By Charles Montaldo, About.com
The study of the psychopath reveals an individual who is incapable of feeling guilt, remorse or empathy for their actions. They are generally cunning, manipulative and know the difference between right and wrong but dismiss it as applying to them.
They are incapable of normal emotions such as love, generally react without considering the consequences of their actions and show extreme egocentric and narcissistic behavior.
Common Characteristics Among Psychopaths
The following characteristics of a psychopath, defined by Hervery M. Cleckley in 1941 in the book Mask of Sanity include:
Superficial charm and average intelligence.
Absence of delusions and other signs of irrational thinking.
Absence of nervousness or neurotic manifestations.
Untruthfulness and insincerity.
Lack of remorse or shame.
Antisocial behavior without apparent compunction.
Poor judgement and failure to learn from experience.
Pathological egocentricity and incapacity to love.
General poverty in major affective reactions.
Specific loss of insight.
Unresponsiveness in general interpersonal relations.
Fantastic and uninviting behavior with drink, and sometimes without.
Suicide threats rarely carried out.
Sex life impersonal, trivial, and poorly integrated.
Failure to follow any life plan.
Conventional Treatment Empowers the Psychopath
There are different degrees of psychopathic behavior and different types including the sexual psychopath and the work psychopath. Most studies indicate that there are no conventional methods available which cures psychopathic behavior. On the contrary, when conventional methods have been used, the psychopath becomes empowered, and reacts by improving their cunning, manipulative methods and their ability to conceal their true personality, even from trained eyes.
Since the psychopath has no real emotions, they develop their own personality throughout their life by mimicking those around them. Their inability to control inappropriate outburst of anger and hostility often results in loss of jobs, disassociation with friends and family and divorce. This in itself is filtered by the psychopath into a justification process for more aggressive behavior.
Because of their inability to gauge when their actions are being perceived as dishonest, deceitful or dangerous, they also fail to accept that there are consequences for their actions. They always maintain a belief that they can outwit those who pursue them and that they will never be caught. Once caught, they believe they will find a way back out.
Books About the Study of Psychopathic Behavior
Snakes In A SuitAuthor: Robert D. Hare, Paul Babiak
The Psychopath: Theory, Research, and PracticeAuthor: John C. Yuille, Hugues Herve
Psychopath: Emotion and the BrainAuthor: James Blair, Karina Peschardt, Derek Robert Mitchell
Without ConscienceAuthor: Robert D. Hare