I, Psychopath

I, Psychopath

2009, Psychology  -    -  Playlist 254 Comments
Ratings: 6.64/10 from 209 users.

I, PsychopathPsychopaths... we usually only know them from Hollywood movies. We never expect them to enter our real life. But, the psychopath is closer than you think. Experts believe their number to be as high as one in a hundred. Most of them function incognito in high-powered professions...all the way to the very top.

But... it takes one to truly know one. In this intriguing documentary, Sam Vaknin, a self-proclaimed psychopath, goes in search of a diagnosis. In a scientific first, he allows himself to undergo testing to find out if he was born without a conscience. He knows he's narcissistic and cannot empathize with others. By his own admission, he's pompous, grandiose, repulsive and contradictory, ruthless and devoid of scruples, capricious and unfathomable... but he believes, he's not a bad person. What he is is indifferent...he couldn't care less. Unless, of course, the topic is himself.

Vaknin and his long-suffering but ever-loyal wife, Lidija, embark on a diagnostic road trip. But, it's uncharted territory... deep into the mind and life of a psychopath. The 47-year-old convicted corporate criminal has agreed to take part in the pursuit of his own diagnosis... meeting the world's experts in psychopathy in the hope that science will provide some answers for why he is like he is. These experts put Vaknin (and his wife) through a battery of rigorous psychological tests and neuro-scientific experiments.

Vaknin is shocked at the results. Sam, his wife, the scientists, the film-makers - will they ever be quite the same again?

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3 years ago

HG Tudor sounds VERY similar.

4 years ago

This movie is boring

4 years ago

He would be interesting to talk to. fun and charming and yet complicated

4 years ago

Well first time for everything a narcissist that is truthful wow.!

5 years ago

i'm more interested in the psycocat, that guy don't scare me or interest me

5 years ago

I recently got married back in may 2017. Actually now I don’t even know if I still want to be married with this person. I believe he is a narcissist. Lately it’s like walking on egg shells with him. I feel like I have to watch what I because of how he may react. One day he is loving, then the next day he is a complete dick with a irritating attitude...you can tell because it’s written all over his face and I don’t even know how to ask him what’s wrong because he would throw a fit out on me and give me attitude. Because of his mood swing behaviors and constantly blaming me for everything after asking my opinions on things. This cause me to feel like a different person where I don’t know myself anymore, I been having mood swings, depressed, stressed, insecure and I feel useless. Lately all I have wanted to do was be by myself and not talk to anyone

6 years ago

Almost every single person here doesn't know what a Psychopath is. They're not evil people, guys, they just can't feel emotion. Actually read up (I would advise reading Athena Walkers writing) on what Psychopathy is before falling for the trap of what things like this tell you.

6 years ago

I watched this movie as part of some research I'm doing. Vatnin scared the bejeezes out of me. What I saw was a dark-haired Donald Trump!

6 years ago

There will always be psychopaths in the world. There were probably fewer of them and they were far less tolerated 10K years' ago when communities had to work as a team to survive, at a time which pre-dates our fragile and mal-adaptive society. They fit in rather well today, which does not mean that they are deeply sick people. Do not be fooled by the fake modesty, it is all a ploy to pull you in. If you want to confound this man and put him out of business as a pretend-psychologist, then all you have to do is ask him on Youtube what the title of his doctoral thesis is (you need to research and write one to get a Phd) and the titles of any papers he has written. See what sort of an answer you get.

7 years ago

Makes me think about who is running for president

7 years ago

This is an excellent documentary and its providing a true public service: educating us non-psychopaths to recognize what a true psychopath sounds like. SV is truly chilling. I've run across a few over the decades and it's uncanny how similar their presentation and personalities are; it's very debilitating and draining to work for one, but I think I am better at spotting them now so I haven't been victimized by one in a long time now.

This doc helped with that: spotting the smarmy too-nice-too-soon and the slippery, oily character of their speech. Creepy.

Also wanted to mention: the terms "psychotic" and "psychopathic" sound similar but mean different things, but some of the commenters have been mixing them up.

SV is a psychopath, or is psychopathic, he is not psychotic .

"Psychotic" or "psychosis" means "unable to tell what is real vs unreal; a break with reality, delusional, having hallucinations, etc."

"Psychopathy" is being manipulative, lying and conning people for your own gain, a lack of conscience, a lack of empathy, a lack of remorse for the harm you do to others, etc.

Babette Post
8 years ago

Ian Walker is a fraud. This is a dis information film about the true nature of psychopaths and how they operate. For a start you don't get Post traumatic stress by making a film with them for a few weeks where you are both being paid and YOU are holding the camera. Ian had the power of the camera and the edit and the story. It was Sam Vankin who put himself in the vulnerable position. Sam Vankin knows who he is and his writing on NPD from the mouth of the beast is very enlightening and useful to victims. He has taken himself away from society because he knows that he's potentially dangerous. Ian baited the guy and filmed him with a secret camera. This is actually the way REAL PSYCHOPATHS operate so perhaps Walker should turn the camera on himself.

Peter JC
8 years ago

The best fishing doco i have seen in years!

Nikita Kade
8 years ago

A frightening, enlightening look into the Magic Mirror of narcissism and psychopathy. Who's filming who, and to what end? What makes this doc frightening is that psychopaths operate all around us, with much more subterfuge than this psychopath-narcissist who enjoyed self-publishing his book and coming off as superior to his partner, the investigators, the filmmaker, and...just about everyone else. The enlightening part is that we can more readily see the behavior aimed out at us as psychopathic or narcissistic, and we can defend ourselves against it. We no longer have to suffer the bullying boss, the demeaning spouse, the self-involved Leader of Some Pack, without knowing we can nail their behavior as pathological and then either correct our course, or walk away from it. Finally, we can say: it's not me. It's YOU. And I don't have to take it anymore. Finally, we have options when explaining to employers why so-and-so is just not suited for the job of CEO, or why we're not going forward into a relationship with so-and-so, or why we're just through with people for whom there is no redemption, no other way, in sight. This doc gives power to those who encounter the non-lethal psychopath and his or her potential damage; we now have some tools to spot them (and not buy their books) before their hooks are in us.

8 years ago

As the 'daughter' of a psychopathic narcissist I at first questioned Sam's psychopathy because he seemed too controlled and perhaps just ego maniacal. However, the bullying of the filmmaker eventually made me realize that he very much is. The wife obviously has some issues, and I hope she doesn't have children with him. That would be like procreating with an unpredictable wild animal. Snapping over nothing, bullying, being verbally abusive are all traits my father carried. He was also physically abusive, and he eventually took a family member's life. The identification of these individuals and the awareness of their manipulative tactics, and lack of empathy, is potentially life saving. I understand why people question the validity of this psychopathic science. However, I assure you that they are real, the scientist's description of the psychopathic is very accurate, and most importantly, they hurt everyone around them, and they do not have a conscience. DO NOT APPROACH THE PSYCHOPATH!

Ryan Kline
8 years ago

I watched this documentary and my initial reaction was that he is not a psychopath. as i continued watching this conclusion was only reinforced. this man is a narcissist. he relishes in getting HIS way and getting the attention that comes with being a psychopath. very little is know about psychopaths so a chance to study one is rare. this man relishes in the idea that hes special and different. a true psychopath would never reveal themselves as such. thats their ace in the hole. nobody knows theyre a predator so it makes people believe their manipulations.

9 years ago

The verbal manipulation of a real psychopath is a thing to behold... and
behold it is ALL you do. You do not believe the bullshit for one

I have had 3 careers and many small side jobs
because I worked through college and as a temp off and on since 1988. I have worked for
several psychopaths in business - both women and men. The men were louder,
the women quietly vicious. All got what they wanted at my expense and
all were above me in the economic feeding chain.

When I was in Washington, DC, I started calling them "The Brilliants." Trust me on this: they aren't all that smart and they do make mistakes. Their mistakes can me small or large - but they usually result from two things:
1) Going to fast because slowing down and thinking things through would be a weakness.
2) Not caring about any possible outcome other than the one they think they will get.

When their plans lie in ruins at their feet, so sorry ya.

9 years ago

The only reason Vaknin agreed to any of this is because he feels HE can use it to HIS advantage for his books for his web site for his image. It's all about him. Walker ends the film feeling damaged and he is. Only because he questions that Vaknin may have had some truths to his abuse. So I would say this. Sam Vaknin saw what you felt weak in. He 'read' you like a book and attacked you in a way to train you to doubt yourself. He attacked you at your core beliefs in yourself. He would consider a victory that he's made you doubt yourself. What he does is a survival technique, if you are busy worrying about what's wrong with you, you aren't looking at what he's doing. He is distracting and controlling you. Throw out what he said to you. It meant nothing to him, it was only a way to get at you… Let it go. If you are worried ask people you trust about it for their honest opinion on what you need to work on. Not this man. He is preying on your mind in any way he can. If you doubt yourself he wins.

Babette Post
9 years ago

I think Walker is the Psychopath. He makes Sam react which is what psychos do. They don't get angry. They're passive aggressive. They make people angry around them. I think Walker makes Vankin look honest.

9 years ago

he is not psychopath. no aspd. He is just jew and loves money

10 years ago

Vaknin is everywhere. He is annoying, self- promoting with a big mouth. His accent is vile, harsh and jarring. He is self-obsessed and too far up his rear end. Who is he to criticize Obama! He needs to analyze his over-inflated narcissistic self and disappear.

10 years ago

This was so interesting; never a dull moment.
I went online and found out more details about Sam's earlier life. His mention in the Financial Times was especially helpful.
The best part of this doc, for me; was his visit to the German doctor.

Evelina Williams
10 years ago

Oh my so many people deny that this guy is a psychopath. I'll tell you straight off the bat that HE is a living psychopath. Psychopathy and Narcissism, like all the other mental illnesses have a certain degree of severity. (One might have more advanced psychopathic traits that another, if that makes sense. i.e One might me more narcissistic than another). Let me just put it simple, the DSM (diagnostic and statistic manual) contains a ton of labels that are just labels and nothing else. A psychopath for the most part lacks remorse along with a myriad of other symptoms. (how true is that? Then why do psychopats get angry? Isn't that an emotion?)...... this is why I'm saying the the DSM is just a bunch of labels and nothing else to it. For everyone that wants to find out more about the Psychiatric Industry and all the labels they use to make profit look up the documentary -

Dissociation disorders such as Depersonalization and Derealization can also make you not feel emotions but it's more like temporary.

Lets just take it from here -

I've lived with a psychopath that was actually my dad. I'm talking of my own experience, it's the behavior that makes an individual a psychopath and not necessarily their thought pattern which might be irrational anyways, especially if they're dealing with some other mental illnesses. Psychopathy runs in families, you'll often see that a psychopath has the ability to turn the family members into psychopaths - sooner or later. Why? Because they're not allowed to be happy. They're not allowed to have the freedom they want and they MUST do what their ABUSER says, otherwise they'd be in trouble. I am speaking out of my experience with my dad, that I believe had psychopathy since he was born.

No wonder I suffer with PTSD, OCD, anxiety and depression for almost a decade now.

Here's what a psychopath can do, I'll just try to list a few of the things that I've lived in my own shoes - so been there done that ..

* A psychopath dad can buy you a pair of rollerblades and will NOT let you take them with you or go rollerblading with your school mates.

* A psychopath dad will tell you that life is hard and you will never make it.

* A psychopath dad will tell you that you have NO REAL FRIENDS and you will never have friends, to top it all you will actually NOT be allowed to have friends.

* A psychopath dad will take you to work with him on Saturdays and Sundays and will have you do homework for 8 hours in a row simply because that's what he wants you to do in your free time, instead of playing basketball or go out rollerblading like any kid should do aged 10 - 11.

* A psychopath dad will not let you go on a skiing trip with the school - 5 years in a ROW! How? Just making up some lies and making you feel guilty for the useless things possible and actually punishing you on not going in the skiing trip for something you haven't done in the first place.

* A psychopath dad would literally destroy the entire house, over an argument with his wife (jealousy related).

* A psychopath dad will always tell you - You do this and that the way I want you to, and never go over my word. His favorite proverb was "An Arab had a cat and the cat just had to go his own way". Basically this translated to - The Arab was the cat's jailer. And that is what a psychopath is to his family - A Jailer. You cannot love your jailer can you? I never loved my dad either, I was afraid of him and would literally freeze in my shoes whenever he was around, he was the JAILER. Does that make me a psychopath for not loving him? NO. It's simple you can't love your JAILER.

* A psychopath husband will never ever let his wife work, he prefers to have complete control over the finances, the house, his wife and so on. He does not want his wife having social relationships that he can't handle.

* A psychopath dad will promise he'd buy you a bike and a laptop and you wouldn't get the presents even 20 years after, when it's already too late lol, but he'd only make fake promises that's the main idea.

* A psychopath dad doesn't like to play with his children, he just enjoys manipulating them just as he wants (as if they're objects).

* A psychopath dad would buy you toys that you're not allowed to play with, of IF you're allowed, you're only allowed for short periods of time.

* A psychopath dad would buy you a toy and take it from you and break it right in front of you 30 minutes later.

* A psychopath dad (MIGHT) have a psychopath dad himself. This probably explains why he didn't want to go to his dad's funeral.

* A psychopath dad would beat you up for things you haven't done. He would punish you for weeks on end without any reason.

* A psychopath dad would probably not let you see girls when you're a teenager, getting all angry over it and calling you names, beating you up and sending you to your room.

* A psychopath dad could keep you closed in the house even on holidays, just because he doesn't want you to have contact with the society which he utterly hates.

* A psychopath dad has friends, but always has something to blame about them.

* A psychopath dad will never EVER be satisfied with you grades even if you have A+'s and B's.

I am nowhere near criticizing my dad, I am just trying to picture here what a psychopath looks like to me. I study psychology and psychiatry so I am not talking non-sense.

Hope this pictures the psychopath.

Only someone that has been living with a true psychopath can identify himself/herself in all this. A person that hasn't is most likely to get in contact with psychopath and never know it was a psychopath in the first place.

No psychiatrist on this planet is perfect! Even the best one can misdiagnose, they even admit it in certain documentaries. Why am I saying this? Because a mental illness as it's classified in the DSM IV based on a myriad of symptoms that overlap other mental disorders and it's not always necessary that you meet ALL the criteria under a certain diagnoses to actually have that mental illness.

NO. A psychopath doesn't necessarily kill. (My dad eventually comitted suicide in his mid 40's) A psychopath isn't necessarily the most charismatic person you'd know - they can also be miserable depressed people - they're all about CONTROLLING and MANIPULATING for their own pleasure.

Wonder why some people make it to the top of the pyramid and other don't? Because they're psychopaths (WELL not in all cases anyway) They do what they do, manipulate, control and go up the ladder). They'd even go over dead bodies to get their BACON (which is in most cases Money/Power).


10 years ago

Aren't psychopaths supposed to be charismatic? Isn't that one of the core characteristics? This guy is simply just the most boring person a camera has ever been turned on... what an absolute waste of intellect and ability.

Nicola-Jane Wiseman
10 years ago

Interesting - I couldn't quite work out why the disparity of his assertions. He seemed almost too quick sometimes to highlight aspects of his behavior which he considered psychopathic to medical professionals - I'm not sure why he felt the need to do this? Could be any number of reasons - I won't speculate, and yet towards the end of the doc he seemed a little shocked when the results of the psychopathy tests came through and he had scored so highly? His wife - seemed a nice enough lady. More of an enabler than a victim.

11 years ago

Psychopath or just a jerk? Maybe he's in between - the film does point out that it's not always clear. PDs are not either/or. Heck, I think some of his behaviour (overreacting to the tiniest criticism, denial, projection, black-and-white thinking, superiority complex, thinking that they're the authority and are always right and marrying women who agree) could apply to a lot of European men of his age. Including my dad!

11 years ago

Boring as hell, and he's ugly to boot! Not even worth analyzing his id, ego and superego. Just a boringly pompous dolt.

11 years ago

defining Christ a psychopat however is really a paradox, considering that the key words of what he used to preach were "love" and "compassionn"

11 years ago

Very interesting and original subject, I didn't know psychos could have nearly a normal life with wife and job and be non violent physically. In some points they do seem to be more pleased togheter and have more complicity than many couples I know: strange. I think the documentary worth a more profound and extended version. Would have been perfect for a Herzog one.

11 years ago

Try growing up with one. You are constantly questioning things. Even now, as an adult, I constantly question myself. It's maddening. My father is a major narcissistic psychopath, but my mother remained with him up until her death, for 49 years. So I don't really blame him because he has a sickness...I blame her for not getting us out. And my father is 100 times worse than this blow hole.

edward lynch
11 years ago

pschopath?....probably more of a borderline personality disorder with an anger management problem.

11 years ago

worst audio editing ever on this film...

11 years ago

i like how the director allows himself to be potentially mentally eclipsed by the psychopath, during the interview in part 2, when he comes off intimidated by the egotistic guy. That dude is so in love with himself, he should have started laughing at him... thats how you deal with these people, they are useless leeches... some dogs are bad and just need to be put down.. some things(people) are just ****, plain old ****.

11 years ago

i was bored after 5 minutes...nothing new,i know tons of these people,and they never surprise.

11 years ago

He does not have a real PhD (Pacific University) and the insinuation that it is not real sets him off. He has set his own trap in that he was a child prodigy yet he has no advanced degree. He is nothing special, no great "psychopath" (which is his current schtick for making money), just a low self-esteem, hollow individual who has found a new role to play. Don't waste your time on him.

11 years ago

Having lived through years with a psychopath, this brought back the fear and the memories of the degrading that I had to live with. I am one of the lucky ones to have escaped. If it were not for the accent, I would have swore it was my ex speaking. There is a commonality to their behavior and I wish the courts would look at this.

John Wuethrich
11 years ago

anyone else notice the female that tests wives is a sexist hypocrite... constant criticism, rules, character assassination. you never listen (maybe she never shuts up), rule 2000 and what?, im going to have you tested for being a sociopaths should qualify as attempted character assassination.

11 years ago

what a nauseating man, good documentary though

11 years ago

Definitely got the sense of this being a ' badge ' to make himself ' interesting'. Glad I am not married to him !

11 years ago

I thought the filmmaker was a bit of a pushover- I hate to say it but I didn't find his complaints of being bullied off camera to be gripping television. The interjections of his own insecurities were distracting, and went against the grain of the film. I wish he would've pushed his subject more, drew him out so to speak. Now Im just picturing him sobbing into his breakfast cereal, "I'm an intellectually lazy filmmaker!" wah..haha..He did have that good bbc2 narrator voice though.

11 years ago

This guy isn't a psychopath or narcissist. Hes just a major control freak. He wants to control everyone around him to the point were he even wants to control how people think of him. What a waste of time this vid was. He should be killed. Now that wouldnt be a waste of time

11 years ago

In reality, none of us are what we think we are, so bottom line: Sam's not the narcissist or psychopath he would think he is. Therefore, so long as he maintains this fixed view of himself that way, he's really guilty of self delusion more than anything.

12 years ago

-Congratulation, you have now have been diagnosed as a psychopath...

-I knew it.

-...so now we are gonna have to lock you up for 20 years.


If you have not laughed by reading this, you are a psychopath.

12 years ago

Why doesn't he have sex with his wife???

12 years ago

Poor wife looks like at least 45 instead of 39. I think Sam is not even narcissistic or psychopath but a typical relatively intelligent Jewish boy that was raised by his Jiddische Mamma like he is God's gift to the world.

12 years ago

Certainly he's a nasty piece of work. To me the continual bonhomie when he wants to make a good public impression is not connected to any emotion and a dead giveaway - literally, you get no feeling from the man. But underneath I get the impression this guy is empty, his life's built on deep inner insecurity and the split off emotion is a defence. You can see these people in any office - they think they can substitute an image - of super-efficiency, dedication to the company, outer image or false charm - for being real people. There's just an utter sterility that drives me, for one, away. I had to leave this sort of environment. They destroy trust and belief. Read Brett Easton Ellis - American Psycho - for a good depiction.

12 years ago

he is such an egotistic SOB that it is not funny.The guy thinks he is the best thing that ever happened. I hope people don't buy his book nor his DVD's. I don't want this a....hole to make money out of gullible people

12 years ago

hes a fool he has the so called warrior gene but 30% of the men has it, i want 2 show him whats he spotting with retard

12 years ago

after watching, i'd just say-i dont know what's wrong with him, and i dont care. and i'm glad he's not in politics. i think he's all about power. he needs to dominate and he needs to feel superior. he craves recognition. i wonder if they'll ever have a kid.

12 years ago

before watching, i just want to say that i think anyone one goes into politics must have psychotic tendencies and the higher u go, the more the psychosis manifests itself. there is something sickish about wanting to control ppl