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Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: 30 Warning Signs of a Psychopath

No matter how much you believe your ex is a psychopath, there is a difference between a psychopath and an asshole. We rounded up the signs of a psychopath.

signs of a psychopath

Psychopaths must keep their true nature concealed for them to control, deceive, and manipulate the people around them. Skilled actors and fakers, they do what they can to gain your trust. Only to make you fall into their elaborate traps. There are signs of a psychopath to help you sort out who you’re dealing with.

Signs of a psychopath

Psychopaths come across as normal. However, their real character always has a way of seeping through.

So, if you suspect someone you know is a psychopath, take a look at these signs. Does it all check out?

#1 Early behavioral problems. Look at their childhood. Did they enjoy hurting, torturing, or killing animals? Did they have a long history of lying that goes back to their childhood years? [Read: 6 big lessons I learned from being lied to for 5 years]

#2 Juvenile delinquency. They may also have a history of juvenile delinquency, such as petty crimes, stealing, hurting animals, hurting other people, or even hurting themselves for their own means.

#3 Walking contradiction. They tend to have this street-smart, been-there-done-that toughness combined with some innocence that draws their victims to them. They also contradict themselves in one long sentence. Or they say one thing and display another without batting an eyelash.

#4 Excessive and superficial charm. They adapt a sense of normalcy to fit in a function in society. This is called a “mask.” Others interpret it as charm and magnetism. Psychopaths do good deeds or are exceptionally pleasant, but this is only to gain people’s trust. [Read: Emotional manipulation – 14 ways how people mess with your mind]

#5 A standout. A psychopath, for some reason, piques your curiosity. You see one standing across the street doing nothing, yet the person makes you wonder about them and what they’re up to. Often, just a look at one stranger that turns out to be psychopathic sends chills down your spine.

#6 A bit “off.” Most of the time, they come off as charming, innocent, and genuine, yet there’s something about them that leaves you unconvinced. It could be with the way their smile doesn’t reach their eyes, or how their body language and expression seems rehearsed.

#7 Flashes of contempt. Talk to someone and you’ll see micro-expressions *feelings that come and go and manifest in a person so fast it is easily missed* of contempt. This feeling may be unrelated to what you are talking about, but this just stems from a psychopath undervaluing you and overvaluing themselves. [Read: 25 signs of covert narcissism – A special kind of mind game]

#8 Veiled “tells.” Psychopaths have a way of subtly exposing their true selves or intentions to unsuspecting victims. All because they find it fun and satisfying. They tend to drop hints of their true nature. Things like, “You’re way too trusting, cons can easily dupe you” or “Watch out, wolves come in sheep’s clothing.”

#9 Superbly cunning. They are also incredibly terrific manipulators. Even if they tell you the most outrageous things, you find yourself believing them because of their expertly woven words and actions that always get them what they want.

#10 Criminal versatility. Check a psychopath’s criminal records, and you’ll see a wide array of crimes committed. With their unusually high sense of self, lack of empathy, and guilt, it’s easy for them to commit any crime as long as it suits them. [Read: How to spot the liars in an online dating site]

#11 Grandiose sense of self-worth. They think they’re better, even far superior, then everyone else. And this sense of self-worth, wherein they believe they’re smarter or more powerful than everyone, shows by their actions, expressions, language, and attitudes.

#12 Deviant sexuality. While it’s quite normal to have specific sexual preferences or even fetishes, psychopaths more aggressively seek their unique bedroom quirks. They manipulate, trick, deceive, and even aggressively ensure their deviant sexual desires are satisfied. [Read: Sex demons – Historical excuses for deviant sexual behavior]

#13 Incredibly guiltless. If they hurt someone and things escalate, they apologize just to appease the person. However, they have no clue as to what else lies beyond the apology. They only pretend to be guilty to get people off their backs. Deep inside, they are incapable of feeling guilt and remorse.

#14 Disfluencies in speech. They may use “uh” “ahhh” or “uhmmm” a lot in their speech. This might be because they frame a story or think of ways to make their victims believe them, calculating to hide their real intent.

#15 Prolific speaker. Still, they can be very interesting and convincing, especially when they open their mouths. They weave the most outrageous tales and everyone in the room believes it. They also deliver elaborate speeches like an expert actor, which they actually are. [Read: 13 secret giveaways that reveal if someone if lying to you]

#16 Shallow emotions. At a funeral, you spot a psychopath by their lack of emotion. Even if they get injured due to an accident, they don’t respond the way any other person normally does. Still, they feign these emotions just to fit in or manipulate. In reality, they don’t have deep emotions underneath they want shown. Simply put: fake emotional display.

#17 Calm to rage and back again. Since their emotions are shallow, they are also short-lived. They change from one extreme emotion to another like they have a switch.

#18 Lack of empathy. Tell psychopaths to put themselves in other people’s shoes, and you might as well be talking to a wall. While they recognize emotions and copy them, they themselves have an impaired ability to feel deep emotions.

Robbing them of the ability of empathizing with other people, especially those who have become their victims. [Read: 7 reasons why empathy is important in a relationship]

#19 Preying on other people’s emotions. Don’t get them wrong—psychopaths know emotions all too well, even if they can’t feel it. It’s like telling the blind to describe colors. Therefore, it’s easy for them to play with other people’s emotions just to get what they want or even to just see other people suffer.

#20 Unfazed. Psychopaths are known to have a reduced startle response. They rarely feel fear, if at all, and they are not easily surprised. According to studies, this is because of decreased activity in the amygdala, which is responsible for fear, among other emotions.

#21 Sucker for thrills. They are into dangerous and extreme sports and activities, such as base jumping, sky diving, drag racing, exhibitionism, getting into trouble with authorities, and even carelessly cheating on their spouses—all just for the sake of excitement. [Read: Emotionally abusive relationships – 15 signs you just can’t miss]

#22 Short personal space. They also have very little sense of personal space, so they will be all up in your face. In a social setting, psychopaths stand too close for comfort.

#23 Eerily calm façade. Their lack of inhibitions, overly high self-esteem, and calculating nature give them a disconcertingly calm façade—even if their mind races with ways to control and torment you.

#24 Pathological lying. Incapable of caring about what others may feel or what the repercussions of their actions are, psychopaths will not think twice about lying and deceiving. They tell all sorts of things, with one plausible lie after another, to get what they want.

#25 Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom. Psychopaths’ minds are always active, and they feel restless when they’re bored. For them, there’s nothing to do when it’s still and quiet. So they’re constantly out and about, always in need of entertainment. [Read: Toxic people: 25 early warning signs to watch out for]

#26 Parasitic lifestyle. They leech off their neighbors or take credit for something they didn’t do at the expense of other people. They like to rise while others around them suffer. Don’t be surprised if they throw you under the bus after you help them.

#27 Failure to own up. They also are incapable of genuinely admitting their mistakes. They can’t take it that they are wrong and can’t hold accountability for their actions. In fact, they turn their mistakes to the accuser. Even using manipulative tactics to put the blame somewhere else other than them.

#28 Saintly. You really can’t judge a book by its cover. While people can be very charitable and altruistic, beware as they may only be hiding behind that phony pretense to make you fall into their trap.

#29 Lack of realistic long-term goals. Since they have an incredible sense of self-worth, psychopaths have unreliable goals ahead. Theirs are exaggerated, grandiose, and highly unrealistic. [Read: Are you dating a sociopath? 8 disturbingly obvious signs]

#30 Pity party. Psychopaths are experts at using your own emotions to their advantage, so you see them as the “poor fellow.” They make it seem like they’re the ones bearing the brunt of an injustice.

[Read: How to be heartless: But it never gets you what you want]

For some reason, psychopaths have no moral compass. Or, maybe through the course of their early life, it had a major breakdown. One thing is certain, society’s moral codes simply don’t apply to them.

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Tiffany Grace Reyes
Tiffany is a wordsmith who has played with words ever since her letter-to-the-editor was published nationally at the age of 9. Since then her writing has gone f...
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