The distinctive “look” of psychopathy: gazing into the face of evil

Gaze into the void…

Psychopaths and malignant narcissists are very good at putting on masks to get others to trust them. They can seem warm and charming when they want to. But sometimes they can be caught when their mask is momentarily down (usually when they’ve been called out–or caught), and it’s here when we see the emptiness and evil inside them.

I’ve described this look before–I’ve seen it on my mother’s face and it gave me nightmares for weeks. I saw it once on my ex’s face when he was drunk and angry. It’s not so much a demonic look (which has a sort of life to it) as a dead, lifeless look that is far worse. It’s a malignant look that makes you want to get away from them fast. Like there’s nothing inside them except an vast and endless black void of nothingness. It’s like standing at the precipice of a black hole, and what can be more terrifying than some nameless void that can suck you into itself–and can even swallow light?

Many people have mentioned the intense stare a psychopathic person will fix you with, even when they are trying to charm you into trusting them. During the “wooing” phase, you may think this intense stare indicates attentiveness and strong interest in you as a person, but actually all they’re interested in is how they can use you and later destroy you. Make no mistake–they are predators out for the kill. If you have met someone who seems to stare at you excessively, or in a predatory way that makes you uneasy, that person is probably a psychopath or malignant narcissist trying to get their hooks into you. RUN LIKE HELL.

I don’t think evil is the opposite of good. I think evil is the opposite of somethingness–evil is pure black nothingness. Here are some examples of the dead, reptilian eyes of known psychopaths and malignant narcissists.

Serial killer Dennis Rader

Convicted murderer Jodi Arias. Her trial footage shows as many fake tears and mask-changes as Scott Peterson’s and none of her “emotions” seem genuine.

Scott Peterson, unfaithful husband who murdered his pregnant wife and unborn child.

Susan Smith, who murdered her two young sons by sinking them in a car she drove into a lake because she wanted to please her lover, who did not want children.

Actress Joan Crawford (“Mommie Dearest”), who was an alcoholic and abusive mother to two of her adoptive children (some reports classify her as having Borderine Personality Disorder with Histrionic and Narcissistic elements, rather than NPD)

In some cases, psychopaths show a distinctive smirk or sneer. Their eyes may twinkle, but it’s a hard, cold, glittering twinkle that is malevolent and creepy. Behind the twinkle, the eyes are still reptilian and dead. You may see this look when they think they’ve pulled one over on you–or perversely, when you’ve pulled one over on them–and they are ready to kill you either literally or figuratively. Here are some examples of this look:

Osama Bin Laden Headshot
Osama bin Laden, fundamentalist Islamic mastermind who ordered the attacks on the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon in 2001.

Mass murderer Charles Manson, who never killed anyone himself but had his cult of followers do his dirty work for him. Some think he’s psychotic and therefore not responsible for his actions, but he’s a psychopath who knew exactly what he was doing and has never shown an ounce of remorse.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney, the brains behind the disastrous and dishonest Bush administration and our “preemptive” invasion of Iraq. Cheney and his cronies bailed out or pardoned corporate criminals like Halliburton. How could you trust a man with a face like that?

The Koch Brothers, multibillionaire CEOs who by their words and deeds have shown their disdain and comtempt for the “little people” which includes both the poor and middle class. These jerks have zero empathy and seem very psychopathic.

Former pro football player and actor O.J. Simpson during his famous 1995 murder trial. This insolent expression became his trademark look while he was on trial.

Serial killer Ted Bundy’s infamous look of psychopathic glee. *shudder*

I don’t know this woman, but she is a malignant narcissist who apparently gets her jollies making the people who lived in her building miserable. Someone on another website about narcissists was being attacked by her and called her out. I wouldn’t have included her here, but this is one of the most frightening looking people I’ve ever seen. Her eyes look like those solid black eyes you see in horror movies of demonic people. I have no doubt this woman is as evil as she looks.

Serial killer and alleged Satanist Richard Ramirez.

I’ve also included this Court TV program covering the arrest and trial of murderer Scott Peterson. Notice how he uses tears to manipulate the police and interviewer, but how insincere he seems and the way he arranges his facial features into whatever “mask” he thinks will help his case. There are those who insist he is not guilty (and I had my doubts too) and of course being good looking like Ted Bundy, he had a number of “groupies” who defended him, but he’s an intelligent manipulator and after watching this video, I absolutely believe Scott Peterson killed his wife and unborn son in cold blood.

32 thoughts on “The distinctive “look” of psychopathy: gazing into the face of evil

  1. You trying to give me nightmares here or something? 😉

    Windows are the eyes to the soul, so when you see that void in there, you know you’re dealing with somebody who has no humanity. I know what you mean about evil being a kind of nothingness, but I think it really does have a substance. Contemplating that is even creepier then looking at the nothingness.

    Liked by 2 people

    • All those pictures are creepy as hell, and I had to go watch some cute animal videos after posting this to get rid of the jumpy and uneasy feeling I had. Crazy as it sounds, I almost feel like if I look at these people too long, I might get infected by their disease. *shudder*

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Those solid black eyes remind me of the demonic characters in the TV series Supernatural.

    As I finished reading this I had close to the same thought about having nightmares as insanitybytes. I thought, “Great, figures I come back to check my reader after dark and find this.”

    There is no appealing to the softer sides of people like this if you find yourself backed into a corner by any of them…because there is no softer side. Scary and creepy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This one freaked me out because in some of the pictures, I realized they matched those of my parents. I used to say my mother had “snake eyes” in my teen diaries and father’s eyes were “beady”. Yes the lack of conscience and evil showed right there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I vividly remember a dream I had about my mother when I was very young (described in one of my early posts) where she had those solid black eyes and a sneer filled with so much hate it didn’t seem possible. I acted “spooky” with her for several days after that. My “spooky” moods were when I went inside my private little world in my head and boy, did she hate when I acted “spooky.” I couldn’t help it though. I think she knew I was onto her even as a young child and somehow knew those spooky moods I had meant I had gone inside myself–to the only place where she knew she couldn’t “get to me.” And that’s why she hated it, and I became a scapegoat because it was then that she realized I could see right through her pretenses.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: The “Reptilian Stare” or “Shark Gaze”of the Sociopath | Process of Elimination: Navigating Through the Cluster B Spectrum

  5. When I was very young, I felt a void threatening me but not since then. As to psychopaths being ”reptilian,” I reallyl admire reptiles. I admire snakes, especially. That look in their eyes that you see as a void of evil, I see as a wonderful stillness, kind of meditative. On the other hand, I read a book called ”Hostage to the Devil” which was series of case studies of demonic possession and exorcism. One of the cases, a woman, spent time with a mysterious stranger who established a kind of guru relationship. The ideal goal was to ”have nothingness within.” A very interesting story. The guru was a demon who essentially possessed her. It’s hard to speculate on this as I only know my own consciousness and don’t have anyone else’s to compare it to. Why do you see emptiness as the epidimy of evil? Trent Reznor named his record label ”Nothing.” I see something sacred about nothingness.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I kind of get what your saying, but I think for humans there is an instinct to recoil from that “blankness.” That’s why most people are instinctively afraid of snakes, reptiles, reptilian people etc. It’s probably hardwired into us.

      I read that book you’re talking about. I believe the stories Malachi Martin told are true–I’m not sure if it was actual possession though or something else. I do think evil spirits exist even if I’m skeptical about an actual entity called Satan. I also think these evil entities can enter a person and lead to that blank nothingness that precedes full possession. To me (and most people) that kind of thing is instinctively very creepy and scary.
      I remember another book I read by M. Scott Peck called “Glimpses of the Devil.” It was about two cases of exorcism that he performed. I remember his description of the demon or entity in the second possession–as very reptilian and also ancient. It scared the daylights out of me, the way he described it. I don’t know…I am instinctively frightened when I see a reptilian person and want to run away–fast. I’m not afraid of snakes though–at least not when I see them in a cage or as pets. I have a healthy respect for them though and if I see a rattlesnake on the ground (we do have them around here) I will not get near it.
      I’m not sure why most people see emptiness as evil–I think it’s just hardwired into our genes. I have seen that empty look on my ex and other people I have met who are evil and wish harm on me or on others so there’s truth to that. That’s cool if you don’t though. Be careful.


      • Actually, some cultures think highly of snakes. It is Christian cultures that feel horror. Of those faces you displayed above, only Joan Crawford’s face seemed to have the quality you were describing,

        Liked by 1 person

    • I think he’s in the job over his head and clueless, but not especially narcissistic or sociopathic. I could be wrong, I just have not seen it. Anyway, he’s no more sociopathic than most of the other recent presidents we’ve had as far as I can see. YMMV.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I see how you went for republicans which dilutes your impression with a number of us. I’m fascinated with the subject and totally believe Obama is one, but not Cheney or the Koch Brothers. That’s silly.

        Liked by 3 people

  6. I must admit I’m quite confused, I can’t spot that ‘dead lifeless look’ you describe in the article in any of those pictures… I’m sorry, I would love to understand what you all see there but I just see people looking into a camera and they look perfectly normal to me. Maybe I don’t really have the gift to spot psychopaths?
    But the article was certainly interesting.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I see it in Joan Crawford’s face but I think it was only because she was posing and kind of freezing her face into what she thought was an attractive expression. To really understand what is “creepy” about these eyes, I would like to see some “normal” eyes for comparison. Because these eyes look just like eyes to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I stumbled upon your blog while doing some research for my abnormal psych class and it pulled me right in. I have an uncle that we have classified as a narcissist. I don’t know where he fits on the scale of narcissism/psychopath, but he definitely gets this look when he hears something that should upset him.
    I can understand why some people don’t see the similarity in these photos. I don’t think I would if I didn’t know someone like this, but once you see it in someone you’ll never forget it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, it’s a look you will not forget. Usually, you only see that look when they are in a rage due to narcissistic injury. Sometimes though, when they are “sizing you up” as prey, they can look at you in an intense, unsettling way that’s similar to this, and makes you feel like you’re being hunted, because you are.
      I’m glad you found my blog and hope you like what you find here.


  8. I saw that when my old man disowned me too. He wasn’t smirking though. I saw anger but it wasn’t any grimacing. It was this self righteous indignant yet somehow empty look. It freaked me out but not wanting to show fear and give him the satisfaction like I did when I was a little boy, I stared back with a cold empty stare. He broke eye contact and refuse to reengage after that.

    I supposed both of our stares then would have given readers here nightmares. Damn, now I have to worry about people thinking I’m a sociopath if I put on that cold stare to mask my emotions.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I have to admit that I have difficulty reading social cues, and would not have noticed anything amiss, unless someone pointed it out to me. The only thing I might have thought strange was that the smiles seemed faked on some of them, but I wouldn’t be able to pinpoint exactly why. I still wonder why I get approached by strangers, even when I’m in the most surly mood. It’s horrible when you can’t detect sincerity, or lack thereof. I have a slight cognitive empathy impairment, but I have an abundance of emotional empathy and empathic concern.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Pingback: The World We Don’t Readily See | kiasherosjourney

  11. “eyes of the predator.”

    A meal, a tool, a toy or an enemy. All objects.

    The rest of their faces don’t matter – just window-dressing. Just camouflage. The eyes – no, they’re not black holes, nothing of the sort.

    Like the eyes of a crocodile. Hunger, and not much else.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. You have interesting ad hominem theories, however myself having grown up with despondent parents and no siblings, I was an observer of emotion but had difficulty processing it until I met my wife and had children at which point I started to feel deep emotions I never felt before, and started caring. Before then, I wasn’t evil, I just didn’t understand the emotions. When my grandmother died when I was 13, I felt nothing. And yes, when people attacked me verbally or physically, all I could think of was how to stop them and through self-preservation because I didn’t know anything else, of course I had *that* stare because I wasn’t afraid of them and would stop at nothing to [protect] myself from them! That is *that* stare you see in a sociopaths eyes, which is what I was. Admittedly, I also did deep reflections on why negative things kept happening to me and noticed my narcissistic personality wasn’t winning me any wars, so I embraced Buddhist concepts and chose give my kids a healthy relationship and through this, I became the least important thing in my life and my wife and children became the most important things and I was able to completely let go of my narcissism, accept my own failures, and lift others up and feel good about it! I’m aware that psychological studies have NEVER researched rather people can overcome a sociopathic deficiency or not, and rather imply that sociopaths are that way forever, but I’m living proof that given the right nurturing environment, you can overcome it and learn to process emotion and live a normal, fulfilling life! If someone who suffers a brain injury can re-learn how to walk and talk using a different part of their brain, then of course a sociopath can learn to feel emotion like a normal person! I suppose what I’m trying to say is I’m nothing like I used to be, but I understand those who are like how I was and I can’t deny that occasionally it’s still difficult for me at times, like my father was recently admitted to the hospital and again I felt noting, but I saw the concern in my relatives eyes and knew I should feel something so I went to visit him and it hit me… the emotion that he was sick, that I was giving him support and how much he appreciated it, that he, my father, was getting older and it was humbling and, it took awhile for this emotion to process while those around me felt it immediately, but that hardly makes me evil at all! I’d like to add that you might want to do some research on sociopaths; you’ll find it’s people like me and other sociopaths who are the ones who willingly rush into danger to save people from burning buildings or stand up to criminals and withstand mental trauma most normal people break under. Read this list and you’ll see surgeons, doctors, police, and military: . Please consider that before passing judgement on sociopaths!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s wonderful you were able to change yourself and overcome your narcissism (are you sure you really had NPD/sociopathy?) I believe spirituality is very powerful and probably for someone like yourself, has more power to change someone from the inside than psychiatry or psychotherapy does.

      Please keep in mind I wrote this post fairly early after my break from my abuser, when I was just beginning to heal myself. I am less judgmental now than I was, and in fact recognize that most people with narcissism are in fact victims themselves, from early abuse, and like their victims often do, they are often suffering from complex PTSD (which also involves shutting off of emotions). I think NPD and all other personality disorders actually arise from complex PTSD and is a coping mechanism.
      Yes, I can understand the “predatory stare” serving to keep others from attacking or harming you. It’s a defense mechanism.
      Not long ago, I began to believe I was a (covert) narcisssit myself, and spent a few months posting in an NPD forum. I learned a lot while I was there and I learned that narcissists (at least the self aware ones) aren’t evil people. It’s true most won’t or can’t change, but my (unpopular) opinion is that some can and do. You sound like one.
      This is one of the few ACON blogs that actually welcome narcissists to visit here and post. I don’t hold to a narc free policy because I think we can learn from each other.
      That’s interesting about your last point–sociopaths being the ones to risk their lives for others in a crisis. I’ve read that before, it’s because they don’t fear death like most people do. Maybe they’re just trying to get supply by being a “hero” but even if they are, it doesn’t matter if they are saving lives.
      Thank you for sharing your views here and hope you keep reading.

      Liked by 2 people

Comments are closed.