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Female sociopaths are a pretty wide and fuzzy category that includes a wide variety of behaviors, but have the same core set of personality traits. On one point of the spectrum are Femme fatale, on the other those who wear a mask of a faceless corporate bureaucrats or right wing authoritarian functionaries without sense of humor. Some are petty vindictive micromanagers who are as far from any overt display of sexual attractiveness as one can get (although that does not exclude some flirt or sex with higher ups in a new meaning of kiss up, kick down authoritarian motto ;-).
Finnish researcher Kaj Bjorkqvist found is that girls are no less aggressive than boys; they're just aggressive in different ways. Instead of fighting on the playground like the boys, they play subtle mind games that may be even more damaging than a black eye. Male bullying is comprised of direct behaviors such as teasing, taunting, threatening. Female bullies attacks are typically more indirect and directed at causing a target to be socially isolated through intentional exclusion. So it is little surprise that female bosses are usually more cunning and inclined towards more sophisticated bullying and prefer such methods as:
Indirect aggression, which is widely used by female bullies involves the use of relationships, rather than fists, to hurt another. Rumors, name calling, cliques, shunning, and a variety of other behaviors are the weapons that female bullies use against other females and (less often, males) in schools, universities, sports teams, during recreational activities. The is also an alarming tendency of increasing incidence of physical confrontations between adolescent girls, which is an escalation of relational aggression to "male bullies" level ("alpha female" phenomenon).
Among typical manipulation techniques are:
The most powerful technique female bullies (and all sociopaths are bullies) use is the isolation and exclusion, which in high school environment can take grotesque forms:
My "lunch tray moments" consisted of going from table to table, trying to sit down, and kids telling me I wasn't welcome to sit with them, and then eating by myself in the detention room, the only place that would have me.
My "gym class moments" consisted of being the girl left over when the last team captain chose the second-to-last girl, and then the other team captain declaring she never picked me and that I was not on her team.
I adapted first making friends with the neighborhood dogs who all accepted me with love and dignity, and then by getting involved with out-of-school activities and making lots of friends outside of school. By 10th grade, I had friends at school again.
You can learn some features of female sociopath by studying selected scenes from movies such as
This is a kind of inexpensive, but somewhat useful therapy sessions. You can watch a particular, interesting for you scene multiple times and get better in dealing with similar situations. Usually the first half of the movie is more valuable in this respect then the second. As those are movies, the actors opposite to female sociopath usually do not demonstrate caution, an that's the negative side of such an learning path. Still despite all the shortcoming (and way too many "Right here, right now" type of sex scenes ;-) I would recommend to watch them on PC with two monitors with the screen on the left streaming a movie and taking your notes and putting screenshots on the right screen in MS Word or some other editor. Paper is also good for notes, but you can't edit them afterwards, unless you convert them into some electronic format.
In pages devoted to those movies I tried to list the scenes, that look to me somewhat educational. You can try to match a particular technique, or particular trait depicted in the scene. Of course the value of a particular scene is highly individual. So the scenes that I recommended are not necessary the best for all people. Your mileage may vary.
Sets of traits are notoriously unreliable and somewhat unscientific approach but they can serve you well. In any case we do not have anything better. Traits is probably the oldest way to explain differences in human behaviour. But it is important to understand that traits are not inert peace like mechanical parts, they are more like chemical substances, they interact/react with each other and while each of them individually can be found in many "normal" people, certain in combinations they react with each other. for example what we mean by word "extrovert" and "introvert" are actually some constellations of trait. Similarly there is a constellation of traits that produce toxic personality, called sociopath., In this particular case a female sociopath. So a female sociopath in not a mechanical combination of certain traits but a "yet another type of personality", a very toxic indeed. And gender here is one of the traits that goes into this toxic combination. In no way they are "male sociopath with vagina". They are a different chemical substance.
You can view traits as behavioral tendencies (Allport, 1966), more generalized and deeper connected with inner brain structures then habits. Some of then are acquired, but many originates from within, are innate to to speak. Traits initiate and guide behaviour, but environment also play important role. For example a teenager, accustomed for respect of his classmates find himself in a summer camp with older boys, who look down upon him. One day his new friends propose swiping a few candy bars from a corner store. When a gang ridicules him, the honesty (which is a social trait common for most cultures) is destroyed by stronger trait of desire for social status.
Combinations of traits that are typical for psychopathic personality is now well known and well researched. That does not mean that they are easy to detect. Quite opposite. It is very difficult task and in most case the detection happens way too late. Still "knowledge is power" and there are a couple of traits that should be highly alarming and that are somewhat visible even under the think smokescreen of deception. They should ring alert for any person who read this page (although most people reading this page probably got here somewhat late, but better late then never) are:
The components of this "psychopathic charm" is difficult to define. Among them:
The key element of sociopathy is the absence of conscience. The term itself is a shortcut for "people without conscience." In this sense they are radically different from other people, real aliens: other people are just tools for them, not human beings. And it does not matter that in the case of female sociopaths such an alien appears in an attractive female body. Such people are so power hungry, so dominance oriented that they stand far apart from other people. Again they can and probably should be considered aliens. Sociopaths only care about fulfilling their own immediate needs and desires. As a rule, they demonstrate selfishness and egocentricity to the extreme. To this extent they are more animals than humans. Ruthless, slick. often psychically beautiful predators (BTW is not tigers beautiful unless you are put in the same cage) that skillfully entrap the victim and devour him/her.
Everything and everybody is considered by a sociopath to be object to be used in achieving their goals, fulfilling their own needs and desires. And those features are especially run contrary to expectation of "normal people" in female sociopaths as women are assumed to be caring. Tim Field believes the stereotypical view of men as aggressive and women as nurturing often very effectively protects female sociopaths from being seen for what she is: "A sociopath in a skirt."
Dr. Martha Stout, in her book 'The Sociopath Next Door', discusses the techniques of the sociopath -- what she refers to as 'the tools of the trade'. Among the most typical we can mention the following:
The components of this "psychopathic charm" is difficult to define. But you can easily see it in movies that depict such individuals. Women who have a closely related set of traits, but without personal fearlessness, courage and ability to handle stress typical for sociopaths are grouped under the label Histrionic personality disorder. The researchers of this disorder proposed a useful mnemonic that makes it easier remember the behavioral characteristics that are somewhat typical for sociopathic charm. Of couse this is simplification, but still is a useful symplification. This mnemonic phrase is "PRAISE ME":
Love bombing is an attempt to influence a person by lavish demonstrations of attention and affection. The phrase can be used in different ways. Members of the Unification Church of the United States (who reportedly coined the expression) use or have used it to convey a genuine expression of friendship, fellowship, interest, or concern. Critics of cults use the phrase with the implication that the "love" is feigned and that the practice is psychological manipulation in order to create a feeling of unity within the group against a society perceived as hostile. In 2011 clinical psychologist Oliver James advocated a form of love bombing in his book Love Bombing: Reset Your Child's Emotional Thermostat, as a means for parents to rectify emotional problems in their children.
The expression "love bombing" was coined by members of the Unification Church of the United States in the 1970s. In 1978 Sun Myung Moon, the founder and then leader of the Unification Church, said:
Unification Church members are smiling all of the time, even at four in the morning. The man who is full of love must live that way. When you go out witnessing you can caress the wall and say that it can expect you to witness well and be smiling when you return. What face could better represent love than a smiling face? This is why we talk about love bomb; Moonies have that kind of happy problem.
Psychology professor Margaret Singer popularized the concept. In her 1996 book, Cults in Our Midst, she writes:
As soon as any interest is shown by the recruits, they may be love bombed by the recruiter or other cult members. This process of feigning friendship and interest in the recruit was originally associated with one of the early youth cults, but soon it was taken up by a number of groups as part of their program for luring people in. Love bombing is a coordinated effort, usually under the direction of leadership, that involves long-term members' flooding recruits and newer members with flattery, verbal seduction, affectionate but usually nonsexual touching, and lots of attention to their every remark. Love bombing - or the offer of instant companionship - is a deceptive ploy accounting for many successful recruitment drives.
When you find yourself in such a situation the first thing is not only to try to learn basics things about this situation, so that you can avoid typical pitfalls, but also start documenting each day in special logbook. It provides you a feedback and ability to return to previous situation and understand what they really meant and might help to avoid some traps. In a very real sense documenting your like each day in the evening before going to speed or first thing in the morning must become your habit, Here knowledge is real power and knowledge in thse days impossible without memory "crutches" which log provides. It is your additional memory bank, albeit a very primitive one.
One important advice is to view your situation is a special brand of warfare as tricks you might face are typically used during the war.
The behaviors that a female sociopath demonstrates often include as a subset the behaviors of borderline personality. And borderline personal disorder is more frequent among female (approximately three times more frequent in females). That means that rich material about borderlines might help to understand female psychopaths better. The differential diagnosis is difficult but usually sociopath are not included to cause self-harm. In all other major areas those two are very close. The features of BPD include emotional instability, "black-and-white" thinking intense unstable interpersonal relationships, a need for relatedness, a fear of rejection and impulsivity. Historically the term meant "borderline insanity".
There is no surprise that typically people with BPD often evoke intense negative emotions in those around them. For other people BPD are "impulsive", “attention seeking", “difficult,” “demanding” and, worse of all “manipulative” Borderline personality disorder and mood disorders often appear concurrently. Some features of borderline personality disorder may overlap with those of mood disorders. Both diagnoses involve symptoms commonly known as "mood swings". An unusual degree of instability in mood in borderliners and especially bouts of rage (See Understanding Borderline Rage) are typical. Inappropriate anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights) is an important diagnostic criteria for BPD.
As a rule those traits leads to chaotic and unstable interpersonal relationships. Increased levels of conflict in romantic relationships is typical as well as rapidly decreased satisfaction of romantic partners, leading to affairs on the side and other form of partner abuse. The majority (around 96%) of hospitalized borderlines have an eating disorders (including anorexia nervosa and bulimia). Substance abuse is also a common problem in BPD. This might well be due to impulsivity or as a coping mechanism, and 50-70% percent of psychiatric inpatients with BPD meet criteria for a substance abuse disorder. Alcohol dependence is the most typical, but is often combined with the abuse of other drugs.
Manipulation and deceit are viewed as common features of BPD by many of those who treat the disorder as well as by the DSM-IV. Borderlines typically are ruthless, conniving, mean, heartless, two-faced, and worse.
|Manipulation and deceit are viewed as common features of BPD by many of those who treat the disorder as well as by the DSM-IV. Borderlines typically are ruthless, conniving, mean, heartless, two-faced, and worse.|
The prevalence of BPD in the general population is 1-2%. Borderline personality disorder is diagnosed in three times as many females as males. It's like a feminine version of sociopathy, and is nearly as dangerous. While it is diagnosed only in individuals over the age of 18, symptoms necessary to establish the disorder often demonstrate itself in adolescents.
See also Hillary as a pathological liar
Due of "BPD troika" of traits: “manipulative” + “demanding” + “attention seeking" this group is seen as among the most challenging groups of psychiatric patients, requiring a high degree of skill and training for both the psychiatrists, and nurses involved.
Recklessness in general is very typical trait of BPD that makes them very similar to sociopaths. Like sociopaths they are impulsive and easily engage in self-destructive behaviors including alcohol or drug abuse, promiscuous (and intense) sexuality. Many are attracted to gambling.
Impulsivity, Recklessness along with "courage under fire" are very typical traits
Oscillations between idealizing and demonizing others (intense love changes to intense hate with no "grey area") is another typical symptom (kind of bipolar relationships). This, combined with mood swings, undermines relationships with family, friends, and co-workers.
Another telling symptom is attempts to cause harm to oneself. Suicidal or self-harming behavior is one of the core diagnostic criteria that help to provide a differential diagnose as most listed traits are common for other types of disorders too and first of all to female psychopaths. But psychopaths tend not to harm themselves and have a low suicide rate. They are kind of human Terminators. BPD patients have high suicide rate (approximately 8-10%). Self-injury attempts are highly common and may or may not be carried out with suicidal intent. Ongoing family difficulties can lead to self-destructive behavior.
To understand techniques used by female sociopath you need to keep in mind that they can use any known technique of entrapment of the victim. And this capability is amplified by their typical traits which make them perfect in the role of seducers and entrapment artists. If you think that they would never attempt film your intercourse with them and use it later to blackmail you, think again. Among traits that are often present as a constellation and that you need to be aware of are:
To understand what those short description really mean is not easy. Words does not communicate the whole picture here. That means that need to watch several movies such as "Dangerous liaisons" which spells out well the process of psychopathic seduction.
As narcissists are often sex addicts, narcissist managers represent direct danger to female subordinates, such as secretaries due to their propensity to seduce. To seduce just to prove that they can. The other person is just a tool designed to increase their self-word, another "conquest". Paradoxically this is also true for females, which also are often sex addicts in their own right and like to "collect trophies". While people typically view seduction narrowly as purely sexual in nature, but actually the concept is wider then that. Wikipedia gives the following definition:
Seduction is the process of deliberately enticing a person, to lead astray, as from duty, rectitude, or the like; to corrupt, to persuade or induce to engage in sexual behaviour. The word seduction stems from Latin and means literally "to lead astray". As a result, the term may have a positive or negative connotation. Famous seducers from history or legend include Lilith, Giacomo Casanova and the fictional character Don Juan. Seduction as a phenomenon is not the subject of scientific interest, although similar, more specific terms like short-term mating, casual sex or mating strategies are used in evolutionary psychology. The Internet enabled the existence of a seduction community which is based on pseudoscientific discourse on seduction.
Seduction, seen negatively, involves temptation and enticement, often sexual in nature, to lead someone astray into a behavioral choice they would not have made if they were not in a state of sexual arousal. Seen positively, seduction is a synonym for the act of charming someone — male or female — by an appeal to the senses, often with the goal of reducing unfounded fears and leading to their "sexual emancipation" Some sides in contemporary academic debate state that the morality of seduction depends on the long-term impacts on the individuals concerned, rather than the act itself, and may not necessarily carry the negative connotations expressed in dictionary definitions.
Which most commonly is discussed in the context of Narcissism, but has much wider applicability
See Classic cycle of sociopathic relations (idealize-seduce-devalue-discard).
At the end of relationship considerable effort are put to made it very clear that everything was the victims fault. See Blaming the victim
Blaming the victim is the essence of devaluation. Female sociopath lie so easily that after they methodically and systematically destroy the relationship, they can present her former partner to the outsiders as a worthless, horrible human. Also after they are in relationship for some time, t hey are never satisfied and are always looking for a new better target. Always. And having no moral principles (in other words being naturally promiscuous) they behave opportunistically, if they have a chance to get a new "fresh" partner, who looks to them more promising then the old one, of only because of the excitement of a chase. Feeling Like Spilling Your Guts to the Narcissist?
Remember: Pointing fingers at narcissists is difficult for Non-Ns. We want to be fair. We want to be honest. For every finger pointed at the N, we have three pointed back towards ourselves. So in order to feel good about ourselves, we can admit to having flaws, shadows and defects, too. But we CANNOT, SHOULD NOT, DO NOT need to admit this to the narcissist. It’s not good for YOU and it’s definitely NOT good for the narcissist.
When narcissists feel threatened, they cannot stop themselves from using whatever ammunition they have to defend themselves. Some narcissists regret their behavior afterwards but not nearly as much as we regret having trusted them.
See Films depicting female sociopaths
You should remember famous saying that "War is a continuation of policy by other means". that suggest the value of your own "war plan" as measure that help to counteract their plans. Of course plans are ruined at first contract with reality, but that does not diminish their importance. Read one or several books ob the subject. Go to the library and study the topic like military study their craft. It can save your life. That fact that you have found this page is good, but you need more efforts. Much more efforts.
That also might help you to avoid some common presumptions, mistakes and pitfalls typical for "normal" people, when they are face such a situation. Especially it this is your first encounter the judicial (it's judicial, not justice as as you soon find out it's not about justice ;-) system.
Knowledge here is a real power and helps to avoid a nasty surprise of the mean, dirty tricks used against you. Expect a character assassination. Like in real warfare, be ready that opponent will use dirty tricks against you to win in court. Prepare for false accusations. Beware of traps. Try to minimize communication and practice Negative Politeness.
First of all, like in real war, there is a "fog of war" over the whole situation (i.e., you are facing incomplete, dubious, and often completely erroneous information and high levels of fear, doubt, and excitement). Here keeping daily log might be of tremendous help as it might slightly help to see though the fog. Still the level of uncertainty is high, which complicate rational assessment of the situation so delays with the reaction and keep your cards close to your chest. This simple tactic might in many cases be not detrimental, but advantageous.
Actually studying war tactics which were discussed for example in famous Clausewitz On War (available free from clausewitz.com) and The Art of War is not a bad idea. Among them (cited from Wikipedia):
For a sociopath the stable personality does not really exist. Everything including current personality is built on lies, and carefully woven together to entrap you. As our focus is on corporate environment, it is important to know that micromanagers are most often females and that the majority of their victims are also females. In Lovefraud Blog post When women are sociopaths-psychopaths the author aptly noted:
There is actually very little research data available regarding sociopathy in non-criminals and in women. The little research that has been done reveals that sociopathy in women entails two or three main features that are similar to those found in men.
Namely, female sociopaths lack empathy and enjoy manipulating and exploiting others. Violent and impulsive behavior is less common in sociopathic women. This fact may make them more dangerous, as they more easily blend in with the rest of society.
The key traits of sociopathic females
A recent study of adolescent girls in detention performed by Crystal L. Schrum, M.A. and Randall T. Salekin, Ph.D. of the University of Alabama and reported in Behavioral Sciences and the Law, revealed the core qualities that best described young female sociopaths. The teens were callous and lacked empathy, had a grandiose sense of self worth and were conning and manipulative. They were also likely to engage in impersonal sexual relationships. Importantly, the researchers revealed that female sociopaths did not necessarily have “shallow emotions.” Again the lack of impulsivity ... make a female sociopath more difficult to spot.
... ... ...
The case of Michelle Drake also illustrates something else about female sociopaths. The courts are more likely to go easy on them. This attitude of the courts may reflect the fact that many people excuse the behavior of female sociopaths and feel sorry for them. Look at the cases of women in the news lately. We don’t know if the women involved are sociopaths, however, these cases do illustrate the double standard that exists in how we judge female as opposed to male antisocial behavior. Several women teachers have been found guilty of sexually exploiting students. They were treated very leniently for the same crimes that would have put a man in jail for many years.
So personality they present to you is just a convenient fabrication created for particular purpose by their talented inner cinematographic director. That means that for a victim the relationship is not based on informed choice. The sociopath chooses you, exploits you and moves in. Outsiders, without the benefit of knowing the details, may see sometimes discrepancies between the mask and behavior, but we tend to discount these observations, and may even spend energy convincing our friends that this is accidental deviations of generally good person. Third, because everything is faked it usually does not last long.
Relationship between psychopathic boss and his/her subordinates in corporate environment often involve victimization. It often goes far beyond trying to take advantage of someone by deception and includes projection and gaslighting. The victimization is predatory in nature; it often leads to severe financial, physical or emotional harm for the individual. Only recently has society begun to deal with female bullying, perhaps more insidious because it rarely involves fists. Rather pointed barbs, cruel remarks and isolation of the victim are used, frequently leaving much more lasting damage.
Female psychopath approach to personal relations much like to war of conquest. It is all about domination and power. There is no emotional attachment to anybody. Everybody is just a tool. We become slaves the moment we hand the keys to the definition of reality entirely over to someone else. And what female psychopath wants most is the power to define your reality. Often this is done via exploiting sexual attractiveness.
Some movies, especially Bad girl category of movies (Wikipedia) provide additional insights into techniques used and ways of exploiting sexual attractiveness (which for them is just a weapon like stiletto):
"Bad girl movies" are a subcategory, mostly of films noir, labeled by latter-day movie buffs to describe the dark films of the 1940s and 1950s starring provocatively beautiful women on the wrong side of the spirit and/or the letter of the law. The movie posters to these films usually featured sexy artwork of the actress, posed seductively. Currently, these images in original posters and reproductions are as valued as are the films themselves.
Among the classic "bad girl" performances are:
- Ida Lupino in They Drive by Night (1940)
- Mary Astor in The Maltese Falcon (1941)
- Joan Crawford in A Woman's Face (1941)
- Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity (1944)
- Ann Blyth in Mildred Pierce (1945)
- Ann Savage in Detour (1945)
- Gene Tierney in Leave Her to Heaven (1945)
- Ava Gardner in The Killers (1946)
- Lana Turner in The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)
- Martha Vickers in The Big Sleep (1946)
- Jane Greer in Out of the Past (1947) and Station West (1948)
- Jayne Meadows in Lady in the Lake (1947)
- Lizabeth Scott in Dead Reckoning (1947) and Too Late for Tears (1949)
- Joan Bennett in Scarlet Street (1948)
- Leslie Brooks in Blonde Ice (1948)
- Rita Hayworth in Gilda (1946) and The Lady from Shanghai (1948)
- Anne Baxter in All About Eve (1950) and Bedevilled (1955)
- Laurette Luez in D.O.A. (1950)
- Peggy Cummins in Gun Crazy (1950)
- Audrey Totter in Tension (1950)
- Joan Fontaine in Born to Be Bad (1950)
- Marilyn Monroe in Don't Bother to Knock (1952) and Niagara (1953)
- Cleo Moore in On Dangerous Ground (1952) and One Girl's Confession (1953)
- Gaby Rodgers in Kiss Me Deadly (1955)
- Marie Windsor in The Killing (1956)
- Jane Russell in The Revolt of Mamie Stover (1956)
- Mamie Van Doren in High School Confidential (1958)
Others in the "bad girl" category have included: Gloria Grahame, Angela Lansbury, Dorothy Malone, Beverly Michaels, Jane Randolph, Claire Trevor and Shelley Winters.
I would add such classics as Dangerous Liaisons and Vanity Fair (with Becky Sharp character) to the list. At the same time not all female psychopaths use sexual attractiveness and in office environment some are even routinely attack their female subordinates, who possess those traits.
See also Films depicting female sociopaths
Films look to me no less education then books and web pages. They depict female bullies in action and allow you to watch from the safe distance some pretty realistic depiction of thier tricks and attack tactics:
The Peter Principle : Parkinson Law : 1984 : The Mythical Man-Month : How to Solve It by George Polya : The Art of Computer Programming : The Elements of Programming Style : The Unix Hater’s Handbook : The Jargon file : The True Believer : Programming Pearls : The Good Soldier Svejk : The Power Elite
The Last but not Least Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand ~Archibald Putt. Ph.D
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