Two in every one hundred people have a psychopathic personality. Disturbing? Well, not every psychopath is a dangerous maniac despite popular fiction. Many manage and modify their psychopathic tendencies and lead normal lives. Mostly you wouldn’t even realize that your girlfriend or husband is a psychopath. Nevertheless, recognizing the signs will be helpful in your choice of partner.
According to Adelina Birch, author of Psychopaths and Love, and 202 Ways to Spot a Psychopath, an empathic person, one who is emotionally aware and able to connect with others on an emotional basis, is highly likely to attract a psychopathic personality. It is less about the perfection of the two personality types, and more that the psychopath can latch on to the inevitable openness of an empath. This makes the empath vulnerable to the charms of an emotional manipulator.
Signs that You have Fallen in Love with a Psychopath
It all happens very quickly. You meet this charming person. He or she is quick to share details of their life. You empathize with their difficult past, their seeming vulnerability and hey ho, you are head over heels in love. You feel this person completes you, they ‘get you', that you have met your soul mate, and you are meant to be together. Birch calls this a ‘red flag’.
The next few months are the best times of your whole life. Your days are full of passion and adventure. Your new love connects with you on every level. He is romantic, thoughtful, loving and the sex is beyond brilliant. There may be a few moments when something he says is a bit ‘off’, but everything else is wonderful, so it barely registers.
Then one day, he withdraws. It might only be for an hour, but you can’t figure out why. You ask what’s wrong. He won’t answer. Then eventually, he might offer a small criticism that has upset him. Perhaps you were too friendly with someone, or maybe you stayed out too late with your girlfriends. He might get personal — you’ve put on a tiny bit of weight, or you wear clothes that aren’t suitable. You are puzzled; none of this mattered previously. Anyway, you decide it’s not worth arguing about, so you modify your behavior slightly to accommodate him.
From there it’s all downhill. More and more often he criticizes and turns away from you. You do as he asks because after all these months you are completely in love. Enthralled. Entranced. You spend every waking moment thinking about him and your relationship. You wonder why it seems so complicated. You gradually drop your girlfriends because he always has a valid reason why they are not good friends at all. You see what he sees, and believe what he believes.
You make excuses for him.
You are still in love, but it’s tough. Your confidence has dropped away. You do all you can to keep him happy, and sometimes you are rewarded. Now and then it feels like it did in the beginning. He is attentive, loving and you are the best thing that ever happened in his life. All too soon it passes, and you are back where you were. Lonely in a relationship. Trapped.
More Signs of a Psychopathic Personality
She is charming, flirty, sexy and attractive. People are drawn to her like a magnet.
He is comfortable and at ease with himself. He has supreme confidence.
She has a string of failed relationships. Always the other partner’s fault.
One of your close friends or family dislikes him intensely. This is because they recognize his characteristics. They will try to tell you, but you won’t listen. They don’t know him like you do.
She will say contradictory things, such as how tolerant she is towards a certain sector of society and then at a later time denounce those very people.
He loves to share his past exploits and seems quite proud of them, even though they were anti-social, cruel or law-breaking. He likes to relate how he ‘dealt with’ an awkward person.
She displays rage, often controlled ice-cold anger. It passes quickly, and she’ll kindly explain how what you did or said was unacceptable.
He will deflect blame. Something that he did wrong has to be your fault in some way.
She can talk emotionally but doesn’t really feel emotion. If you ask her how it feels to be sad, she can’t describe it other than in the most generic terms.
He hides parts of his life. You don’t know where he is, if you ask, he’ll get angry. He’ll want to know why you can’t trust him.
She doesn’t trust you. She likes to know where you are at all times.
He’s jealous, not because he loves you but because he needs you under his control.
She talks a lot. Psychopaths gravitate to professions where their expertise is often called upon. They love to persuade and manipulate and therefore make excellent sales people. They treat clients and customers like their best friends. They know how to make others feel special by turning on the charm.
He is always lovely to you in public. When you get home, he’ll launch into a litany of your misdemeanors. No-one ever sees his true personality.
The Aftermath of Your Relationship with a Psychopath
It’s rare that anyone can get over a relationship with a psychopath easily. Often you will have to make several attempts to leave as they know you so well, they can persuade you back with promises that they will change. Once you do manage to make the break you must understand you cannot have any contact with them or they’ll start working you again. This is difficult if there are children involved. You can minimize the risks by always having someone present.
Your confidence and self-esteem will be at rock bottom, but you’ll notice that you start to recover as soon as you have made the break. Give yourself plenty of time. Understand that none of this was your fault; he’s done it before, and he will do it again.
Read up about emotional manipulation and psychopathic personalities – arm yourself and you will be immune to his charms. Notice your internal reactions when in the presence of a psychopath. You will feel as though you are experiencing on two levels – one that wants to be entranced and one distinct gut feeling that acts as a warning signal.
You may benefit from counseling or therapy — your therapist will be familiar with this situation and will offer you coping strategies. Restore your friendships, build new ones. The more supportive your team, the quicker you will heal.
Ten Signs of a Psychopath by Pieter Hintjens