7 ways to recognize a relationship with a psychopath

Whenever someone in the room says the word “psychopath,” we invariably think of famous serial killers like Hannibal Lector or Ted Bundy. But psychopathy, like other psychological personality disorders, has its degrees and facets, and there are actually more psychopaths than we suspect.

According to some studies, 1 in 100 people are on the psychopathic spectrum. That is, you definitely met a psychopath in a coffee shop, at work or on the subway. Casual contact does not affect your life in any way. But if the psychopath has settled in your bedroom, the situation can take an unpleasant turn.

In this article, I invite you to explore the relationship with a psychopath under the magnifying glass of psychology.

1. He is more charismatic than Ivan Urgant

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On first approach, a psychopath seems to be the most charming, funny and open person on the planet. Moreover, his behavior and manners will depend on the audience for which he plays. And he just plays: a psychopath is incapable of empathy and sincere joy from communication.

Instead of real emotions, the psychopath offers society a perfectly crafted fake: he, like no one else, knows how to observe others and show exactly what they want from him. So if you notice that a new acquaintance seems to anticipate all desires and thoughts, turns out to be the most attentive, ideal and generally more like a Disney prince, then you should turn on the high alert mode.

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2. It operates on an accelerated schedule

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The fact that the guys hesitate and do their best to delay the transition of relations from non-binding walks to the status of “everything is serious” has long become habitual.

With psychopaths, the opposite is true: they will try to twist their partner as quickly as possible. You will not even have time to look back, as you move together, and he will be waiting for your every night a detailed story about all the events. And it’s not about his desire to quickly come to the altar, but about the need for control and encroachment on your personal space. It is vitally important for a psychopath to know that you are completely and completely in his power, and he has the right to any manipulations and psychological experiments.

3. He creates a love triangle

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Once you’re completely relaxed into your incredibly ideal relationship, there’s a point where the psychopath hooks up a third person. It could be an ex, about whom he spoke in a dismissive tone, or a colleague from work. Sometimes the whole environment of the psychopath is invited to play the role of the third one in turn.

This is done solely in order to knock out the ground under your partner’s feet. The presence of a constant competitive component will not only complicate the relationship, but also create the illusion of the exclusivity of your position, in which you, by a lucky chance, managed to find yourself.

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4. He lies all the time or changes the rules of the game

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Finding themselves in the center of the psychopath’s manipulations, the partner is forced to accept the conditions under which the relationship is built. Unfortunately, in the case of a psychopath, there are no clear and stable concepts – they change all the time, adjusting to the mood and goals of the manipulator. And the moment you try to catch him in deception or inconsistency, it turns out that the problem is not in him, but in you.

Often, psychopaths use gaslighting to crush a partner’s confidence. If in response to complaints you are often answered: “You thought of everything for yourself”, “I’m tired of your jealousy”, “You’re just too sensitive” etc., then congratulations, you will be gaslit. The main problem with gaslighting is that it undermines self-esteem and self-confidence very well. And this is exactly what a psychopath needs to make it easier to manipulate a partner.

According to Wikipedia, “gaslighting (from the English title of the play” Gas Light “) is a form of psychological violence and social parasitism, the main task of which is to make a person suffer and doubt the adequacy of his perception of the surrounding reality through constant devaluing jokes, accusations and intimidation.

5. He’s not happy with you all the time

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Having lowered the self-esteem of a partner to zero, the psychopath begins to express doubt about your compliance with his ideal person. Expect constant barbs, disparaging phrases about character and appearance. If before you were wrapped in attention, bathed in love and talked about exclusivity, now you will be ignored or shown with all kinds of looks that he is tired of your presence in his life.

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6. He provokes you all the time.

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Experiencing the depth of your tolerance for manipulation, the psychopath constantly finds new reasons to provoke a partner through difficult, dramatic and ambiguous moments.

He can openly flirt with someone in front of your eyes, and then resentfully say that you are again unreasonably jealous of him. Or he may not answer calls for days, expecting you to get out of a rut and then sadly conclude that you are dramatizing again.

7. You are gradually changing

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At the beginning of a relationship with a psychopath, a person may grow wings. Still: the perfect guy with the perfect love story. This kind of love makes you better, stronger, more confident in yourself. But over time, after all the drama and manipulation, you seek and do not find yourself the same. Still: a nervous, hunted animal looks at you in the mirror with despair and pain in the eyes. And the psychopath, saturated with your energy, shines and shines.

There are usually two options for getting out of a relationship with a psychopath. If the partner early realizes his unenviable position and stops succumbing to manipulation, the separation will be very stormy and dramatic. And if the psychopath completes his game, he will arrange everything in such a way that he will allegedly be forced to leave you. Neither in the first nor in the second case, he does not admit his guilt.


A relationship with a psychopath is always a knowingly losing situation, from which you need to escape as soon as possible. Sometimes the partner wants to “change” the psychopath, but this is impossible from the point of view of neuropsychology.

Trying to appeal to his conscience and empathy, you knock on the door, beyond which there is nothing. Studies show that the brain of a psychopath is designed in such a way that the higher the level of psychopathy, the less empathy and feelings of remorse people experience. And the point here is not in a conscious choice, but in a reduced activity of the anterior cingulate cortex – a part of the brain that is responsible for morality. Remember that you are the most important person in your life! Take care of yourself.

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