Psychopaths Look Normal—A Case Study

By Dr. Anjali Dewan

This is a different type of research study as it entails the study of various aspects of the behavior of a single person. Before I go into the details of the person’s behavioral deviation from the normal, let me explain what psychopaths are. These are persons who may or may not look normal but are suffering from certain psychological disorders which have reached up to pathological condition. Only very close relatives in the immediate family know about the problems their relative is suffering from. But in some cases nobody is aware of the disorder, not even the person who is suffering from it.

The case study which I am going to narrate to you is of a man who is 51 years old. He is extremely intelligent, sharp and nothing less than a genius. He was quite young when he got married to a girl of his parent’s choice and was blessed with a son. He started to work for a Bank. After a few years, he changed jobs quite frequently. Finally, he started his own business dealing with food products. He had thought that his father would manage the office and he will look after the marketing and sales. At this crucial juncture, his father had a stroke and became totally bedridden. His wife also fell sick about the same time and was diagnosed with a rare brain disease.

As he was trying to manage the multiple problems in his personal and professional life, his partner cheated him and there was a huge financial loss. The condition of his wife deteriorated. He decided to sell everything and move to her parents’ house in Calcutta. Though the wife started to feel better, the son fell in bad company and his grades in school started to drop. He just managed to pass in his class Twelfth. The father did not want his son to waste his life, so again came back to his original native place, a metropolitan city. Though, the wife refused to accompany them. By this time, the grandmother sold off her house and bought two houses for her two sons. So, this man moved into his new house but the son refused to live with him. He started working at a BPO and lived with his friend away from the father. After a few months, the love and affection for the son brought his sick wife back from her parental home. The son came back to live with them too. But the wife’s condition became worse. One fine day, she jumped from the balcony of their house and committed suicide. She had suffered for fifteen long years and could take no more.

I think this was the last nail in the coffin. The man could take no more. Nobody realized, not even him but he started to suffer from depression as well as inferiority complex. His brother and sister both married were happy and in due course of time had become extremely rich. He could not say anything but started to feel jealous as he was much better than both his siblings but at one time had no job. This had very bad effect on his psyche. He started to feel lonely. He had been so busy working that he had no relationship with his mother, brother or even his son. It was not even a month since his wife passed away that he started to look for a suitable match for himself on the Internet. He got busy contacting some of them. There was one lady running a Job Placement Agency whom he liked and met a number of times. Finally, he invited her to meet his mother. The marriage could not take place as the woman’s mother was unwell and had nobody to look after her. She used to call him up late at night and they talked for hours till the man moved to Mumbai on a new job. As I did mention earlier, consistency was not there as far as holding on to one job was concerned.

Here fate took a totally different turn. He responded to a woman of 47 years, a divorcee who had a Doctorate, gold medalist working as a lecturer in a College and was with her mother and brother’s family during winter holidays. He sent emails to her, started to talk to her. He even proposed to her on the phone on the third day of interacting with her. The woman was so happy. He came from Mumbai for a day and came to visit the woman at her mother’s place with his family members. Both families liked each other. The only question the woman’s mother asked was as to why the man talked so much and also that he digressed from one topic to an unrelated one very fast. She was told by the man’s mother that since he had suffered a lot with his sick wife, he wanted to interact more by talking.

After the marriage ceremony, the bride and bridegroom reached his house. There were no relatives or friends, no sweets. The house showed no signs of celebrations. Still this poor woman, the new bride did not even notice these things. It was much later that she was made to recall these details. The next day, they left in the early noon for their honeymoon. She was on cloud nine as after many years she was going for a holiday. In the plane, she noticed that her husband was telling the airhostess that they were newly married and would not like anyone sitting with them which surprised her. They reached their hotel and it surprised her again as it was not a good hotel at all but the room faced the lake and she loved the view. They had good time but she started to notice was that many times he acted like a buffoon, in fact making her or himself the butt of his jokes. On the third day, a phone call came from home of the same woman he had not married and she wanted help to buy a second hand car. The newly wedded wife naturally questioned. The husband reacted badly and said “Let us pack our bags and leave tomorrow”.

The honeymoon was over within no time. Everyone welcomed her with love and warmth especially his sister and her family. One day, she heard him talking to the same woman from the bathroom with the tap running so that he could not be heard due to the sound of the flowing water. When she questioned him, he shouted at her and told her that she had polluted and dirty thoughts. He took off his wedding ring and said “Dumped one husband, dump another one”. She could not believe her ears. The man was changing. The lovable, affectionate, caring friend was turning into an abusive, short-tempered man whom she did not know at all. The husband made her life hell. He started to misbehave and say things like “Respect me, I am your husband”. She started to see a totally different human being who treated her like his property and kept taunting and insulting her. The mother-in-law could sense that everything was not alright when they came back. So, she left for a few days to her other son’s house. The new bride took charge of the house. She started to clean up, rearrange things. Her relationship with his son took a new turn. They became good friends. The son started to discuss his future plans with her. He also confessed that his father had no time when he needed him and was suffering from a neurotic disorder.

One day, he even said in front of his son “I will break this marriage but I will not leave her”. Things reached a crescendo when the husband told his wife of one month and seven days in front of his son “Get out of my house, call whomsoever you want. First marriage you broke in four months and this in two, threw my mother out. I am a tiger, not scared of anyone”. When he was speaking, it was like venom dropping from his mouth. He looked like a devil, his face totally contorted. He said the worst of things. When he left, the wife was surprised as the son had not reacted at all. When asked, he said that this was nothing as he had seen even bigger showdowns.

The wife could not take anymore. By chance, her brother was in town. He came to pick her up. The husband asked for forgiveness a number of times, but now she had understood his nature and did not want to live with him anymore.

She is back to work and has been welcomed by her boss and colleagues with open arms. But the husband is like a leech. He called up her brother, relatives and has sent malicious e-mails which have hurt her even more. She consulted a psychiatrist who after listening to her story told her that her husband was a psychopath. He was suffering from a number of neurotic disorders. He started to feel jealous of his prized possession—his angel. His own suffering for a long time has affected him to such an extent that he cannot be happy nor can see others happy. Such psychopaths are all around us. Since, I have undergone this trauma, I used to feel very upset and angry. But now as the time has passed, I feel pity for such people. At least I am on my own, away from such a person who will never agree that he is suffering from a psychological disorder. May God be with him.

About the Author: Dr. Anjali Dewan is teaching in a private college. I have been writing poems, stories, articles for a long time which have been published in newspapers and magazines as well as online. My book of Hindi poems ‘Lamha Lamha’ was released at an International Writer’s festival at Nellore, Andhra Pradesh in November 2011.


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  3. Dr. Anjali Dewan

    You are right. There are many thoughts in my mind too. But when I start to write, the same thoughts pave way for the writing to begin. I enjoy putting my thoughts on paper and then everything else becomes secondary. The tip is not to make any effort to express yourself, just let the feelings flow oblivious of the thoughts and you will be surprised to see the masterpiece created by you. Try it.

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