Editor’s note: Although this post describes the Judeo-Christian scripture, Lovefraud respects and honors all religious and spiritual traditions.
By Joyce Alexander, RNP (retired)
One of my favorite books of the Bible is Proverbs, which was attributed to Solomon, King of Israel, the son of King David. Though reputedly the wisest man in the world, Solomon didn’t always put his philosophies and wisdom to good use in his own life. Nonetheless, the book does have a lot of wisdom in it, including this description of a psychopath.
Proverbs 6:12-19, I think, is a perfect description of the psychopath.
The New Living Bible translation:
12 What are worthless and wicked people like? They are constant liars,
13 signaling their deceit with a wink of the eye, a nudge of the foot, or the wiggle of fingers.
14 Their perverted hearts plot evil, and they constantly stir up trouble.
15 But they will be destroyed suddenly, broken in an instant beyond all hope of healing.
16 There are six things the Lord hates — no, seven things he detests:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent,
18 a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong,
19 a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family.
Psychopathy is not something new in the world, it is just that we, as former victims or associates of these people, have become acutely aware of the evil that people can do to others. We have personally experienced the pain that comes from the betrayal of a lover, friend, family member, child, parent, or someone else who was very close to us, someone we trusted.
Psychopaths have been around since the beginning of humanity and they have preyed on others. They have risen to the highest levels as kings and dictators of countries, like Stalin and Mao, who have been responsible for the deaths of perhaps a hundred million of people, or they have simply preyed on those that were close to them. The majority of the suffering that mankind as a whole endures, both in mass and individually, is because of the actions of psychopaths.
We may not be able, as individuals, to avoid the mega-troubles brought on by psychopathic rulers, but by learning the “red flags” of a psychopath, by learning how to avoid these people on an individual level in the future, we can keep ourselves safer. We can teach others and teach our children how to recognize these evil ones, and how to avoid becoming intimate with them, how to avoid letting them con us financially and emotionally.
There are many great articles here at Lovefraud that talk about the things that we can spot in a person to see that they are possibly high in psychopathic traits. We call these traits “Red Flags,” because they signal that there is danger in the person who is behaving in that manner. If we ignore these red flags, we will absolutely become embroiled in their deceit and chaos.
The eight short verses above describe perfectly the psychopaths in our lives, who leave behind misery and pain.
The Bible (in verse 17) refers to “haughty eyes,” where in today’s language we would call it arrogance. If a person acts in an arrogant and “entitled” manner, we can see that there is a good chance this person does not value other people highly, but values himself above others.
Verse 12 calls them “constant liars,” which is pretty plain in even today’s language. People who lie continually, sometimes “when the truth would fit better,” are not people we can trust. Doing “business” of any kind with a person who is a “constant liar” is very risky because they cannot be trusted.
Verse 13 speaks about how they “signal their deceit” with a wink of the eye. They make light of their dishonesty, showing that honesty and forthrightness is not something that they value highly.
Verse 14 talks about how they “stir up trouble,” and if that is not a perfect signal, a bright red flag, that someone is up to no good, I don’t know what is. People who are “drama queens and kings” are continually creating chaos and unnecessary pain for others.
Verse 18 speaks about those that “plot evil,” which is pretty clearly something that a psychopath does. This may be something that can be observed from the way they treat others, or it may be something that they tell you about how they have treated someone else. Be assured if they treat others badly, you will eventually become one of the people that they will also treat badly, no matter how nicely they treat you today.
“Stirs up trouble in a family” is mentioned in verse 19 (“sows discord in a family”), and is particularly evident in family interactions with the psychopath, as well as business dealings and relationships with their neighbors.
When we see these characteristics in a person’s daily life, or in their past life, we should realize that there are “red flags” waving to warn us that this person, even if they do not qualify as a “full fledged psychopath,” is high enough in the traits of the psychopath that he or she is toxic to those that are connected with them. They are not worthy of our trust…even if it is just a “little bit” arrogant, or a “little bit” of a liar, or stir up a “little bit” of drama, because people who will do these things, who are dishonest and arrogant, will turn on others at their whim. Avoiding toxic and dramatic, lying and deceitful people is the only way that we can protect ourselves. We can’t change these people, any more than we can change a venomous snake. All we can do is to avoid their proximity to us, so that they are not in a position to harm us.
Our trust is something that is precious and something that we must guard by watching for the red flags in the behavior and actions of others. Guard your trust well.