How to distinguish a psychopath from a ‘shy-chopath’

Ted Bundy, a day before his execution in January 1989. AP Photo/Mark Foley

John Edens, Texas A&M University

What makes a criminal a psychopath?

Their grisly deeds and commanding presence attract our attention – look no further than Ted Bundy, the subject of a recent Netflix documentary, and cult leaders like Charles Manson.

But despite years of theorizing and research, the mental health field continues to hotly debate what are the defining features of this diagnosis. It might come as a surprise that the most widely used psychiatric diagnostic system in the U.S., the DSM-5, doesn’t include psychopathy as a formal disorder.

As a personality researcher and forensic psychologist, I’ve spent the last quarter-century studying psychopaths inside and outside of prisons. I’ve also debated what, exactly, are the defining features of psychopathy.

Most agree that psychopaths are remorseless people who lack empathy for others. But in recent years, much of this debate has centered on the relevance of one particular personality trait: boldness.

I’m in the camp that believes boldness is critical to separating out psychopaths from the more mundane law-breakers. It’s the trait that creates the veneer of normalcy, giving those who prey on others the mask to successfully blend in with the rest of society. To lack boldness, on the other hand, is to be what one might call a “shy-chopath.”

The boldness factor

About 10 years ago, psychologist Christopher Patrick and some of his colleagues published an extensive literature review in which they argued that psychopaths were people who expressed elevated levels of three basic traits: meanness, disinhibition and boldness.

Most experts in the mental health field generally agree that the prototypical psychopath is someone who is both mean and, at least to some extent, disinhibited – though there’s even some debate about exactly how impulsive and hot-headed the prototypical psychopath truly is.

In a psychological context, people who are mean tend to lack empathy and have little interest in close emotional relationships. They’re also happy to use and exploit others for their own personal gain.

Highly disinhibited people have very poor impulse control, are prone to boredom and have difficulty managing emotions – particularly negative ones, like frustration and hostility.

In adding boldness to the mix, Patrick and his colleagues argued that genuine psychopaths are not just mean and disinhibited, they’re also individuals who are poised, fearless, emotionally resilient and socially dominant.

Although it had not been the focus of extensive research for the past few decades, the concept of the bold psychopath isn’t actually new. Famed psychiatrist Hervey Cleckley described it in his seminal 1941 book, “The Mask of Sanity,” in which he described numerous case examples of psychopaths who were brazen, fearless and emotionally unflappable.

Ted Bundy is an excellent example of such a person. He was far from unassuming and timid. He never appeared wracked with anxiety or emotional distress. He charmed scores of victims, confidently served as his own attorney and even proposed to his girlfriend while in court.

“It’s probably just being willing to take risk,” Bundy said, in the Netflix documentary, of what motivated his crimes. “Or perhaps not even seeing risk. Just overcome by that boldness and desire to accomplish a particular thing.”

Seeds planted in the DSM

In the current DSM, the closest current diagnosis to psychopathy is antisocial personality disorder. Although the manual suggests that it historically has been referred to as psychopathy, the current seven diagnostic criteria for antisocial personality disorder mostly fall under the umbrella of disinhibition – qualities like “recklessness,” “impulsiveness” and, to a lesser extent, meanness, which are evident in only two criteria: “lack of remorse” and “deceitfulness.”

There’s no mention of boldness. In other words, you don’t have to be bold to have antisocial personality disorder. In fact, because you only need to meet three of the seven criteria to be diagnosed with the disorder, it means you don’t even need to be all that mean, either.

However, the most recent revision to the DSM, the fifth edition, did include a supplemental section for proposed diagnoses in need of further study.

In this supplemental section, a new specifier was offered for those who meet the diagnosis for antisocial personality disorder. If you have a bold and fearless interpersonal style that seems to serve as a mask for your otherwise mean and disinhibited personality, you might also be diagnosable as a psychopath.

Can a psychopath be meek?

Whether this new model, which seems to put boldness center stage in the diagnosis of psychopathy, ultimately will be adopted into subsequent iterations of the DSM system remains to be seen.

Several researchers have criticized the concept. They see meanness and disinhibition as much more important than boldness when deciding whether someone is a psychopath.

Their main issue seems to be that people who are bold – but not mean or disinhibited – actually seem to be well-adjusted and not particularly violent. In fact, compared with being overly introverted or prone to emotional distress, it seems to be an asset in everyday life.

Other researchers, myself included, tend to view those criticisms as not particularly compelling. In our view, someone who is simply disinhibited and mean – but not bold – would not be able to pull off the spectacular level of manipulation that a psychopath is capable of.

To be sure, being mean and disinhibited is a bad combination. But absent boldness, you’re probably not going to show up on the evening news for having schemed scores of investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars. The chances that you’ll successfully charm unsuspecting victim after unsuspecting victim into coming back to your apartment to sexually assault them seem pretty slim.

That being said, timid but mean people – the “shycho-paths” – almost certainly do exist, and it’s probably best to stay away from them, too.

But you’re unlikely to confuse them with the Ted Bundys and Charles Mansons of the world.

John Edens, Professor of Psychology, Texas A&M University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

How evolutionary psychology may explain the difference between male and female serial killers

Female serial killers are more likely to murder friends and family. ‘Body’ via www.shutterstock.com

Marissa Harrison, Pennsylvania State University

Researchers such as psychologist Marvin Zuckerman have long noted the morbid curiosity of humans; there’s just something about horror and terror that captures our attention.

Indeed, there may be nothing more horrifying – and fascinating – than murder. With my colleague Tom Bowers at Penn State Harrisburg, I’ve studied the crimes and characteristics of mass murderers for years, and still, I’m alarmed by every reread of each case.

But it wasn’t until last year when an undergraduate student, Erin Murphy, approached me about studying female serial killers (FSKs) that I realized how little scientific literature existed on this topic. Many routinely hear about male serial killers (MSKs) – the Jeffrey Dahmers and Ted Bundys of true crime lore – and one can indeed find volumes of literature analyzing their killing sprees.

On the other hand, few have heard of Belle Gunness and Nannie Doss, whose crimes were no less heinous: Gunness killed more than 25 people in the late 19th century, including her children and husbands. Doss killed 11 people in the first half of the 20th century, including her own mother and grandson.

After parsing the data, we found that female serial killers do tend to possess a number of unique characteristics.

Middle- and upper-class killers of kin

The research that did exist on FSKs provided some good insight. Fresno State criminologist Eric Hickey – author of Serial Murderers and their Victims – interviewed 64 FSKs in the US, yielding a disturbing portrait of women who poisoned, shot and stabbed countless men, women and children.

Most were white and typically killed between seven and 10 victims. They were more likely to murder family members than strangers. And even though the most prevalent motive for murder was money, most of the murderers were middle- and upper-class.

Other research used smaller samples, but had notable findings. For example, in a 2011 study, Amanda Farrell, Robert Keppel and Victoria Titterington reviewed newspaper reports of 10 American FSKs. They found that FSKs tended to operate for a substantially longer time than did MSKs, while 80% knew their victims. Farrell and her colleagues – along with Deborah Schurman-Kauflin, who interviewed eight FSKs in a 2000 study – pointed out that, ironically, nursing is an occupation that’s overrepresented among FSKs.

Fleshing out the profile

So when we decided to study FSKs, we approached the topic with two main goals.

First, we wanted to document the means, motives and histories of these criminals with a larger, more recent sample (the larger the sample size, the more likely the findings and patterns are to reflect true life). Moreover, being psychologists, we found a relative absence of research on the psychology of FSKs.

Like Farrell and her colleagues, we used the mass media approach to study female serial killers.

We found the internet site Murderpedia.org to be a valuable consolidation of media reports of murder, and we found it verifiable 100% of the time. In the end, we collected profiles of 64 female serial killers (the same number Hickey found) who committed their crimes in the US between 1821 and 2008.

Although our findings were limited to information that newspapers chose to include about these women and their crimes, our results lend validity to the mass media approach.

  • Along the lines of previous studies, we found that most FSKs were middle- and upper-class.
  • Almost all (92%) knew their victims, almost all were white, and their most common means to kill was poison, while the primary motive for murder was money.
  • Most of these women had earned college degrees or had attained at least some higher education. They held a wide variety of jobs, ranging from religious teacher to prostitute. Nearly 40% worked in health-related fields as nurses or aides, and about 22% worked in direct caregiving roles (mother and babysitter).
  • Most FSKs were married at some point. In fact, these serial killers were serial monogamists – married, on average, twice, and as many as seven times. Where we could ascertain appearance, most were reported to be average to above-average in attractiveness; where we could ascertain religion, 100% were Christian.
  • Nearly two-thirds were related to their victims, nearly one-third killed their significant others and about 44% killed their own biological children. More than half the sample killed children, and about one-quarter killed those who were elderly or infirm, those who had little chance of fighting back.

An aberration of unconscious drives?

From an evolutionary perspective, two important pictures emerged.

First, our data (in line with other studies) showed that female serial killers primarily kill for money. Previous research, such as Eric Hickey’s, has shown that male serial killers primarily kill for sex.

This aligns with evolutionary psychological theory. Robert Trivers’ 1972 work pointed out that due to their limited reproductive potential (relatively few ova), women have evolved to place a premium on securing resources (likely through wise mate choices in the ancestral environment). Conversely, virtually unlimited reproductive potential (relatively unlimited sperm) has likely predisposed men to seek a vast number of sexual opportunities.

Of course, I’m not saying we evolved to be serial killers. What I am saying is that an aberration of genetically mediated unconscious drives might explain some of the reasons for these crimes. These urges could also explain some of the differences between male serial killers and female serial killers.

Second, research has shown that male serial killers tend to stalk and kill strangers. But FSKs tend to kill people they know. It seems, then, that MSKs are hunters and FSKs are gatherers. Although aberrant, this evinces the psyche operating much like the conditions of our ancestral environment.

So, do we know for sure what makes a woman turn into a serial killer? Sadly, no. Even though brain imaging studies, such as psychologist Adrian Raine’s, do point to some trends, we can’t predict this with certainty.

Nonetheless, we’re clearly fascinated by murder, and perhaps morbid curiosity operates from an innate drive to pay attention to phenomena that can ultimately harm us. Creating an informed profile of the “typical” female serial killer will, we hope, lead to further analysis and, possibly, prevention.

Marissa Harrison, Associate Professor of Psychology , Pennsylvania State University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Flying Monkeys

Flying-Monkey1

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The sociopath is a high level con who manages to dupe people so thoroughly that his/her fans will persecute, silence, and ostracize a victim who complains about mistreatment. These people are in denial and they will reject information that doesn’t correspond to their highly favorable perception of the sociopath. The victim’s accounts of abuse will upset them, and may anger them. By defending an influential sociopath and abusing his/her target by proxy, the followers prove their loyalty and hope to win favor while getting closer to the influential sociopath they are instinctively attracted to.

See also:
Denying, Discounting, and Dismissing Abuse
Denial and DARVO
Cognitive Dissonance

Gail Meyers writes:

A narcissistic personality disordered mother has flying monkeys. This is a term taken from The Wizard of Oz, where the flying monkeys do the bidding of the Wicked Witch.  The flying monkeys may be your neighbor, church members, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandmother, grandfather, nieces, nephews, etc. These people do the narcissist’s dirty work and often pour their own abuse on the scapegoat.

cautionflyingmonkeysI spent years of my life trying to show various flying monkeys the truth. It virtually never worked, not once in the twenty or so years I kept trying to “clear the air” or to finally be understood. They do not understand because they do not want to understand. Many are willfully ignorant and blind to the situation.  There is not some magical phrase and method you have not yet discovered that is suddenly going to cause these people to stand up for the truth.flying-monkeys-sign

What I have realized is the flying monkeys generally have their own reasons for behaving the way they do. Some may truly do it out of ignorance, truly fooled for years by the narcissist. However, it is my experience that most flying monkeys have weak characters.

Continue reading…


14 Manipulative Tactics

Learn to identify their tactics.

wolf_in_sheep_clothing_1_-400x253 In Sheep’s Clothing

Dr. George Simon, author of In Sheep’s Clothing—Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People, presents this list of 14 tactics that manipulators use to get you to do what they want. He points out the importance of recognizing that these tactics are offensive moves employed by the covert-aggressive to either maintain a position of power, gain power, or remove an obstacle from getting what he wants. You’ll be better equipped to deal with manipulators if you are familiar with this list of tactics, and can identify them when you encounter them:

  • Denial – playing innocent, refusing to admit they have done something harmful.
  • Selective Inattention – playing dumb, or acting oblivious; refusing to pay attention to anything that might divert them from achieving their goal.
  • Rationalization – making excuses or justifying their behavior, often in very convincing ways.
  • Diversion – changing the subject, dodging the issue, distracting us from the real problem.
  • Lying – deliberately telling untruths, concealing the truth, lying by omission.
  • Covert Intimidation – intimidation through veiled threats; hints that “it’s a tough job market out there.”
  • Guilt-tripping – using the conscientiousness of their victim against them to keep them self-doubting and anxious.
  • Shaming – using subtle sarcasm and put-downs to make the victim feel inadequate, unworthy, and anxious.
  • Playing the Victim Role – playing the innocent victim to elicit compassion; convincing the victim that he/she is hurting in some way so that the victim will try to relieve their distress.
  • Vilifying the Victim – making the victim the “bad guy”; pretending he’s only defending himself.
  • Playing the Servant Role – disguising their personal agendas as service to a nobler cause.
  • Seduction – flattering and overtly supporting others to get them to lower their defenses and be trusting.
  • Projecting the Blame (blaming others) – shifting the blame, scapegoating.
  • Minimization – a combination of denial and rationalization, “making a molehill out of a mountain”.

“A manipulative person … is a covertly aggressive personality.”

“You ask a manipulator a direct question, you rarely get a direct answer.”

 

Vulnerabilities exploited by manipulators

squiggle3k

According to Harriet Braiker,[1] manipulators exploit the following vulnerabilities (buttons) that may exist in victims:

squiggle3k
According to Dr George Simon,[2] manipulators exploit the following vulnerabilities that may exist in victims:

  • naïveté – victim finds it too hard to accept the idea that some people are cunning, devious and ruthless or is “in denial” if he or she is being victimized
  • over-conscientiousness – victim is too willing to give manipulator the benefit of the doubt and see their side of things in which they blame the victim
  • low self-confidence – victim is self-doubting, lacking in confidence and assertiveness, likely to go on the defensive too easily.
  • over-intellectualization – victim tries too hard to understand and believes the manipulator has some understandable reason to be hurtful.
  • emotional dependency – victim has a submissive or dependent personality. The more emotionally dependent the victim is, the more vulnerable he or she is to being exploited and manipulated.

Manipulators generally take the time to scope out the characteristics and vulnerabilities of their victim.
squiggle3k

According to Martin Kantor,[3] the following are vulnerable to psychopathic manipulators:

  • too trusting – people who are honest often assume that everyone else is honest. They commit themselves to people they hardly know without checking credentials, etc. They rarely question so-called experts.
  • too altruistic – the opposite of psychopathic; too honest, too fair, too empathetic
  • too impressionable – overly seduced by charmers. For example, they might vote for the phony politician who kisses babies.
  • too naïve – cannot believe there are dishonest people in the world or if there were they would not be allowed to operate.
  • too masochistic – lack of self-respect and unconsciously let psychopaths take advantage of them. They think they deserve it out of a sense of guilt.
  • too narcissistic – narcissists are prone to falling for unmerited flattery.
  • too greedy – the greedy and dishonest may fall prey to a psychopath who can easily entice them to act in an immoral way.
  • too immature – has impaired judgment and believes the exaggerated advertising claims.
  • too materialistic – easy prey for loan sharks or get-rich-quick schemes
  • too dependent – dependent people need to be loved and are therefore gullible and liable to say yes to something to which they should say no.
  • too lonely – lonely people may accept any offer of human contact. A psychopathic stranger may offer human companionship for a price.
  • too impulsive – make snap decisions about, for example, what to buy or whom to marry without consulting others.
  • too frugal – cannot say no to a bargain even if they know the reason why it is so cheap
  • the elderly – the elderly can become fatigued and less capable of multi-tasking. When hearing a sales pitch they are less likely to consider that it could be a con. They are prone to giving money to someone with a hard-luck story. See elder abuse.

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We are NOT all the same.

According to Bullock, Hitler was an opportunis...

Psychopath?

All too easily, we mistakenly assume that everyone else is honest, intelligent, and trying to do the right thing, just like us. In reality, some people are outright evil.

Similarly, a psychopath thinks that everyone else is evil like himself. When a psychopath sees an honest and intelligent person asking questions or giving logical explanations, he believes that it is an evil manipulation trick.


The Age of the Psychopath
(secondarywounding.wordpress.com)

Pathological Lying in the Narcissistic Age


With illustrations added by Psychopath Resistance.


They lie
Pathological Lying

lies.gifPathological lying is a particular kind of lying. Many would argue that lying is simply part of being human. We all do it at one time or another. Sometimes our lies are relatively benign and inconsequential. (That’s the character of “little white lies.”) But lying can be really problematic at times. And it can cause much unnecessary pain and suffering. It can decimate relationships. Moreover, some disturbed characters lie habitually. And they seem to lie for no apparent rational reason. They lie about little things. And they lie even when the truth would appear to serve better. We’ve often called such liars “pathological” liars.

KellyAnne

Pathological lying seems to make no sense. It’s hard to understand why someone would lie when the truth would suffice. And it’s especially hard to understand why someone would lie when the truth might well serve them better.

Pathological liars aren’t crazy. There’s actually method to their apparent madness. They may

drive you crazy with their antics. But once you understand why they do what they do you can restore your sanity.

The Method to the Madness

Pathological liars have a singular purpose. They lie to keep a position of advantage. That’s right. As I assert in Character Disturbance, it’s always about position, position, position for some disturbed characters. Such folks view life as a game or contest. And they don’t want a level playing field. Whenever they engage, they want the advantage. Lying helps them keep the advantage. It’s hard to pin them down. And when you can’t pin them down, you can’t know what’s really going on. You don’t know what might really be up to. You cant tell how they really feel, or what they really want. And you can’t know who they really are. That automatically puts you in a one-down position. And that’s just the way they like it.

pathological liar

Pathological lying has its payoffs. But it can take its toll, too. Sometimes the truth simply has to out. But pathological liars persist to the very end. They don’t concede the truth until their wall of lies is forced to come crashing down. Sometimes, the evidence simply piles up against them. That’s when cracks in the wall develop. However, quite often the wall of lies doesn’t tumble until a lot of damage has already occurred.

Death of the Truth and Erosion of Trust in our Narcissistic Age

In our narcissistic culture, the truth, and regard for it has taken a real beating. Truth has no value when life is all about getting what you want or manipulating people’s impressions. And Lying is the penultimate manipulation tactic.

SheepClothingAs I mention in In Sheep’s Clothing, it’s also the main way folks resist acceding to moral principles. For years, we’ve been in an age of deceit. And many have truly been at war with the truth.

GiulianiDisregard for the truth has infected almost every aspect of culture. There’s deception in our advertising, our teaching, our politics, even our news. Sadly, deception has even infiltrated science, once the bastion of relentless, unbiased truth pursuit. The goal is no longer discovering and living by the truth. The goal is now winning, advancing an agenda, swaying opinions, securing power, etc., by any means necessary. And that means constantly, fudging, distorting, twisting, and “spinning.” In such a culture, there’s simply no room for the truth.

pathological liarLying, especially pathological lying, takes its deepest toll on relationships. The foundation of any healthy, intimate relationship is trust. Where there’s no trust, there can’t be intimacy. It’s simply too dangerous. As I point out in How Did We End Up Here?, breaches of trust have destroyed more relationships than I care to count.

Restoring Some Sanity

pathological liarSanity will be restored to our culture when reverence for the truth returns. Truth is, perhaps, the most precious “higher power” that can govern our lives. But as you may already know, narcissists neither recognize nor revere any higher power.

You may also view this post here: Pathological lying in the narcissistic age.


Also, by Dr. George Simon:


pathological lying
Tidbits from Dr. Simon

You can now listen to part one of a new pilot episode of the new Character Matters Program. And, also, part two.

Character Disturbance will soon be released on audiobook.
Word of mouth is helping The Judas Syndrome change lives. If the book has changed yours, please consider recommending it to others.

Podcasts of all but the new pilot Character Matters programs can be found on the UCY.TV YouTube channel.


More about liars and lying on Psychopath Resistance:


Narcissistic Grandiosity

When Narcissistic Grandiosity
Crosses the Line

By Dr K Simon

zigzagrule4Grandiosity is a principal feature of a certain type of narcissism. (See: Two Main Varieties of Narcissists.) Narcissists of the grandiose variety don’t just think they’re great. Some just know they’re great. They truly believe in their special status and their power. And because they often feel omnipotent, they can act in ways that reflect their perceived invincibility. There’s a big difference between a really healthy dose of confidence and pathological grandiosity. And you can’t always gauge the difference by a person’s status, wealth, or accomplishments. Some grandiose narcissists have plenty of reason to boast. Others have virtually nothing to show for themselves. Narcissistic grandiosity is mostly a matter of exaggeration—especially exaggerated self-importance and capability. And, when such grandiosity goes unchecked, it can lead to much bigger problems.  Continue reading.
zigzagrule4

1505359C-0377-4896-8131-B519C583066DSee also:


Understanding Relational Aggression

November 10, 2017
Dr. George Simon


aggressionRelational Aggression

Relational aggression (or relational violence) generally refers to all the forceful ways a person might try to assert power or dominance in a relationship. But these days, many use the term to describe attempts to damage someone’s social standing or wreck a good relationship they enjoy. In any case, this kind of behavior destroys. It serves only to bring its perpetrator a sense of power or importance. And it stems from the aggressor’s lack of empathy.


covert aggressionTwo Main Types of Aggression

Aggression can be of two main types: overt or covert. Someone is overtly aggressive when they make no bones about what they’re doing. Maybe they simply want to hurt you. But they might also want to get something from you. Perhaps they want to take advantage or have power over you. Whatever the case, they mean to aggress and don’t try to hide it.

Covert-aggressors operate differently. They don’t want to be seen for who they are or what they’re doing. The relational aggression they engage in is subtle, underhanded, or even concealed. So, you barely realize what they’ve been up to until the damage is already done. This is the kind of aggression that underlies most interpersonal manipulation. Moreover, it occurs quite frequently. So, many years ago I felt compelled to write a book about it.


passive-aggressiveCovert Aggression in the Social Arena

In our times, relational aggression has taken on some interesting new dimensions. Covert aggressors can damage your social standing or your relationships in some very sneaky ways. They can put out false information about you on the internet. They can spread nasty rumors and lies. Or they might defame you on social media. A skilled covert operator can even use surrogates to do their dirty work. That way, they leave no “fingerprints” and can convincingly deny their evildoing. Young persons are particularly vulnerable to this kind of behavior. But no one is immune.

Why do these relational aggressors do what they do? We used to think that they came from a fearful, insecure place. But we’ve learned better. Some folks simply lack empathy. They care only about themselves. Sometimes, all they want is a sense of power. Other times, they might merely be seeking amusement – at your expense. And in the coming weeks I’ll be saying more about why these behaviors are so prevalent nowadays.


character disturbanceCharacter Matters

Character Disturbance has entered its third major printing. As always, thanks for your support and recommendation of my books.


Visit Dr. Simon’s blog: drgeorgesimon.com


 

The Dark Triad

Quote

 

The Dark Triad

DarkTriad

The dark triad is a group of three personality traits: Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and Psychopathy. Use of the term “dark” implies that these traits have malevolent qualities:

  • Narcissism is characterized by grandiosity, pride, egotism, and a lack of empathy.
  • Machiavellianism is characterized by manipulation and exploitation of others, a cynical disregard for morality, and a focus on self-interest and deception.
  • Psychopathy is characterized by enduring antisocial behavior, impulsivity, selfishness, callousness, and remorselessness.

All three traits have been associated with a callous-manipulative interpersonal style. A factor analysis carried out at the Glasgow Caledonian University found that among the big five personality traits, low agreeableness is the strongest correlate of the dark triad.

Dark triad – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Spin, Projection, and Blame Shifting

They Spin our Reality  

The Projectionist

The Projectionist
by Eric Fan

Disordered people can’t deal with the reality of their behaviors. On some level, they may realize how hurtful they are or how inappropriately they behave, 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. An example of a 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].” The abuser’s rationalizations can be elaborate and far-fetched but their convictions are rock solid. Bystanders may have been groomed to believe that the target deserves the treatment they are receiving. Attempts to disprove accusatory claims will get you nowhere, or worse, seem to confirm your guilt. They cannot fathom that anyone— especially not someone they like and respect—is capable of deviously crafting a convincing blame shifting scheme, and will often side with a charismatic sociopath.

The Office


Victims are cruelly revictimized.

D.A.R.V.O.Watch for it. All abusers do it.


US Catholic orphanage sex abuse victim still feels pain 70 years later.

Posted on Nov 9, 2016 in Feature
By Michael O’Keeffe

When “Don” told the priest who ran St. Michael’s Home for Children on Staten Island that one of his employees had molested him repeatedly over the previous two years, the clergyman gave the boy a lecture about damaging another man’s reputation. Then he told Don to report to the employee who allegedly sexually abused him for his punishment.

Read the full story


See also: DARVO
Exposing an abuser
DARVO—Role Reversal
Denying, Discounting, and Dismissing Abuse


A Game of Destroying People

Psychopaths blame their victims for what happened and have no concern about the consequences.

games people play

The mocking and controlling behavior of the psychopathic mind is motivated by a sense of entitlement and a claim for submission. It’s a power trip. The submission brings them feelings of excitement and superiority. They enjoy what they consider to be a game of destroying people. It’s amusing to them.


psychopath

Don’t miss this excellent article:

A Game of Destroying People

Evil people are often busy building for themselves various fronts for disguise to further their ambitions. “They are likely to exert themselves more than most in their enduring effort to obtain and maintain an image of high respectability.” Evil does not reveal itself as the bad. Evil will very rarely expose itself to public light. It must hide. And it almost always hides under the pretext of something virtuous.

In fact, rather than hiding in the shadows dressed in black, it disguises itself in uniforms of holy men or suits and charitable organizations, which allow it to deceive us into thinking it’s our savior. This enables it to cause far greater damage.   Continue reading…

psychopath

See also: Narcissistic Personality Disorder

It amuses toxic people to see how much control they have over you.


Malignant Narcissism

W24zith all the information available about narcissism and narcissistic personalities, chances are you’ve heard the term “malignant narcissism.” But exactly what the term means and why a certain kind of narcissism warrants such a special descriptor is not very clear to many. And while it’s hard to imagine any kind of narcissism that’s completely “benign,” it’s worth understanding why the particular brand of narcissism professionals call “malignant” is cause for grave concern whenever it’s present to any significant degree in someone’s personality structure.

The term narcissism has been around for a long time and is derived from the mythical character Narcissus, who, as the ancient Greek story goes, was a strikingly handsome and gifted young man (and who obviously knew it!) who was not at all phased by the relentless amorous advances of a nymph but instead fell head over heels in love with his own reflection as he gazed upon it in a pool of water. Narcissus, it seemed, found all he’d ever dreamed of in perfect complement to himself in himself.  Narcissism is, therefore, not the healthy love of self that leads to adaptive self-protection and care but rather the abnormal and unhealthily haughty perception of oneself as such an idol that one has no real need for anyone else.

Classical psychological paradigms conceptualized narcissistic individuals as necessarily insecure individuals who unconsciously compensated for their underlying low self-esteem with their braggadocio.  Today we know that although there are indeed some “neurotic” narcissists, there are also many more vain and self-centered folks who really believe in their superiority through and through. Such individuals are far more character-disordered than they are neurotic and their inflated views of themselves are not an anxious compensation but rather a sincere belief.  And they can be a monumental challenge to deal with, work with, and live with.

Narcissism is common during our early stages of growth. But most of us eventually grow to develop a healthier balance of perspective with respect to our regard for ourselves versus our regard for and need of others.  When a person enters adulthood retaining the narcissistic tendencies they had as a child, there’s bound to be lots of trouble in their relationships.

Narcissism becomes particularly “malignant” (i.e. malevolent, dangerous, harmful, incurable) when it goes beyond mere vanity and excessive self-focus. Malignant narcissists not only see themselves as superior to others but believe in their superiority to the degree that they view others as relatively worthless, expendable, and justifiably exploitable.  This type of narcissism is a defining characteristic of psychopathy/sociopathy and is rooted in an individual’s deficient capacity for empathy.  It’s almost impossible for a person with such shallow feelings and such haughtiness to really care about others or to form a conscience with any of the qualities we typically associate with a humane attitude, which is why most researchers and thinkers on the topic of psychopathy think of psychopaths as individuals without a conscience altogether.

I’ve posted several times before on the issues of narcissism and malignant narcissism (see, for example:  Psychopathy and Sociopathy, and Malignant Narcissism:  At the Core of Psychopathy).  And of course, I explore the topics in all my books, In Sheep’s Clothing, Character Disturbance, and The Judas Syndrome.  But in the upcoming brief series of articles, I’m going to examine narcissism from some new angles and in some unusual depth, using examples from case histories to illustrate not only how detrimental to one’s personality formation this trait can be but also how much damage it’s capable of inflicting in relationships when it reaches malignant proportions.

Stay tuned.

Dr George Simon,  December 27, 2013

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More posts featuring Dr George Simon:

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Heartless Characters Think Differently

November 3, 2017
By Dr. George Simon

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Heartless Characters

Heartless Characters can be largely born the way they are. That is, the most disturbed among us have an innately impaired capacity to care. But folks lacking in empathy also tend to think in certain ways. And those ways of thinking lead them to form problematic attitudes and patterns of behavior. Moreover, engaging in those patterns both engenders and reinforces heartlessness.

sociopath Continue reading…


“They look like us, but they are extremely
smooth at deceiving and come in many forms!”

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More posts featuring Dr George Simon:


The Authoritarian Personality

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Research shows that authoritarians are far more likely to exhibit sloppy reasoning, highly compartmentalized beliefs, double standards, hypocrisy, self-blindness, a profound ethnocentrism, and—to top it all off—a ferocious dogmatism that makes it unlikely anyone could ever change their minds with evidence or logic.

Authoritarian, sociopathic, and narcissistic personality traits have many similarities.

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The Apath

The Empathy Trap:
Understanding
Antisocial Personalities


by Dr Jane McGregor
and Tim McGregor

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Excerpt: Apaths are an integral part of the sociopath’s arsenal and contribute to sociopathic abuse. Sociopaths have an uncanny knack of knowing who will assist them in bringing down the person they are targeting. It is not necessarily easy to identify an apath; in other circumstances, an apath can show ample empathy and concern for others—just not in this case. The one attribute an apath must have is a link to the target.

How apaths, who might otherwise be fair-minded people, become involved in such destructive business is not hard to understand, but it can be hard to accept. The main qualifying attribute is poor judgment resulting from lack of insight. They might be jealous of or angry at the target, and thus have something to gain from the evolving situation.

At other times, the apath might not want to see the ‘bad’ in someone, particularly if the sociopath is useful. Or they might choose not to see because they have enough on their plate and do not possess the wherewithal or moral courage to help the targeted person at that time. Usually, be it active or passive involvement, the apath’s conscience appears to fall asleep.

Read more…

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See also:
Flying Monkeys
Sociopaths Recruit Minions
Once a flying monkey, always a flying monkey…
‘Common Knowledge’:
The Sociopath’s Method of Recruiting and Arming Minions.


 

The Imperative of Understanding Psychopathy

What elephant?

From the article by Bernhard Guenther:

Marianne Williamson and the Elephant in the Living Room

“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.”

Read more of this outstanding article!

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Does Maslow’s hierarchy apply to psychopaths?

By Athena Walker: Psychopathy is present from the first breath one takes, to the last.


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It doesn’t. That applies to the needs of neurotypicals. The bottom of it applies to survival; of course everyone has that. The rest to us is nonsense and unnecessary.

Read more of the article Does Maslow’s hierarchy apply to psychopaths?


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MaslowsHierarchyOfNeeds

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper A Theory of Human Motivation in Psychological Review. Maslow subsequently extended the idea to include his observations of humans’ innate curiosity.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs—Wikipedia

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What is Bigotry?

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In a grocery store checkout line, a young shopper allows this woman to go ahead of her. Watch the short youtube to hear what she said…



Bigotry

big·ot·ry noun
Intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself.


Bigotry | Dictionary.com
noun, plural bigotries. 1. stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own. 2. the actions, beliefs, prejudices, etc., of a bigot.


bigot | Cambridge English Dictionary
bigot What is a bigot: a person who has strong, unreasonable ideas, esp. about race or religion, and who thinks anyone who does not have the same beliefs is wrong. Some of the townspeople are bigots who call foreigners terrible names.


bigotryCambridge English Dictionary
bigotry What is bigotry: strong, unreasonable ideas, esp. about race or religion: racial/religious bigotry

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bigotry | Vocabulary.com
If a person is intolerant of other ideas, races, or religions, we call that person a bigot. The intolerance expressed by that bigot is called bigotry. Bigotry is ugly.


bigot | Vocabulary.com
bigot. A bigot is someone who doesn’t tolerate people of different races or religions. If you have an uncle who is a bigot and tells racist jokes at Thanksgiving, …


bigotry | Oxford Dictionaries
Intolerance towards those who hold different opinions from oneself. 


bigotry (noun) definition and synonyms | Macmillan Dictionary
What is bigotry? The practice of having very strong and unreasonable opinions, especially about politics, race, or religion, and refusing to consider other people’s opinions.


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The Authoritarian Personality

Authoritarian, sociopathic, and narcissistic personality traits have many similarities.

authoritarian_personality

Research shows that authoritarians are far more likely to exhibit sloppy reasoning, highly compartmentalized beliefs, double standards, hypocrisy, self-blindness, a profound ethnocentrism, and—to top it all off—a ferocious dogmatism that makes it unlikely anyone could ever change their minds with evidence or logic.

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Social Aggression


The term bullying typically refers to direct, confrontational attacks on another person. Social aggression, however, typically lacks direct confrontation and is often done covertly. It takes the form of spreading rumors, gossip, excluding one person from a group, verbal attacks, and cyberbullying. Studies have found that those who are socially aggressive typically use this form of bullying to protect their place among peers or place themselves above their peers.

imageIn the U.S. alone, over 100,000 students miss school every day due to indirect bullying. This type of bullying is often attributed solely to adolescents, though it is common among college students, in suburban neighborhoods, and workplaces. In adulthood, the most common form of this type of aggression is usually gossiping and spreading rumors. In general, the smaller the community, the more this issue occurs.


Relational aggression can have damaging effects on victims.


Adolescents who have been subjected to these types of attacks are more likely to develop depression and eating disorders. Relational aggression may also be responsible for a drop in academic performance and almost always harms a young adult’s social life. Among adults, this aggression can cause stress related physical disorders, limit job productivity, and greatly reduce self esteem.

The effects of social aggression often depend on the amount of support a victim has outside of school or work. Children with supportive parents, caregivers, other adult figures, or friends tend to handle this type of bullying better than those without this foundation. In severe cases, indirect bullying can be a catalyst for suicidal thoughts or actions; in some cases, it causes a victim to take his or her own life.

Due to the potential damaging and life altering affects of social aggression, especially for young adults, many schools have adopted zero tolerance policies for bullying. Teachers and parents are taught to recognize signs of social aggression in both the perpetrator and the victim. Abusers are typically punished and in extreme cases, may be suspended or expelled from school.

It amuses toxic people to see how much control they have over you.In the adult world, social aggression can be a form of entertainment for a personality disordered individual in a position of power over their target.


BullyOnce the crude schoolyard bully, they have become skilled at undercover ‘baiting and bashing’ tactics and avoiding accountability. Victims, chosen because of certain personality traits and vulnerabilities, may find themselves subject to a smear campaign and marginalized, gratifying the sadistic pleasure of a bully to no fault of their own.


See also:
Adult Bullies
Abusers operate on the sly.
Baiting & Bashing
Exposing the Bully
Bystanders and Bullying
Denying, Discounting, and Dismissing Abuse
Bullies Get a Kick out of Seeing Others in Pain


The Emperor’s New Clothes

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To deal with sociopaths effectively, you first need to open your eyes. In The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Anderson, two weavers promise the emperor a new suit of clothes that is invisible to those who are stupid and unfit for their positions.

When the emperor parades before his subjects, all the adults, not wishing to be seen in a negative light, pretend they can see the clothes. The only truthful person is a child who cries “But he isn’t wearing any clothes!”.

You, too, need to see sociopaths as they really are. We are conditioned to keep quiet, which often means turning a blind eye to or putting up with abuse.

The boy in the tale represents those who see the problem behavior for what it is and find the courage of their convictions to make a stand. Sight becomes insight, which turns into action. Awareness is the first step in limiting the negative effects of contact with a sociopath.

Via: Empathic people are natural targets for sociopaths—protect yourself—Science of the Spirit—Sott.net


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See also:


Recognize a Manipulator

via Be Aware of These 8 Signs Of A Manipulator.

This image is for illustrative purposes only. The pictured individuals have no actual connection to the article contents. 

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BY KRIS LEE

While we all are manipulative to some degree, manipulators engage in set behaviors on a regular basis. Manipulators use deceptive and underhanded tactics by exploiting another person for power, control, and privileges at the other person’s expense. They play on your good intentions, vulnerabilities, and weaknesses to get what they want.  Don’t be surprised if a manipulator is someone you trust or even love.

When someone is clearly wronging or hurting you and you are the one feeling bad and apologizing for their wrong doings, you are being manipulated. Manipulative behaviors are learned, most often in childhood. Thus, unfortunately it’s something that can’t be quickly unlearned. So, watch out for some common signs to spot them and once you do, pull them out of your life immediately. They are toxic weeds in your life.

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1. They are experts in playing mind games.

Some manipulators are highly skilled and their tactics are so subtle that it can control you for a long time before you finally figure out what’s happening. Skilled manipulators have a way of twisting a previous conversation or replaying it to suit their needs. They will do something to hurt you and when you express how you feel about it, they’ll turn the situation around, make you feel guilty and end up justifying their actions.

Does your partner say or do things that make you feel like you must be crazy and then tell you you’re making something out of nothing?  Obviously your partner twists the truth or leaves out certain information to make you doubt your own perception and sanity.

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2. They have their best interests in mind, not yours.

They twist your thoughts and actions bit by bit until you look to them for guidance on everything. They mold you into someone who serves their own purposes. Sadly, you trust them more than you trust yourself. Their motives are almost always self-serving, and they have little interests in how you feel or how their behaviors impact you and your life.

They consistently point out your shortcomings, then show you that with their help, you can do better and become better. In that way they convince you that they have your best interests in mind, but the truth is they don’t.

3. They are emotional bullies and control freaks.

Manipulators need to be in control, and the desire for control often masks underlying feelings of their own insecurity. They need to feel superior and powerful. They have a deep narcissistic desire to shift the focus somehow to themselves and seek you out to validate them.

Virtuous EvilManipulators claim that they know how the world should be, how you should act and of course by their rules. They are virtuous and righteous. They are saints in their own minds, so you’d better agree. They know what’s best for you. Just ask them and they will give you advice and will make your life miserable if you don’t do what they say or utterly worship them. Besides, they are great debaters, so you never win.

4. They are irresponsible and inconsistent.

Manipulators have difficulty accepting responsibility for their behavior and it is always about what everyone else had done to them. If you call them on their behaviors, they’ll find a way to turn it around to make you feel bad or guilty. Manipulators may say yes to a request or make a small commitment to you, and then when the time comes to follow through, they conveniently forget what they said or deny the fact that they even promised.

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5. They blame you for their behaviors.

They blame you for what they’ve said, done, not said or not done. If you point out how they just turned the tables, they’ll most likely make you look selfish and pitiful. Thus, you can’t really prove anything so it’s your bad memory against their lying words. You begin to question yourself and even feel bad that you challenged them. Manipulators will never admit their wrong-doings when it puts them at a disadvantage. Instead, they’re always on the lookout for someone to blame, and here, alas, it’s you.

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Manipulators are good at keeping score so that one day they will blame you if things don’t work for them. They are willing to help but it always comes at a price. They remind you of that one time they helped you out and use it as a way to manipulate you into feeling like you owe them something.

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6. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

They attempt to establish intimacy by sharing their deep personal information that they make you believe they trust you and in turn, you trust them. You may initially perceive them as very sensitive, emotionally open and a bit vulnerable. You won’t suspect at all that you are being played. Since they are able to mirror your needs and desires perfectly, they are able to create the persona or mask of who you think they are, but it’s all an illusion.

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Manipulators want to listen to what you have to say in order to find out your strengths and weaknesses. Although it may feel like genuine interest and that they are good listeners, keep in mind that there may be a hidden agenda behind all this interest. They won’t hesitate to use all of these against you with an arsenal of effective manipulation tactics.

7. They have no desire in having authentic real communication.

Once again when you call them out on their behavior, more than likely, you’ll get a defensive and angry reaction rather than being direct and forthright communication. They usually sidestep honest communication and use passive aggressive methods instead. They try to intimidate you with aggressive language, subtle threats or outright anger, especially when they see you are uncomfortable with confrontation.

SincerityIf you try to have an open and honest conversation about moments when you feel hurt or invalidated, you will be shut down with allegations that you are being too sensitive, insecure, or over-reacting. They may pretend to be sweet and open-minded to your face, and while they might not hurt you directly, they will find subtle ways of undermining or belittling you.

8. They are afraid of vulnerability.

Manipulators seldom express their needs, desires, or true feelings. They seek out the vulnerabilities in others in order to take advantage of them for their own benefits and deflect their true motives. They have no ability to love, empathy, guilt, remorse, or conscience. To them, life is merely a game of taking power and control and getting what they want. They see vulnerability as a weakness and staying invulnerable is a great way to hide who they really are. So, if you don’t live up to their so-called standards and they are filled with contempt for you, it’s so easy for them to simply get up and move on.

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You may also like:

• 
Manipulation Tactics

• 
15 Effective Ways Clever People Handle Toxic People

• 12 Signs You’re Loving One You Shouldn’t
• 23 Body Language Tricks That Make You Instantly Likeable

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Can psychopaths tell who’s another psychopath?

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Answer by Jay Jones:

Yes. I am a high scoring psychopath, I can recognise others, as well as sociopaths (secondary psychopaths), many other disorders and brain/personality variations. Besides being able to recognise others of a very similar ilk, we are very tuned to working others out. I can spot police, many school teachers, depression, ADHD, mental illnesses, personality flaws, people’s conscious fears, strengths and weaknesses, all sorts of things the average person doesn’t pick up on.


The Taboo That Benefits the Abuser

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Dr George K Simon, author of
In Sheep’s Clothing—Understanding and Dealing With Manipulative People:

sheepsclothing“Recognizing the inherent aggression in manipulative behavior and becoming more aware of the slick, surreptitious ways that manipulative people prefer to aggress against us is extremely important. Not recognizing and accurately labeling their subtly aggressive moves causes most people to misinterpret the behavior of manipulators and, therefore, fail to respond to them in an appropriate fashion. Recognizing when and how manipulators are fighting with covertly aggressive tactics is essential.”


What Dr Simon is urging us to do when we are faced with a toxic, covertly aggressive individual is to recognize and address their nasty maneuvers. Knowledge about psychopathic traits is helpful, as well as a good measure of self-awareness.

Some pathological and fantastical liars seem to be unaware that there is a real reality out there, confusing reality with the verbal claim of reality. Sociopaths simply use words for strategic reasons — meanings are another thing entirely. The truth is read behind the words themselves.

We may be frowned upon when we expose malignant behavior, but we are enabling it when we don’t.

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