So you got lonely and went trawling around bars, or snuck into a nunnery, or invaded a firefighter calendar shoot and picked up a little something you liked the look of. You brazen hussy (also, what’s the male version of “hussy”? Hussar?)
No shame in that, turns out you actually quite like this other human being, and they seem to be loaded up with some amazing qualities. You’ve bagged yourself quite the catch, as the fisherman say after a long, horny voyage hunting for unsuspecting merfolk.
But then something starts to feel slightly amiss.
No, it’s not their enjoyment of Spanish soap operas – although that is rather concerning, we thought you had better taste than that. It’s something that’s niggling the very edge of your attention. You’ve noticed certain behavior patterns that strike you as odd. Not odd enough yet that you’re in fear for your life, but certainly enough to make you question the stability of this new paramour.
You find yourself asking friends whether they think something is slightly off about them – which of course they won’t because they’ve had only enough exposure to see them as the charming, adventurous person with whom you jumped into bed (and they’re secretly considering doing the same).
So how can you reassure yourself that you’re not going mad? Well, you can’t, you crazy moron! But here are some signs that you might have landed yourself a psycho.
15. You never see them unprepared
So you wake up in the morning next to your new companion (you moved pretty fast, didn’t you? People will talk), and everything about them is perfectly preened. A kind of unnatural perfection for someone who should really have spent the sleeping hours with their hair slowly becoming a nest of tangles held together by drool.
If you’ve picked up a psycho, they never want to be seen to be unprepared. They already got up while you were deep in slumberland, and made themselves the image of perfection. Or they stalked your Instagram going back 2 years to find out whether you like eggs with your breakfast, rather than just asking you. They must appear to just know things. If you ever catch them off guard, their self esteem will plummet, their carefully constructed mask will have slipped…and you may not want to be in the room for that.
14. They’re always watching
They are never far away from some method of keeping tabs on you. You see, the potential psycho you’ve picked up is patently distrustful – possibly because they’re quite untrustworthy themselves. So expect to have the drawer where you stuff your utilities bills to be ignored rifled through, or your conversations with someone over the phone examined in depth.
They probably won’t go as far as to follow you everywhere you go (if they do, it might be time to get a can of mace), but they will probably do the modern equivalent. They’ll constantly be creeping on your social media, checking where you’ve been against where you say you’ve been. You might get an odd text message reading “you were at Kroger, I thought you always shopped at Walmart”. The point is, they know more about your movements than you bothered to remember, which means you might not be able to run where they can’t find you.
13. They have immense ambition
It’s good to have some kind of goal in life, it stops you from becoming a drifter. Unless of course your goal is to become a drifter, in which case you might actually be the psycho you’re reading about (see below). However, if the person you’ve picked up seems ambitious to the point of delusion, you might want to assess your exits.
Do they they frequently practice their “red carpet pose”? Do they use phrases such as “when I win my Oscar”? Do they talk about a near future where they’re a Silicone Valley billionaire? Even more telling, do they exhibit these behaviors despite having no expertise in the areas to which they expect to achieve plaudits?
This kind of seemingly deluded ambition is one sign that they might be a psycho. On the other hand, it’s worth bearing in mind that their inability to see the flaws in their goals is exactly what will help them achieve them.
12. They have no ambition
We’re not talking necessarily about laziness here. Your potential…um…meshugah, they are rarely actually idle. But at the same time they don’t seem to have any goals whatsoever. Nothing gets them fired up about the future, they have a kind of apathy toward their potential that makes them seem a little disconnected.
That’s because they are. They may not understand the need to have ambitions like the other monkeys around them do. It’s just not the way they’re wired – and at the same time they’ll question why you’re not happy to just be the same kind of drifter they are. It’ll be in their personality to make you feel guilty about having ambitions that might leave them behind.
11. You are their project
Don’t change, you’re wonderful just the way you are.
You might hear these words, but they won’t be true. Because your potential psycho is far less interested in who you are, than who they can make you become.
They’ll be quite subtle about it too, beginning with making seemingly helpful suggestions, graduating to your unexpected attendence at business seminars. The next thing you know, every piece of underwear you own is in a “power color”, and everyone you spend time with is nobody you actually like, but are useful to “your” ambitions.
10. Compulsive Lying
People lie. There’s something about the human condition that has told us that on a daily basis we should tell untruths. But this isn’t the day-to-day, “no, you look fine in a caftan” bull. Your potential psycho is a compulsive liar.
They lie about weird things too, stuff that you can’t for the life of you understand why they would lie about it. They drank a latte but told you they had a cappuccino. They murdered a cat when they actually bludgeoned a hamster. There’s not always intent behind their dishonesty, it’s not always lying to manipulate people and situations for their own ends. It’s lying because something inexplicable drives them to do so.
9. They’re just a little too charming
It’s what won you over in the first place, wasn’t it? Their easy charm that was somehow both persuasive and endearing. Men and women alike enjoy their company, even though your new companion doesn’t particularly seem to relish it, and they seem to just keep drawing people in.
But then you’ll start to notice the change. They’re not charming all the time. In fact, this charming, effervescent aspect is something that only kicks in when other people are around. Now, they’re not necessarily putting on a show, it’s not a lie, it’s just an instinct that kicks in when they have to navigate the world of humans. The thing is, it’s not something that’s sustainable in the long term, and when you become a part of their daily life, you’ll see more and more glimpses of what lies beneath.
8. They’re a bit too self confident
Self confidence is good, it’s helpful to one’s self esteem and feeling like you’re capable of overcoming obstacles is important in making the world seem less terrifying.
But they’re not just self confident. They have a self belief that borders on godlike. They see themselves as the a shining deity wading in a cesspool of mere potential followers.
There is nothing they cannot do, no-one they cannot bend to their will, the world is their lobster and they will devour it whole.
Sound familiar? Well, your new companion is imbued with the kind of self belief that – while delusional – makes them seem powerful, and being seen as powerful is half the battle of becoming so. You’ll also get swept along in this confidence, because that kind of unshakable belief can be quite addictive to be around – it’s how cults are formed.
7. They’re a bit too fragile
There may be a flip side to your outwardly confident and charming potential psycho. One that you didn’t expect given their seeming ability to hold the world in the palm of their hand.
They can fall apart at the drop of a hat.
Their godlike powers slip from their grasp on occasion and they become a wailing, damp puddle on the floor. Thing is, nothing huge and life changing happened, their Quidditch team conceded a point and now the damn world has ended. Or the store didn’t have any ripe avocados and life will never be the same again.
6. They exhibit very little empathy
You’re not staring into the cold, dead eyes of a killer – only a very specific portion of the populace finds that look attractive. But at the same time, they’re sort of disquietingly callous.
They can watch a friend’s life fall apart in front of them and their instinct is to wonder if this means they can have their friend’s cat. They can examine the scene of a messy fatal car crash with a detached gag about how they would never be seen dead driving that vehicle.
This is because they don’t see people as people, they see them as things. They also don’t consider themselves to be one of the people. They don’t grasp the concept of empathy, really, though occasionally they might be able to substitute empathy for imagination, but it’s not the same thing. It also means they can delete people from their life without any real concern.
5. They exhibit impulsive behaviour
Again, this probably seemed quite attractive in the beginning. You were out for a pleasant stroll and suddenly they announced that they were going to climb on top of the police station and proclaim their adoration for you in the medium of interpretive dance. Or that time when you were just having coffee and they looked up from their phone with an announcement that they’d just booked you both a last minute trip to Vietnam.
It’s fun, getting swept along with someone who makes those kinds of spontaneous decisions, it’s how adventures are forged.
However, the day to day application of this impulsive behavior is not always practical and can make for a pretty stressful existence, because their impulsive behavior is not limited to fun expeditions and romantic acts, it infects every facet of their life.
4. They get bored easily
Your potential psycho probably seems like they have an impressive array of pastimes. They’re writing a political treatise, they paint excellent watercolors, they’re learning bathroom plumbing for some reason. Their interests and skills seem myriad and they’re always looking for new ones.
The truth is, nothing seems to hold their interest for very long. And in the moments of inactivity, their mind starts to get restless, and they wander in some strange directions.
While in the beginning it can be fascinating to watch them undertake interesting new activities that you wouldn’t have considered, this can soon become frustrating, and nobody wants to be in a relationship with someone they have to keep entertained like they would a toddler.
3. They have no boundaries
When you first met them, the fact that they were not afraid to express themselves freely was great – and the fact that they’re a “hugger” sort of endears them to everyone they meet.
But then you’ll start to notice other things. They’ll go up to strangers in a restaurant and invite themselves to try something from their plate. They’ll use your toothbrush instead of their own. You’ll discover them scratching their ass crack with your favorite paintbrush.
They have no boundaries to speak of. This makes them seem gregarious at first, but it soon becomes invasive. Once again, it’s not intended maliciously, but they are completely oblivious to the fact that they are not the king or queen of the universe, free to roam where they will.
2. They need to be seen to be right
One of the things that attracted you to them was their intelligence. Or, at least, they seemed to know a lot of things, often quite obscure things.
The reason for this is, your potential psycho has built up a dense library of factoids in order to avoid the possibility of being seen to be wrong.
Sure, everybody makes mistakes, they even know this. But they cannot let people see that they are anything less than the authority in the room at any given time.
Problem is, if you witness them being wrong, the likelihood is they’ll turn on you, because they will see in your eyes the reflection of everything they’re afraid of about themselves. That they might be just like everyone else – occasionally wrong.
1. They deny that they’re a psycho
So it’s gotten to the point where you’ve just got to say something. The collection of human taxidermy in the basement has gotten a little unruly, and they disappeared for a few weeks on a last minute solo archaeological expedition from which they’ve returned with many bones.
No matter how reasonably you explain it to them, your potential psycho is probably unwilling to accept that they are one. People with these kinds of personalities are usually unable to see these quirks as flaws that can be damaging if gone unchecked. Even in the face of evidence, they will likely dismiss your concerns as your subjective interpretation, and perhaps it’s you who has the problem.
Psychos don’t seem themselves as inclined that way, they just think everyone else is wired wrong.
And maybe they’re right.