As a highly sensitive person, you are a target. Energy vampires are all around us, and they love to target highly sensitive people. Psychopaths are one of those dangerous people.
We are deeply empathic. That means that we tend to be compassionate, caring, loving, sharing, warm, conscientious, and a good listener. Psychopaths, by nature, prey on people who exhibit these traits. They have low empathy and are self-absorbed. They see desirable qualities as easily exploitable.
How to Recognize a Psychopath
Your first line of defense is to listen to your intuition. Highly sensitive people have calibrated intuitions. If you sense that something is off about someone you meet, listen to that perception. You can trust it. You may verify it through practical experience. Here are some signs to watch out for:
- Psychopaths don’t move their heads when they talk (consistently – be careful not to assume this if someone has neck pain or some other pathology that might explain this condition);
- Psychopaths exhibit the “Psychopathic Stare” (a fixed gaze that feels unsettling);
- Psychopathic eyes (pupils that don’t dilate, irises that appear black, dead or flat looking);
- When a psychopath smiles, be weary if it doesn’t involve their eyes; and,
- They will hold eye contact for an uncomfortable amount of time.
For a more complete assessment, see the Hare Psychopathy Checklist.
While only trained mental health professionals can accurately diagnose someone with psychopathy, these guidelines can help you decide whether or not to engage with a person further.
Keeping Your Defenses Sharp
Your empathy is a gift. You must use it wisely. That means keeping it from being exploited. One of the issues that we struggle with is saying “yes” when we want to say “no.” This can arise from a struggle with setting our boundaries.
As empathic people, we feel so strongly another person’s pain and suffering that we hurt along with that person. Our very natural response to that is to alleviate their agony. While this is a truly kind and humanitarian gesture, we cannot solve everyone’s problems nor soothe their anguish. Yet, we often have trouble drawing that line.
This empathic trait also leaves us open to manipulation. Exploiting people, especially ones whose first response is to ease misery, is a skill that energy vampires polish to perfection. Psychopaths are some of the worst of these.
As you go about your life, it’s important that you do not sacrifice all your good qualities. Your strong sensitivity provides a means to promote healing in others. But you must always put yourself first, and that means steering clear of psychopaths. Use your intuition and these guidelines to protect yourself and stay safe.
Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson