Jun 212013
 

justiceRevenge, justice, punishment.  These concepts are sometimes used interchangeably when discussing how we might respond to a psychopathic attack.  On the surface, an eye for an eye, may seem equitable and justified.  Beneath the surface, though, there is much more happening and sometimes we are unaware of, or misidentify, the consequences of retribution.

I remember when I was working to bring about the downfall of a person who was using her position of power to destroy our neighborhood water association.  Her selfish reason for creating problems with the water supply, was so that no more houses could be built in our neighborhood.

I was determined to reveal her actions to the entire membership.  Like a psychopath, I gleefully planned her downfall, but I remember that I felt guilty for enjoying what I was doing.  I did NOT and still don’t, feel guilty for what I did, but only for enjoying it.

When we believe that someone deserves their punishment, schadenfreude is the word that describes the glee we feel at that person’s downfall.  Now, after studying psychopaths, I understand that I was feeling schadenfreude. But the other feeling I was having was not guilt, it was slime.  By feeling satisfaction at someone else’s demise, I had become like them and mired myself with shameful slime, but I misidentified it as guilt.

The problem with delivering justice is that it’s hard to do it without becoming like the person who committed the offense.  Consider that an eye for an eye is a mirroring of the offense. Even worse, it is a mirroring of the emotional and mental condition that caused the offense to begin with: anger and vengeance.  Mirroring is what allows us to feel empathy, but it is also what allows us to feel slimed.  When we mirror someone’s actions we begin to feel what it’s like to BE them.

This was always the psychopath’s intent.  They want us to become like they are, a shameful  lack-of-being, eager for vengeance.  That is what they slime us with.

So if we must avoid mirroring the psychopath by seeking revenge or justice, what are our options?

Truth and Consequences.truth statue

The psychopath uses lies and deceit to victimize others and then they wear a 180° mask of innocence.  They do evil and then they hide what they’ve done under a lie.  Whenever possible, I think we need to shine a light on the psychopathic behavior, not in order to punish the psychopath, but to limit their power to hurt others.  Truth creates its own consequences.

It is my hope that all people will eventually recognize psychopathic behavior where ever it appears and respond by shunning the offender — but I’m not holding my breath.  After I revealed my malicious neighbor’s malfeasance on the water board, she resigned.  I thought I had won a victory for truth and justice.  But guess who is back on the board?  Yep, she’s back.  In my naivety, I had thought that people cared about the truth.  They had all thanked me and congratulated me for my perseverance and hard work in finding out the truth.  What I’m realizing now, is that more than truth, people want an easy life, they don’t want responsibility.  As long as they thought that I was going to be responsible for the water association they were pleased.  When I left because I was hiding from my ex-psychopath, they allowed anyone who was willing to fill that empty seat to be voted back in.

I’ve seen this same pattern on the larger political stage.  An elected official conducts himself in an egregious manner and is removed from office, but only a few years later, we find out that they are once again elected for office somewhere nearby.  WTF? Moment.

I think that there are two reasons for this response by the public.  First, many people don’t understand the dysfunction that motivated the bad behavior in the first place, so they assume it won’t happen again — very much like the way I forgave my psychopath over and over for his bad behavior, before I knew what he was.  The second reason, is that there are also many people with the same dysfunction and they APPROVE of the bad behavior and look forward to being entertained by round two of more of the same.  As my friend likes to say, “Second verse same as the first, a little bit louder and a little bit worse.”

I no longer believe that we can win against an individual psychopath by trying to punish or reform them. They don’t feel shame, so they can’t be taught a lesson.  When we engage them in any way, even to exact revenge, they feel the satisfaction of knowing that they made us respond to them.  Punishment feels pleasurable in their perverted minds because they feed on other peoples’ negative emotions.

The only consequence they fear is abandonment, so shunning is the only appropriate response.

Still, even shunning one psychopath or two or three, will not make much difference in the long run, they always seem to find new sources of supply to feed them.  What might make a difference is to learn and also teach others how to recognize the disorder, so that all psychopaths can be shunned by empathic people everywhere.  As much as their slime may make you wish for vengeance, realize that any response only feeds a psychopath’s disorder.  So please, don’t feed the psychopaths.

  214 Responses to “Revenge on a Psychopath Please Don't Feed the Psychopaths

  1. Truthspeak

    I thought that I would “revive” this subject for personal reasons.

    For me, it’s been 4 years and 6 days since I discovered that the man that I had been married to for 12 /12 years and been involved with for 14 1/2 years had been a fraud. In that time, I have survived, recovered, and begun my journey down my individual Healing Path. My desire to get even with the psychopath was pronounced. It almost became a pathology for me, and I didn’t understand this until I’d been involved in intensive counseling therapy with a trauma specialist for over a year.

    “An eye for an eye,” sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? But, in “my world,” it’s only applicable to those who have a conscience and sense of remorse. Is it appropriate to cause another person to feel guilty for something that they’ve done? Well, if what they did harmed someone else, it might be appropriate. Surely, consequences should follow for things that we do, but in the “Sociopath’s Universe,” there is no such thing as “guilt,” or remorse. When a person lacks a conscience, they are quite literally incapable of “feeling” anything in the same manner that a person who DOES have a conscience will. Sociopaths do not “feel” emotions in the same way – in my experiences, the only things that they appear to “feel” to any degree are envy, anger, and rage. Even “satisfaction” doesn’t qualify because it’s not a source of contentment for these people, but more a source of envy because “satisfaction” isn’t enough for them. They cannot abide the possibility that there might be MORE that they can take, destroy, manipulate, or harm.

    So, when it comes to “revenge,” it’s a wasted effort because they will not – WILL NOT – “get it” that their actions have created consequences. For the empathetic individuals, we find it uncomfortable to “feel” guilty about something and we often adjust our own behaviors to avoid repeating the same event to cause the discomfort. We “get it” about cause-and-effect, whereas the sociopath does not. If there are consequences to their choices, actions, or decisions, then those consequences are simply an inconvenience and can be overcome by a number of ways.

    There was an appalling movie that I saw some years ago titled, “Goodfellas.” This movie, IMHO, accurately depicted an utter absence of conscience amongst the mafia members to the point that even prison time meant nothing to them – they could bribe or con the guards and administration into allowing all manners of contraband while they “served out their time” according to the requirements of the Law. It was almost like a boys’ campout, as depicted by this screenplay.

    So, what does that have to do with seeking revenge against a psychopath? To put it bluntly: IT WON’T MATTER. It won’t “teach” the psychopath anything, or even cause them to think, “Hey……I shouldn’t have __________ to that person.” They don’t operate in the same Universe that empathetic beings do. Therefore, attempting to assign the same level of morals, ethics, and laws to them is just about as reasonable as assigning human attributes to a sea cucumber. It’s impossible.

    The BEST “revenge” against a psychopath is to move out of their field of gravity. When a target “escapes,” it’s the only kick in the teeth that they experience. And, by “escape,” I mean just that. Even the murderous psychopaths don’t feel any loss when they end a victim’s life – they just feel that momentary sense of power, and prepare to move on to the next victim which is precisely WHERE the buildup begins for them. When they murder their victims, they are in control and any victim that ESCAPES creates a reaction of rage that is beyond our ability to comprehend.

    For those of us who have escaped the non-murderous psychopath, our escape is ENOUGH of a vengeance, even if it was the psychopath that dumped us. They expect their targeted victims to run back to them, to beg with them, plead with them, and dialogue with them AFTER the discard – the response to their victims’ actions is as powerful to them as any physical response could be. When the former victim does NOT respond in the “typical” manner, they feel disappointed and rage ensues. When we walk away without a backward glance, THEY become enraged and their proverbial noses are rubbed into their own waste of inadequacies and folly. They hate, they rage, and they experience their own spin cycle until they’ve found another target.

    Don’t feed the spaths…………absolutely. I got out, alive. That’s enough for me. The Universe requires a balance to all things – matter / anti-matter, birth of stars, super novas when stars die, carrion fowl to eliminate death, etc………And, all of the evil that spaths bring with them must be balanced out and accounted for by forces that we do not control. It all works itself out, in the end, whether we are aware of it, or not. A balanced, centered, and relatively calm life AFTER spaths is the best and most fulfilling “revenge” possible.

  2. Truthy,
    You bring up some very good points. An eye for an eye is not the total sum of payment when we try to get “justice” from the spath. Justice doesn’t come free. There is always the hangman to pay.

    When we tangle with evil, we must be prepared to make sacrifices. It will be an odyssey in which we emerge changed from the struggle with evil. The sacrifice and the payment will always be our innocence. And the word innocence always has different meanings depending on who we are. We learn. We are transformed. We pay the price for our tuition and it hurts. One would think that at some point we would be tough enough to emerge unscathed, yet that is never the case because everyone we encounter changes us. That is part of being human. If we can emerge unscathed it will only be if we become just like them, then they win, so what would be the point?

    Am I saying that we should never tangle with a spath, or that we shouldn’t seek justice? No. I’m saying that we need to know the price before we hire a hangman. Can we afford it? Remember, the spath’s trick is to make us think that we have more power than we actually do. Matthew 4:1-11.

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