Empathy is the capacity to identify and have compassion for another person’s feelings. This is something psychopaths lack. If you think that psychopaths are easily recognizable because they are violent and always make the headlines, think again. You may even be in a relationship with one and not be aware of it.
Studies indicate that 15% of the population can be characterized as borderline psychotic. They think it’s okay to mistreat animals, people, nature in general and they consider themselves the center of the universe. It has even been suggested that psychopaths are the prime group responsible for the economic woes we are suffering.
In the article “What “Psychopath” Means” by Scott O. Lilienfeld and Hal Artwitz published inScientific American, the authors discuss specific personality traits which make up the psychopath’s character. The traits, first identified by psychiatrist Hervey M. Cleckley in the 1940s, describe charming people who appear remarkably normal, like those quiet, polite neighbors who later turn out to have a refrigerator full of body parts, like Ted Bundy.
And here’s is the scary part. Psychopaths are not empathetic, and yet have learned to imitate sane people’s behavior. Thus they can appear “normal,” but are dishonest, self-centered, undependable, and of course, devoid of the capacity for love and guilt. Since they don’t have feeling of remorse, they find it difficult to curb their impulses.
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