Dr. Annabelle R. Charbit, author of A Life Lived Ridiculously and RidiculousLife.net, speaks from personal experience when she says that unless you're actively looking for one (which most of us sadly aren't) or have been stung by one in the past, they're extremely hard to pick out. Why? “Because psychopaths have great social skills, are charming, funny and exciting. The psychopath's greatest weapon is the ability to seduce his or her victims by winning over their pity. By eliciting pity in morally normal individuals, psychopaths can get pretty much anything they want.” Eek!
Here's how to avoid a potentially dangerous situation by recognizing all those subtle warning signs before it's too late!
Oftentimes, psychopaths are unable to keep jobs or uphold financial commitments, says Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, psychotherapist and author of the Human Magnet Syndrome. “Their sense of entitlement leads them to dismiss work rules, like arriving on time, staying awake or not stealing. Moreover, the reason for their termination typically includes insubordination, as they have no respect for the people who have control over them, such as their bosses.”
According to psychologist/psychotherapist Daniel J. Sapen Ph.D., you should steer clear of any guy who wants to get too serious too soon and is genuinely upset by your insistence on maintaining autonomy and boundaries as you get to know him instead of joining him in his view of things.
"One of the top signs you're dating a psychopath is if all his stories tend to be a bit exaggerated and inconsistent upon investigation,” says internationally renowned dating and relationship coach David Wygant. The facts simply don't line up. "For example,” adds Dr. Charbit, "he might regale you with tales of great success, asking perhaps that you invest in a new venture and claiming unrealistic returns on your money. But when you dig deeper, you're hard-pressed to find any evidence of his credentials.”
Never tips, litters and says it's the city's job to clean up and/or teases kids in a way that frustrates them and amuses him, explains Dr. Wendy Walsh, relationship expert for DatingAdvice.com and author of The 30-Day Love Detox. "Psychopaths think that life is skewed for them to fail so they must take what they can get. They also have the inability to feel compassion or guilt.”
Observe his interactions with animals, bugs, the handicapped and the homeless, suggests Dr. Sapen. "There's a saying that if you want to know who someone really is, watch how he treats others who can do nothing for him. Psychopaths may regard strangers with annoyance or as subjects to be enjoyed through mockery.”
Does he come off as a little bit too charming? Is he a suave, smooth talker who feigns empathy to get what he wants? "Psychopaths use charm to manipulate, control and mask their real nature or agenda,” notes Rosenberg. “This charm compensates for their inability to feel or express genuine warmth.”
However, don't be fooled. This could be the guy that tenderly wipes away your tears at a bar, points out Sapen. "He's timing his seduction to the moment you're at your least confident and your guard is the most let down. In fact, his willingness to use charm and his lack of embarrassment at presenting himself as incredibly interesting and confident might make him more obviously alluring to you than the naturally self-doubting and courteous guy at the next table.”
Psychopaths live by the "pleasure principle,” describes Rosenberg. "If it feels good and they think they won't get caught or suffer the consequences, they'll do it. They often make statements like: 'It's a dog eat dog world. Get what you can because if you don't, someone else will beat you to it.'”
Whether he's dynamic and skilled in bed or not, if your pleasure feels like more of an accomplishment to his ego rather than a true sense of closeness, then that's a definite red flag, says Sapen.
Psychopaths will fly into a fit of rage at the mere suggestion they're wrong or that someone knows better than they do, informs Sapen. "Also, be wary of lame excuses for any error, such as being two hours late or smelling like another woman's perfume.” Most likely, he's lying!
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