An interesting FBI article suggests which guidelines should be kept in detective work with psychopaths. Psychopathy is a personality structure in which the inability to feel guilt prevails, the systematic tendency to bully and manipulate others, as well as the construction of a false and unrealistic self-image that is used in interpersonal contexts.

The psychopathic subject often manages to be admired in the social environments he frequents because in the first impact with the new knowledge he assumes a brilliant mask, rich in skills and resources.

His goal is generally to be recognized as a charismatic individual; more specifically, to exert a manipulative influence on some people designated by him that allows him to obtain concrete advantages, money, success, power. The absence of a feeling of guilt makes him cold and strategic in pursuing his own goals to the detriment of others, while the gifts he often actually possesses – fluent speech, persuasion ability, irrepressible momentum in carrying out his own positions – allow him to conquer the suggestion and obedience of the other.

The psychopathic subject has a different mask for each context in which he acts, sometimes for each single work or friendship relationship, penetrates into the mental states of the interlocutor managing to identify their vulnerabilities to exploit them to their advantage.

In work and business he shows others a deceptive face, his superficial charm is mistaken for charisma and leadership, his grandiose projects appear the expression of a high self-awareness, manipulative attitudes are actually considered a manifestation of his persuasion skills.

Advertisement Similarly, his impulsiveness and risk seeking are often understood as a demonstration of energy, capacity for action, ability to perform complex tasks, while the unrealistic nature of the goals he sets himself is easily confused with a visionary talent; finally, the lack of empathy ends up being valued as an unequivocal sign of a predisposition to lead operations with a cool head and strategic planning. When a psychopath comes across the police, the risks for investigators are manifold; in the first place, the fascination with which the psychopath managed to manipulate his collaborators could reproduce itself in the relationship with the investigators, over whom he tries to establish the same psychological domination that sustained him in the previous crimes.

It therefore becomes essential to recognize these dynamics and have a high awareness of one’s own relational modes of functioning, of one’s emotional states, so as to identify the interferences that occur in the interaction with the psychopath. The latter usually isolates the victims exactly like a predator and this requires that the investigative work develop as a team game, so that every subject engaged in the relationship with the psychopath makes use of a constant comparison and monitoring made possible. from collaboration with colleagues.

The psychopath, while unable to create an emotional intimacy with anyone – after all he does not need it to achieve his goals – is able to generate emotional, relational, even physical bonds with his victims, observing these effects from the outside. , in the armor of his own anaffectivity but making them perceive them as inevitable consequences of a real empathy, of an authentic relationship.

The investigator must then manage the psychopath’s attempts to elicit subtle complicity; the psychopath may try to establish a bond based on the exclusive possibility of mutual understanding by virtue of a shared special intelligence, and if this manipulation is successful the repercussions are severe.

Generally the linguistic and expressive indicators – the emphasis with which the psychopath tells about himself – can allow the investigator to orient himself correctly; the psychopathic personality is recognizable for the self-satisfaction it turns to its own deeds, for the safety it displays even when it is cornered, elements that do not escape an experienced policeman.

The victims of the psychopath fear the retaliation they could suffer by exposing themselves, for this reason it is essential that the investigators know how to build a relationship of trust with them, so as to obtain valuable information on the actions of the perpetrator.

What, then? The reality of criminal manipulations exceeds the imagination of television series, and the figure of the psychopath remains mysterious, diabolical. To study.




Dexter the psychopath and the mentalization of emotional states


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Psychopathy – Dealing with the psychopath: some indications from the FBI