True crime fans know that one of the most frightening things about psychopaths is the fact that they lurk in plain sight.
Psychopathy is defined as a personality disorder that, according to Time, has been “characterized by shallow emotions … stress tolerance, lacking empathy, coldheartedness, lacking guilt, egocentricity, superficial character, manipulativeness, irresponsibility, impulsivity and antisocial behaviors such as parasitic lifestyle and criminality.”
Remind you any bosses you’ve had before? Which professions do you think have the most psychopaths working among them?
Oxford psychologist Kevin Dutton, who wrote The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success, says he believes psychopathic traits could be an advantage in some careers. He made a list of these professions and, perhaps not surprisingly, CEOs were at the top.
Another expert, Robert D. Hare, writes in Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work that the same qualities that great leaders exhibit, including charisma and being a “master manipulator” of underlings, are also psychopathic traits.
Some attorneys have the ability to turn on the charm for juries — and lie without conscience.
Dutton interviewed a successful lawyer, and quoted him as saying, “Deep inside me there’s a serial killer lurking somewhere. But I keep him amused with cocaine, Formula One, booty calls, and coruscating cross-examination.”
3. TV/Radio Media
Television and radio journalists need a high level of ego and narcissism to function — and to thrive — in this profession.
Hare writes that psychopaths have the ability to create a “psychopathic bond” with their victim by creating an “ideal” persona in order to make people relax so that they psychopath can get what they want.
So in the world of sales, they have no problem turning on the charm in order to close the deal.5. Surgeon
A psychopath’s machine-like cold, emotional detachment can be a plus when a doctor has to calmly react to an emergency situation.
Psychopaths on a power trip may also enjoy the ultimate “God complex” and revel in their ability to decide if a patient lives or dies.
Journalists display ruthlessness, charm, and the ability to chase stories running on pure adrenaline — and so do psychopaths.
7. Police Officer
Police officers are meant to protect and serve, but law enforcement also attracts psychopathic personalities who want to exert violent dominance under the color of authority.
Not all psychopaths are engaged in high-flying careers: The church and similar organizations can provide a framework for predators to exploit others, as they did in the Catholic priest child molestation scandal and coverup.
The church can also provide psychopaths with a seemingly never-ending supply of vulnerable people to exploit.
Many psychopaths — and chefs — thrive in a “pressure cooker” environment. They revel in the chaos they create, and use their tempers and strong wills to manipulate their underlings.
10. Government Official
Dutton argues that in some fields, the more “psychopathic” people are, the more likely they are to succeed — and politicians have the ability to appear charming and to manipulate.
Psychopaths are also known for their lack of empathy, but this quality could arguably be an asset when they have to coldly evaluate policy decisions that can affect thousands of people. Maybe the big surprise is that this one isn’t number one!
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Main photo: Businessman adjusting tie [Pixabay]