Characteristics of a Psychopath

ruthlessly opportunistic
pathological lying
lack of empathy
ego centric
superficial charm
shallow emotions
lack of remorse or guilt
abusive treatment of others
grandiose sense of self-worth
failure to accept responsibility for own actions


How to be a success in the corporate world.


34 thoughts on “Characteristics of a Psychopath

  1. That is so true on both counts. Having just successfully passed my psychiatry component in medical school it is absolutely correct. Not just in the business world I would ponder though…

    1. certainly not just the business world Carolyn πŸ™‚ but psychologists have come up with a name for it in the business world ‘corporate psychopath’ (and written some books on the subject) – enjoy your holidays soon to be doctor Carolyn.

  2. omg. so true. but it’s pervasive, education, gov’t, utilities, marketing, health, nonprofts even sports its almost hopeless to escape it. but not hopeless to do something about it-this poem stands and also is beautifully architected. i hope it is widely read!

  3. The trouble is, all those attributes are not binary absolutes but linear scales along which we are all scattered at different points. I sometimes think we need a few more inspirational leaders in the World today who will have to be well out of the median on some of those scales. I’m thinking more Winston than Adolph of course.

    On another tedious and pedantic note, if you had sorted the words from longest to shortest it would have resembled the knife more.

    ….I’ll get my coat….

    1. Bwhahahahaha – don’t run away Rog! It has long been recognised that personality attributes are continuous variables (not discrete categories) – diagnosis is like slicing off the tip of the iceberg. There is a continuum of psychopathy as well (maybe with the serial killers at the tip of that iceberg). Personally I would like to see leaders have characteristics such as visionary, brave, think outside the box, open minded, fair, empathic etc.,

      The poem is not supposed to look like a knife – hahahahaha – I put the knife picture in at the last minute (it might be a distraction).

  4. It does remind me of my time working in private enterprise , though I was surrounded by a lot more middle management sociopaths.

  5. I would urge Rog not to rush to the coat rack, he is right. There are plenty more than 4%who spread themselves along the line from Hitler to Jesus but would not be considered mentally ill.
    I read that Winston suffered bi-polar disease, sort of the opposite end from psychopathy I presume.

    1. Thanks Stafford πŸ˜‰ Psychopathy is more a personality disorder than a mental illness; and bi-polar has no relation at all to psychopathy at all (though in a manic state someone might have impulsive behaviours that are similar to those a psychopath might do). The issue of psychopathic CEO’s has just been in the media a lot at the moment (some new book) so there has been more study done in that career.

  6. Brilliant, Gabe! They, of course, will pooh-pooh it, but it is SO true. I have worked for some of those and they could do no wrong – e-v-e-r – so convinced were they that they were absolutely invincible.

  7. oh gees. this is accurately scary. brilliant Gabrielle – oh. i see adeeyoyo said that too… yeah, then, too spot on for ease. is that fume steam, no wait, it’s snow in your spring. . . okay okay, almost spring. aloha.

  8. Sounds like every banker I’ve ever met or read about. One of my best friends from school who I adored went into day trading and from there into capital markets and inverstment banking. It has changed him beyond belief. I think you have to almost dehumanise yourself to survive in that business and he comes across now as arrogant and callous. Every now and then I see a glimmer of who he was and it gives me hope but he quickly squashes it down. I find it quite hard to deal with. Your fantastic poem hit home big time.

    1. Bankers are the worst – saw the head of Westpac on tv yesterday saying how they probably won’t be able to pass on any more interest rate cuts because they have it so bad – boohoohoo! Love your Chrissy gravatar Selma πŸ™‚

  9. I come back to this poem to find out again what it was. At first I thought I have never encountered a pschopath and now I think maybe I have, but far from the corporate world. The person I have in mind would be an artist, wants to be, is young. How does one really know if another person is a psychopath? It seems cruel to accuse anyone of such a thing without very strong evidence (I feel guilty thinking it) and yet I do get a very bad vibe from this person who I know only very slightly.

    Well, better to fit the occasion to writing poetry! Adds a distance that is civilized and yet useful, cautionary ….

    1. Don’t feel guilty Aletha (as long as you keep it to yourself πŸ˜‰ ) – we all slot people into boxes, which we would remove if we had to swear before a court! Your last sentence is spot on – a bit like the development of characters in poetry (adds a useful distance and ambiguity).

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