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- The word psychopath” is commonly used to describe villains on TV and in movies, like Joe Goldberg in Netflix’s hit series “You.”
- Dr. Kelly Scott, a therapist at Tribeca Therapy in Manhattan, told Insider that the word “psychopath” is just a colloquial term for antisocial personality disorder.
- Here are four signs you might be dating a “psychopath,” or the closest type of person to one, according to Scott.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more.
However, the word “psychopath” doesn’t describe a real medical condition.
“People use the word ‘psychopath’ colloquially to describe a person whose behavior defies social norms and conventional understandings of right and wrong,” Kelly Scott, a therapist at Tribeca Therapy in Manhattan, told Insider. “From a clinical perspective, the word ‘psychopath’ doesn’t mean anything.”
Scott said that the closest diagnosis that reflects the stereotypical representation of psychopaths in popular culture is antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). According to the Mayo Clinic, ASPD is a mental disorder that causes people to not have any regard for right or wrong, empathy, or the well-being of other people.
Though people with ASPD exhibit behaviors that would make for an unhealthy and even toxic partner, they are incredibly charismatic and good at faking empathy.
Here are four indicators that you may be dating a psychopath – or someone with ASPD – according to Scott.
They are harmful to others without remorse — whether it be financially, emotionally, or physically.
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Scott said people with ASPD are more likely to deceive and engage in organized crime because of a lack of care about harming people.
According to the Mayo Clinic, one of the primary symptoms of ASPD is lacking a sense of morality and having no problem harming people financially, emotionally, and even physically if it means they get something out of it.
They only do things for personal gain.
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People with ASPD act solely for personal gain, which can mean exploiting the people around them, even if they’re considered loved ones or family, according to Scott.
This can manifest in manipulation, lying, stealing, and other harmful practices against one’s partner, according to the Mayo Clinic. These behaviors can culminate in a level of abuse in their relationships.
They have no empathy.
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Psychopaths are almost always portrayed as physically harming or murdering someone in popular media. And while people with ASPD oftentimes can be violent in the way they manifest their lack of empathy, this isn’t a steadfast rule.
Sometimes, a lack of empathy can come out in more subtle ways, according to Scott.
“You don’t have to kill someone to get that diagnosis,” Scott said. “You can do it in a non-physical way. It can come out in parenting and using your child to meet your own needs in a way that is massively detrimental to your child’s needs.”
People with ASPD rarely go detected and are usually very charming.
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It can be extremely difficult to detect the underlying symptoms of ASPD because people with the condition can be incredibly charming, even going as far as to fake empathy at times.
“A hallmark of ASPD is people don’t know they’re interacting with someone really dangerous,” Scott said. “They’re charming and attentive and appear thoughtful.”
- Read more:
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- Joe from ‘You’ is probably a love addict, and an expert says it’s more common than you might think