in his life – when he was seriously physically injured. He was really amazed by it. Until that experience in his late 30′s, he had thought all his life that people make themselves throw up.

  12. Tina
    Oct 02, 2013

    Another tidbit I have gleamed from observing my family and other families like us: The ones who are not psychopaths, tend to be narcissists. It is hard to tell the difference, but what I see as the “test” – Psychopaths enjoy manipulating feelings (it can’t be done to them), so they like easy targets (children and dogs). Narcissists don’t like children nor animals. Just based on my 45 years of study… Luckily (tic), the psychopaths I know are the ones that mostly like to manipulate people into feeling good (telling them what they want to hear), instead of making people feel crappy.

    • Puddle
      Oct 03, 2013

      Amazing observations Tina. Thank you for sharing. More later keep posting!

    • Danny
      Dec 20, 2013

      This interests me. I can point only to my personal experiences throughout the years with my wife and her mother (they are extremely similar in displaying levels of psychopathic behaviour) and have noticed that my wife in particular exhibits behaviour that suggests she is narcissistic. She is extremely selfish and seems to have little or no recognition or concern for others. She must always come first and resents the suggestion that others may have issues and challenges to contend with that are on a level with, or even, dare one suggest, worse than her own. In other words, I see her as a narcissist AND as a psychopath (in not having any concern for the feelings of others, any empathy, will never apologise for her actions or display signs of regret).

      Forgive my enquiring, but presumably it is entirely plausible that a manipulative individual can be both a narcissist and psychopath?

      • Puddle
        Dec 20, 2013

        Danny……..ALL Sociopaths/ Psychopaths are narcissists. A lot of times you will here the term Malignant Narcissist.
        http://www.officer.com/article/10248968/the-malignant-narcissist

        • Danny
          Dec 21, 2013

          I think I may have read Tina’s comment a little too literally. Either way, a very helpful link thanks Puddle.

          • Puddle
            Dec 21, 2013

            Danny, be aware that that article was written in 2008 so it’s a little old.

        • Dr. Simon
          Dec 23, 2013

          To add a bit, here. All of the aggressive personalities, including the predatory aggressive (psychopath/sociopath) are narcissists through and through to start with. It’s a variation on a theme. The pure narcissist knows he’s/she’s better than the rest, the aggressives are out to prove it and dominate those perceived as weaker and unworthy. Now psychopaths have the most malignant form of narcissism in their character. They see themselves as a superior form of the human species. All other humans (those with empathy, conscience, etc.) are an inherently inferior sub-species in their view, and therefore justifiable prey. Victimizing one of these sub-humans is no different than stepping on an ant.

          • Puddle
            Dec 23, 2013

            Disgustingly disturbing! But very well worded…..very clear summary Dr. Simon. I need to print that on a business card and keep it in my pocket!

      • Puddle
        Dec 21, 2013

        Danny, try this……………..

        http://powercommunicating.com/articles/Differentiating%20Narcissists%20and%20Psychopaths.pdf

        “The psychopath will sit back, reflecting on
        his infidelities, and laughing, think, “I’ve
        still got it.” He will mean, “I’ve still got the ability to maneuver these women like a
        puppeteer.” This will amuse him. The narcissist will sit back, and likewise think, “I’ve
        still got it.” But he will mean,“I’m still attractive. Women still find me irresistable. I’m
        okay, for now.”

  13. Tina
    Nov 25, 2013

    I have chosen to champion the cause of reliable scientific (neurological and genetic) testing of a person’s EQ in cases where a psychopathic person would have the potential to cause lasting damage. (As drug and STD tests are used to determine fitness as desired). My history of bad experiences causes my belief that persons seeking positions of trust – entering relationships (romantic or business), becoming parents, running for political office – need to be asked for their EQ. When people have information on a psychopath’s lack of empathy and conscience, they can have an educated choice about whether to allow the psychopath into their lives. When the gamble is lost, the foreknowledge of their condition will soften the blow. I aim to help prevent the shock that results from total betrayal. Traumatized victims cannot function, and their suffering dominoes upon their families, friends, coworkers, and civilized society. I have created a domain to share my knowledge: http://www.harlantaylor.com/faq.html

  14. Puddle
    Dec 20, 2013

    This will really confuse you but confusion is the name of the game it would seem. I KNOW Dr. Simon understands and, God love him, he sure tries to impart his wisdom to us…….but i still don’t get it!! LOL!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malignant_narcissism

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