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Psychopath? 5 Red Flags and 3 Rs Test: Remorse, Remediation, and Restoration

Uploaded 10/19/2013, approx. 3 minute read

My name is Sam Vaknin, and I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.


How can you tell if he is a psychopath?

There are five red flags and a test.

Psychopaths are too good to be true. They besiege their interlocutors with a relentless charm offensive.

There is a kind of information asymmetry. The psychopath may flaunt you with unwanted and unwarranted information or disinformation about himself, while conspicuously being incurious about you.

Alternatively, the psychopath keeps mum about his life, while there is also something I call belabored normalcy and effortless deviance.

Actions that are reflexive or effortless with normal, healthy people require an inordinate amount of premeditation, concentration, planning and laborious investment by the psychopath.

On the other hand, acts that normal folk would find abhorrent come naturally and effortlessly to the psychopath.

Psychopaths have alloplastic defenses. The psychopath blames others, the authorities, institutions or the world at large for his failures, defeats and mishaps. It is never his fault.

He has an external locus of control. In other words, his life is ruled from the outside, not from the inside. His life is the collected said outcomes of injustice, discrimination, and conspiracy of which he is the victim.

Psychopaths are said to be fearless and self-wholesome. Their pain tolerance is indeed very high.

Still, contrary to popular perceptions and psychiatric orthodoxy, some psychopaths are actually anxious and constantly fearful. That's why they are paranoid.

Their psychopathy is a defense against an underline and all pervasive anxiety, either hereditary or brought on by early childhood abuse.

They believe the world is hostile and how to get them.

Still, narcissism and psychopathy can develop late in life as a reaction to life's circumstances.

Consider, for instance, a quiet situation and narcissism. It can be induced in childhood, in adulthood, by celebrity, wealth and fame. Late onset narcissism may also occur in a variety of other situations.

Codependence, for instance. Codependence, aiming to fend off knowing abandonment anxiety, can resort to and evolve narcissistic and even psychopathic behaviors and traits. All these in order to cater to the means of their loved ones without whom they cannot survive.

In anomic societies and depraved cultural or religious settings, people with a conformist band tend to adopt anti-social modes of conduct and personal style so as to fit in, blend and belong.

So how can we tell if someone's narcissism and psychopathy are the ephemeral derivative variety or an integral, immutable and inalienable feature of his or her personality?

By applying the test of three R's, remorse, remediation and restoration.

To qualify as such, remorse has to be expressed repeatedly and must be heartfelt. It should entail a modicum of sacrifice, embarrassment and inconvenience.

Regretting one's misdeeds in public is more convincing than sending a private missive or whispering sorry anonymously.

Remediation requires making amends and offering reparations which are commensurate with your offending acts and bear some symbolic relation to them.

Thus, financial abuse can be absolved only with the aid of monetary compensation that corresponds to the damage done and suffered.

Finally, restoration involves affording one's victims the opportunity for closure, if not forgiveness, so that they can move on with their lives.

True narcissists and psychopaths fail the three R's test at every turn.

Their remorse is faint and ostentatious. They provide little or no recompense for their misdeeds and they never put themselves at the victim's disposal to allow her to achieve what she needs most.

Closure.

Remember this, the familiar is tempting, but it is a trap. The unknown is terrifying, but it holds a promise.

Your only chance of happiness, even survival, is to move on.

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