Psychopaths are very dangerous individuals, but perhaps the most dangerous thing about them is the fact that they’re hard to spot – until it’s too late. Too many individuals have been drawn in and charmed by a psychopath, only to realize that a monster was lurking behind their seemingly charming facade. So it’s really important for everyone to learn how to spot a psychopath, especially those who are naturally trusting and friendly. These are the people psychopaths prey on. How do you tell if a psychopath is targeting you? Thankfully, psychopathy has been an area of high interest for many psychological researchers, and they’ve discovered many traits of psychopaths that will give them away – at least, if you know what to look for…
Grooming is when psychopaths target and prepare their victims. Grooming can include a variety of different activities and tactics, but the aim is always the same: Win their trust and encourage submission in order to facilitate mental, physical, or sexual abuse. One example was detailed by writer and psychology researcher John Clarke in his book, Working With Monsters: How To Identify And Protect Yourself From Workplace Psychopaths. He talked of a psychopath who was targeting his female employees at work.
After this psychopath reached a high level within his corporate structure, he had the opportunity to hire assistants. He chose to hire only attractive female employees, and preferred those who had low self-confidence. He then groomed them by convincing them that they were attractive, on the basis that he was willing to have sex with them. After having sex with them, he grew bored with them and made their life a living hell before they were finally forced to resign. That’s one example of grooming, but there are many others.
2. Psychopaths Will Watch You Carefully
Psychopaths view victims very differently than you or I would look at someone. They see them as little more than prey, and the way they watch their “prey” is not that different from the hunting tactics of a lion. Many reveal that when talking to a psychopath, it seems like they’re not blinking or showing any emotion. That’s because they’re scanning you for any weakness. And one study showed that psychopaths are very good at it.
This study surveyed people who had scored very highly on psychopath tests, and showed them videos of people walking from behind. These psychopaths were very good at identifying the people who were more susceptible to attacks. The people they “chose” had either suffered past attacks or were exhibiting behavior commonly associated with weakness, such as small steps or slow gait. The researchers compared this ability to that of a lion picking out the weakest member of a pack of buffalo.
3. Psychopaths Appear As A Savior
Sometimes psychopaths watch you carefully to attack in a non-physical way. They will often come to you as a “savior,” pretending to have something you want or need. This was further detailed in John Clarke’s Working With Monsters: How To Identify And Protect Yourself From Workplace Psychopaths. In this book, he wrote that a corporate psychopath would “psycho-analyze” his victims. Once he found out what his co-worker needed, he would give it to them, earning their trust. Then, he would threaten to take that thing away from them, trapping them and leaving them open to manipulation.
For example, this psychopath would find men in his company who “wanted to belong.” This was very common. So he appeared as their leader, and encouraged them all to bully an overweight female employee. Once they had all been brought into this “club,” they couldn’t leave, out of fear of how the other employees would treat them after their bullying behavior. In this way, this corporate psychopath trapped his victims and was able to make them do things they wouldn’t normally do.
4. Psychopaths Will Use An Alias
This article also proposes an interesting link and possible overlap between psychopath and antisocial personality disorder. Many psychopaths display symptoms of both disorders. Interestingly, the article points out that those with antisocial personality disorder sometimes use aliases when targeting individuals, explaining one of the traits as: “deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure.”
5. A Psychopath Will Try To Charm You
The same article details a psychopath’s use of superficial charm when targeting victims. This is very important to note. When a psychopath approaches a victim, he or she will often seem incredibly charming. But the more sensitive and wary individuals will note that there is something wrong or “off” about this charm. It just doesn’t seem right. That’s because it’s all an act, and the psychopath doesn’t actually care about you.
John Clarke’s Working With Monsters: How To Identify And Protect Yourself From Workplace Psychopaths describes how this works in the corporate world, or any workplace for that matter. Co-workers described a psychopath as “good for a laugh,” and they professed that he was “exciting to be with, there was a real buzz in the air whenever Wayne was around.” This is an example of a psychopath who had convinced everyone that he was their friend, and this is very common.