Why do highly sensitive people need to know about psychopaths?

Because we are a dream come true for them.

What Is A Psychopath?

Thomas Sheridan in his book, Puzzling People The Labyrinth Of The Psychopath, gives the best understanding of psychopaths that I have ever seen.

A psychopath, very simply, is a predator.

The human psychopath does not prey on others out of necessity the way animals do for food. Human predators are essentially lazy with nothing to give. So they have to create a reason for you to do all of the giving. They use the inner wounds of others to pretend to be a savior, act superior, or create a sob story to get the other person to give of themselves.

Characteristics Of Psychopaths

There are many ways that psychopathic behavior can manifest. However, Thomas Sheridan has identified five characteristics that apply to all of them:

  1. no empathy or remorse.  Psychopaths do not feel the way your feel.  For whatever reason, your pain does not register with them as a valid concern. When they emote it feels false.
  2. invented personas to manipulate others. Psychopaths identify your inner weaknesses and use them to get you to trust and accept them.  So if you were unloved as a child, they will become the most loving parent figure.  Essentially they figure out your dream and appear to give it to you.
  3. uses pity to manipulate others. Watch out for the pity party.  Psychopaths cover their tracks and get you involved with through one sob story after another.
  4. mysterious past. Psychopaths often have vague histories. They may claim honors or military medals which do not in fact exist.
  5. high testosterone levels. This is a difficult characteristic to discern.  High testosterone levels are associated with impulsivity and risky behavior including sexual acting out.  It can also mean a tendency toward aggression.

It is important to look for all five of the above traits before deciding that you are dealing with a psychopath. Notice your energy. If it is uncomfortable or if you feel it going away from you, pay attention. A psychopath is essentially cold in their interactions with others and has many ways to take your energy from you.

How Psychopaths Reveal Themselves

In addition to the above traits, psychopaths may also exhibit these characteristics according to Thomas Sheridan. These are characteristics to watch out for if your intuition raises a red flag.  Notice some commonalities: distortion and exaggeration, playing on sympathies in various ways, high entitlement and a feeling of being special, exploitativeness.


  • little need for sleep, 4-5 hours tops
  • falls asleep instantly and wakes up instantly
  • wakes up in a sweat
  • eye dead or lifeless; piercing stare
  • faking cancer or other serious illnesses
  • hypochondriac
  • facial distortion when taking a picture
  • does not dream and fabricates dream stories


  • unreliable and broken promises
  • corrects others
  • condescending
  • righteous indignation
  • sycophantic
  • acting and looking busy
  • easily offended
  • easily bored
  • easily entitled to the best
  • quickly interested in cause and then loses interest
  • exploits friends, family, parents, elderly and handicapped
  • claims special relationship with god
  • flunks out of school and blames the institution
  • claims to be spy, assassin, special forces agent or clandestine agent
  • word salad  – uses technical and sophisticated language to pontificate while really saying nothing.
  • no creative talent
  • phony altruism


  • us vs. them you and me against the world
  • sexual promiscuity
  • history of brief or failed marriages
  • idealization followed by cold rejection
  • little interest in parenting

Psychopaths And Highly Sensitive People

Psychopaths love sweet, empathetic and kind people with warm hearts because they do not have that. They rely on your goodness as something to use. However, they have contempt for compassionate people.  They see empathy as a weakness.

HSP’s need to be aware of their attractiveness to psychopaths. Please review the list and see where you think you may be vulnerable. You may also want to review your history to see if there are any people in your life past or present who may fit the description of a psychopath.

Psychopaths will push your boundaries so you need to make sure your boundaries are healthy. There are actually many psychopaths and people with psychopathic conditioning – Thomas Sheridan calls them pro to-psychopaths.

HSP’s need to surround themselves with like-minded people and be aware that the person with sob stories may not always be on the up-and-up. Listen to your energy and intuition. Discomfort and intuitive red flags are important information to be respected when dealing with psychopaths.

About Maria Hill

Maria Hill is the founder of Sensitive Evolution. She is the author of The Emerging Sensitive: A Guide For Finding Your Place In The World. In addition, she has created the immersive Emerging Sensitive Program of "sensory processing yoga" using frameworks to help sensitive people master their sensitivity and turn it into the asset it can be. She also offers the Emerging Sensitive Movie Club focused on movies and discussions about living in the world as a sensitive person and navigating the challenging cultural shifts of our times. She is a longtime meditator, reiki master, student of alternative health and Ayurveda. Maria is also an abstract painter whose portfolio can be found at Infinite Shape and also very interested in animal and human rights and the environment.

1 Comment

  1. North London hearing home visits on August 9, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    I have never rated psychologists that much, having been through a number of daft and inaccurate psychological assessments over the years and the dependency on this so-called science by HR departments worries me.