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Psychopaths are Opportunists. — 197 Comments

  1. Truthy,
    I can’t imagine how traumatizing that must have been to be left outside, wandering alone in the cold as a child.
    I’m so sorry for that little girl. ((hugs to little truthy))

    It’s okay to be vulnerable and it’s okay to have boundaries too. We can choose, now that we understand the difference between good and evil. It was harder when we were little because we were innocent and helpless.

    • Sky, the trauma was ingrained as part of my shame-core. I was ashamed because I knew that what I was experiencing wasn’t “normal.” Then, there was the shame that I carried as per the reactions and responses of adult neighbors and childhood friends. Shedding that shame and the deep shame-core is a challenge, and has been a major factor in my lifetime of decisions and choices.

      I’m okay with my vulnerabilities, today, Sky – I’m a human being and I’m “allowed” my vulnerabilities, as well as my strengths. But, I choose to guard these priceless pieces of myself with tooth and nail. I am not required, obligated, or mandated to trust anyone. I’ve taken OxD’s words to heart: watch, listen, observe. I don’t rush into friendships, anymore, and I try to avoid those IMPULSES to react, rather than respond with insight.

      This is a good discussion because it’s very helpful in my recovery.

      • Yes Truthy, I’m getting to be okay with my vulnerabilities too. It takes practice to stop being harsh with ourselves.

        There will always be spaths out there who will try to make us compare ourselves to others, to make us feel unworthy and ashamed. Some will do it overtly and others will be more covert. It’s up to us to recognize the tactics and the first step is allowing ourselves to acknowledge our feelings. Once our feelings have informed us that something is wrong, we can look around for the source of danger.

        • Sky, absolutely spot-on! There always have been, and always WILL be, spaths and “toxic” people.

          And, it may sound quite insane, but I’m grateful (if that’s the best word to use) that I’ve had the experienced that I did. I have spent a lifetime mired in denial and abuse, in one form or another. Even my own son, Mike, is disordered, and that is a hard row for ANY parent to hoe. But, I can’t change these facts no matter how hard I want to.

          Yepper – that gut instinct is so important and SO often devalued! LOL!!! Not anymore!!!

          • I love that ‘getting comfortable with your vulnerabilities’! I think that humility and accepting your limitations and thus your vulnerabilities is the way to a peaceful mind, some healthy self-love, and finally allowing yourself to just be you. It just feels very liberating.

            I can recommend humility and getting comfortable with your vulnerabilities to anyone!

  2. Jill, I’m sorry to hear about your Aunt. When my mother died it happened in a similar way. she was terminally ill but no way did I think she was going to die when she did. It was very strange and left me with a bad feeling. I still feel unsettled about it in a certain way. Again, regrets. I was not ready at all on an emotional level. The woman who was with her called me and I went to her thinking I was going to help make her more comfortable and she ended up dying within an hour. I am happy to have been with her but because I was not really prepared feel like I could have done more if I would have been. Hugs to you Jill

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  4. “Once everyone learns to recognize their behaviors and strategies, they can’t hide and there will be nowhere to run—except off an ice shelf in the arctic.”

    Yes! Let’s make this happen by keeping an active Internet presence!

    • Human, the internet is the best hope we have for saving the human race from psychopathic self-sabotage. I’m so grateful for all the bloggers who enlightened me, way back when my eyes first became open to what real evil is.

      I looked into the link to your blog and read your latest article, “Free Candy”, where you linked to the article by a psychopath. I found it interesting but sometimes I wonder if it’s a good idea to link to their websites because it just gives them attention. But then, I realize that I learned most of what I know by paying attention to psychopaths so that I could observe them. Their blogs make it easier for me to do that.

      Did you notice his response to your comment?
      He said: Thank you, Human, that’s very kind.
      You do realize that it had a double entendre, don’t you?
      Spaths see kindness as weakness…so he was calling you weak. Also, weakness makes them salivate.

      I’m adding a link to your blog in case others want to visit it.

      • It doesn’t bother me to give James attention because he is sharing something of great value: insights into the psychopathic mind—and he does it in an intelligent and highly entertaining manner!

        Knowledge is power. Education on how their minds work helps us recognize them and also to anticipate their next move; putting us in a better position to protect ourselves or escape.

        I think that all articles relating to psychopathy, including James’ blog posts, contribute to raising awareness about “the defining issue of our time.” (Dr George Simon)

        • My personal feeling is that delving into the behaviors of the psychopath and sharing them as a means to “educate” can become a labyrinth that we cannot escape. Psychopaths may offer glimpses of their evil natures, on occasion, and it’s only recognizable if the empaths are able to separate their emotions from the facts during their observations. Typically, that isn’t always possible because empaths have a very tough time with the concept of allowing no emotions to intrude.

          Psychopaths do not “share.” They don’t share information, nor do they share insight. They are 100% predators, and we don’t live in that world. Learning about THEM is, indeed, helpful. But, we will never, ever have the ability to “understand” them, or their worlds, and I’m actually quite grateful for that. We can only recognize the symptoms and head in the other direction. If we begin to believe that we are gaining something from interacting with them or delving too deeply into their worlds, we are at great risk, on every level.

          The world of a psychopath is probably the most repellant space imaginable – cold, dark, and void. What started with ME learning about THEM evolved into learning all about myself, how my past intruded upon my present, and how all of the fear-based and catastrophic thinking made me “The Best Target.” For that, I am also very grateful. I never want to be ***that person,*** again. I am no longer afraid, vengeful, or full of rage. I’m feeling more centered and balanced and I had no idea how that felt until the second spath was revealed.

          One final reason to leave the psychopath to their own entertainments is “back door contact.” ANY contact with a psychopath is unhealthy, and that includes checking their blogs, viewing social media profiles and updates, or google-searching their names. I cannot recollect one single example of the “back door contact” as resulting in anything positive for a victim. Not one example. Attending to THEM and their behaviors is a diversion and distraction from attending to our own recovery, healing, and rewiring that is so necessary to reach a healthy and balanced space for ourselves.

          It’s just as it was written in an epic literary work that examining the dark arts of the enemy with the intent to learn about them will ensnare them, ultimately. I won’t give the time to the exspath to concern myself with what he’s doing, how he’s thinking, or anything else. It’s all a lie – from beginning to end, and I won’t waste my precious time attempting to unravel his lies when I could be meditating or creating. 😉

  5. It doesn’t bother me to give James attention because he is sharing something of great value: insights into the psychopathic mind—and he does it in an intelligent and highly entertaining manner!

    Knowledge is power. Education on how their minds work helps us recognize them and also to anticipate their next move; putting us in a better position to protect ourselves or escape.

    I think that all articles relating to psychopathy, including James’ blog posts, contribute to raising awareness about “the defining issue of our time.” (Dr George Simon)

  6. The real protection against spaths is not so much in understanding how their minds work, but in understanding how the human mind works. The reason for this is that spaths use our minds against ourselves. THEY intuitively know how our minds work. They have no emotions so they like to watch our emotions at work and they like to manipulate our emotions.

    The fact that James shares his insights in an “intelligent and highly entertaining manner” is just par for the course — most spaths I’ve known are intelligent and highly entertaining, that’s how they capture their human prey.

    If we dissect the article, we can see that James didn’t share anything at all. He only confirmed what we already knew. James knows that confirmation makes humans feel better, more secure and smarter. By being so congenial, he also conveyed the idea that he is harmless. I doubt that’s true.

    I’m not saying that we should not study spaths, but we must remember that what we are actually studying is emotions. Specifically, we are studying dysfunctional people and how their behavior affects OUR emotions. If we forget that, then we are only observing their behavior and it all seems kind of cute. That’s when we become vulnerable.

    BTW, calling ourselves “human” is like doing a strip tease in front of a spath.

    • Sky, you wrote, “BTW, calling ourselves “human” is like doing a strip tease in front of a spath.” ROTFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!! And, it’s TRUE……….”being human” makes us so desirable because it is our humanity that the spath wants to so thoroughly destroy.

      We must “study” spaths, to some degree. We need to know the patterns, the behaviors, the tactics, and the ploys so that we can examine our own boundaries and determine if any repairs or additions need to be applied. What they do is what they do. My personal concern about delving into their worlds and actually believing that we can somehow “know” about them is that it can become obsessive and quite dangerous, on every level. It can become a tremendous distraction from the TRUE core and that is myself – my own thinking processes, boundaries, and so on. When I become distracted, I begin to fall into “old behaviors” and patterns that include catastrophic thinking, and self-criticism of a type that is utterly toxic for me.

      We apply “human” traits to organisms that are, for whatever reason, incapable of feeling compassion, empathy, remorse, or pity, and this is very similar to people who attribute HUMAN behaviors to pets – dogs DO NOT think like humans do. They just don’t. They don’t ***know*** that getting into the garbage was ***wrong.*** They only ***know*** that the tone of voice is prequel to an unpleasant experience. Similarly, spaths DO NOT behave the same way that empathetic human beings do.

      Spaths are master mimics and I discovered that I gave every ounce of information about myself, my history, and my precious vulnerabilities straight out of my own mouth. I was open. I believed that everyone was to be trusted until they gave me a reason NOT to trust them. I mistakenly believed that everyone was “good” at their core – that everyone was within the possibility of redemption – that they COULD and SHOULD be rescued and saved. I believed that everyone deserved a second chance. Those beliefs were flawed because of the ways that I had been programmed to apply them to others via the dysfunctional FOO. Once I began digging in the dirt, I recognized this distinctive pattern in my own behavior and began the process of “re-wiring” my thinking, my responses, my internal language, etc…….and, this is an ONGOING process, I have to say. There has not been a day that I haven’t had to practice the re-wiring. As OxD says, “It’s a journey, not a destination.” And, I’m in with that, 100%. 🙂

      SO, absolutely, learn the patterns and ploys. Then, the self-work can be adapted to repel those patterns and ploys.

      As a strict side note and TOTALLY off-topic, I am experiencing a REALLY weird “blackout” or lag whenever a sentence moves down to the next line or if I hit the return button, or if I use the side-scroll to move the text page up or down. It’s just really weird, and I don’t know if I’m the only person experiencing this. If it is just me, then I’ll sort it out. 😀

      • Truthy,
        Sorry about the issues with the blog. It’s not happening on my end, AFAIK.

        As I was telling Fly in the other thread, our gut instincts are really very good at discerning spaths. We probably wouldn’t even have to study spaths if we would just learn not to ignore our gut instincts. There are other reasons to study spaths though. Narcissism and psychopathy exist on a spectrum of behaviors and I like to say that spaths exist for a very good reason: as an example of how not to be. When I study them, I learn the lesson of the consequences of certain behaviors.

        For example, there are survival mechanisms that are necessary but can be unhealthy if used as a lifelong crutch. Denying our feelings, turning off empathy, hiding our authentic selves and our vulnerabilities, are all survival mechanisms for protection against spaths. Unfortunately, these same mechanisms are the ones that spaths use and it has made them the way that they are. Their attacks on us are specifically tailored to make us use these mechanisms so that we become like they are: Dead inside.

        They killed themselves long ago and now they are like the walking dead, trying to slime everyone else so that we become like they are, afraid of feeling pain, afraid of being the scapegoat.

        Studying spaths is really about understanding the slippery slope of narcissism.

        • Sky, it could likely be a glitch on my end……….LOL!!! No worries……

          The differences between a narcissist and a psychopath may ***seem*** relatively insignificant, but they are pretty substantial. Ppaths do not have a conscience, remorse, pity, compassion, or empathy. Narcissists may “seem” similar to sociopaths, but they are only similar in their needs to “win.”

          And, there are important and healthy aspects of narcissism that do help us to survive. This is not to say that malignant narcissism is healthy by any stretch of the imagination, but there are levels of narcissism that are absolutely normal. Psychopathy, on the other hand, is 100% abnormal.

          I absolutely believe that it is important to learn behavioral patterns, traits, and symptoms of a psychopath or sociopath. Absolutely. My personal belief is that allowing proximity to a ppath or spath for the sake of “observation” is a dangerous and treacherous activity. We typically apply human attributes to these people that we believe to exist within others – even simply toxic individuals who might be narcissistic, but are not sociopathic. Sociopaths and psychopaths only mimic humanity – they mirror whatever they observe. They don’t “think” the same way that “normal” people do BECAUSE they are absent of empathy, remorse, compassion, pity, or conscience. It’s similar to observing a salmon and applying its behavior to that of an oyster. They are not related, in any way.

          Spaths are born as they are, with some actually being tipped into the void by environment, but that seems to be a rare situation. They aren’t afraid. They do not experience emotional pain – they only experience rage. That’s the point. They aren’t afraid because they don’t “connect” with consequences, or cause-and-effect. A narcissist, now, IS afraid – fearful of imperfection, etc., and THEY are absolutely full of fear. But, a ppath or spath has no fear of consequences. Yes, they know that if they are caught they might likely spend time in prison, but their behaviors (in THEIR minds) are the faults of others, and the “consequences” are just tools of punishment, rather than legal consequences for crimes. They “know” what is right and what is wrong on an academic level, and they choose to do whatever they wish, regardless, because they do not care, they have never cared, and they are incapable of EVER caring. Narcissists, on the other hand, care very much about everything, particularly how THEY imagine that they are perceived. A narcissist is, indeed, afraid of emotional pain and they hide whom they really are. In some rare instances, narcissists can actually rewired their own thinking processes while they deal with whom they are, the choices they’ve made, etc…….it’s a seriously courageous journey for them to embark upon BECAUSE they do have a level of empathy and remorse. Spaths and ppaths, on the other hand, can never, ever be rewired, counseled, recovered, or healed. They are in their voids until they die. These differences are noted by practitioners in the mental health communities, though they are OFTEN not discussed openly. The reason (IMHO) that psychopathology and sociopathology are dismissed, out of hand, is that acknowledging these conditions would require a practitioner to drop their grip on their ego and accept that something exists that they CANNOT treat……….ego is very powerful and is often making decisions that would be better left unmade in the grand scheme of things. LOL!!!

          For me, my gut instinct was disassembled during my childhood as a result of the family dysfunction of alcoholism. I had no doubt about this, and it explained a great deal about how I was literally an open book for anyone to read, whether they were healthy, toxic, or potentially fatal. So, for me, learning about MYSELF finally became more important than observing THEM. I don’t want to imagine how their world is, anymore, because I can do nothing to alter the dark, cold, and empty universe in which they live. They are, indeed, the undead. I know everything that I ever want to know about what they are, how they behave, and what the symptoms are. My focus is directed inward, now, which allows me to let GO of their condition, and work on my own issues.

          Am I the ultimate source of information on these parasites? Absolutely not. Am I impervious to their tactics, ploys, and manipulations? Absolutely not. As long as I am alive, I will always be vulnerable to MY vulnerabilities being used as tools against me, personally. But, I am no longer the person that I once was. I have gained wisdom and I add to this store of experience on a daily basis. It’s all about me, my recovery, my healing, and my living with a balance whereas it once used to be all about alerting the world about THEM. Well, some people want to know. Others think that they know. Others don’t want to know. Still others are precisely what I was trying to warn the world about. I can’t do anything about the fact that these people exist. But, I sure can do something about my own beliefs and perceptions.

          I guess that was the point of my response – I can’t do anything about them. But, I can do something about myself. So………..my apologies for the lengthy response to get to that point! LOLOLOL

          • to clarify: it doesn’t mean that there’s something “wrong” with us when we delve into the world of spathy. We are doing what ALL empathetic human beings do, and that is an attempt to understand and, perhaps, help. This is what we do and how spaths find an in-road. But, it becomes a diversion and a distraction, I believe, because it’s like getting onto a merry-go-round that just keeps going faster, and faster. Or, like the frog that’s in a pot of water and doesn’t realize that it’s boiling to death because the flame was increased so slightly over time.

            For me, it began with what the spath did. It’s now about what I do and how I do it to protect my vulnerabilities.

        • Truthy,
          It’s true that there is a difference between the psychopath and the narcissist, but I still think that it begins as a matter of degree. The degree to which a person is able to kill off their ability to feel, is the difference. That difference is important. A psychopath’s favorite food is a narcissist.

          My ex-spath once told me that he wasn’t like other people because other people have egos and he doesn’t. He was pointing out, exactly what you said, “the narcissist is afraid.” The narcissist cares about what other people think about him. The pure psychopath really doesn’t care about anything, except getting another victim and he uses his victim’s narcissism to target him or her.

          Ex-spath’s best friend/minion was a narcissist. In 25 years, I only spoke with him twice, briefly at parties, until after I left the spath. Then we spoke at length. This particular narcissist is really evil and he had thought that ex-spath was just like him. He had no clue what ex-spath REALLY was. After I told him everything that the spath was capable of, he realized that he was in way over his head. The narcissist thought that ex-spath hated women, just as narcissist does. He learned that ex-spath will destroy anyone, especially his friends, not just women or minorities, the way narcissist wants to. Narcissist thinks that all white men should stick together. Narcissist actually studied and read extensively about psychopaths before I spoke with him, but he’s paranoid and thought that all psychopaths are politicians and dictators in power. He didn’t know that he had been “sleeping with the enemy” just like I had.

          There is one thing that I agree with my ex-psychopath about: His narcissist friend was actually very amusing! If I made movies about each one, ex-psychopath would be a horror film, but his narcissist friend would be a dark comedy! I know it’s hard to believe but you’d have to be there. Like the time when he came out of his office fuming because he wanted to order something online. Everything was going fine until he came to the last screen. To place the order he had to push the button labeled “submit”. He just couldn’t bring himself to do it because he was convinced that the button had been labeled that way to break him down psychologically. ROTFLMAO!! After pacing around and smoking several cigarettes, he caved and placed his order.

  7. Truthy and sky, in chiming in on this conversation, there are several things that I hold as FACTS and one is that there ARE “degrees” of narcissism and psychopathy, and 2. the ability to feel empathy is also on a SCALE from very little to very much, and as Dr. Baron-Cohen points out in his research on Empathy there is also the AUTISTIC lack of empathy and self centeredness, which is harmless to others, they do not ENJOY seeing someone else suffer, they are simply “in turned” he calls it Zero Empathy-negative, but the psychopath without empathy is Zero + and enjoys seeing others suffer, in MAKING them suffer.

    Narcissism to me represents a SYMPTOM of psychopathy, as a person cannot be very narcissistic if they have very much empathy. The Autistic person without empathy has little or no narcissism in the way of feeling that they are “better than” others.

    As for “studying” psychopaths to learn about them, just as you can STUDY BIOLOGY without going out into the swamps and woods, or study snakes without ever handling a cobra, and learn that the cobra is quite venomous without ever being bitten…so it is much WISER to “study” psychopaths from a distance rather than up close and personal. For those of us however, who HAVE been up close and personal, or have been BITTEN by the venomous ones, we can learn quickly to avoid them.

    Sure if we had not been so “trusting” or operated on the FLAWED ideas that there is “good in everyone” or that “everyone deserves a second chance” etc we might not have been as vulnerable, but NOW that we KNOW that the critter is dangerous, and what they “look like” we are much better able to avoid being bitten again.

    Listening to our gut instincts IS IMPORTANT and ignoring our instincts of fear (“The Gift of Fear”) is important to our survival and health. Living around them is very stressful and we all know that STRESS KILLS. Sometimes that means we must leave a marriage or other relationship and though it may be painful or inconvenient to do so, it is IMPORTANT THAT WE DO SO. Even if it means we have to go to a shelter, or in my case, going into hiding, it is important that we realize nothing is as important as our safety and our OWN health and well being. I vascillated for quite some time before I finally decided that I had to go inito hiding to protect myself. I was afraid of a real FEAR not just anxiety, but I didn’t want to give up my home, etc. but I fiinally realized I HAD TO TAKE CARE OF ME…the material property I left behind wasn’t really important in the greater scheme of things. We must put ourselves FIRST and that is not always easy to do.

  8. Oxy,
    From what I understand, narcissism is within each of us as infants. Infants have all of the characteristics of narcissism: lack of boundaries, manipulative, sense of entitlement, charming and charismatic etc… (some infants are more this way than others). The lifelong narcissist, is in a state of arrested emotional development. They simply stay infantile. Most people retain some aspects of their childhood personality deep inside, while we grow layers of more responsible personalities on top.

    It’s hard to say what makes a person grow from narcissism to psychopathy. The one psychopath that I know is more willful than anyone else I know. He is someone who wants complete control over everyone and everything. Even reality must submit to his will. He accomplishes this by making other people’s minds see reality as he wishes them to. Then he thinks he has changed reality.

    • Sky, a “normal” level of narcissism is specifically a mode of survival. When an infant is hungry, it cries. When a child wants something, they acquiesce. There are what is termed as “normal” and “healthy” levels of narcissism.

      When people become malignant narcissists, it can be a symptom of other disorders, or simply a “learned” behavior that was developed in childhood. I don’t know about “arrested development,” but I can truly say that I NEVER developed a healthy sense of self and lived my entire life with a tremendous shame-core. THAT had a huge impact upon how I behaved and I believe that I was on the proverbial cusp of being totally narcissistic because I took in everything as my own – bad choices of others, the well-being of others, etc……. So, essentially, the world was all about “me,” so to speak.

      Today, it’s quite a different situation. I’m NOT responsible for the status of the world. I can let things go, easily, and attend to the personal work to help me find that calm and balance in my own behaviors that will help to eliminate anxiety. I am no longer embroiled in that need to control. For me, personally, that was a dreadful form of narcissism that has finally been identified and addressed.

      It could be that psychopathology is more genetic than environmental – I have no idea. I do believe that there are varying levels of psychopathology – some people are absolute sociopaths, but they don’t get into legal troubles. Others are so psychopathic that they end up as serial killers. There’s no knowing why one goes over the line when the other doesn’t, but it’s more indisputable evidence that EVERYTHING has a different degree or level to it.

      • Truthy,
        I read something very interesting today. I thought that this might interest you.

        Dr. Porges: I started in my talks to tell clinicians, “Try something different with clients.” I said, “Tell your clients who were traumatized that they should celebrate their body’s responses, even if the profound physiological and behavioral states that they have experienced currently limit their ability to function in a social world. They should celebrate their body’s responses since these responses enable them to survive. It saved their lives. It reduced some of the injury. If they were oppositional during an aggressive traumatic event such as rape, they could have been killed. Tell them to celebrate how their body responded instead of making them feel guilty that their body is failing them when they want to be social and let’s see what happens.”

        Now, remember, what is occurring in most therapies?
        Therapies often convey to the client that their body is not behaving adequately. The clients are told they need to be different. They need to change. So therapy in itself is extraordinarily evaluative of the individual. And once we are evaluated, we are basically in defensive states. We
        are not in safe states.

        The article is very long — 25 pages — but it has a LOT of fascinating information.

        • Sky, thank you for the link – I’m not going to read 25 pages, but I am certain that there is some valuable information to be found in them. LOL!!

          YES…….the contemporary therapy for most people is evolving to embrace whatever happened and to process the experiences through a number of ways. One of the things that my counselor taught me was an excellent method of acknowledging the feelings and emotions, naming them, examining them, and then letting them go. It took some practice, but I’m still managing emotional challenges on a daily basis – I forever will be, and it’s okay.

          My initial intent for counseling therapy for myself was to FIX everything and be “normal.” Well……there’s no such animal. But, I am absolutely working on managing things armed with the knowledge that I gained about myself, my motivations for decisions, choices, and actions, and it’s getting better EACH day.

          We do things that we must to survive – it is a normal and basic instinct. What happens when something like r-ape occurs is that the victim is RE-traumatized by the legal systems, investigators, and even family and friends, “S/he should have KNOWN better than to __________” I cannot recollect how many times I’ve heard that in relation to victims of domestic violence and abuse, victims of violent crimes, robberies, home invasions, etc…….”…they should have KNOWN better than to leave their curtains open when they left.”

          So, moving out of the *feeling* of being unsafe requires a LOT of work. I dealt with agoraphobia for almost 4 years because of the culmination of all of the traumas. I wouldn’t go OUT of my house, often cancelling medical appointments because of the anxiety levels. It took time, but I’m actually doing things in the present that I never imagined I would be able to do even 9 months ago.

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