I know we all think of the classic psychopaths as terrible criminals, including rapists, murderers, and serial killers. But, psychopathy is actually a spectrum of traits and behaviors. Many psychopaths function among us. I have read and learned a lot about this topic, and I am stunned by the characteristics matching our difficult child's behavior. Check out the Hare Psychopathy Checklist JT presents nearly all of these characteristics, especially the grandiosity, lying, lack of empathy, lack of personal responsibility, shallow affect, impulsivity, and parasitic lifestyle. I'm sure JT would score very high on the narcissism scale as well. JT is the biggest braggart we have ever known. He truly believes he is smarter and superior to most everyone. For example, he claims that he is the "best welder" at his workplace, though he is only 20 and surrounded by veteran welders with decades of experience. He also claims he never makes mistakes (I am dead serious!). He even cajoled his college friend into telling us that JT rarely ever makes a mistake. Really? It's unbelievable that he thinks this way! He thinks he can do anything - any profession (underwater welding, fire jumping) - any feat - any project. People shake their heads in annoyance when he proceeds to tell them how things are and should be done when they are the experts and he is the novice. In 5th grade, JT believed he knew more about math than we do. My husband is a math teacher, and I am a CPA! He is in his own world! This is why he flunked out of college too. He believed he already knew everything and therefore, did not have to study or even read the textbooks. He felt that he was above the classes he was required to take. I begged him to read and study, but he told me I was ignorant and didn't understand the extent of his superior knowledge and that all of the material was so EASY for him. When he failed out of college, he blamed his "stupid" teachers that didn't teach anything "worthwhile". JT believes he is so superior that he practically needs no training at all to secure the same jobs others have had to earn degrees to get. He wanted to be a Fire Medic in the worst way, but then did not have any ability whatsoever to motivate himself to do the work to get there. He seemed almost insulted that he would be required to train for it. We have endured many, many insults from him over the years - relating to our intelligence, skills, and even our vehicles. He constantly puts down others, even his boss, about whom he posted derogatory remarks on Facebook. He has no respect for anyone. With JT, everything is about JT. He doesn't care about others. He doesn't care in the least that it was a hardship for us to pay for his college opportunity. I worked plenty of overtime to save for it, and he couldn't be bothered even to show up for class. In tears, I told him how disappointing it was that I had worked so hard to come up with the funds and he was wasting this opportunity that HE wanted. But, his face was just blank and expressionless. He is completely unfazed by anyone's display of emotion. He doesn't care to check in when he heard his dad was ill. But he checks in when he wants something for himself. I can't recall having seen JT cry - ever. When he's been sad, it's only been because he has been caught or has had to suffer consequences. I have not seen him empathize with others. In fact, he seems to take delight in upsetting people. A therapist I was seeing in the past told me that she believed he was getting a rise out of hurting us emotionally. She said he was getting his jollies in the power and control of it all. When we set boundaries with JT financially, he sent us a text message stating that he was going to move in with his birthmom. We adopted JT out of foster care at age 2, as parental rights were terminated due to severe neglect. Moving in with bio mom never happened, and I don't think that was ever on the radar. I think it was a manipulative ploy to scare me into giving him money. Never mind how his adoptive mom might feel about him threatening to do something like that. He has smirked when caught stealing, when recounting breaking up with his girlfriend on the day her beloved cat died, and most recently, when we bailed him out of jail. He enjoys these things. He enjoys hurting us in whatever way he can, and he knows which buttons to push. For example, he knows I have wanted to be a good mother, so he will berate me as a mother. He sent me a one-liner that I will be a grandmother, and I don't even know if that is really true. In the case of my husband, JT will insult his mechanical abilities because husband is not very mechanically inclined. For both of us, JT calls us ignorant and stupid and Nazis, etc. He insults everything about us, from our intelligence to our religion to the cars we drive. Yet, astonishingly, he still seems to feel entitled to our money and jail bail-outs, and family activities! I could go on and on about the manipulations, non-stop LIES, refusal to accept responsibility for his own actions (full of blame on others), impulsivity, conning, lack of remorse/guilt, legal issues, promiscuity, and failure to achieve goals. I realize only a professional can officially diagnose this, but in my heart of hearts, after years researching this, I am 100% certain JT scores high on the psychopathy checklist. One of the items on the list that surprised me was the parasitic lifestyle. I never realized this was a psychopathic trait. But, JT is definitely parasitic. Just since graduating from high school, he has mooched off of a friend at college (until the friend's mother had enough of him not paying for anything and sticking her with his bills that she kicked him out), a couple of girlfriends, and his grandparents. JT has claimed workers comp several times at several different jobs in the past two years. He doesn't pay his bills and is in deep financial trouble right now. Our family has become wise to his conning and no longer enables him financially. He has openly stated that he looks for girlfriends who will do his laundry, cook, and clean his apartment, not to mention pay a share of the rent and let him use their trucks, etc. It's all just a con game to him. As soon as they lose their usefulness, he moves on. He has no attachments to anyone. He has had many two-week relationships. When he breaks the law, he always has a reason or excuse. With his recent charges, he wasn't the least bit ashamed in the presence of his grandfather and grandfather's friends who told him they were disappointed in him. Instead of acknowledging this, he just stated that he "could have beat that rap". JT cannot live with us ever again because he does not respect our wishes for our life and property. Against our agreement, he brought knives, painkillers, cigarettes, and lighters into the house and used our laptop to watch porn. In addition, he refused to get out of bed before 2 p.m., much less get a job or attend classes. He lied on his applications papers in an attempt to get into the military. He bought a large rifle, which he now leaves out in the open in his apartment (unloaded, he claims), but is insulted that we won't let his little brother visit him at his home unsupervised. Despite all of this, he demands our respect. He says we should respect him; that he is so talented and smart and blah, blah, blah. He claims we do not respect him enough. Really? Wow! My heart is broken as I come to a greater and greater realization that the 2-year-old, beautiful boy we adopted into our family never developed the capacity to love. What he does have is the capacity to inflict great harm upon others. Because of this, all hopes and dreams for him will never be. He never wanted parents, and he never will. He never loved or respected us or wanted to be like us. He is his own man making his own decisions. Our physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing are inconsequential to him because he doesn't love us. He never has, and he never will. It is not possible for him, and therefore, he has no empathy and no ability to be concerned about anyone but himself. He cannot sustain relationships with anyone. I am so down today over all of this. I am experiencing a tremendous sense of loss, grief, and fear. The reality is that JT will not change due to the fact that most psychopaths do not seek help voluntarily and even when they do, treatment success is limited. In all likelihood, we will need to spend the rest of our lives protecting ourselves from him.