Researchers search for “successful psychopaths”

Many people commenting on this blog have expressed the hope that sociopaths/psychopaths will pay in this lifetime for their evil deeds. Well, I am writing to tell you that if this is your wish, statistics are in your favor. You likely just need to wait it out because psychopathy is associated with life failure, as I will explain.

In a recent study, Psychopathic personality traits and life-success, Dr. Simone Ullrich and colleagues examined relationship success and life success in more than 300 men, they have followed for many years, these men are now 48 years old. In their study, psychopathy was not associated with success in any of life’s domains. When they examined symptoms of psychopathy the interpersonal domain (being charming and manipulative) was not related to ”˜”˜status and wealth” or ”˜”˜successful intimate relationships”. Impulsiveness and antisocial behavior reduced ”˜”˜status and wealth.” The authors state “ It is concluded that psychopathic traits do not contribute to a successful life and that the findings cast doubt on the existence of the successful psychopath.”

You may be asking, What about all the “successful psychopaths” we hear about? First of all, I believe that these are a very tiny minority. Remember that the disorder sociopathy or psychopathy is a group of impairments that I relate to an inability to love, poor impulse control and deficient moral reasoning. Confusion arises because some narcissistic individuals have impaired ability to love accompanied by grandiosity, but their impulse control and moral reasoning are not as impaired. These individuals may achieve some life success (Journal of Personality Disorders, Vol 21(6), Dec 2007. pp. 657-663). So if a person is unable to love and grandiose but not excessively impulsive or immoral, that individual may achieve some career success. But still an inability to love prevents any real relationship success.

So now you can move on. Fate and Karma will get that psychopath/sociopath. You can go about your life working as I do, on trying to love more and live better.

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338 Comments on "Researchers search for “successful psychopaths”"

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Healing Heart:

I’m a few steps behind you in the recovery parade. I’m closing in on month 4 of NC. So, I’ve always followed your posts avidly.

In the last few days I’ve really, really started to feel better. I’ve also noticed that the anger at S is starting to wane, from entire days down to flashes here and there. But, like it or not, there’s no dodging the anger. The anger really is a key part of the recovery process.

Well, it may have only been 2 months, but the saga dragged on as I had to turn him in to the Army. Then they took months to conduct their investigation. Then the S appeared on my internet forum………….it goes on and on, and I have a nice case of PTSD from all of it.

I’m really glad to hear everyone is doing better, for the most part.


Isn’t that the truth? I look back at the posts since I’ve been posting in December — and ya know what? I see everybody making progress and doing better. Even the long-timers.

HH: a good friend, who also happened to be my therapist and my professor, once told me: “paranoia is nothing more than a heightened state of awareness.”
i think it’s brilliant, and have always remembered it.

Nice to see you, LIG. I once heard another good one about paranoia….”Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean everybody ISN’T out to get you.” LOL

Hey LIG! Nice to see you! I love that quote from your therapist. I think Woody Allen once said something similar, in a more comical way, in one of his movies. A character who was being critical of him said “Do you know what they call people like you who are constantly paranoid?” And Woody Allen replies, quite genuinely, “Perceptive?”

I am going to trust my intuition from now on. If I had paid attention to it, in multiple life experiences, not only with the ex S, I could have saved myself a lot of pain. Instead, I would scold myself for being “insecure” or “paranoid” when I was actually being perceptive. Why didn’t we learn to trust our intuition? Something about abuse/neglect in childhood had us distrust our intuition? Do other people “trust their gut” more than we do?

Hey Matt & Star – so glad we are all part of Class of 2008 – or however you mark our starting point on this site. And yes, I absolutely agree that every one has made progress in recovery – its tangible. I hope the new folks can read our posts and see that, and then garner hope that they, too, can heal.

Another Saturday night without drama. Beautiful.

Hey Star: Are you north or south in the front range? There’s plenty of rattlers in the plains, and it’s coming on to snake season. You might get your wish for a real encounter if you are below 7000 feet or so!

I am in Denver. Rune, I have done lots of hiking. I have only seen one rattlesnake. It was at Castlewood Canyon. And I dreamt the night before that I would see it. Still gives me chills. Other than that, snakes see me and they run and hide. Probably cause they know I want to take them all home.

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