- One with strong psychopathic traits will not hesitate to try to destroy your relationship with friends and family, writes psychologist and PhD Helge Andreas Hoff.

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This emerges from an article in the Norwegian news outlet BT.no, which recently had several news articles about psychopathy.

The psychologist emphasizes that it is important to disseminate fact-based knowledge about psychopathy, something he will contribute through his article. You can read the whole article here.


Underlying motives of dominance, control and exploitation

It is common for people to try to create a good first impression in meeting new people, something we, according to Helge Andreas Hoff, do "based on a need for connection, to be liked and accepted."

However, he emphasizes:

Psychopathic people's motive for creating a positive impression, on the other hand, is not a need for connection. It is rather a way to make you believe in them, give them information and bond with them so that they can dominate, control and exploit you to achieve financial, social, sexual or other selfish gain.

He also says that someone with psychopathy manipulates other people because they enjoy the feeling it gives them, and that a person with psychopathy is to a small extent controlled by emotions such as care, empathy, guilt and fear. 


Two types of people according to the psychopath

Hoff says that "the world consists, according to the psychopathic person, of those who dominate and have control, and those who are submissive, weak, or boringly ordinary." 

A very interesting point in the article is that if you no longer have value for the psychopath, he (or she) often loses interest in you quickly. But on the other hand:

If you still have value, but have realized what he really is and thus threatens his self-image, he can instead start using what he knows about you to humiliate or threaten you.  

This can make it very demanding to break out of the relationship with a psychopath, such as the anonymous woman tells about in her chronicle.


What psychopathy is not

Helge Andreas Hoff talks about important dividing lines between psychopathy and other mental disorders, such as substance abuse disorders, borderline personality disorder and psychotic disorders. With all of these disorders, there may occasionally be a behavior similar to psychopathy.

But most often we see that this is an expression of crisis, life situation or illness and disappears with good help, the psychologist emphasizes.

In contrast to these disorders, psychopathy is a very peculiar form of personality functioning - which can be very destructive to other people. 

... psychopathic people (know) well when their actions are harmful or illegal.


Advice for relatives

In conclusion, Helge Andreas Hoff gives some advice to people who are in a harmful relationship with a person with psychopathy. He tells:

Make sure to document communication, by taking care of text messages, emails and photos. Talk to friends, family and the emergency services, and contact the police if you are exposed to threats or violence.

Do not think that you can change the person with care or support. We do not know today whether psychopathy can be treated.