(SNN) Frank Ochberg explains what a psychopath is and why they do not get upset or excited about seeing the pain of others. People exist who are different from us and because they look like us it is potentially deadly to go through this life pretending that these people do not exist.
What Is a Psychopath?
Frank Ochberg, MD (born 1940), is an acclaimed psychiatrist, a pioneer in trauma science, an educator and the editor of the first text on the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He is one of the founding fathers of modern psychotraumatology and served on the committee that defined PTSD. He is a graduate of Harvard and of Johns Hopkins Medical School.
Defense Against the Psychopath
What Is a Psychopath?
Special Research Project of the Quantum Future School
(cassiopaea) The terms sociopath or psychopath often bring to mind images of sadistically violent individuals such as Ted Bundy or the fictional character of Dr. Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter in the book and movie The Silence of the Lambs. But I believe the defining characteristic traits of sociopaths actually cover a much broader spectrum of individuals than most of us would ever imagine. The sociopath is that truly self-absorbed individual with no conscience or feeling for others and for whom social rules have no meaning. I believe that most all of us know or have come in contact with sociopathic individuals without even knowing it. [Wendy Koenigsmann]
Psychopaths cannot be understood in terms of antisocial rearing or development. They are simply morally depraved individuals who represent the “monsters” in our society. They are unstoppable and untreatable predators whose violence is planned, purposeful and emotionless. The violence continues until it reaches a plateau at age 50 or so, then tapers off.
Their emotionlessness reflects a detached, fearless, and possibly dissociated state, revealing a low-state autonomic nervous system and lack of anxiety. It’s difficult to say what motivates them – control and dominance possibly – since their life history will usually show no long-standing bonds with others nor much rhyme to their reason (other than the planning of violence).
They tend to operate with a grandiose demeanor, an attitude of entitlement, an insatiable appetite, and a tendency toward sadism. Fearlessness is probably the prototypical (core) characteristic (the low-fear hypothesis). It’s helpful to think of them as high-speed vehicles with ineffective brakes.
Certain organic (brain) disorders and hormonal imbalances mimic the state of mind of a psychopath.
There are four (4) different subtypes of psychopaths. The oldest distinction was made by Cleckley back in 1941 between primary and secondary.
PRIMARY PSYCHOPATHS do not respond to punishment, apprehension, stress, or disapproval. They seem to be able to inhibit their antisocial impulses most of the time, not because of conscience, but because it suits their purpose at the time. Words do not seem to have the same meaning for them as they do for us. In fact, it’s unclear if they even grasp the meaning of their own words, a condition that Cleckley called “semantic aphasia.” They don’t follow any life plan, and it seems as if they are incapable of experiencing any genuine emotion.
SECONDARY PSYCHOPATHS are risk-takers, but are also more likely to be stress-reactive, worriers, and guilt-prone. They expose themselves to more stress than the average person, but they are as vulnerable to stress as the average person. (This suggests that they are not “fully psychopathic.” This may be due to distinctive genetic variations.)
They are daring, adventurous, unconventional people who began playing by their own rules early in life. They are strongly driven by a desire to escape or avoid pain, but are unable to resist temptation. As their anxiety increases toward some forbidden object, so does their attraction to it. They live their lives by the lure of temptation. Both primary and secondary psychopaths can be subdivided into:
DISTEMPERED PSYCHOPATHS are the kind that seem to fly into a rage or frenzy more easily and more often than other subtypes. Their frenzy will resemble an epileptic fit. They are also usually men with incredibly strong sex drives, capable of astonishing feats of sexual energy, and seemingly obsessed by sexual urges during a large part of their waking lives. Powerful cravings also seem to characterize them, as in drug addiction, kleptomania, pedophilia, any illicit or illegal indulgence. They like the endorphin “high” or “rush” off of excitement and risk-taking. The serial-rapist-murderer known as the Boston Strangler was such a psychopath.
CHARISMATIC PSYCHOPATHS are charming, attractive liars. They are usually gifted at some talent or another, and they use it to their advantage in manipulating others. They are usually fast-talkers, and possess an almost demonic ability to persuade others out of everything they own, even their lives. Leaders of religious sects or cults, for example, might be psychopaths if they lead their followers to their deaths. This subtype often comes to believe in their own fictions. They are irresistible.
Sociopaths have always existed in varying form and to various degrees. They have been known by various titles. They have been studied using various techniques, and through the years their ailment has been blamed on various causes. But one thing never varies: all sociopaths share three common characteristics. They are all very egocentric individuals with no empathy for others, and they are incapable of feeling remorse or guilt. [The Sociopath Rebecca Horton (April 1999)]
While the psychopath has likes and dislikes and fondness for the pleasures that human company can bring, analysis shows that he is completely egocentric, valuing others only for their enhancement of his own pleasure or status. While he gives no real love, he is quite capable of inspiring love of sometimes fanatical degree in others.
He is generally superficially charming and often makes a striking impression as possessed of the noblest of human qualities. He makes friends easily, and is very manipulative, using his ability with words to talk his way out of trouble. Many psychopaths love to be admired and bask in the adulation of others.
With the lack of love, there is also a lack of empathy. The psychopath is unable to feel sorry for others in unfortunate situations or put himself in another’s place, whether or not they have been harmed by him.[Gordon Banks]
How Psychopaths View The World
Not only do they covet possessions and power, but they gain special pleasure in usurping and taking from others (a symbolic sibling, for example); what they can plagiarize, swindle, and extort are fruits far sweeter than those they can earn through honest labor.
And once having drained what they can from one source, they turn to another 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 so that the antisocial can vindicate themselves…
The causes of this sociopathic disorder have been narrowed to several factors through research. One of the primary causes of sociopathic behavior is believed to be neurological abnormalities mainly in the frontal lobe of the brain. This area is also related to fear conditioning. The abnormal anatomy or chemical activity within this area of the brain may be caused by abnormal growth (possibly genetic), brain disease, or injury. This theory has been supported by much research using positron emission tomography (PET) which visually shows the metabolic activity of neurons within the brain (Sabbatini, 1998).
The amygdalae, two small regions buried near the base of the brain, have long been known to affect aggression, sexuality and recklessness. Recently, they have also been shown to affect how people interpret the emotions of others. Subtle damage to the amygdalae may explain many of the characteristics of psychopaths – including the difficulty of getting through to them emotionally. It may be that they simply cannot “see” emotions in others.
The psychopath is a manipulator, who knows exactly what makes us tick and knows how to manipulate and influence our feelings.
They have the talent to spot “kind, caring” women.
Mimicry is often used to convince others that the psychopath is a normal human being. He does this to create a false empathy with his victim. The psychopath will try to make you believe he has normal emotions by spinning some sad tale or professing profound, moving experiences; the truth is, most psychopaths go through life as in an incubator, touched by few and having no real compassion for others; but they will lie to convince you that they have normal emotions.
The pity factor is one reason why victims often fall for these “poor” people.
Lying is like breathing to the psychopath. When caught in a lie and challenged, they make up new lies, and don’t care if they’re found out. As Hare states,
“Lying, deceiving, and manipulation are natural talents for psychopaths…When caught in a lie or challenged with the truth, they are seldom perplexed or embarrassed — they simply change their stories or attempt to rework the facts so that they appear to be consistent with the lie. The results are a series of contradictory statements and a thoroughly confused listener.” [Hare].
Often, their behavior serves to confuse and repress their victims, or to influence anyone who might listen to the psychopath’s side of the story.
Manipulation is the key to their conquests, and lying is one way they achieve this.
One almost amusing example of how psychopaths lie can be exemplified by a man who’s footprint was discovered at the scene of the crime. “No, that’s not my foot” he said, even though everyone knew he was lying.
This is how psychopaths operate. They will deny reality until their victims have a nervous breakdown. Often, the psychopath will turn on the victim and claim that the victim suffers from “delusions” and is not mentally stable.
The psychopath is primarily distracted and impressed by his own grandiose self-representation, which often leads to him unwittingly telling people things that lead to his detection. They often forget the lies they told and tell contradicting tales, which often makes the listener wonder if either the psychopath is crazy, although in this case the psychopath isn’t really crazy — he’s just forgotten what lies he’s told.
The most amazing thing, however, is their selective memory. A psychopath might not remember the promises he made to you yesterday, but he will remember something from the past if it suits his purposes in some way. They often do this whenever they’re confronted or caught in a lie.
Most psychopaths are very arrogant and cocky. However, when charming a potential victim, they say all the “right” things and make you believe they are kind-hearted souls; not always, but often enough. The truth is, psychopaths are not altruistic and do not really care about friendships or ties.
Guggenbuhl-Craig states that ” they are very talented at appearing much more humble than the average person, but are hardly so.” Some are also able to feign concern about the lower classes and profess that they are on the side of the underdog, the poor, and so forth. A psychopath may claim, for instance (if he’s from a low socioeconomic class), that he dislikes rich people intensely, but at the same time, he will inwardly yearn and envy what they have. He is like the narcissist, desiring to reflect a false image of himself through his possessions. Among his possessions are included human beings: girlfriends, wives, and children.
Some psychopaths can even be very fond of animals (contrary to the common viewpoint), but still view them as objects in relation to themselves.
In general, most psychopaths will brag endlessly about their exploits and “bad” things they’ve done (often called a warning sign, which will ward off careful souls), but more often than not, the woman who is fascinated by him will not listen to reason, even if she is warned by others who know him about his past behaviors.
Why? Once again, because the psychopath makes her feel so “special.”
Please ladies, if you’re stuck on any man who is like this, you must come to terms with the fact that it is NOT his REAL personality. He is only playing a ROLE for you.
Dr. Black states that one of the most obvious signs of psychopathy is the way the individual will brag about his experiences, no matter “how unsavory…his apparent comfort with his deviant behavior, the ease with which he discuss(es) breaking every rule, (is) consistent with ASP (psychopathy).” [Black, 68].
The psychopath is filled with greed inside, relating to the world through power, even though, as I said, on the outside he can claim to be on the side of the disenfranchised or the downtrodden. I knew one who liked to repeat phrases such as “they have to stop keeping my brothers down” but he didn’t mean a word of it. He was actually a racist. The psychopath can also often identify himself as a revolutionary.
On the flip side, the psychopath also often paints a picture of himself as the downcast anti-hero (his “own worst enemy type”) and some like to see themselves as lone-wolves. The psychopath may even claim he is sensitive and profound, but inside he is nothing but emptiness and greed.
Whether or not the psychopath is aware of his behavior is something that is often debated. I do believe that psychopaths usually know exactly what they are doing, although others suggest that psychopaths are “born, not made.”
As mentioned, psychopaths often claim to settle for second best (being their own worst enemy) and then think they deserve better. This may be manifested in the way they seek power — either through money (i.e. material goods), manipulation and/or treating people as objects. By enacting such behaviors, the psychopath is also trying to “get back” at society and the world, in order to gain retribution. They will spend their entire lives doing this, whether they are rich or poor, or whatever their social background may be, although studies have shown that they often come from an impoverished or lower socio- economic background and/or social status. (In one of Dr. Donald Black’s studies, many of the men were “overwhelmingly white, blue collar, lower middle class, and married, and most had not graduated from high school.” [Black, 14]).
Let me add, despite Dr. Blacks’ studies, psychopaths can still exist in any social class. Do not be misled. I also wanted to point out that I will be using “he” and “him” for the term psychopath throughout this website; let it not be forgotten, yes, female psychopaths exist as well; however, according to the Sixth Edition ofAbnormal Behavior, printed in 2000 by three male professors, David, Derald, and Stanley Sue, the rates do differ by gender. Included in their excellent text is a report by the The American Psychiatric Association that the general estimate is 3% for men, and less than 1% in women [Personality Disorders and Impulse Control Disorders, 238].
What is very disturbing about psychopaths, besides their sense of special entitlement, is the complete lack of empathy for normal people, for “antisocials (psychopaths) seem to lack a conscience, feeling little or no empathy for the people whose lives they touch…the antisocial effortlessly resists all regulation, unable to see beyond his self-interest or to adopt standards of right versus wrong.” [Black, XIII].
Not all psychopath are uneducated low-class misfits. Some of them are quite handsome and have good careers, and use this all the more to their benefit. Take a look at Ted Bundy; my friend’s mother once went on a double-date with him and claimed he was the nicest person. His mother said he was the “best son any mother could have.” Bundy was also apparently quite good-looking, which made him even more dangerous. So not all psychopaths are derelict, low-class, high school drop-outs, there are many who also work in professional occupations; the fact remains that there are just more psychopaths who come from impoverished backgrounds than not.
[QFG Note: Black’s claim that more “psychopaths” come from impoverished backgrounds seems to be coming under some revision. In fact, Black does not seem to have a truly good grasp of the difference between Psychopathy and Antisocial Personality Disorder. As Robert Hare points out, yes, there are many psychopaths who are also “anti-socials” but there seem to be far more of them that would never be classified as anti-social or “sociopathic.”
In a recent paper, “Construct Validity of Psychopathy in a Community Sample: A Nomological Net Approach, Salekin, Trobst, Krioukova, Journal of Personality Disorders, 15(5), 425-441, 2001), the authors state:
“Psychopathy, as originally conceived by Cleckley (1941), is not limited to engagement in illegal activities, but rather encompasses such personality characteristics as manipulativeness, insincerity, egocentricity, and lack of guilt – characteristics clearly present in criminals but also in spouses, parents, bosses, attorneys, politicians, and CEOs, to name but a few. (Bursten, 1973; Stewart, 1991). Our own examination of the prevalence of psychopathy within a university population suggested that perhaps 5% or more of this sample might be deemed psychopathic, although the vast majority of those will be male (more than 1/10 males versus approximately 1?100 females).
“As such, psychopathy may be characterized … as involving a tendency towards both dominance and coldness. Wiggins (1995) in summarizing numerous previous findings… indicates that such individuals are prone to anger and irritation and are willing to exploit others. They are arrogant, manipulative, cynical, exhibitionistic, sensation -seeking, Machiavellian, vindictive, and out for their own gain. With respect to their patterns of social exchange (Foa & Foa, 1974), they attribute love and status to themselves, seeing themselves as highly worthy and important, but prescribe neither love nor status to others, seeing them as unworthy and insignificant. This characterization is clearly consistent with the essence of psychopathy as commonly described.
“The present investigation sought to answer some basic questions regarding the construct of psychopathy in non forensic settings… In so doing we have returned to Cleckley’s (1941) original emphasis on psychopathy as a personality style not only among criminals, but also among successful individuals within the community.
“What is clear from our findings is that (a) psychopathy measures have converged on a prototype of psychopathy that involves a combination of dominant and cold interpersonal characteristics; (b) psychopathy does occur in the community and at what might be a higher than expected rate; and (c) psychopathy appears to have little overlap with personality disorders aside from Antisocial Personality Disorder. …
“Clearly, where much more work is needed is in understanding what factors differentiate the abiding (although perhaps not moral-abiding) psychopath from the law-breaking psychopath; such research surely needs to make greater use of non forensic samples than has been customary in the past.”
In short, if you want to learn about psychopathy, don’t read Black. The only kind he had to study were the failures, the ones who ended up in jail or psychiatric hospitals. Keep this in mind as you continue to read the excerpts on this page.]
Also, not all psychopaths are calm, cool, and collected. Some of them appear strange or odd, and their behavior can be eccentric or unusual. I believe this is what can confuse victims most often. Psychopaths often appear intense and “electrifying”. Do not be misled if someone appears harmless, “foolish”, or seems offbeat. An “angelic” visage can also often fool people. Just picture John Wayne Gacy in his “clown costume” as he entertained children as one example.
Another example which someone on the “Victims of Psychopathy” board came up with was Bill Clinton and his “goofy” yet loveable demeanor (so is Clinton really a psychopath? Many believe he is).
A psychopath (he was diagnosed anti-social) I knew used the harmless cover-up quite well. Everyone thought he was very funny. I did too, at first. Then, little by little, I realised there was something “not right” about him. At first his seemingly harmless pranks were charming, but after a while, he became more of a nuisance and disrupted our work environment, which created havoc and tension between employees. I’ve learned, a psychopath can use these disguises for his own hidden purpose.
Regardless of race, social class, or occupation, however, the psychopath is dangerous to society, for “the nature of ASP (psychopathy) implies that it wreaks more havoc on society than most other mental illnesses do, since the disorder primarily involves reactions against the social environment that drag other people into its destructive web…The despair and anxiety wrought by antisocials (psychopaths) tragically affects families and communities, leaving deep physical and emotional scars…” [Black, 5].
There is much to the psychopathic personality which is baffling and disturbing. 1 in about 25-30 people are psychopathic (also known as sociopaths or anti-social — the correct title being psychopath.)
THE PSYCHOPATH – The Mask of Sanity
Special Research Project of the Quantum Future School
(cassiopaea) Imagine – if you can – not having a conscience, none at all, no feelings of guilt or remorse no matter what you do, no limiting sense of concern for the well-being of strangers, friends, or even family members. Imagine no struggles with shame, not a single one in your whole life, no matter what kind of selfish, lazy, harmful, or immoral action you had taken.
And pretend that the concept of responsibility is unknown to you, except as a burden others seem to accept without question, like gullible fools.
Now add to this strange fantasy the ability to conceal from other people that your psychological makeup is radically different from theirs. Since everyone simply assumes that conscience is universal among human beings, hiding the fact that you are conscience-free is nearly effortless.
You are not held back from any of your desires by guilt or shame, and you are never confronted by others for your cold-bloodedness. The ice water in your veins is so bizarre, so completely outside of their personal experience, that they seldom even guess at your condition.
In other words, you are completely free of internal restraints, and your unhampered liberty to do just as you please, with no pangs of conscience, is conveniently invisible to the world.
You can do anything at all, and still your strange advantage over the majority of people, who are kept in line by their consciences will most likely remain undiscovered.
How will you live your life?
What will you do with your huge and secret advantage, and with the corresponding handicap of other people (conscience)?
The answer will depend largely on just what your desires happen to be, because people are not all the same. Even the profoundly unscrupulous are not all the same. Some people – whether they have a conscience or not – favor the ease of inertia, while others are filled with dreams and wild ambitions. Some human beings are brilliant and talented, some are dull-witted, and most, conscience or not, are somewhere in between. There are violent people and nonviolent ones, individuals who are motivated by blood lust and those who have no such appetites. […]
Provided you are not forcibly stopped, you can do anything at all.
If you are born at the right time, with some access to family fortune, and you have a special talent for whipping up other people’s hatred and sense of deprivation, you can arrange to kill large numbers of unsuspecting people. With enough money, you can accomplish this from far away, and you can sit back safely and watch in satisfaction. […]
Crazy and frightening – and real, in about 4 percent of the population….
The prevalence rate for anorexic eating disorders is estimated a 3.43 percent, deemed to be nearly epidemic, and yet this figure is a fraction lower than the rate for antisocial personality. The high-profile disorders classed as schizophrenia occur in only about 1 percent of [the population] – a mere quarter of the rate of antisocial personality – and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that the rate of colon cancer in the United States, considered “alarmingly high,” is about 40 per 100,000 – one hundred times lower than the rate of antisocial personality.
The high incidence of sociopathy in human society has a profound effect on the rest of us who must live on this planet, too, even those of us who have not been clinically traumatized. The individuals who constitute this 4 percent drain our relationships, our bank accounts, our accomplishments, our self-esteem, our very peace on earth.
Yet surprisingly, many people know nothing about this disorder, or if they do, they think only in terms of violent psychopathy – murderers, serial killers, mass murderers – people who have conspicuously broken the law many times over, and who, if caught, will be imprisoned, maybe even put to death by our legal system.
We are not commonly aware of, nor do we usually identify, the larger number of nonviolent sociopaths among us, people who often are not blatant lawbreakers, and against whom our formal legal system provides little defense.
Most of us would not imagine any correspondence between conceiving an ethnic genocide and, say, guiltlessly lying to one’s boss about a coworker. But the psychological correspondence is not only there; it is chilling. Simple and profound, the link is the absence of the inner mechanism that beats up on us, emotionally speaking, when we make a choice we view as immoral, unethical, neglectful, or selfish.
Most of us feel mildly guilty if we eat the last piece of cake in the kitchen, let alone what we would feel if we intentionally and methodically set about to hurt another person.
Those who have no conscience at all are a group unto themselves, whether they be homicidal tyrants or merely ruthless social snipers.
The presence or absence of conscience is a deep human division, arguably more significant than intelligence, race, or even gender.
What differentiates a sociopath who lives off the labors of others from one who occasionally robs convenience stores, or from one who is a contemporary robber baron – or what makes the difference betwen an ordinary bully and a sociopathic murderer – is nothing more than social status, drive, intellect, blood lust, or simple opportunity.
What distinguishes all of these people from the rest of us is an utterly empty hole in the psyche, where there should be the most evolved of all humanizing functions. [Martha Stout, Ph.D., The Sociopath Next Door] (highly recommended)
For those of you who are seeking understanding of psychopathy, Hervey Cleckley’s book The Mask of Sanity, the absolutely essential study of the psychopath who is not necessarily of the criminal type. This book is no longer available. We have it scanned and our team of researchers spent two weeks going over the text carefully to eliminate text conversion errors. You may download the entire book FREE as a PDF from the link at left, top. (Read A Sample Chapter of The Mask of Sanity)
“Likeable,” “Charming,” “Intelligent,” “Alert,” “Impressive,” “Confidence-inspiring,” and “A great success with the ladies”: These are the sorts of descriptions repeatedly used by Cleckley in his famous case-studies of psychopaths. They are also, of course, “irresponsible,” “self-destructive,” and the like. These descriptions highlight the great frustrations and puzzles that surround the study of psychopathy.
Psychopaths seem to have in abundance the very traits most desired by normal persons. The untroubled self-confidence of the psychopath seems almost like an impossible dream and is generally what “normal” people seek to acquire when they attend assertiveness training classes. In many instances, the magnetic attraction of the psychopath for members of the opposite sex seems almost supernatural.
Cleckley’s seminal hypothesis concerning the psychopath is that he suffers from a very real mental illness indeed: a profound and incurable affective deficit. If he really feels anything at all, they are emotions of only the shallowest kind. He does bizarre and self-destructive things because consequences that would fill the ordinary man with shame, self-loathing, and embarrassment simply do not affect the psychopath at all. What to others would be a disaster is to him merely a fleeting inconvenience.
Cleckley also gives grounds for the view that psychopathy is quite common in the community at large. He has collected some cases of psychopaths who generally function normally in the community as businessmen, doctors, and even psychiatrists. Some researchers see criminal psychopathy – often referred to as anti-social personality disorder – as an extreme of a “normal” personality dimension (or dimensions).
We would characterize criminal psychopaths as “unsuccessful psychopaths.” The implication, of course, is that many psychopaths may exist in society who cope better than do those who come to the attention of the judicial and welfare systems.
Harrington goes so far as to say that the psychopath is the new man being produced by the evolutionary pressures of modern life. Other researchers criticize this view, pointing out the real disabilities that the clinical psychopath also suffers.
The study of “ambulatory” psychopaths – what we call “The Garden Variety Psychopath” – has, however, hardly begun. Very little is known about subcriminal psychopathy. However, some researchers have begun to seriously consider the idea that it is important to study psychopathy not as an artificial clinical category but as a general personality trait in the community at large. In other words, psychopathy is being recognized as a more or less a different type of human.
One very interesting aspect of the psychopath is his “hidden life” that is sometimes not too well hidden. It seems that the psychopath has a regular need to take a “vacation into filth and degradation” the same way normal people may take a vacation to a resort where they enjoy beautiful surroundings and culture. To get a full feeling for this strange “need” of the psychopath – a need that seems to be evidence that “acting human” is very stressful to the psychopath – read more of The Mask Of Sanity, chapters 25 and 26.
Also, read Cleckley’s speculations on what was “really wrong” with these people. He comes very close to suggesting that they are human in every respect – but that they lack a soul. This lack of “soul quality” makes them very efficient “machines.” They can be brilliant, write scholarly works, imitate the words of emotion, but over time, it becomes clear that their words do not match their actions. They are the type of person who can claim that they are devastated by grief who then attend a party “to forget.” The problem is: they really DO forget.
Being very efficient machines, like a computer, they are able to execute very complex routines designed to elicit from others support for what they want. In this way, many psychopaths are able to reach very high positions in life. It is only over time that their associates become aware of the fact that their climb up the ladder of success is predicated on violating the rights of others.“Even when they are indifferent to the rights of their associates, they are often able to inspire feelings of trust and confidence.”
The psychopath recognizes no flaw in his psyche, no need for change.
Alan Watt: Psychopaths And Sociopaths Run Your World
Alan Watt: On Psychopathy And White Collar Crime
The article Alan reads from is:
Read something on the subject of psychopathy. Some excellent works on the subject are:
‘The Mask of Sanity‘, Harvey Cleckley
‘The Clinical and Forensic Assessment of Psychopathy: A Practitioner’s Guide ‘, Ed. by Paul B. Gacono
‘Political Ponerology ‘, Lobaczewski
‘Without Conscience‘, Robert Hare
‘Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work‘, Babiak & Hare
“Working with Monsters“, Dr. John Clarke