Characteristics of psychopaths

Power elite psychopaths can be charming, charismatic, and intelligent. They are often seen as great leaders. They have powerful personalities with an almost a hypnotic ability to persuade and command people to do what they want. They can be smart, even scary smart—but in a devious, Machiavellian way. They are con artists who present a false image to the world, an image that they know will gain favorable attention.

Their emotional life consists of the gratification of acquiring, consuming, and possessing the best of everything, the thrill of conquest, the frustration of losing a fight, the triumph of defeating enemies, and the glory of egomania.

But above all, they live to conquer and to win. Psychopaths love battles—for them, it is a game. They go from one challenge to the next. They love winning and prizes, recognition and fame. They love privileges and exclusive clubs. They believe they are entitled to the best of everything. Psychopaths believe the entire world is theirs for the taking.

They have no respect for the shared space of the world in which we live, our society, or the environment. They have no respect for the notion of the commons. An issue like global warming is simply an annoyance that interferes with business. Neither do they care about the truth of any matter. They hate facts and studies that would compel them to a conclusion other than the one they want. They would take down a corporation if they could gain from doing so, as happened with Enron. They take down whole countries to extract their resources and acquire anything of value, as they have with Greece. They have taken down the financial system of the world for their own profit, leaving governments to pick up the pieces if they can. And they are in the process of taking down life on Earth.

Those of you who are professionals in psychology, allow us to develop a working model of the power elite psychopath for the purpose of discussion. The need to recognize psychopaths and their disastrous effects on the world is most dire.

The following is a list of characteristics of psychopaths was inspired by Dr. Robert Hare’s Without Conscience; The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us, Key Symptoms of Psychopathy, page 34. This list is modified and expanded, based on the author’s experience.

  • Psychopaths lack shame, guilt, or embarrassment.
  • They are callous and coldhearted.
  • They have no qualms about harming others.
  • They have no empathy for their victims. They have no remorse for the harm they do.
  • They lack normal human emotions and do not have the capacity for love.
  • They have no fear.
  • They blame others when something goes wrong, even when it is their own doing.
  • If they are exposed, they make up an excuse. For them, it is all a game.
  • They change their story to suit the circumstances.
  • They are glib and superficial.
  • They are deceitful and manipulative.
  • They are calculating and devious.
  • They promote a positive image of themselves to deceive others.
  • They can be charming; they often attract allies and supporters.
  • They have a grandiose sense of self worth, and a pathological egocentricity.
  • They have a sense of entitlement.
  • Their lifestyle is parasitic.
  • They do what feels good. They thrive on excitement and lack a sense of responsibility.
  • They are impulsive and easily distracted.
  • They have poor behavior controls.
  • They are bad tempered and have a low tolerance for frustration.
  • They can be aggressive and violent.
  • They have no intellectual capacity.
  • They have trouble understanding metaphors and abstract concepts.
  • They talk about ideals, such as freedom, integrity, and honesty—but they themselves don’t practice them.
  • They are not creative. They steal the work and the ideas of others and take credit for them.
  • They seek their own advantage and gratification without any of the normal social constraints.
  • If others have something of value, psychopaths take it for themselves. They see it as their duty, because others are inferior subhumans who don’t deserve to have anything.
  • They lie, cheat, steal, and kill to get their way. For them, it is a practical matter.

In the book, The Tyranny of Psychopaths, a group formed to study corruption and gave an all-day teach-in on psychopaths, their worldview, their organizational management (or, lack thereof), and the role of money and debt. Please see the chapter titled, The Tyranny of Psychopaths Teach-in.

2 thoughts on “Characteristics of psychopaths

  1. Pingback: Characteristics of psychopaths | The Tyranny of Psychopaths | No Psychos, No Druggies, No Stooges

  2. Hi Janet, I reposted this:
    The only points I think are a bit off the mark are “They have no intellectual capacity” and “They are not creative” and “They do what feels good” – I know a large number of psychopaths and their lack of conscience has little to do with intellect. We all do what feels good… they do it without caring about consequences.

    I do agree especially with your addition “They have trouble understanding metaphors and abstract concepts” because it seems like we are talking to children – the way we have to explain things to them! What is really their problem is that they take everything literally and they always assume that you are talking about THEM. Being very self-centered interferes with their grasp of abstracts.

    Can’t wait for your interview next week! Good luck!

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