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Five signs you’re dating a psychopath and ways to leave them without breaking your heart

HAVE EVER met someone who made you feel like the most special person in the world?

Filled with admiration and affection, they tell you: “You are exactly what I was looking for. You are my happiness forever and ever. “

Today, we reveal five signs to watch out for in a partner to understand if they might be a psychopath.

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Today, we reveal five signs to watch out for in a partner to understand if they might be a psychopath.
Author Maddy Anholt says that'The psychopath is hidden in plain sight. In fact, an estimated one in 100 of us is a psychopath'

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Author Maddy Anholt says that ‘The psychopath is hidden in plain sight. In fact, an estimated one in 100 of us is a psychopath’Credit: © Karla Gowlett

A few weeks after starting a relationship, you feel lucky. Finally, it’s your turn. You know your life will never be the same – and you couldn’t be more right.

Because you just had a crush on a psychopath.

That’s right, this wonderful, charismatic person who rose with you above the clouds is a psychopath. No doubt when you hear that word, you will think of serial killers with evil eyes lurking in low light or thrifty entrepreneurs with shady egos.

But the truth is far more alarming – and I learned this the hard way. The psychopath is hidden in plain sight. In fact, an estimated one in 100 of us is a psychopath.

Psychopaths are often more charming and charismatic than the average person.

They are master manipulators with one sole purpose – to destroy your life. For starters, they learn everything it takes to win you over.

If you need to be built on your looks, they can do it. If you lack confidence in your career, they will help. Whatever you need them to be, they can be – because they’re the best actors in the world.

This is called love bombing. Love bombardment can also show that you are bombarding you with loads of gifts and expensive or pleasing weekends. But the facade fell fast.

‘Is it all in my head?’

They will stop asking you out, make strict remarks, and call you paranoid. You wonder, “Is it all in my head?”, convinced that you are slowly losing your mind. Step in, lighter – a tactic designed to make you feel uncertain about your own perception.

Psychopaths create memories and disturb your reality. Gradually, your world gets smaller. They tell you your friends are useless, your family is no better. They even think your pet looks at them funny.

Desperate to appease them, you then begin to isolate yourself from people’s lives. Everyone, that is, except them. Now it’s you and the psyche – population, two. Does this story sound uncomfortably familiar? It did to me.

I spent almost a decade moving from one controlling relationship to another.

By the time I hit rock bottom, I was soulless, and almost lifeless. But the cycle for all of those psychopaths is the same. There are three stages: Differentiate, Devalue, and Eliminate.

In my anecdotes, I use phrases like “Chase” and “A whirlwind”. This is exactly how a psychopath wants you to feel. This is the Discrimination stage. Without you knowing it, you’ve been sized like a perfect prey. This does not mean that you are vulnerable. Usually, it’s the exact opposite.

You may have the traits a psychopath wants. Perhaps you are mysterious, compassionate, kind – all of which they want to learn to imitate so they can play with more people’s lives. When they fall in love with the bomb and boost your self-esteem early on, you’ll never feel better. Gradually, they will get bored.

You will stealthily monitor their moods

Next, they may slander and “denial” you, which is when they turn their veiled criticism into compliments. Examples might be, “You look so much better without makeup” or, “It’s great that you got a promotion, but you think they’d give it to someone with a brain.”

Your self-esteem will begin to erode. You’ll get used to the feeling of tiptoe around their mood.

This is the Devalue phase. It could be weeks, months, years or decades into the relationship. But until then, it won’t matter.

And then there’s the Elimination phase. When I fell out of my last relationship with a psychopath, I decided just enough.

The only way I could break the cycle, firstly, was by myself, and second, by educating myself about what had happened.

It’s important that before we start dating, our self-esteem needs to be sky high.

This is why I take offense at the phrase, “My other half”. It shows you are not the whole to begin with. Understanding what you want in a partner is also important. I have what is called a Potential Partner Checklist (PPC).

Instead of going with your conventional wisdom and focusing too much on their looks or what they do, think about traits like empathy, kindness, and stability. When you’re dating, flip the question, “How do I feel about them?” Sang “How do they make me feel about myself?”

Be real with your gut. You don’t have to take care of, repair or heal them – that’s not your job. If you have a tendency, as I have done, to assign yourself the main role of “fixer”, then deal with this. It can stem from a codependency, although not permanently, but you need to pay attention if you really want to break the cycle.

Another indicator of codependency can be found if you ask yourself why you want to enter or stay in a relationship. If the answer is “I hate being alone” or, “I’m good at making other people happy,” then I recommend a therapist to assist you.

The only way I could break the cycle, firstly, was by myself, and second, by educating myself about what had happened.

The happy ending to all of this isn’t about having a perfect life partner waiting, ready to protect, love, and cherish you. Though that may come later. Happiness is forever finding your own peace. Forever happiness is happiness alone.

You want to get to a stage where you can sit with any loneliness, speak to yourself with compassion, and use therapy to find patterns, while removing the nasty toxic shame that you have that this happened.

You deserve to be loved in an easy, healthy, and genuine way. And until that happens, you’re better off looking for it in yourself before you start looking for side things. Seriously, stay away from dating apps.

How to Leave Your Psychopath published tomorrow (Bluebird, £16.99)

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How to Leave Your Psychopath published tomorrow (Bluebird, £16.99)Credit: Provided

DANGER SIGNS SPOT

Too seductive: Watch out for those who intend to win you over. They load up on compliments densely and quickly to get you off their feet.

Compulsive liars: Psychopaths can’t be as empathetic as you or me. They are not afraid to lie to manipulate and find their way. Be wary of someone constantly rounding up – do you want to be the person they’re lying to every day?

Make you uncomfortable: Tactics like sparking and deceiving are perfect for psychopaths. An insult disguised as a compliment can be disguised as “just a joke”. Ask yourself how do they make you feel about yourself?

Problems with the rule: Psychopaths don’t like being told what to do. Their ego is so much that they feel “above the law”. Beware of those who disregard the rules or the law.

Anger problem: When it comes to violence and intimidation, it’s imperative that you have firm, immutable boundaries – you won’t tolerate it, not even once. If they have been aggressive, it will happen again.

The National Domestic Abuse Helpline is available 24/7. Call 0808 2000 247 for unbiased and non-judgmental advice. Use Women’s Aid Live Chat for discreet help and advice. To access, visit chat.womensaid.org.uk.

  • Maddy Anholt is a comedian, author and actor. How To Leave Your Psychopath is published tomorrow (Bluebird, £16.99). Follow Maddy on Instagram @maddyanholt

https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/17514418/five-signs-dating-psychopath/ Five signs you’re dating a psychopath and ways to leave them without breaking your heart

Huynh Nguyen

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