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6/2/09

Psychopaths are More Common Than You Think

I once knew a colleague who told outrageous lies about people. When I asked him why he did it, he asked Why not? Doing so gave him pleasure, no matter the harm he did to another's reputation. When I began learning about psychopaths I realized that he had many of the characteristics, though I don't know if he was one.

Not all psychopaths are criminals. Not all criminals are psychopaths. Many highly successful executives have the characteristics of psychopaths. CEO Albert Dunlap comes to mind as one possibility. While off on business trips or engaged for days elsewhere, he left his wife without food or money. Psychopaths are far more common than you think.

One man in a hundred is a psychopath. One woman in three hundred is a psychopath. You who are reading this may be one. Unable to feel guilt or sympathy they do not think anything is wrong with them.

"Superficially charming, psychopaths tend to make a good first impression on others and often strike observers as remarkably normal. Yet they are self-centered, dishonest and undependable, and at times they engage in irresponsible behavior for no apparent reason other than the sheer fun of it. Largely devoid of guilt, empathy and love, they have casual and callous interpersonal and romantic relationships. Psychopaths routinely offer excuses for their reckless and often outrageous actions, placing blame on others instead. They rarely learn from their mistakes or benefit from negative feedback, and they have difficulty inhibiting their impulses." More

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