|Contents||Bulletin||Scripting in shell and Perl||Network troubleshooting||History||Humor|
|News||Books||Classification of Corporate Psychopaths||Recommended Links||If Corporations Are People, They Are Psychopaths||Analogy between corporate and psychopathic behavior|
|Office Stockholm Syndrome||Corporate Psychopath Trait Enumeration||Learned helplessness||High Demand Cults Leaders Practices as a Model of Corporate Psychopath Behavior||The Fiefdom Syndrome||Abusive, Authority Based Relationships|
|Anger trap||Manipulator Bosses||Toxically Incompetent Managers||Paranoid Managers||Narcissistic Managers||Workspace Bullies|
|Understanding micromanagers||Fighting control freaks||Documenting Micromanager Behavior||Surviving a Bad Performance Review||Groupthink||Nikolai Bezroukov's Short Introduction to Lysenkoism|
|Communication with corporate psychopaths||Coping with the toxic stress in IT environment||Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)||Quiz||Humor||Etc|
In this page we will try to classify traits that are typical for corporate psychopaths. this is a very limited approach but it has certain value as a early warning system. We also touch an important theme of connection of psychopaths in corner office and neoliberalism. As Paul Verhaeghe noted Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us
For a short introduction to neoliberalism we will reproduce fragments so the article
Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems
by George Monbiot, The Guardian, April 15, 2016
Imagine if the people of the Soviet Union had never heard of communism. The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, no name. Mention it in conversation and you’ll be rewarded with a shrug. Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it. Neoliberalism: do you know what it is?
Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises: the financial meltdown of 2007‑8, the offshoring of wealth and power, of which the Panama Papers offer us merely a glimpse, the slow collapse of public health and education, resurgent child poverty, the epidemic of loneliness, the collapse of ecosystems, the rise of Donald Trump. But we respond to these crises as if they emerge in isolation, apparently unaware that they have all been either catalysed or exacerbated by the same coherent philosophy; a philosophy that has – or had – a name. What greater power can there be than to operate namelessly?
So pervasive has neoliberalism become that we seldom even recognise it as an ideology. We appear to accept the proposition that this utopian, millenarian faith describes a neutral force; a kind of biological law, like Darwin’s theory of evolution. But the philosophy arose as a conscious attempt to reshape human life and shift the locus of power.
Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that “the market” delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.
Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.
We internalise and reproduce its creeds. The rich persuade themselves that they acquired their wealth through merit, ignoring the advantages – such as education, inheritance and class – that may have helped to secure it. The poor begin to blame themselves for their failures, even when they can do little to change their circumstances.
Never mind structural unemployment: if you don’t have a job it’s because you are unenterprising. Never mind the impossible costs of housing: if your credit card is maxed out, you’re feckless and improvident. Never mind that your children no longer have a school playing field: if they get fat, it’s your fault. In a world governed by competition, those who fall behind become defined and self-defined as losers.
Among the results, as Paul Verhaeghe documents in his book What About Me? are epidemics of self-harm, eating disorders, depression, loneliness, performance anxiety and social phobia. Perhaps it’s unsurprising that Britain, in which neoliberal ideology has been most rigorously applied, is the loneliness capital of Europe. We are all neoliberals now.
The term neoliberalism was coined at a meeting in Paris in 1938. Among the delegates were two men who came to define the ideology, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. Both exiles from Austria, they saw social democracy, exemplified by Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and the gradual development of Britain’s welfare state, as manifestations of a collectivism that occupied the same spectrum as nazism and communism.
In The Road to Serfdom, published in 1944, Hayek argued that government planning, by crushing individualism, would lead inexorably to totalitarian control. Like Mises’s book Bureaucracy, The Road to Serfdom was widely read. It came to the attention of some very wealthy people, who saw in the philosophy an opportunity to free themselves from regulation and tax. When, in 1947, Hayek founded the first organisation that would spread the doctrine of neoliberalism – the Mont Pelerin Society – it was supported financially by millionaires and their foundations.
With their help, he began to create what Daniel Stedman Jones describes in Masters of the Universe as “a kind of neoliberal international”: a transatlantic network of academics, businessmen, journalists and activists. The movement’s rich backers funded a series of thinktanks which would refine and promote the ideology. Among them were the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Centre for Policy Studies and the Adam Smith Institute. They also financed academic positions and departments, particularly at the universities of Chicago and Virginia.
A la guerre, comme a la guerre
|"The main lesson I have learnt is that when dealing with a sociopath, the normal rules of
etiquette do not apply. You are dealing with someone who has no empathy, no conscience, no remorse,
and no guilt...It is a completely different mindset. Words like 'predator' and 'evil' are often
Neoliberalism -- An economic system that rewards psychopathic personality traits has changed our ethics and our personalities
Neoliberalism is a social system that rewards and promotes psychopathic personalities. Among its results, as Paul Verhaeghe documents in his book What About Me? are epidemics of self-harm, eating disorders, depression, loneliness, performance anxiety and social phobia. Perhaps it’s unsurprising that Britain, in which neoliberal ideology has been most rigorously applied, is the loneliness capital of Europe. We are all neoliberals now so to report to a psychopathic manager is no longer something extraordinary. Neoliberalism sees competition (as in the "law of jungles") as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that “the market” delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning. Attempts to limit "dog eat dog" competition between people are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimized, public services should be privatized. The organization of labor and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.
We internalize and reproduce neoliberal dogmas much like people of the USSR enslaved by Bolsheviks reproduced communist dogmas and did not view themselves as slaves. The salaried employees begin to blame themselves for their failures, even when they can do little to change their circumstances.
Psychopathic managers prevent subordinates doing their jobs and prevent employees fulfilling their duties. Most employees in IT are competent and have both the desire and ability to do good work. What is missing in some organizations is an environment that encourages and enables the expression of that competence. In his book, Hall (1988a) states,
If we are to achieve excellence in our organizations and communities, we must be willing to reorient. We must make a presumption of competence in the workplace rather than incompetence, for high-level performance rests on the simple, yet not widely accepted, premise that people will behave competently if we will but let them. (pp. 29-30)
No matter what is precise classification all toxic managers are cruel with subordinates and created out of the work environment "living hell". Incompetent, dishonest but scheming they charm the higher ups and climb on the back of others to achieve power. But it is important to understand that toxic managers would never achieves their goals and climb up the ladder without the disorganization and willful ignorance of his supervisors typical for some large corporations (Enron is a typical example here). Fish rots from the head.
The condition itself has been recognized for centuries, wearing evocative labels such as "madness without delirium" and "moral insanity" until the late 1800s, when "psychopath" was coined by a German clinician. This condition can be studied by watching film that depict a large variety of psychopath and allow some generalization based on this experience (which is much better/safer method to get some level of awareness, then facing one in you own office).
But the term (and its later 1930s synonym that is more applicable to corporate environment, sociopath -- "socialized psychopath") had always been a sort of catch-all, widely and loosely applied to violent and unstable criminals who seemed. See Psychopathic corporation page for the exploration of connection between corporate psychopaths and modern government organizations and megacorporations.
The key feature of such people that do not treat others as humans, they treat them as animals. Later this condition was expanded to include certain type of managers that consistently demonstrate cult leader qualities and which became a standard feature of most corporation to the extent that we can consider corporations to be a breeding grounds for psychopathic personalities. Such "office cult leaders" like many high demand cult leaders need only followers and try to completely enslave their victims.
"The psychopath has no allegiance to the company at all, just to self,".... "A psychopath is playing a short-term parasitic game."
In 1980, Hare created a list of static traits, which, revised five years later, became known as the PCL-R. Popularly called "the Hare," the PCL-R measures psychopathic personality on a forty-point scale. Despite obvious shortcomings and severe limitations typical for any traits-based classification, once it emerged, it helped to make the meaning of the term more uniform. This is covered in more detail at Classification of Corporate Psychopaths
While the executive with sociopathic traits is pretty common most such individuals don't typically wind up in prison. They are called socialized psychopaths or sociopaths. In fact, many are promotes explicitly due to callousness and ruthlessness they demonstrate and wind up in the cushioned leather chairs of the executive office(Chain Saw Al):
In 2005, the business magazine Fast Company included Dunlap in the article 'Is Your Boss a Psychopath', noting he "might score impressively on the Corporate Psychopathy checklist." The magazine's editor. John A. Byrne, noted: "In all my years of reporting, I had never come across an executive as manipulative, ruthless, and destructive as Al Dunlap. Until the Securities and Exchange Commission barred him from ever serving as an officer of a public corporation, Dunlap sucked the very life and soul out of companies and people. He stole dignity, purpose, and sense out of organizations and replaced those ideals with fear and intimidation."
In popular literature, psychopath is often defined as someone who displays several distinguishing characteristics, such as deceitfulness, compulsive lying (lying even when they're is no real need to hide the truth), impulsivity and a lack of remorse. Compulsive lying and cruelty to animals in adolescence are two pretty reliable indicators of this condition. Right wing authoritarians (RWA) also display many similar traits, but in no way they are psychopaths. As The Washington Monthly noted
...their pure combined essence:
- unbounded arrogance and self-righteousness,
- a chip on his shoulder the size of a redwood,
- a studied contempt for anybody's opinion but his own,
- a vindictive streak a mile wide,
- and a devotion to secrecy and ... power...
Typically sociopaths demonstrates a superficial charm, which they exercise ruthlessly in order to get what they want. In this sense women are a much more dangerous type of psychopath. That implies that working women, especially in IT have an enemy more formidable than men. Female psychopaths usually see everything in terms of competition and female aggression. They have zero respect for their own gender. Just the opposite, they often hate it. Statistics suggest that a woman is the target in eight of every ten cases of bulling. But, paradoxically, in six of 10 cases, it is a woman who is the bully. They despise and attack female subordinates and try to undermine their more successful/competent female peers.
In the latter case, they assume that they have achieved their success by using charm/sex/chicanery. They also use their gender as a bulletproof vest against males, claiming discrimination when it is convenient to them. This dirty trick of "fake victim" works wonders in modern bureaucratic organizations. Female-to-female aggression is also observable in primates. Dominant female try to suppress reproductive success of competitor females in various ways including subjecting them to constant stress via harassment and intimidation and/or attacking offspring:
Holmstrom (1992) summarizes his review by saying that indirect strategies were observed among female great apes during the following three circumstances:
- In the power struggle among females, by cannibalistically feeding on the competitor's offspring;
- against the male, in sexual contexts by refusal of cooperation to sexual access; also in competition for food, and feeding on the male's offspring;
- through the offspring, by rearing the young and transmitting models of behavior from one generation to the next. The female thus prevents and restrains certain kinds of action in the offspring, permitting and favoring others. Accordingly, the social intelligence of higher primates should not be underestimated. As Byrne and Whiten (1987) have shown, chimpanzees are also fully capable of faking nonverbal signals, in order to deceive competitors.
There is a not so obvious link of corporate psychopath and cult leaders. They generally demonstrate the same methods: they never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They dominate and humiliate their victims trying to convert them to slaves.
Surprising percentage of corporate psychopaths are women, They does not see others around her/him as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims and, in corporate environment, slaves.
List of common sociopathic traits which might help to alert you to the danger
Corporate America is a veritable hive of white-collar crazies. Identifying, defining, and diagnosing exact personality disorders your boss suffers from can be a tricky business. Still one sign is universal: the workplace in such cases quickly becomes overflowing with tension.
These white-collar psychopaths or sociopaths are "individuals who most often do not act out in a criminal way, yet can be just as manipulative and cunning" as a serial killer. Their personality attributes "typically include superficial charm, unreliability, untruthfulness, and insincerity, [a] lack of guilt, remorse, or shame, [and] a need to engage in thrill-seeking behavior," as well as pathological lying, egocentricity, selfishness, and rejection of authority and discipline, according to the authors. In short, they are corporate con artists. They're the tech administrators who over-order company laptops and hawk them on eBay, or employees who sabotage bosses' and coworkers' careers by appropriating their ideas and denigrating their performance to supervisors. They're the outgoing employees who act friendly to their colleagues only to stab them in the back at every opportunity.
Middle management may be the natural habitat of the white-collar psychopath: Psychopaths are known for their extroversion, their charm, and their polished social skills, and complete disregard of people while trying to achieve corporate goals. Such traits are rewarded within many organizations.
In Snakes in Suits, the authors argue that corporate psychopaths follow a "PPP" pattern that involves three types of players:
Their penetration in organization is usually staged in several phases:
One needs to understand that being a target of a psychopath is a permanent position. One horrifying detail in the definition of personality disorders is rigidility and inflexibility of patterns of thought and action (a good example is compulsive lying -- a defining feature of a sociopath that distinguishes them from authoritarians) (Wikipedia ) :
Personality disorders form a class of mental disorders that are characterized by long-lasting rigid patterns of thought and actions. Because of the inflexibility and pervasiveness of these patterns, they can cause serious problems and impairment of functioning for the persons who are afflicted with these disorders.
Personality disorders are seen by the American Psychiatric Association as an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the culture of the individual who exhibits it. These patterns are inflexible and pervasive across many situations. The onset of the pattern can be traced back at least to the beginning of adulthood. To be diagnosed as a personality disorder, a behavioral pattern must cause significant distress or impairment in personal, social, and/or occupational situations.
Related term Antisocial personality disorder is defined as:
Antisocial personality disorder (abbreviated APD or ASPD) is a psychiatric diagnosis in the DSM-IV-TR recognizable by the disordered individual's impulsive behavior, disregard for social norms, and indifference to the rights and feelings of others.
The World Health Organization's ICD-10 diagnostic manual uses [term] dissocial personality disorder instead.
Such people distort and change meaning for the most ordinary social interactions: A simple difference of opinion, for example, can quickly escalate into a major and violent conflict.
As insightful page The toxic manager in the office a guide to toxic managers and toxic management in a toxic work environment states "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." Unpredictable outbursts of hostility, conflicting demands, inconsistent orders, random decision-making, inability to plan strategically, inability and unwillingness to communicate and co-operate, obstructive ... the list goes on.
|Any psychopath does not see people as valuable, but only tools to be used in his game. As such they are capable if immense cruelty.|
After some conversations with corporate psychopath you feel like you left the ring after facing opponent twice heavier then you and not playing by the rules. 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 psychopaths own negative attitude, poor performance, and incompetence.
If you are targeted by one it is important to understand that that psychopaths completely lack empathy for other people. That means that their are oblivious to sufferings they inflict. Absolutely oblivious. They tend to be rigid and inflexible, have hidden agendas, and have an unusually hard time recognizing or respecting boundaries. They're weighed down by irrational beliefs such as "To be criticized means I'm a failure" or "If I follow orders, I'm weak". Disturbingly, individuals with personality disorders not only tend to dismiss the idea that they have a problem, but often see their unpleasant traits as strengths and take pride in them. For this reason, many such individuals respond poorly to therapy -- if they agree to seek treatment at all.
For example, do you have a manager who focuses so single-mindedly on rules, regulations, and productivity to the extent that actual real work grinds to a halt? Is she unsatisfied with any solution you proposed, work compulsively till all hours, avoid making decisions, and insist that her way of doing things is the only way? If so, your boss may be suffering from obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. This is not the same as obsessive-compulsive illness -- you're not likely to see her obsessively washing her hands. The best defense strategy: find a transfer or a new job. If you need to stay avoid arguments, keep a low profile, and steer clear of conflicts that you'll never win.
If you think you work for one of these individuals, the authors say, don't be fooled by "props" like the ready smile and good eye contact. Instead, watch your back. Seriously consider switching jobs. Lock your desk, secure your computer password, keep your personal life private, and notify your coworkers and supervisors of any inappropriate behavior on the part of this colleague. As the authors caution, "Anything you say can and will be used against you."
It is very important to keep log of all your boss actions as it helps to see patterns. This one of few useful advices for anyone who is in danger of being victimized by a white-collar con artist.
Documenting the psychopath behavior in your journal helps to view his behavior in historical perspective: suddenly you start to see patterns in attacks, outbursts and intimidation tactics used.
|Documenting the psychopath behavior in your journal helps to view his behavior in historical perspective: suddenly you start to see patterns in attacks, outbursts and intimidation tactics used.|
Proper methods are well described in literature for psychological research. Limited amount of materials related to PIMM can be found at Documenting Micromanager Behavior page on this site.
Please note that psychopath in management position almost always have patsies: they try to create a group of followers organized as cult. Such cults are not religious, it's simply exploitative groups characterized by high level of manipulation and extreme dependency. So they try to create the situation what you alone face a group (there is strength in numbers).
The advice "watch your back" is prudent if you report to a psychopath, and one way to do this is a to keep journal that will help you see patterns that you may overlook otherwise.
Useful tips to documenting your boss behavior can be obtained by watching films that depict a large variety of psychopaths and allow some generalization based on this experience (which is much better/safer method to get some level of awareness, then facing one in you own office).
One of the simplest way of documenting behavior is correlating it with the list of traits that we present below.
Like any other human condition psychopathy can be present in individuals in various degrees. Selection in corporate environment is such that psychopaths with too pronounced features, especially those who can't mask them are weeded off or are confined to the lower levels of hierarchy. So in a corporate environment we face a special "borderline" types with well above average adaptability. They also are not uniform as group, but still can be singles out by dominant stereotypes of behavior.
There were several attempts to classify corporate psychopaths into various categories. Most are naive and all (including presented here) are completely unscientific. We know way too little about this condition to have reliable scientifically based classification. But even unscientific is better then nothing as at least it provide some framework that help too deal with this phenomenon/
Please be aware, that many of self-help books represent Cargo Cult Science and vastly underestimate/misinterpret the danger. That actually is applicable to this page too as by and large it is a summary of available research interpreted through the prism of personal experience. While the author has training as a psychologist he never worked in this capacity. It goes without saying that good books on this topic are pretty rare. I have some book recommendations but they are of course far from being absolute.
Again this typology and characteristics listed ad defining each type are imprecise and unscientific; psychopaths are very variable and it is often difficult to fit your particular psychopathic boss into any of those classes. And you generally should not. This is exercise better reserved for modern "factories of illusion" (self-help books publishers) who are producing tons of low quality staff each year describing particular types although they are just facets of a generic psychopathic personality. In no way you should be blindly trusted either books or Web pages (including this one) in important career-affecting decisions.
Although you see manifestation of this personality disorder on your own skin, precise diagnostics is pretty difficult and you need to do your own leg work and collect evidence to understand what makes particular psychopath tick what are his favorite tactics. They key characteristic is the desire for domination and control. That's given. That's why there are often micromanagers.
You probably are better off consulting specialist and asking for a competent advice. At least you can enroll in community college and take course in criminal psychology: criminals and corporate psychopaths are just two sides of the same coin. Both this this page and relevant books should all be taken with a grain of salt. The author have spend more then seven years working as senior research associate in the psychology but like in programming that was a different area and this experience just ensured the knowledge of jargon, but does not guarantee talent or insight needed for this area.
Also few people have skills of clinical psychologists to correctly identify often complex blend of features in toxic manager. But you should try you best and keep log to detect the repetitive patterns. Mistakes are unavoidable though. For example sometimes it was looks like the manager is a bully, but more precise analysis of behavior can suggest that you are dealing with paranoid incompetent micromanager (PIMM) and the most prominent feature is not open aggression (bulling) but deep paranoia and obsessive control.
Here are categories of behaviors that can you used in documenting psychopath behavior patterns:
Pathological Lying. This is a defining feature of a corporate sociopath. Like spiders they cannot live without spinning a web of lies, creating complex artificial reality. Usually can give such authors as Hemingway run for the money in the ability to invent stories. Has no problem lying coolly and easily "in the eyes" or even under the oath. Sometimes it looks like they cannot themselves distinguish facts and fiction. It is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Talented actors they can create, and get other caught up in a complex "artificial reality" with realistic but invented details of their biography and abilities. Extremely convincing and able to pass lie detector tests. Often lie about their academic achievements and pretend to have degrees that they never obtained. Compulsive, (using which corporate psychopath create "invented past"), was first described in the medical literature in 1891 by Anton Delbrueck. if has been defined as "falsification entirely disproportionate to any discernible end in view, may be extensive and very complicated, and may manifest over a period of years or even a lifetime." The defining characteristics of pathological lying are that:
The first and foremost recommendation is to keep up your guard. Nitpicking may not only drive you crazy but could be harmful to your career as if you overreact it exposures you to the to the threat of being fired for insubordination.
Avoid taking the toxic bosses actions personally and remind yourself that you are not stuck in a hostile work environment. Take actions for self-protection and establish personal boundaries rather than to change the other person. Remember that all of them are "Mayberry Machiavelli" and are ready to stub you in the back.
Try to set boundaries, making clear when it's inappropriate for to intrude on your work. You also may need to remind your boss of your accomplishments if you find an obsessive-compulsive boss is undercutting your work. You may want to divide up your work, so your obsessive-compulsive boss can obsess freely over some parts of the job while you can concentrate on the tasks at hand. You can scale down you works activities and try to attend the university courses at the evening to enhance you marketability at the job market (which you need to enter sooner or later).
In any case, learning to cope with psychopathic manager is a difficult tasks as many "features" of this type of persons became known only after painful personal encounters. It is one thing to read the page like this and another to encounter this animal at the close range. That's why you should stay only as long as absolutely necessary and should try your best to transfer to another department or other company. Remember you can't change this type of individual. Among possible defense moves we can mention to stick to your agenda, documenting every step and pointing abrupt changes of direction as well as providing feedback about projects you involved with.. Try to avoid getting sucked into his or her unreasonable demands. You don't want to end up being emotionally blackmailed.
The problem is that "toxic managers" are really toxic: they instantly destroy trust and tend to infect their departments with bad attitudes. It's really like a disease: they spread despair, anger and depression, which show up in lackluster work, absenteeism and turnover. They are also a major course of workplace burnout: toxic burnout. Coping with a toxic boss can take a severe toll on your life. It is like living with an abusive parent or husband; there are periods of calm where they are happy and not picking on you, but you always know that at some point it will start again.
The price of putting up with it is high. Researchers in Finland found that workers who felt they were being treated fairly on the job had a lower incidence of coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in Western societies. [ABC, Oct. 26, 2005]. Often there is little you can do except to keep your head down and stay away from that manager as much as possible.
The best is to understand your tradeoffs and work not so much for the company as for improving your
marketability for the next job. Forget about loyalty in such situation: set strict limits for yourself
and stick to them. Stop working overtime, don’t take on extra tasks, never
work through lunch.
Have outside confidant: a person outside the company to listen to you, support you and, ultimately,
to help you get out. The fact that they severely cripple the organization
to which they belong is well known fact and does not require additional commentary.
Have outside confidant: a person outside the company to listen to you, support you and, ultimately, to help you get out. The fact that they severely cripple the organization to which they belong is well known fact and does not require additional commentary.
Toxic behavior of superiors create level of anger when revenge became to sweet and pain that strips people of their self esteem and that disconnects them from their work too severe. Never go this road. Still for some people urge of revenge proves irresistible. That's why toxic managers are probably the leading causes of sabotage in modern organization (competing with outsourcing/Offshoring). "Fish stinks from the head!" and the higher toxic managers is, the more widespread is the damage he/she causes. Often large badly managed companies and government agencies attract such managers as due to their incompetence they simply would not survive out in the startup business community.
The best defense is finding a new, better job. You should start working in this direction immediately as this increase your psychological comfort. If job market is good it might be easier then you think.
Psychopathic bosses are really dangerous to your health (being chased by a wolf in a fenced space is not an experience one can endure for a long time, no matter how fast you can run), but don't struggle alone. Books, friends, church can help...
Try to set red flags for upper management and HR indirectly, otherwise be ready that your boss will retaliate against you.
Protect your privacy
Create a plan to counter the damage to self-esteem:
Jan 12, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
"Hierarchies aren't natural phenomena within the human race. Outside of parenting, human beings aren't born with the inclination to be ruled, controlled, 'managed,' and 'supervised' by other human beings" [ The Hampton Institute ]. Hierarchies are artificial constructs designed to serve a purpose. They are a necessity within any society that boasts high degrees of wealth and power inequities. They are a necessity for maintaining these inequities and ensuring they are not challenged from below."Vatch , January 12, 2017 at 2:23 pmSynoia , January 12, 2017 at 2:51 pm
"Hierarchies aren't natural phenomena within the human race. Outside of parenting, human beings aren't born with the inclination to be ruled, controlled, 'managed,' and 'supervised' by other human beings" [The Hampton Institute].
This is a complex subject, but I'll hazard a guess that Colin Jenkins, the author of the article, is wrong. Our close relatives the chimpanzees and gorillas have dominance hierarchies, and one's position in the hierarchy can be enforced by violence. Even bonobos have dominance hierarchies, although they are much less violent than their cousins. Human hierarchies have existed for tens of thousands of years, which has been verified by differences in burial goods at grave sites. With the invention of agriculture around eleven or twelve thousand years ago, hierarchicalism really took off.
I'm not saying that hierarchies are good simply because they are natural. Complex hierarchies and the associated severe inequality are very bad.Vatch , January 12, 2017 at 4:11 pm
Hierarchies aren't natural phenomena within the human race. Outside of parenting, human beings aren't born with the inclination to be ruled, controlled, 'managed,' and 'supervised' by other human beings.
True, maybe, for hunter gatherers, but unlikely.
Otherwise the assertion is not supported by any facts for any human group anywhere. Please provide examples which support this statement.
I've lived in many places and seen many things. I've never even heard of a group of humans without a leader, and hence a hierarchy.
What is this Author, a Libertarian Wacko?MtnLife , January 12, 2017 at 4:39 pm
Even hunter gatherers have hierarchies. They just don't have much material inequality. But there is probably some inequality, as grave sites have shown (of course there is uncertainty and controversy about this). See this for more information:
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/278848766_On_Paleolithic_Social_Inequality_The_Funerary_EvidenceSynoia , January 12, 2017 at 2:56 pm
The Rainbow Family is a (dis)organization with no leaders. There are those who "focalize" (focus + organize) people to get things done but no leader or spokesperson. It makes it much harder to quash a movement that has no discernible head to remove or co-opt.Roquentin , January 12, 2017 at 4:21 pm
Outside of parenting, human beings aren't born with the inclination to be ruled, controlled, 'managed,' and 'supervised' by other human beings"
Meet my elder Sister.hunkerdown , January 12, 2017 at 4:38 pm
If you want to borrow from Deleuze & Guattari in Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Anti-Oedipus, the hierarchy learned within the family is one of the main methods society uses to prepare you for an authoritarian society, and that the existence of the nuclear family shouldn't be seen as separate from society but one of its basic building blocks. I'm greatly over simplifying, but one of its many basic arguments is that conditioning children to unquestioningly accept the authority of the father is a sort of training wheels version of the eventual submission to the boss, the drill sergeant, the political leader.
I'd also argue that this split between what is and isn't natural is tenuous at best. Even if I were to accept the argument that hierarchy "isn't natural" it's not like we could ever hope to return to such a state of nature, so it becomes almost a complete non sequitur.grizziz , January 12, 2017 at 5:14 pm
Hierarchies direct significant resources toward enforcing the Order. Empires have larger standing armies and military sectors than free states. Impoverished people, that is, those excluded from resources by the Order, tend to find their communities more heavily policed and less valued as citizens.
Jeremy Belknap propagandized the "unable to govern themselves" bromide for his personal and/or church-corporate benefit.
Societies with higher personal longevity and higher inequality tend to be more conservative, as vested interests constitute a larger proportion of the electorate.
In other words, how many generations of scientific husbandry and selective breeding does it take to create "nature"? That's why I'm not buying it.Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg , January 12, 2017 at 2:27 pm
Ditto. My sentiments run toward equality and fighting hierarchy seems a noble effort. The status quo affects of entrenched hierarchies are pretty ugly in the lower tiers and justice would be served by altering the social system to accommodate the grievances. To argue that social hierarchies are not natural is tantamount to arguing against societies at all.
Even slime molds create structures to reproduce.DanB , January 12, 2017 at 3:27 pm
re: Hierarchies. I'm convinced sociopathy is at the root of this problem. And there may be something about the species that makes us all prone to this condition. Much more work needs to be done and I think the answers will make a lot of people uncomfortable.
Re "Hierarchies aren't natural phenomena within the human race." As a sociologist, I must with regret snark: "Further research is necessary." (Ha, ha, how do you answer this question with research?) This is, nonetheless, a central question of human nature which sociologists and anthropologists are unable to reach consensus on. If we're in a sociopathic system, that's mote-or-less a Marxist view and actually a hopeful sign that our cultural pathology can be overcome. If what we have now is a social system that reflects the inherent nature of humans to dominate one another -more-or-less a Weberian Iron Cage view-, the implication is clear. Another possibility: Hierarchy appears as surplus resources are generated, and an egalitarian system develops when resources cannot be accumulated, i.e, hunters and gatherers. As opposed to the certainty with which economists speak (false bravado though it may be), sociologists and anthropologists are best characterized by the phrase, "Well, on the one hand " To me, it's astounding how few sociologists are deeply engaged in recognizing and then studying the collapse of the current system and how it bears on the hierarchy question.
Jan 11, 2017 | the-american-catholic.comThursday, January 5, AD 2017 Donald R. McClarey
(I first posted this in 2014. It is worthy of another posting.)
Back when I was a boy, I watched entirely too much television. Of course, who could blame me? Tempted by a luxuriant three, count them, three channels, albeit one of them fuzzy in bad weather, to choose from! However, I do not regret watching the Early Show on Channel 3. Back in those bygone days, many stations would run old movies from the thirties, forties and fifties, between 3:00 PM-5:00 PM. Thus I first experienced some of the classics of cinema, and one of my favorites was Double Indemnity , 1944, the first of the film noire genre. Adultery and murder were perhaps too mature topics for me in my initial pre-teen viewings, but I was fascinated by it because it seemed to be a playing out on screen of what I was learning at the time from The Baltimore Catechism : that sin will lead inevitably to destruction unless contrition and amendment are made. The film was fortunate to have at its center three masters of the craft of acting.
Fred MacMurray, born in Kankakee, Illinois, 37 miles from my abode, in 1907, was a good guy in real life and usually in reel life. A firm Catholic and staunch Republican, he tried to join the military after Pearl Harbor but a punctured ear drum kept him out of service. He adopted a total of four kids with his two wives: his first wife dying from cancer in 1953, and his second wife remaining his wife until his death. (Such fidelity was as rare in Hollywood then as it is now.) On screen MacMurray played to type and was almost always a good guy, but not always, and it is ironic that the two best performances of his career came when he played bad guys: weak, lustful and doomed Walter Neff in Double Indemnity and the scheming, cowardly Lieutenant Thomas Keefer in The Caine Mutiny .
Barbara Stanwyck had a Dickensian childhood from which she was lucky to emerge alive, her mother dying of a miscarriage and her father going off to work on the Panama Canal and never being heard from again. A series of foster homes followed, which Ruby Catherine Stevens, as Stanwyck was then named, constantly ran away from. Dropping out of school at 14 to begin working, she never looked back. Breaking into show business by becoming a dancer in the Ziegfield Follies at age 16, she was a star on broadway in the play Burlesque before she turned 20. Changing her name to Barbara Stanwyck, she broke into films immediately thereafter, displaying a flair for both drama and comedy, specializing in strong independent women. Her personal, as opposed to her professional, life was a mess. Married in 1928 to her Burlesque co-star Frank Fay, they adopted a son, Stanwyck having been rendered sterile by an abortion at 15. The marriage ended in divorce in 1935, Fay during the marriage often slapping Stanwyck around when he was drunk. Stanwyck got custody of their son. Stanwyck was a hovering and authoritarian mother, leading to a life long alienation from her son after he became an adult. Stanwyck married actor Robert Taylor in 1939, and, after numerous acts of infidelity on both sides, divorced in 1950. Ironically Stanwyck and Taylor did stay friends after their divorce, Stanwyck, who never remarried, referring to him as the true love of her life. In her politics Stanwyck was a staunch conservative Republican who supported the investigations of Congress into Communist infiltration into Hollywood. Remaining in demand as an actress almost until her death in 1990, she filled her last years with charitable work. Stanwyck was well equipped by her own tumultuous life to give depth to her portrayal of the murderous, scheming Phyllis Dietrichson in Double Indemnity .
Although remembered today chiefly for his gangster roles and his portrayal of the rat-like Dathan in The Ten Commandments, Edward G. Robinson was actually an actor with a very broad range of work: comedies, dramas, historical epics, you name it. By 1944 he was age 51 and realized that his days as a leading man were coming to a close. His half comedic role as the insurance claims adjuster Barton Keyes in Double Indemnity he viewed as a step in his transition to being a character actor. Always a liberal, Robinson was blacklisted in Hollywood due to his affiliation with Communist front groups. Robinson admitted as much by an article he wrote for the American Legion Magazine entitled "How the Reds Made a Sucker Out of Me". His comeback came when anti-Communist director Cecil B. DeMille, who thought that Robinson had been treated unfairly, cast him in the scene-stealing role of Dathan in The Ten Commandments .
Jan 01, 2017 | www.amazon.comTodd L. Andrews on March 14, 2015Jack on December 11, 2015 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a desperately needed wake up call to NS men needing fluorescent illumination in the middle of "gaslight" and other
" I really identified with the "role reversal" and truth that there are men that suffer under a female N's tactics. The severity and persistence of the female N is exposed brilliantly in this book.
Having Zari identify the male as a victim of the narcissist is crucial to helping men break free of the craziness, while also helping men identify why they feel so stuck loving the woman they have committed their souls to.
Also crucial, is the chapter that breaks out the difficulty of "no contact" when children are involved. While many N relationships share much in common, the male NS suffers under societies prescribed male strengths, and serves to undermine the ability of men to overcome being trapped.
Society typically has the female's back, especially narcissistic women, as they are often the victims of stereotypical males (in real life and fictional portrayals).
Kudos to the Author for helping unlock the chains of this forbidden subject. There are, not undeservedly, many explicatives used in this book. I believe the strong words are appropo representations of the years of suffering and pain inflicted by the narcissist on their supply.
The author's insights will likely help release many NS men from their prison within.Need to get off the crazy train? This is your first stop!Neal on December 2, 2016 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
" Guys, if your life is one gigantic roller coaster ride of being seduced, destroyed emotionally, and then kicked to the curb when you say anything, then this is the place to start. If you're looking at this review, then you know something in your relationship is slowly poisoning you to death. It is NOT you! Wanna know why? Get the book!!!Worth The ReadMan_under_female_attack on April 15, 2015 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
" If you have any questions about the patterns in your relationship this will help. More research on narcissism and manipulation will be needed, but it offers some good advice about seeing more clearly the issues that might lie hidden in the shade.Men under pain by narc women deserved to get a book like this.PF on December 5, 2016 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
" I was married to a narc women for several years, and we share a daughter. I thank Zari Ballard for this excellent account of how narc females move around in society, mostly unknown to other people, friends and relatives who judge them just as "weird" or "arrogant".
In my case, I felt like a man who was for years playing on a stage and with a choreography designed by my ex wife.
Now, thanks to books like this one, I can stand aside and *understand* what went on, and what is currently going on. As a victim, narcissism makes you crazy, the more you delve into it to understand it, the more you get tangled in the lies, distorted views of reality, crazy nonsense "dialogues", etc.
I spent years married with a woman with whom I had no real dialogue, without noticing it.
If you are a man in distress, and you feel some woman makes you feel miserable, please read this book to go deep into the causes of your pain. Thanks Zari for your book, thanks from the many men that suffer the pain inflicted by narcissistic women.
1 CommentOne of the best reads on Female Narcs out thereMaxie on May 17, 2015 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
" This was an amazing read and helped me far more than even therapy. Zari has helped males understand the Female Narc better than any of the myriad of books I have read on the subject.This is a must read if you've been on "Mr Toad's Wild Ride" with one of these psychopaths at the helm!Edward on June 22, 2015 Format: Paperback
" After being systematically brainwashed then discarded, I educated myself by reading everything I could get my hands on regarding Narcissism and Narcissist abuse, specifically male victims of these pathological parasites.
I found the content of this book very insightful, helpful, and matter-of-fact.
Zari does not claim to be a doctor, teacher, or therapist. However, she provides a great insight for surviving this painful ordeal with proven methods of healing from a former victim's prospective.An exceptional survival book.JMT on March 3, 2016 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
" An extraordinary, concise, at times darkly humorous and sobering road map to help you on your way out of the long dark tunnel designed by the female Narcissist. I had suffered for over a year in this kind of 'relationship', and after the discard was left tortured by self doubt, depression, and confusion.
After reading Zari's book just once, i gradually felt that much needed shift - the chapter 'Tactics Of Emotional Warfare' details a list of characteristics of the Narcissistic personality, which left me feeling as though i had been exorcised by a friendly priest, leaving me without a shadow of doubt that this was not something i had imagined, nor could have done anything about.
By the second reading, (the very next day) that brick wall of denial slowly began to crumble, allowing the undeniable facts to speak for themselves, and sink in. It's easy to feel alone in times like these, perhaps your friends or family may not completely understand your pain, but Zari does - and I believe this book is the only friend you will need to guide you on your way back to sanity.
" Amazing read. I've lived with a female narc for years and reading this made me fees as if the writer was right there with me for MY story!
It's amazing how traumatic these people are.
Well written. I also really enjoyed another similar book "Surviving Sara" by Brian Morgan. Very similar story and I can't help but few the pain these men went through.
Dec 18, 2016 | www.sott.netGaslighting: An insidious form of emotional abuse Julie Naftulin
Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:00 UTC Once in a while, it's normal to have a fleeting moment where you question your own sanity, like when you're severely sleep deprived or stressed out . But if a relationship leaves you constantly second-guessing your own instincts and feelings, you may be a victim of a sophisticated form of emotional abuse : gaslighting. Like other types of abuse, gaslighting can happen in all sorts of relationships, including personal, romantic, and professional.
Ben Michaelis, PhD, a New York City-based clinical psychologist, has worked with victims of gaslighting. For one of his patients-we'll call her Marie-the gaslighting began when her husband shouted another woman's name during sex. When she tried to discuss the incident with him, he flatly denied what he'd said and told Marie she was hearing things. Marie figured she must have had too much to drink. But then the lying continued: Marie's husband would change his alibi constantly , and when Marie questioned him, he'd say she was acting delusional. It wasn't until almost a year later when Marie realized her husband had been hiding an affair the whole time.
"[Gaslighting] is like someone saying the sky is green over and over again, and at first you'll be like 'no, no,'" says Gail Saltz, MD a psychiatrist and host of the podcast The Power of Different . "Then over time the person starts to manipulate you into saying 'I guess I can't really see what color the sky is.' It's just this sense of unreality."
Acknowledging you're a victim of gaslighting like Marie did can be tricky at first, says Michaelis, who is the author of Your Next Big Thing: 10 Small Steps to Get Moving and Get Happy. "Initially, if someone is insisting on a reality that is different from your own, you'll think, Why was I off that day? Was I tired? " As the gaslighting continues, victims begin to question themselves and their judgment more and more. Michaelis says this can go on for months or even years before they realize they're being gaslighted. "People who experience gaslighting may show obsessive-compulsive symptoms because they want to constantly check themselves and recheck themselves," says Dr. Michaelis. The confidence-depleting nature of gaslighting could contribute to increased anxiety in many or all aspects of a victim's life, not only in the relationship. Many gaslighting victims berate themselves or feel the need to apologize all the time, explains Dr. Saltz.
Gaslighting can manifest in a workplace environment as well. "Your boss may use gaslighting to hide a mistake or cover up information they didn't mean to share," says Michaelis. "It can also be a passive-aggressive gesture used among peers who are competing."
If you realize you're being gaslighted, the first thing you need to recognize is that a gaslighter may not be conscious of the effects of their actions, especially if they have issues with being wrong or out of control. In this case, confronting the gaslighter could work. Michaelis suggests conducting all conversations you have with the gaslighter in a recorded format, like through email or text. Then, when gaslighting occurs, tell the person what they originally said. "If they continue do deny what they said, you can supply the recorded evidence so they have a concrete understanding of what happened," says Michaelis. This method works best when confronting a friend or partner.
In professional relationships, Michaelis suggests reaching out to a third party, like human resources, which can make the confrontation more objective. You can take this route in your personal relationships as well by enlisting a friend or family member to help. "If you find it happening to you, be thoughtful of the person's motivations," Michaelis says. "They don't usually do it out of pure ill-will. It usually correlates with trying to cover something up, so first try to repair the relationship if it's worth it."
If confrontation fails and ending the relationship is an option, Dr. Saltz recommends doing so. Michaelis agrees: "All relationships are changeable. Maybe not immediately, but they are changeable or severable if need be ," he says.
If you have to stick it out with a gaslighter, though, try to boost your confidence with the support of good friends. "If you're having a hard time changing the situation, they can bolster your reality otherwise," says Michaelis. In a work environment, you should also be wary of what information you share with a gaslighter . Michaelis suggests withholding personal life details with a gaslighting co-worker or boss to protect yourself from emotional abuse in the office.
No matter which method you choose, it's important to take control of reality again, says Dr. Saltz. This involves setting limits that stop gaslighting attempts in their tracks . For example, if your boss calls you overly sensitive when you ask, "Why won't you let me work on big company projects?" demand true feedback rather than accepting blame on your character. "It's holding the line for what you're wanting to achieve," Dr. Saltz says, "and not buying into accusations intended to knock down self-confidence."
Comment: Many psychiatric professionals agree that even strong, intelligent, confident, and stable people can become vulnerable to this form of emotional manipulation. Intelligence and emotions are not the same thing and a gaslighters' key maneuver is to prey on emotion rather than intelligence. Gaslighting is a specific, conscious, deliberate tactic of manipulation and control.
- My husband convinced me I was insane
- Behind the Headlines: Predators Among Us - Interview With Dr. Anna Salter
- Are you easy prey for a psychopath?
Dec 06, 2016 | www.theatlantic.comThe key question is whether he is a charlatan wanting publicly or a honest reseracher? If I were him I would make a second scan in othe demical instition befor jumping to conclution, That fact that he did not do even this completly undermined his credibility. Also phychopath is not medical diagnisis. Jan 21, 2014 | http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/01/life-as-a-nonviolent-psychopath/282271/ | Judith OhikuareNeuroscientist James Fallon discovered through his work that he has the brain of a psychopath --[and he might be wrong -- NNB]
You used to believe that people were roughly 80 percent the result of genetics, and 20 percent the result of their environment. How did this discovery cause a shift in your thinking?
I went into this with the bias of a scientist who believed, for many years, that genetics were very, very dominant in who people are-that your genes would tell you who you were going to be. It's not that I no longer think that biology, which includes genetics, is a major determinant; I just never knew how profoundly an early environment could affect somebody.
... ... ...
While I was writing this book, my mother started to tell me more things about myself. She said she had never told me or my father how weird I was at certain points in my youth, even though I was a happy-go-lucky kind of kid. And as I was growing up, people all throughout my life said I could be some kind of gang leader or Mafioso don because of certain behavior. Some parents forbade their children from hanging out with me. They'd wonder how I turned out so well-a family guy, successful, professional, never been to jail and all that.
... ... ...
I found out that I happened to have a series of genetic alleles, "warrior genes," that had to do with serotonin and were thought to be at risk for aggression, violence, and low emotional and interpersonal empathy-if you're raised in an abusive environment. But if you're raised in a very positive environment, that can have the effect of offsetting the negative effects of some of the other genes.
... ... ...
After all of this research, I started to think of this experience as an opportunity to do something good out of being kind of a jerk my entire life. Instead of trying to fundamentally change-because it's very difficult to change anything-I wanted to use what could be considered faults, like narcissism, to an advantage; to do something good.
... ... ...
I started with simple things of how I interact with my wife, my sister, and my mother. Even though they've always been close to me, I don't treat them all that well. I treat strangers pretty well-really well, and people tend to like me when they meet me -- but I treat my family the same way, like they're just somebody at a bar. I treat them well, but I don't treat them in a special way. That's the big problem.
I asked them this -- it's not something a person will tell you spontaneously -- but they said, "I give you everything. I give you all this love and you really don't give it back." They all said it, and that sure bothered me. So I wanted to see if I could change. I don't believe it, but I'm going to try.
In order to do that, every time I started to do something, I had to think about it, look at it, and go: No. Don't do the selfish thing or the self-serving thing . Step-by-step, that's what I've been doing for about a year and a half and they all like it. Their basic response is: We know you don't really mean it, but we still like it.
I told them, "You've got to be kidding me. You accept this? It's phony!" And they said, "No, it's okay. If you treat people better it means you care enough to try." It blew me away then and still blows me away now.
But treating everyone the same isn't necessarily a bad thing, is it? Is it just that the people close to you want more from you?
Yes. They absolutely expect and demand more. It's a kind of cruelty, a kind of abuse, because you're not giving them that love. My wife to this day says it's hard to be with me at parties because I've got all these people around me, and I'll leave her or other people in the cold. She is not a selfish person, but I can see how it can really work on somebody.Related Story The Dark Side of Emotional Intelligence
I gave a talk two years ago in India at the Mumbai LitFest on personality disorders and psychopathy, and we also had a historian from Oxford talk about violence against women in terms of the brain and social development. After it was over, a woman came up to me and asked if we could talk. She was a psychiatrist but also a science writer and said, "You said that you live in a flat emotional world-that is, that you treat everybody the same. That's Buddhist." I don't know anything about Buddhism but she continued on and said, "It's too bad that the people close to you are so disappointed in being close to you. Any learned Buddhist would think this was great." I don't know what to do with that.
Sometimes the truth is not just that it hurts, but that it's just so disappointing. You want to believe in romance and have romance in your life-even the most hardcore, cold intellectual wants the romantic notion. It kind of makes life worth living. But with these kinds of things, you really start thinking about what a machine it means we are-what it means that some of us don't need those feelings, while some of us need them so much. It destroys the romantic fabric of society in a way.
So what I do, in this situation, is think: How do I treat the people in my life as if I'm their son, or their brother, or their husband? It's about going the extra mile for them so that they know I know this is the right thing to do. I know when the situation comes up, but my gut instinct is to do something selfish. Instead, I slow down and try to think about it. It's like dumb behavioral modification; there's no finesse to this, but I said, well, why does there have to be finesse? I'm trying to treat it as a straightaway thing, when the situation comes up, to realize there's a chance that I might be wrong, or reacting in a poor way, or without any sort of love-like a human.
... ... ...
In some ways, though, the stakes are different for you because you're not violent-and isn't that the concern? Relative to your own life, your attempts to change may positively impact your relationships with your friends, family, and colleagues. But in the case of possibly violent people, they may harm others.
The jump from being a "prosocial" psychopath or somebody on the edge who doesn't act out violently, to someone who really is a real, criminal predator is not clear. For me, I think I was protected because I was brought up in an upper-middle-class, educated environment with very supportive men and women in my family. So there may be a mass convergence of genetics and environment over a long period of time. But what would happen if I lost my family or lost my job; what would I then become? That's the test.
For people who have the fundamental biology-the genetics, the brain patterns, and that early existence of trauma-first of all, if they're abused they're going to be pissed off and have a sense of revenge: I don't care what happens to the world because I'm getting even . But a real, primary psychopath doesn't need that. They're just predators who don't need to be angry at all; they do these things because of some fundamental lack of connection with the human race, and with individuals, and so on.
Someone who has money, and sex, and rock and roll, and everything they want may still be psychopathic-but they may just manipulate people, or use people, and not kill them. They may hurt others, but not in a violent way. Most people care about violence-that's the thing. People may say, "Oh, this very bad investment counselor was a psychopath"-but the essential difference in criminality between that and murder is something we all hate and we all fear. It just isn't known if there is some ultimate trigger.
... ... ...
,,, For personality disorders it's not really known when they will emerge because it's very understudied. People will say, you can't do anything about it, it's locked in and there seems to be almost no treatment. Whereas, for things like depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, you can do something about it. There are drugs, or things you can do with brain stimulation and talk therapy, so that's where Big Pharma and the whole industry goes.
...A lot of kids, most kids, get bullied and they may get pissed off, but that doesn't create a personality disorder. But there are 20 percent of kids who are really susceptible and they may ultimately be triggered for a personality disorder in puberty. If we know these children can be helped by making sure that they aren't abused or abandoned-because you've got to get there really early-well, then, that would be important to do. I don't mean to preach.
... ... ...
It means, for example, that if you have to go to war, and sometimes you probably have to go to war-I'm not talking about a belligerent country starting war or fomenting discord, but if you have to go to war and to engage infantry-you do not send 18-year-olds into it, because their brains aren't set. They don't know how to adjudicate what's happening emotionally and hormonally with the intellectualization of it. When you're 20, 25, it's a different matter because things gel a little more. Our emotions don't get away from us as much in terms of what is happening. Other factors, sociological ones like what soldiers return to, are also important, but we're not going to get rid of war any time soon, so we might as well engage in a way that does the least amount of damage.
In terms of legal action, you've been used as a researcher for court cases-not to determine guilt or innocence, but for sentencing. Do you think there's a moral boundary for that since we don't have enough knowledge on this field yet to determine guilt or innocence?
We don't have enough research. You can't just take genetics-even though I'm a big proponent of it-or imaging, and tell if someone's a criminal or a psychopath. If you put together all that information, you could explain a lot of behavior and causality and early abuse-but we don't know enough.
So, when I get a case to look at, first of all, I don't accept money-and it's not because I'm a nice guy. It's because I think I'd be biased. I don't accept any payment and I don't want to know who the person is. We all try to create a story or narrative, and I'm just as weak as anybody. I'll tell the defense attorney, or public defender, or whoever it is to just send me scans, maybe with normal scans to try to throw me off, and then I'll look at them and discuss what the traits of the person might be based on the lack of activity in certain areas or not.
I can usually say, "Oh, this person might have a language problem," or "This person might have trouble with impulsivity." After all of that analysis is there, we can look at their traits and see what they've done.
... ... ...
Some people have this psychopathy or are almost psychopaths, and they get into trouble and go right to jail and end up in the prison system as 18-year-olds. It's awful because they get unlucky and they don't have enough impulse control to pull it back at the last instant. So, what is that edge where somebody's got these traits, and they are impulsive? What puts one guy on a pathway to becoming an attorney or successful in general, and the other one has life in prison? We just have to find out what that edge is. I think we will have parameters to work with, but it's not the same for everybody.
- I am looking forward to the sequel, where he learns that he really isn't a psychopath after all. His brother switched the MRI's as a practical joke to get back at him for the African incident.
- In my lifetime I've known 2-3 people like Fallon - fully functioning, non-violent psychopaths. It didn't surprise me that his friends and family were not surprised. It did surprise me that he did not see these qualities in himself.
- What would be very interesting would be to hear his wife's perspective. What attracted her to him? When did she realize he was a psychopath? Why did she stay with him? What is marriage to a non-violent psychopath like?
- I just read Sam Smith's comment (above) and I imagine that goes some way towards answering your question. The individuals I knew were psychically attractive and quite charismatic. They functioned very well in group/social situations, but when it came to one-on-one a lot of people (myself included) wanted nothing to do with them because they were manipulative and used other people as a means to an end. 'What is marriage to a non-violent psychopath like?' A great question. One of the people I knew was a room-mate for about a year. It was appalling. You do begin to question your own sanity. It was only after the experience that I was able to see what had really been going on, and I can't imagine how much more intense it would be if you were also in a sexual relationship or a marriage.
- I had a mentor in grad school that I would armchair diagnose as a non-violent psychopath. He was so manipulative, that while working for him, you would begin to question your sanity. He didn't know how to manipulate people in a positive manner (because he made promises and never kept them), so he would resort to threats. He once defended a threat he had made to me (to kick me out of his lab with no degree for failing to discover why 2 proteins of unknown function were interacting fast enough) by saying, "You should have realized that I didn't mean it. I tell my kids all the time that I don't love them when I'm mad at them, but I don't mean it." All I could think was, "Thank God, I'm only his student and not his kid."
- Yikes, I have known children to claim they don't love their parents when they don't get their way, but not the reverse. That offends me on nearly every level.
- Me too. I don't know how a faculty member in my former academic department kept her job after the things she said and did to me and to others in my presence. No one seemed to notice, or was too afraid of her to bring it up.
- Productivity. As long as he was publishing, he was given free reign. When I finally went to talk to the dean, the comment was, "What took so long? Everyone from your lab comes to see us sooner or later." WTH?
- Have you told this story before around here, or am I having Deja Vu?
- A year or so ago, in a discussion on PhD training, I think.
- Good to know I'm not crazier today than I was yesterday.
- I try not to be repetitious, but this was a life changing event for me. It caused me to completely rethink my philosophy of life and had the additional benefit that it worsened a chronic disease I have, the more aggressive treatment of which made it possible for my daughter to be conceived. It also lead me to declare some behavior as unacceptable and to refuse to accept this type of behavior (rather than taking responsibility for others behavior and finding excuses for them ad naseum).
- Her publications and grants were mediocre; far from the best in the department. I think it was that administrators didn't want to draw attention to her actions in the first place. She did leave and not for an academic department, at least not in the U.S.
- Your faculty member sounds quite a bit like Dr. Valerie Fabrikant who eventually was imprisoned for a long time in Canada when he went completely off the rails. Whilst Fabrikant was producing papers and his colleagues got to add their names to his papers then everything was rosy but Fabrikant took exception to his colleagues trying to ride for free on his coat-tails.
- I worked with someone like that at MIT. One of her grad students came to me right after I started working there to warn me about her. I didn't understand at first, and then the bizarre manipulations started. Her previous assistant left because she had a nervous breakdown, and all of the other division staff refused to even talk directly to her. She was charming and flattering to all of the faculty above her, though.
- Your mentor's response reminds me of my favorite line from Last King of Scotland (talk about a psychopath): "But you didn't *persuade* me."
- I'm pretty sure my dad falls into this category - handsome, charming, completely self-centered and manipulative.
It's the ability to manipulate that wins the psychopath sex and friends, at least in the short term. Apparently my dad was only violent while he was young - he did a stint in prison and then 'got religion', but the manipulation was how he got what he wanted the rest of his life.
His third wife seems to have been happy enough with him, but I don't really see how. I wanted nothing to do with him and I'm his child.
- Sounds like you are better off away from him.
- I think what is difficult to remember and to wrap our heads around is that these individuals truly don't care if you care. Your dad's manipulation was part of his character as easy and un-noticed as his other characteristics. Don't we all have characteristics that we don't recognize in ourselves but may be very apparent to others?
- The hallmark of a psychopath/sociopath is that they make everyone around them feel crazy, because they show no evidence of doubt in their own rightness...and normal, well-adjusted people will always leave room for doubt, so when faced with someone who repeatedly and adamantly insists that the sky is 100% green by every measure, normal well-adjusted people will begin to think, "Well, maybe it IS green..."
- Also known as self-righteous types. So why the clinical nomenclature (I ask this of all people who moralize--articulate normative judgments--in the guise of scientific objectivity)? It doesn't make your evaluation (disapprobation) any more consensus worthy. Self-righteous types are generally disliked and always have been. Especially when they are right. We just prefer self-deprecation and the constant refrain: "that's-just-my-opinion" to obviate "friction" (= envy, resentment, irritation). The sort of arousal activated by the sympathetic autonomic system.
Feeling crazy is our problem. It's not other people but our perceptions of other people that induces 'craziness.' We may feel crazy in response to non-pathological behaviors. What constitutes the feeling of craziness? Contempt? Aggression? Resentment? Envy? The self-righteous is not least of all labeled anti-social because he inspires "anti-social" responses. But this just means that we project our own momentary derangement--a by-product of our 'empathy.'
We are responsible for our reactions. What we find unforgivable (blameworthy) in "sociopaths" (boors) is the sense that they do not have the same scruples we do--they do not feel the same sense of responsibility about their reactions because they are busy ACTING. Then we retaliate for feeling diminished (put in a passive-reactive position) by calling them psychopaths. Clinical psychology lends itself to such exercises in retribution.
- Wow, you put a lot of effort into blaming the victims.
- As someone else said, psychopathy and self-righteousness are two different things, as are sociopathy and boorishness. Clinical nomenclature (naming) allows for diagnosis and treatment (pills and stuff). While the terms are thrown around at times without actually meaning the clinical disorder, they do have value.
But isn't there a reason in any event for disapproval (disapprobation [evaluation]) when something causes harm? If a child kicks another child (taking a foot and mashing it into some part of the other child's body), are we not going to reprimand them? So if an individual is causing psychological harm to another, wouldn't we see that as negative?
You remind me of a roommate I once had who said that if I was crying because he threatened to put my dog out on the street, that was on me; he wasn't _making_ me cry. No, he was not forcing me to cry, but he was taking an action that was cruel, and my being upset was a justifiable (completely understandable and okay) reaction.
- You seem to have a rather glib view of what "disapproval" entails in the case of a diagnosis of psychopathy. The harm caused, retributively but also by the sheer act of categorizing individuals based on some perceived pattern of behavior, may outweigh the offense.
Given that there is no consensus on the construct of psychopathy and the devastating consequences it has on the lives of those labeled psychopaths, we need to be very careful about diagnosing and medicating 'disorders' whose existence is a matter of conjecture. Diagnosis is a question of interpretation, which basically makes it an art. But unlike a doctor of medicine, who can rely on established etiologies and facts, psychiatrists must rely on hypothetical constructs legitimized by consensus.
We obviously need to treat people who suffer as well as to disapprove of and punish them. But when the stakes are so enormous as in the case of diagnosing so-called psychopaths it is useful to remind ourselves of the theoretical nature of our constructs and to proceed with due caution (skepticism) about what we think we know.
Clearly self-righteousness and psychopathy are "different things." But the same behavior may be labeled as evincing either characteristic. The behavior has to be interpreted. That means an explanatory/decriptive paradigm must be selected. So my question is, what are we doing when we categorize (select) a behavior as psychopathic? How do we avoid not presupposing what we imagine ourselves to be "discovering" (avoid confirmation bias)?
Ultimately what the clinician and layperson are both doing is judging a behavior, and the guidelines for such evaluation are ultimately moral and political rather than strictly scientific. The fact that it is consenus that establishes whether a disorder obtains is further clue that clinical psychology functions as a form of applied ethics (the social enforcement of morality).
P.S. Your room-mate was right. You should have more control over your feelings. On the other hand, having too much control (or not having any feelings) may obviate suffering at the cost of putting you at risk of cold-heartedness. Your room-mate seems to have enjoyed manipulating you because you were gullible.
Being vulnerable, trusting and compassionate is good-within reason. It's a judgment call. His point was that you should be in a position to make it, to decide how to respond, and not be led around by your reactive-self. It may be less warm and fuzzy, but it's pro-active and reality-syntonic.
- Yeah, yeah, yeah. A standard narcissistic psychopath technique is to interject themselves into this kind of debate and make it so confusing to figure out who is a psychopath they can skate under the radar. Those of us that are vampire hunters are on to you.
- It's pretty clear who is the narcissistic psychopath is. I am a little confused that Sonke seems to care that others view him or her as a psychopath. Maybe it makes manipulation more difficult?
- The standard no-nothing technique of someone who cannot engage in argument is to resort to pitiful ad hominems (character assassination). Have you ever met a confirmation bias you could resist? Get ye to the Salem witch trials.
- Certainly there are problems with the diagnostic tools available to the medical community. And absolutely there are issues with labeling. However without diagnosis, individuals would not get the proper care. I was misdiagnosed as having depression for years (see below before you think this proves your point). I don't feel it my duty to share on here what my actual diagnosis is, but being properly diagnosed has allowed me to have a functioning life. The diagnosis of mental disorders may also save an individual from the death penalty.
And diagnostic tools are improving. If you read the article above, brain scans were used to uncover an individual's psychopathy. While these tests are not done routinely, they do exist. And diagnosis is not strictly "conjecture." The behavior patterns aren't "'perceived." They're observed, both by the doctor and the patient. I hid my true feelings and behavior from my doctor and that is what contributed to the incorrect diagnosis. When correctly diagnosed, medicine and therapy has been proven to help treat mental disorders. I bear the stigma of mental disorder every day, but I'll take that labeling if it means I can function.
However, your assertion that I and others should not be upset about things that would justifiably be reasonable is illogical. I love my dog; putting her out on the street when I was out of town would result in the loss of my dog. If I had not been upset about this, had I not cared, I would not have argued against his doing so, which would have resulted in harm to my dog. So the emotion that resulted from his threat has value, just as being frightened by a bear has value in that it would save your life. Your argument also removes culpability from a individual who is behaving in an unacceptable manner and places it on the victim. This means we can act however we want and consequences be damned. Emotional abuse is real. It's a purposeful attempt to harm another person, the same as if someone used physical force.
And you seem to be arguing for compassion for those who have mental disorders. That is admirable. But then why wouldn't you have the same compassion for those who are affected by the deeds of others?
- Whether things (one's reactions) are "justifiably reasonable"is precisely what is in need of determination. Reacting emotionally has "value" if and when it is accompanied by a judgment (evaluation) and a course of action. Being upset per se has little value except as spur to taking action. In and of itself it is passive-reactive. My point was that gullible types set themselves up for manipulation by those without scruples, on the assumption that your 'friend' was in fact jerking your chain. You did not mention that you had argued about his threat in your original post. Since you confronted him, your upset reaction was instrumental, therefore valid. I'm the last person who would question the cognitive significance of affect.
My larger point is that sensitivity as well as objectivity vis-a-vis feelings, which inform the empathic process, are both valid up to a point. They exist, as does the human personality generally, on a continuum. But too much reactive affectivity is as problematical as the objectivity of the "cold-blooded." And not being able to turn off empathy is not the hallmark of optimal mental health some doctors of the soul would have us believe it to be. We are all potentially "psychopathic" under the 'right' circumstances. There are any number of social roles whose discharge would be unduly complicated by the kind of empathy we value in a friend, family member, or co-worker.
Brain scans are indeed used, but there is no consensus on what they mean in relation to personality disorders. They yield correlations subject to interpretation by fallible specialists. That would be problematical enough, but add to that mix the controversial nature of the clinical entity some call "psychopathy" (among other disorders) and what you wind up with is very much a process of conjecture. Granted, some conjecturing is more informed than others, but that doesn't change the basic nature of the process.
Read up on the controversy surrounding DSM-5 revisions for a sample of just how divided the field of psychiatry is.
If you found relief from your suffering through medication and therapy more power to you. That's your bottom line, and I respect it. But bear in mind some people find relief taking placebos. The human mind is profoundly suggestible. Perception creates reality. And that's very much a double-edged sword.
- You are not communicating the message you think you are communicating.
- Yo this is one of the best things I've ever read, cheers bro
- Not forgetting that there are many psychopathic psychiatrists about who deliberately misdiagnose psychopathy just for the 'hell' of it, and Dr. David Rosehan proved just how incompetent psychiatrists and nursing staff can be when it suits their hid_den'igrating agendas.
- Psychopathy is not at all the same as self-righteousness. Psychopaths lack empathy and a sense of right and wrong - completely different thing.
- You're probably a psychopath, pal. Psychopaths do lots of things, but one of the key things is mess with people's sense of time, which makes folks feel nuts. The other thing you keep repeating is the individuality of response -- and psychopaths are big on the idea of an isolated sense of self.
- I had come to the same conclusion, indeed we might have to do with one. It seems obvious that he is desperately trying to manipulate himself out of his own disposition, not only to try to, unsuccessfully, mask his PP behaviour towards us, but primarily to trick himself into thinking he is not a PP.
- Ever thought of having an FMRI?
- Psychopaths are not also known as self-righteous types. Nor are psychopaths 'crazy' in the way that, say, schizophrenics are 'crazy'. I suggest you do a little reading before opinionating on something about which evidently you know very little.
Start with 'The Mask of Sanity: An Attempt to Clarify Some Issues About the So-called Psychopathic Personality'; Hervey Cleckley, MD; Fifth Edition: private printing for non-profit educational use; Emily S Cleckley; Augusta, Georgia (1988) http://www.cassiopaea.com/cass...
- My comment mainly addressed OUR reactions ("crazy" was emikoala's term) to so-called psychopathic
behaviors. Try reading comments in context. My point was that any trait ascribed to a so-called psychopath, taken by itself or in combination, can be variably interpreted. The only people helped by the patholigization of behaviors are prosecutors, the criminal justice system, pharmaceutical and insurance companies.
The problem of "opinionating" is not my problem, it's the problem of clinical psychology as a whole, as witness the controversy surrounding the process of devising DSM criteria. There is no consensus about what constitutes psychopathy, as a cursory glance at the Wikipedia page would inform you:
(" no psychiatric or psychological organization has sanctioned a diagnosis titled "psychopathy.") It is an interpretation, a construct, regarding which the only fitting scientific attitude to assume is one of skepticism. There is no place in science for true believers.
- Maybe not ALL traits...but what about a person who has a desire to kill people, strangers or known, just because they think it would be fun? One who feels joy from lighting animals on fire? A person who literally feels no regret, remorse, or guilt about anything in life (even things that cause fatal harm to others and ruined lives)? One who simply doesn't understand when others are upset, for whatever the reason, because they themselves have no such feelings. I know I am just a regular person but to me, those are pretty psychopathic traits no matter how interpreted.
- They are "psychopathic" because you use that concept to summarize the traits you enumerated. But there is no necessity in doing so. You could simply describe such individuals as lacking compassion and being cruel. Either way you express moral disapprobation and signal a threat. Which is the whole point of this exercise in applied ethics (clinical psychology).
For me the interesting question is: how often does one have to lapse in one's sympathizing and abstention from violent aggression before one becomes "a psychopath?" What day of the week are we talking about? which hour of the day? We are all capable of selfish, aggressive behavior and of not giving a damn.
- You neglected to list psychiatrists amongst the prosecutors, the justice system etc...but Dr. David Rosenhan didn't.
- People have always utterly despised *sabelotodos* since time immemorial and it's simply because they *don't know* any better about how to save themselves from themsel_ves'ted.
- Political lies work the same way which is why psychopaths often make good politicians, (if badleaders)
- Telling people repeatedly that the sky is green is but a finagling form of *gaslighting*.
- correct it is an absolute nightmare you are never" special" you are taken for granted..emotionally manipulated and discarded...left with the aftermath all the time and everyone else thinking it must be you because he is such a lovely guy! Have you ever sat next to your loved one and felt totally lonely? that is how I would explain living with a psychopath..it IS soul destroying...
Chief act of the psychopath is to defend psychopathy and their power and influence. Every war, every economic collapse, every ruthless exploitation of humanity can be laid at the feet of psychopaths. Don't ever let the nice words fool, one of the main skill of a psychopath, charm, enabled by the complete detachment from the harm their lies cause, the complete lack of conscience, in fact they take pride in their lies, their superior skill over others.
- "Darth Cheney"? lol, what an ideological drama queen.
- The Clintons would be the ultimate case study. Bill and Hill are both obviously manipulative narcissists. Wonder what that dynamic is really like.
- And is that what your propaganda tells you? First of all, they are individuals. Second of all, the intent of most of their actions have been to relieve the pain of people, as do most democrats--politics aside it is the mission statement of the democratic party to be socially inclusive and help the disenfranchised. Contrast that with the actions of the Republican Party of mean and no. Taking food from babies, and elderly's and sick's mouths. Attacking the very weakest members of a country, The party leadership and much of the membership demonstrate the pathology under discussion. Any protestations otherwise and I call gaslighting
- I was thinking that about Dubya. He tortured animals as a child. He suffered neglect at the hands of his cold, distant parents. His over-privileged life immorality and willingness to be a tool made him President. Then he killed, stole, lied and ruined millions/ billions even as the damage continues.
- STILL blaming Bush? I see. You really ARE a wacko. Have your anti-psychotic meds adjusted. When you come back, we'll have a party with ice cream and cake!
- Are you suggesting that the things Bush did had no consequences or that the consequences have an expiration date?
- Calling it like I see it. Bush is a psychopath. And, I will blame Bush the rest of my life.
FYI- you should address your anger issues. It's not healthy.
- There's something angry about wishing you to get better and giving you a party?
"Calling it like I see it." Um, it's called "projection".
"FYI- you should address your anger issues. It's not healthy."
YOU accuse ME of "anger issues"? More projection. Or maybe I was unknowingly right. Maybe you really should see a mental health professional.
- The discourse devolved when you started scribbling your typical moronic babble.
- "Don't ever let the nice words fool, one of the main skill of a
psychopath, charm, enabled by the complete detachment from the harm their lies cause, the complete lack of conscience, in fact they take pride in their lies, their superior skill over others."
Who was it who said over 30 times about the Affordable Care
Act, "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan"?
- The Koch brothers on a loop...
- I think it was the same guy who said "if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor." Yep, pretty sure that's the same guy.
- You are ridiculous.
- I yield to your well-reasoned argument. /sarcasm
- "/sarcasm" you're funny. (That means I still think your argument is ridiculous /not worth the effort to comment further.)
- Actually, your response means you have absolutely nothing in refutation. You must be one of the 29% who still thinks, against all evidence, that Obama is doing great.
And how adult of you to tell me you're going to ignore me.
Thanks for playing. Try harder next time. Yes, you can!
- No it means I don't allow the ignorant to waste my time.
- Hey, good to see you again! I knew you couldn't stay away; our conversation has been SO jolly! What shall we talk about next?
- We aren't conversing. I am irritating you. I think you simply must have the last word so I am not giving it to you. Will you prove me wrong? Are you able?
- You consider me ignorant, and you said, "No it means I don't allow the ignorant to waste my time." Yet you comment again; you continue to waste your time.
In light of the sentence I quoted, that would mean I'm NOT ignorant. But if I am ignorant, that means you are now NOT wasting your time. So which is it?
Furthermore, after you say you aren't going to waste your time but still comment again, YOU say *I* "must have the last word"?
So how's the weather in your area?
- Hey Nate your pp is showing. You lying gaslighter you.
- Sorry millions of people now have health care that did not before aca and millions more would have access to free or low cost care but do not because they live in red states and their Republican Governors lack the compassion and humanity to accept federal subsidies for their poorest citizens due to personally held ideology or ambition. So they are allowing people to die, aka, killing them
- He wrote that he was married at 21 and, even though he had tendencies as a kid, probably didn't fully develop psychopathy until his mid 20's. His wife was apparently very stable and adjusted to this.
- I think "used to this" does not connote "stable".
- But he did say there were signs, even at that age. The kids may not have picked them up, but she couldn't? Or were those traits masked as something else?
- Don't you realize that mates may never pick up on good/positive traits in their spouses so why question, when in the throes of love one would pick up on bad/negative characteristics?
- I don't know but I would imagine it would definitely be a positive genetic trait in the evolutionary scheme of things, if you are a male.
- Why only for males?
Of course, the people presenting this argument never stop to think that being genuine would work as well, with the added benefit that you get to see your kids grow up because there's never a reason for your partner to wake up to who you really are and get the kids the hell away from you before you ruin them.
- Dana, now for some weird reason, your reply strikes me as funny! People have asked how a wife could live with such a person but I'm wondering about the kids. If a loving, positive upbringing helps to keep psychopathic tendencies in check, what effect on a child is there when one parent (God help you if both parents are of the 'like attracts like' mode') treats you like an object?? You can't piss on a geranium every day and expect a lovely flower. EXCEPT for the gentleman Dave Pelzer who wrote the book 'A Child Called It': This book chronicles the unforgettable account of one of the most severe child abuse cases in California history. It is the story of Dave Pelzer, who was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother: a mother who played tortuous, unpredictable games--games that left him nearly dead. He had to learn how to play his mother's games in order to survive because she no longer considered him a son, but a slave; and no longer a boy, but an "it." Then I remember the true story that I cannot forge, 'When Rabbit Howls'. Her life turned into multiple personalities. Now these parents were extremely physically abusive but what about the emotional coldness of a parent? What 'failure to thrive' in the mind develops???
- I'm not sure that other people need actually catch on to the sociopaths among them. Don't we all tend to imagine that people think and feel along the same lines that we do?
It's like not understanding that someone might have, say, an immutable reason for an illness. "Why can't you just go outside, take a walk and shake it off.? Surely that would make you feel better."
People tend to frame everything in context of their own experiences. If some powerful adult makes you (as a child) a delicious plate of food, places it in front of you and pats your head, don't you assume they feel the love for you that you feel for them?
I was married to a man who was unable to feel empathy for years. The entire time I ascribe to him feelings that I had ignoring his demonstrations of a lack of feeling, trying harder all the time to provoke the good feelings he surely had for me. It was decades after we split that I realized it was an impossible task.
- I'm not sure that sociopaths/psychopaths have the option of being "genuine."
- I would assume that being a psychopath is great for attracting mates, but terrible for keeping them around and for raising kids. Men can have dozens of children with dozens of women and contribute nothing to the care of any of them. Women don't really have that option, so the upside is a bit more limited. Even if you're able to marshall lots of resources via your psychopathy, chances are you won't want to spend most of them on your kids, so the genetic upside is still not great.
- Ah, and look: now marriage does make sense! A psychopath is much less likely to game that system because it places too much of a cost on it.
But you know, women want to be liberated from the very sense of security they crave. Whatever. Nothing makes sense anymore.
- In fairness toward men, I would imagine that it is an option for women that many do exercise, not to be with their kids. It's just as possible for a woman (who doesn't care) to leave her kids as it is for a man.
Basically the human society like any other living organism can no longer sustain that percentage of parasites and effectively starves to death, poverty in the face of riches.
Like the watch, how many resources were wasted in it's production (not just the watch but the facilities to produce the watch) and how much pollution was generated and of course how many food stamps could it have bought, how many meals for those living in poverty 10,000 meals perhaps, obscene gluttony in the face of global starvation (for them that is part of the fun).
- You neglect the role of warfare in survival. Sometimes tribes/nations are attacked. Individuals answering to the traits we identify (interpret) as "psychopathic" come into their own when the exigence of the day is kill or be killed. Peace-time is not the rule or the norm for the human primate, but the psychology we've evolved assumes it is. Whence all the nonsense about psychopathy. It too has its function in the hierarchy of ends.
Ergo--the positive only signifies in conjunction with the negative.
- " Sometimes tribes/nations are attacked. Individuals answering to the traits we identify (interpret) as "psychopathic" come into their own when the exigence of the day is kill or be killed."
People who are 100% selfish and manipulative could prosper in time of war, but it'd be by f**cking over their group.
- Would there be wars if psychopaths didn't exist?
- Why do you believe that "their percentage," that is, the percentage of people who are psychopaths, is increasing? Do you have data on this?
- Your emotionalized appeal here is really disordered and contains a mish-mash of two orders, the moral and the biological, and a bunch of question begging. What you're left with is moralizing. Considered in purely "evolutionistic" terms, what you have are populations of humans which can possess considerable variation in principle. Adaptive advantage can come in various forms and so to say that human beings are intrinsically "social" (psychopaths are social, just not in the normal sense) and then presumably define morality as something that is a function of some tendency which happens to be common though not absolute seems rather relativist and arbitrary. I am reminded of Nietzsche's slave and master morality. The lambs define their morality in terms of their own interests and then universalize it (how conveniently self-serving) in order to condemn the birds of prey that hunt them. The birds of prey, being of a different nature, find it all amusingly petty-minded, bearing no grudge against the lambs, for to them the lambs are tasty.
So in the end, the weak shall often maintain their morality (what is good for us and not in itself or for itself; instrumental morality masquerading as intrinsic morality) and the strong their own. The difference is that the strong act in good faith, that is, authentically while the weak act out of ressentement and jealousy and thus through disingenuous ulterior motives.
And then there's the story of the frog and the scorpion...
- That would be an interesting question if it were in fact a simple, heritable genetic trait, like blue eyes or lactose tolerance.
- Women have a hard-wired attraction to bad boy, alpha male types. I'm sure a psychopath has enough of those traits to attract many women.
- Some women. Not all women.
- I personally don't like being dumped into a category with the above description. Really??? Why do we never talk about men who go for "bad" women? Women who are destructive, manipulative, and generally bad people? What is wrong with men that are attracted to those types?
- What utter nonsense.
- What is your definition of a bad boy?
- I'm more curious how someone like that falls in love and marries. Do they have to do so before that gelling he speaks of? The one that I knew the best laughed about the fact that the only reason his wife was still with him was because as a Catholic, she didn't believe in divorce. I know perfectly well he had been mentally and emotionally abusing her (and their children), if not physically too. How do I know that? He abused all of us unfortunate enough to be trapped in his company, whether it was as family members, co-workers, or fellow parishioners.
- I always thought my older brother was a psychopath when I first heard the definition around the age of 12 (over 35 years ago), and this article only confirms it. My brother has always been supremely narcissistic, manipulative, has bouts of violence, is quick to anger, is very charismatic, is an alcoholic (he uses it to calm himself down), everyone is always wrong and he's always right, and most of my family tries to stay away from him.
He's completely exhausting to be around because everything is about him, and to hell with anyone else and what they think or feel. He's my go to guy if I want to feel like a pile of dog poop.
My brother is about to turn 54 and I am dreading wishing him a happy birthday.
- Wow. It was hard enough to deal with a boss like this for 7 years, I can't imagine the pain of having a family member like this. I'd say not to let his comments get to you, but in my experience, they smell out vulnerabilities like sharks and blood. They can also compliment you (if they want something), but their compliments are so insincere and manipulative as to be worthless (My boss once compared a painting of mine to Van Gogh - clever in that it was influenced by Van Gogh, but seriously?)
If there are people you know, who know you and your brother, and understand the situation, probably the best you can do is to talk with them afterwards, so you don't let any of his ideas or criticisms affect you. I know for me, the biggest help was when I talked to another member of my committee after my boss had just sabotaged me behind my back, while claiming to me that he had fought for me, to no avail. She asked what he had told me happened during the closed portion of the meeting. When I told her, she paused and the looked straight at me and said, "I was there and that's not how I remember it." Having confirmation that he was sabotaging me and lying to me was such a relief, as their manipulation can leave you doubting your own sanity.
Best of luck.
- It depends on the person.
Psychopaths are still people who make decisions in life. They can choose to be good. They have an inherent ability to be charismatic and intelligent, and that is surely attractive. Once actually in a relationship, things can go quite badly. But they might not. Especially not if the spouse knows or intuits that they are married to a psychopath, and can offer assistance.
For the majority of cases, sometimes it is hell on earth to be married to a psychopath, and other times it is bliss, depending on the ups and downs of the disease.
- A lack of insight is common in most psychiatric disorders.
- Good question. Because in a flat world without intelligent narcisists we would still crawl on 4 legs.
The question is - what would we do without them? They serve a purpose. The trip to the caves - normal - danger was there. But nothing out of the normal. The chances to get killed or sick are rather small. We evolutionized in excactly that environment and anyone who did this knows how natural and invigorating a night in the bush is. So maybe something is terribly wrong with his brother and todays society? Riskaversion did not get us anywhere. Time to think and start nurturing those intelligent beeings.
- "Because in a flat world without intelligent narcisists we would still crawl on 4 legs."
- The problem with that story is a.) the risk was wildly disproportionate to the reward, b.) there were less risky, equally rewarding options available, and c.) he didn't get his brother's informed consent. Instead of risking contracting an incurable hemorrhagic fever, why didn't they just go to a different cave?
- Depends how you define risks.
a: the risk is manageable, a riskaversive person panicked because of wrong riskevaluation.
b. Staying a night near a waterhole or saltrock - is very rewarding. Contracting a disease - chances are minimal - staying in an african village and contracting something is disproportionally higher.
c.getting consent would mean to succumb to someone with a faulty riskevalution.
So nothing wrong with the authors behaviour. Brother leaving the house in the morning - much higher risk to get killed every day. Now that is nutty behaviour, taking a daily risk without ever learning...
- It was the author, not his brother, who had faulty risk-evaluation capacity. That trait is why many psychopaths are non-functional. This man is lucky to have kept his within reasonable bounds.
- I assume you are a psychopath yourself - if not you are severely misguided. Getting consent would mean to succumb to someone with a faulty risk evaluation? Wow. Nothing stopping the author from going on his own. It's hard to believe you're serious unless you are, in fact, psychopathic.
- a) Your assertion that the risk was manageable is faulty; at the time no one knew the source of Marburg. One cannot avoid what one is unaware of.
b) Sorry, spending the night in a 5 star hotel in Barbados is rewarding. Staying a night near a waterhole or saltrock sounds positively awful.
c) Getting consent allows the brother to exercise free will and lying to him (lie of omission is still a lie) is wrong.
The author recognized that his behavior was wrong. Why are you defending him?
- Risk taking was not the issue...the 'problem' was the fact that he gave his brother no choice by failing to give him the full picture. How can you say the chance of getting sick was rather small? That particular DISease is a one-way trip. It was his TOTAL insensitivity to his brothers thoughts, opinions or feelings that is the marvel. Thank God this personality is not extremely common, the human race would have died out long ago.
- These intelligent beings who risk all our lives for their idea of progress and to make them rich. Yah, right.
- I think the psychopathy was more that he didn't tell his brother the risks because he thought he probably wouldn't go with him. That's self-serving behavior. The brother found out later how much danger they'd been in and was justifiably upset. It's one thing to put yourself at risk, another to put someone else at risk without giving them enough information to understand the situation.
- It wasn't just the risk, it was the deception of his brother and how little he cared about that.
- Not true. The success of human being has, by and large, been a result of their empathy and egalitarianism and willingness to work together, not narcissism and psychopathy and attendant self-centeredness. Further, one doesn't have to be a psychopath or have psychopathic traits to be able to overcome fear in order to hunt or to take on risky situations.
- You sound like a psychopath yourself.
- I don't think many people would willing admit they're a psychopath without some serious evidence.
- What you knew were not "fully functioning, non violent psychopaths" as there exists no such beast in the realm of science, Blue. Those who you characterize in this manner may have been basic jerks, those with a compromised sense of ethics, morality or common decency, but to refer to them as "psychopaths" in any context is simply inaccurate and has no basis in science, unless one counts the pop-psychology practiced by the likes of attention whores like James Fallon as science - and woe to the fools that do.
- I heard this guy on NPR, fascinating stuff. He also talked a lot about his appearance and the fact that he was a jock. In retrospect, he thinks he got a way with a lot of his bad behavior due to his looks and school status.
- Good article, but I've got to take issue with the comment about Buddhism. Buddhists are not equally indifferent to the well-being of all people. In fact, the Bodhisattva ideal is to put the well-being of all sentient beings before one's own--hardly a trait of the psychopath. Buddhist philosophy and meditation practice have become so trendy and so terribly misunderstood of late, and popular journalism seems psychopathically indifferent to its role in perpetrating these misconceptions.