Identifying a Psychopath: 20 Subtle and Hidden Signs

by | Nov 14, 2014 | 94 comments

Invisibility is the most disturbing thing about psychopathy.

Psychopaths must keep their true nature hidden, and they know how to do so. They’re skilled and successful actors and mimics. After all, they can only dupe us if they can first make us believe they’re honest, genuine, and trustworthy. To do that, they have to come across as “normal.” When they slip up, they’re good at explaining it away, distracting us, or shifting the blame.

I’ve written many things on this site about how to identify a psychopath, and I’m adding more to that with this article. But caution is advised. Psychopaths may not give us the clues we expect, or we may miss those clues because they’re so good at concealing them. While our experience and knowledge are sure to protect us to some extent, over-confidence is never a good idea.  Even Dr. Robert Hare, psychopathy expert, admits that with all his experience he could still be duped by a predatory psychopath. “In short interactions,” he says, “anyone can be duped.”

Some of the subtle signs on this list are backed by research, while others are based on common personal observations of people who have been involved with psychopaths.

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20 21 Subtle and Hidden Signs

1. They have a “black-leather toughness combined with boyish innocence,” according to psychologist Kevin Dutton. This doesn’t mean the psychopath will literally dress in black leather. It’s more of a feeling that he or she is street-smart or has been around the block more than a few times, while at the same time you sense a girlish or boyish innocence and goodness.

2. Psychopaths embody incongruity. This is an important one. The example given in #1 is one possible manifestation of an overall pattern of incongruity, or contradiction, the psychopath displays. He or she may contradict themselves from one sentence to the next, or it may take a few weeks or months for a completely different point of view to emerge. On one day he may express deep sympathy for the plight of the homeless, and then on another, contemptuously question how anyone could become so “worthless.” Incongruity also manifests as the hot-cold-hot-cold ‘feelings’ they have for us, going from warm and interested to cold and insensitive. This pattern of incongruity is embodied in their demeanor and runs throughout all aspects of their behavior. Watch for incongruity, and run far and fast if you see it.

3. They exude a subtle but definite air of confidence and superiority. Their body language occasionally reads as ‘haughty.’ You will see flashes of it now and then and feel it’s out of character (another example of incongruity). Their physical posture gives off vibes of “superiority, hidden powers and amused indifference,” says author Sam Vaknin, who claims to be a psychopath.

4. They tell you stories of shady or unsavory things they did in the past. Psychopaths love to tell the tales of their business and sexual exploits, while at the same time you feel convinced they’re not that way any longer.

5. Psychopaths need little sleep. They’re always on the go in their quest for stimulation. They may sleep just four or five hours per night.

6. They sometimes exhibit unconvincing emotional responses. Most of the time they can come across as genuine, but at other times you will get the feeling that they’re a bit “off” or even engaging in poor play-acting. This can pertain to facial expressions, body language or tone of voice.

7. They can go from rage to complete calm in a minute. Emotions are shallow and short-lived for a psychopath. One of the only emotions they can truly feel is rage, but even it is short-lived.

8. They will drop hints of their true nature, but in a veiled manner. These hints are called “tells.” For example, if a psychopath is taking advantage of your trusting nature, he or she may say “You would be so easy for a con artist to dupe because you’re way too trusting.” Or “Do you think there are aliens inhabiting human bodies among us? I feel like one.” Or “You need to be careful, because the devil can present himself as your best friend.”

Why do they do this? When psychopaths puts one over on you they experience duping delight, which is pleasure at manipulating you and having you within their control. It adds a little more excitement to their game because it increases the odds that they could get caught. When they do this, it may mean they’re getting bored and will soon be ready to move on.

9. Flashes of contempt. When interacting with a psychopath, you may notice quick flashes of contempt on his face that are unrelated to the conversation or anything else at hand. Contempt is defined as the feeling that a person or a thing is beneath consideration, worthless or deserving of scorn. Psychopaths are contemptuous by nature. Micro expressions — facial expressions that happen so fast they’re easy to miss — can leak out and reveal their real feelings. Dr. Paul Eckman, leading micro expression researcher, says “Contempt is a feeling of being better than another person, of being superior, usually morally superior but it can also be felt toward some who is weaker in intelligence, strength, and so forth. Basically, contempt is devaluing another person and overvaluing yourself.”

“Between flattery and admiration there often flows a river of contempt.”
~ Minna Thomas Antrim

(Contempt)

10. They have deviant sexual desires and they will want you to fulfill them, whether you want to or not. Plenty of normal people have deviant desires, too, but a psychopath will be more aggressive in trying to fulfill them. “Individuals with deviant sexual preferences and normal levels of empathy, kindness, and self-control have many strategies for satisfying their needs, including negotiation, compromise, and restraint; however, individuals with high levels of psychopathic traits might turn to sexually aggressive strategies to attain gratification.” (Visser, B. A., DeBow, V., Pozzebon, J. A., Bogaert, A. F. and Book, A. (2014), Psychopathic Sexuality: The Thin Line Between Fantasy and Reality. Journal of Personality. doi: 10.1111/jopy.12110 )

11. They have a poor sense of smell. “Individuals who scored highly on psychopathic traits were more likely to struggle to both identify smells and tell the difference between smells, even though they knew they were smelling something,” according to findings by researchers Mehmet Mahmut and Richard Stevenson, from Macquarie University in Australia.

12. Their speech is filled with disfluencies. Psychopaths may use phrases like “uh” or “umm” a lot to break up their speech. The exact reason for this isn’t clear, but researchers speculate that they might be trying harder to make a positive impression, needing more time and mental effort to frame a story.

13. They can’t describe an emotion or their personal experience of one. You will have to probe them to get this information, as in the example given below. Psychopaths fail to understand the fundamental nature of emotions, such as fear or love. Psychopaths can mimic an emotion or tell you they’re experiencing it, but if you dig deeper and ask them to describe how they feel, they’ll become lost or even frustrated. It is similar to a blind person trying to understand what others mean when they talk about color. They may know the names of colors, but they have never experienced them.

Here is an example Dr. Robert Hare documented in his book, Without Conscience. He describes an interview with a psychopathic offender who can’t seem to understand the fundamental nature of fear:

“’When I rob a bank,” he said, “I notice that the teller shakes or becomes tongue-tied. One barfed all over the money. She must have been pretty messed up inside, but I don’t know why. If someone pointed a gun at me, I guess I’d be afraid but I wouldn’t throw up.” When asked to describe how he would feel in such a situation, his reply contained no references to body sensations. He said things such as, “I’d give you the money”; “I’d think of ways to get the drop on you”; “I’d try and get my ass out of there.” When asked again how he would feel, not what he would think or do, he seemed perplexed. Asked if he ever felt his heart pound or his stomach churn, he replied, “Of course! I’m not a robot. I really get pumped up when I have sex or when I get into a fight.’”

danger sign that says, take a closer look

14. They have a reduced startle response. This is apparently related to decreased activity in the amygdala, a structure in the brain related to fear and other emotions. If you’re walking down the street with a beau and he or she doesn’t flinch when a car backfires, watch out.

15. They participate in dangerous or extreme sports and activities. Psychopaths may get their thrills from flying lessons, BASE jumping, brain surgery (hopefully only if they’re a qualified neurosurgeon), driving fast, juggling machetes, having sex in public places, or carelessly cheating on their wives. In order to feel excitement, psychopaths need high risk and intensity.

16. They invade your personal space. We all have a certain distance we keep between ourselves or others, which is usually culturally determined. But the psychopath may stand too close, within your personal space. Surprisingly, research results found that cold-heartedness was the a significant predictor of preferred distance, with higher scores associated with preference for shorter distances. The study’s authors said, “Consistent with our hypothesis, results showed that cold-heartedness scores (which index interpersonal callousness) significantly predicted preferred distance, with more callous participants showing a preference for shorter distances. We speculate that interpersonal distance preferences of highly callous individuals may mediate the relationship between callous traits and aggression, by producing behaviors that facilitate aggressive behavior.” Don’t Stand So Close To Me: Psychopathy and The Regulation of Interpersonal Distance

17. They have an eerily calm demeanor.

18. They have a saintly aura. Of course, it’s one they create for themselves. They may engage in phony altruism by donating to or volunteering for a cause, or hand out dollars to needy people on the street. If you weren’t there to witness it, they’ll be sure to tell you all about it later while smiling beatifically and waiting for your admiration. Psychopaths love to tell stories of wonderful things they’ve done for others, in order to gain your trust.

19. Their speech is prolific. They can deliver running monologues that are frequently intriguing. They may deliver a soliloquy like an actor alone on a stage, ignoring your attempts to respond.

A soliloquy is defined as “a device often used in drama when a character speaks to himself or herself, relating thoughts and feelings, thereby also sharing them with the audience, giving off the illusion of being a series of unspoken reflections.”  When someone makes you feel as if you’re watching a play, think “psychopath.”

20. They have little to no body odor. This is purely anecdotal. Many of them shower frequently and may even carry deodorant and an extra shirt. Some seem naturally fresh-smelling, even after running five miles or engaging in marathon sex.

21. Your curiosity has been engaged. The psychopath captures your attention, even though you may have had no interaction. You feel captivated, and although you won’t be able to figure out what it is, exactly, that made you take notice, you will wonder about it. They seem to have captured your attention even while doing the most mundane thing, such as just standing there on the other side of the room (and while not even seeming to notice you). You feel it must mean he or she is an intriguing person, one you should get to know better.

What it really means is that subconsciously you detect they’re different in some way, and perhaps even a threat (but one that doesn’t register in your conscious mind). Instead of seeing it for the warning it is, your curiosity about them grows. “Wonder” and “curiosity” are two of the “harbingers of intuition,” according to Gavin de Becker, the author of the book The Gift of Fear. And as the old saying goes, “curiosity killed the cat.” Don’t let it kill you. If you feel curious about—and interested in—someone but you don’t know why, take notice. This is exactly the way it began for me, and for many others.

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If only it were this easy to see behind the facade

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“Everyone should read this book… It should be required reading before graduating from high school.”

“Amazing Tool! Don’t be oblivious to the danger lurking in the shadows! Read this book and learn to protect your precious self. I love her for writing this!

“Quite relevant, useful, written in a useful down to earth style that emphasizes the practical. Obviously written from direct experience.”

“Such a great gem. If you’re wondering if you are encountering a psychopath, read this book and you will know without a doubt.”

 
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 “I feel like I just had an epiphany.”
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“This book told me in a very concise format what I haven’t learned from two years of very expensive psychoanalysis AND a Master’s degree in Counseling: I’m not crazy! My intuition was not wrong.”

“This author nails it.”

“This book provides instant clarity.”

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94 Comments

  1. Joan G. Connor

    In know all psychopaths are different but mine was germaphobic, aloof and better than everyone else. He seemed quite the sissy at times. Never had my back and never stood up for me. He would say I avoid confrontation at all times. He didn’t smell because he was showering twice a day and constantly washing his hands. He loved to brag and was infuriated if anyone questioned him or disagreed with him. Only had friends as long as they agreed with him. He felt that people he hired to work for him were his genuine friends and he thought they all thought he was great. Very dillutional about other people’s lives and jealous of them. Had a large vocabulary that he always used so people would be impressed. Sorry about the spelling but spell check was broken temporarily.

    • Admin

      Hi Joan. Very interesting — maybe that’s why they don’t have B.O. Thanks for your comment!

    • Rosemarie

      Mine also did not exhibit all these traits. For instance, mine came across as having a normal, loving sexual drive…until the devaluation stage, which was years long, when he became cold and aloof — and on the prowl for OTHER women. This, I understand, is even more common than the ‘deviant sexual desires’ thing.

  2. Sandra

    Another fabulous article. Thank you. Ticked all boxes except “hairy”. I know I’m a bit obsessed with the chemical aspect but the “smell” or lack of it is interesting. Just looked up a research article that links criminal behaviour and pheromones. Humans have pheromone receptors in the part of the brain responsible for flight or fight responses (the amygdala). Perhaps the particular pheromones of psychopathic individuals are either not present or not recognised by our (compassionate) brains and we therefore don’t have the appropriate flight response that we should have in the face of danger? Does that make some sense? Anyway, sorry to blab on but in addition to everything else, I think it reminds us to be very kind and forgiving with ourselves for having been “duped”; it would take a very expert and aware person to not be given the array of covert mechanisms at play in these relationships. (Even forensic experts can be taken in so …)

    • Sandra

      I meant to say that, in other words, we are in not only a state of emotional and cognitive confusion but a chemical one also. This renders us incredibly vulnerable not to mention exhausted. Sorry for the additional reply. Thanks again for the great article.

      • Admin

        Yes, I get that! And what surprises me is that #19 is getting the attention here and on Facebook so far…

        • Sandra

          That is really interesting. As is Joan’s comment about the twice a day showering. It is not necessarily a bad thing depending on your job or climate zone. However …

          • Admin

            Yes, however…mine brought extra shirts with him wherever he went…

            • Admin

              They know how to hide…

      • tahara

        Yes!! I totally concur…. How do we , as
        women get ourselves away from such devils?But we are biologically transfixed on the ignorant male… HelP???? I really need to know…..lol

    • Admin

      “Perhaps the particular pheromones of psychopathic individuals are either not present or not recognised by our (compassionate) brains and we therefore don’t have the appropriate flight response that we should have in the face of danger?” I got chills when I read this. I think you may be on to something.

      I agree 100% — it would take a very expert and aware person to escape being duped (and I hope we are those persons now), and there is no reason to blame ourselves, and in fact we should be exceptionally kind and forgiving with ourselves. THAT’S where healing begins.

      Thank you for another very insightful comment.

      • Dave

        This is interesting regarding body odor. My sociopath girlfriend never had any odor in her vagina. I found it very unusual though didn’t think anything of it at the time. Knew something was not right with her though didn’t suspect her to be a sociopath. Had not come across this trait in any of my other reading. Another thing that stood out was that in the very early stages I would tell people that I couldn’t read her. Again did not make the connection.

        • Adelyn Birch

          I think there might be something to it. A lot of people have noticed the lack of any odor.

          • kim

            I have posted before about my ex having no smell after being in the hot 90 degree day for about 2 hours sweating from playing corn hole with his family. I remember we went back to his house and I laid with him on the couch and even said to him thathe didn’t stink. My nose was basically right in his armpit. And NO SMELL. He never said anything when I said it to him. At the time I had no clue that no smell could be a psychopath. It was months later after I broke up with him that I searched the web and found this page and there it was in black and white. It’s sad to think I had no clue what this man could be, he let me barrow money and even when I looked up stuff about psychopaths/sociopaths it always talked about how they used people for there money and that is the one thing I lack is money but it explains why he went back to his ex wife, money. And the sad thing is, is that when we were just friends he would tell me when he was married how he could buy anything he wanted. It didn’t matter. I remember him also telling me that she was a two year plan. But when we were friends I tried toget him to let her know how he felt but he said he was scared of rejection. Then finally he did and she did basically did reject him. But if he knew he wanted her back why did he show me so much love to me and tell me the things he told me. But now I know he was mirroring me. He was being what I was to him. But back to the no smell, I remember when things were getting rough but it is because he would say or do things to make me wonder, but he went out and bought a bottle of new $100 cologne. Did hebuy me anything? Nope. It wasn’t long after that I ended it because of what he said to me. It was scary and I seen his face when he said it. It has almost been a year since I have seen or talked to him. What is sad us I do still love him and I have to make my heart believe what my gut already knew that dreadful night when he asked me to come over and clean his house to make some extra money to go on vacation. Let’s just say my gut said theseexact words. DO NOT GO. but I didn’t listen because I couldn’t understand why it would say that being that a couple of weeks before I told him how much I trusted him and felt safe with him. Well let’s just say I should have listened to my gut. I agree with the person that I have to learn how to forgive my self. Because it is true. I let a man into my life because I believed him tobe my best friend and then more. I let him say and do things then believe the cover up that he gave for saying or doing what he did. Because even now that I know that he is no good and possibly evil, I still love him. I did find something on trauma bonding and maybe that is what is going on with me because of what he had put me through for a year and a half with him and the last year with out him. He has made me not be able to trust men. I have men that want to goout but I make an excuse as to why I can’t. And if I do get the nerve to go out I watch everything they do or say because I’m scared they could be one too. It is sad what these kind of people do to good innocent naive people and the sad thing is that it makes them want to come after you even more so they can suck everything you are out. And when they see that you have no more to suck or if you are getting to close to figuring out what they are they dump you with no remorse, like you meant nothing to them. Yes I ended it with him, but after he called and yelled at me and I mean yelled and said things to me that I wouldn’t think any person would ever say to another I hung up on him. But I believe that is why he texted me later the night and said to call him if I truly cared. And even after all that he did to me and all that he said to me that day on the phone when I hung up on him, I called. But I’m seeing clearer now that he did that to get my heart back and was saying he was sorry for what he said but he can’t remember what he said because he only seen red. But we agreed to meet that Sat and talk, but 12 hours later I received a text from him. It said, she is going to be OK, were still in love and going to try and make it work, he said he would never contact me again and goodbye. And he hasn’t contacted me either until Aug 14th of this year. But I debated on answering or not but I did, and said I believe u dialed the wrong number and he didn’t say anything. He kept the line open for 13 mins before he hung up. Right before he was to clock out for work. I thought maybe I hurt his feelings and texted him two days later but he still didn’t message me back. So I fight with my self inside because I don’t know 100% what he truly is. Maybe he was just checking to see if I would answer, to see if he still had a hold on me. And the sad thing is that he does. And that scares me.I wish I knew where to get help but my insurance won’t pay for me to talk to anyone. So how do you get over someone like this? How do you make your self see another human being as being evil? How do you make your self not them as even being human? So you can see why my self and the other woman said we have to learn to forgive our selves, because we had no clue what we were letting in our lives, around our kids, our pets and in our heart…. Any help would greatly be appreciated.

            • Adelyn Birch

              It’s not about seeing them as “evil” or “not human.” It’s about seeing them for what they are — humans with serious brain abnormalities that prevent them from having a conscience or being able to love. There is no such thing as having a genuine, healthy relationship with a person who has this disorder. It turns people into predators. They will hurt you, because they can’t do anything else. Beyond understanding that, it’s about dealing with the serious betrayal you’ve experienced, among other things. You don’t have to forgive yourself, because there’s nothing to forgive yourself for. You were victimized by a predator. At least half of this website is about not blaming yourself, because it’s incredibly counterproductive and unnecessary, and it means you don’t really understand what happened. It’s very hard to “get over” something when you aren’t clear about what you’ve been through. Please go to the main menu and see the “Road Map” page. It spells out all the things you have to deal with to recover. You may want to call your local domestic violence organization and ask them about group or individual therapy. Emotional and verbal abuse are abuse. Many people have said they had very good experiences because the therapists understand abuse and trauma. Best wishes to you, Kim.

  3. AnnettePK

    My ex P has no sense of smell at all, and he is very aware he can not smell. He’s bald, but not very hairy. He has normal to above average BO, though. Aside from that he fits all the points.

    He didn’t really have a gender, which I think is common to Psychopaths. He has no real sexual preference for one gender or another; he prefers sadism and pedophilia in porn probably due to the associated power rush.

    He was a minister and works as an architect, which I think are common professions for Psychopaths. He was aspiring to be a minister in the church we attended, but so far unsuccessfully.

    • Admin

      The clergy is a popular choice for psychopaths. What a scary thought that is. I know my ex P watched a lot of porn, but I have no idea what kind it was (and I don’t want to know).

      • AnnettePK

        You are so right not to want to know. I would prefer to have lived my life never knowing that such things exist, even though I only saw some of the images for less than a second each.
        When I found out he was doing porn, I sort of assumed it was naked pretty ladies like a Playboy centerfold. Circumstances made me aware of his pre pubescent girl porn and other beyond disgusting stuff.
        It seems in my readings that architecture is over represented in professions of Psychopaths.

        • Admin

          Architecture — that’s interesting, I wonder why that is?

          • AnnettePK

            In what I suppose was a “tell” the ex P once said that every building is a monument to the self in the eyes of the architect who designed it.

            • Admin

              That could very well explain it…

  4. Shani

    He fits the description and every comment as if all of you are talking about him. Many times I have wondered what this P smells like. Yes, his repetitive dressing fills the washing machine daily. His compulsive buying behavior of new socks, shirts and underpants result in stacks of hardly worn clothes he considers as ‘old’. He showers and dress for every activity, using cheap roll-on and consider perfumes to be all the same. Thinking about it….. he also do not smell like the roll-on, it vanishes in no time.

    There is a brush in every bag, car and room and he uses them, though vanity does not seem to be his motivation. Yes he is hairy and at the age of 60 shows no sign of boldness. He acts to be more sexually aroused after his cleansing rituals. He does not wear warm fabrics. Cold chilly days rev up his boredom by ten fold.

    Amazing….
    How could psycho’s not stand out as a species on their own???

    • Admin

      Very interesting, thanks for sharing this! His grooming and cleansing habits seem obsessive — they must take quite a lot of time and money.

      • Shani

        Admin believe me, his obsessive cleaning happens in a wink. From greasy mechanic to ready for the golf T-off in one smooth gliding movement, just like his airborne walking. This is not a time waster activity.

        Groomed? He will beam of joy if he should be reading your positive complement. Good idea, but sadly he goes so cheap and lack the potential to look groomed. Definitely not a metro man. He fits the description of POSTING FOR NEARLYBEL AS REQUESTED. “tho dressed poorly he would never be out of place, always comfortable wherever he is….

        Arrogance may be a tell sign as well. He once went to a formal indoor theatre concert with his complete springbok rugby gear. Two or three perturbed elderlies confronted him. He casually said but South Africa won the game against the Ozzies and he is proud of his team.

        • Admin

          Oh my, this is far more complex than I first thought.

          “tho dressed poorly he would never be out of place, always comfortable wherever he is….” Arrogantly superior and disdainful…Haughty.

          “Two or three perturbed elderlies confronted him.” And I’ll bet he didn’t even sweat a drop ;-)

  5. Admin

    POSTING THIS COMMENT FOR NEARLYBEL, AS REQUESTED

    Another probing article Admin. Mine would give out if I used perfume, ( I always used sparingly) and would have a fit of rage when the children ( teenagers) had used theirs or their body sprays. Hated the smell of cleaning products.
    Receding hairline, beard and hairy, not quite furry body, oh yuk!
    In the 00s He came to bed with his pubes shaved, I was in the depths at that time, I could ask him no questions, the next day I followed suit. Oh yuk.
    I feel he consumed me, I was always trying to please him, to keep him happy, so he wouldn’t say and do all the hurtful things. It never worked, for 20 years it didn’t work, what a perfect plaything I was for him. Yuk yuk yuk
    Even tho he dressed poorly he would never be out of place, always comfortable wherever he was, I can now see that as arrogant, his manner condescending But if I wanted him to be there, he wouldn’t go!
    He was always playing staring games with the children. Who blinks first, who’s eyes water most. His eyes protruded, like fish eyes, I used think they were beautiful, I can now see :)
    His walk was like a shuffle, but he’d run around for ever, I never saw him tired, and his shoulders were rounded and hunched, he used to drive motorbikes and I put it down to that. I think more Neanderthal now. His mother and siblings had a massive affect on him, he’d repeat as his own words what his mother said.
    He’d hate to be touched, saying he was too hot, unless he wanted something. If his family hugged him, his body was like a board pulling away, his arms by his side or lifting in a bid to release the embrace. He couldn’t smile properly, it was always contrived, he always presented his profile for photographs, he wasn’t comfortable with his photograph being taken. Yet we have loads of videos he took. And before we left the family home whenever he was at home he would record us all on his camera phone, no matter what he was doing, walking from room to room, at the sink, the camera was like an extension of him. He’d say how ugly I was, so weird now, he had made it our normalcy.
    An insightful young abused woman at a support group said she was fascinated by hers. And I think that described how I felt, I was always trying to work him out, to understand him. It literally nearly killed me! ‘Curiosity killed the cat’ comes to mind but I never knew the question to ask, and when I did he would only answer with a lie! Great article Admin, keep them coming xxx

  6. Admin

    “Yuk” is the word of the day!

    He sounds dastardly, to the extreme. Each time I think he can’t get any worse, you bring him down another level.

    I will keep them coming! There are plenty more ideas incubating…there are 24 on my list right now, so another is sure to hatch sometime soon!

  7. Cass

    I’ve been just pouring over and absorbing every bit of information about narcissism that I can lay my hands on. This article included a whole new list of things to confirm my ex is a narc. The no body odor thing is very interesting. Definitely something I noticed in the course of 5 years, but I thought of it almost as a bonus. One thing mine did (and still tries) is collect odd momentos like, my underwear for one. When he moved out, he took about half of my panties with him. He’s taken dumb things like lighters, notes, hair from the hair brush, you get the idea. Has anyone else experienced this?

    • Admin

      Hi, Cass. I’m not sure if everything on the list applies to narcs or not. Many items could. If a lot of them apply, maybe your ex wasn’t a narc — maybe he was a psychopath. Ps and Ns exhibit similar behavior and have a similar effect on people (so it may not matter much which one he was), but the underlying pathology is completely different.

      When you described your ex taking your things, it reminded me of the way a serial killer collects ‘trophies.’ I’m not saying that’s what he was; it’s just what sprang to mind. Mine didn’t take things, at least not that I noticed.

    • AnnettePK

      My ex P saved my hairs that shed in his house, for example on the couch, while we were courting. He had sex with my underwear. He cross dressed before we were married (and possibly after, that I didn’t know about). It is possible that your ex wears your clothes, as cross dressing is not uncommon among Psychopath.

  8. Nearlybel

    That is so weird Cass, taking stuff of little interest or value to ye, but all so personal. And it also reminded me of serial killers trophys, a lock of hair or whatever trademark their deviancy happened to fulfil in them. I think it’s a behaviour of consumption, they have, they think they own you, we become an extension of them, they are our puppeteers. The final months before we left, he would totally invade the children’s space, go right up to them and whisper blah blah in their ears, they wouldn’t/couldn’t react. I was sitting at kitchen table and he stood beside me and started ‘aerating’ his shirt over me flapping his arms, I can’t remember what he was blah blah ing about. What was that all about? If I was trying to speak logically, to seek a solution, he would belch in my face. Along with the previous techniques of lifting a newspaper, turning on the TV or increasing the volume, saying he was busy and couldn’t talk to me. Always treating me with such total contempt.
    I would never ( before psycho) have tolerated such behaviour in anybody, ever!!! they surely turn our lives upside down.
    I’ll have to return to when I logged all that happened and will share here if anything further is revealed. So evil, keep shining the light Admin xxx

  9. janes

    thanks for keeping the lights on, as another reader commented !
    i ve been lost in the discusion about Pheromones that you & a reader had earlier.Depthness & Magnitute of that subject is Spooky ! gives me chills LOL
    btw, i love the name Lady Vigilant. what a powerful name ! i want to be the # 2 :))

    a few of my reoccuring experiences
    1- female Ps dress up like christmass trees & very colorful, revealing, too much make up, too many jewelries (tacky taste )
    male Ps Peacocks & or dress up like rappers. very flashy , boombastic. loud as female Ps
    2-Foodies
    great cooks ! male & female
    3-i agree with another reader about them being pack rats / collector of junk & a lot of clutter in their home. too colorful decorating
    4- they wear & possess a lot of annimal print mostly females Ps , males too
    5- when you suggest them they could have achieved more in their life they get very snippy. they hate you for saying that & they immediatly start a big fight with you.
    6- most of them are figgety
    7- they give you things that are unhealty for you. such as when they know you want to loose weight , they buy a lot of your fav. junk food;candy , chochlate ect.
    8-some ps emotionaly cool ones are extremely stingy while the emotionally needy ones have fake generosity.
    9-they are always great friends with Gay man especially female Ps.
    10- in business world they dont like to hold inventory of anything.
    they make everyone else to take the risk if anything goes wrong. they almost never pay to insure anything.
    11-they can only see today ; yesterday & tomorrow doesnt exist. very myopic !
    12- they usually are very risk averse in biz world. they tend to take small too well calculated risks.

    • Admin

      I love her name, too. I picture Lady Vigilant on a large horse, wearing armor. It’s a much better name than ‘admin’ — perhaps it’s time to pick a new one!

      Interesting list, Janes.

      I can definitely see female Ps going overboard with makeup and jewelry, in an attempt to emulate a woman. It’s a costume, so it may come across as ‘costume-ish.’

      My ex-P was the picture of understatement, probably because he wanted to ‘blend’ and not be noticed. He only wore khakis and casual button-down shirts (short sleeved in the summer, long-sleeved in winter with a white undershirt beneath). He didn’t cook, but he definitely had an appreciation of good ‘foodie’ food.

      When you said they were very risk averse, the first thing I thought of was the Wall Street debacle, and also of how Ps thrive on risk to avoid boredom. But some get their kicks through things other than money. Mine was frugal, so he saved a lot over the years and then made careful investments. He chose other risks for kicks.

      • AnnettePK

        My ex P wore the exact same ‘uniform’ as you describe – khakis and button down shirts, long or short sleeve depending on the weather and undershirt. He also slept in his khakis and an undershirt, which I thought would be uncomfortable.
        He took plenty of risks that left others vulnerable, he didn’t often risk his own safety all that much.

        • Admin

          Hmmmm…sounds like it could be the same guy…

  10. janes

    LOL about the 1st paragraph
    great insight about Costume! hear , hear
    your x is deffinetly the emotionally cool one & not a needy one. His clothting & behavior completely matches. i ‘ve been around the both types since i was born 1st family members then friends and then biz associates.
    your X’s type is the most daring of all of them i think. they are like a Kamikaze pilots & they are highly competent. also, in nano second they calculate risk in everything. They are still Myopic though. Here & Now. nothing more or less
    they love highly intellectual woman. i see one of the reasons why he choose you.

    i cant wait to have a little time to read your 30 Covert Manipulation tactics.

    Disclaimer- all my speculations & insights about Ps are mostly from my personal experiences mixed with spices from the Great Books i read from AB Admin & others on this site. LOL

    Until Next Time

    • Admin

      They’re in the hear and now, definitely…although ‘myopic” sounds blurry, because your perspective is looking from the present, to the past or future. If you just look at right now, it’s crystal clear. Like the winter pic in the last post.

      Speaking of blurry, my ex-P was 65 and didn’t need glasses, not even reading glasses. He had a serious aversion to doctors, so I doubt he had lasik surgery. Anyone else have a P with perfect vision?

      Mine was a kamikaze pilot, almost literally. I would never get in a plane with him. If the engine needed work, it only made his flying more exciting to him.

      A needy psychopath? That’s an oxymoron

      • AnnettePK

        My ex P’s vision was about average, needed reading glasses as he aged. He had a pilot’s license, too, but wasn’t doing any flying when I knew him.
        He could think very very fast in a crisis, and move lightening fast, too. Most of the time he pretended to be incapable because he enjoyed letting everyone down, and because it was a great excuse not to have to do anything he didn’t feel like doing.

        • Admin

          Interesting. Mine was a control freak and a micromanager, although I’m not sure how he was with things he didn’t feel like doing.

  11. janes

    there are the soul sucking needy ones( they have to have a lot of attention all the time) a close relative & a lot of acquantances, Xs
    and the ones cool & self contained dare devils (like your x )based on my constant experiences with them
    i had better experiences with the latter( your X. i think he is Explorer/Director) compare to the earlier. also your X is from a higher socio/economic back ground thats why he was dressing business casual most likely.
    if you had flown with him under those conditions , i think you would have been safe.
    i saw them in action many times.

    a few things to add to my earlier list
    1- they almost always litter esspecially their sigarette buds
    2-they pick on other drivers in traffic ( just like a high school bully do )
    3-pranksters ( they have the Ravens personality (wikipedia)
    4- most of them use a lot of slang & they are very informal
    5- they dont watch TV

    i forgot i loved the # 2-4-10-15-16-19 ( Fire Works i mean it) in your article
    i was at the gym earlier & i was watching peoples demonor. After those items above we can be a little more mindful of them instead of ignoring those signals & energies they send out.
    great stuff

    LASTLY, I AM SENDING THIS SONG TO ALL OF YOUR READERS
    “I WILL SURVIVE” by Gloria Gaynor

    • Admin

      Fearless + Grandiose + New Pilot + Engine Trouble = Admin Does Not Get On The Plane

      Narcissists seek attention for its own sake and are miserable without it. Psychopaths seek attention only because it’s part of a technique to get something else, a means to an end.

      Glad to hear that people watching just got a little more interesting!

      • janes

        Thanks!
        great explanation about diffrences between Ps & Ns Admin Style:) . it seems like a lot people struggle with.

        • Admin

          It’s very confusing since their behavior is so much alike. It’s the underlying motivation that’s completely different. :)

  12. Kiril

    yes great article ! mine ex P was a female and she had all of those symptoms…too bad I didnt’t know in a advance that such creatures exist …It wouldn’t be so hurtful for me ….Now Ps are extremely sexual aggressive …at least the girIs know – there are 2 Ps females that I know are ….it’s unbeliavable that girls are so sexual aggressive …I should ‘ve known something wasn’t right ..Anyways , people need to be made aware that such nasty people exist because they cause great emotional harm to normal people ….

    • Admin

      It’s hard to question a great sex life. It never crossed my mind, either. You just think you’ve been blessed!
      Thank you for your comment.

  13. Toots McDunno

    You should title this article “Identifying a Psychopath: 19 Subtle or Hidden Signs Because I Have #2 Twice, So Really, There Are 20”

    • Admin

      Hi Toots. I only have #2 once. But if I had it twice there would only be 18, not 20. I guess it must be 5 o’clock somewhere.

    • AnnettePK

      There are two consecutive #2’s on the list as it appears to me, “incongruity” and “air of confidence and superiority” are both numbered ‘2.’
      Both happen to apply to my ex psychopath.

      • Admin

        Just keeping you on your toes!

        You and Toots have passed the test.

        • AnnettePK

          LOL! Toots get the credit – I would never have noticed.

          • Admin

            Poor Toots. Sorry, Toots! Good job.

  14. HustlerSam

    Sam Vaknin is an idiot, not a psychopath. No psychopath will admit this, psychos one and only intention in life is to get their supply and torture people. They don’t give interviews on psychopathy or narcissism.

  15. Admin

    Thank you, S. I don’t buy that they give us a chance to run, though. They think we’re all fair game, and they don’t need to rationalize it. That implies they think like we do — that they think they’re doing something wrong that they might feel guilty about, so they need some way too rationalize it that makes it OK. That’s way too complex. They’re simply predators.

    • Admin

      Yes, I believe that explains it. It’s just another thrill, and it “confirms their superiority.” I’m glad you like the site. Hope to see you again!

  16. shaazam

    psychopaths are predators always looking for prey !
    however, as others mentioned above, they present well to their marks who only become aware of their psychopathic traits, too late!! eg Bundy !!!
    they lack human qualities of trust ,devotion and love but always alert to the main chance of exploiting these attributes as useful weaknesses in others !
    the worst examples of psychopaths are evidenced in history- Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot who efficiently and deliberately kill millions

    from my own experiences they strike as nice folk when you first meet them!!

    they are just biding their time folks to sock it to you !!!!!!

    • Admin

      All true! Thanks for your comment!

  17. kim

    i would like to comment on how they dont have a smell. before i knew what the man i wa with i noticed that after he was out in the hot sun for aprox 3 hours playing cornhole with his family, i noticed that evening when i laid on him that he had no smell. i even asked him hows come he dont have any body oder. i smelled his chest, stomach, and even under his arms and could smell nothing. no if i had a nose that couldnt smell anything it would be one thing but my nose is as good as a dogs nose and that is the truth. i even looked up what would make a person not have any body oder after being in the sun sweating for hours. couldnt find anything. then tonight i just happened to put in what i did and this site came up. i knew then there wasnt something right because i couldnt understand why he had no smell. no bad smell no good smell. just honestly no smell. i do have a question, about the pheromones, the man i was with said he loved my smell as he was at my neck, i asked what smell my perfume or my hair and he said no your smell, he said that everyone has a different smell and that he loved the way that i smelled. i thought was kinda weird but at the time i had no clue. but i have many clues now that it is scary. i believe that is why dogs dont know whether to like them or hate them because not only do they not have empathy abut they have no smell and unless they let the evil be let out a dog cant tell at all. i know this by my own dog. my dog loved him. but the day he was treating me like crap and ignoring me after haveing me come to his house my dog who usually right beside him getting all the love he could from him wouldnt even go near him. so i know for a fact this person is a psychopath and unfortunatly maybe even something worse…… does anyone know if they tell certain people things they do that isnt normal or should i say get in a lot of trouble for. i just dont know what to do in this thing that is going on. i dont know if i should go and talk about the things he has said to me because of all the bad things that has been happening in his home town. just dont know what to do….. any help would be appriciated.

    • Admin

      Hi, Kim. If he told you things that make you suspicious he might be involved in “bad things” happening in town, you MUST tell the police.

      If you’re concerned about your safety, you can report him anonymously through CRIMESTOPPERS 740-773-TIPS. Please don’t wait! You can use this TIP SUBMIT anonymous internet form, if you prefer.

      Thank you for your story about your ex’s lack of B.O. I would love to see some research in this area.
      Best wishes to you!

      • Sonora

        Yes, definitely report if you have info that he has committed a crime. However, when I found out my ex husband of 11 years was leading a horrible double life, I did go to the police. He told me one day that he had been sleeping with men, women, prostitutes, sexually abused our dogs and then…he had molested our daughter when she was two years old! I went to the police and they interrogated him. He admitted in great detail what he had done. He did not cry or act disgusted as he told what he had done but became angry with the police detective when he questioned him about a specific detail. The kicker??! He was NOT charged! The state DA said there was not enough “evidence” to charge him with a crime. I divorced the psychopath and he got off scott free! He emailed me this summer to let me know that he will force visitation with our kids through a court order and that he has done “nothing wrong” since he was not charged with a crime. Fortunately I do have a letter from children’s services stating his name as a sexual perp and our daughter as his victim that I can use in court. But…the other things he has said he has “thought” about doing, just because it would be something “different to do” is terrifying. I asked if he had ever killed anyone and he laughed and said he had ten bodies buried in our backyard. He also had NO smell of body odor. He also admitted to cross dressing in my clothes and masturbating because it turned him on. I can only imagine how many other women, kids he had already abused in the nearly 6 years ago since he admitted to his crime. And the person who mentioned saving hairs? Oh my, my ex did that too when we dated! He was my first boyfriend and I thought it was because he really loved me..now I see it is just a territorial thing, so so freaky!

        • Adelyn Birch

          Unbelievable! Even if they didn’t have enough evidence to arrest him, I’d think they could have gotten a judge to order a psych eval and had him involuntarily committed. I hope your kids (and everyone else’s) will be kept safe from him.

  18. Lily

    My P seems to tick every box of every description of Narc/P. Nr 20 almost made my heart stop – I am very sensitive to people’s individual scent, and it always bothered me that I could never pick up any smell from him, or from his clothes , although he would constantly comment on how he loved the way I smelled.
    Another strange tic, one might say, is the fact that he couldn’t abide the taste of garlic. Quite funny if one extends the vampire analogy. Anyone else noticed this?

    • Admin

      #20… A lot of us noticed that, Lily. There must be something more to it.

      The one I knew never voiced an objection to garlic. I can see how that would lead to thoughts of vampires if he had, though.

  19. carmen

    when counting one listing as two it would make it 20 not only 18

    • Admin

      True, but now I see that #9 is missing!

  20. BetterBe Anon

    #3 and #7
    For haughty, read ‘power’. As in standing watching everyone whilst very noticeably exuding an aura of power. Only happened once, but it made an impression on me.

    Rage to complete calm – doesn’t have to be overt rage. Can be a raised voice and energetic body language in a public place, notiecable primarily to the target. A feeling of compressed violence. Once you make a fast exit it immediately blows over as if it never happened. Onlookers are none the wiser.

  21. BetterBe Anon

    Another couple of signs:
    Amusement in the P’s eyes as he manipulates. It can be quite disconcerting until you realise what’s going on – this person is being so nice with his smile and his amused eyes and yet he’s doing this manipulative thing – the amused eyes are because he’s a ‘superior being’ playing with the ‘little people’. There’s a complete disconnect between the amused eyes and the manipulation taking place and so we tend to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    Psychopathic glee. Well known, but I think this should be a warning sign as it’s so bizarre that it’s noticeable. Without background knowledge of how Ps react to ‘winning’ it just seems ‘odd’ and ‘bizarre’ and we’re left baffled. Once we have this background knowledge it’s another piece of the jigsaw that falls into place. I’ve seen extreme psychopathic glee and it’s unforgettable – imagine some crazy person winning the lottery, with convulsed body language, unrestrained laughter (but not proper laughter, gleeful laughter) and a complete disregard of what other people all around think. Scary stuff.

    • Adelyn Birch

      Yes, I saw that amusement in his eyes that I later learned was there because he was manipulating me at the time.

      Psychopathic glee is unforgettable. I called it contemptuous glee, taken to a hysterical level. One of the only emotions they can feel is “contemptuous delight,” which is duping delight — the sheer delight they feel at duping people they feel contempt for. It can be a simple smile at the wrong moment, or taken to a level of hysterical duping glee. I wouldn’t call it a hidden sign, though. It’s pretty obvious when you see it that the person is batsh*t crazy. You know there’s absolutely no way the person is normal, although you might not know they’re psychopathic.

      Thanks for your comments, BetterBe.

      • BetterBe Anon

        Yes, you’re right, it’s not hidden, it’s pretty obvious. It was one of the confirmations that told me something was wrong – you know, when you’re going through that phase of thinking, ‘Surely not? It can’t possibly be!’ Then I remembered the batsh*t crazy glee.

        • Adelyn Birch

          Batsh*t crazy glee, that’s the best description. You know it when you see it! There’s no denying it after that. None.

  22. BetterBe Anon

    Sorry to keep commenting. I’m working all this out in my head.

    I’ve figured out another really subtle warning sign. When talking for quite a while with someone I trusted (althogh not enough to talk about the P) as soon as the conversation ended the P was in conversation with her. Never seen them talk before. With hindsight he was picking up her body language to see if it was hostile to him because then he could figure out whether I’d been talking to her about him. This was shortly after I went No Contact.

    Another warning sign – REALLY subtle – on two separate occasions there was a fleeting look of jealousy on his face when he saw me and a colleague interacting in a normal, friendly manner. He wasn’t looking at her, and he wasn’t looking at me, he was looking at both of us. The first time I just thought, ‘That’s odd’ and dismissed it from my mind. The second time I made a mental note of it and I’ve still got it in my memory. This was before I realised he was a P. It was a confirmation to me later on that he couldn’t relate in a normal way to other people, because superficially he was a close friend with this woman, occasionally meeting her outside work. In reality the only way he could interact with her was through a screen of drama. He didn’t know what normal, friendly warm emotions were.

    • Adelyn Birch

      Yes, I saw those flashes of intense jealousy, too. Just like I saw the flashes of contempt!

      Feel free to leave comments. They let me know people are reading what I write and that I’m not just sending this stuff into a black void. I like to know what people are thinking.

  23. Mar

    Hi, everyone!
    Thank you so much for this article. I have just had a break-up with “my” psychopath. He fits the profile perfectly!! He was truly enjoying by hurting, belittling and humiliating me. He has no heart and I told him so. Even if he does something nice there is no emotion involved. Like he broke-up with an email with his ex and a year later he gave her some money for her trip to India. His explanation was that he did not want to be hated by her. And he told me that he wanted to do something nice to someone…and it happened to be his ex… I think that he did it just to hurt me again.
    He lacks any consistency, he loves porn and teenage girls, he is 44, I even asked him if he was a pedophile. He cannot experience a human emotion, I witness this so many times, he can be so rude, cold and calculative that it makes me sick in my stomach when I think of it. Also he was not capable of recognizing love and anything good I was giving his in my naivety. He took advantage and soon after that I was disposable.
    He even told me he cannot do relationships. He confessed that he felt nothing when his mother was dying right before him at the hospital. I saw so many signs that something is totally off, but I was so attracted to his “charms” that I fooled myself that something will change for the better. He enjoyed saying the coldest and hurtful things tome on the next day after we were close and I believe that he liked doing it.
    Also he did not have a conscience and in any attempt from my side to talk to him he was focusing only on the negative stuff and he never acknowledged any of the good things I have done for him. He never apologized to me or truly accepted my apology. He is not capable of forgiving.
    He also enjoyed humiliating me before others just for the fun of it and when I was beside myself and I told him hurtful things as well, most of it was true anyway, then he used that against me. The other thing he was doing just to make me feel bad was praising other women for the smallest, insignificant thing and never appreciated anything about me, although I receive compliments all the time even from strangers.
    He wanted to make me feel insignificant, strange and bad. And yes, he has a shady past and he keeps talking about it even to strangers just to get attention and compassion. He is always the victim but at the same time he is very arrogant /I told him so/, critical, judgmental and disrespectful to others. He is not capable of feeling any gratitude even towards those who went out of their way to help him. Externally he plays the role of the humble, dutiful guy, but internally he mocks almost everyone and feels superior although he is working in a barn. He behaves like he is smarter than anybody else and minimizes any good qualities in others.
    Sexually he was very long lasting, perhaps because he did not invest any emotion in it, and it felt like making love with a machine… It was surreal. He almost never said anything sweet or nice to me or in the rare cases when this happened I did not feel he was truly sincere. Once he told me that he was strange and I should find someone normal, but I was so blind to think that he was exaggerating… He lured me into getting close to him and then he wanted to discard me without any remorse or anything. He is very moody and whimsical and was acting all the time.
    As to his body language, I have noticed that sometimes his eyes looked completely without expression like glass or he had a really hard time even to smile at me. He shared that he never cries. He was very stingy, he never gave me a gift, although I was giving presents to him. He flirted constantly behind my back, even our common friends had told me that. He makes sexual comments while speaking with young girls and once I after I expressed my disapproval, he told this was none of my business. My overall feeling of him was like he had a stone in his chest and no matter how nice or generous I was in any way, it did not change a thing. I am so glad that this nightmare is over. At least now I know what the red flags are and will try to recognize them much earlier in a relationship. Psychopaths are just not human, neither animals. Once I told him that even a dog has more feelings than him. And this is true!! I realized that it is not worthy of being upset over such a pathetic creature and I should be thankful that I am out of such a nasty, degrading relationship.

  24. Mar

    And yes, he hated it when I was wearing a perfume and he mocked me about it. He said he preferred me “natural” and that this is a compliment. He has the innocent, boyish look and I believe I was so misled by that. Also good sense of humor though sarcastic or ironic too often. Not much of interests, very superficial, without any plans for the future, living a life of the least resistance…with minimum requirements of him. Getting bored very easily, no depth, cold, calculative mind, merciless. Extremely superficial and at times artificial. And yes, I also witness I very evil, strange laugh from him, completely out of place. I remember one night, this never happened to me before, he laughed at me for literally 2 hours, whatever I was saying or even just looking at me made him laugh. In the end he told that I was born funny. I have a good sense of humor, but it was strange how someone can laugh to tears for 2 hours even without jokes…

    • Adelyn Birch

      Is there anything he DIDN’T do? It sounds like he covered all the bases! I’m very sorry you got involved with this guy, Mar. I wish you all the best as you recover from this ordeal!

  25. Mar

    Thank you, Adelyn! I hope I will recover soon. He hurt me so much, I need a time to forgive myself for the mistake to be involved with him.

    • Adelyn Birch

      Or maybe you need time to realize that you have nothing to forgive yourself for. Good luck to you!

      • Mar

        Thank you so much for your support!! It means a lot to me. All the best to you too.

  26. Steph

    About half of these actually apply to myself, rather disconcerting, should I be worried?
    My father is a psychopath, I wonder now if it’s genetic.
    He definitely fits every single point on this. I’d never thought about his smell, but now that I think of it, he’s never had an odour other than cologne.

    • Adelyn Birch

      No, I wouldn’t be worried by the things on this list. The more important questions are these: Do you have genuine relationships with people, or do you only use others for personal gain? Do you have the ability to love? Do you feel compassion? Do you lie, cheat, manipulate and harm others to get what you want, and feel entitled to do so and comfortable with it? Your answers will tell you if you’re a psychopath or not.

  27. completelylost

    Sorry, this is long. I am still struggling badly with this. I would really appreciate if anyone has any insight/opinion on what I was dealing with. I have thought of Psychopathy and Narcissism but I don’t know.

    I met him over the internet and he is from another country (both of us in Europe though). We talked about travelling and I told him how I would like to visit the area he lives and he quickly told me to jump in a plane and visit him there, which I thought was weird at such an early stage.

    Anyway, we started talking on Skype and this was in February. He told me he had a long distance relationship (gf) with someone in another continent and that they had met twice only. He said they fight all the time and break up every day and that he hates make-up and that he fought with gf every day over her wearing make-up. I really thought this gf wasn’t serious and that perhaps he was making up he had a gf in order for me not to get too attached to him. All this sounded strange to me. He told me he was a sex addict and online game addict, that he is hostile, impatient, insatiable and he said he had met his “gf” last October. Over Xmas he was with her too and only in January he flew to another country to have sex with a woman. Then, the gf visited him in March and to cut the story short, he flew to me in April just for the 1 day. At the start, I didn’t give it much importance, as I didn’t really want anything serious with him. After he left he told me he was really happy he met me, that he was really happy I was the way I was and that he basically had a great time. Only the next day we talked on Skype and we agreed I would go over to his country to meet him in 6 weeks’ time. Thing is he only wants to spend 36 hours maximum with me because he says he has other things to do and to call his gf because otherwise she gets suspicious if he is missing for too long. This was unacceptable but as it was only the second time we met I thought not to give it much thought as I thought he perhaps wanted to know me slowly and not to spend too much time at the start.

    He seemed happy that he was going to see me again but weeks before I flew over he started to hang up on me on Skype whenever I said something he didn’t want to talk about. I asked him what he thought of me and he always answered that he doesn’t like me fishing for compliments. He started to give me time limits to talk on Skype, sometimes he would count down and then he would hang up on me. He would tell me I needed to structure my talk and talk about interesting things. One day he told me he gave me 4 minutes to talk and at minute 3.30 he hung up. Then he said that I didn’t know how to use the time he gave me and that if I wasted 4 minutes like that he wouldn’t give me more next time. It became all really nasty, basically.

    I had already bought my air ticket and anyway I was about to cancel it but I flew over. It was only for 36 hours that we met and the day I was leaving I asked him if we would see each other again. He said he didn’t know and then took me to the airport. I was there saying good bye and he was just there for 5 minutes and I wanted him to stay a bit longer till I left. He got really angry, he looked at my face in such a cold way and told me I was being very clingy and that it was over forever, that we would never talk again. I was so shocked so traumatized. Then he walked away and didn’t even look back.

    When I arrived he asked if I had arrived safely and we talked on Skype but he still said it was over. He told me that I spoilt things while I was there, that it was my fault. He said I made him run away, that how I could be so clingy at the airport, he said that I made him pay 3 Euros for parking at the airport when he wanted to go quickly. He constantly told me to change myself, he said how I could undermine his authority, whenever I asked when we could talk he says that he doesn’t know, not now, not today. He blocked me several times on whatsapp and Skype. He many times told me I am ignorant, a bad listener or that I have bad memory. When I ask questions that don’t suit him he tells me to change topic. He even said I had to make an appointment to talk to him.

    Then anyway, we got back talking and so many times when he is not available to talk he tells me that he wasn’t answering because he was having sex with such and such. Even a weekend after me visiting him he told me how he brought another woman to his house and he was doing with her the same things he did with me. Recently, I texted him one day and he said he was driving and that he was *f a girl in another country.

    And now, I visited him a third time in his country (and last time for me) because 36 hours is all he offers me and now he even says that it can’t be 2 nights but only one (and this is considering I fly from one country to another spending at least 400/500 Euros for 36 hours). I touched him with a packet of paper tissues on his head and he got really angry, he told me I have no empathy and that I am crazy, that that was really bad and that he is so sensitive to noise. I couldn’t believe the way he was reacting plus I told him I didn’t know that about him so it is not like I did it on purpose. He said that the fact I didn’t do it on purpose was irrelevant and that anyone would get annoyed by something like that. I was trying to rationalise with him till he said that then in order for me to understand he would have to beat me. Hours later we went to the mountains and he was holding my hand and hugging me and looking at me as if there were feelings somehow.

    Whenever I ask if we will talk he says that maybe, no guarantee or that we will but that he could be wrong. He is always the one who makes the call. Whenever I call him he doesn’t answer. I said to him to call me sometime and he said “only when I want to!” I asked why I can never call him and he said that I can but then when I asked why he never answers when I call he says “because I didn’t want to”. And then he said “appreciate it, that I call you”.
    Well, there are so many things he has told me that it is unreal and I don’t know what to think anymore.

    I always saw he is manipulative, etc but the “beating me” part, that really scared me. I saw another side of him I never thought I would.

    While I was there with him this last time there was a time when he grabbed me in a rough way, I told him he was hurting me and to stop but he didn’t. He had sex with me at that time and I didn’t feel well about it. I was thinking for myself that that felt a bit like being forced somehow. Coincidentally, the next morning he brought up (out of the blue) the topic of raping. My brother in law had called him months before to tell him that the way he was treating wasn’t right and this guy told me that morning (after grabbing me roughly the night before) that my brother in law had accused him of raping women. I was shocked because I know my brother in law never said this to him and what a coincidence! he brings that up after the previous night I sort of felt that way.

    Ok, then, one of these days he told me to watch the scene of Maleficient movie where Angelina Jolie’s wings are cutt off. He said: “mind, I didn’t cut your wings off”. I hadn’t watched the movie and didn’t have a clue what this was about and then I read on google that the movie actually is about abuse and that particular scene is a metaphor for rape. I have no clue what he is trying to tell me but he clearly said he didn’t cut off my wings.

    Then, 9 weeks ago we were sending some messages on whatsapp and he basically told me that he won’t meet me again, that it was out of the question because I push him out of his comfort zone and I interfere with his social network. I was so hurt at the cold way he was talking to me plus he had said something I didn’t understand and he told me I was illiterate, stupid and dead slow on the uptake. He also told me I am useless. At that moment I went and I told him that he might not meet again because I interfere with his whores but that I won’t meet him again because I don’t meet beaters. Straight away he blocked me on whatsapp and Skype and that is how it is now. He has blocked me in the past too and then he unblocked me, I suppose because I was after him. I have no clue what will happen anymore but I have the feeling I am blocked for good.

    I must add one thing that came into my mind now. At the start of our talks at the very beginning he once told me I was going to get addicted to him and at another point he told I was addicted to him but that I just didn’t know it yet.

    • Adelyn Birch

      I’m terribly sorry to hear of this ordeal you’ve been going through. Whether he’s a psychopath or a narcissist is impossible to tell, as it always is from a short description, but whatever he is — he’s an abuser and a loser. Instead of having no clue as to what will happen in the future, why don’t you make the decision? You don’t deserve to be treated like shit. He has no respect for you at all, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have respect for yourself! It’s the best thing you can do. Please read Your Basic Human Rights. I hope it will re-set your internal compass to a better direction. Best wishes to you.

  28. None

    Point 13 speaks about the inability to describe feelings in psychopaths. Could the author or someone who experiences them describe a feeling, please?

    • Adelyn Birch

      OK, I’ll help you since you seem to be a bit flummoxed. Using the example in #13, I’ll describe the fear I would feel as a bank teller, if some worthless piece of shit had a gun in my face:

      My physical feelings would be a pounding, racing heart and I’d be shaking uncontrollably all over as adrenalin pumped through me. I’d be struggling to follow the directions of the worthless piece of shit as my mind was filled with thoughts of never seeing the people I love ever again, and with thoughts of their grief, and with thoughts of having all of my plans for the future and all that I worked for and all that I am as an individual obliterated by the senseless violence of some mindless, heartless automaton who doesn’t think my life has any value because he can’t understand the value of life. I would not only feel fear, but incredible sadness.

      Incidentally, I believe all bank tellers should be heavily armed to protect themselves from worthless pieces of shit who can’t describe an emotion. In fact, I think everyone who can feel emotion should be similarly prepared. A life taken by someone who has no empathy and can feel no emotion is a pitiful waste and a loss beyond measure.

      • None

        Yes, this seems true.

        I would like to suggest that just like people grow older and more experienced and ‘evolve’, perhaps few psychopaths do too, in a way that we don’t have literature for yet. Maybe those progressions or leaps do drive the species forward in a way that could be beneficial.

        • Adelyn Birch

          Beneficial to whom?

  29. PinkCheeks

    There are many signs that you become aware of with hindsight, but that just makes you feel stupid and lacking in judgement.
    They all are emotionally barren, all seem sexually weird [many are bisexual, porn-lovers, prefer the very young & indeed ingratiate themselves with women who have children, obsessed with sodomy.] Like others I noted the ability to last forever during sex…mainly because they are so cold and detached. Sex does not mean a bonding experience to them but it takes time to wake up to that.
    Alcohol and/or drug abuse seems to feature, but that might be because they feel so little that substances invoke colour.

    Most aspects of this article clicked for me.

    • Adelyn Birch

      My experience was quite different, Pink. He didn’t abuse alcohol or drugs. He was warm, affectionate, engaged and loving, and a great cuddler. That really made me bond deeply with him. Had he been cold and detached, sexually “weird” and obsessed with sodomy, I wouldn’t have stuck around. There is absolutely nothing that could have alerted me as far as sex went, even in hindsight.

      It sounds to me that you’ve described autistic sex. I’m serious; have you ever considered your ex was on the autism spectrum? They cause just as much damage as psychopaths. Please take a look at the blog post, “Psychopathy… or Asperger’s Syndrome?”

  30. Jess

    Too much to absorb here. Mine was a diagnosed sociopath…sexually abused as a child by another male child. Family was very religious…crazy religious. I believe he was bisexual and extremely ashamed. He was always involved with messed up people. He attempted suicide at 20 in the military, the military police were trying to arrest him…he slit his wrists and killed a military police dog. He was discharged. Was once accused of molesting a neighbor’s kid…he was cleared so he says…I don’t know what was true. He never slept, was obsessesed with porn and sodomy. He did the creepy, predatory stare thing, very charming, he was definitely off..he mimic’ed emotions, didn’t respect boundaries. He creeped people out. Had very few friends in HS…got picked on. I think he figured out how to hide himself after dropping out of college. I went to therapy because of him…she was the one that clued me into him…she actually thought he was a borderline. He was so manipulative. He had a lot of friends as an adult now and did everything he could to hide how bad he was. He was also bipolar and in his bad phases which could last weeks…he would hibernate, emotionally shut down. He had bad hygiene but yes…he never smelled either. I think mental illness ran in his family…his Mormon mother was extremely creepy and his son…my stepson had Asperger’s. So, that’s an interesting link…about the sex and possible autism. He had an extremely promiscuous background…2 ex wives, 4 kids. I write this and can’t believe I was with this man…but to give me credit, I figured him out pretty quickly…I left him less tha a year later. His stories were just too much…just all over the place. I am very stable…scientist, great job…not rich but not poor. He was too much to deal with, he scared me, he was an awful father and I knew he would be a horrible partner if not human being. TOO MANY ISSUES. Just disturbing. I was the “best thing” that happened to him and then the worst. He tried sleeping with my friends which I saw coming. He was almost predictable…well, I started studying up a bit. I needed to for myself. One thing I learned…they use pity to take advantage because that’s when your vulnerable to them…when you pity them. He did that a lot…might explain the awful, feel bad for him stories. The year after I left him, I had torn my achilles…he must of heard and re-appeared out of the blue…I should have completely cut him off. He raped me. Got me pregnant too…which I think he did on purpose. Weird thought but I’m pretty sure knowing him and what he did to the ex wives that it was on purpose. I think he was trying to win…trying to keep me in his life. I think he thought I would keep it and he could still have me in his life…not be bored. I couldn’t keep a child of rape especially from him. I couldn’t do that to the baby…I kept thinking about transmission rates, the awful person he was…and doing that to my family. I had read a blog from a woman whose husband and daughter were borderlines…terrified me. I cut him off. The rape flashbacks stopped a few years ago but I am a changed person. Some days are a struggle.

    • Adelyn Birch

      Wow, he sounds horrifying. You went through a terrible ordeal, Jess. I wish you a full recovery and all the best in the future.

      • Jess

        Thank you. Sometimes I’m okay, sometimes I’m not but it gets better every year. I’m soon to be engaged to a great normal guy and planning on a family after that. I try hard not to let that get to me anymore. :)

        • Adelyn Birch

          CONGRATULATIONS! :-)

  31. lois

    I am still reeling from the discard a month ago… After 2 years of living between my hometown in America and his European country, I moved in with him in August…I could not figure out why he was being increasingly cruel …..I knew he was extremely capable of it… I thought it was the stress of this new chapter…..
    I knew throughout the 2 years that he had a dark dark side… having done other discards with me that were shocking… but I was crazy about him…. the sex was amazing…. and I adored so many things about his life…. I was in the US for Thanksgiving and he emailed me he didn’t want me back…. my belongings….my life was there and I was brutally locked out…. However… tomorrow, I am supposed to get everything from him at the train station in his town……I am sick to my stomach…and nerve wracked… I’m in a foreign country and he had complete control….I hired someone to come with me…to help me carry..and because I cant face this alone….I am a well educated 50 something woman with a long marriage behind me…. I trusted… and I’m sure he was cheating extensively …under my nose….I can see it all now as I am out of his presence.
    I will return home shortly…. but I’m completely smashed…I just pray to get through tomorrow… thx.
    ( I left out all the details because he has done EVERY behavior mentioned on this page)

    • Adelyn Birch

      Best of luck tomorrow, Lois. I’m glad you’ve hired someone to go with you. I’ll keep my fingers crossed! Let me know how it goes, OK?

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