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PSYCHOPATHS – Spotting The Psychopath Next Door, Part 1 - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing share the first five signs of psychopaths and how you can spot the psychopaths in your life - click here.

Psychopaths live among us.

They can be found in prisons and the criminal organizations you would expect, but they also have a grip on many of the power centers of our society. They are quite common in the fields of politics, business, the professions (law, medicine, etc.), and in your neighborhood. They walk among us silently and without notice, and they are often difficult to detect due to their charming personalities and well-honed ability to manipulate and deceive us.

Despite the ten different types of psychopaths, there seems to be a very useful system for spotting them called the Hare Psychopathy Checklist—Revised.

Here are Hare’s common characteristics of psychopaths, one through five:

1. Superficial Charm

Hare says that the critical difference between normal charm and psychopathic charm is the utter absence of conscience. They glide through our society like a snake often giving the appearance of decency and decorum.

2. Grandiose Self-Worth

Psychopaths view themselves as better than those around them and they hold an inflated view of their intelligence and abilities. They live to exploit the gifts of others and then dispose of them in the blink of an eye.

3. Thrill Seeking

They seek out adventure and constantly search for the next task to give them that rush of adrenaline. They feel that ordinary lives are beneath them.

4. Pathological Lying

All forms of lying, everything from omission of details to deliberate misdirection, are acceptable to the psychopath in the pursuit of their goal.

5. Exploitation & Manipulation

They love to use deceit and trickery to fool you into doing what they want – no matter the cost to you. In addition, they expect you to always fall for their deception since they are convinced that you are too stupid to figure them out.


"Psychopathy" by Theodore Millon, et. al.

"The Psychopath Test" by Jon Ronson

"The Sociopath Next Door" by Martha Stout

PSYCHOPATHS - The Ten Types of Psychopaths, Part 2 - By Chris Gearing

Monday, November 24, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing share the final five types of psychopaths and discuss examples using characters from Game of Thrones! click here.

A solid understanding of how psychopaths function can help you see them coming. However, psychopaths have individual characteristics central to their typology.

To give you a better idea of each typology, I’ve matched each type of psychopath with a character from Game of Thrones.

So, there are some light Game of Thrones spoilers ahead. (Spoiler Alert! Final Warning!)

Here is part two of the top ten types of psychopaths from psychologists Millon and Davis:

The Explosive Psychopath

The explosive psychopath has immediate and frequent access to their rage. Their emotionally intense outbursts are levied against those who are innocent or vulnerable or if that fails - just the closest target. They are differentiated from the other psychopaths by their tendencies to erupt instantaneously and to attack their foe savagely within second. They are sadistic and utterly savage when they lose their cool.

The eye-gouging, head-crushing unstoppable warrior The Mountain is a great example of the Explosive Psychopath. His fits of violence are explosive and devastating, and they are often tinged with cruelty and savagery.

The Abrasive Psychopath

Oppositional and surly, the abrasive psychopath resembles a rebellious teenager in the throes of separating and individuation. However, these enduring and defining personality traits make them difficult to deal with since they are unable to build deep relationships and they absolutely cannot be trusted. They always have a wicked insult ready to fire, but they will often complain that they have no wish to argue with others. However, the reality is that they relish their contemptuous stance and feel entitled to do and say anything that they please. They have no remorse for even the greatest cruelty.

Everyone’s favorite sellsword, Bronn, fits the Abrasive Psychopath typology. He will do whatever it takes to win an argument or a duel, and he is willing to sell his loyalty to the highest bidder – no matter what or whom he betrays.

The Malignant Psychopath

Driven by paranoid beliefs, the Malignant Psychopath follows power hierarchies and their distrust and envy of others frames their worldview. Unlike other psychopaths, they are often less effective and their efforts to inflict pain on others tend to backfire. They have endured terrible abuse from others, and they see the world as a very dangerous place. They resort to fantasy rather than action, and they invent scenarios that cast other people and the environment in dark and menacing tones. They ruminate on imagined malice from others and they project their own evil intentions onto those around them, whether they are innocent or guilty.

The last male heir of the House of Greyjoy, Theon Greyjoy fits the malignant psychopath typology both before and after his transformation into Reek. He is obsessed with power, and he uses violence to maintain control of any given situation.

The Tyrannical Psychopath

This cool and cunning form of psychopath seems to be stimulated by the vulnerability of others. They love to subordinate and even subjugate their victims, and often delight in their fear, humiliation, and intimidation. They will target those they predict will submit while avoiding those more likely to fight back. Violence is second nature and they use it willingly to fulfill their vengeful plans. They relish the memories of their victim’s suffering and they often review their conquests with great amusement and pleasure.

When it comes to the power game, few are more effective than Tywin Lannister. He dominates those he feels are weak, yet yields to the chosen few who have more power than him – for now. He also carries deep seated grudges against those he feels have wronged him or his family name, and he has no qualms with using violence and treachery to get what he wants.

The Malevolent Psychopath

Cold blooded and ruthless, the malevolent psychopath is usually what people think of when they hear the word “psychopath.” Typically found in sadistic and or paranoid personalities, they are intolerant of tender emotions and are convinced that such behaviors are manipulative and meant to hurt them. They love power and will demonstrate that power through the deliberate mistreatment of others. When frustrated or thwarted by their attempts to dominate, they will demonstrate raw cruelty and arrogant contempt. Many murders and serial killers fall in this category.

The sickest of them all, Ramsay Snow or Ramsay Bolton is a perfect malevolent psychopath. He delights in the torture and domination of others, and he uses emotions against his victims – giving them a glimmer of hope only to ruthlessly crush it. It’s also pretty clear that he loves to torture and murder people in his dungeon.

What do you think of all of the psychopath typologies and their Game of Thrones counterparts? Can you come up with better matches? Please sound off in the comments below or visit our Facebook pageto share your ideas and continue the discussion!


"Psychopathy" by Theodore Millon, et. al.

"The Psychopath Test" by Jon Ronson

"The Sociopath Next Door" by Martha Stout

PSYCHOPATHS - The Ten Types of Psychopaths, Part 1 - By Chris Gearing

Friday, November 21, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing share the first five types of psychopaths and discuss examples using characters from Game of Thrones! click here

A solid understanding of how psychopaths function can help you see them coming. However, psychopaths have individual characteristics central to their typology.

To give you a better idea of each typology, I’ve matched each type of psychopath with a character from Game of Thrones.

So, there are some Game of Thrones spoilers ahead. (Spoiler Alert! Final Warning!)

Here is part one of the top ten types of psychopaths from psychologists Millon and Davis:

The Unprincipled Psychopath

The unprincipled psychopath is highly narcissistic and delights in wrecking vengeance through humiliation. They love to exploit and abuse other people, and they genuinely enjoy the anguish they create. People are used until they are no longer useful and then demolished and discarded with no guilt. Consequences and morals have no influence with them and their motto is, “Do unto others before they do unto you.”

Walder Frey’s ultimate betrayal of the Stark family is a wonderful example of an unprincipled psychopath. He delighted in his vengeance as he watched dozens of people murdered in front of him.

The Disingenuous Psychopath

The disingenuous psychopath enjoys popularity and a great social façade, and they are able to charm those around them initially. However, long-term intimate relationships are next to impossible due to their unreliability, seething resentment, and tendency to plot against others. They view life as a zero sum game—only one of us can win, and it’s going to be me. They will rationalize all of their heinous behavior, and they will expect others to appreciate their cunning schemes.

Cersei Lannister fits the disingenuous psychopath typology with her complex schemes, deep resentment, and commitment to victory at all costs.

The Risk-Taking Psychopath

These psychopaths live for the rush they get when they take risks and put their lives in danger. They thrive on a steady diet of dangerous and treacherous living. They are convinced that they are invincible and view others who will not take the same risks as weak and inept. Their lack of reliability and responsibility is central to their character, and they lack any understanding or concern for how their dangerous actions affect those around them. All that matters is the thrill of the game.

Khal Drogo is an unstoppable warrior and feared commander who is eventually killed by an infected wound. His risk taking, belief that he is invincible, and reckless attitude are all hallmarks of the Risk Taking Psychopath.

The Covetous Psychopath

Envy and revenge are the central characteristics of the Covetous Psychopath. They are exhibitionistic and self-indulgent, and they often have little concern for the people they deceive and exploit. They may become successful entrepreneurs who will do anything to succeed in business. All immoral and cruel acts are rationalized as being fair since all they are doing is taking what should have been theirs in the first place. Dr. Millon notes that their true sense of pleasure comes from taking what they want rather than earning it.

If you haven’t guessed already, Petyr Baelish aka “Littlefinger” is the quintessential Covetous Psychopath. He is a successful businessman due to exploiting and trading other people in his brothel, and his only true desires are what other men have and he is willing to do anything to get what he wants.

The Spineless Psychopath

Viewing themselves as defenseless and weak, the Spineless Psychopath will strike out first against others in a counter phobic effort to avoid the aggression of others. They project a false bravado and want desperately for others to see them as invincible and “not to be messed with.” Drawn to militaristic groups that prey on the innocent, they bully and victimize to soothe their own fears of inadequacy.

Everyone’s favorite person, King Joffrey Baratheon is a perfect example of the Spineless Psychopath. A sadistic and cruel bully who commands others to fight his battles for him, Joffrey is in fact a scared little boy who everyone hates.


"Psychopathy" by Theodore Millon, et. al.

"The Psychopath Test" by Jon Ronson

"The Sociopath Next Door" by Martha Stout

PSYCHOPATHS – Psychopathy In Gone Girl (Spoilers!) - By Chris Gearing

Friday, November 14, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing discuss the psychopathic character in Gone Girl and highlights some psychopath red flags to watch out for - click here.

Last chance before any "Gone Girl" spoilers!

Rosamund Pike’s character, Amy Dunne, in the movie Gone Girl is another reminder that psychopaths walk among us in everyday settings. Harvard and Yale educated, Amy Dunne strikes a vivid chord as she details the heart stopping, passionate relationship with Ben Affleck’s character, Nick. We see them falling in love only to fall apart a few years into their diary chronicled marriage.

The relationship takes a dark turn as the couple loses jobs, income, and romantic momentum as they relocate from glamorous downtown New York City to the suburbs in Missouri. Despite the noble purpose of caring for Nick’s dying mother and the setting of a beautiful mansion, the couple descends into heartbreak, infidelity, and ultimately betrayal. Amy narrates her suspicions, her disdain, and eventually her accusation of murder toward the man who is now a shadow of the husband she once loved and adored.

However, the true story is quickly revealed.

Amy is a psychopath who has been meticulously plotting revenge against her husband for months. Little by little, she has assembled the pieces for a slam-dunk conviction for first-degree murder. Amy isn’t going to settle for life in prison either; her goal is his eventual execution for her very staged death.

As a psychologist, I found Amy’s biased version of events quite familiar since psychopaths are experts at presenting a convincing and stylized view of reality. It is as if they live in a parallel world from which they select only the facts that will favor their version of reality. They are masters at drawing us into a highly rearranged presentation of facts and events that make us question our own sanity. Good is bad, up is down, and black is white. It is incredibly easy to get lost in the labyrinth of lies and deceit.

The worst part is the eventual sacrifice of the welfare of those around them in the blink of an eye.

Without empathy, without regard for others, and (most importantly) without conscience, the psychopath seeks only an outcome that is singularly triumphant for them. Your complete and utter destruction is just collateral damage. They are psychological predators of the highest order and they are increasingly common in the business world, the professional fields, and even your neighborhood.

For more information, make sure to watch my upcoming Psychopath series featuring ten types of psychopaths and critical signs you can watch out for.


"Psychopathy" by Theodore Millon PhD DSc, Erik Simonsen MD, Roger D. Davis PhD, Morten Birket-Smith MD

"The Sociopath Next Door" by Martha Stout

"The Psychopath Test" by Jon Ronson

Marriage & Divorce – How Stonewalling Can Wreck Your Marriage - By Chris Gearing

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing discusses how withdrawing from marital conflict can unintentionally wreck your marriage - click here.

The attack and defend model of marital conflict can lead to a sense of helplessness and emotional fatigue.

For example, if one partner remains committed to working through the problem while the other partner withdraws, the marriage may become damaged over time. Dr. John Gottman observed that stonewalling, or complete withdrawal from a conversation, is often the end point of a negative conflict cycle that includes criticism, contempt, and defensiveness.

Unfortunately, women are much more likely to criticize their partner and men exhibit around 85% of stonewalling behavior. When men shut down in the middle of a heated argument, they are often doing so because they are emotionally overloaded or feeling an extreme sense of helplessness. They often decide to take a break to calm down before responding.

Withdrawing during conflict is particularly difficult and potentially hurtful to women.

Oftentimes, the withdrawal is experienced as abandoning and disrespectful. Exclusion from a conversation is an Achilles heel for women and they often experience it as an intentional disconnection of the emotional bond.

However, women who stonewall are more likely to consider divorce.

So if she stops talking to you, you may want to watch your back. There may be something seriously wrong in the relationship.


The Work of Dr. John Gottman

Marriage & Divorce - How You Fight Day To Day - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing discuss how normal everyday disagreements may actually be healthy for your marriage - click here.

For years, we’ve heard that marriages succeed or fail based on if you fight with your spouse.

However, new research has found that how you fight may have a more direct impact on whether you stay married or not.

Years ago, marriage expert Dr. John Gottman discovered that consistently high levels of negative communication could predict who separated and who stayed together. Conversations regularly featuring Dr. Gottman’s Four Horsemen of Marriage criticism, contempt, defensiveness, or stonewalling from a partner tended to erode even the best of bonds.

If one partner routinely fired on the other or regularly defended themselves against repeated emotional assaults, they would eventually just give up. They simply couldn’t continue on with the day-to-day negativity. The bottom line is that with routine negative communication, good feelings tend to evaporate and are replaced by resentment and hostility.


The Work of Dr. John Gottman

Marriage & Divorce – How Life Before the Wedding Can Impact Your Marriage - By Chris Gearing

Monday, October 06, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing discuss how factors from before your wedding may shape and change your future marriage - click here.

Most of us think that when we walk down the aisle, it’s the first step in a brand new life.

However, new research from the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia has found a link between premarital behavior and marital satisfaction from ages 18 through 34. Here are some interesting facts from the study:

The Grass Is Always Greener

If you have had a high number of romantic partners and relationships over the years, you may have higher expectations of your current marriage. We can end up unfairly comparing our spouse to previous romantic partners, which can lead to high levels of marital dissatisfaction and even outright conflict. Another side effect of a long relationship history is that we can become pros at breaking up. Repeatedly walking away from dating relationships instead of trying to work things out can be a rehearsal for a future marital break up.

Sliding Versus Deciding

The researchers observed that some couples tended to slide into major, life altering decisions such as getting married or having a child together. They make major decisions based on shallow criteria such as the length of the relationship or their or their partner’s age rather than on the strength and long term viability of the relationship. Those of us who intentionally enter romantic relationships and proactively nurture and grow the romantic bond tend to do better in marriage.

It Takes A Village

Weddings are the ultimate ritual of connection and commitment. According to this study, having a large wedding is linked to having a sturdier marriage. The psychologists were careful to point out that how much money was spent on the ceremony was not important. Instead, they argued that having a strong community and social network that supports each of you and your union is a wonderful foundation for a happy and successful marriage.


Galena Rhoades & Scott Stanley, “Bigger Weddings, fewer partners, less ‘sliding’ linked to better marriages.” The National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, Science Daily, 19 August 2014.

Man Accused Of Firing At Police & Firefighters Speaks From Jail - By Chris Gearing

Friday, August 15, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing on CBS 11 discussing the psychology behind a North Texas man recently accused of shooting at the police - click here.

Childhood Depression - Can Exercise Prevent Childhood Depression? - By Chris Gearing

Friday, August 08, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing on CBS 11 discuss how exercise can help prevent depression in your child - click here.

Facebook Fridays – Rizwan (08/01/14) - By Chris Gearing

Friday, August 01, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia answer a question from Rizwan on Facebook about Generalized Anxiety Disorder and how it's different from clinical depression - click here.

Rizwan from Facebook wrote in:

“I know a lady in my circle. She is regularly very worried because of some family issues. She doesn’t sleep well and also feels low these days. Her appetite is less than normal now for her. Is she suffering from GAD?”

Thanks for your question on Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Rizwan. To better understand this disorder, here are some important facts to keep in mind:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder or GAD is known as the “worrier” diagnosis.

People with GAD tend to ruminate on anxious or negative thoughts, which propel them into a seemingly endless cycle of anxiety. The more they worry, the more the habit is reinforced.

Over 40 million Americans suffer from GAD. That’s 18% of the population! In fact according to many sources, anxiety is the number one diagnosis in the US. However, most sufferers don’t get help for it and continue to hurt when there are proven remedies for this condition.

Here are a few of the most common symptoms for GAD:

  • Excessive anxiety and worry
  • Difficulty controlling worried thoughts
  • Restlessness or feeling on edge
  • Easily fatigued
  • Difficulty concentrating or mind goes blank regularly
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Insomnia or restless sleep

Clinical Depression commonly co-occurs with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and it is another one of the most common mental health diagnoses in America.

In fact, forty two percent of GAD patients also have clinical depression. The combination of the two conditions can propel us into an endless loop of catastrophic thinking that convinces us we are helpless and hopeless. The depressed and anxious brain tends to avoid objectively evaluating the evidence and instead jumps to catastrophic conclusions. Relapsing into depression is tragically common and is more likely when the previous episode was severe and incapacitating.

Common symptoms of Clinical Depression include:

  • Depressed thoughts and mood
  • Low energy, fatigue, and sudden loss of energy
  • Diminished interest or pleasure in the usual activities
  • Significant weight loss or weight gain
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Restlessness or feeling slowed down
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

Unfortunately, there is quite a bit of overlap between the symptoms of anxiety and depression and it is often very difficult to differentiate between the two.

Most depressed people have anxiety and vice versa. For example, many people who are depressed tend to worry, sleep and eat erratically, and feel low and empty much of the time. Anxious people may also worry, sleep and eat erratically, and feel blue some of the time. It is my opinion that while anxiety and depression often co-occur, one of the conditions precedes the other and is usually more dominant.

However, it is extremely important to differentiate between the two diagnoses since therapy approaches and medication heavily rely on an accurate diagnosis. Different psychotherapies and medicines are used to specifically treat each condition.

If you are worried about your friend having one of these problems Rizwan, please seek the help of a clinical psychologist or mental health professional who can use a combination of interviews and psychological testing to provide the correct diagnosis for effective treatment.


The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - IV - RT

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