Over the coming weeks and months I hope to address each of the twenty traits that the modern psychopath is defined by. Not all psychopaths exhibit all of these traits, and a person that exhibits all of them is rare. If you want to get ahead of the game and read about what these entail, go for it. For obvious legal reasons, I cannot talk too directly about my experience with the PCL-R, but let’s just say that it felt like the Meyer-Briggs for psychopaths. You are interviewed and based off the answers to the interview questions and your history you are diagnosed as a psychopath or not. There are twenty traits that make up psychopathy according to this checklist and you are assigned zero, one, or two points for each based off the interview and your history. A score of 30 or above leads to a diagnosis of psychopathy.
Lack of realistic long-term goals / Revocation of conditional release
These are two separate traits, but they really, to my eye, get at a single core component: the inability to consult past or future when making decisions in the present. Many psychopaths actually have limited, or no, criminal history. Your author is one of these psychopaths. Now, this isn’t to say that I have not done things that would land me in the pokey, but I have, more or less, been free of actually being a resident. Which is fortuitous considering the tragedy of being transgender and imprisoned (a post for a different day). As such, your ‘smart’ or law-abiding psychopath may test lower on the PCL-R than the unlucky or dim-witted sap that has his mail sent to jail. Such does not make us any less psychopathic, but it is interesting how many border cases may fail to test positive due to some luck or wits. However, I digress. The first trait suggests that we have a poor eye toward the future. The second suggests that we ignore the past. And, I would say, that is largely true. [Read more…]