- 30-year-old woman, known as Miss Thomas, is diagnosed psychopath
- She admits ‘heart has always been darker and colder than most people’s’
- She can be ruthless, charming, manipulative and dominant
- As a result, she has excelled academically and professionally
- She believes many others are ‘secret psychopaths’ like her
PUBLISHED: 13:48 GMT, 13 December 2013 | UPDATED: 14:53 GMT, 13 December 2013
Psychopaths are defined as ruthless people who suffer from a chronic mental disorder that can manifest in abnormal or violent social behaviour. But one diagnosed psychopath says they’re not all violent murderers – they could even be your boss.
She believes people who have the condition like she does are more likely to get ahead in life. Thanks to her manipulative streak, combined with a lack of empathy for others and excessive self-esteem, she’s become a high-flying attorney earning £150,000 a year.
The woman, who is in her thirties, has written a book about herself, called Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding In Plain Sight, under the pen name M.E Thomas.
She will also appear, without being identified, on a Channel 4 show this Saturday – Psychopath Night – that will try to unravel the mystery of this minority, with the help of leading experts.
The programme reveals some familiar faces who are high on the psychopathic scale, including a star of the England football team.
Doctors on the show found Miss Thomas displays many psychopathic traits such as egocentrism, interpersonal dominace, verbal aggression and excessive self-esteem.
She said: ‘I think I always knew that I wasn’t quite like other people. I’ve always known that my heart is a little blacker and colder than most people’s. During college I recognised that I was a very manipulative cunning person who was unable to connect to anyone on more than a superficial level.’
Miss Thomas admits she has an ‘obsession with power and willing to do anything to get ahead’ but unlike some psychopaths (many are responsible for about half of serious crimes committed), she’s not a murderer or a criminal.
In fact she said: ‘You would like me if you met me, I am quite confident about that because I have met a statistically sample size of the population and they were all susceptible to my charms.’
She said she prefers to call herself a ‘sociopath’ because of the negative connotations of psycho in the popular culture (fuelled by fictional characters like Hannibal Lecter and real life psychopaths such as Ted Bundy).
She admitted: ‘Sometimes it feels that I am in the movie Blade Runner and any slip up or indication that I am different will draw suspicion. I do feel a little bit like a misunderstood minority, the only thing that you can sort of hope if you’re a sociopath is that you are going to lie well enough and wear the mask well enough and hide in plain sight such that nobody will find out that you’re a sociopath.’
She added: ‘I may have a disorder, but I am not crazy.’
Dr John F Eden, a psychology professor from Texas A&M University diagnosed Miss Thomas can be described as a ‘socialised’ or ‘successful’ psychopath because of her academic and profession achievements.
He said: ‘Her presentation in many regards could be considered that of a prototypical psychopathic personality… such as a pronounced lack of empathy, a ruthless and calculating attitude towards social and interpersonal relationships, and a relative immunity to experiencing negative emotions.
‘Most notable in Ms. Thomas’s clinical presentation … were pronounced elevations on scales tapping antisocial and psychopathic traits (particularly egocentricism and sensation-seeking characteristics), interpersonal dominance, verbal aggression, and excessive self-esteem, as well as very low scores on measures tapping negative affective experiences (e.g., phobias)’
He added: ‘Although cognizant that she is “different” from most people she knows in terms of her personality structure, Ms. Thomas does not view herself as “disordered” in the sense of suffering from a form of mental illness per se. Quite the contrary, she seems content with her lifestyle and its current trajectory and rather blasé about many issues and concerns that might cause others some degree of uncertainty or distress. Of course, such attitudes are emblematic of individuals who are highly psychopathic.
‘By all accounts Ms. Thomas has thus far experienced relatively few objective (or subjective) negative consequences associated with being highly psychopathic – and in many regards appears to have excelled across various life domains (e.g., academic, occupational). This suggests that one might describe her as a “socialized” or “successful” psychopath.’
Miss Thomas believes there are many other secret psychopaths like her and that they are ‘the grease making the world go round’.
She added: ‘People sometimes say that we lack remorse or guilt like it’s a bad thing. They are sure that remorse and guilt are necessary to being a “good” person. But there is probably no universal, and certainly no objective, morality.’
Psychopath Night will be on Channel 4 on Saturday 14 December at 9pm