Symptoms of a Psychopath (scary reading)


Well-Known Member
Somebody showed this to me...

Hare's Checklist​
1. GLIB and SUPERFICIAL CHARM -- the tendency to be smooth, engaging, charming, slick, and verbally facile. Psychopathic charm is not in the least shy, self-conscious, or afraid to say anything. A psychopath never gets tongue-tied. They have freed themselves from the social conventions about taking turns in talking, for example.
2. GRANDIOSE SELF-WORTH -- a grossly inflated view of one's abilities and self-worth, self-assured, opinionated, cocky, a braggart. Psychopaths are arrogant people who believe they are superior human beings.
3. NEED FOR STIMULATION or PRONENESS TO BOREDOM -- an excessive need for novel, thrilling, and exciting stimulation; taking chances and doing things that are risky. Psychopaths often have a low self-discipline in carrying tasks through to completion because they get bored easily. They fail to work at the same job for any length of time, for example, or to finish tasks that they consider dull or routine.
4. PATHOLOGICAL LYING -- can be moderate or high; in moderate form, they will be shrewd, crafty, cunning, sly, and clever; in extreme form, they will be deceptive, deceitful, underhanded, unscrupulous, manipulative, and dishonest.
5. CONNING AND MANIPULATIVENESS- the use of deceit and deception to cheat, con, or defraud others for personal gain; distinguished from Item #4 in the degree to which exploitation and callous ruthlessness is present, as reflected in a lack of concern for the feelings and suffering of one's victims.
6. LACK OF REMORSE OR GUILT -- a lack of feelings or concern for the losses, pain, and suffering of victims; a tendency to be unconcerned, dispassionate, coldhearted, and unempathic. This item is usually demonstrated by a disdain for one's victims.
7. SHALLOW AFFECT -- emotional poverty or a limited range or depth of feelings; interpersonal coldness in spite of signs of open gregariousness.
8. CALLOUSNESS and LACK OF EMPATHY -- a lack of feelings toward people in general; cold, contemptuous, inconsiderate, and tactless.
9. PARASITIC LIFESTYLE -- an intentional, manipulative, selfish, and exploitative financial dependence on others as reflected in a lack of motivation, low self-discipline, and inability to begin or complete responsibilities.
10. POOR BEHAVIORAL CONTROLS -- expressions of irritability, annoyance, impatience, threats, aggression, and verbal abuse; inadequate control of anger and temper; acting hastily.
11. PROMISCUOUS SEXUAL BEHAVIOR -- a variety of brief, superficial relations, numerous affairs, and an indiscriminate selection of sexual partners; the maintenance of several relationships at the same time; a history of attempts to sexually coerce others into sexual activity or taking great pride at discussing sexual exploits or conquests.
12. EARLY BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS -- a variety of behaviors prior to age 13, including lying, theft, cheating, vandalism, bullying, sexual activity, fire-setting, glue-sniffing, alcohol use, and running away from home.
13. LACK OF REALISTIC, LONG-TERM GOALS -- an inability or persistent failure to develop and execute long-term plans and goals; a nomadic existence, aimless, lacking direction in life.
14. IMPULSIVITY -- the occurrence of behaviors that are unpremeditated and lack reflection or planning; inability to resist temptation, frustrations, and urges; a lack of deliberation without considering the consequences; foolhardy, rash, unpredictable, erratic, and reckless.
15. IRRESPONSIBILITY -- repeated failure to fulfill or honor obligations and commitments; such as not paying bills, defaulting on loans, performing sloppy work, being absent or late to work, failing to honor contractual agreements.
16. FAILURE TO ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR OWN ACTIONS -- a failure to accept responsibility for one's actions reflected in low conscientiousness, an absence of dutifulness, antagonistic manipulation, denial of responsibility, and an effort to manipulate others through this denial.
17. MANY SHORT-TERM MARITAL RELATIONSHIPS -- a lack of commitment to a long-term relationship reflected in inconsistent, undependable, and unreliable commitments in life, including marital.
18. JUVENILE DELINQUENCY -- behavior problems between the ages of 13-18; mostly behaviors that are crimes or clearly involve aspects of antagonism, exploitation, aggression, manipulation, or a callous, ruthless tough-mindedness.
19. REVOCATION OF CONDITION RELEASE -- a revocation of probation or other conditional release due to technical violations, such as carelessness, low deliberation, or failing to appear.
20. CRIMINAL VERSATILITY -- a diversity of types of criminal offenses, regardless if the person has been arrested or convicted for them; taking great pride at getting away with crimes.​


I sent this to DEX's mother. The only one he doesn't fit is 19, and that was because no one turned him in when he violated probation - he just got quietly kicked out of his housing placement.


Sounds very, very familiar. I would qualify #1 with the idea that not every sociopath is extremely glib and charming; the well-socialized ones are, but there are less-socialized types as well who may not be as glib and likeable. In medication school/residency we had a four-subtype list: socialized criminal and non-criminal, and non-socialized criminal and non-criminal. Some sociopaths manage to avoid criminal activity mainly because they can get what they want in other ways (not because they think criminal activity is wrong). They also usually have a personal 'morality' system where they'll consider certain actions totally unacceptable and show certain types of loyalty - but none of the taboos apply to them, or they will calmly do things of the same type as their taboos, but that they don't choose to regard as problematic.

I wish so much that we had met a psychiatrist or therapist earlier who had looked at the warning signs of stealing, bullying, pathological lying, manipulation, etc. etc. and told us that instead of trying to understand our son's point of view we should be making him accountable from a young age. By the time we found a doctor who specialized in Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and CD we had lost our window of opportunity.

Thanks for sharing the links, MM.


Katya said:
I would qualify #1 with the idea that not every sociopath is extremely glib and charming; the well-socialized ones are, but there are less-socialized types as well who may not be as glib and likeable.

Wynter's former therapist and I discussed this at one point when talking about Wynter's dad. What you just said, Katya, is exactly what she told me. The charming ones end up, generally, in positions of authority (think current IL governor) and the other ones end up in trouble with the law, generally.

At least that's how she explained it to me.


That's a perfect example - the current IL governor as a well-socialized type. Quite a few other former and/or current politicians and CEOs fit as well! And then there are the less-socialized, less glib types ...


Active Member
A successful sociopath can do well in the workplace, usually at the expense of co-workers.

I had one as a work colleague. A nasty piece of work, a saboteur. He repeatedly shot down my promotion prospects for a number of years, because he had "buttered up" the various senior bosses; but when he showed his true colours, he was gone, messily. There was also a period where he was away for a year's leave without pay (got a temporary transfer overseas) and in that time, I was in charge and had the place running so much better, the bosses sat up and took notice. When he came back (early, throwing in the towel in Europe) he found himself discredited. Plus, his own actions had led to his personal life imploding, publicly.

I was lucky - I'd outlasted him. For future reference, if you ever find yourself working alongside a sociopath, leave. Find another job, fast, and get out.

Thanks for this info.



New Member
Just a quick caveat before someone reads this and goes into a panic that their child is a sociopath. This really is a diagnosis that should be made by a professional. Most children under 10 are sociopaths given the criteria. They don't yet have the moral compass. The big flags in younger children are true cruelty to animals and firestarting. This doesn't mean that a child who hurts an animal is a sociopath -- the child may not really have understand that yanking the cat's tail hurts or may just be experimenting to see what happens when they stomp on the tail (could have thought it was funny when the cat jumped in the air and made such an interesting yowl) but really have no understanding they are causing pain. However, if a child throws an animal against a wall, then you probably have some real fears and need to talk to a psychiatrist about it.

I just don't want someone to read this and think their little one is a sociopath in the making because he or she fits so much of the criteria. However, if you think your child is, talk to a pro. Get a good diagnosis. There is therapy that can help.


Well-Known Member
I've read up on sociopathy in children as my bio. kid showed some tendencies. The three BIG red flags are Firesetting, cruelty to animals (and be careful if they kill or try to kill any) and peeing and pooping inappropriately.
We adopted a socipathic child who has left our family long ago due to the danger he posed. He had all three symptoms, in fact he killed our dog in a very ugly way (I won't go into it). My daughter told us, after he'd gone, that she'd seen him strangling a neighbor's cat and when she saw him he dropped the cat and threatened her if she told anyone. He sexually acted out on my two younger kids and god knows how many others :sad-very: He was so charming to adults that nobody suspecteds and we all loved him dearly, yet so scary to children that they never told on him until we finally caught him, and he was gone. This is a child psychopath who had sadly lived a very bad early life--birthmom abused and abandoned him, in several foster homes, probably sexually abused, although he doesn't remember. He didn't come to us until 11, and it was too late. Yet we didn't know anything about these behaviors. He had no remorse for anything he did. He had no understanding as to why he did the things he did, including stealing a knife from Walmart and holding it on our younger kids to make them act out sexually (and we didn't know about it because they were terrified he'd burn the house down with all of us in it). That was his boogy-man.
Other red flags for budding sociopaths IF THEY ARE NOT TAKEN CARE OF is impulsivity, love of excitement, easy boredom, disregard for rules/laws, and lack of remorse, substance abuse. But, remember, children can often be helped with early intervention! And sometimes it is mental illness fueling their behaviors and they just need the right type of help!


Thanks, MWM. I actually copied the checklist and emailed it to difficult child 1. As far as I can tell her boyfriend fits just about every single criteria. He is charming, friendly, very engaging. He also lies, steals, has no conscience about hurting people he supposedly cares about and is an "expert" on everything. He is always planning to go to school and get a job that will make him a lot of money but he cannot seem to work for more than a few days at a time. He has many plans and gets difficult child's hopes up but never follows through. He is impulsive, angers easily, gets bored easily, etc.

I told her I hoped I wasn't offending her by sending her the list but asked her to be careful and to reconsider her relationship with him. I don't think she will be mad at me, she knows what he is, she is just to weak to try to make a go without him.



I agree that cruelty to animals and firestarting are HUGE red flags for sociopathy, so that if those behaviors are observed it's imperative to get help asap. Many sociopathic kids are devious enough to carry out their activities unremarked, though, and parents are often horrified when they finally learn the truth of what has gone on.

If a child exhibits other worrisome traits - constant, pathological lying, willingness to hurt others or ignore personal boundaries, lack of true remorse (not just surface crocodile tears if they know that's what will get them out of trouble), manipulation of others, refusal to be accountable, blaming others, stealing if more than once or if it involves direct confrontation (like forcing a younger kid to give up lunch money), easy boredom, impulsivity - then, like MWM, I think it's very important to get professional help asap as well. These traits don't necessarily have to develop into full-blown personality disorder if an accurate assessment is made and parents work with a good therapist. If a child like this can triangulate and manipulate the adults around him/her and divert blame onto others, though, these behaviors will become more entrenched. Getting a grip on the situation early gives the best chance for turning the behaviors around. Even if a child has to learn morality by rote and spend several years learning to think differently, there's a chance for a better outcome.

Thanks for sharing your story, MWM. What a horrifying experience. I'm so sorry your family had to go through that.


call 911
MWM - interesting read.

My x is a true psychopath with sociopathic tendencies and self-medicating BiPolar (BP). When you truly live with one of these people you are never ever the same.

I do agree with MB that we have to be careful. A lot of the descriptions given here could describe a few tendencies that we all have or are capable of. WyntersGraces' psychiatrist gave a very scary yet accurate account and it is true that a lot of people in office and high places have these traits.

I'm sorry for anyone who has to have contact with these people. They are monsters and best left alone.

-and my 11 years of therapy tells me never EVER again.


Well-Known Member
OMG! This sounds so much like my ex-husband! Just. Exactly. Like. Him! Only with him, you'd have to throw long-term, very serious alcoholism and now drug abuse into the mix! The only thing ... I'm not sure of the animal abuse (don't think so) and he managed to stay out of legal trouble when we were still married only because he was incredibly lucky. I'm sure that's not the case now, thirteen years later. I don't know why I've been so obsessed with figuring out what to 'label' him .... I guess because of the kids (who both turned out just fine, thank you). But for years and years (and years!) I watched every move they made, so afraid I'd see some of their fathers behaviors cropping up in them. I always had him figured as the classic sociopath, but after reading this I'm not so sure.

When people met him, they always thought he was the jovial Mr. Nice Guy - boy were they wrong! He was cruel, heartless, totally selfish and mean. Nothing was ever his fault - everything was blamed on someone else. He is calculating, manipulating, and lies so much there's no sense in even listening to him. I don't think he ever really cared about anybody but himself, even his own children. People are important to him only for what they can do for him, and he never felt guilty about anything he did, and apparently he still doesn't. The rules never applied to him - even drinking while he drove the car - he thought it didn't affect him like it did everybody else! He never paid bills, borrowed from all his 'friends', had a tremendous sense of entitlement, and expected others to help him out - they had it and he didn't, so that wasn't fair! He was a bully who would fly into rages over trivial things and could take offense at just about anything said to him.

So now, years later, he's back living in Florida where his siblings are, and he's just about hit bottom. Apparently he's ended up in the hospital repeatedly because of seizures from the alcoholism. His family finally realized that they were enabling him and have cut him off. Everything is still everybody elses fault, he still takes no responsibility for anything, feels no guilt over anything he's ever done, he's practically homeless, he refuses to get any real help. He's lost his home, his job, his wife, two very good kids and his family that cared about him ... and he still insists that he doesn't have a problem - it's everybody else! I truely believe that there are some people who, when they reach his age, are beyond help.


New Member
I am so scared after reading this that I am shaking. I really fear for my oldest daughter. Her father (my ex-husband) had all of these symptoms, and I have been denying the possibility of her having this for some time. My fear first began when she was eight years old. I heard a thumping sound in my two girls' bedroom and thought they were jumping on the bed. I went in to teumll them to stop, and my oldest was smothering her 5 year old sister with a pillow and laughing hilariously . The thumping sound was my 5 year old kicking the wall. I immediately took the pillow and was concerned with my 5 year old catching her breath. I next explained how that was not funny, and that she could have killed her sister. She had no remorse. My 5 year old chose not to sleep in the room with her that night because she was scared. Now I also have a 3 year old. I catch her trying to talk him into things to get him into trouble all the time. I don't know if it is sibling rivalry or something more. I am scared. I don't know what to do.


Active Member
Famprobs, this is not necessarily hereditary. And as others said, it would need to be diagnosed professionally in your daughter. There are other possibilities, all of which do not necessarily mean that your daughter is incurable and incorrigible.

Siblings can do horrible things to one another, and it is still within 'normal' range. I copped a lot from one of my sisters, she was jealous, I think and unable to act out against the individual she was most jealous of (another sister who had serious health problems) so I was a target for bullying and being got into trouble.

That said, in your shoes I'd be finding a good therapist pronto and seeing hat can be done to identify the problems and then deal with them.
How old is she now? If you can, start a new thread introducing yourself, because this is an old thread which could lead to your post getting lost in the ancient history.

It may not be as nasty as you think. And if by chance your concerns are well-founded, the sooner you know for sure then the sooner you can help your other kids to be safe.



New Member
This is my husband...finally have a restraining order. He has his boss so snowed that the boss called and offered me money to drop the restraining order. And yes he has violated the order every day since he was served. Scary.


Active Member
Report every violation. And from my experience over time, if you can stay below their radar they do eventually move on. It's the short attention span...

By the way, that's two new people who have posted on an old thread. Why not introduce yourselves by starting your own thread from scratch? We'd love to meet you properly.



New Member
'Sounds exactly like my son, to a T. He's been that way his entire life, and it's gotten worse in the past few years. He's proud to say he's insane... which worries me. I fear I may have to check him into the new psychiatric ward being built in the one hospital here.