When entering into a marriage, nobody thinks they're marrying a psychopath. If you've been with someone for long period of time, you think you know their best and worst qualities. But sometimes you end up marrying someone and their worst qualities don't come through until after the "I do." But if you have suspicions about your partner's behavior, there are some signs you're married to a psychopath that you might not have recognized them at the beginning of your relationship, but can be on the lookout for going forward.
Robert Hare, author of Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us, and emeritus professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, told Reader's Digest that there are two million psychopaths in the United States, and he considers that a conservative estimate. Though it's easy to label someone who's wronged you a "psychopath" because of their behavior, discerning the difference between an actual psychopath and someone who's just severely unpleasant can be tricky.
If you truly think you may be married to a psychopath, remember that a spouse exhibiting a few of these signs doesn't qualify them as a psychopath, and that an actual diagnosis can only be made by a medical professional. That being said, recognizing the following behaviors in your spouse can be the first step in revealing whether or not you're married to a psychopath.
1. They Had Early Behavioral Problems
According to a Huffington Post piece by Jon Ronson, author of The Psychopath Test, a record of bullying, and altogether bad childhood behavior is an early warning sign psychopathic behavior. "Psychopaths are very good at hiding their psychopathy beneath a veneer of normalcy," Ronson wrote, which is why early childhood behavior can be such an important indicator. "It’s harder to hide a hoodlum childhood." If your partner was a troubled child, you may be looking at a child that grew up into a psychopath.
2. They Never Takes The Blame For Anything
Externalizing blame is common among psychopaths, according to Psychology Today. If your spouse refuses to take the blame for anything in your relationship or lives, they repeatedly attempt to wiggle out of blame with deception or jokes, or they blame your emotional sensitivity for whatever happened, you could be dealing with a psychopath. Any way to lessen their responsibility for the act is a go-to move for psychopaths.
3. They Engage In Promiscuous Sexual Activity
According to Reader's Digest, a University of London study showed that psychopaths were associated more with promiscuity and not commitment. For psychopaths, sex is not about the other person involved, but about themselves, and their ego. Ronson wrote for The Huffington Post that the consensus among neurologists is that psychopaths lack the proper functions in the part of the brain that produces the signals of remorse, and fear, and distress. This in turn lets them behave in atrocious ways without feeling guilt or worry about it.
4. They Are Hypersensitive About Themselves
Though most psychopaths can fling blame and negativity in your direction, the aforementioned Psychology Today article noted that they can rarely take it themselves. If your partner flies off the handle when anyone criticizes, looks down on, or challenges them, it may be because they're a psychopath. Though this behavior is also common in people who are insecure, for psychopaths, this has everything to do with their own vision of their superiority.
5. They Have A Grandiose Sense Of Self Worth
A grandiose sense of self worth is one of many items on Ronson's checklist in The Psychopath Test. Because psychopaths think they're better than everyone else around them, they tend to highlight their own accomplishments, stories, and assets, constantly. Is your partner constantly showing off their enormous ego? Taking control of every conversation and shifting it back to them? Obsessed with themselves and their looks? All could be signs pointing toward psychopathy.
6. They Are Chronically Bored
In an interview with Reader's Digest, psychologist Dr. Randall Salekin said that psychopaths are hardwired to be more under-aroused than other people. "A psychopath’s nervous system is wired so they need to keep doing exciting things to feel normal and reach normal levels of arousal," he said. Salekin added that this means that psychopaths are the most likely to initiate fun-oriented activities for you to do, in an attempt to cure their ever-present boredom.
7. Their Psychopathic Behavior Is A Pattern
Dr. Robert Schug, a neurocriminologist and clinical psychologist specializing in the biology and psychology of the criminal mind, told Reader's Digest that while it's regular for people to get swept up in occasional moments of road rage, or extreme fantasy, that this behavior is a pattern for psychopaths. “[With a psychopath], these are things happening over and over again,” Schug said. “It’s a personality disorder. The personality manifests at work, at school, with family, with friends, when they’re young, when they’re a teenager, when they’re an adult.” A one-off isn't enough to categorize your spouse as a psychopath, but if you find yourself facing the same irrational and negative behavior over and over again, you may want to consider digging deeper into your spouse's behavior with a medical professional.
8. They Have Questionable Morals
According to the aforementioned Psychology Today article, psychopaths enjoy degrading, humiliating, dominating, damaging, and belittling others. Deceit and manipulation are high on the common traits for a psychopath to have. All of these traits and habits point to questionable morals. If your spouse enjoys partaking in any of these things, you may have a problem on your hands.
9. They Lack Basic Social Skills
Maybe the most jarring and easily noticeable part of a psychopath's behavior is their lack of basic social skills, as noted in the aforementioned Psychology Today article. Regardless of situation, your spouse should not need reminders on how to treat you or other people with the basics of human kindness, fairness, or respect. Psychopaths often lack empathy, and therefore don't understand these very basic skills. If your spouse consistently has to be reminded of these things, you should consider looking deeper into your partner's behavior with a medical professional.