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5 Signs That Your Ex Was *Literally* A Psychopath


5 Signs That Your Ex Was *Literally* A Psychopath

We’ve all heard or even said that one hyperbolic sentence before to sum up a past lover: She/He was a total psycho.

psycho 1

Although psychopathy is used often to describe exes who call and text way too much when you’ve clearly broken it off, dating a person who would literally be diagnosed with clinical psychopathy would be a very different experience than receiving a few unwanted texts.

Psychology Today defines psychopathy:

Psychopathy is among the most difficult disorders to spot. The psychopath can appear normal, even charming. Underneath, he lacks conscience and empathy, making him manipulative, volatile and often (but by no means always) criminal. Adult psychopathy is largely impervious to treatment, though programs are in place to treat callous, unemotional youth in hopes of preventing them from maturing into psychopaths.

Because psychopaths can appear charming, they’re pretty hard to peg as callous in the beginning.

If you’ve often wondered about an ex who seemed a little more true to the definition of psychopathic than your friends and family believed, check out these 5 symptoms of psychopathy that are most common in people with the disorder – and keep in mind that it’s typically a disorder that is determined by genetics and environment, so if your ex was literally a psychopath, cut her/him some slack.

1. Your ex had a strange way of dating in the beginning

In the beginning stages of dating, the honeymoon phase is clear. You’re both on your best behavior and trying to show the other partner how much value you can bring into their lives.

People suffering from psychopathy use this initial phase as a game to get what they want after the honeymoon is over: your obedience.

Typically a psychopath will shower their new date with kindness, attention, time, gifts, etc, but none of it is actually free. It all comes with strings attached, and it’s expected to be repaid once the honeymoon phase is complete.

Psychologists refer to this phase as grooming. No real or deep connection is ever made during this time.

2. Your ex LOVED everything you love

Huffington Post explains this particular habit of psychopaths best, “Psychopaths will try to convince you that you are soul mates, just alike. [S]he loves all the things you love and you have all of the same interests. If you had a tough childhood, [s]he will say something like, ‘We both had it rough. That’s why we understand each other.’ If there’s an obscure book you love, [s]he will make sure to love it too.”

This is referred to by psychologists as mirroring, and it has a different goal at each stage in a relationship.

  • In the beginning psychopaths mirror their partners in order to win them over
  • In the middle, psychopaths mirror to show you that you’re just like her/him (which you’re not)
  • In the end, when the psychopath is ready to leave, they only see you as a distorted image/mirror of yourself. Whatever they first liked about you, they will see as the opposite. If they thought you were smart, they’ll now call you stupid.

3. Your value changed quickly in their eyes

In the beginning, you were put on a pedestal, but almost overnight, it seems that your date lost interest and quickly moved on.

This can leave people sitting around and wondering what they did wrong, but the truth is that you’ve done nothing wrong. It was your ex. 

Psychopaths develop instant attractions with people, and though it’s impossible to develop a deep bond quickly, the psychopath is good at creating the illusion that a bond has been formed.

When they first begin dating someone new, they put a high value on that person, but over time, psychopaths become bored, and since they are unable to empathize and they don’t have a real connection with that person, the date’s value plummets in the eyes of the psychopath.

When this happens, the psychopath will leave without any remorse or hurt feelings.

4. Your ex was sensitive about him/herself, but insensitive towards you

Although high narcissism is a trait of psychopathy, people who do suffer from the personality disorder will often be very sensitive when it comes to themselves. They will feel criticized or challenged where others do not see the reasoning.

On the other hand, psychopaths do not extend that same hypersensitivity towards others. In fact, it is quite the opposite, psychopaths do not know how to empathize, which is why they never feel as though they’ve done anything wrong in a relationship or feel the need to apologize.

5. Your ex never wanted you to move on

Even though you lost value in the eyes of your ex and they broke it off, they still will reach out every once in a while and keep the relationship warm.

Typically they come back with pleas and ideas of getting back together when she/he senses that you’re ready to move on.

The plea is never sincere, though. It is just a ploy to feed the ego of the psychopath with high narcissism. She/he feels comfort in knowing that you’re not over her/him.

The only way to break this cycle is by enforcing a no-contact rule. Do not respond to texts or answer calls, especially with the intention of confirming that you’re over the relationship because it will only make everything worse.

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Judith Villarreal


Judith is a professional writer, margarita enthusiast, and love doctor (minus the degree, lab coat, and clammy hands). Follow Judith on Instagram.

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  • Mike Le G

    Thanks for this article, it hits the nail right on the head for an ex of mine who drew me right in, then left me very messed up and confused when like a bolt out of the blue she decided to end things. Then she wanted to stay “friends”,which like an idiot I went along with (but I suppose one good thing that came from that phase was I found out much more about her true motivations and how much she’d contradicted herself …)
    I’ve read a bit before about what makes a psychopath, and subsequently had my suspicions of her, but your words really cements this in my mind. So thank you – it’s good to know that I wasn’t jumping to the wrong conclusions!

    • Harris

      I’m going through a very hurtful breakup right now and I feel like such a fool cause I did everything for her i loved her for who she was flaws and all. I accepted things I would never except from other people because I cared so much about her. Then about a month ago she just leaves after a 8 month relationship. I know it wasent the longest relationship but I really loved and cared about her. I’m 37 and she’s 24 a little of an age difference I know but the way she just left no explanation no nothing just goodbye. I mean she was very confusing because all the times she was around ms she was very affectionate and always wanted to have sex but she also had alot of issues she’s very unstable, she likes to get high to much. I don’t know im very confused and hurt. I mean we even talked about having a baby together. She has a 2 year old daughter and the only thing I can think of is she went back to him because her daughter always asks where daddy even know he’s not the biological father and she allows him to see the baby. So the whole time we were supposedly together she never really got away from the guy she was with before me. I don’t know all I do know is that I’m very upset and hurt. I blame myself like i was doing something wrong or I wasent enough. I don’t even know how to get in touch with her cause she changed her number and I can’t stop by her mom’s cause I don’t really get along with her. You know whats I always had thst feeling though that she wasent giving her all. I felt it in my gut. Really. In my subconscious I knew when we first met it wasent gonna work. We really don’t have much in common the age difference and just her instability. I always had that feeling. Now saying all thst still doesn’t mean I don’t care about her cause I do alot and like i said Im very hurt. You just leave and don’t talk to me anymore. Why? What did I do? No explanation no nothing. I wasent even worth that. I don’t know to me the way she did it was very inmature. Like I said there was a 13 yr age difference and to be honest I can tell I was alot more mature than her not to be mean. Well anyway I’m sorry for the long post I just had to vent cause what u wrote hit home hard.. I’m trying to move on but its very hard. Any advice would be appreciated. God bless

      • Pedro Dominguez

        Just get your head straight that relationship is over for your own good.
        Learn from the mistake you made of not paying attention that you sensed something wasnt right next time you get that feeling step back and analyze whats happening and more importantly dont lie to yourself about what you see thats making you take a step back be honest with yourself it will save you alot of struggle
        What you r going through its not easy but stay strong and no contact with her if she tries to contact you dont fall for it remember be honest with yourself.
        Time will take away your pain.

  • wizzid0

    Unfortunately, I actually married this bitch! And that’s right, I had to cut off all communication to get back to a normal life. What a drag!

  • Steve O.

    My ex has direct familial lineage that is tied to mental illness, specifically psychopathy, though she has never been diagnosed as having it herself by a qualified professional.

    She has cut off her own parents, other family, and friends when she apparently has decided that she no longer has any use for them. Yet, she will not hesitate to make a request should the desire arise. Our children live under the shadow that they too will be excommunicated permanently, and so tread lightly.

    Unfortunately, I found out too late (after being in prison over a decade as a direct result). Initially, I thought that psychiatric issues were theoretical and abstract in many respects. Only in hindsight, and having spent literally thousands of hours analyzing reputable materials myself, was I able to understand the anatomical and psychological causal/reactive nature of people’s behavior.

    I have never held animosity toward her for her actions, but it has nonetheless hurt myself and others deeply. I only wish that there was some way find a cure.

  • Nerwen

    I don’t think we should cut some slack. They know right from wrong and they are human. They can rule their desires for different reasons, one of them is being aware those desires are morally wrong. It is like with alcoholics. It is recently referred to as an illness. Illness is lepracy, the flu, chicken pox, etc… If it is enough not to lift the bottle and everything will be fine, then that is not an illness. It is lack of will. Same with psychopaths. It happens to “normal” people that they don’t feel the meaning behind some rule or law, but still they don’t break it.

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