Characteristics And Behaviors Associated With A Risk Of Violence Or Suicide

Revised: May 21, 2014


The following is a list of behaviors and characteristics that are associated with violence and suicide.   The list is not a test and it is not for diagnostic purposes, to identify or rule out a risk.  The purpose of the list is to help describe additional issues or potential concerns to a therapist or counselor.  A significant number of these could mean the person has or has had suicidal or violent thoughts. 

  • Expects without sufficient basis to be exploited or harmed by others
  • Reads hidden demeaning or threatening meanings into benign remarks or events
  • Reluctant to confide in others
  • Easily slighted or quick to react with anger or to counterattack
  • Has no close friends or confidants
  • Rarely reciprocates gestures or facial expressions such as smiles or nods
  • Odd or strange beliefs
  • Unrealistic or implausible ideas regarding relationships between others or events
  • Strange emotional responses to the situations, topics or purpose of discussions
  • Often late or absent from responsibilities or work without good reason
  • Often lies or is conning for profit or pleasure
  • Unable to sustain consistent employment due to abandonment of job, repeated absences or conflict
  • Repeatedly fails to honor financial responsibilities
  • Reckless in behavior (driving, drinking, spending, associations)
  • Gross and repeated lack of ability to function responsibly or as a responsible parent
  • Lacks remorse or feels justified to mistreat or hurt others
  • Unstable and intense relationships characterized by extremes of idealization or devaluation
  • Rapidly shifting mood that seems unstable
  • Frequent displays of temper or anger
  • Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment by others
  • Displays shallow expressions of emotion
  • Is self-centered in which behavior is focused on obtaining attention with no tolerance for frustration
  • Style of speech is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail to support impressions
  • Reacts to criticism with feelings of intense shame, rage or humiliation
  • Grandiose sense of importance
  • Expects to be noticed as special without appropriate achievement
  • Unable to see other perspectives
  • Unwarranted sense of entitlement
  • Requires constant attention and admiration
  • The impact of their behavior on others is not important
  • Responds with rage and anger when their point of view is not accepted
  • Excessive efforts to persuade others
  • Avoids social or interpersonal activities
  • Reticent in social situation
  • Fears showing signs of embarrassment

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