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.
Do psychopaths ever experience empathy or compassion? Are they ever inclined to help someone in need—without an ulterior motive? Are there psychopaths who do more good in the world than your average apath or bleeding heart empath?
In The Sociopath at the Breakfast Table, the authors describe an incident or exchange involving a sociopath as a sociopathic transaction. Here’s the typical arrangement:
Sociopath — the one with the personality disorder.
Empath — an individual who is highly perceptive, insightful and sensitive to another’s emotions.
Apath — someone who is apathetic and likely to do the sociopath’s bidding.
This threesome is required for a sociopathic transaction to be effective and it usually unfolds something like this: On seeing the sociopath say or do something underhanded, the empath is forced to make a stand. The empath challenges the sociopath, who throws others off the scent by shifting the blame to the empath. The empath becomes an object of abuse when the apath corroborates the sociopath’s perspective. Ultimately, the situation usually ends badly for the empath, and sometimes also for the apath (if his conscience comes back to haunt him or subsequently he becomes an object of abuse himself). The sociopath often gets off scot-free and can continue to abuse with impunity.