08 December 2022

7 Ways the Psychology of Stalking and Psychopathy Relate

Although psychopathy and stalking are two distinct sets of personality and behavior, there are some similarities too, including impulsive, aggressive, and self-centered behaviors that violate the rights of others and lack sympathy

A psychopath is a person suffering from chronic personality disordered features that include irregular or aggressive social behavior. Many psychopaths appear to be unstable because of the inherent impulsivity and some use violent means to achieve their goals. Psychopaths are often indistinguishable from “normal” persons and even attract others to him because of their charm and glibness. But, they lack a sense of right and wrong and do not understand compassion. These features help make psychopaths manipulative and impulsive, which can lead to amoral behavior. Stalking, as unwanted or obsessive attention by a person or a group of people toward another person, is considered a type of harassment that can include bullying, targeting a person in various ways, or following and surveilling them. Stalking behavior is of interest in forensic psychiatry and psychology and considered a criminal offense in most Western countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, France, and Australia.

Many people consider that psychopaths and stalkers are similar due to the same actions, behavior, and approach. However, this is not the case as being a psychopath and a stalker is two different sets of mental behaviors. They act and take different steps for distinct reasons and with unique motivations. It is common for stalkers to be diagnosed with a different mental health disorder altogether. For the most part, people are not born evil, malicious, aggressive, and unkind. However, for one type of psychopathic personality, also referred to as primary psychopathy, genetic factors are thought to play the dominant part. The other type, secondary psychopathy, often referred to as sociopaths, is believed to be shaped by social and environmental aspects. Stalkers, on the other hand, are often driven by rejection, dependency, or delusions. Nonetheless, a typical psychopath and stalker may share some of the same characteristics.

 Here is a look at how the psychology of psychopaths and stalkers are often similar.

  • Use others to achieve their goals: Psychopaths have little regard for others and use others for their own purposes. But it does not mean they stalk those they plan to use. In this sense, the act of stalking is a means to an end. Many psychopaths and stalkers objectify their victims and see them only as a way to fulfill their self-centered needs.
  • No emotional connection: Both psychopaths and stalkers tend to experience a dysfunctional emotional connection with the other person. They may experience strong attachments to particular targets, but it is often self-related. Just as they take delight in personally upsetting their targets, they may also be pleased by the knowledge of their unhappiness or suffering.
  • No control: Psychopaths and stalkers often lack control. Inherently impulsive, at times they not able to control their actions, behavior, and temper, which could result in aggressive and violent behaviors.
  • Can’t take rejection: Psychopaths can’t take rejection just as stalkers struggle with the same issue. Stalking is a systematic course of behavior aimed at a particular person that typically involves unreasonable expectations and an unhealthy attachment. As a result, stalkers find rejection especially upsetting. Both psychopaths and stalkers consider a victim more as a possession or target for control, retribution, or revenge, rather than a human being that deserves sympathy and compassion.
  • Don’t like to give up: Psychopaths and stalkers don’t like to give up control over their targets. They always wish to win and are determined to use any means to attain their goal. The attitude of never giving up is a great quality that could benefit most people in their professional and social lives. However, it is not a functional, healthy trait if used for a selfish purpose.
  • Always want to win: Psychopaths and stalkers always want to win and they can’t accept failure. Failure can make them more aggressive and they tend to lose control and act impulsively if they fail in their mission. As far as the psychopaths and stalkers are concerned, triumph denotes luring their targets into their domain where they can be manipulated and dominated.
  • Want to intimidate targets: Psychopaths and stalkers typically love to exact revenge or threaten their targets. For the thrill and challenge, they may choose targets that don’t respect them, love them, and obey them blindly. Their usual strategy is to intimidate their target but, at times, especially when opposed, they act impulsively and commit aggressive acts that are not premeditated.


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