5 Surprising Signs That Indicate You Might Be A Psychopath
Though the headlines may seem to imply otherwise, only about 1 percent of people are actual psychopaths. And that doesn't automatically mean they murder people; they just demonstrate a certain set of antisocial personality traits, like narcissism, sadism, and a lack of empathy. If you're thinking, "Hey, that sounds like me!" here are some unexpected traits that you might want to look out for ...
Note: You can't actually diagnose yourself via an internet comedy article, but we all know that, right?
You Like Bitter Drinks
Most people don't actually like the taste of coffee -- how could they? They like the taste that a little bit of coffee adds to a cup full of sugar and cream. If you or someone you know actually does like the taste of black coffee, that could be a very foreboding sign. It turns out a love for bitter beverages is a sign you might just be a psychopath.
Researchers in Austria used their dour Austrian psychology to get to the bottom of what makes someone want to hold back on adding sugar to their black cup of caffeinated acid. After doing some personality tests to suss out who demonstrated what experts call the "dark" personality traits (in particular, sadism), they drew the conclusion that there's a weird correlation between being a psychopathic kind of person and enjoying drinks that taste like they leaked from the back of a fridge.
Why? It's hard to know, but it may be the perception that the bitter beverage is unpleasant to others. So it's kind of the same reason they're into other weird shit -- they naturally like pushing boundaries, vicariously enjoying other people's discomfort. Bitterness is your tongue's way of telling you that the thing in your mouth isn't fit for consumption. Psychopathic personalities take that as a challenge.
It's not just about black coffee, either. A different study found if you pull back on beers like an IPA every so often, the same thing potentially applies. All the more reason you should stick to gin and milkshakes at every meal, like a normal person.
You're A Night Owl
As everyone knows, the night is superior to the daytime, because night is when all the swears come on TV and it's harder for people to see that you spilled nacho cheese on your shirt. But be wary of your love of the night, assuming you have one, because it's possibly a sign that you're riding the midnight trolley to psycho town (that's the actual scientific terminology).
In the world of personality disorders, researchers name a particular set of traits the "Dark Triad," which is probably not helpful or therapeutic for anyone who might have them. The triad refers to psychopathy, narcissism, and manipulativeness, and people who have all three show a marked preference for getting things done under the cover of night. Does this mean the raccoon in my yard is also a narcissistic psychopath? Clearly.
The official reason a psychopath is more likely to be active at night makes more sense than it should. Researchers figure a penchant for the shadowy evolved alongside psychopathic traits because it's a lot easier to do sinister things when no one can see you. It's almost too easy. You'd be hard-pressed to get some real psycho work done at 10 a.m. on a sunny Wednesday when there are just so many more opportunities at 2 a.m. on Thursday (the week's most dastardly day).
This actually touches on why psychopaths persist in the species, despite everyone considering them monsters. Being more alert and creative at night time is a pretty good mating strategy, especially if your goal is to poach a mate from that nerd who went to bed at 9.
You REALLY Like Thinking And Talking About Food
This one made me nervous at first, because any good detective's investigation into my personal habits would turn up a whole lot of Food Network marathons. Luckily for me and my neighbors, though, there's more to it than that. People who are overly obsessed with discussing things like food, sex, or money tend to have psychopathic tendencies.
This study involved examining imprisoned criminals and their speech patterns. When describing their crimes, criminals with psychopathic tendencies had a noted habit of focusing on details like what exactly they ate the day of their crime. See, in the mind of a psychopathic criminal, it's very likely that the meal was more significant. It provided a physical need and was more memorable than the person they may have turned into a skin suit.
In fact, in researching their speech patterns, it became clear that psychopaths are a lot more interested in the physical needs they met around the time of a crime than the crime itself, to the point that they will volunteer such information quite more readily than anything else. The other convicts would talk more about social and emotional elements like family and religion -- you know, the things most people fall back on during a life-ruining event. But if your brain is incapable of processing those concepts, well, all you have left are the tacos you had for lunch.
You ever trace your hand on paper and then add some creative flair to turn it into a turkey? You're a monster, and now we all know it. In a fun break from the psychos who wait for you to take a shower before stabbing you through the curtain, researchers have tossed out the term "prosocial" psychopath to describe those who have the tendency to do their own thing and take risks toward artistic endeavors. Because their personality type makes them both narcissistic and less risk-averse than the average person, they are more inclined to not follow trends and take bold, exciting risks with their art. Hand-turkey-level risks.
The authors of the study noted Picasso as an example of an artist who went fully batshit when he went cubist. That movement kicked the art world and its established norms firmly in the giblets, but it seems to have worked out well for Picasso, because he was willing to look at the way things were and then do the exact opposite of everything times five. It's also worth noting that Picasso was the kind of guy who would literally refer to himself as God sometimes, and was also noted for being something of a monster on a regular basis. But was he a psychopath? You can't fully diagnose mental illness posthumously, but there's a lot of evidence to suggest that he was more than your run-of-the-mill asshole who made doodles.
Otherwise, architects were the people who scored the highest when it came to the Dark Triad, and the personality traits more strongly associated with creative achievement seemed to be narcissism and psychopathy. Of course, as I said at the top, psychopaths are a tiny minority in society, so the guy who designed your house is still probably not a psychopath.
You're Friends With Your Ex
Man, I've told you about my ex before, but if you need a refresher, after we broke up, she wanted the toilet mat back from our bathroom. So it's safe to say we didn't remain friends. But if we had, maybe that would mean one of us was a psychopath. Because that's what psychopaths do: They stay friendly with their exes. Please take a moment to think back through all of your own relationships.
The reasoning here is that some people who opt to stay friends with exes don't do so for reasons of evolved maturity and basic human kindness. Instead, their motivation is rooted in more of those classic dark personality traits. They keep in contact with an ex because it's a convenient resource for things like money, sex, or information.
The thing you need to remember about a psychopath is that they can be very charming. Part of their insidiousness is their ability to play your emotions. These are the ones who are just kind and giving enough that it ensures they'll be in your orbit when they inevitably need something from you. You break up one day, and next thing you know, they're at your place every other day to piss on that toilet mat again.
Just remember, that doesn't mean all your exes are psychos, and there's probably been a handful of legit cases where people broke up and remained mostly friends in a non-disturbing way. Still, I'm pretty sure these findings explain every one of Ross' actions on Friends.
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