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Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

Authoritarians and Corporate Psychopaths as Toxic Managers

News Books Recommended Links The psychopath in the corner office

Female Sociopaths

Diplomatic Communication Borderline Psychopaths

Narcissists

Micromanagers Workplace bullies Incompetent Managers Authoritarians Corporate bullshit as a communication method Surviving a Bad Performance Review
The Techniques of a Female Sociopaths Divorcing Borderline Psychopath Negative Politeness Tactful communication Rules of Communication Paranoid Managers Model of Corporate Psychopath Behavior
Understanding Micromanagers Surviving Micromanagers Office Stockholm Syndrome Mayberry Machiavellians in Office Steps for Decreasing Toxic Worry Large organizations Preventing Burnout
Stoicism  Learned helplessness Anger trap The Fiefdom Syndrome Fraud Caused by Social Pressures Workagolism and work overload Obsessive compulsive personality
Insubordination Threat Fake Sexual Harassment Claims Understanding Borderline Rage Analogy between corporate and psychopathic behavior Machiavellians Manipulators Tricks F-scale Avoiding Anger Trap when dealing with corporate psychopaths
High Demand Cults Leaders Practices Sociopath attack methods Gaslighting Classic cycle of sociopathic relations (Evaluate-seduce-devalue-discard) Workplace mobbing Signs that you might be dismissed soon Projection
Groupthink Conformism Lysenkoism Psychopaths in Movies Quotes about Psychopaths Humor Videos
  "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark"

From Hamlet (I, iv, 90)

Introduction

Softpanorama Classification of Toxic Managers

Psychopaths are real aliens, "people without conscience"

Warning

Note: This is page devoted to all IT professionals who suffer from psychopathic bosses. Only those who already suffered or still suffering from one of those types can understand the level of pain as well as stakes involved in dealing with such individuals.

Introduction

If you are reading this page, you probably have problems with your boss ;-).  Now what ? Actually the situation is bad, and you are really trapped, but it is not inescapable situation. You can and should escape.  As old saying goes "Knowledge is power" and this is the area where this saying is literally true. Learning the ropes can help to find a way to escape, and lessen the current pain.

It is important to understand that whose managers who produce living hell are not all created equal. But they have a common tendency to project their dissatisfaction with their life and emotional emptiness outward and ascribe it to others. If they succeed it is all them, but if they fail, it's your fault.

They are incapable of trust, because everything they do is a facade, a lie, a Potemkin village.  The same Potemkin village as their family life, where wife and children at best are viewed as a desirable possession. And that's it.  They have utter contempt for other people, although they will use flattery, deceit and other means to create a dependency while they are using them. And after that is done, you will be discarded like an empty box. In other words they are real sharks, endlessly seeking the prey to fill their emotional emptiness with possessions, be they things or other people. And they are literally insatiable in their needs, and highly focused in their pursuit of them.

There two large group of dangerous managers who typically make the life of subordinates a living hell. We will call them "toxic managers".

Both types are power hungry and have inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, etc.”  (see Understanding Borderline Rage), which serves as a vehicles of intimidation and can be carefully rehearsed. The key differential is the amount of deceit in daily interactions and about personal and family history.  Manipulation and deceit are hallmarks of psychopathic personality. They live life as actors acting different roles depending on what is profitable and what helps to achieve their goals. Much like cult leaders (which who they have a lot in common) socialized psychopath are masters of creating an "artificial past" inventing their personal histories (including education, achievements, etc ) and sometimes even relatives as well as keeping victims from escaping. See The psychopath in the corner office for the list of traits that you need to try to match with to confirm this diagnose.

As this is not a psychiatry manual, we will use an umbrella term  "toxic managers" for both corporate psychopaths and (more numerous) authoritarian managers.  That term actually allow us to avoid nitpicking about whether particular manager is real psychopath, or something else and concentrate of patterns of behavior many of which are surprisingly common.  For our purpose real psychological diagnosis is of secondary importance, but methods of fight of this personality are of primary importance.

In this respect, what matter for us is the fact that both authoritarians and psychopath of various "denominations"  are really dangerous predators of corporate jungles in general and IT jungles in particular. And they blend extremely well into the current environment within government and mega corporations.

As all of them there is one important encompassing feature: predation. Most individuals in modern societies are caught up in the perpetual struggle of striking a balance between pursuing their own interests and respecting others' rights.  When their own pursuits take precedent over others, individuals typically feel some guilt or shame about their greed. But there is no such conflict inside sociopathic managers.  They do not need to rationalize their exploitation of other, they simply feel they are entitled.  Which makes them perfect predator of corporate jungles.  When in power, they typically use their animosity to keep others in line.  Often they create kind of cult of personality environment in which, like in Stalinist Russia, in order to survive, employees must identify with their aggressor or become one of the leader's victims (and please note that Joseph Stalin was a pretty charming personality in his narrow Politburo circle).

It goes without saying that presence of such individuals in the role of the manager puts a tremendous stress on his direct reports. Psychopaths are more that rare among general population and by some estimates represent over 1% of population and approximately 4% of managers. Authoritarians are more common and often constitute majority of middle managers in the corporation.  So both university students and regular cubicle dwellers should better know your enemy as they might need to deal with them in their first or next "manager-subordinate" relationship. They (especially Authoritarians) might be present among your immediate or extended family too.

Softpanorama Classification of Toxic Managers

With those reservations, we would distinguish the following non-orthogonal types based on a single,  dominant behavioral stereotype (for example all psychopath are bullies, but only bullies has this as a predominant feature). That's a crude and unscientific classification but it does has some practical value in dealing with this type of predators because our emphasis is of classifying and describing typical set of behaviors that those people use during "hunt" for prey.  It is valuable to knew something about what to expect if you are on the receiving end of such a behavior.  We will distinguish:

Authoritarians, quintessential kiss up kick down personalities

Authoritarians are more numerous and and while dangerious and toxic, they are less dangerous category in comparison with "real" phychopaths, especially micromanagers. If you boss fits the description you need to go to the church and light the candle. While your situation is bad and often justifiably can be called simply terrible, believe me it could be much, much worse (see below).

It is not always easy to detect authoritarian manager while not being his/her subordinates. Sometimes, like in romantic relations, it is quote difficult until it's too late. Typically authorititarian kiss up behavior can be polished to perfection and generally emogh equals he is often viewed as "normal" person. Trobles start only when you report to him.

Still there are som indicatins that are usful even when you are reporting to this jerk. In the latter  case indications are useless, because you are already cooked :-(.

One of the few good indications of authoritarian personality are extreme right wing views (see Double High Authoritarians). In any case as soon as this guy/nice lady become your boss, "kick down" side of his/her personality will be demonstrated to you in all glory and you will have zero problems with the detection. The only problem is that it's too late ;-).

Also it is not necessary that authoritarian boss should be incompetent. First of all, while there is correlation  between authoritarianism and low intelligence it is just a correlation. Some authoritarians are quite bright (for example, Bill O'Reilly -- a Fox News talking head to be more like double high authoritarian rather then a typical psychopath).

Another important trait that can be observed by outsiders and should warn you is that authoritarians tend to exhibit cognitive errors and symptoms of faulty reasoning. Specifically, they are more likely to make incorrect inferences from evidence and to hold ontradictory ideas that result from compartmentalized thinking. Moreover, they are typically unable to acknowledge their own limitations and assume responsibility for errors and blunders.  Here is a short but very useful list from Our Church Administration is Critically Infected « Another Voice

1.Illogical Thinking: The lack of independent, critical thinking.

2. Highly Compartmentalized Minds: Authoritarians’ ideas are poorly integrated with one another.

3. Double Standards : When your ideas live independent lives from one another it is pretty easy to use double standards in your judgments. You simply call up the idea that will justify (afterwards) what you’ve decided to do.

4. Hypocrisy: The leaders of authoritarian movements sometimes accuse their opponents of being anti-democratic and anti-free speech when the latter protest
against various books, movies, speakers, teachers and so on.

5. Blindness To Themselves: self-righteousness.

6. A Profound Ethnocentrism: Ethnocentrism means dividing the world up into in-groups and out-groups…….in-groups are holy and good…out-groups are evil and Satanic.

7. Dogmatism: the Authoritarian’s Last Ditch Defense: By dogmatism I mean relatively unchangeable, unjustified certainty. Loyal followers obey without questions…..

I would put dogmatism higher as this is valuable test which works when this type of people report to you or are on the same level as you and the personality they present to you is their "fake", Potemkin village facade.

But other then that this is an excellent, simply excellent list. One missing, but important feature is that authoritarians are generally more favorable to punishment and control than personal freedom and diversity. When discussing political preferences, tor example, they are more willing to suspend constitutional guarantees of liberty such as the Bill of Rights. They also are more likely to advocate strict, punitive sentences for criminals, and they admit that they obtain personal satisfaction from punishing such people. See Authoritarians

Bullies or aggressive psychopaths

Aggression in inherent in psychopath as a predator in corporate environment, and to tell that a psychopath is a bully is just to tell that the water is wet. So this is a sure sign that the boss is psychopath, but it does not help in classification of the set of behaviors that distinguish this particular predator from others. But for some sociopaths this pattern of behavior serves is the most favorite tactics that they use systematically. Those psychopaths have a distinct a tendency toward sadism and derive perverse gratification from harming others. They do like to hurt, frighten, tyrannize. They do it for a sense of power and control, and will often only drop subtle hints about what they are up to (this is also typical of authoritarians).

At the same time they systematically polish their aggressive, domineering manner in such a way to disguise any intimidation as legitimate corporate behavior and avoid coming under HR scrutiny for their behavior. Such pathological personalities always seek out positions of power, such as teacher, bureaucrat, manager, or police officer. You can also distinguish several subtypes:

I would like to stress it again that direct or indirect aggression is inherent in sociopath (a socialized psychopath) and to tell that a psychopath is a bully is just to tell that the water is wet.

US National Center for Education Statistics suggests that bullying can be broken into two categories:

Indirect bullying is more subtle and more likely to be verbal, such as the silent treatment, arguing others into submission, manipulation, gossip, staring, and mocking. While women can be as aggressive or even more aggressive then men they usually are more indirect. I would like to stress that gender differences in aggression are subject to review; human society is too complex and direct projection from animal world, for example, from great apes is of limited value. See important paper by Kaj Bjorkqvist Sex Differences in Physical, Verbal, and Indirect Aggression: A review of recent research

Accordingly, one should not expect women to develop and use exactly the same strategies for attaining their goals as men do. If strategies for aggression and conflict resolution are learned, not innate, then women are likely to learn different methods than men. Important aspects are power and capacity, not only physical, but also verbal, and social.

Human beings have nonphysical powers which are far beyond those of any other animal. Accordingly, human aggression has faces and forms, inconceivable within the realm of animal aggression. Extrapolations from animal studies are, therefore, misleading. Aggressive styles are also subject to developmental change during the life course. As indicated, animal aggression is mostly physical. Also among young children lacking verbal skills, aggression is predominantly physical.

Verbal skills, when they develop, are quickly utilized not only for peaceful communication, but also for aggressive purposes. When social skills develop, even more sophisticated strategies of aggression are made possible, with the aggressor being able to harm a target person without even being identified: Those strategies may be referred to as indirect aggression (Lagerspetz, Bjorkqvist, and Peltonen, 1988; Bjorkqvist, Lagerspetz, and Kaukiainen, 1992).

There are good reasons to believe that, as far as adult interpersonal conflict is concerned, physical aggression is really the exception, not the rule. Other means are more likely to be used.

Burbank (1987) reviews anthropological research on female aggression. She finds females of different cultures having a large potential of aggressive means to use in order to get even with their husbands, such as, e.g., locking them out of the house for the night: she regards this as an act of aggression. Burbank (1987) found females seldom to resort to physical aggression against their husbands, but they did so, occasionally. The most common reason was that their husbands had committed adultery. Burbank found, however, that women are much more often aggressive towards other women than towards men.

Here is one type from popular literature that fits the pattern:

The Fearmonger Boss. People do what a “fearsome” boss says because they’re afraid of him, which actually encourages further intimidation. He always has a threat, and he constantly follows through with that threat in order to keep his employees acquiescent.

Often bulling behavior is combined with paranoia tendencies (paranoiac self-defense). Again this category is fuzzy.

See Bullies or aggressive psychopaths  for more information

Paranoids

Paranoid managers are psychopaths for whom continual mistrust and misjudgment of environment dominates other (often no less pathological) personality features. Wikipedia defines paranoia in the following way:

Paranoid personality disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis that denotes a personality disorder with paranoid features. It is characterized by an exaggerated sensitivity to rejection, resentfulness, distrust, as well as the inclination to distort experienced events. Neutral and friendly actions of others are often misinterpreted as being hostile or contemptuous.

Unfounded suspicions regarding the sexual loyalty of partners and loyalty in general as well as the belief that one’s rights are not being recognized is stubbornly and argumentatively insisted upon.

Paranoid managers are suspicious, touchy, typically humorless, quick to take offense and slow to forgive, self-righteous (Which makes them remarkably similar to authoritarians and micromanagers). They are often argumentative and litigious. They seldom show tenderness and may avoid intimacy; often they seem tense and brusque.

Paranoid personalities find causal connections everywhere; for them nothing is coincidental.

They are constantly on guard and are hypersensitive to critique. That means that they often take offense where none is intended. Often they have problems with understanding humor. They appear cold and, in fact, often avoid becoming intimate with others. Often pride themselves on their rationality, objectivity and fairness. Paranoid managers rarely come forward to seek help from subordinates.

Often paranoia combines with "toxic incompetence" as they cannot make decision on time (analysis paralysis), insists of creating tons of useless documentation and due to this skip important project milestones, etc. Fear of exposure of paranoid manager is blended into a pattern of pervasive distrust and suspiciousness. An inability to trust, doubts about others' loyalty, distortion and fabrication of personal histories, qualifications and facts, misinterpretation, and bearing grudges unnecessarily are generally hallmarks of the disorder. Pathological and instinctive aggressive counter-attack, the need to control others is also a prominent feature. They like to collect evidence of subordinates. Paranoid managers often can be classified as "raw bullies", as in relations with subordinates they prefer to rely on brute force and direct intimidation.

For more information see Paranoids

Micromanagers

Tendency to micromanage subordinates is often combined with paranoia and bulling in various (but of course lesser then those classified as bullies or as paranoid) degrees. It also pretty often demonstrate itself as a distinct condition close to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OSD).

Micromanagers are remarkably close to authoritarian personalities in patterns of behaviour and demonstrate typical for the latter category bouts of anger (Borderline Rage). Reverse is not true, some authoritarians avoid micromanaging. Micromanagers often have almost pathological neatness; the latter is especially typical for women. Often their hairstyle is distinctly refined.

Especially dangerous are paranoid incompetent micromanagers (PIMM) the type which we will study in more detail on a separate set of pages:

Micromanagers is one of the few areas were gender stereotyping might provide some survival benefits. Women tend to be more detail oriented, and female corporate psychopaths more often tend to behave like micromanagers. Female PIMM can be mean, evil, vindictive and quite petty.

If a female boss is insecure about her skills and abilities she is more likely to exhibit PIMM behavior. Female PIMM are usually more skilled in using indirect aggression, especially isolation. 

Level of paranoia is elevated and often micromanagers simultaneously can be classified as paranoid managers. Among common traits are complete absence of trust in the staff, pathological need for control, pathologic dissatisfaction with results, and recurring "tantrums."

Many of PIMM can be also classified as bullies but again they, especially female PIMM, prefer indirect aggression to direct. Usually, female PIMM cultivate spying on subordinates and encourage "little birds" to rest on their shoulders and whisper all forms of gossip. This, these minions believe, ingratiates them to their bosses.

For more information see Micromanagers

Narcissists

The narcissistic bosses are characterized by "a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy," often evidenced as envy, taking advantage of others, an exaggerated sense of self-importance and entitlement, and arrogant or haughty behavior. There is not much hope for the poor shmacs toiling for the narcissistic personality-disordered boss who demands perfection, absolute loyalty, and 24/7 devotion to the job.

Narcissistic managers are not that different from other types and also suffer from compulsive need for control ("control freaks"). Narcissistic behavior is dominated by compulsive desire to project highly positive image  resulting in unstable behavior with emotional outbursts caused by insecurity and weakness rather than any real feelings of confidence or self-esteem.  One interesting feature of narcissists is that their behaviour in family environment is often more brutal and tyrannical then with subordinates of the office.  That makes they close to micromanagers.

Typically they are oversensitive to criticism and do not accept slightest criticism from below. They often can be simultaneously classified both as bullies and micromanagers. As they need to steal all the achievements of subordinates to built their image they are typically "gatekeepers" who try tightly control all the communications channels with the superiors'. Can be quite paranoid and react inadequately on any threat to their projected image.

For more information see Narcissists.

Manipulator bosses or Machiavellian boss ("wolfs in sheep closing")

Manipulative psychopaths are probably the smoothest of corporate psychopaths. Here we will mean a class of corporate psychopath who excels in manipulative behaviors including, but not limited to flattery and seduction. All psychopaths use this to a certain extent, but for this type this is a preferred tactic. Also they are typically talented actors and can wear their fake, "invented personality" with confidence and aplomb typical for great actors in movies and theater.

While manipulative behaviors including, but not limited to flattery and seduction are prominent, other features typical for corporate psychopath are usually present too. They are very similar to paranoid managers in their behavior toward subordinates, but unlike paranoids are capable to create a real smokescreen over their real personality by using flattery and seduction.

Unlike bullies they prefer indirect aggression to direct. They have tendency to play by the rules only as long as it suits them and break rules as soon as this is needed for achieving thier objectives. They are notoriously capable to exploit  "grey" area in their favor. This distinguishes them from paranoids. Like narcissists they fear becoming less valued, if their underlings get any recognition for exemplary work. Manipulator bosses are backstabbers who'll go to frightening lengths to look good to their superiors at the expense of denigrating subordinates.

Typically have a dual personality syndrome and behave completely differently with superiors then with subordinates. Here is how they are described in one of Monster career self-help articles:

The Manipulator Boss

Also known as the Machiavellian boss, this type is extremely intelligent and one of the most dangerous. The manipulator boss is highly focused, very motivated, and always has a secret plan. He looks at people as a means to an end. The world is a giant pyramid and the apex is his. People he touches or runs over on the way to the top are casualties he writes off. If you work for a manipulator, watch your back. Your best bet is to be open and honest with him. Volunteer information. Your boss, who has long forgotten what truth is, will be left impressed by it.

For more information see Manipulator bosses or Machiavellian boss ("wolfs in sheep closing")

Empty Suits (Aggressive Incompetent Managers)

We need to distinguish between normal and abnormal incompetence. Normal or institutional incompetence is inherent in large bureaucracies and in reflected on Peter Principle and Parkinson law.  In this case the manager was competent on some lower level of hierarchy but became incompetent after promotion or as often happens in IT due to loss of technical qualification in the current position. 

But there is also other, abnormal incompetence, when a person got to his position due to some "institutional lift" (for example being close friend or relative of  one of the higher level managers, or a secretary who is a mistress of the upper manager and was promoted to some technical position in IT department). This case  is also called pathological incompetence or colloquially "empty suits". 

It is usually quite toxic if such a manager is also aggressive. Unfortunately more often then not it is correlated with extreme aggressiveness as well as other personality problems -- most toxically incompetent managers are micromanagers or narcissists or bullies or some combination.   No substance and not much style. Just very sharp claws and elbows.

Such managers are more widespread that this is assumed in Harvard Business Scholl publications: in a large organization competence is not the primary value. Politics, connections, and clever tactics can compensate for incompetence. The sad truth that they are pretty typical in large organizations for reasons completely different from The Peter Principle.  In "bootlickocracy", the most incompetents are valued for "different reasons" and can easily propel themselves into a supervisory role.

Toxic incompetence is usually correlated with various other personality disorders and is prominent among corporate psychopaths.  Common clues include:

For more information see Empty Suits (Aggressive Incompetent Managers).

Psychopaths are real aliens, "people without conscience"

Psychopathic bosses are people that are so different from normal people that they can be truly called aliens. And those dramatic differences cannot be understood in terms of antisocial rearing or development. They operate using different set of assumptions, and it is the latter that makes them the natural "predators" of the corporate world, "criminals without criminal offences".

In corporate environment psychopath is the person who fails to recognize, much less to empathize with, the personal human dignity and rights of subordinates. That's why they are called "people without conscience".  They do not feel remorse at lying or manipulating, and they typically lie without limit creating an elaborate edifice of their fake past. This "addiction to lying" (and related inconsistencies in their descriptions of their past) is probably the most telling early warning sign about psychopath. Typically they "invent" their past. They have trouble with teamwork for the same reason. They will say one thing to one person, and something different to someone else.

As psychopaths are addicted to lying, they frequently contradict themselves. Typically they also enjoy harming and bullying others.  In young age they are often cruel to animals...

And it is difficult to understand how alien they are from "common people". To a certain extent they are insane. Please note that "sanity" does not mean perfection; it merely means sufficient engagement with the real world and society to allow us to survive both day-by-day and in the long term – thus “sane” individuals usually tend to obey traffic laws, learn from their mistakes and practical experience and, in the case of moral sanity, they recognize in others their worth and their capacity for joy and suffering.  Psychopaths are by definition reckless. This actions aren't merely misguided, but often are clinically dysfunctional. That's why they often self-destruct.

Furthermore, sanity implies an ability of introspection: capacity to critically evaluate one’s experience, to distinguish fact from fiction, and to tune behavior, to adapt to the real world. Insanity, by implication, suggests a significant level of detachment from reality and inability to change one behavior despite negative feedback from the environment.  For example, a psychopath not only can't recognize the human worth and the capacity for pleasure and pain in others, he does not recognize any value of that. For him treating people like objects is "normal" and any empathy is for suckers.  In this sense he/she is living in an "unreal", artificial world. Detached for reality world, the world were no empathy exits. It is often correlates with other psychological disorders such as paranoia.

The presence or absence of conscience and related lack of emotions is a deep human division, arguably as significant as intelligence, race, and closer then many would think to gender differences.

We don't know what makes psychopath ticks and how they acquire the set of behavioral patterns they demonstrate. So most of modern literature is limited to "traits based description". For  extensive list of traits see The psychopath in the corner office. This "trait classification" method that prevails in the literature is very limited and in general should be considered unscientific. As such, it overlaps with "popular urban mythology". Still even mythology is better then nothing and we do not have any other approach that is really better.

Warning

You need to understand that those description are pretty much ad hoc. Reality is more complex and does not fit well within this rigid scheme. Often traits are intermixed in a unique way that defy classification. That's why you need really put an effort into studying your particular type and documenting his/her behavior to get some real insights into particular beast you are dealing with. One important variable partially omitted is the level of intellect (also low IQ is reflected in Empty Suits (Aggressive Incompetent Managers) type).  Often psychopaths have high or very high IQ. 

There are probably several more important factors that were omitted. For example, gender differences are also very important and color psychopathic behavior in a unique way. See Female Sociopaths

Methods of attacks used by psychopathic bosses vary but one common is based on performance reviews. There are several traps there you can and should avoid.  See Surviving a Bad Performance Review

The simplest way to get some additional insight would be checkpoint list based on typical traits displayed by psychopaths. See The psychopath in the corner office

For psychopaths the office environment is a theatre of war and like in any war ends justify means. So dirty tricks are ok  as French proverb A la guerre, comme a la guerre  implies. They are typically used by psychopaths without any constrains (spreading dirty rumors is the specialty of female sociopath and those skills are usually polished since childhood to perfection.).  The greatest variety is observable from Machiavellians Manipulators but sophistication is typical for psychopath in general. See Machiavellians Manipulators Tricks.

You should remember  famous saying that "War is a continuation of policy by other means" and don't overreact.

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). Which complicate rational assessment of the situation so delays with the reaction and keeping your cards close to your chest 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):

There are several good books on the subject that you should definitely read. Stakes are so high that any additional ammo worth much more then its nominal cost. See a list of suggestions in  Toxic managers: The Problem of Corporate Psychopaths. But again, you should took information provided with a grain of salt.

Watching films that depict psychopath also provide some additional insight and this way of study should not be overlooked.  Unlike real events you can watch the film over and over again and that's enhance the understanding of specific tricks and attack methods. See Psychopaths in Movies. 

Some behavior patterns are really easier to study via movies. This is especially true about female sociopaths. For example there is certain logic in outbursts of anger used by psychopath. They are not completely spontaneous, but more of a sign that you entered the territory they already staked. Or they want something that you refuse to give. The same is true for authoritarians (authoritarian rage).  See Understanding Borderline Rage.

At the same time, being reserved is very important. One of the tactics used is to  provoked you into a burst of your own impulsive behavior as this way psychopath can play victim, while being actually an aggressor.  See Anger trap

Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov


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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

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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...

[May 18, 2016] Less Than Artful Choices Narcissistic Personality Disorder According to Donald Trump

Notable quotes:
"... So, without further ado, Trump's quotable illustration of the hallmarks of NPD, defined according to DSM-IV as, "A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy." The disorder is indicated by at least five of the following: ..."
Big Think

Donald Trump was born in 1946. 34 years later, in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the American Psychiatric Association's hefty volume of mental disorder classifications, the term "Narcissistic Personality Disorder" (NPD) first appeared as a diagnosable disease – Trump would doubtless say it was created in his honor (characteristic #1 of NPD: An exaggerated sense of self-importance). After all, the newly-minted personality disorder made its debut only nine years after he took the helm of his father's company… and renamed it from Elizabeth Trump & Son to The Trump Organization.

The most recent DSM, DSM-IV, is currently under extensive revision, with DSM-V scheduled for publication sometime in 2013, and both its listed diseases and their definitions are undergoing extensive scrutiny and contentious debate. On the chopping block are five of the ten or so so-called personality disorders, including NPD. Among the reasons for the cut are the frequent overlap between disorders, the general lack of stability of symptoms, and the range of those symptoms in reality, as compared to the either/or approach of the manual (either you have a disorder or you don't). So, before NPD becomes a thing of the past, at least in its current form, I thought we'd take a moment to reflect on some less than artful choices – or the things that make Trump look like he just stepped out of the fourth edition, symptom by symptom.

A caveat: I am obviously exaggerating, both Trump and narcissism. But debate on personality disorders, classifications, diagnoses, and treatments is well worthwhile, and a colorful spokesperson never hurts.

So, without further ado, Trump's quotable illustration of the hallmarks of NPD, defined according to DSM-IV as, "A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy." The disorder is indicated by at least five of the following:

1. An exaggerated sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

A sense of one's own importance, a grandiose feeling that one is alone responsible for any achievement is a hallmark of the narcissist. Grandiosity is one of the central tenets of a narcissistic personality. Narcissists tend to take credit for everything, as if no one else contributed to the end product. Witness Trump's declaration that, "When people see the beautiful marble in Trump Tower, they usually have no idea what I went through personally to achieve the end result. No one cares about the blood, sweat, and tears that art or beauty require." What do you know: not only is Trump a developer and an artistic visionary, but he seems to be a stellar architect and construction worker as well.

And history will agree (naturally). "Anyone who thinks my story is anywhere near over is sadly mistaken," says Trump. Sadly, indeed.

2. Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love How many presidential runs does it take for the process to be defined as a preoccupation rather than an occupation?

I'd leave it at that, except for the existence of this little gem: "My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body." Not only all-powerful, but all-beautiful, too. The man has it all.

3. Believes he is "special" and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions) To narcissists, the "little people" or anyone beneath them (which is mostly everyone) don't matter. Trump's lambasting of Rosie O'Donnell is a good case in point: "Rosie O'Donnell called me a snake oil salesman. And, you know, coming from Rosie, that's pretty low because when you look at her and when you see the mind, the mind is weak. I don't see it. I don't get it. I never understood – how does she even get on television?"

Clearly, Rosie lacks the power to understand the dazzling intellect that is Donald Trump. Trump needs someone of equal status to appreciate his immensity. But it can't be Larry King, because as he told King, "Do you mind if I sit back a little? Because your breath is very bad. It really is. Has this been told to you before?"

4. Requires excessive admiration No matter the sincerity, as long as the praise comes frequently and at a high enough volume. Says Trump, "All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me – consciously or unconsciously. That's to be expected." Clearly. Admired, wherever he may go, even when he's talking about himself in the third person, as in, "Love him or hate him, Trump is a man who is certain about what he wants and sets out to get it, no holds barred. Women find his power almost as much of a turn-on as his money."

As he puts it, "Nobody but a total masochist wants to be criticized."

5. Has a sense of entitlement The world owes the narcissist everything; he, in turn, owes it nothing. I think Trump's attitude can be summed up with this approach to marriage: "I wish I'd had a great marriage. See, my father was always very proud of me, but the one thing he got right was that he had a great marriage. He was married for 64 years. One of my ex-wives once said to me, 'You have to work at a marriage.' And I said, 'That's the most ridiculous thing.'"

6. Selfishly takes advantage of others to achieve his own ends I don't have a quote for this one, but perhaps we can talk to one of his ex-wives.

7. Lacks empathy Narcissists don't sympathize with the feelings of others. Who are these "others," anyway? No one matters except for me. I won't recreate the Rosie rampage in full, but sentiments like, "I'll sue her because it would be fun. I'd like to take some money out of her fat ass pockets," capture the spirit.

8. Is often envious of others or believes others to be envious of him Here, it seems like Trump is dominated by the second sentiment, the expectation that everyone is envious of his success. Everyone wants to be Trump. As he puts it, "The old rich may look down their noses at me, but I think they kiss my ass."

9. Shows arrogant, haughty, patronizing, or contemptuous behaviors or attitudes Again, other people don't matter. They can be treated like nothing, because who are we kidding – nothing is the closest description of what they are.

Clients don't matter. As Trump puts it, "When I build something for somebody, I always add $50 million or $60 million onto the price. My guys come in, they say it's going to cost $75 million. I say it's going to cost $125 million, and I build it for $100 million. Basically, I did a lousy job. But they think I did a great job." Take them for the suckers they are; that's the ticket.

The media doesn't matter. According to Trump, "You know, it really doesn't matter what (the media) write as long as you've got a young and beautiful piece of ass." The piece of ass doesn't matter, either; any will do.

Other businesses don't matter. As Trump says, "If you want to buy something, it's obviously in your best interest to convince the seller that what he's got isn't worth very much."

But it's ok. Trump doesn't have to be nice. After all, it's not like he wants to run for office or anything: "I'm not running for office. I don't have to be politically correct. I don't have to be a nice person. Like I watch some of these weak-kneed politicians, it's disgusting. I don't have to be that way."

Too bad. We need a good candidate. Because according to Trump, "One of the key problems today is that politics is such a disgrace. Good people don't go into government."

[May 18, 2016] Barack Obama – Narcissist or Merely Narcissistic?

Notable quotes:
"... Narcissism is a defense mechanism whose role is to deflect hurt and trauma from the victim's "True Self" into a " False Self " which is omnipotent, invulnerable, and omniscient. This False Self is then used by the narcissist to garner narcissistic supply from his human environment. Narcissistic supply is any form of attention, both positive and negative and it is instrumental in the regulation of the narcissist's labile sense of self-worth. ..."
"... Many narcissists are over-achievers and ambitious. Some of them are even talented and skilled. But they are incapable of team work because they cannot tolerate setbacks. They are easily frustrated and demoralized and are unable to cope with disagreement and criticism. Though some narcissists have meteoric and inspiring careers, in the long-run, all of them find it difficult to maintain long-term professional achievements and the respect and appreciation of their peers. The narcissist's fantastic grandiosity, frequently coupled with a hypomanic mood, is typically incommensurate with his or her real accomplishments (the "grandiosity gap"). ..."
"... An important distinction is between cerebral and somatic narcissists. The cerebrals derive their Narcissistic Supply from their intelligence or academic achievements and the somatics derive their Narcissistic Supply from their physique, exercise, physical or sexual prowess and romantic or physical "conquests". ..."
"... Subtly misrepresents facts and expediently and opportunistically shifts positions, views, opinions, and "ideals" (e.g., about campaign finance, re-districting). These flip-flops do not cause him overt distress and are ego-syntonic (he feels justified in acting this way). Alternatively, reuses to commit to a standpoint and, in the process, evidences a lack of empathy. ..."
"... Narcissism is regarded by many scholars to be an adaptative strategy ("healthy narcissism"). ..."
"... Pathological narcissism is the art of deception. The narcissist projects a False Self and manages all his social interactions through this concocted fictional construct. ..."
"... When the narcissist reveals his true colors, it is usually far too late. His victims are unable to separate from him. They are frustrated by this acquired helplessness and angry at themselves for having they failed to see through the narcissist earlier on. ..."
"... The narcissist instantly idealizes or devalues his interlocutor. This depends on how the narcissist appraises the potential his converser has as a Narcissistic Supply Source. The narcissist flatters, adores, admires and applauds the "target" in an embarrassingly exaggerated and profuse manner or sulks, abuses, and humiliates her. ..."
"... In general, the narcissist always prefers show-off to substance. One of the most effective methods of exposing a narcissist is by trying to delve deeper. The narcissist is shallow, a pond pretending to be an ocean. He likes to think of himself as a Renaissance man, a Jack of all trades. The narcissist never admits to ignorance in any field yet, typically, he is ignorant of them all. It is surprisingly easy to penetrate the gloss and the veneer of the narcissist's self-proclaimed omniscience. ..."
"... In general, the narcissist is very impatient, easily bored, with strong attention deficits unless and until he is the topic of discussion. One can publicly dissect all aspects of the intimate life of a narcissist without repercussions, providing the discourse is not "emotionally tinted". ..."
lettingfreedomring.com
Barack Obama appears to be a narcissist . Granted, only a qualified mental health diagnostician (which I am not) can determine whether someone suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and this, following lengthy tests and personal interviews. But, in the absence of access to Barack Obama, one has to rely on his overt performance and on testimonies by his closest, nearest and dearest.

Narcissistic leaders are nefarious and their effects pernicious. They are subtle, refined, socially-adept, manipulative, possessed of thespian skills, and convincing. Both types equally lack empathy and are ruthless and relentless or driven.

Perhaps it is time to require each candidate to high office in the USA to submit to a rigorous physical and mental checkup with the results made public.

I. Upbringing and Childhood

Obama's early life was decidedly chaotic and replete with traumatic and mentally bruising dislocations. Mixed-race marriages were even less common then. His parents went through a divorce when he was an infant (two years old). Obama saw his father only once again, before he died in a car accident. Then, his mother re-married and Obama had to relocate to Indonesia : a foreign land with a radically foreign culture, to be raised by a step-father. At the age of ten, he was whisked off to live with his maternal (white) grandparents. He saw his mother only intermittently in the following few years and then she vanished from his life in 1979. She died of cancer in 1995.

Pathological narcissism is a reaction to prolonged abuse and trauma in early childhood or early adolescence. The source of the abuse or trauma is immaterial: the perpetrators could be dysfunctional or absent parents, teachers, other adults, or peers.

II. Behavior Patterns

The narcissist:

Narcissism is a defense mechanism whose role is to deflect hurt and trauma from the victim's "True Self" into a " False Self " which is omnipotent, invulnerable, and omniscient. This False Self is then used by the narcissist to garner narcissistic supply from his human environment. Narcissistic supply is any form of attention, both positive and negative and it is instrumental in the regulation of the narcissist's labile sense of self-worth.

Perhaps the most immediately evident trait of patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is their vulnerability to criticism and disagreement. Subject to negative input, real or imagined, even to a mild rebuke, a constructive suggestion, or an offer to help, they feel injured, humiliated and empty and they react with disdain (devaluation), rage, and defiance.

From my book "Malignant Self Love – Narcissism Revisited":

"To avoid such intolerable pain, some patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) socially withdraw and feign false modesty and humility to mask their underlying grandiosity . Dysthymic and depressive disorders are common reactions to isolation and feelings of shame and inadequacy."

Due to their lack of empathy, disregard for others, exploitativeness, sense of entitlement, and constant need for attention (narcissistic supply), narcissists are rarely able to maintain functional and healthy interpersonal relationships.

Many narcissists are over-achievers and ambitious. Some of them are even talented and skilled. But they are incapable of team work because they cannot tolerate setbacks. They are easily frustrated and demoralized and are unable to cope with disagreement and criticism. Though some narcissists have meteoric and inspiring careers, in the long-run, all of them find it difficult to maintain long-term professional achievements and the respect and appreciation of their peers. The narcissist's fantastic grandiosity, frequently coupled with a hypomanic mood, is typically incommensurate with his or her real accomplishments (the "grandiosity gap").

An important distinction is between cerebral and somatic narcissists. The cerebrals derive their Narcissistic Supply from their intelligence or academic achievements and the somatics derive their Narcissistic Supply from their physique, exercise, physical or sexual prowess and romantic or physical "conquests".

Another crucial division within the ranks of patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is between the classic variety (those who meet five of the nine diagnostic criteria included in the DSM), and the compensatory kind (their narcissism compensates for deep-set feelings of inferiority and lack of self-worth).
Obama displays the following behaviors, which are among the hallmarks of pathological narcissism:

III. Body Language

Many complain of the incredible deceptive powers of the narcissist. They find themselves involved with narcissists (emotionally, in business, or otherwise) before they have a chance to discover their true character. Shocked by the later revelation, they mourn their inability to separate from the narcissist and their gullibility.

Narcissists are an elusive breed, hard to spot, harder to pinpoint, impossible to capture. Even an experienced mental health diagnostician with unmitigated access to the record and to the person examined would find it fiendishly difficult to determine with any degree of certainty whether someone suffers from a full fledged Narcissistic Personality Disorder or merely possesses narcissistic traits, a narcissistic style, a personality structure ("character"), or a narcissistic "overlay" superimposed on another mental health problem.

Moreover, it is important to distinguish between traits and behavior patterns that are independent of the patient's cultural-social context (i.e., which are inherent, or idiosyncratic) and reactive patterns, or conformity to cultural and social morals and norms. Reactions to severe life crises or circumstances are also often characterized by transient pathological narcissism, for instance (Ronningstam and Gunderson, 1996). But such reactions do not a narcissist make.

When a person belongs to a society or culture that has often been described as narcissistic by scholars (such as Theodore Millon) and social thinkers (e.g., Christopher Lasch) how much of his behavior can be attributed to his milieu and which of his traits are really his?

The Narcissistic Personality Disorder is rigorously defined in the DSM IV-TR with a set of strict criteria and differential diagnoses.

Narcissism is regarded by many scholars to be an adaptative strategy ("healthy narcissism"). It is considered pathological in the clinical sense only when it becomes a rigid personality structure replete with a series of primitive defence mechanisms (such as splitting, projection, projective identification, or intellectualization) and when it leads to dysfunctions in one or more areas of the patient's life.

Pathological narcissism is the art of deception. The narcissist projects a False Self and manages all his social interactions through this concocted fictional construct.

When the narcissist reveals his true colors, it is usually far too late. His victims are unable to separate from him. They are frustrated by this acquired helplessness and angry at themselves for having they failed to see through the narcissist earlier on.

But the narcissist does emit subtle, almost subliminal, signals ("presenting symptoms") even in a first or casual encounter. Compare the following list to Barack Obama's body language during his public appearances.

These are:

IV. Narcissistic and psychopathic Leaders

The narcissistic or psychopathic leader is the culmination and reification of his period, culture, and civilization. He is likely to rise to prominence in narcissistic societies.

The malignant narcissist invents and then projects a false, fictitious, self for the world to fear, or to admire. He maintains a tenuous grasp on reality to start with and this is further exacerbated by the trappings of power. The narcissist's grandiose self-delusions and fantasies of omnipotence and omniscience are supported by real life authority and the narcissist's predilection to surround himself with obsequious sycophants.

The narcissist's personality is so precariously balanced that he cannot tolerate even a hint of criticism and disagreement. Most narcissists are paranoid and suffer from ideas of reference (the delusion that they are being mocked or discussed when they are not). Thus, narcissists often regard themselves as "victims of persecution".

The narcissistic leader fosters and encourages a personality cult with all the hallmarks of an institutional religion: priesthood, rites, rituals, temples, worship, catechism, mythology. The leader is this religion's ascetic saint. He monastically denies himself earthly pleasures (or so he claims) in order to be able to dedicate himself fully to his calling.

The narcissistic leader is a monstrously inverted Jesus, sacrificing his life and denying himself so that his people – or humanity at large – should benefit. By surpassing and suppressing his humanity, the narcissistic leader became a distorted version of Nietzsche's "superman".

But being a-human or super-human also means being a-sexual and a-moral.

In this restricted sense, narcissistic leaders are post-modernist and moral relativists. They project to the masses an androgynous figure and enhance it by engendering the adoration of nudity and all things "natural" – or by strongly repressing these feelings. But what they refer to as "nature" is not natural at all.

The narcissistic leader invariably proffers an aesthetic of decadence and evil carefully orchestrated and artificial – though it is not perceived this way by him or by his followers. Narcissistic leadership is about reproduced copies, not about originals. It is about the manipulation of symbols – not about veritable atavism or true conservatism.

In short: narcissistic leadership is about theatre, not about life. To enjoy the spectacle (and be subsumed by it), the leader demands the suspension of judgment, depersonalization, and de-realization. Catharsis is tantamount, in this narcissistic dramaturgy, to self-annulment.

Narcissism is nihilistic not only operationally, or ideologically. Its very language and narratives are nihilistic. Narcissism is conspicuous nihilism – and the cult's leader serves as a role model, annihilating the Man, only to re-appear as a pre-ordained and irresistible force of nature.

Narcissistic leadership often poses as a rebellion against the "old ways" – against the hegemonic culture, the upper classes, the established religions, the superpowers, the corrupt order. Narcissistic movements are puerile, a reaction to narcissistic injuries inflicted upon a narcissistic (and rather psychopathic) toddler nation-state, or group, or upon the leader.

Minorities or "others" – often arbitrarily selected – constitute a perfect, easily identifiable, embodiment of all that is "wrong". They are accused of being old, they are eerily disembodied, they are cosmopolitan, they are part of the establishment, they are "decadent", they are hated on religious and socio-economic grounds, or because of their race, sexual orientation, origin … They are different, they are narcissistic (feel and act as morally superior), they are everywhere, they are defenceless, they are credulous, they are adaptable (and thus can be co-opted to collaborate in their own destruction). They are the perfect hate figure. Narcissists thrive on hatred and pathological envy.

This is precisely the source of the fascination with Hitler, diagnosed by Erich Fromm – together with Stalin – as a malignant narcissist. He was an inverted human. His unconscious was his conscious. He acted out our most repressed drives, fantasies, and wishes. He provides us with a glimpse of the horrors that lie beneath the veneer, the barbarians at our personal gates, and what it was like before we invented civilization. Hitler forced us all through a time warp and many did not emerge. He was not the devil. He was one of us. He was what Arendt aptly called the banality of evil. Just an ordinary, mentally disturbed, failure, a member of a mentally disturbed and failing nation, who lived through disturbed and failing times. He was the perfect mirror, a channel, a voice, and the very depth of our souls.

The narcissistic leader prefers the sparkle and glamour of well-orchestrated illusions to the tedium and method of real accomplishments. His reign is all smoke and mirrors, devoid of substances, consisting of mere appearances and mass delusions. In the aftermath of his regime – the narcissistic leader having died, been deposed, or voted out of office – it all unravels. The tireless and constant prestidigitation ceases and the entire edifice crumbles. What looked like an economic miracle turns out to have been a fraud-laced bubble. Loosely-held empires disintegrate. Laboriously assembled business conglomerates go to pieces. "Earth shattering" and "revolutionary" scientific discoveries and theories are discredited. Social experiments end in mayhem.

It is important to understand that the use of violence must be ego-syntonic. It must accord with the self-image of the narcissist. It must abet and sustain his grandiose fantasies and feed his sense of entitlement. It must conform with the narcissistic narrative.

Thus, a narcissist who regards himself as the benefactor of the poor, a member of the common folk, the representative of the disenfranchised, the champion of the dispossessed against the corrupt elite – is highly unlikely to use violence at first.

The pacific mask crumbles when the narcissist has become convinced that the very people he purported to speak for, his constituency, his grassroots fans, the prime sources of his narcissistic supply – have turned against him. At first, in a desperate effort to maintain the fiction underlying his chaotic personality, the narcissist strives to explain away the sudden reversal of sentiment. "The people are being duped by (the media, big industry, the military, the elite, etc.)", "they don't really know what they are doing", "following a rude awakening, they will revert to form", etc.

When these flimsy attempts to patch a tattered personal mythology fail – the narcissist is injured. Narcissistic injury inevitably leads to narcissistic rage and to a terrifying display of unbridled aggression. The pent-up frustration and hurt translate into devaluation. That which was previously idealized – is now discarded with contempt and hatred.

This primitive defense mechanism is called "splitting". To the narcissist, things and people are either entirely bad (evil) or entirely good. He projects onto others his own shortcomings and negative emotions, thus becoming a totally good object. A narcissistic leader is likely to justify the butchering of his own people by claiming that they intended to kill him, undo the revolution, devastate the economy, or the country, etc.

The "small people", the "rank and file", the "loyal soldiers" of the narcissist – his flock, his nation, his employees – they pay the price. The disillusionment and disenchantment are agonizing. The process of reconstruction, of rising from the ashes, of overcoming the trauma of having been deceived, exploited and manipulated – is drawn-out. It is difficult to trust again, to have faith, to love, to be led, to collaborate. Feelings of shame and guilt engulf the erstwhile followers of the narcissist. This is his sole legacy: a massive post-traumatic stress disorder.

DISCLAIMER

I am not a mental health professional. Still, I have dedicated the last 12 years to the study of personality disorders in general and the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) in particular. I have authored nine (9) books about these topics, one of which is a Barnes and Noble best-seller ("Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited"). My work is widely cited in scholarly tomes and publications and in the media. My books and the content of my Web site are based on correspondence since 1996 with hundreds of people suffering from the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (narcissists) and with thousands of their family members, friends, therapists, and colleagues.

[May 18, 2016] 10 Signs That Youre in a Relationship with a Narcissist

Notable quotes:
"... the narcissist is someone who has "buried his true self-expression in response to early injuries and replaced it with a highly developed, compensatory false self." ..."
"... In our highly individualistic and externally driven society, mild to severe forms of narcissism are not only pervasive but often encouraged. ..."
"... It is more accurate to characterize the pathological narcissist as someone who's in love with an idealized self-image , which they project in order to avoid feeling (and being seen as) the real, disenfranchised, wounded self. Deep down, most pathological narcissists feel like the "ugly duckling," even if they painfully don't want to admit it. ..."
"... Some narcissists have an exaggerated sense of self-importance, believing that others cannot live or survive without his or her magnificent contributions. ..."
"... "Some people try to be tall by cutting off the heads of others" - Paramhansa Yogananda ..."
"... Making decisions for others to suit one's own needs. The narcissist may use his or her romantic partner, child, friend, or colleague to meet unreasonable self-serving needs, fulfill unrealized dreams , or cover up self-perceived inadequacies and flaws. ..."
www.psychologytoday.com

Be on the lookout for these, before you get manipulated.

"That's enough of me talking about myself; let's hear you talk about me"

― Anonymous

"It's not easy being superior to everyone I know."

― Anonymous

Psychologist Stephen Johnson writes that the narcissist is someone who has "buried his true self-expression in response to early injuries and replaced it with a highly developed, compensatory false self." This alternate persona to the real self often comes across as grandiose, "above others," self-absorbed, and highly conceited. In our highly individualistic and externally driven society, mild to severe forms of narcissism are not only pervasive but often encouraged.

Narcissism is often interpreted in popular culture as a person who's in love with him or herself. It is more accurate to characterize the pathological narcissist as someone who's in love with an idealized self-image , which they project in order to avoid feeling (and being seen as) the real, disenfranchised, wounded self. Deep down, most pathological narcissists feel like the "ugly duckling," even if they painfully don't want to admit it.

How do you know when you're dealing with a narcissist? The following are some telltale signs, excerpted from my book (click on title): " How to Successfully Handle Narcissists (link is external) ". While most of us are guilty of some of the following behaviors at one time or another, a pathological narcissist tends to dwell habitually in several of the following personas, while remaining largely unaware of (or unconcerned with) how his or her actions affect others.

1. Conversation Hoarder . The narcissist loves to talk about him or herself, and doesn't give you a chance to take part in a two-way conversation. You struggle to have your views and feelings heard. When you do get a word in, if it's not in agreement with the narcissist, your comments are likely to be corrected, dismissed, or ignored. As in: "My father's favorite responses to my views were: 'but…,' 'actually…,' and 'there's more to it than this…' He always has to feel like he knows better." ― Anonymous

2. Conversation Interrupter. While many people have the poor communication habit of interrupting others, the narcissist interrupts and quickly switches the focus back to herself. He shows little genuine interest in you.

3. Rule Breaker. The narcissist enjoys getting away with violating rules and social norms, such as cutting in line, chronic under-tipping, stealing office supplies, breaking multiple appointments, or disobeying traffic laws. As in: "I take pride in persuading people to give me exceptions to their rules" ― Anonymous

4. Boundary Violator. Shows wanton disregard for other people's thoughts, feelings, possessions, and physical space. Oversteps and uses others without consideration or sensitivity. Borrows items or money without returning. Breaks promises and obligations repeatedly. Shows little remorse and blames the victim for one's own lack of respect. As in: "It's your fault that I forgot because you didn't remind me"― Anonymous

5. False Image Projection. Many narcissists like to do things to impress others by making themselves look good externally. This "trophy" complex can exhibit itself physically, romantically, sexually, socially, religiously, financially, materially, professionally, academically, or culturally. In these situations, the narcissist uses people, objects, status, and/or accomplishments to represent the self, substituting for the perceived, inadequate "real" self. These grandstanding "merit badges" are often exaggerated. The underlying message of this type of display is: "I'm better than you!" or "Look at how special I am-I'm worthy of everyone's love, admiration, and acceptance!" as in: "I dyed my hair blond and enlarged my breasts to get men's attention-and to make other women jealous " - Anonymous. Or "My accomplishments are everything" ― Anonymous executive Or "I never want to be looked upon as poor. My fiancé and I each drive a Mercedes. The best man at our upcoming wedding also drives a Mercedes." ― Anonymous.

In a big way, these external symbols become pivotal parts of the narcissist's false identity, replacing the real and injured self.

6. Entitlement. Narcissists often expect preferential treatment from others. They expect others to cater (often instantly) to their needs, without being considerate in return. In their mindset, the world revolves around them.

7. Charmer. Narcissists can be very charismatic and persuasive. When they're interested in you (for their own gratification), they make you feel very special and wanted. However, once they lose interest in you (most likely after they've gotten what they want, or became bored), they may drop you without a second thought. A narcissist can be very engaging and sociable, as long as you're fulfilling what she desires, and giving her all of your attention.

8. Grandiose Personality. Thinking of oneself as a hero or heroine, a prince or princess, or one of a kind special person. Some narcissists have an exaggerated sense of self-importance, believing that others cannot live or survive without his or her magnificent contributions. As in: "I'm looking for a man who will treat my daughter and me like princesses" ― Anonymous singles ad. Or: "Once again I saved the day-without me, they're nothing" ― Anonymous

9. Negative Emotions. Many narcissists enjoy spreading and arousing negative emotions to gain attention, feel powerful, and keep you insecure and off-balance. They are easily upset at any real or perceived slights or inattentiveness. They may throw a tantrum if you disagree with their views, or fail to meet their expectations. They are extremely sensitive to criticism, and typically respond with heated argument (fight) or cold detachment (flight). On the other hand, narcissists are often quick to judge, criticize, ridicule, and blame you. Some narcissists are emotionally abusive. By making you feel inferior, they boost their fragile ego, and feel better about themselves. As in: "Some people try to be tall by cutting off the heads of others" - Paramhansa Yogananda

10. Manipulation: Using Others as an Extension of Self. Making decisions for others to suit one's own needs. The narcissist may use his or her romantic partner, child, friend, or colleague to meet unreasonable self-serving needs, fulfill unrealized dreams , or cover up self-perceived inadequacies and flaws. As in: "If my son doesn't grow up to be a professional baseball player, I'll disown him" ― Anonymous father. Or: "Aren't you beautiful? Aren't you beautiful? You're going to be just as pretty as mommy" ― Anonymous mother

Another way narcissists manipulate is through guilt, such as proclaiming, "I've given you so much, and you're so ungrateful," or, "I'm a victim-you must help me or you're not a good person." They hijack your emotions, and beguile you to make unreasonable sacrifices.

If you find yourself in a relationship with a difficult narcissist, there are many strategies and skills you can utilize to help restore health , balance, and respect. In my book (click on title): " How to Successfully Handle Narcissists (link is external) ," you'll learn how to maintain composure, ways to be proactive instead of reactive, seven powerful strategies to handle narcissists, eight ways to say "no" diplomatically but firmly, keys to negotiate successfully with narcissists, and seven types of power you can utilize to compel cooperation .

For more on dealing with difficult people, see my publications (click on titles):

Follow me on Twitter (link is external) , Facebook (link is external) , and LinkedIn (link is external) !

Preston Ni, M.S.B.A. is available as a presenter, workshop facilitator, and private coach. For more information, write to commsuccess@nipreston.com (link sends e-mail) , or visit www.nipreston.com (link is external) .



Old News ;-)

4 Warning Signs You're Dating a Narcissist World of Psychology

That is what a relationship with a narcissist is like. In the beginning there's flash and excitement. Their presence is magnetic and he or she seems larger than life. They are intelligent, charming, and popular, and when they're the center of attention, some of the spotlight shines on you, too, leaving you glowing with pride, importance, and accomplishment. Yet after a while, you discover that under the surface the relationship is hollow. Soon, the excitement and status wear thin.

This is because a true narcissist lacks inner qualities necessary for a healthy bond: empathic perspective-taking, a moral conscience, stable confidence, and the ability to be intimate and genuine with another human being. Being in a relationship with a narcissist (especially if you don't realize they are one) can leave you feeling worthless, emotionally exhausted, and unfulfilled.

So how can you know if you are in this kind of "hollow chocolate bunny" relationship before it crashes and burns in heartache? Do you have to wait until your relationship sours to find out? Not necessarily. Spotting the signs early means being able to avoid getting entangled in a narcissist's web, and could spare you from doing the challenging, messy work of digging yourself out later.

Here's a few signs to look for in your partner, which may signal that the person you are dating has narcissistic tendencies, and the negative effects those behaviors can have on you:

1. He poses as "The Most Interesting Man in the World."

A narcissist may initially intrigue you with his or her apparent confidence, swagger, or audacity, regaling you with stories about accomplishments, rubbing elbows with influential people, or their innumerable talents and gifts. He or she may seem fun and magnetic, always the center of attention and the life of the party, but this may actually be a facade - a ploy to satisfy the narcissist's pathological need for praise and reassurance. You may come to find out that the stories are exaggerated (or altogether false), their confidence is artificial and fragile, and his or her need for attention may trump good judgment or others' needs.

2. You feel talked down to.

Because narcissists deeply lack self-esteem, almost everything else in their lives is orchestrated to hide their weaknesses and give them a temporary sense of power and success. This can take the form of subtle insults that cause you to question your worth, such as a dismissive sneer when you make an observation, a condescending "that's nice" when you share an accomplishment you're proud of, or demeaning comments about your behavior or appearance.

When you look to a partner who is a narcissist, it can feel like you're looking into a funhouse mirror and getting back a distorted view of yourself. Your flaws seem to be highlighted and your strengths diminished - a careful ruse constructed to ensure the narcissist holds themselves in a more flattering light.

3. She acts like the victim.

Narcissism also is characterized by extreme self-centeredness. Anything that is outside the narcissist's experience or that contradicts his or her beliefs is wrong, foolish, or crazy. For this reason, a conflict with a narcissist is almost certain to end with all the blame being directed to you. This, combined with the funhouse mirror effect, can make even minor arguments emotionally exhausting.

Nothing you say can convince the narcissist that you're not making intentional and irrational attacks against him or her. In the narcissist's eyes, you're somehow responsible for their sadness, anger, or even immoral behavior.

4. Your relationship feels one-sided and shallow.

When it's time to move from casual to committed, this is where the "hollow chocolate bunny" effect of narcissism really shows through. A relationship with a narcissist is unlikely ever to reach greater depths of sharing, emotion, and intimacy.

A narcissist is likely to spend time with you when it suits his or her emotional, physical, or sexual needs, and dismiss or ignore your needs, desires, and preferences. Your time together is likely to be marked by a lack of genuine interest in anything other than him- or herself. For example, you could get late-night calls when he or she is distraught, excited, or wants something but similar calls from you may not even be answered. Attempts to share your deeper thoughts, beliefs, or feelings may be given lip service, ignored, or dismissed.

If these seem to describe your current relationship, don't panic. In fact, seize the opportunity to reflect and evaluate your twosome. These red flags may help shed light on the dysfunction you're bearing and guide you away from further pain. If you want to make things work, there are ways to cope with dating or living with a narcissist, including developing conflict-resolution skills and bolstering your own confidence and self-esteem to shield you against narcissistic attacks.

Ultimately, knowledge is power. Being aware of signs of narcissism (and some of the problems that can arise from dating a narcissist) allows you to be prepared and to make informed decisions about the relationship.

8 Undeniable Signs You've Fallen For A Narcissist

The Huffington Post | Brittany Wong | Posted 01.14.2016 | Divorce

Read More: Narcissism, Narcissist, Dating a Narcissist, Relationship With a Narcissist, How to Spot a Narcissist, Relationship Problems, Toxic Personality, Toxic Relationships, Divorce News


It's easy to fall for a narcissist: they're charming, polished and quick to get in your good graces with compliments and constant attention. Once you ...

Read Whole Story

10 Signs You're In Love With A Narcopath

YourTango | Posted 12.03.2015 | Divorce

Read More: Narcissist, Sociopath, Narcopath, Yourtango, Signs He's a Narcissist, Signs You're a Narcissist, Narcissist Signs, Dating a Narcissist, Divorce News


What do you get when you cross a sociopath with a narcissist?

Read Whole Story

Are You Dating a Narcissist?

Lena Aburdene Derhally | Posted 07.07.2015 | Women

Read More: Narcissism, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Dating a Narcissist, Dating Advice, Relationship Advice, Women News


There are definitely fairy tale stories out there of two people falling madly in love with each other right at the get go and spending their lives happily ever after, but that is generally not the norm. Keep your guard up the more intensely the person is into you and the earlier on it occurs.

Read Whole Story

6 Warning Signs You're Dating a Narcissist

Divorced Moms | Posted 03.19.2015 | Divorce

Read More: Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Divorce a Narcissist, Dating a Narcissist, Nancy Kay, Divorce News


Could you be dating a narcissist and not even know it?

Read Whole Story

Can A Narcissist Love Me?

Melissa Schenker | Posted 09.22.2014 | Women

Read More: Dating a Narcissist, Narcissism, Women, Relationships, Men Women Relationships, Love, Women News


A narcissist can seem to love you. A narcissist can make it look like love. A narcissist can say the words of love. A narcissist can think it's love. Unfortunately, when involved with a narcissist, you are enmeshed but not in love. You can be enmeshed and mistake that for love. But enmeshment and love are not the same thing.

Read Whole Story

Is There Something Wrong With Me if I've Been Involved with a Narcissist?

Melissa Schenker | Posted 08.13.2014 | Women

Read More: Women's Empowerment, Narcissism, Self-Esteem, Am I Dating a Narcissist, Is My Boyfriend a Narcissist, Dating a Narcissist, Signs of Narcissism, Relationship Advice, Women News


If you are still involved with a narcissist, you may not realize how completely your attention has been diverted from your self and your own life.

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7 Strategies for Dealing With the Narcissist You Love

Dr. Craig Malkin | Posted 06.23.2014 | Healthy Living

Read More: Healthy Relationships, Attachment, Narcissist, Relationships, Dating a Narcissist, Narcissism, Unhealthy Relationships, Insecurity, Narcissists, Emotional Intelligence, Healthy Living News


If you've tried a more loving approach to sharing what hurts in your relationship, and the narcissist in your life still won't soften, you truly have done everything you can.

Read Whole Story

Can Narcissists Change?

Dr. Craig Malkin | Posted 11.10.2013 | Healthy Living

Read More: Narcissism, Healthy Relationships, Narcissists, Unhealthy Relationships, Attachment, Narcissist, Relationships, Dating a Narcissist, Emotional Intelligence, Insecurity, Healthy Living News


As a therapist, I've seen firsthand that changing relational patterns often transforms even the most inflexible "trait" into something softer, gentler -- not a fixed feature, but a protection that eventually yields to touch and intimacy in all the ways one would hope.

Read Whole Story

5 Early Warning Signs You're With A Narcissist

Dr. Craig Malkin | Posted 07.30.2013 | Women

Read More: Attachment, Narcissism, Insecurity, Relationships, Emotional Intelligence, Tina Swithin, Narcissist, Video, Healthy Relationships, Unhealthy Relationships, Dating a Narcissist, Narcissists, Women News


The most glaring problems are easy to spot -- but if you get too hung up on the obvious traits, you can easily miss the subtle (and often more common) features that allow a narcissist to sneak into your life and wreak havoc.

[May 18, 2016] Obamas Malignant Narcissism

www.americanthinker.com
Here's a partial checklist . You decide.

1. "Common to malignant narcissism is narcissistic rage . Narcissistic rage is a reaction to narcissistic injury (when the narcissist feels degraded by another person, typically in the form of criticism )."
2. "When the narcissist's grandiose sense of self-worth is perceived as being attacked by another person, the narcissist's natural reaction is to rage and pull down the self-worth of others (to make the narcissist feel superior to others). It is an attempt by the narcissist to soothe their internal pain and hostility, while at the same time rebuilding their self worth."
3. "Narcissistic rage also occurs when the narcissist perceives that he/she is being prevented from accomplishing their grandiose fantasies."
4. "Because the narcissist derives pleasure from the fulfillment of their grandiose dreams (akin to an addiction), anyone standing between the narcissist and their (wish) fulfillment ... may be subject to narcissistic rage. Narcissistic rage will frequently include yelling and berating of the person that has slighted the narcissist, but if strong enough could provoke more hostile feelings."
5. "Individuals with malignant narcissism will display a two faced personality. Creation of a 'false self' is linked to the narcissist's fear of being inadequate or inferior to others and this mask becomes ingrained into their personality so as to project a sense of superiority to others at all times."
6. "The narcissist gains a sense of esteem from the feedback of other people as it is common for the malignant narcissist to suffer from extremely low levels of self-esteem."
7. "The ... false self of the malignant narcissist is created because the real self doesn't meet his or her own expectations. Instead, the narcissist tends to mimic emotional displays of other people and creates a grandiose self to harbor their internalized fantasies of greatness."
8. "The [false self] is used by the narcissist to present to the outside world what appears to be a normal, functioning human being and to help maintain his or her own fantasies of an idealized self. The narcissist constantly builds upon this false self, creating a fictional character that is used to show off to the world and to help them feed off the emotions of other people."
There's ongoing debate about "malignant narcissism" as a diagnosis, and some people prefer to use the standard DSM-IV version . It doesn't make much difference in this case.

... ... ...

It's possible that Obama may be a "fanatic type" of narcissist. That could mean a world of trouble for the Democrats, for the nation, and given his position in the world, for other countries as well.
Here is Theodore Millon's definition of the fanatic type:
fanatic type - including paranoid features. A severely narcissistically wounded individual, usually with major paranoid tendencies who holds onto an illusion of omnipotence. These people are fighting the reality of their insignificance and lost value and are trying to re-establish their self-esteem through grandiose fantasies and self-reinforcement. When unable to gain recognition of support from others, they take on the role of a heroic or worshipped person with a grandiose mission.

[May 18, 2016] Can Narcissists Change

Notable quotes:
"... Trait labels like narcissist, or the admittedly less stigmatizing ones like extrovert and introvert, merely provide a shorthand description. They're a stand-in for "this person scored high on a trait measure of narcissism or extroversion or introversion." They can never hope to capture the whole person. ..."
"... For more by Dr. Craig Malkin, click here . ..."
"... For more on emotional intelligence, click here . ..."
www.huffingtonpost.com

The author is a Clinical Psychologist, Lecturer Harvard Medical School

At the end of May 2013, I wrote an article titled "5 Early Warning Signs You're With a Narcissist." It sparked a number of rich conversations through comments, emails, Facebook and Twitter . Not surprisingly, the vast majority of reactions came from people who feared they were currently in a relationship with a narcissist. Nevertheless, some of them - often among the most heartfelt and desperate of messages - came from people who'd either been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), or felt convinced they met criteria for the diagnosis. From both sides, the same question surfaced again and again: Is there hope for those with NPD and the people who love them? Is there anything we can do if we see early warning signs or actual diagnostic criteria besides end the relationship? As simple as they might seem on the surface, questions like these resonate with some of the deepest concerns in psychology. Can we change our personalities? More to the point, can people who meet criteria for personality disorders open themselves up to new and better experiences in relationships and in the world? I'm going to go on record as saying, yes, I do believe it's possible for people to change, even if they've been diagnosed with something as deeply entrenched and formidable as a personality disorder.

Trait labels like narcissist, or the admittedly less stigmatizing ones like extrovert and introvert, merely provide a shorthand description. They're a stand-in for "this person scored high on a trait measure of narcissism or extroversion or introversion." They can never hope to capture the whole person. (Bear in mind that even Jung, who introduced the latter concepts, firmly believed we all possess both an introvert and an extrovert side , regardless of how much we tend to one side or the other.) Nevertheless, when they become diagnostic labels, like "narcissist" or "Narcissistic Personality Disorder," these stark descriptions imply something that goes far beyond a tendency or a style - they suggest permanence and a set of stable enduring features. I have more hope than this. I believe that rather than simply being "who we are," our personalities are also patterns of interaction. That is, personality, whether disordered or not , has as much to do with how (and with whom) we interact as it does with our genes and wired-in temperament.

So what pattern does the narcissist follow? Many have suggested that NPD emerges from an environment in which vulnerability comes to feel dangerous, representing, at worst, either a grave defect, or at best, a stubborn barrier to becoming a worthwhile human being - that's simplifying a great deal of research and theory, but it's a workable summary - hence the correlation between NPD and insecure attachment styles , in which fears of depending on anyone at all engender constant attempts to control the relationship or avoid intimacy altogether. If you devote yourself to directing interactions or holding people at arms length, it's a lot harder to become vulnerable (needless to say, the "safety" is largely an illusion). People with NPD have learned to ignore, suppress, deny, project and disavow their vulnerabilities (or at least try) in their attempts to shape and reshape "who they are" in their interactions. Change - allowing the vulnerability back in - means opening up to the very feelings they've learned to avoid at all costs. It's not that people with NPD can't change, it's that it often threatens their sense of personhood to try. And their failed relationships often confirm, in their minds, that narcissism is the safest way to live. Put another way, narcissists can't be narcissistic in a vacuum. They need the right audience in order to feel like a star, for example, so they often cultivate relationships with people who stick around for the show, instead of the person. Over time, as their perfect façade starts to slip, their constant fear that people will find them lacking becomes a horrifying reality. The very people who stuck around for the show lose interest when it ends - which merely convinces the narcissist they need to hide their flaws and put on a better show. Alternatively, even when they fall for someone who could be more than just an adoring fan - someone who offers the hope of a more authentic, enduring love - narcissists still live with the paralyzing fear they'll somehow be deemed unworthy. Their terror is frequently out of awareness, and nearly always managed with bravado and blame, but it's profound and palpable. Sadly, their anger at having their mistakes and missteps exposed ultimately alienates their loved ones, and the demise of yet another relationship prompts them to redouble their efforts to avoid vulnerability - in short, it pushes them towards more narcissism.

The sad irony of the narcissistic condition is that, in an effort to protect themselves, narcissists inevitably invite the very rejection and abandonment they fear in the first place. The key then, to interacting with someone you suspect is narcissistic, is to break the vicious circle - to gently thwart their frantic efforts to control, distance, defend or blame in the relationship by sending the message that you're more than willing to connect with them, but not on these terms - to invite them into a version of intimacy where they can be loved and admired, warts and all - if they only allow the experience to happen. As a therapist, I've seen firsthand that changing relational patterns often transforms even the most inflexible "trait" into something softer, gentler - not a fixed feature, but a protection that eventually yields to touch and intimacy in all the ways one would hope. Narcissism is a way of relating. Not everyone can shift into a more flexible form of intimacy, but some can, and in the next post, I plan to share steps you can take to help you decide whether or not the person you're with is capable of seeing themselves - and you - through a less-constricting lens than the narcissistic worldview. If you like my posts, let me know! Let's connect on facebook and twitter. I frequently respond to comments and questions there. And feel free to check out www.drcraigmalkin.com for more tips and advice, as well as information on my book in progress . For more by Dr. Craig Malkin, click here . For more on emotional intelligence, click here .

[May 18, 2016] 5 Early Warning Signs Youre With a Narcissist

Notable quotes:
"... Feelings are a natural consequence of being human, and we tend to have lots of them in the course of normal interactions. But the very fact of having a feeling in the presence of another person suggests you can be touched emotionally by friends, family, partners, and even the occasional tragedy or failure. Narcissists abhor feeling influenced in any significant way. It challenges their sense of perfect autonomy; to admit to a feeling of any kind suggests they can be affected by someone or something outside of them. So they often change the subject when feelings come up, especially their own, and as quick as they might be to anger, it's often like pulling teeth to get them to admit that they've reached the boiling point - even when they're in the midst of the most terrifying tirade. ..."
"... If you like my posts, let me know! Let's connect on facebook and twitter. I frequently respond to comments and questions there. And feel free to check out www.drcraigmalkin.com for more tips and advice, as well as information on my book in progress . ..."
"... For more by Dr. Craig Malkin, click here . ..."
www.huffingtonpost.com

Dr. Craig Malkin , Author, Clinical Psychologist, Lecturer Harvard Medical School

At the beginning of April this year, I was tapped by the Huffington Post Live team for a discussion on narcissism . I happily agreed to appear, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that narcissism happens to be one of my favorite subjects. Early in my training, I had the pleasure of working with one of the foremost authorities on narcissism in our field, and in part because of that experience, I went on to work with quite a few clients who'd been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder . That's where I learned that the formal diagnostic label hardly does justice to the richness and complexity of this condition. The most glaring problems are easy to spot - the apparent absence of even a shred of empathy, the grandiose plans and posturing, the rage at being called out on the slightest of imperfections or normal human missteps - but if you get too hung up on the obvious traits, you can easily miss the subtle (and often more common) features that allow a narcissist to sneak into your life and wreak havoc. Just ask Tina Swithin , who went on to write a book about surviving her experience with a man who clearly meets criteria for NPD (and very likely, a few other diagnoses). To her lovestruck eyes, her soon-to-be husband seemed more like a prince charming than the callous, deceitful spendthrift he later proved to be. Looking back, Tina explains, there were signs of trouble from the start, but they were far from obvious at the time. In real life, the most dangerous villains rarely advertise their malevolence. So what are we to do? How do we protect ourselves from narcissists if they're so adept at slipping into our lives unnoticed? I shared some of my answers to that question in our conversation, and I encourage you to watch it. But there were a few I didn't get to, and others I didn't have the chance to describe in depth, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to revisit the topic here. Tread carefully if you catch a glimpse of any of these subtler signs:

1) Projected Feelings of Insecurity: I don't mean that narcissists see insecurity everywhere. I'm talking about a different kind of projection altogether, akin to playing hot potato with a sense of smallness and deficiency. Narcissists say and do things, subtle or obvious, that make you feel less smart, less accomplished, less competent. It's as if they're saying, "I don't want to feel this insecure and small; here, you take the feelings." Picture the boss who questions your methods after their own decision derails an important project, the date who frequently claims not to understand what you've said, even when you've been perfectly clear, or the friend who always damns you with faint praise ("Pretty good job this time!"). Remember the saying: "Don't knock your neighbor's porch light out to make yours shine brighter." Well, the narcissist loves to knock out your lights to seem brighter by comparison.

2) Emotion-phobia: Feelings are a natural consequence of being human, and we tend to have lots of them in the course of normal interactions. But the very fact of having a feeling in the presence of another person suggests you can be touched emotionally by friends, family, partners, and even the occasional tragedy or failure. Narcissists abhor feeling influenced in any significant way. It challenges their sense of perfect autonomy; to admit to a feeling of any kind suggests they can be affected by someone or something outside of them. So they often change the subject when feelings come up, especially their own, and as quick as they might be to anger, it's often like pulling teeth to get them to admit that they've reached the boiling point - even when they're in the midst of the most terrifying tirade.

3) A Fragmented Family Story: Narcissism seems to be born of neglect and abuse, both of which are notorious for creating an insecure attachment style (for more on attachment, see here and here ). But the very fact that narcissists, for all their posturing, are deeply insecure, also gives us an easy way to spot them. Insecurely attached people can't talk coherently about their family and childhood; their early memories are confused, contradictory, and riddled with gaps. Narcissists often give themselves away precisely because their childhood story makes no sense, and the most common myth they carry around is the perfect family story. If your date sings their praises for their exalted family but the reasons for their panegyric seem vague or discursive, look out. The devil is in the details, as they say - and very likely, that's why you're not hearing them.

4) Idol Worship: Another common narcissistic tendency you might be less familiar with is the habit of putting people on pedestals. The logic goes a bit like this: "If I find someone perfect to be close to, maybe some of their perfection will rub off on me, and I'll become perfect by association." The fact that no one can be perfect is usually lost on the idol-worshipping narcissist - at least until they discover, as they inevitably do, that their idol has clay feet. And stand back once that happens. Few experiences can prepare you for the vitriol of a suddenly disappointed narcissist. Look out for any pressure to conform to an image of perfection, no matter how lovely or magical the compulsive flattery might feel.

5) A High Need for Control: For the same reason narcissists often loathe the subject of feelings, they can't stand to be at the mercy of other people's preferences; it reminds them that they aren't invulnerable or completely independent - that, in fact, they might have to ask for what they want - and even worse, people may not feel like meeting the request. Rather than express needs or preferences themselves, they often arrange events (and maneuver people) to orchestrate the outcomes they desire. In the extreme form, this can manifest as abusive, controlling behaviors. (Think of the man who berates his wife when dinner isn't ready as soon as he comes home. He lashes out precisely because at that very moment, he's forced to acknowledge that he depends on his wife, something he'd rather avoid.) But as with most of these red flags, the efforts at control are often far subtler than outright abuse. Be on the look out for anyone who leaves you feeling nervous about approaching certain topics or sharing your own preferences. Narcissists have a way of making choices feel off-limits without expressing any anger at all - a disapproving wince, a last-minute call to preempt the plans, chronic lateness whenever you're in charge of arranging a night together. It's more like a war of attrition on your will than an outright assault on your freedom. None of these signs, in isolation, proves that you're with a narcissist. But if you see a lot of them, it's best to sit up and take notice. They're all way of dodging vulnerability, and that's a narcissist's favorite tactic.

If you like my posts, let me know! Let's connect on facebook and twitter. I frequently respond to comments and questions there. And feel free to check out www.drcraigmalkin.com for more tips and advice, as well as information on my book in progress . For more by Dr. Craig Malkin, click here .

[May 18, 2016] Is Donald Trump Actually a Narcissist Therapists Weigh In!

Notable quotes:
"... As Dr. Robert Klitzman, a professor of psychiatry and the director of the master's of bioethics program at Columbia University, pointed out, the American Psychiatric Association declares it unethical for psychiatrists to comment on an individual's mental state without examining him personally and having the patient's consent to make such comments. ..."
"... To degrade people is really part of a cluster-B personality disorder: it's antisocial and shows a lack of remorse for other people. The way to make it O.K. to attack someone verbally, psychologically, or physically is to lower them. That's what he's doing. ..."
"... Narcissists are not necessarily liars, but they are notoriously uncomfortable with the truth. The truth means the potential to feel ashamed. If all they have to show the world as a source of feeling acceptable is their success and performance, be it in business or sports or celebrity, then the risk of people seeing them fail or squander their success is so difficult to their self-esteem that they feel ashamed. We call it the narcissistic injury. They're uncomfortable with their own limitations. It's not that they're cut out to lie, it's just that they can't handle what's real ..."
"... Most narcissists don't seek treatment unless there's someone threatening to take something away from them. There'd have to be some kind of meaningful consequence for him to come in. ..."
"... They're aware; the problem is, they don't care. They know how you'd like them to act; the problem is, they've got a different set of rules. The kind of approach that can have some impact is confrontational. It confronts distorted thinking and behavior patterns in the here-and-now moment when the narcissists are doing their thing in the session. It's confronted on the spot; you invite them to do something different, then you reinforce them for doing so. ..."
www.vanityfair.com

Vanity Fair

As his presidential campaign trundles forward, millions of sane Americans are wondering: What exactly is wrong with this strange individual? Now, we have an answer.

For mental-health professionals, Donald Trump is at once easily diagnosed but slightly confounding. "Remarkably narcissistic," said developmental psychologist Howard Gardner, a professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education. "Textbook narcissistic personality disorder," echoed clinical psychologist Ben Michaelis. "He's so classic that I'm archiving video clips of him to use in workshops because there's no better example of his characteristics," said clinical psychologist George Simon, who conducts lectures and seminars on manipulative behavior. "Otherwise, I would have had to hire actors and write vignettes. He's like a dream come true."

That mental-health professionals are even willing to talk about Trump in the first place may attest to their deep concern about a Trump presidency. As Dr. Robert Klitzman, a professor of psychiatry and the director of the master's of bioethics program at Columbia University, pointed out, the American Psychiatric Association declares it unethical for psychiatrists to comment on an individual's mental state without examining him personally and having the patient's consent to make such comments. This so-called Goldwater rule arose after the publication of a 1964 Fact magazine article in which psychiatrists were polled about Senator Barry Goldwater's fitness to be president. Senator Goldwater brought a $2 million suit against the magazine and its publisher; the Supreme Court awarded him $1 in compensatory damages and $75,000 in punitive damages.

But you don't need to have met Donald Trump to feel like you know him; even the smallest exposure can make you feel like you've just crossed a large body of water in a small boat with him. Indeed, though narcissistic personality disorder was removed from the most recent issue of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, for somewhat arcane reasons, the traits that have defined the disorder in the past-grandiosity; an expectation that others will recognize one's superiority; a lack of empathy-are writ large in Mr. Trump's behavior.

"He's very easy to diagnose," said psychotherapist Charlotte Prozan. "In the first debate, he talked over people and was domineering. He'll do anything to demean others, like tell Carly Fiorina he doesn't like her looks. 'You're fired!' would certainly come under lack of empathy. And he wants to deport immigrants, but [two of] his wives have been immigrants." Michaelis took a slightly different twist on Trump's desire to deport immigrants: "This man is known for his golf courses, but, with due respect, who does he think works on these golf courses?"

Mr. Trump's bullying nature-taunting Senator John McCain for being captured in Vietnam, or saying Jeb Bush has "low energy"-is in keeping with the narcissistic profile. "In the field we use clusters of personality disorders," Michaelis said. "Narcissism is in cluster B, which means it has similarities with histrionic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder. There are similarities between them. Regardless of how you feel about John McCain, the man served-and suffered. Narcissism is an extreme defense against one's own feelings of worthlessness. To degrade people is really part of a cluster-B personality disorder: it's antisocial and shows a lack of remorse for other people. The way to make it O.K. to attack someone verbally, psychologically, or physically is to lower them. That's what he's doing."

What of Trump's tendency to position himself as a possible savior to the economy despite the fact that four of his companies have declared bankruptcy? "It's mind-boggling to me that that's not the story," said Michaelis. "This man has been given more than anyone could ever hope for," he added, referring to the fact that Trump is not wholly self-made, "yet he's failed miserably time and time again." Licensed clinical social worker Wendy Terrie Behary, the author of Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed, said,

"Narcissists are not necessarily liars, but they are notoriously uncomfortable with the truth. The truth means the potential to feel ashamed. If all they have to show the world as a source of feeling acceptable is their success and performance, be it in business or sports or celebrity, then the risk of people seeing them fail or squander their success is so difficult to their self-esteem that they feel ashamed. We call it the narcissistic injury. They're uncomfortable with their own limitations. It's not that they're cut out to lie, it's just that they can't handle what's real."

Indeed, the need to protect or exalt the self is at odds with the job requirements of a president. Michaelis said, "He's applying for the greatest job in the land, the greatest task of which is to serve, but there's nothing about the man that is service-oriented. He's only serving himself." As Prozan sees it, "He keeps saying he could negotiate with Putin because he's good at deals. But diplomacy involves a back and forth between equals." Dr. Klitzman added, "I have never met Donald Trump and so cannot comment on his psychological state. However, I think that, in general, many candidates who run for president are driven in large part by ego. I hope that does not preclude their motivation to govern with the best interests of the public as a whole in mind. Yet for some candidates, that may, alas, be a threat."

Asked what, if Mr. Trump were their patient, they would "work on" with him, several of the therapists laughed. "I'd be shocked if he walked in my door," said Behary. "Most narcissists don't seek treatment unless there's someone threatening to take something away from them. There'd have to be some kind of meaningful consequence for him to come in." Simon concurred but added, "There is help available, but it doesn't look like the help people are used to. It's not insight-oriented psychotherapy, because narcissists already have insight. They're aware; the problem is, they don't care. They know how you'd like them to act; the problem is, they've got a different set of rules. The kind of approach that can have some impact is confrontational. It confronts distorted thinking and behavior patterns in the here-and-now moment when the narcissists are doing their thing in the session. It's confronted on the spot; you invite them to do something different, then you reinforce them for doing so."

But for at least one mental-health professional, the Trump enigma, or should we say non-enigma, is larger than the bluster of the man whose own Web site calls him "the very definition of the American success story, continually setting the standards of excellence"-to this mind-set, Trump may be a kind of bellwether. Mr. Gardner said, "For me, the compelling question is the psychological state of his supporters. They are unable or unwilling to make a connection between the challenges faced by any president and the knowledge and behavior of Donald Trump. In a democracy, that is disastrous."

[May 16, 2016] Stockholm Syndrome The Psychological Mystery of Loving an Abuser, Page 1

Notable quotes:
"... In the final analysis, emotionally bonding with an abuser is actually a strategy for survival for victims of abuse and intimidation. The "Stockholm Syndrome" reaction in hostage and/or abuse situations is so well recognized at this time that police hostage negotiators no longer view it as unusual. ..."
"... Stockholm Syndrome (SS) can also be found in family, romantic, and interpersonal relationships. The abuser may be a husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, father or mother, or any other role in which the abuser is in a position of control or authority. ..."
"... In relationships with abusers, a birthday card, a gift (usually provided after a period of abuse), or a special treat are interpreted as not only positive, but evidence that the abuser is not "all bad" and may at some time correct his/her behavior. Abusers and controllers are often given positive credit for not abusing their partner, when the partner would have normally been subjected to verbal or physical abuse in a certain situation. An aggressive and jealous partner may normally become intimidating or abusive in certain social situations, as when an opposite-sex coworker waves in a crowd. After seeing the wave, the victim expects to be verbally battered and when it doesn't happen, that "small kindness" is interpreted as a positive sign. ..."
"... During the relationship, the abuser/controller may share information about their past - how they were mistreated, abused, neglected, or wronged. ..."
"... Sympathy may develop toward the abuser and we often hear the victim of Stockholm Syndrome defending their abuser with "I know he fractured my jaw and ribs…but he's troubled. He had a rough childhood!" ..."
"... Keep in mind: once you become hardened to the "sad stories", they will simply try another approach. I know of no victim of abuse or crime who has heard their abuser say "I'm beating (robbing, mugging, etc.) you because my Mom hated me!" ..."
"... In abusive and controlling relationships, the victim has the sense they are always "walking on eggshells" - fearful of saying or doing anything that might prompt a violent/intimidating outburst. For their survival, they begin to see the world through the abuser's perspective. They begin to fix things that might prompt an outburst, act in ways they know makes the abuser happy, or avoid aspects of their own life that may prompt a problem. If we only have a dollar in our pocket, then most of our decisions become financial decisions. If our partner is an abuser or controller, then the majority of our decisions are based on our perception of the abuser's potential reaction. We become preoccupied with the needs, desires, and habits of the abuser/controller. ..."
"... Controlling partners have increased the financial obligations/debt in the relationship to the point that neither partner can financially survive on their own. ..."
"... The legal ending of a relationship, especially a marital relationship, often creates significant problems. ..."
"... The Controller often uses extreme threats including threatening to take the children out of state, threatening to quit their job/business rather than pay alimony/support, threatening public exposure of the victim's personal issues, or assuring the victim they will never have a peaceful life due to nonstop harassment. ..."
counsellingresource.com
While the psychological condition in hostage situations became known as "Stockholm Syndrome" due to the publicity, the emotional "bonding" with captors was a familiar story in psychology. It had been recognized many years before and was found in studies of other hostage, prisoner, or abusive situations such as:

In the final analysis, emotionally bonding with an abuser is actually a strategy for survival for victims of abuse and intimidation. The "Stockholm Syndrome" reaction in hostage and/or abuse situations is so well recognized at this time that police hostage negotiators no longer view it as unusual. In fact, it is often encouraged in crime situations as it improves the chances for survival of the hostages. On the down side, it also assures that the hostages experiencing "Stockholm Syndrome" will not be very cooperative during rescue or criminal prosecution. Local law enforcement personnel have long recognized this syndrome with battered women who fail to press charges, bail their battering husband/boyfriend out of jail, and even physically attack police officers when they arrive to rescue them from a violent assault.

Stockholm Syndrome (SS) can also be found in family, romantic, and interpersonal relationships. The abuser may be a husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, father or mother, or any other role in which the abuser is in a position of control or authority.

It's important to understand the components of Stockholm Syndrome as they relate to abusive and controlling relationships. Once the syndrome is understood, it's easier to understand why victims support, love, and even defend their abusers and controllers.

Every syndrome has symptoms or behaviors, and Stockholm Syndrome is no exception. While a clear-cut list has not been established due to varying opinions by researchers and experts, several of these features will be present:

Stockholm Syndrome doesn't occur in every hostage or abusive situation. In another bank robbery involving hostages, after terrorizing patrons and employees for many hours, a police sharpshooter shot and wounded the terrorizing bank robber. After he hit the floor, two women picked him up and physically held him up to the window for another shot. As you can see, the length of time one is exposed to abuse/control and other factors are certainly involved.

It has been found that four situations or conditions are present that serve as a foundation for the development of Stockholm Syndrome. These four situations can be found in hostage, severe abuse, and abusive relationships:

By considering each situation we can understand how Stockholm Syndrome develops in romantic relationships as well as criminal/hostage situations. Looking at each situation:

Perceived Threat to One's Physical/Psychological Survival

The perception of threat can be formed by direct, indirect, or witnessed methods. Criminal or antisocial partners can directly threaten your life or the life of friends and family. Their history of violence leads us to believe that the captor/controller will carry out the threat in a direct manner if we fail to comply with their demands. The abuser assures us that only our cooperation keeps our loved ones safe.

Indirectly, the abuser/controller offers subtle threats that you will never leave them or have another partner, reminding you that people in the past have paid dearly for not following their wishes. Hints are often offered such as "I know people who can make others disappear". Indirect threats also come from the stories told by the abuser or controller - how they obtained revenge on those who have crossed them in the past. These stories of revenge are told to remind the victim that revenge is possible if they leave.

Witnessing violence or aggression is also a perceived threat. Witnessing a violent temper directed at a television set, others on the highway, or a third party clearly sends us the message that we could be the next target for violence. Witnessing the thoughts and attitudes of the abuser/controller is threatening and intimidating, knowing that we will be the target of those thoughts in the future.

The "Small Kindness" Perception

In threatening and survival situations, we look for evidence of hope - a small sign that the situation may improve. When an abuser/controller shows the victim some small kindness, even though it is to the abuser's benefit as well, the victim interprets that small kindness as a positive trait of the captor. In criminal/war hostage situations, letting the victim live is often enough. Small behaviors, such as allowing a bathroom visit or providing food/water, are enough to strengthen the Stockholm Syndrome in criminal hostage events.

In relationships with abusers, a birthday card, a gift (usually provided after a period of abuse), or a special treat are interpreted as not only positive, but evidence that the abuser is not "all bad" and may at some time correct his/her behavior. Abusers and controllers are often given positive credit for not abusing their partner, when the partner would have normally been subjected to verbal or physical abuse in a certain situation. An aggressive and jealous partner may normally become intimidating or abusive in certain social situations, as when an opposite-sex coworker waves in a crowd. After seeing the wave, the victim expects to be verbally battered and when it doesn't happen, that "small kindness" is interpreted as a positive sign.

Similar to the small kindness perception is the perception of a "soft side". During the relationship, the abuser/controller may share information about their past - how they were mistreated, abused, neglected, or wronged. The victim begins to feel the abuser/controller may be capable of fixing their behavior or worse yet, that they (abuser) may also be a "victim". Sympathy may develop toward the abuser and we often hear the victim of Stockholm Syndrome defending their abuser with "I know he fractured my jaw and ribs…but he's troubled. He had a rough childhood!"

Losers and abusers may admit they need psychiatric help or acknowledge they are mentally disturbed; however, it's almost always after they have already abused or intimidated the victim. The admission is a way of denying responsibility for the abuse. In truth, personality disorders and criminals have learned over the years that personal responsibility for their violent/abusive behaviors can be minimized and even denied by blaming their bad upbringing, abuse as a child, and now even video games. One murderer blamed his crime on eating too much junk food - now known as the "Twinkie Defense". While it may be true that the abuser/controller had a difficult upbringing, showing sympathy for his/her history produces no change in their behavior and in fact, prolongs the length of time you will be abused. While "sad stories" are always included in their apologies - after the abusive/controlling event - their behavior never changes! Keep in mind: once you become hardened to the "sad stories", they will simply try another approach. I know of no victim of abuse or crime who has heard their abuser say "I'm beating (robbing, mugging, etc.) you because my Mom hated me!"

Isolation from Perspectives Other than those of the Captor

In abusive and controlling relationships, the victim has the sense they are always "walking on eggshells" - fearful of saying or doing anything that might prompt a violent/intimidating outburst. For their survival, they begin to see the world through the abuser's perspective. They begin to fix things that might prompt an outburst, act in ways they know makes the abuser happy, or avoid aspects of their own life that may prompt a problem. If we only have a dollar in our pocket, then most of our decisions become financial decisions. If our partner is an abuser or controller, then the majority of our decisions are based on our perception of the abuser's potential reaction. We become preoccupied with the needs, desires, and habits of the abuser/controller.

Taking the abuser's perspective as a survival technique can become so intense that the victim actually develops anger toward those trying to help them. The abuser is already angry and resentful toward anyone who would provide the victim support, typically using multiple methods and manipulations to isolate the victim from others. Any contact the victim has with supportive people in the community is met with accusations, threats, and/or violent outbursts. Victims then turn on their family - fearing family contact will cause additional violence and abuse in the home. At this point, victims curse their parents and friends, tell them not to call and to stop interfering, and break off communication with others. Agreeing with the abuser/controller, supportive others are now viewed as "causing trouble" and must be avoided. Many victims threaten their family and friends with restraining orders if they continue to "interfere" or try to help the victim in their situation. On the surface it would appear that they have sided with the abuser/controller. In truth, they are trying to minimize contact with situations that might make them a target of additional verbal abuse or intimidation. If a casual phone call from Mom prompts a two-hour temper outburst with threats and accusations - the victim quickly realizes it's safer if Mom stops calling. If simply telling Mom to stop calling doesn't work, for his or her own safety the victim may accuse Mom of attempting to ruin the relationship and demand that she stop calling.

In severe cases of Stockholm Syndrome in relationships, the victim may have difficulty leaving the abuser and may actually feel the abusive situation is their fault. In law enforcement situations, the victim may actually feel the arrest of their partner for physical abuse or battering is their fault. Some women will allow their children to be removed by child protective agencies rather than give up the relationship with their abuser. As they take the perspective of the abuser, the children are at fault - they complained about the situation, they brought the attention of authorities to the home, and they put the adult relationship at risk. Sadly, the children have now become a danger to the victim's safety. For those with Stockholm Syndrome, allowing the children to be removed from the home decreases their victim stress while providing an emotionally and physically safer environment for the children.

Perceived Inability to Escape

As a hostage in a bank robbery, threatened by criminals with guns, it's easy to understand the perceived inability to escape. In romantic relationships, the belief that one can't escape is also very common. Many abusive/controlling relationships feel like till-death-do-us-part relationships - locked together by mutual financial issues/assets, mutual intimate knowledge, or legal situations. Here are some common situations:

In unhealthy relationships and definitely in Stockholm Syndrome there is a daily preoccupation with "trouble". Trouble is any individual, group, situation, comment, casual glance, or cold meal that may produce a temper tantrum or verbal abuse from the controller or abuser. To survive, "trouble" is to be avoided at all costs. The victim must control situations that produce trouble. That may include avoiding family, friends, co-workers, and anyone who may create "trouble" in the abusive relationship. The victim does not hate family and friends; they are only avoiding "trouble"! The victim also cleans the house, calms the children, scans the mail, avoids certain topics, and anticipates every issue of the controller or abuse in an effort to avoid "trouble". In this situation, children who are noisy become "trouble". Loved ones and friends are sources of "trouble" for the victim who is attempting to avoid verbal or physical aggression.

Stockholm Syndrome in relationships is not uncommon. Law enforcement professionals are painfully aware of the situation - making a domestic dispute one of the high-risk calls during work hours. Called by neighbors during a spousal abuse incident, the abuser is passive upon arrival of the police, only to find the abused spouse upset and threatening the officers if their abusive partner is arrested for domestic violence. In truth, the victim knows the abuser/controller will retaliate against him/her if 1) they encourage an arrest, 2) they offer statements about the abuse/fight that are deemed disloyal by the abuser, 3) they don't bail them out of jail as quickly as possible, and 4) they don't personally apologize for the situation - as though it was their fault.

Stockholm Syndrome produces an unhealthy bond with the controller and abuser. It is the reason many victims continue to support an abuser after the relationship is over. It's also the reason they continue to see "the good side" of an abusive individual and appear sympathetic to someone who has mentally and sometimes physically abused them.

Is There Something Else Involved?

In a short response - Yes! Throughout history, people have found themselves supporting and participating in life situations that range from abusive to bizarre. In talking to these active and willing participants in bad and bizarre situations, it is clear they have developed feelings and attitudes that support their participation. One way these feelings and thoughts are developed is known as "cognitive dissonance". As you can tell, psychologists have large words and phrases for just about everything.

"Cognitive Dissonance" explains how and why people change their ideas and opinions to support situations that do not appear to be healthy, positive, or normal. In the theory, an individual seeks to reduce information or opinions that make him or her uncomfortable. When we have two sets of cognitions (knowledge, opinion, feelings, input from others, etc.) that are the opposite, the situation becomes emotionally uncomfortable. Even though we might find ourselves in a foolish or difficult situation - few want to admit that fact. Instead, we attempt to reduce the dissonance - the fact that our cognitions don't match, agree, or make sense when combined. "Cognitive Dissonance" can be reduced by adding new cognitions - adding new thoughts and attitudes. Some examples:

Leon Festinger first coined the term "Cognitive Dissonance". He had observed a cult (1956) in which members gave up their homes, incomes, and jobs to work for the cult. This cult believed in messages from outer space that predicted the day the world would end by a flood. As cult members and firm believers, they believed they would be saved by flying saucers at the appointed time. As they gathered and waited to be taken by flying saucers at the specified time, the end-of-the-world came and went. No flood and no flying saucer! Rather than believing they were foolish after all that personal and emotional investment - they decided their beliefs had actually saved the world from the flood and they became firmer in their beliefs after the failure of the prophecy. The moral: the more you invest (income, job, home, time, effort, etc.) the stronger your need to justify your position. If we invest $5.00 in a raffle ticket, we justify losing with "I'll get them next time". If you invest everything you have, it requires an almost unreasoning belief and unusual attitude to support and justify that investment.

Studies tell us we are more loyal and committed to something that is difficult, uncomfortable, and even humiliating. The initiation rituals of college fraternities, Marine boot camp, and graduate school all produce loyal and committed individuals. Almost any ordeal creates a bonding experience. Every couple, no matter how mismatched, falls in love in the movies after going through a terrorist takeover, being stalked by a killer, being stranded on an island, or being involved in an alien abduction. Investment and an ordeal are ingredients for a strong bonding - even if the bonding is unhealthy. No one bonds or falls in love by being a member of the Automobile Club or a music CD club. Struggling to survive on a deserted island - you bet!

Abusive relationships produce a great amount on unhealthy investment in both parties. In many cases we tend to remain and support the abusive relationship due to our investment in the relationship. Try telling a new Marine that since he or she has survived boot camp, they should now enroll in the National Guard! Several types of investments keep us in the bad relationship:

Emotional Investment
We've invested so many emotions, cried so much, and worried so much that we feel we must see the relationship through to the finish.
Social Investment
We've got our pride! To avoid social embarrassment and uncomfortable social situations, we remain in the relationship.
Family Investments
If children are present in the relationship, decisions regarding the relationship are clouded by the status and needs of the children.
Financial Investment
In many cases, the controlling and abusive partner has created a complex financial situation. Many victims remain in a bad relationship, waiting for a better financial situation to develop that would make their departure and detachment easier.
Lifestyle Investment
Many controlling/abusive partners use money or a lifestyle as an investment. Victims in this situation may not want to lose their current lifestyle.
Intimacy Investment
We often invest emotional and sexual intimacy. Some victims have experienced a destruction of their emotional and/or sexual self-esteem in the unhealthy relationship. The abusing partner may threaten to spread rumors or tell intimate details or secrets. A type of blackmail using intimacy is often found in these situations.

In many cases, it's not simply our feelings for an individual that keep us in an unhealthy relationship - it's often the amount of investment. Relationships are complex and we often only see the tip of the iceberg in public. For this reason, the most common phrase offered by the victim in defense of their unhealthy relationship is "You just don't understand!"

Combining Two Unhealthy Conditions

The combination of "Stockholm Syndrome" and "cognitive dissonance" produces a victim who firmly believes the relationship is not only acceptable, but also desperately needed for their survival. The victim feels they would mentally collapse if the relationship ended. In long-term relationships, the victims have invested everything and placed "all their eggs in one basket". The relationship now decides their level of self-esteem, self-worth, and emotional health.

For reasons described above, the victim feels family and friends are a threat to the relationship and eventually to their personal health and existence. The more family/friends protest the controlling and abusive nature of the relationship, the more the victim develops cognitive dissonance and becomes defensive. At this point, family and friends become victims of the abusive and controlling individual.

Importantly, both Stockholm Syndrome and cognitive dissonance develop on an involuntary basis. The victim does not purposely invent this attitude. Both develop as an attempt to exist and survive in a threatening and controlling environment and relationship. Despite what we might think, our loved one is not in the unhealthy relationship to irritate us, embarrass us, or drive us to drink. What might have begun as a normal relationship has turned into a controlling and abusive situation. They are trying to survive. Their personality is developing the feelings and thoughts needed to survive the situation and lower their emotional and physical risks. All of us have developed attitudes and feelings that help us accept and survive situations. We have these attitudes/feelings about our jobs, our community, and other aspects of our life. As we have found throughout history, the more dysfunctional the situation, the more dysfunctional our adaptation and thoughts to survive. The victim is engaged in an attempt to survive and make a relationship work. Once they decide it doesn't work and can't be fixed, they will need our support as we patiently await their decision to return to a healthy and positive lifestyle.

Family and Friends of the Victim

When a family is confronted with a loved one involved with a 'Loser' or controlling/abusive individual, the situation becomes emotionally painful and socially difficult for the family. (See " Are You Dating a Loser? Identifying Losers, Controllers and Abusers ".) While each situation is different, some general guidelines to consider are:

Final Thoughts

You may be the victim of a controlling and abusive partner, seeking an understanding of your feelings and attitudes. You may have a son, daughter, or friend currently involved with a controlling and abusive partner, looking for ways to understand and help.

If a loved one is involved with a Loser, a controlling and abusing partner, the long-term outcome is difficult to determine due to the many factors involved. If their relationship is in the "dating" phase, they may end the relationship on their own. If the relationship has continued for over a year, they may require support and an exit plan before ending the relationship. Marriage and children further complicate their ability to leave the situation. When the victim decides to end the unhappy relationship, it's important that they view loved ones as supportive, loving, and understanding - not as a source of pressure, guilt, or aggression.

This article is an attempt to understand the complex feelings and attitudes that are as puzzling to the victim as they are to family and friends. Separately, I've outlined recommendations for detaching from a Loser or controlling/abusive individual, but clearly, there are more victims in this situation. (See " Are You Dating a Loser? Identifying Losers, Controllers and Abusers ".) It is hoped this article is helpful to family and friends who worry, cry, and have difficulty understanding the situation of their loved one. It has been said that knowledge is power. Hopefully this knowledge will prove helpful and powerful to victims and their loved ones.

Please consider this article as a general guideline. Some recommendations may be appropriate and helpful while some may not apply to a specific situation. In many cases, we may need additional professional help of a mental health or legal nature.

[May 16, 2016] https://www.reddit.com/r/raisedbynarcissists/comments/29dhay/good_movies_about_narcissistic/

www.reddit.com

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    [–] dopebojangles ADoNM with BPD 3 points 4 points 5 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    Also Betty Draper in the show Mad Men.

    [–] rammaam 1 point 2 points 3 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    And American Horror Story Coven. Jessica Lange plays a NM.

    [–] [deleted] 4 points 5 points 6 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    American Beauty - Annette Bennings character is a classic N

    [–] [deleted] 3 points 4 points 5 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    Ordinary People is a great one that may still be on Netflix.

    [–] Sub_Salac 3 points 4 points 5 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    I suspect the mother in Excision (2012) is an N. One of my favorite movies.

    [–] throwaway98721214 ACoN now NC with the entire FOO. 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (3 children)

    Films:

    Notes on a Scandal (Barbara) Oranges are not the only fruit (Mother) Drop Dead Fred (Mother) and as always, Tangled (Mother Gothel)

    (With the first two, the original books are quite harrowing (and accurate) in depicting the actions of an authority figure with NPD)

    TV shows: Nashville Season 2, eps 19 & 20 (Clare's mother)

    (I'm sure there's loads more than that, and they'll come to me!)

    [–] KissMyAspergers NAunt, Parent(s) with FLEAS 1 point 2 points 3 points 1 year ago (2 children)

    Seconding Tangled.

    [–] 1234567ate Nmom, Edad, SGsis 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (1 child)

    I can't even watch the part where she sings "mother knows best" it gives me the creeps..... Reminds me of my NMom....

    [–] KissMyAspergers NAunt, Parent(s) with FLEAS 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    Right? It's fucked up.

    [–] ArabRedditor 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    BATES MOTEL.

    The mother is the N, the younger child is the golden child, and the older son is the Scapegoat.

    [–] Dotdotbludot 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    I love the original, Gaslight (1944). Ingrid Bergman is slowly driven mad by her handsome new husband. It perfectly demonstrates Gaslighting abuse. Oddly, my Nmom loved the film, too. It can be hard to watch for those of us who have a lot of practice with recognizing red flags. Bergman's character is so trusting and walks right into so many N-traps!

    [–] PagingDrLector 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    I always thought the mother in Igby Goes Down was an Nmom.

    [–] modecat forging a new path 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    I think White Oleander is amazing. An amazing portrayal of narcissism. Just excellent. I can still feel the sting from that one. Just smolders.

    It's always so interesting when you watch a movie and start to figure out it's about narcissism.

    For me, as soon as I found RBN, all of a sudden every movie i watched was about a narcissist or his victim. It was so weird.

    [–] jm_kaye 1 point 2 points 3 points 1 year ago (1 child)

    Frances (1982) about Frances Farmer. Although she clearly had serious mental problems, her mother was absolutely no help.

    [–] modecat forging a new path 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    Yup, i think Frances makes such a great depiction of it. This movie is so sad. Just awful.

    [–] ArtichokeOwl 1 point 2 points 3 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    The Sopranos. Tony's mom is sooooo much like my Nmom!! Also the mother in Requiem for a Dream resonates with me a bit.

    [–] KissMyAspergers NAunt, Parent(s) with FLEAS 1 point 2 points 3 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    Just about anything involving serial killers (e.g. Criminal Minds) is gonna feature narcissism at some point.

    [–] DmKrispin ADoNM -1 points 0 points 1 point 1 year ago (0 children)

    Now Voyager (1942) starring Bette Davis and Paul Heinried.

  • [May 16, 2016] Barack Obama – Narcissist or Merely Narcissistic?

    Notable quotes:
    "... Narcissism is a defense mechanism whose role is to deflect hurt and trauma from the victim's "True Self" into a " False Self " which is omnipotent, invulnerable, and omniscient. This False Self is then used by the narcissist to garner narcissistic supply from his human environment. Narcissistic supply is any form of attention, both positive and negative and it is instrumental in the regulation of the narcissist's labile sense of self-worth. ..."
    lettingfreedomring.com
    Dr. Sam Vaknin, Ph.D

    January 28, 2012

    Barack Obama appears to be a narcissist . Granted, only a qualified mental health diagnostician (which I am not) can determine whether someone suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and this, following lengthy tests and personal interviews. But, in the absence of access to Barack Obama, one has to rely on his overt performance and on testimonies by his closest, nearest and dearest.

    Narcissistic leaders are nefarious and their effects pernicious. They are subtle, refined, socially-adept, manipulative, possessed of thespian skills, and convincing. Both types equally lack empathy and are ruthless and relentless or driven.

    Perhaps it is time to require each candidate to high office in the USA to submit to a rigorous physical and mental checkup with the results made public.

    I. Upbringing and Childhood

    Obama's early life was decidedly chaotic and replete with traumatic and mentally bruising dislocations. Mixed-race marriages were even less common then. His parents went through a divorce when he was an infant (two years old). Obama saw his father only once again, before he died in a car accident. Then, his mother re-married and Obama had to relocate to Indonesia : a foreign land with a radically foreign culture, to be raised by a step-father. At the age of ten, he was whisked off to live with his maternal (white) grandparents. He saw his mother only intermittently in the following few years and then she vanished from his life in 1979. She died of cancer in 1995.

    Pathological narcissism is a reaction to prolonged abuse and trauma in early childhood or early adolescence. The source of the abuse or trauma is immaterial: the perpetrators could be dysfunctional or absent parents, teachers, other adults, or peers.

    II. Behavior Patterns

    The narcissist:

    * Feels grandiose and self-important (e.g., exaggerates accomplishments, talents, skills, contacts, and personality traits to the point of lying, demands to be recognised as superior without commensurate achievements);

    * Is obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance (the cerebral narcissist), bodily beauty or sexual performance (the somatic narcissist), or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or passion;

    * Firmly convinced that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people (or institutions);

    * Requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation â€" or, failing that, wishes to be feared and to be notorious ( Narcissistic Supply );

    * Feels entitled. Demands automatic and full compliance with his or her unreasonable expectations for special and favourable priority treatment;

    * Is "interpersonally exploitative", i.e., uses others to achieve his or her own ends;

    * Devoid of empathy. Is unable or unwilling to identify with, acknowledge, or accept the feelings, needs, preferences, priorities, and choices of others;

    * Constantly envious of others and seeks to hurt or destroy the objects of his or her frustration. Suffers from persecutory (paranoid) delusions as he or she believes that they feel the same about him or her and are likely to act similarly;

    * Behaves arrogantly and haughtily. Feels superior, omnipotent, omniscient, invincible, immune, "above the law", and omnipresent ( magical thinking ). Rages when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted by people he or she considers inferior to him or her and unworthy.

    Narcissism is a defense mechanism whose role is to deflect hurt and trauma from the victim's "True Self" into a " False Self " which is omnipotent, invulnerable, and omniscient. This False Self is then used by the narcissist to garner narcissistic supply from his human environment. Narcissistic supply is any form of attention, both positive and negative and it is instrumental in the regulation of the narcissist's labile sense of self-worth.

    Perhaps the most immediately evident trait of patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is their vulnerability to criticism and disagreement. Subject to negative input, real or imagined, even to a mild rebuke, a constructive suggestion, or an offer to help, they feel injured, humiliated and empty and they react with disdain (devaluation), rage, and defiance.

    From my book "Malignant Self Love – Narcissism Revisited":

    "To avoid such intolerable pain, some patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) socially withdraw and feign false modesty and humility to mask their underlying grandiosity . Dysthymic and depressive disorders are common reactions to isolation and feelings of shame and inadequacy."

    Due to their lack of empathy, disregard for others, exploitativeness, sense of entitlement, and constant need for attention (narcissistic supply), narcissists are rarely able to maintain functional and healthy interpersonal relationships.

    Many narcissists are over-achievers and ambitious. Some of them are even talented and skilled. But they are incapable of team work because they cannot tolerate setbacks. They are easily frustrated and demoralized and are unable to cope with disagreement and criticism. Though some narcissists have meteoric and inspiring careers, in the long-run, all of them find it difficult to maintain long-term professional achievements and the respect and appreciation of their peers. The narcissist's fantastic grandiosity, frequently coupled with a hypomanic mood, is typically incommensurate with his or her real accomplishments (the "grandiosity gap").

    An important distinction is between cerebral and somatic narcissists. The cerebrals derive their Narcissistic Supply from their intelligence or academic achievements and the somatics derive their Narcissistic Supply from their physique, exercise, physical or sexual prowess and romantic or physical "conquests".

    Another crucial division within the ranks of patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is between the classic variety (those who meet five of the nine diagnostic criteria included in the DSM), and the compensatory kind (their narcissism compensates for deep-set feelings of inferiority and lack of self-worth).
    Obama displays the following behaviors, which are among the hallmarks of pathological narcissism:

    * Subtly misrepresents facts and expediently and opportunistically shifts positions, views, opinions, and "ideals" (e.g., about campaign finance, re-districting). These flip-flops do not cause him overt distress and are ego-syntonic (he feels justified in acting this way). Alternatively, reuses to commit to a standpoint and, in the process, evidences a lack of empathy.

    Ignores data that conflict with his fantasy world, or with his inflated and grandiose self-image. This has to do with magical thinking. Obama already sees himself as president because he is firmly convinced that his dreams, thoughts, and wishes affect reality. Additionally, he denies the gap between his fantasies and his modest or limited real-life achievements (for instance, in 12 years of academic career, he hasn't published a single scholarly paper or book).

    – Feels that he is above the law, incl. and especially his own laws.

    – Talks about himself in the 3rd person singluar or uses the regal "we" and craves to be the exclusive center of attention, even adulation

    – Have a messianic-cosmic vision of himself and his life and his "mission".

    – Sets ever more complex rules in a convoluted world of grandiose fantasies with its own language (jargon)

    – Displays false modesty and unctuous "folksiness" but unable to sustain these behaviors (the persona, or mask) for long. It slips and the true Obama is revealed: haughty, aloof, distant, and disdainful of simple folk and their lives.

    – Sublimates aggression and holds grudges.

    – Behaves as an eternal adolescent (e.g., his choice of language, youthful image he projects, demands indulgence and feels entitled to special treatment, even though his objective accomplishments do not justify it).

    III. Body Language

    Many complain of the incredible deceptive powers of the narcissist. They find themselves involved with narcissists (emotionally, in business, or otherwise) before they have a chance to discover their true character. Shocked by the later revelation, they mourn their inability to separate from the narcissist and their gullibility.

    Narcissists are an elusive breed, hard to spot, harder to pinpoint, impossible to capture. Even an experienced mental health diagnostician with unmitigated access to the record and to the person examined would find it fiendishly difficult to determine with any degree of certainty whether someone suffers from a full fledged Narcissistic Personality Disorder or merely possesses narcissistic traits, a narcissistic style, a personality structure ("character"), or a narcissistic "overlay" superimposed on another mental health problem.

    Moreover, it is important to distinguish between traits and behavior patterns that are independent of the patient's cultural-social context (i.e., which are inherent, or idiosyncratic) and reactive patterns, or conformity to cultural and social morals and norms. Reactions to severe life crises or circumstances are also often characterized by transient pathological narcissism, for instance (Ronningstam and Gunderson, 1996). But such reactions do not a narcissist make.

    When a person belongs to a society or culture that has often been described as narcissistic by scholars (such as Theodore Millon) and social thinkers (e.g., Christopher Lasch) how much of his behavior can be attributed to his milieu and which of his traits are really his?

    The Narcissistic Personality Disorder is rigorously defined in the DSM IV-TR with a set of strict criteria and differential diagnoses.

    Narcissism is regarded by many scholars to be an adaptative strategy ("healthy narcissism"). It is considered pathological in the clinical sense only when it becomes a rigid personality structure replete with a series of primitive defence mechanisms (such as splitting, projection, projective identification, or intellectualization) and when it leads to dysfunctions in one or more areas of the patient's life.

    Pathological narcissism is the art of deception. The narcissist projects a False Self and manages all his social interactions through this concocted fictional construct.

    When the narcissist reveals his true colors, it is usually far too late. His victims are unable to separate from him. They are frustrated by this acquired helplessness and angry at themselves for having they failed to see through the narcissist earlier on.

    But the narcissist does emit subtle, almost subliminal, signals ("presenting symptoms") even in a first or casual encounter. Compare the following list to Barack Obama's body language during his paublic appearances.

    These are:

    "Haughty" body language. The narcissist adopts a physical posture which implies and exudes an air of superiority, seniority, hidden powers, mysteriousness, amused indifference, etc. Though the narcissist usually maintains sustained and piercing eye contact, he often refrains from physical proximity (he is "territorial").

    The narcissist takes part in social interactions, even mere banter, condescendingly, from a position of supremacy and faux "magnanimity and largesse". But he rarely mingles socially and prefers to remain the "observer", or the "lone wolf".

    Entitlement markers. The narcissist immediately asks for "special treatment" of some kind. Not to wait his turn, to have a longer or a shorter therapeutic session, to talk directly to authority figures (and not to their assistants or secretaries), to be granted special payment terms, to enjoy custom tailored arrangements – or to get served first.

    The narcissist is the one who vocally and demonstratively demands the undivided attention of the head waiter in a restaurant, or monopolizes the hostess, or latches on to celebrities in a party. The narcissist reacts with rage and indignantly when denied his wishes and if treated equally with others whom he deems inferior.

    Idealization or devaluation. The narcissist instantly idealizes or devalues his interlocutor. This depends on how the narcissist appraises the potential his converser has as a Narcissistic Supply Source. The narcissist flatters, adores, admires and applauds the "target" in an embarrassingly exaggerated and profuse manner or sulks, abuses, and humiliates her.

    Narcissists are polite only in the presence of a potential Supply Source. But they are unable to sustain even perfunctory civility and fast deteriorate to barbs and thinly-veiled hostility, to verbal or other violent displays of abuse, rage attacks, or cold detachment.

    The "membership" posture. The narcissist always tries to "belong". Yet, at the very same time, he maintains his stance as an outsider. The narcissist seeks to be admired for his ability to integrate and ingratiate himself without investing the efforts commensurate with such an undertaking.

    For instance: if the narcissist talks to a psychologist, the narcissist first states emphatically that he never studied psychology. He then proceeds to make seemingly effortless use of obscure professional terms, thus demonstrating that he mastered the discipline all the same, as an autodidact, which proves that he is exceptionally intelligent or introspective.

    In general, the narcissist always prefers show-off to substance. One of the most effective methods of exposing a narcissist is by trying to delve deeper. The narcissist is shallow, a pond pretending to be an ocean. He likes to think of himself as a Renaissance man, a Jack of all trades. The narcissist never admits to ignorance in any field yet, typically, he is ignorant of them all. It is surprisingly easy to penetrate the gloss and the veneer of the narcissist's self-proclaimed omniscience.

    Bragging and false autobiography. The narcissist brags incessantly. His speech is peppered with "I", "my", "myself", and "mine". He describes himself as intelligent, or rich, or modest, or intuitive, or creative but always excessively, implausibly, and extraordinarily so.

    The narcissist's biography sounds unusually rich and complex. His achievements incommensurate with his age, education, or renown. Yet, his actual condition is evidently and demonstrably incompatible with his claims. Very often, the narcissist lies or his fantasies are easily discernible. He always name-drops and appropriates other people's experiences and accomplishments.

    Emotion-free language. The narcissist likes to talk about himself and only about himself. He is not interested in others or what they have to say, unless they constitute potential Sources of Supply and in order to obtain said supply. He acts bored, disdainful, even angry, if he feels that they are intruding on his precious time and, thus, abusing him.

    In general, the narcissist is very impatient, easily bored, with strong attention deficits unless and until he is the topic of discussion. One can publicly dissect all aspects of the intimate life of a narcissist without repercussions, providing the discourse is not "emotionally tinted".

    If asked to relate directly to his emotions, the narcissist intellectualizes, rationalizes, speaks about himself in the third person and in a detached "scientific" tone or composes a narrative with a fictitious character in it, suspiciously autobiographical. Narcissists like to refer to themselves in mechanical terms, as efficient automata or machines.

    Seriousness and sense of intrusion and coercion. The narcissist is dead serious about himself. He may possess a subtle, wry, and riotous sense of humor, scathing and cynical, but rarely is he self-deprecating. The narcissist regards himself as being on a constant mission, whose importance is cosmic and whose consequences are global. If a scientist, he is always in the throes of revolutionizing science. If a journalist, he is in the middle of the greatest story ever. If a novelist, he is on his way to a Booker or Nobel prize.

    This self-misperception is not amenable to light-headedness or self-effacement. The narcissist is easily hurt and insulted (narcissistic injury). Even the most innocuous remarks or acts are interpreted by him as belittling, intruding, or coercive. His time is more valuable than others' therefore, it cannot be wasted on unimportant matters such as mere banter or going out for a walk.

    Any suggested help, advice, or concerned inquiry are immediately cast by the narcissist as intentional humiliation, implying that the narcissist is in need of help and counsel and, thus, imperfect and less than omnipotent. Any attempt to set an agenda is, to the narcissist, an intimidating act of enslavement. In this sense, the narcissist is both schizoid and paranoid and often entertains ideas of reference.

    These, the lack of empathy, the aloofness, the disdain, the sense of entitlement, the constricted sense of humor, the unequal treatment and the paranoia render the narcissist a social misfit. The narcissist is able to provoke in his milieu, in his casual acquaintances, even in his psychotherapist, the strongest, most avid and furious hatred and revulsion. To his shock, indignation and consternation, he invariably induces in others unbridled aggression.

    He is perceived to be asocial at best and, often, antisocial. This, perhaps, is the strongest presenting symptom. One feels ill at ease in the presence of a narcissist for no apparent reason. No matter how charming, intelligent, thought provoking, outgoing, easy going and social the narcissist is – he fails to secure the sympathy of others, a sympathy he is never ready, willing, or able to reciprocate.

    IV. Narcissistic and psychopathic Leaders

    The narcissistic or psychopathic leader is the culmination and reification of his period, culture, and civilization. He is likely to rise to prominence in narcissistic societies.

    The malignant narcissist invents and then projects a false, fictitious, self for the world to fear, or to admire. He maintains a tenuous grasp on reality to start with and this is further exacerbated by the trappings of power. The narcissist's grandiose self-delusions and fantasies of omnipotence and omniscience are supported by real life authority and the narcissist's predilection to surround himself with obsequious sycophants.

    The narcissist's personality is so precariously balanced that he cannot tolerate even a hint of criticism and disagreement. Most narcissists are paranoid and suffer from ideas of reference (the delusion that they are being mocked or discussed when they are not). Thus, narcissists often regard themselves as "victims of persecution".

    The narcissistic leader fosters and encourages a personality cult with all the hallmarks of an institutional religion: priesthood, rites, rituals, temples, worship, catechism, mythology. The leader is this religion's ascetic saint. He monastically denies himself earthly pleasures (or so he claims) in order to be able to dedicate himself fully to his calling.

    The narcissistic leader is a monstrously inverted Jesus, sacrificing his life and denying himself so that his people – or humanity at large – should benefit. By surpassing and suppressing his humanity, the narcissistic leader became a distorted version of Nietzsche's "superman".

    But being a-human or super-human also means being a-sexual and a-moral.

    In this restricted sense, narcissistic leaders are post-modernist and moral relativists. They project to the masses an androgynous figure and enhance it by engendering the adoration of nudity and all things "natural" – or by strongly repressing these feelings. But what they refer to as "nature" is not natural at all.

    The narcissistic leader invariably proffers an aesthetic of decadence and evil carefully orchestrated and artificial – though it is not perceived this way by him or by his followers. Narcissistic leadership is about reproduced copies, not about originals. It is about the manipulation of symbols – not about veritable atavism or true conservatism.

    In short: narcissistic leadership is about theatre, not about life. To enjoy the spectacle (and be subsumed by it), the leader demands the suspension of judgment, depersonalization, and de-realization. Catharsis is tantamount, in this narcissistic dramaturgy, to self-annulment.

    Narcissism is nihilistic not only operationally, or ideologically. Its very language and narratives are nihilistic. Narcissism is conspicuous nihilism – and the cult's leader serves as a role model, annihilating the Man, only to re-appear as a pre-ordained and irresistible force of nature.

    Narcissistic leadership often poses as a rebellion against the "old ways" – against the hegemonic culture, the upper classes, the established religions, the superpowers, the corrupt order. Narcissistic movements are puerile, a reaction to narcissistic injuries inflicted upon a narcissistic (and rather psychopathic) toddler nation-state, or group, or upon the leader.

    Minorities or "others" – often arbitrarily selected – constitute a perfect, easily identifiable, embodiment of all that is "wrong". They are accused of being old, they are eerily disembodied, they are cosmopolitan, they are part of the establishment, they are "decadent", they are hated on religious and socio-economic grounds, or because of their race, sexual orientation, origin … They are different, they are narcissistic (feel and act as morally superior), they are everywhere, they are defenceless, they are credulous, they are adaptable (and thus can be co-opted to collaborate in their own destruction). They are the perfect hate figure. Narcissists thrive on hatred and pathological envy.

    This is precisely the source of the fascination with Hitler, diagnosed by Erich Fromm – together with Stalin – as a malignant narcissist. He was an inverted human. His unconscious was his conscious. He acted out our most repressed drives, fantasies, and wishes. He provides us with a glimpse of the horrors that lie beneath the veneer, the barbarians at our personal gates, and what it was like before we invented civilization. Hitler forced us all through a time warp and many did not emerge. He was not the devil. He was one of us. He was what Arendt aptly called the banality of evil. Just an ordinary, mentally disturbed, failure, a member of a mentally disturbed and failing nation, who lived through disturbed and failing times. He was the perfect mirror, a channel, a voice, and the very depth of our souls.

    The narcissistic leader prefers the sparkle and glamour of well-orchestrated illusions to the tedium and method of real accomplishments. His reign is all smoke and mirrors, devoid of substances, consisting of mere appearances and mass delusions. In the aftermath of his regime – the narcissistic leader having died, been deposed, or voted out of office – it all unravels. The tireless and constant prestidigitation ceases and the entire edifice crumbles. What looked like an economic miracle turns out to have been a fraud-laced bubble. Loosely-held empires disintegrate. Laboriously assembled business conglomerates go to pieces. "Earth shattering" and "revolutionary" scientific discoveries and theories are discredited. Social experiments end in mayhem.

    It is important to understand that the use of violence must be ego-syntonic. It must accord with the self-image of the narcissist. It must abet and sustain his grandiose fantasies and feed his sense of entitlement. It must conform with the narcissistic narrative.

    Thus, a narcissist who regards himself as the benefactor of the poor, a member of the common folk, the representative of the disenfranchised, the champion of the dispossessed against the corrupt elite – is highly unlikely to use violence at first.

    The pacific mask crumbles when the narcissist has become convinced that the very people he purported to speak for, his constituency, his grassroots fans, the prime sources of his narcissistic supply – have turned against him. At first, in a desperate effort to maintain the fiction underlying his chaotic personality, the narcissist strives to explain away the sudden reversal of sentiment. "The people are being duped by (the media, big industry, the military, the elite, etc.)", "they don't really know what they are doing", "following a rude awakening, they will revert to form", etc.

    When these flimsy attempts to patch a tattered personal mythology fail – the narcissist is injured. Narcissistic injury inevitably leads to narcissistic rage and to a terrifying display of unbridled aggression. The pent-up frustration and hurt translate into devaluation. That which was previously idealized – is now discarded with contempt and hatred.

    This primitive defense mechanism is called "splitting". To the narcissist, things and people are either entirely bad (evil) or entirely good. He projects onto others his own shortcomings and negative emotions, thus becoming a totally good object. A narcissistic leader is likely to justify the butchering of his own people by claiming that they intended to kill him, undo the revolution, devastate the economy, or the country, etc.

    The "small people", the "rank and file", the "loyal soldiers" of the narcissist – his flock, his nation, his employees – they pay the price. The disillusionment and disenchantment are agonizing. The process of reconstruction, of rising from the ashes, of overcoming the trauma of having been deceived, exploited and manipulated – is drawn-out. It is difficult to trust again, to have faith, to love, to be led, to collaborate. Feelings of shame and guilt engulf the erstwhile followers of the narcissist. This is his sole legacy: a massive post-traumatic stress disorder.

    DISCLAIMER

    I am not a mental health professional. Still, I have dedicated the last 12 years to the study of personality disorders in general and the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) in particular. I have authored nine (9) books about these topics, one of which is a Barnes and Noble best-seller ("Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited"). My work is widely cited in scholarly tomes and publications and in the media. My books and the content of my Web site are based on correspondence since 1996 with hundreds of people suffering from the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (narcissists) and with thousands of their family members, friends, therapists, and colleagues.

    Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love – Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain – How the West Lost the East as well as many other books and ebooks about topics in psychology, relationships, philosophy, economics, and international affairs. He served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, Global Politician, PopMatters, eBookWeb , and Bellaonline, and as a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent. He was the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101. Visit Sam's Web site at http://samvak.tripod.com You can download 30 of his free ebooks in http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/freebooks.html .

    [May 16, 2016] Dr. Sam Vaknin - Barack Obama Is a Narcissist

    Notable quotes:
    "... His posture and his body language were louder than his empty words. ..."
    "... One must never underestimate the manipulative genius of pathological narcissists. They project such an imposing personality that it overwhelms those around them. Charmed by the charisma of the narcissist, people become like clay in his hands. They cheerfully do his bidding and delight to be at his service. The narcissist shapes the world around himself and reduces others in his own inverted image. He creates a cult of personality. His admirers become his co-dependents. ..."
    "... Narcissists have no interest in things that do not help them to reach their personal objective. They are focused on one thing alone and that is power. All other issues are meaningless to them and they do not want to waste their precious time on trivialities. Anything that does not help them is beneath them and do not deserve their attention. ..."
    www.snopes.com

    snopes.com

    Dr. Vaknin states "I must confess I was impressed by Sen. Barack Obama from the first time I saw him. At first I was excited to see a black candidate. He looked youthful, spoke well, appeared to be confident - a wholesome presidential package. I was put off soon, not just because of his shallowness but also because there was an air of haughtiness in his demeanor that was unsettling. His posture and his body language were louder than his empty words.

    Obama's speeches are unlike any political speech we have heard in American history. Never a politician in this land had such quasi "religious" impact on so many people. The fact that Obama is a total incognito with zero accomplishment, makes this inexplicable infatuation alarming. Obama is not an ordinary man. He is not a genius. In fact he is quite ignorant on most important subjects. Barack Obama is a narcissist. Dr. Sam Vaknin, the author of the Malignant Self Love believes "Barack Obama appears to be a narcissist."

    Vaknin is a world authority on narcissism. He understands narcissism and describes the inner mind of a narcissist like no other person. When he talks about narcissism everyone listens.

    Vaknin says that Obama's language, posture and demeanor, and the testimonies of his closest, dearest and nearest suggest that the Senator is either a narcissist or he may have narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Narcissists project a grandiose but false image of themselves.

    ....All these men had a tremendous influence over their fanciers. They created a personality cult around themselves and with their blazing speeches elevated their admirers, filled their hearts with enthusiasm and instilled in their minds a new zest for life. They gave them hope! They promised them the moon, but alas, invariably they brought them to their doom.

    When you are a victim of a cult of personality, you don't know it until it is too late. One determining factor in the development of NPD is childhood abuse. "Obama's early life was decidedly chaotic and replete with traumatic and mentally bruising dislocations," says Vaknin.

    "Mixed-race marriages were even less common then. His parents went through a divorce when he was an infant (two years old). Obama saw his father only once again, before he died in a car accident. Then his mother re-married and Obama had to relocate to Indonesia, a foreign land with a radically foreign culture, to be raised by a step-father. At the age of ten, he was whisked off to live with his maternal (white) grandparents. He saw his mother only intermittently in the following few years and then she vanished from his life in 1979. She died of cancer in 1995".

    One must never underestimate the manipulative genius of pathological narcissists. They project such an imposing personality that it overwhelms those around them. Charmed by the charisma of the narcissist, people become like clay in his hands. They cheerfully do his bidding and delight to be at his service. The narcissist shapes the world around himself and reduces others in his own inverted image. He creates a cult of personality. His admirers become his co-dependents.

    Narcissists have no interest in things that do not help them to reach their personal objective. They are focused on one thing alone and that is power. All other issues are meaningless to them and they do not want to waste their precious time on trivialities. Anything that does not help them is beneath them and do not deserve their attention.

    [May 15, 2016] The Truth About Donald Trump's Narcissism

    Aug. 11, 2015 | /time.com
    Even as the comet that is The Donald continues to streak across the political sky-as babes peer in wonder out their windows, dogs bay in fear in the night and scholars debate the source of the great apparition-it's worth taking a moment to feel some compassion for the man who's causing all the mischief.

    The fact is, it can't be easy to wake up every day and discover that you're still Donald Trump. You were Trump yesterday, you're Trump today, and barring some extraordinary development, you'll be Trump tomorrow.

    There are, certainly, compensations to being Donald Trump. You're fabulously wealthy; you have a lifetime pass to help yourself to younger and younger wives, even as you get older and older-a two-way Benjamin Button dynamic that is equal parts enviable and grotesque. You own homes in Manhattan; Palm Beach; upstate New York; Charlottesville, Virginia; and Rancho Palos Verdes, California; and you're free to bunk down in a grand suite in practically any hotel, apartment building or resort that flies the Trump flag, anywhere on the planet-and there are a lot of them.

    But none of that changes the reality of waking up every morning, looking in the bathroom mirror, and seeing Donald Trump staring back at you. And no, it's not the hair; that, after all, is a choice-one that may be hard for most people to understand, but a choice all the same, and there's a certain who-asked-you confidence in continuing to make it. The problem with being Trump is the same thing that explains the enormous fame and success of Trump: a naked neediness, a certain shamelessness, an insatiable hunger to be the largest, loudest, most honkingly conspicuous presence in any room-the great, braying Trumpness of Trump-and that's probably far less of a revel than it seems.

    Contented people, well-grounded people, people at ease inside their skin, just don't behave the way Trump does. The shorthand-and increasingly lazy-description for Trump in recent weeks is that he is the id of the Republican party, and there's some truth in that. Trump indeed appears to be emotionally incontinent, a man wholly without-you should pardon the expression-any psychic sphincter. The boundary most people draw between thought and speech, between emotion and action, does not appear to exist for Trump. He says what he wants to say, insults whom he wants to insult, and never, ever considers apology or retreat.

    But that's not someone driven by the pleasures of the id-which, whatever else you can say about it, is a thing of happy appetites and uncaring impulses. It's far more someone driven by the rage and pain and emotional brittleness of narcissism, and everywhere in Trump's life are the signs of what a fraught state of mind that can be.

    There is Trump's compulsive use of superlatives-especially when he's talking about his own accomplishments. Maybe what he's building or selling really is the greatest, the grandest, the biggest, the best, but if that's so, let the product do the talking. If it can't, maybe it ain't so great.

    There's the compulsive promotion of the Trump name. Other giants of commerce and industry use their own names sparingly-even when they're businesspeople who have the opportunity to turn themselves from a person into a brand. There is no GatesWare software, no BezosBooks.com; it's not Zuckerbook you log onto a dozen times a day.

    But the Trump name is everywhere in the Trump world, and there's a reason for that. You can look at something you've built with quiet pride and know it's yours, or you can look at it worriedly, insecurely, fretting that someone, somewhere may not know that you created it-diminishing you in the process. And so you stamp what you build with two-story letters identifying who you are- like a child writing his name on a baseball glove-just to make sure there's no misunderstanding.

    On occasion, there is an almost-almost-endearing cluelessness to the primal way Trump signals his pride in himself. He poses for pictures with his suit jacket flaring open, his hands on his hips, index and ring fingers pointing inevitably groinward-a great-ape fitness and genital display if ever there was one. After he bought the moribund Gulf+Western Building in New York City's Columbus Circle, covered it in gold-colored glass, converted it into a luxury hotel and residence, and reinforced it with steel and concrete to make it less subject to swaying in the wind, Trump boasted to The New York Times that it was going to be "the stiffest building in the city." If he was aware of his own psychic subtext, he gave no indication.

    It's not just real estate Trump seeks to own or at least control. There was his attempt to trademark the words "You're fired," after they became a catchphrase on his reality show, The Apprentice. There was his offer to donate $5 million to a charity of President Obama's choosing if Obama would release his college transcripts to him, Donald Trump. In both cases, Trump wants something-possession, attention, the obeisance of no less than the President-and so he demands it. The behavior is less id than infant-the most narcissistic stage of the human life cycle.

    The petulance of Trump's public feuds-with Rosie ODonnell ("a total loser"), Seth Meyers ("He's a stutterer"), Robert De Niro ("We're not dealing with Albert Einstein") and Arianna Huffington, ("Unattractive both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man . . .")-is wholly of a piece with the fragility of the narcissistic ego. In Trump's imaginings, it is Fox News's Megyn Kelly who owes him an apology for asking pointed questions during the Republican debate, not Trump who owes Kelly an apology for his boorish behavior and school-yard Tweets ("Wow, @ megynkelly really bombed tonight. People are going wild on twitter! Funny to watch"). As for his sneering misogyny-his reference to blood coming out of Kelly's "wherever"? Nothing to see here. It's Jeb Bush who really should apologize to women for his comments about defunding Planned Parenthood.

    Trump was right on that score; Bush was indeed clueless to suggest that the annual cost of protecting women's health should not be as high as $500 million-or just over $3.14 per American woman per year. So Bush did what people with at least some humility do: He acknowledged his mistake and at least tried to qualify the statement. That option, however, is closed for the narcissist. The overweening ego that defines the condition is often just a bit of misdirection intended to conceal the exact opposite-a deep well of insecurity and even self-loathing. Any admission of wrong shatters that masquerade.

    To call Donald Trump a narcissist is, of course, to state the clinically obvious. There is the egotism of narcissism, the grandiosity of narcissism, the social obtuseness of narcissism. But if Trump is an easy target, he is also a pitiable one. Narcissism isn't easy, it isn't fun, it isn't something to be waved off as a personal shortcoming that hurts only the narcissists themselves, any more than you can look at the drunk or philanderer or compulsive gambler and not see grief and regret in his future.

    For now, yes, the Trump show is fun to watch. It will be less so if the carnival barker with his look-at-me antics continues to distract people from a serious discussion of important issues. It will be less still if Trump actually does wind up as the nominee of a major political party or mounts an independent campaign and succeeds in tipping the vote one way or the other.

    But that kind of triumph is not the fate that awaits most narcissists. Their act becomes old, their opponents become bold, and the audience-inevitably-moves onto something else. Trump the phenomenon will surely become Trump the afterthought. He is a man who desperately hungers for respect and attention and who, by dint of that very desperation, will likely wind up with neither. The pain will be his; the relief will be ours.

    Adapted from The Narcissist Next Door: Understanding the Monster in Your Family, in Your Office, in Your Bed-in Your World by Jeffrey Kluger by arrangement with Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, Copyright © 2015 by Jeffrey Kluger.

    [May 15, 2016] 10 Great Self-Absorbed, Narcissistic Movie Assholes The Playlist

    blogs.indiewire.com

    There's more than a few examples of the archetype doing the rounds at the moment, from the three lovably awful kids in Amazon's brilliant "Transparent" to the title character of Alex Ross Perry's brilliant "Listen Up Philip," which opened in limited release last Friday and will continue to expand in the coming weeks. Said archetype is of course often complex, and "asshole" frequently doesn't cover it. These characters often are masking deep pain, insecurity, self-doubt and or misplaced arrogance. But we know these types and while often not likable, they're real and often quite hilariously awful.

    So, to mark the release of "Listen Up Philip," which features a deliciously prickly Jason Schwartzman in the lead as a egocentric young writer who damages all his relationships, romantic or otherwise, we thought we'd pick out ten of our favorite self-absorbed, unpleasant and yet curiously watchable characters to go alongside his great turn in the aforementioned film. It should be noted that most of our examples come from the last decade or two, but that's not entirely surprising, given that we're arguably living in the most self-obsessed, insular age in human history (this is of course the era of the selfie). Take a look at our picks below, and let us know your favorites in the comments section.

    Sweet and Lowdown

    Sean Penn as Emmett Ray in "Sweet & Lowdown" (2000)

    Woody Allen is an obvious touchstone for "Listen Up Philip" ("Husbands And Wives" is named specifically by Ross Perry, and Sydney Pollack's character in that arguably qualifies for this list too), and Allen's certainly representative of self-absorption. But none of his creations have been more self-absorbed, or more asshole-y, than Sean Penn's central figure in "Sweet & Lowdown." The role of Emmet Ray, a reasonably well-known, heavy-drinking, scumbag of a jazz guitarist whose life is continually overshadowed by that of his idol Django Reinhardt, was originally penned by Allen (under the original title of "The Jazz Baby," back in the early 1970s) to be played by the writer/director, but after nearly thirty years in a drawer, went to Penn (though Johnny Depp was also reportedly considered). And it's hard to imagine anyone doing a better job. Penn brings a mix of swagger and deeply insecure neuroticism that makes him very much a creation of Allen, but one that doesn't simply echo the filmmaker in the manner of so many of his leading-men surrogates. As with the lead of another later film about a guitarist, the Coens' "Inside Llewyn Davis," Ray is talented, but enough of a fuck-up (drunken, a sometime pimp, kind of a coward, tight with money, and with a self-inflated view of his own "genius") that he'll never make the kind of impact that he'd like to. And when potential redemption comes along in the shape of Samantha Morton's sweet, mute Hattie, he throws it away in order to marry socialite Uma Thurman. And when he's dumped by her, he's stunned when Hattie's moved on. He's almost irredeemably awful, and yet Penn's performance, one of his very best, manages to find pathos, as well as a pleasing level of comedy, in the character, the kind of thing the actor doesn't get to do enough.

    The Life Aquatic

    Bill Murray as Steve Zissou in "The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou" (2004)
    Wes Anderson characters can generally be grouped under the banner of "self-regarding" to one degree or another, from Max in "Rushmore" to even the animated Mr. Fox. But his prize asshole might just be Steve Zissou, in Anderson's fourth film. An oceanographer and documentary maker modelled loosely after Jacques Cousteau, Zissou is a man whose limited fame and prestige has gone very much to his head, who drags his inexplicably loyal crew on an Ahab-ish revenge trip against the shark that ate his long-time partner (Seymour Cassel). He has a certain affection for the people he travels with (he does at least launch a rescue mission when even hated insurance company employee Bud Cort is captured by pirates), but is resolutely unlovable otherwise, particularly in his relations with basically everyone, from consistently hitting on pregnant reporter Jane (Cate Blanchett), treating Klaus (Willem Dafoe) like a bullied lapdog, or feuding childishly with his maybe-son Ned (Owen Wilson), who's eventually killed in a helicopter crash on the hunt for the shark. Anderson's characters, even cantankerous assholes like Royal Tenenbaum, usually find some form of redemption, but there's surprisingly little for Zissou: Ned, who turns out not to be his son anyway, dies, and Zissou is once again acclaimed at a film festival for his finished picture. It's a decidedly sour note, and perhaps one of the reasons that the lavish, lovingly made 'Aquatic' is possibly Anderson's least-loved picture.

    The Social Network

    Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg in "The Social Network" (2010) "You're going to go through life thinking that girls don't like because you're a nerd," says Rooney Mara's Erica to Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) at the beginning of David Fincher's Aaron Sorkin penned "The Social Network." "And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won't be true. It'll be because you're an asshole." And it's perfect introduction to the condescending, snobbish, ambitious, narcisisstic founder of Facebook, the website that will eventually make him a billionaire.

    And as the film goes on, Zuckerberg never exactly improves: he creates an insulting blog about Erica, hacks into Harvard's network to steal photos of women to let people rate their attractiveness, possibly steals the idea for his site from a trio of other students, freezes out best friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), and ends up rich but estranged, endlessly refreshing his friend request to Erica. He's selfish, self-regarding, prickly and defensive, but in the hands of Eisenberg's meticulous, brilliant performance, you can also see why.

    He embodies the true revenge of the nerds, a twisted and bitter one, but he's only that way because that's what he thinks he has to be. As his attorney, Marylin (Rashida Jones) tells him at the film's conclusion, "you're not an asshole, Mark. You're just trying so hard to be."

    A Fish Called Wanda

    Kevin Kline as Otto in "A Fish Called Wanda" (1988)
    Self-absorption is often something that seems to come with intellect, as demonstrated by the characters on this list. Many of these figures genuinely are the smartest person in the room and treat anyone they deem not to be on their level with according levels of contempt. Otto, in "A Fish Called Wanda," is something slightly different, and all the funnier for it: he's a moron who only thinks he's the smartest person in the room. The result, unusually for a broad comedy like Charles Crichton's 1988 hit (penned by co-star John Cleese), won Kevin Kline a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. The character is the film's secret weapon, a borderline psychotic, Limey-hating dimwit with a severe inferiority complex, which manifests in his continual threats to those around not to call him stupid. But as his lover Wanda (Jamie Lee Curtis) tells him, "I've known sheep that could outwit you. I've worn dresses with higher IQs." Otto is a man who thinks "the Gettysburg Address was where Lincoln lived," that the central message of Buddhism is "every man for himself," and that the London Underground is a political movement. He's the ultimate Ugly American abroad ("you are the vulgarian, you fuck," he tells Cleese's Archie when he calls him on his swearing), a terrible driver with the most hilarious off-putting cum face in cinematic history, and a total tour de force from Kline that still remains the actor's finest hour. He's the truly hateable kind of asshole in the best possible way. It says it all that, after somehow surviving being run over by a steamroller, he becomes Minister of Justice in apartheid-era South Africa…

    Young Adult

    Charlize Theron as Mavis Gary in "Young Adult" (2011)
    Arguably Jason Reitman's best film to date, a brilliant gender-swapped inversion of the arrested-development theme that's dominated the comedy movie in the last decade or so, "Young Adult" revolves around a titanic performance from Charlize Theron, playing one of the most unrepentantly unlikable, unchangeable characters in recent cinema. Theron, arguably in a career-best turn, plays Mavis, a divorced writer of the teen-aimed books whose series has just been cancelled. On a whim, she returns to her small Minnesota hometown in an attempt to win back her high-school sweetheart (Patrick Wilson), who's just a had baby with his wife (Elizabeth Reaser). Mavis is clearly having some kind of deluded break with reality, but part of the brilliance of Theron's performance is how unquestioning she is of herself: a Mean Girl grown up, chasing simpler times when she ruled the world, and prepared to do just about anything to get there. Theron never courts your sympathy, but there's still a deep sadness in Mavis' absolute lack of self-reflection, not least when she's comes close to a breakthrough, only to be talked out of it by one of her few remaining admirers (a brilliant Colette Wolfe). People talked about her bravery in changing her appearance for her Oscar-winning turn in "Monster," but there's just as little vanity in her performance here, and the film simply wouldn't work without her.

    Baumbach Squid

    The Assorted Jerks Of Noah Baumbach
    Another obvious touchstone for "Listen Up Philip," Noah Baumbach is arguably, and we mean this in the nicest way possible, the king of the self-absorbed asshole. In fact, we decided to amalgamate his collected jerks into one selection, because otherwise it could have taken up half of the entire list. The filmmaker's been interested in the archetype ever since his debut "Kicking And Screaming," about chronically procrastinating recent college grads, but (after co-writing the script for two of Wes Anderson's most self-absorbed characters with "The Life Aquatic" and "Fantastic Mr. Fox") reached something of a zenith with what we like to call 'The Asshole Trilogy' : "The Squid & The Whale," "Margot At The Wedding" and "Greenberg." 'Squid' is the best, as we gradually see the effects of self-absorbed, generally toxic novelist Bernard (Jeff Daniels) on his son (Jesse Eisenberg) during the parents' bitter divorce, ending movingly with Walt rejecting the Way Of The Jerk. 2007's 'Margot' was disliked by many at the time, but has only grown in stature, with Nicole Kidman's brittle, sharp turn proving to be a perfect fit for the filmmakers' world-view, appalling (but still human) as she takes her frustrations in life out on her son. 2010's "Greenberg" is the least of the three, despite a raw and uncompromising performance by Ben Stiller in the title role, a thwarted man-child who can't see much beyond his own needs and worldview. The three films aren't the easiest watch (no wonder that Baumbach's next film, the delightful "Frances Ha," felt like such a breath of fresh air), but together do a pretty great job at encapsulating the era of mammoth selfishness.

    Roger Dodger

    Campbell Scott as Roger Swanson in "Roger Dodger" (2002)
    Jesse Eisenberg makes another appearance on this list (his more malevolent side in the recent "The Double" could also have qualified), but for once, he's not the asshole. That would be Campbell Scott, who is remarkably brilliant in Dylan Kidd's minor classic "Roger Dodger." Scott plays the titular Roger Swanson, a New York ad-man who's asked by his 16-year-old nephew to help him learn how to seduce women so he can lose his virginity. Roger's a self-described player and essentially a misogynist, and attempts to induct his young relative in what he describes as essentially a war of the sexes. A smarmy early '00s precursor to today's pick-up artist scumbags, Roger doesn't have the charm that he thinks he does, particularly given that he's in an unacknowledged meltdown after being dumped by lover/boss Isabella Rosselini. Like many such people, he hates almost everyone around him, but no one brings out quite so much bile in him as himself, and it's this brilliant duality that makes the performance one of Scott's best. Kidd's film is a woozy, witty examination of sex and masculinity, and though it missteps a little towards the end in offering something of a redemption for the character, it still gave us one of the more iconic cinematic douchebags of the last couple of decades.

    Rachel Getting Married

    Anne Hathaway as Kym in "Rachel Getting Married" (2008)
    We think of being an asshole as a specifically male trait, but we've already seen with "Young Adult" and "Margot At The Wedding" that there's no gender divide. "Rachel Getting Married" is another great example, one that's arguably sadder and psychologically richer than either. Jonathan Demme's film stars a revelatory Anne Hathaway as Kym, who returns home from drug rehab to attend the wedding of her sister (Rosemarie DeWitt), only for the family's long-brushed-over painful past to emerge, as it tends to do in movies like this one. Kym initially seems like a comically awful person, a selfish, up-staging drug addict who hijacks the rehearsal dinner to make twelve-step apologies, and who seems to delight in deliberately upsetting almost anyone in her family and not accepting any blame for her actions. But over time, Kym richens, as we learn that she killed her younger brother in a car accident when she was high, and while that itself is clearly a terrible and selfish action, it's only continued to haunt her, and Hathaway is superb in painting a picture of a woman who longs to be forgiven by people who would like to, but might just find it impossible. Demme and the movie never let her off the hook, but that whatever small progress she might make happens at all feels all the more moving for being so hard-won.

    As Good As It Gets

    Jack Nicholson in "As Good As It Gets" (1997)
    Ol' Jack plays cantankerous assholes the way Tom Hanks plays nice guys or Tom Cruise plays people who jumps off tall buildings: brilliantly, vigorously and frequently. In James L. Brooks' award-winning rom-com, Nicholson builds on earlier performances like "Five Easy Pieces" "Carnal Knowledge" and "Heartburn" to create something like a crown prince of unlikable fellas, OCD-suffering, racist, homophobic, misogynist misanthrope novelist Melvin Udall, whose carefully controlled life is upended by the intervention of gay neighbor Simon (Greg Kinnear), and single-mother waitress Carol (Helen Hunt). Nicholson might be playing a slightly sitcom-ish, Archie Bunker-ish character, but the mix of his typical devilish charm, smartly and sparingly used, and a detailed psychological realism that makes Melvin into more than just an archetype, elevated the performance to Oscar-winning effect. Though of course it helps that Nicholson is clearly relishing the lovingly and intricately-written speeches that he gets to deploy ("never, never interrupt me, okay?," he tells Simon. "Not if there's a fire, not even if you hear the sound of a thud from my home and one week later there's a smell coming from there that can only be a decaying human body and you have to hold a hanky to your face because the stench is so thick that you think you're going to faint"). There's a certain degree of cheesiness to the way that Melvin softens up thanks to the love of a good woman, but Jack never makes you doubt it for a minute.

    Last Days of Disco

    The Many Assholes Of Whit Stillman
    Like Baumbach, Whit Stillman is a director who's made a career with characters who can't quite see past their own bubble of existence (and, usually, privilege), up to and including his current Amazon pilot "The Cosmopolitans." The pattern began with his debut "Metropolitan," in which Stillman favorite Chris Eigeman plays arguably the platonic ideal of the director's favorite archetype, a big-mouthed upper-class cynic who one can imagine going into Wall Street and essentially becoming Patrick Bateman in years to come ('"the surrealists were just bunch of social climbers," he condescendingly says at one point). Follow-up "Barcelona" sees Eigeman in a similarly smug role, the ugly American abroad, while "The Last Days Of Disco" sees Kate Beckinsale (who's fantastic here) as a particularly callow example of the type ("remember the Woodstock generation of the 1960s that were so full of themselves and conceited? None of them could dance," she tells someone at one point with the naivety of youth). If one was ungenerous, one could argue that the narrow worldview of his films makes Stillman and his archaic language rather self-absorbed himself, but that's a misreading: Stillman is ultimately a social satirist, a sort of cinematic heir to Jane Austen (whose influence is felt in his most recent picture, "Damsels In Distress," more than ever), savagely poking at the ridiculous attitudes and views of his characters without ever quite judging them.

    Honorable Mentions: There were various other possibilities that we dismissed as not quite being quite the right brand of asshole for this specific theme: think of Kirk Douglas in "Ace In The Hole," Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster in "Sweet Smell Of Success" (too toxic), even William Atherton in "Die Hard" and "Ghostbusters" (which veers closer to a simple villain). Among the ones who came closest to qualifying were Ed Norton and Micheal Keaton in "Birdman" (we wrote about their self-absorbed asshole-ish tendencies here), Rachel McAdams in "Mean Girls," Matt Damon in "The Departed," Paul Reiser in "Aliens," Aaron Eckhart in "In The Company Of Men," and Tom Hulce in "Amadeus," along with both Jason Schwartzman's villain, and arguably Michael Cera's hero, in "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World." Any others? Let us know below

    [May 15, 2016] Famous Narcissistic Movie Characters -

    May 14, 2013 | The Narcissistic Life

    If you want observe people with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) or strong narcissistic traits, look no further than your TV set. There are many memorable movie characters who display the basic characteristics of narcissism: the grandiose and overinflated sense of self, lack of empathy, exploitation of others with no remorse, and excessive self-focus. Listed below are some of the more well-known narcissists portrayed in the movies:

    Movie: The Devil Wears Prada
    Played By: Meryl Streep
    About: Now this is an NPD character that sticks with you.

    Movie: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
    Played By: Kenneth Branagh
    About: This is the definition of narcissism. Lockhart is hilarious. One of the comical moments from the series is when Lockhart is talking to Harry during his detention and says "Fame is a fickle friend, Harry. Celebrity is as celebrity does. Remember that." *turn and smile* He goes to such lengths as to fake his fame and risk the deaths of many students just to keep his ego fed.

    Movie: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
    Played By: Sam Rockwell
    About: Zaphod (and Sam Rockwell) is great and Rockwell plays him well- he's fun for the role he has.

    Movie: American Psycho
    Played By: Christian Bale
    About: Bale plays the role with what appears to be ease. He's a completely memorable character with some very iconic scenes.

    Movie: Dinner for Schmucks
    Played By: Jemaine Clements
    About: Whether or not you liked the movie, most have agreed that Jamaine Clements was the best part.

    Movie: The American Pie Trilogy
    Played By: Seann William Scott
    About: Stifler thinks he's hot stuff, almost obnoxiously so. But he's not without his insecurities underneath it all. He's probably not a true narcissist as the rest on this list–it's much more of a front, at least partially. But there's no doubting he thinks highly of himself, and he's funny while he thinks so.

    Movie: Zoolander
    Played By: Ben Stiller
    About: "I'm pretty sure there's a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking. And I plan on finding out what that is."

    Movie: Forgetting Sarah Marshall/Get Him to the Greek
    Played by: Russell Brand
    About: Russell Brand was hilarious in them–clearly the best part of the movies.

    Movie: The Princess Bride
    Played By: Wallace Shawn
    About: Vizzini: "I can't compete with you physically, and you're no match for my brains." Westley: "You're that smart?" Vizzini: "Let me put it this way. Have you ever heard of Plato? Aristotle? Socrates?" Westley: "Yes." Vizzini: "Morons."

    Movie: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
    Played By: Will Ferrell
    About: The narcissism is right there in the title of the film! He's a fun character, wrapped up in his own little world.

    MOVIE: Gaslight
    Played by: Charles Boyer
    ABOUT: This classic movie is where the term gaslighting comes from, to indicate how an N (or other abuser) lies to you to make you doubt your experience of reality. Although the film is a bit dated now (it was made in the 1940s) it is still extremely gripping and terrifying. The narcissist in this film, Gregory Anton, is trying to deliberately send his new wife insane in order to inherit from her. An absolute must-watch for anybody interest in learning more about malignant NPD.

    MOVIE: Mommie Dearest
    Played By: Faye Dunaway
    ABOUT: A classic film. It's the real-life story of total narcissist Joan Crawford and her daughter Christina. This is a chillingly accurate portrayal of the hell of being raised by a narcissist.

    MOVIE: White Oleander
    Played by: Michelle Pfeiffer
    ABOUT: Michelle Pfeiffer plays the narcissistic mother in this amazing film, and by all accounts does a terrific job.

    MOVIE: Gone With the Wind
    Played by: Vivien Leigh
    ABOUT: Scarlett O'Hara is a total narcissist in this classic tale.

    Other Movies Portraying Narcissistic Characters

    • American Beauty (narcissistic mother)
    • East of Eden (narcissistic father)
    • Ordinary People (narcissistic mother)
    • Mermaids (Cher as Mrs. Flax)
    • Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (narcissistic sister)
    • Sybil (narcissistic mother)
    • The Little Foxes (narcissistic mother)
    • Flowers in the Attic (narcissistic mother)
    • Matilda (both parents are narcissists)
    • Coraline (both "other" parents are narcissists)
    • Precious (narcissistic mother)
    • Girl Interrupted (Angelina Jolie)
    • Life or Something Like It (Angelina Jolie)

    References:

    http://www.narcissism101.com/NarcissistsinMedia/narcissistsinmov.html
    http://dementeddoorknob.blogspot.com/2010/10/top-10-favorite-narcissistic-characters.html
    http://daughtersofnarcissisticmothers.com/movies-featuring-npd.html
    http://www.outofthefog.net/Movies.html

    [Apr 21, 2016] For Mental Health, Bad Job Worse than No Job

    Notable quotes:
    "... Unemployed people who found a job that rated well in these areas reported a substantial improvement in their mental health. By contrast, newly employed people who felt overwhelmed, insecure about their employment, underpaid, and micromanaged reported a sharp decline in their mental health, including increased symptoms of depression and anxiety. Even those who couldn't find a job fared better. This last finding was "striking," Butterworth says. "This runs counter to a common belief that any job offers psychological benefits for individuals over the demoralizing effects of unemployment." ..."
    "... Policymakers should address the impact that the workplace has on mental - and not just physical - health, Butterworth says. "In the same way that we no longer accept workplaces that are physically unsafe or in which employees are exposed to dangerous or toxic substances, there could be a greater focus on ensuring a more positive psychosocial environment at work." ..."
    March 14, 2011 | Health.com

    With unemployment still high, job seekers who have been discouraged by a lack of work might be inclined to take the first opportunity they're offered. That will help pay the bills, but it could cause other problems: A new study suggests that some jobs are so demoralizing they're actually worse for mental health than no [...]

    With unemployment still high, job seekers who have been discouraged by a lack of work might be inclined to take the first opportunity they're offered. That will help pay the bills, but it could cause other problems: A new study suggests that some jobs are so demoralizing they're actually worse for mental health than not working at all.

    The findings add a new wrinkle to the large body of research showing that being out of work is associated with a greater risk of mental health problems. In the study, which followed more than 7,000 Australians over a seven-year period, unemployed people generally reported feeling calmer, happier, less depressed, and less anxious after finding work, but only if their new jobs were rewarding and manageable.

    "Moving from unemployment to a poor-quality job offered no mental health benefit, and in fact was more detrimental to mental health than remaining unemployed," says the lead author of the study, Peter Butterworth, PhD, a senior research fellow at the Centre for Mental Health Research at the Australian National University, in Canberra.

    The study was published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

    Butterworth and his colleagues analyzed data from an annual survey in which participants described their mental state, their employment status, and-for those with a job-details of the working conditions that they enjoyed (or didn't enjoy, as the case may be). The survey respondents were asked how strongly they agreed with statements such as "My job is complex and difficult" and "I worry about the future of my job."

    The researchers focused on four job characteristics that are closely linked with mental health: the complexity and demands of the work, job security, compensation, and job control (i.e., the freedom to decide how best to do the job, rather than being ordered around).

    Unemployed people who found a job that rated well in these areas reported a substantial improvement in their mental health. By contrast, newly employed people who felt overwhelmed, insecure about their employment, underpaid, and micromanaged reported a sharp decline in their mental health, including increased symptoms of depression and anxiety. Even those who couldn't find a job fared better.

    This last finding was "striking," Butterworth says. "This runs counter to a common belief that any job offers psychological benefits for individuals over the demoralizing effects of unemployment."

    Although certain types of jobs-such as working in a customer-service call center-are more likely to be downers, the working environment tends to have a greater impact on mental health than the job description itself, Butterworth adds.

    Managers are especially important to employee well-being, says Robert Hogan, PhD, an expert on personality in the workplace and a former chair of the department of psychology at the University of Tulsa. "Bad bosses will make anybody unhappy," Hogan says. "Stress comes from bad managers."

    Policymakers should address the impact that the workplace has on mental - and not just physical - health, Butterworth says. "In the same way that we no longer accept workplaces that are physically unsafe or in which employees are exposed to dangerous or toxic substances, there could be a greater focus on ensuring a more positive psychosocial environment at work."

    [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 04, 2016] THE TYRANNY OF TOXIC MANAGERS AN EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE APPROACH TO DEALING WITH DIFFICULT PERSONALITIES by Roy Lubit

    March / April 2004. | Ivey Business Journal

    Toxic managers dot the landscape in most organizations, making them seem, at times, like war zones. These managers can complicate your work, drain your energy, compromise your sanity, derail your projects and destroy your career. Your ability to deal with these corporate land mines will have a significant impact on your career. Those who are able to recognize toxic managers quickly and understand what makes them tick will be in the best position to protect themselves. Difficult managers are a fact of life and how they affect your life depends upon the skills you develop to deal with them.

    The issue is not simply a matter of individual survival. Toxic managers divert people’s energy from the real work of the organization, destroy morale, impair retention, and interfere with cooperation and information sharing. Their behaviour, like a rock thrown into a pond, can cause ripples distorting the organization’s culture and affecting people far beyond the point of impact.

    Senior management and HR can significantly improve an organization’s culture and functioning by taking steps to find and contain those who are most destructive. Leadership can spare an organization serious damage by learning how to recognize problematic personality traits quickly, placing difficult managers in positions in which their behaviour will do the least harm, arranging for coaching for those who are able to grow, and knowing which managers are time bombs that need to be let go.

    This article will help you learn how to avoid becoming a scapegoat, to survive aggressive managers’ assaults, and to give narcissistic and rigid managers the things they need to be satisfied with you. It will also help senior management and HR to recognize toxic managers before they do serious damage. The basic theme of the article is that to deal effectively with toxic behavior you need to understand what lies underneath it, design an intervention to target those underlying factors, and have sufficient control of your own feelings and behaviour so that you can do what is most effective, rather than let your own anger or anxiety get the best of you. In other words, you need to develop your emotional intelligence.

    ... ... ...

    Narcissistic managers

    Preoccupied with their own importance, narcissistic managers are grandiose and arrogant. They devalue others, lack empathy for others and have little, if any, conscience. Feeling exempt from the normal rules of society, they exploit people without remorse. Narcissistic individuals are also very sensitive to anything that threatens their self-esteem. Challenges to their grandiose self image can lead to narcissistic rage that sees them lose all judgment and attack in ways that are destructive to themselves and their victims.

    Arrogant with peers and subordinates, they may suddenly become submissive in the presence of a superior. Once the superior has left, they may well disparage her. They generally deprecate and exploit others, including former idols. They may, however, idealize powerful individuals who support them, though only for a short time.

    Under the surface, narcissistic managers struggle with fragile self-esteem. They also have a sense of emptiness arising from their lack of true self-love and inability to care about other people or about abstract values such as honesty and integrity. Their grandiose fantasies are attempts to fill the emptiness and reinforce their fragile self-esteem.

    The classic narcissistic manager is grandiose. Grandiose managers are legends in their own minds. Preoccupied with their exaggerated accomplishments and grandiose expectations for the future, they expect others to hold them in awe. Constantly boasting, they resemble peacocks strutting around with their tail feathers unfurled.

    Some narcissistic managers are not effusive about their abilities and accomplishments. What stands out about them is a willingness to exploit others, a willingness to break the law, or a desire to control and dominate others.

    Narcissistic managers are less likely to make major changes in their behaviour than are managers with other issues. They are also particularly likely to become outraged and vindictive if someone challenges their behaviour. Therefore, when you are dealing with a manager who is rigid or aggressive, it is important to know whether narcissism or other disorders lie underneath their destructive behaviour.

    A milder variant of narcissistic managers are those with learned narcissism. They are not desperately trying to hide and shield fragile self-esteem arising from a troubled childhood. Rather, their success in some area has brought sufficient fame and fortune that they have been shielded from the normal consequences of behaving arrogantly and treating others poorly. Moreover, as people incessantly flatter them, they come to believe the glorifying compliments. Although somewhat grandiose and inconsiderate of others, these people have a conscience and can feel empathy for others; they simply do not realize the full impact of their behavior on others. People with learned narcissism are far more amenable to change than are those with narcissism resulting from problems early on in emotional development.

    Coping with a narcissistic manager is very difficult for most people. You can’t make it a fun experience, but there are things you can do to make yourself less vulnerable to them.

    If you are subordinate to a narcissistic manager:

    Superiors of narcissistic managers also need to be careful. If you supervise a narcissistic manager you should:

    ... ... ...

    Case Study: Dealing with a Narcissistic VP

    Bill was the vice president of a mid-sized company. His unit had grown rapidly and was profitable. He had special knowledge and skills that made him very valuable to the company. At the same time, the company’s president was increasingly aware that the morale in Bill’s unit was poor and that turnover was high. The president instructed Bill to obtain some coaching. He balked and the CEO relented. In time, however, things went from bad to worse. The CEO considered firing Bill. The cost of finding a replacement, and the inefficiencies suffered while the new person came up to speed, would be high. Nevertheless, he couldn’t let the unit continue to bleed people. Faced with the possibility of being fired, Bill agreed to executive coaching.

    Bill balked at 360 feedback but he agreed to let the coach speak with people and observe his ways of interacting. What people reported, and what the coach saw, was a driven person who lacked concern for others, focused on his own needs, was constantly snapping at people, rarely gave a pat on the back, and sometimes stole credit for others’ work. He certainly fit the description of the narcissistic manager.

    There was, however, another part of him. At times, he really seemed concerned about others. In individual discussions with the coach, Bill’s insecurity and depression stood out more than his grandiosity. The coach determined that rather than having the core personality structure of a narcissistic individual, Bill had been so successful that he had been able to get away with stepping on people and was relatively clueless about how others felt and how his behavior affected their performance.

    A major factor in Bill’s behaviour was a mild chronic depression. He did not enjoy things that much and rarely smiled. A great deal of his irritability came from the mild depression. The coach convinced him to try an antidepressant. Bill’s snapping at people declined in a few days. In a month he seemed like a different person. With his depression gone he not only felt much less irritable, but had the emotional energy to think about others’ feelings and to begin to look at his own behaviour more than he had before. He had many bad habits in how he related to people, but he was now able to begin to look at them and gradually make changes.

    ... ... ...

    [Apr 04, 2016] The toxic manager in the office

    bullyonline.org

    The toxic boss or toxic manager. We've all encountered them. Moody, aggressive, unpredictable, incompetent, always blaming other people. A compulsive liar with a Jekyll and Hyde nature, the individual, male or female, is always charming and plausible when management are around.

    Toxic bosses and toxic managers prevent staff doing their jobs and prevent employees fulfilling their duties. They thrive in a toxic work environment. Unpredictable moods, conflicting demands, inconsistent orders, random decision-making, inability to plan strategically, inability and unwillingness to communicate and co-operate, obstructive ... the list goes on. If management suddenly appoint a toxic boss as your manager, you'll realise that toxic shock syndrome is not just a female condition. If you've got a toxic manager, your problems have just begun. And they won't get better.

    When you tackle the toxic manager, you feel like you've gone 15 rounds with Mike Tyson. And everything will be your fault. You have a "negative attitude", you're a "poor performer", you're "not up to the job", and so on. If you get as far as alerting personnel or human resources management, it'll be a "personality clash". In truth, this is a projection of the bully's own negative attitude, poor performance, and incompetence.

    How do you recognise a toxic boss?

    To recognise a toxic boss from their behaviour profile, click here. To recognise toxic bosses from the effects of their behaviour, look for unusually high levels of the following in the immediate (and not so immediate) vicinity of the toxic manager concerned:

    [Apr 04, 2016] Fatal Attraction

    Fatal Attraction (1987) is a classic among films depicting violent BPD and female psychopath. It depicts well the details of borderline personality disorder: the self-delusion, the emotional coercion, the complete disintegration of logic and final loss of control. It was built up from a short film by screenwriter James Dearden. This is one of two Adrian Lyne sensual films, the other two are “Indecent Proposal” and Unfaithful. It is an educational movie though I prefer the original ending (available on special collector edition DVD), not the revised, way-over-the-top, grade B horror movies ending. Glenn Close's abrupt spiral into insanity and violence during the last third of Director Lyne's Fatal Attraction is the weakest part of the movie.

    [Mar 24, 2016] DL Minor's review of The Devil Wears Prada

    www.amazon.com

    Amazon.com

    No Issues With The Killer Title, But..., March 19, 2010 By DL Minor This review is from: The Devil Wears Prada (Widescreen Edition) (DVD) Well, I'm all over the map about this movie, I really am, finding something to agree with in almost every review here, including the least positive.

    The positives are these: I adore the look and pace of the film, the to-die-for clothes of course, and the performances (first and foremost) of the great Meryl Streep as the towering, terrifying Miranda, the winning Anne Hathaway as the perpetually harassed Andrea, the dependable Stanley Tucci as Miranda's long-suffering, witty-wise second-in-command Nigel, and the wonderful Emily Blunt as the bitchy, put-upon first assistant...uh, Emily. All of them--especially Streep, Tucci and Blunt--bring both bite and (mostly hidden) heart to what could have been a collective phone-in of annoying caricatures. And though we really only get glimpses of him here and there, I also enjoyed Rich Sommers's endearing turn as Doug, the sweetest of Andy's circle.

    I am seriously ambivalent however, about what the message of this movie is supposed to be, especially to women, and the alarm bells really go off when--SPOILER ALERT--Andy reconciles with her boyfriend, Nate, telling him he was "right about everything."

    What? What exactly was he so "right" about??

    I don't know about you, but I found Nate, the boyfriend character, absolutely insufferable through almost the whole of the movie. I'm pretty sure he was supposed to be the voice of reason that tries hard to keep Andy grounded and remind her what's truly important. Instead he came off as a sulky brat who could not accept his girlfriend's growing pains as she struggled to cope with an impossibly demanding, first ever grown-up job that nothing in her easy-going schoolgirl existence had prepared her for. Were there no demands being placed on Nate in HIS choice of career? Was his job supposed to be the more important one?

    Ditto Andy's best friend, Lily, who seemed to me increasingly more jealous of Andy rather than supportive of her. Lily too was pursuing Bright Lights-Big City dreams that demanded a lot from a young newcomer, after all, so how is it that she had such a hard time with Andrea's chaotic ups and downs? Where did Lily get off being so judgmental and disapproving? This is friendship? I watch these performances and can't decide whether actors Adrian Grenier and Tracie Thoms made poor choices in their playing of difficult characters or if the characters as written were simply impossible to like. Either way, both were a whiny pain in the rear, especially Nate, and Andy's mea culpas to him near the film's conclusion were tough to take.

    No one disputes that Miranda Priestley was a Boss From Hell who routinely wiped her feet on her young assistants, particularly Andrea. But we also see that ultimately Miranda was as human as anyone else; a glamorous workhorse whose alley-fighter smarts hid real pain. And it should be said that Andy--who was in the beginning quite smug in her disdain of all the fashionista "shallowness" that surrounded her--had a knocking down or two coming. (I loved the way Nigel simultaneously comforted Andy and took her to task after an especially bad morning.) If Miranda put Andy through the wringer--and she did--well, she also taught her some important things (sometimes unwittingly) about hard work, hanging tough, and the choices we make in life to get to where we want to go or need to stay. Andy could have quit at the end of her first week (I think I would have) but no matter how bad or insanely silly things got, she didn't, at least not immediately. On some level she became aware that she was getting an education she wouldn't get anywhere else from anyone else, and there was value in that. I think she knew that; I hope she knew that. I hope the audience does, too.

    [Mar 23, 2016] The Proposal

    This movie came in 2009 and was definitely heavily influenced it the first part by 2006 ground breaking (for female sociopaths) movie The Devil Wears Prada .
    Notable quotes:
    "... The setup of the first 25 minutes clearly apes the set-up of David Frankel's The Devil Wears Prada but has some notable scenes (firing episode; bulling her assistant to marry her) that has some educational value. ..."
    "... The scene when she blackmails Andrew into pretending that he's her fiancé is probably the best in the movie. One of the few that deserve watching it several times. ..."
    www.amazon.com

    Sandra Bullock definitely knows her audience. The type of character she plays here - an abusive female bully hiding a very vulnerable, lonely interior - is played to perfection. This is the type of character she is known-for: her "brand." Only first 25 minutes of the film make sense. After the the plot disintegrates in third rate melodrama.

    The setup of the first 25 minutes clearly apes the set-up of David Frankel's The Devil Wears Prada but has some notable scenes (firing episode; bulling her assistant to marry her) that has some educational value.

    Sandra Bullock project the character of a cold and often cruel personality of a female bully pretty well. She's also mean-spirited, pointing out personal faults that she generally has no business to reveal.

    But she is less stereotypical boss from Hell, then the main character of The Devil Wears Prada or Office space. But may be beacuse for those monents we saw her there was no downsizing efforts of the floor ;-)

    Bullock is playing female bully who is book editor (Margaret Tate), a workaholic careerist who instills fear into her entire office. Her bullied assistant Andrew Paxton, Reynolds caters to her every whim in the hopes that she eventually will help boost his publishing career. The scene when she blackmails Andrew into pretending that he's her fiancé is probably the best in the movie. One of the few that deserve watching it several times.

    [Mar 22, 2016] 5 Things Real-Life Psychopaths Do

    Feb 19, 2016 | Psychology Today
    Here are five things psychopaths do:

    1. They're extremely charming.

    Psychopaths are almost always well-liked. They come across as delightful people great at making small talk. Their quick wit tends to draw people to them. They usually have interesting stories as well. Their convincing tales portray them in a favorable, yet believable light. People walk away from conversations with a psychopath feeling pretty good.

    2. They don't experience remorse.

    A lack of guilt might be the first red flag that signals someone might be a psychopath. Psychopaths aren't capable of feeling any genuine remorse. They don't accept any responsibility for hurting other people's feelings. Instead, they blame other people and deny responsibility. A psychopath may say that someone "deserved" to be treated poorly. Or, they may shrug off reports that they offended someone by saying, "She needs to be less sensitive," or "I guess he can't handle the truth."

    3. They're really arrogant.

    Psychopaths have an inflated sense of importance. Much like narcissists, they think the usual rules don't apply to them. They also tend to have grandiose ideas about their potential. They believe they deserve to be the CEO, or they're convinced they're the best at everything they do.

    4. They take big risks.

    Psychopaths have little regard for safety, especially other people's. They often lie, cheat, and steal to get ahead. This behavior can be especially toxic. While not all psychopaths engage in illegal activity, those who do plan their crimes well in advance. Their misconduct is usually well-organized, and they leave few clues behind. Psychopaths tend to be very intelligent, which makes them great con artists.

    5. They're master manipulators.

    They don't experience genuine emotions toward others. But they can mimic other people's emotions, and often they come across as very genuine. As a result, their loved ones often have no idea they're incapable of truly caring for other people.

    Psychopaths are really good at manipulating other people's emotions. They flatter others in a subtle yet effective manner, and before long they persuade others to do things they wouldn't normally do. They also use guilt trips or gain sympathy to meet their needs.

    [Mar 22, 2016] The Vampire's Bite Victims of Narcissists Speak Out

    Notable quotes:
    "... N would [even] lie when the truth would save his neck ..."
    "... "I lie. Compulsively and needlessly. All the time. About everything. And I often contradict myself. Why do I need to do this? To make myself interesting or attractive. In other words, to secure narcissistic supply (attention, admiration, adulation, gossip )." ..."
    "... Because they're not genuinely interested in others, they're poor listeners ..."
    "... They can be extremely mean-spirited (as in taking an almost perverse delight in raining on another's parade). ..."
    "... They're untrustworthy: As one discussant bluntly puts it: "Don't tell them anything you aren't prepared to get shoved up your butt later ..."
    "... Despite their self- confident , better-than-thou exterior, they often betray feelings of weakness, insecurity, inferiority, jealousy , and cowardice. One commenter even sums them up as "emotional cripples." ..."
    "... What I, and others on this board, have learned from dealing with N bullies in our personal lives applies to terrorists. There can be no appeasement, no attempting to reason with them, no attempt to "fix" them, to unseat their deep-seated hatred, shame and envy. Sounds terribly harsh to the uninitiated, but not recognizing that can only lead to our own destruction. ..."
    "... Looking back on ALL the Ns I've ever known and merged with, I see there WERE signs within minutes of meeting the N that they were grossly selfish, immoral, sex -addicted or [that] something was definitely 'off' [about them]. I didn't honour my intuition, gut feelings and instinct. The truth is that I had almost no experience setting healthy boundaries. ..."
    Apr 23, 2014 | Psychology Today
    Of all the oppressive, crazy-making features of the narcissist, the one perhaps most frequently cited is their exasperating dishonesty. And such untruthfulness has at times led their no-longer-so-gullible victims to describe them as con artists. Here's a highly selective sampling of such complaints:

    The controversial Dr. Sam Vaknin, creator of this forum on narcissism and himself a self-confessed NPD, has written profusely-at times, brilliantly-on the subject. In his article "Pseudologica Fantastica," he freely admits:

    ... ... ...

    Below, I'll summarize some other distressing characteristics of the narcissist regularly alluded to by their victims:

    The one consolation for victims of the narcissist's "dagger" (or "vampirish teeth") is the hard-won insights they eventually gain, which makes it possible for at least some of them to repudiate a relationship that's been so toxic to them. Again, in their own (sadder-but-wiser) words:

    [Mar 22, 2016] The Secret to Spotting Subtle Narcissists

    Notable quotes:
    "... The entitlement surge of subtle narcissism is a bit like the normally happy drunk suddenly becoming surly and going on a bender, cleaning out the liquor cabinets and storming off to buy more booze. ..."
    "... Your partner begins complaining about the messy house after your pregnancy, feeling he works hard enough that he deserves to come home to a clean house.... ..."
    Mar 16, 2016 | Psychology Today

    ...narcissism is marked by an entitlement surge-those moments when a normally understanding friend or partner or coworker angrily behaves as if the world owes them. It's usually triggered by a sudden fear that their special status has been threatened in some way. Until this point, their need for the world to revolve around them is mostly under wraps, because it hasn't been called into question. Kevin didn't ask for Sherry's support or even try to understand how hard her year after her mother's death had been. In his mind, he deserved her full understanding because he felt so close to his dream of a becoming a law partner.

    The entitlement surge of subtle narcissism is a bit like the normally happy drunk suddenly becoming surly and going on a bender, cleaning out the liquor cabinets and storming off to buy more booze. Your usually affable boss suddenly tears into you, worried that the latest project (his idea) is failing. Unbeknownst to you, he's secretly had plans to become the CEO ever since he arrived. Your partner begins complaining about the messy house after your pregnancy, feeling he works hard enough that he deserves to come home to a clean house....

    ... ... ...

    To read more about subtle (and dangerous) narcissism, including specific, research-backed strategies to protect yourself from it, order Rethinking Narcissism (link is external) today.

    [Mar 22, 2016] The 5 Most Dangerous Myths About Narcissism (Part 2)

    Notable quotes:
    "... The other narcissist is my mother. For years I lived in terror of her rages, and how the family pretty much revolves around her. I didn't understand how a parent could be so cruel, and assume everyone else was a bad person. ..."
    "... As far as healthy narcissism goes, it's something I'm working on. My mother has stripped all of our self-esteem, as she relishes putting loved one's fault under the microscope as often and loudly as possible. I grew up with massive amounts of fear and anxiety assuming everyone was very concerned about every minor mistake I made. I wish I had worked on this earlier. Mom taught me how to make a mountain out of a tiny molehill. ..."
    "... It's true, many children who've lived with extremely narcissistic parents--and I count myself among them--grow up to struggle with a more generous self-image. ..."
    Feb 17, 2016 | Psychology Today

    Narcissism has never been an official mental health disorder. Narcissist isn't a recognized diagnostic descriptor either; it's shorthand for someone who scores higher than the average on narcissism measures and may or may not be disordered

    ...It's a mistake to talk about "symptoms of narcissism." What people usually mean is symptoms of pathological narcissism or NPD.

    Anonymous on February 17, 2016 - 9:04am

    I have two narcissists in my family. One borders on sociopathy so I avoid her, she scares me. The other narcissist is my mother. For years I lived in terror of her rages, and how the family pretty much revolves around her. I didn't understand how a parent could be so cruel, and assume everyone else was a bad person.

    But now that can attach a label to the problem and get a better understanding of what is happening and why, I can create much better boundaries and sit back and watch the crazy unfold. My mother is pretty frustrated that her usual tricks aren't having the impact on me that they once did.

    As far as healthy narcissism goes, it's something I'm working on. My mother has stripped all of our self-esteem, as she relishes putting loved one's fault under the microscope as often and loudly as possible. I grew up with massive amounts of fear and anxiety assuming everyone was very concerned about every minor mistake I made. I wish I had worked on this earlier. Mom taught me how to make a mountain out of a tiny molehill.

    Craig Malkin PhD on February 19, 2016

    It sounds like you've been through hell

    And come back. It's true, many children who've lived with extremely narcissistic parents--and I count myself among them--grow up to struggle with a more generous self-image. It's like we swallow that parent whole, their voice plaguing us at every turn. It's hard work silencing that inner critic. But that's the task -- well worth undertaking-- of overcoming echoism and finding our voices. I wish you well in continuing to find yours.

    [Mar 22, 2016] 9 Enlightening Quotes on Narcissists

    Notable quotes:
    "... In fact, one of their central defenses (or stratagems) is to endlessly project onto others the very flaws (and fears!) they're unable, or unwilling, to allow into awareness. ..."
    "... "Narcissists are great con-artists. After all, they succeed in deluding themselves! As a result, very few professionals see through them." ~ ..."
    "... most therapists learn quickly enough the signs and signals that give away a narcissistic patient (e.g., regularly blaming others for their problems, taking very little responsibility for why their lives aren't working, telling them how to do therapy , ..."
    Apr 14, 2014 | Psychology Today

    Curiously, deep, deep down-and undoubtedly unconscious to them-they know they're not really what they project. In fact, one of their central defenses (or stratagems) is to endlessly project onto others the very flaws (and fears!) they're unable, or unwilling, to allow into awareness. As critical as they are about others' shortcomings, they're amazingly blind to their own. (And in this respect, the reader might take a look at my earlier piece, "The Narcissist's Dilemma: They Can Dish It Out, But . . . ").

    ... ... ...

    "To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance." ~ Oscar Wilde

    Although as stated, this quote is undoubtedly ambiguous, the term "romance" leads me to believe that Wilde's notion of self-love leans toward the pathological-and maybe the auto-erotic as well. But healthy self-love really has very little to do with the romantic: it's grounded in positive self-regard and an acceptance of one's flaws and frailties. On the contrary, being "in love with" oneself (as implied by Wilde's quote) suggests a self-absorption that can only be detrimental to narcissists in their relationships with others. In fact, one of the most common descriptions of unhealthy narcissism emphasizes their inability to care about other people-apart, that is, from how these others might satisfy the demands of their (insatiable) egos.

    "Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm, but the harm [that they cause] does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves." ~ T. S. Eliot

    This quote makes a vital distinction between narcissists' being malevolent (cf. the sociopath) and their simply lacking concern about how their behaviors might adversely affect others. It's yet another way of drawing attention to their supreme self-absorption, which makes it impossible for them to empathically identify with another's feelings, Most of the time they don't consciously intend to take advantage of others. Such exploitation is merely a side effect of their overriding need to feel more important and better than others-and so feel "good enough." Nonetheless, their insensitivity to the wants and needs of those around them can at times be nothing less than astonishing.

    ... ... ...

    "Narcissists are great con-artists. After all, they succeed in deluding themselves! As a result, very few professionals see through them." ~ anonymous.

    This statement seems somewhat exaggerated to me. For most therapists learn quickly enough the signs and signals that give away a narcissistic patient (e.g., regularly blaming others for their problems, taking very little responsibility for why their lives aren't working, telling them how to do therapy, etc.).

    Still, the quote is instructive in pointing out not only the enormous self-deception in the way narcissists see themselves, but also their singular expertise in deceiving others. Speaking with bogus authority, they typically have an excellent track record in getting others to see things as they do, even though the result to those so taken in can be disastrous (e.g., being persuaded to make a truly ill-considered investment).

    All of which is to say that-on many different levels-getting involved with a narcissist can be as dangerous as a snake bite. And the unexpected sting of it all can, alas, last a good deal longer.

    Note 1: In examining literally hundreds of quotes for this post, I came across many that centered not anywhere so much on the narcissist as on their hapless victims. Consequently, my next post will explore the damage that narcissists-especially those far out on the narcissistic continuum -do to those who unwittingly put their trust in them. It's called "The Vampire's Bite: Victims of Narcissists Speak Out."

    Note 2: If you'd like to explore other posts I've written on narcissism, here are the links:

    Note 3: If you'd like to check out other posts I've done for Psychology Today blogs generally-on a broad variety of topics-click here.

    [Mar 19, 2016] Are You High Maintenance Spouse?

    www.nationalmarriage.com
    Are you high maintenance? Some people seem to always be on the edge of becoming upset. They require a lot of attention, approval, and maybe reassurance. Often such individuals take offense easily at being overlooked or somehow not recognized. These individuals enjoy being in control of a relationship. They can be easily overwhelmed with stress and responsibility and often feel as though they are the most put upon in a relationship. They may see themselves the victim of their mate's insensitivity and distraction.

    Maybe you are married to someone who is high maintenance. You constantly find yourself the object of criticism and it seems as though you can never do anything to the other's satisfaction. Spouses of high maintenance individuals often find themselves in no-win dilemmas. No matter what they do they will incur the disapproval, if not wrath, of their spouse. The high maintenance spouse often claims their expectations are normal and any reasonable caring loving spouse should anticipate what to them are the most basic of considerations. Spouses of high maintenance partners can feel as though they are walking on egg shells waiting for the next failure to occur and they once again are the source of hurt, injury and pain to their spouse.

    Sound familiar at all? Many relationships can be described as one member being more "high maintenance" than the other. In some relationships this is a long standing pattern and contributes to erosion of affection and commitment over time. In other relationships the "high maintenance" tag gets shared depending on changing circumstances and felt needs. One week it is the wife who is high maintenance, the next week it is the husband. It is conceivable that a relationship might occur in which both spouses are high maintenance and the relationship dynamics revolve around competition over whose 'felt need' is greatest at any given time.

    If you honestly recognize you can be "high maintenance" take heart, be encouraged there is good news. One, the simple fact you recognize you can be demanding and easily offended puts you in a position to change. Many high maintenance individuals are oblivious to the pain and suffering they inflict upon those around them. Self-objectivity, the ability to look at oneself honestly and objectively is a characteristic of maturity and essential to personal change. If you are unsure about whether you can be high maintenance, your spouse and loved ones can probably tell you. But, don't ask until you are really ready to hear their input. A part of being high maintenance is being defensive when others are critical. If you ask for this feedback, challenge yourself to hear the person out without rebuttal. Maybe take notes and set them aside for a few days, then go back and review the notes before responding to the feedback.

    Secondly, be encouraged because your sensitivity which leads you to be high maintenance is also a gift. High maintenance persons are often capable of deep emotional connection and appreciation. What may be judged as high maintenance may actually be an undeveloped sense of emotional sensitivity that can be harnessed and directed for deep emotional connection with others. High maintenance individuals are often capable of deep empathy and compassion. Their sensitivity affords them the recognition of how circumstances, events, and behavior can impact people emotionally. This is valuable insight and can be cultivated for great connection and support with others.

    The problem with being high maintenance lies with the expectations which we can attach to our felt wants and desires in relationship. If you are high maintenance, learning how to recognize how expectations develop in you and how to hold your wants and desires more lightly may help soften the disappointment when a spouse does not recognize how important something is to you. Most importantly, beware of looking to a spouse for the significance and security you should be finding in your relationship with God. High maintenance conflict may be due to demanding some attention, approval, and affirmation from a spouse which first should be found in our relationship with God and ourselves. If we are secure in how God sees us, how He loves and cares for us, then the care, attention and affirmation of a spouse is a gift. We may be disappointed if our spouse neglects us in some way but this is way less distressing than if we tell ourselves we must have our spouse notice and provide our need. Feeling entitled to something from our spouse is a sure sign we are becoming "high maintenance."

    Being open about desires and wants can go a long way toward helping our spouse understand what impacts us and contributes to our feeling loved and supported. Recognizing and being grateful when a spouse is attentive and affirming is especially rewarding and encourages a spouse to be attentive and affirming in the future. Spouses may not understand the power of reassurance, attention, and support. Often times they are making efforts to be accommodating but do not recognize the effort is not in a manner desired or hoped for. Communication about feelings, hopes, and wants beforehand can go a long way to avoiding conflict when you're prone to be "high maintenance."

    If you are married to a high maintenance person you too can be encouraged as well. The cycle of disappointment and conflict can be sometimes diminished through some basic relationship skills. Giving your spouse a full hearing when they are distressed will often go a long way to dissipating the emotional intensity they may be feeling. Remember, listening and validating their feelings do not require anything to be fixed or changed. It's just an opportunity to offer understanding and care in the way of attention and presence. The high maintenance spouse can often use judgmental and accusatory language. If one can listen past the personal criticism to the hurt, disappointment, anxiety and/or fear behind the attack it may be possible to have compassion for their emotional distress. This is challenging, but spouses who learn not to take personally the distress in their mate even when it is delivered as a personal attack learn how to diffuse a great deal of conflict.

    Letting the high maintenance spouse know when the attack is crossing over to becoming abusive and exiting a conversation will also be helpful. A person may lose awareness in the midst of their negative emotional spin and a caring, calm confrontation and firm "time out" temporary withdrawal will sometimes help that person become more aware of how their words and tone are not helpful. Above all, avoid responding in kind to a high maintenance person who is discharging their disappointment and hurt with a lot of intensity. By remaining calm and not escalating with the other person, a spouse can often ride out the initial emotional venting, to arrive at a place where genuine emotional connection can occur.

    The emotional distress surrounding disappointment and unmet expectations can be at the center of so much conflict in relationship. Sorting out one's own emotional expectations and how they are operating in a moment is key to managing the pull toward becoming "high maintenance." Being able to absorb some emotional intensity and remain patient and loving with a spouse who is distressed is a valuable discipline to working through disappointment in relationship. Hopefully these comments and observations will give you and your spouse some food for thought and maybe some occasion for conversation. Be careful not to judge each other too harshly about being "high maintenance." Remember, there is an upside to most personal qualities that initially may seem problematic or annoying, "high maintenance" is no exception.

    Please post a comment to enter a conversation about this column. I so much enjoy the responses folks are sending to this column. I will contribute to the conversation as well. Let me know if you have a concern or question which could be addressed in a future column. You can also email concerns and questions to me at aftercare@nationalmarriage.com. God Bless You, and know we at National Institute of Marriage are praying for you.

    Dr. Robert K. Burbee
    Licensed Psychologist, Intensive Therapist
    National Institute of Marriage

    [Mar 19, 2016] Are You High Maintenance -

    www.nationalmarriage.com
    Are you high maintenance? Some people seem to always be on the edge of becoming upset. They require a lot of attention, approval, and maybe reassurance. Often such individuals take offense easily at being overlooked or somehow not recognized. These individuals enjoy being in control of a relationship. They can be easily overwhelmed with stress and responsibility and often feel as though they are the most put upon in a relationship. They may see themselves the victim of their mate's insensitivity and distraction.

    Maybe you are married to someone who is high maintenance. You constantly find yourself the object of criticism and it seems as though you can never do anything to the other's satisfaction. Spouses of high maintenance individuals often find themselves in no-win dilemmas. No matter what they do they will incur the disapproval, if not wrath, of their spouse. The high maintenance spouse often claims their expectations are normal and any reasonable caring loving spouse should anticipate what to them are the most basic of considerations. Spouses of high maintenance partners can feel as though they are walking on egg shells waiting for the next failure to occur and they once again are the source of hurt, injury and pain to their spouse.

    Sound familiar at all? Many relationships can be described as one member being more "high maintenance" than the other. In some relationships this is a long standing pattern and contributes to erosion of affection and commitment over time. In other relationships the "high maintenance" tag gets shared depending on changing circumstances and felt needs. One week it is the wife who is high maintenance, the next week it is the husband. It is conceivable that a relationship might occur in which both spouses are high maintenance and the relationship dynamics revolve around competition over whose 'felt need' is greatest at any given time.

    If you honestly recognize you can be "high maintenance" take heart, be encouraged there is good news. One, the simple fact you recognize you can be demanding and easily offended puts you in a position to change. Many high maintenance individuals are oblivious to the pain and suffering they inflict upon those around them. Self-objectivity, the ability to look at oneself honestly and objectively is a characteristic of maturity and essential to personal change. If you are unsure about whether you can be high maintenance, your spouse and loved ones can probably tell you. But, don't ask until you are really ready to hear their input. A part of being high maintenance is being defensive when others are critical. If you ask for this feedback, challenge yourself to hear the person out without rebuttal. Maybe take notes and set them aside for a few days, then go back and review the notes before responding to the feedback.

    Secondly, be encouraged because your sensitivity which leads you to be high maintenance is also a gift. High maintenance persons are often capable of deep emotional connection and appreciation. What may be judged as high maintenance may actually be an undeveloped sense of emotional sensitivity that can be harnessed and directed for deep emotional connection with others. High maintenance individuals are often capable of deep empathy and compassion. Their sensitivity affords them the recognition of how circumstances, events, and behavior can impact people emotionally. This is valuable insight and can be cultivated for great connection and support with others.

    The problem with being high maintenance lies with the expectations which we can attach to our felt wants and desires in relationship. If you are high maintenance, learning how to recognize how expectations develop in you and how to hold your wants and desires more lightly may help soften the disappointment when a spouse does not recognize how important something is to you. Most importantly, beware of looking to a spouse for the significance and security you should be finding in your relationship with God. High maintenance conflict may be due to demanding some attention, approval, and affirmation from a spouse which first should be found in our relationship with God and ourselves. If we are secure in how God sees us, how He loves and cares for us, then the care, attention and affirmation of a spouse is a gift. We may be disappointed if our spouse neglects us in some way but this is way less distressing than if we tell ourselves we must have our spouse notice and provide our need. Feeling entitled to something from our spouse is a sure sign we are becoming "high maintenance."

    Being open about desires and wants can go a long way toward helping our spouse understand what impacts us and contributes to our feeling loved and supported. Recognizing and being grateful when a spouse is attentive and affirming is especially rewarding and encourages a spouse to be attentive and affirming in the future. Spouses may not understand the power of reassurance, attention, and support. Often times they are making efforts to be accommodating but do not recognize the effort is not in a manner desired or hoped for. Communication about feelings, hopes, and wants beforehand can go a long way to avoiding conflict when you're prone to be "high maintenance."

    If you are married to a high maintenance person you too can be encouraged as well. The cycle of disappointment and conflict can be sometimes diminished through some basic relationship skills. Giving your spouse a full hearing when they are distressed will often go a long way to dissipating the emotional intensity they may be feeling. Remember, listening and validating their feelings do not require anything to be fixed or changed. It's just an opportunity to offer understanding and care in the way of attention and presence. The high maintenance spouse can often use judgmental and accusatory language. If one can listen past the personal criticism to the hurt, disappointment, anxiety and/or fear behind the attack it may be possible to have compassion for their emotional distress. This is challenging, but spouses who learn not to take personally the distress in their mate even when it is delivered as a personal attack learn how to diffuse a great deal of conflict.

    Letting the high maintenance spouse know when the attack is crossing over to becoming abusive and exiting a conversation will also be helpful. A person may lose awareness in the midst of their negative emotional spin and a caring, calm confrontation and firm "time out" temporary withdrawal will sometimes help that person become more aware of how their words and tone are not helpful. Above all, avoid responding in kind to a high maintenance person who is discharging their disappointment and hurt with a lot of intensity. By remaining calm and not escalating with the other person, a spouse can often ride out the initial emotional venting, to arrive at a place where genuine emotional connection can occur.

    The emotional distress surrounding disappointment and unmet expectations can be at the center of so much conflict in relationship. Sorting out one's own emotional expectations and how they are operating in a moment is key to managing the pull toward becoming "high maintenance." Being able to absorb some emotional intensity and remain patient and loving with a spouse who is distressed is a valuable discipline to working through disappointment in relationship. Hopefully these comments and observations will give you and your spouse some food for thought and maybe some occasion for conversation. Be careful not to judge each other too harshly about being "high maintenance." Remember, there is an upside to most personal qualities that initially may seem problematic or annoying, "high maintenance" is no exception.

    Please post a comment to enter a conversation about this column. I so much enjoy the responses folks are sending to this column. I will contribute to the conversation as well. Let me know if you have a concern or question which could be addressed in a future column. You can also email concerns and questions to me at aftercare@nationalmarriage.com. God Bless You, and know we at National Institute of Marriage are praying for you.

    Dr. Robert K. Burbee
    Licensed Psychologist, Intensive Therapist
    National Institute of Marriage

    [Feb 16, 2016] How to Identify a Psychopath (with Pictures)

    wikiHow

    The Hare Psychopathy Checklist was initially developed to assess the mental condition of people who commit crimes, and it is commonly used to diagnose people who may exhibit the traits and tendencies of a psychopath. Most mental health professionals define a psychopath as a predator who takes advantage of others using charm, deceit, violence and other methods to get what they want. Identify a psychopath by using the Hare Psychopathy Checklist and trusting your own intuition.

    [Feb 05, 2016] Pathological Liar – Impulsive, Compulsive Lying, Self-Deception

    depressiond.com
    Pathological Liar – All About PATHOLOGICAL LYING, Lying, Self-Deception, Types, Classification, from Pseudologia Fantastica to Habitual Lying.
    1. Pathological Liar – Definition

      Pathological liar refers to a liar that is compulsive or impulsive, lies on a regular basis and is unable to control their lying despite of foreseeing inevitable negative consequences or ultimate disclosure of the lie. Generally lies told by a pathological liar have self-defeating quality to them and don't serve the long term material needs of the person. Therefore pathological lying is lying that is caused by a pathology, occurs on a regular basis, is compulsive or impulsive & uncontrolled, and has self-defeating, self-trapping quality to it.

      Lying or self-deception is a part of everyday human interactions. In many cases lying can be beneficial for those who lie and those who are being lied to. Most of this type of lying with positive consequences occurs in a controlled way, thoughtfully, with careful weighting of beneficial consequences. Unlike these, the lies told by a pathological liar are uncontrolled and are likely to have damaging consequences.

      Pathological lying covers a wide range of lying behavior, from pseudologia fantastica to habitual lying. Lying is a commonly found clinical component with people who suffer from impulse control disorders such as gambling, compulsive shopping, substance abuse, kleptomania etc. Pathological lying is generally caused by a combination of factors, which may include genetic components, dysfunctional or insecure childhood, dyslexia or other type of cerebral dysfunction. Such conditions may host environment that is likely to emerge chronic or pathological lying as an adaptive defense mechanism. Dysfunctional family, parental overprotection, sibling rivalry, mental retardation are among many causes of pathological lying.

    2. Low Self-Esteem And Pathological Lying

      Low self-esteem is a commonly found feature in pathological liars. The lie maybe an attempt to feel good about themselves, generally for a short period of time, similar to the effect of drugs & alcohol. The same lie or deceit repeated over and over may create a myth of personal well-being or success or displacement of faults of own failures on others, thus creating an imaginary fantasy protection bubble, which may reinforce self-esteem. Pathological liars repeatedly use deceit as an ego defense mechanism, which is primarily caused by the lack of ability to cope with everyday problems in more mature ways (Selling 1942).

    3. Pathological Liar – Causes

      Causes of development of pathological lying can be, but are not limited to, one or more of the factors mentioned below:

      • A dysfunctional family;
      • Sexual or physical abuse in childhood;
      • Neuropsychological abnormalities; such as borderline mental retardation, learning disabilities etc.
      • Impulse control disorders; such as kleptomania, pathological gambling, compulsive shopping.
      • Accommodating or suggestible personality traits;
      • Personality disorders such as Sociopathic, Narcissistic, Borderline, Histrionic and more;
      • Substance abuse or substance abuse in family;
    4. Pathological Liar – Types
      • Daydreaming Pathological Liar – Pseudologia Fantastica

        Some of the more extreme forms of pathological lying is Pseudologia Fantastica. This is a matrix of facts & fiction, mixed together in a way that makes the reality and fantasy almost indistinguishable. The pseudologue type pathological liar makes up stories that seem possible on the surface, but over time things start falling apart. Pseudologues have dynamic approach to their lies, they are likely to change the story if confronted or faced with disbelief, they have excessive anxiety of being caught and they desperately try to modify their story to something that would seem plausible to create or preserve a sense of self that is something they wish they were or at least something better than they fear others would find out they are. The excessive anxiety is driven by unusually low self-esteem, the person tries to hide reality by creating a fake reality, and once the story has enduring quality to it, he/she is likely to repeat it and if repeated enough times he/she might start believing in it as well. This reality escape can be triggered of a past incident or of an unbearable present for the pseudologue.

        About 30% of daydreaming pathological liars have brain dysfunction. For some it may take the form of learning disabilities, ex. dyslexia. Often those with cerebral dysfunction have greater verbal production & lower developed logical, analytical parts of the brain, thus they often fail to control verbal output.

      • Habitual Liar

        Habitual pathological lying is, as the name suggest, habitual. Habitual liar lies so frequently, that it becomes a habit, as a result, he/she puts very little effort in giving a thought about what the output is going to be, nor does he/she care much to process whether it's a lie or not, it's simply a reflex & very often can be completely unnecessary or even opposite to his/her own needs. If he/she stops & thinks about it, he/she knows clearly it's a lie.

        Habitual liars lie for a variety of reasons, which include, but are not limited to:

        • Take advantage of the situation or misguide a rival
        • Avoid confrontation or punishment
        • Cover up lack of knowledge
        • Cover up embarrassment
        • To entertain oneself or others
        • Reinforce self-esteem, because of failing own expectation
        • Receive unearned praise or avoid disappointment or disproval
        • For no reason whatsoever

        Habitual liars gives very few if any psychical or vocal signs of lying, due to the effortless nature of lying. That said, since he/she gives a very little thought to his/her lies, they are usually inconsistent & obvious.

        Fear is a major contributor in developing habitual lying in a child & further advancement into adulthood, more so in conditions when the child finds truth telling results in more frequent or more severe punishment. Lack of appreciating and likelihood of unwanted consequences of telling the truth may result in frequent opting out for lying, which often involves less punishment & therefore becomes more desirable.

      • Impulsive Pathological Liar – Impulse Control Disorders & Lying

        Impulsive pathological liar lies due to impulse control problem, he/she lies to fulfill his/her present (in the moment) needs, without thinking of future negative effects that can be caused because of the lie. Impulsive pathological liar generally suffers from impulse control disorders, such as kleptomania, pathological gambling, compulsive shopping etc. Those suffering from impulse control disorders fail to learn from past negative experiences, frequently suffer from depression, likely to have history of substance abuse in family or have substance abuse problems themselves, likely to have deficiency in brain serotonin. Increase in brain serotonin may have positive effect in decreasing impulsiveness, such medication may have positive effects, however there hasn't been clinical research performed to confirm or deny this theory.

      • Substance Abuse Associated Pathological Liar

        Self-Deception is an undeniable part of addictive process. People abuse alcohol or other drugs constantly lie to themselves & others to avoid embarrassment, conflict, as well as to obtain the substance. Getting off substance requires learning to distance oneself from the deceit, therefore learning to be truthful is generally a part of any Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous program.

    5. Signs of Lying

      Human detection of deceit can be summarized by the following seven signs.

      7 Signs of Lying

      • Disguised smiling
      • Lack of head movement
      • Increased rate of self-adapters (eg., movements such playing with an object in hands, scratching one's head etc.)
      • Increased/Heightened pitch of voice
      • Reduced rate of speech
      • Pause fillers ("uh", "hm", "er")
      • Less corresponding, matching nonverbal behavior from the other communication methods (ex. the movement of hands doesn't match the substance of the lie that is being told orally)

    Reference: (Fiedler, Walka, Zuckerman, Driver, Ford)

    Pathological lying - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    [Dec 09, 2015] Meet the Malignant Narcissist

    jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com
    "A personality disorder characterized by grandiosity; an expectation that others will recognize one's superiority; a lack of empathy, lack of truthfulness, and the tendency to degrade others."

    "Narcissism becomes particularly malignant (i.e. malevolent, dangerous, harmful, incurable) when it goes beyond mere vanity and excessive self-focus. Malignant narcissists not only see themselves as superior to others but believe in their superiority to the degree that they view others as relatively worthless, expendable, and justifiably exploitable.

    This type of narcissism is a defining characteristic of psychopathy/sociopathy and is rooted in an individual's deficient capacity for empathy. It's almost impossible for a person with such shallow feelings and such haughtiness to really care about others or to form a conscience with any of the qualities we typically associate with a humane attitude, which is why most researchers and thinkers on the topic of psychopathy think of psychopaths as individuals without a conscience altogether."

    "There is nothing about the man that is service-oriented. He's only serving himself."

    https://www.youtube.com/embed/x54z2pRAvtg?rel=0"

    [Dec 08, 2015] Cruz is a pathological liar, with no real belief system at all

    Notable quotes:
    "... Cruz doesn't have two faces ... he has infinity. Because Cruz is a pathological liar, with no real belief system at all. ..."
    "... Cruz doesn't have this problem. He can say whatever he wants whenever he wants. He doesn't believe anything he says. His whole persona is an act. He wears the same smirk on his face that Glenn Beck wears, because he has the same business model as Beck: pretending to be an ideologue to try to maximize his appeal to the rubes. ..."
    "... Nonethless his question to Yellen was correct. The Fed passively tightened during the financial panic over fears of inflation. ..."
    "... For weeks, polls have shown Mr. Cruz climbing both nationally and, more decisively, in Iowa, where a Monmouth University survey on Monday placed him first, with 24 percent support among likely Republican caucusgoers. Donald J. Trump was second at 19 percent. (Another poll, by CNN, gave Mr. Trump a solid lead, despite gains by Mr. Cruz.) ..."
    "... "He is a product of this paradigm shift," said Steve Deace, an influential Iowa radio host who supports Mr. Cruz. "He recognizes the direction the party is going in because if it wasn't moving in that direction, he wouldn't be one of 100 senators in the country at this moment." ..."
    "... what mattered was not the current growth of the economy but cumulative growth or, more to the point, the depth of the cumulative recession. One year of contraction was not enough to significantly boost extremism, in other words, but a depression that persisted for years was. ..."
    "... This column suggests that the danger of political polarisation and extremism is greatest in countries with relatively recent histories of democracy, with existing right-wing extremist parties, and with electoral systems that create low hurdles to parliamentary representation of new parties. But above all, it is greatest where depressed economic conditions are allowed to persist. ..."
    Dec 08, 2015 | Economist's View\

    Links for 12-08-15

    sanjait said in reply to pgl...

    Calling Cruz two-faced or a gold bug is a discredit to Cruz.

    Cruz doesn't have two faces ... he has infinity. Because Cruz is a pathological liar, with no real belief system at all.

    A lot of people become ideologues because they strongly desire ideological consistency. Most of these people come to believe the things they say, because even though they know they lie sometimes, it's too hard for them to exist in the world perceiving themselves to be liars.

    Cruz doesn't have this problem. He can say whatever he wants whenever he wants. He doesn't believe anything he says. His whole persona is an act. He wears the same smirk on his face that Glenn Beck wears, because he has the same business model as Beck: pretending to be an ideologue to try to maximize his appeal to the rubes.

    Maybe somewhere deep inside Cruz believes something. Maybe he even believes in the gold standard. But just because he's talked about that issue at length in the past, I don't think it's safe to assume he has any sincere belief thereof. He's not the kind of guy who actually believes in things.

    RC AKA Darryl, Ron said in reply to sanjait...

    The short hand for saying all that is that Ted Cruz and Glenn Beck are pathological liars.

    DrDick said in reply to RC AKA Darryl, Ron...

    Actually, with these two, I am not sure how much is lying and how much is totally delusional. They both really seem to believe a lot of this BS. It doese not make them any less dangerous (it possibly makes them more so), but it does matter.

    RC AKA Darryl, Ron said in reply to DrDick...

    I just do not know enough about Ted Cruz to say. Glenn Beck is a different matter and well documented. The article at the link below clearly shows that Beck's issues are in his personality (disorder) more than his ideology.

    RC AKA Darryl, Ron said in reply to RC AKA Darryl, Ron...

    http://www.salon.com/2009/09/22/glenn_beck_two/

    Paine said in reply to Peter K....

    One can be a gold bug and fully recognize the consequences [of] a system that magnifies unequal outcomes and accumulations. Cruz is a demagogic hand maiden of the wealthy. Useful in times of potential popular unrest

    Peter K. said in reply to Paine ...

    We all know what Cruz is. He even looks like Joseph McCarthy.

    http://econospeak.blogspot.com/2015/10/tailgunner-ted.html

    Nonethless his question to Yellen was correct. The Fed passively tightened during the financial panic over fears of inflation.

    http://macro marketmusings.blogspot.com/2015/12/yes-fed-passively-tightened-in-fall-of.html

    Fred C.Dobbs said...

    (Cruzin'.)

    After Months of Lying in Wait and Watching Rivals,
    Ted Cruz Sees Payoff in Polls http://nyti.ms/1YVqqjT
    NYT - MATT FLEGENHEIMER and NICK CORASANITI - DEC. 7, 2015

    Hours after Ted Cruz announced his presidential candidacy last March at an evangelical university, his team openly cheered his meager position in the polls, where his support registered at around 5 percent. "You have to own a base in the Republican primary," the campaign manager, Jeff Roe, said then. "If you own the base, then you can grow it."

    Less than nine months later - many of them spent drafting behind his rivals, lying in wait - Mr. Cruz's base of support has swelled, forcing his foes to grapple with the central premise of Mr. Cruz's bid, a bet many had long dismissed: that he could emerge as the first far-right conservative in recent political history with the strength to withstand a bruising primary.

    For weeks, polls have shown Mr. Cruz climbing both nationally and, more decisively, in Iowa, where a Monmouth University survey on Monday placed him first, with 24 percent support among likely Republican caucusgoers. Donald J. Trump was second at 19 percent. (Another poll, by CNN, gave Mr. Trump a solid lead, despite gains by Mr. Cruz.)

    Mr. Cruz, who had more cash on hand than any other campaign as of Sept. 30, boasts on the trail that the traditional primary script has been flipped: While many evangelicals and Tea Party supporters are uniting behind him, he says, several establishment figures are "fighting like cats and dogs" for their share of the electorate.

    He has channeled much of the same voter frustration fueling Mr. Trump, positioning himself as an outsider with the Washington battle scars to effect conservative change, while remaining deferential enough to Mr. Trump to avoid his broadsides. (Mr. Cruz distanced himself, politely, from Mr. Trump's calls on Monday to bar Muslims from entering the United States.)

    And while many rivals in the race, including Senators Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, were elected in the Tea Party wave, no lawmaker has better internalized the Republican Party's mood under President Obama, placing conservative ideological purity above all else.

    "He is a product of this paradigm shift," said Steve Deace, an influential Iowa radio host who supports Mr. Cruz. "He recognizes the direction the party is going in because if it wasn't moving in that direction, he wouldn't be one of 100 senators in the country at this moment."

    Obstacles abound. Mr. Cruz, widely detested by the Republican establishment...

    anne said...

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/12/07/that-30s-show/

    December 7, 2015

    That 30s Show
    By Paul Krugman

    A few years ago de Bromhead, Eichengreen, and O'Rourke looked at the determinants of right-wing extremism * in the 1930s. They found that economic factors mattered a lot; specifically,

    "what mattered was not the current growth of the economy but cumulative growth or, more to the point, the depth of the cumulative recession. One year of contraction was not enough to significantly boost extremism, in other words, but a depression that persisted for years was."

    How's Europe doing on that basis?

    [Graph]

    And now the National Front has scored a first-place finish in regional elections, ** and will probably take a couple of regions in the second round. Economics isn't the only factor; immigration, refugees, and terrorism play into the mix. But Europe's underperformance is slowly eroding the legitimacy, not just of the European project, but of the open society itself.

    * http://www.voxeu.org/article/right-wing-political-extremism-great-depression

    ** http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/07/world/europe/frances-far-right-national-front-gains-in-regional-elections.html

    anne said in reply to anne...

    http://www.voxeu.org/article/right-wing-political-extremism-great-depression

    February 27, 2012

    Right-wing political extremism in the Great Depression
    By Alan de Bromhead, Barry Eichengreen, and Kevin Hjortshøj O'Rourke

    The enduring global crisis is giving rise to fears that economic hard times will feed political extremism, as it did in the 1930s. This column suggests that the danger of political polarisation and extremism is greatest in countries with relatively recent histories of democracy, with existing right-wing extremist parties, and with electoral systems that create low hurdles to parliamentary representation of new parties. But above all, it is greatest where depressed economic conditions are allowed to persist.

    anne said in reply to anne...

    With more subtlety and contemporary relevance to political responses in the wake of crises, there is "The Shock Doctrine" by Naomi Klein. That economists are unwilling to examine and credit the ideas of Klein, who is a sociologist, is a limitation on relevant analyses of economists.

    im1dc said...

    Ted latest attempt to be more disgusting than The Donald

    European migrant crisis - 1h ago

    "Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, says he introduced bill to let states reject refugees - @ReutersPolitics"

    Read more on reuters.com

    pgl said in reply to im1dc...

    Isn't Cruz Canadian? Can we pass a law sending him back to Canada and never letting him pass south of the 49th parallel?

    [Dec 07, 2015] A Dangerously Flawed View of Capitalism

    www.counterpunch.org
    I recently bought a collection of DVDs from the website Acorn that sells a lot of PBS stuff. The collection was called The Golden Age of Television and included a bunch of critically acclaimed dramas originally written for TV. The dramas were broadcast live, and with one exception, only once.

    The exception was a play by Rod Serling called Patterns. Patterns is about the immorality of corporate America. A young engineer from Cincinnati, Fred Staples (Richard Kiley), is hired by Walter Ramsey (Everett Sloane), the ruthless head of a huge corporation in New York, to replace an aging executive, Andy Sloane (Ed Begley), whose ethics have become both an inconvenience and constant source of irritation to Ramsey.

    Ramsey's plan is to make Sloane so miserable through unrelenting public humiliation of him that he'll resign. Staples doesn't realize he's been hired to replace Sloane, not at first anyway. He likes and respects Sloane and does what he can to help him and to ease the pressure put on him by the villainous Mr. Ramsey.

    Ramsey's behavior toward Sloan is so vicious and sadistic it's stomach turning. The implication is that Ramsey is a sadist and that such sadism might be an inexorable part of corporate culture. Even Sloane understands it. Staples, being younger and new to the corporate world, doesn't get it, but Sloane explains it to him. Sloane knows what's going on, but he's determined to stick it out for just a few more years. He has a boy almost ready for college. Sloane is not merely psychologically dependent on his identity as the vice president of a huge and successful corporation. He's also financially dependent on his lavish executive salary.

    So Sloane takes beating after beating. Ramsey finally accuses him, in a particularly nasty attack, of trying to pass off Staples' work as his own by affixing his name along with Staples' to a report that Ramsey insists is so good it had to have been prepared by Staples alone. The report was, in fact, a collaborative effort, so Staples rises to Sloane's defense. Sloane knows better, however, than to accept Staples' support. "It was a clerical error," he whispers, "my name wasn't supposed to go on the report. It was a clerical error." Sloane then staggers out of the boardroom and collapses in the hall of what would appear to be a heart attack. He dies later that same evening.

    Staples decides he's had enough of corporate ugliness and that he's going to return to Cincinnati. First, however, he resolves to avenge his friend Sloane by telling off Ramsey. He calls Ramsey every name in the book, says he's not even human. But Ramsey is unperturbed by Staples attack. In fact, he asks Staples to stay on with the company as Sloane's replacement. Ramsey explains to Staples that Staples doesn't have to like him, or be nice to him, and that he can oppose him whenever he wants. Staples needs the challenge, Ramsey asserts, that taking over Sloane's position would give him. He needs the challenge of running a large company, the challenge of making it an even larger company than he, Ramsey, has made it. He will grow with this challenge, Ramsey asserts, even as the company grows. So then, in what film critic Andrew Harris calls "an anti-cliché ending to end all anti-cliché endings," Staples accepts Ramsey's offer.

    But Staples' acceptance makes no sense. We learned earlier from Sloane's secretary that Ramsey doesn't like people who oppose him. Not only do we, the audience learn that, Staples learns it because we learn it when she explains it to him. That's why he persecuted Sloane, because Sloane opposed him whenever he wanted to do something morally indefensible. Staples is just like Sloane in having scruples, so why would he agree to stay and work for a man to whom scruples are an intolerable threat?

    Staples wouldn't accept such an arrangement, and, in fact, he didn't accept it, not in Serling's original script. Viewers learn from the introduction to Patterns provided on the DVD that Serling's original screenplay had Staples telling Ramsey off and returning to Cincinnati a hero. That's how director Fielder Cook describes the original ending anyway. Cook explains that he had to do some revision of the script and that Serling also had to labor mightily to make it acceptable. Cook makes it sound as if the motivations for the revisions were aesthetic, but the rest of the events surrounding the eventual broadcast of the play suggest otherwise.

    Patterns had been written for CBS's Studio One, but the executives at CBS didn't like it so Serling had to shop it around. No explanation is given for why what had been unacceptable for CBS was soon afterward deemed acceptable for NBC's Kraft Television Theater. The implication is that it was the script doctoring performed by Cook and Serling, or more specifically, that it was the replacement of the original ending with one that would have been more palatable to television executives and, more importantly, to the advertisers they hoped to attract. Media moguls and the corporations that paid handsomely to advertise on popular programs such as Studio One and Kraft Television Theater would undoubtedly have taken offense at Serling's original denunciation of the immorality of corporate America, so the denunciation was replaced by what was effectively a defense of that immorality.

    [Dec 05, 2015] Future - How dark is your personality

    Pretty simplistic but still interesting self-test...

    Dec 3, 2015 | BBC

    The questions for this quiz were inspired by questionnaires developed by Delroy Paulhus and Daniel Jones (Assessment, vol 21, p 28). Our quiz was designed solely for entertainment, and the results should not be considered a scientific measure of your personality. If you would like to learn more about Paulhus’s personality research and his serious explorations of the dark triad, read our profile “The man who studies everyday evil”.

    [Oct 24, 2015] Phone in sick: its a small act of rebellion against wage slavery

    Notable quotes:
    "... By far the biggest act of wage slavery rebellion, don't buy shit. The less you buy, the less you need to earn. Holidays by far the minority of your life should not be a desperate escape from the majority of your life. Spend less, work less and actually really enjoy living more. ..."
    "... How about don't shop at Walmart (they helped boost the Chinese economy while committing hari kari on the American Dream) and actually engaging in proper labour action? Calling in sick is just plain childish. ..."
    "... I'm all for sticking it to the man, but when you call into work for a stupid reason (and a hangover is a very stupid reason), it is selfish, and does more damage to the cause of worker's rights, not less. I don't know about where you work, but if I call in sick to my job, other people have to pick up my slack. I work for a public library, and we don't have a lot of funds, so we have the bear minimum of employees we can have and still work efficiently. As such, if anybody calls in, everyone else, up to and including the library director, have to take on more work. ..."
    Oct 24, 2015 | The Guardian

    "Phoning in sick is a revolutionary act." I loved that slogan. It came to me, as so many good things did, from Housmans, the radical bookshop in King's Cross. There you could rummage through all sorts of anarchist pamphlets and there I discovered, in the early 80s, the wondrous little magazine Processed World. It told you basically how to screw up your workplace. It was smart and full of small acts of random subversion. In many ways it was ahead of its time as it was coming out of San Francisco and prefiguring Silicon Valley. It saw the machines coming. Jobs were increasingly boring and innately meaningless. Workers were "data slaves" working for IBM ("Intensely Boring Machines").

    What Processed World was doing was trying to disrupt the identification so many office workers were meant to feel with their management, not through old-style union organising, but through small acts of subversion. The modern office, it stressed, has nothing to do with human need. Its rebellion was about working as little as possible, disinformation and sabotage. It was making alienation fun. In 1981, it could not have known that a self-service till cannot ever phone in sick.

    I was thinking of this today, as I wanted to do just that. I have made myself ill with a hangover. A hangover, I always feel, is nature's way of telling you to have a day off. One can be macho about it and eat your way back to sentience via the medium of bacon sandwiches and Maltesers. At work, one is dehydrated, irritable and only semi-present. Better, surely, though to let the day fall through you and dream away.

    Having worked in America, though, I can say for sure that they brook no excuses whatsoever. When I was late for work and said things like, "My alarm clock did not go off", they would say that this was not a suitable explanation, which flummoxed me. I had to make up others. This was just to work in a shop.

    This model of working – long hours, very few holidays, few breaks, two incomes needed to raise kids, crazed loyalty demanded by huge corporations, the American way – is where we're heading. Except now the model is even more punishing. It is China. We are expected to compete with an economy whose workers are often closer to indentured slaves than anything else.

    This is what striving is, then: dangerous, demoralising, often dirty work. Buckle down. It's the only way forward, apparently, which is why our glorious leaders are sucking up to China, which is immoral, never mind ridiculously short-term thinking.

    So again I must really speak up for the skivers. What we have to understand about austerity is its psychic effects. People must have less. So they must have less leisure, too. The fact is life is about more than work and work is rapidly changing. Skiving in China may get you killed but here it may be a small act of resistance, or it may just be that skivers remind us that there is meaning outside wage-slavery.

    Work is too often discussed by middle-class people in ways that are simply unrecognisable to anyone who has done crappy jobs. Much work is not interesting and never has been. Now that we have a political and media elite who go from Oxbridge to working for a newspaper or a politician, a lot of nonsense is spouted. These people have not cleaned urinals on a nightshift. They don't sit lonely in petrol stations manning the till. They don't have to ask permission for a toilet break in a call centre. Instead, their work provides their own special identity. It is very important.

    Low-status jobs, like caring, are for others. The bottom-wipers of this world do it for the glory, I suppose. But when we talk of the coming automation that will reduce employment, bottom-wiping will not be mechanised. Nor will it be romanticised, as old male manual labour is. The mad idea of reopening the coal mines was part of the left's strange notion of the nobility of labour. Have these people ever been down a coal mine? Would they want that life for their children?

    Instead we need to talk about the dehumanising nature of work. Bertrand Russell and Keynes thought our goal should be less work, that technology would mean fewer hours.

    Far from work giving meaning to life, in some surveys 40% of us say that our jobs are meaningless. Nonetheless, the art of skiving is verboten as we cram our children with ever longer hours of school and homework. All this striving is for what exactly? A soul-destroying job?

    Just as education is decided by those who loved school, discussions about work are had by those to whom it is about more than income.

    The parts of our lives that are not work – the places we dream or play or care, the space we may find creative – all these are deemed outside the economy. All this time is unproductive. But who decides that?

    Skiving work is bad only to those who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

    So go on: phone in sick. You know you want to.

    friedad 23 Oct 2015 18:27

    We now exist in a society in which the Fear Cloud is wrapped around each citizen. Our proud history of Union and Labor, fighting for decent wages and living conditions for all citizens, and mostly achieving these aims, a history, which should be taught to every child educated in every school in this country, now gradually but surely eroded by ruthless speculators in government, is the future generations are inheriting. The workforce in fear of taking a sick day, the young looking for work in fear of speaking out at diminishing rewards, definitely this 21st Century is the Century of Fear. And how is this fear denied, with mind blowing drugs, regardless if it is is alcohol, description drugs, illicit drugs, a society in denial. We do not require a heavenly object to destroy us, a few soulless monsters in our mist are masters of manipulators, getting closer and closer to accomplish their aim of having zombies doing their beckoning. Need a kidney, no worries, zombie dishwasher, is handy for one. Oh wait that time is already here.

    Hemulen6 23 Oct 2015 15:06

    Oh join the real world, Suzanne! Many companies now have a limit to how often you can be sick. In the case of the charity I work for it's 9 days a year. I overstepped it, I was genuinely sick, and was hauled up in front of Occupational Health. That will now go on my record and count against me. I work for a cancer care charity. Irony? Surely not.

    AlexLeo -> rebel7 23 Oct 2015 13:34

    Which is exactly my point. You compete on relevant job skills and quality of your product, not what school you have attended.

    Yes, there are thousands, tens of thousands of folks here around San Jose who barely speak English, but are smart and hard working as hell and it takes them a few years to get to 150-200K per year, Many of them get to 300-400K, if they come from strong schools in their countries of origin, compared to the 10k or so where they came from, but probably more than the whining readership here.

    This is really difficult to swallow for the Brits back in Britain, isn't it. Those who have moved over have experiences the type of social mobility unthinkable in Britain, but they have had to work hard and get to 300K-700K per year, much better than the 50-100K their parents used to make back in GB. These are averages based on personal interactions with say 50 Brits in the last 15 + years, all employed in the Silicon Valley in very different jobs and roles.

    Todd Owens -> Scott W 23 Oct 2015 11:00

    I get what you're saying and I agree with a lot of what you said. My only gripe is most employees do not see an operation from a business owner or managerial / financial perspective. They don't understand the costs associated with their performance or lack thereof. I've worked on a lot of projects that we're operating at a loss for a future payoff. When someone decides they don't want to do the work they're contracted to perform that can have a cascading effect on the entire company.

    All in all what's being described is for the most part misguided because most people are not in the position or even care to evaluate the particulars. So saying you should do this to accomplish that is bullshit because it's rarely such a simple equation. If anything this type of tactic will leaf to MORE loss and less money for payroll.


    weematt -> Barry1858 23 Oct 2015 09:04

    Sorry you just can't have a 'nicer' capitalism.

    War ( business by other means) and unemployment ( you can't buck the market), are inevitable concomitants of capitalist competition over markets, trade routes and spheres of interests. (Remember the war science of Nagasaki and Hiroshima from the 'good guys' ?)
    "..capital comes dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt". (Marx)

    You can't have full employment, or even the 'Right to Work'.

    There is always ,even in boom times a reserve army of unemployed, to drive down wages. (If necessary they will inject inflation into the economy)
    Unemployment is currently 5.5 percent or 1,860,000 people. If their "equilibrium rate" of unemployment is 4% rather than 5% this would still mean 1,352,000 "need be unemployed". The government don't want these people to find jobs as it would strengthen workers' bargaining position over wages, but that doesn't stop them harassing them with useless and petty form-filling, reporting to the so-called "job centre" just for the sake of it, calling them scroungers and now saying they are mentally defective.
    Government is 'over' you not 'for' you.

    Governments do not exist to ensure 'fair do's' but to manage social expectations with the minimum of dissent, commensurate with the needs of capitalism in the interests of profit.

    Worker participation amounts to self managing workers self exploitation for the maximum of profit for the capitalist class.

    Exploitation takes place at the point of production.

    " Instead of the conservative motto, 'A fair day's wage for a fair day's work!' they ought to inscribe on their banner the revolutionary watchword, 'Abolition of the wages system!'"

    Karl Marx [Value, Price and Profit]

    John Kellar 23 Oct 2015 07:19

    Fortunately; as a retired veteran I don't have to worry about phoning in sick.However; during my Air Force days if you were sick, you had to get yourself to the Base Medical Section and prove to a medical officer that you were sick. If you convinced the medical officer of your sickness then you may have been luck to receive on or two days sick leave. For those who were very sick or incapable of getting themselves to Base Medical an ambulance would be sent - promptly.


    Rchrd Hrrcks -> wumpysmum 23 Oct 2015 04:17

    The function of civil disobedience is to cause problems for the government. Let's imagine that we could get 100,000 people to agree to phone in sick on a particular date in protest at austerity etc. Leaving aside the direct problems to the economy that this would cause. It would also demonstrate a willingness to take action. It would demonstrate a capability to organise mass direct action. It would demonstrate an ability to bring people together to fight injustice. In and of itself it might not have much impact, but as a precedent set it could be the beginning of something massive, including further acts of civil disobedience.


    wumpysmum Rchrd Hrrcks 23 Oct 2015 03:51

    There's already a form of civil disobedience called industrial action, which the govt are currently attacking by attempting to change statute. Random sickies as per my post above are certainly not the answer in the public sector at least, they make no coherent political point just cause problems for colleagues. Sadly too in many sectors and with the advent of zero hours contracts sickies put workers at risk of sanctions and lose them earnings.


    Alyeska 22 Oct 2015 22:18

    I'm American. I currently have two jobs and work about 70 hours a week, and I get no paid sick days. In fact, the last time I had a job with a paid sick day was 2001. If I could afford a day off, you think I'd be working 70 hours a week?

    I barely make rent most months, and yes... I have two college degrees. When I try to organize my coworkers to unionize for decent pay and benefits, they all tell me not to bother.... they are too scared of getting on management's "bad side" and "getting in trouble" (yes, even though the law says management can't retaliate.)

    Unions are different in the USA than in the UK. The workforce has to take a vote to unionize the company workers; you can't "just join" a union here. That's why our pay and working conditions have gotten worse, year after year.


    rtb1961 22 Oct 2015 21:58

    By far the biggest act of wage slavery rebellion, don't buy shit. The less you buy, the less you need to earn. Holidays by far the minority of your life should not be a desperate escape from the majority of your life. Spend less, work less and actually really enjoy living more.

    Pay less attention to advertising and more attention to the enjoyable simplicity of life, of real direct human relationships, all of them, the ones in passing where you wish a stranger well, chats with service staff to make their life better as well as your own, exchange thoughts and ideas with others, be a human being and share humanity with other human beings.

    Mkjaks 22 Oct 2015 20:35

    How about don't shop at Walmart (they helped boost the Chinese economy while committing hari kari on the American Dream) and actually engaging in proper labour action? Calling in sick is just plain childish.

    toffee1 22 Oct 2015 19:13

    It is only considered productive if it feeds the beast, that is, contribute to the accumulation of capital so that the beast can have more power over us. The issue here is the wage labor. The 93 percent of the U.S. working population perform wage labor (see BLS site). It is the highest proportion in any society ever came into history. Under the wage labor (employment) contract, the worker gives up his/her decision making autonomy. The worker accepts the full command of his/her employer during the labor process. The employer directs and commands the labor process to achieve the goals set by himself. Compare this, for example, self-employed providing a service (for example, a plumber). In this case, the customer describes the problem to the service provider but the service provider makes all the decisions on how to organize and apply his labor to solve the problem. Or compare it to a democratically organized coop, where workers make all the decisions collectively, where, how and what to produce. Under the present economic system, a great majority of us are condemned to work in large corporations performing wage labor. The system of wage labor stripping us from autonomy on our own labor, creates all the misery in our present world through alienation. Men and women lose their humanity alienated from their own labor. Outside the world of wage labor, labor can be a source self-realization and true freedom. Labor can be the real fulfillment and love. Labor together our capacity to love make us human. Bourgeoisie dehumanized us steeling our humanity. Bourgeoisie, who sold her soul to the beast, attempting to turn us into ever consuming machines for the accumulation of capital.

    patimac54 -> Zach Baker 22 Oct 2015 17:39

    Well said. Most retail employers have cut staff to the minimum possible to keep the stores open so if anyone is off sick, it's the devil's own job trying to just get customers served. Making your colleagues work even harder than they normally do because you can't be bothered to act responsibly and show up is just plain selfish.
    And sorry, Suzanne, skiving work is nothing more than an act of complete disrespect for those you work with. If you don't understand that, try getting a proper job for a few months and learn how to exercise some self control.

    TettyBlaBla -> FranzWilde 22 Oct 2015 17:25

    It's quite the opposite in government jobs where I am in the US. As the fiscal year comes to a close, managers look at their budgets and go on huge spending sprees, particularly for temp (zero hours in some countries) help and consultants. They fear if they don't spend everything or even a bit more, their spending will be cut in the next budget. This results in people coming in to do work on projects that have no point or usefulness, that will never be completed or even presented up the food chain of management, and ends up costing taxpayers a small fortune.

    I did this one year at an Air Quality Agency's IT department while the paid employees sat at their desks watching portable televisions all day. It was truly demeaning.

    oommph -> Michael John Jackson 22 Oct 2015 16:59

    Thing is though, children - dependents to pay for - are the easiest way to keep yourself chained to work.

    The homemaker model works as long as your spouse's employer retains them (and your spouse retains you in an era of 40% divorce).

    You are just as dependent on an employer and "work" but far less in control of it now.


    Zach Baker 22 Oct 2015 16:41

    I'm all for sticking it to "the man," but when you call into work for a stupid reason (and a hangover is a very stupid reason), it is selfish, and does more damage to the cause of worker's rights, not less. I don't know about where you work, but if I call in sick to my job, other people have to pick up my slack. I work for a public library, and we don't have a lot of funds, so we have the bear minimum of employees we can have and still work efficiently. As such, if anybody calls in, everyone else, up to and including the library director, have to take on more work. If I found out one of my co-workers called in because of a hangover, I'd be pissed. You made the choice to get drunk, knowing that you had to work the following morning. Putting it into the same category of someone who is sick and may not have the luxury of taking off because of a bad employer is insulting.


    [Oct 03, 2015] How Not to Be a Networking Leech Tips for Seeking Professional Advice - The New York Times

    Oct 03, 2015 | www.nytimes.com
    How Not to Be a Networking Leech: Tips for Seeking Professional Advice Sept 26, 2015

    Preoccupations

    By Margaret Morford > Continue reading the main story

    Continue reading the main story

    Businesspeople generally think of networking as a mutually beneficial meeting for both parties. But that's not usually what it is. Far more often, it is one person asking the other for a favor.

    I have been a management consultant, business owner and speaker for more than 12 years. Before that, I was a business executive and a trial lawyer. Along the way I have received invaluable advice from others — guidance that educated me and helped me make important professional connections. Because this advice has been such a great help to me, I believe in helping others in the same way, without expecting anything in return.

    During the course of a year I receive numerous requests from people I do not know, asking me to network. I respond by meeting at least once a week with someone who is seeking advice on their careers or businesses, either in person or on the phone.

    Preoccupations

    A collection of "Preoccupations" columns published in The New York Times.

    See More "

    In the course of these meetings, I have come across people who fall under the category of what I call "networking parasites." These are people who fail to understand that I am giving them information that my regular clients pay for.

    I am not alone in this. Doctors, accountants, plumbers, computer experts, lawyers and financial advisers all must deal with people shamelessly asking for meetings, free advice or free services or treatment — without remotely acknowledging that these professionals make their living selling that time and expertise. Over the years, dozens of experts have told me about being accosted at parties and on airplanes by strangers who ask for a free consultation under the guise of "conversation."

    Surely you do not want to be the kind of person who antagonizes professionals in this way. So here are some tips to help you avoid becoming a networking parasite.

    Make the meeting convenient. Ask for time frames that would work well, and meet at a place that is convenient for them, even if you have to drive across town. If they leave it up to you, give them three options and let them pick the one that works best.

    Recently, someone asked me to meet him for coffee, and I told him I could make "just about anything work" on a particular Friday. He responded with, "I like to start my day early, so let's meet for coffee near your office at 6 a.m." I wrote back that 6 a.m. was too early, to which he responded, "O.K. Let's make it 7 a.m." If you want me to pull out all the stops for you, this is not the way to start.

    Buy their coffee or meal. Insist on doing this as a sign of how valuable you consider their time and advice. If you are on a tight budget, ask them to coffee, but insist on paying for it by saying, "This is a huge favor to me, so please let me do this small thing for you." If you can manage it financially, try to meet for drinks or dinner after work. You will get more of their attention if you are not sandwiched in during their day.

    Go with a prepared list of questions. People whose advice is worth seeking are busy. They don't have time to sit through your stream-of-consciousness thoughts. Figure out in advance what information you want from them, and send your list ahead of time so they can be thinking about the answers.

    Advertisement

    Continue reading the main story

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    Continue reading the main story

    Don't argue about their advice or point out why it wouldn't work for you. You can ask for clarification by finding out how they would handle a particular concern you have, but don't go beyond that. You get to decide whether or not to use their advice.

    Don't ask for intellectual property or materials. I am amazed at the number of people who ask for copies of my PowerPoint presentations and seminar materials to use in their organization, with no understanding that these materials are original and copyrighted — and how I make my living.

    Never ask for any written follow-up. It is your job to take good notes during your meeting, not their job to send you bullet points after the meeting. No one should get homework after agreeing to help someone.

    Spend time at the end of the meeting finding out what you can do for them. Do you know anyone who could use their services, or who would make a good professional connection? At the very least, consider writing a recommendation for them on LinkedIn.

    Always thank them more than once. Thank them at the end of the meeting, expressing your appreciation for the time they have spent with you. Follow up with a handwritten note — not an email or a text.

    Do not refer others to the same expert. I just helped someone (whom I didn't know well) polish her résumé and craft her job-search pitch. Then I worked my contacts and helped her land a great new job. The result? I received emails from two strangers, asking me to "network" with them, because the person I had just helped suggested they contact me to do the same for them.

    Ask an expert for free help only once. If the help someone offered you was so valuable that you would like them to provide it again, then pay for it the next time.

    As you ask people for help, always consider how you in turn can help others. At the end of each workweek make a list of the people you have helped, and the favors you have done for which you received nothing in return. If your list is empty week after week, then you really are a networking parasite.

    Margaret Morford is the owner of the HR Edge, a management consulting firm, and the author of "The Hidden Language of Business."

    [Sep 21, 2015] Is Everything Carly Fiorina Says a Lie, Including "And" and "The"?

    "... Fiorina as a toxic leader. (You think toxic leaders don't gain authority through their very toxicity? Hmmm.) ..."
    "... The fourth lesson taken from watching Fiorina may be the most important. As we struggle with understanding what makes leaders "successful," people frequently overlook the fact that success depends very much on how that term gets defined and measured. In business and in politics, the interests of leaders and their organizations don't perfectly coincide. ..."
    "... At Hewlett-Packard, Fiorina was well-known for not tolerating dissent or disagreement, particularly on important strategic issues. ..."
    "... cachet ..."
    "... that's ..."
    September 21, 2015 | The naked capitalism

    By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

    Let me provide the spoiler at once: Not entirely.

    Much of what Fiorina says is vacuous, and (as with all the Republican candidates) there is the occasional gem amidst the muck. But wowsers! Fiorina's relationship to the truth is, at the very best, non-custodial. To come to this conclusion, I read Fiorina's answers to questions in the recent Republican debate (transcript here). I apologize for not color-coding the text, but the length is so extreme, and in any case I want to focus not on rhetoric, but just the facts. So, I'm going to skip the answers I regard as vacuous, and focus only on the answers that contain outright falsehoods, which I will helpfully underline, and the rare cases of genuine insight.

    This is a campaign of firsts: The first socialist Presidential candidate, the first woman Presidential candidate, the first billionaire[1] candidate, and, with Fiorina, the first corporate executive Presidential candidate. And each of these candidates has a different source for their personal authority or ethos: Sanders with genuine, long-held and consistent policy views, Clinton with smarts and [1] process expertise, Trump as the wealthy mass media personality, and now Fiorina as a toxic leader. (You think toxic leaders don't gain authority through their very toxicity? Hmmm.)

    In the Financial Times ("Leadership BS") Dan Pfeffer, Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, comments on Fiorina as an executive:

    [E]ven "people who have presided over catastrophes" suffer no negative consequences. On the contrary. Ms Fiorina, "who by any objective measure was a horrible CEO, is running for president on her business record. I love it! . . . You can't make this stuff up — it's too good!"

    Yes, we laugh that we may not weep; I've often felt that way, even this early in the 2016 campaign. In CNN, Pfeffer ("Leadership 101") comments on Fiorina's toxicity:

    Here are four things that anyone, running for president or not, can and should do:

    Number one, tell your story. If you won't, no one else will. By telling your story repeatedly [like Clinton and Trump, but not Sanders], you can construct your own narrative. …

    Second, Fiorina [like Trump] has and is building a brand — a public presence. Recognizable brands have real economic value. … Running for president, even if unsuccessful, transforms people into public figures often widely sought on the speaking circuit, so in many ways, they win even if they lose.

    Third, don't worry about being liked — Fiorina doesn't. … In that choice, Fiorina is following the wisdom of Machiavelli, who noted that while it was wonderful to be feared and loved, if you had to choose one, being feared was safer than being loved [like Trump and Clinton, but not Sanders. "Nobody hates Bernie," as one insider commented."]

    The fourth lesson taken from watching Fiorina may be the most important. As we struggle with understanding what makes leaders "successful," people frequently overlook the fact that success depends very much on how that term gets defined and measured. In business and in politics, the interests of leaders and their organizations don't perfectly coincide. [Oddly, since Trump is a brand, his corporate and personal interests do coincide. And since the Clinton Foundation is a money-laundering influence-peddling operation, its interests and Clinton's coincide as well. Sanders has no business interests.]

    At Hewlett-Packard, Fiorina was well-known for not tolerating dissent or disagreement, particularly on important strategic issues. As someone quite senior in H-P's strategy group told me, disagreeing with Fiorina in a meeting was a reasonably sure path out the door. By not brooking dissent, Fiorina ensured that few opponents would be around to challenge her power. But disagreement often surfaces different perspectives that result in better decisions. The famous business leader Alfred P. Sloan noted that if everyone was in agreement, the discussion should be postponed until people could ascertain the weaknesses in the proposed choice.

    Fiorina has a pragmatic view of what it takes to be successful. And that's one reason she should not be underestimated, regardless of the opinions about her career at H-P.[3]

    The fourth point is especially toxic, and may show up — despite the current adulation — further along on the campaign trail. If Fiorina insists on surrounding herself with sycophants, and on making all the strategic decisions herself, will her Presidential campaign turn into the trainwreck (see under "demon sheep") her Senate race did?[4]

    To the transcript!

    * * *

    FIORINA: Good evening. My story, from secretary to CEO, is only possible in this nation, and proves that everyone of us has potential. My husband, Frank, of 30 years, started out driving a tow truck for a family owned auto body shop.

    Anybody listening to this might conclude that Fiorina rose from working class roots — especially with the borrowed cachet of a truck driving man for a husband — to CEO, and at H-P. Her actual biography paints a different picture. Here's her background and career path, from WikiPedia:

    Fiorina's father was a professor at the University of Texas School of Law. He would later become dean of Duke University School of Law, Deputy Attorney General, and judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Her mother was an abstract painter. [S]he was raised Episcopalian.

    Oh. An Episcopalian secretary.

    During her summers, she worked as a secretary for Kelly Services.[27] She attended the UCLA School of Law in 1976 but dropped out[28] after one semester and worked as a receptionist for six months at a real estate firm Marcus & Millichap, moving up to a broker position before leaving for Bologna, Italy, where she taught English.

    So, speaking of bologna…

    Fiorina received a Master of Business Administration in marketing from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park in 1980. She obtained a Master of Science in management at the MIT Sloan School of Management under the Sloan Fellows program in 1989.[30]

    So that's when Fiorina's rise began; with degrees in marketing and management. Fiorina's one of those MBAs you get called into a windowless conference room to hear how you're going to lose your job because bullet points. That's what she was trained to do, and that's what she does.

    ***

    FIORINA: Having met Vladimir Putin, I wouldn't talk to him at all. We've talked way too much to him.

    What I would do, immediately, is begin rebuilding the Sixth Fleet, I would begin rebuilding the missile defense program in Poland, I would conduct regular, aggressive military exercises in the Baltic states. I'd probably send a few thousand more troops into Germany. Vladimir Putin would get the message. …

    Russia is a bad actor, but Vladimir Putin is someone we should not talk to, because the only way he will stop is to sense strength and resolve on the other side, and we have all of that within our control.

    We could rebuild the Sixth Fleet. I will. We haven't.

    On the Sixth Fleet and imperial strategy generally, Ezra Klein comments:

    The Sixth Fleet is already huge, and it's hard to say why adding to its capabilities would intimidate Putin — after all, America has enough nuclear weapons pointed at Russia to level the country thousands of times over. Her proposal for more military exercises in the Baltics seemed odd in light of the fact that President Obama is already conducting military exercises in the Baltics. And the US already has around 40,000 troops stationed in Germany, so it's hard to say what good "a few thousand" more would do.

    And pushing on a missile defense system in Poland is a very long-term solution to a very current problem. In total, Fiorina's laundry list of proposals sure sounded like a plan, but on inspection, it's hard to see why any of them would convince Putin to change course.

    ... ... ...

    [Sep 07, 2015] We Made It Wider! Hank Paulson Bursts Out Laughing When Asked About Wealth Inequality

    Zero Hedge
    Speaking of Goldman Sachs and income inequality, back in April, Hank Paulson and Robert Rubin sat down with Sheryl Sandberg and Tim Geithner at an event hosted by Michael Milken (no less), to discuss a variety of topics. Around a half hour into the discussion, Sandberg asks Paulson about income inequality. Here's what happens next:

    Sandberg: "Yeah, so let's follow up on a bunch of the things we were [talking about]. Let's start with income inequality."

    Paulson: "Ok, well.. income inequality. I think this is something we've all thought about. You know I was working on that topic when I was still at Goldman Sachs.."

    Rubin: "In which direction? You were working on increasing it."

    Paulson then bursts out laughing: "Yeah! We were making it wider!"

    Here's the clip:

    ... ... ...

    Raging Debate

    JS Bach - Always enjoyed your.commentary. However, let us not paint too broad a brush here. I will not condemn every Jew for the actions of a very tiny minority. For disclosure I am not Jewish. I am a reformed sociopath. My prior actions under law would have me in the clink.

    That said, the central bank model that exacerbates boom and bust, in other words skims our time and preys on human weakness must change. Governments know this too and are complicent. ALso, I not see any asking of forgiveness which would go far but only 'eat shit'. Still, a good sign sociopaths such as these can endure a Roast.

    The model does not get a pass and sociopaths cannot continue to lead. Even as a reformer you wont see me in government. I would succumb to money and ass rape you all. Lobbying must end. If that is prohibited by law of harsh jail time or death that would solve 90% of world problems damn quick. What is Central Banking corporatio but the biggest of all lobby's? End the 'Fed' is just the biggest head of the hydra.

    PhilofOz

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but sociopaths cannot be rehabilitated according to psychiatrists.....

    Facts about sociopaths/psychopaths:

    wendigo

    Sociopaths, like any mental state, represent a spectrum. You are on that spectrum, but likely far on the low end.

    I am somewhere in the middle. Not diagnosable, but not zero either. Many people fall into this category and life can be quite uncomfortable. The people in limbo between being and not being a sociopath can often live fairly normal lives.

    [Jul 24, 2015] How Walking in Nature Changes the Brain

    Jul 24, 2015 | The New York Times

    A walk in the park may soothe the mind and, in the process, change the workings of our brains in ways that improve our mental health, according to an interesting new study of the physical effects on the brain of visiting nature.

    Most of us today live in cities and spend far less time outside in green, natural spaces than people did several generations ago.

    City dwellers also have a higher risk for anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses than people living outside urban centers, studies show.

    These developments seem to be linked to some extent, according to a growing body of research. Various studies have found that urban dwellers with little access to green spaces have a higher incidence of psychological problems than people living near parks and that city dwellers who visit natural environments have lower levels of stress hormones immediately afterward than people who have not recently been outside.

    But just how a visit to a park or other green space might alter mood has been unclear. Does experiencing nature actually change our brains in some way that affects our emotional health?

    That possibility intrigued Gregory Bratman, a graduate student at the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford University, who has been studying the psychological effects of urban living. In an earlier study published last month, he and his colleagues found that volunteers who walked briefly through a lush, green portion of the Stanford campus were more attentive and happier afterward than volunteers who strolled for the same amount of time near heavy traffic.

    But that study did not examine the neurological mechanisms that might underlie the effects of being outside in nature.

    So for the new study, which was published last week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Mr. Bratman and his collaborators decided to closely scrutinize what effect a walk might have on a person's tendency to brood.

    Brooding, which is known among cognitive scientists as morbid rumination, is a mental state familiar to most of us, in which we can't seem to stop chewing over the ways in which things are wrong with ourselves and our lives. This broken-record fretting is not healthy or helpful. It can be a precursor to depression and is disproportionately common among city dwellers compared with people living outside urban areas, studies show.

    Perhaps most interesting for the purposes of Mr. Bratman and his colleagues, however, such rumination also is strongly associated with increased activity in a portion of the brain known as the subgenual prefrontal cortex.

    If the researchers could track activity in that part of the brain before and after people visited nature, Mr. Bratman realized, they would have a better idea about whether and to what extent nature changes people's minds.

    Mr. Bratman and his colleagues first gathered 38 healthy, adult city dwellers and asked them to complete a questionnaire to determine their normal level of morbid rumination.

    The researchers also checked for brain activity in each volunteer's subgenual prefrontal cortex, using scans that track blood flow through the brain. Greater blood flow to parts of the brain usually signals more activity in those areas.

    Then the scientists randomly assigned half of the volunteers to walk for 90 minutes through a leafy, quiet, parklike portion of the Stanford campus or next to a loud, hectic, multi-lane highway in Palo Alto. The volunteers were not allowed to have companions or listen to music. They were allowed to walk at their own pace.

    Immediately after completing their walks, the volunteers returned to the lab and repeated both the questionnaire and the brain scan.

    As might have been expected, walking along the highway had not soothed people's minds. Blood flow to their subgenual prefrontal cortex was still high and their broodiness scores were unchanged.

    But the volunteers who had strolled along the quiet, tree-lined paths showed slight but meaningful improvements in their mental health, according to their scores on the questionnaire. They were not dwelling on the negative aspects of their lives as much as they had been before the walk.

    They also had less blood flow to the subgenual prefrontal cortex. That portion of their brains were quieter.

    These results "strongly suggest that getting out into natural environments" could be an easy and almost immediate way to improve moods for city dwellers, Mr. Bratman said.

    But of course many questions remain, he said, including how much time in nature is sufficient or ideal for our mental health, as well as what aspects of the natural world are most soothing. Is it the greenery, quiet, sunniness, loamy smells, all of those, or something else that lifts our moods? Do we need to be walking or otherwise physically active outside to gain the fullest psychological benefits? Should we be alone or could companionship amplify mood enhancements?

    "There's a tremendous amount of study that still needs to be done," Mr. Bratman said.

    But in the meantime, he pointed out, there is little downside to strolling through the nearest park, and some chance that you might beneficially muffle, at least for awhile, your subgenual prefrontal cortex.

    [Jul 22, 2015] Sadly, the appearance of empathy can be simulated by sociopaths, as is surely well-known in the political class.

    Vatch

    “They wanted the candidates to empathize, not pontificate. Is that really so much to expect?” [Crooks and Liars]. Sadly, the appearance of empathy can be simulated by sociopaths, as is surely well-known in the political class.

    Absolutely! Some of the nicest seeming people are really empathy free psychopaths. Remember Bill Clinton’s “I feel your pain”? A few years later we got the repeal of Glass Steagall in the Gramm Leach Bliley Act of 1999, followed by the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, which restricted the regulation of credit default swaps. These actions set the stage for the Great Financial Collapse of 2008, which hurt Americans of all races. People in the financial top 0.1% survived the collapse nicely, though. They’re the ones who profited well from the fake recovery of the past 7 years.

    [Jul 14, 2015] Importance of physical exersize in fighting toxic managers

    Out brains are deeply connected to our bodies. One way to improve your mental stability and the capacities to endure stress is to use vigorous exercise regiment. This is the point that implicitly was made by prominent neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki in her book Healthy Brain, Happy Life A Personal Program to Activate Your Brain and Do Everything Better. It looks like aerobic exercises are important for mental stability and the ability to cope with stress. Of cause, an important warning attributed to Talleyrand "Not too much zeal" is applicable here too. Some additional ideas might be extracted from the following reviews:
    "... “Exercise is responsible for the majority of the positive brain changes seen with environmental enrichment.”"

    A neuroscientist transforms the way we think about our brain, our health, and our personal happiness in this clear, informative, and inspiring guide—a blend of personal memoir, science narrative, and immediately useful takeaways that bring the human brain into focus as never before, revealing the powerful connection between exercise, learning, memory, and cognitive abilities.

    Nearing forty, Dr. Wendy Suzuki was at the pinnacle of her career. An award-winning university professor and world-renowned neuroscientist, she had tenure, her own successful research lab, prestigious awards, and international renown.

    That’s when to celebrate her birthday, she booked an adventure trip that forced her to wake up to a startling reality: despite her professional success, she was overweight, lonely, and tired and knew that her life had to change. Wendy started simply—by going to an exercise class. Eventually, she noticed an improvement in her memory, her energy levels, and her ability to work quickly and move from task to task easily. Not only did Wendy begin to get fit, but she also became sharper, had more energy, and her memory improved. Being a neuroscientist, she wanted to know why.

    What she learned transformed her body and her life. Now, it can transform yours.

    Wendy discovered that there is a biological connection between exercise, mindfulness, and action. With exercise, your body feels more alive and your brain actually performs better. Yes—you can make yourself smarter. In this fascinating book, Suzuki makes neuroscience easy to understand, interweaving her personal story with groundbreaking research, and offering practical, short exercises—4 minute Brain Hacks—to engage your mind and improve your memory, your ability to learn new skills, and function more efficiently.

    Taking us on an amazing journey inside the brain as never before, Suzuki helps us unlock the keys to neuroplasticity that can change our brains, or bodies, and, ultimately, our lives.

    Bassocantor TOP 50 REVIEWER on May 19, 2015

    We Have An Enormous Capacity To Change Into The Very Best Version Of Ourselves

    HEALTHY BRAIN, HAPPY LIFE is a fun read, filled with all kinds of exciting ways to expand your brain power. My favorite parts of the book are these little sections that the author calls "Brain Hacks." These sections are lists of easy ways to really supercharge your brain and make use of the latent power in it.

    Here's the theme in a nutshell: "One thing I know for sure is that brain plasticity endows us with an enormous capacity to change into the very best version of ourselves that we can be." Dr. Suzuki explains that she uses 20 years of research in neuroscience to apply these same principles to her own personal life. She admits that she "Went from living as a virtual lab rat --an overweight middle aged woman would had achieved many things in science, but who could not seem to figure out how to also be a healthy, happy woman..."

    One of her main discoveries is the powerful mind-body link. The author emphasizes how powerful exercise is. "Exercise is responsible for the majority of the positive brain changes seen with environmental enrichment." And so, Dr. Suzuki invests much time talking about the power of the brain-body connection. Towards that end, she combines physical workouts as a way to energize your brain: "The body has a powerful influence on her brain functions and conversely but the brain has a powerful influence over how are bodies feel and work and heal." Exercise causes definite changes in your body--it boosts the level of three key chemicals that affect mood.

    The key is to make your workouts intentional. Towards that end, the author suggests ways to do this--for example, proclaiming affirmations out loud. "Intentional exercise happens when you make exercise both aerobic and mental...You are fully engaged in the moment and trigger a heightened awareness of the brain body connection." In the Brain Hacks suction, the author lists different exercises that would best fit you.

    Another great section is the section on creativity. You can actually improve your creative thinking; it is "a particular version of regular thinking they can be practiced and improved like any other cognitive skill." Once again, the author lists great suggestions in the Brain Hacks section on ways to jumpstart your creativity. The key point is to learn something new and "Try to use as many senses as you can." For example, one fun suggestion is to "Sit outside and blindfold yourself for 4 minutes. Then, listen to the world sounds in a new way."

    All in all, HEALTHY BRAIN, HAPPY LIFE is a fun, inspiring read. The author is full of great, uplifting ideas. My favorite chapter is the one on creativity. The end of the book contains an extensive Reference section, in which the author documents the various points she makes.
    Highly recommend!

    Advance copy for impartial review

    love2dazzle on June 10, 2015

    Happy Life” by Wendy Suzuki is all about focusing on ...

    “Healthy Brian, Happy Life” by Wendy Suzuki is all about focusing on expanding your brain power. Our bodies and mind have a very powerful link. Dr. Suzuki has invested her life to focusing on the brain. She goes on to state that “Exercise is responsible for the majority of the positive brain changes seen with environmental enrichment.” Dr. Suzuki is making the point that we need to exercise to work our brain to its fullest potential. She goes on to make the point that you want to make sure the exercise is intentional because that is what exercise you both mentally and aerobically.

    The second best way to expand your brain is by creativity. The point of creativity is to learn new things that will improve your brain and your senses. One is able to find different ways to help build and exercise their brain. The author calls some of the tips she gives “Brain Hacks” so I thought this was a great learning tool.

    I thought “Healthy Brain, Happy Life” was very insightful. I thought this book had a lot of good tips and was also able to explain the brain and how things worked really well. I did enjoy reading it and learning new things on how I am able to improve my brain function.

    Bruny Hudsonon June 13, 2015

    Interesting theory for improving one’s life

    The book “Healthy Brain, Happy Life” by Wendy Suzuki is about a success story, about the author’s life. It’s entertaining and enriching but sometimes out of touch with reality. Considering that the author is a neuroscientist, her line of reasoning sounds dubious in parts of the book, especially her generalizing concepts of life. Just because an effort has worked for her, it does not mean it will work for someone else. Nevertheless, the book deserves a five-star rating because of the author’s pleasant writing style and the well-explained examples of research in neuroscience.

    Transporter chair reviewer, on July 9, 2015

    Mainly autobiographical

    I saw her interviewed on CBS and found her a charming and energetic person. I am not sure what take aways I have from the book, though it interested me since I am also an Asian American woman who is an over achiever, and many of her experiences resonated. I enjoyed the read. I am not sure what type of person I would recommend it to . I am also a doctor. It was fun to review some of the neurobiology and learn some new things.

    [Jun 24, 2015] Psychology the man who studies everyday evil By David Robson

    "...the everyday sadists were more than happy to take the trouble. “There wasn’t just willingness to do it but a motivation to enjoy, to put in some extra effort to have the opportunity to hurt other individuals.” Importantly, there was no provocation or personal gain to be had from their cruelty – the people were doing it for pure pleasure."
    January 30, 2015 | BBC

    Why are some people extraordinarily selfish, manipulative, and unkind? David Robson asks the scientist delving into the darkest sides of the human mind.

    If you had the opportunity to feed harmless bugs into a coffee grinder, would you enjoy the experience? Even if the bugs had names, and you could hear their shells painfully crunching? And would you take a perverse pleasure from blasting an innocent bystander with an excruciating noise?

    These are just some of the tests that Delroy Paulhus uses to understand the “dark personalities” around us. Essentially, he wants to answer a question we all may have asked: why do some people take pleasure in cruelty? Not just psychopaths and murderers – but school bullies, internet trolls and even apparently upstanding members of society such as politicians and policemen.

    It is easy, he says, to make quick and simplistic assumptions about these people.

    “We have a tendency to use the halo or devil framing of individuals we meet – we want to simplify our world into good or bad people,”

    says Paulhus, who is based at the University of British Columbia in Canada. But while Paulhus doesn’t excuse cruelty, his approach has been more detached, like a zoologist studying poisonous insects – allowing him to build a “taxonomy”, as he calls it, of the different flavours of everyday evil.

    Self-regard

    Paulhus’s interest began with narcissists – the incredibly selfish and vain, who may lash out to protect their own sense of self-worth. Then, a little more than a decade ago, his grad student Kevin Williams suggested that they explore whether these self-absorbed tendencies are linked to two other unpleasant characteristics – Machiavellianism (the cold, manipulative) and psychopathy (callous insensitivity and immunity to the feelings of others). Together, they found that the three traits were largely independent, though they sometimes coincide, forming a “Dark Triad” – a triple whammy of nastiness.

    It is surprising how candid his participants can often be. His questionnaires typically ask the subjects to agree with statements such as “I like picking on weaker people” or “It’s wise not to tell me your secrets”. You would imagine those traits would be too shameful to admit – but, at least in the laboratory, people open up, and their answers do seem to correlate with real-life bullying, both in adolescence and adulthood. They are also more likely to be unfaithful to their spouses (particularly those with Machiavellian and psychopathic tendencies) and to cheat on tests.

    Even so, since Paulhus tends to focus on everyday evil rather than criminal or psychiatric cases, the traits are by no means apparent on the first meeting.

    “They are managing in everyday society, so they have enough control not to get themselves into trouble. But it catches your attention here or there.”

    People who score particularly high on narcissism, for instance, quickly display their tendency to “over-claim” – one of the strategies that helps them boost their own egos. In some experiments, Paulhus presented them with a made up subject and they quickly confabulated to try to appear like they knew it all – only to get angry when he challenged them about it. “It strikes you that yes, this fits into a package that allows them to live with a distorted positive view of themselves.”

    Born nasty

    Once Paulhus had begun to open a window on these dark minds, others soon wanted to delve in to answer some basic questions about the human condition. Are people born nasty, for instance? Studies comparing identical and non-identical twins suggest a relatively large genetic component for both narcissism and psychopathy, though Machiavellianism seems to be more due to the environment – you may learn to manipulate from others. Whatever we’ve inherited cannot take away our personal responsibility, though. “I don’t think anyone is born with psychopathy genes and then nothing can be done about it,” says Minna Lyons at the University of Liverpool.

    You only need to look at the anti-heroes of popular culture – James Bond, Don Draper or Jordan Belfort in the Wolf of Wall Street – to realise that dark personalities have sex appeal, a finding supported by more scientific studies. Further clues to the benefits might come from another basic human characteristic – whether you are a morning or evening person. Lyons and her student, Amy Jones found that “night owls” – people who stay up late but can’t get up in the morning – tend to score higher on a range of dark triad traits. They are often risk-takers – one of the characteristics of psychopathy; they are more manipulative – a Machiavellian trait – and as narcissists, they tend to be exploitative of other people. That might make sense if you consider our evolution: perhaps dark personalities have more chance to steal, manipulate, and have illicit sexual liaisons late while everyone else is sleeping, so they evolved to be creatures of the night.

    Whatever the truth of that theory, Paulhus agrees there will always be niches for these people to exploit. “Human society is so complex that there are different ways of enhancing your reproductive success – some involve being nice and some being nasty,” he says.

    Dark corners

    Recently, he has started probing even further into the darkest shadows of the psyche. “We were pushing the envelope, asking more extreme questions,” he says – when he found that some people will also readily admit to inflicting pain on others for no other reason than their own pleasure. Crucially, these tendencies are not simply a reflection of the narcissism, psychopathy or Machiavellianism, but seem to form their own sub-type – “everyday sadism”. For this reason, Paulhus now calls it a “dark tetrad”.

    The “bug crushing machine” offered the perfect way for Paulhus and colleagues to test whether that reflected real life behaviour. Unknown to the participants, the coffee grinder had been adapted to give insects an escape route – but the machine still produced a devastating crushing sound to mimic their shells hitting the cogs. Some were so squeamish they refused to take part, while others took active enjoyment in the task. “They would be willing not just to do something nasty to bugs but to ask for more,” he says, “while others thought it was so gross they didn’t even want to be in the same room.” Crucially, those individuals also scored very highly on his test for everyday sadism.

    Arguably, a rational human being shouldn’t care too much about bugs’ feelings. But the team then set up a computer game that would allow the participants to “punish” a competitor with a loud noise through their headphones. This wasn’t compulsory; in fact, the volunteers had to perform a tedious verbal task to earn the right to punish their competitor – but, to Paulhus’s surprise, the everyday sadists were more than happy to take the trouble. “There wasn’t just willingness to do it but a motivation to enjoy, to put in some extra effort to have the opportunity to hurt other individuals.” Importantly, there was no provocation or personal gain to be had from their cruelty – the people were doing it for pure pleasure.

    Troll tracking

    He thinks this is directly relevant to internet trolls. “They appear to be the internet version of everyday sadists because they spend time searching for people to hurt.” Sure enough, an anonymous survey of trollish commentators found that they scored highly on dark tetrad traits, but particularly the everyday sadism component – and enjoyment was their prime motivation. Indeed, the bug-crushing experiment suggested that everyday sadists may have more muted emotional responses to all kinds of pleasurable activities – so perhaps their random acts of cruelty are attempts to break through the emotional numbness.

    More immediately, his discoveries have attracted the attention of police and military agencies, who want to collaborate with Paulhus to see if his insights might explain why some people abuse their positions. “The concern is that these people might deliberately select jobs where you are given the mandate to hurt individuals,” he says. If so, further work might suggest ways to screen out the dark personalities at recruitment.

    He’s also excited about new work on “moral Machiavellianism” and “communal narcissists” – people who perhaps have dark traits but use them for good (as they see it). In some situations, ruthlessness may be necessary. “To be prime minister, you can’t be namby pamby – you need to cut corners and hurt people, and even be nasty to achieve your moral causes,” he says. After all, the dark personalities often have the impulse and the confidence to get things done –even Mother Theresa apparently had a steely side, he says. “You’re not going to help society by sitting at home being nice.”

    All of which underlines the false dichotomy of good and evil that Paulhus has been keen to probe. In a sense, that is a personal as much as a professional question. He admits to seeing a dark streak in his own behaviour: for example, he enjoys watching violent, painful sports like Mixed Martial Arts. “It didn’t take long to see I would stand above average on these dark traits,” he says. “But given my abiding curiosity as a scientist and my enjoyment of investigating such things – I thought that perhaps I was in a good position to take a closer look at the dark side.”

    [May 27, 2015] How to turn a liberal hipster into a capitalist tyrant in one evening

    May 27, 2015 | The Guardian

    Why do so many decent people, when asked to pretend they're CEOs, become tyrants from central casting? Part of the answer is: capitalism subjects us to economic rationality. It forces us to see ourselves as cashflow generators, profit centres or interest-bearing assets. But that idea is always in conflict with something else: the non-economic priorities of human beings, and the need to sustain the environment. Though World Factory, as a play, is designed to show us the parallels between 19th-century Manchester and 21st-century China, it subtly illustrates what has changed.

    ... ... ...

    A real Chinese sweatshop owner is playing a losing game against something much more sophisticated than the computer at the Young Vic: an intelligent machine made up of the smartphones of millions of migrant workers on their lunchbreak, plugging digitally into their village networks to find out wages and conditions elsewhere. That sweatshop owner is also playing against clients with an army of compliance officers, themselves routinely harassed by NGOs with secret cameras.

    The whole purpose of this system of regulation – from above and below – is to prevent individual capitalists making short-term decisions that destroy the human and natural resources it needs to function. Capitalism is not just the selfish decisions of millions of people. It is those decisions sifted first through the all-important filter of regulation. It is, as late 20th-century social theorists understood, a mode of regulation, not just of production.

    Yet it plays on us a cruel ideological trick. It looks like a spontaneous organism, to which government and regulation (and the desire of Chinese migrants to visit their families once a year) are mere irritants. In reality it needs the state to create and re-create it every day.

    Banks create money because the state awards them the right to. Why does the state ram-raid the homes of small-time drug dealers, yet call in the CEOs of the banks whose employees commit multimillion-pound frauds for a stern ticking off over a tray of Waitrose sandwiches? Answer: because a company has limited liability status, created by parliament in 1855 after a political struggle.

    Our fascination with market forces blinds us to the fact that capitalism – as a state of being – is a set of conditions created and maintained by states. Today it is beset by strategic problems: debt- ridden, with sub-par growth and low productivity, it cannot unleash the true potential of the info-tech revolution because it cannot imagine what to do with the millions who would lose their jobs.

    The computer that runs the data system in Svendsen's play could easily run a robotic clothes factory. That's the paradox. But to make a third industrial revolution happen needs something no individual factory boss can execute: the re-regulation of capitalism into something better. Maybe the next theatre game about work and exploitation should model the decisions of governments, lobbyists and judges, not the hapless managers.


    Earl Shelton -> phil100a 27 May 2015 14:14

    Avoid arguing with Libertarians -- unless you have lots of patience. Their philosophy boils down to: Greed is good; government is bad.

    And they will stick to those dubious premises -- despite the tons of contrary facts, evidence (and stories of human suffering those ideas cause) that you might present -- from Jesus Christ to John Maynard Keynes....

    NomChompsky -> imipak 27 May 2015 12:04

    You spilled some pseudo-intellectual gibberish on your post. You also ignored that the number of computers isn't a constant, in particular, and that zero-sum economic theories are, by nature, incredibly fucking stupid in general. You also seem to think that the Pareto principle is some sort of a law instead of a rule of thumb that has numerous exceptions.

    Just, eww.

    asquaretail 27 May 2015 09:25

    We won't discuss whether or not a UK resident can be a "Hipster." Sounds like cultural theft to me.. What I really want to point out is something more basic. Banks are not empowered by government, at least not initially. Initially, they were restricted by government which then reduced the restrictions to allow banks to function. This has profound analytic consequences for those brave and courageous enough to pursue the chain of thought.

    toffee1 27 May 2015 08:12

    This validates that Marx's was right. A capitalist (or a manager in a capitalist firm), acts as a capital personified. His/her soul is the soul of capital. But capital has one single life impulse, the tendency to create value and surplus-value, to make its constant factor, the means of production, absorb the greatest possible amount of surplus-labour. So, the problem is the system. The liberal view is wrong. What needs to be changed is the system.

    Thomas G. Wilson 26 May 2015 23:15

    So, the choice is sack one third of the workers or spread the pain by cutting the worker's pay by a third? The unstated third choice is do nothing and go bankrupt.

    "Decent liberal hipsters" don't usually confront these problems-they only complain about those who do. "Ruthless capitalists seated at the boardroom table" are just liberal hipsters that had to grow up.

    Hiring people and giving raises is fun and heartwarming-firing people and denying raised when finances are tough -- not so much. I've done both.

    Michael Pettengill 26 May 2015 20:36

    Employers in this "factory world" do not need to find or create consumers, so the employers are free to destroy consumers to save themselves from bankruptcy. But when the retailers who pay the employers cut the size of their orders, the employers have no choice but to fire workers and destroy consumers.

    That this is what is going on is hidden by the long chain the money flows through. The workers are paid by employers paid by retailers who sell to workers paid by other employers who sell to retailers who sell to workers which eventually needs to be the original group of workers in that original factory. Cutting their wages will cut their buying which will ripple back to reduced sales by the retailer paying the factory paying their wages by buying goods.

    Adam Smith argued this value chain would work without fail to employ all workers in producing just barely what the workers desired, but not more and just enough less to motivate workers to produce more to be paid more.

    Keynes argued, after it was conventional wisdom, that unemployment would cut demand causing more unemployment, so government needs to force spending to cause workers to be hired and paid.

    Keynes did not argue for paying people not to work. FDR in 1935 laid out the case for the moral imperative to pay people to work for the good of the nation.

    In any case, the wealth of nations depends on the collective action of all the people of the nation, and Keynes argued and FDR demonstrates that collective action through people acting through government works.

    The play merely teaches that you are a cog in a machine that is beyond your control.

    DoRonDoRonRon 26 May 2015 19:26

    "Our fascination with market forces blinds us to the fact that capitalism – as a state of being – is a set of conditions created and maintained by states. ... But to make a third industrial revolution happen needs something no individual factory boss can execute: the re-regulation of capitalism into something better."

    The author sees capitalism as flawed because it is "set of conditions created and maintained by states." But how is the "re-regulation" he thinks will make it better be carried out? It would, of course, be carried out by states.

    [May 15, 2015] Fed-Up Employee Just About 14 Years Away From Walking Out Door

    Pretty biting humor
    The Burning Platform

    WALTHAM, MA—Frustrated with a growing list of unacceptable workplace indignities, fed-up Catamount Systems employee Marc Holden is just about 14 years away from walking out the front door of his office and never returning, sources confirmed Thursday. “I swear to God, if things don’t improve around here real fast, I am out of here in 14 years or so—I am not bluffing,” Holden said, noting that if he has to endure just a decade and a half more of company-wide incompetence and pointless micromanagement, he is gone for good. “Seriously, I don’t think I can take any more than 3,000 more days of this before I snap.

    Mark my words, if 2029 rolls around and it’s still the same old shit around here, I’m cleaning out my desk, getting on that elevator, and never coming back.” Holden added that if his boss belittled him in front of the entire staff just 200 more times, he would storm right into his office and tell him exactly where he can stick it.

    [Apr 20, 2015] Colleagues Addicted to Tech

    Apr 20, 2015 | NYTimes.com

    Discussing Bad Work Situations

    I have been in my present position for over 25 years. Five years ago, I was assigned a new boss, who has a reputation in my industry for harassing people in positions such as mine until they quit. I have managed to survive, but it's clear that it's time for me to move along. How should I answer the inevitable interview question: Why would I want to leave after so long? I've heard that speaking badly of a boss is an interview no-no, but it really is the only reason I'm looking to find something new. BROOKLYN

    I am unemployed and interviewing for a new job. I have read that when answering interview questions, it's best to keep everything you say about previous work experiences or managers positive.

    But what if you've made one or two bad choices in the past: taking jobs because you needed them, figuring you could make it work — then realizing the culture was a bad fit, or you had an arrogant, narcissistic boss?

    Nearly everyone has had a bad work situation or boss. I find it refreshing when I read stories about successful people who mention that they were fired at some point, or didn't get along with a past manager. So why is it verboten to discuss this in an interview? How can the subject be addressed without sounding like a complainer, or a bad employee? CHICAGO

    As these queries illustrate, the temptation to discuss a negative work situation can be strong among job applicants. But in both of these situations, and in general, criticizing a current or past employer is a risky move. You don't have to paint a fictitiously rosy picture of the past, but dwelling on the negative can backfire. Really, you don't want to get into a detailed explanation of why you have or might quit at all. Instead, you want to talk about why you're such a perfect fit for the gig you're applying for.

    So, for instance, a question about leaving a long-held job could be answered by suggesting that the new position offers a chance to contribute more and learn new skills by working with a stronger team. This principle applies in responding to curiosity about jobs that you held for only a short time.

    It's fine to acknowledge a misstep. But spin the answer to focus on why this new situation is such an ideal match of your abilities to the employer's needs.

    The truth is, even if you're completely right about the past, a prospective employer doesn't really want to hear about the workplace injustices you've suffered, or the failings of your previous employer. A manager may even become concerned that you will one day add his or her name to the list of people who treated you badly. Save your cathartic outpourings for your spouse, your therapist, or, perhaps, the future adoring profile writer canonizing your indisputable success.

    Send your workplace conundrums to workologist@nytimes.com, including your name and contact information (even if you want it withheld for publication). The Workologist is a guy with well-intentioned opinions, not a professional career adviser. Letters may be edited.

    [Feb 28, 2015] How to Deal With a Psychopath

    [Feb 28, 2015] Psychopath BBC documentary Full Documentary

    national geographic,national geographic 2014,national geographic documentary,documentary,documentary 2014,documentaries,documentaries 2014,bbc documentary,di.

    [Feb 28, 2015] The Psychopath Next Door (2014) - ( Documentary )

    [Feb 28, 2015] The Mind of a Psychopath

    [Jul 06, 2014] How a phychopath boss can turn friends into enemies

    yalensis , July 5, 2014 at 4:12 am
    ...

    This guy got his rocks off by pitting his underlings against each other: Turning friends into enemies, etc. He did this through a combination of (temporary) favoritism, using office spies, power plays, and also employing an “office wife” to spread gossip about people behind their back.

    It was very effective: in the end, nobody trusted anyone, everybody hated everybody, the whole team became completely dysfunctional because people would rather root for others’ failures than try to achieve something themselves; hence, nothing ever got done, and some very talented brains were completed wasted with this intrigue and B.S.

    ... ... ...

    [Jun 22, 2014] THE TYRANNY OF TOXIC MANAGERS: AN EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE APPROACH TO DEALING WITH DIFFICULT PERSONALITIES by Roy Lubit

    March 1, 2004 | iveybusinessjournal.com
    Toxic managers are a fact of life. Some managers are toxic most of the time; most managers are toxic some of the time. Knowing how to deal with people who are rigid, aggressive, self-centered or exhibit other types of dysfunctional behaviour can improve your own health and that of others in the workplace. This author describes the mechanisms for coping.

    Toxic managers dot the landscape in most organizations, making them seem, at times, like war zones. These managers can complicate your work, drain your energy, compromise your sanity, derail your projects and destroy your career. Your ability to deal with these corporate land mines will have a significant impact on your career. Those who are able to recognize toxic managers quickly and understand what makes them tick will be in the best position to protect themselves. Difficult managers are a fact of life and how they affect your life depends upon the skills you develop to deal with them.

    The issue is not simply a matter of individual survival. Toxic managers divert people’s energy from the real work of the organization, destroy morale, impair retention, and interfere with cooperation and information sharing. Their behaviour, like a rock thrown into a pond, can cause ripples distorting the organization’s culture and affecting people far beyond the point of impact.

    Senior management and HR can significantly improve an organization’s culture and functioning by taking steps to find and contain those who are most destructive. Leadership can spare an organization serious damage by learning how to recognize problematic personality traits quickly, placing difficult managers in positions in which their behaviour will do the least harm, arranging for coaching for those who are able to grow, and knowing which managers are time bombs that need to be let go.

    This article will help you learn how to avoid becoming a scapegoat, to survive aggressive managers’ assaults, and to give narcissistic and rigid managers the things they need to be satisfied with you. It will also help senior management and HR to recognize toxic managers before they do serious damage. The basic theme of the article is that to deal effectively with toxic behavior you need to understand what lies underneath it, design an intervention to target those underlying factors, and have sufficient control of your own feelings and behaviour so that you can do what is most effective, rather than let your own anger or anxiety get the best of you. In other words, you need to develop your emotional intelligence.

    [May 31, 2014] Psychopaths: how can you spot one?

    telegraph.co.uk
    We think of psychopaths as killers, alien, outside society. But, says the scientist who has spent his life studying them, you could have one for a colleague, a friend – or a spouse

    There are a few things we take for granted in social interactions with people. We presume that we see the world in roughly the same way, that we all know certain basic facts, that words mean the same things to you as they do to me. And we assume that we have pretty similar ideas of right and wrong.

    But for a small – but not that small – subset of the population, things are very different. These people lack remorse and empathy and feel emotion only shallowly. In extreme cases, they might not care whether you live or die. These people are called psychopaths. Some of them are violent criminals, murderers. But by no means all.

    Professor Robert Hare is a criminal psychologist, and the creator of the PCL-R, a psychological assessment used to determine whether someone is a psychopath. For decades, he has studied people with psychopathy, and worked with them, in prisons and elsewhere. “It stuns me, as much as it did when I started 40 years ago, that it is possible to have people who are so emotionally disconnected that they can function as if other people are objects to be manipulated and destroyed without any concern,” he says.

    Our understanding of the brain is still in its infancy, and it’s not so many decades since psychological disorders were seen as character failings. Slowly we are learning to think of mental illnesses as illnesses, like kidney disease or liver failure, and personality disorders, such as autism, in a similar way. Psychopathy challenges this view. “A high-scoring psychopath views the world in a very different way,” says Hare. “It’s like colour-blind people trying to understand the colour red, but in this case ‘red’ is other people’s emotions.”

    At heart, Hare’s test is simple: a list of 20 criteria, each given a score of 0 (if it doesn’t apply to the person), 1 (if it partially applies) or 2 (if it fully applies). The list includes: glibness and superficial charm, grandiose sense of self-worth, cunning/manipulative, pathological lying, emotional shallowness, callousness and lack of empathy, a tendency to boredom, impulsivity, criminal versatility, behavioural problems in early life, juvenile delinquency, and promiscuous sexual behaviour. A pure, prototypical psychopath would score 40. A score of 30 or more qualifies for a diagnosis of psychopathy. Hare says: “A friend of mine, a psychiatrist, once said: ‘Bob, when I meet someone who scores 35 or 36, I know these people really are different.’ The ones we consider to be alien are the ones at the upper end.”

    But is psychopathy a disorder – or a different way of being? Anyone reading the list above will spot a few criteria familiar from people they know. On average, someone with no criminal convictions scores 5. “It’s dimensional,” says Hare. “There are people who are part-way up the scale, high enough to warrant an assessment for psychopathy, but not high enough up to cause problems. Often they’re our friends, they’re fun to be around. They might take advantage of us now and then, but usually it’s subtle and they’re able to talk their way around it.” Like autism, a condition which we think of as a spectrum, “psycho­pathy”, the diagnosis, bleeds into normalcy.

    We think of psychopaths as killers, criminals, outside society. People such as Joanna Dennehy, a 31-year-old British woman who killed three men in 2013 and who the year before had been diagnosed with a psychopathic personality disorder, or Ted Bundy, the American serial killer who is believed to have murdered at least 30 people and who said of himself: “I’m the most cold-blooded son of a bitch you’ll ever meet. I just liked to kill.” But many psychopathic traits aren’t necessarily disadvantages – and might, in certain circumstances, be an advantage.

    For their co-authored book, “Snakes in suits: When Psychopaths go to work”, Hare and another researcher, Paul Babiak, looked at 203 corporate professionals and found about four per cent scored sufficiently highly on the PCL-R to be evaluated for psychopathy. Hare says that this wasn’t a proper random sample (claims that “10 per cent of financial executives” are psychopaths are certainly false) but it’s easy to see how a lack of moral scruples and indifference to other people’s suffering could be beneficial if you want to get ahead in business.

    “There are two kinds of empathy,” says James Fallon, a neuroscientist at the University of California and author of The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist’s Personal Journey into the Dark Side of the Brain. “Cognitive empathy is the ability to know what other people are feeling, and emotional empathy is the kind where you feel what they’re feeling.” Autistic people can be very empathetic – they feel other people’s pain – but are less able to recognise the cues we read easily, the smiles and frowns that tell us what someone is thinking. Psychopaths are often the opposite: they know what you’re feeling, but don’t feel it themselves. “This all gives certain psychopaths a great advantage, because they can understand what you’re thinking, it’s just that they don’t care, so they can use you against yourself.” (Chillingly, psychopaths are particularly adept at detecting vulnerability. A 2008 study that asked participants to remember virtual characters found that those who scored highly for psychopathy had a near perfect recognition for sad, unsuccessful females, but impaired memory for other characters.)

    ...And in his youth, “if I was confronted by authority – if I stole a car, made pipe bombs, started fires – when we got caught by the police I showed no emotion, no anxiety”. Yet he is highly successful, driven to win. He tells me things most people would be uncomfortable saying: that his wife says she’s married to a “fun-loving, happy-go-lucky nice guy” on the one hand, and a “very dark character who she does not like” on the other. He’s pleasant, and funny, if self-absorbed, but I can’t help but think about the criteria in Hare’s PCL-R: superficial charm, lack of emotional depth, grandiose sense of self-worth. “I look like hell now, Tom,” he says – he’s 66 – “but growing up I was good-looking, six foot, 180lb, athletic, smart, funny, popular.” (Hare warns against non-professionals trying to diagnose people using his test, by the way.)

    “Psychopaths do think they’re more rational than other people, that this isn’t a deficit,” says Hare. “I met one offender who was certainly a psychopath who said ‘My problem is that according to psychiatrists I think more with my head than my heart. What am I supposed to do about that? Am I supposed to get all teary-eyed?’ ” Another, asked if he had any regrets about stabbing a robbery victim, replied: “Get real! He spends a few months in hospital and I rot here. If I wanted to kill him I would have slit his throat. That’s the kind of guy I am; I gave him a break.”

    And yet, as Hare points out, when you’re talking about people who aren’t criminals, who might be successful in life, it’s difficult to categorise it as a disorder. “It’d be pretty hard for me to go into high-level political or economic or academic context and pick out all the most successful people and say, ‘Look, I think you’ve got some brain deficit.’ One of my inmates said that his problem was that he’s a cat in a world of mice. If you compare the brainwave activity of a cat and a mouse, you’d find they were quite different.”

    It would, says Hare, probably have been an evolutionarily successful strategy for many of our ancestors, and can be successful today; adept at manipulating people, a psychopath can enter a community, “like a church or a cultural organisation, saying, ‘I believe the same things you do’, but of course what we have is really a cat pretending to be a mouse, and suddenly all the money’s gone”. At this point he floats the name Bernie Madoff.

    Guest Post - Conditioning That Which Keeps People Subservient to Abusive Leadership

    Zero Hedge
    Few who are paying attention to world events through a lens more precise than the Main Stream Media (MSM) would deny that the vast majority of humans are being badly abused by their leadership in a variety of venues ranging from local, regional, national, and international politicians and bureaucrats, financial managers, corporate controllers, religious leaders, media moguls and warlords.

    The vast majority of humans appear to be oblivious to this abuse and passively accept what is being done to them. Why is that? In one word - conditioning.

    The vastly increased access to information that the internet enabled is responsible for a large number of people at least becoming aware of this abuse. However even among this more aware group, taking effective action to stop the abuse is sorely lacking. Why is that? In one word - conditioning.

    There is a much smaller group that are proactively attempting to counter the abuse through group protest, but they are losing the struggle. Why is that? In one word - conditioning.

    ... ... ...

    The most rigid and destructive conditioning is imposed on us during our schooling. That schooling is starting earlier and lasting much longer than previously in history and while we are being ‘schooled’ we are not considered full adults with the responsibilities and freedoms such status implies.

    Why is that? Could it be that control in our society is much more rigid than ever before? Those that control us realize that a rebellion of youth is the most dangerous kind. How better to minimize the impact of people in their prime than by keeping their status at ‘children’ with little access to power until well past their prime years? If people cave in to ‘slave hood’ during their prime years, how likely are they to rebel once they are past their prime; especially if they are burdened with excessive debt from their education?

    ... ... ...

    In current society peer pressure during childhood, and early adulthood, is immense. To survive in this setting we must pay close attention to others around us for clues regarding what is and is not acceptable. Because of this pressure the bulk of our energy goes into human interactions and we are pretty much oblivious to everything but our immediate environment. “Use it or lose it”, is sage advice. Because of concentrating on human relations during their formative years, most people have little if any connection to the natural world.

    Try to imagine what people would be like if, as youngsters, they spent time exploring and living in nature while being responsible for their own survival and actions instead of hanging out at the mall or partying with their pals.

    Is it fair to say that those that hang with the crowd are unlikely to be aware of, or able to understand, large scale events not part of their immediate environment?

    What about someone who is tasked with surviving in the greater world using only their own skills? Would they stand a better chance of grasping what is going on?

    Is this phenomena related to the common use of a ‘rite of manhood’ by many cultures where young adults leave the security of their group to face the wilderness on their own?

    Do the majority of people in modern societies never go through this enabling rite of passage and instead go from the security of their parent’s care to the security of the big brother state? Does this explain why some people never seem to reach adulthood?

    Substantial time on the lookout, without peer pressure, made me realize how confining trying to fit into the crowd is. Most people don’t even sense this pressure because it is all they know. It’s like the air we breathe. It’s just there until it isn’t, then we die; unless we are prepared for an airless environment.

    Most people also don’t realize how much of their time and energy it takes to be ‘social’. Being removed from ‘socializing’ is enormously stressful if it is all you know.

    Many aspiring lookout men needed to come down off the mountains prematurely because they could not stand being alone. Those that adjusted to the isolation came to treasure the freedom of being comfortable for extended periods with just their own company. The amount of time that then becomes available for other, possibly more worthwhile pursuits, is substantial.

    In the forefront of these benefits is having the time to look inside youself without constantly being subjected to the opinion of others. Building friendships takes time and effort and becoming your own friend is no exception. Most of us never get the opportunity to do this.

    Those that desire to control human behavior understand that people that are not comfortable with themself are much more susceptible to being controlled because they are lonely and need to seek comfort and friendship outside themselves. Virtually every sales campaign, ranging from that of the door to door salesmen to world leaders, is then enabled to easily sell you a bill of goods by convincing you that what they have to offer is going to become your best friend and make your life less lonely.

    Short excursions or holidays into nature, most often with others fitted into a busy schedule, do little to increase our awareness of the greater reality that humans exist within. Thanks to modern technology very few of these excursions actually take people far from the human controlled environment they are conditioned to.

    It is one thing to climb to the top of a mountain, conquer it, and then immediately return to civilization. It is something totally different to stay in that wilderness environment for extended periods with the time to come to know those other species that are at home in those environs. It makes one realize that humans are not the 'be all, end all' of life on earth. Humility is born which serves us very well. In this environment one soon comes to realize those species include the earth itself. Seeing the constant breathing of weather and daily and seasonal shifts of energies makes one realize everything is made of the same stuff and ‘lives’ in its own unique way.

    ... ... ...

    Humans are far more difficult to control if they live in small clusters, all over the place, while paying little or no attention to the MSM. The propagandists can then no longer create a single message that will motive the whole herd of humans to act identically by broadcasting their one piece of propaganda from a single location that reaches everyone.

    Propaganda still works, but it must be tailored properly to fit each unique situation in order to get consistent results. If there is no central broadcasting service the message must also be taken to each unique location individually. This is an impossible situation for our rulers and is the reason we are all so heavily conditioned to….

    The most destructive conditioning takes place in our schools, right at the time we are most susceptible to it, during our formative years. During that period we have little experience of our own to compare to what we are told, and raising questions about the validity of the taught ‘truth’ is ruthlessly punished in order to force us to depend on the wisdom of others instead of our own intuition.

    We are ruthlessly regimented to follow orders so that we eventually become incapable of thinking for ourselves and become dependent on the ‘boss’ to do our thinking for us. The intellectual box we become stuck within is then defined by the boss.

    Specialization in training, and limiting access to information, (compartmentalization) is critical to our conditioning. If we cannot think for ourselves, and only understand part of the puzzle, and are incapable of deducing or intuiting answers to unknowns, we are trapped within our dependence on others.

    I have personally met a number of world shaker class intellectuals that are extremely brilliant in their own field, but figuratively can’t tie their own shoe laces. This situation is not accidental. If only the boss has the full picture, the boss becomes the only one who can act effectively. Everyone else then becomes totally dependent on the Boss. Specialization has its place, but having a well rounded toolkit of life skills is essential to individual freedom.

    Being away from civilization where the boss is not handy to hold your hand is a disaster waiting to happen if you cannot think for yourself. Then, unless you quickly learn to identify problems before they destroy you, and also learn to fix problems you can’t avoid intuitively without an instruction manually from the boss, you will not survive long.

    ... ... ..

    No one is perfect and you will make mistakes when you think for yourself. Mistakes are often painful, but if you accept the possibility of making mistakes, and are willing to learn from them when you make them, you will eventually become a very robust and capable person. What doesn’t break you strengthens you.

    If you are afraid of making mistakes you are stuck on the safe (?) road built by our bosses. You still might not be safe, but at least you can then blame your mistakes on someone else.

    I have learned far more from my mistakes than from my successes. I am now very thankful for my mistakes, even though some were very painful to navigate.

    ... ... ...

    [Mar 02, 2014] Forensic psychiatrists use Hollywood characters to shed light on psychopaths

    Feb 28, 2014 | DW.DE

    Film is a particularly suitable medium for depicting psychopathy, says Samuel Leistedt, a forensic psychiatrist at the Marronniers hospital in Tournai, Belgium. Many films featuring psychopaths have also become Hollywood classics and blockbusters: "Psycho," "Silence of the Lambs" and "There Will Be Blood," to name a few.

    Leistedt and his team compiled a database of 400 films, although less than a third were selected for analysis based on the realism of the characters. Their study, which was published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences, found that psychopaths in the movies have become more clinically accurate over time.

    "I identify the really well-constructed characters, which were so realistic that you could meet them in your practice," says Leistedt, who co-authored the study with colleague Paul Linkowski.

    One classic, idiopathic prototype, which closely resembles a clinical case, is the psychopathic killer Anton Chigurh. He is portrayed by Spanish actor Javiar Bardem in "No Country for Old Men."

    "A guy I met in my practice was exactly like that. He was a hitman in Belgium, working for a criminal organization. He was very cold and very scary," Leistedt says.

    Non-violent psychopaths

    Not all psychopaths are serial killers, rapists or mafia hitmen though. Some are neither violent nor criminal. Manipulative corporate raiders such as Gordon Gekko in Oliver Stone's film, "Wall Street," can still destroy other human beings, yet manage to sleep soundly at night.

    Michael Douglas as Gordon Gecko in Wall Street
    Not all psychopaths are serial killers, rapists and mafia hit men: Some could be corporate raiders

    "Gordon Gekko is probably the best example of this kind of successful, manipulative psychopath. They will not kill you, but they are very charming. They lie, they like power," says Leistedt.

    Interestingly, the few psychopathic women in the film study are mainly the manipulative type. Actress Sharon Stone's character in "Basic Instinct" uses her sexuality to entrap victims and kills them with an ice pick, even though physical aggression is rare among women.

    "Female psychopaths are more manipulative than male ones. The motivation for murder is different, like the black widow who marries a wealthy old man and puts poison in his drink," he explains.

    The counterpart to the clever manipulator is the "macho male," who possesses more brawn than brains.

    "The most beautiful example of macho is the famous gangster in Chicago, Al Capone. He's aggressive, but not very smart," Leistedt adds.

    Absence of empathy a key personality trait

    Javier Bardem as Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men
    Anton Chigurh in "No Country for Old Men" is the "perfect villain with a bad haircut"

    The defining personality trait of all psychopathic types, in film as well as life, is lack of empathy, says Dietmar Kanthak, a film critic at the Bonn-based daily Der General-Anzeiger. He describes Javiar Bardem's portrayal of Anton Chigurh in "No Country for Old Men" as "the perfect villain with a bad haircut."

    "He kills like Arnold Schwarzenegger in 'Terminator' - like a machine. He's got this intelligence, this will to get a job done. He has no empathy at all," he adds.

    Other psychopathic traits include lack of remorse and guilt.

    "They can mimic emotions. Intellectually they are able to explain what sadness is, but they are not able to feel sadness or anxiety," explains Leistedt.

    Psychopathic brains are different

    Diagram of amygdalae in the brain
    The amygdalae, deep in emotional brain, remain dormant in psychopaths

    The inability to feel emotion could have a biological basis. When psychopathic subjects are shown powerful images of pain, terror or suffering, their brain activity hardly registers on an MRI scan.

    The amygdalae - two small almond-shaped structures at the heart of what is called the emotional brain - remain cold.

    "It's like the brain is paralyzed or asleep. These are very important structures in terms of emotions and fear. When you see a snake, for example, your amygdala will normally activate a lot," Leistedt says.

    The MRI scans show how psychopathic and non-psychopathic brains differ, but do not explain the reasons for the difference. It's not known to what extent a relatively inactive amygdala may be inborn or genetic, since social deprivation, childhood traumas or head injuries can also leave a neurological imprint on the brain.

    Psychopaths versus sociopaths

    Many of the film psychopaths in the study are actually sociopaths. They commit the same brutal crimes as true psychopaths who have no feelings. The difference is that sociopaths may still be capable of feeling human emotion and remorse. One classic case is the real-life Louisiana death row inmate Matthew Poncelet. He is portrayed by Sean Penn in "Dead Man Walking."

    "He has access to emotions - to sadness, to guilt. He is anti-social, a drug addict, but not a psychopath," says Leistedt.

    Sean Penn (left) as sociopath Matthew Poncelet, and Susan Sarandon, in Dead Man Walking
    Sociopath Matthew Poncelet (left) in "Dead Man Walking" is able to access his emotions

    Cinematically, Matthew Poncelet is one of the most realistic characters in the study.

    "We don't know if he's guilty or not, and then afterwards you see the evidence of his killing two teenagers. You get the whole complexity of this character," says film critic Kanthak, who believes that films can enable moviegoers to understand the psychology of psychopaths.

    "The best films try to explain these characters. They try to present them in all their complexity - all their faults, all their wickedness: but they're still human beings, aren't they?" he adds.

    [Mar 01, 2014] Lewis Yablonsky, Provocative Sociologist, Dies at 89

    NYTimes.com

    Lewis Yablonsky carried a switchblade before he became a sociologist.

    “My need for self-protection stemmed, in part, from my teenage years as a dice and card hustler,” Dr. Yablonsky once wrote, recalling his days at South Side High School in Newark.

    “During this phase of my life I hung out with many individuals who I would, later on, after my formal education, characterize as sociopaths.”

    He made good money cheating at cards and dice. He went on to make a remarkable career hanging out with and writing about sociopaths — gangsters, drug dealers, murderers — as well as more ordinary characters, like unhappily married couples.

    ... ... ...

    Dr. Yablonsky emphasized street-level immersion over academic remove, and he often said that his rough childhood had helped him see the complexity in people and inspired his belief in treatment over punishment. When he was a boy, in the 1930s, he was beaten by whites who mocked his Jewishness and by blacks who mocked his whiteness, he recalled. He rode along in his father’s laundry truck in tough neighborhoods, he said, in part to prevent people from stealing the truck. He often marveled that, unlike so many of the people he grew up with, he did not go to prison.

    “My greatest achievement in life,” he liked to say, “was getting out of Newark.”

    [Feb 02, 2014] Bully Nation By Yale Magrass and Charles Derber

    On international arena its not simply bulling. It is also divide and counque strategy that is in works.
    Truthout

    New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has appropriately been called a bully. This has implications well beyond Christie. His calling out has the potential to shift the growing public conversation about bullying from a psychological narrative about abusive individuals to a new discourse on institutionalized bullying, carried out by ruling institutions and elites.

    The current focus on bullying - like much of the discussion about guns and gun violence - has tended to focus on individuals and mental health. It is a therapeutic narrative. Bullying is seen primarily as a psychological problem of individuals. The victim needs therapy, better communication or adaptation skills. Bullies are characterologically flawed and need therapy or perhaps legal punishment.

    But there is little or no discussion of larger social or cultural forces in the United States and the American institutions or leaders who bully other countries or workers and citizens at home. Institutionalized bullying is endemic to a capitalist hegemonic nation like the United States and creates death and suffering on a far greater scale than personal, everyday bullying, as important and toxic as the latter might be.

    Moreover, much of the everyday bullying that is the current media focus must be understood as the inevitable consequence of a militarized corporate system that requires a popular mind-set of bullying to produce profit and power. The individual bully is the creation of the bully nation.

    The United States openly views itself as the world police force, a benign hegemon morally ordained to impose its interests and values on the rest of the world and justified in the name of freedom, human rights and antiterrorism to do to weaker countries what it wants. It spends more on weapons than its next 20 largest competitors combined. President Obama proclaimed "[S]o long as I'm Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known." To peasants living in small countries in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia - where the United States has sent armed forces, used drones to bomb, and often overthrown the government - polls show that a majority of people see the United States as the greatest threat to their security, and fear it. Hegemony here seamlessly unfolds as morally sanctioned, institutionalized bullying.

    America makes heroes of bomber pilots like John McCain and offers them as role models for children and adolescents to emulate. They see the media applaud the bullying behavior of their own government that dispatches police, soldiers, FBI and CIA agents into foreign nations to kill and wreak havoc - from Afghanistan to Somalia to Columbia. If you kill enough, whether in a just war or not, you may win the Congressional Medal of Honor.

    If bullying brings esteem to a nation, then surely that is a behavior to strive for. Potential recruits for an aggressive military need to be immunized against scruples over violence and bullying. This becomes an implicit part of their education, whether or not it is ever publicly admitted. Accordingly, schools and adult authorities often turn a blind eye toward bullying. After two world wars, the Army lamented that a majority of combat soldiers never fired a weapon. They called for a change in the training of soldiers and the education and upbringing of children to correct that. By that measure, they have been successful. In Vietnam, Iraq and Afganistan, the majority of combat soldiers killed.

    Sports has played a vital part in preparing children for institutionalized aggression, bullying and combat. In football, the goal is to attack the opponent and knock them down, a hard hit that keeps the opponent dazed on the ground is sometimes encouraged by coaches and cheered by the crowd. In schools and campuses, the athletes are often the popular heroes and also the bullies, involved too often in sexual violence or drinking binges in bars that lead to fights or crimes.

    Only recently would they expect sanctions against bullying. Indeed, the more they bullied, the more popular they would be. Even before World War I, President Theodore Roosevelt insisted that elite universities like Harvard would have to enhance their football teams if America were to dominate the world. He declared: "We cannot afford to turn out college men who shrink from physical effort or a little physical pain." For the nation needed men with "the courage that will fight valiantly against the foes of the soul and the foes of the body."

    The aggression and competiveness of bullying pervades civilian life as well as military. As the beacon for the rest of the world to emulate, the culture the United States wishes to export is capitalism. Capitalism's staunchest defenders proclaim competition to be its fundamental operating principle. The monopolistic corporations and the wealthiest 1% have been the most aggressive, bullying anyone who stood in their way by outsourcing their jobs, lowering wages, stripping away benefits and firing those seeking to organize unions.

    The bully demonizes their victim. In American capitalism, elites have long defined the losers in the competitive struggle with the words used by Mitt Romney to defame the 47%: undeserving "moochers." They are weak and lazy and don't have the stuff to prevail. As victims, they deserve their fate and must submit to the triumphant. Those, like the wolves on Wall Street who bully their way to the top, should be there; those who couldn't or don't, belong where they are.

    Bullying is the means through which the corporate empires were built. Carnegie and Rockefeller intimidated and threatened their rival capitalists to cede them an ever-larger share of the market. They brought in Pinkerton goons to beat striking workers into submission. Workers were forced to either sign "yellow dog" contracts and pledge not to join unions, or be thrown into the street. Similar bullying practices continue today. Corporations warn entire communites they will shut down factories and undermine the local economy if they do not accept low wages and minimal regulations. Banks entice consumers to borrow through predatory loans and then raise interest rates and threaten foreclosure. The corporations are clear they have the power and will not tolerate challenges from weaklings who fail to know their place.

    Bullying enhances the ideology that the strong are strong and the weak are weak, and each deserves to be where they are. This attitude pervades America's culture, government, military, corporations, media, schools, entertainment, athletics and everyday life. The first step to a solution is shifting the conversation to institutional bullying, moving beyond simply a therapeutic narrative to a political one aiming toward transformative social change. As long as the United States embraces militarism and aggressive capitalism, systemic bullying and all its impacts - abroad and at home - will persist as a major crisis.

    [Jan 19, 2014] Power + Incompetence = a Bullying Boss

    Here’s some gratifying news for any employees out there who are feeling bullied by a tyrannical boss: That aggressive behavior may have little to do with you, and a lot to do with your boss’s feelings of incompetence. A new study in Psychological Science found that when managers are made to feel insecure about their job performance, their aggressiveness skyrockets. “Power holders feel they need to be superior and competent. When they don’t feel they can show that legitimately, they’ll show it by taking people down a notch or two” [New Scientist], says study coauthor Nathanael Fast.

    The researchers got 410 volunteers from various workplaces to fill out questionnaires about their position in the workplace hierarchy, how they felt about their job performance, and their aggressive tendencies. They also conducted a series experiments on the volunteers. In one, they manipulated the subjects’ sense of power and self-worth by asking them to write about occasions when they felt either empowered or impotent and then either competent or incompetent. Previous research has suggested that such essays cause a short-term bump or drop in feelings of power and capability [New Scientist]. Next they asked the volunteers to set the level of punishment for (imaginary) university students who got wrong answers on a test. Those people who felt more powerful and more incompetent picked the harshest punishments, the study found.

    So what’s to be done with a bullying boss? Coauthor Serena Chen says a little ego stroking may make life easier for everyone. “Make them feel good about themselves in some way,” Chen said, suggesting this might mean complimenting a hobby or nonwork activity provided it is “something plausible that doesn’t sound like you’re sucking up” [San Francisco Chronicle].

    Related Content:
    80beats: Teenage Bullies are Rewarded With Pleasure, Brain Scans Show
    DISCOVER: So, You Want to Be the Boss?

    [Nov 03, 2013] The Age of Narcissism

    Jesse's Café Américain

    "Narcissism falls along the axis of what psychologists call personality disorders, one of a group that includes antisocial, dependent, histrionic, avoidant and borderline personalities.

    But by most measures, narcissism is one of the worst, if only because the narcissists themselves are so clueless."

    -- Jeffrey Kluger

    “Hate is the complement of fear and narcissists like being feared. It imbues them with an intoxicating sensation of omnipotence...

    The sadistic narcissist perceives himself as godlike, ruthless and devoid of scruples, capricious and unfathomable, emotion-less and non-sexual, omniscient, omnipotent and omni-present, a plague, a devastation, an inescapable verdict.”

    -- Sam Vaknin

    If you wish to see the narcissist in their natural habitat, the chat boards and comment sections of some blogs are where the marginally successful dwell, often dominating the conversation with their self-obsessed arrogance. Sometimes in periods of unusual circumstances they can even rise to positions of power. They are attracted to corporate structures, and financial and political positions.

    They have no humility, no doubts, and no empathy. Whatever life or luck or others may have helped them to achieve, they feel that they deserve it all, and more. They have worked for everything they have, whereas others who have suffered setbacks and misfortune simply have made bad choices or been lazy. And if others have been cheated and abused, then they deserve it for being stupid.

    They are often judgmental and racist, and brimming over with hateful scorn for others, unless they can be co-opted into their sphere of influence and behave according to the narcissist's world and rules.

    As Thomas Aquinas said, 'well-ordered self-love is right and natural.' It is when this natural behaviour becomes excessive and twisted that it becomes a pathology, a disorder of the personality.

    Often narcissists have exaggerated ideas about their own talents and worth and work. Sometimes they are compensating for the neglect and disregard, or even abuse, of one or both parents who failed to see and appreciate how special they are. At other times they are the product of an environment in which they have been raised to believe that they are special, and deserve special treatment and consideration. Since obviously not all children of privilege or abuse become narcissists, it might have its genesis in an untreated form of depression or genetic predisposition.

    "The classic narcissist is overly self-confident and sees themselves as superior than other people. Think of a child who has always been told by mom and dad that they would be great, and then that child takes and internally distorts that message into superiority.

    The compensatory narcissist covers up with their grandiose behavior, a deep-seated deficit in self-esteem. Think of a child who felt devalued but instead of giving up on life, resorts to fantasies of grandeur and greatness. This person will either live in that fantasy world or decide to create that fantasy world in real life."

    If this affliction is accompanied by other problems such as sadism or malignant mania, they may become a destructive element for all who encounter them. Their illness affects others more than themselves, so they may often not seek treatment, and excuse the damage they inflict with the 'weakness' of others.

    They seek to fill the great empty holes of self-loathing with the lives and possessions of others, all the while proudly wreathing their actions with self serving rationalization.

    They are more to be pitied than scorned, as they are living in a small part the hell which they are making for themselves. But we must guard ourselves against their powerful certainty in an age of uncertainty. Their certainty is a madness which serves none but itself.

    "Narcissism is a psychological condition defined as an obsession with the self. While not all forms of self-love or self-interest are destructive, extreme cases can be very damaging and may be diagnosed as narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

    In these instances, the disorder is characterized by a lack of empathy for others, sadistic or destructive tendencies, and a compulsion to satisfy personal needs above all other goals.

    People suffering from NPD tend to have difficulty establishing or maintaining friendships, close family relationships, and even careers. About 1% of people have this condition, and up to 3/4 of those diagnosed with it are men.

    The signs of narcissism often revolve around a person's perception of himself in comparison to other people.

    Those with severe cases often believe they are naturally superior to others or that they possess extraordinary capabilities. They may have extreme difficulty acknowledging personal weaknesses, yet also have fragile self-esteem.

    Narcissistic people also frequently believe that they are not truly appreciated, and can be prone to outbursts of anger, jealousy, and self-loathing when they do not get what they feel they deserve."


    Hallmarks of Narcissism

    A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

    •Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
    •Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
    •Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
    •Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
    •Is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her
    •Requires excessive admiration
    •Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
    •Believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
    •Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

    [Oct 14, 2013] Jesse's Café Américain

    "A rogue does not laugh in the same way that an honest man does; a hypocrite does not shed the tears of a man of good faith. All falsehood is a mask; and however well made the mask may be, with a little attention we may always succeed in distinguishing it from the true face."

    Alexandre Dumas

    [Aug 24, 2013] 11 Signs You May Be Dating A Sociopath

    Watch out for consistency of their stories about past. And I agree that "#1 clue - constantly lying about insignificant or stupid stuff for absolutely no reason. When caught, they either change the subject, or get angry/violent (which also changes the focus away from the lie). They really enjoy making you wonder "why" (about everything and anything), because it gives them power over you. "

    Could that amazing new person you or a loved one is dating actually be a sociopath? It's not as far-fetched as you might imagine. Roughly one in 25 Americans is a sociopath, according to Harvard psychologist Dr. Martha Stout, author of The Sociopath Next Door.

    Of course, not all sociopaths are dangerous criminals. But they certainly can make life difficult, given that the defining characteristic of sociopathy is antisocial behavior.

    Here are 11 RED FLAGS to look out for:

    sightseeing62 .

    I am a man, and an alpha male at that, and I have stumbled in to a couple of (professional)women that fit six out of the eleven mentioned. When men lie they are convincing, when women lie they are believable. What's the difference? Nothing, they are the same type of people. Different genders only.

    458 Fans .

    This is the guy I broke up with, after two yrars, last week. In retrospect, I thought of him more as a narcissist. My heart hurts, but my head is relieved. Whatever you call it, these peoplr only know how to use. They are charming and know how disarm. I will be smarter next time.

    jmarworth .

    The author of this article implies that sociopaths are men. Believe me, there are plenty of women who fit the description.

    berlytowns .

    7.7% of men and in 1.9% of women. According to Wiki. Not a terribly reliable source, but other websites tend to agree with this one.

    njenel .

    we had two sociopath's in the white house, guess ?

    ItsGettingWeird (or is it just me?) .

    Sees no value in personal photographs of family & friends ("just pieces of paper" to them). Any photos will not be cared for and placed in frames or albums; you'll find them stuffed into a box, stored out of sight.

    Not very interested in movies, novels, music, either. That's stuff about human emotions and relationships, and sociopaths see it as a waste of their time.

    AtlantaBlue .

    I read somewhere that it's 1:10 for hedge fund folks. what a surprise!

    MaggieNYS

    #1 clue - constantly lying about insignificant or stupid stuff for absolutely no reason. When caught, they either change the subject, or get angry/violent (which also changes the focus away from the lie). They really enjoy making you wonder "why" (about everything and anything), because it gives them power over you.

    Jane Cubelli .

    How is this different from just being a pathological liar? I'm just asking since I know a pathological liar and he doesn't fit the other criteria of a sociopath.

    [Jul 28, 2013] Weekend Viewing I Am Fishhead

    July 27, 2013 | Jesse's Café Américain
    ... ... ...

    I have a high regard for Frank Ochberg, although he normally writes about other aspects of psychology especially Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and victimization.

    Like others in business, I have had the occasional misfortune to encounter a few obvious narcissists, and probable psychopaths, during my thirty years long corporate business career. I learned to avoid them at all costs, no matter how intriguing or attractive their activities and personalities may have been. There was always a price to be paid. And if you have one as a boss, change is sometimes the only recourse.

    They are rarely responsive to or capable of genuine friendship, but rather tend to relate best on a power-subordinate level, and in peers prefer more active controls like greed, scheming, and if possible, various forms of blackmail, often financial but sometimes more involved.

    They do not like the independent minded person or moral personality in the least. They despise and fear them because they view morality or other limitations as a weakness, and fear them because they do not bend easily to control. Even if loyalty is offered they do not trust it because they do not know what it is. It is most often about the need for certainty and control on a primitive level.

    Invariably if you know someone who holds quite a few people in contempt, and not mere dislike, the chances are pretty good that at some point they will hold you in the same contempt as well. If you wish to know the measure of a person, watch how they treat those who they perceive to be weaker or vulnerable. Listen to their words, but pay more regard to their actions.

    And they tend to attract other people with personality disorders into loose groupings that can become self-promotional. If they ever obtain a significant amount of control of a business, that entity will sooner or later be in serious trouble, often shockingly so. What were they thinking? They were well beyond reason, and their morality is largely self-referential.

    It is a problem that far too often power attracts those who would abuse it. And so there is a need for transparency, checks and balances, and rules that limit concentrations of power, both in the corporate and in the political worlds.

    All systems that rely on the assumption of a natural rationality and inherent goodness of leaders and key participants are doomed to a tragic failure. There is strength in diversity, simple because as Lord Acton observed, 'where there are concentrations of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control. History has proven that.'


    [Jun 03, 2013] The Guardian

    iruka

    @NOTaREALmerican

    Humans, like dogs, need to know who the pack leader is. Which is why the sociopaths are usually at the head of the pack.

    No; that's just some humans. It isn't just a matter of sociopaths rising to the top; there's an ongoing complicity between sociopaths and that segment of the population who quite like to have them in charge. The rest of us pay the price.

    @kingcreosote

    Perhaps we should filter them out at birth

    Might be better to abandon the patently absurd notion that authority, moral discipline, the inculcation of rules and respect, etc. etc. are guarantors of civilisation. Rampant authority produces authoritarian types - fearful followers and damaged and brutalised shitheads.

    If society stopped producing people with authoritarian personalities (from the obnoxious martinets who stalk Cif wanking on about drugs, fecklessness and the death penalty to the vast herds of lost, obedient cud chewers who vote for strong leaders with simple messages) most sociopaths would be rendered quite harmless....even good fun. A good many artists are sociopaths. ("Some of my best friends...." It's a damaged society that renders them dangerous.

    Of course that's a pretty tall order - society reproduces the notion that raising children is like training marines or breaking wild horses in pretty much the same way that violent parents make for violent children.

    SkepticLiberal

    @NOTaREALmerican - Stop saying sociopath FFS. Is that the new 'crypto-facist' buzz word for you to attribute every shortcoming to?

    If you use that term so broadly, it loses all meaning. People who put themselves first and spend time (and social credit) manipulating people to get what they want (but not too much) will by definition get a better result. There is literally nothing anyone could hope to do to change that.

    All we can (and ought?) to do is ensure that the incentive system is set up such that those people stay within acceptable boundaries. i.e. within the law and within public opinion. That way they are able to succeed by staying within the law instead of being pushed outside it.

    IllusionOfFairness
    @SkepticLiberal -

    Stop saying sociopath FFS. Is that the new 'crypto-facist' buzz word for you to attribute every shortcoming to?

    Yep, for the last couple of years everything has been the fault of "sociopaths". When stated on the internet, it seems to mean anyone you don't like and is something fixed and unchanging that you can identify from--roughly--birth. I think at some point someone got hold of the crypto-facist dictionary, crayoned out "undesirable" and replaced it with "sociopath" adding in some little pseudo-scientific snippets to the definition for good measure.

    (BTW, less snarkily, I agree with you on both overuse and indentivisation.)

    [Jun 01, 2013] Systemic Malfunctioning of the Labor and Financial Markets

    May 19, 2013 | naked capitalism

    I keep going back to Jeffrey Sachs, with whom Flassbeck and Jay (and Soros) seem to agree:

    Jeffrey Sachs: Well, thank you very much for saying it and practicing it. I do believe – by the way, I’m just going to end here because I’ve been told I have to run to the U.N. in fact right now – I believe we have a crisis of values that is extremely deep, because the regulations and the legal structures need reform. But I meet a lot of these people on Wall Street on a regular basis right now. I’m going to put it very bluntly. I regard the moral environment as pathological. And I’m talking about the human interactions that I have. I’ve not seen anything like this, not felt it so palpably. These people are out to make billions of dollars and nothing should stop them from that. They have no responsibility to pay taxes. They have no responsibility to their clients. They have no responsibility to people, counterparties in transactions. They are tough, greedy, aggressive, and feel absolutely out of control, you know, in a quite literal sense. And they have gamed the system to a remarkable extent, and they have a docile president, a docile White House, and a docile regulatory system that absolutely can’t find its voice. It’s terrified of these companies.

    If you look at the campaign contributions, which I happened to do yesterday for another purpose, the financial markets are the number one campaign contributors in the U.S. system now. We have a corrupt politics to the core, I’m afraid to say, and no party is – I mean there’s – if not both parties are up to their necks in this. This has nothing to do with Democrats or Republicans. It really doesn’t have anything to do with right wing or left wing, by the way. The corruption is, as far as I can see, everywhere. But what it’s led to is this sense of impunity that is really stunning, and you feel it on the individual level right now, and it’s very, very unhealthy.

    I have waited for four years, five years now, to see one figure on Wall Street speak in a moral language, and I’ve not seen it once. And that is shocking to me. And if they won’t, I’ve waited for a judge, for our president, for somebody, and it hasn’t happened. And by the way it’s not going to happen anytime soon it seems.

    mansoor h khan:

    Skippy,

    Throughout history elites in all societies have always worked to preserve and maintain social stability. They know war and chaos is very risky and will probably end their good life eventually.

    Are our elites that stupid? Why would they not have some balance in society to avert war and chaos?

    more at:

    http://aquinums-razor.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-banking-system-and-economic-growth.html

    JGordon:

    May 19, 2013 at 10:30 am

    We have elites which support Monstanto and nuclear power, things that have the potential of wiping out all life on earth, including that of the elites?

    The obvious answer of course is that they are not stupid, but psychotic. If you look at it from that perspective, then everything the elites do makes perfect sense.

    Nathanael:

    May 20, 2013 at 12:59 am

    Psychopathic, techinically.

    They are incapable of being afraid of long-term consequences, due to a mental defect.

    nonclassical:

    “But in the end, they cannot succeed with that. They can only succeed with a flourishing economy, and you can make money in the long term only if the economy is growing sufficiently quick.” ……………

    ..obviously unaware of “Shock Doctrine-Rise of Disaster Capitalism”, performed upon South-Central American nations, 70′s, 80′s…(and related war crimes, by Friedmanite-”Chicago Boys” war criminals)…

    ..have we already forgotten HW telling “W” he didn’t take out Saddam, as it would DESTABILIZE the entire Middle-East?? Does anyone believe DEstabilization was not the Cheney-”W”-bushit GOAL??

    “Civilization” be damned…mother earth takes no prisoners…historical documentation (Kevin Phillips-”American Dynasty”-”American Theocracy”) shows what happens when manufacturing based economies DEvolve into “financial services”=paper debt economies…and Phillips was Nixon acolyte..

    Timothy Y. Fong

    May 19, 2013

    “But the political economy is as much like a family as government is like a household. Is there a way forward here? Readers?” The problem is pretty simple. American elites seem to believe that the US is immune to the cycle of nations. They simply cannot grasp the potential negative outcomes. That is, if things go really wrong, some oligarchs and their retainers (both public and private) will find themselves torn apart by angry crowds, or pursued to the ends of the earth by a new revolutionary government.

    The denial falls into two categories. The first, and most common, is a belief that “democracy” and the Constitution mean that things can never fall apart. This is a common belief amongst attorneys and other working professionals.

    I find this view to be especially ironic when expressed by relatively conservative Christians, since one of the basic tenants of Christianity is that human beings are fundamentally fallen and imperfect. Apparently, however, that doesn’t apply to Americans, which again, makes no sense, seeing as the Bible does not mention the United States anywhere. Then again, it does make sense, as a friend of mine in the clergy has observed that some of his most rabidly conservative congregants have never actually read the Bible.

    Professionals of course, generally have to make it through the filtering system of higher education in the United States, which means buying into the reigning political orthodoxy. Incidentally, that recent survey about American attitudes toward armed rebellion seemed to show that the more education someone had, the less likely they were to believe that armed rebellion would be necessary in the coming years.

    The second view, which I suspect is in play amongst the pathological elite mentioned by Sachs, is the belief that they can buy protection. Call it the “high walls and trustworthy details” philosophy. I can see how a person could believe that if they live in a walled community (or co-op with a doorman), and have a trustworthy security detail, they can avoid any consequences for their actions. Security details can be either wholly private, or simply off duty police officers. Indeed, in a place like NYC, the police can be ordered (paid) to bust the heads of any pesky protesters.

    In that light, Mayor Bloomberg’s campaign to more strictly control firearms makes perfect sense. The truly worthy….err…wealthy, will always be able to hire off duty armed police officers (pistols politely concealed) as bodyguards. Removing firearms from the hands of everyone else is a nice insurance policy. I understand that the dogma around here is that firearms and violence are ineffective nowadays in political struggles, but, I’m sorry, the fundamental drives of humans don’t change, no matter how much we’d like to think otherwise. Bloomberg won’t get his way outside of the Northeast. There are simply too many firearms in circulation, and any effective action to seize them would probably precipitate a civil war– at least secession, if not a split amongst security service personnel.

    Ian Welsh had a very good interview the other day where he mentioned that if things go wrong, it will be very ugly, and a lot of innocent people will get hurt. That is true, and it is a measure of how depraved and foolish our elites are that they are risking that turn of events.

    This is going to sound somewhat harsh, but perhaps what our society really needs is an extremely ugly lesson in the unintended consequences that can happen when a few people decide to take all the wealth and oppress the shit out of everyone else. That would be a decisive end to the ridiculous nonsense about how “it can’t happen here because we have democracy.” If that happens, and we survive, somehow, we should take a cue from the Japanese and their tsunami markers. After a tsunami, people mark the safe areas, and the areas where the water came up to. In some cases the markers are centuries old, a warning for the future. We should put up markers to remind everyone of the consequences of acting like short sighted sociopaths. Sociopaths may not feel empathy, but they certainly have an instinct for self preservation– and future sociopathic elites (let’s not kid ourselves– they’ll be back) should have a dire reminder of the lethal consequences of overreach.

    jake chase:

    I am afraid you are being romantic and melodramatic in your expectations. What is more likely is that the middle class will move seamlessly into customer service at Walmart and other oases of putrid consumerism.

    Americans to the end will be passive consumers of vapid entertainment and disgusting fast food and carbonated sugar water. Look at the amazing number who still smoke cigarettes and gamble at casinos and horsetracks, not to mention bookmakers.

    Our individualism may be carcinogenic and idiotic but it is deeply inbred.

    Generalfeldmarschall Von Hindenbur:

    I wish I could say jake is wrong. Things here will have to devolve to the level of the Latin American latifundia with the descendants of today’s “middle class” (working class is a forbidden term) living in favelas and being hunted for sport by the children of the elites before they pull their head out and disabuse themselves of this Horatio Alger/Ayn Rand mythology that anyone can be rich through prayer and hard work.

    banger:

    Nations don’t matter–we live in an emergent international Empire with an emergent imperial court and a virtual Emperor.

    I don’ believe this country is a Constitutional democracy on the federal level. The two Party system doesn’t work anymore because the power-elite has gamed the system. The genius act the oligarchs used was to create an Orwellian state of permanent war which actually suspends the Constitution which is in place only at the pleasure of the power-elite. Boston showed what can happen should anything that looks like “terrorism” occur.

    Washington is the main global imperial court and all who work there are all part of it. There is no difference between government officials, politicians and journalists other than the fact they represent somewhat different interests.

    Great comment on education and how it vets the elite–that’s why universities turn out little scared clones today.

    I think armed rebellion is unlikey but I’m thankful to be living in the South nonetheless

    Julian Dennis:

    Yes let’s go for it! Would anybody like to join my new religious movement ‘Hang a Banker for Christ.’ If you won’t do it for yourself, if you won’t do it for your loved ones, if you won’t do it for that stranger in need, then do it for the Lord!

    Virmont:

    To paraphrase George Carlin: Where do you think these “pathological elites” come from? Mars?

    Parasites as “pathological” as the American ones could only survive on a certain type of host: a people of proud ignorance and infinite obedience.

    What you call an infection (a Lenin o a Mao Tse-Tung) would actually require a population with many redeeming qualities. America, on the other hand, is the same old opportunist genocider it started out as, it just goes into hibernation for awhile, dormant like a retrovirus.

    Americans would sooner idolize the pus-filled sac while calling to lay waste to the nearest defenseless minority.

    sd:

    I have the unfortunate history of having had too much experience with sociopaths, starting first and foremost with a parent who with the exception of murder (at least that I know of) meets all but one of the criteria of a textbook sociopath.

    The sociopaths have gained control of the world. They care only of themselves. They are sadistic. They enjoy and receive pleasure from the suffering of others. So far, the only way I have found to counter such behavior is through the acts of creation and generosity. Art, music, dance, smithing, carving, cooking, sewing, knitting, weaving, gardening, any activity that leads to creation is the antithesis of the destruction. The act of giving freely is the antidote to greed.

    So look around and say, what can I do myself? The very act of making your own bread and sharing it with others is the anarchy we so desperately need today.

    Susan the other :

    Reading Aesop’s Fables is always encouraging because all those tales try to caution against greed by using an interesting truth. Which is as Lincoln told us “…. but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” And once trust is lost it is never recovered. It is always changed. Trust is a good example of evolution. It isn’t a static thing. Just remember your parents, if you are old enough, who lived through the 30s and never trusted the banks or the stock market again and were extremely skeptical of real estate. That distrust ran so deep and was partially passed on to our generation that it created a condition whereby the Finance Industry had to think up all sorts of tricks to lure us back in. Which they did. But they regret it as much as we do. All this mess because corporations are trying hard not to pay livable wages. Sad and foolish.

    Another Gordon:

    Very like the French Revolution.

    About a year ago I saw a BBC program about Versailles and the decades running up to the French Revolution and it was spookily like the situation in the US today. The government was perenially short of revenues – partly because of wars, but mainly because of a system which taxed only the poor (who, naturally couldn’t pay much) while exempting the aristocracy who repeatedly used their political power to block any move to tax their vast wealth. In the end they paid with their heads while Britain won the struggle for colonial supremacy.

    Those who ignore the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them.

    Cletus:

    jake chase:

    “What continually amazes me is why anybody in the country listens to anything they ever say?”

    It seems that you have nailed the crux of the problem.

    On one hand, we have the relatively small group of sociopaths who control the entire system — practicing their brand of sadism. On the other hand, we have the teeming middle class made up of both sycophant/inept sociopaths and willfully ignorant, self-hating masochists.

    I’m actually beginning to believe there’s something in our water supply that causes the majority of people to be docile. Any other generation of people at any other time in history would have seen this for what it is, by now, and would have put an end to it, one way or the other.

    Then again, maybe not. Rome went on for a long time as a war-mongering kleptocracy governed by sociopaths

    AbyNormal:

    12 Million Americans Are Sociopaths

    http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/08/as-many-as-12-million-americans-are-sociopaths.html

    The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted. d.h.lawrence

    Hugh:

    It’s interesting to see how people dance around the concepts of kleptocracy, class war, and wealth inequality. Apply these to the interview above and all the surprise and incomprehension melt away.

    Flassbeck says “What we have is the systemic malfunctioning of the system, system malfunctioning of the labor market, systemic malfunctioning of the financial markets.” This seems to me like a half statement. The system is indeed malfunctioning, as in not serving the interests of the 99%, but as an engine of looting and suppression of the 99% by the 1%, it is working just fine. The rich and elites may be evil and/or stupid but mostly they are criminal.

    They are not irrational. They will loot to a crash and then loot the crash. They will keep doing this until there is nothing left or they are overthrown. This is the essence of kleptocracy. It is the real system we have, and it is functioning exactly as intended.

    Brooklin Bridge:

    ... ... ...

    Moreover, much of the discussion in the comments is more interesting than in the post in that commenters question the why of the middle class and others as well as of the 1%. Why indeed do we – or so many of us – go along with this broken, or criminal, system? I’m not sure Lambert means it that way (applying to both the 1% AND the 99%) when he calls it, “the eternal question”, but since both sides of a pathological relationship (the abusors and the abusees) are important if there is to be such a relationship at all, it IS pertinent. Finally, I assume like objects, a system taken alone can’t be criminal or evil. Those qualities are imbued by the people who inhabit and use or are used by the system.

    I’m not arguing your points, except perhaps the implication that, it’s simple, (or easily understandable) “[if one applies the] concepts of kleptocracy, class war, and wealth inequality.” Those may indeed be useful concepts with which to look at it, but even then IT is still not simple or easily cleared up to understanding regardless of the tools you bring to bear or of which side of the abuse one examines or both.

    [Mar 27, 2013] Did Boris Berezovsky Kill Himself More Compelling, Did He Kill Forbes Editor Paul Klebnikov by Richard Behar

    From comments to the article: "Isn’t it amazing how London and other major financial centers seem to turn a blind eye when it comes to these oligarchs? No one asks too many questions. From what I have read, real estate taxes on expensive homes are very low in London. Very few people will be saying kaddish over the death of this one time thug."
    Mar 24, 2013 | Forbes
    Here’s where it gets even more interesting. Last summer, Berezovsky’s Chechen links came to the surface in a $6.5 billion London lawsuit that he had brought (and lost) against Roman Abramovich, a rival Russian oligarch. Abramovich claimed during the trial that Boris had links to Chechen terrorists, while an ex-Chechen separatist claimed that Boris financed separatists in the 1990s. Berezovsky denied these and other allegations. But the judge in the case — Mrs. [Elizabeth] Justice Gloster — valued what she called Abramovich’s “responsible approach to giving answers which he could honestly support.”

    On the other hand, she annihilated Berezovsky. She declared that Boris had been an “unimpressive, and inherently unreliable, witness, who regarded truth as a transitory, flexible concept, which could be moulded to suit his current purposes. At times the evidence he gave was deliberately dishonest.” At other times, the judge concluded, Berezovsky had “deluded himself into believing his own version of events.” She ordered him to pay Abramovich’s legal fees, which exceeded $100 million.

    Of course, Klebnikov had concluded that much about Berezovsky nearly two decades ago. Recalls Forbes’ London counsel, David Hooper, one of the world’s top media-defense lawyers: "The man was a fairly polished liar because one of the things that Paul accused him of was how he milked his links with [Russian President Boris] Yeltsin and set up bank accounts for Yeltsin. Berezovsky denied it, but in the Abramovich case it suited him to change his story and say the opposite — so his evidence now became that he did have those close links with Yeltsin, and he claimed that that is what made him so valuable to Abramovich. He was a brazen liar, but Mrs. Justice Gloster saw through his mendacity."

    nirvichara

    Judging by Berezovsky’ psychological profile he would never kill himself, no matter how much he suffered. Can he kill anybody else like Paul Khlebnikov for example ?

    Absolutely and with very high probability.

    No doubt, Berezovsky was very educated and clever person, but he also was a pathologically self-centered , egoistical , greedy beyond reason and ambitious person. This deadly combination made him a cold-blooded killer. Not that he was making killing himself, but he was a mastermind of many political killings, though unproved in court of law and thus speculative.

    rocky2345
    Isn’t it amazing how London and other major financial centers seem to turn a blind eye when it comes to these oligarchs? No one asks too many questions. From what I have read, real estate taxes on expensive homes are very low in London. Very few people will be saying kaddish over the death of this one time thug.

    The World's Greatest Con Man Opinion By Yulia Latynina

    Note "his deeply rooted habit of lying" the key trait of a psychopath.
    March 26, 2013 | The Moscow Times

    Boris Berezovsky could have, indeed, committed suicide. He was miserable in the final months of his life. A man who once flew only chartered flights was reduced to bumming $5,000 off a friend to buy an airplane ticket recently and reportedly sent a note to President Vladimir Putin telling the leader how great he was.

    At the height of his powers in 1997, a businessman proposed a project to Berezovsky that he said could reap $25 million in profits. When Berezovsky turned it down, explaining that he "doesn't get involved with anything worth less than $50 million," he wasn't grandstanding in the least.

    Yet Berezovsky was never a true businessman. Other people ran his businesses for him, people such as billionaire Roman Abramovich, who discarded Berezovsky the moment he fell out of favor with the authorities.

    Above all, Berezovsky was a con man. Money was necessary for him, of course, but only as one of the devilish addictions that dominated his life: power, influence and sex.

    Berezovsky had a nasty habit of lying. One of Berezovsky's favorite tricks was to call someone and inform them that he had appointed them to an influential post when, in fact, he had done nothing of the sort. He had only been present in the Kremlin when the appointment was made.

    Berezovsky was the most highly placed con man in history, and he had an almost superhuman ability to translate his delirious fantasies into reality.

    He was not the sole force behind Putin's rise to power: That was actually a decision made by "the Family," former President Boris Yeltsin's inner circle. But Berezovsky sincerely believed that he was responsible for Putin's political rise in 1999 and had no qualms about reminding everyone — including Putin — of it. That proved to be his fatal mistake.

    Even after Berezovsky was no longer calling the shots, Abramovich paid him $2 billion for his stake in Sibneft and RusAl. Over the next 10 years, Berezovsky spent every last penny of that money on women, luxury villas, yachts, chartered flights and pointless lawsuits.

    Following his unsuccessful lawsuit against Abramovich, Berezovsky was a broken man, a complete wreck. In reality, he should have won the case, but he torpedoed his own chances with his deeply rooted habit of lying — this time under oath in a London court.

    What he didn't understand is that you can act like that in Moscow and get away with it, but not in London. In that case, Berezovsky claimed he had created Sibneft and opened the doors to the Kremlin halls of power. But those words held little weight because he had testified during a previous legal dispute with Forbes that he had no relationship to Sibneft and was not the "godfather of the Kremlin."

    Losing the case to Abramovich was the final blow for Berezovsky, and it left him with huge debts and no hope. Nobody needed him anymore — not even his own family members, who had come to see Berezovsky as their endless source of wealth.

    Berezovsky, who not long ago wrote a letter about how he would stage a revolution in Russia, ended up appealing to Putin for permission to return to his homeland. Putin ignored him. After that, there was nothing left for him but to die.

    http://healthland.time.com/2011/06/03/mind-reading-when-you-go-hunting-for-psychopaths-they-turn-up-everywhere/#ixzz2MbAqrE5x

    Here is an interesting take on the problem from The Psychopathic and Sociopathic Personality of the elite

    I'm going to try to compare/contrast the "psychopathic" and "sociopathic" traits of the elite, wealthy, higher-echelon class of the new world order. Understanding the way they think is beneficial because they even admit that 90% of the war on the people is psychological.

    Why do I want to do this? Because it seems like the people are afraid of them because they don't know how they tick. If you figure out the behavior and mindset of the elite, you de-construct the matrix and it's all laid out in front of you. But since most people are NOT psychopathic or sociopathic, they cannot understand why a criminal element would want to "cull" 80-90% of the population, why they would be so bloodthirsty, why they are ruthless, why they like to hurt the innocent more than punishing the wicked, etc. When faced with the prospect that some people just really are that wealthy and mentally ill.

    When people are inbred as much as some of the elite have, they begin to display abnormal behavioral symptoms along with genetic birth defects ("shallow gene pool" effect). These people are sick and twisted emotionally and psychologically, but it's important to understand the different KINDS of psychopathy, the way they operate, because God KNOWS they've been doing that to us for hundreds of years. Time to dissect the mind of the criminal elite.

    The Psychopathic Personality
    http://www.oregoncounseling.org/Handouts/PsychopathicPersonality.htm
    The Psychopathic Personality

    Revised: May 20, 2007

    The psychopath is one of the most fascinating and distressing problems of human experience. For the most part, a psychopath never remains attached to anyone or anything. They live a "predatory" lifestyle. They feel little or no regret, and little or no remorse - except when they are caught. They need relationships, but see people as obstacles to overcome and be eliminated. If not, they see people in terms of how they can be used. They use people for stimulation, to build their self-esteem and they invariably value people in terms of their material value (money, property, etc..). (Sounds like the entire Rockefeller family and the majority of wall street execs and washington lobbyists)

    A psychopath can have high verbal intelligence, but they typically lack "emotional intelligence". They can be expert in manipulating others by playing to their emotions. There is a shallow quality to the emotional aspect of their stories (i.e., how they felt, why they felt that way, or how others may have felt and why). The lack of emotional intelligence is the first good sign you may be dealing with a psychopath. A history of criminal behavior in which they do not seem to learn from their experience, but merely think about ways to not get caught is the second best sign. (This is becoming more and more obvious as time goes on that the elite's plan for world government is falling apart at the seams, and the public is waking up and finding out what they have done. Instead of learning their lesson (humans are not their slaves, that to try to manipulate humanity and stunting the growth of the competition is a crime against God, etc.) and backing off, though, the elite have merely looked for ways to do it anyway and get away with it.

    The following is a list of items based on the research of Robert Hare, Ph.D. which is derived from the "The Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised, .1991, Toronto: Multi-Health Systems." These are the most highly researched and recognized characteristics of psychopathic personality and behavior.

    * glibness/superficial charm
    * grandiose sense of self worth
    * need for stimulation/prone to boredom
    * pathological lying
    * conning/manipulative
    * lack of remorse or guilt
    * shallow emotional response
    * callous/lack of empathy
    * parasitic lifestyle
    * poor behavioral controls
    * promiscuous sexual behavior

    * early behavioral problems (the elite children are no doubt raised by nannies most of their early childhood, and extravagantly expensive prep school programs. The nannies and teachers are encouraged to promote narcissistic, elitist and nihilistic behavior among their students, and to follow "traditional standards of behavior" (double standard) of the elite--that they can do whatever they want. Literally. So when these elites display behavioral problems as children, they're probably rewarded for it, or it is swept under the rug.
    * lack of realistic long term goals (goal-setting isn't a problem for the elite. REALISTIC goal-setting might be, though--like wanting to grab the guns from the American people--not too realistic, guys)
    * impulsivity (8-8-8, anyone?)
    * irresponsibility (also displayed on 8-8-8, as the REAL actions of the Georgians were blasted all over the web by the infowarriors out there--Good job, guys. Wink)
    * failure to accept responsibility for their own actions
    ( brzezinski not taking public responsibility for encouraging the Chinese to support Pol Pot)
    * many short term relationships
    * juvenile delinquency
    (see above at "early behavioral problems")
    * revocation of conditional release (not a problem, they never go to jail)
    * criminal versatility (BECAUSE they've gotten away with so much, they can take it to an extreme level before any kind of public outrage about anything)

    According to wikipedia (links to real studies):
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychopathy#Relationship_to_sociopathy
    Relationship to other terms

    Relationship to sociopathy

    The difference between sociopathy and psychopathy, according to Hare, may "reflect the user's views on the origins and determinates of the disorder."[59]

    David T. Lykken proposes psychopathy and sociopathy are two distinct kinds of antisocial personality disorder. He believes psychopaths are born with temperamental differences such as impulsivity, cortical underarousal, and fearlessness that lead them to risk-seeking behavior and an inability to internalize social norms. (I believe most of the key players for the nwo are psychopaths: the rockefellers, the rothschilds, on down to the "pseudo-elites" like politicians and top lobbyists (like the Bushes, the Clintons, any of the Bohemian Grove members in general)

    On the other hand, he claims sociopaths have relatively normal temperaments; their personality disorder being more an effect of negative sociological factors like parental neglect, delinquent peers, poverty, and extremely low or extremely high intelligence. (they just described the 20-25% of the white collar class that knowingly lets the elite get away with everything. they are usually highly intelligent but compartmentalized to a degree. They know that what they're doing is wrong, they know the elites are doing wrong, but they choose to do nothing about it because they like the mini-power trip it gives them, and the feeling of being "special" and "elite" even though it's obvious that they live in bondage to the new world order. This would also apply to TV personalities who are obvious about towing the party line)

    Both personality disorders are, of course, the result of an interaction between genetic predispositions and environmental factors, but psychopathy leans towards the hereditary whereas sociopathy tends towards the environmental.[54]

    Relationship to antisocial personality disorder

    The criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder were derived from the Research Diagnositic Criteria developed by Spitzer, Endicott and Robbins (1978). There was concern in the development of DSM-IV there was too much emphasis on research data and not enough on the more traditional psychopathic traits such as a lack of empathy, superficial charm, and inflated self appraisal. Field trial data indicated some of these traits of psychopathy derived from the Psychopathy Checklist developed by Hare et al., 1992, were difficult to assess reliably and thus were not included. Lack of remorse is an example. The antisocial person may express genuine or false guilt or remorse and/or offer excuses and rationalizations. However, a history of criminal acts in itself suggests little remorse or guilt. [60](This is the majority of the key nwo players in the biotech and military/intelligence fields, like the ones who KNEW about the HIV in the blood used for Factor VIII, but did nothing to stop it from being shipped out. It also pertains to the big university professors who like to go on and on about how humanity is a scourge upon the earth and how they can't wait until 90% of us DIE--http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,190479,00.html. Roll Eyes)

    The American Psychiatric Association removed the word "psychopathy" or "psychopathic", and started using the term "Antisocial Personality" to cover the disorder in DSM-II.[61] (Maybe their bosses felt targeted.)

    The World Health Organization's stance in its ICD-10 refers to psychopathy, sociopathy, antisocial personality, asocial personality, and amoral personality as synonyms for dissocial personality disorder. Further, the DSM was meant as a diagnostic guide, and the term psychopath best fit the criteria met for antisocial personality disorder.

    [edit] Relationship to sex offenders (I think the Franklin cover-up and DynCorp's recent doings, not to mention the mk-Ultra victims like Cathy O'brien that claim sexual abuse show a direct relationship between psychopaths and sex crime--particularly sex with children. But the "research studies" basically just say that "apples can be red or green but that not everything red or green is an apple" and claims that the evidence for psychopaths being pedophiles is "outdated". No, it's just not being investigated)

    No clinical definition of psychopathy indicates that psychopaths are especially prone to commit sexually-oriented murders, and scientific studies do not suggest that a large proportion of psychopaths have committed these crimes.[62] Although some claim a large proportion of such offenders have been classified as psychopathic, this evidence comes from a single, unrepeated research study using the Rorschach Inkblot Test, an invalid test for psychopathy and for sex offenders,[63] references not considering psychopathy, [64] and studies concerning sexual homicide, a somewhat different population than the general class of sex offenders and not from meta-studies combining repeatable results.

    Research findings

    The prototypical psychopath has deficits or deviances in several areas: interpersonal relationships, emotion, and self-control. Psychopaths lack a sense of guilt or remorse for any harm they may have caused others, instead rationalizing the behavior, blaming someone else, or denying it outright.[65] (We see this effect with the latest psychological warfare carried out on the people of the world, particularly on the American people:
    9/11 conspiracy theorists are holocaust deniers, what?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuASoVK8f9c, "those who question or even attempt to JUSTIFY 9/11...",
    http://www.seattlepi.com/opinion/284271_anticonspire08.html..."
    "In addition to believing the World Trade Centers were demolished by the "New World Order," they also push theories that man did not walk on the moon, Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone was assassinated by the Bush administration, the Srebrenica massacre and even the Holocaust never happened."...
    : this one really took the cake: brzezinski wants us all to think that the Iranian coup was the extent of the false-flag terror, rachel maddow basically says 9/11 truthers are holocaust deniers, and Brzezinski re-inforces that idea and also the one that Obama is like "JFK 2.0" )

    Psychopaths also lack empathy towards others in general, resulting in tactlessness, insensitivity, and contemptuousness. All of this belies their tendency to make a good, likable first impression. Psychopaths have a superficial charm about them, enabled by a willingness to say anything without concern for accuracy or truth.
    (This is the scariest thing about Barack Obama...he's nothing like the idiot monkey George W. Bush, he's like-able, he seems genuine, and he's totally dangerous because psychopaths on this level can actually lie without getting caught...they are BOTH psychopaths AND sociopaths. They are pathological liars, and are willing to say the opposite of what's really going on and actually try to make people believe it. When a serial killer is both a psychopath and sociopath, they tend to go a long time without getting caught, such as the BTK killer or Jeffrey Dahmer).
    This extends into their pathological lying and willingness to con and manipulate others for personal gain or amusement. The prototypical psychopath's emotions are described as a shallow affect, meaning their overall way of relating is characterized by mere displays of friendliness and other emotion for personal gain; the displayed emotion need not correlate with felt emotion, in other words. (Like this video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYI7JXGqd0o , or the "Katrina effect"--remember this? and this? , and see how Obama doesn't seem to care when the lady is emotional about rationed health care: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lh6v2GEc4r8 and almost seems to not understand or even care what that lady said, because he knew she was too close to actually making him answer real questions about the health care situation...

    Shallow affect also describes the psychopath's tendency for genuine emotion to be short lived and egocentric with an overall cold demeanor. Their behavior is impulsive and irresponsible, often failing to keep a job or defaulting on debts.[65] (The impulsivity the banker bailout and the irresponsibility of Barack Obama as one of the lead proponents (and stakeholders) of the hijacking of our economy by lobbyists and wall street execs and banker bosses is one of the biggest indicators that our government has been taken over by a psychopathic element and is no longer working for us--especially since they got 1,000:1 phone calls saying "NO" to the bailout in the first place--By passing it anyway, at gunpoint basically, was very telling of their mindset towards us now--that was them saying to the American people, "SHUT UP--WE DON'T CARE WHAT YOU WANT, WE WANT COMPLETE CONTROL OF THE MONEY SUPPLY)

    Most research studies of psychopaths have taken place among prison populations. This remains a limitation on its applicability to a general population. Findings indicate psychopathic convicts have a 2.5 time higher probability of being released from jail than undiagnosed ones even though they are more likely to recidivate.[66]

    It has been shown that punishment and behavior modification techniques do not improve the behavior of what Hare, and other followers of this theory call a psychopath. Psychopathic individuals have been regularly observed to become more cunning and hiding their behavior better. It has been suggested by them traditional therapeutic approaches actually make psychopaths if not worse, then far more adept at manipulating others and concealing their behavior. They are generally considered to be not only incurable but also untreatable.[67]

    Psychopaths also have a markedly distorted sense of the potential consequences of their actions, not only for others, but also for themselves. They do not, for example, deeply recognize the risk of being caught, disbelieved or injured as a result of their behaviour.[68]

    Psychopaths may often be successful in the military, as they will more readily participate in combat than most soldiers.[69]
    (Yeah, they just thought they'd tag that on in the ending, there--"Oh, btw, there are lots of psychos in the military"--that's wikipedia, for you.)

    Another take on the same subject is from Serial killers and politicians share traits
    http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-2684-Law-Enforcement-Examiner~y2009m6d12-Serial-killers-and-politicians-share-traits

    (The following commentary includes material obtained by the National Association of Chiefs of Police from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Behavioral Analysis Unit.)

    Psychopathy is a personality disorder manifested in people who use a mixture of charm, manipulation, intimidation, and occasionally violence to control others, in order to satisfy their own selfish needs. Although the concept of psychopathy has been known for centuries, the FBI leads the world in the research effort to develop a series of assessment tools, to evaluate the personality traits and behaviors attributable to psychopaths.

    Interpersonal traits include glibness, superficial charm, a grandiose sense of self-worth, pathological lying, and the manipulation of others. The affective traits include a lack of remorse and/or guilt, shallow affect, a lack of empathy, and failure to accept responsibility. The lifestyle behaviors include stimulation-seeking behavior, impulsivity, irresponsibility, parasitic orientation, and a lack of realistic life goals.

    Research has demonstrated that in those criminals who are psychopathic, scores vary, ranging from a high degree of psychopathy to some measure of psychopathy. However, not all violent offenders are psychopaths and not all psychopaths are violent offenders. If violent offenders are psychopathic, they are able to assault, rape, and murder without concern for legal, moral, or social consequences. This allows them to do what they want, whenever they want. Ironically, these same traits exist in men and women who are drawn to high-profile and powerful positions in society including political officeholders.

    The relationship between psychopathy and serial killers is particularly interesting. All psychopaths do not become serial murderers. Rather, serial murderers may possess some or many of the traits consistent with psychopathy. Psychopaths who commit serial murder do not value human life and are extremely callous in their interactions with their victims. This is particularly evident in sexually motivated serial killers who repeatedly target, stalk, assault, and kill without a sense of remorse. However, psychopathy alone does not explain the motivations of a serial killer.

    What doesn't go unnoticed is the fact that some of the character traits exhibited by serial killers or criminals may be observed in many within the political arena. While not exhibiting physical violence, many political leaders display varying degrees of anger, feigned outrage and other behaviors. They also lack what most consider a "shame" mechanism. Quite simply, most serial killers and many professional politicians must mimic what they believe, are appropriate responses to situations they face such as sadness, empathy, sympathy, and other human responses to outside stimuli.

    Understanding psychopathy becomes particularly critical to law enforcement during a serial murder investigation and upon the arrest of a psychopathic serial killer. The crime scene behavior of psychopaths is likely to be distinct from other offenders. This distinct behavior can assist law enforcement in linking serial cases.

    Psychopaths are not sensitive to altruistic interview themes, such as sympathy for their victims or remorse/guilt over their crimes. They do possess certain personality traits that can be exploited, particularly their inherent narcissism, selfishness, and vanity. Specific themes in past successful interviews of psychopathic serial killers focused on praising their intelligence, cleverness, and skill in evading capture.

    Experts recognize that more research is needed concerning the links between serial murder and psychopathy, in order to understand the frequency and degree of psychopathy among serial murderers. This may assist law enforcement in understanding and identifying serial murderers.

    Over the past twenty years, law enforcement and experts from a number of varying disciplines have attempted to identify specific motivations for serial murderers and to apply those motivations to different typologies developed for classifying serial murderers. These range from simple, definitive models to complex, multiple-category typologies that are laden with inclusion requirements. Most typologies are too cumbersome to be utilized by law enforcement during an active serial murder investigation, and they may not be helpful in identifying an offender.

    As most homicides are committed by someone known to the victim, police focus on the relationships closest to the victim. This is a successful strategy for most murder investigations. The majority of serial murderers, however, are not acquainted with or involved in a consensual relationship with their victims.

    For the most part, serial murder involves strangers with no visible relationship between the offender and the victim. This distinguishes a serial murder investigation as a more nebulous undertaking than that of other crimes. Since the investigations generally lack an obvious connection between the offender and the victim, investigators instead attempt to discern the motivations behind the murders, as a way to narrow their investigative focus.

    Serial murder crime scenes can have bizarre features that may cloud the identification of a motive. The behavior of a serial murderer at crime scenes may evolve throughout the series of crimes and manifest different interactions between an offender and a victim. It is also extremely difficult to identify a single motivation when there is more than one offender involved in the series.

    Identifying a homicide series is easier in rapidly-developing, high profile cases involving low risk victims. These cases are reported to law enforcement upon discovery of the crimes and draw immediate media attention.

    In contrast, identifying a series involving high risk victims in multiple jurisdictions is much more difficult. This is primarily due to the high risk lifestyle and transitory nature of the victims. Additionally, the lack of communication between law enforcement agencies and differing records management systems impede the linkage of cases to a common offender.

    While many political leaders will deny the assessment regarding their similarities with serial killers and other career criminals, it is part of a psychopathic profile that may be used in assessing the behaviors of many officials and lawmakers at all levels of government.

    Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a staff writer for the New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he's the new editor for the House Conservatives Fund's weblog. Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.

    He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's a news writer for TheConservativeVoice.Com and PHXnews.com. He's also a columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he's syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc.

    To subscribe to Kouri's newsletter write to COPmagazine@aol.com and write "Subcription" on the subject line.

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2009/06/politicians-and-serial-killers.html
    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2009/06/politicians-and-serial-killers.html
    Oh-oh! Politicians share personality traits with serial killers: Study

    Using his law enforcement experience and data drawn from the FBI's behavioral analysis unit, Jim Kouri has collected a series of personality traits common to a couple of professions.

    Prison Walls

    Kouri, who's a vice president of the National Assn. of Chiefs of Police, has assembled traits such as superficial charm, an exaggerated sense of self-worth, glibness, lying, lack of remorse and manipulation of others.

    These traits, Kouri points out in his analysis, are common to psychopathic serial killers.

    But -- and here's the part that may spark some controversy and defensive discussion -- these traits are also common to American politicians. (Maybe you already suspected.)

    Yup. Violent homicide aside, our elected officials often show many of the exact same character traits as criminal nut-jobs, who run from police but not for office.

    Kouri notes that these criminals are psychologically capable of committing their dirty deeds free of any concern for social, moral or legal consequences and with absolutely no remorse.

    "This allCapitol Hill Domeows them to do what they want, whenever they want," he wrote. "Ironically, these same traits exist in men and women who are drawn to high-profile and powerful positions in society including political officeholders."

    Good grief! And we not only voted for these people, we're paying their salaries and entrusting them to spend our national treasure in wise ways.

    We don't know Kouri that well. He may be trying to manipulate all of us with his glib provocative pronouncements. On the other hand ...

    He adds:

    "While many political leaders will deny the assessment regarding their similarities with serial killers and other career criminals, it is part of a psychopathic profile that may be used in assessing the behaviors of many officials and lawmakers at all levels of government."

    -- Andrew Malcolm

    We are absolutely not seeking to manipulate Ticket readers by glibly saying with superficial charm that they are certainly among the world's most intelligent people. Nor do we seek to manipulate every one of them to click here for Twitter alerts on each new Ticket item.

    [Feb 2, 2013] Almost a Psychopath Do I (or Does Someone I Know) Have a Problem with Manipulation and Lack of Empathy Ronald Schouten, Jame

    July 31, 2012 | Amazon.com

    Betsy

    What a disappointment. I was married to a psychopath and should have known better than to buy this book. A psychopath has a mental/character flaw that may range from serial killer to just no good and abusive but a psychopath is a psychopath regardless of the extent of his/her appearance or damage. Some normal people may have behaviors similar to a psychopath but that does not make them almost a psychopath. Normal people may be selfish, misguided or even down right mean but they feel love, hate, guilt, shame, joy sadness just like we do...even if it is suppressed, it is there. The main difference between normal and psychopath is not behavior but the lack of any emotion, an inability to love, empathize or even care about another person.

    A psychopath is hard wired, cannot be cured and is a psychopath regardless of the extent of the perceived or actual harm inflicted. There are a lot of psychopaths out there; this author just wants to claim they are not quite psychopaths.

    Believe me when I say the normal looking, acting and semi successful lawyer I married was a full blooded psychopath. He put on a beautiful show of love and kindness and he violently raped me and laughingly humiliated me on our wedding night and for the entire length of our marriage. I had instantly become a possession. The show was over except for public display. He targeted me because I was vulnerable because my mother died and I had no family support. His only pleasure from then on was to use and abuse me to boost his ego, to make himself think he was better. It took me ten years and two children to prepare myself to get out.

    Do not be deceived by this misleading book. Be afraid, a psychopath is a very dangerous creature without conscience pretending to be your best friend or soul mate...there is nothing almost about them! They will turn on you as soon as you are entrapped. As Sandra Brown, an expert on psychopathy says, psychopaths cause inevitable harm. Buy her books and do not read or be misled by this drivel.

    RONALD AMON :

    You missed their schtick. They are trying to sell a book to a certain market and trying to interest as many as they possibly can in purchasing it. So they bend things a little. As in "almost." Which can pretty much cover any and everyone at one time or another. Or no one. Take your pick.

    Christine:

    You know what, Betsy? I believe you are right. I think this book probably should have had the title of BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) or BNPD (Borderline Narcissistic Personality Disorder) because many sociopaths traits are similar to them. I'll bet the previous commenter (Ronald Amon) was also onto something because there are so many titles that already deal with the subject (BPD and BNPD) that they figured lets put the name sociopath in the title to make it sound more scary and get folks to buy the book.

    I'm sorry for your past troubles with your psychopath husband! And you are correct

    Phyllis Antebi Ph.D:

    Friendly is safe and unfriendly is not safe. If the person lies, cheats, or steals, (any or all of these) he is someone without a conscience. Who cares about labels! That's for obsessive compulsive people to ponder. If it hurts when you least expect it, you are being abused.

    Betsy:

    With a psychopath friendly can be the most dangerous part. They lure you in with a smooth loving facade and then hook you into the mind control, abuse and total annihilation if possible.

    But you have the rest right on. I love, " If it hurts when you least expect it, you are being abused." So very true and well put.

    Pompom:

    I believe the book was well written but seemed to drift away to other areas of personality disorders far too much. There are so many books written on narcissistic disorder or other disorders that are available that I believe the author could have only highlighted these disorders relative to the subject matter rather than filling up half the book with the other disorders and their traits.

    [Dec 16, 2012] Why We Love Sociopaths A Guide to Late Capitalist Television by Adam Kotsko

    Google Books

    My greatest regret that I am not at sociopath. I suspect I am not alone. I have written before that we live in the age of awkwardness but a strong case could be made that you believe in the age of the sociopath. They advantageous Intellivision for example and essentially every television genre. Cartoon shows have been fascinated we sociopathic fathers ( with varying degree of sanity) ever since the writeup of the Simpson realized that Homer was a better central character then Bart. Showing that cartoon children are capable of radical evil as well, Eric Cartman of South Park has been sprouting racial invective and I hatching evil plots for over a decade at this point. On the other end of the spectrum, flagships of high-brow cable drama have almost all been sociopaths of various stripes: them if you're the Tony soprano in the Sopranos is a seductive impostor non grata and madmen and it is a serial killer legal character of Dexter. In between want my name the various reality show contestants betraying each other in their attempt to avoid being "voted off the iceland"; Dr. House, who seeks an diagnosis with complete in difference and even hostility toward his patients' feelings; the womanizing character played by Charlie Sheen in the sitcom Two and a Half Men; Glenn close's evil, plotting lawyer in damages; zaniness about badass Jack Bauer who will stop at nothing to indicate sociopathic devotion to stopping terrorism in 24 -- and of course various sociopathic pursuers of profit, whether in business or in politics who populate the evening news.

    On a certain level, this plan may not seem like anything new. It seems as though most cultures have lionized ruthless individuals who made their own rules, even if they ultimately feel constrained to punish them for their self-assertion as well. yet there is something new going on in this entertainment trend that go beyond the understandable desire to fantasize about living without restrictions of society. The fantasy sociopath is somehow outside social norms - largely bereft of human sympathy, for instance, and generally amoral -- any yet be simultaneously a master manipulator, who can instrumentilise the life social norms to get what he or she wants.

    Dictate this social mastery that sets the contemporary fantasy sociopath apart from both the sociopath and the real-life sociopath.

    While many of the characters named above are ruthless killers, they're generally not psychopathic or crazy in the sense of seeking destruction for its own sake, nor do they generally have some kind of uncontrollable compulsion to struggle with. Indeed, they are usually much more in control of their actions than normal "sane" person and much more capable of creating long-term plans with clear and achievable and goals.

    This level of control also set them apart from clinical definition of sociopathy. I do not wish to delve into the DSM or any other authority in the field of psychology, where the usefulness of sociopathy is a diagnostic category is in any sense disputed. Yet as I understand it, real-life sociopath are pitiable creatures indeed. Often victim of severe abuse, they are bereft of any human connection, unable to tell truth from lies, champing and manipulative for a few minutes at most, but with no real ability to formulate meaningful goals. The contemporary fantasy off sociopathy picks and chooses from those characteristics, emphasizing the lack of moral intuition, human empathy, and emotional connection. Far from being the obstacles they would be in real life, these characteristics are what enable the fantasy sociopath to be his sole amazingly successful.

    It's curious to think, that power would stem so directly from a lack of social connection. After all, we leave in their wallet where we are constantly exhorted to "network", to live by the maxim that "it's all about who you know". Yet the link between power and disconnection ... and pattern in recent entertainment sometimes displayed in their most cartoonish possible way. Take, for instance, Matt Damon character in various Bourne movies (The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Bourne Ultimatus -- soon to be followed, as Damon has joked, by the Bourne redundancy). In the first film, Jason Bourne is fished out of the ocean with no idea of who he is. As the story unfolds, he finds that he is unexpectedly the master of everything he tries to do: from hand to hand combat, the stunt driving, to speaking apparently every language on earth.

    His skills apply interpersonally as well, as very first woman he meets (Franka Polente) becomes his partner in crime and then lover.

    The narrative explanation for Bourne superhero status is an elite CIA training program. Yet that training is directly tied Bourne's amnesia, as the program goal is to create the ultimate sleeper agents. The program culminates with the thorough brainwashing, after reach the agents don't remember they're agents until their programming is triggered by some signal. The life they CIA set up for their age and ease in true sociopathic style, only an act that can be left behind at any time.

    What's more, a later film reveals that Bourne's trainers only regarded him as truly ready to work, what they had and used him to kill in cold blood someone he believed to be an innocent man. Lack of social ties, and ruthless amorality thus fit together seamlessly with virtual superpowers in this movie.

    ... ... ...

    It is hard to believe, however, that the exploration of the dark side of the human psyche for its own sake is behind the appeal of these sociopathic characters. What, then, is going on in this trend? my hypothesis is that sociopath we watch on TV allow us to indulge in a kind of thought experiment, based on the question: "what if I really and truly did not give a fuck about anyone?" And the answer they provide? " Then I would be powerful and free."

    Sociopathy as reverse awkwardness

    At first glance, that TV sociopath appears to be nearly the opposite of the awkward character. I've previously defined awkwardness as they feeling of anxiety that I tempered my the validation of absence of a clear social norm. It would have been when someone commit a social faus pas, such as spelling a racist joke (what I've called "everyday awkwardness"), or it could occur in situations where there are no real social expectations to speak of -- for instance, in cross-cultural encounters where one cannot appeal to a third "meta- culture" to mediate the interaction (what I have called "racial awkwardness"). In both cases, we have thrown into a situation in which we don't know what to do. At the same time, however, this violation of lack of social norms doesn't simply dissolve the social bond. Instead, awkwardness is a p particularly powerful social experience, in which we feel the presence of others much more acutely -- and more than that, awkwardness spread, making even innocent bystanders feel somehow caught up in his awkward feeling. This raw feeling of social connection can be so anxiety producing, in fact, that there have been hypothesized that awkwardness comes first and social norms are an attempt to cope with it.

    In contrast of the sociopath, then, those lack of social connection makes him or her a master manipulator of social norms, people caught up in awkwardness are rendered powerless by the intensity of their social connection. Thus we might say that at second glance, the TV sociopath is the exact opposite to an awkward character -- the correspondence is the perfect to ignore.

    To understand why this connection might exist, I had like to look more closely at my distinction between violation and the lack of social norm. The distinction between these two situations is not hard and fast, because in many cases, it's not clear how react to the relation of social norm. Many social norms function is straightforward Commandments -- for example, "thou shalt not take cuts in a line" -- but fail to prescribe a punishment or designate an agent who is qualified to administer it. As a result, when someone does take cuts, there seems to be nothing anyone can do.

    In fact, that person who does decide to confront the offender may well come out ducking like an asshole in the situation, because in many cultural settings there is a strong bias again unnecessary confrontation. The awkward person seats and fumes, or else confronts the cutter and quickly retreats. If we can define something like an everyday sociopath, it would be the person who is not only callous enough to take cuts in the first place, but is able to manipulate social expectations to shame the person who calls out the violation.

    The transition to the fantasy of TV sociopathy comes when the awkward person shifts from "I hate that guy" to "I wish were that guy." In everyday settings, this shift is unlikely. Even if the line is unbearably long, most well-adjusted people would prefer not to disobey their ingrained social instincts and, if confronted with the queue-jumper, would consoles himself with the thought that at least they are not such inconsiderate people, etc. Similar patterns repeat themselves in other areas of life - a man may wish, for instance, that he where a suave seducer, but at the bottom he feels that the seducer is there really a douche bag. Even though envy is probably inevitable, a feeling of moral superiority is normally enough to stave off outright admiration of the everyday sociopath.

    [Dec 16, 2012] Killing Mr. Griffin - Lois Duncan

    Google Books

    The term sociopath and psychopaths are often used interchangeably. We are talking about personality disorder that people are born with. Neither psychopath nor sociopaths are capable of feeling remorse or guilt. They appear to luck and conscience and have no regard for the rights or feelings of others. Those traits often surface by the age of 15.

    One of the first signs is often cruelty to animals, and I use that in the chapter which has a reference to Mark thinking fire to a cat. So we've got terms for all with identical conditions, and the line between them is so vague even psychiatrists find himself arguing over which is which.

    These are people like Charles Manson and Ted Bundy people who has absolutely no sense of guilt about what they did, performing horrible acts -- and yet they were just ask charming as they could be. They fit right with the society. My good friend. True crime author used to sit at the desk right next to Ted Bundy's and thought he was delightful. He'd even walk you out to her car to make sure she wasn't mugged. When she discovered she was a serial killer, she was stunned. It's a strange, fascinating and horrifying condition.

    When you read about these people as doing atrocious things, we tend to forget that they were not always adults. They started out as children, as they grew up and they went to school with other children. So we can look around us today and figure that we are going to them probably in every school in the nation growing up right around the normal kids. They are developing in that situation and their practicing the skills that they will later use as monstrous adults. So I thought, why don't we see you what one of them might be like as a teenager?

    [Dec 06, 2012] Chris Hedges: The Wall Street Cult of the Self and Ochberg: Coping With a Narcissist

    As Ochberg implies, psychopaths don't have ethical considerations, and narcissists and asocial personalities don't care.

    In layman's terms I think most of these fellows have a great hole in their being. They know that something is not right with them, but their egos will not allow them to acknowledge it.

    Those who gravitate toward the corporate power structures can be quite successful in some organizations. But despite outward success they are always restless, unfulfilled, and tend to project their dissatisfaction outward and ascribe it to others. If they succeed it is all them, but if they fail, someone else is at fault.

    They are incapable of trust, because everything they do is a facade, a lie. Therefore they rarely have a real relationship with their families, and at best view them as a desirable addition to their collection. They have utter contempt for other people, although they will use flattery and other means to create a dependency while they are using them. And after that is done, they will be discarded without another thought.

    They are like sharks, endlessly seeking to fill their terrible emptiness with possessions, be they things or other people. They are literally insatiable in their needs, and highly focused in their pursuit of them.

    They are very clever in finding the weaknesses in people and organizations, and will exploit them ruthlessly. Ethics and conscience provide no brake or boundaries on their willingness to say and do anything that is required to achieve their ends. If you attempt to thwart, be prepared for something a little different, and completely off the hook in response.

    It is really something to see them at work. The destruction they can wreak, sometimes with remarkably superficial charm and high verbal acuity, is hard to describe until you see it in action.

    They are always a challenge to the HR and compliance departments, and frequently end up badly, one way or the other. It becomes a personal challenge to see how far one can go without being stopped, far beyond any personal needs or requirements. Flouting the rules becomes a game in itself.


    Posted by Jesse at 10:05 PM

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    [Nov 10, 2012] CNN Profiles: The psychopath detector

    Nov 9, 2012 | cnn

    By Michael Schulder, CNN

    Follow on Twitter: @Schuldercnn

    (CNN) – Are you or is someone you know a psychopath?

    Wait – let's reframe that question.

    Do you or someone you know fall somewhere on the psychopathic spectrum?

    You may not know for sure until you listen to this week’s CNN Profile of Oxford University research psychologist Kevin Dutton.

    Dutton is author of the new book “The Wisdom of Psychopaths.”

    As he explains in this interview, not all psychopaths are violent. In fact, there are many highly functioning psychopaths. One may even be your boss. And you can’t judge if a person is a psychopath by simply looking at him, or even from a brief conversation.

    Dutton maintains that many people have great success in highly skilled fields not in spite of but BECAUSE of certain psychopathic traits, including a British neurosurgeon he interviewed.

    Dutton may have been destined to study psychopaths. His father was one. Not a violent psychopath. A charming one, as so many are. Wait until you hear Dutton describe how his father once conned a restaurant full of patrons.

    After you listen to our interview with Professor Dutton – you can spend some time on a psychopathy questionnaire - a "quiz" short version or a sign in for a longer one. Neither will provide a diagnosis. But your psychopathy radar will be better than ever.

    Dutton’s wife of 13 years has had enough of his immersion in the world of psychopaths. You can hear how he plans to address her concerns on this edition of CNN Profiles.

    Editor's Note: Listen to the complete interview in the SoundCloud player above.

    [Nov 10, 2012] The Psychopath Makeover

    And don't even get me started on Wall Street.
    The Chronicle of Higher Education

    Over a 28-year-old single-malt scotch at the Scientific Study of Psychopathy's biennial bash in Montreal in 2011, I asked Bob Hare, "When you look around you at modern-day society, do you think, in general, that we're becoming more psychopathic?"

    The eminent criminal psychologist and creator of the widely used Psychopathy Checklist paused before answering. "I think, in general, yes, society is becoming more psychopathic," he said. "I mean, there's stuff going on nowadays that we wouldn't have seen 20, even 10 years ago. Kids are becoming anesthetized to normal sexual behavior by early exposure to pornography on the Internet. Rent-a-friend sites are getting more popular on the Web, because folks are either too busy or too techy to make real ones. ... The recent hike in female criminality is particularly revealing. And don't even get me started on Wall Street."

    He's got a point. In Japan in 2011, a 17-year-old boy parted with one of his own kidneys so he could go out and buy an iPad. In China, following an incident in which a 2-year-old baby was left stranded in the middle of a marketplace and run over, not once but twice, as passersby went casually about their business, an appalled electorate has petitioned the government to pass a good-Samaritan law to prevent such a thing from happening again.

    And the new millennium has seemingly ushered in a wave of corporate criminality like no other. Investment scams, conflicts of interest, lapses of judgment, and those evergreen entrepreneurial party tricks of good old fraud and embezzlement are now utterly unprecedented in magnitude. Who's to blame? In an issue of the Journal of Business Ethics, Clive R. Boddy, a former professor at the Nottingham Business School, contends that it's psychopaths, pure and simple, who are at the root of all the trouble.

    The law itself has gotten in on the act. At the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping trial, in Salt Lake City, the attorney representing Brian David Mitchell—the homeless street preacher and self-proclaimed prophet who abducted, raped, and kept the 14-year-old Elizabeth captive for nine months (according to Smart's testimony, he raped her pretty much every day over that period)—urged the sentencing judge to go easy on his client, on the grounds that "Ms. Smart overcame it. Survived it. Triumphed over it." When the lawyers start whipping up that kind of tune, the dance could wind up anywhere.

    Of course, it's not just the lawyers. In a recent study by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, in London, 120 convicted street robbers were asked why they did it. The answers were revealing. Kicks. Spur-of-the-moment impulses. Status. And financial gain. In that order. Exactly the kind of casual, callous behavior patterns one often sees in psychopaths.

    In fact, in a survey that has so far tested 14,000 volunteers, Sara Konrath and her team at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research has found that college students' self-reported empathy levels (as measured by the Interpersonal Reactivity Index, a standardized questionnaire containing such items as "I often have tender, concerned feelings for people less fortunate than me" and "I try to look at everybody's side of a disagreement before I make a decision") have been in steady decline over the past three decades—since the inauguration of the scale, in fact, back in 1979. A particularly pronounced slump has been observed over the past 10 years. "College kids today are about 40 percent lower in empathy than their counterparts of 20 or 30 years ago," Konrath reports.

    More worrisome still, according to Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, is that, during this same period, students' self-reported narcissism levels have shot through the roof. "Many people see the current group of college students, sometimes called 'Generation Me,' " Konrath continues, "as one of the most self-centered, narcissistic, competitive, confident, and individualistic in recent history."

    Precisely why this downturn in social values has come about is not entirely clear. A complex concatenation of environment, role models, and education is, as usual, under suspicion. But the beginnings of an even more fundamental answer may lie in a study conducted by Jeffrey Zacks and his team at the Dynamic Cognition Laboratory, at Washington University in St. Louis. With the aid of fMRI, Zacks and his co-authors peered deep inside the brains of volunteers as they read stories. What they found provided an intriguing insight into the way our brain constructs our sense of self. Changes in characters' locations (e.g., "went out of the house into the street") were associated with increased activity in regions of the temporal lobes involved in spatial orientation and perception, while changes in the objects that a character interacted with (e.g., "picked up a pencil") produced a similar increase in a region of the frontal lobes known to be important for controlling grasping motions. Most important, however, changes in a character's goal elicited increased activation in areas of the prefrontal cortex, damage to which results in impaired knowledge of the order and structure of planned, intentional action.

    Imagining, it would seem, really does make it so. Whenever we read a story, our level of engagement is such that we "mentally simulate each new situation encountered in a narrative," according to one of the researchers, Nicole Speer. Our brains then interweave these newly encountered situations with knowledge and experience gleaned from our own lives to create an organic mosaic of dynamic mental syntheses.

    Reading a book carves brand-new neural pathways into the ancient cortical bedrock of our brains. It transforms the way we see the world—makes us, as Nicholas Carr puts it in his recent essay, "The Dreams of Readers," "more alert to the inner lives of others." We become vampires without being bitten—in other words, more empathic. Books make us see in a way that casual immersion in the Internet, and the quicksilver virtual world it offers, doesn't.

    Which is worrisome, to say the least, given the current slump in reading habits. According to a 2011 survey conducted by the British charity the National Literacy Trust, one in three children between the ages of 11 and 16 do not own a book, compared with one in 10 in 2005. That equates, in today's England, to a total of around four million. Almost a fifth of the 18,000 children polled said they had never received a book as a present. And 12 percent said they had never been to a bookshop.

    But if society really is becoming more psychopathic, it's not all doom and gloom. In the right context, certain psychopathic characteristics can actually be very constructive. A neurosurgeon I spoke with (who rated high on the psychopathic spectrum) described the mind-set he enters before taking on a difficult operation as "an intoxication that sharpens rather than dulls the senses." In fact, in any kind of crisis, the most effective individuals are often those who stay calm—who are able to respond to the exigencies of the moment while at the same time maintaining the requisite degree of detachment. Individuals like my old friend Andy McNab.

    McNab was arguably the most famous British soldier to have served in Her Majesty's Armed Forces until Prince Harry hung up his polo mallet at Eton. During the first Gulf War, Andy commanded Bravo Two Zero, an eight-man Special Forces patrol that was assigned the task of gathering intelligence on underground communication links between Baghdad and northwest Iraq, and tracking and destroying Scud missile launchers along the Iraqi main supply route in the area.

    But soon the boys had other fish to fry. A couple of days after insertion, the patrol was compromised by a goatherd. And, in time-honored fashion, they beat it: 185 miles, across the desert, toward the Syrian border.

    Only one of them made it. Three were killed, and the other four, including Andy, were picked up at various points along the way by the Iraqis. Suffice it to say that none of their captors were ever going to have their own talk shows ... or make their mark in the annals of cosmetic surgery. It's generally accepted that there are better ways of putting a person at ease than by stubbing your cigarette out on his neck. And better ways of breaking and remodeling their jawline than with the sun-baked butt of an AK-47. Thanks to more-advanced techniques back home in Britain, Andy's mouth now packs more porcelain than all the bathrooms in Buckingham Palace put together. He should know. In 1991 he went there to collect the Distinguished Service Medal from the queen.

    Such mental toughness isn't the only characteristic that Special Forces soldiers have in common with psychopaths. There's also fearlessness. A couple of years ago, on a beautiful spring morning 12,000 feet above Sydney's Bondi Beach, I performed my first free-fall sky dive. The night before, somewhat the worse for wear in one of the city's waterfront bars, I texted Andy for some last-minute advice.

    "Keep your eyes open. And your arse shut," came the reply.

    I did. Just. But performing the same feat at night, in the theater of war, over a raging ocean from twice the altitude and carrying 200 pounds of equipment, is a completely different ballgame. And if that's not enough, "We used to have a laugh," Andy recalls. "Mess about. You know, we'd throw the equipment out ahead of us and see if we could catch up with it. Or on the way down, we'd grab each other from behind in a bear hug and play chicken—see who'd be the first to peel off and pull the cord. It was all good fun."

    Er, right. If you say so, Andy. But what wasn't much fun was the killing. I ask Andy whether he ever felt any regret over anything he'd done. Over the lives he'd taken on his numerous secret missions around the world.

    "No," he replies matter-of-factly, his arctic-blue eyes showing not the slightest trace of emotion. "You seriously don't think twice about it. When you're in a hostile situation, the primary objective is to pull the trigger before the other guy pulls the trigger. And when you pull it, you move on. Simple as that. Why stand there, dwelling on what you've done? Go down that route and chances are the last thing that goes through your head will be a bullet from an M16.

    "The regiment's motto is 'Who Dares Wins.' But sometimes it can be shortened to 'F--- It.' "

    Andy's on a weeklong spree in the desert, roaring around Nevada on a Harley V-Rod Muscle, when I call.

    "No helmets!" he booms.

    "Hey, Andy," I say. "You up for a little challenge when you get back?"

    "Course!" he yells. "What is it?"

    "How about you and me go head-to-head in a test of cool in the lab? And I come out on top?"

    Manic laughter.

    "Love it," he says. "You're on! How the hell do you think you're going to pull that off?"

    I hang up. What I'm planning is a psychopath makeover, to find out firsthand, for better and for worse, what it's like to see the world through devil-may-care eyes. And there's nothing like a bit of competition.

    Transcranial magnetic stimulation (or TMS) was developed by Anthony Barker and his colleagues at the University of Sheffield in 1985. The inaugural application of TMS by Barker and his team comprised an elementary demonstration of the conduction of nerve impulses from the motor cortex to the spinal cord by stimulating simple muscle contractions. Nowadays it's a different story—and TMS has widespread practical uses, in both diagnostic and therapeutic capacities, across a variety of neurological and psychiatric conditions, from depression and migraine to strokes and Parkinson's disease.

    The basic premise of TMS is that the brain operates using electrical signals, and that, as with any such system, it's possible to modify the way it works by altering its electrical environment. Standard equipment consists of a powerful electromagnet, placed on the scalp, that generates steady magnetic-field pulses at specific frequencies, and a plastic-enclosed coil to focus those magnetic pulses down through the surface of the skull onto discrete brain regions, thus stimulating the underlying cortex.

    Now, one of the things that we know about psychopaths is that the light switches of their brains aren't wired up in quite the same way as the rest of ours are—and that one area particularly affected is the amygdala, a peanut-size structure located right at the center of the circuit board. The amygdala is the brain's emotion-control tower. It polices our emotional airspace and is responsible for the way we feel about things. But in psychopaths, a section of this airspace, the part that corresponds to fear, is empty.

    In the light-switch analogy, TMS may be thought of as a dimmer switch. As we process information, our brains generate small electrical signals. These signals not only pass through our nerves to work our muscles but also meander deep within our brains as ephemeral electrical data shoals, creating our thoughts, memories, and feelings. TMS can alter the strength of those signals. By passing an electromagnetic current through precisely targeted areas of the cortex, we can turn the signals either up or down.

    Turn down the signals to the amygdala, of course, and you're well on the way to giving someone a psychopath makeover. Indeed, Liane Young and her team in Boston have since kicked things up a notch and demonstrated that applying TMS to the right temporoparietal junction—a neural ZIP code within that neighborhood—has significant effects not just on lying ability but also on moral-reasoning ability: in particular, ascribing intentionality to others' actions.

    Andy rocks up to the Centre for Brain Science at the University of Essex one bitterly cold December morning, and we're met at the door by the man who, for the next couple of hours or so, is going to be our tormentor. Nick Cooper, one of the world's leading exponents of TMS, ushers us into the lab, shows us over to two high-backed leather chairs, and straps us in. He wires us up to heart-rate monitors, EEG recording equipment, and galvanic-skin-response (GSR) measures, which assess stress levels as a function of electrodermal activity. By the time he's finished, the pair of us look like we're trapped inside a giant telecom junction box. The gel for the electrodes feels cold against my scalp.

    Directly in front of us, about 10 feet away on the wall, is a large video screen. Nick flips a switch, which makes it crackle to life. Then he goes into white-coat mode. Ambient music wafts around the room. A silky, twilit lake ripples in front of our eyes.

    "Bloody hell," says Andy. "It's like an ad for incontinence pads!"

    "OK," says Nick. "Listen up. Right now, on the screen in front of you, you can see a tranquil, restful scene, which is presently being accompanied by quiet, relaxing music. This is to establish baseline physiological readings from which we can measure subsequent arousal levels.

    "But at an undisclosed moment sometime within the next 60 seconds, the image you see at the present time will change, and images of a different nature will appear on the screen. These images will be violent. And nauseating. And of a graphic and disturbing nature.

    "As you view these images, changes in your heart rate, skin conductance, and EEG activity will be monitored and compared with the resting levels that are currently being recorded. Any questions?"

    Andy and I shake our heads.

    "Happy?"

    We nod.

    "OK," says Nick. "Let's get the show on the road."

    He disappears behind us, leaving Andy and me merrily soaking up the incontinence ad. Results reveal later that, at this point, as we wait for something to happen, our physiological output readings are actually pretty similar. Our pulse rates are significantly higher than our normal resting levels, in anticipation of what's to come.

    But with the change of scene, an override switch flips somewhere in Andy's brain. And the ice-cold Special Forces soldier suddenly swings into action. As vivid, florid images of dismemberment, mutilation, torture, and execution flash up on the screen in front of us (so vivid, in fact, that Andy later confesses to actually being able to "smell" the blood: a "kind of sickly-sweet smell that you never, ever forget"), accompanied not by the ambient spa music of before but by blaring sirens and hissing white noise, his physiological readings start slipping into reverse. His pulse rate begins to slow. His GSR begins to drop, his EEG to quickly and dramatically attenuate. In fact, by the time the show is over, all three of Andy's physiological output measures are pooling below his baseline.

    Nick has seen nothing like it. "It's almost as if he was gearing himself up for the challenge," he says. "And then, when the challenge eventually presented itself, his brain suddenly responded by injecting liquid nitrogen into his veins. Suddenly implemented a blanket neural cull of all surplus feral emotion. Suddenly locked down into a hypnotically deep code red of extreme and ruthless focus."

    He shakes his head, nonplused. "If I hadn't recorded those readings myself, I'm not sure I would have believed them," he continues. "OK, I've never tested Special Forces before. And maybe you'd expect a slight attenuation in response. But this guy was in total and utter control of the situation. So tuned in, it looked like he'd completely tuned out."

    My physiological output readings, in contrast, went through the roof. Exactly like Andy's, they were well above baseline as I'd waited for the carnage to commence. But that's where the similarity ended. Rather than go down in the heat of battle, in the midst of the blood and guts, mine had appreciated exponentially.

    "At least it shows that the equipment is working properly," comments Nick. "And that you're a normal human being."

    We look across at Andy, who's chatting up a bunch of Nick's Ph.D. students over by a bank of monitors. God knows what they make of him. They've just analyzed his data, and the electrode gel has done such a number on his hair that he looks like Don King in a wind tunnel.

    All done, Andy is off to a luxury hotel in the country, where I'll be joining him later for a debrief. But that's only after I've run the gantlet again, in Phase II of the experiment. In which, with the aid of a psychopath makeover, I'll have another go at the experiment, only this time with a completely different head on—thanks to a dose of TMS.

    "The effects of the treatment should wear off within half an hour," Nick says, steering me over to a specially calibrated dentist's chair, complete with headrest, chin rest, and face straps. "Think of TMS as an electromagnetic comb, and brain cells—neurons—as hairs. All TMS does is comb those hairs in a particular direction, creating a temporary neural hairstyle. Which, like any new hairstyle, if you don't maintain it, quickly goes back to normal of its own accord."

    Nick sits me down in the sinister-looking chair and pats me, a little too reassuringly for my liking, on the shoulder. By the time he's finished strapping and bolting me in, I look like Hannibal Lecter at LensCrafters. He positions the TMS coils, which resemble the handle part of a giant pair of scissors, over the middle section of my skull, and turns on the machine.

    Instantly it feels as if there's a geeky homunculus miner buried deep inside my head, tapping away with a rock hammer.

    "That's the electromagnetic induction passing down your trigeminal nerve," Nick explains. "It's one of the nerves responsible for sensation in the face, and for certain motor functions like biting, chewing, and swallowing. You can probably feel it going through your back teeth, right?"

    I nod.

    "What I'm actually trying to find," he continues, "is the specific part of your motor cortex responsible for the movement of the little finger of your right hand. Once we've pinpointed that, I can then use it as a kind of base camp, if you like, from which to plot the coordinates of the brain regions we're really interested in: your amygdala and your moral-reasoning area."

    "Well, you'd better get on with it," I mutter. "Because much more of this, and I'm going to end up strangling you."

    Nick smiles. "Blimey," he says. "It must be working already."

    Sure enough, after about 20 seconds, I feel an involuntary twitch exactly where Nick has predicted. Weak, at first. Then gradually getting stronger. Pretty soon my right pinkie is really ripping it up. It's not the most comfortable feeling in the world—sitting strapped in a chair, in a dimly lit chamber, knowing that you don't have any control over the actions your body is performing. It's creepy. Demeaning. Disorienting ... and kind of puts a downer on the whole free-will thing. My only hope is that Nick isn't in the mood to start clowning around. With the piece of gear he's waving about, he could have me doing cartwheels round the lab.

    "OK," he says. "We now know the location of the areas we need to target. So let's get started."

    My little finger stops moving as he repositions his spooky neurological wand in the force field above my head. It's then just a matter of sitting there for a while as my dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and right temporoparietal junction get an electromagnetic comb-over.

    TMS can't penetrate far enough into the brain to reach the emotion and moral-reasoning precincts directly. But by damping down or turning up the regions of the cerebral cortex that have links with such areas, it can simulate the effects of deeper, more incursive influence.

    It isn't long before I start to notice a fuzzier, more pervasive, more existential difference. Before the experiment, I'd been curious about the time scale: how long it would take me to begin to feel the rush. Now I had the answer: about 10 to 15 minutes. The same amount of time, I guess, that it would take most people to get a buzz out of a beer or a glass of wine.

    The effects aren't entirely dissimilar. An easy, airy confidence. A transcendental loosening of inhibition. The inchoate stirrings of a subjective moral swagger: the encroaching, and somehow strangely spiritual, realization that hell, who gives a s---, anyway?

    There is, however, one notable exception. One glaring, unmistakable difference between this and the effects of alcohol. That's the lack of attendant sluggishness. The enhancement of attentional acuity and sharpness. An insuperable feeling of heightened, polished awareness. Sure, my conscience certainly feels like it's on ice, and my anxieties drowned with a half-dozen shots of transcranial magnetic Jack Daniel's. But, at the same time, my whole way of being feels as if it's been sumptuously spring-cleaned with light. My soul, or whatever you want to call it, immersed in a spiritual dishwasher.

    So this, I think to myself, is how it feels to be a psychopath. To cruise through life knowing that no matter what you say or do, guilt, remorse, shame, pity, fear—all those familiar, everyday warning signals that might normally light up on your psychological dashboard—no longer trouble you.

    I suddenly get a flash of insight. We talk about gender. We talk about class. We talk about color. And intelligence. And creed. But the most fundamental difference between one individual and another must surely be that of the presence, or absence, of conscience. Conscience is what hurts when everything else feels good. But what if it's as tough as old boots? What if one's conscience has an infinite, unlimited pain threshold and doesn't bat an eye when others are screaming in agony?

    Back in the chair, wired up to the counters and bleepers, I sit through the horror show again: the images modified, so as to avoid habituation. This time, however, it's a different story. "I know the guy before me found these images nauseating," I hear myself saying. "But actually, to be honest, this time round I'm finding it hard to suppress a smile."

    The lines and squiggles corroborate my confession. Whereas previously, such was my level of arousal that it was pretty much a minor miracle that the state-of-the-art EEG printer hadn't blown up and burst into flames, my brain activity after the psychopath makeover is significantly reduced. Perhaps not quite as genteelly undulating as Andy's. But getting there, certainly. It's a similar story when it comes to heart rate and skin conductance. In fact, in the case of the latter, I actually eclipse Andy's reading.

    "Does that mean it's official?" I ask Nick, as we scrutinize the figures. "Can I legitimately claim to be cooler than Andy McNab?"

    He shrugs. "I suppose," he says. "For now, anyway. But you'd better make the most of it while you can. You've got a quarter of an hour. Max."

    I shake my head. Already I sense the magic wearing off. The electromagnetic sorcery starting to wane. I feel, for instance, considerably more married than I did a bit earlier—and considerably less inclined to go up to Nick's research assistant and ask her out for a drink. Instead I go with Nick—to the student bar—and bury my previous best on the Gran Turismo car-racing video game. I floor it all the way round. But so what—it's only a game, isn't it?

    "I wouldn't want to be with you in a real car at the moment," says Nick. "You're definitely still a bit ballsy."

    I feel great. Not quite as good as before, perhaps, when we were in the lab. Not quite as ... I don't know ... impregnable. But up there, for sure. Life seems full of possibility, my psychological horizons much broader. Why shouldn't I piss off to Glasgow this weekend for my buddy's stag party, instead of dragging myself over to Dublin to help my wife put her mother in a nursing home? I mean, what's the worst that can happen? This time next year, this time next week even, it would all be forgotten. Who Dares Wins, right?

    I take a couple of quid from the table next to ours—left as a tip, but who's going to know?—and try my luck on another couple of machines. I get to $100,000 on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" but crash and burn because I refuse to go 50-50. Soon things start to change. Gran Turismo the second time round is a disappointment. I'm suddenly more cautious, and finish way down the field. Not only that, I notice a security camera in the corner and think about the tip I've just pocketed. To be on the safe side, I decide to pay it back.

    I smile and swig my beer. Psychopaths. They never stick around for long. As soon as the party's over, they're moving on to the next one, with scant regard for the future and even less for the past. And this psychopath—the one, I guess, that was me for 20 minutes—was no exception. He'd had his fun. And got a free drink out of it. But now that the experiment was history, he was suddenly on his way, hitting the road and heading out of town. Hopefully quite some distance away.

    I certainly didn't want him showing up in the hotel bar later, where I was meeting Andy. They'd either get on great. Or wouldn't get on at all.

    To be honest, I didn't know which would be scarier.

    Kevin Dutton is a research psychologist at the University of Cambridge. This essay is excerpted from The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success, his new book from Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

    [Oct 02, 2012] Psychopaths Among Us, by Robert Hercz

    Hare estimates that 1 percent of the population -- 300,000 people in Canada -- are psychopaths.

    He calls them "subclinical" psychopaths. They're the charming predators who, unable to form real emotional bonds, find and use vulnerable women for sex and money (and inevitably abandon them). They're the con men like Christophe Rocancourt, and they're the stockbrokers and promoters who caused Forbes magazine to call the Vancouver Stock Exchange (now part of the Canadian Venture Exchange) the scam capital of the world. (Hare has said that if he couldn't study psychopaths in prisons, the Vancouver Stock Exchange would have been his second choice.)

    ... They're your neighbour, your boss, and your blind date. Because they have no conscience, they're natural predators. If you didn't have a conscience, you'd be one too.

    Psychopaths love chaos and hate rules, so they're comfortable in the fast-moving modern corporation. Dr. Paul Babiak, an industrial-organizational psychologist based near New York City, is in the process of writing a book with Bob Hare called When Psychopaths Go to Work: Cons, Bullies and the Puppetmaster. The subtitle refers to the three broad classes of psychopaths Babiak has encountered in the workplace.

    "The con man works one-on-one," says Babiak. "They'll go after a woman, marry her, take her money, then move on and marry someone else. The puppet master would manipulate somebody to get at someone else. This type is more powerful because they're hidden." Babiak says psychopaths have three motivations: thrill-seeking, the pathological desire to win, and the inclination to hurt people. "They'll jump on any opportunity that allows them to do those things," he says. "If something better comes along, they'll drop you and move on."

    How can you tell if your boss is a psychopath? It's not easy, says Babiak. "They have traits similar to ideal leaders. You would expect an ideal leader to be narcissistic, self-centred, dominant, very assertive, maybe to the point of being aggressive. Those things can easily be mistaken for the aggression and bullying that a psychopath would demonstrate. The ability to get people to follow you is a leadership trait, but being charismatic to the point of manipulating people is a psychopathic trait. They can sometimes be confused."

    Once inside a company, psychopaths can be hard to excise. Babiak tells of a salesperson and psychopath -- call him John -- who was performing badly but not suffering for it. John was managing his boss -- flattering him, taking him out for drinks, flying to his side when he was in trouble. In return, his boss covered for him by hiding John's poor performance. The arrangement lasted until John's boss was moved. When his replacement called John to task for his abysmal sales numbers, John was a step ahead.

    He'd already gone to the company president with a set of facts he used to argue that his new boss, and not he, should be fired. But he made a crucial mistake. "It was actually stolen data," Babiak says. "The only way [John] could have obtained it would be for him to have gone into a file into which no one was supposed to go. That seemed to be enough, and he was fired rather than the boss. Even so, in the end, he walked out with a company car, a bag of money, and a good reference."

    "A lot of white-collar criminals are psychopaths," says Bob Hare. "But they flourish because the characteristics that define the disorder are actually valued. When they get caught, what happens? A slap on the wrist, a six-month ban from trading, and don't give us the $100 million back. I've always looked at white-collar crime as being as bad or worse than some of the physically violent crimes that are committed."

    The best way to protect the workplace is not to hire psychopaths in the first place. That means training interviewers so they're less likely to be manipulated and conned. It means checking resumщs for lies and distortions, and it means following up references.

    Paul Babiak says he's "not comfortable" with one researcher's estimate that one in ten executives is a psychopath, but he has noticed that they are attracted to positions of power. When he describes employees such as John to other executives, they know exactly whom he's talking about. "I was talking to a group of human-resources executives yesterday," says Babiak, "and every one of them said, you know, I think I've got somebody like that."

    By now, you're probably thinking the same thing. The number of psychopaths in society is about the same as the number of schizophrenics, but unlike schizophrenics, psychopaths aren't loners. That means most of us have met or will meet one. Hare gets dozens of letters and e-mail messages every month from people who say they recognize someone they know while reading Without Conscience. They go on to describe a brother, a sister, a husband. " 'Please help my seventeen-year-old son. . . .' " Hare reads aloud from one such missive. "It's a heart-rending letter, but what can I do? I'm not a clinician. I have hundreds of these things, and some of them are thirty or forty pages long."

    Hare's book opened my eyes, too. Reading it, I realized that I might have known a psychopath, Jonathan, at the computer company where I worked in London, England, over twenty years ago. He was charming and confident, and from the moment he arrived he was on excellent terms with the executive inner circle. Jonathan had big plans and promised me that I was a big part of them. One night when I was alone in the office, Jonathan appeared, accompanied by what anyone should have recognized as two prostitutes. "These are two high-ranking staff from the Ministry of Defence," he said without missing a beat. "We're going over the details of a contract, which I'm afraid is classified top secret. You'll have to leave the building." His voice and eyes were absolutely persuasive and I complied. A few weeks later Jonathan was arrested. He had embezzled tens of thousands of pounds from the small firm, used the company as a mailing address for a marijuana importing business he was running on the side, and robbed the apartment of the company's owner, who was letting him stay there temporarily.

    [Jun 20, 2012] Psychopathic personality in young people

    Three factor structure for psychopathy....

    Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterised by a constellation of interpersonal, affective and behavioural characteristics (Hare, 1998). The early literature suggested that it was a uni-dimensional phenomenon, but subsequent studies revealed that measures of psychopathy had at least a two-factor structure, comprising an interpersonal/affective element (factor 1) and a social deviance component (factor 2). More recently, a three-factor structure has been proposed (Cooke & Michie, 2001), which includes:

    Conduct disorder, antisocial personality disorder and psychopathy are often seen as developmental disorders that span the life course and the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. There are, however, significant differences between them and their associated correlates. Whereas conduct disorder and antisocial personality disorder primarily focus on behavioural problems, psychopathy, as described by Hare (1991), emphasises deficits in affective and interpersonal functioning. Psychopathy is seen as a higher-order construct, which can now be reliably be assessed in adults using the Psychopathy Checklist – Revised (PCL–R; Hare, 1991). A score of >30 on the PCL–R indicates prototypical psychopathy.

    The estimated prevalence of adult psychopathy in the general population is 1%, rising to between 15% and 25% in incarcerated groups. The notion that individuals identified as PCL–R ‘psychopaths’ are different from people with a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder comes from research showing that there are high rates (50–80%) of antisocial personality disorder in prison populations, but only 20% of these meet Hare’s criteria for psychopathy (Hare, 1998).

    Item content of the Hare Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version (afterForthet al,2004)
    1. Impression management Conforms with notions of social desirability, presents him- or herself in a good light, is superficially charming

    2. Grandiose sense of self-worth Is dominating, opinionated, has an inflated view of own ability

    3. Stimulation-seeking Needs novelty, excitement, is prone to boredom and risk-taking behaviours

    4. Pathological lying Exhibits pervasive lying, lies readily, easily and obviously

    5. Manipulation for personal gain Is deceitful, manipulates, engages in dishonest or fraudulent schemes that can result in criminal activity

    6. Lack of remorse Has no guilt, lacks concern about the impact of his or her actions on others; justifies and rationalise their abuse of others

    7. Shallow affect Has only superficial bonds with others, feigns emotion

    8. Callous or lacking empathy Has a profound lack of empathy, views others as objects, has no appreciation of the needs or feelings of others

    9. Parasitic orientation Exploits others, lives at the expense of friends and family, gets others to do his or her schoolwork using threats

    10. Poor anger control Is hotheaded, easily offended and reacts aggressively, is easily provoked to violence

    11. Impersonal sexual behaviour Has multiple casual sexual encounters, indiscriminate sexual relationships, uses coercion and threats

    12. Early behavioural problems Lying, thieving, fire-setting before 10 years of age

    13. Lacks goals Has no interest or understanding of the need for education, lives day-to-day, has unrealistic aspirations for the future

    14. Impulsivity Acts out frequently, quits school, leaves home on a whim, acts on the spur of the moment, never considers the consequences of impulsive acts

    15. Irresponsibility Habitually fails to honour obligations or debts, shows reckless behaviour in a variety of settings, including school and home

    16. Failure to accept responsibility Blames other for his or her problems, claims that he or she was ‘set up’, is unable and unwilling to accept personal responsibility for their actions

    17. Unstable interpersonal relationships Has turbulent extrafamilial relationships, lacks commitment and loyalty

    18. Serious criminal behaviour Has multiple charges of convictions for criminal activity

    19. Serious violations of conditional release Has two or more escapes from security or breaches of probation

    20. Criminal versatility Engages in at least six different categories of offending behaviour

    ... ... ...

    At present, there is no general agreement on whether or not psychopathy exists in childhood and adolescence. A consensus is likely to be reached only when we have longitudinal studies demonstrating the stability of psychopathic traits over the lifespan and evidence that the same aetiological factors contribute to this disorder at all ages. As there is significant overlap between the behavioural aspects of juvenile psychopathy and ADHD and between the callous-unemotional dimension of psychopathy and autistic-spectrum disorders, future work needs to disentangle these constructs from a phenomenological and aetiological perspective.

    As yet, there are few treatment outcome studies in juveniles with psychopathic traits, although the limited data suggest that these traits might be a moderator of outcome. Most clinicians view youth psychopathy as a potentially treatable disorder, and there is some evidence that identification of psychopathic traits in young people has a number of benefits, which include:

    [Jun 20, 2012] How to recognize a child's psychopath?

    Slightly edited Google translation. See also Psychopathic personality in young people - Advances in … Might be useful in deciphering your boss stories about his childhood ;-)
    MISSUS.RU
    Psychopathy in children - a condition more common than people think.

    Signs of impending disaster can be seen as early as age three. They can be expressed in a child's inability to empathize when others are suffering, in the absence of remorse for bad behavior, but the most disturbing - is cruelty to children or other animals.

    Many parents who have witnessed abuse by their children, feel the chill in his stomach. Most moms and dads want their offspring were attentive and kind, if not all the time, at least most of it. Typically, a flash of rage subsides child in five minutes, and a furious tiger turns into a nice home a kitten. But some parents treacherous cold in the stomach and does not leave a proverbial five minutes. He only transformed into a gnawing, nagging belief that all is not as it should.

    The problem may manifest itself in the child's inability to experience empathy when others suffer. This may be a lack of remorse for bad behavior. The most alarming cases - a manifestation of cruelty to children or other animals.

    One day the parents are asking: Can my child - a psychopath? The answer, experts say, may well be positive. Today, most psychologists believed that the first signs of psychopathy can be seen when the child reaches the age of three.

    Stephen Scott, professor of child health and behavior based on the Institute of Psychiatry, London Maudsley Hospital, is engaged in identifying problems in children aged from three to eight years. Among those who demonstrate antisocial behavior, it easily identifies children who have supplemented it heartlessness and unemotionally, characteristic of adult psychopaths, and directs them to the specialists of "Gentle Care With Love" (Tender Loving Care, TLC).
    Experts TLC every year deal with hundreds of children referred to them on the advice of psychiatrists, pediatricians, social workers, teachers and psychologists. Parents can bring children themselves, without the direction of a specialist if they have concerns about his mental state.

    To put a child into the category "callous and detached" may be difficult, admits Scott. As a rule, children have time to be excluded from school for the disgusting behavior before on clarifying the causes of professionals start working. Most children are diagnosed after a series of quality tests, extensive interviews, interviews with the little bully and his parents and his class teacher.
    At the same time, the professor, many children, and adults can naturally not be too emotional, without being psychotic. For example, autistics can not put yourself in another's place and corny do not understand when a person is bad, or hurt, while the true psychopath aware of this report, but it just do not care about the feelings of others.

    "One little girl put her five-year window of the cat, darling of the family, and then threw her down on the concrete - just for fun. This is a very bad sign. This behavior is characteristic of psychopaths than simple fighting with brothers and sisters - said Professor Paul Frick, dealing with the problems of child psychopathology over the past two decades. - Most of the time we do not pay attention to how children behave at home with each other. However, children that we do not just bad behavior in the family - they intentionally harm people by behaving coldly and calculatingly in any situation. "

    A psychopath is not necessarily always be dispassionate - and they can see the flash of anger, but their anger is different from the momentary rage inherent in the other children. One little boy, whom experts involved in the project TLC, pushed his mother down the stairs and said that he had de love it when people hurt. "We just do not want to stigmatize these children psychopaths, but we would say that this child has certain features which, if not elimination of their work will lead to psychopathy," - said Scott.

    My parents bought another difficult child stained glass for 300 pounds. A few days later a 12-year-old boy, looking at my father and mother, went to the window - and turned it into a stained glass pieces. The anger has nothing to do with it: the action was clearly intentional, explains the professor. "The brain is a site that will handle the fear - the amygdala. For some children it does not work at full strength, with the resul that they like to take risks. They like to have fun, but the punishment they forget" - says Scott.

    Here are the main symptoms, noting that parents should be wary. A child with psychopathic traits:

    - Constantly fighting with others, corrupts or steals their belongings;
    - Violates parental prohibitions - running away from home or returning late at night;
    - Does not feel guilt for his obviously bad things;
    - Demonstrates a disregard for the feelings of others: for example, pushes another child with a swing, not paying attention to his cries;
    - Do not worry about their performance;
    - It seems a cold, showing emotion only when he wants to scare anybody, or to subordinate his own will;
    - Blames others for his mistakes, not taking responsibility for themselves;
    - Afraid of nothing and consciously takes a risk;
    - Does not respond to the threat of punishment;
    - Above all, puts his own pleasure, even if it brings pain to others (for example, steals his favorite thing).

    Risk children usually do not look into the eyes of parents, but if you force them to do so, they better understand the feelings of mothers and fathers. How to achieve this understanding, experts explain TLC: "Ask your child to look you in the eye and say:" I am very glad that you did it "when a child commits a good deed, to connect the emotional component of the interaction and strengthen the activities of the cerebellar tonsils."

    Professor Scott suggests need to give children an idea of the possible consequences of their actions. Kids are smart enough to realize it. You can, for example, say: "If you did not listen, then go to my room," the main thing - be sure to bring your promise into action. Talking it should be very calm tone. No one says that it is simple: children psychopaths need more praise and rewards for good behavior.

    In addition, parents should try to win the respect of their offspring, and for this they need to be consistent and not let the words in the wind. For example, once a child starts behaving very badly, you need to explain to him that his behavior will inevitably be followed by your response, and turn away. Once the child calms down, you can continue the dialogue with the place where you left off, while making sure that your tone was calm. Reward your child's attention for his good behavior - and be patient.

    [Apr 29, 2012] Catalyst Corporate Psychopaths - ABC TV Science

    Is your boss manipulative? Intimidating? Totally lacking in remorse? Yet superficially charming? Then you could be working with a workplace psychopath. The latest figures suggest one in ten managers are psychopaths, and this week Catalyst goes deep inside their minds - what makes them tick, how do you spot them; and how do you avoid being crushed by them. We’ll also run a handy test – tune in to find out if your boss is an office psychopath.

    TRANSCRIPT

    Narration: It begins as a phone call - and then a meeting - usually late at night.

    A corporation has a problem and they need Dr John Clarke's help. They need a psychopath- buster.

    Dr John Clarke: The common misconception with psychopaths is that they're all violent extreme kind of criminals. The majority of them are living and working around us in jobs psychologically destroying the people that they work with.

    Narration: There's a growing realisation psychopaths are thriving in today's workplace. According to the textbooks, every large company has them.

    Jonica Newby, reporter: This is where I work. It's the ABC building in Sydney. Now the figures are that 0.5% of women are psychopaths, and 2% are men. So that means there are up to 25 corporate psychopaths somewhere up there.

    Narration: But who are they? What makes them tick? And how do you avoid being the next victim of the workplace psychopath.

    Psychologist John Clarke started out profiling criminal psychopaths, but four years ago, he began to realise there was a much bigger problem.

    Dr John Clarke: I was giving a lecture on criminal psychopaths and someone came down after that lecture and said that their boss had the same characteristics as what I'd just described for a criminal one.

    Narration: "Annette" knows just what he's talking about. Like most victims we contacted, she would only tell her story anonymously.

    She was a confident, career minded public servant when she first met her new boss.

    Annette: I got a shock when he took me into his office and shut the door - he just exploded. It was sort of like well what do we want you for.
    And then when he let me out again it was all smiles.

    Dr John Clarke: There are 20 characteristics to define a psychopath. Really the fundamental factor is an absolute lack of remorse or guilt for their behaviour, pathological lying, manipulative, callous, egotistical, very kind of self centred individual, glib and superficial charm

    Narration: The workplace psychopath's textbook strategies feature in a new David Williamson play, Operator.

    Psychopath: Francine. They tell me that you're the person who really runs things here, so I thought I'd better say hello as quickly as possible.

    Francine: Now you're just trying to flatter me.

    Psychopath: Not at all. Three different people have told me that with your capabilities you could step straight out of a support role into top management.

    David Williamson: They are so devious. They're so good at saying things you want to hear to your face at the same time they're knifing you in the back.

    Psychopath: Could you do me a big favour?

    Francine: What?

    Psychopath: Write me an email that sort of recounts what happened here today.

    Francine: I don't like putting things in writing.

    Psychopath: I won't ever show it to anyone without getting your permission first. I know I shouldn't be showing it to you ...

    Dr John Clarke: They steal other people's work. They spread rumours about people, character assassination. A range of different strategies they will use to move up through the company.

    David Williamson: They are worrying. I mean, if you strike one you may not realise it for quite a while until they do some devious act that stabs you in the back and can quite psychologically crush you.

    Narration: Annette's boss was typical - charming his superiors and acolytes, while isolating and undermining his victims.

    Annette: I wasn't allowed to have a phone when I was working, you know, my phone calls were monitored just this constant wearing down and harassment and you know, it was just awful.

    Narration: By the time she complained, she'd been so discredited behind her back, no one would support her.

    Annette: They didn't believe me. They're going, "He's such a funny guy, he's so nice"

    In the end I had to go in and, and see him. And I was just crying my eyes out and I was just tears running down my face. And he walked me out through the chairs, through the desks, out through the long way through the office in case anyone had missed the spectacle of me just breaking down. I was devastated. I was just broken.

    Narration: But how can someone act in such a seemingly inhuman way?

    The truth is, psychopaths are fundamentally different to the rest of us. Research is showing they're deficient in a crucial skill that evolved to ensure we don't abandon our friends and family - empathy.

    Dr John Clarke: Empathy really is the ability to feel what another person is feeling. It's very very important in terms of survival of the human species because if nobody really cared or understood what other people were feeling it would just cause breakdown of society.

    Narration: Empathy is not just an abstract idea ... it's something you can measure physiologically.

    Jonica Newby, reporter: Well, I'm about to be tested for one of the key characteristics of a psychopath.

    Dr John Clarke: Now I'm just going to show you some pictures. Sit back, relax, and we'll see what happens.

    Narration: As I watch the pictures, probes are detecting whether I release minute traces of sweat - whether I have an emotional response - empathy.

    Psychopaths generally don't react.

    Jonica Newby, reporter: So how'd I go?

    Dr John Clarke: Very well. What we can see as we scroll through is for the non-emotional pictures there is no response. And when we get to here with the pictures of people crying you can see an involuntary physical emotional response.

    Jonica Newby, reporter: So I'm not a psychopath.

    Dr John Clarke: Definitely not.

    Narration: Psychopaths generally don't react.

    This lack of emotional response extends deep into the brain.

    When most of us see another persons distress, our emotional centre, the limbic system, is aroused. We feel a little of what others are feeling.

    But a 2001 US study revealed the psychopath has very little limbic system response to emotional information.

    John Clarke: And that's what allows them to manipulate and control other people because they're able to do that on a very rational logical level but at the same time they don't feel the emotion or empathy for the other person.

    Narration: No one knows how much of this deficit is genetic, and how much shaped by childhood.

    But by the time they are adults, psychopaths aren't simply uncaring. They are physically incapable of feeling other people's pain.

    Annette: My hair was falling out, you know, and I uh.. you know, I had diarrhoea, I couldn't sleep, my life got that awful and black it seemed a better option to just be dead and stop it.

    Man: Someone I like and respect a lot almost died last night.

    Psychopath: Let's get real here. Melissa was reckless, incompetent and stuffed up in a big way. And when you stuff up big time you get depressed.

    Man: She nearly died.

    Psychopath: She's a loser. Who f...... cares?

    Narration: But without a brain scan, how do we spot a psychopath before its too late? One answer seems to be; look up.

    John Clarke suspects corporations today aren't just failing to screen for psychopaths, they're unwittingly selecting them.

    Dr John Clarke: You see this advertisement here. "An ability to do whatever it takes to meet a deadline". So that would appeal to a psychopath because they are prepared to do whatever it takes whatever the cost. If we look at this one - "The opportunities are endless you just need to know how to win it" - well they know how to win everything pretty much.

    David Williamson: They present very confidently. They are full of self-esteem. They have no doubts; no hesitations and so interviewing panels often find them very attractive.

    That's what many corporations see as being a good executive.

    Narration: But some corporations are now realising they have a problem. That's why they call secretly on criminal profiler, John Clarke.

    Dr John Clarke: The companies don't like to admit they have a psychopath and so the first meeting, it's often on a Friday night or late at night after the employees have gone home.

    Narration: Issues range from fraud, to broken promises, to losing staff.

    Executive: I just can't seem to keep staff and it's all coming from his section.

    Dr John Clarke: Which is costing you money.

    Executive: Exactly.

    Dr John Clarke: The first thing I do is really get an assessment from the people working below, at the same level and above the individual. And so if there are huge discrepancies in opinion that's reason to start delving deeper.

    Narration: Dr Clarke then administers a standard psychopath assessment. Remember those questions you answered earlier? They're a modified, cut down version.

    Here are the final two:

    Is your boss opportunistic, ruthless, hating to lose and playing to win?

    Does your boss consider people they've outsmarted as dumb or stupid?

    If your boss scored 5 out of 6 or more, you could be working with a workplace psychopath.

    Now for the bad news.

    Dr John Clarke: It's almost impossible to rehabilitate the psychopath. In fact, there are studies in the United States, which suggest that rehabilitation in fact makes them worse because it teaches them new social skills they can use to manipulate the people around them more effectively.

    Narration: Once identified, there are strategies to manage the psychopath or move them on.

    But what if you're the victim, and the corporation backs your boss?

    Stay too long, and you risk a severe psychological breakdown. That's what happened to Annette.

    Annette: I loved my job but in the end I, I fell apart. I was just so, so broken and you know, I just walked out and there was no coming back.

    I'm unemployable now, you know. I just, I can't take another knock like that,

    Dr John Clarke: When I tell them that one of the options is to leave the company there's shock, and then they go on to how unfair it is but then there's devastation when they do realise that that might be the most appropriate option to take because the situation is not going to change.

    Narration: Far from getting their comeuppance, in these days of short term goals and high staff turnover, psychopaths often rise to the top.

    In making this story, we spoke to many victims, none who could be identified for fear of defamation or worse - all devastated - all with a similar message.

    Annette: I think you should run, you should run. There are some bosses out there that are deadly.

    Dr John Clarke: I want people to be aware that they're not going crazy. It's the workplace psychopath that's the problem, not them.

    David Williamson: That's not to say that every manager is like that. But it's that one out of ten that has the potential to really wreck a company, wreck the coherence of a company and wreck lives.

    Topics: Others

    Story Contacts

    Dr John Clarke: Psychologist / Criminal profiler

    David Williamson: Playwright

    Dr John Clarke's Website

    John Citizen
    I could recount acts by a psychopathic boss that are so disgusting, so unethical, that its hard to comprehend. However, I chose to write the following:

    For those who, like myself, do not want to quit a good job - I say study your psychopath boss and evolve beyond him / her.

    Do not let them defeat you. They are in fact quite predictable, once you learn the fundamentally different way they view you and the world around them. Do not battle with them, instead get to know their modus operandi to the point where nothing surprises you. Strengthen yourself through being informed and prepared. Try to learn from the situation and build your character. After all, they have no right to project their psychopathy on to others. Its his/her personal issue, they have no right to mess with your career or the way you provide for yourself and your family! Fight back, calmly and intelligently.

    Yes they are self serving, destructive parasites. However, their presence is an inescapable reality of the corporate world - there is strong argument that corporations themselves are psychopathic entities - if you want to play the corporate game, better get prepared for the corporate psychopath.

    Plenty of resources out there, such as Dr. John Clarke and Dr. Robert Hare. Also texts on 'power' (i.e., in this context, manipulating without empathy) like Machiavelli's The Prince can be quite insightful.

    Happy Ending
    My husband was at the mercy of a psychopath for 6 months. After almost bringing the Company undone the psychopath was sacked by the Directors. It required reports by all the employees, backed up by visitors to the company from outside. Every incident had been diarized for 6 months. These included swearing, shouting, threatening, harassing (sexual and verbal), lying, discriminating, bullying, taking credit for others good work, demeaning behavior towards staff and customers alike, etc.

    Of course there were incidents of charming behavior mixed in, especially with the "right" people. Thankfully, a full report to Directors and HR brought swift action - within 7 days he was GONE!

    He had actually received counseling previously so I guess the company did not want any law suits!

    Vinny
    Your husband was very lucky. Only 6 months of hell. Sounds like a dumb psychopath, that one, giving away his true colours to too many people. Thats unusual. The one I"m dealing with is much smarter than that. He only shows his true colours to individuals, and he"s conned and cowed the manager so as to make sure any complaints get back to him..

    Which makes it payback time against anyone who dares to do it. Everyone is miserable, yet no one, apart from me, has had the guts to complain, which I've done 3 times, to no avail. But it has had the effect, for now, of making him think twice about retaliating, knowing as he does, that I wont take it quietly. I"m waiting for his next move, which I KNOW he will be scheeming up right now. I dont know how this will end, but I am using my instinct, which I think is the only way to fight these types.'All Ive got left to loose, is a job which he has made miserable anyway.

    Vinny
    I only wish ABC or any channel could come out with more programmes on this subject. It"s such a widespread and serious problem. It would be a sure fire ratings winner if they advertised it properly in advance as they always do with special interest programmes. And with the amount of people being so badly affected by psychopaths these days, there would surely be enough material to make a 3 or 4 part series out of it. That Catalyst programme was years ago. MORE educational programmes about psychopaths are desperately needed.

    Moderator: Thanks for your comment. Dr Jonica Newby recently revisted the subject of psychopaths and her latest story focused on children who are at risk of developing psychopathic traits in adulthood. It's called Psychopath in the Family and you can find it here - http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/3453149.htm

    BLONDIE
    I am currently in the clutches of a Corporate Psychopath. The rest of the team I work with also suffer the manipulation. There seems to be no way out. The EEO officer in the company is the person causing the problem. This person has caused me so much grief that I am at my wits end. My problem is that I am very competent in my work a represent a huge threat to this person. I don't know what to do. I would give my eye teeth for a new job.
    JKOC
    have had a similar experience, this resulted in me losing my job. I was unaware of what was happening - too naive - until it was too late. Returned from leave - 7 weeks - this was all the time that they needed to cement themselves. I have been completely devastated.

    All I can say to you is run - as fast as you can before they destroy your career. Good luck.

    Vinny
    Would I be correct in saying that the difference between a sociopath and a psychopath is that the psychopath is more ambitious, constantly striving to push their luck further and further, whereas the sociopath is happy to attain a certain level in life, and ruthlessly cling onto that??? Ive known both types over the years, and despite these differences in their aims, they still otherwise possessed all the other normal characteristics of a standard psychopath.
    Vinny
    Why is it, in these modern times, our societies are STILL so blissfully ignorant of psycopaths? My supervisor is a copybook psycopath, all my workmates know fully well what he"s like, yet when I mention to them that he is a workplace psycopath, they give me a funny look. Theyve never heard of the term. This ignorance is why workplace psycopaths thrive. People still think psycopaths are just horror movie characters. Is it possible to get the reality of workplace psycopaths into mainstream media? Apart from the odd documentry. These monsters cause far more damage to our workplaces and societies than any other type of villain. The best defence against them, is to EXPOSE THEM, their characteristics, tendencies, aims, games, tell tale signs, and most importantly, the fact that their condition is untreatable and incureable. They have infiltrated into every part of society and I believe they are much more common than any stats suggest, and that they are negatively influencing our culture far more than we realize. How can a collective monster get this big, in our midst, and still hardly anyone has heard of it?
    daughter
    One of my parents was a psychopath, I believe. They are both dead now. The one who caused the trouble declared they intended to cause chaos. Is is worse than a boss. It is very difficult to leave a parent. I found the only way to survive was to leave. Now I am dealing with the result of the back stabbing, lies and deception. I am now reading Jon Ronson's 'the psychopath test' to try to understand the situation I was/am in. I am not surprised that others do not believe me. Psychopaths are very charming, convicing, very very clever. I am in the process of being an executor of this parent's will. I am continually confronted with the lies and misinformation left to be dealt with.
    Icemaiden
    Mod, bearing in mind that those who have successfully dealt with a psychopath have longer stories than the failures do - would you please stop cutting off the best bits when the stories get 'too long'.

    There aren't that many successful techniques. It would be nice if the few there are, were preserved for Posterity!

    B
    They are out there. I manage a small team in the public service. A female corporate psychopath was seconded into my workgroup for a period of nine months. She heaped praise on me, offered me gifts (I rejected), and spoke of previous excellent work achievements. My subordinates lapped up the praise, accepted the gifts and listened to every word.

    I uncovered a minor fraud, when I challenged her all hell broke loose. There was much cunning, bizarre behavior was directed to me, she made sure there were no witnesses. Incidents included sloshing a bucket of vomit at me, death threats, suicide threats, and totally alienating me to the group I managed.

    I was stunned when she denied these actions. A harassment claim was lodged against me painting her as the victim. Outright lies, twisted truths, union involvement. My HR and leadership team went missing. She spread rumors I threatened to kill her via email. I was investigated, but I also finally had proof (no death threat).

    I demanded action should be taken, nothing was. I then threatened to quit, still no action. She has since been granted compo on stress leave (which is why I don't think work persued her). As it turns out, this is a pattern of behaviour.

    I will resign within the next few weeks on principle, I am absolutely disgusted with my department (11 years of service). She had my team in her clutches, they did not have the courage to stand up and say this behavoiur is wrong - cowards. She backstabbed these people and I stood up for them.

    Despite this being extremely unpleasant, I come out much the wiser. They don't play by the same rules. For all those dealing with this, my advice is put yourself first. This may mean quitting.
    They're everywhere...

    xxx

    Both my partner and myself have been bullied and harassed in the workplace by psychopaths.

    Survival techniques include keeping a written record on them and any witnesses, try not to let them get you alone (difficult when they call you in an office and shut the door I know).

    Try and find someone who is prepared to back you up if meetings are required. Although our situations were different the resultant bullying and harassment symptoms was the same. We both fought off our opponents for years. My Partner has had some success due in part to having "evidence". I literally mean photos, recording etc. (psychos beware people are arming themselves). I however worked for lawyers as a secretary...ever tried arguing with one???

    HR were useless as it was the psycopathic partners of the firm who paid them. After 3 miserable years I left, I was very close to snapping and was driving my family and friends mad with my complaints. I abruptly left the firm one day. I'd had enough. Best decision I ever made and should have done it way sooner. These people are difficult to avoid they're everywhere, so in your new job, flush them out immediately. Make sure you let these people know (sometimes a look and body language speaks volumes) that they are NOT your friend, they'll get the message pretty quick.

    Also as a backup build up an "emergency" bank account. If do need to leave a job to keep your sanity it helps a lot that you know you have enough money to survive on for a good couple of months before getting another job. Its difficult and risky but if you're sanity, health and family life is at risk of crumbling it's worth it. Surround yourself with supporters it helps pick you up where the psycho's knocked you down. Work to live NOT live to work. There are plenty of good employers out there don't put up with a bad one. As a footnote I've subsequently learned that my "replacement" left after 3 months...(now that's justice!)

    Distracted
    I have just left a sociopath after an 11 year relationship. I think i have aged about 10 years over the past 3 years we were living together. I've lost money, was physically and emotionally abused.

    He has had at least 8 jobs over the past 11 years and recently got a new well paying job in the area of human services. In all his positions he has had problems with people under him and above him. He has conducted various campaigns and threats against management and his team members in all his positions. Has been pulled up for bullying on countless occasions and sent to counselling etc. He's always fighting with HR, IT, everyone is incompetent etc. He recently forced one woman to resign because he told me she was fat and unattractive. He is now starting another campaign against another woman there.

    He works in an area that helps single mothers with there issues and also in an area that employs a lot females, who tend to be very empathetic, ie social workers, educators etc It just amazes me that someone like that can do so well, change jobs constantly but doesn't appear to have to face any consequences. No one seems to question him or look at his past.

    He just makes himself so unpleasant to people that in the end, they are glad to see the back of him and wouldn't complain about him because he would retaliate.

    I think they should test these people before employing them for this disorder and there should be some kind of register like child abusers. They are dangerous.

    Dr Suss
    Dear distracted i completely relate to how you feel regarding your ex sociopath, i was working for and dating one at the exact same time. Mine also switched jobs and caused great disputes with former employers and employee's. It annoys me greatly how they move up in the world by stepping on others and how some employers just don't do background checks anymore. If his current employers had done a back ground check he would not be working for them now and making life miserable for those who have to work under him.
    Jerome
    It is extremely difficult to overcome the abuse of a manager who exhibit psychopath traits.. I had my dealings with one of these persons, and the methods and strategies they used on the victim are deadly...
    Rob
    Wow I went through workplace harassment for 5 years in one of Australia's largest communications company's. My manager and supervisor fit this bill to the T. When my harassment started (primarily driven by their bonuses, success and power) I elected to fight this unjust and unwarranted treatment.

    When I officially complained to HR and as far as the then CEO, I quickly found out how HR and management can collude to protect themselves and most importantly their reputations. Hence began my 'character assassination'. My union wasn't prepared to assist or defend me, Work Choices was not interested, Comcare didn't even investigate. In the end I felt I had no choice but to leave the company after 19 years of service. As I was going crazy and was always on the defensive and not allowed representation.

    It's ironic that it has taken this documentary, Corporate Psychopath, for the first time that I feel somewhat vindicated as to this type of acknowledged behavior in the workplace and the big and powerful corporate world.

    Thanks ABC/Catalyst

    Silas Kerrchner
    I saw everything in your dramatization that exists (and is encouragred) for new Managers in the Canadian Gov't Civil Service.

    The Canadian Gov't Civil Service has a new MOTTO "you don't know to need the subject matter to manage"

    Unfortunately, after working for many years in XXXX, a new top manager came in from a welfare agency. He had no experience in law enforcement [moderator edited]. He immediatly started to hire his lovers and promote them to middle management; while eliminating the cadre of employees who knew more than him.

    Torture Torture Torture
    A loss to Canadian Security

    John O'Leary
    I've been seeing all kinds of numbers on this. Mediaite says 1 in 4 bosses are pyschos! www.BusinessLessonsFromRock.blogspot.com/

    Friends in high places assure me the ratio is actually closer to 1 in 2. Bosses with split personality are 2 in 1.

    DINESH:
    If you add the article below from Dr Burch from Auckland, you will see how much value and merit there is your article. You are essentially right about workplace bullying where extreme individuals with a high repeat rate at some one in ten are really "psychopaths". Well done for bringing this article to my attention too. In the world of law and recruitment and self care, these articles are invaluable.

    Dr Burch said his research shows psychopaths created "toxic workplaces" with bullying, manipulation, sexual harassment, lying and fiddling the books.

    "We all come across people at work from time to time who are difficult, devious and troublesome," Dr Burch said.

    Dr Burch said most people with personalities generally fitting under the 'psychopathic umbrella' do not commit obvious crime and are not imprisoned or hospitalized, but function within normal society - often with apparent success and the respect of their bosses.

    However, workplace psychopaths are generally highly destructive and manipulative individuals with "dark sides" who have no remorse for their actions, which can result in a range of serious issues for organizations and the people within them, Dr Burch says.

    And they're making you ill, he said.

    Victims suffered insomnia, depression, were more prone to heart attacks could even be traumatised to the point of suicide.

    "Unrelenting stress from a toxic workplace causes anxiety and clinical depression in 30 percent of female and 20 percent of male targets, according to international research. The risk of cardiovascular disease is 30 percent more likely when workers believe their workplace is unjust...."

    Anonymous
    I worked for 18 months under two workplace psychopaths in cahoots who not only played mind games and intimidated employees in their professional life, but monitored their phone calls and movements, spread rumours through networking with all around them, and made them feel stalked for years. I still live with the fear of being circled by them. I have learned to look for smiles in the workplace with a real glint in the eye, rather than a vacant glazed stare, and I have remain vigilant that friends stay loyal to me rather than passing on phrases and messages designed to take me back to those times where the abuse was closer. The only place for those without empathy is in IT where they can relate to like minded machines.
    Mia

    That sounds like a cult more than anything. What field of work is this in? I think a study of different fields would show some correlation with a specific field vs. another. Some psychopaths are drawn to certain paths or callings too. It would reveal a lot if someone did a study on this.

    perplexed
    I've worked for the state 4 years. 3 months ago I "RIFd" into another department. 15 years of experience in the field. Excited that my experience fit the position perfectly, and eager to contribute to this newly created program. Red flags began 1st day. Fear based management of staff, micromanagement, 2 years ago every counselor was bullied into early retirement or transfer, staff are reprimanded for being too cheerful, certain staff are forbidden to speak to particular staff, manager told me which staff had personal life problems, who had accommodations and who was behind in their work (non of my business and perhaps a nudge to mob targets). At 90 day review he told lie about what I said in meeting and used this as reason he believes I may not be able to deal with "gray areas" so extended probation to 6 months. Friendships among staff are forbidden. I've never dealt with a manager like this and am bewildered! Based on my research, it seems wise to go back onto "RIF" list & get out of there. This is the perfect position for me and love the work so it's a hard decision.
    Mia

    If you can get ten employees to write to your HR rep or Equal Oppotunity Employer Union or whatever about this manager you can start a real case. I never heard of violating "Freedom of Speech". I guessed that you are a counselor. Are you working with prisoners? Gray areas? hmmm. Maybe the reason is because some of the counselors deal with highly talkable subjects like ..."my clients are murderers" or something that is violating privacy laws. Pretend to be the manager in your mind for a half an hour and meditate on why this manager came up with these rules. If you put yourself in the shoes of this manager you might find that they are just as stressed as you are!

    Makkin
    Seems to be alot of disgruntled employees now blaming their problems on the scary boogeyman of the office, that it was never their fault the official office psychopath made them fail.

    Psychopaths make up roughly 4% of the population not all your bosses can be psychopaths, get over it, maybe you just werent as good at your job as you thought?

    Laura

    Wow! So what do you do when the psychopath is your ex partner dragging you through the legal system and being a step ahead of you at every turn. Where do we find information to guide us through the legal system. All the behavior of the workplace psychopath is that of the one who lurks at home, same behavior different context. Where to find help, how do we get them diagnosed before a homicide is committed??? Please help!

    Moderator: If anyone needs support please call lifeline in Australia
    Phone: 13 11 14

    Another spousal
    The courts hate liars so tell the truth and listen to everthing they say and where they are going with there 'storys' but make sure you are in court or have witness's when you point out there lie .
    kathy
    I stumbled across this whilst trying to research what to do about an employer who has been subtly harassing me and undermining me. Everything in this program indicated that my boss is also a pyscopath. She plays games, on one hand nice and then stands over meyelling and pointing her finger at me. Some of her behaviour has now been witnessed by other people in our organisation. I have tried to complain and have been sent to mediation with her. I had a session just today that left me more stressed and confused. without breaching the mediation session too much, all i can say is that she lied and made false accusations about me. What now???
    it sucks
    Hi I am going through the same at the present time, only thing is i have refused to do the mediation as i know how charming this can be. I put in the response to mediation after they suggested it the following:
    1) this persons behaviou is not something that i feel i should be addressing, it would only benefit that person immensely.
    2 I do not think that the share holders etc would not condone this type of behaviour.
    3 I feel and believe that this kind of behaviour is morally and ethically wrong.
    i'm still awaiting a response as yet I have not heard anything.
    th manager has alos been moving my things like car keys, turning pc off, isolating me out of meetings.

    I put the grievance in on the 17th March, wasn't heard until the 11th april and it's now may???? I have had to take time off to deal with it, not looking forward to going back in.

    Mia
    I watched a co worker who is very outspoken deal with my boss. He said an onslaught of hateful things that were vented up from months of being a victim.

    She calmly addressed him with counterclaims on everything and made us wonder if she even knows herself?

    Then she sent him to Anger management the next week and informed the higher ups he has an anger management problem. We laughed at the absurdity of it!

    jmac

    May I point out bullies do not pick victims they pick targets. There is a difference.
    Hanh Stewart
    I understand what you going through I am the victim of work place psychopath, as I am right now just engaging legal challenge with such a good company who just employed me and this sociopath ambushed me force me to write my resignation so he could easerly win the court case.

    Dr John Clark is right very hard to deal with Sociopath as they are very maniplative,snicky and clever with evil mind . Yes they do destroy my employment opportunity with such good company. Dr John Clark is right again stay away from sociopath to save your self this why I let the lawyer to deal with them so I can move on and go to an other company hopefully not run into another Sociopath

    Mia
    I think the nice part is to keep you thinking she is still not a threat. I worked with someone like this too. Maybe she feels guilty so she acts nice. I had one change her shirt in front of me once...when we were alone and talk about how she had a stain on it and that was the reason why. She still talked about work as she fixed her shirt and stuff. I laughed because a minute before she was acting all power trippy and then acted like a human being who has problems too. I learned not to trust them anyways. Keep your distance and never talk about your troubles or whatever. It will be used against you, unlike what she does with you. The difference is that you do not use it against her but you could,
    jmac
    my boss had lied again and again to discredit me with her boss....they appear to have a symbiotic relationship. As a new mature aged graduate the treatment I have been dealt has been disgusting. If it wasn't for the good supportive relationships I have made in the workplace, and support of wonderful friends I think I would have had a breakdown. I identified early that these people are lacking empathy. As a social worker I feel empathy is inherent in my make-up so to be controlled and manipulated has been a shock and very distressing. Their subversive techniques are soul destroying.
    Kate
    I have just returned from the first session with the psychologist and discovered it was not me as incompetent, and the rest. I work for a CP and am now on one hand feeling a bit better knowing it is not me but horrified that there is almost no hope for me to stay in the job I love. I am having a week off work to overcome the breakdown but cannot see what I will do next. My Doctor says to fight will just kill me an further cement her position. Devastated .
    Craig Barry
    I Take it that CP is for child protection? I have worked for the last 24yrs in many positions working with young people,I tell you now, "get out" don't let them burn you out at such a young age!!!
    The Department will distroy you!!!
    Mia
    I dont know if you should quit. Sometimes there are situations that you cannot leave or quit. Try the military for one.;). We get so used to Pyschopaths in positions of authority that we are practically immune to yelling, humiliation, and being called incompetant or slow or whatever.

    We deal with jobs that no one explains how to do and all sorts of micromanagements and finally we learn to use our heads, filter out the stupidity and meanness and say "what are the results of this being done" That is all we want at the end of the day. Results.

    marc
    a few P's joining the conversation here no surprise-important info for them on how to do it better!
    Being the daughter of one and sadly not realising untill too late the mother of a few I have an inkling that I may have a co dependence issue.Hospitalisation alerted me to the prevalence of the cost to society of those victims whoavoid ending their lives-not many!Also interesting was the prevalence of certain professions being over represented on the wards suffering from'Burnout'a euphemism for cosequences of a P. the prevalence of Asperger's Syndrome(on the Autistic Spectrum)in my family makes me wonder about the same disconnect to emotions that the P has. Another prog.ABC aired recently "I Psychopath" was absolutely brilliant more exposure is required
    Jen
    Definately exclude - there is no positive outcome from employing staff at any level with these characteristics - in fact the opposite is sure to be the result - gradual destruction of individuals and any possibility of team work. The planned, cold and calculated destruction of individuals is the purpose of these people.
    Jazz
    No, their purpose is survival and personal gain. This means that unlike people with ordinary social/ emotional responses they will trample people without conscience to attain their goals. And if you're standing in the way of their objectives, they will set out to destroy you. In this competitive, capitalist society they thrive because they embody the attributes of success. This is an interesting psychological analysis of them: http://www.crisiscounseling.com/Articles/Psychopath.htm
    Just say grow
    The question is however is cp a fundamental part of leadership or would companies that recognize this personality type and seek to exlude it foster a healthier more productive culture of engagement?
    Jen
    Definately exclude as they can only add individual and team misery, whilst going undetected for some years. The worst are the professionally trained in some way, such as psychologists, who can use thier profession to enhance their skill at destruction and to hide that from detection.
    C
    Dear Dr John,
    I have been struggling now for 2 yrs with the workplace psychopath. I work in a clinic for youth and adolescents with mental health issues. I thought only caring and concerned people wanted to work for young people!!!!!! My mistake. My concern is for family and patients... but now has moved on to me!!! I am so drained by this experience. The only sustaining factor are the few staff who are aware of this person. Some management are also aware but it is hard to get hard data on them. They are very good at covering their tracks- but the poor kids and their families get their heads done in quite frequently. I am also due for a big payrise. It seems pretty empty though and comes at a big cost of surviving this psychopath. I feel myself losing any empathy I had and am now thoroughly suspicious, paranoid, and unfeeling. I feel like I have developed a 'lizard brain' as soldiers term it and I am turning into the bitter, narcissistic, manipulative creep I despise!!!!! Help!