Published on Apr 28, 2014
Sandra L. Brown, M.A., is the founder of The Institute for Relational Harm Reduction & Public Pathology Education. She is a former psychotherapist, community educator on pathological love relationships, clinical lecturer and trainer, TV and radio guest, and an author. Her books include the highly popular How to Spot a Dangerous Man Before You Get Involved, the award-winning Women Who Love Psychopaths: Inside the Relationships of Inevitable Harm With Psychopaths, Sociopaths & Narcissists, as well as the clinically relevant Counseling Victims of Violence: A Handbook for Helping Professionals.
Sandra is recognized for her pioneering work in women’s issues related to relational harm from dangerous and pathological partners. She specializes in the development of Pathological Love Relationship training for other professionals and the development of survivor-based support services.
“Everyone is told the fairytale that we are all brothers and sisters under the skin. But what if that is not so?”
By Dr George Simon, PhD
Predatory Aggressive Personalities (i.e., psychopaths or sociopaths) consider themselves superior to the rest of the human race. They view individuals with inhibitions rooted in emotional bonding to others as inferior creatures and, therefore, their rightful prey.
Aggressive Personalities include the Unbridled Aggressive, who is frequently in conflict with the law; the Channeled-Aggressive, who generally limits ruthlessness to non-criminal activity; the Covert-Aggressive, who cloaks their cruelty under a veneer of civility and manipulates others in the process; and the Sadistic Aggressive, whose principal aim is to demean and injure others.
But by far the most pathological aggressive personality is the one I prefer to label the Predatory Aggressive Personality. All of the aggressive personalities are among the most seriously disturbed in character of the various personality types, and the Predatory Aggressive Personality is the most seriously character disordered.
Read Dr Simon’s article:
Understanding the Predatory Aggressive Personality.
Empathic people are natural targets
Often empaths are targeted by sociopaths because they pose the greatest threat. The empath is usually the first to detect that something is not right and express what s/he senses. As a consequence…
The Dance – Sociopath and Empath
They LOVE to watch their empath target squirm. They LOVE to watch as they manipulate everyone around them into believing it’s all the fault of the empath. They LOVE the feeling of absolute CONTROL…
Narcissists and Empaths: The Ego Dynamic | Let Me Reach
One popular theory is that Narcissists prey on Empaths and Sensitives because of their overly giving nature. While that is primarily true, there is another reason that goes even deeper, and it has to do with ego…
The Transitional Target | Narcissist, Sociopath, and Psychopath…
Targets often experience cognitive dissonance, trying to project their own reasoning onto an unreasonable person. But their behavior is neither accidental nor unintentional…
Dark Souls—Better the Devil | Empaths | Abused Empaths
There is no question when it comes to attracting Dark Souls, in particular sociopaths and psychopaths, that they can target and con anyone. However, it’s very difficult for anyone to understand that the psychopathic personality goes out with the sole purpose of intentionally victimizing anyone they come into contact with…
- The Sociopath-Empath-Apath Triad
- The Relationship Between Empaths and Narcissists
- Empaths are Targets
- The Apath
- The Empath Strikes Back
Professor Robert Hare, the world’s foremost expert in the field, estimates that there are at least two million psychopaths in North America.
“Psychopaths are social predators who charm, manipulate, and ruthlessly plow their way through life, leaving a broad trail of broken hearts, shattered expectations, and empty wallets. Completely lacking in conscience and in feelings for others, they selfishly take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without the slightest sense of guilt or regret.”
See also: Almost A Psychopath
To really get a sense for how the narcissist perceives you, you will need to picture a tool. Let’s say a hammer. The hammer has no will of its own. The hammer’s value is in how it serves you. When you pick up the hammer it is like an extension of your hand. We are able to use it without regard for how it must feel when we whack a nail with it. Of course, because it has no feelings. We don’t have to think about the hammer, we simply use it to our own ends and then set it down and walk away when it has performed the function we wanted it for.
You are that hammer to the narcissist. All of us are merely tools made for their use. Extensions of themselves. We are like a table or chair or bookcase or toilet paper.
The narcissist will become enraged if such inanimate tools decide to sprout a mind of their own and not perform and conform perfectly to their will. It is perceived as an attack! The default setting in the mind of the narcissist toward the rest of humanity is that we are not worth anything except as they imbue value in us. Then we are worth something, but only as much as the narcissist decides. We can be completely devalued in a moment and thrown out with the rest of the garbage.
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.
Do you know someone who is manipulative and full of himself? Does someone you know charm the masses yet lack the ability to deeply connect with anyone?
Grandiosity and exaggerated self-worth. Pathological lying. Manipulation. Lack of remorse. Shallowness. Exploitation. These are the qualities of Almost Psychopaths. They are not the deranged criminals or serial killers that might be coined “psychopaths” in the movies or on TV. They are spouses, coworkers, bosses, neighbors, and people in the news who exhibit many of the same behaviors as a full-blown psychopath, but with less intensity and consistency.
In Almost a Psychopath, Ronald Schouten, MD, JD, and James Silver, JD, draw on scientific research and their own experiences to help you identify if you are an Almost Psychopath and, if so, guide you to interventions and resources to change your behavior.
If you think you have encountered an Almost Psychopath, they offer practical tools to help you: recognize the behavior, attitudes, and characteristics of the Almost Psychopath; make sense of interactions you’ve had with Almost Psychopaths; devise strategies for dealing with them in the present; make informed decisions about your next steps; and learn ways to help an Almost Psychopath get better control of their behavior.
Click the book cover to read more.
Learn to identify their tactics!
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 able to 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.
- 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.
- 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”.
- Video interviews with Dr George Simon
- 7 Social Hacks For Manipulating People—
- George Simon—workshops on manipulators and character disorders (cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com)
Dr. George Simon, author of In Sheep’s Clothing—Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People (See book cover in the sidebar!)
“A manipulative person … is a covertly aggressive personality.”
“You ask a manipulator a direct question, you rarely get a direct answer.”
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.
- The Making of a Minion (dontbeaminion.com)
- Dangerous Mind Games: How Psychopaths Manipulate and Deceive (http://psychopathyawareness.wordpress.com)
Posted Apr 4, 2013
By Martha Neil
An Illinois family law attorney was sentenced to life in prison in the murders of his former client, Nova Henry, and her 10-month-old daughter.
The government said Fredrick Goings, who had represented Henry in a child-support case against a professional basketball player, shot her in January 2009 at her condominium in Chicago’s South Loop as she ran from the lawyer, holding her daughter, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Goings may have been angry about an unpaid $24,000 legal bill that she and her new attorney were then contesting, prosecutors said. Goings and Henry also reportedly had an on-again, off-again romantic relationship.
Cook County Judge Maura Slattery Boyle called Goings, who maintains his innocence and contends there was a rush to judgment, a “fraud” and a predator. “You are a facade as a lawyer and a human being,” she told him.
The murder case was high-profile because Henry is a former girlfriend of Eddy Curry, once a member of the Chicago Bulls. He also played for the Miami Heat and the New York Knicks.
Although Henry’s daughter with Curry was killed along with her mother, their 3-year-old son, who was also present at the scene of the slayings, was not physically injured.
The Associated Press also has a story.
As if it’s a choice. No one chooses to be a victim. It’s the psychopath who calls the shots. It’s the predator who chooses its prey. However, we can reduce the risk of becoming victims. By learning about psychopathic traits, we become better equipped to recognize abusive people so that we can keep a distance from them, if not stay away completely.
You’re an honest, forthright person. You take your obligations seriously. You would never dream of taking advantage of someone—so when a sociopath takes advantage of you, you won’t see it coming. If you play by the rules, know this:
Read more at LoveFraud.com.
I just stumbled across this article from the Seattle Times, published in 2003, and written by Alex Tizon. When reading about serial killers, you can’t help wondering if there is just something special about the Pacific Northwest. This article puts those thoughts into some context.
“Since religious communities tend to assume bonds of affinity amongst members, they are the perfect hunting grounds for psychopaths.”
Naturally, the same applies to other types of groups and
Some psychopaths show marked predatory behavior patterns.
Since, in the majority of cases, people who indulge in abuse are selective about whom they abuse, other people are typically surprised—or in disbelief—when hearing that someone is experiencing on-going and periodic abuse from someone they know and have always seen as nice and friendly. “Nice and friendly” is the persona of many conmen, abusers, and killers. Although many folks really are as nice and friendly as they seem, some most definitly are not. Like Ted Bundy.
Individuals with antisocial personality disorder are self-centered and remorseless. They do not care about the feelings of others.
Perhaps most frightening is that they often seem completely normal.
From the psychopath’s point of view, everyone belongs to one of two categories: predators or prey.
Basic manipulative strategy of a psychopath
Some psychopaths are opportunistic, aggressive predators who will take advantage of almost anyone they meet, while others are more patient, waiting for the perfect, innocent victim to cross their path. In each case, the psychopath is constantly sizing up the potential usefulness of an individual as a source of money, power, sex, or influence. Some psychopaths enjoy a challenge while others prey on people who are vulnerable. During the assessment phase, the psychopath is able to determine a potential victim’s weak points and will use those weak points to seduce.
Once the psychopath has identified a victim, the manipulation phase begins. During the manipulation phase, a psychopath may create a persona or mask, specifically designed to ‘work’ for his or her target. A psychopath will lie to gain the trust of their victim. Psychopaths’ lack of empathy and guilt allows them to lie with impunity; they do not see the value of telling the truth unless it will help get them what they want.
As interaction with the victim proceeds, the psychopath carefully assesses the victim’s persona. The victim’s persona gives the psychopath a picture of the traits and characteristics valued in the victim. The victim’s persona may also reveal, to an astute observer, insecurities or weaknesses the victim wishes to minimize or hide from view. As an ardent student of human behavior, the psychopath will then gently test the inner strengths and needs that are part of the victim’s private self and eventually build a personal relationship with the victim.
The persona of the psychopath—the “personality” the victim is bonding with—does not really exist. It is built on lies, carefully woven together to entrap the victim. It is a mask, one of many, custom-made by the psychopath to fit the victim’s particular psychological needs and expectations. The victimization is predatory in nature; it often leads to severe financial, physical or emotional harm for the individual. Healthy, real relationships are built on mutual respect and trust; they are based on sharing honest thoughts and feelings. The victim’s mistaken belief that the psychopathic bond has any of these characteristics is the reason it is so successful.
The abandonment phase begins when the psychopath decides that his or her victim is no longer useful. The psychopath abandons his or her victim and moves on to someone else. In the case of romantic relationships, a psychopath will usually seal a relationship with their next target before abandoning his or her current victim. Sometimes, the psychopath has three individuals on whom he or she is running game: the one who has been recently abandoned, who is being toyed with and kept in the picture in case the other two do not work out; the one who is currently being played and is about to be abandoned; and the third, who is being groomed by the psychopath, in anticipation of abandoning the current “mark”.