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Dear Dr Robert,
I am living in fear. I live in student accommodation and I think I have ended up with a psychopath. He is 30 years old and lives with younger students. He has admitted that he manipulates people to learn from their behavior. He dominates people and tells people what to do. He does not care if people are crying just carries on with regular conversation as if nothing were wrong. He also talks to everyone, like if I have friends over he will talk to them as if they were his own even though I have never seen him with any friends. He has openly suggested that maybe he does not have empathy and commands people around all the time. Everything has to be done in his way and he is very manipulatative he will be nice to people who can be bothered to talk to him and horrible to you; command you more if you don’t. I told him I didn’t appreciate his intrusive way of disturbing me when I was busy then he screamed at me and pushed me into a wall. I ran outside and called the police, they came but seemed weird after they left so I think he told them a completely different story. Now im very scared because I have ****** of a psychopath by calling the police. What do you think I should do? What if run into him at the store or anywhere else?
The police wont believe me because he is extremely manipulatative. Please help

Re: Psychopaths

If I was in your possition I would definitly be trying to find support from those who are there. He could get extreamly agressive. Do others there know of this?

Re: Psychopaths

This is a very sensitive matter, and you should seek professional help, but I have been studying psychopathy for other reasons and I might at least put you on a helpful path.

As strange as it might seem, Wikipedia is a good place to start if you want to understand psycopaths: search for "psycopathy". Laymen disdain Wikipedia but most professionals have become aware that there is much accuracy in that site. Don't trust what you read there at face value but use it as a stepping stone for further study.

Now I'll tell you what my point of view is.

There are tell tale signs that the person you mention is a psycopath but there is one or two that also contradict that notion. Simply manipulating people is not enough for a psycopath: they go out of their way to hurt people as much as they can. They are superficially very "friendly", at least when they first meet someone. They try to artificially learn what should be felt in each situation and what behaviours are associated with each feeling by paying attention, from an early age, to what people do at every point of their emotional states. They do this to be able to hide the fact that they have no feelings at all, or very little at least. They seek extreme situations, where they may hurt a person beyhond anything you might imagine, just so they can feel something real.

Think if this applies to him. If it doesn't he might have a serious personality disorder that can make him less dangerous in some ways but more so in others!

Do not confront him ever again! He may be willing to discuss the subject if he feels guilty about it but you must know this: if he truly is a psycopath he feels absolutely no guilt or remorse. He might want to talk about the subject, showing some guilt, and this can be sincere if his problem is very different from psycopathy, but he might just as well be manipulating you! Psychopaths are often very intelligent: if he is 30 years old he has spent all that time learning how to feign feelings and emotions and you will be no match against him if you try to find out what his intentions are.

I have a similar experience with a less extreme, but still very dangerous, situation in my own life. It took me a year or two to find out just how malicious and calculating that person was and by then it was too late.

It is terrible to say this but, if you find yourself in a desperate situation or if you are heading that way, you should play along and pretend he is manipulating you successfully. He will most likely find this out if you are not extremely careful (don't tell anyone at all), but at least you will have a chance to buy some time to help you defend yourself. Try to create a solid social relationship with people who surround you and are significant in your view: they can help you through any difficult situation the supposed psycopath might put you in. If he is so careless about hiding what he is, to the point of confessing that he behaves that way, only first impressions about him will be positive. Everyone will know how dangerous he is and you might have a chance to find people who will stand by you.

Please, seek professional help. I have given you my opinion and it is based on a mix of scientific facts and personal experience, but I'm still a layman and I don't think anyone here is thoroughly qualified to help you in a definite way.

Good luck.

-- What am I doing here? --

I am currently doing research on several topics for a few books and articles I am writing. I would like to make a positive contribution to fora (plural of "forum") about such topics in order to get constructive views on those matters for a better perspective on them. This is why I came here. I will not indulge myself in flamming and will not respond directly to any clearly non-constructive replies.

I have read some of Dr. Robert's responses to certain questions and I find them lacking and biased. Still, I truly wish to know what people who come here, and even Dr. Robert himself, think about my points of view for three reasons. First: I know I can, very easily, be wrong and I should keep an eye out for other opinions. Second: all points of view are important to have perspective on any matter, specially the ones one doesn't agree with. Third: wisdom can come from very strange places and one should not underestimate anyone as far as knowledge and wisdom are concerned.

Please, give me honest and constructive replies: I will return in kind.

"Always behave as if someone were watching you." - (Can't remember the author, sorry)