Psychopaths Myths and Misconceptions: What people are wrong about psychopaths?

Psychopathy is one of the most dangerous psychological disorders there is, no denying that. Even so, people have some overly exaggerated generalized idea about psychopaths. The term is used more than ever at present. And thanks to Hollywood, the generalized idea about “psychopaths” is that they are all serial killers and mass murderers. On most occasions, we couldn’t be further from the truth.

Misconceptions about psychopath; all psychopath are not violent

Psychopaths are people with anti-social disorder, who lack empathy, guilt and are emotionally distant in comparison to the normal human beings. In a way, psychopaths are people who view the world in a slightly different view. The things we have learned about psychopaths from TV and books aren’t all wrong, but, we do have the tendency to overly generalize things. The generalization is by no means accurate. The presence of certain psychopathic traits cannot be held base to come into a hasty conclusion that they are psychopaths. Additionally, that definitely doesn’t hold true for these myths.

Psychopaths are deranged

This is the most common misconception people have, regarding the ones with psychopathic traits. Researchers have labeled psychopathy, along with sociopathy, as anti-social disorder. However, there are plenty of people who misunderstand the general definition and refer it as a personality type. Psychopaths are mistaken to be insane, or deranged, someone who hallucinates and hears voices. On the contrary however, psychopaths are highly intelligent and have no problem differentiating between the right and wrong. The psychological disorder where people lose their mind and are considered mentally unstable is psychosis, and not psychopathy.

Murderers are psychopaths; Psychopaths are murderers

This seems to be the general idea of psychopaths as portrayed in the Hollywood movies and tv shows. The term “psychopath” is so often linked with mass murders and serial killing that audience, people in general, have the idea that the term “psychopath” fits synonymously along with “murderers” and “killers”. A certain number of serial killers and murderers have been psychopaths throughout the history, which is still by no means enough to come into a conclusion. It’s like saying all “Slytherins” will turn out to be death eaters. Oh – wait , the point being; Snape turned out different. Most mass murderers have come up with a bizarre explanation to their horrifying acts, like – they were ordered by god. These people are most likely to be psychotic with a history of psychiatric illness and not psychopathic.

Psychopaths are violent

Psychopaths tend to be risk-takers, in fact, reckless risk takers quite often than not. Psychopaths lack the ability to find emotional attachment with other human beings regardless of their relationship with them. Also, their inability to feel empathy and guilt combined with their recklessness could be, sort of, terrifying. However, this is by no means a guarantee that the person with psychopathic traits is likely to turn violent. Depending upon the upbringing and the intelligence, there are numerous possibilities for psychopaths to live a non-violent lifestyle, and be quite successful. In which case, their psychopathic traits are most likely to work in their favor.

Who is a psychopath, really?

The term has been bouncing around for so long, we misuse it too often. We do not hesitate to classify, any and everyone we don’t like, especially our “heartless boss”, as a psychopath. Surgeons who do not show grief over the dying victim, who cut into the patient without the hint of emotion are often labeled as psychopaths. However, on the contrary, he/she is doing you a favor by not wasting their time on weeping and pointless melodrama. A more logical view would be; they are simply no-bullshit professional, have struggled years for the position and are ambitious, who also wants to save your life.
Another profession misjudged to be full of psychopaths is the corporate world. They might seem to be soul-sucking heartless people with one goal – money. However, it is more likely that they are only trying to make the ends meet and take proper care of their family.

Once a psychopath, always a psychopath

The statement is not entirely true. Psychopathic traits have been discovered to be natural(genetics). The common myth suggests that psychopaths will only grow up to be violent and cruel, their emotional detachment continuing to expand further. Granted, psychopathic traits will stick with a person throughout his lifetime, researchers are confident; psychopathic behaviors can be lessened through intensive treatment.

Researchers have still not been able to reach the distinct conclusion regarding the “Understanding of a psychopath”. They believe that an “elite psychopaths” could even dupe trained psychologists. Thus, it is in vain to act as if we understand such complexities. And, refraining on the urge to call every next person a psychopath is probably the wise decision.

interesting facts about psychopaths infographic