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How You Can Quickly Identify a Dangerous Personality

Ever found yourself in a situation with someone that left you feeling irritated, anxious, bewildered or downright confused? You may have interacted with a psychopath, sociopath or narcissist. 

The best way I can describe someone with peculiar tendencies is by referencing the 1987 movie “Fatal Attraction” starring Glenn Close and Michael Douglas. In the movie, Close plays a jilted lover from an extramarital affair who exhibited psychotic behaviors. In one particularly memorable scene, she boils up the family pet rabbit of Dan Gallagher (played by Douglas).

As a life coach, I want to protect you from threats, seen or unseen. That is why, in this article, we will discuss how to quickly identify someone with a dangerous personality. Let’s start by explaining the signs of someone who exhibits unsafe characteristics.

The traits of a dangerous personality

Now, you may not had your rabbit boiled but maybe you have experienced one or more of these situation(s) with a person:

  • Calls or text you throughout the day, even though you are working
  • Constantly wants to search through your personal effects (e.g., cell phone, wallet, clothes, emails, etc.,) because they think you are engaged in a extramarital affair or doing something they deem suspicious
  • Screams, fights or curses at you one day and then next day acts as if nothing had happened
  • Demands that you have a high-power and high-stress job that is taxing your health so that they can live in luxury
  • Places demands on you which are unrealistic and/or are not mutually agreed upon
  • Implores you to do things which are illegal, unethical or immoral

No boundaries or limits

These are one of many scenarios. I could fill up this article or my blog with more examples. In summary, people who fail to respect boundaries, understand limits and show zero to no signs of conscious may be a psychopath, sociopath or narcissistic.

Many of us have befriended, associated, dated and in some cases, married a narcissist, psychopath or sociopath. All of these types fall under the umbrella of narcissistic personality disorder or antisocial personality disorder.

Investing in a one-sided relationship

We invested financially, emotionally or economically to no avail. These people questioned our self worth and intelligence, discounted our feelings and destroyed anything good in our life. I cannot erase your past pain, but I can equip you with signs you are dealing with someone who has the potential to be dangerous.

Below is a summary of a psychopath, sociopath or narcissist personality and how to deal with each of them.

Signs you are dealing with a psychopath, sociopath or narcissist

The Psychopath

Classic psychopathic thought: “Is this really a problem? You always overact.”

Bending, altering or distorting reality is a classic psychopathic move. This person has an inability to process reality. Moreover, a psychopath may disregard or ignore your perception of a situation or person. 

The ultimate goal of a psychopath is to make sure you see things their way, without question. 

Unlike the psychopath or narcissist, the sociopath has a firm grip on reality. From the moment you showed them your Visa Black Card or told them you came from a prestigious family, this person with a dangerous personality wanted to be your best friend or life partner.

The Sociopath

Classic sociopathic thought: “I love how being with your family has improved my life.”

Unlike the psychopath or narcissist, the sociopath has a firm grip on reality. From the moment you showed them your Visa Black Card or told them you came from a prestigious family, they wanted to be your best friend or life partner.

The sociopath’s goal is to obtain power, control, influence or money – not from their work, but from you and your achievements. 

They seem to show up mysteriously but once calamity or trouble befalls you, they will depart just as swiftly and without notice as they arrived.

The Maladaptive Narcissist

Classic narcissistic thought: “I will love you as long as you will never complain.”

Adaptive Narcissism  

Here’s the deal. We all have some form of narcissistic tendencies within ourselves, which helps us be safe from emotional, physical, or psychological threats. For example, saying “no” to requests when you have time, ethical, financial, or moral boundaries is acceptable. This is called adaptive or helpful narcissism. 

Maladaptive Narcissism  

However, the maladaptive narcissist wants to feel like a ten at all times while you remain an insignificant zero. Their emotions can shift with little or no notice. The reason is because they wish to be respected and cherished at the same time.

The fragile ego of a narcissist will not permit dissent. This arrangement leaves no room for caring for your concerns or goals. And if you decide to stay for the unrelenting punishment, you will end you become a doormat to a tyrannical control freak.

There are many different types of maladaptive narcissism, as shown in the table below. In the next section, we will discuss what to do if you are in a relationship with a psychopath, sociopath, or maladaptive narcissist.

A table with different types of characteristics and descriptions.

Help! I am now with a psychopath, sociopath, or maladaptive narcissist.

If you are currently with someone with a mental illness, calling them “sick,” will not help them. People with a dangerous personality don’t know understand how their behavior(s) negatively impacts others. Here are some ideas on facing each character.

Psychopath Toolkit

Characters like this have the capacity to be malicious on the mild end and capricious and vicious on the other extreme. If you see they have the capability to be cruel to strangers, it is only a matter of time before they unleash their fury on you. End the relationship as fast as you can.

Sociopath Toolkit

Sociopaths just want to be rich and famous with little to no effort on their part. If you don’t mind them riding on their coattails, okay. If no, make sure they have no access to your bank accounts or valuables.

Narcissist Toolkit

Narcissists have a fabulous way of evading blame. They have a deep sense of shame and insecurity which cannot tolerate any introspection. Your best bet is to create emotional, then financial and then physical distance from them.

In the next and final section, I will share my thoughts about each of these dangerous personality traits.

Closing Thoughts

While we cannot control others, we can control the level of influence they have over us.

How to keep yourself safe in the future

Improving your communication skills, improving  your self-care routine and identifying healthy people are steps toward improving your mental health and clarity.

How heal from the past abuse

If you have been in a terrible relationship with someone who has some form of narcissistic personality disorder, you will need help processing what happened so that you will not attract more characters like this in the future. Let’s work on a plan so that you can heal and find a partner that is worth keeping.

More helpful tools  

If you want to explore more the traits of a dangerous personality, in this podcast episode from my podcast, learn how to protect yourself emotionally as well as financially from these venomous personalities. 

Also access it by clicking on the play button below.


The information in this article is for informational purposes only. No material in this article or website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical and/or mental health advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you read from me or anyone else online.

Also, this article is not designed to diagnose or treat you or anyone with a suspected mental health illness. Please, if you need help, seek appropriate help from a lawyer, health care provider or law enforcement officer.

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