PSYCHOPATHY is “traditionally a personality disorder characterised by persistent antisocial behaviour, impaired empathy and remorse, and bold, disinhibited and egotistical traits”, according to Wikipedia. It is sometimes considered synonymous with sociopathy.
According to an online portal, psychopaths are real people. They work with you, for you and could easily be your head of department or your superior.
“One of the problems with psychopaths is they are terribly vengeful people,” said David Gillespie, author of Taming Toxic People: The science of identifying and dealing with psychopaths at work and at home.
So how can you spot a psychopath at home or in a workplace?
The first is his unpredictability. He will tell you to do a job or things a certain way, then openly shame or belittle you. You may be in a state of being “gaslighted or manipulated”, to the point that you start thinking something is wrong with you or you are getting things wrong. He will perpetually cause a state of confusion and anxiety, and it makes workplace a living hell.
Second, he will probably be the nicest person you have ever met, but he is prone to sudden changes in personality.
Third, a psychopath “lacks remorse or empathy”, according to The Telegraph. How he treats you could be described as workplace bullying; only it differs in frequency and approach.
A psychopath will bully you two or three times a week.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share someone’s feelings, but psychopaths have none of that.
Empathy stops us from hurting each other, but to a psychopath, hurting you is like kicking a chair; it doesn’t matter.
Fourth, psychopaths lie constantly — truth is irrelevant. They’ll say whatever needs to be said at that moment in time to achieve what they want.
To get along with a psychopath is to manage the relationship, as summed up in a blog about psychopaths. Maybe you can:
GIVE him what he wants. Just obey and no questions asked, no matter how stupid it is. As long as it’s legal, do it;
COMPLIMENT or flatter him, though you may not like it. Make him believe that he is the best person in the world. He will believe everything you say;
MAKE sure you confirm any work or task in writing. Not an emotional response, no sarcasm, just a clarification of the task asked of you;
MAKE sure you jot down or take notes when you talk to him, write down what happened; and,
KEEP your circle of friends close, so that they know what’s going on. You have to understand that it is part of a non-stop chain of events.
These are tips to help one get along in an office environment — a coping mechanism, to be used in the short-term, while you assess other options.
You will not be able to get rid of the psychopath while working in the same office.
Think of the options or find another job.