Is Your Child A Psychopath? Signs You Should Be Aware Of.

istock_000006360956xsmall-150x150As we continue to look at, investigate, try to understand and prevent tragedies like the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School, I thought it would be a good ideal to look at the three categories of people the usually commit mass murder:

  • Those who are delusionally insane
  • Those who are deeply and suicidally depressed
  • Psychopaths

In rare occasions there are combinations of the three or substance users or in extremely rare cases, brain tumors that cause mental and behavioral changes such as in the case of Charles Whitman.

When it comes to psychopaths however, they are the easiest to explain, and yet often go the most unnoticed.

Psychopathy is a type of personality disorder.

Many people think that they can identify a psychopath by the way they look and act, but that is not usually the case. Most psychopaths are very charming and very good at hiding their psychopathic tendencies until pushed or cornered.

Psychopaths seem to be born with an inability to empathize or feel sorry for other people. They have a complete disregard for other peoples feelings and suffering and can commit horrible crimes, or tell painful lies without so much as batting an eye.

Most psychopaths don’t know that doing something is wrong because they seem to lack the gene that makes us feel bad, or guilty, when we do something wrong such as lying or hitting someone for no reason.

They often have to be taught and reminded over and over again that something is bad or wrong, and then they have to remind themselves that it is bad or wrong, because they can do it and not feel bad about it at all.

They just don’t seem to be able to feel or care about other people or living things and may go on to torture animals in childhood if they are the sadistic type of psychopath and enjoys seeing/thinking of torturing other living things.

Eric Harris, one of the Columbine shooters seemed to fall into the category of a psychopath (also called sociopath). He once wrote that humans were as disposable as fungus in a petri dish.

His journal was littered with remarks about how much he hated people and wanted to kill everyone (I have a letter from a teenager I suspect may be a psychopath or budding one I will share later).

However, most psychopaths hide their hate or careless disregard for others and are usually witty, endearing and charming.

Psychopaths with high IQs often become criminal master minds, politicians, successful business people, etc. while ones with poor intellect and education tend to end up in jail more.

Levi King is a psychopath who went on a killing spree in 2005 that ended with him killing five people in two different states including three people in one family and the family dog (he thought he had killed the whole family, but one little girl managed to survive by playing dead). He reported killing these people because it relieved tension he had been feeling and gave him a sense of peace for the first time in his life.

As a child, Levi King once set his sister’s bedroom on fire because he was mad at her. As a teenager he even shot his cat to the point that it was literally blown to pieces.  He also had broken into a home and sat it on fire just because he could.

As a child, he had all the signs and symptoms of a budding psychopath.

At the age of 15 he dropped out of school, started having run ins with the law and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 20. He was 23 when he committed the murders and expresses no remorse whatsoever. He is currently serving a life sentence.

Like all psychopaths, Levi King is unable to relate or feel for other people, although he is intelligent and charming enough to hide that flaw just like Ted Bundy was so successful at doing.

General Characteristics of a Psychopath

  • self-center and self-important. Almost anything they do for anyone is only because they see a benefit for themselves it.
  • need stimulation and are easily bored.
  • deceptive behavior and lying
  • conning and manipulative
  • little remorse or guilt
  • shallow emotional response
  • callous with a lack of empathy
  • living off others/ predatory attitude
  • poor self-control
  • promiscuous sexual behavior
  • early behavioral problems
  • lack of realistic long term goals
  • blaming other for their actions
  • short term relationships
  • juvenile delinquency
  • short term relationships
  • breaking parole or probation rules
  • varied criminal activity

Signs Your Child May Be A Psychopath

  1. Setting fires
  2. Severe cruelty to animals such as killing and torturing them
  3. Persistently hurts, bullies or violates the rights of others by stealing or vandalizing their property.
  4. Continuously breaks major rules such as running away or breaking curfew despite knowing the consequences.
  5. Shows no guilt when confronted for doing wrong (i.e., pushing another student down the stairs).
  6. Shows a persistent callous disregard for other people’s feelings, not just siblings (i.e., pushing another student down and being unmoved by their crying or distress).
  7. Persistently doesn’t care about how well they do in school, even when they know there are clear expectations and they are capable of doing better.
  8. They appear cold and unmoved, only showing emotions to intimidate or manipulate others.
  9. Blame others for their mistakes instead of taking responsibility.
  10. Fearless, doing new and reckless/dangerous activities.
  11. They are unmoved by threats of punishment.
  12. They are highly motivated by reward and what they will get out of doing something, even if that act will hurt others (i.e., stealing, lying)

A combination of many of these signs alone are not enough to be worried about, but if there are enough signs and you are alarmed by your child’s behavior, I would recommend having them seen by a mental health professional as they could be signs of something else, such as childhood trauma and PTSD.

As always, if you believe your child has behavioral problems, have them evaluated by a qualified professional instead of attempting to self-diagnose them which can have damaging effects on your child.

*EDIT: Just yesterday (9/25/13) I interviewed a 7th grader who has been making his own explosives, threatening to blow up himself and/or other people, blowing up random things, tortuing his mother’s cat, kicking and hitting other students and teachers at his school so much that he has gotten kicked out of school several times and his family is currently looking for a new place to stay because they got kicked out of their apartment complex for his behavior and the fact that he has killed several ducks around the lake at the apartment complex. His mother brought him in because she was scared of him and he had recently attacked his 4 year old sister for taking too long in the bathroom. When I asked him if he had any remorse for attacking his sister, hitting other people, having his family kicked out of their complex or killing the ducks, he flatly answered “no”. Nothing seemed to affect him, even the threat of hospitalization and jail. Without intense therapy at the least, I see this kid growing up to be not only a menace to society, but potentially a psychopath. He stated clearly that he doesn’t care about other people or their feelings and he has exhibited that on several occassions.

Below is a short documentary done in 1992 about Beth Thomas, a child who suffered from sexual abuse and reactive attachment disorder (I’ll write about that in another post soon) and seems to show early signs of psychopathology.

Psychopaths are all around us in one form of another. Read: The Psychopath Next Door by Martha Stout and Dr. Hare’s book, “Without Conscience” for more detailed information about psychopaths.

93 thoughts on “Is Your Child A Psychopath? Signs You Should Be Aware Of.

  1. I feel in some ways that a lot of people have some of these symptoms or even many of the symptoms which does not make them a psychopath, but the events of Newtown, CT and the event in China make one pause. What is truly going on in society and what is the solution? Has society “missed the boat” in a sense by being oblivious to anothers suffering whether it be socially, academically, abuse? Is society in general too caught up in their own lives to notice another?- Thoughts?

    1. You are right, psychopathy is a personality disorder so many well-adjusted/functioning people may have these traits. I also think that many people like to ignore problems until they affect them. Like many people who don’t have to deal with our mental health system like to think it’s okay, until something like Sandy Hook happens and now everyone is paying attention to it. Same thing happens in smaller examples, like our child welfare system, the state of the homeless population, our poor and uneducated. They are all easy to ignore until we get hit in the face with it. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and respond. I hope you will read my next post… I will be posting a letter written to me by a client I think may be a budding psychopath, or he could just have many of the traits. I’d like your thoughts. Thank you.

    2. I’m a 13 year old girl and I’m a physcopath and want to kill what funny tho is that I’m not emo I’m just a typical. White girl that’s has been sad diagnosed with A/D/D and really wants to kill

      1. Cooper,
        Here we are 4 years later. I just read your post. I feel bad for you. Why did you feel that way. I am interested in you thoughts. Are you doing OK?

  2. It is sad to think that there are a lot of individuals that have these symptoms and I would not one to be labeled a psychopath if it is not really the case-perhaps there are other reasons for depicting many of the above behaviors whether it be a lack of proper social skills, basic manners, showing of emotion(s)-life events could play a part here as well-one who has been abused whether physically, emotionally, verbally or sexually, lifestyle, upbringing, morals, religious beliefs……more needs to be done as a society to teach kids basic manners, feelings, empathy, compassion, self-esteem, the value of community-what do others think?

  3. Many of the symptoms you mentioned above can arise from PTSD from childhood abuse. This must be ruled out before labeling the child as a potential psychopath, because the dissociation resulting from PTSD can mimic psychopathic features.

    Two very important symptoms you left out are 1) fire setting and 2) severe cruelty to animals (setting cats on fire, etc.).

    I would also suggest you add a disclaimer that if your child has behavioral problems, he or she must be evaluated by a qualified professional with psychological testing, rather than jumping into self-diagnosis, which can be further damaging to the child’s self-esteem.

    I say these things out of both professional (M.D., pediatrics and adolescent medicine) and personal experience (my child was labeled a psychopath, but with intensive treatment his “real self” emerged and he is now a Ph.D. candidate).

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond. I’m going to have to take another look at it, but your suggestions are valid. Self-diagnosis can be a dangerous thing, something I plan on writing about in the future and I am learning more and more about childhood PTSD and trauma. Thanks for pointing these things out for me, I try to make my information as accurate as possible without writing an entire research paper. I will definitely revisit this post over the weekend and add your suggestions. Thank you.

      1. Thank you so much for your openness and positive response to suggestions. It says a lot (of good) about you as a person and, I’m sure, as a practitioner. Take care and be well!

    2. Nice patient-friendly PDR-type notice for parents. You definitely know how to write to your audience — and I’m impressed that you make a strong point of having any psychiatric disorder diagnosed by a psychiatrist. In 25 years of practicing Psychiatry (General, Child & Adolescent and Forensic), I’ve only come across a few “kid sociopaths”. After being in practice for five or six years, I actually get “the chills”. I don’t consider my reaction a very important part of my DDx, but it NEVER has failed me. As to the colleague who claims her child was incorrectly diagnosed. Am I correct in my reading that she’s a Pediatrician. My neighbor is Chief of Pediatric Intensive Care at a major hospital in our area — and she asked me and two of her colleagues to do a “work-up” on her 13-year old son. (No, the DDx was not Sociopathy or Psychopathy.) Most non-psychiatrst MDs know as much about this stuff as I do about replacing a leaky Aortic Valve with a St. Jude’s Titanium Aortic Valve prothesis. I also see there is no mention of what qualified mental health professionals arrived at that DDx. I’ve had a PhD since I passed all my boards. Trust e when I tell you that having a PhD or an MD is no sort of inoculation as Psychopathy. And you never did give a working DDx. Consider yourself lucky that you don’t work for me. Writing for laypersons is no excuse to wander all over the place in your response and NOT mention some very important points. We OWE the laypersons who read the comments a decent effort to keep them coherent, organized and focused. You get an “F” in all three. (And my PhD is in English.) If you don’t know a substantial amount about PTSD since all doctors and clinicians see in their practices, you definitely need some Continuing Medical Education. You should know all about Child Abuse, but that’s not at all apparent. My strong suggestion to parents is to do what my friend, Dr/ Susan, did. After getting ONE DDx from a shrink specializing in Child & Adolescent and extensively trained (i.e., brainwashed by the drug companies) in Psychopharmacology, bet a second or third opinion. Susan lucked out because she has one shrink living down the hall and another with an office on the “Doctors’ Floor” in our building — and don’t be afraid to ask about qualifications, licensure and experience. Also, don’t be afraid of saying “This isn’t a good fit” if that’s the case. Parents of children and adolescents should be and often our allies, but we have to provide some links, reprints, etc. to them just as they provide us with health insurance. I don’t particularly enjoy treating kids or adolescents because their parents usually are more trouble then they’re work — even at my fees! Seeing growth and progress and a better diagnosis for the kid is what keeps me volunteering all day Saturday at a Community Clinic that handle runaways, m/f prostitutes — and I’m glad I paid attention in Internal Medicine rotations, but these kids always have a physical component to their psych DDx. I’m not ashamed to say I call my old buddy from Med School. whose certifications include Internal Medicine and most of the time he and his associates are “doing” IM. It never helps to check.

      1. Hi, I started to delete your comment as I feel like 90% of it does not apply to me and in your rambling many points you tried to make got lost, but I did want to address that my blog and the posts I write are meant to get people to think and to start seeking out futher information if they are interested. This blog is not meant to be exhaustive or every single post would read like a chapter from a texbook. I try to make my posts between 600 and 1,000 words because I know many people who read blogs do so with limited time so I try to be to the point and brief. As far as your “F” in the areas of coherent, organized and focused, I’ve never had any compliants so I do not accept your “grades” but thanks for the offer. I enjoy writing my blog and know from the many responses I get that others enjoy reading it and find it helpful. I have been working in this field and studying long enough to know how to share information briefly without boring people. I am as we speak working as a clinical manager at a large mental health hospital in charge of a crisis unit. I just got through speaking with a religiously preoccupied schizophrenic and I work with our medical director (who is a psychiatrist) everyday. I am in the “trenches” dealing with the people and issues I am passionate about. I know a substantial amount about everything I write about, otherwise I wouldn’t write about it. If you want to read something that sounds more like a text book there are other blogs for that and you can always read Kaplan and Sadocks Synopsis of Psychiatry which I have, but most people would be bored to death by it. This blog is not meant to be cited in an APA research paper, but to inform and I believe I do that quite well. Good luck to you and all that you do.

      2. Good heavens. I hope you were not responding to my comment. I have never been attacked by a troll, and I would like to continue my track record.

      3. This reply to this blog is irrelevant to the true subject at hand. As a professional myself I question the credentials and the intent of you. Dr. Joey.

      4. I just received a call from a girl, I consider my daughter. She has three children. Her oldest child has all the signs of Psychopath. I have seen this myself. I have tried to steer her in different ways to help him, but She does not know what to do anymore. Some things he has done, I cant say over the internet. Please, Please if you could give me a direction to send her to get him help.

      5. Therapy. She needs a good children’s therapist to get to the bottom of what’s going on and what needs to be done. This could be a personality disorder, behavioral or signs and symptoms of something else.

  4. My neighbor has a new girlfriend who has two children to add to his three. Anyways her 12 year old son, I rarely see him play with the other kids. I have noticed this, he had a large hammer one day and for two hours he violently and wildly hit trees and boards then he started smashung water bottles it freaked me out. Help, there is so much more. Thanks

    1. Hi, thanks for reading and commenting. What you are explaining could be typical behavior for a 12 year old boy. It’s possible he could be going through some issues at home, school or with himself or he could just be being a boy, or he could be expressing his anger/stress out on the water bottles and tree. I’m welling to be he’s not adjusting to his mom’s new boyfriend all that well. Being a preteen, he’s reaching that age where he is super emotional and boys generally don’t know how to express their emotions through talking or writing and may “act out”. I’m not so worried since he is taking his anger out on inanimate objects, I would become more worried if he started swinging that hammer at dogs, cats, etc. Let me know how things progress.

      1. My son who is now 12 was just put into a long term care facility. He started setting fires at age 6 & his “cold” responces about his actions scared me to death. He was admitted to a facility for evaluation at that time. From there, he has been in therapy weekly. He has such a high IQ. Anytime he has gotten in trouble or “reminded” that it’s not ok to hurt people, all it did was make him smarter on how to continue to what he wanted without getting caught again. He has fooled family, doctors, therapist…..for years. Till things were discovered that he was sexually abusing smaller children. I love my son, but he scares me. I don’t believe there is any way to “fix” him. Some doctors aren’t fast enough to lable a child, if it was done at 6, he wouldn’t have been able to ruin other childrens lives. Not to mention, there is still a possibility that at 18 his records are sealed & he is put back I’m sociaty

      2. Hi, thank you for sharing and I am sorry to hear about your son and the heartache you have been through. People are definitely afraid to label children and it is likely like you said that he will start his 18th birthday with a clean slate, but unless he learns to actually care about others he will likely do something pretty soon into his adult years that will unfortunately have him in and out of both the mental health and legal systems. I hope he is getting excellent therapy where he is at, but the majority of the work will be on him. You may want to look into a local support group for yourself because you definitely are not alone. I’ve met with parents who have to sleep with their bedroom doors locked because they are afraid that their child will kill them in their sleep and want to have another child, but are afraid that their psychopathic child will harm/kill that child so they haven’t had another kid. It’s a nightmare situation for you and those parents. I wish you and your son the best.

  5. The term “psychopathology” refers to the study of mental disorders, not to psychopaths specifically. You mean “psychopathy”.

  6. couple questions. any updates on beth?
    also, could she also be a sociopath, and just pretending to care and have a conscious so that she can more privileges and responsibilities etc…..

  7. After reading this I have to say I am truly worried about my step son who recently came to live with us. I started noticing a difference between him and my other children early on but he was only with us on weekends at first, but now that he is with us full time I see it way more than I’d like too. It has become quite clear that my step son (who is 5) really dislikes our son (who is 3) aside from the fact that he came right out and told me he doesnt like him he then turned around and told his father that he loves his brothers and sister. my stepson recently lied to the police and child protective services saying that my 3yr old pushed him down and stabbed his foot with a steak knife which was not true my stepson had a blister in between his toes and had pulled the skin off. this is not the first time he has lied on my 3 yr old he also told his mom that he woke up one night and my 3 yr old was stabbing his bed with a steak knife also not true. anything and everything that happeneds to my step son is now always blamed on my 3 yr old. but the lying isnt the only issue my step son also is very mean to our cat he pulled him up by his tail I caught him one time hitting our cat in the head and on another occassion myself and my daughter whos 10 both walked up on my stepson raising his foot to kick our cat in the head. my husbands father told us that on one occassion he walked in on my stepson choking his little dog. and there had also been a few times that we seen little squirrels outside our house and my stepson makes comments like oh dad run it over and kill it but he sounds all excited when he says that. my stepson also hits, pinches and slaps himself. he can not sit still, while sitting he rocks back and forth, throws his head back, he makes noises,claps. he crys for no reason at all, he throws massive out of control tantrums. and at night I see him bashing his head into his bed and pillow. the first time i seen it I was home alone with the kids my husband was working the night shift it was about 1am and I went to put my 3yr old from my bed into his own bed in the room he shares with my stepson when I walked in I seen my stepson laying on his stomach with his hands up only moving from the waist up his chest neck and head was bending all the way back and slamming down on his pillow so hard. I called his name but he seemed to be sleeping because he continued doing it this scared me to the point were I took my 3yr old back to my bed and called my husband. Yesterday my stepson punched my 3 yr old in the stomach because he “got out of hand” atleast thats what he told me when I asked him why he did it. and today he stepped on my 9 month olds cheek (head) when I ran to my baby to see if he was ok my stepson just sat back down on the couch and continued to watch tv he wasent at all interested in what he did nor did he seem to feel bad or concerned as to if my baby was ok or not when I asked him why he would do such a thing he simply said i didnt know that was his head I was stepping on can I go to the table and eat my dinner now? Im truly worried for my children. Please I need some advise what is going on with my step son? should I be worried for the safety of my other children?

    1. Hey Jody, thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Quite frankly, if I were you I would be terribly worried about the safety of my children. It sounds like this little boy has no remorse or concerns for others and could easily purposely or accidentally hurt them or worse. He’s already punched one in the stomach and stepped on an infants head. How much more does he have to do before he causes serious damage. I’m not 100% sure what his issues are, but I know for sure that he needs help. I would speak with a child psychologist/therapist/psychiatrist ASAP. There could be lots of things going on, ADHD, to adjustment issues, or he could truly be a psychopath. Family therapy may be needed, but it is clear to me that he is endangering the well being of your other children. I just, today had to help involuntarily hospitalize a 7 year old boy who wants to kill his 3 year old brother and had physically attacked his mother while they were in the waiting room at the counseling center. He had zero remorse about anything and reminds me of what you may be looking forward to with your step-son. That little boy is currently on our childrens unit where he will be monitored by staff, therapists and a child-psychologist while he is kept safe from harming himself, his brother and his mom. I’m guessing he will be eventually medicated and go through therapy. Your step son may very likely need the same. Good luck. I know he is your step-son, but I think the health and safety of your children should come first.

  8. You say “Most psychopaths don’t know that doing something is wrong because they seem to lack the gene that makes us feel bad, or guilty, when we do something wrong such as lying or hitting someone for no reason.” – What gene are you referring to? I am studying Criminal Psychology and am quite interested in the fact that they have identified a specific gene and that it is responsible for “feelings” based on actions. I would love to read more from your source – what paper are you quoting?? Also how does this source differentiate between “culturally acceptable hitting” ( such as spanking or in self defense) vs” Culturally unacceptable hitting ( such as lashing out unprovoked ). Also the cultures where hitting your wife is commonplace and acceptable vs the ones where it is unacceptable – how does the gene differentiate?

    1. Hi Susan, I hope you are enjoying your studies in criminal psychology. I’ve taken several courses in criminal psychology and have considered training in forensic psychology as well. When they say psychopaths seem to lack the gene that makes us feel bad or guilty, they are referring to a gene that has yet to be identified. Psychopathy appears to be inheritable, but not enough is known to identify what exactly makes it so. Environmental factors do seem to play a role in developing psychopathy, but so far the research is pointing to it largely being caused by genes. Which genes exactly are still undetermined. Some researchers think that the gene may be linked to the X chromosome which would explain why psychopathy occurs much more in men and there is also the monoamine oxidase A-L(MAOA-L) gene which is linked to the X chromosome and where elevated levels have been linked to antisocial tendencies such as being more prone to violence. There are some estimates that up to 40% of the population may carry this MAOA-L gene, yet only about 0.6% of the population would clinically register as psychopaths. As far as sources I would look at Brunner Syndrome; Role of genotype in the cycle of violence in maltreated children (2002); Lighter sentence for murderer with ‘bad genes” (2009); Genetics of Personality disorder (2008) by Fontaine N, Viding E; Evidence for substantial genetic risk for psychopathy in 7-year olds (2005) and lastly Prevalence and correlates of psychopathic traits in the household population of Great Britain (2009). I hope this helps. Good luck with your studies.

      1. From my understanding, there is increasing scientific evidence that psychopathy is a hard-wired, neuro-genetic trait that cannot treated with therapy, no matter how intensive. If nothing can be done to help them, the only logical thing left to do is to protect ourselves from them and guarantee that they cause no harm to others or society. Perhaps this is an uncomfortable question with many unpleasant implications, but in the case of severe child psychopaths, should they be kept in permanent lockup in a secure facility?

      2. Hi, thanks for reading and commenting. I understand where you are coming from, but that would truly be unethical and if we did that with psychopaths, where would it lead? The thing is, many people may have the genes that can cause psychopathic behavior and they never become psychopaths and many psychopaths can learn to deal with their issues just like anyone who has a genetic predisoposition to almost anything. When i comes to severe child psychopaths I think they need intense treatment and follow ups and hopefully they will learn to adjust to society and society rules and laws before they do something that would lead to them being locked up. In our society we like to believe that everyone has hope can can make it so we give them that chance before we deem them unfit for society. Good thought provoking comment and I appreciate it.

  9. I noticed along my studies quite a few people want to identify the “gene” or set of genes or brain deformation that shows psychopathy and lock them all up. But most Psychopaths are not the violent sexual sadists/ serial killers etc etc that the media likes to portray. So what about all of those that are not violent? This solution would be like saying that the majority of sexual sadists have the genes that make them “Caucasian” so we should lock up all the Caucasian men… Sounds ridiculous right? Not to mention that it is estimated that 1% of the US population alone are Psychopaths – that is 313,900 people !!! Now it is suspected that between 100 and 200 violent psychopaths are walking around today. Even if you assume every one of them is in the US it is still under 1% of that 313,900 that many want locked up. I think we need to do something – so far therapy on Adult Criminal Psychopaths has only shown that they have a higher rate of repeat offending than the ones not in Therapy. It is suspected that therapy gives them a forum to perfect their mimicry of human sincerity making it easier for them to fool potential victims. But – there is no studies on children with psychopathic traits that I could find… do you know of any??? … BTW other than your page do you know of any good psychology forums for students to bounce things off each other and working psychologists???

    1. I definitely agree with you, we can’t just lock people up and I really don’t think psychopaths when compared to other criminals, create as much crime and havoc as we give them credit for, it’s just that their crimes generally get a lot more recognition because of the extreme violence often associated with it. As far as studies on psychopathic traits you can look up Dr. Essi Viding and look up “Children with psychopathic traits” in Google Scholar… there is a bunch of interesting studies there. As far as blogs go I think a quick Google search will help you there, but I personaly like,, and I work with masters level clinicians, a psychiatrist and a psychologist everyday so I am lucky to have them to bounce things off of 🙂

  10. Help me! I cannot believe it!!!!! I don’t even know where to start!!!!! My brother does ALL of these things but when I tell my mom or dad or any other relative, they don’t believe me!!!!! HELP! I think he’ll even kill me cuz he’s been threatening me before and I never believed it! About 27 times he had tried to kill me or injure me and it worked…… But my mother thought I was lying because he made up a story which was really convincing. Please reply and help me. I MEAN IT. I’m a girl and younger than him. But don’t think I’m any sort of fraud. Please…….

    1. Hey Zoya, I do believe you. It sounds like your brother is a menace and terrorizing, at least to you. If your parents don’t believe you it makes it hard to do much of anything. All you can really do is look out for yourself and try to put some protective boundaries between you and your brother, no limiting the amount of time you have alone with him. You can seek help for yourself through counseling and even report this to child welfare services if you think it is severe enough. They will likely come in and put some other protective factors into your home such as counseling for the entire family. The main thing right now is that you need to look out for your self if no one else is going to. Parents are very often in denial into something tragic happens and that tragedy doesn’t have to be your intentional or accidental death at the hands of your brother.

  11. So I was reading the post from other people and the information you have given. I think my son could be a psychopath because of the things he has done. He currently is staying with his mom who has manic bipolar disorder and my son has adhd which his mom has put him on medication for. When my son would stay with at my house he would threaten to kill my 6 year old (which I found knifes underneath his bed), he pushed her down the stairs, he would get angry if anything didn’t go his way, he would pull my 6 year old by her hair, he said that he was going to stab my pregnant fiance in the belly because he knew that would kill the baby (which the next day there was a knife in his backpack from his moms), he would stand over the bed and watch people sleep, he never shown any sadness when he would hurt anyone, who would punch me in the stomach, he would punch other people, we could never take his out anywhere because he would scream at the top of his lungs and act outrageous, he lied a lot, and etc. I wanted to get your opinion as to what you think I should do. I took him to a psychologist and he was outrageous and screaming in the office. Thanks!

    1. Hi, I apologize I never got back to you on this, but I am extemely curious for an update. I can’t say without an evaluation if your child is a psychopath, but I can say that he clearly has some troubling signs that warrant close monitoring. A psychologist is a great idea and maybe a medication re-evaluation. You have to make sure he doesn’t hurt his sister, you or the unborn baby. If this behavior isn’t addressed now it will likely only gets worse as he gets both physically strugger and more mentally capable of planning.

  12. I need help for my 5 year old son. He has been aggressive since he was young first signs were about 8 months, I know it sounds crazy. I thought it was just a faze he would get over, but it has continued.

    I was on a bus, and in that 20 minute journey he pulled my hair, head butted me, kicked, punched, bit, scratched, my face, whilst screaming the bus down, he was 18 months old

    He even attacked my elderly mother, by grabbing her face and constantly spiting at her, she couldn’t fight him off, as he has amazing strength. He really hurt her, that went on for 45 mins.

    He smashes up the house, urinates, draws, phlegms on walls, floors, furniture.
    He is now 5, and the attacks are more frequent, and last hours, he has attacked my other child, his teacher, other children, and worst of all our family pet, snapped his tail in half, cut off his toe, tried to stab him with a toy screw driver, and set fire to him. We thought maybe jealousy, but we went to my brothers house, and he threw 2 of their kittens at a wall, my niece and nephew were traumatized by what they witnessed. He’s always killing bugs, and is reprimanded, however he is not just intent on the killing, he desecrates the remains.

    He has told me he wants to kill me, and how he is going to hurt me, he told me he wants me to bleed, and die, and that he hates me, he has said that he hates everyone. I have so many scars where he has bitten me, I have had black eyes, split lips, bruises, and he just laughs in my face, spits at me, just everything.

    He has no remorse for the things that he does, which really frightens me,

    My older brother was diagnosed with Saint Vitus Dance.
    My nephew has ADHD.
    My other nephew has behavioral problems.

    I don’t think its any of the above, he has told me he hears voices, he has been saying that for 2 years, he seems to be psychotic, and schizophrenic, I can see the switch when it goes, there is no trigger,

    I am going to a CAF meeting with his school, also waiting to see a pediatrician consultant at our local hospital, also I have put in for a referral to CAMHS.

    Just that everything is taking so long, I am crumbling, and now on anti depressants, and anxiety medication, I really don’t k now how much longer I can take this.

  13. I babysit three kids, an eleven, five, and one year old. The five year old has many of these signs. She throws tantrums constantly, shows emotion only when she wants something(and that is crying, screaming,etc.), and also lies a lot.
    Last month, we were playing Clue and she stabbed me with a pencil and drew blood. She has talked about killing all the dogs in the world because she hates them, she has made plans to kill me, her sister, her brother, abd my sister. She has hit her little brother because she couldnt go to a friends house. She has kicked her shoe at the wall and made a hole because her mother told her she couldnt go to a friends house.
    What should i do? Im worried for the safety of the other kids but have been told that this is all normal from the eldest.

    1. Hi, I am sorry this response is so late. I recently took a job working in a prison which has been way more time consuming than I ever planned. I would say get help immediately in the form of therapy. A good child psychologist/therapist will be able to evaluate this child to see if there are any organic reasons to her behavior and will be able to help her learn to channel her feelings in more positive directions. At such a young age it is still likely she can be thought to be empathetic and will eventually grow out of this, but it all depends on the origins of these thoughts and feelings which a good child psychologist or therapist will be able to flush out. It’s best to tackle this now than five or ten years from now when the likelihood of significant change is much less likely.

  14. My brother threatened to kill me with a knife. And burned me with boiling grease smiled and gave a soooorry obviously not meaning it.

    1. Your brother sounds like he has major problems and needs help ASAP. You deserve to be safe and protected. talk to your parents, get them to intervene, and if that doesn’t work, talk to someone who will listen. I’ve seen siblings seriously hurt and even kill each other while the other shrugs and says “Sorry”.

  15. My roommates 15-year-old son shows seven out of 12 signs of budding psychopath. He has a mental disability, but his mother doesn’t pay any attention if he takes his medication, which he rarely does. He has a history of playing with his feces, which includes peeing in one corner of his bedroom and spreading his feces on the wall. He can’t be around animals, because his first reaction is to abuse them physically. He constantly lies for his own benefit. He verbally and physically assaults his older sister and her boyfriend. Has no emphathy for people’s feelings. He has an obsession with cutting all of his stuffed animals and toys feet off. He frequently mentions harming if not killing people in his everyday conversations. If he’s confronted with doing something wrong or bad, his first reaction is to blame others or point out their flaws. He isolated himself in his bedroom when he’s not torturing his sister. He seems to have an odd sexual attraction to her, like grabbing her or peeking on her while she’s changing. I’ve attempted to tell his mother but she doesn’t want to hear it. She thinks he’s perfect but she locks herself in her bedroom until he’s asleep or ignores his needs. He doesn’t bathe or has no concern for his personal hygiene. Please tell me, should I be concerned for my safety? What about his sister? I need a second opinion on this, because the one person who has the power to get him the help he needs, doesn’t believe he needs it!

    1. Hi, thanks for taking the time to read and respond. It does sound like this young man has psychopathic tendencies and if his mother is locking herself in the room, then I think you should also watch your back because it sounds like he is out of control. Have they tried counseling? Counseling and/or medication would help a lot. As far as concern towards his sister, I would be very concerned for her, but you can only be as concerned for others as they are for themselves. Many psychopaths tend to show their anger and lack of empathy at home, but are more likely to actually hurt people that aren’t family. If you are concerned then definitely take precautions, especially as he gets older, stronger and potentially more dangerous.

  16. I’m sitting here and reading everyone’s comments,and I must say I’m so sad and afraid at the same time. We have three daughters one who is twenty six, one twenty four, and a thirteen yr old. Our youngest was adopted. We’ve had her since infancy. Growing up my middle child would always tell me her sister is doing things that are getting her into trouble,like little one would hit herself and blame on middle child. I didn’t see it then. I thought she was being jealous of the adopted child. Now I look back and I wanna kick myself. Although little one has been in therapy since age four nothing has helped,I think she has them fooled. She was diagnosed with ADHD and is medicated that has seemed to control the constant moving and talking now she has been involved in downloading porn talking to 60 yr old men on sex sites sometimes in her name or using others id as in her sister’s even using the correct names and addresses. In her diaries we read that she hates me and wants to kill her grandmother by smothering her with a pillow. Also has been talking with the biological family on face book against our consent. We shut them down and she reopens! We have taken away all her electronics except for her school owned computer and that’s where it all happens. She’s constantly opening up accounts in others names to get what she wants. She has been caught shoplifting a few times,she’s a cutter. The only thing that does not fit her character is that she loves her animals. I’ve never seen her abuse them. She has no remorse or sadness for anything. Always blaming others. What should I do? The children’s hospitals are saying that she’s not a candidate for in patient therapy. Her counselor says she needs intensive therapy but won’t return my calls as for the next step. PLEASE HELP US.

    1. I feel your pain and I wish there were more I could do to help. Has she only been diagnosed with ADHD? It sounds like she may be bipolar and possibly even have a personality disorder. These are things most clinicians do not like to diagnose young people with until they get closer to or over 18, but that doesn’t stop them from being present. What do you know about her earliest years? Did she suffer any childhood trauma/neglect? What do you know about her bio family? Is there a family hx of mental illness? There’s a lot of things that could be going on here, but she is seeing a counselor which I think is great, but she definitely sounds like she needs something intense. Look into EMDR, maybe there is a therapist in your area who practices it and can use it to help you get to the bottom of what’s going on with your daughter.

  17. I have a serious question about my child who has a serious seizure disorder and has been diagnosed with epilepsy. When my daughter was 3 years old, she was diagnosed with epilepsy and within just a few months, she was admitted into the hospital for registering over 165 full seizures per day. As well as seizure activity every 5 seconds both showing on eeg. Within 2 months of admission the neurologist at children’s told us there was nothing more they could do, after overdosing her and admitting they had made her “toxic” which resulted in a 3 day stay in picu for a 3 day accidental medically induced coma. They flew her to an emu unit in Memphis where she was hospitalized another full month. Her seizures never slowed. They were forced to do brain surgery. Well technically 2. They opened up her head and put in electrodes to determine the exact place of the seizure activity. They figured out it was from her right frontal lobe. Which they ended up removing the entire right frontal lobe which was about an entire 1/4 of her brain. Ever since, the seizures have continued as if we did nothing. And I’d like to also note that when she was 3 her seizures were accompanied by horrifying hallucinations of black ghosts, spiders, snakes, etc. But after her surgery she has slowly developed very disturbing personality traits. She has zero fear of what could hurt her. She doesn’t feel pain like a normal child. She is now 11yrs old and gets into everything like a toddler. Is always wasting hundreds of dollars of food per wk. She wants specific things but then changes her mind and refuses to eat what we just made. And she will starve until we give in and make her meal after meal and then usually doesnt eat but a bite. She has a very devious nature. For example, we have 5 children and we have been dealig with dcs for several years for the lies she tells people to get attention and to purposely get us into trouble. And uses this to get her way and unless we buy her what she wants she tells lies to the school and says things like “you should’ve listened and done what i wanted”. She shows zero remorse and the only time she ever offers an apology is when and shows remorse is when she immediately follows with something that she wants. She is very good at fooling people. And manipulation. And has an haha attitude when she gets us in trouble. She has told dcs that we beat her when we do not even spank her due to our fears of it causing her a bad seizure. Because this has happened before. She doesn’t listen, she ignores you when you tell her no. She doesn’t play with her siblings. She doesn’t play outside and all she does is color all day long alone in her room. No matter how much we try to get her outside. She creates very dangerous situations for her younger siblings. Like leaving out and hiding rotten food. She wants to be pampered and waited on. She makes huge messes but refuses to do chores. And gets out of it by always complaining that her stomach is hurting or doesn’t feel good or dizzy. She only does what she wants to do. She doesn’t grasp danger and has actually cut herself till she bleeds and then runs and shows us. She leaves sharp knives down in our 2yr olds reach or other dangerous objects. She is very hyper and has adhd which she takes adderall for. Tells all of us she’s gonna kill us and is very aggressive and talks back. I have had to install locks on everything and a security system to keep her from getting into stuff while we’re asleep. She is a very sexually inappropriate child. Walking around naked, flirty with all men, sitting on their laps and hanging on them and has been like this for many years. Yet she has never been sexually abused. She has claimed her male teachers at school have called her names and touched her but when we told the school, they called in dcs on us and told us that she was lying and manipulating us. Which i can believe because she does this to us too. Yet the school hangs on every single word she says and calls out abuse. They’ve allowed her to leave school on 3 different occasions between pre k and 1st grade and she has gotten miles from school without them even knowing. Which one time she was brought back by 3 construction workers that were working 2-3 miles from the school. After we got very upset over this is when the school called in dcs almost as a way to discredit us as parents and we have felt targeted ever since. As soon as we get done with dcs, they call them right back in. And we changed schools and moved districts but the past records are in their files and any time a small issue comes up, they are required to call dcs in because they dont want to be liable in case there is an actual problem. We even moved into my parents guest house to have help with her and to show everybody there wasn’t any abuse. And moved our daughter in with my mom where she and my daddy was able to give her one on one attention. The allegations then started on my parents as well. Even though i know for a fact my mom and dad pampered her and raised 6 girls with no issues. And before the school knew she was with them, they continued to make allegations against us when we didn’t even have her. Everybody in our family finally believed us once thiw happened. But im pretty sure that she is still telling them things that keeps opening new cases on only her. We are fed up. We have told her neuro of all this and she has not seemed to think much of it. We just get written off as abusive parents. For another example, she fell off her bed and got a bruise on her leg from it. That kind of looked like a belt bruise because she fell on the railing. All of her siblings witnessed this as well as me. Her dad was at work. She told dcs that her dad had beat her with a belt, but dcs straight up told us that this wasn’t a bruise that was consistent with a belt because there are usually very noticeable bruises outlining the belt instead of a long wide bruise. This child is going to get us put in prison for things we are not even doing. We moved counties to start over fresh because dcs’s presence had made kids torture our 13yo daughter at her old school. A dcs worker we had worked with over a year with weekly visits and random drug tests had concluded that our 11yo was abusing the system and closed our case. Now in our new county, dcs has already started in again. I asked them if they could just talk to our old caseworkers and give the results of the last 5 investigations but they refused ad said they have to investigate all new allegations. We are to the point of just letting her go with them. This is the only thing that remotely scares her because she knows ahes got it made with us because we walk on egg shells. The school has shown her that we can be controlled by this and uses it. If we are such terrible parents then why do our other 4 kids not have a single allegation? Why does she flat out refuse to let dcs take her and tells us she’ll kill them if they try? Yet she is the cause of it all in the first place? There is so much more that I cannot even list everything but these are the most severe. Sorry for the long post but we dont know where ro turn. Every single time we mention this to her drs or school to get some help, it causes us more issues legally. We are clueless what to do at this point. Thanks in advance.

    1. Wow, I am sorry for everything that is going on with you and because it is so much it’s hard to tell if this is a psychiatric illness or an organic mental disorder caused by either the seizures or the brain surgery and removal of the right frontal lobe which contains most of the dopamine-sensitive neurons in the cerebral cortex. This will affect her reward system, attention, short-term memory, motivation and planning which would explain some of her defiant and psychopathic behavior. Issues with the frontal lobe have also been linked with an increased risk of schizophrenia, which would explain the hallucinations. All this to me sounds like it is largely organic and you may want to look into visiting a neuropsychiatrist who may be able to help you figure this out and alleviate some of symptoms. Until then consider visiting a psychiatrist who may be able to prescribe something that will at least suppress some of her bad behaviors. Good look.

    2. I know a son who was like that for a while, more so after the mom told the spouse she wanted to leave and he told her she could not take her new baby with her…. We now even suspect he may have put his older son up to it. Some time ago, the boy was about 10, he lied that he was hit and told a story with fantastical elaborate details, like crazy making “what??” where is this coming from??. But he/they played the system to the hilt and mom was threatened if she was to ever see the baby sibling again, to “go along with the official story.” Flash forward, his younger sibling who is normal and gets along with mom, was sitting at the table and had a similar mark on his shoulder visible because he had on a tank top. In front of mom, he was asked (by dad) how did it happen, boy replied he drove his bike under a low growing tree trimmed over the sidewalk just enough to walk under, but a branch scratched across his shoulder. And, just like that mom saw how deviously something simple can be used as eternal manipulation – she knew in that instant which tree because she had ducked it herself while out biking the neighborhood. She felt like vomiting, all the years she stayed in the madhouse with the manipulator and his enabled little buddy, two entitled-paths with no remorse or empathy for what they put mom through. When the son was about 17, the boy apologized for what he did to his mom, he must of grown a conscience along the way. She cried so hard that day, but she still dont trust either of them and probably never will. She prayed hard daily for the younger one not to turn out like them or their uncles. She stayed and took the triangulation, lots of amounts of mental and emotional abuse, but little by little its been exposed for what it is, after much research now it all makes sense. She wished she knew then what she knows now. The boy grew up and stopped telling lies and hurting his mom and sibling. All he/she/we can say is God help us all, especially parents who deals with a child with mental illness, may these parents be granted people in their lives that dont get jollies from making up any kind of other supposed misdeeds. And that is the scariest part of the syndrome, those who get off on getting others in trouble for things they didn’t even do and have no idea what they hell is being talked about when their accused, making the whole situation enough to break even the strongest of souls down into despair. That’s downright criminal.

  18. Now this is going to be a long comment please bear with me, but I have some concerns about my 13 year old foster son.

    My foster son is my cousin so i have plenty of knowledge on what he was like as a child and about 3 years ago there was a placement breakdown with his previous home ( our uncle and his wife) due to his behaviour.. he was from a young age very agressive and angry, he’d often hurt his older brother in uncontrollable outbursts… in one instance he threw a rock at his brothers head and his brother required stitches, he never did associate with why that was wrong and could not show much empathy for his brother, he was around 5 then… As the years have progressed, I’ve noticed that he is getting progessively worse.

    He came into my family’s home, with the diagnosis of ADHD and some behavioural issues that could stem from some mental abuse, and because of this diagnosis that is how I’ve been trying to raise him thus far, to no avail, nothing I have tried works, he has been in therapy for 3 years with no difference in his personality, as a person he is still the same as he was when he walked into my door. I am noticing many personality traits that are scarily similar to the list you have above, I will be honest in saying that I have a terrible feeling he will soon become an offender of some sort in the near future. When I look into his eyes, they are flat and have no spark, his laugh sounds very disconnected and strained almost, he finds joy in hurting people younger/smaller then him (he is not torturing them but he will seek out children around him so he can cause some sort of pain and or chaos-he’s done so with my own 2 year old son on many occassions) he is muniplitive and very deceiving, he is showing many aggressive behaviours with our cat (not quite to the point of classification of torture, but very much on the brink I would say) he’s got the desire to set fires to many things (he doesn’t follow through with it because I intervene if I notice ) one of my biggest concerns is the fact that he seems to lack the “moral compass” , he knows his behaviour is wrong however will always follow through with it, an example would be hitting myself and another girl he was newly dating… he is very charming and very very good at putting on a front for people, so much so that it has taken me three years of raising him with my mother (this past year on my own) to finally notice all of these red flags, it hasnt really been until this past week that Ive really noticed all of these bahaviours now that I’m being more unbiased, as a result of this I feel as if I failed him in the sense that he isn’t getting the help he needs (if that’s truly what he requires) we haven’t had a therapy appointment recently so I could discuss this with her, I am asking from your profesional opinion what your thoughts are on this. I feel as if my life has been out of control for the past 3 years and I can’t figure out why, in my mind an adolescent that’s 13 with adhd shouldnt have so many scary traits such as this.

    I feel I should mention now, that I myself am only 20 years old, and I have plenty experience with raising children under the age of 7, this area of parenting is one I just don’t have the experience for, in my research and observation I have concerns. I am in no way self diagnosing him because I am no where near qualified to make such a statement- just the same as i should mention again that we haven’t had a therapy session booked recently and I have every intention of bringing these recent concerns to light with his therapist, I am asking now to assure myself,
    Thank you in advance for any advice and I really do like your blog very much – you accomplish everything you need in a very interesting manner!

    1. Hi Annessa. It does sound like he has some personality issues, if not an outright disorder. It’s very hard to treat personality disorders which is why therapy isn’t as effective as you would like. Talking with his therapist is a start, but if he is seeing the same therapist for the past 3 years with little change, you may want to try a different therapist and/or have him re-evaluated. I don’t know if he is taking any medication, but medications could help with some of his aggression and impulsivity. As he gets older and bigger he runs a risk of being a danger to not only others, but to himself. I would definitely make sure he is seeing a therapist regularly and potentially a child psychiatrist. And thank you so much for your kind words about the blog. I am so busy with my position as Mental Health Director and running my private practice that I often feel guilty for not dedicating more time to this blog. Thanks again and good luck. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  19. Now this is going to be a long comment please bear with me, but I have some concerns about my 13 year old foster son.

    My foster son is my cousin so i have plenty of knowledge on what he was like as a child and about 3 years ago there was a placement breakdown with his previous home ( our uncle and his wife) due to his behaviour.. he was from a young age very agressive and angry, he’d often hurt his older brother in uncontrollable outbursts… in one instance he threw a rock at his brothers head and his brother required stitches, he never did associate with why that was wrong and could not show much empathy for his brother, he was around 5 then… As the years have progressed, I’ve noticed that he is getting progessively worse.

    He came into my family’s home, with the diagnosis of ADHD and some behavioural issues that could stem from some mental abuse, and because of this diagnosis that is how I’ve been trying to raise him thus far, to no avail, nothing I have tried works, he has been in therapy for 3 years with no difference in his personality, as a person he is still the same as he was when he walked into my door. I am noticing many personality traits that are scarily similar to the list you have above, I will be honest in saying that I have a terrible feeling he will soon become an offender of some sort in the near future. When I look into his eyes, they are flat and have no spark, his laugh sounds very disconnected and strained almost, he finds joy in hurting people younger/smaller  then him (he is not torturing them but he will seek out children around him so he can cause some sort of pain and or chaos-he’s done so with my own 2 year old son on many occassions) he is muniplitive and very deceiving, he is showing many aggressive behaviours with our cat (not quite to the point of classification of torture, but very much on the brink I would say) he’s got the desire to set fires to many things (he doesn’t follow through with it because I intervene if I notice ) one of my biggest concerns is the fact that he seems to lack the “moral compass” , he knows his behaviour is wrong however will always follow through with it, an example would be hitting myself and another girl he was newly dating… he is very charming and very very good at putting on a front for people, so much so that it has taken me three years of raising him with my mother (this past year on my own) to finally notice all of these red flags, it hasnt really been until this past week that Ive really noticed all of these bahaviours now that I’m being more unbiased, as a result of this I feel as if I failed him in the sense that he isn’t getting the help he needs (if that’s truly what he requires) we haven’t had a therapy appointment recently so I could discuss this with her, I am asking from your profesional opinion what your thoughts are on this. I feel as if my life has been out of control for the past 3 years and I can’t figure out why, in my mind an adolescent that’s 13 with adhd shouldnt have so many scary traits such as this.

    I feel I should mention now, that I myself am only 20 years old, and I have plenty experience with raising children under the age of 7, this area of parenting is one I just don’t have the experience for, in my research and observation I have concerns. I am in no way self diagnosing him because I am no where near qualified to make such a statement- just the same as i should mention again that we haven’t had a therapy session booked recently and I have every intention of bringing these recent concerns to light with his therapist, I am asking now to assure myself,
    Thank you in advance for any advice and I really do like your blog very much – you accomplish everything you need in a very interesting manner!

  20. I’ve been reading so many of these comments, your blog and feel a sense of relief to be completely honest. My daughter from the age of two years old has always done things that would make you stop in your track’s and just say “why would she do that”? When my nephews would come over even at that young age she would hit them and smile. I would brush it off as “the age” say “no hitting” and redirect her. As she got older if she and my nephews were playing tag, anything really, she would hit them for no apparent reason but they never said anything because she was “a girl” and this apparently went on for years without them ever saying anything. Her father and I were separated before she was born (physical abuse, and I moved out of state). My daughter didn’t have her father in her life until around the age of two. He and I did not see eye to eye on parenting and started the divorce process when she was about four years old and it was terribly ugly. This dragged on for almost two years. My daughter would come home with horrible stories of things that happened at her dad’s house, and evidently (now after 13 years of her dad and I never talking even with the exchanges as he despised me for so many year’s. We are now talking and co parenting but I’ll get to that in a moment). I dated a guy from the time my daughter was 3 till about 7 year’s old. He is a compulsive lair and after 4 years of always catching him in a lie, I sat him down and told him we needed to sit his two boys 8 years old and 12 years old, down as well as my daughter and tell them we will always love them they did nothing wrong but we were splitting up. He began crying hysterically begging me to stay with him even if for the children. His oldest has ADHD and wouldn’t adjust to the split because “I was the only mother he really has”, the boys biological mother was constantly dropping the boys off filthy and hungry. So I agreed but with the understanding it was actually over between he and I. He slept on his side of the bed and I on mine and we truly lived a fake sex free “happy family” life for the children. When his kids were home we would do things as a unit, when they were with the mother my daughter and I would go off alone. He would try and ask her if she wanted him to come along but I would quickly step in and say remember, this is mommy daughter time so my daughter wouldn’t catch on. He would try and cry in front of her so I would quickly turn the attention to what she and I were doing with my family and nephews or just she and I and he would stop the “gator tears” but give her money to buy whatever she wanted. This went on for two more years and I told him I couldn’t do it anymore. It’s not fair to the kid’s or us. I wanted a real relationship with someone I loved and was falling for a dear friend of mine. That I wanted to be happy and he deserved that as well. He did his water works and I walked away (please know my daughter’s biological father and I were still fighting in court and she was still coming home with crazy stories. If I even attempted to confront him with a story “daddy, his girlfriend, and her son ate steaks and they didn’t have enough so I only had a hotdog”, he would go crazy yelling at me about all the crazy things that we were doing at our house “buying the boy’s things and not her etc”, I would talk to my daughter about the things her dad would say and she would start crying and telling me he was lying and she was now going to get into trouble with her dad for telling me anything. I stopped confronting her dad and just “supported her when she came home from her dad’s over the weekend”. I had too much happening between the crazy “relationship” I was in, the drama I was constantly living with my daughter and her father , and the sparks that were starting to fly between myself and my dear friend. I sat my “boyfriend” down and asked him to move out, we all deserved better lives. He agreed and said he knows I wanted to move on but asked if we could watch a movie together as my daughter was at her dad’s and we were alone and could just talk it out on how the kids could still stay in contact and i should find love as well as he woukd try and find live. I was excited about how mature he was being. About three bottles of wine later we had sex after two years and I don’t remember any of it. I remember getting into bed and he was opening the sleeper sofa bed as that is where he slept when none of the kids were home. I woke with him in the bed with me. He said I asked him to come into the room and well, we all know how babies are made. Few weeks later I was pregnant. My daughter was an only biological child till 8 and I gave her everything. My dear friend said we wouldn’t be able to move forward with a baby on the way. I should try and make it work for the baby. My sons father was beyond happy and begged me to stay “for the baby’s sake”. I had my beautiful son and my daughter “tolerated him” but never truly “bonded” with him. With such an age difference between the two, I still devoted every moment to my daughter. My son was about a year when my sons father said i was passed out sleeping and he had sex with me with the hopes we would have a baby and I would fall back in live with him. I broke down and cried to my group of friends, my dear friend that I still talked with and seen because of our circle of friends, said he loved me, I was miserable and he wanted to move forward with me and my kids. We would face things head on together. I once again had a talk with my son’s father and he does his crying bit and I walk away. I get his family involved for help with talking sense into him. He asks for three months to find a place and I agree. Meanwhile, I’m dating my dear friend/now husband and happier than I thought I could ever be. My son’s father gets upset when my daughter is at her dad’s and I go out on a date to a movie. My boyfriend and I talk and the three months are just about up and he asks me to just move in with him. I didn’t want to do a move in so quickly, but realize my son’s father isn’t truly trying to move out. On a Monday morning I drop the kids off at school and daycare, come back home to get ready for work and my son’s father is waiting for me to argue. He feels betrayed, I’m cheating on him, and he can’t believe how obvious I am while “sneaking around”. He hits me and the cop’s come and out goes my son’s father and his belongings. His family tell me they have been trying to convince him to go and live with them. My daughter comes home that night and I tell her he’s moved out we love her and she smiles and says he was so annoying anyway. My boyfriend comes over to help me clean up the mess of the fast move out and the four of us have dinner. We don’t tell her we are dating but just hanging out as she has known him for year’s. 6 months later he’s moved in. The two of them were two peas in a pod. We are doing everything together. She’s jealous when she returns from her father’s and hears what we had done while she was gone. She begins demanding that we don’t do anything fun while she’s gone that it wasn’t fair that her “stupid baby brother” was doing all this fun stuff and she wasn’t. My boyfriend pulls me aside in our bedroom and tells me her out burst isn’t normal and I need to have a talk with her. She was listening to our conversation because we ran right into her when leaving the room. I tell her that it is not okay for her to listen in on adult conversation and she flips out. She’s put in time out and the stories at her dad really begin. She and my now husband are getting along wonderfully she tells me how awesome he is but she is without my knowledge telling my family she hates him and he’s mean to her when I’m not around (when I’m in the bathroom taking a shower) and only loves my son her “stupid brother”. My sister finally tells me what’s being said i confront her about it and she starts denying it all. My sister says just leave it alone she’s getting adjusted and possibly lashing out. I become pregnant and we get married. My husband and I have a little girl. From the day I revealed I was pregnant, my daughter put on a “show” of being happy to have a baby sister. My parents jokingly made comments of how I would need to split myself in two as my daughter has never truly had to share me with another princess. My daughter made comments like, I’m the princess and the baby is just the little sister. My husband’s family is so excited about a little girl as they only have boys in the family. They try and make my daughter feel apart of the family but she is angry about the baby being a girl telling them all she isn’t a princess just the little sister. I try and divide myself between my three now but the demand is difficult. my husband and my son are inseparable and my daughter is becoming distant from me telling everyone I don’t love her. I increase our pillow talk as much as possible. If we are in her room spending alone time the baby would get up and I’d have to stop talking with my oldest to nurse the baby. When I would ask her to come with me to the nursery, she would get angry and say forget it, I was getting bored of you talking to me in my room anyway. She started fixating on mine and my husband’s relationship and said she hates how affectionate we are with each other. If he kissed me before leaving the house she would come over wipe my mouth and say “he’s so annoying”. From one minute to the next he was her best friend. Now he was the cool one. If he and the kids were watching TV in the game room and I walked in from doing dishes to join them, she would roll her eyes and leave the room. Fast forward a year and my second son is born. My daughter is now in the 6th grade and wanting to mimic the freedom and attitude of her friends. Her friends are able to go to the mall alone without supervision, they yell at their parents and are not reprimanded, they sleep over each other’s home without the parents meeting one another and this is the freedom she is now demanding. When she visits with her biological father he allowed her to ride her bike in the neighborhood without checking in till dinner. I never allowed that. So to try and make her happy, I
    am allowing every other weekend sleepovers at our home to try and please her but her behavior is becoming worse. She’s mean to her siblings and would always make them cry. She ran away in the middle of the night and called me from the corner that she was scared and needed me to drive and pick her up. I told her I was pulling her from school because she was out of control. She wasn’t doing homework, always telling me she turned in homework assignment already, she was caught with her phone out in class and it was taken away from her and she said her teacher was just lying and hated her. She lied about four girls jumping her in school, she lied about having an asthma attack, My husband pulled me aside because I wasn’t seeing her behavior. She over heard our conversation and said he was always trying to take me from her that he never loved her and only loved her “stupid siblings”. we sat her down and said today she would be your last day of school we are pulling you out we found a smaller school that we thought would be perfect for her. That next morning she was her happy normal self, she joked with my husband, my dad came over to drop her off at school, and he mentioned how happy she was as she wasn’t her “dry” non talkative self. That day she told the guidance counselor my husband touched her and he only stopped the touching when she told me and I yelled at him. Detectives were at waiting for us we made a statement, fought in court the judge said he story of what happened to her had changed drastically too many times so he dismissed the case and I signed over primary custody to her father as that was what she was asking for even before the false accusation was made because they give her ffreedom. She never cared about what would happen to her siblings. She would make comments like “well if it actually happened you never once backed me up”. My parents tried to talk with the courts about her not telling the truth and the wouldn’t listen. She completely cut me out but turned around and said I turned my back on her. If I tried calling she and I would have a awesome phone conversation and she would hang up crying telling them I was telling her if she didn’t tell her dad it was all fabricated she wouldn’t see her siblings. She twisted every conversation we had to appear to be a victim. She is now 13 living with her dad wearing tight clothing makeup and allowed a boyfriend. She is going to a therapist but they say the sessions aren’t helpful as she is not being truthful or opening up. I limit our conversation to text messages as she can’t manipulate a text. She has sex and makes an attempt to commit suicide. I’m never told of this and she’s Baker acted. She finds friends in the facility they tell her she is being released Friday so she and her friend gets into a fight and they keep her over the weekend. She gets pregnant at 14 and her father and I are forced to talk about what we are going to do. Her Father’s Wife If 10 Years Leave Him As She Can Handle Our daughter. We start talking over the past few appointment and realize it was her all along playing us against each other. My daughter is livid her dad and I are talking and her games of lies are coming to an end. Her dad and I talk now regularly but my parents are watching her while her dad works and she is playing the victim at her dad’s house. He yells at her, isn’t going to get the baby anything (as she continuously tells everyone she doesn’t need anyone else to help her. Drama continues during the duration of the pregnancy but her dad and I are finally on the same page. I try calling her she refuses to get on the phone but tells my family i b ever try calling her. Her father calls DEF on her because he feels she is capable of making a false accusation on him as he’s done to her step father. Fast forward to the birth. She does not allow me in the room or the hospital. After the baby is born, she calls me from work and I go running. All is going wonderful, I’m seeing them everday, and all is perfect. She goes home and my husband asks if anyone has purchased her balloons or anything for her. She says no and I ask if she is comfortable with him coming over. She says absolutely! ! We are so happy that things are moving forward. Two days later she starts saying she didn’t realize he was allowed over and she was very uncomfortable with him around. Mind you, they were joking and acting like old times again. One minute to the next she flips off the switch and is a victim again. She blatantly lies about us talking about him coming over and lashes out at me for “being a liar and trying to create drama. I’ve name the unthinkable decision to eliminate her from my life. She is a loose canon and I can’t expose my family to any other false accusations because she needs the center of attention. Help me!! Do I continue to be a part in of her life or eliminate her? She is a poison. I’m afraid of what she is capable of doing. HELP!

  21. Sorry, I have not included that my husband was never charged as it was 100% obvious she was making it up. When my daughter said she was uncomfortable with my husband being around her I confronted her and re-reminded her that I asked her if she was okay with him coming over as they have had ZERO interaction with each other since the false accusation was made. She doing what she always does, said I wasn’t telling the truth and I was playing games that she was done ever talking to me. My husband says he will never again go around her as she is not stable and out of control. My sister told me of an accusation she made against her cousin that was upsetting her. My sister knowing that she is capable of destroying a person’s life without any remorse, gave her the phone and told her that she would have no part of this accusation, and if it truly happened my daughter would need to make the call and tell the police herself. My sister told her she would not help her with tthis. My daughter realizing she wasn’t going to get sympathy or attention sat down and started watching TV as if nothing happened. My sister was scared my daughter would try and ruin another person’s life. My daughter is now trying to use the baby as a pawn. Get me … and you can hold the baby. Do this for me and only then can you hold the baby. Please help me!

  22. I am 16 and everyone keeps accusing me of being a sociopath. I know I come off cold and I have tried to fix it but I just can not seem to. I do not think I am a sociopath. I only lie when I really think that is the best thing to do and i do feel guilty but not for the right reasons or times. I have some anger problems and mom has told me that I was a monster when I was little. I just want to prove that I am not a sociopath, but the more I look into it the more consistencies I find. I have a shrink and I have tried to talk to him about it but every time when I get close the alarm bells in my head go off and I just cannot seem to. Do you know of anything I can do.

  23. Hi There,

    So my situation starts off as follows my husband and I hit a terrible financial strain and lost everything. My sister in law insisted we come and stay with her. My problem is her 9 year old daughter is extremely vindictive and manipulative she started off by sexually molesting my son and further moved onto my 6 year old daughter whenever they slept over here at my sister in law this was before we moved in here. When we moved in here I caught her sexually molesting my daughter in the room and addressed the matter all my sister in law did was talk to her and they left it at that where I am now left with emotionally scared children. Since she has been caught she has now found other ways of bullying my children so much so that she will cause trouble and my children will get into trouble with my sister in law we are in a situation where we are not financially able to move out my sister in law reprimands my children daily and has told me numerous times that should her daughter step out of line I should do the same I only do this when her mother is present as she has gone to her mother before and lied to her about me its gotten to a point where I do not interact with the child and I keep my children in my room the minute she comes home from school she has also gone and written my oldest daughters name all over her bedroom walls and crossed her name out with a red marker for me that is not normal childhood behaviour my sister in law continues to make excuses for her daughters strange behaviour ignores it and shruggs it off I find it extremely frustrating as she knows her daughter has a problem and refuses to address it her daughter is constantly in trouble at school and most of the time has to sit detention and she will say but her daughter is always just there when there is trouble I find that hard to believe as she is a pathological liar and extremely manipulative how do I deal with this as I am forced to keep my kids locked up and away from her because I fear that I do not know what stunt she will pull next my sister in law gets very angry every time I call her daughter out when she is lying or causing trouble. Please help I feel lost and extremely angry

    Sincerely Anonymous

  24. Many details here make me question the credibility of this article, for example, it says that psychopaths are also known as sociopaths when they are different things.

    1. Psychology researchers generally believe that psychopaths tends to be born — it’s likely a genetic predisposition — while sociopaths tend to be made by their environment.Psychopathy and sociopathy are different cultural labels applied to the diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder.

  25. You all sound like self aggrandising, yet surprisingly uneducated. Just because some people do not understand emotions does not mean that they will grow up to hurt animals. We certainly aren’t the type to get caught acting up like the lady who dislikes her stepson and blames him for all things over her dear 3 year old son.
    It’s mostly adults that don’t understand that their child is ahead of the game than they are, and think they can tell them half truths (as they’re only children they won’t figure it out).
    The ones you label psychopaths are able to figure this and many other things out, the little digs parents have towards each other.
    Psychopaths are the reason society has cohesion, the psychopaths ruled and made the borders, the laws that keeps you safe.
    Who else can think so clearly

    1. Hi Richard, you may think you are, but probably aren’t a psychopath. A psychopath wouldn’t have commented. Psychopaths have no real emotions and can’t feel for other people. They can pretend to feel and understand as long as it benefits them, but underneath, they feel absolutely nothing. You expressed a lot of feelings in your post so congratulations on not being psychopath.

  26. at least you can deal with them but what about the psychopath that live in Africa where people don’t even know about there might be a clan of pyscho’s living together what do say about this

    1. Culturally psychopathology is different. In a place like Africa, they deal with mentally ill people much differently than we do in European countries, sometimes in very inhumane ways. If someone is a psychopath in a place like Africa, they are probably ostracized.

      1. I live in Africa – it is a huge Continent, so it is very wrong to generalise about it. Would anybody in the world know? I doubt it. Like all Continents, we have educated and uneducated people, have’s and have not’s, good and bad medical facilities. I come from South Africa and have access to some of the best medical facilities in the world – after all, our “Africa” produced Dr Chris Barnard, who pioneered heart transplantation surgery, way back in about the ,60’s if memory serves me correctly. He and his team performed the very first one at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town – his patient, Louis Waskanski (sic) survived for about 21 days and made medical history. Thanks to Dr Barnard, (notwithstanding that is was African) the lives of thousands have been extended or saved, world wide.
        Psychopathology is not different in Africa – it is both understood, misunderstood, handled in a humane or inhumane manner world-wide, by both educated and uneducated people – it is certainly incorrect to say “In a place like Africa”. Most Africans are inherently kind and friendly people, who take care of their own from generation to generation.
        Like Europe, it comprises of many different countries, both 1st and 3rd World, from the Cape in South Africa, to Egypt, way up in North Africa.
        We live on a vast and very beautiful continent, from sunny beaches, blue oceans to desserts – mountains to flat lands. The Nile River graces our land and we speak many different languages, have many different cultures, all of them diverse and endemic to all the countries within our borders. Inhumanity is alive and well in every country in the world, and certainly not endemic to Africa.

  27. It hurts to realise that psychopathy is increasing with this pace. I myself live with a psychopath who happens to be very close. So I know quite well about such people and am able to recognize them the moment they come in front of me.
    The fact k want to highlight is that not every psychopath is a born psychopath. Today I met an old friend after a long time and we had a good talk. She told me that she had psychiatric sessions and that she has a separate room despite of living in a two bedroom house where her parents have to share a room with her two brothers. So she must have blackmailed them and got a separate room for herself. She was all changed and I remember her a Burger girl back then. Psychopathy hardly has a solution and if it has, so that is for the family members to tolerate and cooperate.

    1. The information I’ve found says she is doing well: Beth Thomas, RN, BSN, is the adopted daughter of Attachment Therapy proponent Nancy Thomas. Ms Thomas is the only independent adult survivor of Attachment Therapy/Parenting to speak well of Attachment Therapy. She currently works with Nancy Thomas and her company Families by Design in promoting Attachment Therapy and its parenting methods through lectures and materials sales. –

  28. My child is five he has most of the signs he also has Adhd he is violent at times and is cold after hurting people ex he has stabbed someone resulting in stitches stabbed a classmate in the eye with a pencil and other things. I have him in therapy and currently waiting for staffing hours I have a newborn as well he hit him for no reason today I am so frustrated it seems like he’s not making any progress in therapy what should I do

    1. Have you tried medication? I know that is not what most parents want, but sometimes it’s the only thing that can help. He definitely needs some therapy to try to figure out what is going on with him. Has he experienced any trauma?

  29. I’m 12 years old and I’m a psychopath I love animals I I hate other people this thing is wrong in some ways I’m depress alone I have no friends my parents hate me I have hurt myself but I have relised that why do that when I’m trying to hurt ither people I’m too scared to ask for help lol I told my mom I need counseling gauss what she said no no you dont you just need to stop thinking like that I hate grownups they think that were all fine when they don’t know whats going on insede our brains if you have any tips please tell me since no one eles will help

    sence the girl whos crazy

    1. Hi, sorry this is so late. You know yourself better than anyone else so if you think you need counseling, then you need counseling. Can you talk to someone at your school? Maybe start off with a guidance counselor and see if he/she can refer you to a mental health counselor or the school psychologist. You’re very young so there is a great possibility that what you are going through will change for the better as you get older, but you definitely want to surround yourself with a good support system to help you through what you are feeling and experiencing.. You’re not alone. Millions of preteens and teens feel lonely and depressed. Try to join a support group if you have access to one at your school.

  30. A phycopath and sociopath are 2 different disorders. They are not the same thing and completely different in every way.

  31. This article seemed to be well informed until “Eric Harris, one of the columbine shooters. Seemed to fall into the category of a psychopath (also called sociopath)”. Psychopathy and sociopathy are two different personality disorders. The description in the article of a psychopath was accurate. Sociopaths tend to live on the fringes of society and have a harder time conforming to societal rules, making them easier to spot. As a psychopath speaking for myself, I am well aware I do not conform to the traits that of a sociopath.

  32. Reading this makes me more concerned for the well being of the children in our home. I have 3 daughters, 15, 13 and 4 and I have two step children who have recently become shared care. My step son (10) was diagnosed with ASD and ADHD and my 4 year old has ASD and SPD. He has always been very aggressive toward her and he has been found to be pinning her down and hitting her yet refused to accept responsibility and blaming her and didn’t show remorse of any kind. he has a history of hurting and domination animals. On Thursday My little girl told me her brother makes her look at his private parts, takes pics of them and videos on the toilet and makes her watch and said she really wants it to stop. After discussions with his mother, she said she found pics and videos of him harming his 4 year old half brother. smothering him with pillows, hitting kicking and trying to force his mouth open further than it can go. Instead of bringing this to our attention she had it all deleted professionally so it can not be retrieved which makes me feel she did that because there was evidence of abuse towards my daughter she did not want us to see. I know in my heart he has done things to her but I have no proof. My husband took him to see his psychologist to get some advise and at first he was gong to report the behaviour to the authorities but then changed his mind saying that he would like him to see a specialist in sexual assault. this does not help my little girl and has put a lot of strain on my marriage because I want him out of my house so I know my baby girl is safe. He is not my son so I dont have the parent instinct to protect him. he shows not remorse for any of these things, and still cant understand why i am so angry at him. My little girls shows many signs that she has been sexually assaulted like touching people inappropriately and asking others to touch her. Her behaviour is off the charts when he is there but she is fine when he is gone. Surly there must be a law to protect my daughter so we have no choice to get rid of 50/50 care. How can I ever sleep or relax knowing that this person who harms others in my home. How can his needs come first? The biggest problem is that his mother doesn’t want him either, she also has a young child to protect and to be honest she has never seemed to bond with him, and doesn’t seem to see him as anymore than a hassle even before her new child was born. So what to do? leave my husband to make sure my child is safe? so confused

  33. Please give me advice. Our adult son (34 yrs old) may be a psychopath. The signs began during adolescence. He became conniving, would skip school, lie, leave home for weeks at a time, get in fights, break curfew, never hold down a job, stole a car, blamed and controlled others, and had no regard for other people’s feelings. He didn’t show up for his sister’s wedding. He tried drugs and plead guilty to harassing an ex-girlfriend. He would call her in the wee hours of the morning and just breathe in the phone and then he put a dead rose in her mailbox. We had him arrested once and kicked him out of the house several times. I took him for therapy but he eventually refused to go. He married at 19 and his wife left him after three weeks due to his aggressive and controlling behavior. Nine years ago he convinced his younger brother to move out of our house and move in with him. That is the last time we have been able to call ourselves a family. Their lives are now like a cult. They have both taken wives, live together, and cut off all contact with family. He uses Bible scripture to control what they wear, eat, and read. He is no longer called by the name he grew up with. Their wives have told their families they are dead and to not contact them. No one can go see them and they screen all calls. Their wives wear strange dark clothes and have to say yes sir and no sir. We have tried to make contact, but the older son (psychopath) refuses to let us near any of them. He is cruel, says hateful things, and told us he never wants to see us again. I am very worried for our younger son and the wives. There are no children. What can I (mother) do?

    1. Hi Mom… unfortunately at this point it doesn’t look like there is much you can do except for letting go. I know as a mother it is hard to let go of your children, however they are adults and living their own lives no matter how disturb you may think their lives are. There comes a point that even with our children we have to learn to detach with love in order to live our own lives with as much peace as possible. You can still love them and care about them from a distance, but there is no need for you to continue wasting your energy worrying about adults who have chosen their own paths.

  34. I have many of these symptoms and I know I am not a psychopath but I have had childhood trauma and trauma in my teen years so I probably have PTSD cuz I love animals more than humans sometimes but i don;t want to hurt or kill anyone, I came here looking to see if maybe my son was a psychopath sadly, he has kicked a duck, has shattered duck eggs usually throws rocks and things at my dog, and has made a comment of how when I die he wants to have my skin as a blanket and my hair for a pillow, should I be worried?

  35. Guys I’m going going to write this because I’m considered. I started dating a lady and meet her kids. I have been iveing with her and her kids now for a year, her son has stabbed me with a par of sissies the first few months I was living with him and has only gotten worse. We got a dog and he wouldn’t stop throwing the dog around so we gave it away he holds knives up to his self and says he is going to kill his self he messes with his little sister till she sits in the flour and crys and he thinks it is quit funny. No one will help because he is only 12 can some please help

    1. Get him some therapy. A children’s therapist. He is obviously going through some mentally/emotionally problems which probably has something to do with his dad not being there and you entering his life. Who knows what he has experienced or witnessed as a child. Sounds like someone who could definitely benefit from a good therapists to help him identify and channel his anger issues. As a children’s therapist I often worked with kids half his age.

  36. I have a new infant daughter that I share w/ her father whom has a very emotionally & mentally disturbed 15 year old son. He is a compulsive chronic liar & from what I’ve been told by his father, has been that way since he was very young. He is so good at manipulating & lying that it has been an issue for years now. Upon the birth of our daughter he told his mother he wanted the baby dead & went into horific detail about taking a knife to her. He sleep walks & seems to lack rational calm emotion when he is upset. I have asked that he be put into psychiatric treatment & is not allowed in our home around my daughter. My partners family think I’m being ridiculous & really I’m not certain they even know my side or the full truth. My partner defends his son saying he was only trying to “shock” me but why & to cross the line of threatening my innocent baby daughter is beyond me & I see it all as incredibly disturbed. What are your suggestions & thoughts? The 15 year old does not live w/ us but lives w/ his mother & only visits.

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