Will the Real Psychopaths Stand Up?

This post has persistently been the most popular thing I have written. Accordingly, I have put it in the more prominent spot in the top menu.

A question posed on Quora got me thinking. “Why would people pretend to be a psychopath?” The question was answered by one of the most respected people on Quora on the subject of psychopathy, Athena Walker. Her own credentials as a psychopath are impeccable and her answers usually very intelligent. She deservedly gets many “upvotes.” I agree with most of what she says but not everything. For example, she denies that psychopaths are grandiose or narcissistic. I know I am those things and I think most of us are.

I have included below Athena’s answer as well as my own response (and the responses of others). While writing my response, I realized this is a big enough issue to warrant full treatment in a blog post so here it is. First, the Quora exerpt:

Athena Walker, Psychopathy is present from the first breath one takes, to the last.

That’s a very good question, and one that a number of us psychopaths have wondered about. Probably because they have no idea what they mean when they say that. There are several misunderstandings when it comes to psychopaths. Perhaps it has to do with the idea that they have in their heads about what they believe us to be.

Maybe they want to be devoid of guilt. Maybe it’s so they have no fear for the sense of power. So if they are in a confrontation, they might feel like they have an upper hand. They wouldn’t be intimidated and instead be in control.

Perhaps they want to be without sadness or remorse, or heartbreak. There are a number of people that seem to think that we are all super geniuses that all have our secret caves where we plot world domination…….. yeah, we don’t, and no, we’re not. Psychopathy in no way relates to intelligence. Where this thought came from eludes me. We can be of low, average, to high intelligence. Nothing about the condition makes us want to be super villains.

Really, it seems to come down to the idea of psychopathy being very attractive, or conversely I have noticed a new trend, and that is the idea of psychopaths being the tragic victims. Somehow it has become a romanticized emo ideation that we are dark lost souls just wanting to be loved. Now, I thought super genius/villain was bad, but tragic dark horse hero wanting someone to save us, that one is even worse.

To both of them, no…………..just no.

My response:

Fran Theresa Nowve

The underlying question is what is a psychopath? How do we identify the “real” ones? Who can say which one is genuine or which one “pretend?” I don’t think anyone really pretends to be one. Some people may falsely believe themselves to be one. People falsely believe themselves to be many things but psychopathy seems to be the one self-diagnosis most often challenged by other psychopaths (self-diagnosed or otherwise). As you say, Athena, psychopathy is glamorized. Therefore, calling oneself one is seen as a form of self-aggrandizement. Like someone is claiming an honor he/she may not deserve. Even you, Athena, was recently accused of being “fake.” Apparently, nobody is immune to this accusation. The fact that there is so much confusion, even among professionals, doesn’t help the situation. The fact that so many self-identified psychopaths on the social media are not properly “diagnosed” by a psychiatrist or psychologist also contributes to the confusion.

Other people’s responses:

Hyerim Park

3 votes


Jennifer Guerra

The question of self-identity is always a sensitive one. As I said above, many self-identified psychopaths have never been psychiatrically diagnosed. Many don’t want to be. A label can impact one’s future prospects in our society. Yet it is clear to me that some of them are “real.” I don’t need a shrink to tell me. I think we “know” each other just like gays have gaydar enabling them to recognize others of their own kind. Speaking for myself, I have the ASPD diagnosis. I don’t really consider ASPD identical to psychopathy. This has been a much debated point by the top experts in the field.

People don’t even have consensus about the meaning of commonly used words. The difference between “psychopath” and “sociopath,” for example. Most use the former to mean an inborn condition of the nervous system and the latter to be acquired by environment. Some consider psychopaths more cool and self-contained and sociopaths more impulsive and out of control. Others say the reverse. Without a consensus, it’s deuces wild. Under the circumstances, calling anyone a “fake” strikes me as presumptuous. Having been properly diagnosed by a professional doesn’t even end the discussion. For example, even Athena Walker, who is diagnosed, has been questioned:

Everything she writes strikes me as exaggerated and untrue. I doubt a real psychopath would care enough to answer questions in depth.

Fran Theresa Nowve

Fran Theresa Nowve, A self-aware psychopath who has shared information with others of my kind.

That’s the dumbest reason to call someone a fake. Answering questions in depth can be fun. What do you do for fun? Call people fake?

 Athena is right about the public image of a psychopath being larger than life. Either we are the epitome of evil or we are brilliant and all-powerful. Perhaps both. Perhaps our grandiosity and the public’s inflated view is what accounts for the presence both of wannabes and the tendency to be skeptical of any claims of psychopaths. Maybe we were better off when we were in the closet. But then it would left to Hollywood and the psychiatric profession to define us. And I’m sick of that.


11 thoughts on “Will the Real Psychopaths Stand Up?

  1. here is a thought love:

    reasearch doesn’t say there’s any correlation let alone causal between psychopathy and intelligence. studies with a sample not only from prisons but from all walks of life show that they may in fact be inferior, and that people miscontrue intelligence with the capability of what you can do, accpet to do to a person when you are that cold sympathy wise.

    you are sick in the brain. a part of your brain that is supposed to work, just doesn’t work.

    there are people with an anomalous brain who have made great contributions to humanity but none if it has to do with being a psychopath.

    you glamorize yourselves, in fact. i wish you didn’t jump to every question about psychopathy on quora or elsewhere and pollute all those question that in fact require responses from experts in neurology and cognitive science, etc.

    you are diagnosed by these people and funnily enough wave your little diagnoses as something to be bragged about. well, then, let these guys talki not you.

    you are a fad. these years are your 15 secs of fame. better write a book about it and be filthy rich before it all fades away, my dear.


    1. Excuse me. Quora directs its questions to me. If you don’t like psychopaths answering Quora you should take it up with them. There are things we know better than any “expert” such as what it is like to be ourselves. Since you are so besotten with experts, read statements by Robert Hare to the effect that we are not disordered. You accuse me of glamorizing myself but I notice it is you reading my blog. Thanks for dropping in. Haters like you remind me of the importance of my mission to bring true awareness to those members of the public with brains.


      1. ahahah keep on tailing. for me, though, i just used some keywords and then there you popped up. you know what those words are? “athena walker”, “fake”. that’s how you promoted your beloved friend in google indexing, many congratulations, and good luck with that. and this is not hate. this is frustration by not even you but quora in which all psychopathy questions are invaded by people like you, i had to skim through all that just to see it was to no avail. one last reminder: you are diagnosed by those people, so they know you better than you, unless you know how to read an fmri scan. without them, god forbid, you wouldn’t have a name. it’s all you got, isn’t it? go on marketing yourself like that, fake altruism-red flag in itself- with info contradicting real research at some points undermines the mask tho. goodbyyes.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. For goodness sake! If you want to read what professionals say about psychopathy, they are easy enough to find. I, myself, have included links to the most significant ones. I haven’t dissed them on this page but I merely said that they and the Hollywood media shouldn’t be the only source of information about us. Everyone should speak for her/himself about what he/she is. That doesn’t negate the legitimacy or importance of pros. It adds to our knowledge. After all, the pros got their information by talking to us. Oh. Did we forget?

    Quora solicits our answers because people want to read them. Not you, as it seems, but many others. It’s also possible that professionals don’t want to answer questions from Quora. Here’s a reading list for you: “Without Conscience” by Robert Hare, “The Mask of Sanity” by Hervey Cleckley, “The Wisdom of Psychopaths” by Kevin Dutton. Start with these.

    I’m not sure I know what you are trying to say with, “you are diagnosed by those people, so they know you better than you, unless you know how to read an fmri scan. without them, god forbid, you wouldn’t have a name. it’s all you got, isn’t it? go on marketing yourself like that.”

    I was given a name at birth. It’s on my birth certificate. What kind of name am I getting from doctors? Are you talking about my diagnosis? That’s all I’ve “got?” What does that even mean? And, finally, I’m not “marketing” myself. People who market something are trying to sell something. I give information away for free. Take it or leave it. I know why I’m writing this blog. Do you know why you’re writing these comments? If you think I have nothing to say worth reading, why are you even here?


  3. athena walker is living a fantasy world. The fact that she doesnt realize that shes acting is the worst part of it. A real psychiatrist would flatter out her BS.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pretending to be a psychopath seems to be a popular sport too. You are absolutely fake and so is Athena Walker. The ludicrous nonsense she spouts is just embarrassing.


      1. Pretending to be something we’re not? How psychopathic of us! Sorry you got embarrassed, Maddyph. A psychopath wouldn’t be susceptible to embarrassment. Too bad.


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