Do psychopaths grieve? (3 reasons they do + 3 reasons they don’t)

This blog post aims to answer the question, “Do psychopaths grieve?” and explore psychopathy and the traits and behaviours of psychopaths to help understand the answer. 

Do psychopaths grieve?

Yes, some psychopaths do grieve because of the following 3 reasons –

  • Psychopaths can experience normal emotions in specific situations.
  • Need for attention. 
  • Trauma.

However, some psychopaths do not grieve because of the following 3 reasons –

  • The paucity of grey matter and neurotransmitter activity.
  • Psychopaths don’t feel regret, remorse, humiliation, sorrow or guilt.
  • Psychopaths are sadists. 

These 3 reasons why psychopaths do grieve and 3 reasons why psychopaths do not grieve 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 psychopaths do grieve?

Psychopaths can experience normal emotions in specific situations.

Psychopaths can experience normal emotions in specific situations, and sadness is one of them. Some psychopaths can be saddened by the death of a person with whom they have a connection, and this can even lead to emotions of guilt that would otherwise be difficult to feel. 

Crying might be a factor. Exposure to trauma may also elicit feelings that a psychopath would typically conceal. Psychopaths are also conscious of their emotional detachment from the rest of the world, which may cause them a tremendous deal of discontent and pain. 

Need for attention. 

Suffering can also be caused by a need for attention. Psychopaths may be hypersensitive to emotions in other areas as a result of a history of abuse or neglect, which is typical among psychopaths. 

Disrespect, rejection by others, changes in circumstances that are out of their control, and loneliness are all examples of this. People with extreme psychopathic tendencies may experience sadness or loss and may cry. For example, if someone close to them passes away. 

Trauma.

For others, trauma might bring out feelings that have been suppressed for a long time. Some people are protective of the weak, such as animals or children, yet have no qualms about brutally harming those who harm the vulnerable.

When they are apprehended, some people cry. They are compelled to face the reality of the repercussions of their acts, not necessarily because they feel regret for their victims. They are distressed because horrible things have happened to them, not because they have caused harm to others.

After something horrible happens to them, people with psychopathy experience regret, but they are unable to utilise this to steer their future decisions, according to research.

What are these 3 reasons why psychopaths do not grieve?

The paucity of grey matter and neurotransmitter activity.

There are many psychopaths in our culture about whom we know almost little. Some people just lack the ability to feel emotionally connected to other people due to the particular way their brains are “wired.” 

In their brains, there is a paucity of grey matter and neurotransmitter activity, which prevents this from happening. While you may believe that psychopaths are utterly devoid of empathy and do not feel guilty when they harm others, this is not always the case.

Psychopathy has been defined as a fundamental incapacity to understand emotions such as empathy, sorrow, or regret by psychologists for decades. They are also claimed to be guilt-free. Men make up the majority of psychopaths, however, women can also be psychopaths.

Psychopaths are often misunderstood as being unable to sense emotions. This is not the case, though. While they may not be able to experience guilt, regret, fear, or grief, they may be able to feel the excitement, surprise, disgust, and even fury. 

Psychopaths don’t feel regret, remorse, humiliation, sorrow or guilt.

Psychopaths don’t feel regret, remorse, humiliation, or guilt, which are common reactions to our inability to reach our own standards. It’s often assumed that psychopathy’s antisocial behaviour and seeming lack of regret stems from an inability to feel empathy, but new research suggests that decision-making processes may also play a role. 

They’re risk-takers who don’t feel guilty or remorse for their actions. Psychopathy is linked to a pattern of antisocial behaviour as well as a lack of sorrow for the consequences of such behaviour. Psychopaths are manipulative, exploitative, unconcerned about others’ feelings, and lack conscience. 

In basic terms, psychopaths are often cut off from their own emotional experience when compared to regular individuals, with a very limited or non-existent emotional range that makes it difficult for them to feel normal emotions as others do.

Although most explanatory theories for psychopathy have focused on emotional responsiveness impairments, current research suggests that abnormal value-based decision-making may also play a role. Psychopaths are thought to be incapable of feeling regret.

The psychopath may be unable to physically experience the bodily sense of guilt that others perceive. They are aware that what they are doing is bad, yet they try to justify it.

Psychopaths are sadists. 

Their lifestyle is predatory by nature, and they have little or no sorrow or remorse for their actions. They have no remorse or regret for the crimes or betrayals they perform. According to Yale research, psychopaths can feel remorse, but it has no impact on their future decisions.

According to research co-authored by Joshua Buckholtz, associate professor of psychology at Harvard, psychopaths are not incapable of feeling emotions like remorse and disappointment, but they are unable to make accurate predictions about the repercussions of their actions. “Remorse includes someone, whereas regret is self-centred.”

Researchers think that if persons with psychopathy feel regret, they can design a way to harness that emotion and reduce recidivism among psychopathic criminals, who account for a disproportionate number of repeat offenders.

Sadists do have feelings. When psychopaths injure others, they seldom experience regret. This forces psychopaths to make a terrible choice: adapt and participate in a hollow, unreal existence, or refuse to adapt and live a lonely life cut off from society.

A study found that many psychopaths do feel regret. Psychopaths do not feel remorse, however, they can feel regret, but that’s focused on how their actions harmed them, not someone else. 

Conclusion – 

This blog post ventured into answering the question, “Do psychopaths grieve?” and reviewed psychopathy and the traits and behaviours of psychopaths to help determine if psychopaths can grieve. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments you may have.

References –

Cikanavicius, D. Can Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Psychopaths Feel Empathy, Sadness, or Remorse? (2017, August 8). Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/blog/psychology-self/2017/08/psychopathy-and-feelings#:~:text=Some%20people%20with%20severe%20narcissistic,that%20were%20otherwise%20deeply%20repressed.

If a psychopath loses family members such as a father, a mother, a spouse or their children, how would they feel? Quora. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.quora.com/If-a-psychopath-loses-family-members-such-as-a-father-a-mother-a-spouse-or-their-children-how-would-they-feel

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

Tracy, N. Can Psychopaths Love, Cry or Experience Happiness? (2022, January 28). Retrieved from https://www.healthyplace.com/personality-disorders/psychopath/can-psychopaths-love-cry-or-experience-happiness

Ramsland, K. The Emotional Lives of Psychopaths. (2021, April 23). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/shadow-boxing/202104/the-emotional-lives-psychopaths

Stages of Grief from a Psychopathic Relationship. Psychopathfree.com (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.psychopathfree.com/articles/stages-of-grief-from-a-psychopathic-relationship.138/

Reuell, P. A revised portrait of psychopaths. (2017, February 2). Retrieved from https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2017/02/a-revised-portrait-of-psychopaths/

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