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Individuals with psychopathic traits are often attracted to affinity groups—religious, atheist, political, or social groups of people who share common values, beliefs, or interests. The collective trust that members of these groups have in one another and their common belief system provides a perfect cover for the psychopathic person. A psychopathic individual can be highly skilled at accurately mimicking the group’s beliefs or values while in the presence of its members. As a result, trust is easily gained and his or her true motives or covert activities are less likely to be discovered or recognized as malicious.
An affinity group that has been victimized may have members who are unable to face the truth about a covert bully. Often, they will rationalize his or her behaviors and continue to believe that the person is basically good at heart.
Unfortunately, it is common for the group to side with the psychopathic person if he or she has targeted an individual member to exploit, abuse, or ostracize. With a well established virtuous public persona and respect from the group, skillful manipulation and deceit, and a careful choice of target, the aggressor will turn the tables and have others believe the victim is the guilty party.
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Religious folk have a rare victim-proneness, that I’ve not seen in other groups. I’ll refer to Christianity, specifically, for no other reason than I am more familiar with Christian compared to other religious doctrines. On the whole, Christians are taught to love and forgive or to forgive and love, depending on your point of view. They’re taught to “turn the other cheek”, to actively see the best in other’s whilst ignoring their worst. Christians actively engage in this process too, since doing so will make them more god-like, which is the ultimate goal. Don’t misunderstand me here. I am not bashing Christians or other religious groups. Not in the least. The aforementioned traits are honourable. They’re worth pursuing; worth preaching and worth practising. The problem is, such traits and I’ll include among them, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control; spell out, in gaudy flashing bright neon lights: VICTIM. Sorry, but they really do. Sometimes the truth is so bright it’s difficult to see. Psychopaths view these traits as weaknesses and exploit them until they’re bored. Best of all, upon joining a religious group, a psychopath is handed an instruction manual, the Bible, to extend my example. It’s therefore relatively easy for a psychopath to learn how he or she should behave in that religious context. There are thus three big problems in the religious setting that play into the hands of a psychopath. First the gullibility or victim-proneness of neurotypicals in that context. Second the availability of “learning material” (e.g that bible) and third a psychopath’s ability to exploit both with little regard or respect for either.
Though I do not have hard data to either prove or disprove my next point, anecdotal evidence – stories from friends, for example – reveal two types of psychopath. The first is more obvious than the other, and more common in males than females. It’s the typical bully variety of psychopath. With your head screwed on, these can be relatively easy to spot. That yawn test might weed them out. The second is a different beast altogether and more common in females than males. This type of psychopath plays victim. Her victim story is complex, intricate. It’s designed to draw empathy in others and in no time at all, she has the entire church running around after her. Mable does her laundry, Bob mows her lawns, Sue looks after the kids and so on You get the point. All the while, this variety of psychopath picks fault in Mable, Bob, and Sue. Nothing they do is ever good enough. Prayers become “horizontal” rather than “vertical”, purposely designed to attack and humiliate. This type of psychopath will break down more regularly than an old gas boiler in winter, mid-service. Why? For the attention, for the adoration, to add to that victim story. Men can fall into the second and women into the first category too, just less often. Make no mistake, both types of “religious psychopath” are extremely dangerous. They will crush you. THeby will bleed you dry. They should come to church with a KEEP CLEAR sign strapped their chests, it would be much easier all round.
Rant over. I’m done now. Thank you for indulging me, if you’ve read this far.
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“… joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control; spell out, in gaudy flashing bright neon lights: VICTIM.”
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