One particular type of psychopath to watch out for is the hedonic or hedonistic psychopath. By this we mean the psychopath who on the surface appears to be solely focused on having a good time, of seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. What’s wrong with hedonism though, the reader may ask. There is nothing inherently wrong with hedonism but it is a mask psychopaths often very cleverly hide behind.
The hedonic psychopath is a particular type of poisonous character that needs to be exposed, simply because they remain so well hidden and concealed beneath their “playboy” and “good time Charlie” image. Underneath this marsipan topping of the carefree fun lover there can be a deeply toxic character, often immature and irresponsible and with an invasive, predatory attitude towards women.
We should emphasize early on that we do not at all claim that all hedonists are psychopaths. Most hedonists are basically good people. However, hedonism and a playboy party lifestyle is a perfect cover for some psychopaths to hide behind to exercise control over women in particular and escape from their own internal emptiness and chaos.
As always we argue that psychopathy can be spotted by observing certain traits and patterns of behaviour over time. In this sense the context of where they show up is almost irrelevant as the basic character traits will still give them away. Hedonism is just another lifestyle they can hide behind and it often does a good job of concealing them to casual observers.
The Eternal Playboy
The most common way this kind of psychopath manifests is in the “eternal playboy” or “manchild” who never seems to grow up or move on past a shallow hedonistic lifestyle. He still wants to behave as though he is 22, even when he is 42 or 52.
His lifestyle revolves around constant partying, socializing, womanizing and usually drugs as well. He needs to be constantly around people and has no inner life or creativity. He is empty inside and needs the outer world to turn him on and excite him.
He will not at all like being reminded of his age as he gets older, as it is a reminder that time catches up to everyone and eventually even he will not be able to pull off the “party boy” trick once he gets past a certain age. He hates the fact that he cannot rewind the clock to when he was 22 and his total immersion in a hedonistic life did not seem unusual.
It is also a kind of reminder of the state of arrested development he is stuck in, where he is seemingly unable to grow up and move on to more mature, responsible phases of his life as most people do. The older he gets the more this begins to stand out. His friends grow up and move on and he doesn’t.
It remains all about seeking pleasure and avoiding pain, with the result that he never experiences hardship and grows or changes as a result. He stays stuck in an anaemic, shallow existence, where he is counting the clock and wondering how much longer he can “pull off” this lifestyle.
On a general day to day level, you will also find this immaturity and shallowness showing up in the sense of the hedonistic psychopath simply being unable to live like a responsible, mature adult. This will show up in their inability to do even simple things that anyone else their age could and should be able to do. Here are some examples:
- You will often find they are poor with domestic chores. They don’t clean up, turn lights off, flush toilets, or lock doors. In younger people this won’t stand out but as someone reaches their 30s and beyond and still shows these traits, it will start to seem unusual.
- They are sometimes even poor in terms of basic things like being able to cook for themselves. They live off a constant diet of fast food, eating out or manipulating other people to cook for them with their glib charm (“I’ll supply the fun, you supply the food”).
- They also often lack any kind of resourcefulness around the home, being completely unable to repair things which are broken or do any other maintainence. They care only about the fun times, not about any of the down times, including solving problems and fixing whatever is broken.
- In cases of shared housing or finances, you will often find they won’t pay their share, or will delay paying, always making excuses about why and promising they’ll have the money “next week” or something similar.
- They will often be behind on their rent and other bills they are responsible for. In business terms, departments start to fail under their control because they lack any kind of discipline or self control.
- Of course any one of these traits by themselves does not necessarily indicate a psychopath. Rather it is a clustering of many of the hedonistic traits we mention plus psychopathic traits that gives them away. There will be a certain permanent “stuckness” and lack of ability to grow or change in any sense of the word that will define a psychopath as opposed to a person who has their flaws and idiosyncracies but is still a human being.
Perpetual Blagging and Lying
This tendency to simply seek pleasure and avoid pain leads to another tendency to live from day to day and never plan or properly deal with problems. You will find they just blag and muddle through to get from one day to the next and live very much “hand to mouth”.
They will often be behind on the rent and the bills, will owe money to several people, and will borrow from one person to pay off another. When you dig into this, you will often find it is this obsession with keeping the good times rolling that leads them to overspend and underwork with predictable consequences. They have no self control or discipline.
As a result of this their lives are often always in trouble financially but they still find time for relentless womanizing and partying, very adept at projecting the image of the carefree party boy who has everything going for him. Behind the scenes their lives are often falling apart but their hedonistic mindset means they will not confront it and they want to always live in a one season world.
They will pinch other people’s food and drink out the fridge, lying their way to some apology the next day. The list of excuses and rationalizations they come up with is endless and annoyingly you will find they do this even when everything they need is available close by anyway. They live moment to moment and have no ability to plan or organize in their life.
The hedonistic psychopath has no inner life and is constantly looking to get the party started. He needs the world to turn him on
A Shallow Personality
The shallowness of their character is another thing which will stand out. There is a superficial layer of charm to them. They can appear to be funny, witty, very social and the life and soul of the party. They can even come across as innocent and boyish.
The reality though is that this constant need for socializing and human contact is really a desperate need to cover up the emptiness he feels inside. Despite his appearance as the party boy he does not have any ability to truly connect or empathize with people.
As is brilliantly described in the Unslaved Podcast on the subject, the psychopath does not value a person for themself but only the feelings that are aroused within them when they are in that person’s presence. It is only about what “buzz” they can get off being with the person and not about valuing the person for who they are.
If you look closely you will also see the hedonistic psychopath fits the mould of the general psychopath in that he doesn’t care for the suffering of people or the world. He has no vocational aspects to his character, does not fight for any causes and does not stand for anything. He remains shallow and one dimensional right the way through his life.
A Predatory Mindset Towards Women
This is the most pernicious and toxic of the hedonistic psychopath’s traits and reveals a need for power and control that is present on some level in all psychopaths. It is harder to spot initially in this case since the hedonistic playboy veneer appears to be the opposite of controlling and can conceal what is actually going on.
We will summarize the mindset of the hedonistic psychopath towards women as follows:
Despite an apparent charm and party boy persona, their entire attitude and approach towards the opposite sex is predatory and psychopathic to the core
On the surface they appear to love women, love being around women, and love talking to them. But if you look closer and listen to the way they talk about women when they are not there, you will see a more toxic attitude that is beneath the surface.
They view all people, including women, not as people but as objects to be manipulated and used, and they see the whole process of dating and talking to women as a game to see how long it takes them to “crack” a certain person and find their weak points to manipulate them.
This was confirmed to this writer when a hedonic psychopath openly admitted what his view on women was and how he looked on the entire process of talking to them:
All women are “mental”….If you dig into their past you’ll find out….something happened to them and they never got over it. If you keep asking questions or get them mad about something you’ll find out what their weak points are.
This is indicative of the predatory mindset of all psychopaths and you must remember these people have no conscience and therefore no restraint on their behaviour, as the above quote demonstrates. Underneath this veneer of chattiness and inquisitiveness is a desire to manipulate and control and probe for psychological weaknesses on the part of the psychopath.
This will manifest as asking relentless questions about a woman’s life or history, again covered up with an air of charm or interest or even humour. The psychopath treats it like a game, continually probing for some kind of weak point or admission.
All psychopaths know that most of us have traumas, secrets, and things we want to hide and because they have no morals they are happy to exploit and take advantage of these weaknesses and “dig into” a person psychologically until they find them. Once they find a person’s weaknesses they can use them to manipulate and control and hedonistic psychopaths love to play this game with women.
They are also sometimes known for pestering women sexually, which is again part of the invasiveness and intrusiveness that characterizes psychopaths. Plying them with drink is an obvious and common tactic, making it easier to find their weak points, but they can also be physically intrusive into a woman’s space and make inappropriate suggestions and comments.
This is when the easygoing playboy veneer starts to come off and you see the real controlling tendencies of the psychopath, as they often blur the line between consensual and non consensual sex by constantly pestering women with questions, suggestions and innuendo but all the while keeping up the harmless party boy act to make it seem there is nothing wrong with this behaviour.
There are probably many women who have had sex with a hedonic psychopath who didn’t really want to. They just got sick of the psychopath’s constant pestering and questioning and caved in to their manipulation, deciding it was easier to have sex with them than to keep fighting this invasion into their psychological and physical privacy.
This is what we mean by blurring the lines between consensual and non consensual sex and is one of the real pernicious aspects of the psychopath’s behaviour towards women. No one should feel the need to answer a relentless barrage of invasive and intrusive questions and if women especially are seeing this from a guy then they need to start looking more closely at the person’s character to see what is really going on.
Is Hedonism the Problem?
To balance the picture, we should emphasize that we are absolutely not bashing hedonism or people having a good time and partying in their younger years. We only wanted to point out that hedonism is a very convenient facade that psychopaths can latch onto and hide behind as it gives them justification to prey on women and avoid dealing with their own problems.
There have been some people who were hedonistic but who were also intelligent, thoughtful, kind and inspirational people. The late Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead is top of the list here – a real, genuine, authentic person who knew how to have a good time but remained completely honest and straightforward throughout his life. He had a good time but also had a big heart.
Straight away the contrast between him and a psychopathic character should be clear. The hedonistic psychopath buys into the lifestyle but only as a cover to conceal, not express, who he truly is. There is no heart, no care for others, no inner life, no depth; just shallow pleasure and manipulation and control over others.
So again it just emphasizes that it is not necessarily lifestyle or outer appearance and persona that identifies the psychopath. They show up in many different contexts and areas of life. Rather, it is a set of character traits you can observe over time that reveals them for who they really are, regardless of whatever marsipan topping they have layered on top to try and deceive people.
You are not looking for hedonistic traits as much as a hedonistic lifestyle and mindset coupled with a clustering of psychopathic traits which reveal the true character underneath. They are hiding behind the hedonistic lifestyle.
It is a combination of these general traits – ego, power, dominance, manipulation, shallowness, invasiveness – combined with a lack of human traits such as empathy, caring and an ability to connect, that really allows us to see past the surface and spot psychopaths in whatever walk of life they show up in.
See our Resources page for more books and videos on psychopathy. See also our Checklist page for common traits and characteristics of psychopaths to look out for.