How could you identify a Psychopath? (Characteristics and 13 Tips on how to deal with one)


How to identify a psychopath?

Psychopathy Checklist—revised (PCL-R) is the most widely used and reliable way to determine whether someone is a psychopath or not. 

The list consists of twenty characteristics that are typical of being a psychopath. On each of the items a person can score 0, 1 or 2 points. 

The prototypical psychopath can achieve a score of 40, while someone without psychopathic traits will score 0. A non-psychopath without a criminal past scores an average of five points. A non-psychopath with a criminal record scores an average of 22 points and a psychopath (with or without a criminal record) scores 30 points or higher. Incidentally, the test can only be taken by a professional counsellor. It is not a self-test. Do not use this list to diagnose yourself or others. 

Aggressive and narcissistic: 

Smooth talker/surface charm 

The prototypical psychopath is superficial in contact with others. Psychopaths often tell strong stories, and try to pretend to be better than they are, often coming across as charming. 

Highly bloated self-esteem 

They are braggarts who are far too positive about their talents and skills. 

Pathological lying 

Psychopaths are notorious liars who usually don’t mind being caught in a lie. They have an excuse or reason for everything and sometimes want to ‘promise’ something on their word of honour, even though the word of honour hardly ever turns out to be worth anything. 

Trickery and deception/manipulative behaviour 

The prototypical psychopath manipulates and deceives others, and pays no attention to what that means for them. They often display criminal behaviour in the form of, for example, fraud and embezzlement, and non-criminal behaviour in the form of adultery and tapping into family members’ money. 

Lack of repentance or guilt 

Psychopaths have no feelings of guilt or regret about the things they do to others. They can say that the victim deserved it or that the victim was not really hurt in any special way. 

Lack of emotional depth 

Psychopaths strike others as cold and insensitive. Their ’emotions’ often appear as dramatic, ephemeral and unreal. 

Kil/lack of empathy 

In all their behaviors and opinions, psychopaths show little respect for the rights, feelings and well-being of others. They regard other people as potential victims who can be manipulated and consider themselves to be the most important person there is. 

Not taking responsibility for one’s own behaviour 

They are unable or unwilling to take responsibility for their own behaviour. It is always others who are to blame, otherwise there is an alternative excuse to be found. 

Socially Deviant Lifestyle:  

Hungry for stimulation/prone to boredom 

Psychopaths have a very strong need for stimulation and an unusually strong aversion to boredom. They typically lead fast-paced lives with high-risk behaviors and experimentation with drugs, and find school, work, and long-term relationships boring and annoying. 

Parasitic lifestyle 

A psychopath often chooses to tar on the pocket of family, partner or friends, and avoids having a steady job. 

Inadequate control of behavior 

Characteristic is that they often have a temper and have a poor ability to control themselves. A psychopath often reacts to failures, criticism and frustration with violence, insults or threats.

Lack of realistic long-term goals 

Psychopaths have no long-term plans or goals. They live from day to day and constantly change their plans, and do not care that their life is quite devoid of meaning. 


Psychopaths often behave extremely impulsively, without really considering the pros and cons of their behaviour. Relationships are often terminated, jobs are terminated and they move, without informing others and without proper consideration of the decision. 

Irresponsible behaviour 

Psychopaths show no sense of responsibility or loyalty towards family, friends, employers, landlords or others. Their handling of money is often deplorable, they are in debt, they deal badly with business relationships, and their families are often a huge burden. 

Juvenile delinquency 

In their teenage years they behave very antisocial and face arrests and convictions. 

Behavioral problems at a young age 

Childhood is characterized by numerous problems such as lying, brawls, thefts, robbery, arson and expressions of violence against people and animals. As a result, the psychopath is often known at an early age as the black sheep of the family. 

Violation of parole 

As an adult, the detained psychopath makes escape attempts, does not return from weekend leave, commits offences during parole, and does not abide by the terms of the suspended sentence. 

So, after reading all this, are you confident you could spot a psychopath?

13 quick tips for dealing with a psychopath:

Pretty hard to deal with someone who has characteristics of a psychopath. But not impossible. Here are the tips. 

1. A psychopath is charming but unscrupulous. 

A very important rule! Even though he looks so cute and has that nice chat… He has no conscience. You have to accept this: it’s really no different. He doesn’t take the other person into account. He does what he feels like doing. 

2. If it feels bad or wrong, then this is probably true 

Trust your intuition. If you have a weird gut feeling about what someone is saying or how someone is behaving, even if this is a teacher, doctor or animal lover, trust your own instincts. If you find this difficult, ask your family and friends for advice. 

3. Make the other person earn your trust 

First look at the promises and demands someone makes. And if  they’re willing to take responsibility. Turning a blind eye to a first lie is normal. But a second or even third lie should really make you think. 

4. Think for yourself, don’t blindly follow someone 

Whatever happens, don’t follow someone without thinking for yourself. Keep following your own instincts, values and judgments. Violence, crimes and the like are no solution to problems, don’t let anyone convince you it is.

5. Don’t attach too much value to flattery 

By giving a lot of compliments and flattery, he’s trying to get you to do something.

6. You can’t respect someone you’re afraid of 

Respecting someone is not the same as being afraid of someone. Maybe it’s a good idea to stop and think about what respect for you means. And what about your self-respect?

7. Don’t play their game 

Resists the desire to outsmart him. It won’t get you anything. He’s really better at it. This game could cost a lot of money. Keep your focus on the things that are important.

8. Go away, and stay away 

The best thing you can do is stay far away from him. Avoid and refuse any form of communication with him.

9.Have no pity 

An emotional feeling that the psychopath himself does not know is pity. But you do. Save pity for the people who truly deserve it.

10. You can’t change them

You really can’t change someone without a conscience. Take your loss and go away. And remember that this person’s behavior is not your fault.

11. Don’t become an accomplice 

Never try to cover up or justify the behavior of a psychopath. 

12. Stay positive about life 

You can go through unpleasant things because of the behavior of a psychopath. Remember, not everyone is like that. Most people have a conscience and most people can love.

13. Be true to yourself 

Focus your attention on yourself. Do what you like and care about in life. And don’t get involved in taking revenge on the psychopath. As it has no effect anyway. 

For more info on psychology and psychiatry we recommend the American Psychiatric Association (APA), visit them here!