Spotting a Psychopath

Alexis Azria
8 min readMay 27, 2023

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It was a bone-chilling conversation that I will never forget. The tiny hairs on my neck stood as I watched his hands fondle his whiskey glass. “So, how does a guy make you love him?” He stared at me with dilated pupils, black, unblinking, watching my throat. Earlier, he had claimed how easy he could make my life, peppered with questions about my financial wherewithal and knowledge about me that extended beyond a simple Google search.

At first, Johnny claimed that he was a successful businessman with multiple properties, that he had not found the right woman, and that he was working on the perfect deal. After two dates, he swore he could fall in love with me, and we would travel the world together. On the third date, he brought me to a ridiculously expensive restaurant and regaled me with stories about his life.

Terrifying stories on how he duped border agents, housing authorities, and ex-girlfriends. Smuggling money across the border. Owning a strip club. Bragging about the machetes in his truck and guns in his homes. With an intense predatory stare, he kept asking me if anyone knew I was out with him that night or waiting for me at home.

Despite being introduced by a matchmaker, I was positive I was dealing with a psychopath.

Separated, lonely, and in a contentious divorce with public filings available at the courthouse, I was the perfect target.

Since toxic people are driven by personal gain and use exploitation, not connection, to maneuver their relationships, they seek:

  1. Partners who have something they want: money, sex, power, contacts, or a place to live.
  2. Partners who will never question the discrepancies in their stories, backgrounds, or families.
  3. Partners who are vulnerable such as someone who is divorced, widowed, separated, or deserted without support or means to protect themselves — psychologically, emotionally, physically or financially.
  4. Partners who are intelligent, loyal, compassionate, empathetic, honest, and competent. In other words, partners that a psychopath can brag about conning.

When you meet a Cluster B personality — psychopath, sociopath, or narcissist — you will immediately notice their exuberant charm and possibly a fleeting moment of…

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Alexis Azria

Writer and curious creator. Passionate about work, life & social issues. Visit alexisazria.com