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The Techniques of a Female Sociopaths

News Sociopath attack methods Female Sociopaths Recommended Links Films depicting female sociopaths Female bullies Bullies Machiavellians Manipulators Tricks
Rules of Verbal Self Defense against Corporate Psychopaths Negative Politeness Diplomatic Communication The Hare Psychopathy Checklist Bosos or Empty Suits (Aggressive Incompetent Managers) Understanding Micromanagers and Control Freaks Borderline Psychopaths Understanding Borderline Rage
Gaslighting Projection Workplace mobbing Isolation as a psychopath attack strategy Demeaning Learned helplessness Office Stockholm Syndrome Surviving a Bad Performance Review
Femme fatale Superficial charm Psychological manipulation Fake Sexual Harassment Claims Insubordination Threat Toxic managers Anger trap Workplace Discrimination and Harassment
Dangerous Liaisons The Last Seduction Fatal Attraction The Devil Wears Prada   Divorcing Borderline Psychopath Humor Etc

Introduction

Female sociopaths are a pretty wide and fuzzy category that includes a wide variety of behaviors, but have the same core set of personality traits. On one point of the spectrum are Femme fatale, on the other those who wear a mask of a faceless corporate bureaucrats or right wing authoritarian functionaries without sense of humor. Some are petty vindictive micromanagers who are as far from any overt display of sexual attractiveness as one can get (although that does not exclude some flirt or sex with higher ups in a new meaning of kiss up, kick down authoritarian motto ;-).

Finnish researcher Kaj Bjorkqvist found is that girls are no less aggressive than boys; they're just aggressive in different ways. Instead of fighting on the playground like the boys, they play subtle mind games that may be even more damaging than a black eye. Male bullying is comprised of direct behaviors such as teasing, taunting, threatening. Female bullies attacks are typically more indirect and directed at causing a target to be socially isolated through intentional exclusion. So it is little surprise that female bosses are usually more cunning and inclined towards more sophisticated bullying and prefer such methods as:

Indirect aggression, which is widely used by female bullies involves the use of relationships, rather than fists, to hurt another. Rumors, name calling, cliques, shunning, and a variety of other behaviors are the weapons that female bullies use against other females and (less often, males) in schools, universities, sports teams, during recreational activities. The is also an alarming tendency of increasing incidence of physical confrontations between adolescent girls, which is an escalation of relational aggression to "male bullies" level ("alpha female" phenomenon). 

Among typical manipulation techniques are:

  1. Minimization: aggressor is attempting to assert that his behavior is not really harmful or irresponsible as someone else may be claiming.
     
  2. Lying.  Often facts to detect false statements are not available when they are presented. One thing to protect you is to know that those personalities will stop at nothing to win and you can expect them to lie and cheat. Lying by omission is a most subtle way to deception -- manipulator simply withhold critical information.
     
  3. Denial. "Classic "Who...Me ?" tactic invites the victim to feel unjustified in confronting the sociopaths about the inappropriateness.
     
  4. Selective inattention. Children often close their ears when they do not want to listen to something.
     
  5. Rationalization. This is an excuse that aggressor is making to justify his reprehensible actions.
     
  6. Diversion. Changing the subject is classic example of diversion.
     
  7. Evasion. Deliberate use of vagueness is classic example of evasion. Evasion of responsibility is often connected with "leaving no written trail" giving orders only by phone or via patsies.
     
  8. Covert intimidation.  Find a weak spot and try to push on them
     
  9. Guilt-tipping. This is a classic trick: to pass the blame for own mistakes, actions or inactions on you.
     
  10. Shaming: subtle sarcasm and put-downs as a mean of increasing fear and self-doubt. Also can be used to weaken moral principles and as such is widely used in seduction. 
     
  11. Playing victim role. Portraying themselves as victim of circumstances, somebody else behavior in order to gain sympathy, evoke compassion and thereby get something in return. Check everything she said for truthfulness. Learn to differentiate  manipulation, especially manipulation using guild or pity --  a typical trick by women sociopath. Remember that you deal with very talented actor/actresses and able the pity play is high  on the list of sociopathic techniques. (see, for example, Niagara)  It's okay to pity someone who has gone through difficult times, but if you find yourself feeling sorry for someone's sad story, make sure the story is true. If we are talking about females, the pity play should be a warning sign to all of us as this is a very typical tool for female sociopaths. Classic example is manipulation using guild, for example, "or I am so overworked, I am working 10 hours a days, and you do not help me enough".
     
  12. Vilifying the victim. Sociopath try to pretend that he/she was only responding (i.e. defending himself/herself).
     
  13. Playing a servant role.  By pretending working hard for somebody sense (usually superior) goals, sociopaths conceal their ambitions, hunger for status and power and quest to position to dominate others.

The most powerful technique female bullies (and all sociopaths are bullies)  use is the isolation and exclusion, which in high school environment can take grotesque forms: 

My "lunch tray moments" consisted of going from table to table, trying to sit down, and kids telling me I wasn't welcome to sit with them, and then eating by myself in the detention room, the only place that would have me.

My "gym class moments" consisted of being the girl left over when the last team captain chose the second-to-last girl, and then the other team captain declaring she never picked me and that I was not on her team.

I adapted first making friends with the neighborhood dogs who all accepted me with love and dignity, and then by getting involved with out-of-school activities and making lots of friends outside of school. By 10th grade, I had friends at school again.

Studding female sociopath using movies

You can learn some features of female sociopath by studying selected scenes from movies such as

This is a kind of inexpensive, but somewhat useful therapy sessions.  You can watch a particular, interesting for you scene multiple times and get better in dealing with similar situations. Usually the first half of the movie is more valuable in this respect then the second. As those are movies, the actors opposite to female sociopath usually do not demonstrate caution, an that's the negative side of such an learning path. Still despite all the shortcoming (and way too many "Right here, right now" type of  sex scenes ;-)  I would recommend to watch them on PC with two monitors with the screen on the left streaming a movie and taking your notes and putting screenshots on the right screen in MS Word or some other editor.  Paper is also good for notes, but  you can't edit them afterwards, unless you convert them into some electronic format.

In pages devoted to those movies I tried to list the scenes, that look to me somewhat educational. You can try to match a particular technique, or particular trait depicted in the scene. Of course the value of a particular scene is highly individual. So the scenes that I recommended are not necessary the best for all people. Your mileage may vary.

Typical set of traits

Typical set of traits

Sets of traits are notoriously unreliable and somewhat unscientific approach but they can serve you well. In any case we do not have anything better.  Traits is probably the oldest way to explain differences in human behaviour. But it is important to understand that traits are not inert peace like mechanical parts, they are more like chemical substances, they interact/react  with each other and while each of them individually can be found in many "normal" people, certain in combinations they react with each other. for example what we mean by word "extrovert" and "introvert" are actually some constellations of trait. Similarly there is a constellation of traits that produce toxic personality, called sociopath., In this particular case a female sociopath. So a female sociopath in not a mechanical combination of certain traits but a "yet another type of personality", a  very toxic indeed.  And gender here is one of the traits that goes into this toxic combination. In no way they are "male sociopath with vagina". They are a different chemical substance. 

You can view traits as behavioral tendencies (Allport, 1966), more generalized and deeper connected with inner brain structures then habits. Some of then are acquired, but many originates from within, are innate to to speak.   Traits initiate and guide behaviour, but environment also play important role.  For example a teenager, accustomed for respect of his classmates find himself in a summer camp with older boys, who look down upon him. One day his new friends propose swiping a few candy bars from a corner store. When a gang ridicules him, the honesty (which is a social trait common for most cultures) is destroyed by stronger trait of desire for social status.

Combinations of traits that are typical for psychopathic personality is now well known and well researched. That does not mean that they are easy to detect. Quite opposite.  It is very difficult task and in most case the detection happens way too late. Still "knowledge is power" and there are a couple of  traits that should be highly alarming and that are somewhat visible even under the think smokescreen of deception. They should ring alert for any person who read this page (although most people reading this page probably got here somewhat late, but better late then never) are:

  1. Sociopathic charm. Dr. Stout believes it is a primary characteristic of woman sociopath. The intense charm of people who have no conscience, has been observed by researchers and commented on by countless victims. In corporate environment it is usually directed mostly up and represents typical "kiss up, kick down" pattern also found is male authoritarians According to the book "Snakes in Suits - When sociopaths Go To Work" by Dr. Robert Hare and Dr. Paul Babiak, one of the most effective skills sociopaths use to get the trust of people is their ability to charm them. Some low IQ sociopaths lay the charm on too thick, coming across as glib, superficial, and unconvincing. However, the truly talented ones have polished their ability to charm people into an art, priding themselves on their ability to present a fictional self to others that is convincing, taken at face value, and difficult to penetrate. One must always keep in mind that the charm, like manipulation in general, can be very subtle.

    The components of this "psychopathic charm" is difficult to define. But you can easily see it in movies that depict such individuals. Women who have a closely related set of traits, but without personal fearlessness, courage and ability to handle stress typical for sociopaths are grouped under  the label Histrionic personality disorder. The researchers of this disorder proposed a useful mnemonic that makes it easier remember the behavioral characteristics that are somewhat typical for sociopathic charm. Of couse this is simplification, but still is a useful simplification. This mnemonic phrase is "PRAISE ME":

     
  2. A fast life strategy which includes an accelerated mating strategy, reporting more sex partners, more favorable attitudes towards casual sex, lowered standards in their short-term mates, a tendency to steal or poach mates from others. They are willing to engage is risk-taking behaviors including unsafe sex and substance abuse, a tendency to prefer immediate rewards, limited self-control, and a pragmatic and game-playing love style.  The appears to be exploitative and highly opportunistic, in to life in general[, including mating and workplace behaviour.
     
  3. Compulsive, pathological lying. Difficult to spot if you feel sympathy or affection to the individual, but it always demonstrates itself  in some self-contradiction especially about the facts of personal history; invented past and/or excessive boasting about past successes. If you attentive this is trait that is one of the easiest to spot despite all the smoke screen that such person erect before you. In more rare cases they are pathological, compulsive liars and lie even when there is no obvious need to it... such a behaviour is somewhat "creating artificial reality". It represents itself as a  consistent trait rather than an episode, like for most "normal" people. 
     
  4. Manipulative, arrogant, callous  behaviour is a norm, but is typically well masked. Complete lack of remorse and empathy are also masked and are difficult to spot untill it is too late.  They are probably more manipulative and cunning then professional con artists.  Actually they are professional con artists. Their personality attributes typically include superficial charm, unreliability, untruthfulness, and insincerity. Pathological egocentricity, selfishness, and related to those traits rejection of authority and discipline. Along with deriving pleasure from criminal behavior, they “really like getting away with it”—that “the ones who have intelligence, they don’t want to get caught.” Several researchers have suggested that sadism, defined as the enjoyment of cruelty, is pretty common feature of such individuals..
  5. Unreliability, untruthfulness, and insincerity. Please understand that betrayal and backstabbing are natural, typical behaviors for them, and they resort to it in situation were normal person would never do such thing. For example petty stealing when having money to buy particular item. As they have complete lack of remorse and empathy they can do really bad things smiling... If you observe such episodes several times this is an important warning signal. As Ian Fleming said (via James Bond in Goldfinger) “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action”  Kind of manipulation of reality that MSM are notorious for. To the pathological liar his own lies are reality, so he walks securely, is open and amiable inside this artificial reality of his life and past.  Extensive, very complicated fabrications may be evolved. They have no troubles to lie then they appeared in court, False accusations are to be expected...  Often the pathological liar lies not according to a plan, but spontaneously when the impulse seizes him/her.  Under oath such a person  can falsely accused other party of serious offences. For example, using drugs or a women can accuse her husband that he has sex with their underage daughter.
  6. Prone to fly into rages See Borderline Rage: unlike borderlines who often have difficulties controlling it, bouts of anger are consciously controlled and used as a very sharp weapon. Many of these women ‘appear’ normal in the public setting, but are verbally and emotionally abusive in the private setting.
  7. Inability to accept any responsibility for their actions. Typically they has little or no concern about the consequences of their actions. They are natural born risk takers, "life gamblers" if you wish. For them life is giant casino.
  8. "Courage under fire." In high tension situations, that happens when police is on the scene or during court proceeding, they typically maintain their cool,  behave rationally and are not prone to panic even in the face of dangerous to them revelations.

Absence of consciousness as a guide to techniques and behaviors

The key element of sociopathy is the absence of conscience. The term itself is a shortcut for "people without conscience." In this sense they are radically different from other people, real aliens: other people are just tools for them, not human beings.  And it does not matter that in the case of female sociopaths such an alien appears in an attractive female body. Such people are so power hungry, so dominance oriented that they stand far apart from other people. Again they can and probably should be considered aliens.  Sociopaths only care about fulfilling their own immediate needs and desires. As a rule, they demonstrate selfishness and egocentricity to the extreme. To this extent  they are more animals than humans.  Ruthless, slick. often psychically beautiful predators (BTW is not tigers beautiful unless you are put in the same cage) that skillfully entrap the victim and devour him/her.

Everything and everybody is considered by a sociopath to be object to be used in achieving their goals, fulfilling their own needs and desires. And those features are especially run contrary to expectation of "normal people" in female sociopaths as women are assumed to be caring.  Tim Field believes the stereotypical view of men as aggressive and women as nurturing often very effectively protects female sociopaths from being seen for what she is:  "A sociopath in a skirt."

Modified Dr. Martha Stout list of the techniques of the sociopath

Dr. Martha Stout, in her book 'The Sociopath Next Door', discusses the techniques of the sociopath -- what she refers to as 'the tools of the trade'. Among  the most typical we can mention the following:

When you find yourself in such a situation the first thing is not only to try to learn basics things about this situation, so that you can avoid typical pitfalls, but also start documenting each day in special logbook. It provides you a feedback and ability to return to previous situation and understand what they really meant and might help to avoid some traps.  In a very real sense documenting your like each day in the evening before going to speed or first thing in the morning must become your habit, Here knowledge is real power and knowledge in thse days impossible without memory "crutches" which log provides. It is your additional memory bank, albeit a very primitive one. 

One important advice is to view your situation is a special brand of warfare as tricks you might face are typically used during the war.

Lying and deception as immanent features of behaviour

The behaviors that a female sociopath demonstrates often include as a subset the behaviors of borderline personality. And borderline personal disorder is more frequent among female (approximately three times more frequent in females). That means that rich material about borderlines might help to understand female psychopaths better. The differential diagnosis is difficult but usually sociopath are not included to cause self-harm. In all other major areas those two are very close. The features of BPD include emotional instability, "black-and-white" thinking intense unstable interpersonal relationships, a need for relatedness, a fear of rejection and impulsivity. Historically the term meant  "borderline insanity".

There is no surprise that typically people with BPD often evoke intense negative emotions in those around them. For other people BPD are  "impulsive",  “attention seeking", “difficult,”  “demanding” and, worse of all “manipulative”  Borderline personality disorder and mood disorders often appear concurrently. Some features of borderline personality disorder may overlap with those of mood disorders. Both diagnoses involve symptoms commonly known as "mood swings". An unusual degree of instability in mood  in borderliners and especially bouts of rage (See Understanding Borderline Rage) are typical.  Inappropriate anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights) is an important diagnostic criteria for BPD.

As a rule those traits leads to chaotic and unstable interpersonal relationships. Increased levels of conflict in romantic relationships is typical as well as rapidly decreased satisfaction of romantic partners, leading to affairs on the side and other form of partner abuse.  The majority (around 96%) of hospitalized borderlines have an  eating disorders (including anorexia nervosa and bulimia).  Substance abuse is also a common problem in BPD. This might well be due to impulsivity or as a coping mechanism, and 50-70% percent of psychiatric inpatients with BPD meet criteria for a substance abuse disorder. Alcohol dependence is the most typical, but is often combined with the abuse of other drugs.

Manipulation and deceit are viewed as common features of BPD by many of those who treat the disorder as well as by the DSM-IV.  Borderlines typically are ruthless, conniving, mean, heartless, two-faced, and worse.

Manipulation and deceit are viewed as common features of BPD by many of those who treat the disorder as well as by the DSM-IV.  Borderlines typically are ruthless, conniving, mean, heartless, two-faced, and worse. 

The prevalence of BPD in the general population is  1-2%.  Borderline personality disorder is diagnosed in three times as many females as males. It's like a feminine version of sociopathy, and is nearly as dangerous. While it is diagnosed only in individuals over the age of 18, symptoms necessary to establish the disorder often demonstrate itself in adolescents.

See also Hillary as a pathological liar

Manipulative,  demanding, and attention seeking; at the same time impulsive and reckless

Due of "BPD troika" of traits:  “manipulative” +  “demanding” + “attention seeking" this group is seen as among the most challenging groups of psychiatric patients, requiring a high degree of skill and training for both the psychiatrists, and nurses involved.

Recklessness in general is very typical trait of BPD that makes them very similar to sociopaths.   Like sociopaths they are impulsive and easily engage in self-destructive behaviors including alcohol or drug abuse, promiscuous (and intense) sexuality. Many are attracted to gambling.

Impulsivity, Recklessness along with "courage under fire" are very typical traits

Oscillations between idealizing and demonizing others (intense love changes to intense hate with no "grey area") is another typical symptom (kind of bipolar relationships). This, combined with mood swings,  undermines relationships with family, friends, and co-workers.

Another telling symptom is attempts to cause harm to oneself. Suicidal or self-harming behavior is one of the core diagnostic criteria that help to provide a differential diagnose as most listed traits are common for other types of disorders too and first of all to female psychopaths. But psychopaths tend not to harm themselves and have a low suicide rate. They are kind of human Terminators.   BPD patients have high suicide rate (approximately 8-10%).  Self-injury attempts are highly common and may or may not be carried out with suicidal intent.  Ongoing family difficulties can lead to self-destructive behavior. 

To understand techniques used by female sociopath you need to keep in mind that they can use any known technique of entrapment of the victim. And this capability is amplified by their typical traits which make them perfect in the role of seducers and entrapment artists.  If you think that they would never attempt film your intercourse with them and use it later to blackmail you, think again.  Among traits that are often present  as a constellation and  that you need to be aware of are:

To understand what those short description really mean is not easy. Words does not communicate the whole picture here. That means that need to watch several movies such as "Dangerous liaisons" which spells out well the process of psychopathic seduction.

Idealize-seduce-devalue-discard cycle

As narcissists are often sex addicts, narcissist managers represent direct danger to female subordinates, such as secretaries due to their propensity to seduce. To seduce just to prove that they can. The other person is just a tool designed to increase their self-word, another "conquest". Paradoxically this is also true for females, which also are often sex addicts in their own right and like to "collect trophies". While people typically view seduction narrowly as purely sexual in nature, but  actually the concept is wider then that. Wikipedia gives the following definition: 

Seduction is the process of deliberately enticing a person, to lead astray, as from duty, rectitude, or the like; to corrupt, to persuade or induce to engage in sexual behaviour. The word seduction stems from Latin and means literally "to lead astray". As a result, the term may have a positive or negative connotation. Famous seducers from history or legend include Lilith, Giacomo Casanova and the fictional character Don Juan. Seduction as a phenomenon is not the subject of scientific interest, although similar, more specific terms like short-term mating, casual sex or mating strategies are used in evolutionary psychology.[1] The Internet enabled the existence of a seduction community which is based on pseudoscientific discourse on seduction.

Seduction, seen negatively, involves temptation and enticement, often sexual in nature, to lead someone astray into a behavioral choice they would not have made if they were not in a state of sexual arousal. Seen positively, seduction is a synonym for the act of charming someone — male or female — by an appeal to the senses, often with the goal of reducing unfounded fears and leading to their "sexual emancipation" Some sides in contemporary academic debate state that the morality of seduction depends on the long-term impacts on the individuals concerned, rather than the act itself, and may not necessarily carry the negative connotations expressed in dictionary definitions.[2]

Which most commonly is discussed in the context of Narcissism, but has much wider applicability

See Classic cycle of sociopathic relations (idealize-seduce-devalue-discard).

At the end of relationship considerable effort are put to made it very clear that everything was the victims fault.  See Blaming the victim

Blaming the victim

Blaming the victim is the essence of devaluation. Female sociopath lie so easily that  after they methodically and systematically destroy the relationship, they can present her former partner to the outsiders as a worthless, horrible human.  Also after they are in relationship for some time, t hey are never satisfied and are always looking for a new better target. Always. And having no moral principles (in other words being naturally promiscuous)  they behave opportunistically, if they have a chance to get a new "fresh" partner, who looks to them more promising then the old one, of only because of the excitement of a chase.   Feeling Like Spilling Your Guts to the Narcissist?

Remember: Pointing fingers at narcissists is difficult for Non-Ns. We want to be fair. We want to be honest. For every finger pointed at the N, we have three pointed back towards ourselves. So in order to feel good about ourselves, we can admit to having flaws, shadows and defects, too. But we CANNOT, SHOULD NOT, DO NOT need to admit this to the narcissist. It’s not good for YOU and it’s definitely NOT good for the narcissist.

When narcissists feel threatened, they cannot stop themselves from using whatever ammunition they have to defend themselves. Some narcissists regret their behavior afterwards but not nearly as much as we regret having trusted them. 

See Films depicting female sociopaths

Female sociopath look at human relations, including sexual relations as the war of conquest

You should remember  famous saying that "War is a continuation of policy by other means". that suggest the value of  your own "war plan" as measure that help to counteract their plans. Of course plans are ruined at first contract with reality, but that does not diminish their importance.  Read one or several books ob the subject. Go to the library and study the topic like military study their craft. It can save your life.  That fact that you have found this page is good, but you need more efforts.  Much more efforts. 

That also  might help you to avoid some common presumptions, mistakes and pitfalls typical for "normal" people, when they are face such a situation. Especially it this is your first encounter the judicial (it's judicial, not justice as as you soon find out it's not about justice ;-) system.

Knowledge here is a real power and helps to avoid a nasty surprise of the mean, dirty tricks used against you. Expect a character assassination. Like in real warfare, be ready that opponent will use dirty tricks against you to win in court. Prepare for false accusations. Beware of traps. Try to minimize communication and practice Negative Politeness.

First of all, like in real war, there is a "fog of war" over the whole situation (i.e., you are facing incomplete, dubious, and often completely erroneous information and high levels of fear, doubt, and excitement). Here keeping daily log might be of tremendous help as it might slightly help to see though the fog. Still the level of uncertainty is high, which complicate rational assessment of the situation so delays with the reaction and keep your cards close to your chest. This simple tactic might in many cases be not detrimental, but advantageous.

Actually studying war tactics which were discussed for example in famous Clausewitz On War (available free from clausewitz.com) and The Art of War  is not a bad idea. Among them (cited from Wikipedia):

For a sociopath the stable personality does not really exist

For a sociopath the stable personality does not really exist. Everything including current personality is built on lies, and carefully woven together to entrap you.  As our focus is on corporate environment, it is important to know that micromanagers are most often females and that the majority of their victims are also females.  In Lovefraud Blog  post  When women are sociopaths-psychopaths the author aptly noted:

There is actually very little research data available regarding sociopathy in non-criminals and in women. The little research that has been done reveals that sociopathy in women entails two or three main features that are similar to those found in men.

Namely, female sociopaths lack empathy and enjoy manipulating and exploiting others. Violent and impulsive behavior is less common in sociopathic women. This fact may make them more dangerous, as they more easily blend in with the rest of society.

The key traits of sociopathic females

A recent study of adolescent girls in detention performed by Crystal L. Schrum, M.A. and Randall T. Salekin, Ph.D. of the University of Alabama and reported in Behavioral Sciences and the Law, revealed the core qualities that best described young female sociopaths. The teens were callous and lacked empathy, had a grandiose sense of self worth and were conning and manipulative. They were also likely to engage in impersonal sexual relationships. Importantly, the researchers revealed that female sociopaths did not necessarily have “shallow emotions.” Again the lack of impulsivity ... make a female sociopath more difficult to spot.

... ... ...

The case of Michelle Drake also illustrates something else about female sociopaths. The courts are more likely to go easy on them. This attitude of the courts may reflect the fact that many people excuse the behavior of female sociopaths and feel sorry for them. Look at the cases of women in the news lately. We don’t know if the women involved are sociopaths, however, these cases do illustrate the double standard that exists in how we judge female as opposed to male antisocial behavior. Several women teachers have been found guilty of sexually exploiting students. They were treated very leniently for the same crimes that would have put a man in jail for many years.

So personality they present to you is just a convenient fabrication created for particular purpose by their talented inner cinematographic director.  That means that for a victim the relationship is not based on informed choice. The sociopath chooses you, exploits you and moves in. Outsiders, without the benefit of knowing the details, may see sometimes discrepancies between the mask and behavior, but we tend to discount these observations, and may even spend energy convincing our friends that this is accidental deviations of generally good person. Third, because everything is faked it usually does not last long.

Relationship between psychopathic boss and his/her subordinates in corporate environment often involve victimization. It often goes far beyond trying to take advantage of someone by deception and includes projection and gaslighting. The victimization is predatory in nature; it often leads to severe financial, physical or emotional harm for the individual. Only recently has society begun to deal with female bullying, perhaps more insidious because it rarely involves fists. Rather pointed barbs, cruel remarks and isolation of the victim are used, frequently leaving much more lasting damage.

Ends justify means mentality,  complete amorality

Female psychopath approach to personal relations much like to war of conquest.  It is all about domination and power.  There is no emotional attachment to anybody. Everybody is just a tool. We become slaves the moment we hand the keys to the definition of reality entirely over to someone else. And what female psychopath wants most is the power to define your reality. Often this is done via exploiting sexual attractiveness.

Movies that can help study techniques used by female sociopaths 

Some movies, especially Bad girl category of movies (Wikipedia)  provide additional insights into techniques used and ways of exploiting sexual attractiveness (which for them is just a weapon like stiletto):

"Bad girl movies" are a subcategory, mostly of films noir, labeled by latter-day movie buffs to describe the dark films of the 1940s and 1950s starring provocatively beautiful women on the wrong side of the spirit and/or the letter of the law. The movie posters to these films usually featured sexy artwork of the actress, posed seductively. Currently, these images in original posters and reproductions are as valued as are the films themselves.

Among the classic "bad girl" performances are:

Others in the "bad girl" category have included: Gloria Grahame, Angela Lansbury, Dorothy Malone, Beverly Michaels, Jane Randolph, Claire Trevor and Shelley Winters.

I would add such classics as Dangerous Liaisons  and Vanity Fair (with Becky Sharp character)  to the list. At the same time not all female psychopaths use sexual attractiveness and in office environment some are even routinely attack their female subordinates, who possess those traits.

See also Films depicting female sociopaths


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[Jul 16, 2016] Female Sociopaths - different but just as dangerous!

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Particular Characteristics of Female Sociopaths Vs Males

Incidence

How many female sociopaths are there? Robert Hare believes that about 1% of the population fits the profile of psychopath, and male psychopaths are 7 times more common than female psychopaths.

But there are some things to keep in mind here. When most people think of 'sociopath' they typically think 'male' and 'serial killer'. They do not generally think of women psychopaths. This can lead to a situation where they are dealing with a psychopath in their life but do not realize who they are dealing with.

Add to this the fact that sociopaths have been called chameleons for their ability to blend into society and it adds to the difficulty in counting them.

Plus, whether you consider it sexist or not, the female aspect needs to be considered when talking about manipulation. Women have been known to 'bat their eyelids' and show their cleavage or 'show a bit of leg', for example, to good effect.

How female sociopaths show up in society

The most obvious group are the serial killers. And yes, there have been lots of female serial killers as well as males!

Unlike the males however, there is usually not a sexual element to their crimes. It's much more usual to be money or power related. And the female sociopaths typically know their victims; it's rare for them to kill strangers. An interesting group are the female sociopaths who become nurses or doctors. These cold-blooded killers hide themselves where nobody would suspect them, in a caring profession!

And then they set to work. For example, Beverley Allitt, a 23-year-old nurse in the UK killed 4 and attacked 9 other children within a couple of months before she was caught. A Texas nurse Genene Jones is believed to have killed between 11 and 46. It's of this group that people usually say "But they seemed like such nice people!"

Another subset are those who kill one or several husbands for the inheritance and life assurance.

Obvious Delinquents

Some female sociopaths demonstrate antisocial behavior as children and as adolescents. Lying, stealing, truancy, cruelty to animals and siblings, drug abuse, early sexual activity. Of course, there may be frequent run-ins with the law. Their parents are very often distraught because there is so little they can do. As adults, these female sociopaths may end up abusing alcohol and drugs and end up in and out of prison.

Some therapists believe that there is such a disregard for society among them that a sociopath that has not broken the law just hasn't been found out yet!

Cult leaders

Many of the women who lead destructive cults are sociopaths.

There seems to be two themes among female sociopaths that are not so prevalent in male led groups, one being the avoidance of sex and the other being food.

The women psychopaths may target women who want to get away from sex for whatever reason. Instead they offer female nurturing and support.

As well as offering meals when potential 'clients' have none, there are cults based on eating healthily or losing weight. This is typical of cults, they offer something people want but behind the outer facade is a second set of ideas or principles. People enter for one thing and end up having the leader control their lives.

Socialized sociopaths

These are the ones that are so difficult to count! Despite their sociopath symptoms, they manage to integrate themselves into society to varying degrees. Everything from solitary lives where they live on the money they make from crimes for which they are not caught, to getting married, settling down and having children.

It's interesting to read or listen to the stories of some of these female sociopaths. Typically, they realize as children that they are different in some way. They think differently and make different decisions. Then they begin to understand that they are not so 'affected' by emotions. It's seems that it's common for them to think that this is because they are smarter than those around them.

They begin from an early age to look for clues to recognize the emotions that others are actually having. They learn to mimic the emotions so as not to stand out, or to please others. They learn to create relationships that are beneficial for them.

Female sociopaths have all the symptoms of sociopaths. The lying, the parasitic lifestyle, the need for excitement and the desire to control. It's possible that there are many female sociopaths who live, for all intents and purposes, what looks like a normal life from the outside. They are content to just blend in and do what "normal" people do.

Others however, want more. More money, more power, more control, more excitement. And they get themselves into trouble because of the impulsivity or the failure to control their emotions, or the irresponsibility.

One of the ways this shows up is in problems in their marriage. In true sociopath style, they attract a man, create an intimate relationship, influence his decision making and get married. It's common for them to isolate the man from his friends and family to varying degrees. They can be very domineering and controlling, using sex as a means to manipulate. The man may suffer verbal abuse, psychological abuse, emotional abuse and even physical abuse.

Had a bad experience?

Have you had a run-in with a sociopath? The more people know about these demons the better! Tell your story here

When there are children involved it gets infinitely more complicated. Especially in separations and divorces. The female sociopaths have no difficulty (remember no remorse, guilt or pity for anybody) in using the children as pawns or objects to try to continue to manipulate the man.

They will extract information from the children about the father to use against him, they will influence how and what the children think about the father, and they may prevent the father from having any contact with the children. The welfare of the children is not considered. What's important is that they continue to maintain control and power.

In family matters where the police or the courts involved, they have no difficulty in lying, inventing stories and doing whatever is necessary to get what they want. They can play the victim role very well, as most sociopaths do, and will use society's preferences towards women and mothers to their advantage.

Some female sociopaths simply go from one relationship to another. They use their sociopathic charm, good looks and female wiles to create a relationship, take what they want and then disappear, leaving a trail of brokenhearted and confused men behind them. Men who are somewhat poorer after the experience!

This piece was originally written about a male but I think it works equally well like this!

She will choose you, charm you with her words, and control you with this presence. She will delight you with her wit and her plans. She will show you a good time, but you will always get the bill. She will smile and deceive you, and she will scare you with her eyes. And when she is through with you, and she will be through with you, she will desert you and take with her your innocence and your pride. You will be left much sadder but not a lot wiser, and for a long time you will wonder what you did wrong.

From an essay signed, "A psychopath in prison".

Testosterone

Apparently both male and female psychopaths have high levels of testosterone. It has been found that in normal populations, higher levels of testosterone are associated with higher sex drive, more sexual activity and more attractiveness to the opposite sex.

This will make female sociopaths more appealing to males. Add to this the lack of inhibition, and the grandiose sense of self and you have a lethal combination! Think femme fatale!

It may also explain the lack of desire to have children and the failure to look after them if they do. It's not uncommon for female sociopaths to leave young children unattended, for example, because they have other more important things to do.

How we perceive women

We normally think women are empathic and nurturing and don't expect to see cold-hearted, uncaring, callous behaviors in women.

We don't consider that they could be more devious, manipulative, destructive, vindictive and downright nasty than their male counterparts.

But just ask any man who has been a victim of female sociopaths...!

Learn what to do if you think you might be in a relationship with a sociopath and how to stop mind control...

[Jul 16, 2016] Confessions of a Sociopath A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight

Just a reminder: like in any fashionable themes that are authors who try to did gold out of it. This is one of the genre:. From comments: "As a training psychologist, I was very disappointed with this memoir. I'm very interested in sociopathy and from how this is written, it seems that Thomas is more likely to be a narcissist than a sociopath. I don't think this book is an accurate account of sociopathy and I'm questioning the formal diagnosis. Additionally, It seemed that Thomas kept repeating the same points over and over, which made it very difficult to read at times. It also was difficult due to my growing distaste for Thomas as an individual (mostly due to her conceitedness - another reason I believe she's a narcissist). However, I will give the book a few stars for being written well and keeping my attention enough to at least finish the book."
Notable quotes:
"... I think everyone learns to lie about his or her emotions to a certain extent; I just take it a step farther. People ask, "How are you?" and you respond, "fine," even though you had a fight with your spouse that morning, have a sick child, or any multitude of things that make it hard for you to feel fine about almost anything in your life. You could honestly answer the question, but you don't because overt displays of strong emotion in ordinary social interactions are not accepted. Most of the time I don't need to show any emotion at all, and I try to limit the times that I do by begging off attending funerals, weddings, etc. When I do show up to these functions, I try to mimic the other attendees. If I'm dealing with a person one-on-one, I just try to reflect their emotions; usually they're distracted enough by their own overflowing emotions not to notice my lack of them. ..."
"... The author goes into some detail in trying to distinguish psychopaths, sociopaths, and person with anti-social personality disorder; but for the majority of the world these distinctions are exercises in semantics only. ..."
"... I've dealt with sociopathic and psychopathic individuals, and they aren't these brilliant, charming, care free people that this book would like you to believe. I'm sorry, but she is not a sociopath. So she is full of herself and likes to toy with the lives of others, apparently she has never met a high school aged girl. If she had, she would see that she is stuck in her own adolescence. She truly wants to believe that she is a sociopath because then she is not like the majority of people. ..."
"... As she says, 1 in 25 people are statistically sociopaths. I'm guessing she hasn't even verified those statistics. What sample size is it derived from? Is the sample really indicative of the entire earth's population? ..."
"... I didn't learn anything from this book; it contains the usual suspects in terms of how she defines herself, the kinds of things she does, etc. This book was written for those who are not familiar with sociopathy, and since it's a pop psych deal all over social media, the author is capitalizing; there are statements in that book that seriously cast doubt on her claims, and others that pinpoint, so it seems to be she did a lot of research to write this, rather than glean her own experience. Considering her penchant to drone about her intelligence, her special abilities, and her success, sociopaths lie, manipulate, and cheat to the nth degree; this is what I'm getting from this; sociopaths are easily detectable, at least to me; I think my discernment skills are far superior to those of the author. One star for the subject, it is familial, and one star for the brazen ability to recognize she cannot fool all, but can fool many. ..."
"... The females are less inclined to criminal behavior and better able to pretend to empathy they don't possess, but they do not have the loyalty or empathy the rest of us have, which means they cannot learn from their behavior the way the rest of us can. ..."
"... I'm sorry to say, this book was a disappointment. It was a long, painful, boring read. First of all, Ms. Thomas isn't a very good writer. Full of run-on sentences and endless, dull descriptions of how great she thinks she is because she lacks empathy and a conscience (she seems to think of these as traits only weak or stupid people have, reminding me of Ayn Rand without an iota of the latter's intelligence), Thomas comes off more as an obnoxious, self-centered, common narcissist than a true sociopath. ..."
"... Thomas (who owns the website Sociopath World) is not a criminal. She may well be sociopathic in that she seems to take pleasure in cheating, manipulating, hurting, and discarding others, once gleefully watched a possum drown, and admits she enjoys ruining the reputations of people she has worked with. She clearly has no empathy and seems to have no emotions. ..."
"... M. E. Thomas is clearly a malignant narcissist, but by calling herself a "sociopath" you feel like you've been the victim of a bait-and-switch (which is in itself sociopathic, I suppose). ..."
"... The only reason I didn't feel completely ripped off was because the yard sale copy of this book set me back only $1; if I'd purchased it at full price, I'd be pretty annoyed right now. It was all I could do to even finish this book. It was that boring. Don't waste your time. If you want to read a good book about sociopathy, read Marsha Stout's The Sociopath Next Door instead. If you really need to read something that comes "out of the horse's mouth," you'd do better with Sam Vaknin ..."
"... I so wish i hadn't wasted my money on this book. The writing was weak and she often contradicts herself and i was utterly bored half way through. Her examples of her sociopathic behaviour aren't very radical - provoking her father to anger in teen years, taking a neighbors bike without permission and returning it (so naughty!), following a man who angered her with murderous intent for a block or so until she lost him. 300 pages of self-aggrandizing that comes across as juvenile and insecure. Perhaps she is malicious and conniving and maybe even a sociopath whatever that actually is (I am not a fan of the DSM), but ultimately its not that interesting, definitely not enlightening. ..."
www.amazon.com

Amazon.com Books

As M.E. Thomas says of her fellow sociopaths, "We are your neighbors, your coworkers, and quite possibly the people closest to you: lovers, family, friends. Our risk-seeking behavior and general fearlessness are thrilling, our glibness and charm alluring. Our often quick wit and outside-the-box thinking make us appear intelligent-even brilliant. We climb the corporate ladder faster than the rest, and appear to have limitless self-confidence. Who are we? We are highly successful, noncriminal sociopaths and we comprise 4 percent of the American population."

Confessions of a Sociopath -part confessional memoir, part primer for the curious-takes readers on a journey into the mind of a sociopath, revealing what makes them tick while debunking myths about sociopathy and offering a road map for dealing with the sociopaths in your life. M. E. Thomas draws from her own experiences as a diagnosed sociopath; her popular blog, Sociopathworld.com; and scientific literature to unveil for the very first time these men and women who are "hiding in plain sight."

Q&A with M. E. Thomas

Q. Were you always aware that you were different?

A. Yes, though when I was young, I thought maybe it was just because I was smarter than everyone else. I saw things that other children did not see, was aware of the adult world in a way that even my smart siblings were not-awkward interactions from the end of an affair, why my grandpa treated my dad differently from his other children (he was adopted), and so on. I knew other people did not see these things because I would reference them and get blank stares in return. I learned to keep things to myself, even to pretend I didn't see them. Those were probably some of my first attempts to wear a mask of normalcy.

Q. What are the common characteristics/behaviors shared by most sociopaths? Do they describe you, too?

A. Lack of remorse or concern for hurting or stealing; being deceitful, manipulative, impulsive, irritable, aggressive, and consistently irresponsible; failure to conform to social norms; and being unconcerned about people's safety, including their own. You need to have at least three of these to be a sociopath. I have them all, to varying degrees.

Q. You believe that sociopaths have a natural competitive advantage. Why?

A. Sociopaths have several skills that lend themselves to success in areas such as politics and business: charm, an ability to see and exploit weaknesses/flaws (which in politics is called "power-broking" and in business, "arbitrage"), confidence, unflagging optimism, an ability to think outside the box and come up with original ideas, and a lack of squeamishness about doing what it takes to get ahead.

Q. If you don't have a sense of morality, or feel the emotions that most people do, how are you able to operate in the world without being detected?

A. I think everyone learns to lie about his or her emotions to a certain extent; I just take it a step farther. People ask, "How are you?" and you respond, "fine," even though you had a fight with your spouse that morning, have a sick child, or any multitude of things that make it hard for you to feel fine about almost anything in your life. You could honestly answer the question, but you don't because overt displays of strong emotion in ordinary social interactions are not accepted. Most of the time I don't need to show any emotion at all, and I try to limit the times that I do by begging off attending funerals, weddings, etc. When I do show up to these functions, I try to mimic the other attendees. If I'm dealing with a person one-on-one, I just try to reflect their emotions; usually they're distracted enough by their own overflowing emotions not to notice my lack of them.

Q. Research shows that one in twenty-five people is a sociopath, yet most of us believe we've never met one. Are we just kidding ourselves? Are you able to spot them?

A. Statistically, everyone has met at least one sociopath; in fact, most people will have a close encounter with a sociopath at some point in their lives, either as a friend, family member, or lover. Sometimes I can tell who they are. I find that many successful sociopaths will leave deliberate clues as to what they are, the thought being that only other sociopaths would recognize them. I think sociopaths, like serial killers, often have a yearning to be acknowledged for who they are. They want people to admire their exploits, and that is hard to get when they are completely hidden, so they make small compromises.

By Sara on December 15, 2015 Format: Paperback

2.0 out of 5 stars Questioning the legitimacy of "sociopath" diagnosis

As a training psychologist, I was very disappointed with this memoir. I'm very interested in sociopathy and from how this is written, it seems that Thomas is more likely to be a narcissist than a sociopath. I don't think this book is an accurate account of sociopathy and I'm questioning the formal diagnosis. Additionally, It seemed that Thomas kept repeating the same points over and over, which made it very difficult to read at times. It also was difficult due to my growing distaste for Thomas as an individual (mostly due to her conceitedness - another reason I believe she's a narcissist). However, I will give the book a few stars for being written well and keeping my attention enough to at least finish the book.
3.0 out of 5 stars D_shrink VINE VOICE on March 31, 2013

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )

At least she is coming out to all but her family. This is written as a confessional/memoir of its author Monica E. Thomas,a pseudonym, necessitated by the subject matter and to protect her present socioeconomic life.

Having just read the reviews written before mine, it would seem I am the first to have actually read the entire book, well, at least, so far.

I would agree with the other reviewers that the book is technically well written, but does get long in the tooth by the half way mark, with many points being repeated several times which lengthened the book with no apparent advantage that I could ascertain; otherwise I would have given 4 stars.

I would agree that the author as self described is unlikeable, but whom I found very interesting simply because I am a retired psychologist and spent the last ten years working with female murderers. The author goes into some detail in trying to distinguish psychopaths, sociopaths, and person with anti-social personality disorder; but for the majority of the world these distinctions are exercises in semantics only.

To help clarify this point, as the author takes some time discussing her rational for the distinction. A psychiatrist, Hervey Clecky wrote the magnum opus on psychopathology in 1941 in a book called MASK OF SANITY; he might be better known to you for his book on multiple personality disorder which was turned into a movie in 1957 called THE THREE FACES OF EVE.

A Dr. Robert Hare building upon Clecky's work devised a 20 question scale to judge antisocial personality disorder. He only used convicts to base his results on, so it is not representative of the general population and certainly doesn't have the background of the MMPI. Hare felt that there were differences between people who committed violent and aggressive act and those who did not. He felt that the aggressive ones should be considered to have ASPD and the others would simply be called sociopaths. The term psychopaths had fallen out of favor.

However, much of the world still considered all three terms to be interchangeable, and if you look up psycho/sociopath in the APA Dictionary it will refer you to Antisocial Personality Disorder. The author particularly chose to make this distinction to differentiate her disorder from those with the more severe form. Basically the author feels that being diagnosed as a sociopath doesn't mean you are bad, but simply that you don't act in socially approved manner unless it benefits the actor.

At one point the author describes her entire dysfunctional family and wonders if she might have turned out differently if raised in a different environment. You know, the argument of nature versus nurture.

1.0 out of 5 stars By N@t@ni on September 12, 2013 Format: Hardcover
Yawn M. E. is a self serving, arrogant and shallow author... her memoir does not show any insights by carefully and thoughtfully analyzing one's life and behavior. Her memoir is simply a regurgitation of already published data, and boring stories to relate to such data and to rationalize poor behavior. She has to hit us over the head about how brilliant she is, and how successful she is, and how much better she is because she is a sociopath, when one wonders if she is just an arrogant and unlikable person. If she demonstrates a typical non-dangerous sociopath, we don't really need to read a book about it, we see it every day and just avoid such people. She talks about power struggles in the most inane and trite situations possible, reeking of low self esteem. She makes gross generalizations about "empaths", which are generally overstated and wrong. This memoir at best, reads like a narcissist's journal entry/book report and at worst, just a terribly boring book.
1.0 out of 5 stars By Dr. Charles Finley on September 26, 2013 Format: Hardcover
Pointless Endeavor I was going to give this book two stars simply because it was written better than some of the garbage available today such as 50 shades of anything, yet cannot because the content is monotonous trash. I would never recommend this book to anyone. It is certainly a work of fiction and the author is even more boring than she is self absorbed. The author doesn't display the true traits of a sociopath. She sounds more narcissistic than anything else. She contradicts herself numerous times throughout the book alluding to why she isn't really a sociopath. It's amusing that sociopaths and psychopaths are being glamorized these days as if they don't have a disorder and they are instead instilled with super human powers.

I've dealt with sociopathic and psychopathic individuals, and they aren't these brilliant, charming, care free people that this book would like you to believe. I'm sorry, but she is not a sociopath. So she is full of herself and likes to toy with the lives of others, apparently she has never met a high school aged girl. If she had, she would see that she is stuck in her own adolescence. She truly wants to believe that she is a sociopath because then she is not like the majority of people.

As she says, 1 in 25 people are statistically sociopaths. I'm guessing she hasn't even verified those statistics. What sample size is it derived from? Is the sample really indicative of the entire earth's population? I only ask these questions because I am sure that she hasn't despite her self-proclaimed brilliance. Getting fired from a law firm and teaching at a 4th tier law school doesn't make you a model of success. Even Dr. Phil could see through miss JRL's ploy for fame. Sorry M.E. Thomas but you aren't special, unique, or different than everyone else. We all have these same feelings. Your actions are driven by the very insecurities that you claim you don't have. Welcome to the real world.

1.0 out of 5 stars By BookReader on June 10, 2016 Format: Kindle Edition

I'm an empath and proud to be one!

I thought this book is interesting. I purchased it because recently I had a bad experience befriending someone who I believe is a sociopath. This friend eerily has every trait of one. I trusted this person. He was charming, witty and a sponge. He is a fifty year old man who hasn't worked since his early twenties. He lies a lot and quite a master at it. But I didn't realize this until later after I was allowing him to use my internet/ WiFi for free for well over a year. I found myself paying for his bills and feeding him and even giving him the use of my new car. This guy didn't have anything and had an excuse for everything. I began to open my eyes and see that his friendships were solely based on merits of what they offered him. They were merely vehicles to get what he needed. After he started making comments to me that when I die, he was going to grab up all my possessions before my daughter had chance, red flags started going off in my head. He claimed he was teasing, but a tease is the truth behind a smile. He liked talking a lot about my death and harped on my material things. He became possessive of my things as if it was his. He even tried to control my spending. I might add, we were never more than friends and we never shared the same dwelling. Finally after catching him in several lies, I dropped our friendship. That's when he underhandedly took my personal information and gave it out over social media to hurt my business.

His grandiose arrogance I think is his weakness, though, he doesn't see it that way. His arrogance blinded him into to believing that I couldn't connect the dots. That's when I started looking further into personality disorders. I honestly believe he is a sociopath.

All his friendships are superficial. He only becomes friends with those who can benefit his needs. He's a pathological liar. He will steal from you and take whatever he wants and is very aggressive and feels he is entitled. He is charming and smart and loves to brag about his intelligence. He snarls his nose at his friends, thinking he is far superior. Even though he doesn't have a job and is dependent of others' financial support. I sit in my house everyday feeling like a prisoner. He knows when I'm home and when I leave. He watches me like a hawk. He's a collector of information of his neighbors. He studies people and pits out his next victim.

This book helped me to understand the mind of the sociopath. However, I don't agree entirely with the writer's view on empaths. She boast that empaths bring havoc to the business world because they allow their emotions to get in the way of decision making.

First, I'd like to say that most sociopaths do not function well in this world. They are cunning, underachievers, narcissist, unable to hold down any kind of job, yet they have this since of value that their opinion and intelligence far exceeds anyone else even though they have never kept even the most mundane jobs for more than a few short mouths. Instead of focusing on a career, they use all their energy into manipulating their victims.

They can be violent but they are all a predator and can't be trusted. I believe a sociopath's spurious confidence blinds them, keeping them from seeing the true reality. The reality is that a person or empath, has great leader ability. They are able to understand the heart of this country and will take in consideration that their decision making is not based on selfish motivation but based on heart and endeavor to help others rise above the occasion. Empaths are the ones who make this country. And yes, I am an empath and I am proud to be one!

I gave the writer a three star. I feel that's a fair mark. It's sort of hard to reward someone who's character is questionable.

2.0 out of 5 stars By TK on April 23, 2016 Format: Paperback

Cookie cutter information

I didn't learn anything from this book; it contains the usual suspects in terms of how she defines herself, the kinds of things she does, etc. This book was written for those who are not familiar with sociopathy, and since it's a pop psych deal all over social media, the author is capitalizing; there are statements in that book that seriously cast doubt on her claims, and others that pinpoint, so it seems to be she did a lot of research to write this, rather than glean her own experience. Considering her penchant to drone about her intelligence, her special abilities, and her success, sociopaths lie, manipulate, and cheat to the nth degree; this is what I'm getting from this; sociopaths are easily detectable, at least to me; I think my discernment skills are far superior to those of the author. One star for the subject, it is familial, and one star for the brazen ability to recognize she cannot fool all, but can fool many.

4.0 out of 5 stars By M'ette on March 21, 2016 Format: Paperback

Narcissism is the most prominent indicator of a sociopath, especially at an older age!

A reviewer describes this person as a malignant narcissist which would be an apt description for a layperson to make, but having been married to a very intelligent sociopath for nearly ten years, and currently having one as a mother-in-law, I can claim that without doubt that the lack of conscious marks a sociopath as a sociopath.
The females are less inclined to criminal behavior and better able to pretend to empathy they don't possess, but they do not have the loyalty or empathy the rest of us have, which means they cannot learn from their behavior the way the rest of us can.

My mother-in-law knows something is missing but she doesn't know what that is, not having the education to tell her. She can pretend to be a kind old lady, but she very quickly loses patience with this effort and has alienated everyone who has has dealt with her for any length of time at all. She is, at heart, mean, nasty and cold. I do not think she has the capacity to be different or be kind.

She is nearly a century of age and cannot learn differently. People are agast to see her coming because they have never been around someone so narrowly selfish, self-serving and manipulative. They try to be kind and professional in dealing with her, and being a sociopath, she is unaware of genuine feelings, and believes they actually like her.

These people are out there, in droves, and dealing with one is like nothing else one would ever experience. When I saw this side of my ex-husband I was shocked to the core and felt like I'd been unknowingly married to an insect for years!

His mother was glad I divorced him, and while she loves him, has no illusions about what her son is. That takes courage and keen insight.

Lauren Bennett on February 20, 2016 Format: Paperback

A couple of weeks ago I went to a yard sale and a book caught my eye, because of its subject matter–a copy of M. E. Thomas' autobiography, Confessions of a Sociopath: a Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight.

Ever-fascinated with all things Cluster B, including first-person accounts by narcissists, psychopaths and other antisocial types, I got busy reading that same evening. It took me two weeks to finish the book, when normally I'd devour a book of this length and subject matter in just a few days.

I'm sorry to say, this book was a disappointment. It was a long, painful, boring read. First of all, Ms. Thomas isn't a very good writer. Full of run-on sentences and endless, dull descriptions of how great she thinks she is because she lacks empathy and a conscience (she seems to think of these as traits only weak or stupid people have, reminding me of Ayn Rand without an iota of the latter's intelligence), Thomas comes off more as an obnoxious, self-centered, common narcissist than a true sociopath.

Thomas (who owns the website Sociopath World) is not a criminal. She may well be sociopathic in that she seems to take pleasure in cheating, manipulating, hurting, and discarding others, once gleefully watched a possum drown, and admits she enjoys ruining the reputations of people she has worked with. She clearly has no empathy and seems to have no emotions.

She crows on endlessly about how her lack of a conscience or any empathy has freed her from having to worry about what others think and therefore indicates what she thinks of as her superior intellect. But like the narcissist she really is, she overvalues her achievements and intelligence. She works as an attorney but doesn't seem to be able to stay employed for long, and really doesn't have any other impressive achievements under her belt. Her "theories" about sociopathy are nothing more than rehashes of what other people have already described in psychology texts, and less readable than theirs. Overall, Thomas comes off as self-congratulating, obnoxious, unlikeable, and very shallow. She also comes off as rather dumb.

M. E. Thomas is clearly a malignant narcissist, but by calling herself a "sociopath" you feel like you've been the victim of a bait-and-switch (which is in itself sociopathic, I suppose). The cover of the book is a picture of a sinister female mask on a white background, and you open the book expecting something more than you actually get, at least some sort of depth or insight into her own behavior. But Thomas has no real insight and the book reads more like a resume of her fake "achievements" than a psychological memoir. She talks about her family, who she describes as neglectful, but she doesn't seem to think they were particularly abusive. She takes arrogant pride in her "sociopathy," repeating the word again and again throughout the text, as if to drive home the fact that she really is one, when it seems that she "protesteth too much" and underneath all that bluster, suspects she may not be one. That kind of insecurity over the possibility of not really being what one says they are is a lot more typical of NPD than psychopathy or sociopathy, who don't care what others think of them. Thomas also talks about wanting to have a family and her religion (Mormonism) a lot. Maybe her religion keeps her from acting out against others in more heinous ways and gives her a sort of "cold" conscience, but I sure hope God doesn't let her have children. She doesn't seem capable of maintaining a relationship, so that doesn't exactly work in her favor.

Although narcissists are thought of as having no emotions, it isn't really true that they don't, and there are narcissists and sociopaths who have been able to write about themselves in an emotionally engaging, albeit dark and depressing, way. There is rage and hurt seething behind the surface of their words. But Thomas writes in a cold, emotionless way, probably because she's such a bad writer. As a result, you feel about as excited reading her "memoir" as you'd feel reading the most boring high school textbook–and learn a whole lot less.

The only reason I didn't feel completely ripped off was because the yard sale copy of this book set me back only $1; if I'd purchased it at full price, I'd be pretty annoyed right now. It was all I could do to even finish this book. It was that boring. Don't waste your time. If you want to read a good book about sociopathy, read Marsha Stout's The Sociopath Next Door instead. If you really need to read something that comes "out of the horse's mouth," you'd do better with Sam Vaknin. [...]

0 out of 5 stars By H. Swanby on January 22, 2016 Format: Paperback

300 pages of dull narcissism

I so wish i hadn't wasted my money on this book. The writing was weak and she often contradicts herself and i was utterly bored half way through. Her examples of her sociopathic behaviour aren't very radical - provoking her father to anger in teen years, taking a neighbors bike without permission and returning it (so naughty!), following a man who angered her with murderous intent for a block or so until she lost him. 300 pages of self-aggrandizing that comes across as juvenile and insecure. Perhaps she is malicious and conniving and maybe even a sociopath whatever that actually is (I am not a fan of the DSM), but ultimately its not that interesting, definitely not enlightening.

4.0 out of 5 stars
By White Rabbit on January 8, 2016 Format: Paperback

Entertaining Self-Aggrandizement Thinly Veiled as Pseudo-Analysis

This was a super-fast, easy, entertaining read, but it reminded me of the glib answer to the interview question "what's your weakness?" : "I'm a perfectionist." The author is undoubtedly bright, although probably not nearly as "brilliant" as she avows on every page. By structuring her personal & professional life to avoid any long-term serious human interaction or competition, she intentionally insulates herself from any real challenges to her thinking or persona. For instance, by bragging that her starting salary as a new lawyer was 170k, she dates herself precisely to the "fattest" 7 years the legal profession has ever had. She did not land that job because she was so brilliant, but because law firms during that period were hiring any carbon-based life form. Also, her assessment that sociopaths are "too rational" (i.e., not guided by emotion or constrained by herd mentality/morality) gets it diametrically wrong. Those sociopaths who either turn criminal (& are found out) or carve out less "successful" lives actually suffer from too LITTLE rational thinking, analysis, and sober calculation, not too much. This is likely correlated to their own inflated ego/self-assessment (as this author exemplifies), or imperviousness/reduced sensitivity to pain/negative consequences, and it leads to failure to accurately assess/predict the negative consequences of their actions, from underestimating the likelihood of getting "caught" to not being able to sustain any romantic relationship longer than the author's case of 8 months. Thus I think it is not "too much logic" that is the root of the problem (but merely its outside manifestation), but bad math, which is rather ironic for someone who envisions/imagines herself to be a brilliant differential engine unhampered by bloody wet emotion. What perpetuates both the sociopathological & narcissistic self-perspective (which, incidentally, is far more common and far more adaptive than the author thinks) is the carefully constructed bubble of invincibility these people construct around themselves, often choosing to rise no higher than the pond in which they assure themselves they are the biggest or flashiest fish. It is easy to imagine yourself King of the Jungle when you surround yourself with declawed kittens. Nonetheless, interesting breezy read, although the book would have better without the utterly banal and transparently false hand-wringing/crocodile tears of the Epilogue.

[Jul 16, 2016] Are you a female sociopath - Telegraph

telegraph.co.uk

By Helena Kealey

5:24PM BST 06 Oct 2014

Comments Comment

Witness the rise of the female sociopath. Cruel, calculating and calm under pressure; these emotionally detached women are in our lives, on our television screens and with the release of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl this weekend, making waves in our cinemas. Sociopaths can be charming, funny and even practised at appearing sympathetic. In fact, one per cent of all women are sociopaths. To put that in context, one to two per cent of the population has red hair. It's likely that you know one, and it's even possible that you are one. Take this test to find out if you are in the emotionally detached one per cent. To take the quiz on your phone: click here.

[Jul 16, 2016] Rethinking Female Sociopathy, Part One

Notable quotes:
"... Rethinking Female Sociopathy ..."
shrink4men.com
by Dr Tara J. Palmatier

January 4, 2012 | shrink4men.com

Shrink4Men: Helping men break free from abusive relationships since 2009

... ... ...

What are the characteristics of a sociopath?

Psychologists Hervey Cleckley and Robert Hare both developed sociopathy checklists. The following characteristics are culled from their work.

Sociopaths have Jekyll and Hyde personalities and can be superficially charming. Their outward appearance is often very conventional or they disguise themselves as helpless victims. Alternately, sociopaths may come across as grandiose and narcissistic. Sociopaths come in all shapes, sizes, sexes, ethnicities and walks of life.

Sociopaths seem to have contempt for their victim's feelings and believe their victims deserve to be hurt, taken advantage of and exploited. They have no empathy or very selective empathy (e.g., your wife shows empathy toward someone who hurts or bullies you). They lie, cheat, manipulate, and/or verbally and/or physically intimidate others to get their way or to "win." To a sociopath, the ends justify the means.

Sociopaths may refuse to recognize that others have rights and believe they're entitled to violate the rights of others. In fact, they often try to control and humiliate their victims. They see people as objects and value others based upon their utility and ease of exploitation rather than fellow human beings. People are either targets and opportunities for exploitation. They don't have friends, but rather victims and accomplices who later become victims.

Sociopaths often have a gross and exaggerated sense of entitlement. They seem incapable of true love relationships and often confuse love with ability to control and exploit someone. They are unable to form healthy attachments with others.

Sociopaths seem to be able to lie very easily. You can have a video or audio recording of them perpetrating a crime or some abusive act and they will still pee on your leg and tell you it's raining. They often believe their own lies and may even be able to pass a polygraph. They seem to lack the capacity for remorse or guilt. For example, many of my clients are more likely to squeeze blood from a stone than to receive a sincere apology from their wives, girlfriends or exes.

When sociopaths seem to be expressing positive feelings it is typically because they are mimicking others to appear socially and psychologically normal. For example, a man on the Shrink4Men forum found a note his wife wrote to herself reminding herself to act nice and to pretend to be interested in her husband's day in order to get something she wanted from him. Warm and loving behavior may be a manipulation in order to be better able to exploit their victims. For example, they pull you close to be able to get a better swing at you – emotionally or physically.

Sociopaths have a need for extreme stimulation in order to feel emotion and are prone to feeling chronically bored. Some may resort to physical violence, gambling, drugs and alcohol, and/or promiscuity; while others create unnecessary conflict and drama for stimulation.

Sociopaths blame others for their bad behaviors and do not take personal responsibility for their actions. At their core, they are filled with rage, which is often split off and projected onto their victims. Sociopaths have poor behavioral and emotional controls and can be impulsive. They often alternate rage and abuse with small expressions of love and approval to keep their victims under their control.

Sociopaths lack boundaries and do not care how their behavior affects others. They may become enraged and/or desperate when their victims try to enforce boundaries on their abusive behaviors. They have difficulty maintaining friendships, and, is it any wonder given how they treat others?

They typically end relationships and/or try destroying former friends who have seen behind their masks. Some may have long-term friendships, but they either seem to be long-distance or friendships with incredibly damaged individuals with low self-esteem who admire the sociopath, i.e., sycophants.

Some may have a history of childhood emotional and behavioral disturbances while others do not. Some sociopathic individuals come from otherwise healthy and loving families.

Sociopaths are often irresponsible and unreliable. They have a history of breaking promises yet become enraged and vengeful if they believe someone has broken a promise to them. They have unrealistic life plans and often live beyond their means. Many live what can be described as a parasitic life in that they get through life by exploiting others.

Sociopaths may have diffuse identities. Many dramatically change their appearance or outward persona in order to exploit new victims or to avoid punishment. For example, when many of my clients met their wives and girlfriends, they feigned similar interests, beliefs, etc., and pretended to be someone they weren't in order to secure the relationship.

Sociopaths are ungrateful and contemptuous of people who try to help and understand them. Oftentimes, they do not believe anything is wrong with them, which is why therapy rarely works. If they acknowledge a problem, they usually blame others for it. Or, if they are formally diagnosed with a mental illness or other personality disorder, they may use their diagnosis to absolve them of their abusive behaviors.

Sociopaths typically do not trust others. They can be authoritarian, paranoid and secretive. They seek relationships with others who will accept, tolerate, condone or admire their bad behavior. They like nothing better than to have a willing victim.

Sociopaths often try to control every aspect of their victims' lives. They can be pretty territorial about their victims, which their victims often confuse with love and jealousy. It's not about love. You're their half-dead mouse and they don't want any other predators messing with "their property." A good example of this is when a woman becomes unhinged when her ex begins dating or gets remarried - especially if she's already moved onto to another victim, er, I mean, relationship .

Lastly, and I think this characteristic will resonate with many of you, sociopaths have an emotional need to justify their crimes and demand that their victims show them gratitude, love and respect. In other words:

Sociopaths expect that their victims show gratitude for being victimized by them.

In a few days, I will post the second part of Rethinking Female Sociopathy , so please check back.

[Jul 16, 2016] Female sociopaths display all the symptoms of a sociopath: lying, a parasitic lifestyle, the need for control, and the craving for excitement.

Notable quotes:
"... "She will choose you, charm you with her words, and control you with her presence. She will delight you with her wit and her plans. She will show you a good time, but you will always get the bill. She will smile and deceive you, and she will scare you with her eyes. And when she is through with you, and she will be through with you, she will desert you and take with her your innocence and your pride. You will be left much sadder but not a lot wiser, and for a long time you will wonder what you did wrong." ..."
"... Most of us think of women as sensitive and nurturing. We don't expect to see uncaring, cold-hearted, callous behaviors in women. It's hard to imagine them being more conniving, controlling, destructive, malicious and downright mean than the male sociopath. ..."
male%20sociopaths%20display%20all%20the%20symptoms%20of%20a%20sociopath:%20lying,%20a%20parasitic%20lifestyle,%20the%20need%20for%20control,%20and%20the%20craving%20for%20excitement.%20https:

Female sociopaths display all the symptoms of a sociopath: lying, a parasitic lifestyle, the need for control, and the craving for excitement. Many live what looks like a typical life from the outside, content with blending in and doing what "normal" people do.

Others need more... more money, more control, more power, more excitement. They often get into trouble as they become impulsive, unable to control their emotions and behaving irresponsibly.

These behaviors often bring problems witin their marriage. Showing true sociopath style, they entice a man, create an intimate relationship, manipulate his decisions, and get married. They may try to isolate the man from his family and friends. They become bossy and controlling and will use sex as a tool to manipulate. The man is often subjected to emotional, verbal, psychological, and physical abuse.

If there are children of the marriage, it becomes ever more difficult. If there is a separation or divorce, the sociopath will easily use the children as pawns or objects as a way to continue to control the man.

They will not hesitate to obtain information from the children to use against their father, will lie to brainwash them into thinking Daddy is "bad" and will keep the father from having contact with them. They do this to keep their power and control and the wellbeing of the children is never a concern.

Female sociopaths have no problem lying, making up stories and doing whatever is necessary to get what they want. This works well in family matters where police or courts are involved. They are very convincing when playing the victim, and use society's favoritism towards women and mothers to their full advantage.

Many female sociopaths go from one relationship to another. They use their sociopathic charm, good looks and female allures to build a relationship, take what they want, and disappear. Men are disposable! They leave behind a trail of broken hearts and baffled men, many who are poorer after the experience!

The writing below was cited from "Decision Making Confidence"

"She will choose you, charm you with her words, and control you with her presence. She will delight you with her wit and her plans. She will show you a good time, but you will always get the bill. She will smile and deceive you, and she will scare you with her eyes. And when she is through with you, and she will be through with you, she will desert you and take with her your innocence and your pride. You will be left much sadder but not a lot wiser, and for a long time you will wonder what you did wrong."

Most of us think of women as sensitive and nurturing. We don't expect to see uncaring, cold-hearted, callous behaviors in women. It's hard to imagine them being more conniving, controlling, destructive, malicious and downright mean than the male sociopath.

However, just ask any man who has been a victim of a female sociopath...

If you're a man in an abusive relationship, it's important to know that you're not alone. It happens to men from all cultures and all walks of life. Figures suggest that as many as one in three victims of domestic violence are male. However, men are often reluctant to report abuse by women because they feel embarrassed, or they fear they won't be believed, or worse, that police will assume that since they're male they are the perpetrator of the violence and not the victim.

An abusive wife or partner may hit, kick, bite, punch, spit, throw things, or destroy your possessions. To make up for any difference in strength, she may attack you while you're asleep or otherwise catch you by surprise. She may also use a weapon, such as a gun or knife, or strike you with an object, abuse or threaten your children, or harm your pets. Of course, domestic abuse is not limited to violence.

Domestic violence and abuse can have a serious physical and psychological impact on both you and your children. The first step to stopping the abuse is to reach out. Talk to a friend, family member, or someone else you trust, or call a domestic violence helpline.

Admitting the problem and seeking help doesn't mean you have failed as a man or as a husband. You are not to blame, and you are not weak. As well as offering a sense of relief and providing some much needed support, sharing details of your abuse can also be the first step in building a case against your abuser and protecting your kids.

When dealing with your abusive partner:

Help for abused men: Moving on from an abusive relationship

Support from family and friends as well as counseling, therapy, and support groups for domestic abuse survivors can help you move on from an abusive relationship. You or your children may struggle with upsetting emotions or feel numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people. After the trauma of an abusive relationship, it can take a while to get over the pain and bad memories but you can heal and move on.

Even if you're eager to jump into a new relationship and finally get the intimacy and support you've been missing, it's wise take things slowly. Make sure you're aware of any red flag behaviors in a potential new partner and what it takes to build healthy, new relationships.

In the U.S. and Canada: Call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-888-799-7233

[Jul 15, 2016] The female sociopath

Notable quotes:
"... Unlike these women, the functional sociopath isn't "dismissible" as a slave to her emotions. She is not outwardly violent. Patently remorseless, clear-eyed and calculating, she is chameleonic in the extreme, donning one feigned feeling after another (interest, concern, sympathy, simpering insecurity, confidence, arrogance, lust, even love) to get what she wants. ..."
"... "You might call it seduction," she suggests, but really "it's called arbitrage and it happens on Wall Street (and a lot of other places) every day." Whatever you choose to call it, its appeal is undeniable when linked to the professional and personal advancement of women. "In general, the women in my life seemed like they were never acting, always being acted upon," Thomas laments. ..."
"... With it, researchers over the last decade have estimated that sociopaths comprise three to four percent of the U.S. population, or roughly 10 million people who regularly demonstrate a lack of empathy, a conniving and ruthless attitude towards interpersonal relationships, and immunity to experiencing negative emotions. A mere 1.5 million of them are women. ..."
digg.com

...Gone Girl, one of the most popular and addictive novels of the past decade, as Amy Dunne - the beguiling and cerebral housewife who stages her own murder and frames her philandering husband. Amy's creator, the novelist Gillian Flynn, has proudly described her character as a "functioning sociopath," which she is quick to distinguish from "the iconic psycho bitch." The iconic psycho bitch, Flynn explains, is crazy because "her lady parts have gone crazy." Think of Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, so consumed with desire for Michael Douglas that she boils his daughter's pet rabbit to death; think of Sharon Stone and Jennifer Jason Leigh (and Kathy Bates and Rebecca De Mornay) chasing men through dim rooms with sharp objects.

Unlike these women, the functional sociopath isn't "dismissible" as a slave to her emotions. She is not outwardly violent. Patently remorseless, clear-eyed and calculating, she is chameleonic in the extreme, donning one feigned feeling after another (interest, concern, sympathy, simpering insecurity, confidence, arrogance, lust, even love) to get what she wants.

And why should she feel bad about it?

For M.E. Thomas, author of Confessions of A Sociopath, such affective maneuvers are tantamount to "fulfilling an exchange." "You might call it seduction," she suggests, but really "it's called arbitrage and it happens on Wall Street (and a lot of other places) every day." Whatever you choose to call it, its appeal is undeniable when linked to the professional and personal advancement of women. "In general, the women in my life seemed like they were never acting, always being acted upon," Thomas laments.

Sociopathy's silver lining was that it gave her a way to combat that injustice, in the boardroom of the corporate law firm she worked for in Los Angeles, but also in the bedroom, where she marveled at how her emotional detachment let her commandeer her lovers' hearts and minds. Somewhere along the way, pathology became recoded as practice - a set of rules for how to manage the self and others.

She is the apotheosis of the cool girl power that go-getter "feminists" have peddled to frustrated women over the last half-decade.

No wonder the female sociopath cuts such an admirable figure. Intensely romantic, professionally desirable, she is the stuff of fiction, fantasy, and aspirational reading. And while actual female sociopaths like Thomas are rare, and sociopathy isn't even recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the female sociopath looms large in our cultural imagination. Amy Dunne may stand as the perfect example - a "Cool Girl" on the outside, ice cold within - but she is not alone. Of late, she has faced stiff competition from fictional females like Lisbeth Salander, the ferocious tech genius in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, or Laura, the shape-shifting alien who preys on unwitting men in Under the Skin. Network television has been even kinder to the female sociopath, placing her at the center of workplace dramas like Damages, Revenge, Bones, The Fall, Rizzoli and Isles, Person of Interest, Luther, and 24. Here, she has mesmerized audiences with how nimbly she scales the professional ladder, her competence and sex appeal whetted by her dark, aggressive, risk-taking behavior, and lack of empathy.

And so we lean in to the cultural logic of the female sociopath, for she is the apotheosis of the cool girl power that go-getter "feminists" have peddled to frustrated women over the last half-decade. The female sociopath doesn't want to upend systems of gender inequality, that vast and irreducible constellation of institutions and beliefs that lead successful women like Gillian Flynn to decree that certain women, who feel or behave in certain ways, are "dismissible." The female sociopath wants to dominate these systems from within, as the most streamlined product of a world in which well-intentioned people blithely invoke words like arbitrage, leverage, capital, and currency to appraise how successfully we inhabit our bodies, our selves. One could easily imagine the female sociopath devouring books with titles like Bo$$ Bitch, Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office, The Confidence Gap, and Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman to hone her craft - to learn how to have it all. From atop the corporate ladder, she can applaud her liberation from the whole messy business of feeling as a step forward for women, when it's really a step back.

The result is a self-defeating spectacle of feminism that finds a kindred spirit in Rosamund Pike on the cover of W, erasing her own perfect face to reveal that what lies beneath might be nothing. Like Gone Girl's Amy Dunne, who confesses that she "has never really felt like a person, but a product" - plastic, fungible, ready to be consumed by anyone, at any time - the female sociopath is a product of a broken promise made to women, by women. She is a product poised to disappear into the immense darkness from which she came.

If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them

Female sociopaths are rare, making up only 15% of all those diagnosed.

Ask any psychiatrist, and he will tell you that the female sociopath is a rare, almost mythological, creature. Ask Dr. Robert Hare, perhaps the most prolific researcher in criminal psychology and creator of the Hare Psychopath Checklist (PCL-R), and he will place the ratio of male to female sociopaths at seven to one - practically unworthy of discussion, let alone veneration. The PCL-R, which Hare developed during his work with inmate populations in Canada, is widely considered the gold standard for identifying and discussing anti-social behavior - and by the same token, for identifying and discussing what constitutes "normal" social behavior. With it, researchers over the last decade have estimated that sociopaths comprise three to four percent of the U.S. population, or roughly 10 million people who regularly demonstrate a lack of empathy, a conniving and ruthless attitude towards interpersonal relationships, and immunity to experiencing negative emotions. A mere 1.5 million of them are women.

[Jul 15, 2016] Female Sociopaths - different but just as dangerous!

Notable quotes:
"... Some female sociopaths demonstrate antisocial behavior as children and as adolescents. Lying, stealing, truancy, cruelty to animals and siblings, drug abuse, early sexual activity. Of course, there may be frequent run-ins with the law. Their parents are very often distraught because there is so little they can do. As adults, these female sociopaths may end up abusing alcohol and drugs and end up in and out of prison. ..."
"... Female sociopaths have all the symptoms of sociopaths. The lying, the parasitic lifestyle, the need for excitement and the desire to control. It's possible that there are many female sociopaths who live, for all intents and purposes, what looks like a normal life from the outside. They are content to just blend in and do what "normal" people do. ..."
"... One of the ways this shows up is in problems in their marriage. In true sociopath style, they attract a man, create an intimate relationship , influence his decision making and get married. It's common for them to isolate the man from his friends and family to varying degrees. They can be very domineering and controlling, using sex as a means to manipulate. The man may suffer verbal abuse, psychological abuse, emotional abuse and even physical abuse. ..."
"... When there are children involved it gets infinitely more complicated. Especially in separations and divorces. The female sociopaths have no difficulty (remember no remorse, guilt or pity for anybody) in using the children as pawns or objects to try to continue to manipulate the man. ..."
"... In family matters where the police or the courts involved, they have no difficulty in lying, inventing stories and doing whatever is necessary to get what they want. They can play the victim role very well, as most sociopaths do, and will use society's preferences towards women and mothers to their advantage. ..."
"... Apparently both male and female psychopaths have high levels of testosterone. It has been found that in normal populations, higher levels of testosterone are associated with higher sex drive, more sexual activity and more attractiveness to the opposite sex. This will make female sociopaths more appealing to males. Add to this the lack of inhibition, and the grandiose sense of self and you have a lethal combination! Think femme fatale! It may also explain the lack of desire to have children and the failure to look after them if they do. It's not uncommon for female sociopaths to leave young children unattended, for example, because they have other more important things to do. ..."
"... We normally think women are empathic and nurturing and don't expect to see cold-hearted, uncaring, callous behaviors in women. We don't consider that they could be more devious, manipulative, destructive, vindictive and downright nasty than their male counterparts. But just ask any man who has been a victim of female sociopaths...! ..."
www.decision-making-confidence.com
Incidence

How many female sociopaths are there? Robert Hare believes that about 1% of the population fits the profile of psychopath, and male psychopaths are 7 times more common than female psychopaths.

But there are some things to keep in mind here. When most people think of 'sociopath' they typically think 'male' and 'serial killer'. They do not generally think of women psychopaths. This can lead to a situation where they are dealing with a psychopath in their life but do not realize who they are dealing with.

Add to this the fact that sociopaths have been called chameleons for their ability to blend into society and it adds to the difficulty in counting them.

Plus, whether you consider it sexist or not, the female aspect needs to be considered when talking about manipulation. Women have been known to 'bat their eyelids' and show their cleavage or 'show a bit of leg', for example, to good effect.

How female sociopaths show up in society

The most obvious group are the serial killers. And yes, there have been lots of female serial killers as well as males!

Unlike the males however, there is usually not a sexual element to their crimes. It's much more usual to be money or power related. And the female sociopaths typically know their victims; it's rare for them to kill strangers. An interesting group are the female sociopaths who become nurses or doctors. These cold-blooded killers hide themselves where nobody would suspect them, in a caring profession!

And then they set to work. For example, Beverley Allitt, a 23-year-old nurse in the UK killed 4 and attacked 9 other children within a couple of months before she was caught. A Texas nurse Genene Jones is believed to have killed between 11 and 46. It's of this group that people usually say "But they seemed like such nice people!"

Another subset are those who kill one or several husbands for the inheritance and life assurance.

Obvious Delinquents

Some female sociopaths demonstrate antisocial behavior as children and as adolescents. Lying, stealing, truancy, cruelty to animals and siblings, drug abuse, early sexual activity. Of course, there may be frequent run-ins with the law. Their parents are very often distraught because there is so little they can do. As adults, these female sociopaths may end up abusing alcohol and drugs and end up in and out of prison.

Some therapists believe that there is such a disregard for society among them that a sociopath that has not broken the law just hasn't been found out yet!

Cult leaders

Many of the women who lead destructive cults are sociopaths.

There seems to be two themes among female sociopaths that are not so prevalent in male led groups, one being the avoidance of sex and the other being food.

The women psychopaths may target women who want to get away from sex for whatever reason. Instead they offer female nurturing and support.

As well as offering meals when potential 'clients' have none, there are cults based on eating healthily or losing weight. This is typical of cults, they offer something people want but behind the outer facade is a second set of ideas or principles. People enter for one thing and end up having the leader control their lives.

Socialized sociopaths

These are the ones that are so difficult to count! Despite their sociopath symptoms, they manage to integrate themselves into society to varying degrees. Everything from solitary lives where they live on the money they make from crimes for which they are not caught, to getting married, settling down and having children.

It's interesting to read or listen to the stories of some of these female sociopaths. Typically, they realize as children that they are different in some way. They think differently and make different decisions. Then they begin to understand that they are not so 'affected' by emotions. It's seems that it's common for them to think that this is because they are smarter than those around them.

They begin from an early age to look for clues to recognize the emotions that others are actually having. They learn to mimic the emotions so as not to stand out, or to please others. They learn to create relationships that are beneficial for them.

Female sociopaths have all the symptoms of sociopaths. The lying, the parasitic lifestyle, the need for excitement and the desire to control. It's possible that there are many female sociopaths who live, for all intents and purposes, what looks like a normal life from the outside. They are content to just blend in and do what "normal" people do.

Others however, want more. More money, more power, more control, more excitement. And they get themselves into trouble because of the impulsivity or the failure to control their emotions, or the irresponsibility.

One of the ways this shows up is in problems in their marriage. In true sociopath style, they attract a man, create an intimate relationship, influence his decision making and get married. It's common for them to isolate the man from his friends and family to varying degrees. They can be very domineering and controlling, using sex as a means to manipulate. The man may suffer verbal abuse, psychological abuse, emotional abuse and even physical abuse.

When there are children involved it gets infinitely more complicated. Especially in separations and divorces. The female sociopaths have no difficulty (remember no remorse, guilt or pity for anybody) in using the children as pawns or objects to try to continue to manipulate the man.

They will extract information from the children about the father to use against him, they will influence how and what the children think about the father, and they may prevent the father from having any contact with the children. The welfare of the children is not considered. What's important is that they continue to maintain control and power.

In family matters where the police or the courts involved, they have no difficulty in lying, inventing stories and doing whatever is necessary to get what they want. They can play the victim role very well, as most sociopaths do, and will use society's preferences towards women and mothers to their advantage.

Some female sociopaths simply go from one relationship to another. They use their sociopathic charm, good looks and female wiles to create a relationship, take what they want and then disappear, leaving a trail of brokenhearted and confused men behind them. Men who are somewhat poorer after the experience!

This piece was originally written about a male but I think it works equally well like this!

She will choose you, charm you with her words, and control you with this presence. She will delight you with her wit and her plans. She will show you a good time, but you will always get the bill. She will smile and deceive you, and she will scare you with her eyes. And when she is through with you, and she will be through with you, she will desert you and take with her your innocence and your pride. You will be left much sadder but not a lot wiser, and for a long time you will wonder what you did wrong.

From an essay signed, "A psychopath in prison".

Testosterone

Apparently both male and female psychopaths have high levels of testosterone. It has been found that in normal populations, higher levels of testosterone are associated with higher sex drive, more sexual activity and more attractiveness to the opposite sex. This will make female sociopaths more appealing to males. Add to this the lack of inhibition, and the grandiose sense of self and you have a lethal combination! Think femme fatale! It may also explain the lack of desire to have children and the failure to look after them if they do. It's not uncommon for female sociopaths to leave young children unattended, for example, because they have other more important things to do.

How we perceive women

We normally think women are empathic and nurturing and don't expect to see cold-hearted, uncaring, callous behaviors in women. We don't consider that they could be more devious, manipulative, destructive, vindictive and downright nasty than their male counterparts. But just ask any man who has been a victim of female sociopaths...!

Learn what to do if you think you might be in a relationship with a sociopath and how to stop mind control...

[Apr 12, 2016] Mind Games Emotionally Manipulative Tactics Partners Use to Control Relationships and Force the Upper Hand

Notable quotes:
"... They view relationships as power struggles and always want to be on the winning side of it. They have impaired consciences and don't mind fighting dirty. They can lie with a straight face and have a professional-level poker face. ..."
www.amazon.com
To an abuser, emotional manipulation serves one goal and one goal only. It's the determination to win and possess the most power in a relationship. They believe that when they have such power, they will be happy... and it's all at your expense. It's an amazingly unhealthy approach to a relationship, and anything for that matter. If you approach something solely to win, that means you put winning as a higher priority than someone's feelings and ultimately wellbeing.

If you approach an argument solely to win, then you ignore the underlying issues and are not resolution-focused. And if you approach a relationship solely to win, then you are spitting on the underlying concept of a relationship.

You are mistaking it for a battle of vulnerability and control, while relationships should be the polar opposite. Relationships are a give-and-take and require compromise. Relationships are not a zero-sum game, and they do not function like a dom-sub relationship from the BDSM world. Abusers forget this, or worse... they realize it and know exactly what they are doing when they manipulate you.

Abusers embody a frightening combination of traits that make them dangerous.

They are focused and intentional about what they want from you. They have a penchant for deception and backhanded tactics of questionable morality. They view relationships as power struggles and always want to be on the winning side of it. They have impaired consciences and don't mind fighting dirty. They can lie with a straight face and have a professional-level poker face.

They live in a zone of danger where they are smart enough to be able to fool you yet dumb enough to not see the damage they are doing.

But let's get one thing straight. Your abuser wants power over you, and this means one simple truth. They don't love you. They just don't, or else they would treat you better and respect you. They may think they love you, but that's a testament to their skewed understanding of love and how relationships work. At best, the} believe they know what's best for you and seek to control every aspect of your life.

If they don't love you, what do they love? What motivates them?

They love controlling someone. That's what gives them pleasure, and they will go to any lengths to maintain that pleasure. That's why they make you feel downtrodden on a daily basis and constantly tell you that you aren't good enough or smart enough. You hear it so much, you begin believing it instead of trusting yourself and your self-esteem... and that's exactly where your abuser wants you. It makes them feel better about themselves and happy to be adored.

.... ... ...

Emotional manipulation is rarely as direct and obvious as you might think. Perhaps it might be obvious to the casual bystander, but when you're emotionally invested, everything simply appears incredibly complex and layered.

[Apr 12, 2016] Surviving Sara Marrying a narcissistic sociopath

Notable quotes:
"... Some of the chapters were next to impossible to write because of the nature of the situations I found myself in, and how personal the memories were, and I hesitated including them in this book, however I felt it was needed to show the lengths Sara would go to to manipulate, degrade and brainwash me, ultimately leading to the destruction of our marriage. It took me a very long time to recognize and admit I was a victim of abuse, especially from a woman. ..."
"... Being a man's man, that wasn't easy. After my admission, I had to take a look back at the big picture and realize my intentions were always good, but I was just manipulated, brainwashed and beaten down to the point of alienating virtually everyone away from me. ..."
"... This was the life I lived for 12 years.... ..."
"... As time went on, and we spent virtually every waking moment together, I began to feel the suffocation of a poisonous relationship creeping in, but by the time I realized this, I was too deep into it and didn't know what to do; the brainwashing had begun. ..."
"... Admittedly, there was a fairly significant amount of fear I developed towards Sara. Along the way, I had friends I turned to here and there, but eventually, telling people some of the things that were going on was far too embarrassing to share. ..."
Amazon.com

Author's Note The events that happened throughout this book are all true, recalled from the best of my memory and/or old journals I had kept. Those who read it, may not like everything they read, but unfortunately sometimes the truth is the hardest thing to hear. All of the dialogue has been reconstructed from memory; it may not be word for word, but the nature of what was said is accurate. It was suggested by some of my closest friends and family that I take my unbelievable story and life lessons learned with Sara and not only write them down, but publish a book for others to read and try to grasp the hell I lived. I know I'm not alone in what I had gone through and there are other people out there who are living a similar life that I lived. I thought that if I wrote this book, sharing the struggles I faced being married to someone who was mentally, emotionally and sometimes physically abusive (not to mention controlling, completely unpredictable and manipulative), there may be some small chance that one of these people living in a similar hell may read it and find that there is a way out. There is hope for a better life.

I will say, wiiting these memories, (or in most cases nightmares) down was very therapeutic but not often easy. I do not regret anything I wrote in this book. I wanted everything to be honest, factual, uncensored and descriptive, and I believe in order to do it right, it couldn't have been done any other way. Some of the chapters were next to impossible to write because of the nature of the situations I found myself in, and how personal the memories were, and I hesitated including them in this book, however I felt it was needed to show the lengths Sara would go to to manipulate, degrade and brainwash me, ultimately leading to the destruction of our marriage. It took me a very long time to recognize and admit I was a victim of abuse, especially from a woman.

Being a man's man, that wasn't easy. After my admission, I had to take a look back at the big picture and realize my intentions were always good, but I was just manipulated, brainwashed and beaten down to the point of alienating virtually everyone away from me. I was lost and spiraling quickly down a very dark, destructive path. I am still working on standing tall and holding my head up after many years of abuse. I am not ashamed of myself any longer, and have become comfortable speaking out on this subject. I am a much different man today than I was back then. This is my story. This was the life I lived for 12 years....

... ... ...

My point? We were like any other teenage romance. It was not uncommon for us to do sweet gestures for each other like writing little notes in our lockers at school to each other, or meeting each other for lunch. I'm sure we made some people sick. Then things began to slowly change. As time went on, and we spent virtually every waking moment together, I began to feel the suffocation of a poisonous relationship creeping in, but by the time I realized this, I was too deep into it and didn't know what to do; the brainwashing had begun.

Admittedly, there was a fairly significant amount of fear I developed towards Sara. Along the way, I had friends I turned to here and there, but eventually, telling people some of the things that were going on was far too embarrassing to share. I kept things to myself and tried to work through them alone, or just simply ignore them...

[Apr 07, 2016] Characteristics Associated with Cultic Groups - Revised

csj.org

Janja Lalich, Ph.D. & Michael D. Langone, Ph.D.

Concerted efforts at influence and control lie at the core of cultic groups, programs, and relationships. Many members, former members, and supporters of cults are not fully aware of the extent to which members may have been manipulated, exploited, even abused. The following list of social-structural, social-psychological, and interpersonal behavioral patterns commonly found in cultic environments may be helpful in assessing a particular group or relationship.

Compare these patterns to the situation you were in (or in which you, a family member, or friend is currently involved). This list may help you determine if there is cause for concern. Bear in mind that this list is not meant to be a "cult scale" or a definitive checklist to determine if a specific group is a cult. This is not so much a diagnostic instrument as it is an analytical tool.

  1. The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.
  2. Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
  3. Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).
  4. The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry-or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).
  5. The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar-or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).
  6. The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.
  7. The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).
  8. The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members' participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).
  9. The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt iin order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.
  10. Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.
  11. The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
  12. The group is preoccupied with making money.
  13. Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.
  14. Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.
  15. The most loyal members (the "true believers") feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.

This checklist will be published in the new book, Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships by Janja Lalich and Madeleine Tobias (Berkeley: Bay Tree Publishing, 2006). It was adapted from a checklist originally developed by Michael Langone.

[Apr 07, 2016] The Confidence Game Why We Fall for It... Every Time by Maria Konnikova

Hardcover: 352 pages, Viking (January 12, 2016)
Notable quotes:
"... I went back and saw ways I got conned in matters of the heart while dating; in buying things; in following certain leaders in church. ..."
"... As a former prosecutor of elder abuse crimes (both physical and financial), I have a lot of experience with people who "fall for it." But that certainly doesn't mean everyone does. Nor does it mean that the ones who don't "fall for it" are more cynical, less humane, less open to true friendship, etc. In fact, Konnikova's description of victims of con artists as being more open and in touch with their humanity sounds like the manipulation of a con artist. ..."
"... As a scientist, used to sorting through ambiguous evidence and well-meaning but underdetermined interpretations, I find this book excellent. The author no doubt has to cast speculations of her own, and overplay some connections and implications, but the connections between gullibility, optimism, cults, and scams strike me as well articulated. ..."
"... But you are not at all privileged to launch unsolicited attacks on the personal attributes of the author. (Your line "until she matures as a thinker and researcher....." was completely uncalled-for, and hints more at your feelings of insecurity and inadequacy than anything else.) ..."
"... Three-card monte gets some attention - but that's not that interesting to me...I know why they succeed, because people want to see if THEY can beat the game - it's not a con as much as a battle of wits, which the rube always loses (I was cheated on a rigged carny game years ago - they suck you in with a few easy wins, then it gets progressively harder to win the stuffed animal). ..."
"... as long as there's an advantage to fooling somebody, people will try to fool other people. ..."
"... A confidence game starts with basic human psychology. The con identifies what the victim wants and how to play on that desire to achieve what the con-artist wants. Size someone up well, and you can sell them anything; it helps to have someone in the throes of some sort of life turmoil - the conman preys on what people wish were true, reaffirming their views of themselves and giving their lives meaning. Doing so requires the creation of empathy and rapport - laying an emotional foundation before any scheme is proposed. ..."
"... The con is an exercise in soft skills - trust, sympathy, persuasion. He doesn't steal - we give. We believe because we want to, and we offer whatever they want - money, reputation, trust, fame, support, and don't realize what is happening until it is too late. No one is immune to the art of the con - it is not who you are, but where you happen to be at the moment in your life (eg. undergoing misfortune). ..."
"... The con is the oldest game there is, and it's likely to be entering a new age - thanks to new opportunities brought by increasing technology that make it far easier to establish convincing false identities (eg. LinkedIn), as well as identify those who might be more likely conned (dating sites that identify widows and divorcees). ..."
"... Con artists aren't just master manipulators - they are expert storytellers (eg. 'I'm supporting my mother, who now has AIDS,' 'I had PTSD from Iraq,' etc. Once we've accepted a story as true we will probably unconsciously bend any contradictory information to conform to the conclusion we've already drawn - it's known as 'confirmation bias.' Ultimately, what a confidence artist sells is hope. Many cases go unreported - most cases, by some estimates. AARP found that only 37% of victims over 55 will admit to having fallen for a con, and just over half those under 55 do so. Most con artists don't ever come to trial because they aren't brought to the authorities to begin with. ..."
"... The first commandment of the con man - 'Be a patient listener.' (Victor Lustig, con artist) Emotion is the primary hook used, much more powerful than logic. Cons tend to thrive in the wake of economic or natural disaster illness, personal travail. Sadness makes us more prone to risk taking and impulsivity - perfect for certain types of cons. Con artists love funerals and obituaries, divorces, layoffs, and general loneliness. He does everything in his power to bring our self-perceived better-than-averageness perceptions to the fore - eg. 'How intelligent you are, Professor Frampton.' And we believe it, because we want it to be. ..."
"... They recognize common traits, like our tendency to see others as similar to ourselves, our illusion of control, and our unwillingness to think badly about ourselves. These traits aren't weaknesses; without them, we'd be functionally paralyzed. Effective swindlers work by turning our best characteristics and human capabilities against us. ..."
"... Fraudsters prey on traits that open us to community, family, and fiscal reward. As Konnikova writes: "The same thing that can underlie success can also make you all the more vulnerable to the grifter's wares. We are predisposed to trust." With swindles, as with propaganda, those who think themselves most immune are, actually, most vulnerable. ..."
"... "It's not that the confidence artist is inherently psychopathic, caring nothing about the fates of others. It's that, to him, we aren't worthy of consideration as human beings; we are targets, not unique people." ..."
"... Konnikova suggests it's difficult to prevent con-games without isolating ourselves and descending into cynicism. In the later chapters, though, she reverses the trend, showing how skilled, self-aware people can resist flim-flam artists' techniques. Not hypothetically, either: she shows how real people, cult busters and cultural anthropologists and police, have maintained their sanity when confronted by seemingly insurmountable double-dealing. Resistance is possible. ..."
"... Even if we never vote for crooks, invest with Bernie Madoff, or buy salvation sellers' wares, the potential for confidence games still surrounds us. Konnikova provides needed tools for self-awareness, clear boundaries, and bold self-defense. Swindles are inevitable; victimhood isn't. ..."
amazon.com
Dan E. Nicholas, February 4, 2016
And some are not even bad people. She says it's when folks who lack ...

I'm reading and loving this book. I'll expand my review when I'm completely done in a couple days but just have to say: get it. Read it. Learn about yourself; if you dare. (I gave it four stars rather than five to protect myself!)

I was shocked how well she documents that it is we the conned that want the con to be real. The Grifter doesn't even have to always be that skilled. I went back and saw ways I got conned in matters of the heart while dating; in buying things; in following certain leaders in church.

Stunned to learned that 1% of the population is psychopathological in the way their brains are wired, some folks just can't feel or give meaning to your pain or the pain of others. And some are not even bad people. She says it's when folks who lack this "proper" wiring aim to use it for financial gain or to win and break hearts? Awful.

I fell in love with a Man Eater once. Looking back I see how it was my fault in setting up my own fall. I want things to look like they would work. The bad rests on me now. She's still a Man Eater. But the wounds I earned with my stupidity. I went on to find success with love but I've some scars for sure due to female cons running scams unwittingly online with dating sights.

She shows we can be wise without being cynical. I like that.

Wild'n'Free
Disappointing but with some qualities, November 28, 2015

Konnikova promises a lot in the titles to her books. I read Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes and was disappointed. I did not learn to think like Sherlock Holmes; not by a long shot. In this book, Konnikova has come closer to delivering the "Why We Fall for It . . . Every Time" but I disagree with her observations and conclusions.

As a former prosecutor of elder abuse crimes (both physical and financial), I have a lot of experience with people who "fall for it." But that certainly doesn't mean everyone does. Nor does it mean that the ones who don't "fall for it" are more cynical, less humane, less open to true friendship, etc. In fact, Konnikova's description of victims of con artists as being more open and in touch with their humanity sounds like the manipulation of a con artist.

Not that I think Konnikova is a con artist. She is just a very ambitious young woman and a self-promoter. I have read a lot of her magazine articles and have enjoyed many of them. Unfortunately, her organizational and analytical skills as a writer do not make her a good writer of books. Viewed as a series of magazine articles with the inevitable repetitions this book holds up fairly well.

But as a book, it lacks a great deal. It certainly deserves 3 stars, but its failure to respond to bigger questions with bigger answers makes it fall short. For me, it was an uneven, often repetitious, fairly shallow approach to a fascinating subject. Until she matures as a thinker and researcher, Konnikova does better when she sticks to the magazine articles that she handles so well.

SundayAtDusk says:

"In fact, Konnikova's description of victims of con artists as being more open and in touch with their humanity sounds like the manipulation of a con artist."

Excellent observation and excellent review.

JohnVidale says:

As a scientist, used to sorting through ambiguous evidence and well-meaning but underdetermined interpretations, I find this book excellent. The author no doubt has to cast speculations of her own, and overplay some connections and implications, but the connections between gullibility, optimism, cults, and scams strike me as well articulated. The field of psychology is messy, but this book was very interesting and enlightening, clear as is possible (aside from chapters organized like magazine articles), and the connection between empathetic people and people who get scammed seems completely reasonable, albeit with a less than perfect correlation.

Joe Madison says:

I have the same question as Ellis Reppo: If this book is only average, can you recommend a good one? I have not read The Confidence Game, but I have a psych degree and a longstanding interest in persuasion. I often find popular psych books to be like you describe The Confidence Game (repetitive, without great breadth of understanding), and so your own book recommendations would be of real value. Thanks!

pat black says:

There's one called Eyeing the Flash: The Making of a Carnival Con Artist. A case study, if you will, of a 17-year-old middle class math whiz who became a midway con man in 1960s midwest

JLMK

I'd stick to making an unbiased appraisal of the merits of the book if I were you, and cut out the ad hominem nonsense. As a reviewer you are privileged to make an opinion on the book's attributes, how it answers the questions raised by the author, etc.

But you are not at all privileged to launch unsolicited attacks on the personal attributes of the author. (Your line "until she matures as a thinker and researcher....." was completely uncalled-for, and hints more at your feelings of insecurity and inadequacy than anything else.)

Kirk McElhearn says:

Read David Maurer's The Big Con. It explains how the cons work, rather than focusing on lots of psychological studies that Konnikova looks at, trying to suss out why we respond the way we do.

Nathan Webster TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE on November 27, 2015

Entertaining and interesting look at conmen and the rubes who buy what they sell

This is a fun book that covers a lot of ground about 'cons,' from the personalities of those who can commit them, to the marks and rubes who get taken advantage of.

You would think in our informed culture, we couldn't be fooled, but we know that's not the case. Author Maria Konnikova does a good job presenting all sides of these stories and it's often entertaining reading about the pure brazeness of it all. I had not heard of many of the conmen (and women) that she describes and I always like reading new stories.

I do wish there had been more recent accounts - there are so many cheaters like Lance Armstrong that aren't exactly doing it for profit, and more attention to them would have been interesting. Three-card monte gets some attention - but that's not that interesting to me...I know why they succeed, because people want to see if THEY can beat the game - it's not a con as much as a battle of wits, which the rube always loses (I was cheated on a rigged carny game years ago - they suck you in with a few easy wins, then it gets progressively harder to win the stuffed animal).

I think the book is not disorganized, but it does cover a lot of ground, and the different names and situations can be difficult to follow at times. Interesting and entertaining, yes, but just be ready to pay attention.

Ultimately, it's an interesting sociological study - as long as there's an advantage to fooling somebody, people will try to fool other people. I would not use this book as the primary source - I think a reader should have interest in this specific topic first, and not use this book to try to get interested. It's a little too specific to get a reader invested who comes to the topic totally new.

Loyd Eskildson HALL OF FAMEon January 12, 2016
Rogues Regularly Triumph Over The Meek

Author Maria Konnikova has a Ph.D. in Psychology from Columbia, along with considerable experience researching topics in and writing about psychology. This, her second book, is about conmen - elegant, outsized personalities, artists of persuasion and exploiters of trust, not just your dime a dozen cheats and swindlers. Their 'bible' is Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People."

A confidence game starts with basic human psychology. The con identifies what the victim wants and how to play on that desire to achieve what the con-artist wants. Size someone up well, and you can sell them anything; it helps to have someone in the throes of some sort of life turmoil - the conman preys on what people wish were true, reaffirming their views of themselves and giving their lives meaning. Doing so requires the creation of empathy and rapport - laying an emotional foundation before any scheme is proposed.

The con is an exercise in soft skills - trust, sympathy, persuasion. He doesn't steal - we give. We believe because we want to, and we offer whatever they want - money, reputation, trust, fame, support, and don't realize what is happening until it is too late. No one is immune to the art of the con - it is not who you are, but where you happen to be at the moment in your life (eg. undergoing misfortune).

By the time things begin to look dicey, the victims tend to be so invested, emotionally and often physically, that they do most of the persuasion themselves. The con-artist may not even need to convince his victims to stay quite - they usually are more likely than not to do so themselves. When we hear others talking about their unbelievable deal or good fortune, we realize at once they've been taken for a sucker, but when it happens to us, it's simply because "I'm lucky and deserving of a good turn."

The best of cons are never discovered - we simply write our loss off as a matter of bad luck.

Psychopaths make up an estimated 1% of male population; among women, they are almost nonexistent. Grifters also are highly likely to be narcissist and Machiavellian. Narcissism entails a sense of grandiosity, entitlement, an overly inflated sense of worth, and manipulativeness. Machiavellian has come to mean a specific set of traits that allows one to manipulate others - employs aggressive, manipulative, exploiting, and devious moves. They are also more likely to attempt to bluff, cheat, bargain, and ingratiate themselves with others, and more successful at doing so.

Leadership and high-profile roles, salesmen/marketers, and the legal profession are all more likely to be populated by confidence men.

Researcher James Fallon believes that certain critical periods in childhood can nudge one more or less towards full-blown psychopathy - luck out, you become a high-functioning psychopath, get the bad draw and you become a violent psychopath. Fallon believes the first three years of life are crucial in determining one's psychopathic future.

The con is the oldest game there is, and it's likely to be entering a new age - thanks to new opportunities brought by increasing technology that make it far easier to establish convincing false identities (eg. LinkedIn), as well as identify those who might be more likely conned (dating sites that identify widows and divorcees). Since 2008, consumer fraud in the U.S. has risen more than 60%, with online scams more than doubling. In 2012 alone, the Internet Crime Complaint Center reported almost 300,000 complaints of online fraud, with over $500 million lost. Between 2011 and 2012, the Federal Trade Commission found that a little over 10% of American adults (25.6 million) had fallen victim to fraud. The majority of the cases involved fake weight-loss products, second place went to false prize promotions, and in third place was buyers' clubs in which what seemed like a free deal actually involves membership charges you didn't even know you'd signed up for. Fourth was unauthorized Internet billing, and finally work-at-home programs.

Con artists aren't just master manipulators - they are expert storytellers (eg. 'I'm supporting my mother, who now has AIDS,' 'I had PTSD from Iraq,' etc. Once we've accepted a story as true we will probably unconsciously bend any contradictory information to conform to the conclusion we've already drawn - it's known as 'confirmation bias.' Ultimately, what a confidence artist sells is hope. Many cases go unreported - most cases, by some estimates. AARP found that only 37% of victims over 55 will admit to having fallen for a con, and just over half those under 55 do so. Most con artists don't ever come to trial because they aren't brought to the authorities to begin with.

Most people require three things to align before going from legitimacy to con-artistry - motivation (underlying predisposition created by psychopathy), narcissism, and Machiavellianism - along with opportunity and a plausible rationale. In corporate fraud, for example, few choose to con in a vacuum - they also perceive an aggressive sales environment (opportunity) and a feeling they must do something to stand out. For a significant percentage of the conning population, surroundings matter. About half those who commit fraud cite intolerable competitive conditions as justification. They can rationalize away just about any behavior as necessary.

In one study of 15,000, only 50 could consistently detect liars - they relied on detecting incredibly fast facial movements as their clues. One of those 50 is now employed in law enforcement, and she told the author that smart psychopaths are super liars and have no conscience, and are very hard for her to identify.

The first commandment of the con man - 'Be a patient listener.' (Victor Lustig, con artist) Emotion is the primary hook used, much more powerful than logic. Cons tend to thrive in the wake of economic or natural disaster illness, personal travail. Sadness makes us more prone to risk taking and impulsivity - perfect for certain types of cons. Con artists love funerals and obituaries, divorces, layoffs, and general loneliness. He does everything in his power to bring our self-perceived better-than-averageness perceptions to the fore - eg. 'How intelligent you are, Professor Frampton.' And we believe it, because we want it to be.

Consistency plays a crucial role in our ongoing evaluations of a person we're helping - 'If I've helped you before, you must be worth it.'

Overall - some good points about con-men - but far too reliant on anecdotes.

Kevin L. Nenstiel TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE. November 2, 2015

Know How Crooks Think, So They Can't Outthink You

Our world positively teems with swindlers, ripoff artists, and con-men. From ordinary curbside Three-Card Monte to charming, narcissistic domestic abusers, to Ponzi schemers and Wall Street market riggers, the confidence game exudes from society's very pores. Psychologist turned journalist Maria Konnikova wants to unpack what makes us susceptible to con artists, a journey that leads through all human psychology, sometimes vulnerable to diversions and cow paths.

Konnikova's first book, Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, dealt with how crime fighters organize thoughts, observe reality, and undermine criminal mentality. This book essentially addresses the same issues from the opposite angle: how criminals create situations that need busting. Konnikova's conclusions may seem surprising, until we consider them further. Vulnerability to confidence artists and other professional chiselers actually means our psyches are healthy.

Confidence artists work with an encyclopedic understanding of human psychology with which research scientists are only now catching up. They recognize common traits, like our tendency to see others as similar to ourselves, our illusion of control, and our unwillingness to think badly about ourselves. These traits aren't weaknesses; without them, we'd be functionally paralyzed. Effective swindlers work by turning our best characteristics and human capabilities against us.

We must recognize, therefore, that making ourselves insusceptible to cons isn't actually desirable. Fraudsters prey on traits that open us to community, family, and fiscal reward. As Konnikova writes: "The same thing that can underlie success can also make you all the more vulnerable to the grifter's wares. We are predisposed to trust." With swindles, as with propaganda, those who think themselves most immune are, actually, most vulnerable.

The answer lies in understanding ourselves and the swindlers better. They don't see us like we see ourselves. They don't want to. We must cultivate complex understanding of different human thought patterns, and a stronger sense of ourselves. Konnikova again: "It's not that the confidence artist is inherently psychopathic, caring nothing about the fates of others. It's that, to him, we aren't worthy of consideration as human beings; we are targets, not unique people."

All isn't bleak. Throughout most of this book, Konnikova suggests it's difficult to prevent con-games without isolating ourselves and descending into cynicism. In the later chapters, though, she reverses the trend, showing how skilled, self-aware people can resist flim-flam artists' techniques. Not hypothetically, either: she shows how real people, cult busters and cultural anthropologists and police, have maintained their sanity when confronted by seemingly insurmountable double-dealing. Resistance is possible.

As Konnikova explains confidence artists' psychological techniques, her focus expands to include much about recent discoveries in psychology and behavioral economics. She wants readers to emerge with as thorough an understanding of human minds as the fraud merchants enjoy. This sometimes makes her technique sprawling (this book runs over 300 pages plus back matter, unusually long for its genre.)

Reading Konnikova sometimes requires especial concentration and focus.

She richly rewards those who stick with her narrative, though. I've recently seen one friend lose rafts to shady investments and two others get burned by charming, narcissistic romantic partners. Even if we never vote for crooks, invest with Bernie Madoff, or buy salvation sellers' wares, the potential for confidence games still surrounds us. Konnikova provides needed tools for self-awareness, clear boundaries, and bold self-defense. Swindles are inevitable; victimhood isn't.

[Apr 07, 2016] How Cults Manipulate People

www.aibi.ph

Many people now agree that cults frequently psychologically manipulate their membership to ensure conformity and control. Steve Hassan's excellent book "Combating Cult Mind-Control" is a great starting point. The following points come from numerous sources. Not all of these are found in every cult but enough of them are found in most cults to make them very frightening places that inflict deep psychological damage on their membership.

1. Submission to Leadership - Leaders tend to be absolute, prophets of God, God Himself, specially anointed apostle, or just a strong, controlling, manipulative person who demands submission even if changes or conflicts occur in ideology or behavior.

2. Polarized World View - The group is all that is good; everything outside is bad.

3. Feeling Over Thought - Emotions, intuitions, mystical insights are promoted as more important than rational conclusions.

4. Manipulation of Feelings - Techniques designed to stimulate emotions, usually employing group dynamics to influence responses.

5. Denigration of Critical Thinking - Can go so far as to characterize any independent thought as selfish, and rational use of intellect as evil.

6. Salvation or Fulfillment can only be realized in the group.

7. End Justifies the Means - Any action or behavior is justifiable as long as it furthers the group's goals. The group (leader) becomes absolute truth and is above all man-made laws.

8. Group Over Individual - The group's concerns supersede an individual's goals, needs, aspirations, and concerns. Conformity is the key.

9. Warnings of severe or supernatural sanctions for defection or even criticism of the cult - This can go so far as to apply to negative or critical thought about the group or its leaders.

10. Severing of Ties with Past, Family, Friends, Goals, and Interests - Especially if they are negative towards or impede the goals of the group.

11. Barratrous Abuse - Some cults use "cult lawyers' to sue ex-cult members and critics often using fabricated evidence and causing financial stress by repeated trivial law suits. The cult's aim is not so much to win the lawsuit (though they often do) as to harass and intimidate their critics into silence.

Cult Conversion Techniques

Conversion into a cult is usually the result of two interacting dynamics. The first is the personal vulnerability of the potential recruit. This vulnerability may be enhanced by, but not limited to, transitional situations such as divorce, abuse, job or career change, moving away from home or leaving college, an illness, or death of a loved one.

The second dynamic are the tactics used to convert, indoctrinate (brainwash) and hold the members. Some groups attempt a radical and rapid conversion over an intensive week-end or week, such as The Forum or Scientology. Others have a more subtle approach which may take weeks or months, such as the Jehovah's Witnesses. The following are techniques of unethical thought reform and mind control:

The importance of cognitive dissonance

Any person will act so as to reduce conflict between their thoughts, their emotions and their behavior. When these things are at odds with each other a person experiences 'dissonance" (the opposite of harmony). Cognitive dissonance is when what a person knows is right is at odds with either what they feel is right or what they are doing. Cults quickly move to control four key areas of a person's life during the conversion process -

Behavior - by intense involvement in activity and isolation from others. Behavior is closely prescribed and carefully supervised.

Emotions - a new recruit is often "love bombed" and greeted enthusiastically and told they are very special. They are made to feel that everyone in the cult loves them and that "nothing could be wrong with such a loving group of people". However this does not last. Emotions are sent on a roller coaster and the only hope of emotional stability is total conformity and pleasing the cult leadership.

Thought - indoctrination, extended "teaching sessions", memorization of cult dogma, "auditing sessions" where inner secrets are revealed and thought processes exposed - all are a part of attempts at thought control so that the thought life of the convert is taken up entirely with the group.

Information - isolation from peers, TV, radio, newspapers, (often labeled as "Satanic") and careful control of associations ensures that little or no material critical of the cult reaches the new recruit during the conversion process.

The combination of all these factors make it very likely that if the new recruit stays in the cult for any length of time they will come to believe in it utterly. We are not as objective as we like to think and when all these powerful forces combine then very intelligent people will be "converted" but not by God.

A Quick List of Nasty Practices

1. A Focus on felt needs, defects, with exaggerated promises of fulfillment.

2. Rigid Control of Time and Activities - Often physically and emotionally draining activities leaving little time for reflection, questioning and privacy.

3. Information Control - Cutting off or denigrating outside sources of information especially if it is critical of the group. This can also include misrepresentation and information overload.

4. Language Manipulation - Ascribing new "inside" meanings in ordinary words or the use of an exclusive vocabulary subtly moving a person to want to become an insider.

5. Discouraging Critical, Rational Thought and Questions - For instance, comments like, "Satan is the cause of all doubt; he wants to keep you from the Truth", or, "one must move beyond the cognitive left-brain and get in touch with one's higher self, his right-brain, intuitive self for true knowledge".

6. Instruction and Repetition in Trance Induction Techniques - These include progressive relaxation, chanting, hypnosis, meditation, trance states, guided imagery or visualization, deep breathing exercises, all of which make a person highly suggestible, often unable to distinguish between fantasy and reality, and can cause psychopathology such as relaxation induced anxiety.

7. Confession Sessions - Promoting full disclosure of all secret sins, thoughts, temptations which can become a powerful tool to manipulate, blackmail, and emotionally bond people to the leader or group. It is actually a depersonalization or stripping of the inner self , a forced submission to the group.

8. Guilt, Fear - Weapons used to maintain group loyalty, suppress questions and defections.

9. Control of Sexuality and Intimacy within the Cult - This may extend to marriage decisions (Moonies), sexual relations, promiscuity (Children of God), group sex (New Age Therapy groups), child sex, adultery, and polygamy (Branch-Davidians).

10. Excessive Financial Obligations - More and more money is needed to attain higher degrees of spirituality (Scientology), or complete submission to God requires one to give up everything to the group or leader (pp. 26-29).

The more points of ideology and conversion methodology that are in place, and the degree of intensity of their application is proportionate to the effect and damage of mind control.

These factors tend to make normal evangelism, or even dialogue, much more difficult. Therefore, some people have looked to deprogrammers or exit-counselors to help break the mental head-locks of their loved ones in an attempt to rescue them from the cult.

Can an Orthodox Christian Group Get Like This ?

Yes they can!!! Just because the theology is straight down the line does not mean the behavior will be. I was in a mission society that in a particular place under the influence of a leader with a great deal of charisma and authority became "cultic" for a year or so. That has been corrected but much damage was done.

Some Christian groups start off great -like the "children of God' and end up utterly wrong and evil. The church needs strong leaders, but they must always be accountable to Scripture and to other wise Christians.

We must allow people to be critical, to think for themselves and to understand scripture freely apart from the dictates of any leader. we must allow a great deal of emotional and intellectual freedom and renounce our desires to control others if we are to have healthy churches where people rejoice in the Truth.

This article may be freely reproduced for non-profit ministry purposes but may not be sold in any way. For permission to use articles in your ministry, e-mail the editor, John Edmiston at johned@aibi.ph.

Beware the bullying female boss

Independent

More than half of the bullies reported to a new national helpline are women - and most of the victims are other women.

The data from the line also reveal that white-collar bullying among professional and office workers is far more common than among shopfloor workers. Nine out of 10 calls involved office-based workers. The public sector accounts for more than half the calls, with one in five complainants working in the caring agencies, the NHS or social services. "Workplace bullying among women is increasing, partly because they are occupying more senior positions," said Tim Field, an Oxford counsellor who runs anti-bullying workshops. "Women when they are bullies tend to be more manipulative and divisive, whereas men in the same situation are more overtly hostile. Women also tend to leave less evidence about their bullying activities. "In around 10 per cent of the cases dealt with by the advice line, suicide had been contemplated. Eight cases involved actual suicide." Elaine Bennett, a director of the Andrea Adams charity which was set up to tackle bullying, believes that the increase is probably in areas where women have not been in positions of power before. "Where women have been at the top for a long time, as in health and education, you do get the tyrant matrons and headmistresses." She says that in some cases women moving into management jobs are copying the male managers who held the job before them. "Women who are finding themselves in roles which hitherto have not been held by a woman - maybe they are the first one on to the board or to be a senior manager - may well take on some of the traits of male managers with much more of a macho aggressive culture," she said. National Workplace Bullying Advice Line: 01235-834548

Women vs men boss

Posted by: straightshooter
Date: 12/9/2005 8:28:24 AM

I would like to hear some comments on female vs male bossology.I personally am a female and I find male bosses to be better in many ways - they are fairer, do not cultivate "pets", do not gossip much, are more performance oriented and do not tend to micromanage unless they are control freaks (which I have not had). On the contrary, female bosses have overblown egos, are extremely sensitive to gossip and negative comments about their personae, are pathologically jealous and create an atmosphere of "girliness" - I had one colleague send our female boss Valentine cards and gifts. They are also more vindictive and even cruel (some cases relate to personal health issues and family matters).

My boss, the bitch

theage.com.au

It's a little-known fact that a woman can be as severe a bully in the workplace as a man, and according to experts, such behaviour among women is increasing.

Melbourne psychologist Evelyn Field says women bully just as much as men do, "but because more bullies are managers and more managers are male, more bullying is done by men. But you certainly get a lot of bullying from women and sometimes they behave more aggressively than males."

... ... ...

"Women will copy the patterns and behaviours of males, so that they become really quite aggressive," Field says.

Prominent British anti-bullying campaigner Tim Field said that at least half of 3000 bullying reports made to the UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line involved a female serial bully (who had bullied several co-workers). No such figures exist on the gender of Australian workplace bullies, but local experts estimate Australian figures would reflect Britain's.

In 2001-02, 1148 claims of workplace bullying were reported to the Victorian WorkCover Authority, compared with 1107 in the previous year.

In her recently released book, Catfight, which explores female competitiveness, US author Leora Tanenbaum found that "working women are expected to be aggressive and masculine. Worried about being perceived as a mediocre or incompetent worker, many women go out of their way to prove they are not too emotional or passive, and can be more aggressive and demanding than any man."

She points to groundbreaking research undertaken in the '70s, which she says is still relevant today. The researchers — psychologists Graham Staines, Carol Tavrid and Toby Epstein Jayaratne — coined the term "Queen Bee" to describe a token woman at a high level in a corporate environment.

Based on questionnaire responses from 20,000 women, they found that "the Queen Bee who is successful in a male-dominated field identifies with the male colleagues who are her reference group, rather than with the diffuse concept of women as a class . . . (she) thereby disassociates herself from the fundamental issues of equality for women, while reassuring her male colleagues that she is not of that militant ilk."

Tanenbaum also found that professional women were often hardest on their own sex.

"Many professional women confess they prefer male rather than female supervisors. They complain that women at work refuse to share power, or withhold information, or are too concerned about receiving credit for every little thing they accomplish, or are cold toward underlings (male and female alike). In such complaints they use the word 'bitch' a lot," she says.

Tim Field believes the stereotypical view of men as aggressive and women as nurturing often prevents the female serial bully from being seen for what she is: "A sociopath in a skirt."

... ... .,.

Evelyn Field said female bullies were often more subtle in their behaviour than their male counterparts. "Women are usually less physical, they would use techniques such as excluding others, over-supervising and controlling and verbal abuse."

Ricky Nowak, a workplace communications training specialist and head of the company, Confident Communications, says women's bullying is "often quieter, behind closed doors, over the phone, via curt emails, or through giving their staff a sense of . . . (being overwhelmed), for example: asking women with families to stay behind when they don't really have to do so."

Nowak runs leadership groups for professional women and says she has had many disclosures from women admitting they had bullied their colleagues.

"It was behaviour such as intimidating others, standing over them, giving colleagues the silent treatment and so on."

Evelyn Field describes bullying as a problem for everyone. "The micro level is the individual target who can be affected emotionally, physically, socially, career-wise, financially, family-wise over a long-term basis and many of them have severe health problems," she says.

"The onlookers also get affected — 20 per cent of onlookers will leave the job, others will have sick days and suffer poor morale. And the cost to industry is enormous — bullying is everyone's problem."

Sub-Sociopaths and Sub-Psychopath Types

The Female Sociopath (Female): Using her false mask, this charming individual plays the helpless or needy, pitiful, inept or emotionally unable to cope. Even total strangers give her things she gratefully accepts. Falsely claiming to be the victim, this passive parasite lures and abuses the normal protector/provider instincts in her male target. When her mask comes off she is cunning, ruthless, predatory, and loveless.

Treatment of such case: This 'damsel in distress' will try to hook and reel you in. Take the hook out of your lip. Don't make her emotional neediness your problem. This black hole of need can never be filled. Understand the mask of helplessness is not the "real her". If she won't give reasonable answers to reasonable questions turn and leave. Beware and remember the Female sociopath is deadlier than the male as she uses sexuality as a lure. Avoid financial or emotional involvement.

The Deceptive Sociopath (Male or Female): They will lie for no reason. They will skilfully twist your words, evade questions, and omit important facts in their ever-changing, self-serving goals. This hypocrite claims high morals then proceeds to exploit, manipulate and abuse others. He will accuse you of being crazy and emotionally cruel.

Treatment of such case: Quietly verify what they say. Do not try to negotiate or bargain. If they have been caught out on their lies too many times, leave them.

Frictional Sociopath (Male or Female): puts people against each other. Victims may be used as their proxy interacting with others as they set victims up to take the fall while they enjoy watching the performance they orchestrates. They keep their allies and targets separate to avoid exposure. Verbally skilled at twisting people’s words, this charmer usually gets their way. Applying 'fear' selling tactics, faking expertise, this scam artist crafts situations to appear indispensable, ready to solve our problems. Money and conning others are their objective. They will agree to anything then turn around and do the opposite. They will accuse you of breaking the contract. Legal, custody agreements and normal social or personal protocol mean nothing to them. They enjoy playing the role of the victim.

Treatment of such case: Expect them to disregard the agreement. Avoid involvement. Be self-sufficient. Avoid any "Trust-Me" get-rich-quick sales pitches. Learn how swindlers and scam artists operate.

Sociopaths-psychopaths and violence

If he's not physically violent, he may be a bully. And, keep in mind that aggression is not limited to men—female sociopaths can also be violent.

Antisocial Personality, Sociopathy and Psychopathy

The main characteristic of it is a complete and utter disregard for the rights of others and the rules of society. They seldom show anxiety and don't feel guilt. Although many people would hope that there's an effective treatment, there's really no effective treatment for them other than locking them up in a secure facility with such rigid rules that they cannot talk their way out. A full list of APD traits would include:

List of Antisocial Personality Disorder Traits Sense of entitlement; Unremorseful; Apathetic to others; Unconscionable behavior; Blameful of others; Manipulative and conning; Affectively cold; Disparate understanding; Socially irresponsible; Disregardful of obligations; Nonconforming to norms; Irresponsible

whereas the DSM-IV "clinical" features of Antisocial Personality Disorder (with a person having at least three of these characteristics) are:

Clinical Symptoms for an Antisocial Personality Disorder Diagnosis

1. Failure to conform to social norms; 2. Deceitfulness, manipulativeness; 3. Impulsivity, failure to plan ahead; 4. Irritability, aggressiveness; 5. Reckless disregard for the safety of self or others; 6. Consistent irresponsibility; 7. Lack of remorse after having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another person

Sociopathy is chiefly characterized by something wrong with the person's conscience. They either don't have one, it's full of holes like Swiss cheese, or they are somehow able to completely neutralize or negate any sense of conscience or future time perspective. Sociopaths only care about fulfilling their own needs and desires - selfishness and egocentricity to the extreme. Everything and everybody else is mentally twisted around in their minds as objects to be used in fulfilling their own needs and desires. They often believe they are doing something good for society, or at least nothing that bad. The term "sociopath" is frequently used by psychologists and sociologists alike in referring to persons whose unsocialized character is due primarily to parental failures (usually fatherlessness) rather than an inherent feature of temperament. Lykken (1995), for example, clearly distinguishes between the sociopath (who is socialized into becoming a psychopath) and a "true" psychopath (who is born that way). However, this may only describe the "common sociopath", as there are at least four (4) different subtypes -- common, alienated, aggressive, and dyssocial. Commons are characterized mostly by their lack of conscience; the alienated by their inability to love or be loved; aggressives by a consistent sadistic streak; and dyssocials by an ability to abide by gang rules, as long as those rules are the wrong rules. As Stout (2005) indicates, it only takes three of the following to be defined as a sociopath, and some common sociopathic traits include:

List of Common Sociopathic Traits

Egocentricity; Callousness; Impulsivity; Conscience defect; Exaggerated sexuality; Excessive boasting; Risk taking; Inability to resist temptation; Antagonistic, deprecating attitude toward the opposite sex; Lack of interest in bonding with a mate

Debates98 Mealey Sociopathy Article (Quote-Comment-Ready)

From: HARNAD Stevan (harnad@coglit.soton.ac.uk)
Date: Wed May 13 1998 - 20:25:44 BST

THE SOCIOBIOLOGY OF SOCIOPATHY: AN INTEGRATED EVOLUTIONARY MODEL

Linda Mealey

Review of some sociobiological concepts:

(1) Today's Environment vs. the "Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness" (EEA) IN which, and FOR which we evolved

(2) Distal (EEA/evolutionary) causes and Proximal (current, psychological) causes

(3) Evolutionarily Stable Strategies (ESSs) and Dynamic Equilibria: Some genetically coded strategies are "stable," in that they cannot be bettered by other strategies; unstable ones can be. e.g. green gene for relatedness "Help me, I'm kin!"

most of us cannot fathom the cold, detached way sociopaths repeatedly harm and manipulate others.

behavior genetics, child development, personality theory, learning theory, and social psychology describe a complex interaction of genetic and physiological risk factors with demographic and micro-environmental variables that predispose a portion of the population to chronic antisocial behavior.

Recent evolutionary and game theoretic models explain sociopathy as a frequency-dependent life history strategy selected in response to certain varying environmental circumstances.

Two developmentally different kinds of sociopathy emerge from two different evolutionary mechanisms.

Social policies should consider the two different kinds of sociopathy and the factors which contribute to them.

Sociopaths, 3-4% of the male population and less than 1% of the female
population and 33% - 80% of chronic criminal offenders

commit over 50% of all crimes in the U.S.

also irresponsible and unreliable behavior:

egocentrism,

inability to form lasting personal commitments

impulsivity.

superficial veneer of sociability and charm

lack of social emotions (love, shame, guilt, empathy, and remorse)

not intellectually handicapped: "Con-men," able to deceive and manipulate others through elaborate scams and ruses including fraud, bigamy, embezzlement, and other crimes which rely on the trust and cooperation

"aware of the discrepancy between his behavior and societal expectations, but he seems to be neither guided by the possibility of such a discrepancy, nor disturbed by its occurrence"

cold- hearted and selfish "moral insanity"

also sometimes known as psychopaths or antisocial personalities

"antisocial personality" disorder traits found in a continuous, normal
distribution in the population at large

defined by high scores on all three Eysenck Personality scales: extraversion, neuroticism, and psychoticism

distinction between "simple" and "hostile" or "primary" and "secondary"
psychopaths or sociopaths

"simple" or "primary" sociopaths complete lack of the social emotions

"hostile" or "secondary" ones exhibit antisocial behavior without this
emotional deficit are

distinction is an important one because there are two different paths to sociopathy, with different implications for prevention and treatment.

sociopaths are designed for successful social deception and are a type
that evolved biologically to practice a strategy of manipulative and predatory social interactions.

this strategy is to be expected in the low frequencies we see It is also expected to appear preferentially under certain social, environmental, and developmental circumstances which I hope to delineate.

(1) ta genetic predisposition underlies sociopathy, normally distributed in the population

(2) because of selection to fill a small niche, a small, fixed percentage of those at the extreme of this continuum will be deemed "morally insane" in any culture

(3) a variable percentage of individuals who are less extreme on the continuum will sometimes, in response to environmental conditions during their early development, pursue a life-history strategy that is similar to that of their "morally insane"

(4) this underlying genetic continuum is evident in many of us when immediate environmental circumstances make an antisocial strategy more profitable than a prosocial one.

1. The Model:

1.1 The evolutionary role of emotion

almost defining characteristic of sociopaths is their apparent lack of
sincere social emotions

Plutchik (1980) posits eight "primary" emotions (such as fear, anger and disgust) related to survival that everyone (including sociopaths) experiences

the "secondary" or social emotions (such as shame, guilt, sympathy, and
love) depend partly on learning and socializationm and can vary across individuals and cultures

outward expression of emotion will serve as a reliable indicator to others as to how a person is likely to behave in the future.

Nesse: Prisoner's Dilemma: when both players cooperate, they experience
friendship, love, obligation, or pride; when both cheat or defect, they feel rejection and hatred; when one player cooperates and the other defects, the cooperator feels anger while the defector feels anxiety and guilt.

if, as in the Prisoner's Dilemma, the most rational strategy is to be selfish and defect, why should positive (reinforcing) emotions follow mutual cooperation rather than defection? "reputation"

no rational player will play with a known defector; to avoid this social "shunning" based on reputation players must build a reputation for cooperation, despite the fact that cooperation is not the "rational" choice for the short-term.

social emotions evolved as "commitment devices" (Frank) or "guarantors
of threats and promises" (Hirshleifer)causing positive or negative feelings that act as reinforces or punishers

not economically rational for the short-term but profitable and adaptive in situations where encounters are frequent and reputation is important.

Once such communicative mechanisms have evolved... become vulnerable to
deception... and can lead to a coevolutionary "arms race": finely tuned sensitivities for deception plus equally fine-tuned abilities to hide them.

some sort of statistical equilibrium will be approached. Cheating maintained as a low-level frequency-dependent strategy, in dynamic equilibrium; modelled extensively by evolutionary biologists

1.2 Game theory and evolutionarily stable strategies

Richard Lewontin (1961) John Maynard Smith 1973

maintenance of mixed ESSs

(1) one genotype always uses the same strategy in every situation

(2) every individual uses the same statistical mix of strategies, but randomly

(3) every individual uses every strategy, but predictably according to
circumstances)

(4) each individual can at birth use any strategy, but "imprints" early
on only a few

(5) different genotypes respond differently to same stimuli during development

sociopaths are a type of cheater- defector in our society of mixed-strategy interactionists.

sociopathy appears in two forms: "primary sociopath" results from frequency-dependent genetic differences in using one (antisocial) strategy

"secondary sociopathy" differences in developmental response to the environment produce differences in using cooperative or deceptive social strategies 2. The Evidence:

2.1 Behavior genetics

criminals and sociopaths, share a variety of characteristics

both criminality and sociopathy have a substantial, overlapping heritable component

2.1.1 Studies of criminal behavior

twin and adp[tion studies suggest heritability of .60 for repeated commission of crimes of property.

significant interactive effects: adoptive children with both a genetic
risk (criminal biological parent) and an environmental risk (criminality, psychiatric illness, or other severe behavioral disturbance in an adoptive parent), have a far greater risk than with no such risk or only one risk factor, and that increased risk is more than simply an additive effect of both risk factors.

females are more likely to transmit a genetic risk to their offspring than are males.

2.1.2 Studies of sociopathy

substantial heritability to sociopathy; gene-environment interaction similar to the one found for criminal behavior

male adoptees sensitive to influence of environmental risk factors than
female adoptees.

suggests a multifactorial, probably polygenic, basis for sociopathy

2.1.3 Sex differences and the "two-threshold" model

Cloninger "two threshold" polygenic model; sociopaths are on the extreme end of a normal distribution whose genetic component is (1) polygenic and (2) to a large degree, sex-limited.

[Sex-limited genes, not to be confused with sex-linked genes, are triggered only within the chemical/hormonal microenvironment of one sex or the other e.g., beard and mustache growth in men, and breast and hip development in women.]

If many genes underlying sociopathy are triggered by testosterone, many
more men than women will pass the threshold

females who do express the trait are further out in the extreme of the
normal distribution of genotypes than most of the males who express the trait.

greater overall risk for males as opposed to females

greater risk for the offspring (and other relatives) of female sociopaths

males will express sociopathy at a lower "genetic dose" than females, but heritability is greater for females, hence the environmental component of the variance is greater for males

males are more susceptible to the environmental conditions of their early years; greater variance in male reproductive capacity makes their "choice" of life strategy more risky and so more subject to selective pressures

males should be more sensitive to environmental cues that (1) trigger environmental or developmental life history strategies or (2) are stimuli for which genetic differences in response thresholds have evolved.

when would sociopathy be the best available strategy? what would be the
environmental cues which, especially for boys, would trigger its development?

2.2 Child psychology

2.2.1 Life history strategies

those least likely to outcompete other males in a status hierarchy, or
to find mates through female choice are most likely to adopt a cheating strategy; competitive disadvantage could be related to age, health, physical attractiveness, intelligence, socioeconomic status, and social skills.

overlaps between rape, battering, and criminality in terms of life history circumstances, genetics, and apparent inability to empathize with victim, suggest sociopathy spectrum.

genetically influenced, developmentally- and environmentally-contingent
cheating strategies used when a male finds himself at a competitive disadvantage

sexual opportunism and manipulation are key features of sociopath and guided the evolution of sociopathy.

Briquet's Hysteria in women -- syndrome of promiscuity, fatalistic dependency, and attention- getting-- may be female homologue of male sociopathy.

2.2.2 Delinquency

two subtypes of conduct disorder in children: "solitary aggressive type" and "group type"; "versatiles" and "property offenders"; "unsocialized" and "socialized" lead to primary vs secondary sociopathy

two different evolutionary mechanisms for maintaining ESSs in a population

juvenile antisocial behavior is the best predictor of adult antisocial
behavior, the earlier, the stronger

mean age at which adult sociopaths exhibited first significant symptom:
8-10; 80% by age 11; 2/3 distinuishable from other children by kindergarten

several relevant environmental factors: inconsistent discipline, punishment as opposed to rewards, disrupted family life (especially father absence, family violence, alcoholic parent, or mentally ill parent), and low socioeconomic status

factors more when one or the other parent is sociopathic; antisocial behaviors can be reinforced under such living conditions.

correlates of delinquency in girls same as for boys: (1) history of antisocial behavior throughout childhood and a tendency to seek out delinquent peers; leads to persisten antisocial behavior in adulthood. (2) few behavior problems in childhood but more and more antisocial behaviors from menarche.

2.2.3 Moral development

very young children are biologically prepared to learn moral behavior,
selectively attentive to emotions, especially distress, in others; learn to exhibit prosocial behavior long before they are able to conceptualize its effect on others.

motivation behind early prosocial behavior is the (egocentric) need to
reduce one's own aversive feelings of arousal and distress.

high arousal levels associated with low cheating levels

the child must pass from empathic responses to sympathetic responses --
some time during the second year when beginning to develop "theory of mind"

evolved in humans for predicting the behavior of others.

can one be successful using only the cognitive tool of a theory of mind, without access to emotional, empathic information which, presumably, sociopaths lack?

2.3 Personality theory

What is it that makes "high risk" environmental features particularly salient for those who have the predisposing genotype?

2.3.1 The role of gene-environment interactions

most important environmental factors that influence personal development are not those that are shared by siblings within a family (such as parenting style, socioeconomic status, and schooling), but idiosyncratic events and relationships difficult to study systematically with traditional methods.

Despite a shared home, children will encounter different microenvironments: relationships with parents will differ, and their day to day experiences will not overlap significantly.

any two children will experience an (objectively) identical environment
in different ways

A primary sociopaths are unresponsive to the environmental cues of normal socialization and moral development and seek the more deviant and arousing stimuli within the environment.

Secondary sociopaths, not as genetically predisposed, are more responsive to environmental cues and risk factors.

What constitutional factors place some individuals at high risk?

2.3.2 The role of temperament

substantial heritability of self-reported measures of altruism, nurturance, aggressiveness, and empathy. Sex differences.

Aespecially for males, the inherited factors correlated with genetic risk of delinquency are the same as those that lead to the temperamental attributes of anger, impulsivity, and deceitfulness ("self-serving dishonesty with people with whom a person ordinarily has affectional bonds")

two possible routes to sociopathy or criminality, one primarily heritable and one less so that sets stage for developmentally- and environmentally-contingent individual differences in antisocial behavior.

sociopathy and antisocial behavior correlated with high scores on all three of the major personality dimensions of the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire: 'extraversion' (contra introversion), 'neuroticism' (contra emotional stability), and 'psychoticism' (contra fluid and efficient superego functioning- not synonymous with psychotic mental illness; this scale would be better called 'psychopathy'). All three high heritability, psychoticism typically much higher in males

"General Arousal Theory of Criminality": inheritance of a nervous system relatively insensitive to low levels of stimulation. extraverted, impulsive, and sensation-seeking, because under low stimulation they feel a suboptimal level of arousal; to increase their arousal, many will participate in high-risk activities such as crime

criminality and sociopathy associated indicators of suboptimal arousal,
including childhood hyperactivity, recreational drug use, risk-taking, failure to persist on tasks, and preference for wide-ranging sexual activity.

In addition to seeking thrill and novelty, sensation-seekers describe "hedonistic pursuit of pleasure through extraverted activities including social drinking, parties, sex, and gambling", "aversion to routine activities or work and to dull and boring people", and "restlessness in an unchanging environment"

In college students, sensation-seeking is correlated with the Pd (Psychopathic Deviate) scale of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, and among prisoners it can be used to distinguish primary psychopaths from secondary psychopaths and non-psychopathic criminals

appears early (3-4 years), high heritability, correlates negatively with age in adults, higher in males.

Gray renamed Eysenck factors: the approach, or, behavioral activation system, the behavioral inhibition system, and the fight/flight system;

Cloninger: "novelty-seeking", "harm- avoidance", and "reward-dependence":

2.3.3 The role of physiology

hign dopamine for behavioral activation (or novelty-seeking),

low serotonin for behavioral inhibition (or harm avoidance),

low norepinephrine for fight/flight (or reward dependence)

extraverts and sociopaths show less physiological arousal than introverts and normals in response to threats of pain or punishment and more tolerance of actual pain or punishment; delinquents have lower baseline heart rate than nondelinquents.

causes, not just correlates; predict later levels of antisocial behavior

Testosterone is likely trigger of the sex-limited activation of genes in the two-threshold model

steroid hormones enter the nucleus and interact with the chromosomes,
regulating gene expression. This leads to some of the individual, age, and sex differences in temperament: psychoticism, aggression, impulsivity, sensation-seeking, nurturance, and empathy

Variation in testosterone levels also parallels age variation in sociopathic behavior and is correlated with such behavior in adolescent and adult males

Testosterone is likely to play dual role in the development of sociopathy, as it does in the development of other sex differences: one as an organizer (affecting traits) and one as an activator (affecting states).

boys with high T mature faster, get bigger, more likely to get in fights: creates positive feedback loop: those who start out with high T and sensation seeking (and low adrenaline, serotonin, and MAO) more likely to initiate aggression and to succeed in dominance interactions, leading to increases in T, further increases in aggressive behavior.

significant correlations between T and antisocial behavior in lower class men only; upper class men, because of differential socialization, avoid individual confrontations, which might raise their T (and antisocial behavior).

fewer upper class than lower class men had high T levels; upper class socialization may mitigate influence of T. alternative: aggressive behavior with higher T levels leads to downward social mobility

Because upper class children have less environmental risks, their sociopathic behavior comes from stronger genetic predisposition, hence (1) the effect of the social environment might be larger than suggested by adoption studies, and (2) different pathways to sociopathy, need different strategies for prevention or remediation

2.4 Learning Theory

1. Conditioning

hypoaroused nervous system less sensitive to the emotional expression of other individuals, and to social influences in general, also less responsive to reinforcement and punishment, hence handicapped in learning through autonomic conditioning

difficulty inhibiting behavior when both reward and punishment are possible outcomes

in situations when most people would experience an approach-avoidance conflict, sociopaths and extraverts are more likely to approach

Because of high sensation-seeking, children with a hypoaroused nervous
system more likely to get into trouble, less likely to be affected by, and learn from, consequences of their behavior or parental punishment.

Primary sociopaths, unable to experience the social emotions, exhibit deficits on tasks which induce anxiety in others: passive avoidance, approach-avoidance, and tasks involving punishment; but they can learn well under other conditions

Secondary sociopaths and extraverts, have normal anxiety and responses
to punishment, but may be especially driven by high reward conditions

Primary sociopaths, with diminished anxiety and conditioned associations between antisocial behavior and punishment, unable to progress through the normal stages of moral development.

Unlike most children who are biologically prepared to learn empathy, they are contraprepared to do so, and remain egoistic- unable to acquire the social emotions of empathy, shame, guilt, and love

present at early age with "unsocialized" conduct disorder

Secondary sociopaths, with normal emotional capacities present at later
age with "socialized" conduct disorder

What socialization processes contribute to their development?

2.4.2 Social learning

cheating strategy is predicted to develop when a male (especially) is competitively disadvantaged, and criminal behavior (especially in males)

related to disadvantage in a two-stage process involving a variety of cumulative risk factors:

first stage: disrupted family life, parental neglect, abuse, inconsistent discipline, punishment as opposed to rewards, inconsistent feedback, and poor models of prosocial behavior.

pattern most common in parents who are criminal, mentally disturbed, undereducated, of low intelligence, or socioeconomically deprived leading to a cross-generation cycle of increasing family dysfunction

second stage: children with poor social skills disadvantaged in interactions with age-mates; rejected by popular children, consort with one another; then antisocial then escalates .

secondary sociopathy depend more upon environmental factors than primary.

2.5 Social Psychology

2.5.1 Machiavellianism

antisocial strategies not restricted to sociopaths.

majority of people arrested not sociopathic; many people antisocial behavior rarely enough or inoffensively enough to preclude arrest.

Some antisocial behavior is even considered acceptable: entrepreneuris, people who seek to control and manipulate others often become lawyers, psychiatrists, or behavioral scientists; "subtle, cynical selfishness with a veneer of social skills is common among scientists"

"Machiavellianism" or "Mach" scale: agreement or disagreement with statements like "Humility not only is of no service but is actually harmful," "Nature has so created men that they desire everything but are unable to attain it," and "The most important thing in life is winning".

Adults high on the Mach scale express "a relative lack of affect in interpersonal relationships," "a lack of concern with conventional morality," "a lack of gross psychopathology," and "low ideological commitment"; children high on Machiavellianism have lower levels of empathy than age-mates

High Machs have "instrumental cognitive attitude toward others", goal-oriented as opposed to person-oriented, more successful in face-to-face bargaining situations, "are especially able communicators, regardless of the veracity of their message", more resistant to confession after cheating, more plausible liars, like sociopaths, high Machs are often referred to as "cool".

"self-initiated manipulation of others" Mach may be low-level manifestation of sociopathy. sex difference consistent with the two-threshold model, consistent with age variation in testosterone levels, correlations with Eysenck's psychoticism and neuroticism scales and with serotonin levels

high Machs "impersonal, cognitive, rational, cool" approach with others, than low Machs "more personal, empathizing" approach); High Machs more accurate at assessing how other "target" individuals answered a Machiavellian attitudes questionnaire, using a statistical strategy, assuming everyone was about average;

hypoaroused and antisocial individuals are less attentive to social and
emotional cues than others.

Low Machs "projected," successfully differentiated between high and low
Mach, underestimated the scores of both, guessing at a level reflective of their own scores

(1) "impersonal, cognitive, rational, cool" approach to others might be
more accurate in the long run than "personal, empathizing" approach (where cooperative long-term partnerships are not possible); and

(2) errors of empathizing approach like playing the cooperation strategy when the cheating strategy would be more appropriate, makes one susceptible to being exploited by others who use the impersonal cognitive approach; high Machs outcompete low Machs in most experimental competitive situations

assumption that empathy-based approach to predicting the behavior of others is better than a statistical approach not necessarily correct; may be an emotion-based cognitive bias.

but low Machs would be more successful than high Machs in selecting a cooperator as a partner.

Machiavellianism is a trait or the underlying variation in personality
and the situational factors relevant to an individual's behavior at any given momen.

what can social psychology tell us about the within-individual situational factors which encourage or discourage cheating strategies?

2.5.2 The role of mood

Mood varies within individuals but less an immediate response to events
and more a generalized response to the environment

Positive mood and feelings of success enhance cooperative behavior. part of a long-term strategy by individuals who feel they can afford to pass up short-term gains to establish a cooperative reputation.

When sadness and feelings of failure follow losses, individuals likely
to be egoistic and selfish. In children typically found but in some children, and more in adults, sadness and feelings of failure can facilitate prosocial behavior. a deliberate effort to enhance one's (diminished) reputation among others; prosocial behavior often has a positive, gratifying effect.

If one is depressed,neither antisocial nor prosocial, but asocial. lethargy and anhedonia of depression

aggressiveness in boys is associated with the over-attribution of hostile intent to others. lead to increased "retaliatory" aggression, fueling cycle.

Guilt, often follows selfish behavior, increases subsequent prosocial behavior to reestablish reputation.

guilt, anxiety and sympathy are social emotions that primary sociopaths
rarelyexperience, so do not moderate their behavior to avoid them. sociopaths do experience fluctuations in mood (depression, optimism, or anger) in response to their changing evaluation of their chance of success and failure. If we can manipulate the sociopath's mood, can influence his behavior.

2.5.3 Cultural variables

Competition increases use of antisocial and Machiavellian strategies and can counteract increase in prosocial behavior after success. high competitiveness: high crime rates and Machiavellianism

High population density also associated with reduced prosocial and increased antisocial behavior especially in males

Based on models of kin selection and inclusive fitness, individuals should be more cooperative and less deceptive when interacting with relatives who share their genes, or relatives who share investment in common descendents.

identical twins cooperate more than fraternal twins in the Prisoner's Dilemma.

more altruistic responses on altruism questionnaire questions refer to
relatives, Machiavellian responses reduced.

people cooperate more with others who are similar to them even though not genetically related.

3. Integration, Implications, and Conclusions:

3.1 Integration: Sociopathy as an ESS leads to two types of sociopaths

3.1.1 Primary sociopathy

genotype results in a certain inborn temperament coupled with a pattern
of autonomic hypoarousal that make child tunresponsive to cues of normal socialization and moral development.

mechanism 1 (Section 1.2) of maintaining ESSs in the population;

frequency-dependent, genetic differences in life history strategies.

there will always be a small, cross-culturally similar, baseline frequency of sociopaths;

will display chronic, pathologically emotionless antisocial behavior throughout most of their lifespan and across a variety of situations;

should be equally likely to come from all kinds of socio-economic backgrounds but because impervious to the social environment almost all sociopaths from the upper-classes will be primary

not intellectually handicapped; will progress normally and acquire a theory of mind, but will be formulated purely in instrumental terms, without empathic understanding ;

may become excellent predictors of others' behavior, unhandicapped by emotion, acting, like professional gamblers, solely on statistical data rather than on hunches and feelings.

will use a pure cost-benefit approach based on immediate personal outcomes, with no "accounting" for the emotional reactions of the others with whom they are dealing. Without love to "commit" them to cooperation, anxiety to prevent "defection", or guilt to inspire repentance, they will remain free to continually play for the short- term benefit in the Prisoner's Dilemma.

3.1.2 Secondary sociopathy

an additional, fluctuating proportion of sociopathy allowing more flexibility to the general population to track the frequency-dependent nature of the success of the cheating strategy. M

Secondary sociopaths not extreme on the genetic sociopathy spectrum but because of exposure to environmental risk factors, frequent, but not necessarily emotionless cheating. Unlike primary sociopaths, secondary sociopaths will not necessarily exhibit chronic antisocial behavior; their strategy choices will be more closely tied to age, fluctuation in hormone levels, their competitive status within their referent group, and changing environmental contingencies.

more closely tied to environmental factors than to genetic factors, secondary sociopaths will almost always come from lower class backgrounds and their numbers could vary substantially across cultures and time, tracking environmental conditions favoring or disfavoring the use of cheating strategies.

(!) explains why cultural differences are correlated with differences in the overall incidence of antisocial behavior, and why the discrepancy in the ratio of male to female sociopaths decreases as overall incidence of sociopathy increases: since secondary sociopathy is less heritable than primary sociopathy, the effect of sex-limited genes less important for the development of secondary sociopathy, resulting in less of a sex difference.

3.2 Implications of the two-pathways model

Since primary sociopaths have a deficit in the realm of emotional motivation, presumably act primarily upon their cognitive expectations of others; to the extent that they do act upon emotions, it is most likely to be upon mood and the primary emotions (like anger and fear) rather than upon the social and secondary emotions (like love and anxiety).

extent to which a society will be able to diminish the antisocial behavior of primary sociopaths will depend upon (1) its influence on the sociopath's cognitive evaluation of society's own reputation as a player in the Prisoner's Dilemma, and (2) the primary emotion- or mood-inducing capacity of the stimuli it utilizes in establishing the costs and benefits of prosocial versus antisocial behavior.

Manipulating these two variables will also influence the numbers of secondary sociopaths by changing the size of the adaptive niche associated with antisocial behavior.

since secondary sociopathy is more influenced by the social environment
and secondary sociopaths are not devoid of social emotions, changing patterns in the nurturing and socialization of children and in the socialization and rehabilitation of delinquents and adult criminals is another possibility (!)

3.2.1 Minimizing the impact of primary sociopaths: society as a player
in the Prisoner's Dilemma

an entire society can be seen as a player, and its past behavior will be used by the sociopath to predict the future behavior of that society.

Like an individual player, a society will have a certain probability of
detecting deception, a more-or-less accurate memory of who has cheated in the past, and a certain proclivity to retaliate or not, based upon a cheater's past reputation and current behavior.

sociopath uses statistical approach to assess costs and benefits of different behaviors, so actual past behavior of the society will go into his calculations, rather than risk assessments inflated from exaggerated fears or anxieties that most people feel in anticipation of being caught or punished.

(!) Thus, to reduce antisocial behavior, society must establish and enforce a reputation for high rates of detection of deception and identification of cheaters, and willingness to retaliate. In other words, it must establish a successful strategy of deterrence. [!]

as group size decreases, cooperation increases, also increases with probability of memory error or individual recognition, effect of a loss on a cooperator, effect of a gain on a defector, frequency of punishment against defectors, the cost of punishment

game-theoretic models provide useful strategies for prediction and reduction of cheating and antisocial behavior

increasing probability of detection, identification, and punishment, can reduce crime [!]

make costs of cheating salient, predictable, swift

sociopath will "compute" cost-benefit ratio of the alternatives; money
and other immediate tangible rewards more motivating than social reinforcers or promises of future payoff; visual stimuli more salient than auditory

alternatives to crime must be stimulating enough and rewarding enough to engage the chronically hypoaroused sensation-seeker. more successful if we distinguish primary from secondary sociopaths.

recidivism rates went up for psychopathsbut down for nonpsychopaths after the same kind of "treatment".

3.2.2 Minimizing the prevalence of secondary sociopathy: society as a socializing agent and mood setter

social changes to minimize impact and incidence of sociopathy.

parent training, modelling, induction, and behavioral modification

cause and effect relationship between parental behavior and child behavior, two-way.

agents should be individually matched with each client/offender based on style and personality characteristics, to prevent high Mach and sociopathic offenders from taking advantage of low Mach employees.

As society gets larger and more competitive, individuals become more anonymous and more Machiavellian, leading to reductions in altruism and increases in crime. Social stratification and segregation also lead to feelings of inferiority, pessimism, and depression among the less privileged, which can in turn promote the use of alternative competitive strategies, including antisocial behavior

external locus of control, learned helplessness, reduced serotonin, increased aggression

"the vandal is a failed creative artist," a bored and frustrated sensation-seeker who "does not have the intellectual or other skills and capacities to amuse or occupy himself"

in addition to making the costs of antisocial behavior greater, providing early social support for those at risk, and developing alternative, nonexploitative, sensation-seeking ventures that can meet the psychological needs of disadvantaged and low-skill individuals.

3.3 Conclusions

(1) "Primary sociopaths" are a certain genotype incapable of experiencing the secondary, "social" emotions that normally contribute to behavioral motivation and inhibition; they fill the ecological niche for the "cheater strategy" found in low frequency in every society.

(1b) To minimize the damage caused by primary sociopaths, the criminal
justice system should reduce the benefits and increase the costs of antisocial behavior, while creating alternatives to crime which could satisfy the psychophysiological arousal needs of the sociopath.

(2) "Secondary sociopaths" use situation-dependent cheating strategies,
not as clearly tied to genotype, in response to disadvantages in social competition, varying with social circumstances.

(2b) To reduce secondary sociopathy, programs are needed to reduce social stratification, anonymity, and competition, intervene in high-risk settings with specialized parent education and support; and increase the availability of rewarding, prosocial opportunities for at-risk youth.

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