Are You a Psychopath? Or, a Stoic?

Are You a Psychopath? Or, a Stoic?
– by Coach Colle Davis

Pensive man portrait. Outdoor shoot

There are two rare and very different conditions which appear so similar they are often mistaken for each other. One is a psychological condition and the other is demonstrated by a person practicing a philosophy. One is a disorder and the other is an order.

These two personality types appear to the casual observer to be the same because the behaviors displayed look so much alike. A person who is unfeeling as part of their psychological make up looks stoic because they do not respond in a normal or expected way.

A stoic person who is not responding to the slings and arrows of life may look like a psychopath because they do not respond in a normal manner. A person with high EQ also appears to be immune to feelings.

  1. Psychopathy a condition where a person is unfeeling or unable to feel emotions/feelings. It is hardwired into that person’s mind. Not all psychopaths are murders which is good to know. Most murders are not psychopaths, better to know. Some murders are psychopaths, interesting and not relevant.
  • A psychopath lies without remorse (remember, they don’t feel anything) and will say anything to get what they want.
  • 25% of male offenders in prisons have psychopathic personalities.
  • Psychopaths speak in past-tense indicating they are detached from the present.
  1. Stoicism is a philosophy based on not letting feeling interfere with one’s life. The phrase ‘a rock in the river’ is often used to describe how they respond or react to the world around them. They let it flow past them and are not disturbed. The philosophy of the Stoic is their choice in life as a way of being. It is not a psychological condition, it is a life choice. A stoic chooses a life of truth and does not make promises unless they are certain they can deliver on their word. People in top leadership positions in companies and governments practice stoicism.

Responses by other people to these two different conditions are similar and predictable. When the expected response fails to occur confusion, anger and resentment come into play triggering a reaction to this indifference. Normal humans have predictable and standard responses to life’s events. Indifferent behaviors cause people to shun those who display these traits.

An image of a handsome man with a beard

The psychopath has a cold, calculating heart and mind and needs to be treated with caution and care because they are unreliable and unpredictable. The Stoic functions without care for others feelings and needs to be celebrated and encouraged but they can be easily misunderstood and (generally) do have not have close relationships. Both sets of behaviors are scary and cause people to dislike or shun those displaying these qualities.

The test to see which-is-which can be tricky. Both conditions are displayed by very intelligent people. Both types enjoy a superb command of the language, their ability to ask hard questions makes them difficult to be in rapport with and they tend to have very long memories. Sound fun? Not unless you are comfortable in your own skin and can take on someone who forces you to examine your deeply held beliefs.

Suggestion: Approach people who exhibit these behaviors with great care. The skills and talents to deal with them are not taught anywhere except by a top level executive coach.

Better suggestion: See if you can tell the difference and sort for the Stoics, they are more reliable and even-tempered because they do not let life bother them.

Here is a clever trick to use when interacting with a suspected psychopath or stoic. Examine how they process information. Lean toward them, lower your voice and ask them, ‘what are you getting out of life’. The psychopath will be hard pressed to answer the question. A common behavior for them is to step back before trying to answer.

The Stoic will ask you, “How much time do you have to listen?” Stoics live in the moment and will share with you the wonders of what is around them and enjoy many facets of nature (trees, fishing, rivers, lakes, birds, gardens, etc.)

Sadly, psychopaths are common and total about 1% of our population.

Stoics are so rare the chances of coming across more than a couple in your lifetime approaches zero. If and when one pops into your life you, be prepared. One small question clears up the confusion. LOL

Need help with the quirks in life? Give me a call to see how coaching can benefit you. Call today for your free session with Colle Davis, 804-464-3532 (EST).




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    • mycoach on 08/21/2020 at 7:17 am


    Please be ever so kind and cite your sources for your comments. Your information seems to be different than the literature that I have researched.


    • Kris on 06/29/2020 at 2:09 am

    I may actually disagree. According to the research it is not like psychpatchs do not “have feelings” nor low EQ or feel no fear, etc. Au contraire: psychopath is quite good in both reading other people feelings and being attached to own feelings. The difference kicks in when it comes to passing the threshold of certain level of tension and their response to it. Psychopath under emotional pressure gets focused to such an extend on chasing the goal he or she is prone to the tunnel vision so much that the person biological response is to ignore all the other feelings.

    • mycoach on 05/05/2019 at 9:45 am


    True. Often they are the unsung and unknown stalwarts of their communities.


    • Isaac Dylan on 04/18/2019 at 4:53 pm

    stoics are not always leaders or business managers they may be a normal person living a life of solitude

    • mycoach on 03/23/2019 at 10:44 am


    Yes, do you care about what others feel and think? If so you are a stoic in the sense the article points out.


    • Hubert Janus on 03/23/2019 at 8:02 am

    I’m not sure whether i’m a psychopath or a stoic . is there a process of self examinaiation which can glean an answer?

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