Maybe it’s a hazard of being a crime writer, but psychopaths are never far from my mind but this week has been exceptional. Psychopaths everywhere! It got me thinking about why we have so many psychopaths in public life. Reading psychological profiles is a bit like reading horoscopes, you can see a bit of yourself in all of them.
How do you spot a psychopath?
“When you first meet them they are incredibly charming. They tell you everything you want to hear and seem like the most genial and wonderful people you’ve met in your life.”
I like to joke my super power is being the new girl. I went to 11 schools, I’ve learned how to make a good first impression. I once was taken on a tour during a job interview and stopped to go to the toilet. I went to meet the woman taking the tour and heard her telling a soon-to-be-colleague that I was “so lovely, just one of the nicest people.” This is obviously not an impression I can sustain. Hmmm.
“They’re good liars. They always leave just enough wiggle room, its very hard to pin them to a lie.”
I am a very good liar. I used to practice lying to people’s faces when I was a teenager. I became an expert at plausible deniability, weaving in just enough truth, using detail to add authenticity. Hmmmm.
“They don’t make long term plans.”
I hate being asked about a five year plan—lucky I’m a good liar, eh? Where do I want to be in 5 years time? How can I possibly know? Vast numbers of possibilities and opportunities and ideas can come up in that time. Hmmmmmm.
It’s okay though, you can all relax, turns out I am a big, soft-hearted lefty (as my parents fear). The average for women, with more than 3 million people taking the test, was 41%
I’ve encountered a fair few psychopaths. They’re attracted to places where there are high empaths because empathetic people are easy to manipulate, and those are the places I work. I can’t really believe I have to say this out loud, but psychopaths make bad leaders.
If you’re interested in psychopaths, I highly recommend Conversations with Richard Fidler’s episode on the topic.