I will start with a trait I think is not necessarily the trait of a psychopath, but which I am also not sure about how to categorize:
The lack of Remorse or Guilt.
We often hear that lack of guilt, or lack of feeling guilty, is a central trait of a psychopath. But does ‘lack of guilt’ mean they don’t think they’re guilty, or does it mean they they’re guilty but they just don’t care? – To me Guilt is an awareness, not a feeling. If I steal my neighbor’s lunch, I know I am guilty. It’s not something I feel, it’s something I know, something I am aware of.
Is guilt supposed to make you feel a certain way? How does ‘Guilt’ feel? Quite honestly, ‘Guilt’ doesn’t make me feel anything one way or another, unless I have a reason for wanting to redeem an action I have undertaken. It may sound cold, but I can very well find a reason to redeem an action that has consequences for somebody else, though it does usually imply myself in some way. But isn’t this the case for us all? I think it is, though I’m aware that many disagree.
Sometimes in cases where I want to undo or change something I have brought about, it gives me a nagging, uneasy, feeling. But even so this is more linked to what I do not want to happen than to what I have actually done.
I can under special circumstances be pushed into doing something I don’t want to do, but it doesn’t make me “feel guilty”, it makes me angry. Angry at those or that which made me do it, and angry at myself for not having been stronger so that I could abstain despite the circumstances (like torture, f.ex.).
But I haven’t been in many such a situations as far as I recall. Why not? I think it’s because I am not easily pushed, and I generally don’t do things to others that I don’t want them to have the consequences for. I ususally make very sure to not harm or otherwise affect others in a negative way, unless I really don’t care for those people and I have a very good reason to be wanting to go through with the activity anyway, or unless the reasons to do such things simply outweigh the negatives.
I don’t feel bad about being guilty of something, because I make sure I can live with the consequences before I do whatever I do.
When somebody feels guilty and tell me about f.ex. how they can’t sleep because of something they did, my thought is: “Why did you do it if it makes you feel so bad!?”. When I sometimes ask people this question I usually get a vague answer about something they felt at the time, or they simply don’t know what to say.
That’s a topic for another article: “The psychopath doesn’t consider the consequences of their actions”.