How to be a Psychopath - forward and chapter 1 - sophistication


how to be a psychopath






psychopath: from Greek psykhē mind, and pathos suffering.






by Adam Jacobs

Forward: My mother was at Port Arthur on April 28, 1996 when a gunman killed 35 people. Her career as an education officer ended and she has lived with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for 25 years. She has a low tolerance for a kind of bedside manner she would describe as beating-around-the-bush; she knows the importance of the relationship she has with her therapists, and she also knows what works for her. She has a wicked sense of humour and is my inspiration. Not surprisingly, I come to you as an ex-teacher who went back to school to study psychology and counselling and I go to pubs and tell jokes to strangers about being a Tasmanian. The apple didn't fall far from the tree.

So, I created a guide, removed all the bush-beating and was left with a joke! I discovered there were two ways to approach this. Either way requires intent. This is the joke. No one intends to be a psychopath. The tragedy of circumstances, bewildering neglect, loveless isolation, etc. collide to create developmental problems for individuals who then develop a strange relationship with the world. This is the harsh reality behind the joke. This guide acknowledges the joke as a means to enable straightforward explanations; straight-talking directions guiding non-psychopaths out of ignorance. In other words, incongruent with the title, this guide is for victims; victims of psychopathic abusers and victims of psychopathic teachers. Entirely inconsistent with the title, I expect this guide will be meaningless for the fully realised psychopath.  

There are two ways to create a guide for psychopaths. 1. How to become one, and 2. How not to become one. It has been my experience that manipulation is confusing. Victims feel stupid for being tricked and perpetrators do not understand the self-destructive consequences of their actions. It, therefore, made sense to focus on how to become a psychopath: The victim can see what motivates a psychopath in practical terms and the budding psychopath can realise what freedoms they must surrender towards their self-destruction. In this way, it should be a user’s-guide. If you exhibit behaviours that cause you to question your social effectiveness, you may be displaying psychopathological tendencies. This guide will then allow you to explore your disfunction towards self-destruction or, more harmoniously, explore it towards acceptance, awareness, reimagining and inner peace.

This is a companion work to Daughter Talk; an abridged, cut-to-the-chase repackaging. Daughter Talk is a meditation, like a wave, it’s a ride, it washes over you and sparks your imagination towards cosmic awareness. This guide puts aside big questions such as who am I? and answers more practical questions such as how could I have been so stupid? It exists to give you a heads-up as the psychopaths approach; they are more prevalent than we like to admit.

Adam Jacobs      








Seen and heard









Dear Reader,

You may be mistaken. If you think this instruction manual is dangerous, or it may bestow irreversible, psychological reprogramming, you are mistaken. For that you should read my other book – Daughter Talk. This guide is a prevention-is-better-than-rescue package; a gift to you to ensure you are not tricked, duped, beguiled, maneuvered, manipulated and done-dastardly-to. The ‘Do not read’ sections of this book work as an aside, from me to you; from one outsider to another. By outsider I mean, someone who is not seeking to become a psychopath but rather, wants to understand them. From one outsider to another do not fear, potential psychopaths reading this manual to advance their entry into disturbia will not be rewarded. This revelatory work will provide them, subliminally, with self-awareness. The self-aware do not, a good psychopath make. Daughter Talk was a meditation, this is a guidebook and I will therefore be using chapters. This will help you, I do hope, to refine your desperate search for answers.

To the psychopaths: The temptation to read the ‘do not read’ sections will be overwhelming. So, I strongly suggest you turn back now. Ask yourself, do I want to cease being the centre of my universe? Do I want to stop believing my anger is justified? Start looking in the mirror and be joyful regardless? Begin appreciating the consequences of an unpredictable world. Love love? Trust trust? And stop believing you might have been wrong once, but you were mistaken? You have been warned.




To all budding psychopaths first you must consider sophistication. I am not referring to organisation, there’s a good chance you have that in surplus. It was once suggested that sociopaths are more organised than psychopaths, but today neither term is used in a formal capacity and are interchangeable. For the purposes of this guide a psychopath is understood to be a person hardwired to be maladaptive. Or in other words, they have learnt to exploit other people to help maintain their conception of reality. Predominately, the exploitation must satisfy the psychopaths urge to maintain their unsophisticated appreciation of reality; they rely on others to dumb-it-down. 

The well-adjusted person is self-aware, but not necessarily a master of self. Ironically, they are aware of a self that they do not recall acquiring. In this way, well-adjusted people are highly sophisticated. In other words, they have a self that is informed by attachment. If you are a psychopath, the concept of attachment will be discombobulating. If you are not a psychopath you will remember the loving embrace of family, the mentorship of significant carers, the validation and support given by extended family. You will also remember the comforts of the nest; a home where your heart is. You might also remember significant moments of pain filled with turmoil through which you were guided then challenged by people who love you and empathise. You may have also been let down by the ones you love, you may have been betrayed, you may have been misled. However, through thick and thin you were guided towards developing perspective and were an active member of a supportive network. This is how you acquired attachment. In other words, attachment describes the bonding process that happens in childhood that means you will be socially viable. During attachment phases the self is formed, or powerfully informed. This self is multidimensional and consists of tools you acquired indirectly. It is something like osmosis, you do not recall how the lessons of jealousy, gratitude and love were taught. You may recall events and significant moments that helped reinforce these characteristics. However, the imprinting of these character qualities happened overtime with the assistance of repeat exposure, happening in a well-adjusted environment that was both challenging and loving. Collectively, these characteristics are known as self; the skinny version of it, that you use for first impressions and general socialising, is known as personality. In this way, I refer to your self-development as sophisticated.

The psychopath is not sophisticated. The task, therefore, is considerable. To unlearn the nuances of your-self and its development is a titanic endeavour; it is something like trying to un-stain a piece of timber. The psychopath is a raw piece of timber that will decay in the harsh environment of a reality informed by the laws of the physical universe; unless they coerce other people to provide protection. They failed to make attachments; to make bonds that were developmentally meaningful. Their childhood was lonely and affection-less. They did not acquire their sense of self indirectly, or unconsciously, as you did. Instead, they became expert mimics. 

Late in development, once they were forced into socially dynamic environments such as Junior School, the budding psychopath will begin to observe. They will observe the rewards various behaviours attract. In terms of reward, the psychopath will be deeply aroused by any activity that attracts the greatest social validation.

Do not read: You too are an expert observer. You have been trained however, to be rewarded by your observations with a reflection semi-consciously. The expert level observer is one who receives a reflection of themselves from others in a social setting reflexively and not earnestly. Or in other words, this reflection can be compared to a well-adjusted sense of self; subtle changes may be made to enable greater social effectiveness. For the psychopath however, the reflection exists to re-establish their entire sense of self repeatedly. Like a sonar, from a stable and centralised position, a well-adjusted person sends out a signal that is reflected back; the sonar provides data that may or may not be of value depending. The psychopath makes observations like a periscope that looks out across the surface. In this way, imagine the periscope has no sense of a centre. Imagine a periscope that is looking for information so it can define itself; in the process it feels unstable and decentralised.  This leaves the sufferer with a painful hollow feeling inside. It is a peculiar situation; the periscope was never taught to 'see' the submarine it is supported by.

Like a Bower bird decorating its nest, the psychopath must enthusiastically ‘collect’ behaviours that return the greatest social reward. In this way, they enter an exclusive charm school. They are the only student, and their teacher is society. Therefore, the psychopath will pick and choose the components of their self and an over-simplified self will emerge; essentially unsophisticated. They will tune into a situation, assess the social activity, evaluate the reactions, and apply a social viability rating. Significantly, overtime this process becomes intuitive; the psychopath will then develop clear boundaries. Within the boundary is a limited set of behaviours that reinforce a fundamental, oversimplified social viability; they paint with primary colours they have not learnt to blend together. Outside the Boundary are the blended shades or the subtleties of the human condition; they are unfamiliar to the psychopath. The psychopath forced into this zone, where reasonably well-adjusted personalities reside, will be seen to lose touch with reality.

Do not read: For all animals survival is paramount. For humans however, the drive to survive is a consequence of a more refined urge. We are seekers of social viability. It is not sufficient to explain our self-development by suggesting it is a knee-jerk, instinct-to-survive response. For the purposes of this guide, an appreciation of survival begins by prioritising social viability. It is more accurate to suggest, that our bio-organisation is the manifestation of survival. Our drive to ensure its organisation therefore describes, for human beings, the active ingredient of survival. Social viability is a phrase that exists then to characterise the human expression of the survival instinct. Simply, it means we prioritise the social positioning of our-self towards the creation of babies. We feel it intensely because of babies, psychopaths feel it intensely because they are babies.

Psychopaths are master manipulators using a restricted number of tools. Their strategies are beguiling. However, this must not be confused with complicated. The psychopath is ultimately unsophisticated. They are PhD standard manipulators because they wrote the curriculum, they were the teacher and the student, they distilled the measures of success, which must be over-simplified and ‘me’ orientated. They are masters of a limited set of skills. The truth is, and it is a dangerous reality, psychopaths have very low stress tolerance. Once it is reached, they can become dangerous; they may apply corrections that are swift and brutal. They have learnt to manipulate others because they believe the unpredictable nature of the world is managed by asking others to stabilize the world for them. Therefore, wannabe psychopaths must stop moderating and interpreting their internal responses to the world. This type of self-awareness, that allows for forgiveness, conciliation and empathy, is too sophisticated.

The skinny: The Psychopath’s ability to manipulate is powerful but limited. You must be good at painting self-portraits using only primary colours; the effect can be striking. Remember, the Psychopath’s inability to ‘paint’ others using shades and texturing places considerable limits on their self-expression. Your bold representations of yourself may be compelling, but like the images stuck on the fridge drawn by a three-year-old.

How to be a psychopath lesson 1: When it comes to sophistication less is more, and more is self-destructive.













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