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Psychopaths make up about one percent of the general population (as in, not in a mental institution or jail) and most of them aren’t serial killers. They’re your conniving co-worker who somehow seems to get away with everything. They’re that “perfect” ex who ran off with someone else. Or maybe they’re just the totally normal guy who served you coffee this morning.

Psychopaths look like you and I, but there’s one big difference: they don’t have a conscience. They can harm others with absolutely no sense of remorse or guilt. They spend their lives learning how to mimic normal human emotions, but they don’t actually experience any of those feelings. Things like compassion, love, trust, and forgiveness — all just convenient vulnerabilities to be exploited.

To any onlooker, a psychopath will slip through life unnoticed. They’re likable, friendly, and charming (not at all over-the-top). But to those who are unfortunate enough to become close to a psychopath, a nightmare will begin to unfold. What starts as a fairy tale slowly transforms into an incomprehensible mess of mind games and chaos.

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Wondering if you might know (or even be in a relationship with) a psychopath? Here are the top 10 warning signs, according to thousands of survivors, as surveyed in the Psychopath Free online support community.

 

  1. They reel you in with idealization, love-bombing, and flattery.

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When you first meet a psychopath, things move extremely fast. They tell you how much they have in common with you — how perfect you are for them. Like a chameleon, they mirror your hopes, dreams, and insecurities to form an immediate bond of trust and excitement. They constantly initiate communication and seem to be fascinated with you on every level. If you have a Facebook page, they might plaster it with songs, compliments, poems, and inside jokes. (You can read more on idealization here.)

 

  1. They prey on your emotions with pity plays and sympathy stories.

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You’ll quickly find a soft spot in your heart for them. They often seem cute and innocent at first (forget your television idea of the arrogant narcissist with a flashy car). They’ll probably mention their abusive ex who’s still in love with them. They say that all they’ve ever wanted is some peace and quiet. They hate drama — and yet, you’ll soon come to notice there’s more drama surrounding them than anyone you’ve ever known.

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  1. They involve you in their own versions of “love triangles.”

 

Once you’re hooked, the triangulation sets in. They surround themselves with former lovers, potential mates, and anyone else who provides them with added attention. This includes people that the psychopath may have previously denounced and declared you superior to. This makes you feel confused and creates the perception that the psychopath is in high demand at all times.

 

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Sumbo Bello

The author Sumbo Bello