Today, my good friend @heinakroon (I like to pretend my Twitter friends are my good friends who I hang out with and we have chats. It’s cheerful, right? And not at all lunatic behavior) posted on his blog about how to tell if you’re a psychopath. So, of course I had to read it to see if I am. I told him I was pretty sure I’d win, and he was horrified by this. I WIN EVERYTHING. Why does anyone even doubt this?
So in case you didn’t click (heavy, heavy sigh because you NEVER CLICK. People! I can see when you’re clicking. CLICK DAMMIT. I have this program that WordPress gives me that tells me when you click. NO ONE CLICKS. Poor @heinakroon, and his awesome blog! WHY WON’T YOU LOVE HIM) here’s the test. I’m paraphrasing it because I can do that. Listen, I’m having a really good day. You can’t even get me down. I foiled a nefarious person full of deception earlier today, so I’m really winning Friday.
Imagine you’re on a railroad trestle and a big bad badguy full of badness has tied five people up to the tracks. You have the option of switching the train to another set of tracks to save the five. BUT! On that set of tracks, ONE person is tied. WHAT DO YOU DO.
Then, once you do that, you find out that AGAIN the baddie full of badness is up to his old tricks and has five MORE people tied up. And the train is unstoppable, unless you throw something heavy in its path. You have nothing heavy! Except a fat person with you. You can throw the fat person off the trestle, and stop the train, saving the five people. WHAT DO YOU DO.
So I answered, “save the five, sacrifice the one” for the first question and “don’t kill the poor fat guy, what the hell, that’s totally mercenary of you” to the second and WINNING! That was the ANSWER! That proved I am not a PSYCHOPATH!
But listen, even though he made SURE to say it was hypothetical, I have some QUESTIONS.
- Why am I hanging around a trainyard? I don’t even like trains. That seems like a shady thing to do.
- I assume it’s daytime? Otherwise, how could I see the people tied to the tracks? Why aren’t I at work? Is it Sunday, during the day? I should really be writing, or cleaning, or watching television. I don’t have time for this train nonsense.
- How do I know a baddie? Have I fallen in with a bad crowd? Shit. My mom totally warned me about this.
- Who ARE all these people tied to the tracks? Didn’t they try to fight back? By my count, that’s 11 people. They had the baddie outnumbered 11 to 1. Show some initiative, people.
- Who’s the fat person? Is he a friend of mine? I assume so, otherwise why are we hanging out on a train trestle in the middle of a Sunday afternoon? I’m not a very good friend if I call my friends fat. He won’t be my friend for long, with that attitude. And our friendship’s totally going to hit the skids if it ever comes out that I debated mentally whether to sacrifice him for the greater good.
- Where even ARE these trains? I don’t think there are trainyards where I live. Have I traveled somewhere? That’s exciting. I never get to travel. Am I enjoying myself? I should really be out sightseeing. Why aren’t I sightseeing? Trainyards don’t make for great sightseeing. There has to be the World’s Biggest Ball of Yarn or SOMETHING in this town. I’ll even bring the fat person along! I’m a very good friend.
I’m pretty sure that once these burning questions are answered, you’ll find out that I win this test.
ANYWAY, so I felt kind of let down by this test, because once @heinakroon told me it was hypothetical, I thought, “how can you win something that’s imaginary” and I LOVE TO WIN. I mean, LOVE. I know what you’re thinking. Who doesn’t love to win? Saps don’t, that’s who. Good sportsmanship my ass, I want to WIN this mother.
I decided that further investigation was in order, because I really want to win this psychopath thing and I’m not really one to back down from a challenge.
So I went to Reader Digest, but not your namby-pamby AMERICAN Reader’s Digest, no no no, CANADIAN Reader’s Digest, bi-otch, because they have the BEST psychopath tests.
According to this article, handily titled “Are You a Psychopath,” here are ways to tell if you’re a psychopath.
KEY FEATURES OF PSYCHOPATHY
Glib and Superficial
Psychopaths are often voluble and verbally facile. They can be amusing and entertaining conversationalists, ready with a clever comeback, and are able to tell unlikely but convincing stories that cast themselves in a good light.
Yes. I am ALL OF THESE THINGS. Well, except my stories very seldom cast me in a good light. They cast me in a really poor light. Like, you know how in theater the director says, “Find your light!” No, you probably wouldn’t know that unless you were a theater person, would you. Well, the director DOES say that. TRUST ME. It is a THING THEY SAY. So if my stories were the light, I’d be standing behind the prop street sign in a ripped set of costume overalls and a moth-eaten bonnet, is what I’m saying. But I am very, very clever with comebacks. I mean, I’m a smartass ALL THE TIME. You can ask ANYONE. They will tell you that I’m a total smartass. If they say “jackass”, they’re just pronouncing smartass wrong.
Egocentric and Grandiose
Psychopaths have a narcissistic and grossly inflated view of their own self-worth and importance, a truly astounding egocentricity and sense of entitlement, and see themselves as the centre of the universe, justified in living according to their own rules.
Oh, see, YES, because I HATE ALL THE RULES. And I KNOW I’m justified in living within my own rules, because my rules are the only ones that make any sense and all the other rules are unnecessarily strict and totally asshatty! Oh, wait, I just re-read the rest of that because I was fixated on the rules part. I like the wording of “truly astounding” but even when I pretend I think I’m fancy, shh, top secret info, it’s totally an act. So I’m only egocentric in that I like myself an awful lot more than other people, because they annoy me? But I don’t think I’m BETTER than they are. I don’t know how much I win this one.
Lack of Remorse or Guilt
Psychopaths show a stunning lack of concern for the effects their actions have on others, no matter how devastating these might be. They may appear completely forthright about the matter, calmly stating that they have no sense of guilt, are not sorry for the ensuing pain, and that there is no reason now to be concerned.
Shit. I fail this one. I grew up Catholic. There’s no way to escape the guilt that instills in a person. NONE.
Lack of Empathy
Many of the characteristics displayed by psychopaths are closely associated with a profound lack of empathy and inability to construct a mental and emotional “facsimile” of another person. They seem completely unable to “get into the skin” of others, except in a purely intellectual sense.
Um…Reader’s Digest Canada? I don’t know if I would put the phrase “get into the skin” in a “are you a psychopath” quiz in the future. It will implant all the ideas?
And I fail this one, too. I OVER-empathize. It’s a sickness, really. Unless I hate the person. Then I hope they die in a housefire, trapped under a chandelier. And that their housepets eat their face.
Psychopaths seem to suffer a kind of emotional poverty that limits the range and depth of their feelings. At times they appear to be cold and unemotional while nevertheless being prone to dramatic, shallow, and short-lived displays of feeling. Careful observers are left with the impression they are playacting and little is going on below the surface.
Winning! I have said many TIMES that I don’t know how to REACT in normal social SITUATIONS so it’s like I learned my cues from the GORILLAS like Jane GOODALL! So I suppose if there was a “careful observer” (and if there is? STOP STARING AT ME) he or she (STOP STARING I SAID) might think I was being shallow. But really I’m using my mental facilities to think of a good excuse to exit the conversation, because social situations feel like I’m being poked to death by a million hatpins.
Poor Behavior Controls
Besides being impulsive, psychopaths are highly reactive to perceived insults or slights. Most of us have powerful inhibitory controls over our behaviour; even if we would like to respond aggressively we are usually able to “keep the lid on.” In psychopaths, these inhibitory controls are weak, and the slightest provocation is sufficient to overcome them. But, their actions have a “cold” and focused quality about them, and return to “normal” is quick.
I don’t know. Sometimes I get mad, I guess. But sometimes I don’t get mad? I don’t know if I’m winning this one at all. Help me out here, readers. Do you get mad, and sometimes not mad? Do you think that makes you a psychopath? Do you think that means you are winning? Do you think it means I am winning?
A Need for Excitement
Psychopaths have an ongoing and excessive need for excitement—they long to live in the fast lane or “on the edge,” where the action is. In many cases the action involves the breaking of rules.
NOT WINNING. I hate excitement. Well, here’s the thing. I like little excitements. Like, I sure do like when my preferred brand of cat litter’s on sale! Or when I find a quarter in the laundry room! I hate excitement like “let’s go on a road trip without a DESTINATION!” What. The. Hell. No, no let’s NOT do that. Why WOULD we do that. BITE ME. I have a SYSTEM. You are MESSING with it. Go freewheel somewhere else, Granola Girl.
Lack of Responsibility
Obligations and commitments mean nothing to psychopaths. Their good intentions—”I’ll never cheat on you again”—are promises written on the wind. Their performance on the job is erratic, with frequent absences, misuse of company resources, violations of company policy, and general untrustworthiness. They do not honour formal or implied commitments to people, organizations, or principles.
BTW? I am loving the Canadian/British spelling here. It makes me feel fancy. I want a teacup. I will lift my pinky finger! I will be SO SWANKY!
“Promises written on the wind.” You go, poet laureate, writing for the Canadian Reader’s Digest. Flowery!
I am so honoring of commitments that I can’t even tell you. I fail this one all the time. I show up half an hour early for EVERYTHING. If I say I’ll be somewhere, I’m THERE. If I say I won’t lie to you, I WON’T. I am VERY HONEST and I am VERY COMMITTED. However, I will flat-out tell you if I’m NOT coming or if I’m NOT going to tell you the truth. So believe me, please. I’m not being sarcastic.
Early Behaviour Problems
Most psychopaths begin to exhibit serious behavioural problems at an early age. These might include persistent lying, cheating, theft, arson, truancy, substance abuse, vandalism, and/or precocious sexuality. Because many children exhibit some of these behaviours at one time or another, it is important to emphasize that the psychopath’s history of such behaviours is more extensive and serious than most.
I was such a perfect kid that, according to my mother, someone once asked her in church, “how do you get your child to be such a little angel?” PLEASE LET THAT SINK IN I AM A CELESTIAL BEING. My mother went on to say she laughed so hard she choked. Nice, mom. Way to ruin the moment. No, in all honesty, I was a good kid. Mostly because all I did was read, and write in my diary how much I wanted to move away the minute I got old enough to. And I did, and now I read, living somewhere else. FAIL THIS ONE.
Adult Antisocial Behaviour
Psychopaths see the rules and expectations of society as inconvenient and unreasonable impediments to their own behavioural expression. They make their own rules. Antisocial behaviour may consist of phoney stock promotions, questionable business practices, partner or child abuse, and so forth. Others do things that are not necessarily illegal but are nevertheless unethical, immoral, or harmful to others: cheating on a partner, emotional abuse, bullying, to name but a few.
Um. I don’t think I do most of these. I don’t even OWN any stocks. I don’t HAVE a partner. The other day my cat fell off the bed and I laughed like a moron, but it’s not like I pushed him. SIGH. FAIL.
OK, so let’s see. There are ten of these. It doesn’t even tell you how to SCORE yourself on this test, Reader’s Digest Canada, so I’m kind of let down right there, and YOU are not winning, but let’s assume if you are winning a majority of these, you are a psychopath. And a tally tells us that…well, a few of these I only was kind-of winning, so I gave myself .5s for them, and if you do that, I got a 2.5 out of 10. I DID NOT WIN THIS AT ALL. What the hell? I am totally TWICE OVER not a psychopath. This is SO UPSETTING. I did not win this AT ALL.
I’m going to go tie some sorry bastards to some hypothetical train tracks or something. THIS IS SO DISAPPOINTING.