How To Tell If You’re A Psychopath

child psychopath new york times

Are you one of those people who reads articles like the one The New York Times magazine published about some 9-year-old who is maybe a psychopath and decides, “Oh, I am kind of glib and superficial and, also, I did something shitty recently. Sometimes I don’t care about people! FUCK I’M A PSYCHOPATH!”?

First off – How did you respond to your Pokémon video being paused as a child? Like Michael?

Jake clambered goofily onto the computer chair and accidentally unpaused Michael’s Pokémon video. Allan giggled, and even Miguel smiled affectionately. But the amusement was brief. Hearing Michael on the stairs, Miguel said, “Uh oh!” and whisked Jake out of the chair.

He wasn’t fast enough. Seeing the video playing, Michael gave a keening scream, then scanned the room for the guilty party. His gaze settled on Allan. Grabbing a wooden chair, he hoisted it overhead as though to do violence but paused for several seconds, giving Miguel a chance to yank it away. Shrieking, Michael ran to the bathroom and began slamming the toilet seat down repeatedly. Dragged out and ordered to bed, he sobbed pitifully. “Daddy! Daddy! Why are you doing this to me?” he begged, as Miguel carried him to his room. “No, Daddy! I have a greater bond with you than I do with Mommy!” …

From the bedroom, Michael called out: “He knows the consequences, so I don’t know why he does it. I will hurt him.”

Miguel: “No you won’t.”

Michael: “I’m coming for you, Allan.”

God, if this kid grows up to be completely normal he and his family will all have a really great laugh at his childhood “bad seed” phase.

But no, I mean, he’s probably a psychopath.

If you’re still worried that you might be, here is a test that I gleaned from The Psychopath Test:

Are you reading the title of this article with concern because you think you might be a psychopath, and that would involve hurting people, and that would be bad? If told you were a psychopath, would you try not to be so psychopathic?

You’re absolutely fine.

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    • Megan

      I read the original article and all I could think about was Tom Riddle. I’m worried this kid is going to grow up, become an evil dictatorial super-wizard, kill his parents, and then slowly take over the world. Helena Bonham Carter will obviously be his biggest supporter. Voldemort hated muggles so we should all be worried.

      • Jennifer Wright

        The world will deserve it, they broke his train set.

    • Emily

      2nd scariest article ever. first was that old LA times article about the schizophrenic child who saw images of a cat who told her to hurt people. THAT was scarier.

      also: points to this writer for making it 5,000 words & not mentioning “dexter.”

      • Elizabeth

        This specific article? I counted 351 words… did you mean less than 5000? Or did you mean another article?

    • Sabrina

      The Psychopath Test was such an awesome read! I’m really into psychologically profiling people… back in the day I wanted to join the FBI to be a profiler. I’m kinda a freak.

    • Amy

      I think you could easily read Michael’s behaviour as a deeply strong reaction to a mishandled transition by his parents when his younger sibling came along. Everyone in the article completely overlooked the fact that Michael’s behaviour only started when his younger brother was born. That clearly seems like a bahavioural response and not a completely unrelated mental disease.

      The kid is clearly very intelligent. When pyschologists talk about how these kids ‘scheme’ instead of being impulsive it completely overlooks the fact that intelligent people are, by their very nature, less likely to completely lose it on a regular basis because they have a greater (and earlier) understanding of the consequences. They learn to work the system faster than their counterparts.

      Frankly, the mother scared me more and I’m guessing she’s the source of the problem. Referring to her disobediant child as a future serial killer suggests a detachment that I bet was there long before Michael’s problems.

      And that leads to the other issue with intelligent children, being that they pick up on their parents’ feelings far better than their parents often recognise. Michael stating that he has a greater bond with his father is probably completely true and is very uncharateristic of a child his age who are usually much closer to their mothers.

    • Zahid

      That clearly seems like a bahavioural response and not a completely unrelated mental disease.
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    • Me Is My Name

      Okay…. I’m a psychopath…. That is pretty cool……