Psychopathy Is Not a Diagnosis:
First of all, psychopathy is not actually a real diagnosis. The closest resembling diagnosis is ‘antisocial personality disorder’. However, there have been many scales of psychopathy created over the years, including ‘the Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale’ and ‘the Hare Psychopathy Checklist’. These scales test how many psychopathic traits an individual possesses. The 20 traits accessed by the Hare Psychopathy Checklist include:
- Superficial charm
- Grandiose estimation of self
- Need for stimulation
- Pathological lying
- Cunning and manipulativeness
- Lack of remorse or guilt
- Superficial emotional responsiveness
- Lack of empathy
- Parasitic lifestyle
- Poor behavioural controls
- Sexual promiscuity
- Early behaviour problems
- Lack of realistic long-term goals
- Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
- Many short-term marital relationships
- Juvenile delinquency
- Revocation of conditional release
- Criminal versatility
Most Are Not Violent:
Psychopaths are portrayed as merciless killers in the media – but in real life, those with psychopathic tendencies are not always violent individuals. These individuals can live successfully amongst the general public, using their traits to be productive members of society. They may have logical reasons, rather than emotional ones, for not committing violent acts. For example, they know it can get them in trouble with the law, or physically injured, therefore it is in their interest not to behave violently.
They Want Friends:
Psychopaths realise the benefits of friendship and alliances. They are capable of forming positive relationships, even if it is only for self-gain. Friends can help the psychopath with favours and therefore are kept around for their usefulness rather than emotional reasons. Friendships may also fulfil the need for stimulation as psychopaths can become easily bored.
They Are Not All in Corporate Business:
Although psychopaths are prevalent at higher levels of corporate organisations, they also exist in many other professions. They are our lawyers, surgeons and police officers. These psychopaths are seen as ‘successful psychopaths’. They use their dark triad traits and charm in order to push their way to the top. However, most psychopaths are often not suited to most occupations as they are unable to get along with others – due to this some disadvantaged psychopaths may turn to crime.
They Are Not Psychotic:
People commonly mistake psychopathy for psychosis but there is a huge difference between the two. Psychosis is an umbrella term describing a mental state where one experiences a disconnect from reality whereas psychopathy describes a set of traits which show a lack of empathy.