Inside The Mind Of A Potential Psychopath

As promised, here is a letter from someone I believe could be a potential budding psychopath.

A brief background:

This is a 16 year old male that came to see me for feelings of hatred and anger towards “everyone” as well as potential auditory hallucinations and symptoms of depersonalization.

He is currently in danger of failing school and follows none of the rules set for him at home and receives little to no consequences for that. I asked him to start keeping a record of his thoughts so I could help him analyze them.

This is a sample of his thought journal:

I feel irritated. I swear people are trying to make me gun them down. I’m trying very hard to keep my cool, but it’s thinning really fast. Everyone here disgusts me. The teacher is getting on my fucking nerves. I just want to pop a bottle in her face.

She makes me sick. Her voice is getting on my nerves. If I had telekinesis  I would use it to spin everyones heads. I hate you all. It’s hard for me to focus on my work. I’m just not capble of doing it. I wanna go home. I am trying to do my work but I can’t focus.

I am not in the mood to do anything. God I hate everything. The guy [teacher] is asking for binders. I want to take the binder and smack him with it. If I had the power to burn things it wouldn’t be good for anybody because if I burned somebody I don’t think I would feel sorry.

I am writing this while I shoud be doing my work, but I don’t think I give a shit. Fuck the life. This is fucking stupid. I hate the people, the class, the school. I don’t dislike, I hate everything and I don’t know why. If these people were to die tomorrow I wouldn’t give a damn.

Class is almost done and this bitch is wasting my time. Fuck her. In class people talking and i just wanna slash their throats. They including the teacher are all useless to me. They’re all disgusting. Why am I in a classroom filled with imbeciles, morons, idiots, everyone I hate.

I was sad because my friend wasn’t here today. I usually see him in second period, but he’s absent. I was sad because out of everyone I talk to, he’s the one I’m most comfortable with. He’s kinda like the twin I wish I had.

Ever since the 7th grade, way before that, I had been having daydreams of a different life, one I had control over. In those daydreams I have a brother named ______. He’s my heart, the one I feel connected to and when I’m not having those daydreams I feel depressed and want to cause people harm and sometimes for no reason.

Sometimes I imagine myself being God and other times I start to believe it. If I were God I would cause a great flood and take out the people I hate in the world and replace them with people I don’t. I don’t see why people are laughing. If I were to slit their throats I bet they wouldn’t any more. I’m tired of these stupid people.

I want to make them know that I am better than them. I’m sitting in tech class and I want to take the keyboard and slap the two students in front of me in the head until I get tired. These people underestimate my powers because if they knew what I could do they would be afraid.

These people are nothing to me, but ants. I could just stomp them with my foot and they would be dead, but I’m too nice and theres no point to go to jail for these dirty people. They are not worth my time. I fucking hate people. Their shit is so stupid.

Why is everything this way. I’m talking and thinking, but it’s disorganized. I can’t remember much of most things that I am thinking. I just want to go somewhere that I can just do whatever I want with no consequence because if I were to kill someone I wouldn’t want to get in trouble for it.

I’m not ready to clearly say that this guy is a psychopath as his symptoms are also typical of a couple of other personality disorders.

However, it’s obvious from his writing that he hates people, finds it almost unbearable to be around most people and feels as if he is better than everyone. He talks about hurting and killing people and saying he would probably feel nothing.

He also talks about people as if they were just insignificant insects. As if other peoples existence alone irritates him.

He has daydreams where he imagines himself as God and even starts to feel like God in real life with thoughts of destroying everyone.

Sure, he says he would never do these things, not because they are wrong or he would feel bad, but because he doesn’t want to suffer the consequences. Probably much like many of the mass murderers who committed suicide after their crimes felt.

I’m not going to say that this guy will hurt, none the less murder anyone, but I am saying that he is showing clear signs of psychopathic traits that need to be dealt with before he ever gets to that point.

I’ve been working with him on this for the past few weeks, helping him analyze his feelings and thoughts and challenging them,  but I am getting his family involved because I think he may need more intensive treatment than I can provide in the current setting I am working with him in.

He really is a good kid with lots of potential, but if he falls through the cracks he can easily end up spending the rest of his life incarcerated and/or ruin other peoples lives. I’m determined to do my best to not allow that to happen.

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.

On Jovan Belcher, Murder-Suicide and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in NFL Players

67-300x210Like a lot of people, I was shocked when I first heard the tragic news that National Football League (NFL) player Jovan Belcher had shot and killed his girlfriend, 22 year old Kasandra Perkins, before killing himself in front of the stadium his team played and practiced at last week.

Shocked at first because here was a guy, 25 years old, in the the prime of his life, making millions of dollars and yet for whatever reason, got to a point where he thought the only way out was to take the life of his 22 year old girlfriend and the mother to his infant child.

I don’t have any intimate details about Jovan Belcher or his relationship with his girlfriend, but I think it’s safe to say that Belcher was not in his right mind when he committed this tragedy and that the biggest victim of this incident is the orphaned child left behind.

I also think it’s safe to say that this was an act of domestic violence, even if the couple had no history of domestic violence, because killing your spouse, even in a fit of rage, is the ultimate act of domestic violence.

In my area, there has been a rash of domestic violence situations that have lead to homicide or murder-suicides lately. Most of these men were mentally/emotionally disturbed individuals.

A lot of times this type of incident comes from the desire to control other people and situations that we cannot control.

Sometimes when someone feels like they have exhausted themselves of every rational choice, they resort to very irrational and in this case, permanent choices that are destructive.

Also, many people who commit suicide often do not plan it, but do so impulsively.This seems to be the case often, especially when it comes to men.

In a fit of anger, irrational thinking, and/or sadness, picking up a gun and pulling the trigger probably wasn’t thought out completely, put an impulsive reaction.

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a degenerative brain disease that is seen in some people who have had multiple concussions or head injuries.

CTE and many similar conditions strike numerous NFL players, boxers, wrestlers, hockey players and soldiers, often leading to poor memory, coordination, depression and impulsive behavior.

Signs of CTE were seen in former NFL player Junior Seau, who shot himself in the chest in 2012. NFL player Dave Duerson, who before committing suicide, sent a text message to his family asking that his brain be donated to the Boston University research center because he felt as if his brain was “sick”.

Other recent NFL suicides include former NFL player Ray Easterling who shot himself in April, and 25 year old NFL player O.J. Murdock who shot himself in July.

Signs of CTE were also seen in an University of Pennsylvania Football player, who abruptly committed suicide in 2010.

Signs of CTE and other degenerative brain conditions are also showing up in Afghan and Iraq war veterans, many of them have committed suicide and other tragic, impulsive acts as well.

I’m not saying that CTE or any other brain condition was the cause of this tragedy, but I think it has to be taken into consideration as well as Belcher’s mental state.

Like in the military, in the NFL and other male professional sports, it’s often not popular to talk about feelings or problems, so men don’t. They hold it in and deal with them in the best way they know how, often ending up in situations where the only way they see out is through destruction of some type (violence, alcohol, drugs, etc.).

Maybe if Belcher had someone he felt he could talk to about what was going on, this wouldn’t have happened, who knows.

I do know that our society discourages men in most cases from talking about how they really feel and that in turn often leads to angry, depressed, damaged, frustrated, and hurt men who sometimes go on to hurt themselves and/or others.

I don’t want to speculate too much on this situation, but I do want us as a society to talk more about men dealing with their feelings and breaking through the stereotypes of manhood and letting men know it’s okay to ask for help.

Six current or former football players have killed themselves in the last two years, four in the last eight months.

Maybe this goes along with the CTE and impulse control theory or with men not talking about their problems theory. In my opinion, in many circumstances it may be a combination of both.

This is disturbing. Even without looking at CTE, this gives us a quick glimpse into the state of men in general when it comes to mental/emotional health.