The psychopath test classifies a wide spectrum of persons as psychopaths.
Paul embodies the stereotypical psychopath: a natural-born crook who seems to revel in spreading havoc everywhere he goes. However, not all psychopaths fit Paul's description. For every psychopath like Paul, there is another whose antisocial conduct is the product of bad luck rather than premeditated malice. Danny was in this situation.
Danny had a difficult life before entering jail. He was an orphan who had spent much of his life traveling from foster home to foster family. This repeated rejection fueled a downward spiral of mental health issues and negative conduct. Danny began self-harming throughout his adolescence. He lacerated his body with knives and razors, especially his face, causing terrifying scars that drove others away.
Danny was in his early twenties when he was sentenced to jail for stabbing a vicar with a knife. As Danny's self-harm habit worsened, prison proved to be a very unpleasant place for him. He had to be confined in a barren room because he had an uncanny ability to transform common items into weapons against himself. Danny discovered a technique to take threads out and tie them around his genitals to deprive them of blood, so his mattress had to be removed.
Danny was found nude on his bed one day after being left alone in an isolation chamber. The walls of his cage were splattered with blood from a cut on his leg. Danny had constructed a series of pagan-looking symbols in the shape of a pentagram in the middle of the blood.
Danny was labeled a psychopath. However, his symptoms - doubt about his identity, emotional instability, and impulsivity - were more typical of borderline personality disorder than of psychopathy. And both illnesses are often assumed to be mutually exclusive. After all, how could someone be both emotionally unstable and emotionally callous at the same time? They can't, is the response.
The reason Danny was classified as a psychopath has less to do with Danny and more to do with the psychopath test. The exam, which is utilized by psychologists all around the globe, is not simply about a patient's psyche. Many of the questions on the exam, in fact, more than half of them, are concerning the patient's history of crime and antisocial conduct.
The benefit of this is that only persons who pose a true threat to society are likely to be labeled as psychopaths. However, it may expand the definition of the term too far. It indicates that persons who demonstrate antisocial conduct, such as Danny, might score high enough on the exam to be labeled as a psychopath even if they lack the conventional psychological characteristics.
As a result, efforts have been made to shift the concept of psychopathy away from crime. This makes sense since many individuals exhibit the emotional and interpersonal characteristics of a psychopath, such as emotional callousness and compulsive lying, even if they do not commit crimes.
But, until that occurs, we must be mindful that the term "psychopath" is now a catch-all term that encompasses a wide range of persons. We should be extra careful in places where the label "psychopath" might mean the difference between life and death.
Women with psychopathy often express the disease differently than males.
So far, we've looked at male psychopathy, but what about female psychopathy?
From Killing Eve's Villanelle to Dangerous Liaison's Marquise de Merteuil, the female psychopath is a recurring cliché in crime thrillers. There's certainly something appealing about the concept of women becoming cold, ruthless murderers.
You may be dismayed to find that female psychopaths are more prevalent in fiction than in reality. According to the UK government, there is about one female psychopath for every 50 male psychopaths. Even yet, only a small percentage of them are violent offenders.
It's thought that the explanation for this gap isn't because there are fewer female psychopaths, but rather that psychopathy manifests differently in women than in males. Female psychopaths seem to be less engaged in committing crimes and more concerned with control and manipulation in relationships. It's no surprise that few women are labeled with psychopathy since the psychopath test is slanted toward criminal activity.
There are, however, always exceptions to the norm. Indeed, the fact that female psychopaths are so rare makes examples like Angela Simpson all the more shocking.
Angela's journey started when she met a guy named Terry Neely, a 46-year-old former criminal and wheelchair user. During their relationship, Neely revealed that he had formerly been a police informant and had also snitched on his former cellmate while in jail. This was the worst thing he could have said since the cops and snitches were the two things Angela detested the most in the world.
After a few days, Angela asked Neely to her place under the guise of having sex. When he came, she managed to convince him to leave his wheelchair outside. Angela tied Neely to a chair facing a mirror as soon as he entered the home. Two days of terrible torture followed, culminating in the burning of his severed remains in a nearby garbage.
Aside from the extreme severity of her case, what makes Angela's case so unique is that she participated in multiple TV interviews throughout her trial in which she all but confessed to the murder. During the interviews, she plays with the journalists and seems to enjoy the spotlight.
Angela is unusual in that she exhibits all of the characteristics associated with masculine psychopathy. She even admitted it to herself. When a journalist told Angela that it was rare for a woman to commit such a terrible crime, she said dryly, "Well, I believe in equal opportunity."
About the Creator
My stories are not just ink on paper; they are the echoes of my dreams and the whispers of my deepest passions. Join me on this literary voyage, and together, we'll explore the vast universe of human experience, one word at a time.