1. Psychopaths are “too good to be true.” They besiege their interlocutors with a relentless charm offensive, flaunting their accomplishments, skills, talents, brilliance, acuity, and good fortune.
2. Information asymmetry: The psychopath may flood you with unwanted and unwarranted information – and disinformation – about himself while conspicuously being incurious about you. Alternatively, he keeps mum about his life while intrusively “milking” you for the most intimate details of yours.
3. Belaboured normalcy and effortless deviance: Actions that are reflexive, or effortless with normal, healthy people require an inordinate amount of premeditation, concentration, planning, and laborious investment by the psychopath. Acts that normal folk would find abhorrent come naturally and effortlessly to the psychopath.
4. Alloplastic Defenses: The psychopath blames others, the authorities, institutions, or the world at large for his failures, defeats, and mishaps. It is never his fault. He has an external locus of control: his life is ruled from the outside, the collected sad outcomes of injustice, discrimination, and conspiracy.
5. Psychopaths are said to be fearless and sang-froid. Their pain tolerance is very high. Still, contrary to popular perceptions and psychiatric orthodoxy, some psychopaths are actually anxious and fearful. Their psychopathy is a defense against an underlying and all-pervasive anxiety, either hereditary, or brought on by early childhood abuse.
The Familiar is tempting – but, it is a trap. The Unknown is terrifying – but, it holds a promise. Your only chance at happiness, even survival, is to move on.
by Sam Vaknin, PhD, Author of the comprehensive book on narcissism “Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited.”
Read S. Vaknin’s “People-pleasers and Pathological Charmers.”