You may be wondering if he’s a sociopath.
Here is a list of 20 signs to help…
You may be wondering if he’s a sociopath.
You may be wondering if he’s a sociopath.
Here is a list of 20 signs to help…
Originally posted on Don't Be A Minion:
‘Common knowledge’ is information known by everyone or nearly everyone. It is never attributed to any one individual or group. It’s legitimacy lies in the universal acceptance of all who know it. ‘Common knowledge’ is composed of a set of facts that lurk at the edge of our awareness. Never truly scrutinized, ‘Common Knowledge’ is unconsciously used as a back drop upon which our understanding of the world around us is built. When information is received that is inconsistent with the already established cognitive foundation, an individual will experience an unpleasant emotional state called cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is the condition where people feel mental stress when holding contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values in their minds at the same time. This also happens when someone is confronted with new information that conflicts with their existing beliefs. From what I’ve seen, people will reject the new information and stay with the…
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Would you recognize a psychopath…
…or a sensible knave if you saw one?
The Scottish philosopher David Hume, three centuries ago, identified a character type that would pose a mortal danger to his otherwise optimistic view of human nature. (Yours, too?) This character he called a sensible knave. Hume sketches him thus:
“That honesty is the best policy, may be a good general rule; but is liable to many exceptions: And he, it may, perhaps, be thought, conducts himself with most wisdom, who observes the general rule, and takes advantage of all the exceptions.”
In this brief, accessible essay, contemporary philosopher Bianco Luno reminds us that Hume’s knave, aka psychopath, still haunts our world. The handcrafted mini book is 21 pages and approximately 3.1 x 3.6 inches.
Why is it so easy for an abuser to get away with it and so difficult for an abuse victim to be heard?
The typical serial bully is a Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde personality type (male or female) who has put considerable effort into establishing and maintaining a respectable and credible public persona. Bystanders may believe they know him well, that he is a genuinely righteous person, and that he couldn’t possibly be capable of the malicious behavior he is accused of. Unable (and probably unwilling) to imagine that they have been deceived, their logical conclusion is that the accuser is the antagonist, acting out inexplicable malevolence. With derogatory implications about his target’s mental state, lack of character, or foul motives, the abuser fuels this role reversal. Feigning moral indignation and playing the part of the victim, he encourages supporters to see the real victim, who is attempting to be heard, as the abusive one.
Dr. Vaknin explains: “Even the victim’s relatives, friends, and colleagues are amenable to the considerable charm, persuasiveness, and manipulativeness of the abuser and to his impressive thespian skills. The abuser offers a plausible rendition of the events and interprets them to his favor. Others rarely have a chance to witness an abusive exchange first hand and at close quarters. In contrast, the victims are often on the verge of a nervous breakdown: harassed, unkempt, irritable, impatient, abrasive, and hysterical.”
“Confronted with this contrast between a polished, self-controlled, and suave abuser and his harried casualties, it is easy to reach the conclusion that the real victim is the abuser, or that both parties abuse each other equally. The prey’s acts of self-defense, assertiveness, or insistence on her rights are interpreted as aggression, lability, or a mental health problem.”
Dr. Sam Vaknin, Narcissism by Proxy
Three cognitive strategies have been identified for when people deny, discount, or dismiss occurrences of abuse and for turning away from effective steps to stop it and hold abusers accountable:
Reflexively dismissing all evidence as questionable, incomplete, misleading, false, or in some other way inadequate.
Using euphemism, abstraction, and other linguistic transformations to hide the abuse.
Turning away: ‘I’m not involved,’ ‘There is nothing I can do about it,’ ‘I have no authority, jurisdiction, power, or influence,’ ‘This is no concern of mine,’ etc.
Not everyone moves from a place of care and respect for themselves and others, because not everyone has (1) a conscience; (2) the ability to feel remorse; and (3) the ability to tap into affective empathy–the type of empathy that allows one to see and feel a situation from another’s perspective. People lacking these qualities are referred to as sociopaths, psychopaths and narcissists. They exist everywhere in society, including our homes where their toxic and parasitic lifestyles are destroying families, children and communities every single day.
This collection of 33 true stories from across the globe written by survivors of toxic and abusive relationships sets out to expose the unchallenged pathological personalities and behaviors of psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists. Read more…
See also Victims of Psychopaths: True Stories
Originally posted on Madeline Scribes:
How many of us out here have always dreaded the holidays simply because we have family members that are overbearing and aggressive bullies? Believe me when I tell you that you are not alone. The worst part of it all is that bullies really look forward to the holidays because this is their chance to sink their claws into family members they love to beat up on. Whether it’s just a rude and obnoxious relative, or a tyrannical whiner that ruins the day with their constant demands to be the center of attention, bullies can make every family gathering a real pain in the ass, but holidays are an especially large stage to carry out their theatrics.
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Notice that Dr. Simon has given descriptive names to common types of manipulation: offensive power tactics, responsibility avoidance behaviors, and tactics of impression management.
All too easily, we assume that everyone else is honest, intelligent, and trying to do the right thing, just like us. Similarly, a psychopath thinks that everyone else is evil like himself. When a psychopath sees an honest and intelligent person asking questions or giving reasonable explanations, he believes it is an evil manipulation trick.
The Age of the Psychopath
Dr. George Simon, author of In Sheep’s Clothing—Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People
“A manipulative person … is a covertly aggressive personality.”
“You ask a manipulator a direct question, you rarely get a direct answer.”
This video tells the story of a high-profile sociopath in a respectable position of influence and is based on actual events. They usually get away with it. This one did, too, until something remarkable happened…
In the early 1800s, doctors became aware that some patients who appeared outwardly normal were lacking what we would call a conscience. They were described as morally depraved or morally insane. The term psychopath was first used around 1900, then changed to sociopath in the 1930s to emphasize the damage afflicted individuals do to society. Today, researchers have returned to using the term psychopath.
…it is by no means the rule that virtue is rewarded and wickedness punished, but it happens often enough that the violent, the crafty, and the unprincipled seize the desirable goods of the earth for themselves while the pious go empty away. Dark, unfeeling, and unloving powers determine human destiny; the system of rewards and punishments, which, according to religion, governs the world, seems to have no existence.
New Introductory Lectures on Psycho-analysis, Lecture 35, A Philosophy of Life.
No matter how much they abuse their partners, toxic people will always have a loyal following of fans clapping for everything they do. These people are blinded by shallow flattery that the manipulator uses to control them. This fan club changes often, as none of their friendships are deep or meaningful in any way. All that matters is constant attention and adoration. Anyone who fails to provide this mindless reinforcement will promptly be replaced with someone who can. — PsychopathFree
Disordered people can’t deal with the reality of their behaviors. On some level they may realize how hurtful they are, yet they are unable to accept any kind of major flaw in themselves. So disordered abusers spin our reality to protect their delusions.
Projection, a commonly used defense mechanism, serves that purpose. In projection, a characteristic of themselves that they find unacceptable is projected onto us. The most frequently projected characteristic is mental illness or disorder. “I’m not a sociopath. You’re the [crazy, irrational, mentally disturbed, narcissistic, etc.] one.”
Another common defense mechanism is blame shifting. “It’s your fault this happened because [fill in the blank].” Their rationalizations can be elaborate and far-fetched but their convictions are firm. Attempting to disprove them will get you nowhere, or worse, confirm your guilt in their eyes. Bystanders, who cannot fathom that someone they like and respect would deviously craft a convincing blame shifting scheme or be making it all up, are easily won over by the sociopath.
“One of the very difficult things to deal with after being the victim of a Narcissist is that most people will not want to believe what happened to you, even if they saw it with their own eyes!”
Sociopathic abuse can be most insidious. The abuser takes precautions so that there are no witnesses or hard evidence. He’ll tell others that he is being victimized and that the real victim’s reactions to his abuse are unprovoked and malicious or “irrational.” Destroying his target while attracting the attention he craves is a game to the sociopath; one he enjoys and plays with confidence. A “normal” person is easy prey to a skilled and experienced manipulator lacking a moral conscience.
“[They] count on our shame to keep their secrets. They know that exposing them means exposing our own failings. That’s what makes them so powerful. They manipulate us into these situations then sit back and watch us squirm between protecting ourselves or blowing the whistle.”
The seasoned abuser is also highly selective. He will target people who are self-conscious and reluctant to draw attention to themselves. Like predators in the animal world who concentrate their efforts on prey that is separate from the herd, he is likely to choose someone who is a loner or with weak social connections; someone who is clearly vulnerable.
Originally posted on For the Victims of Violence:
One way to begin to look at how the mind of predators work, begins with assessing how they manipulate the views of others. In this excerpt we can understand much:
Dr. Vaknin explains: “Even the victim’s relatives, friends, and colleagues are amenable to the considerable charm, persuasiveness, and manipulativeness of the abuser and to his impressive thespian skills. The abuser offers a plausible rendition of the events and interprets them to his favor. Others rarely have a chance to witness an abusive exchange first hand and at close quarters. In contrast, the victims are often on the verge of a nervous breakdown: harassed, unkempt, irritable, impatient, abrasive, and hysterical.
Confronted with this contrast between a polished, self-controlled, and suave abuser and his harried casualties it is easy to reach the conclusion that the real victim is the abuser, or that both parties abuse each other equally. The prey’s acts of…
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See also: Narcissistic Rage
From the article by Bernhard Guenther:
“Nothing will change fundamentally until we educate ourselves about psychopathy and political ponerology and how it affects all of us. The virus of psychopathy will infect any new system, community or change in power until it is brought to awareness and looked at for what it is. Then the solutions will present themselves based on the knowledge and understanding we have gained. Educating ourselves and others about it is the best we can do for ourselves and future generations. It is vital knowledge in this day and age.”
Don’t be fooled by nice manners. What looks like politeness may be pretense to sugarcoat aggressive, manipulative, or false communication. Look at the content; not merely the cover. Pay close attention to what the person is saying and don’t be fooled by his position or the eloquence of his expression.
See also: It’s so easy to be fooled
|Things Toxic People Do
Narcissistic Supply From LightsHouse.org
Narcissistic supply — it’s number one on the list of a narcissist’s “must-haves.” Simply put, narcissistic supply is anything (or anyone) that feeds the narcissist’s ego and keeps them artificially pumped up with the attention, admiration and deference of others. Narcissists have been described as people who are like balloons […]
Heterosexual women bear the brunt of narcissistic heterosexual men’s hostility, according to a 2010 study.
Narcissists’ lack of empathy, feelings of entitlement, and perceptions of being deprived of ‘deserved’ admiration and gratification can make them prone to aggression and vengeance.
The results from this study reveal that straight men’s narcissism is linked to an adversarial and angry stance toward straight women more than toward other groups. Although narcissists may want to maintain feelings of superiority and power over all people, narcissistic heterosexual men are particularly invested in subordinating heterosexual women because they are “gatekeepers in men’s quest for sexual pleasure, patriarchal power and status,” the study authors explain.
Another conclusion from the study is that male narcissists believe that heterosexual relationships should be patriarchal rather than egalitarian.
ASPD (Antisocial Personality Disorder) Characteristics & Traits
The following list is a collection of some of the more commonly observed behaviors and traits of people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Click on the links on each trait for much more information and some ideas for coping with each. Note that these traits are given as a guideline only and are not intended for diagnosis. Each individual with ASPD is unique and so each one will display a different subset of traits. Also, note that everyone displays “antisocial” behaviors from time to time. Exhibiting one or more of these traits doesn’t necessarily qualify for a diagnosis of ASPD. See the DSM Criteria for diagnostic criteria.
Acting Out • Acting Out behavior refers to a subset of personality disorder traits that are more outwardly-destructive than self-destructive.
Baiting • A provocative act used to solicit an angry, aggressive or emotional response from another individual.
Belittling, Condescending and Patronizing • This kind of speech is a passive-aggressive approach to giving someone a verbal put-down while maintaining a facade of reasonableness or friendliness.
Blaming • The practice of identifying a person or people responsible for creating a problem, rather than identifying ways of dealing with the problem.
Bullying • Any systematic action of hurting a person from a position of relative physical, social, economic or emotional strength.
Chaos Manufacture • Unnecessarily creating or maintaining an environment of risk, destruction, confusion or mess.
Cheating • Sharing a romantic or intimate relationship with somebody when you are already committed to a monogamous relationship with someone else.
Chronic Broken Promises • Repeatedly making and then breaking commitments and promises is a common trait among people with personality disorders.
Cruelty to Animals • Acts of cruelty to animals have been statistically discovered to occur more often in people with personality disorders than in the general population.
Denial • Believing or imagining that some painful or traumatic circumstance, event or memory does not exist or did not happen.
Depression • When you feel sadder than you think you should, for longer than you think you should – but still can’t seem to break out of it – that’s depression. People with personality disorders are often also diagnosed with depression resulting from mistreatment at the hands of others, low self-worth and the results of their own poor choices.
Domestic Theft • Consuming or taking control of a resource or asset belonging to (or shared with) a family member, partner or spouse without first obtaining their approval.
Emotional Abuse • Any pattern of behavior directed at one individual by another which promotes in them a destructive sense of Fear, Obligation or Guilt (FOG).
False Accusations • False accusations, distortion campaigns and smear campaigns are patterns of unwarranted or exaggerated criticisms which occur when a personality disordered individual tries to feel better about themselves by putting down someone else – usually a family member, spouse, partner, friend or colleague.
Favoritism • Favoritism is the practice of systematically giving positive, preferential treatment to one child, subordinate or associate among a family or group of peers.
Fear of Abandonment • A pattern of irrational thought exhibited by some personality-disordered individuals, which causes them to occasionally think they are in imminent danger of being rejected, discarded or replaced by someone close to them.
Feelings of Emptiness • Some personality-disordered individuals experience a chronic and acute sense of nothingness or emptiness, and so believe that their own existence has little worth or significance outside the context of strong physical sensations and relationships with others.
Grooming • Grooming is the predatory act of maneuvering another individual into a position that makes them more isolated, dependent, likely to trust, and more vulnerable to abusive behavior.
Harassment • A sustained or chronic pattern of unwelcome behavior directed toward an individual or group.
Impulsiveness • The tendency to act or speak based on current feelings rather than logical reasoning.
Intimidation • Any form of veiled, hidden, indirect or non-verbal threat.
Invalidation • The creation or promotion of an environment which encourages an individual to believe that their thoughts, beliefs, values or physical presence are inferior, flawed, problematic or worthless.
Lack of Boundaries • A lack of boundaries is often at the root of long-term abusive relationships. Lack of boundaries means the absence of rules, limits and guidelines for acceptable behavior. Inconsistent or intermittent reinforcement of consequences for inappropriate behavior is common among both abusers and abuse victims.
Lack of Conscience • Individuals with personality disorders are often preoccupied with their own agendas, sometimes to the exclusion of the needs and concerns of others. This is sometimes interpreted by others as a lack of moral conscience.
Low Self-Esteem • A common term used to describe a group of negatively distorted self-views which are inconsistent with reality.
Manipulation • The practice of baiting an individual or group of individuals into a certain response or reaction pattern for the purpose of achieving a hidden personal goal.
Mood Swings • Unpredictable, rapid, dramatic emotional cycles which cannot be readily explained by changes in external circumstances.
Name-Calling • A form of Verbal Abuse which people sometimes indulge in when their emotional thought processes override their rational thought processes.
Narcissism • This term describes a set of behaviors characterized by a pattern of grandiosity, self-centered focus, need for admiration, self-serving attitude and a lack of empathy or consideration for others.
Neglect • A passive form of abuse in which the physical or emotional needs of a dependent are disregarded or ignored by the person responsible for them.
Normalizing • Normalizing is a tactic used to desensitize an individual to abusive, coercive or inappropriate behaviors. In essence, normalizing is the manipulation of another human being to get them to agree to, or accept something that is in conflict with the law, social norms or their own basic code of behavior.
“Not My Fault” Syndrome • The practice of avoiding personal responsibility for one’s own words and actions.
Objectification • The practice of treating a person or a group of people like an object.
Pathological Lying • Persistent deception by an individual to serve their own interests and needs with little or no regard to the needs and concerns of others. A pathological liar is a person who habitually lies to serve their own needs.
Physical Abuse • Any form of voluntary behavior by one individual which inflicts pain, disease or discomfort on another, or deprives them of necessary health, nutrition and comfort.
Proxy Recruitment • A way of controlling or abusing another person by manipulating other people into unwittingly backing you up, speaking for you or “doing your dirty work” for you.
Push-Pull • A chronic pattern of sabotaging and re-establishing closeness in a relationship without appropriate cause or reason.
Raging, Violence and Impulsive Aggression • Explosive verbal, physical or emotional elevations of a dispute that are disproportionate to the situation at hand.
Ranking and Comparing • Drawing unnecessary and inappropriate comparisons between individuals or groups.
Sabotage • The spontaneous disruption of calm or status quo in order to serve a personal interest, provoke a conflict or draw attention.
Scapegoating • Singling out an individual or group for unmerited negative treatment or blame.
Self-Loathing • An extreme hatred of one’s own self, actions or one’s ethnic or demographic background.
Sexual Objectification • The act of viewing another individual in terms of their sexual usefulness or attractiveness rather than pursuing or engaging in a quality of personal relationship with them.
Shaming • The difference between blaming and shaming is that in blaming someone tells you that you did something bad, in shaming someone tells you that you are something bad.
Splitting • The practice of regarding people and situations as either completely “good” or completely “bad”.
Stalking • Any pervasive and unwelcome pattern of pursuing contact with another individual.
Targeted Humor, Mocking and Sarcasm • Targeted Humor is any sustained pattern of joking, sarcasm or mockery which is designed to reduce another individual’s reputation in their own eyes or in the eyes of others.
Testing • Repeatedly forcing another individual to demonstrate or prove their love or commitment to a relationship.
Threats • Inappropriate, intentional warnings of destructive actions or consequences.
Triangulation • Gaining an advantage over perceived rivals by manipulating them into conflicts with each other.
Verbal Abuse • Any kind of repeated pattern of inappropriate, derogatory or threatening speech directed at one individual by another.
The Narcissistic Father (psychologytoday.com)
All psychopaths have antisocial personality disorder. (psychforums.com)
Learning About Psychopaths: Immaturity…It’s Never a Good Sign (dechirementblog.com)
How do you manipulate? (psychforums.com)
Passive-Aggressive: What Does It Really Mean? (everydayhealth.com)