Can a psychopath be good? (3 reasons)

This blog post aims to answer the question, “Can a psychopath be good?” and explore what it means to be good and the dimensions of psychopathy that will help understand the answer. 

Can a psychopath be good?

Yes, a psychopath can be good because of the following 3 reasons –

  • Psychopaths are not inherently bad in themselves.
  • Functional psychopaths.
  • Psychopaths are self-assured and calm under duress.

These 3 reasons why a psychopath can be good will be discussed in further detail below after taking a deeper look at who a psychopath is.

Who is a psychopath?

A “psychopath” is someone who is ruthless, unemotional, and morally twisted. The word is commonly used in professional and legal settings, despite the fact that it is not a recognised mental health condition.

While psychopathy is not a diagnosis in and of itself, it shares many of the characteristics of antisocial personality disorder, a broader mental health disease characterised by people who regularly act out and defy regulations. 

Psychopaths, on the other hand, make up a small fraction of those who suffer from antisocial personality disorder.

Common Traits of Psychopaths.

Psychopathic conduct differs widely from one person to the next. Some are serial killers and sex criminals. Others, on the other hand, may be effective leaders. It is entirely dependent on their characteristics.

It’s critical to distinguish between psychopaths and persons who exhibit psychopathic characteristics. It’s possible to have multiple psychopathic characteristics without really becoming a psychopath.

People with psychopathic characteristics don’t always act psychopathically. Psychopaths are defined as those who have psychopathic features and also engage in antisocial conduct.

Psychopathic traits include –

  • Antisocial behaviour
  • Narcissism
  • Superficial charm
  • Impulsivity
  • Callous, unemotional traits
  • Lack of guilt
  • Lack of empathy

According to one study, around 29% of the general population possesses one or more psychopathic traits. Only 0.6 per cent of the population, however, meets the definition of a psychopath.

Signs of a Psychopath.

Psychopathic characteristics can appear in childhood and worsen with time. Some of the most prevalent indications of a psychopath are listed below.

Superficial Charm.

On the surface, psychopaths appear to be likeable. They’re typically skilled conversationalists who tell stories that make them appear attractive. They might also be witty and charming.

Need for Stimulation.

Psychopaths thrive on the thrill of the chase. They want a steady flow of activity in their life and usually desire to live in the “fast lane.” Their demand for excitement frequently entails breaching rules. 

They may relish the excitement of getting away with something, or they may relish the possibility of being “caught” at any time. As a result, they may find it difficult to stay interested in tedious or repeated jobs, and they may be irritable with routines.

Pathological Lying.

Psychopaths lie to make themselves appear nice and stay out of danger. They also lie to cover up their earlier deceptions. 

They occasionally have trouble keeping their stories straight since they forget what they’ve stated. When confronted, they simply alter their tale or modify the facts to suit the scenario.

Grandiose Sense of Self-Worth.

Psychopaths have a distorted self-perception. They consider themselves to be powerful and entitled. They frequently feel justified in following their own set of rules, believing that the laws do not apply to them.

Manipulative.

Psychopaths are masters at persuading others to do what they desire. They may take advantage of a person’s remorse while lying to get someone else to complete their task for them.

Lack of Remorse.

Psychopaths are unconcerned about how their actions affect others. They may forget about an offence or believe that others are overreacting when their feelings are wounded. 

Finally, they have no remorse for inflicting misery on others. In fact, they frequently explain their actions and place blame on others.

Shallow Affect.

Psychopaths aren’t known for displaying many emotions, at least not authentic ones. They may look cold and emotionless for long periods of time. When it serves them well, though, they may present a theatrical exhibition of emotions. These tend to be short-lived and shallow.

They may, for example, display fury to scare someone or display melancholy to influence someone. However, they do not actually feel these feelings.

Lack of Empathy.

Psychopaths have a hard time comprehending why someone else could be fearful, unhappy, or nervous. They are unable to read people, thus it makes no sense to them. Even if it’s a close friend or family member, they’re entirely unconcerned about others who are suffering.

Parasitic Lifestyle.

Psychopaths may have sob tales about their inability to earn money, or they may frequently claim to have been abused by others. 

Then they take advantage of others’ generosity by becoming financially reliant on them. They take advantage of individuals to obtain everything they can, regardless of how they may feel.

Poor Behavioral Controls.

Psychopaths frequently struggle to obey rules, regulations, and policies. Even if they want to obey the rules, they rarely do so for very long.

Promiscuous Sexual Behavior.

Psychopaths are more prone to cheat on their relationships since they don’t care about the people around them. They could have unprotected intercourse with random strangers. They might also use sex to acquire what they desire. For them, sex is not an emotional or loving act.

Early Behavioral Problems.

The majority of psychopaths have behavioural issues from a young age. Cheating, skipping school, vandalising property, abusing narcotics, or becoming aggressive are all possibilities. Their misdeeds tend to worsen with time and are more significant than those of their peers.

Lack of Realistic, Long-Term Goals.

A psychopath’s ambition might be to become wealthy or famous. However, they frequently lack the knowledge necessary to make these things happen. Instead, they insist that they will obtain what they want without having to put out any effort.

Impulsivity.

Psychopaths react to situations based on how they feel. They don’t take the time to consider the dangers and advantages of their decisions. Instead, they desire instant pleasure. 

As a result, individuals may quit a job, terminate a relationship, relocate to a new location, or purchase a new automobile on the spur of the moment.

Irresponsibility.

Promises have no meaning for psychopaths. They aren’t trustworthy, whether they vow to return a debt or sign a contract. They may neglect to pay child support, go heavily into debt, or forget about their responsibilities and commitments.

Psychopaths refuse to take responsibility for their own issues. They believe that their problems are always the fault of others. They typically play the victim, and they like telling stories about how others have used them.

Many Marital Relationships.

Psychopaths may marry because it is advantageous to them. They could desire to spend a partner’s money or share their debt with someone else, for example. However, their behaviour frequently leads to divorce as their spouses come to see them from a more realistic perspective.

Criminal Versatility.

Psychopaths typically see rules as recommendations and laws as impediments to their progress. Their illicit activities might be quite diverse. 

Criminal offences such as driving infractions, financial violations, and acts of violence are only a few instances of the wide range of crimes that may be committed. 

Of course, not all of them end up in prison. Some people may run shady enterprises or participate in unethical behaviour that does not result in an arrest.

Revocation of Conditional Release.

When psychopaths are released from jail, they usually do not follow the terms of conditional release. They may believe that they will not be caught again. Alternatively, they may find methods to justify their actions. They could even blame others for “being caught.”

What are these 3 reasons why a psychopath can be good? 

Psychopaths are not inherently bad in themselves.

Andy McNab and Kevin Dutton suggest in their new book, The Good Psychopath’s Guide to Success, that depending on some psychopathic tendencies may lead to a more successful existence.

Kevin is an Oxford University psychologist and Andy is a British Special Air Service soldier and author. Kevin is an expert in psychopaths. Andy claims to be a sociopath.

They have charisma, charm, calm under pressure, fearlessness, concentration, impulsivity, lack of guilt, mental toughness, limited empathy, and ruthlessness on their list of psychopathic characteristics.

“None of these characteristics is inherently bad in themselves,” Kevin says. “When they become dysfunctional is when they are deployed inflexibly in the wrong contexts.”

Functional psychopaths.

Functional psychopaths, on the other hand, are able to moderate their sentiments in order to be more effective in business, politics, and life, according to the book.

Psychopaths are persons who exhibit a particular set of personality qualities, such as ruthlessness, fearlessness, mental toughness, charm, persuasiveness, and a lack of conscience and empathy, according to psychologists. Assume you’ve checked the boxes for all of those qualities.

You’re also an aggressive and obnoxious individual. It won’t be long before you slam a bottle over someone’s head at a pub and end up in prison for a long time. 

But if you check the boxes for all of those traits while still being intellectual and not inherently aggressive, it’s a whole different scenario. Then you’ll have a better chance of making money in the market than anyplace else.

Psychopaths are self-assured and calm under duress. 

Psychopaths are not slackers. Psychopaths prefer to see the bright side of things and don’t take things personally; they don’t blame themselves when things go wrong. 

They’re also quite cool under duress. These qualities are crucial not just in the economic world, but also in everyday life. Psychopaths thrive in situations where there is a power structure, a hierarchy, or the opportunity to manipulate or exert control over others.

Many special forces members, particularly the British Special Air Service, and even elite doctors have been discovered to have significant levels of psychopathic tendencies. 

This is because, when undertaking a difficult or risky job, the most important thing is to remain calm and focused under pressure. Because they wouldn’t be able to perform the operation if they did, these occupations don’t allow for a lot of empathy.

When things go wrong, the most essential thing to remember is to be resolute. Thus these psychopaths thrive in such significant professions which allow for their psychopathic traits to contribute in meaningful ways. 

Conclusion – 

This blog post aimed to answer the question, “Can a psychopath be good?”, reviewed the characteristics of a psychopath and explored what it means to be good to help determine if a psychopath can be good. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments you may have.

References –

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Can psychopaths/sociopaths be good people? Quora. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.quora.com/Can-psychopaths-sociopaths-be-good-people

Heaney, K. My Life As a Psychopath. (2018, August 10). Retrieved from https://www.thecut.com/2018/08/my-life-as-a-psychopath.html

Clifford, C. Why psychopaths are so good at getting ahead. (2016, November 21). Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/18/why-psychopaths-are-so-good-at-getting-ahead.html

The Protojournalist. Is There Such A Thing As A ‘Good Psychopath’? (2014, August 21). Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/theprotojournalist/2014/08/21/341858696/is-there-such-a-thing-as-a-good-psychopath

Morin, A. What Is a Psychopath? (2021, November 30). Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-a-psychopath-5025217

Dodgson, L. Psychopaths cannot be cured – here’s why. (2018, March 1). Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.in/science/health/psychopaths-cannot-be-cured-heres-why/articleshow/63125731.cms

Yong, E. How Psychopaths See the World. (2018, March 13). Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/03/a-hidden-problem-at-the-heart-of-psychopathy/555335/

Suttie, J, Can a Psychopath Learn to Feel Your Pain? (2014, February 4). Retrieved from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/can_a_psychopath_learn_feel_pain

Heym, N. Five things you didn’t know about psychopaths. (2018, October 3). Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/five-things-you-didnt-know-about-psychopaths-103865

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