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Psychopaths are Opportunists. — 194 Comments

  1. Saturnus,
    I still like to study spaths, even though many people tell me that we need to stop focusing on them. I disagree. They are a red flag about the culture we live in.

    One way I study them is to make analogies about predators and defenses against them.
    Here is an interesting article about how specific caterpillars defend against being eaten by birds. It is also about how scientists study these defenses. This is the type of studying that we should be doing on spaths. People think that it’s too dangerous to interact with them, I think that it’s too dangerous not to study them because we are unwittingly interacting with them anyway.

    My favorite quote in this article is this:
    Olof Leimar, an evolutionary biologist at Stockholm University who was not involved in the study, said that it demonstrated how deceptive animals can exploit the wiring of their predators’ brains. “Without understanding the psychology, you can’t understand the phenomenon,” he said.

    (bold type is mine)


    • Sky, “studying” psychopaths is important to learn the telltale symptoms of psychopathic behaviors. In every story that I’ve ever read, heard (in person), or experienced, myself, there is a very set pattern of behaviors that may occur in different orders, but the behaviors are 100% consistent with these people, across the boards.

      The following comments, below, are in reference to me, personally (bold, italic, underlined), alone. They may be viewed as a caveat for anyone who wishes to consider them as such, but they are, in NO way, to be considered a “mandate” or “rule” for anyone else.

      The interactions and observations become truly “dangerous” at close proximity because it requires too much risk (in my most humble opinion) for repeated hurt, greater damage, and harsher self-blame for me, personally. I know what my strengths are. I know most of my vulnerabilities – I’m on very intimate terms with those that I’m able to identify. I also know some (certainly not all) of my “weaknesses,” by definition, and I’m not willing to risk one micrometer of my hard-earned recovery and healing for any more information. I already know enough about these predatory things to last a lifetime.

      I choose to ask myself, “What positive developments can I possibly expect as a result of getting close to a psychopath?” The answer for me is that I cannot glean any more useful information or observations from these predators that will make any difference to anyone, anywhere. With whatever I observe, I will not have the power or control to UN-make psychopaths, to “heal” them, or even protect other vulnerable people from them. It’s the same information from a different specimen – that’s all. And, I cannot prevent the victimization of another person BY a psychopath with any more information because we, as a society and culture, do not accept that 20% of the population is without conscience. It is only by my OWN personal experiences that I realized that nearly every psychopath out there is walking, talking, breathing, eating, sleeping, and procreating in the world just like the targets that they ensnare.

      Again, these comments relate to me, ONLY. I don’t have the time or inclination to study something that I do not want or need in my life. Know the symptoms and red flags? Absolutely. Anything more for me is inviting damage.


    • Truthy,
      That was a good article in the link. The only part I didn’t like was the first sentence:
      “The word “psychopath” gets thrown around a lot, but in psychiatry it has a specific meaning.”

      In psychiatry it doesn’t have a specific meaning and that’s why psychiatrists get conned. Ironically the word “psychopath” has yet to really be defined because the DSM threw the word out of it’s lexicon. That’s not actually why, but it was an admittance that they had given up trying to pin the name with a definitive meaning.

      Anyway, I agree with you that you’ve had more than enough of your share of encounters with disordered people of any stripe. I would never recommend that you go find more spaths to share your life with though I’m sure you realize that you encounter them everywhere. They’ve infiltrated all the social services, governance, politics, law enforcement and the legal system. This is where most of them will be found today. They portray themselves as the shepherds of the flock. Oh yes, that’s their favorite mask, so add clergy to the above list.

      Even before I knew that they were so prolific, I had learned that it was common, and frankly, inevitable for a victim to go from being abused by one spath to being abused by another. Apparently, we become “primed” to repeat the cycle. Spaths KNOW this. So when I ran into my ex-spath’s “best friend” who is also extremely disordered but has a TERRIBLE mask, I knew that I had an opportunity to break this cycle. By walking into the relationshit with my eyes completely open, I could see the mechanisms behind the curtain. I learned that most of the mechanisms are not within the predator, but actually within the prey. Like an HIV virus, the predator does his “thing” by taking control of our “immune system”.

      To my own amazement, I watched my compassion and empathy get taken over by this predator, even as I knew it was happening. It was like lucid dreaming, when you know that you are dreaming, nothing is real, but you just keep going through. It wasn’t just my compassion and empathy that he tried to control, it was everything about being human.

      I learned so much. Everything in the blog, I learned while I was in this relationshit. It was meant to be.

      After we recognized each other, the first words I said to this predator were, “You knew that [Ex-spath] was a psychopath, didn’t you?”
      He replied, “I can neither confirm nor deny.” Then we went to dinner and spoke at length and I let him listen to recordings of the ex-spath pulling a con. We hadn’t seen each other in 24 years, so we traded stories about the ex-spath and he enlightened me on many of ex-spath’s activities that had slipped under my radar. After that, we spent the next couple of years discussing psychopaths while he pretended to be empathic. Apparently, he had been studying psychopaths for many years, with an emphasis on ponerology, the study of psychopaths in power.

      It’s because of him that I know where psychopaths intend to hide next, after they’ve been outed from their positions in government and law enforcement. Like the ex-spath’s friend, they will pretend to care and offer their advice on how to recognize spaths. It’s the perfect cover because we won’t know who to trust and it will further sabotage our abilities to defend ourselves. Many victims have already reported that they have been abused while seeking help after an abusive relationshit. The spaths have already moved into the self-help section. Their new masks are as therapists, psychiatrists and (yes!) even blogs writers.

      Well, I could talk your ear off on this subject. I have long considered making this topic a blog article, so I’m sure I will — eventually. I will admit, too, that he tried to kill me at least twice. But because, as I said, he has a TERRIBLE mask, it wasn’t that difficult to avoid his attempts. It was almost comical. At the same time, I believe I was lucky to escape because things can go wrong when you play with fire.

      • Sky, you mentioned something that I believe is important to be aware of: psychopaths read up on their own kind, FREQUENTLY!!

        LONG, long, long response, here…………so, if it becomes too wordy or boring, I will NOT be offended if anyone chooses not to read the whole thing. LMAO!!!

        The second exspath had been setting me up for the long-con when I brought home a couple of books that a friend had loaned me. One was “Sociopath Next Door,” and the other one was “Stalkers Of The Soul.” He read them both and said, “I’m going to write a story about a sociopath,” to explain away his sudden interest in the subject. Well, those publications served as “How-To” manuals for him. This is when I believe he gave intense attention to gaslighting, often hiding my house keys and replacing them, later, to cause me to believe that I was losing my mind. He would do this with other things, as well – coffee cups, my wallet, and other objects.

        Finally, about 8 months before I discovered what he was, he presented a horribly written rip-off of “The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty” with an ugly twist at the end where the main character was playing the role of a b0ndage submissive. Before I read it, he said, “Now, there’s some language that you might find offensive,” but I’d heard, read, and spoken my own profanities throughout my lifetime, so I thought that it was one of the oddest caveats I’d ever experienced.

        He watched me, intensely, as I read his tripe and I deliberately kept my expression neutral and bored because it was at this time that I had begun to “feel” that something about our marriage just wasn’t right, and that my “memory issues” were probably of a more sinister nature than simply getting older. I “knew” these things, but they never were allowed to bubble to the surface for me to examine. I digress.

        After I read the tripe that he had written, I closely observed that his face went through several changes until he settled on one that he believed to be appropriate and said, “What do you think?” Again, I deliberately worked on keeping my expressions and responses as neutral as I possibly could and I replied, “I’ve spoken those profanities, myself. I don’t find that disturbing, at all. What IS disturbing is the subject matter. It’s f*cked up. I don’t like it.” His mask fell off in an instant, and he didn’t even fumble to put it back on but, instead, let his rage and contempt for me reveal itself for what it was and snarled, “What do you know about it, anyway? You’re NOT a writer like I am!” Well, he was describing himself in that horrid little bit – a parody of himself that he could NOT resist writing about because of his true sick nature. And, I gave a copy of it to my divorce attorney and told her the whole thing about it and said, “Now, if you can find a use for it, DO IT.”

        The exspath has always desperately believed himself to be a well-versed and authentic writer. For what reason, I cannot imagine. But, he is mediocre, at best, and took intense offense that his re-entry into college resulted in his earning a “C” in his composition class, which he was furious about. Needless to say, he didn’t go on with the pursuit of his degree and just settled back into his life as a predator.

        I DO know that he had an infinite interest in Sam Clemens, and found him to be fascinating and clever in his PERSONAL life more than his literary contributions – the man married into wealth, spent his wife’s family’s wealth, filed for bankruptcy, outwitted the collectors that would literally sn-atch (this word was censored!) his luggage out of his hands at various train stations, only to reassert his position as an icon in the late stages of his life. The exspath also had NO use for female writers and said as much after we were married when I asked him if he’d read anything that had been written by women. I will never forget his answer (verbatim), “Women don’t have anything interesting to say.” DING, DING, DING!!!!!!!!!!!! He hates women, always has, and always will – and it was “too late,” in my mind, because we had married just a few months prior to this.

        I’ve mentioned this, before, but I once told him that he should read, “To Kill A Mockingbird,” after he had made such a to-do about female authors. I didn’t tell him who wrote it, or her gender. I just left it up to him, and he DID read it, eventually. “Did Harper Lee write anything else?” he eagerly asked me, one day, after having read her book. This was YEARS later and about the same time as I began to “feel” that the marriage was unstable. I answered in a cold, staccato voice, “After winning a Pulitzer on HER first book, SHE never felt the need to write anything else.” His mouth ratcheted open about 9 notches, and he said, “Harper Lee is………a………..WOMAN?” I just nodded with narrowed eyes and said, “You bet she is.”

        The whole point of this long, long response is simply this: a disordered predator will, at some point, drop their masks either on purpose to taunt their targets, or simply because they grow weary of holding it up, all of the time. Either way, they ALWAYS give away what they are, if we’re patient and observant. I was NOT patient nor observant, but I always “felt” that something was amiss.

        Today, my personal information is verboten unless, and until, someone has demonstrated that they are trustworthy over a period of time. In fact, I will freely admit that I have given out misinformation at various times to make CERTAIN that a person is either trustworthy, or they aren’t. Most times, the misinformation remains what it is, and the person doesn’t attempt to use it to their advantage. However, there have been those times when the person HAS attempted to use the false information to manipulate me and that’s the cue for me to shut down the portcullis gate and walk away from them without ANY malice – they are what they are, and I just move as far away from human predators as possible.

        • Well????
          Did your lawyer use it in court? When he said that he was going to write about a sociopath and proceeded to write about his own behavior, I think that 1+1=2. LOL!

          I am very aware that human nature is fascinating to them and they are also fascinated by how THEY differentiate from us. It’s no different from how we compare ourselves to other animals. We believe we are superior and entitled. Maybe we are, or maybe not.

          Not every comparison is a complete analogy. It’s true that spaths have become apart from the human race, but it’s not exactly the same as the way human beings have become apart from the animal kingdom. I’m sure it seems that way to them, but the truth is that they are miserable. This is obvious with the way they try to shame us with their slime. On the other hand, we do take other animal’s skins and wear them to “cover the shame of our nakedness” (AKA our vulnerability). Perhaps spaths are just human beings, that have taken their willpower to the extreme. Whatever the case, they are incapable of feeling joy or anything other than envy.

          • Skylar, sadly New Jersey is a “no fault” State – as most are. So, it really doesn’t matter why someone is divorcing a spouse – nothing has to be proven, anymore. Perhaps, if I had sued him for fraud, my attorney could have used it, but he would have sued ME for assault (and, WON) if I filed against him. And, in delving into the legalese of how he managed to take my money, he did it through “legal” means, except about 15K that was used directly for himself, alone. And, my attorney didn’t want to touch that with a barge pole.

            The DA had no interest in prosecuting the case, either, because what he did (essentially) was within legal boundaries. I won’t give the specifics of HOW he did this within the legal parameters because I accept that there are some people who may read this blog for their own nefarious purposes. LOL!!

            I think we also use the skins of animals and plant fiber to keep the cold off of our skin. LOL!!!! At least, I do where I live!

            As far as the exspath’s parody went, he would literally be a case study for someone who was interested in research data although, he really wouldn’t provide anything new or different – just run-of-the-mill setups, cons, and masks. His “Religious Mask” was probably one of the better ones that he would wear – he could quote the Bible in chapter and verse and apply ANYthing to any situation. But, in retrospect, his intonation and his conveyance of any spiritual discussions were absolutely hollow and superficial.

            What’s so interesting to me is that I can clearly “see” what he is, in retrospect! Seriously. He had ALL of the hallmarks of tremendous dysfunction, but he worked my fears and vulnerabilities to his advantage and that’s where I am slowly, but surely, forgiving myself for my humanity.

          • Truthy,
            please don’t forgive yourself for your humanity. There is nothing to forgive because there is nothing wrong with it. We need to be careful of the words that we choose, so that we don’t mislead ourselves. We would never say that we forgive a baby for being a vulnerable baby. It is a necessary step in becoming the full human being we aspire to be. On the contrary, we LOVE the baby more than anything else. Your innocence is to be loved even though it’s gone. You have the memories that it gave you and you can look at it from the eyes of wisdom.

        • Skylar, one of the results of being raised in a dysfunctional family environment is that there WILL exist a host of personal issues, and I’m no exception. Having lived with shame-core beliefs for over 50 years, it’s an ongoing journey that I address, each day. And, it’s okay.

          I have always been harder on myself than I’ve even been upon criminals behind bars. I was always able to feel sorry for what a criminal’s childhood must have been like for them to become criminals, to begin with. What I never knew was that I was allowed just as much compassion, empathy, understanding, acceptance, love, and forgiveness as a common criminal.

          So, believe me when I type that I am NOT indulging in self-pity or self-debasement. “Forgiveness” of my humanity is just one of many exercises that I engage in to actually maintain my boundaries and forward momentum. For me, personally, this is part of the healing process.

          I very, very much appreciate your concern and agape in this matter – your compassion and care are priceless to me, and I would not want you to think that I’m engaging in self-denigration. I’m okay with my humanity, and I’m okay with the fact that BEING human means that I will make mistakes and that it’s okay for me to do it, particularly since I’m “getting it” about the shame-core values that were so deeply ingrained when I was a child.

          (((HUGS)))) Thank you, so much, for your gentle and compassionate concern.

        • (((Hugs back))) Truthy!
          I think I know what you mean. You did what you did because you were human and your actions helped you survive.

          I think that for the victims, there are layers of reasons for why they acted the way they did in response to the spath. The therapist might say that we were conditioned to react certain ways because of our upbringing. They might say that we were conditioned to self-sacrifice. That would be true in my case, on some level. A more insightful therapist might say that we were conditioned to “trauma bond” because of our upbringing. That would be even more true for me. If we sensed that our parents had the potential to be dangerous to us, we would have learned that loving them could save us. There was no way to escape them as infants.

          In babies, our human instinct is to be able to use love as a survival tool, just as spaths us it as a weapon and control tool. Some might argue that this tool was no longer appropriate for an adult, but that does not take into account the number of adult women that are killed every day by men, because the woman didn’t submit.

          In my case, I was 17 when I met the spath and I sensed his evil. On some level, I knew he was extremely dangerous. I remember the moment I met him, I was frozen in fear but I told myself that I was being silly and instead of running, I trauma bonded. Without the knowledge of what I was dealing with, my only option was to trauma bond. I know now that if I had rejected him, I would have been dead. He had been stalking me and sabotaging my car, long before we met. He knew everything about me and his intentions were not good.

          It took me 25 years to understand what he was. And that was by pure chance that I met the man in the sushi bar. If not for him, I would have been lured back by the spath again. It wasn’t in my nature or my imagination to know that someone so evil and so duplicitous could exist. Because of that, I couldn’t ever escape from him, while I remained innocent.

          I owe my survival to my humanity. Thanks to my human nature, which I received as an infant, and which taught me how to trauma bond, I wasn’t killed. I don’t forgive myself for my humanity, I thank God for it. I forgive my self-sacrifice because it was absolutely necessary to survive.

          All of us who survived spath attacks are living proof that our instincts are working. Sometimes when they seem to lead us deeper into danger, it’s because the only way out, was though. Our instincts lead the way without our knowledge.

          I’m not saying that those who were killed were lacking in instincts, sometimes, there is no way out and the victim runs out of time. Long term survival depends on learning about the spaths and that depends on other human beings to teach us. It took me 25 years to find someone who would teach me about spaths and gray rock and that’s how I got out. I owe my escape to the stranger in the sushi bar.

          That’s why spaths will always try to isolate their victims. They know that it takes other human beings to save us. We have to save each other.

          Now I want to teach as many people as possible so that they can survive and hopefully it won’t take them 25 years to escape.

          • Sky, of all things that you’ve written over the years, I have to say that your response, above, is probably “The Most Profound” that I’ve read, to date.

            We are whom we are, and THEY are what they are. They exist in broad daylight, and typically on OUR side of prison bars. They are walking, talking, eating, breathing, and reproducing just like empathetic individuals are, but they lack the exact humanity that their targets are gifted with, and they absolutely HATE that fact.

            Trauma-bonding is powerful……and, I believe that being close and bound to your tormentor DID, indeed, save you. Regardless of the span of time, you did get out, Sky……….and, you are in recovery and you are absolutely assisting others to learn and protect themselves.

            Are you kidding? I went from a violent abuser to the second exspath without missing a proverbial beat. That’s a total of about 32 years being spent in very intimate proximity to very, very bad men. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So……….this is why I remain single as a CHOICE, and I probably intend to do so for the rest of my life.

            We’re all okay………..we’re alive, we’re upright, and we’re breathing. It’s all good.

          • Truthy,
            I tried to respond and my response disappeared. When I tried to fix the problem, the whole website crashed. I called the host and they fixed it.

            Hopefully nobody noticed. Now I forgot what I was going to say.

            Oh, now I think I remember. I was watching an episode of Criminal Minds and the kidnap victim has her arm amputated by the “unsub” (it means unidentified subject in FBI-speak). She decides to save herself by acting as if she really cares for the unsub and convincing him to untie her so they can go for a walk. Bizarrely, it works and she runs. I kept thinking that it would never work for me because I can’t act that well.

            I would have to actually believe what I’m saying to convince a spath. That’s why I have to trauma bond. The spath also has a similar trick for lying. They can lie and even fool a lie detector because they don’t feel the truth about anything. Their baseline of emotional responses never changes, not even when they see graphic images of violence, and not even when they lie.

          • Sky, the trauma-bonding is a coping mechanism. Some people go one way, and others go a different way. But, no matter how it’s sorted, they are all coping mechanisms to SURVIVE. Survival literally means to stay alive. So, we each do what we need to do to survive.

            Because of the data with regard to psychopaths and their responses/reactions, this is the whole core of the “acceptance” issue. We cannot treat this disorder with any means, and they are dangerous. That’s it. And, that’s very challenging for empathetic people to come to terms with.

  2. .Thanks Truthspeak.I am taking time everyday now .back on track.Sometimes I can info overload and feel anxious ..but it took so long to find anyone to discuss these points so I can’t resist…my next pondering is : How to progress towards a point where this area of inquiry(Psychopathy) regarding both scientific and humanitarian implications is taken seriously and wider awareness is sought.Has the internet helped this cause as Skylar posted somewhere else?How to develop that angle.
    If we’re taught to override our intuitive voice in favour of authority(Milgram obedience,Stanford prison experiment,)reinforced by the deadlock web of power hierarchies running the world(generously represented with P’s) , punishing those who ever question status quo,how to change from this impasse.Are we hardwired to be abusers and victims? Science seems to say it.

    I feel I have to resist the passivity a lot of people experience(or are trained to feel) regarding these issues.
    Maybe it sounds like socialism,but if we start teaching children at Home and at school, the “germs” of understanding of these issues by reconnecting with the wealth of stories,tales,myth,legend,and song containing a treasure trove of morals and self knowledge,which also seems to be the way kids absorb knowledge ,yet is eclipsed by emphasis on academia in education. Exceptions to this would be Steiner curriculum that is slowly gaining appeal ,montessouri etc
    Because there is resistance to change to” radical” ideas unless it’s sanctioned by evidence based science , then filtered thru a political system requiring money and political will,any change via that model is likely to be slow.
    Also these hierarchies may be resistant to embrace a movement towards self knowledge,given who are often at the top .
    Perhaps the generation that has the benefit of THAT kind of education,maybe more motivated to understand the psychology so they understand the phenomenon. perhaps then a new paradigm of learning,new science,all available knowledge to enlighten a new generation of the darker potential of society.Therefore when it comes to their Spath encounter they may no longer be as hardwired to becomes victims of abuse as they have been imprinted intentionally through both parenting and education a framework of understanding.
    Relying entirely on a “system” to correct what is essentially a deep human imbalance
    is not enough. With parenting, I know how hard that is ,feeling tired and exhausted ,yet feeling the need to supplement my child’s formal education with all those crucial yet forgotten sources of self knowledge mentioned above.I haven’t done enough.
    A lot of parents are locked in to debt slavery,exhausted during the important learning years of their children,or just don’t bother.,
    or were never given the benefit of that upbringing,through no fault of their own.To me, we’re an entire society that has been socially engineered to: be in debt, therefore kept obedient ,and provided an overload of superficial distraction so never confront their intuitive urge that there’s a problem. It’s like the myths that used to occupy people/society have been surreptitiously and intentionally replaced by a model that feeds into consumer industries,(run by a lot of P’s)
    and,provide a minion mindset =constant supply of people primed for victimhood. COE’s have been known to request use of the PCL-R as a recruitment tool, rather than diagnostic,ensuring a constant flow of high P traited employees.LOL! Still I think parenting is the best way yet to save the kids . The other day my son and I watched Spiderman,with the green Goblin…anyway ,my point ,it sparked a great discussion on: the presence of shadow self,the darker aspects within people,their potential for evil.Like a psychopath ,the green Goblin fully embraced his dark side and became totally evil. My son wasn’t scared,he was empowered from that conversation.. There’s an obsession with all things dark in movies and gaming. What does that say? Our society seems to eschew evil at all costs,like a fearful taboo,never truly understanding it,therefore how can we identify and recognise it within ourselves let alone the P. I there an adequate frame of reference in christianity ,which dominated for so long.? So there’s no imprinted frame of reference within our society how to deal with the pure evil of Psychopathy. It’s fortunate both Truthspeak and Skylar seem to answer my questions more succinctly than I express them. Thanks for taking the time to read and reply so far.

    • Saturnus, I completely identify with the feeling that the “word” needs to get out about psychopaths. I can only comment on what I know from my own experiences.

      I found that using any of the terms, “psychopath,” “sociopath,” or “anti-social,” were the immediate cues to end the discussion. People cannot grasp what they believe to be CONCEPTS that there are other human beings out there that are absent of conscience, remorse, or empathy without being behind bars. They just can’t. And, the implication that these people cannot be “cured,” “healed,” or even treated is absolutely incomprehensible to them. We don’t, as a species, “like” hard, mean, ugly facts, and psychopathology is one of those facets of the Human Condition that is just a plain fact. The fact, itself, has no agenda and is, for all intents and purposes, “neutral.” It just “IS.”

      The “Shadow Self” may be a true and accurate fact, as well, but that study can bring a person to a place that is not emotionally healthy for the person, individually. Absolutely, acknowledge that it exists, but for my purposes, I choose to NOT delve into that study. For instance, I wanted explore this with my counseling therapist – she specializes in FEMALE trauma and her gentle suggestion was that it would do me far more harm than it would assist me in my healing processes. I had been in recovery for 3 years, by that time, and I had just begun the healing processes. The thing about these ideas and labels is that they exist, they are, and they forever WILL be.

      Bringing this discussion to lawmakers and so forth has done little to even educate and broaden understanding about the disorders of personalities. Why is that? Consider that most ALL individuals in positions of power are either full-blown P’s, or that they are being enticed to enable and actually participate in anti-social behaviors in order to facilitate the very things that they’re trying to address. Catch 22 at it’s most sinister. There doesn’t seem to be a reasonable approach to getting the word OUT there in assertive (not aggressive) terms about these disorders. Aggression and radical approaches simply nullify ANY well-meaning and truthful core values, and I am personally learning to govern these issues for myself when this subject arises in everyday experiences.

      I’ve worked in a corporate setting as a manager, and our current culture and society literally requires the absence of compassion in order to climb corporate ladders. “Doing the right thing,” has a 180 degree definition than most religious and spiritual teachings do. So, this is a problem and one of the many, many things that create cognitive dissonance for so many people. What to do about that? I have no answer or even a good suggestion. I simply walked away – it was too cutthroat for me and I made the choice to do without “Things” and finish my degree in a totally different discipline.

      SO…………..the question might be, how do we teach our children about these things? We use everyday, real-time examples to refer to, and we use positive, empowering, and assertive language. And, as a parent, I have found that some concepts are not child-safe with age comparison. A child needs to “feel” that they are safe. But, they also need to “know” to trust their instincts. That has been a parental debacle since human time began and one that I do not believe that I’ve been successful in teaching.

      For myself, because of the dreadful state of fear and anxiety that I was living within after the collapse of my second marriage, I finally made the choice to turn off the television. I mean that I disconnected the satellite service and I only view movies that I choose from Netflix. Some are dark, and some are uplifting, but I made that choice because of a series of research studies and data that directly linked our current societal level of anxiety to media content, and it’s 100% true. Before television networks were available 24/7, news was given a specific amount of time, and that was it. Once news networks (including weather) became all-day, and all-night, the stories that were being reported had to become alluring to viewers. Today, if you go to the Weather Channel website, the first thing that you will see (without FAIL) will be a banner suggesting that a weather event of epic proportions is forming, and that everyone on the planet had better be prepared. Try it and consider what this does to the human psyche.

      We are paying MORE attention to things that we have no control over rather than attending to those things that we do. We cannot change the fact that there is (has been, and always WILL be) bloodshed and genocide being practiced in certain areas of the world. Those areas have a history of violence and grudges, and we cannot change that, one iota. BUT, we are given this information that it’s terrible, it’s a harbinger of “things to come,” and so forth. But, we are given no solutions or even HOPE of solutions to end it, so we live in a state of fear and anxiety over things which we have no control. Instead of paying attention to ourselves and our immediate concerns – neighborhood violence, local imperatives, and things that we can work on ourselves with – we are deliberately drawn into a state of fear, uncertainty, and anxiety, and this is where our own recovery, healing, and self-care must begin, IMHO.

      Just one article about this: http://www.salon.com/2013/08/26/how_our_society_breeds_anxiety_depression_and_dysfunction_partner/

      This can sort of give us insight into why clinical anxiety is such an issue, today. Also, as I’ve mentioned, the mental health industry is primarily in bed with the pharamaceutical industry and that egos and greed are preventing an open dialogue about personality disorders as being UN-TREATABLE facets of the Human Condition. So……..we’re not only dealing with greed, ego, and ignorance, but each of these things is practiced, willfully, by lawmakers, legal systems, religious leaders and organizations, correctional systems, social agencies, and corporations.

      There are “good” things, and there are “bad” things, and there are neutral or benign things. For me and me, alone, I do not ignore these things, but I’m rewiring my thinking processes, restructuring my system of beliefs, and constructing boundaries that I constantly maintain. I’m at a point in my life where I’m going to finally live – really live – rather than simply exist. And, I am SO grateful for the experiences that I’ve had, even though they were dreadful and terrifying. My experiences brought me to where I am, right now. And, I will never be “That Person” that I once was before I filed for my divorce from a psychopath. 😉

    • Saturnus,
      Sometimes I wonder if there isn’t a better way to teach our children than to scare them with stories from the Grimm fairy tales. I read the stories as a child and it didn’t help at all. I didn’t understand stories beyond the details presented. I never understood the meaning. So I ended up with lots of predators in my life.

      More recently, I’ve been impressed with news articles about people who are changing the way we teach children at school. I wish I had saved the articles because I can’t remember them anymore. What impressed me though is that children are being taught to recognize and understand their own emotions in the curriculum. This is important because so many parents are not competent to do that. On the contrary, they think it’s great to teach their boys to be tough and their girls to be subservient. We are taught that emotions are weakness. Frankly, that is the core of the problem, IMO. But that is changing now. Emotions are on the curriculum and that is strength.

      Stories that warn us about the evils of psychopathy are great for adults. We need to intellectually understand (or at least TRY). But children are different, they’re in a different stage of development. At that stage, they can learn the truth by feeling it. Or, more accurately, by being allowed to feel the truth. This is something that they can take into their adult lives more completely than they can take, “knowledge” because knowledge is subject to change and spaths can just learn to hide elsewhere. Furthermore, learning to feel and deal with their emotions can help vulnerable children avoid becoming spaths.

  3. Thanks Skylar, for your insight,
    Just to clarify, I’ve waited until my son ,now a teenager is asking probing questions regarding these characters in movies and I provide a full and frank discussion from different angles based on the idea that if he had unresolved questions in his head with no explanation, it may cause fear of the unknown,a lack of insight into that aspect of human potential, trying to end on a positive , fortunately he usually listens and acts on the side of love and compassion,but is aware of the other aspects ,so when he sees other kids evil behaviour at school for instance , he has the basis of an understanding what their motivations are.I take the point though,it has to be an age appropriate discussion,and it depends on the child,my son wants answers and is quite intrepid. I never had any understanding of these matters ,no one provided any basis for understanding, and have suffered repeatedly from high P traited people .We have empathy,read and interpreted as weakness by P’s,possibly a lack of awareness as to their proclivity to pure evil may have contributed to our vulnerability as you say. Which leads to more qu’s….
    Just reading the article about” zero determinant” research suggested by jill aka darwinsmom,finding selfishness is not an evolutionary advantage ,rather co-operation is. Also the research suggesting that emotion is an evolutionary advantage.
    If P’s are missing feeling and learning from emotion, therefore set at an evolutionary disadvantage,and..are selfish consistently with rigid behaviour patterns, how is it that P’s seem to flourish in society?
    Is it because they ,as an biological organism , have such good adaptive abilities interpersonally(mirroring etc) can manipulate people and their environment over the ages to create power hierarchies to aid and abet their kind,and this offsets any evolutionary disadvantage they have,neuro/biologically?
    I accept P’s here to stay,but all the more reason to study and devise strategies to co-inhabit the environment.
    Grey rock is a great strategy and worked well for me.My spath complained they could not ‘read me’ like they usually could,it helped me be so boring I was able to escape.

    Growing up I HAD to develop my own strategies because at the time my safety depended on it. wishing I had someone,anyone to help.Now I make sure my son understands without frightening him about it. It would be good to see more biological and behavioural science,like the one you suggested( e.g. :Olof Leimar) that can be extrapolated to human behaviour. Perhaps it needs to be interpreted and presented by someone who can see the application towards aberrant human psychology.
    It’s already happening with troubling issues like bullying in schools and workplace.Maybe it needs to be broadened and access made widely available,in a usable format,like a course run by appropriately trained organisational Psychologists at schools and community health centres,workplaces.
    One example: “Positive Psychology” (Seligman)was a course introduced to a school I was working at,which sounds great. Although…the facts…
    Being one of the most privileged schools in the country,they could afford the millions of dollars it cost.therefore access is for the highest bidder.
    Just down the road the poorest school students desperately need something like that-can’t afford it.It should be available to everyone,including government schools,not just the exclusive few .
    The most narcissistic teacher I’ve ever had to work with ,had the book proudly displayed on their desk and were SO charming to Professor Seligman.(I wonder what Seligman really thought under that crinkled grin) and continued their subtle abuse covertly.So no change there.
    Teaching that course to only the most privileged ,entitled children,although beneficial to some, won’t help impact on the mental health of the many ordinary folks who can’t afford it . Anyway..good concept from clever people,seemingly unfair selective delivery based on money once again .Just hard to accept that consistent dichotomy of brilliant human potential,flawed moral compass.. I really appreciate all responses to my many Qu’s,but I feel it’s time to take a break ! Thank you , S

    • It is a challenge to find the balance of parenting an emotionally healthy child, IMHO. I don’t believe that there is a rule to this because each situation and relationship has its own dynamics and origins.

      One of the GREATEST challenges for me has been how to relate facts with regard to predatory human beings WITHOUT allowing my personal feelings to interfere with the facts. Some survivors who are still trying to come to terms with their experiences often allow their personal bitterness and rage to infiltrate their interactions with their children, and it’s not that there’s something “wrong” with the survivor, but that it’s an extreme challenge to balance what children NEED to know to be emotionally healthy and self-confident, and what we (the survivors) THINK they should know.

      One of the consequences of dysfunctional family dynamics or FOO’s is that a child’s self-perception is completely askew due to the basic dynamics of dysfunction. It doesn’t matter what the dysfunction is: narcissistic grandparent, abusive mother, alcoholic/substance abuser, work-aholic, etc………the results for the children are all the same in that they have low self-esteem, or they have OVERBLOWN self-esteem. They are passive, aggressive, or passive/aggressive. They are either fearFUL or fearLESS – and, I mean both terms existing at the very, very fringes of the bell curve. Dysfunction creates a constant state of imbalance and false perceptions, and THESE are the ingrained things that signal to a psychopath that this person’s vulnerabilities are exploitable.

      So, approaching this sensitive issue with children requires a balance. I don’t know if teaching this in formal classes in a school environment would be productive, or not. It’s an interesting idea.

  4. Saturnus you make some excellent points….the PC opinions which we are taught that “there is good in everyone” and that “ALL people can change” etc are pure BUNK. Absolutely UNTRUE…there are people who have no conscience, who will not/cannot change, who ENJOY bullying others etc. I read a recent study that showed that the traits for psychopathy can be seen in children as young as 2-3 years…and yes, I do know that it is NORMAL for a toddler to have little or no empathy but they are able apparently, at least according to this study to determine the normal from the pathological. The idea, of course, is to take these ‘at risk” children and “treat” them to prevent them becoming full fledged psychopaths.

    The problem with that is that psychopathy has more to do with DNA than with environment.

    Even as a (former) mental health professional, I had little training in psychopathy and unfortunately, we were taught that “people can change” and I WANTED to believe that my psychopathic son could change, that he wanted to change and that I could help him “see the light” but of course this was delusion on my part. Since that time I have educated myself in the REALITY of psychopathy.

    My biological father was a full-on murderous psychopath, my mother’s brother as well, and behind him there were generations and generations of abusive alcoholic men and my son’s father’s family were also filled with people very high in psychopathic traits. It’s a wonder that I didn’t turn out to be high in the traits myself. Even then, I passed those genes on to my son.

    The brain scans and fMRI scans can now identify several abnormalities, including psychopaths, and pedophiles. A definitive test has also been developed and approved now for ADHD as well. The psychopath is also much more likely to have any of the following as well: 1) ADHD 2)bi-polar disorder and 3) left handedness.

    Of course a person can have one of these or all four or any combination of them. I’ve known several psychpaths who had all 4, and my psychopathic son is not ADHD but he is left handed and I am not sure about the bi-polar as I have not been around him since he was 17 except for visits to him in prison, so that’s not enough time to spend with someone to see the signs of bi-polar. My other son is ADHD and Bi-polar (refuses treatment) but he isn’t a psychopath, he has a conscience, however when he is manic he ignores it. It still makes his life chaotic as he makes some pretty bad decisions when he is manic.

    Not all psychopaths are “criminals” many of them are doctors, lawyers, military, police, teachers etc. but wherever they work they cause chaos. The really smart ones like my son have egos that reach the moon, and some of the not so smart ones as well. Studies show that how smart psychopaths are follows the bell curve with some very smart and some who can’t tie their shoes, but I think we tend to recognize more of the smart ones.

    Dr. Robert Hare one of the first and well known researchers in psychopathy, wrote a really good book called “Snakes in Suits, when psychopaths go to work” about those psychopaths who make our lives hell yet they don’t end up in prison. Many CEOs and politicians also qualify as “snakes in suits.”

    The “benefit” that being a psychopath gives a person in business or politics is that they have no compunction about stepping on someone else to achieve their goals, and the smart ones know how to socially hide their evil intentions. They are the consumate ACTORS even though they don’t know what the FEELINGS are, they learn to manipulate ours. My son Patrick, who is in prison for a cold blooded murder, isn’t really smart where learning to manipulate folks is concerned. He is really smart (99th percentile in IQ) yet he surrounds himself with people who have much lower IQs and he feels so SUPERIOR to everyone else and doesn’t comprehend that though the police are not as “smart” as he is, they can see through his lies and that the EVIDENCE speaks more forcefully than his lies. Plus, he is not afraid of prison or any other punishment. My biological father, though he killed several people at least had enough social awareness to HIDE his crimes and never went to prison. Patrick is so proud of his he doesn’t bother to even try to hide them. He also assumes that everyone else is JUST LIKE HIM. Once he was trying to get my adopted son to “control” me, and when my adopted son wasn’t interested in doing this, Patrick looked him in the eye and said “I know you, you’re JUST LIKE ME.” And I actually think he believes that others think like him, ARE like him.

    Not all psychopaths are likely to murder you, but all psychopaths will use you in one way or another. They enjoy using you, humiliating you, making your life miserable. I’ve seen it at places I worked, and in my personal life with “friends” that used me or abused me, and with relatives who took advantage and manipulated me, but now that I KNOW and ACCEPT more about psychopaths and how dangerous they are to our lives, and our mental health, I have ELIMINATED them from my life. I’ve left jobs because of them, I’ve taken them out of my personal friend’s Rolodex, and SIMPLIFIED my life by not associating with these people and any new person who comes into my life doesn’t get trust “until they betray me” I make people EARN my trust over a period of time. If people are liars, hateful to others, mooches, substance abusers, thieves or manipulators etc at the FIRST sign of this kind of behaviors, they will NEVER get into my circle of trust and I will keep them at ARM’S LENGTH so that they are unable to hurt me or make my life chaotic.

    We cannot change their behaviors or their thinking, but we CAN and MUST change our own way of dealing with them. NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE…and shared DNA isn’t a reason to associate with them. This may upset some others who want you to “forgive” a relative and “pretend things are okay” when they obviously are NOT OK, but I no longer let that bother me. I no longer live my life to please unreasonable people and their idea of how I “should” live my life. At first I grieved over the “loss” of these people, but now I realize that only by elimiinating them from my life could I live in PEACE and calm and experience JOY instead of continual ANXIETY.

    • OxD, 110% spot-on. The psychopaths are walking past us each time we enter a grocery store or gas station. They are there in doctors’ offices, hospitals, behind Judges’ benches, in seats of elected power, etc. It is estimated that 20% of the population is SOME degree of sociopath.

      So, for my personal purposes, I am still learning to keep my mouth shut and give NOTHING of myself away – opinions, views, history, feelings – I try to guard them all very, very closely so that the unidentified sociopath/psychopath does not have anything to work with. They need SOMETHING to work with – they aren’t emotional alchemists that can take any individual and turn them into a ranting, raving mess. They are magicians and illusionists that take bits and pieces of information to BUILD a means to mirror what we, ourselves, have articulated that we want, need, or desire by telling them how much we MISS our child who’s off in the military, or how much we despise alcoholism because of our parent’s disease, or how much we cannot tolerate social injustice, etc. They must have something to work with, and they are like a mold spore trying to find some chink in a wall that’s dark and damp where they can flourish.

      Your last sentence sums it all up for me, “At first I grieved over the “loss” of these people, but now I realize that only by elimiinating them from my life could I live in PEACE and calm and experience JOY instead of continual ANXIETY.” Whether they’re family, friends, coworkers, or whomever……………when they’re OUT, there can be a calm balance to replace the chaos that they created.

  5. Truthy, yes, and that calm balance is amazing, and makes me wonder how I lived so long in the spin cycle of chaos and didn’t realize what I was missing in the PRESENT. I only lived for “when X happens I will be happy” and of course X never happened.

    • Saturnus, the questions that you asked about the evolutionary advantage of being a spath, limit us to the evolution of our bodies. The evolution of our souls is a different matter. Both evolved together and both are necessary for the survival of our species. The only other option is that we will self-destruct, as we are already in the process of doing by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the pollution of the planet.

      It’s not that spaths can’t cooperate, they most certainly do cooperate. It’s just that they don’t care about each other. They will throw each other under the bus because they can’t actually bond. When the spath is lying on their death bed, what do they feel? Are they glad that they got the chance to love? No. They’re pissed that someone else will benefit from the wealth they acquired. I know one spath who says that he doesn’t want anyone to benefit from his work after he dies. And I know another who says that she is sure everyone of her siblings will die before her. A normal person wants to die knowing that they made a difference for the better in another person’s life.

      I think that Jesus said it best, he said, “Be in this world but don’t be OF this world.”

      • Sky, you wrote, “When the spath is lying on their death bed, what do they feel? Are they glad that they got the chance to love? No. They’re pissed that someone else will benefit from the wealth they acquired.” That is 100% and another 100% SPOT-ON!!!!!!!!

        In no uncertain terms, spaths do NOT care about anyone, or anyTHING other than themselves. What they “care” about is never enough after they’ve attained it – money, sex, drugs, attention, satisfaction, celebrity, notches on their belt……whatever it is that they originally coveted and envied, enough does not exist in “Their Worlds.”

        If they are diagnosed with a disease and SURVIVE it, it’s not another chance to “make things right,” or change their ways. They honestly, and truly believe that they have become immortal because they “Beat Death.” I’ve actually heard those precise words out of the mouths of a couple of spaths that survived cancer, only to become even MORE vicious, cruel, and spathy than they were prior to their experiences.

        One man who did not “Beat Death” was in the end-stages of his disease. He had a $20K life insurance policy with his wife as beneficiary, and when an in-law inquired as to why he only had that amount for his wife, his response was, “You think I want HER having fun on MY dime after I’m dead?” And, he really meant this – he was relatively cruel to her throughout their 50 year marriage, and she stayed with him for every reason that I remained with the first abusive exspath: FEAR.

        They are without concern for anything else under the sun. ick

        • Yes, Truthy, the need to rack up as much debt as possible is a red flag of psychopaths.

          The trojan horse spath dropped several “tells” throughout the years.
          Despite making a very good living, he didn’t want money in a savings account. He said it was so that nobody could use the money he had worked for. He used the same reasoning when he refused to have any equity in his house. He refinanced constantly so he could pull the cash out.

          This should have been a big red flag for his wife. He was planning on dumping her homeless on the streets and that’s why it was important that he didn’t have any assets. He had only debts and he is making sure that she gets her half of that.

          There were other red flags and they all came out of his big mouth, but nobody knew what they meant. One time he asked her parents, “and what do I get out of this marriage? Only a beautiful wife?” They sat, mortified, speechless.

          It’s about values. They don’t have any. They only care about money.

          • Sky, that’s a very good point about the debt. Looking back, I can see that as an issue, immediately with BOTH exspaths. They ran up debt like nobody’s business.

            The most illuminating aspect of money where these predators are concerned is that there isn’t ENOUGH money on the planet for them. I’ve heard a few of these types actually outline specific schemes to “get injured” by someone so that they could sue for “free money.” Well………money from lawsuits doesn’t come from the proverbial Money Tree. It comes from insurance companies and those kinds of fraudulent claims and suits COST the honest clients in premium hikes. I mentioned this to one of these people, once, and they said the only factual words that they probably ever uttered in their lifetime, “What do I care about other people? I DON’T care about THEM.”

            Envy………greed………. yuk

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