Psychopathic Personalities

“Personality” refers to how a person functions in life, including all the ways he or she perceives things and behaves. For more on personality in general, see the first post in this category entitled “Personality 101”

The principal preoccupation of people with psychopathic personalities is to get one over on somebody and consciously manipulate them. Many of them are temperamentally more aggressive than the norm but they are also fundamentally disconnected from emotion. Instead, when they do feel, they tend to experience blind rage or manic exhilaration.

The primary defensive mechanism of psychopathic people is omnipotent control, and if they are not actively in the process of trying to control or overpower someone, they are usually making use of their interactions with others to brag about their scams or crimes. As these situations illustrate, people with psychopathic personalities are well known for having no conscience (or an undeveloped superego), but they are also very careful not to disclose behaviors that others might see as a sign of weakness.

Much of the content for the above was derived from passages of Nancy McWilliams’ book Psychoanalytic Diagnosis: Understanding Personality Structure in Clinical Process.