9 Minutes

Edited & medically reviewed by THE BALANCE Team
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What comes to your mind when you think of a psychopath? For most people, psychopaths are severely disturbed individuals who keep roaming the streets on a killing spree. And while most of these serial killers are likely to be psychopaths, not everyone who falls into this category of mental illness is a murderer. In fact, many of these psychopaths are perfectly normal humans with apparently normal family life and excellent career.

Because of their ability to mask psychopathic tendencies, you may quickly find yourself in a relationship with a psychopath partner. Many of them do not pose any physical danger to you, but a huge emotional risk is always associated with living with them. Dealing with them daily can take a toll on your mental and psychological well-being and hurt your entire life if you are not vigilant enough to stop the abuse early on. Fortunately, identifying the signs of a psychopath and learning how to deal with a psychopathic partner in time can reduce some of the damage.

Wondering how to tell if someone is a psychopath? Experts have enlisted all the significant characteristics a psychopath is likely to exhibit in such people. These include the following:

Superficial Charm

Interestingly, most psychopaths are incredibly charming and likeable, but this is only on the surface. They are good conversationalists and often share stories that portray them in a good way. Such people can be charismatic and funny as well and attract a lot of people towards them.

Need for Stimulation

Most psychopaths thrive on excitement. They want a life full of constant action and wish to always live in the fast lane. This constant need for stimulation may make them break the rules, and such people often struggle to stay engaged in repetitive tasks.

Pathological Lying

It is common for psychopaths to tell lies to get out of trouble or to look good. They may even create more fallacies and lies to cover up their previous lies. As a result, they may find it challenging to keep their stories straight as they may forget what they have said earlier.

Inflated Views of Self

Psychopath often has very high self-worth and inflated view of themselves. They may consider themselves the entitled and the more important ones in a relationship. Such people live according to their own rules and believe no law applies to them.


A psychopath can easily make their partners do what they want. They routinely play on their partner’s gut while lying to get them to do their work.

Lack of Remorse

A psychopath shows no remorse and does not care how their actions and behaviours may affect other people. They can quickly forget about doing something that hurt someone and may even insist that others are overreacting to their actions. In simpler words, such people never feel guilt for causing pain to others and instead focus on rationalising their behaviour while blaming others.


Lack of Empathy

The majority of psychopaths struggle to read other people. Hence, they are mostly indifferent to other people’s feelings, struggles, and sufferings, even if they are someone close to them.


Parasitic Lifestyle

Psychopaths always have an excuse ready for everything wrong in their life. They may also portray themselves as victim in the hands of others. When people show kindness to them, they may take advantage of it by depending on them for everything.


A borderline psychopath may never accept responsibility for the problems they are facing in life. They always justify it as someone else’s fault and play the victim card to overcome difficult situations.

Given the behaviours you are exposed to in a relationship with a psychopath, moving on can sometimes become extremely difficult. When such a relationship begins affecting your mental health and everyday life, it is time to take things to another level by confronting them or ending the connection once and for all.

Following are a few tips to make dealing with a psychopath much easier:

Never blame yourself.

If you are considering ending your association with a psychopath, you have probably been blamed for most of the relationship problems between you and your partner. This constant blame game can make it difficult for many people to end their relationship with an abuser out of guilt. This way of things needs to stop, especially if you are thinking of breaking all the ties. You will have an easier time letting go of your psychopathic partner once you convince yourself that it was not your fault how things turned out.

Stop excusing their negative behaviour.

Many people in a romantic relationship with a psychopath may make excuses to justify their partner’s behaviour. When you do this, it means that you secretly believe that circumstances will change someday. Such a mindset can keep you trapped in a relationship no matter how toxic it gets. So it’s high time you stopped justifying your psychopathic partner’s behaviour and see things as they are.

Stop convincing yourself that they will change.

A psychopath may constantly promise to change, and you will likely believe them. However, deep down, you know they are simply trying to manipulate you into keeping the relationship. So don’t fall for these fake promises and muster up the courage to do what needs to be done.

Don’t fall victim to suicide threats.

If you have decided to leave your psychopath partner, they may try to blackmail you into staying with suicide threats. While many people easily fall into this trap and are forced to stay to protect their partner, remember that you always have a right to leave. If your partner is repeatedly threatening suicide, inform the relevant authorities and let them intervene while you focus on ending things with them.

Prepare yourself.

Before you break up with a psychopath, ensure your affairs are in order. Find a place where you will be moving to, separate your finances if you share a joint account, and most importantly, have a plan of safety in mind in case things go sideways. These steps are essential because many psychopaths are scorned when their relationships end against their will and may seek revenge. This revenge may result in draining your bank accounts or evicting you when you are unprepared and without a new home. Being prepared prevents you from facing these difficulties.

Break off all contact.

Most relationships with a psychopath are not salvageable and eventually end up in a breakup. If you are considering ending things with your partner, cut off the contact altogether. They may try to reach out repeatedly, confessing their love for you or promising that they have changed. Don’t let this emotional manipulation change your mind by blocking them from all communication platforms.

Don’t let them smear you.

If you are confronting or breaking up with a psychopath, you are hurting their ego. In retaliation, they may begin a smear campaign against you, telling everyone how bad of a person you are. Acknowledge that this is just another tactic to get into your head and prevent you from taking a stand for yourself. Remind yourself that what they are telling others is not based on truth, and there is no need for you to defend yourself against these manipulative tactics.

Give yourself some time to heal.

Being with a psychopath can emotionally, mentally, and physically drain you. Despite the trouble they have been causing you, you may feel very hurt when you end things with them, especially when you are deeply in love with them. So give yourself some time to heal and recover from the trauma you have endured for so long. It is entirely okay to grieve the loss.

Get support.

Seek help and support from trustable family members and friends when times get tough. There is a good chance that some of them have already picked up on the harmful effects of your relationship with a psychopath, and they would be more than happy to help you find happiness once again.

Practice self-care.

You may continue to criticise yourself for having fallen for a psychopath and how it ruined your life. Instead of focusing on these negative thoughts about yourself, take some time out to practice self-care. Make a list of all activities you enjoy, such as hiking, watching movies, reading books, or exercising, and start ticking things off one by one.

Consider seeking professional help.

Being in a relationship with a psychopath can be emotionally damaging for many. Hence, seeking help from a mental health professional can significantly benefit you. In addition to helping you learn coping skills, therapy and counselling can also assist you in finding solutions to avoid getting into such negative relationships in the future. Therapy is also indicated if things get out of hand and you cannot manage them independently.



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