In the book Violent Attachments, women and men have noted the particular stare of the psychopath - it is an intense, relentless gaze that seems to preclude his destruction of his victim or target. Women, in particular, have reported this stare, which is related to the "predatorial" (reptilian) gaze; it is as if the psychopath is directing all of his intensity toward you through his eyes, a sensation that one woman reported as a feeling of "being eaten." They tend to invade peoples' space either by their sudden intrusions or intimidating look-overs (which some women confuse for sexuality.) (I too confused this predatory stare for sexuality)
A lot of victims of psychopaths have stated that on waking during the night they have awoken to their predators face hovering over theirs staring intently. I for one experienced this on many occasions.
For a psychopath, a romantic relationship is just another opportunity to find a trusting partner who will buy into the lies. It’s primarily why a psychopath rarely stays in a relationship for the long term, and often is involved with three or four partners at once, says Willson. To a psychopath, everything about a relationship is a game. Willson refers to the movie ‘Sliding Doors’ to illustrate her point. In the film, the main character comes home early after just having been fired from her job. Only moments ago, her boyfriend has let another woman out the front door. But in a matter of minutes he is the attentive and concerned boyfriend, taking her out to dinner and devoting the entire night to comforting her. All the while he’s planning to leave the next day on a trip with the other woman.
What he refers to as love is, in fact, sexual attraction, a desire for flattery, physical comfort or material support. Quick to rage, he is often shallow and holds grievances toward anyone whom he perceives to be in his way. He is paranoid and secretive. He refers to his own crimes as harmless pranks. He will often watch others for a clue of what emotion a situation demands. When he calls sadness is the failure of his most recent manipulative attempts.
Psychopaths have no lack of victims because so many people are ready and willing to play the role. And in many, many cases, the victim simply refuses to believe the evidence that they are being victimized. Psychological denial screens out knowledge that is painful, and persons with large investments in their fantasies are often unable to acknowledge that they are being deceived because it it too painful. Most often, these are women who rigidly adhere to the traditional role of the female with a strong sense of duty to be a "good wife." She will believe that if she tries harder or simply waits it out, her husband will reform. When he ignores her, abuses her, cheats on her, or uses her, she can simply just decide to "try harder, put more energy into the relationship, and take better care of him." She believes that if she does this, eventually he will notice and will see how valuable she is, and then he will fall on his knees in gratitude and treat her like a queen.
The fact is, such a woman, with her fierce commitment to such a man, her dedication to being a proper wife, has allowed such fairy tales to distort her sense of reality. The reality is that she is doomed to a lifetime of abuse and disappointment until "death do us part."
A psychopath does not keep his commitments or obligations. He breaks his word, stands people up, abandons those who care about him at critical times in their lives, cheats with impunity, and makes promises he has no intention of delivering on to get what he wants. Psychopaths may disappear and reappear in the lives of friends and family, causing worry and heartbreak, without ever adequately explaining what they’ve been up to. However, they always have excuses, and it is always someone else’s fault.
Psychopaths abandon their spouses and children without the slightest concern. And while many don’t commit crimes for which they can be convicted, they often live what could be termed as a sub-criminal existence, engaging in a variety of secretive and shady dealings. When they do achieve success, it is usually through causing harm to others. Their lack of commitment to anything is evident in the many contradictory and hollow statements they make. However, they hang onto the people in their lives by promising to change, or even changing, briefly, only to revert back to their old ways in time.
Once having drained what they can from one source, they turn to others to exploit, bleed, and then cast aside; their pleasure in the misfortune of others is unquenchable. People are used as a means to an end; they are to be subordinated and demeaned ...the pleasure they gain from their ruse often flags once the rewards of deceit have been achieved.
The Psychopath At Work
Psychopaths also tend to switch jobs as frequently as they switch partners, mainly because they don’t have the qualities to maintain a job for the long haul. Their performance is generally erratic, with chronic absences, misuse of company resources and failed commitments. Often they aren’t even qualified for the job and use fake credentials to get it. Seto talks of a patient who would get marketing jobs based on his image; he was a presentable and charming man who layered his conversations with educational and occupational references. But it became evident that the man hadn’t a clue what he was talking about, and was unable to hold down a job.
Because they are impulsive and irresponsible, many psychopaths jump from job to job and relationship to relationship. They break their promises, fail to fulfill their financial obligations, leave their families behind without a backward glance and pursue their own interests at everyone else’s expense.
Psychopaths tend to give vague and inconsistent replies. Of course the best way to solve this problem would be to cure psychopaths of their ‘illness.’ But there’s no recipe for treating them, say psychiatrists. Today’s traditional methods of psychotherapy (psychoanalysis, group and one-on-one therapy) and drug treatments have failed. Therapy is more likely to work when an individual admits there’s a problem and wants to change. The common problem with psychopaths, says Sets, “Is they don’t see a problem with their behavior.”
The psychopath shows a remarkable disregard for truth and is to be trusted no more in his accounts of the past than in his promises for the future or his statement of present intentions. He gives the impression that he is incapable of ever attaining realistic comprehension of an attitude in other people which causes them to value truth and cherish truthfulness in themselves.
Not only is the psychopath undependable, but also in more active ways he cheats, deserts, annoys, brawls, fails, and lies without any apparent compunction. He will commit theft, forgery, adultery, fraud, and other deeds for astonishingly small stakes and under much greater risks of being discovered than will the ordinary scoundrel. He will, in fact, commit such deeds in the absence of any apparent goal at all.
No matter how bright, and a psychopath is often very bright, he rarely maintains a regular job, pays his debts or serves the role of a responsible parent. He repeatedly abuses, abandons, or betrays sexual partners and any children he produces. It is estimated that 15-20% of prisoners carry this diagnosis. Conning and manipulating others is a way of life. For the woman in his life, he may have an ingratiating manner and superficial charm, be persuasive, poised and self-assured because he lacks the (self)conscious feelings that others would have
Lying, evasiveness, feigned forgetfulness, vague and inconsistent answers about his past...his goal is partially to confuse and manipulate, but he also is indifferent to the truth. And he will lie simply for the fun of it, so much so that he eventually becomes caught. Yet even when cornered and confessing, he will offer flimsy excuses or insincere apologies and then go back to lying again. Source
PHYSICAL DIFFERENCES OF THE PSYCHOPATH
There are physical findings among sociopathic individuals which suggest a biological difference between them and others. They appear to have a weak startle response, low heart rate, low tendency (galvanic skin response) to perspire in stressful situations, and low anticipatory anxiety...they do not worry. (Gareth qualifies for all of these)
This imperviousness to anxiety may explain why they fail to learn, since much of our learning is based upon the need to avoid future anxiety for ourselves and others.
Everyone should be wary of an individual who has glib charm, a soothing voice, a penetrating gaze, dramatic gestures, and engages in meaningless flattery and vague/inconsistent responses to personal questions. When a psychopath complains of how others treat him, it should be remembered who the real victims are likely to be.
The Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) By Robert Hare is a diagnostic tool used to rate a person's psychopathic or antisocial tendencies.
The Hare PCL-R contains two parts, a semi-structured interview and a review of the subject's file records and history. During the evaluation, the clinician scores 20 items that measure central elements of the psychopathic character. The items cover the nature of the subject's interpersonal relationships; his or her affective or emotional involvement; responses to other people and to situations; evidence of social deviance; and lifestyle. The material thus covers two key aspects that help define the psychopath: selfish and unfeeling victimization of other people, and an unstable and antisocial lifestyle.
The twenty traits assessed by the PCL-R score are:
* glib and superficial charm * grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self * need for stimulation * pathological lying * cunning and manipulativeness * lack of remorse or guilt * shallow affect(superficial emotional responsiveness) * callousness and lack of empathy * parasitic lifestyle * poor behavioral controls * sexual promiscuity * early behavior problems * lack of realistic long-term goals * impulsivity * irresponsibility * failure to accept responsibility for own actions * many short-term marital relationships * juvenile delinquency * revocation of conditional release * criminal versatility
Hare's Checklist Explained
1. GLIB and SUPERFICIAL CHARM -- the tendency to be smooth, engaging, charming, slick, and verbally facile. Psychopathic charm is not in the least shy, self-conscious, or afraid to say anything. A psychopath never gets tongue-tied. They have freed themselves from the social conventions about taking turns in talking, for example.
2. GRANDIOSE SELF-WORTH -- a grossly inflated view of one's abilities and self-worth, self-assured, opinionated, cocky, a braggart. Psychopaths are arrogant people who believe they are superior human beings.
3. NEED FOR STIMULATION or PRONENESS TO BOREDOM -- an excessive need for novel, thrilling, and exciting stimulation; taking chances and doing things that are risky. Psychopaths often have a low self-discipline in carrying tasks through to completion because they get bored easily. They fail to work at the same job for any length of time, for example, or to finish tasks that they consider dull or routine.
4. PATHOLOGICAL LYING -- can be moderate or high; in moderate form, they will be shrewd, crafty, cunning, sly, and clever; in extreme form, they will be deceptive, deceitful, underhanded, unscrupulous, manipulative, and dishonest.
5. CONNING AND MANIPULATIVENESS- the use of deceit and deception to cheat, con, or defraud others for personal gain; distinguished from Item #4 in the degree to which exploitation and callous ruthlessness is present, as reflected in a lack of concern for the feelings and suffering of one's victims.
6. LACK OF REMORSE OR GUILT -- a lack of feelings or concern for the losses, pain, and suffering of victims; a tendency to be unconcerned, dispassionate, coldhearted, and unempathic. This item is usually demonstrated by a disdain for one's victims.
7. SHALLOW AFFECT -- emotional poverty or a limited range or depth of feelings; interpersonal coldness in spite of signs of open gregariousness.
8. CALLOUSNESS and LACK OF EMPATHY -- a lack of feelings toward people in general; cold, contemptuous, inconsiderate, and tactless.
9. PARASITIC LIFESTYLE -- an intentional, manipulative, selfish, and exploitative financial dependence on others as reflected in a lack of motivation, low self-discipline, and inability to begin or complete responsibilities.
10. POOR BEHAVIORAL CONTROLS-- expressions of irritability, annoyance, impatience, threats, aggression, and verbal abuse; inadequate control of anger and temper; acting hastily.
11. PROMISCUOUS SEXUAL BEHAVIOR-- a variety of brief, superficial relations, numerous affairs, and an indiscriminate selection of sexual partners; the maintenance of several relationships at the same time; a history of attempts to sexually coerce others into sexual activity or taking great pride at discussing sexual exploits or conquests.
12. EARLY BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS -- a variety of behaviors prior to age 13, including lying, theft, cheating, vandalism, bullying, sexual activity, fire-setting, glue-sniffing, alcohol use, and running away from home.
13. LACK OF REALISTIC, LONG-TERM GOALS-- an inability or persistent failure to develop and execute long-term plans and goals; a nomadic existence, aimless, lacking direction in life.
14. IMPULSIVITY -- the occurrence of behaviors that are unpremeditated and lack reflection or planning; inability to resist temptation, frustrations, and urges; a lack of deliberation without considering the consequences; foolhardy, rash, unpredictable, erratic, and reckless.
15. IRRESPONSIBILITY -- repeated failure to fulfill or honor obligations and commitments; such as not paying bills, defaulting on loans, performing sloppy work, being absent or late to work, failing to honor contractual agreements.
16. FAILURE TO ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR OWN ACTIONS -- a failure to accept responsibility for one's actions reflected in low conscientiousness, an absence of dutifulness, antagonistic manipulation, denial of responsibility, and an effort to manipulate others through this denial.
17. MANY SHORT-TERM MARITAL RELATIONSHIPS -- a lack of commitment to a long-term relationship reflected in inconsistent, undependable, and unreliable commitments in life, including marital.
18. JUVENILE DELINQUENCY -- behavior problems between the ages of 13-18; mostly behaviors that are crimes or clearly involve aspects of antagonism, exploitation, aggression, manipulation, or a callous, ruthless tough-mindedness.
19. REVOCATION OF CONDITION RELEASE -- a revocation of probation or other conditional release due to technical violations, such as carelessness, low deliberation, or failing to appear.
20. CRIMINAL VERSATILITY -- a diversity of types of criminal offenses, regardless if the person has been arrested or convicted for them; taking great pride at getting away with crimes.
"I have all the characteristics of a human being: flesh, blood, skin , hair; but not a single, clear, identifiable emotion, except for greed and disgust. Something horrible is happening inside of me and I don't know why. I feel lethal, on the verge of frenzy. I think my mask of sanity is about to slip"
Gareth Edward(s) Rodger
Masks Of Sanity is an online blog offering advice, support and education for those who have fallen victim to the Psychopath/Narcissist. (NPD)
We explain why Narcissists behave the way they do, how they operate and how you can protect yourself from the Narcissist in society, in the home and online!
You can find my own personal experience with a psychopath in the links on the right. I have a very personal understanding of the Narcissistic Personality Disorder and I am proof that there is hope after abuse!