25 signs your partner is a psychopath

Here’s my top 25 signs that you are dating a psychopath. Don’t dismiss the red flags, and trust your intuition. If you think something’s not right – it probably isn’t.

Photo by tourist_on_earth

Photo by tourist_on_earth

The psychopath…

  1. Moves very fast – declares undying love for you far faster than you’d expect, or wants to move in with you / get married / have babies at a speed that makes you uncomfortable.
  2. Claims to believe in love at first sight, and uses phrases like ‘it’s you and me against the world’. Very Romeo and Juliet (and you know how that panned out, right?).
  3. Uses his charm to impress and ingratiate himself with everyone around you.
  4. Is homophobic or racist – reacts with anger or disgust. You can’t understand why another person’s private life bothers him so much.
  5. Does not respect your privacy or need for personal space – he routinely reads your emails, knows your Facebook password, scans your text messages, turns up unexpectedly at your place of work, and calls you at 3am. If you leave him, he may stalk or otherwise harass you.
  6. Displays strange, irrational behaviour or beliefs. My ex thought my dad planted a recording device in his car, and regularly hid the house keys in the light fittings!
  7. Has ‘The Look’ down to a fine art. You know, the cold, silently menacing one that lets you know you are in for it later.
  8. Is cruel or disinterested in children and animals, or people who are of no use to him.
  9. Some people recommend we judge a person by how they treat the server or shop assistant. Beware of ‘the waitress test’! Psychopaths are illusionists, and know how to simulate compassion. My abuser used to make a point of giving to homeless people – often big sums. Privately, he still showed no compassion for my welfare and feelings.
  10. Exaggerates his personal achievements or talents.
  11. Has ‘hair trigger’ changes of mood – the classic Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde. You’ll not know what set him off, and be left dazed and confused by how quickly the rage disappears and replaced by softness and tenderness.
  12. Has unrealistic ambitions or expectations, and puts in no effort towards achieving them. You wonder how he’s going to become a millionnaire when he spends every penny he makes, as soon as he makes it.
  13. Is a passionate advocate for idealised love. Love at first sight, passion to put The Titanic in the shade, he will definitely (apparently) die for you – or without you. He’s only obsessive and controlling because he loves you, right? If you leave him, he will threaten suicide.
  14. Displays excessive reactions to real or perceived threats, criticism or if you don’t toe his line. My ex threatened to stab himself in the leg with a kitchen knife because I’d bought the wrong brand of cola.
  15. Chooses a risk-taking lifestyle – criminal activity, drug use, excessive drinking. You’ll bear the brunt of this and be expected to pick up the pieces as he lurches from crisis to crisis.
  16. Habitually lies – about small stuff as well as big stuff. Even if you catch him in a blatant untruth, he’ll spin yet more lies until you are so confused and exasperated you give up asking. Eventually, you will know he’s lying but decide that calling him on it will get you no closer to the truth.

    jackN

  17. Demands or withholds sex according to your compliance with his ‘rules’. Sex may be like you are starring in his personal porn movie – with him showing off his prowess. Even your pleasure is a reflection on his fantastic sexual abilities. You may find yourself doing things that you don’t want to do as you attempt to please him.
  18. Never acknowledges your needs, desires or hopes. His come first, and anyway – aren’t your needs the same as his?
  19. If he does something nice for you, like running you a bath – watch out. Either you’ll never hear the end of it, or he wants something in return! He’ll also use it as an excuse forever more: ‘Darling, you can’t expect me to put the rubbish out today: I did the dishes for you three weeks ago!’ Because, after all, he’s doing you a favour.
  20. Is paranoid or appears delusional. And, guess what? When he wakes up in the dead of night convinced that there’s an intruder downstairs lying in wait for him – you’ll be sent to investigate. But don’t worry, he’s two steps (miles) behind you!
  21. Never buys you a Christmas card, or remembers your birthday. That’s because, he says, it’s just one day and not really important. Or, because he simply doesn’t give a damn.
  22. Laughs at things others find disturbing and has inappropriate responses to suffering in others. Saving Private Ryan? Hilarous. Solution to conflict Syria? Let them all kill each other. Drug-raped woman in the local paper? Silly slapper shouldn’t have been out drinking without a man to protect her. You get the picture.
  23. Mimics your body language or speech (mirroring), or has an uncanny knack of saying exactly what you want to hear.
  24. ‘Borrows’ money from you. You never get it back. When you ask, he’s got a great story about why he can’t repay the loan right now. But he definitely will, next week / month / year / lifetime.
  25. Never says ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ to you – you exist to do his will, after all.
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41 responses to “25 signs your partner is a psychopath

    • @dragonflywomanblog – and I’m sure you could add at least one hundred more!

      One of the scariest things is how well they know us – they are very good at (at least on an intellectual level) unearthing what we want and need. And, they have no qualms in using that knowledge to use and manipulate us. Urgh.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: Another update on this journey… the dangers of reacting | My journey of healing from psychological abuse·

  2. Oh, my…this all sounds super familiar. One thing that tipped me off that my abuser was REALLY an abuser (it seemed to hard to believe) was that he laughed at handicapped or mentally challenged people and made fun of women that had been sexually assaulted. Wow…what a nice guy, huh?

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  3. That is awful, and absolutely unsurprising. Abusers in general and psychopaths in particular have no empathy – that’s how they can do what they do, of course. I’m sorry you wound up with him – hopefully, he is long gone now 🙂

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    • Sexism is a great indicator of psychopathy – sexist men believe they are biologically superior to women and therefore their opinions, perceptions, wishes count more than womens or childrens. I have found this to be a great indicator of DV on its way.

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      • fucking bull shit its not just a male thing i am with a woman who uses all of it on me and with women its worse women do so much more if there’s a child involved mothers have all the rights that is sexist so to be a good father we have to sit back and take it with no help because of people like you saying men are at the heart of it

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      • I never said psychopaths were not female also. You’re on a site aimed at helping women in abusive relationships, because that’s what I lived through and learned from. Read the comments: plenty men also find support on these pages. If its not for you, please take your swearing self off elsewhere.

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  4. Seriously, so much here that blows my mind! It’s just so eye-opening to read this and discover that I was NOT crazy after all. From the Love-bombing; He told me he was in love with me on the first week, wanted me to have my tubal reversed to have his baby, and we had moved in within 2 months. Mine would lock every door in the house, and hide everything. All of my friends were “sluts and whores”. I remember telling mine that I was raped once, as I cried while confiding this, he stormed off and sulked, because he said I shouldn’t have put myself in such a situation, he treated me like I was a slut because of the rape. Awful! Then he cheated on me several times and lied nonstop. Once in a fight, he punched me in the face and then denied it the next day. These people are truly monsters and if you see the red flags- RUN!!

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    • Abusers are excellent at getting us to doubt our own judgement. That way, we are less likely to leave and they have ‘license’ to continue and extend their control – it certainly is crazy-making!

      For me, some of the things that he did were so absurd they defied rationality – making me look elsewhere for an explanation for his behaviour. Was it stress / drink / drugs / difficult upbringing? No: he was just an abusive man who would never accept responsibility and therefore was incapable of change.

      I’m so sorry that all that happened to you, but it sounds like you are out now. Major kudos to you for that.

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    • You’re right, both men and women can be psychopathic. However, this is a site aimed primarily at women going through various forms of domestic violence, rather than a blog focussed solely on psychopathy. As it states on the About Avalanche page, I regularly refer to perpetrators as being male for consistency purposes and because, as a woman, I write from a woman’s perspective. I have acknowledged that females can be perpetrators too (though the evidence is clear than perpetrators are overwhelmingly male).

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  5. my husband of 21 years still smiles when telling you someone has died.
    why does he comment about the private lives of people as if there is something wrong when there isn’t
    he is always hiding from someone. even at night he pulls the sun visor down
    can change his mood like a bulb being turned on and off
    he appreciates everyone outside, but not his family- except when it is obvious that i am cold towards him
    he is always on the brink of success
    he says i will make him feel bad when i have to be firm about something
    he lies! l almost went crazy, thank
    god for journal
    he has a strange, misplaced, high pitch laugh
    he uses the exact arguments i have used for his purpose
    he never pays in full even when he can, his nine year old son hides his money from him

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  6. Pingback: The First Indications That You Are Involved With A Narcissist | Healing And Thriving From Narcissistic Abuse·

    • If he’s a psychopath, it’s not surprising you love him. They’re often superficially very charming and work hard to get their target to fall in love with them. Unfortunately they’re not capable of reciprocating.

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  7. I have isolated myself for so long I feel spellbound. My mind is willing but my emotions are immature. I am being damaged but I am afraid to lose him. We have a unique connection as gypsies…I am afraid I will be alone forever. I am willing to move on but I need help breaking the attachment…

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  8. This is a tame list. Psychopaths lack a conscience and cannot attach or love. They are cold reptiles devoid of the mammallian drive to bond hence their presence creates a chill. The world exists to serve their needs and they are driven to do what they want without regard for the impact on other people. In a pit the psychopath will emerge as the primal fighter and aggressor and can be used to protect the vulnerable from attack. They are the dominant survivor under threat. Better to befriend them than attempt to beat them at their game as they are driven to win and rarely surrender or concede blame or responsibility for their crimes or amoral behaviour.

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    • ” In a pit the psychopath will emerge as the primal fighter and aggressor and can be used to protect the vulnerable from attack”
      ….Um no. The psychopath’s number one priority is always himself. The only reason you would expect a psychopath to put themselves in harm’s way to protect someone vulnerable is if that person was in some way useful to them, if other people were watching and were not aware that they were a psychopath hence needing to maintain their ‘cover’ as a ‘good person’, or alternatively on a purely narcissistic level if others hailed them as a godlike and superior being to stroke their ego until they became bored.
      “Better to befriend them than attempt to beat them at their game as they are driven to win and rarely surrender or concede blame or responsibility for their crimes or amoral behaviour.”
      ….Noooo, sorry this is very bad advice. If at all possible and have learned to recognise them, don’t get close to them in the first place as they are not people you want to be “friends” with. Or indeed interact with closely in any way shape or form unless you want to be manipulated or damaged as their plaything.
      Chris Cunningham, are you in fact a psychopath yourself?
      You certainly come across that way. Or you’ve got a major case of Stockholm going on. Don’t admire them, they are not the next evolutionary step, nor superior. The very things that they despise about ‘normal’ people is what makes a human a human and enables communal advancement. If there was no community of normal people for them to prey upon, they could not exist as they could not manipulate or fool each other. So in fact, they are merely parasites.

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  9. I hope you will widely put this in writing; a booklet maybe. I had the same experience 4years ago, which I ended within two. My guardian angel acted against him , when I was on the brink of marrying him! It would have been the greatest mistake of my life! Everything was rushed; he wanted a kid, marriage,within two months! Before I knew it his stuff was in my place! The lies! My God! I was so sure he believed those lies too! So glad I had no kid with him! I might have had another psycho/narcissist in the house( if the genes carry such) . Your research is 100% accurate. You must add how nicely they dress up and take care of themselves ONLY!

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  10. I wish I had seen this list years ago. Would have saved me years of hell. That’s okay, now his younger wife is taking care of him in his old age! He isn’t my problem anymore.

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  11. I got engaged before 5(arrange marriage ). And after 2 months im getting that his behaviour is very weird. Almost points u mentioned are matching with him.
    So i am confused about this relationship. Can i go ahead or not. Please give me suggestions.
    He said that he loves me alot but this activityare very strange. Im not getting what to do with this situation . I also love him so much. But his behaviour can change or not?

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    • I got engaged before 5 months (arrange marriage ). And after 2 months im getting that his behaviour is very weird. Almost points u mentioned are matching with him.
      So i am confused about this relationship. Can i go ahead or not. Please give me suggestions.
      He said that he loves me alot but this activities are very strange. Im not getting what to do with this situation . I also love him so much. But his behaviour can change or not?

      Like

  12. My bf used to threatened me if i leave her her he will kill himself. He said i cant live without you.its awkward to hear when i said i want to end everything. I m soo confused.

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  13. I feel like I’m trapped in a nightmare. It’s too late for me I feel, I have nobody else left now, a fact he enjoys reminding me of. My friends couldn’t understand why I had changed after marriage, why I had become so depressed. My family took his side. Because he is so charming to other people. To me once too. 6 months after marriage was when his mask came off. To all outward appearances I’m sure it seems that he is a good man, doing the best he can to look after a crazy, hyper vigilant woman who can barely function anymore. He certainly provides that appearance very well in public.
    I’m so mentally unwell now that I sometimes wish to die just so it will stop. Hot and cold, he loves me, he hates me, he is kind(?), he hurts me. The torture is unrelenting. Now when he’s acting nice, I can never relax, always waiting for the switch. I’ve learned that when I do something wrong, he’ll punish me eventually. The waiting is perhaps the worst part. Physical abuse, mental and emotional, it all hurts, but at least my body can heal most things over time. My mind not so much anymore.
    Sometimes I dream of getting away, but then other times I just resign myself to a life of suffering. If I make no facial expression and speak without much inflection in my voice it is hard for him to gauge my feelings. I have found this helpful in stopping him attacking me if I feel something. I think psychopaths have trouble if you give no facial or verbal cues because they honestly cannot seem to put themselves in someone else’s shoes or understand how they might feel.
    And that is one thing they can never learn to do. You know the way they learn your buttons, and learn your weak points? Well they can’t learn empathy, so that’s the only way to hide from him.
    He despises my feelings, tells me I am weak and pathetic for having them. I don’t argue with him anymore, it is not possible to win. And he attacks so viciously I get confused and uncertain, until I believe that I must be wrong, or crazy or bad. The thing about arguing in a rational manner is that it only results in a rational outcome if both parties are in fact rational HUMAN BEINGS.
    I repeat back about myself all the things he says to me, the terrible names and it satisfies him that I am under his control, but deep down inside is where I hide myself away with my secret. Shhh, don’t tell him, but I still keep hope inside me and one day when my cage door is open and he isn’t looking I might just fly away free, (if my wings haven’t been pulled off completely). Or hobble, limp, drag myself, whatever. If I see a chance to get away without dying I’m going for it.

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  14. Anonymous from December 26. Pray for that cage door to be opened and to have the courage fly out when you see it. Build up your strength as best you can. Learn from these sites, and get yourself organized in your mind as best you can. I was with a horrible violent manipulator for seven years who even punched me in my stomach when I was pregnant. I lost the baby at almost 5 months along. He justified himself for that by saying that it wassomeone else’s baby. I know now he was projecting his infidelity onto me. I found out a couple years after I’d finally gotten away from him that he’d been cheating on me, and had had a child with this woman during our relationship. He had told her that he couldn’t leave me for her because I would commit suicide if he did. In reality I would have been thrilled. I had loved him desperately the first few years, and during that time, he was only violent when he was jealous. It almost seemed romantic. I quickly learned not to talk to any males, or even glance in the direction of one. By the fourth year, he would get violent over anything, a pot left on the stove, a hair comb on the sink. One time he beat my face so badly, I looked like a black and blue monster. Then he sent me to the store to get his beer, clearly informing me that he would kill me if I was’t back in twenty minutes. The ladies at the store just looked at me in complete shock. There were plenty of times when he would seem calm, but it would only last a few days, or a week or two. I tried to leave him several times. The first couple times he cried and begged me to come back. He even begged on his knees. Another time he kicked in my friends apartment door and literally dragged me by my hair to the car. He beat me so badly that day, I didn’t look normal for weeks. I could go on and on, but I just want to say PRAY. The Lord saved me from that whole situation. At first, I prayed for God to change him. You know, to bring back the charming person I fell in love with. I prayed that for 3 years. I wasn’t ready to give up on the dream of us one day being happy together. You truly have to get to the point that you know without a doubt that if you could get away, you’d NEVER go back. I was certainly there, but I knew he’d kill me if I wasn’t extremely careful. I then started praying for a way of escape. I got on the pill to be sure I wouldn’t get pregnant again. I had to hide those very carefully as he didn’t want me on them. I tried to hide money, what I could, but he found it one time and I just played it off. Of course he took it all. I also started being even more submissive, doing things to keep him as happy as I could without arousing suspicion. I kept thinking that sooner or later I would get away. I just wanted to be sure he didn’t kill me in one of his rages before that happened. Then God answered my prayers. He got caught driving on a suspended license for the fourth time, and had to go to jail for about a month. However he decided he just wouldn’t show up on the day they’d set for him to report to the jailhouse. He always pushed his limits with everything and I guess he figured he’d get away with that too. I’m sure his main reason for not going when he should have was because he knew I would be “unsupervised” for far too long. Another month went by, then the police picked him up and he ended up having to do five months in jail instead. At first I felt thrilled and heartbroken at the same time. He would call me each day and I would speak with him like normal, but after about two weeks, he literally threatened to kill me from jail. This was about 25 years ago. I guess they didn’t get involved in what the inmates were talking about from jail back then. I hung up on him after this threat and would not answer the phone again. I knew this was seriously ticking him off but what could he do. He didn’t have any friends to come hurt me. He spent most of his time trying to keep me as isolated as possible. I then had months to get myself situated. He wrote quite a few letters of various sorts, threatening, claiming he’d kill himself, begging me, and one which was very straight forward telling me how sorry he was for treating me so horribly, that he knows he doesn’t deserve me. That one made me cry. He even wrote to me pretending to be another inmate, claiming that I need to give this guy another chance because he loves me so much. I wrote him telling him that I’ll always want the best for him but we can’t be together anymore. He eventually tried to convince me that we could just be friends when he gets out. I knew in my soul that would never work. That before long he would manipulate me or most likely force me to go back to the way things were. I knew this was the chance I’d been praying a couple years for and I was taking it. By the time he got out, he didn’t have access to me at all. I let him have anything he wanted from the house. Even the dog, though I wanted it. I found out that he actually gave it away shortly after getting it. He just didn’t want me to have it. I believe his initial rage had time to cool off in jail, so he didn’t try to find me again. I think he didn’t want to get locked up again. I’m happily married with three kids now. I’m actually on this site because my mother’s a narcissist and so are a couple other members of my family. They certainly do get worse with age and I’m facing a completely different drama with all of them right now. I just have to say, PLEASE don’t give up hope. If you can, investigate women’s shelters if you have no one to help you. I’m so sorry your own family isn’t there for you. I so get that. Love yourself enough and encourage yourself to take whatever steps you can, no matter how small, to make your way out of this living nightmare to freedom. Remember this is NOT your fault. Document all the abuse day by day. Read your Bible. Know that you are precious in the sight of the Lord, and pray for deliverance. Do all that you can and God will make a way. Love to you.

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  15. High pitch laugh, superstitious, unable to look at you in the eye face to face for a long time, soft spoken monotonous voice, expresive hands

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