|The Dark Triad
|The Dark Triad
Michael’s problems started, according to his mother, around age 3, shortly after his brother Allan was born. At the time, she said, Michael was mostly just acting “like a brat,” but his behavior soon escalated to throwing tantrums during which he would scream and shriek inconsolably. These weren’t ordinary toddler’s fits. “It wasn’t, ‘I’m tired’ or ‘I’m frustrated’ — the normal things kids do,” Anne remembered. “His behavior was really out there. And it would happen for hours and hours each day, no matter what we did.” For several years, Michael screamed every time his parents told him to put on his shoes or perform other ordinary tasks, like retrieving one of his toys from the living room. “Going somewhere, staying somewhere — anything would set him off,” Miguel said. These furies lasted well beyond toddlerhood. At 8, Michael would still fly into a rage when Anne or Miguel tried to get him ready for school, punching the wall and kicking holes in the door. Left unwatched, he would cut up his trousers with scissors or methodically pull his hair out. He would also vent his anger by slamming the toilet seat down again and again until it broke.
When Anne and Miguel first took Michael to see a therapist, he was given a diagnosis of “firstborn syndrome”: acting out because he resented his new sibling. While both parents acknowledged that Michael was deeply hostile to the new baby, sibling rivalry didn’t seem sufficient to explain his consistently extreme behavior.
By the time he turned 5, Michael had developed an uncanny ability to switch from full-blown anger to moments of pure rationality or calculated charm — a facility that Anne describes as deeply unsettling. “You never know when you’re going to see a proper emotion,” she said. She recalled one argument, over a homework assignment, when Michael shrieked and wept as she tried to reason with him. “I said: ‘Michael, remember the brainstorming we did yesterday? All you have to do is take your thoughts from that and turn them into sentences, and you’re done!’ He’s still screaming bloody murder, so I say, ‘Michael, I thought we brainstormed so we could avoid all this drama today.’ He stopped dead, in the middle of the screaming, turned to me and said in this flat, adult voice, ‘Well, you didn’t think that through very clearly then, did you?’ ”
Artwork: Adam Proctor
From BBC Future, 3 December 2015
By David Robson
Do you have a ruthless streak? Psychologists believe the “dark triad” of personality—Machiavellianism, narcissism and psychopathy—might help you succeed in life. To measure your own dark side, click on the link below and choose how much you agree or disagree with 9 simple statements—and we’ll tell you how dastardly you actually are.
The questions for this quiz were inspired by questionnaires developed by Delroy Paulhus and Daniel Jones (Assessment, vol 21, p 28). Our quiz was designed solely for entertainment, and the results should not be considered a scientific measure of your personality. If you would like to learn more about Paulhus’s personality research and his serious explorations of the dark triad, read the BBC profile “The man who studies everyday evil”.
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?
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
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.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION PROVIDING INFORMATION
AND SUPPORT FOR VICTIMS OF PSYCHOPATHY
Rosa says: Isn’t it amazing how sociopaths can run around smearing people, telling insidious lies with impunity…THEN…when WE try to warn others (with the TRUTH) about possible danger of the socio, it’s “Kill the Messenger” time…and we are the “Messenger”. What’s up with that?
* * * * * * * * * * * *
What you are describing is the standard abuser protocol called DARVO, an acronym for Deny, Attack, Reverse roles of Victim and Offender. Your question and your righteous outrage are about psycho/sociopaths’ ability to harm others easily and repeatedly—with impunity—sometimes with devastating consequences for their victim. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the victim’s friends and family may withhold support or reject him/her at the worst of times because the abuser had the evil foresight to secure their sympathy and support, and at the same time, destroy the victim’s reputation and credibility.
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.”
See more on Dr. George Simon and related blog posts:
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.
“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.
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)
There are reasons for our failure to act when action is appropriate.
We don’t acknowledge, or even recognize, that evil exists. We’re told that “there’s good in everyone,” “deep down we’re all the same,” “everyone makes mistakes,” “everyone deserves a second chance,” or “we all just need to be loved.” We are not told that there are exceptions to these platitudes. As many as 12 percent of the population are sociopaths—social predators who live their lives exploiting others—and another chunk of the population are almost sociopaths. Typically, their aggression is covert and most of us don’t know anything about sociopaths until we are personally targeted.
Taking action against bad behavior usually requires confrontation. Confrontation is uncomfortable, at best, and at worst, dangerous. Most of us try to avoid confrontation. In fact, probably the only people who enjoy confrontation are sociopaths. They, of course, are the ones causing the problems.
There are other reasons why we don’t act. We may feel that the problem is too big, and we’re too small to change anything. We may believe that someone else ought to take action. We may fear—legitimately—repercussions or retaliation. We may believe that the problem will “go away” or not impact us if we ignore it and focus on the positive.
What is “The Bystander Effect”?
The “Do’s” and “Don’ts” of Conflict Resolution
Lazy Brain and the Narcissistic Sociopath (beingabeautifulmess.wordpress.com)
Being with a Narcissistic Sociopath – Part 1 (beingabeautifulmess.wordpress.com)
Confrontation or Communication
Paul Babiak: Corporate culture today seems ideal for the psychopath.
The very things we’re looking for in our leaders, the psychopath can mimic. Their natural tendency is to be charming. Take that charm and couch it in the right business language and it sounds like charismatic leadership.
…or Why Do The Bad Guys Always Win?
The purpose of this blog is to help that process. You can
help by sharing your experience and spreading information.
Note to viewer: The slideshow should be viewed with a grain of salt. It presents some known psychopathic traits, but in an oversimplified fashion. In the real world, do not expect a psychopathic individual to exhibit all of these traits, or any one of them as obviously or as extremely as the slide show may suggest.
Add to Fact #5 about childhood warning signs: cruelty to animals.
See also Psychopaths Rule!
Psychopaths and sociopaths are likely to appear friendly and generous. They are masters of deception, adept at faking emotions they don’t actually have—compassion, remorse, or humility—to win trust or gain power over others. Behind a convincing facade of respectability, intelligence, and high moral standards, they operate outside of standard ethical boundaries; recruiting lower-level psychopaths to do their bidding and manipulating normal, “good” people into accepting or supporting their shady agendas.
Christopher Lane, a 22-year old Australian student visiting his girlfriend in Oklahoma, was shot and killed by teenagers—because they were bored.
Two childhood best friends killed teenager Katelyn Wolfe for a thrill and then bound her body, attached it to a weight and threw it into a lake.
1 Acknowledge that sociopaths exist. This is more radical than it may sound. For many of us, it means abandoning a belief we have held a lifetime; that “there’s good in everyone.” While that is true in most cases, it is critical to understand that there are exceptions and that they are not easily recognized.
From an article by Rob at Angiemedia:
Sociopaths In Our Midst Hate the Truth and Its Advocates
“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.”
Martin Luther King Jr
In most bullying situations, the target finds himself isolated and alone. Work colleagues, who may have been friendly and supportive previously, melt away. The people he thought were “friends” turn out to be mere fair-weather friends and he is left feeling like a pariah and an outcast.
There are many reasons why people fail to come to the aid of someone who is being bullied. These include: Read more…
Someone who is being subject to narcissistic abuse may rarely leave the house, never go out with friends, or speak to strangers because he doesn’t know who’s been turned against him; he doesn’t know who he can trust. The experience is painful and can lead to mental and physical problems, including depression and anxiety. In some cases, feelings of despair lead to suicide.
Narcissistic Supply (Wikipedia)
Narcissistic Supply (The Narcissistic Life)
Narcissistic Supply (Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers)
Narcissists, Narcissistic Supply and Sources of Supply (Sam Vaknin)
Clinical psychopaths have physiological markers that can be seen in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and in lower resting heart rate, for example. It has not been determined with certainty if these aberrations are present at birth or if they are due to childhood environment or trauma. It does seem plausible that the outcome for a “born psychopath” is closely tied to “external” influences. In other words; the characteristics of each individual, and his path in life, are the result of an interaction between nature and nurture.
If that truly is the case, isn’t it plausible that it is the childhood setting that determines if a child born with a psychopathic brain abnormality will become a high functioning ‘controlled’ psychopath or not? Perhaps psychopaths from ‘good’ homes are more likely to become politicians, corporate executives, lawyers, psychiatrists, and Wall Street operatives, while the psychopaths from ‘bad’ homes are more likely to take the positions as con artists, rapists, murderers, serial killers, and other criminals that have a high representation rate in prisons.