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Female Sociopaths

News Books Toxic managers Recommended Links Psychopaths in Movies Borderline Psychopath Films depicting female sociopath The Techniques of a Female Sociopaths
Divorcing Borderline Psychopath Negative Politeness Diplomatic Communication Groupthink Belief-coercion in high demand cults Female bullies Narcissistic Managers Understanding Micromanagers and Control Freaks
Gaslighting Projection Office Stockholm Syndrome Learned helplessness Fake Sexual Harassment Claims The Fiefdom Syndrome Insubordination Threat Surviving a Bad Performance Review
The psychopath in the corner office Authoritarians Insubordination Threat Bully Managers The Hare Psychopathy Checklist Empty Suits (Aggressive Incompetent Managers) Rules of Verbal Self Defense against Corporate Psychopaths Socratic Questions
Dangerous Liaisons The Last Seduction Fatal Attraction The Devil Wears Prada Marriage and family conflicts Marital Infidelity Movies about marital infidelity  
Surviving a Bad Performance Review High Demand Cults Leaders Practices Conformism Corporate bullshit as a communication method Groupthink Aikido Humor Etc
"Her regular tantrums involve swearing, shouting, intimidation and threatens. She will wear people down until, for a quieter life, they agree with her. Interestingly, what she threatens to inflict on others is what she would find most damaging and hurtful to herself.

Equally interestingly, she feels criticism and humiliation intensely, even if none is intended or given, and she will fight ferociously to defend what she sees as an attack, whether or not there is one. Sometimes she will create a threat in her mind merely to defend and excuse what she knows to be her own dreadful behavior."


Introduction

Female sociopaths are a class of its own. They are much more manipulative than male psychopaths. We will distinguish the term "sociopath" and "psychopath" based on physical violence: psychopath is sociopath who routinely or even predominantly uses physical violence.  Often they are criminals. 

Female sociopaths rarely use physical violence and can much better mask their real intentions then make psychopaths. they are more patient (although the term patience and sociopath are mutually contradictive -- they are after instant gratification) and can hunt for a pray somewhat longer.  And probably are more dangerous when you have them close by.  As a rule female sociopaths are much more vicious and vendettful than man sociopaths.

Typically, they are somewhat sadistic, especially toward women  -- which means that they experience pleasure from suffering of their victims.  Like all sociopaths they are natural born, talented actors and have the astonishing ability to tell bare-faced lies and remain calm, utterly shameless if caught. This is the case with psychopaths in general, but with female sociopaths you really see the master class of this art. Ruthless and conniving. Can extort favors using fake pregnancies, injuries to themselves, threats to kill themselves, etc. They are really like  a person, who killed her/his parents, and then asks for lesser sentence because she is now an orphan.  While they are adept in masking their real mean and cruel personality some signs and discrepancies in their acting are often visible.  The problem is that due to their charm the victim typically fails to pay any attention to them. Here this page might, probably, help as, hopefully, it provides a framework and several checklists for analyzing such a person.  A lot of tragedies could be avoided if people who are facing something strange or inconsistent in behaviour simply take the time to ask, "What else could this mean?”  "Can it be explained as an attempt of manipulation,  or bold faced lie?"

Paradoxically, most of the victims of female sociopaths are woman. So a female sociopath in the role of the manager is more dangerous to female subordinates then to male subordinates. That can be quite indirect, but typically extremely vicious. Add to that compulsive desire of winning at all cost (they are about power; such a natural born power addicts) and see other people just of tools for achieving her goals. 

They roll over their victims like steamroller and feel nothing.  The last sentence is impossible to understand by just reading this page, You need to see couple of movies depicting such a character and first of all Dangerous Liaisons  In this film Glenn Close (she also presents similar, but more close to the borderline personality character in Fatal Attraction ) created an unforgettable character of a female sociopath (Marquise de Merteuil), while John Malkovich created even more impressive and pretty sinister and more convincing male sociopath character ( Vicomte de Valmont). The latter like often happens in real life is not devoid of some positive traits such as courage, ability act decisively and ability to forgive (in the final scene, when he is dying after being fatally wounded during a duel cleverly staged by Glenn Close character -- Marquise de Merteuil ).   Here you really see that a female psychopath approach to personal relations much like to a war of conquest.  It is all about domination and power.  There is no emotional attachment to anybody. Everybody is just a tool. We become slaves the moment we hand the keys to the definition of reality entirely over to someone else. And what female psychopath wants most is the power to define your reality. Often this is done via exploiting sexual attractiveness.  This is not clear from the first watching of the film, but if you watch it the second time from the specific angle of Marquise de Merteuil behaviour as a sociopath, you can probably learn a few things about this condition.  Similarly in Fatal Attraction you see how relentless they can stack the victim, using everything to keep the person on a short leash. Claims of being pregnant, cutting own wrists, you name it.  They have no boundaries and are ready to go to the bitter end to achieve their goal. Like Green Berets or Terminator.

They typically have high IQ which makes them even more dangerous if they are a member of your family or girlfriend. And they are really lethal weapon as managers. Demanding, ruthless, two-faced, manipulative, relentless and very methodical bullies. At the same time they are different from male sociopaths. Among female managers with sociopathic tendencies percent of micromanagers is considerably higher then among male managers with the same tendencies. And typically they are more sophisticated.  Even the murder cases involving female sociopaths are typically are more complex, more devious and less direct, for example the "black widow" marries a wealthy old man and puts poison in his drink. Money are often a strong motivating factor.

To detect a female sociopath for the outsider is a very challenging task as they are masters of mimicry -- natural born great artists.  They usually produce a very good, positive first impression. They excel in interviews. They do not allow themselves to show their anger for people on the same level, oe above them. Anger is reserved to subordinates and members of the immediate family. Despite inability to feels love, they can imitate it and they are often seductive. Love for them, like for an escort, it's not about reality, but about creating the illusion of reality. In a way, you view them as self-employed escorts with deferred payment. There are no telling signs that they deceive you, other then some minor inconsistencies in their life stories, a little bit free dealing with the facts, a little bit exaggerated emotions and attempts of love bombing. Like in everything, here the devil is details, but people in romantic mode and under influence of psychopathic charm are rarely able to see them, until too late. The same is actually true for upper management in the corporate environment: often they do not suspect whom they are dealing with... 

But for subordinates the situation is different, they are tools that do not deserve to be treated as human beings. Make no mistakes here.  You will immediately:

Their behaviour is somewhat close to so called Borderline Psychopath (which is diagnosed in three times as many females as males) and description of a borderline personality behavior (which is abundant on the Internet) can serve as a good proxy for what to expect from a female sociopath. Remember that such both psychopathy and borderline behaviors are never pure and can be demonstrated to a various degrees. There is no "black and white" distinction, no sociopath vs. normal person dichotomy. It's all shadows of grey. Here is one telling quote:

...Manipulation and deceit are viewed as common features of BPD by many of those who treat the disorder as well as by the DSM-IV.  Borderlines are ruthless, conniving, mean, heartless, two-faced, manipulative, and worse. It's like a feminine version of sociopaths, and nearly as dangerous.

Borderline personality disorder is diagnosed in three times as many females as males. Persons with BPD are described  as “difficult,”  “manipulative,” “demanding” and “attention seeking". People with BPD are seen as among the most challenging groups of patients, requiring a high degree of skill and training in the psychiatrists, therapists and nurses involved in their treatment. See Understanding Borderline Rage

An unusual degree of instability in mood and black-and-white thinking often manifests itself in idealization and devaluation episodes and chaotic and unstable interpersonal relationships, issues with self-image, identity, and behavior; as well as a disturbance in the individual's sense of self.  Diagnosed only in individuals over the age of 18; however, symptoms necessary to establish the disorder can also be found in adolescents.

Typical set of traits

Typical set of traits

Sets of traits are notoriously unreliable and somewhat unscientific approach but they can serve you well. In any case we do not have anything better.  Traits is probably the oldest way to explain differences in human behaviour. But it is important to understand that traits are not inert peace like mechanical parts, they are more like chemical substances, they interact/react  with each other and while each of them individually can be found in many "normal" people, certain in combinations they react with each other. for example what we mean by word "extrovert" and "introvert" are actually some constellations of trait. Similarly there is a constellation of traits that produce toxic personality, called sociopath., In this particular case a female sociopath. So a female sociopath in not a mechanical combination of certain traits but a "yet another type of personality", a  very toxic indeed.  And gender here is one of the traits that goes into this toxic combination. In no way they are "male sociopath with vagina". They are a different chemical substance. 

You can view traits as behavioral tendencies (Allport, 1966), more generalized and deeper connected with inner brain structures then habits. Some of then are acquired, but many originates from within, are innate to to speak.   Traits initiate and guide behaviour, but environment also play important role.  For example a teenager, accustomed for respect of his classmates find himself in a summer camp with older boys, who look down upon him. One day his new friends propose swiping a few candy bars from a corner store. When a gang ridicules him, the honesty (which is a social trait common for most cultures) is destroyed by stronger trait of desire for social status.

Combinations of traits that are typical for psychopathic personality is now well known and well researched. That does not mean that they are easy to detect. Quite opposite.  It is very difficult task and in most case the detection happens way too late. Still "knowledge is power" and there are a couple of  traits that should be highly alarming and that are somewhat visible even under the think smokescreen of deception. They should ring alert for any person who read this page (although most people reading this page probably got here somewhat late, but better late then never) are:

  1. Sociopathic charm. Dr. Stout believes it is a primary characteristic of woman sociopath. The intense charm of people who have no conscience, has been observed by researchers and commented on by countless victims. In corporate environment it is usually directed mostly up and represents typical "kiss up, kick down" pattern also found is male authoritarians According to the book "Snakes in Suits - When sociopaths Go To Work" by Dr. Robert Hare and Dr. Paul Babiak, one of the most effective skills sociopaths use to get the trust of people is their ability to charm them. Some low IQ sociopaths lay the charm on too thick, coming across as glib, superficial, and unconvincing. However, the truly talented ones have polished their ability to charm people into an art, priding themselves on their ability to present a fictional self to others that is convincing, taken at face value, and difficult to penetrate. One must always keep in mind that the charm, like manipulation in general, can be very subtle.

    The components of this "psychopathic charm" is difficult to define. But you can easily see it in movies that depict such individuals. Women who have a closely related set of traits, but without personal fearlessness, courage and ability to handle stress typical for sociopaths are grouped under  the label Histrionic personality disorder. The researchers of this disorder proposed a useful mnemonic that makes it easier remember the behavioral characteristics that are somewhat typical for sociopathic charm. Of couse this is simplification, but still is a useful simplification. This mnemonic phrase is "PRAISE ME":

     
  2. A fast life strategy which includes an accelerated mating strategy, reporting more sex partners, more favorable attitudes towards casual sex, lowered standards in their short-term mates, a tendency to steal or poach mates from others. They are willing to engage is risk-taking behaviors including unsafe sex and substance abuse, a tendency to prefer immediate rewards, limited self-control, and a pragmatic and game-playing love style.  The appears to be exploitative and highly opportunistic, in to life in general[, including mating and workplace behaviour.
     
  3. Compulsive, pathological lying. Difficult to spot if you feel sympathy or affection to the individual, but it always demonstrates itself  in some self-contradiction especially about the facts of personal history; invented past and/or excessive boasting about past successes. If you attentive this is trait that is one of the easiest to spot despite all the smoke screen that such person erect before you. In more rare cases they are pathological, compulsive liars and lie even when there is no obvious need to it... such a behaviour is somewhat "creating artificial reality". It represents itself as a  consistent trait rather than an episode, like for most "normal" people. 
     
  4. Manipulative, arrogant, callous  behaviour is a norm, but is typically well masked. Complete lack of remorse and empathy are also masked and are difficult to spot untill it is too late.  They are probably more manipulative and cunning then professional con artists.  Actually they are professional con artists. Their personality attributes typically include superficial charm, unreliability, untruthfulness, and insincerity. Pathological egocentricity, selfishness, and related to those traits rejection of authority and discipline. Along with deriving pleasure from criminal behavior, they “really like getting away with it”—that “the ones who have intelligence, they don’t want to get caught.” Several researchers have suggested that sadism, defined as the enjoyment of cruelty, is pretty common feature of such individuals..
  5. Unreliability, untruthfulness, and insincerity. Please understand that betrayal and backstabbing are natural, typical behaviors for them, and they resort to it in situation were normal person would never do such thing. For example petty stealing when having money to buy particular item. As they have complete lack of remorse and empathy they can do really bad things smiling... If you observe such episodes several times this is an important warning signal. As Ian Fleming said (via James Bond in Goldfinger) “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action”  Kind of manipulation of reality that MSM are notorious for. To the pathological liar his own lies are reality, so he walks securely, is open and amiable inside this artificial reality of his life and past.  Extensive, very complicated fabrications may be evolved. They have no troubles to lie then they appeared in court, False accusations are to be expected...  Often the pathological liar lies not according to a plan, but spontaneously when the impulse seizes him/her.  Under oath such a person  can falsely accused other party of serious offences. For example, using drugs or a women can accuse her husband that he has sex with their underage daughter.
  6. Prone to fly into rages See Borderline Rage: unlike borderlines who often have difficulties controlling it, bouts of anger are consciously controlled and used as a very sharp weapon. Many of these women ‘appear’ normal in the public setting, but are verbally and emotionally abusive in the private setting.
  7. Inability to accept any responsibility for their actions. Typically they has little or no concern about the consequences of their actions. They are natural born risk takers, "life gamblers" if you wish. For them life is giant casino.
  8. "Courage under fire." In high tension situations, that happens when police is on the scene or during court proceeding, they typically maintain their cool,  behave rationally and are not prone to panic even in the face of dangerous to them revelations.

Please read Linda Taylor, welfare queen   and watch several films listed in Films depicting female sociopath. As for more specific nuances Sheppard and Cleary write:

Entrapment of the victim

Female sociopaths often use sex to entrap a victim in the relationship. They are natural predators that use sex as a weapon.  When meeting someone they immediately assess the victim. How likely are you to fall for the con? They ask probing questions to try to test the victim attitudes about casual sex and other interesting  for them topics. What is interesting is tht, they are typically more successful is luring high IQ male victims then low IQ male victims. See scene in the cafe in Fatal Attraction as an example of such behaviour.

 Often the entrapment of the victim goes in several, overlapping phases:

In the movie Solaris (1972) by Tarkovski based on  famous novel Solaris by Polish author Stanislaw Lem there is an interesting moment when a  created by the alien super brain (thinking ocean) "animated holographic image" of a dead person gets more and realistic details as more information is collected by super brain from the person who is interacting with the image. The same process takes place at this stage with a female sociopath: she creates an artificial personality that the victim wants to see adding details as she gets more information, using their amazing natural capabilities as first class actresses.  All this is done under smoke screen of psychopathic charm, which disarms the victim.   They may even claim that they fall in love with you at the first sight. High IQ female sociopaths usually avoid such a primitive lie, instead they are usually trying to imitate a genuine interest in you as a person and make themselves a perfect match for you interests in life. So if you are baseball fan, they will instantly became a baseball fan too and on the next meeting will tell you intriguing details about  Yogi Berra and will use in conversation some of his bon mots like "It's déjà vu all over again." .  And if another victim later loves classic music they will get themselves to speed in this area too and during the next meeting can talk about Beethoven with ease.  Everything they say is typically false, and is designed to entrap the victim. But it is very difficult to understand that the behaviour is based upon lies, while being on the other side of the "charm offence".

Female sociopath are masters of playing male vanity like gifted musician plays violin. They typically demonstrate (pretty convincingly) a huge (albeit fake) admiration of you as a person, as a specialist, as a manager.  That increases your self-worth and in grey, boring real world were there are very few people openly admire others, such attitude usually has immediate success. You are in a trap before you realize what is happening. Again, this works even better if the victim has high IQ as people with high IQ typically have doubts about their self worth, and as such are more vulnerable to flattery and excessive but subtle praise (aka love bombing). What greater flattery could there possibly be than having someone who believes you’re the most wonderful person they’ve ever known, someone who truly appreciates you and believes you are worthy of their time, attention, admiration, energy and love?

They are also perfect on invoking a pity, able to act like a  "drama queen" ( What is a Drama Queen) 

In literature, the character Scarlett O'Hara from Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind would be considered a drama queen by today's standards. This type of person is notoriously self-centered and self-absorbed, often viewing friends and relatives as lesser beings assigned to take care of her personal needs. Her worst enemy is solitude, so she tends to be very outgoing and sociable, although many of her friendships tend to remain at surface level. Others who have experienced the drama queen's sudden outbursts in the past may have a feeling of walking on egg shells around her, not wanting to be the person who delivers upsetting news or offends her in any way.

Fake stories about ill relatives, previous abuse, etc are just a natural ways to them to play the victim.

It goes without saying that it is very effective strategy of attacking most males. But if "strong encouragement" needs to used on the final stage (for example to get the victim in the bed)  it will be used just as ruthlessly as male seducers do.  Those girls can force the victim drink too much or even put something into the drink, watch a provocative movie and then rush a man into the bed and brutally mock the victim to overcome their doubts and to force the intercourse no less effectively then male seducers do the same for female victims. 

You will not be aware of the lies until much later. Like in war, there is a "fog of war"  during initial meetings when neither party  have adequate information about the whole situation  and has only some vague hypothesis about the personality (i.e., you are facing incomplete, dubious, and often completely erroneous information and high levels of fear, doubt, and excitement). Here keeping daily log might be of tremendous help as it might slightly help to see though the fog. Still the level of uncertainty is high, which complicate rational assessment of the situation so delays with the reaction and keep your cards close to your chest. This simple tactic might in many cases be not detrimental, but advantageous. Actually studying war tactics which were discussed for example in famous Clausewitz On War (available free from clausewitz.com) and The Art of War  might help. Among them (cited from Wikipedia):

Borderline rage as the most telling symptom

Sociopaths are notoriously difficult to spot because most of them are incredibly adept at hiding their true self and their motives. Since childhood the female sociopath may have developed complex and often subconscious methods to deceive her targets. On the surface she appears excessively friendly and charming. In fact, an early warning sign is that you start to suspect that she is too good to be true. She probably is. But there is another telling sign, which unfortunately is typically discovered when it is too late: a difference between her behavior in public and in private settings. Charming and attentive in public they are usually quite abusive, rude and vindictive in private.

The first and very unpleasant surprise that a man discovers after marrying a female sociopath is that while he though to marry a nice  kitty (especially when  somebody married a foreigner who is considerably younger and is very attractive, aka "mail bride"), but he actually married a tiger, who in home setting is ready to jump and eat him alive :-).   Uncontrollable anger attacks usually hit a poor guy like a typhoon.

Unfortunately  you rarely have a chance to discover the "dark side" of psychopathic personality before you became a subordinate or a marriage partner.  In reality they control their anger more than it has controls them. This is just a sharp weapon to get what they want.  Often anger rises to the level of throwing things or physical violence: they are really beating crap of their spouses. Yes weaker sex can be not so weak in anger.  Of course you can buy her a punch bag and the boxing gloves, to redirect her anger into less vulnerable target, but that rarely helps. They actually enjoy their reputation of being mean (but only in private). And they are not afraid of destroying relations.  This is somewhat correlate with being reckless.  Ambrose Bierce  quote “Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.” is not applicable. They have no regrets. Moreover they are ready to attack again the next day after the previous incident.

That makes bouts of Borderline Rage (which is also typical for Double High Authoritarians, but they are primarily males)  a very telling symptom that dramatically increases probability that you are dealing with a female sociopath. As now you probably get her real life story from third sources, cruelty to animals, siblings or other  weaker or dependent persons, especially such episodes in childhood, is another telling sign. As one reader commented "female sociopaths almost always fit the DSM IV diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder." So you can start with studying it, as this is one of well studied disorders and information about it is more readily available.  See Borderline Psychopath

One telling symptom of a female sociopath is bouts of Borderline Rage (which is also typical for Double High Authoritarians, but they are primarily males).  Cruelty to animals, siblings or other weaker or dependent persons, especially such episodes in childhood, is another telling sign...  Female sociopaths almost always fit the DSM IV diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder, so you can start with studying it

Female sociopaths tend to be relentless, methodical bullies and micromanagers who can really tear the victim to shreds given enough time.  This true both in family life and in  the office environment. But bouts of anger are reserved only to people, who she already controls. For superiors they are all nice polite, clever, witty woman with considerable charm (and who often act as relentless and effective seducers.)

In office environments they are often more vindictive and much more cruel to subordinates, then male sociopaths. They really view all and especially female subordinates as disposable items.  The facts that they are devoid of feeling of compassion does not make they incapable to detect and exploit their victims weaknesses. Quite to the contrary. Sometimes I have an impression the psychopathy greatly increases such an ability, giving them almost surgical precision in attack on human weaknesses, sometimes dramatically so as in cases of seduction. 

The facts that they are devoid of feeling of compassion does not make they incapable to detect and exploit their victims weaknesses.  Sometimes I have an impression the psychopathy increases such an ability, sometimes dramatically so.

Negative politeness is an important defense tactic against those individuals.  Limiting contacts to bare minimum is very important, as it lessens the chances that you get into some kind of trap.  Avoiding intimacy with them is equally important. It is pretty difficult to withstand a female seducer is say in business trip in a hotel room.  They are more subtle that simply proposing their body. They are able to create condition in which you drink too much, or watch some arousing movie, etc that make simpler to achieve their goal.

Machiavellian manipulation, female sociopaths as naturally born power addicts

Simplifying Machiavellism is about getting/preserving power at any cost, as in "the end justifies the means". Such people play the society and individual with whom they are involved like a violin. The ability and willingness to employ savage methods for obtaining power is a distinct feature that distinguish sociopath from normal persons. They are all about power, naturally born power addicts. The casual way in which Machiavelli discusses the need to kill opponents was necessary to those who wished to be princes 500 years ago. Today, of course, "killing" is translated as rendering less powerful, or taking an opponent out of the game. But the key ideas stay the same and even now after 500 years the books gives a valuable insight in behaviour of all sociopaths. We can legitimately call female sociopath "Princesses of manipulation".  The book refines their strategy to two main points: 

  1. Get ahead of others to attain power by any means; and
  2. Maintain and expand one's power in the face of others who would usurp one or who wants to move yourself into competing  posiition.

This book is about ruthlessness and putting the attainment and preservation of power ahead of any other consideration. In this sense all sociopath, enad especially female sociopath are loyal followers of Machiavelli, even if they never heard about this book. They use the same set of power gaining  strategies exemplified in maxims such such as  "the end justifies the means," "it is better to be feared than loved," "if you fight the prince, kill the prince" to name a few.

It is essential reading to anyone who want to get into sociopathic mind. Human history deliver plenty of examples of ruthless self-interest (Machiavellianism) behind success in power situations.

The key of teaching of Machiavelli is the difference between Prince substance and Prince appearance:  

As we mentioned this is fully applicable to female sociopath  who are ruthless, hell-bent on personal power, amoral, intimidating, vengeful, pitiless, exploitive, manipulative, dishonest cheaters, mean-spirited, two-faced and more.

As for the character and behavior of the prince, Machiavelli  recommends the following :

Glenn Sacks in his  January 8th, 2008 post on this blog Venus: The Dark Side--Female Sociopaths created a very good summary of main points of the book by Venus: The Dark Side.

In this book the authors Roy Sheppard and Mary T Cleary call such person "a queen of manipulation ". Some points looks like overstatements and hard to believe, if you never dealt with such a personality. But I strongly doubt that this is possible to avoid dealing with female sociopath in modern life ;-). At the same time if you has had, they looks like dispassionate observations or even understatements. It is really difficult to believe the extent of dirty tricks and unsubstantiated rumors that female sociopath routinely uses against their victims. 

"The consequences of her behavior are always somebody else’s problem, not hers. She is never to blame for anything...Because she’s out to control, she manipulates and punishes at will. She is the witness, the judge, the lawyer, the jury, the executioner - but never the accused... She will break the rules without a second thought, if the end justifies the means."

... ... ...

Sadly, the female sociopath they describe sometimes sounds like the vindictive or alienating or abusive ex-wives readers write me about.

The key goal is enslavement of the victim as in high demand cults

Again in many ways sociopath in general and female sociopath in particular behave like cult leaders in high demand cults:

Cult leaders, however, practice forms of control, such as intimidation and humiliation, which demand submission. In Ghent’s view, masochistic submission is a perversion of surrender. Cult leaders often use the idea of surrender as "bait, and then switch" to a demand for submission. Nevertheless, in so doing, they may not actually be practicing mind control in any conscious way. They may simply be behaving in ways typical of pathological narcissists, people whose personalities are characterized by paranoia and megalomania—characteristics, by the way, that are readily attributable to one of the modern masters of thought reform techniques, the totalitarian dictator known as Chairman Mao. Totalitarian dictators study and invent thought reform techniques, but many cult leaders may simply be exhibiting characteristic behaviors of the pathological narcissist, with the attendant paranoia and mania typical of this personality disorder. Thought reform is the systematic application of techniques of domination, enslavement, and control, which can be quite similar to the naturally occurring behaviors of other abusers, like batterers, rapists, incest perpetrators, in all of whom can be seen the behaviors of pathological narcissism.

... ... ...

For the cult leader, his ability to induce total dependence in followers serves to sustain and enhance a desperately needed delusion of perfect, omnipotent control. With many cult leaders, (e.g., Shoko Asahara [Lifton, 1999]), the dissolution of their delusion of omnipotence exposes an underlying core of psychosis. Sustaining a delusion of omnipotence and perfection is, for the cult leader, a manic effort to ward off psychic fragmentation. Again it is useful to consider that this kind of pathological narcissism and defensive mania is often seen in persons whose childhood development was controlled by extremely dominating, often sadistic caregivers, or whose developmental years were characterized by traumatic experiences of intense humiliation. Cult leaders then create elaborate rationalizations for their abusive systems, while unconsciously patterning those systems from the templates of their own experiences of being abused.

... ... ...

Cult leaders succeed in dominating their followers because they have mastered the cruel art of exploiting universal human dependency and attachment needs in others. The lengthy period of dependency in human development, the power that parents have, as God-like figures, to literally give life and sustain the lives of their children, leaves each human being with the memory, however distant or unconscious, of total dependency. Cult leaders tap into and re-activate this piece of the human psyche. Followers are encouraged to become regressed and infantilized, to believe that their life depends on pleasing the cult leader. Cult leaders depend on their ability to attract people, often at critically vulnerable points in their lives, who are confused, hungry, dissatisfied, searching. With such people, cult leaders typically find numerous ways to undermine their followers’ independence and their capacity to think critically.

Like high demand cult leaders, female sociopath  enjoy manipulating and exploiting others. The power, dominance over the others is the goal, the  main purpose of their lives. They are addicted to power and in this sense behave like a typical narcoaddicts. So even in love relations they are not after love, not after sex, they are after power. Which makes them very similar (albeit more canning) then male seducers (who are typically malignant narcissists). While people typically view seduction narrowly as purely sexual in nature,  actually the concept is wider then that and widely used, for example, for recruiting members into high demand cults. Wikipedia gives the following definition:

Seduction is the process of deliberately enticing a person, to lead astray, as from duty, rectitude, or the like; to corrupt, to persuade or induce to engage in sexual behaviour. The word seduction stems from Latin and means literally "to lead astray". As a result, the term may have a positive or negative connotation. Famous seducers from history or legend include Lilith, Giacomo Casanova and the fictional character Don Juan. Seduction as a phenomenon is not the subject of scientific interest, although similar, more specific terms like short-term mating, casual sex or mating strategies are used in evolutionary psychology.[1] The Internet enabled the existence of a seduction community which is based on pseudoscientific discourse on seduction.

Seduction, seen negatively, involves temptation and enticement, often sexual in nature, to lead someone astray into a behavioral choice they would not have made if they were not in a state of sexual arousal. Seen positively, seduction is a synonym for the act of charming someone — male or female — by an appeal to the senses, often with the goal of reducing unfounded fears and leading to their "sexual emancipation"

It is prudent to view them as a female version of male seducers, so well depicted in literature.  The key strategies are all the same: creation of a something like a high demand cult consisting of just two members the victim (and in case of male seducer worshiping on altar of sex) and the cult leader. See High Demand Cults Leaders Practices

At some point y our perspective on life comes from the virtual cage you were held captive in.

A note on love bombing

Most people think that they can resists excessive flattery and love bombing. This is typically not true. And paradoxically high IQ individuals are more susceptible to this tactics. Enslavement of the victim starts with love bombing and isolation from previous contacts (LOVE BOMBING ):

Love bombing is an all-encompassing, exhaustive campaign of flattery that "bombs" the target with non-stop positive reinforcement. Typically, the love-bomber showers his or her mark with compliments, praise and appreciation, declarations of undying love early on, promises of a future together, frequent contact by calls, texts and emails, gift-giving, great sex, and a lot of time spent with each other. It's extreme and over-the-top. It can (and does) happen online as well, sometimes without ever having met in person.

Some experts believe that not all behavior in the beginning with a psychopathic or narcissistic personality type is grooming, although grooming (which is intentionally manipulative) will be part of it. According to Dr. Rhonda Freeman, clinical neuropsychologist, "the emotional high they demonstrate is quite likely genuine. Many are significantly stimulated and intrigued by their new partner. However, in addition to this ‘high’ there also tends to be manipulation... In his or her "game" the psychopathic or narcissistic individual has the advantage. There will be pain for the unsuspecting trusting target... This is the nature of these disorders. No one is bonded to, appreciated, or valued...

Freeman goes on to say, “Unlike the excitement they have for their new target, the grooming component of their relationships is intentional. It is tailored to set the victim up for future use.” She adds that “grooming is purposeful manipulation with an end goal of taking advantage of the target,” and that grooming “facilitates an impression that the psychopathic individual is safe, generous and trustworthy.” In other words, they are not really safe, generous or trustworthy, even though they may be genuinely interested in you. 

...What greater flattery could there possibly be than having someone who believes you’re the most wonderful person they’ve ever known, someone who truly appreciates you and believes you are worthy of their time, attention, admiration, energy and love? The victim is swept off their feet, oblivious to the truth. Love bombing reinforces powerful beliefs about ideal love; fosters trust, loyalty, relationship investment and a positive image of the abuser; creates deep bonding and emotional dependence; and sets the stage for disbelief of the manipulator’s misdeeds when they eventually and inevitably come. The love bomber presents him or herself as your ideal partner, one who is generous, loving, caring and empathetic, and who shares your interests, values, goals and dreams. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Finding out the truth, which happens eventually, is a shocking, heartbreaking experience. The betrayal is deep, and it is hard to overcome.

Sociopathic Charm

Dr. Stout believes that charm is a primary characteristic of woman sociopath. The intense charm of people who have no conscience, has been observed and commented on by countless victims, and by researchers who attempt to catalog the diagnostic signs of sociopath. In corporate environment it is usually directed mostly up and represents a variation of a typical "kiss up, kick down" pattern also found is male authoritarians.

The components of this "psychopathic charm" is difficult to define. But you can easily see it in movies that depict such individuals, for example The Last Seduction. Women who have a closely related set of traits, but without personal fearlessness, courage and ability to handle stress typical for sociopaths are grouped under  the label Histrionic personality disorder. The researchers of this disorder proposed a useful mnemonic that makes it somewhat easier remember the behavioral characteristics that are somewhat typical for sociopathic charm. This mnemonic phrase is "PRAISE ME":

Charming woman is always fascinating a man. You can think about it as a weaker, more subtle type of love bombing. The psychopath's charm is disarming person defenses. It is like a magic spell, one that’s hard to break.  One advantages that the female psychopath has is a razor sharp concentration of her prey. Trying to achieve her goals is the most important and unlike normal persons psychopathic woman is  not bothered by things like social anxiety, self-doubt and insecurity. While personality is liquid like in Terminator  II movies, her determination to get what she wants is steely. Courage and determination of female psychopath can be envied by Breen Berets. 

Female psychopath instinctively adapts her personality to what victim wants to see. Those natural born actresses are brilliantly playing their role in the play that is their life, so to speak.  This fascinating chameleonic process of adapting her personality to the circumstances on the fly (much like shape-changing liquid Terminator in Terminator II movie) goes semi-automatically on intuitive level. This way a female psychopath is able to present the fake personality --  to be what the victim wants to see and thus is able quickly create an emotional connection, or rather the illusion of connection  with the victim and gain the victim's trust.  This is a type of female seduction but in corporate environment it is often performed without obvious sexual overtones, typical for plain-vanilla "classic" seduction. Although,  if they feel your lust, sex will be offered too. They do not have any moral bounds for that activity. They are completely "sexually liberated" so to speak.  It is just another tool in their arsenal, like a nice dress or shoes.

Second, when  talking to victim, the psychopath is simultaneously creating already constructed in her head image of the person you want to see in her.  It's like a talented actor playing a complex role and creating and adapting this role of the fly.  Her response is highly tuned to the feedback she gets by  listening very closely to victim and them adapting her person and saying that the victim wants to hear.  This "adaptable, chameleonic personality" is the psychopath's main weapon in getting person trust. Simultaneously the work is done on discovering weak spots that can be used to manipulate the victim. She turns on the charm  like you turn light in the room -- completely deliverable. Under this fig leaf of charm is hiding her real (rude, callous, mean ) personality, a personality of a Terminator in the nice female body.  What is interesting that typically they complexly despise other females and treat them badly.  

Fake charm that I’m really describing here is a special case of pathological lying. Everything the psychopaths say of done to steer you in the direction of her goal. They are very goal oriented, even more so then male seducers, which also consider the victim as an object. A typical psychopathic trait.  Think about beaten theme of male seducers like Don Juan -- they tell the victim the truth  if and only if it will work to steer the woman to the bed. The same  level of razor sharp goal orientation is completely true for a female psychopath. Like in case of male seducers, female psychopath has a sophisticated often elaborate multistep plan. If for male seducer the goal is simple:  how to get particular woman into his bed, here your mileage may vary. And this plan is created instinctively, almost automatically in the psychopath's mind. In a way they behave as if they are at war, and at war all means are OK to archive victory. In case of female psychopath this ruthlessness in pursuing their goal is masked by the smoke screen of with feminine charm, nice female body, wit and humor, with imitation of weakness or weaker sex, often with some light doze of flirt. But  again, in reality they have steel nerves, and can strangulate, hit with heavy object or poison their victim if that helps -- real Terminators in feminine skin.  Just read a fascinating story about Linda Taylor

Like in case of gifted male seducers the female psychopath has some  “sixth sense”, an uncanny ability see areas where the victim is vulnerable, susceptible to advances, and the ability to anticipate what the victim  will respond to her, to know just the right words to say, to quickly learn your deepest desires so she can pretend to fulfill them, and to learn your deepest fears and insecurities so he can inflict the most damage. While the real focus is completely on getting self-gratification.

Typically female sociopath are very adept to use their intuitive perceptiveness, wit  and charm to gain approval and praise from upper managers. If they feel sympathy they seek intimate relationships with supervisors in order to  increase their status and power over subordinates.  And when the upper manager gives them praise or recognition, such a praise is often  based on charm and canning, and not on ability or usefulness to the organization.

They also have unique and sometime grotesque ability to appropriate achievement s of her subordinates and pretend that they are her own.  As corporate hierarchy works much like Indian casts with little communication between casts such behaviour, the behaviors of a fraud, is almost never detected by their upper managers.  Gender equality policies in modern corporations make their efforts even more effective as upper management is eager to eat fake phony achievement stories to achieve certain organizational goal like percentage of manages at certain level that are woman. such behaviors. Such set of organizational behaviors  in office slang is called "vagina carpet bombing".

Classic cycle of sociopathic  relations (idealize-seduce-devalue-discard)

The description of this cycle now is moved to a separate page Classic idealize-seduce-devalue-deiscard

Female sociopaths in literature and films

Attractive female sociopaths in literature are often called Femme fatale (Wikipedia).  See Films depicting female sociopaths. Some of those films can serve as a teaching guide that help to see under the mask they wear and more quickly detect the typical collection of traits which include:

You should specifically look at, attempts to manipulate you or others,  lying, violating boundaries to get information, impulsivity, lack of tolerance for frustration, inability to deter gratification, trigger-happy behaviour when a person tend to acts before she think and tendency to overreact (especially bouts of anger).  Constellation of those traits make them deviants: people who demonstrate voluntary behaviour that violates significant organizational and moral norms and in doing so threaten the well being of other people or an organization or both. As many companies do not follow their own regulations (Enron is one notable example) and try to hide things that are morally wrong, female sociopaths who have no morals at all  have good prospects of career growth.

All together, this is generally not a good combination of characteristics for either female or a man to have, but in hands of a female they represent a very powerful weapon as the initial assumption is that they represent weaker sex. This is as far from the truth in case of female sociopaths as one can get.   They are really extremely tough, tougher then many males, ruthless, dangerous Terminators in an attractive female body.

They are really extremely tough, tougher then many males, ruthless, dangerous Terminators in an attractive female body.

Using gender as a bulletproof vest

They use their gender as a bulletproof vest and male-dominant atmosphere of many corporate departments (for example, IT departments) provide them an excellent opportunity to advance by exploiting the affirmative policies toward woman. 

They use their gender as a bulletproof vest and  male-dominant atmosphere of many corporate departments (for example IT departments) provide them an excellent opportunity to advance by exploiting the affirmative policies toward woman. 

In case promotion is denied for such a woman, or worse a female sociopath was demoted for some actual misdeeds//blunders, she can became a subtle foe,  especially in a culture that refuses to believe that women are capable of and in fact do commit nasty tricks against men.

Spreading dirty rumors is the specialty of female sociopath and those skills are usually polished since childhood to perfection.  They are accomplished students of lying, cheating, conniving and manipulation with malicious intent. Like all sociopaths they have an uncanny ability to find a character flaw that can to be exploited to their advantage, especially in higher ups to speed their  career advancement and/or to hide of misrepresent damaging blunders.

Using sex as a weapon

Sex is just a weapon for them and sexual relations with higher ups  are used as a cover and as a method of advancement. Sociopaths have lack of empathy and other cognitive deficits which prevent experiencing  "real" feelings. They are cold in a very deep sense of this word. So they need to "play love" which is in reality they are unable to experience. But "technically" they can be extremely seductive as they are masters of imitation, perfect actresses, who have intuitive understanding of their "craft". 

At the same time they consider "winning" a particular male just a business goal, much like acquiring a new car or getting an important customer for the company. A good depiction of such behaviour is provided in the film Dangerous Liaisons - Wikipedia  based on a French novel Les Liaisons dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

... the Marquise de Merteuil (Glenn Close) plots revenge against her ex-lover, the Comte de Gercourt, who has ended their relationship. An amoral, sexually ravenous schemer, Merteuil amuses herself by manipulating men out of boredom, and her resentment of the subservient status of women in 16th-century French aristocratic society. To soothe her wounded pride and embarrass Gercourt, she seeks to arrange the seduction and disgrace of his young virgin fiancée, Cécile de Volanges (Uma Thurman), who has only recently been presented to society after spending her formative years in the shelter of a convent.

Merteuil calls on the rakish and similarly unprincipled Vicomte de Valmont (John Malkovich) to do the deed, offering him her own sexual favors as the reward for a successful conquest. Valmont declines, as he has a seduction of his own in progress: Madame de Tourvel (Michelle Pfeiffer), the virtuous wife of a member of Parliament. Merteuil is amused and incredulous at Valmont's hubris; how can he ever hope to bed a chaste, devoutly religious woman like Madame Tourvel? Never one to refuse a challenge, Valmont modifies the proposal: If he succeeds in sleeping with Tourvel, Merteuil must sleep with him as well. Merteuil accepts, on the condition that he furnish written proof of the liaison.

... ... ...

Variety considered it an "incisive study of sex as an arena for manipulative power games."... Roger Ebert thought the two lead roles were "played to perfection by Close and Malkovich... their arch dialogues together turn into exhausting conversational games, tennis matches of the soul."[11]

There is also "Americanized" adaptation of Les Liaisons dangereuses, the film Cruel Intentions (1999), directed by Roger Kumble and starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Selma Blair and Reese Witherspoon relocates the story to modern-day New York and is set amongst upper-class high school teens. The film had two sequels in 2000 and 2004 starring Amy Adams and Kerr Smith.

Another useful film to watch is The Last Seduction

Victims of female sociopaths are typically women

More than half of the bullies reported to a new UK national helpline are women -- and most of the victims are other women.

We hear so much of women as victims and the disadvantages women encounter in employment, that it sometimes comes as a surprise to realize that women are equally as capable of bullying behavior as men.

Women are supposed to be co-operative rather than competitive, more inclined towards empathy, and less towards seeking dominance. Women are often portrayed as caring more than men about personal experience and feelings.

It may be true that women are less inclined to indulge in vocalized rages - public swearing and shouting - and in physical violence, though I am sure that all of us could think of exceptions. Research indicates, however, that women are inclined towards

Such behavior is evidence of women's socialization: often we do not know how to elicit positive attention, or to assert ourselves so that our views and rights are recognized and respected. So we use inappropriate and ineffectual means to attract attention any way we can. We have been conditioned very early that girls do not shout and scream. No one is surprised, however, if girls go quiet or even sulk.

The problem, however, is that unless people communicate, they will not resolve their differences.

What comes as a shock to many people is just how personally and educationally damaging social and professional isolation and exclusion from networks can be.

More than half of the bullies reported to a new UK national helpline are women - and most of the victims are other women

This page might be a small step alerting to one unanticipated side effect of "gender equality" drive in large corporations, where essentially female managers have a quota to fill. When organizational psychologist Mary Sherry wrote in a national newspaper last month that female managers were far more likely to bully staff than male ones it triggered a large reader response -- almost all backing her view. (Girl power are women the worst bullies - 08-02-2005 by John Charlton )

One unanticipated side effect of "gender equality" drive in large corporations, where essentially female managers have a quota to fill is promotion of female sociopath into management positions

 

Generic methods of fighting sociopaths are applicable

While differences are substantial, most of the findings about behaviour of male psychopaths and methods of resisting them are applicable.

While female sociopath belong to generic category of sociopath the list of genetic traits is always a good starting point. It shows you from which direction they can attack you and how they prepare and (what is the most important) camouflate their attacks.  But details can be revealed only by extensive personal study, working with literature and keeping a diary (that letter is the most important; you should read your observations daily). Without hard work your understanding will necessary be superficial and you might be up for very unpleasant surprises. For staring point see

As bulling and over control in inherent in the female psychopath behavior it make sense to study two related types:

The reason might be that female sociopaths are only are superficially feminine. Under attractive packaging there is a steel core of Terminator in them.

Importance of physical exercise in fighting female psychopaths

Out brains are deeply connected to our bodies. One way to improve your mental stability and the capacities to endure stress is to use vigorous exercise regiment.  This is the point that implicitly was made by prominent neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki in her book Healthy Brain, Happy Life A Personal Program to Activate Your Brain and Do Everything Better. It looks like aerobic exercises are important for mental stability and the ability to cope with stress. Of cause, an important warning attributed to Talleyrand  "Not too much zeal" is applicable here too. Some additional ideas might be extracted from the following reviews:

"... “Exercise is responsible for the majority of the positive brain changes seen with environmental enrichment.”"

A neuroscientist transforms the way we think about our brain, our health, and our personal happiness in this clear, informative, and inspiring guide—a blend of personal memoir, science narrative, and immediately useful takeaways that bring the human brain into focus as never before, revealing the powerful connection between exercise, learning, memory, and cognitive abilities.

Nearing forty, Dr. Wendy Suzuki was at the pinnacle of her career. An award-winning university professor and world-renowned neuroscientist, she had tenure, her own successful research lab, prestigious awards, and international renown.

That’s when to celebrate her birthday, she booked an adventure trip that forced her to wake up to a startling reality: despite her professional success, she was overweight, lonely, and tired and knew that her life had to change. Wendy started simply—by going to an exercise class. Eventually, she noticed an improvement in her memory, her energy levels, and her ability to work quickly and move from task to task easily. Not only did Wendy begin to get fit, but she also became sharper, had more energy, and her memory improved. Being a neuroscientist, she wanted to know why.

What she learned transformed her body and her life. Now, it can transform yours.

Wendy discovered that there is a biological connection between exercise, mindfulness, and action. With exercise, your body feels more alive and your brain actually performs better. Yes—you can make yourself smarter. In this fascinating book, Suzuki makes neuroscience easy to understand, interweaving her personal story with groundbreaking research, and offering practical, short exercises—4 minute Brain Hacks—to engage your mind and improve your memory, your ability to learn new skills, and function more efficiently.

Taking us on an amazing journey inside the brain as never before, Suzuki helps us unlock the keys to neuroplasticity that can change our brains, or bodies, and, ultimately, our lives.

Bassocantor TOP 50 REVIEWER on May 19, 2015

We Have An Enormous Capacity To Change Into The Very Best Version Of Ourselves

HEALTHY BRAIN, HAPPY LIFE is a fun read, filled with all kinds of exciting ways to expand your brain power. My favorite parts of the book are these little sections that the author calls "Brain Hacks." These sections are lists of easy ways to really supercharge your brain and make use of the latent power in it.

Here's the theme in a nutshell: "One thing I know for sure is that brain plasticity endows us with an enormous capacity to change into the very best version of ourselves that we can be." Dr. Suzuki explains that she uses 20 years of research in neuroscience to apply these same principles to her own personal life. She admits that she "Went from living as a virtual lab rat --an overweight middle aged woman would had achieved many things in science, but who could not seem to figure out how to also be a healthy, happy woman..."

One of her main discoveries is the powerful mind-body link. The author emphasizes how powerful exercise is. "Exercise is responsible for the majority of the positive brain changes seen with environmental enrichment." And so, Dr. Suzuki invests much time talking about the power of the brain-body connection. Towards that end, she combines physical workouts as a way to energize your brain: "The body has a powerful influence on her brain functions and conversely but the brain has a powerful influence over how are bodies feel and work and heal." Exercise causes definite changes in your body--it boosts the level of three key chemicals that affect mood.

The key is to make your workouts intentional. Towards that end, the author suggests ways to do this--for example, proclaiming affirmations out loud. "Intentional exercise happens when you make exercise both aerobic and mental...You are fully engaged in the moment and trigger a heightened awareness of the brain body connection." In the Brain Hacks suction, the author lists different exercises that would best fit you.

Another great section is the section on creativity. You can actually improve your creative thinking; it is "a particular version of regular thinking they can be practiced and improved like any other cognitive skill." Once again, the author lists great suggestions in the Brain Hacks section on ways to jumpstart your creativity. The key point is to learn something new and "Try to use as many senses as you can." For example, one fun suggestion is to "Sit outside and blindfold yourself for 4 minutes. Then, listen to the world sounds in a new way."

All in all, HEALTHY BRAIN, HAPPY LIFE is a fun, inspiring read. The author is full of great, uplifting ideas. My favorite chapter is the one on creativity. The end of the book contains an extensive Reference section, in which the author documents the various points she makes.
Highly recommend!

Advance copy for impartial review

love2dazzle on June 10, 2015

Happy Life” by Wendy Suzuki is all about focusing on ...

“Healthy Brian, Happy Life” by Wendy Suzuki is all about focusing on expanding your brain power. Our bodies and mind have a very powerful link. Dr. Suzuki has invested her life to focusing on the brain. She goes on to state that “Exercise is responsible for the majority of the positive brain changes seen with environmental enrichment.” Dr. Suzuki is making the point that we need to exercise to work our brain to its fullest potential. She goes on to make the point that you want to make sure the exercise is intentional because that is what exercise you both mentally and aerobically.

The second best way to expand your brain is by creativity. The point of creativity is to learn new things that will improve your brain and your senses. One is able to find different ways to help build and exercise their brain. The author calls some of the tips she gives “Brain Hacks” so I thought this was a great learning tool.

I thought “Healthy Brain, Happy Life” was very insightful. I thought this book had a lot of good tips and was also able to explain the brain and how things worked really well. I did enjoy reading it and learning new things on how I am able to improve my brain function.

Bruny Hudsonon June 13, 2015

Interesting theory for improving one’s life

The book “Healthy Brain, Happy Life” by Wendy Suzuki is about a success story, about the author’s life. It’s entertaining and enriching but sometimes out of touch with reality. Considering that the author is a neuroscientist, her line of reasoning sounds dubious in parts of the book, especially her generalizing concepts of life. Just because an effort has worked for her, it does not mean it will work for someone else. Nevertheless, the book deserves a five-star rating because of the author’s pleasant writing style and the well-explained examples of research in neuroscience.

Transporter chair reviewer, on July 9, 2015

Mainly autobiographical

I saw her interviewed on CBS and found her a charming and energetic person. I am not sure what take always I have from the book, though it interested me since I am also an Asian American woman who is an over achiever, and many of her experiences resonated. I enjoyed the read. I am not sure what type of person I would recommend it to . I am also a doctor. It was fun to review some of the neurobiology and learn some new things.

Literature and films about borderlines as an additional resource

See

A lot of valuable material about female sociopath is provided in books, article, movies and pages related to Borderline Psychopaths. that includes such themes as Divorce which is never easy but with such individual is a minefield.


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[May 18, 2016] Less Than Artful Choices Narcissistic Personality Disorder According to Donald Trump

Notable quotes:
"... So, without further ado, Trump's quotable illustration of the hallmarks of NPD, defined according to DSM-IV as, "A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy." The disorder is indicated by at least five of the following: ..."
Big Think

Donald Trump was born in 1946. 34 years later, in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the American Psychiatric Association's hefty volume of mental disorder classifications, the term "Narcissistic Personality Disorder" (NPD) first appeared as a diagnosable disease – Trump would doubtless say it was created in his honor (characteristic #1 of NPD: An exaggerated sense of self-importance). After all, the newly-minted personality disorder made its debut only nine years after he took the helm of his father's company… and renamed it from Elizabeth Trump & Son to The Trump Organization.

The most recent DSM, DSM-IV, is currently under extensive revision, with DSM-V scheduled for publication sometime in 2013, and both its listed diseases and their definitions are undergoing extensive scrutiny and contentious debate. On the chopping block are five of the ten or so so-called personality disorders, including NPD. Among the reasons for the cut are the frequent overlap between disorders, the general lack of stability of symptoms, and the range of those symptoms in reality, as compared to the either/or approach of the manual (either you have a disorder or you don't). So, before NPD becomes a thing of the past, at least in its current form, I thought we'd take a moment to reflect on some less than artful choices – or the things that make Trump look like he just stepped out of the fourth edition, symptom by symptom.

A caveat: I am obviously exaggerating, both Trump and narcissism. But debate on personality disorders, classifications, diagnoses, and treatments is well worthwhile, and a colorful spokesperson never hurts.

So, without further ado, Trump's quotable illustration of the hallmarks of NPD, defined according to DSM-IV as, "A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy." The disorder is indicated by at least five of the following:

1. An exaggerated sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

A sense of one's own importance, a grandiose feeling that one is alone responsible for any achievement is a hallmark of the narcissist. Grandiosity is one of the central tenets of a narcissistic personality. Narcissists tend to take credit for everything, as if no one else contributed to the end product. Witness Trump's declaration that, "When people see the beautiful marble in Trump Tower, they usually have no idea what I went through personally to achieve the end result. No one cares about the blood, sweat, and tears that art or beauty require." What do you know: not only is Trump a developer and an artistic visionary, but he seems to be a stellar architect and construction worker as well.

And history will agree (naturally). "Anyone who thinks my story is anywhere near over is sadly mistaken," says Trump. Sadly, indeed.

2. Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love How many presidential runs does it take for the process to be defined as a preoccupation rather than an occupation?

I'd leave it at that, except for the existence of this little gem: "My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body." Not only all-powerful, but all-beautiful, too. The man has it all.

3. Believes he is "special" and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions) To narcissists, the "little people" or anyone beneath them (which is mostly everyone) don't matter. Trump's lambasting of Rosie O'Donnell is a good case in point: "Rosie O'Donnell called me a snake oil salesman. And, you know, coming from Rosie, that's pretty low because when you look at her and when you see the mind, the mind is weak. I don't see it. I don't get it. I never understood – how does she even get on television?"

Clearly, Rosie lacks the power to understand the dazzling intellect that is Donald Trump. Trump needs someone of equal status to appreciate his immensity. But it can't be Larry King, because as he told King, "Do you mind if I sit back a little? Because your breath is very bad. It really is. Has this been told to you before?"

4. Requires excessive admiration No matter the sincerity, as long as the praise comes frequently and at a high enough volume. Says Trump, "All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me – consciously or unconsciously. That's to be expected." Clearly. Admired, wherever he may go, even when he's talking about himself in the third person, as in, "Love him or hate him, Trump is a man who is certain about what he wants and sets out to get it, no holds barred. Women find his power almost as much of a turn-on as his money."

As he puts it, "Nobody but a total masochist wants to be criticized."

5. Has a sense of entitlement The world owes the narcissist everything; he, in turn, owes it nothing. I think Trump's attitude can be summed up with this approach to marriage: "I wish I'd had a great marriage. See, my father was always very proud of me, but the one thing he got right was that he had a great marriage. He was married for 64 years. One of my ex-wives once said to me, 'You have to work at a marriage.' And I said, 'That's the most ridiculous thing.'"

6. Selfishly takes advantage of others to achieve his own ends I don't have a quote for this one, but perhaps we can talk to one of his ex-wives.

7. Lacks empathy Narcissists don't sympathize with the feelings of others. Who are these "others," anyway? No one matters except for me. I won't recreate the Rosie rampage in full, but sentiments like, "I'll sue her because it would be fun. I'd like to take some money out of her fat ass pockets," capture the spirit.

8. Is often envious of others or believes others to be envious of him Here, it seems like Trump is dominated by the second sentiment, the expectation that everyone is envious of his success. Everyone wants to be Trump. As he puts it, "The old rich may look down their noses at me, but I think they kiss my ass."

9. Shows arrogant, haughty, patronizing, or contemptuous behaviors or attitudes Again, other people don't matter. They can be treated like nothing, because who are we kidding – nothing is the closest description of what they are.

Clients don't matter. As Trump puts it, "When I build something for somebody, I always add $50 million or $60 million onto the price. My guys come in, they say it's going to cost $75 million. I say it's going to cost $125 million, and I build it for $100 million. Basically, I did a lousy job. But they think I did a great job." Take them for the suckers they are; that's the ticket.

The media doesn't matter. According to Trump, "You know, it really doesn't matter what (the media) write as long as you've got a young and beautiful piece of ass." The piece of ass doesn't matter, either; any will do.

Other businesses don't matter. As Trump says, "If you want to buy something, it's obviously in your best interest to convince the seller that what he's got isn't worth very much."

But it's ok. Trump doesn't have to be nice. After all, it's not like he wants to run for office or anything: "I'm not running for office. I don't have to be politically correct. I don't have to be a nice person. Like I watch some of these weak-kneed politicians, it's disgusting. I don't have to be that way."

Too bad. We need a good candidate. Because according to Trump, "One of the key problems today is that politics is such a disgrace. Good people don't go into government."

[May 18, 2016] Barack Obama – Narcissist or Merely Narcissistic?

Notable quotes:
"... Narcissism is a defense mechanism whose role is to deflect hurt and trauma from the victim's "True Self" into a " False Self " which is omnipotent, invulnerable, and omniscient. This False Self is then used by the narcissist to garner narcissistic supply from his human environment. Narcissistic supply is any form of attention, both positive and negative and it is instrumental in the regulation of the narcissist's labile sense of self-worth. ..."
"... Many narcissists are over-achievers and ambitious. Some of them are even talented and skilled. But they are incapable of team work because they cannot tolerate setbacks. They are easily frustrated and demoralized and are unable to cope with disagreement and criticism. Though some narcissists have meteoric and inspiring careers, in the long-run, all of them find it difficult to maintain long-term professional achievements and the respect and appreciation of their peers. The narcissist's fantastic grandiosity, frequently coupled with a hypomanic mood, is typically incommensurate with his or her real accomplishments (the "grandiosity gap"). ..."
"... An important distinction is between cerebral and somatic narcissists. The cerebrals derive their Narcissistic Supply from their intelligence or academic achievements and the somatics derive their Narcissistic Supply from their physique, exercise, physical or sexual prowess and romantic or physical "conquests". ..."
"... Subtly misrepresents facts and expediently and opportunistically shifts positions, views, opinions, and "ideals" (e.g., about campaign finance, re-districting). These flip-flops do not cause him overt distress and are ego-syntonic (he feels justified in acting this way). Alternatively, reuses to commit to a standpoint and, in the process, evidences a lack of empathy. ..."
"... Narcissism is regarded by many scholars to be an adaptative strategy ("healthy narcissism"). ..."
"... Pathological narcissism is the art of deception. The narcissist projects a False Self and manages all his social interactions through this concocted fictional construct. ..."
"... When the narcissist reveals his true colors, it is usually far too late. His victims are unable to separate from him. They are frustrated by this acquired helplessness and angry at themselves for having they failed to see through the narcissist earlier on. ..."
"... The narcissist instantly idealizes or devalues his interlocutor. This depends on how the narcissist appraises the potential his converser has as a Narcissistic Supply Source. The narcissist flatters, adores, admires and applauds the "target" in an embarrassingly exaggerated and profuse manner or sulks, abuses, and humiliates her. ..."
"... In general, the narcissist always prefers show-off to substance. One of the most effective methods of exposing a narcissist is by trying to delve deeper. The narcissist is shallow, a pond pretending to be an ocean. He likes to think of himself as a Renaissance man, a Jack of all trades. The narcissist never admits to ignorance in any field yet, typically, he is ignorant of them all. It is surprisingly easy to penetrate the gloss and the veneer of the narcissist's self-proclaimed omniscience. ..."
"... In general, the narcissist is very impatient, easily bored, with strong attention deficits unless and until he is the topic of discussion. One can publicly dissect all aspects of the intimate life of a narcissist without repercussions, providing the discourse is not "emotionally tinted". ..."
lettingfreedomring.com
Barack Obama appears to be a narcissist . Granted, only a qualified mental health diagnostician (which I am not) can determine whether someone suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and this, following lengthy tests and personal interviews. But, in the absence of access to Barack Obama, one has to rely on his overt performance and on testimonies by his closest, nearest and dearest.

Narcissistic leaders are nefarious and their effects pernicious. They are subtle, refined, socially-adept, manipulative, possessed of thespian skills, and convincing. Both types equally lack empathy and are ruthless and relentless or driven.

Perhaps it is time to require each candidate to high office in the USA to submit to a rigorous physical and mental checkup with the results made public.

I. Upbringing and Childhood

Obama's early life was decidedly chaotic and replete with traumatic and mentally bruising dislocations. Mixed-race marriages were even less common then. His parents went through a divorce when he was an infant (two years old). Obama saw his father only once again, before he died in a car accident. Then, his mother re-married and Obama had to relocate to Indonesia : a foreign land with a radically foreign culture, to be raised by a step-father. At the age of ten, he was whisked off to live with his maternal (white) grandparents. He saw his mother only intermittently in the following few years and then she vanished from his life in 1979. She died of cancer in 1995.

Pathological narcissism is a reaction to prolonged abuse and trauma in early childhood or early adolescence. The source of the abuse or trauma is immaterial: the perpetrators could be dysfunctional or absent parents, teachers, other adults, or peers.

II. Behavior Patterns

The narcissist:

Narcissism is a defense mechanism whose role is to deflect hurt and trauma from the victim's "True Self" into a " False Self " which is omnipotent, invulnerable, and omniscient. This False Self is then used by the narcissist to garner narcissistic supply from his human environment. Narcissistic supply is any form of attention, both positive and negative and it is instrumental in the regulation of the narcissist's labile sense of self-worth.

Perhaps the most immediately evident trait of patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is their vulnerability to criticism and disagreement. Subject to negative input, real or imagined, even to a mild rebuke, a constructive suggestion, or an offer to help, they feel injured, humiliated and empty and they react with disdain (devaluation), rage, and defiance.

From my book "Malignant Self Love – Narcissism Revisited":

"To avoid such intolerable pain, some patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) socially withdraw and feign false modesty and humility to mask their underlying grandiosity . Dysthymic and depressive disorders are common reactions to isolation and feelings of shame and inadequacy."

Due to their lack of empathy, disregard for others, exploitativeness, sense of entitlement, and constant need for attention (narcissistic supply), narcissists are rarely able to maintain functional and healthy interpersonal relationships.

Many narcissists are over-achievers and ambitious. Some of them are even talented and skilled. But they are incapable of team work because they cannot tolerate setbacks. They are easily frustrated and demoralized and are unable to cope with disagreement and criticism. Though some narcissists have meteoric and inspiring careers, in the long-run, all of them find it difficult to maintain long-term professional achievements and the respect and appreciation of their peers. The narcissist's fantastic grandiosity, frequently coupled with a hypomanic mood, is typically incommensurate with his or her real accomplishments (the "grandiosity gap").

An important distinction is between cerebral and somatic narcissists. The cerebrals derive their Narcissistic Supply from their intelligence or academic achievements and the somatics derive their Narcissistic Supply from their physique, exercise, physical or sexual prowess and romantic or physical "conquests".

Another crucial division within the ranks of patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is between the classic variety (those who meet five of the nine diagnostic criteria included in the DSM), and the compensatory kind (their narcissism compensates for deep-set feelings of inferiority and lack of self-worth).
Obama displays the following behaviors, which are among the hallmarks of pathological narcissism:

III. Body Language

Many complain of the incredible deceptive powers of the narcissist. They find themselves involved with narcissists (emotionally, in business, or otherwise) before they have a chance to discover their true character. Shocked by the later revelation, they mourn their inability to separate from the narcissist and their gullibility.

Narcissists are an elusive breed, hard to spot, harder to pinpoint, impossible to capture. Even an experienced mental health diagnostician with unmitigated access to the record and to the person examined would find it fiendishly difficult to determine with any degree of certainty whether someone suffers from a full fledged Narcissistic Personality Disorder or merely possesses narcissistic traits, a narcissistic style, a personality structure ("character"), or a narcissistic "overlay" superimposed on another mental health problem.

Moreover, it is important to distinguish between traits and behavior patterns that are independent of the patient's cultural-social context (i.e., which are inherent, or idiosyncratic) and reactive patterns, or conformity to cultural and social morals and norms. Reactions to severe life crises or circumstances are also often characterized by transient pathological narcissism, for instance (Ronningstam and Gunderson, 1996). But such reactions do not a narcissist make.

When a person belongs to a society or culture that has often been described as narcissistic by scholars (such as Theodore Millon) and social thinkers (e.g., Christopher Lasch) how much of his behavior can be attributed to his milieu and which of his traits are really his?

The Narcissistic Personality Disorder is rigorously defined in the DSM IV-TR with a set of strict criteria and differential diagnoses.

Narcissism is regarded by many scholars to be an adaptative strategy ("healthy narcissism"). It is considered pathological in the clinical sense only when it becomes a rigid personality structure replete with a series of primitive defence mechanisms (such as splitting, projection, projective identification, or intellectualization) and when it leads to dysfunctions in one or more areas of the patient's life.

Pathological narcissism is the art of deception. The narcissist projects a False Self and manages all his social interactions through this concocted fictional construct.

When the narcissist reveals his true colors, it is usually far too late. His victims are unable to separate from him. They are frustrated by this acquired helplessness and angry at themselves for having they failed to see through the narcissist earlier on.

But the narcissist does emit subtle, almost subliminal, signals ("presenting symptoms") even in a first or casual encounter. Compare the following list to Barack Obama's body language during his public appearances.

These are:

IV. Narcissistic and psychopathic Leaders

The narcissistic or psychopathic leader is the culmination and reification of his period, culture, and civilization. He is likely to rise to prominence in narcissistic societies.

The malignant narcissist invents and then projects a false, fictitious, self for the world to fear, or to admire. He maintains a tenuous grasp on reality to start with and this is further exacerbated by the trappings of power. The narcissist's grandiose self-delusions and fantasies of omnipotence and omniscience are supported by real life authority and the narcissist's predilection to surround himself with obsequious sycophants.

The narcissist's personality is so precariously balanced that he cannot tolerate even a hint of criticism and disagreement. Most narcissists are paranoid and suffer from ideas of reference (the delusion that they are being mocked or discussed when they are not). Thus, narcissists often regard themselves as "victims of persecution".

The narcissistic leader fosters and encourages a personality cult with all the hallmarks of an institutional religion: priesthood, rites, rituals, temples, worship, catechism, mythology. The leader is this religion's ascetic saint. He monastically denies himself earthly pleasures (or so he claims) in order to be able to dedicate himself fully to his calling.

The narcissistic leader is a monstrously inverted Jesus, sacrificing his life and denying himself so that his people – or humanity at large – should benefit. By surpassing and suppressing his humanity, the narcissistic leader became a distorted version of Nietzsche's "superman".

But being a-human or super-human also means being a-sexual and a-moral.

In this restricted sense, narcissistic leaders are post-modernist and moral relativists. They project to the masses an androgynous figure and enhance it by engendering the adoration of nudity and all things "natural" – or by strongly repressing these feelings. But what they refer to as "nature" is not natural at all.

The narcissistic leader invariably proffers an aesthetic of decadence and evil carefully orchestrated and artificial – though it is not perceived this way by him or by his followers. Narcissistic leadership is about reproduced copies, not about originals. It is about the manipulation of symbols – not about veritable atavism or true conservatism.

In short: narcissistic leadership is about theatre, not about life. To enjoy the spectacle (and be subsumed by it), the leader demands the suspension of judgment, depersonalization, and de-realization. Catharsis is tantamount, in this narcissistic dramaturgy, to self-annulment.

Narcissism is nihilistic not only operationally, or ideologically. Its very language and narratives are nihilistic. Narcissism is conspicuous nihilism – and the cult's leader serves as a role model, annihilating the Man, only to re-appear as a pre-ordained and irresistible force of nature.

Narcissistic leadership often poses as a rebellion against the "old ways" – against the hegemonic culture, the upper classes, the established religions, the superpowers, the corrupt order. Narcissistic movements are puerile, a reaction to narcissistic injuries inflicted upon a narcissistic (and rather psychopathic) toddler nation-state, or group, or upon the leader.

Minorities or "others" – often arbitrarily selected – constitute a perfect, easily identifiable, embodiment of all that is "wrong". They are accused of being old, they are eerily disembodied, they are cosmopolitan, they are part of the establishment, they are "decadent", they are hated on religious and socio-economic grounds, or because of their race, sexual orientation, origin … They are different, they are narcissistic (feel and act as morally superior), they are everywhere, they are defenceless, they are credulous, they are adaptable (and thus can be co-opted to collaborate in their own destruction). They are the perfect hate figure. Narcissists thrive on hatred and pathological envy.

This is precisely the source of the fascination with Hitler, diagnosed by Erich Fromm – together with Stalin – as a malignant narcissist. He was an inverted human. His unconscious was his conscious. He acted out our most repressed drives, fantasies, and wishes. He provides us with a glimpse of the horrors that lie beneath the veneer, the barbarians at our personal gates, and what it was like before we invented civilization. Hitler forced us all through a time warp and many did not emerge. He was not the devil. He was one of us. He was what Arendt aptly called the banality of evil. Just an ordinary, mentally disturbed, failure, a member of a mentally disturbed and failing nation, who lived through disturbed and failing times. He was the perfect mirror, a channel, a voice, and the very depth of our souls.

The narcissistic leader prefers the sparkle and glamour of well-orchestrated illusions to the tedium and method of real accomplishments. His reign is all smoke and mirrors, devoid of substances, consisting of mere appearances and mass delusions. In the aftermath of his regime – the narcissistic leader having died, been deposed, or voted out of office – it all unravels. The tireless and constant prestidigitation ceases and the entire edifice crumbles. What looked like an economic miracle turns out to have been a fraud-laced bubble. Loosely-held empires disintegrate. Laboriously assembled business conglomerates go to pieces. "Earth shattering" and "revolutionary" scientific discoveries and theories are discredited. Social experiments end in mayhem.

It is important to understand that the use of violence must be ego-syntonic. It must accord with the self-image of the narcissist. It must abet and sustain his grandiose fantasies and feed his sense of entitlement. It must conform with the narcissistic narrative.

Thus, a narcissist who regards himself as the benefactor of the poor, a member of the common folk, the representative of the disenfranchised, the champion of the dispossessed against the corrupt elite – is highly unlikely to use violence at first.

The pacific mask crumbles when the narcissist has become convinced that the very people he purported to speak for, his constituency, his grassroots fans, the prime sources of his narcissistic supply – have turned against him. At first, in a desperate effort to maintain the fiction underlying his chaotic personality, the narcissist strives to explain away the sudden reversal of sentiment. "The people are being duped by (the media, big industry, the military, the elite, etc.)", "they don't really know what they are doing", "following a rude awakening, they will revert to form", etc.

When these flimsy attempts to patch a tattered personal mythology fail – the narcissist is injured. Narcissistic injury inevitably leads to narcissistic rage and to a terrifying display of unbridled aggression. The pent-up frustration and hurt translate into devaluation. That which was previously idealized – is now discarded with contempt and hatred.

This primitive defense mechanism is called "splitting". To the narcissist, things and people are either entirely bad (evil) or entirely good. He projects onto others his own shortcomings and negative emotions, thus becoming a totally good object. A narcissistic leader is likely to justify the butchering of his own people by claiming that they intended to kill him, undo the revolution, devastate the economy, or the country, etc.

The "small people", the "rank and file", the "loyal soldiers" of the narcissist – his flock, his nation, his employees – they pay the price. The disillusionment and disenchantment are agonizing. The process of reconstruction, of rising from the ashes, of overcoming the trauma of having been deceived, exploited and manipulated – is drawn-out. It is difficult to trust again, to have faith, to love, to be led, to collaborate. Feelings of shame and guilt engulf the erstwhile followers of the narcissist. This is his sole legacy: a massive post-traumatic stress disorder.

DISCLAIMER

I am not a mental health professional. Still, I have dedicated the last 12 years to the study of personality disorders in general and the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) in particular. I have authored nine (9) books about these topics, one of which is a Barnes and Noble best-seller ("Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited"). My work is widely cited in scholarly tomes and publications and in the media. My books and the content of my Web site are based on correspondence since 1996 with hundreds of people suffering from the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (narcissists) and with thousands of their family members, friends, therapists, and colleagues.

[May 18, 2016] 10 Signs That Youre in a Relationship with a Narcissist

Notable quotes:
"... the narcissist is someone who has "buried his true self-expression in response to early injuries and replaced it with a highly developed, compensatory false self." ..."
"... In our highly individualistic and externally driven society, mild to severe forms of narcissism are not only pervasive but often encouraged. ..."
"... It is more accurate to characterize the pathological narcissist as someone who's in love with an idealized self-image , which they project in order to avoid feeling (and being seen as) the real, disenfranchised, wounded self. Deep down, most pathological narcissists feel like the "ugly duckling," even if they painfully don't want to admit it. ..."
"... Some narcissists have an exaggerated sense of self-importance, believing that others cannot live or survive without his or her magnificent contributions. ..."
"... "Some people try to be tall by cutting off the heads of others" - Paramhansa Yogananda ..."
"... Making decisions for others to suit one's own needs. The narcissist may use his or her romantic partner, child, friend, or colleague to meet unreasonable self-serving needs, fulfill unrealized dreams , or cover up self-perceived inadequacies and flaws. ..."
www.psychologytoday.com

Be on the lookout for these, before you get manipulated.

"That's enough of me talking about myself; let's hear you talk about me"

― Anonymous

"It's not easy being superior to everyone I know."

― Anonymous

Psychologist Stephen Johnson writes that the narcissist is someone who has "buried his true self-expression in response to early injuries and replaced it with a highly developed, compensatory false self." This alternate persona to the real self often comes across as grandiose, "above others," self-absorbed, and highly conceited. In our highly individualistic and externally driven society, mild to severe forms of narcissism are not only pervasive but often encouraged.

Narcissism is often interpreted in popular culture as a person who's in love with him or herself. It is more accurate to characterize the pathological narcissist as someone who's in love with an idealized self-image , which they project in order to avoid feeling (and being seen as) the real, disenfranchised, wounded self. Deep down, most pathological narcissists feel like the "ugly duckling," even if they painfully don't want to admit it.

How do you know when you're dealing with a narcissist? The following are some telltale signs, excerpted from my book (click on title): " How to Successfully Handle Narcissists (link is external) ". While most of us are guilty of some of the following behaviors at one time or another, a pathological narcissist tends to dwell habitually in several of the following personas, while remaining largely unaware of (or unconcerned with) how his or her actions affect others.

1. Conversation Hoarder . The narcissist loves to talk about him or herself, and doesn't give you a chance to take part in a two-way conversation. You struggle to have your views and feelings heard. When you do get a word in, if it's not in agreement with the narcissist, your comments are likely to be corrected, dismissed, or ignored. As in: "My father's favorite responses to my views were: 'but…,' 'actually…,' and 'there's more to it than this…' He always has to feel like he knows better." ― Anonymous

2. Conversation Interrupter. While many people have the poor communication habit of interrupting others, the narcissist interrupts and quickly switches the focus back to herself. He shows little genuine interest in you.

3. Rule Breaker. The narcissist enjoys getting away with violating rules and social norms, such as cutting in line, chronic under-tipping, stealing office supplies, breaking multiple appointments, or disobeying traffic laws. As in: "I take pride in persuading people to give me exceptions to their rules" ― Anonymous

4. Boundary Violator. Shows wanton disregard for other people's thoughts, feelings, possessions, and physical space. Oversteps and uses others without consideration or sensitivity. Borrows items or money without returning. Breaks promises and obligations repeatedly. Shows little remorse and blames the victim for one's own lack of respect. As in: "It's your fault that I forgot because you didn't remind me"― Anonymous

5. False Image Projection. Many narcissists like to do things to impress others by making themselves look good externally. This "trophy" complex can exhibit itself physically, romantically, sexually, socially, religiously, financially, materially, professionally, academically, or culturally. In these situations, the narcissist uses people, objects, status, and/or accomplishments to represent the self, substituting for the perceived, inadequate "real" self. These grandstanding "merit badges" are often exaggerated. The underlying message of this type of display is: "I'm better than you!" or "Look at how special I am-I'm worthy of everyone's love, admiration, and acceptance!" as in: "I dyed my hair blond and enlarged my breasts to get men's attention-and to make other women jealous " - Anonymous. Or "My accomplishments are everything" ― Anonymous executive Or "I never want to be looked upon as poor. My fiancé and I each drive a Mercedes. The best man at our upcoming wedding also drives a Mercedes." ― Anonymous.

In a big way, these external symbols become pivotal parts of the narcissist's false identity, replacing the real and injured self.

6. Entitlement. Narcissists often expect preferential treatment from others. They expect others to cater (often instantly) to their needs, without being considerate in return. In their mindset, the world revolves around them.

7. Charmer. Narcissists can be very charismatic and persuasive. When they're interested in you (for their own gratification), they make you feel very special and wanted. However, once they lose interest in you (most likely after they've gotten what they want, or became bored), they may drop you without a second thought. A narcissist can be very engaging and sociable, as long as you're fulfilling what she desires, and giving her all of your attention.

8. Grandiose Personality. Thinking of oneself as a hero or heroine, a prince or princess, or one of a kind special person. Some narcissists have an exaggerated sense of self-importance, believing that others cannot live or survive without his or her magnificent contributions. As in: "I'm looking for a man who will treat my daughter and me like princesses" ― Anonymous singles ad. Or: "Once again I saved the day-without me, they're nothing" ― Anonymous

9. Negative Emotions. Many narcissists enjoy spreading and arousing negative emotions to gain attention, feel powerful, and keep you insecure and off-balance. They are easily upset at any real or perceived slights or inattentiveness. They may throw a tantrum if you disagree with their views, or fail to meet their expectations. They are extremely sensitive to criticism, and typically respond with heated argument (fight) or cold detachment (flight). On the other hand, narcissists are often quick to judge, criticize, ridicule, and blame you. Some narcissists are emotionally abusive. By making you feel inferior, they boost their fragile ego, and feel better about themselves. As in: "Some people try to be tall by cutting off the heads of others" - Paramhansa Yogananda

10. Manipulation: Using Others as an Extension of Self. Making decisions for others to suit one's own needs. The narcissist may use his or her romantic partner, child, friend, or colleague to meet unreasonable self-serving needs, fulfill unrealized dreams , or cover up self-perceived inadequacies and flaws. As in: "If my son doesn't grow up to be a professional baseball player, I'll disown him" ― Anonymous father. Or: "Aren't you beautiful? Aren't you beautiful? You're going to be just as pretty as mommy" ― Anonymous mother

Another way narcissists manipulate is through guilt, such as proclaiming, "I've given you so much, and you're so ungrateful," or, "I'm a victim-you must help me or you're not a good person." They hijack your emotions, and beguile you to make unreasonable sacrifices.

If you find yourself in a relationship with a difficult narcissist, there are many strategies and skills you can utilize to help restore health , balance, and respect. In my book (click on title): " How to Successfully Handle Narcissists (link is external) ," you'll learn how to maintain composure, ways to be proactive instead of reactive, seven powerful strategies to handle narcissists, eight ways to say "no" diplomatically but firmly, keys to negotiate successfully with narcissists, and seven types of power you can utilize to compel cooperation .

For more on dealing with difficult people, see my publications (click on titles):

Follow me on Twitter (link is external) , Facebook (link is external) , and LinkedIn (link is external) !

Preston Ni, M.S.B.A. is available as a presenter, workshop facilitator, and private coach. For more information, write to commsuccess@nipreston.com (link sends e-mail) , or visit www.nipreston.com (link is external) .



Old News ;-)

4 Warning Signs You're Dating a Narcissist World of Psychology

That is what a relationship with a narcissist is like. In the beginning there's flash and excitement. Their presence is magnetic and he or she seems larger than life. They are intelligent, charming, and popular, and when they're the center of attention, some of the spotlight shines on you, too, leaving you glowing with pride, importance, and accomplishment. Yet after a while, you discover that under the surface the relationship is hollow. Soon, the excitement and status wear thin.

This is because a true narcissist lacks inner qualities necessary for a healthy bond: empathic perspective-taking, a moral conscience, stable confidence, and the ability to be intimate and genuine with another human being. Being in a relationship with a narcissist (especially if you don't realize they are one) can leave you feeling worthless, emotionally exhausted, and unfulfilled.

So how can you know if you are in this kind of "hollow chocolate bunny" relationship before it crashes and burns in heartache? Do you have to wait until your relationship sours to find out? Not necessarily. Spotting the signs early means being able to avoid getting entangled in a narcissist's web, and could spare you from doing the challenging, messy work of digging yourself out later.

Here's a few signs to look for in your partner, which may signal that the person you are dating has narcissistic tendencies, and the negative effects those behaviors can have on you:

1. He poses as "The Most Interesting Man in the World."

A narcissist may initially intrigue you with his or her apparent confidence, swagger, or audacity, regaling you with stories about accomplishments, rubbing elbows with influential people, or their innumerable talents and gifts. He or she may seem fun and magnetic, always the center of attention and the life of the party, but this may actually be a facade - a ploy to satisfy the narcissist's pathological need for praise and reassurance. You may come to find out that the stories are exaggerated (or altogether false), their confidence is artificial and fragile, and his or her need for attention may trump good judgment or others' needs.

2. You feel talked down to.

Because narcissists deeply lack self-esteem, almost everything else in their lives is orchestrated to hide their weaknesses and give them a temporary sense of power and success. This can take the form of subtle insults that cause you to question your worth, such as a dismissive sneer when you make an observation, a condescending "that's nice" when you share an accomplishment you're proud of, or demeaning comments about your behavior or appearance.

When you look to a partner who is a narcissist, it can feel like you're looking into a funhouse mirror and getting back a distorted view of yourself. Your flaws seem to be highlighted and your strengths diminished - a careful ruse constructed to ensure the narcissist holds themselves in a more flattering light.

3. She acts like the victim.

Narcissism also is characterized by extreme self-centeredness. Anything that is outside the narcissist's experience or that contradicts his or her beliefs is wrong, foolish, or crazy. For this reason, a conflict with a narcissist is almost certain to end with all the blame being directed to you. This, combined with the funhouse mirror effect, can make even minor arguments emotionally exhausting.

Nothing you say can convince the narcissist that you're not making intentional and irrational attacks against him or her. In the narcissist's eyes, you're somehow responsible for their sadness, anger, or even immoral behavior.

4. Your relationship feels one-sided and shallow.

When it's time to move from casual to committed, this is where the "hollow chocolate bunny" effect of narcissism really shows through. A relationship with a narcissist is unlikely ever to reach greater depths of sharing, emotion, and intimacy.

A narcissist is likely to spend time with you when it suits his or her emotional, physical, or sexual needs, and dismiss or ignore your needs, desires, and preferences. Your time together is likely to be marked by a lack of genuine interest in anything other than him- or herself. For example, you could get late-night calls when he or she is distraught, excited, or wants something but similar calls from you may not even be answered. Attempts to share your deeper thoughts, beliefs, or feelings may be given lip service, ignored, or dismissed.

If these seem to describe your current relationship, don't panic. In fact, seize the opportunity to reflect and evaluate your twosome. These red flags may help shed light on the dysfunction you're bearing and guide you away from further pain. If you want to make things work, there are ways to cope with dating or living with a narcissist, including developing conflict-resolution skills and bolstering your own confidence and self-esteem to shield you against narcissistic attacks.

Ultimately, knowledge is power. Being aware of signs of narcissism (and some of the problems that can arise from dating a narcissist) allows you to be prepared and to make informed decisions about the relationship.

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7 Strategies for Dealing With the Narcissist You Love

Dr. Craig Malkin | Posted 06.23.2014 | Healthy Living

Read More: Healthy Relationships, Attachment, Narcissist, Relationships, Dating a Narcissist, Narcissism, Unhealthy Relationships, Insecurity, Narcissists, Emotional Intelligence, Healthy Living News


If you've tried a more loving approach to sharing what hurts in your relationship, and the narcissist in your life still won't soften, you truly have done everything you can.

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Can Narcissists Change?

Dr. Craig Malkin | Posted 11.10.2013 | Healthy Living

Read More: Narcissism, Healthy Relationships, Narcissists, Unhealthy Relationships, Attachment, Narcissist, Relationships, Dating a Narcissist, Emotional Intelligence, Insecurity, Healthy Living News


As a therapist, I've seen firsthand that changing relational patterns often transforms even the most inflexible "trait" into something softer, gentler -- not a fixed feature, but a protection that eventually yields to touch and intimacy in all the ways one would hope.

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5 Early Warning Signs You're With A Narcissist

Dr. Craig Malkin | Posted 07.30.2013 | Women

Read More: Attachment, Narcissism, Insecurity, Relationships, Emotional Intelligence, Tina Swithin, Narcissist, Video, Healthy Relationships, Unhealthy Relationships, Dating a Narcissist, Narcissists, Women News


The most glaring problems are easy to spot -- but if you get too hung up on the obvious traits, you can easily miss the subtle (and often more common) features that allow a narcissist to sneak into your life and wreak havoc.

[May 18, 2016] Obamas Malignant Narcissism

www.americanthinker.com
Here's a partial checklist . You decide.

1. "Common to malignant narcissism is narcissistic rage . Narcissistic rage is a reaction to narcissistic injury (when the narcissist feels degraded by another person, typically in the form of criticism )."
2. "When the narcissist's grandiose sense of self-worth is perceived as being attacked by another person, the narcissist's natural reaction is to rage and pull down the self-worth of others (to make the narcissist feel superior to others). It is an attempt by the narcissist to soothe their internal pain and hostility, while at the same time rebuilding their self worth."
3. "Narcissistic rage also occurs when the narcissist perceives that he/she is being prevented from accomplishing their grandiose fantasies."
4. "Because the narcissist derives pleasure from the fulfillment of their grandiose dreams (akin to an addiction), anyone standing between the narcissist and their (wish) fulfillment ... may be subject to narcissistic rage. Narcissistic rage will frequently include yelling and berating of the person that has slighted the narcissist, but if strong enough could provoke more hostile feelings."
5. "Individuals with malignant narcissism will display a two faced personality. Creation of a 'false self' is linked to the narcissist's fear of being inadequate or inferior to others and this mask becomes ingrained into their personality so as to project a sense of superiority to others at all times."
6. "The narcissist gains a sense of esteem from the feedback of other people as it is common for the malignant narcissist to suffer from extremely low levels of self-esteem."
7. "The ... false self of the malignant narcissist is created because the real self doesn't meet his or her own expectations. Instead, the narcissist tends to mimic emotional displays of other people and creates a grandiose self to harbor their internalized fantasies of greatness."
8. "The [false self] is used by the narcissist to present to the outside world what appears to be a normal, functioning human being and to help maintain his or her own fantasies of an idealized self. The narcissist constantly builds upon this false self, creating a fictional character that is used to show off to the world and to help them feed off the emotions of other people."
There's ongoing debate about "malignant narcissism" as a diagnosis, and some people prefer to use the standard DSM-IV version . It doesn't make much difference in this case.

... ... ...

It's possible that Obama may be a "fanatic type" of narcissist. That could mean a world of trouble for the Democrats, for the nation, and given his position in the world, for other countries as well.
Here is Theodore Millon's definition of the fanatic type:
fanatic type - including paranoid features. A severely narcissistically wounded individual, usually with major paranoid tendencies who holds onto an illusion of omnipotence. These people are fighting the reality of their insignificance and lost value and are trying to re-establish their self-esteem through grandiose fantasies and self-reinforcement. When unable to gain recognition of support from others, they take on the role of a heroic or worshipped person with a grandiose mission.

[May 18, 2016] Can Narcissists Change

Notable quotes:
"... Trait labels like narcissist, or the admittedly less stigmatizing ones like extrovert and introvert, merely provide a shorthand description. They're a stand-in for "this person scored high on a trait measure of narcissism or extroversion or introversion." They can never hope to capture the whole person. ..."
"... For more by Dr. Craig Malkin, click here . ..."
"... For more on emotional intelligence, click here . ..."
www.huffingtonpost.com

The author is a Clinical Psychologist, Lecturer Harvard Medical School

At the end of May 2013, I wrote an article titled "5 Early Warning Signs You're With a Narcissist." It sparked a number of rich conversations through comments, emails, Facebook and Twitter . Not surprisingly, the vast majority of reactions came from people who feared they were currently in a relationship with a narcissist. Nevertheless, some of them - often among the most heartfelt and desperate of messages - came from people who'd either been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), or felt convinced they met criteria for the diagnosis. From both sides, the same question surfaced again and again: Is there hope for those with NPD and the people who love them? Is there anything we can do if we see early warning signs or actual diagnostic criteria besides end the relationship? As simple as they might seem on the surface, questions like these resonate with some of the deepest concerns in psychology. Can we change our personalities? More to the point, can people who meet criteria for personality disorders open themselves up to new and better experiences in relationships and in the world? I'm going to go on record as saying, yes, I do believe it's possible for people to change, even if they've been diagnosed with something as deeply entrenched and formidable as a personality disorder.

Trait labels like narcissist, or the admittedly less stigmatizing ones like extrovert and introvert, merely provide a shorthand description. They're a stand-in for "this person scored high on a trait measure of narcissism or extroversion or introversion." They can never hope to capture the whole person. (Bear in mind that even Jung, who introduced the latter concepts, firmly believed we all possess both an introvert and an extrovert side , regardless of how much we tend to one side or the other.) Nevertheless, when they become diagnostic labels, like "narcissist" or "Narcissistic Personality Disorder," these stark descriptions imply something that goes far beyond a tendency or a style - they suggest permanence and a set of stable enduring features. I have more hope than this. I believe that rather than simply being "who we are," our personalities are also patterns of interaction. That is, personality, whether disordered or not , has as much to do with how (and with whom) we interact as it does with our genes and wired-in temperament.

So what pattern does the narcissist follow? Many have suggested that NPD emerges from an environment in which vulnerability comes to feel dangerous, representing, at worst, either a grave defect, or at best, a stubborn barrier to becoming a worthwhile human being - that's simplifying a great deal of research and theory, but it's a workable summary - hence the correlation between NPD and insecure attachment styles , in which fears of depending on anyone at all engender constant attempts to control the relationship or avoid intimacy altogether. If you devote yourself to directing interactions or holding people at arms length, it's a lot harder to become vulnerable (needless to say, the "safety" is largely an illusion). People with NPD have learned to ignore, suppress, deny, project and disavow their vulnerabilities (or at least try) in their attempts to shape and reshape "who they are" in their interactions. Change - allowing the vulnerability back in - means opening up to the very feelings they've learned to avoid at all costs. It's not that people with NPD can't change, it's that it often threatens their sense of personhood to try. And their failed relationships often confirm, in their minds, that narcissism is the safest way to live. Put another way, narcissists can't be narcissistic in a vacuum. They need the right audience in order to feel like a star, for example, so they often cultivate relationships with people who stick around for the show, instead of the person. Over time, as their perfect façade starts to slip, their constant fear that people will find them lacking becomes a horrifying reality. The very people who stuck around for the show lose interest when it ends - which merely convinces the narcissist they need to hide their flaws and put on a better show. Alternatively, even when they fall for someone who could be more than just an adoring fan - someone who offers the hope of a more authentic, enduring love - narcissists still live with the paralyzing fear they'll somehow be deemed unworthy. Their terror is frequently out of awareness, and nearly always managed with bravado and blame, but it's profound and palpable. Sadly, their anger at having their mistakes and missteps exposed ultimately alienates their loved ones, and the demise of yet another relationship prompts them to redouble their efforts to avoid vulnerability - in short, it pushes them towards more narcissism.

The sad irony of the narcissistic condition is that, in an effort to protect themselves, narcissists inevitably invite the very rejection and abandonment they fear in the first place. The key then, to interacting with someone you suspect is narcissistic, is to break the vicious circle - to gently thwart their frantic efforts to control, distance, defend or blame in the relationship by sending the message that you're more than willing to connect with them, but not on these terms - to invite them into a version of intimacy where they can be loved and admired, warts and all - if they only allow the experience to happen. As a therapist, I've seen firsthand that changing relational patterns often transforms even the most inflexible "trait" into something softer, gentler - not a fixed feature, but a protection that eventually yields to touch and intimacy in all the ways one would hope. Narcissism is a way of relating. Not everyone can shift into a more flexible form of intimacy, but some can, and in the next post, I plan to share steps you can take to help you decide whether or not the person you're with is capable of seeing themselves - and you - through a less-constricting lens than the narcissistic worldview. If you like my posts, let me know! Let's connect on facebook and twitter. I frequently respond to comments and questions there. And feel free to check out www.drcraigmalkin.com for more tips and advice, as well as information on my book in progress . For more by Dr. Craig Malkin, click here . For more on emotional intelligence, click here .

[May 18, 2016] 5 Early Warning Signs Youre With a Narcissist

Notable quotes:
"... Feelings are a natural consequence of being human, and we tend to have lots of them in the course of normal interactions. But the very fact of having a feeling in the presence of another person suggests you can be touched emotionally by friends, family, partners, and even the occasional tragedy or failure. Narcissists abhor feeling influenced in any significant way. It challenges their sense of perfect autonomy; to admit to a feeling of any kind suggests they can be affected by someone or something outside of them. So they often change the subject when feelings come up, especially their own, and as quick as they might be to anger, it's often like pulling teeth to get them to admit that they've reached the boiling point - even when they're in the midst of the most terrifying tirade. ..."
"... If you like my posts, let me know! Let's connect on facebook and twitter. I frequently respond to comments and questions there. And feel free to check out www.drcraigmalkin.com for more tips and advice, as well as information on my book in progress . ..."
"... For more by Dr. Craig Malkin, click here . ..."
www.huffingtonpost.com

Dr. Craig Malkin , Author, Clinical Psychologist, Lecturer Harvard Medical School

At the beginning of April this year, I was tapped by the Huffington Post Live team for a discussion on narcissism . I happily agreed to appear, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that narcissism happens to be one of my favorite subjects. Early in my training, I had the pleasure of working with one of the foremost authorities on narcissism in our field, and in part because of that experience, I went on to work with quite a few clients who'd been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder . That's where I learned that the formal diagnostic label hardly does justice to the richness and complexity of this condition. The most glaring problems are easy to spot - the apparent absence of even a shred of empathy, the grandiose plans and posturing, the rage at being called out on the slightest of imperfections or normal human missteps - but if you get too hung up on the obvious traits, you can easily miss the subtle (and often more common) features that allow a narcissist to sneak into your life and wreak havoc. Just ask Tina Swithin , who went on to write a book about surviving her experience with a man who clearly meets criteria for NPD (and very likely, a few other diagnoses). To her lovestruck eyes, her soon-to-be husband seemed more like a prince charming than the callous, deceitful spendthrift he later proved to be. Looking back, Tina explains, there were signs of trouble from the start, but they were far from obvious at the time. In real life, the most dangerous villains rarely advertise their malevolence. So what are we to do? How do we protect ourselves from narcissists if they're so adept at slipping into our lives unnoticed? I shared some of my answers to that question in our conversation, and I encourage you to watch it. But there were a few I didn't get to, and others I didn't have the chance to describe in depth, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to revisit the topic here. Tread carefully if you catch a glimpse of any of these subtler signs:

1) Projected Feelings of Insecurity: I don't mean that narcissists see insecurity everywhere. I'm talking about a different kind of projection altogether, akin to playing hot potato with a sense of smallness and deficiency. Narcissists say and do things, subtle or obvious, that make you feel less smart, less accomplished, less competent. It's as if they're saying, "I don't want to feel this insecure and small; here, you take the feelings." Picture the boss who questions your methods after their own decision derails an important project, the date who frequently claims not to understand what you've said, even when you've been perfectly clear, or the friend who always damns you with faint praise ("Pretty good job this time!"). Remember the saying: "Don't knock your neighbor's porch light out to make yours shine brighter." Well, the narcissist loves to knock out your lights to seem brighter by comparison.

2) Emotion-phobia: Feelings are a natural consequence of being human, and we tend to have lots of them in the course of normal interactions. But the very fact of having a feeling in the presence of another person suggests you can be touched emotionally by friends, family, partners, and even the occasional tragedy or failure. Narcissists abhor feeling influenced in any significant way. It challenges their sense of perfect autonomy; to admit to a feeling of any kind suggests they can be affected by someone or something outside of them. So they often change the subject when feelings come up, especially their own, and as quick as they might be to anger, it's often like pulling teeth to get them to admit that they've reached the boiling point - even when they're in the midst of the most terrifying tirade.

3) A Fragmented Family Story: Narcissism seems to be born of neglect and abuse, both of which are notorious for creating an insecure attachment style (for more on attachment, see here and here ). But the very fact that narcissists, for all their posturing, are deeply insecure, also gives us an easy way to spot them. Insecurely attached people can't talk coherently about their family and childhood; their early memories are confused, contradictory, and riddled with gaps. Narcissists often give themselves away precisely because their childhood story makes no sense, and the most common myth they carry around is the perfect family story. If your date sings their praises for their exalted family but the reasons for their panegyric seem vague or discursive, look out. The devil is in the details, as they say - and very likely, that's why you're not hearing them.

4) Idol Worship: Another common narcissistic tendency you might be less familiar with is the habit of putting people on pedestals. The logic goes a bit like this: "If I find someone perfect to be close to, maybe some of their perfection will rub off on me, and I'll become perfect by association." The fact that no one can be perfect is usually lost on the idol-worshipping narcissist - at least until they discover, as they inevitably do, that their idol has clay feet. And stand back once that happens. Few experiences can prepare you for the vitriol of a suddenly disappointed narcissist. Look out for any pressure to conform to an image of perfection, no matter how lovely or magical the compulsive flattery might feel.

5) A High Need for Control: For the same reason narcissists often loathe the subject of feelings, they can't stand to be at the mercy of other people's preferences; it reminds them that they aren't invulnerable or completely independent - that, in fact, they might have to ask for what they want - and even worse, people may not feel like meeting the request. Rather than express needs or preferences themselves, they often arrange events (and maneuver people) to orchestrate the outcomes they desire. In the extreme form, this can manifest as abusive, controlling behaviors. (Think of the man who berates his wife when dinner isn't ready as soon as he comes home. He lashes out precisely because at that very moment, he's forced to acknowledge that he depends on his wife, something he'd rather avoid.) But as with most of these red flags, the efforts at control are often far subtler than outright abuse. Be on the look out for anyone who leaves you feeling nervous about approaching certain topics or sharing your own preferences. Narcissists have a way of making choices feel off-limits without expressing any anger at all - a disapproving wince, a last-minute call to preempt the plans, chronic lateness whenever you're in charge of arranging a night together. It's more like a war of attrition on your will than an outright assault on your freedom. None of these signs, in isolation, proves that you're with a narcissist. But if you see a lot of them, it's best to sit up and take notice. They're all way of dodging vulnerability, and that's a narcissist's favorite tactic.

If you like my posts, let me know! Let's connect on facebook and twitter. I frequently respond to comments and questions there. And feel free to check out www.drcraigmalkin.com for more tips and advice, as well as information on my book in progress . For more by Dr. Craig Malkin, click here .

[May 18, 2016] Is Donald Trump Actually a Narcissist Therapists Weigh In!

Notable quotes:
"... As Dr. Robert Klitzman, a professor of psychiatry and the director of the master's of bioethics program at Columbia University, pointed out, the American Psychiatric Association declares it unethical for psychiatrists to comment on an individual's mental state without examining him personally and having the patient's consent to make such comments. ..."
"... To degrade people is really part of a cluster-B personality disorder: it's antisocial and shows a lack of remorse for other people. The way to make it O.K. to attack someone verbally, psychologically, or physically is to lower them. That's what he's doing. ..."
"... Narcissists are not necessarily liars, but they are notoriously uncomfortable with the truth. The truth means the potential to feel ashamed. If all they have to show the world as a source of feeling acceptable is their success and performance, be it in business or sports or celebrity, then the risk of people seeing them fail or squander their success is so difficult to their self-esteem that they feel ashamed. We call it the narcissistic injury. They're uncomfortable with their own limitations. It's not that they're cut out to lie, it's just that they can't handle what's real ..."
"... Most narcissists don't seek treatment unless there's someone threatening to take something away from them. There'd have to be some kind of meaningful consequence for him to come in. ..."
"... They're aware; the problem is, they don't care. They know how you'd like them to act; the problem is, they've got a different set of rules. The kind of approach that can have some impact is confrontational. It confronts distorted thinking and behavior patterns in the here-and-now moment when the narcissists are doing their thing in the session. It's confronted on the spot; you invite them to do something different, then you reinforce them for doing so. ..."
www.vanityfair.com

Vanity Fair

As his presidential campaign trundles forward, millions of sane Americans are wondering: What exactly is wrong with this strange individual? Now, we have an answer.

For mental-health professionals, Donald Trump is at once easily diagnosed but slightly confounding. "Remarkably narcissistic," said developmental psychologist Howard Gardner, a professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education. "Textbook narcissistic personality disorder," echoed clinical psychologist Ben Michaelis. "He's so classic that I'm archiving video clips of him to use in workshops because there's no better example of his characteristics," said clinical psychologist George Simon, who conducts lectures and seminars on manipulative behavior. "Otherwise, I would have had to hire actors and write vignettes. He's like a dream come true."

That mental-health professionals are even willing to talk about Trump in the first place may attest to their deep concern about a Trump presidency. As Dr. Robert Klitzman, a professor of psychiatry and the director of the master's of bioethics program at Columbia University, pointed out, the American Psychiatric Association declares it unethical for psychiatrists to comment on an individual's mental state without examining him personally and having the patient's consent to make such comments. This so-called Goldwater rule arose after the publication of a 1964 Fact magazine article in which psychiatrists were polled about Senator Barry Goldwater's fitness to be president. Senator Goldwater brought a $2 million suit against the magazine and its publisher; the Supreme Court awarded him $1 in compensatory damages and $75,000 in punitive damages.

But you don't need to have met Donald Trump to feel like you know him; even the smallest exposure can make you feel like you've just crossed a large body of water in a small boat with him. Indeed, though narcissistic personality disorder was removed from the most recent issue of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, for somewhat arcane reasons, the traits that have defined the disorder in the past-grandiosity; an expectation that others will recognize one's superiority; a lack of empathy-are writ large in Mr. Trump's behavior.

"He's very easy to diagnose," said psychotherapist Charlotte Prozan. "In the first debate, he talked over people and was domineering. He'll do anything to demean others, like tell Carly Fiorina he doesn't like her looks. 'You're fired!' would certainly come under lack of empathy. And he wants to deport immigrants, but [two of] his wives have been immigrants." Michaelis took a slightly different twist on Trump's desire to deport immigrants: "This man is known for his golf courses, but, with due respect, who does he think works on these golf courses?"

Mr. Trump's bullying nature-taunting Senator John McCain for being captured in Vietnam, or saying Jeb Bush has "low energy"-is in keeping with the narcissistic profile. "In the field we use clusters of personality disorders," Michaelis said. "Narcissism is in cluster B, which means it has similarities with histrionic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder. There are similarities between them. Regardless of how you feel about John McCain, the man served-and suffered. Narcissism is an extreme defense against one's own feelings of worthlessness. To degrade people is really part of a cluster-B personality disorder: it's antisocial and shows a lack of remorse for other people. The way to make it O.K. to attack someone verbally, psychologically, or physically is to lower them. That's what he's doing."

What of Trump's tendency to position himself as a possible savior to the economy despite the fact that four of his companies have declared bankruptcy? "It's mind-boggling to me that that's not the story," said Michaelis. "This man has been given more than anyone could ever hope for," he added, referring to the fact that Trump is not wholly self-made, "yet he's failed miserably time and time again." Licensed clinical social worker Wendy Terrie Behary, the author of Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed, said,

"Narcissists are not necessarily liars, but they are notoriously uncomfortable with the truth. The truth means the potential to feel ashamed. If all they have to show the world as a source of feeling acceptable is their success and performance, be it in business or sports or celebrity, then the risk of people seeing them fail or squander their success is so difficult to their self-esteem that they feel ashamed. We call it the narcissistic injury. They're uncomfortable with their own limitations. It's not that they're cut out to lie, it's just that they can't handle what's real."

Indeed, the need to protect or exalt the self is at odds with the job requirements of a president. Michaelis said, "He's applying for the greatest job in the land, the greatest task of which is to serve, but there's nothing about the man that is service-oriented. He's only serving himself." As Prozan sees it, "He keeps saying he could negotiate with Putin because he's good at deals. But diplomacy involves a back and forth between equals." Dr. Klitzman added, "I have never met Donald Trump and so cannot comment on his psychological state. However, I think that, in general, many candidates who run for president are driven in large part by ego. I hope that does not preclude their motivation to govern with the best interests of the public as a whole in mind. Yet for some candidates, that may, alas, be a threat."

Asked what, if Mr. Trump were their patient, they would "work on" with him, several of the therapists laughed. "I'd be shocked if he walked in my door," said Behary. "Most narcissists don't seek treatment unless there's someone threatening to take something away from them. There'd have to be some kind of meaningful consequence for him to come in." Simon concurred but added, "There is help available, but it doesn't look like the help people are used to. It's not insight-oriented psychotherapy, because narcissists already have insight. They're aware; the problem is, they don't care. They know how you'd like them to act; the problem is, they've got a different set of rules. The kind of approach that can have some impact is confrontational. It confronts distorted thinking and behavior patterns in the here-and-now moment when the narcissists are doing their thing in the session. It's confronted on the spot; you invite them to do something different, then you reinforce them for doing so."

But for at least one mental-health professional, the Trump enigma, or should we say non-enigma, is larger than the bluster of the man whose own Web site calls him "the very definition of the American success story, continually setting the standards of excellence"-to this mind-set, Trump may be a kind of bellwether. Mr. Gardner said, "For me, the compelling question is the psychological state of his supporters. They are unable or unwilling to make a connection between the challenges faced by any president and the knowledge and behavior of Donald Trump. In a democracy, that is disastrous."

[May 16, 2016] Stockholm Syndrome The Psychological Mystery of Loving an Abuser, Page 1

Notable quotes:
"... In the final analysis, emotionally bonding with an abuser is actually a strategy for survival for victims of abuse and intimidation. The "Stockholm Syndrome" reaction in hostage and/or abuse situations is so well recognized at this time that police hostage negotiators no longer view it as unusual. ..."
"... Stockholm Syndrome (SS) can also be found in family, romantic, and interpersonal relationships. The abuser may be a husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, father or mother, or any other role in which the abuser is in a position of control or authority. ..."
"... In relationships with abusers, a birthday card, a gift (usually provided after a period of abuse), or a special treat are interpreted as not only positive, but evidence that the abuser is not "all bad" and may at some time correct his/her behavior. Abusers and controllers are often given positive credit for not abusing their partner, when the partner would have normally been subjected to verbal or physical abuse in a certain situation. An aggressive and jealous partner may normally become intimidating or abusive in certain social situations, as when an opposite-sex coworker waves in a crowd. After seeing the wave, the victim expects to be verbally battered and when it doesn't happen, that "small kindness" is interpreted as a positive sign. ..."
"... During the relationship, the abuser/controller may share information about their past - how they were mistreated, abused, neglected, or wronged. ..."
"... Sympathy may develop toward the abuser and we often hear the victim of Stockholm Syndrome defending their abuser with "I know he fractured my jaw and ribs…but he's troubled. He had a rough childhood!" ..."
"... Keep in mind: once you become hardened to the "sad stories", they will simply try another approach. I know of no victim of abuse or crime who has heard their abuser say "I'm beating (robbing, mugging, etc.) you because my Mom hated me!" ..."
"... In abusive and controlling relationships, the victim has the sense they are always "walking on eggshells" - fearful of saying or doing anything that might prompt a violent/intimidating outburst. For their survival, they begin to see the world through the abuser's perspective. They begin to fix things that might prompt an outburst, act in ways they know makes the abuser happy, or avoid aspects of their own life that may prompt a problem. If we only have a dollar in our pocket, then most of our decisions become financial decisions. If our partner is an abuser or controller, then the majority of our decisions are based on our perception of the abuser's potential reaction. We become preoccupied with the needs, desires, and habits of the abuser/controller. ..."
"... Controlling partners have increased the financial obligations/debt in the relationship to the point that neither partner can financially survive on their own. ..."
"... The legal ending of a relationship, especially a marital relationship, often creates significant problems. ..."
"... The Controller often uses extreme threats including threatening to take the children out of state, threatening to quit their job/business rather than pay alimony/support, threatening public exposure of the victim's personal issues, or assuring the victim they will never have a peaceful life due to nonstop harassment. ..."
counsellingresource.com
While the psychological condition in hostage situations became known as "Stockholm Syndrome" due to the publicity, the emotional "bonding" with captors was a familiar story in psychology. It had been recognized many years before and was found in studies of other hostage, prisoner, or abusive situations such as:

In the final analysis, emotionally bonding with an abuser is actually a strategy for survival for victims of abuse and intimidation. The "Stockholm Syndrome" reaction in hostage and/or abuse situations is so well recognized at this time that police hostage negotiators no longer view it as unusual. In fact, it is often encouraged in crime situations as it improves the chances for survival of the hostages. On the down side, it also assures that the hostages experiencing "Stockholm Syndrome" will not be very cooperative during rescue or criminal prosecution. Local law enforcement personnel have long recognized this syndrome with battered women who fail to press charges, bail their battering husband/boyfriend out of jail, and even physically attack police officers when they arrive to rescue them from a violent assault.

Stockholm Syndrome (SS) can also be found in family, romantic, and interpersonal relationships. The abuser may be a husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, father or mother, or any other role in which the abuser is in a position of control or authority.

It's important to understand the components of Stockholm Syndrome as they relate to abusive and controlling relationships. Once the syndrome is understood, it's easier to understand why victims support, love, and even defend their abusers and controllers.

Every syndrome has symptoms or behaviors, and Stockholm Syndrome is no exception. While a clear-cut list has not been established due to varying opinions by researchers and experts, several of these features will be present:

Stockholm Syndrome doesn't occur in every hostage or abusive situation. In another bank robbery involving hostages, after terrorizing patrons and employees for many hours, a police sharpshooter shot and wounded the terrorizing bank robber. After he hit the floor, two women picked him up and physically held him up to the window for another shot. As you can see, the length of time one is exposed to abuse/control and other factors are certainly involved.

It has been found that four situations or conditions are present that serve as a foundation for the development of Stockholm Syndrome. These four situations can be found in hostage, severe abuse, and abusive relationships:

By considering each situation we can understand how Stockholm Syndrome develops in romantic relationships as well as criminal/hostage situations. Looking at each situation:

Perceived Threat to One's Physical/Psychological Survival

The perception of threat can be formed by direct, indirect, or witnessed methods. Criminal or antisocial partners can directly threaten your life or the life of friends and family. Their history of violence leads us to believe that the captor/controller will carry out the threat in a direct manner if we fail to comply with their demands. The abuser assures us that only our cooperation keeps our loved ones safe.

Indirectly, the abuser/controller offers subtle threats that you will never leave them or have another partner, reminding you that people in the past have paid dearly for not following their wishes. Hints are often offered such as "I know people who can make others disappear". Indirect threats also come from the stories told by the abuser or controller - how they obtained revenge on those who have crossed them in the past. These stories of revenge are told to remind the victim that revenge is possible if they leave.

Witnessing violence or aggression is also a perceived threat. Witnessing a violent temper directed at a television set, others on the highway, or a third party clearly sends us the message that we could be the next target for violence. Witnessing the thoughts and attitudes of the abuser/controller is threatening and intimidating, knowing that we will be the target of those thoughts in the future.

The "Small Kindness" Perception

In threatening and survival situations, we look for evidence of hope - a small sign that the situation may improve. When an abuser/controller shows the victim some small kindness, even though it is to the abuser's benefit as well, the victim interprets that small kindness as a positive trait of the captor. In criminal/war hostage situations, letting the victim live is often enough. Small behaviors, such as allowing a bathroom visit or providing food/water, are enough to strengthen the Stockholm Syndrome in criminal hostage events.

In relationships with abusers, a birthday card, a gift (usually provided after a period of abuse), or a special treat are interpreted as not only positive, but evidence that the abuser is not "all bad" and may at some time correct his/her behavior. Abusers and controllers are often given positive credit for not abusing their partner, when the partner would have normally been subjected to verbal or physical abuse in a certain situation. An aggressive and jealous partner may normally become intimidating or abusive in certain social situations, as when an opposite-sex coworker waves in a crowd. After seeing the wave, the victim expects to be verbally battered and when it doesn't happen, that "small kindness" is interpreted as a positive sign.

Similar to the small kindness perception is the perception of a "soft side". During the relationship, the abuser/controller may share information about their past - how they were mistreated, abused, neglected, or wronged. The victim begins to feel the abuser/controller may be capable of fixing their behavior or worse yet, that they (abuser) may also be a "victim". Sympathy may develop toward the abuser and we often hear the victim of Stockholm Syndrome defending their abuser with "I know he fractured my jaw and ribs…but he's troubled. He had a rough childhood!"

Losers and abusers may admit they need psychiatric help or acknowledge they are mentally disturbed; however, it's almost always after they have already abused or intimidated the victim. The admission is a way of denying responsibility for the abuse. In truth, personality disorders and criminals have learned over the years that personal responsibility for their violent/abusive behaviors can be minimized and even denied by blaming their bad upbringing, abuse as a child, and now even video games. One murderer blamed his crime on eating too much junk food - now known as the "Twinkie Defense". While it may be true that the abuser/controller had a difficult upbringing, showing sympathy for his/her history produces no change in their behavior and in fact, prolongs the length of time you will be abused. While "sad stories" are always included in their apologies - after the abusive/controlling event - their behavior never changes! Keep in mind: once you become hardened to the "sad stories", they will simply try another approach. I know of no victim of abuse or crime who has heard their abuser say "I'm beating (robbing, mugging, etc.) you because my Mom hated me!"

Isolation from Perspectives Other than those of the Captor

In abusive and controlling relationships, the victim has the sense they are always "walking on eggshells" - fearful of saying or doing anything that might prompt a violent/intimidating outburst. For their survival, they begin to see the world through the abuser's perspective. They begin to fix things that might prompt an outburst, act in ways they know makes the abuser happy, or avoid aspects of their own life that may prompt a problem. If we only have a dollar in our pocket, then most of our decisions become financial decisions. If our partner is an abuser or controller, then the majority of our decisions are based on our perception of the abuser's potential reaction. We become preoccupied with the needs, desires, and habits of the abuser/controller.

Taking the abuser's perspective as a survival technique can become so intense that the victim actually develops anger toward those trying to help them. The abuser is already angry and resentful toward anyone who would provide the victim support, typically using multiple methods and manipulations to isolate the victim from others. Any contact the victim has with supportive people in the community is met with accusations, threats, and/or violent outbursts. Victims then turn on their family - fearing family contact will cause additional violence and abuse in the home. At this point, victims curse their parents and friends, tell them not to call and to stop interfering, and break off communication with others. Agreeing with the abuser/controller, supportive others are now viewed as "causing trouble" and must be avoided. Many victims threaten their family and friends with restraining orders if they continue to "interfere" or try to help the victim in their situation. On the surface it would appear that they have sided with the abuser/controller. In truth, they are trying to minimize contact with situations that might make them a target of additional verbal abuse or intimidation. If a casual phone call from Mom prompts a two-hour temper outburst with threats and accusations - the victim quickly realizes it's safer if Mom stops calling. If simply telling Mom to stop calling doesn't work, for his or her own safety the victim may accuse Mom of attempting to ruin the relationship and demand that she stop calling.

In severe cases of Stockholm Syndrome in relationships, the victim may have difficulty leaving the abuser and may actually feel the abusive situation is their fault. In law enforcement situations, the victim may actually feel the arrest of their partner for physical abuse or battering is their fault. Some women will allow their children to be removed by child protective agencies rather than give up the relationship with their abuser. As they take the perspective of the abuser, the children are at fault - they complained about the situation, they brought the attention of authorities to the home, and they put the adult relationship at risk. Sadly, the children have now become a danger to the victim's safety. For those with Stockholm Syndrome, allowing the children to be removed from the home decreases their victim stress while providing an emotionally and physically safer environment for the children.

Perceived Inability to Escape

As a hostage in a bank robbery, threatened by criminals with guns, it's easy to understand the perceived inability to escape. In romantic relationships, the belief that one can't escape is also very common. Many abusive/controlling relationships feel like till-death-do-us-part relationships - locked together by mutual financial issues/assets, mutual intimate knowledge, or legal situations. Here are some common situations:

In unhealthy relationships and definitely in Stockholm Syndrome there is a daily preoccupation with "trouble". Trouble is any individual, group, situation, comment, casual glance, or cold meal that may produce a temper tantrum or verbal abuse from the controller or abuser. To survive, "trouble" is to be avoided at all costs. The victim must control situations that produce trouble. That may include avoiding family, friends, co-workers, and anyone who may create "trouble" in the abusive relationship. The victim does not hate family and friends; they are only avoiding "trouble"! The victim also cleans the house, calms the children, scans the mail, avoids certain topics, and anticipates every issue of the controller or abuse in an effort to avoid "trouble". In this situation, children who are noisy become "trouble". Loved ones and friends are sources of "trouble" for the victim who is attempting to avoid verbal or physical aggression.

Stockholm Syndrome in relationships is not uncommon. Law enforcement professionals are painfully aware of the situation - making a domestic dispute one of the high-risk calls during work hours. Called by neighbors during a spousal abuse incident, the abuser is passive upon arrival of the police, only to find the abused spouse upset and threatening the officers if their abusive partner is arrested for domestic violence. In truth, the victim knows the abuser/controller will retaliate against him/her if 1) they encourage an arrest, 2) they offer statements about the abuse/fight that are deemed disloyal by the abuser, 3) they don't bail them out of jail as quickly as possible, and 4) they don't personally apologize for the situation - as though it was their fault.

Stockholm Syndrome produces an unhealthy bond with the controller and abuser. It is the reason many victims continue to support an abuser after the relationship is over. It's also the reason they continue to see "the good side" of an abusive individual and appear sympathetic to someone who has mentally and sometimes physically abused them.

Is There Something Else Involved?

In a short response - Yes! Throughout history, people have found themselves supporting and participating in life situations that range from abusive to bizarre. In talking to these active and willing participants in bad and bizarre situations, it is clear they have developed feelings and attitudes that support their participation. One way these feelings and thoughts are developed is known as "cognitive dissonance". As you can tell, psychologists have large words and phrases for just about everything.

"Cognitive Dissonance" explains how and why people change their ideas and opinions to support situations that do not appear to be healthy, positive, or normal. In the theory, an individual seeks to reduce information or opinions that make him or her uncomfortable. When we have two sets of cognitions (knowledge, opinion, feelings, input from others, etc.) that are the opposite, the situation becomes emotionally uncomfortable. Even though we might find ourselves in a foolish or difficult situation - few want to admit that fact. Instead, we attempt to reduce the dissonance - the fact that our cognitions don't match, agree, or make sense when combined. "Cognitive Dissonance" can be reduced by adding new cognitions - adding new thoughts and attitudes. Some examples:

Leon Festinger first coined the term "Cognitive Dissonance". He had observed a cult (1956) in which members gave up their homes, incomes, and jobs to work for the cult. This cult believed in messages from outer space that predicted the day the world would end by a flood. As cult members and firm believers, they believed they would be saved by flying saucers at the appointed time. As they gathered and waited to be taken by flying saucers at the specified time, the end-of-the-world came and went. No flood and no flying saucer! Rather than believing they were foolish after all that personal and emotional investment - they decided their beliefs had actually saved the world from the flood and they became firmer in their beliefs after the failure of the prophecy. The moral: the more you invest (income, job, home, time, effort, etc.) the stronger your need to justify your position. If we invest $5.00 in a raffle ticket, we justify losing with "I'll get them next time". If you invest everything you have, it requires an almost unreasoning belief and unusual attitude to support and justify that investment.

Studies tell us we are more loyal and committed to something that is difficult, uncomfortable, and even humiliating. The initiation rituals of college fraternities, Marine boot camp, and graduate school all produce loyal and committed individuals. Almost any ordeal creates a bonding experience. Every couple, no matter how mismatched, falls in love in the movies after going through a terrorist takeover, being stalked by a killer, being stranded on an island, or being involved in an alien abduction. Investment and an ordeal are ingredients for a strong bonding - even if the bonding is unhealthy. No one bonds or falls in love by being a member of the Automobile Club or a music CD club. Struggling to survive on a deserted island - you bet!

Abusive relationships produce a great amount on unhealthy investment in both parties. In many cases we tend to remain and support the abusive relationship due to our investment in the relationship. Try telling a new Marine that since he or she has survived boot camp, they should now enroll in the National Guard! Several types of investments keep us in the bad relationship:

Emotional Investment
We've invested so many emotions, cried so much, and worried so much that we feel we must see the relationship through to the finish.
Social Investment
We've got our pride! To avoid social embarrassment and uncomfortable social situations, we remain in the relationship.
Family Investments
If children are present in the relationship, decisions regarding the relationship are clouded by the status and needs of the children.
Financial Investment
In many cases, the controlling and abusive partner has created a complex financial situation. Many victims remain in a bad relationship, waiting for a better financial situation to develop that would make their departure and detachment easier.
Lifestyle Investment
Many controlling/abusive partners use money or a lifestyle as an investment. Victims in this situation may not want to lose their current lifestyle.
Intimacy Investment
We often invest emotional and sexual intimacy. Some victims have experienced a destruction of their emotional and/or sexual self-esteem in the unhealthy relationship. The abusing partner may threaten to spread rumors or tell intimate details or secrets. A type of blackmail using intimacy is often found in these situations.

In many cases, it's not simply our feelings for an individual that keep us in an unhealthy relationship - it's often the amount of investment. Relationships are complex and we often only see the tip of the iceberg in public. For this reason, the most common phrase offered by the victim in defense of their unhealthy relationship is "You just don't understand!"

Combining Two Unhealthy Conditions

The combination of "Stockholm Syndrome" and "cognitive dissonance" produces a victim who firmly believes the relationship is not only acceptable, but also desperately needed for their survival. The victim feels they would mentally collapse if the relationship ended. In long-term relationships, the victims have invested everything and placed "all their eggs in one basket". The relationship now decides their level of self-esteem, self-worth, and emotional health.

For reasons described above, the victim feels family and friends are a threat to the relationship and eventually to their personal health and existence. The more family/friends protest the controlling and abusive nature of the relationship, the more the victim develops cognitive dissonance and becomes defensive. At this point, family and friends become victims of the abusive and controlling individual.

Importantly, both Stockholm Syndrome and cognitive dissonance develop on an involuntary basis. The victim does not purposely invent this attitude. Both develop as an attempt to exist and survive in a threatening and controlling environment and relationship. Despite what we might think, our loved one is not in the unhealthy relationship to irritate us, embarrass us, or drive us to drink. What might have begun as a normal relationship has turned into a controlling and abusive situation. They are trying to survive. Their personality is developing the feelings and thoughts needed to survive the situation and lower their emotional and physical risks. All of us have developed attitudes and feelings that help us accept and survive situations. We have these attitudes/feelings about our jobs, our community, and other aspects of our life. As we have found throughout history, the more dysfunctional the situation, the more dysfunctional our adaptation and thoughts to survive. The victim is engaged in an attempt to survive and make a relationship work. Once they decide it doesn't work and can't be fixed, they will need our support as we patiently await their decision to return to a healthy and positive lifestyle.

Family and Friends of the Victim

When a family is confronted with a loved one involved with a 'Loser' or controlling/abusive individual, the situation becomes emotionally painful and socially difficult for the family. (See " Are You Dating a Loser? Identifying Losers, Controllers and Abusers ".) While each situation is different, some general guidelines to consider are:

Final Thoughts

You may be the victim of a controlling and abusive partner, seeking an understanding of your feelings and attitudes. You may have a son, daughter, or friend currently involved with a controlling and abusive partner, looking for ways to understand and help.

If a loved one is involved with a Loser, a controlling and abusing partner, the long-term outcome is difficult to determine due to the many factors involved. If their relationship is in the "dating" phase, they may end the relationship on their own. If the relationship has continued for over a year, they may require support and an exit plan before ending the relationship. Marriage and children further complicate their ability to leave the situation. When the victim decides to end the unhappy relationship, it's important that they view loved ones as supportive, loving, and understanding - not as a source of pressure, guilt, or aggression.

This article is an attempt to understand the complex feelings and attitudes that are as puzzling to the victim as they are to family and friends. Separately, I've outlined recommendations for detaching from a Loser or controlling/abusive individual, but clearly, there are more victims in this situation. (See " Are You Dating a Loser? Identifying Losers, Controllers and Abusers ".) It is hoped this article is helpful to family and friends who worry, cry, and have difficulty understanding the situation of their loved one. It has been said that knowledge is power. Hopefully this knowledge will prove helpful and powerful to victims and their loved ones.

Please consider this article as a general guideline. Some recommendations may be appropriate and helpful while some may not apply to a specific situation. In many cases, we may need additional professional help of a mental health or legal nature.

[May 16, 2016] https://www.reddit.com/r/raisedbynarcissists/comments/29dhay/good_movies_about_narcissistic/

www.reddit.com

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    [–] dopebojangles ADoNM with BPD 3 points 4 points 5 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    Also Betty Draper in the show Mad Men.

    [–] rammaam 1 point 2 points 3 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    And American Horror Story Coven. Jessica Lange plays a NM.

    [–] [deleted] 4 points 5 points 6 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    American Beauty - Annette Bennings character is a classic N

    [–] [deleted] 3 points 4 points 5 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    Ordinary People is a great one that may still be on Netflix.

    [–] Sub_Salac 3 points 4 points 5 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    I suspect the mother in Excision (2012) is an N. One of my favorite movies.

    [–] throwaway98721214 ACoN now NC with the entire FOO. 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (3 children)

    Films:

    Notes on a Scandal (Barbara) Oranges are not the only fruit (Mother) Drop Dead Fred (Mother) and as always, Tangled (Mother Gothel)

    (With the first two, the original books are quite harrowing (and accurate) in depicting the actions of an authority figure with NPD)

    TV shows: Nashville Season 2, eps 19 & 20 (Clare's mother)

    (I'm sure there's loads more than that, and they'll come to me!)

    [–] KissMyAspergers NAunt, Parent(s) with FLEAS 1 point 2 points 3 points 1 year ago (2 children)

    Seconding Tangled.

    [–] 1234567ate Nmom, Edad, SGsis 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (1 child)

    I can't even watch the part where she sings "mother knows best" it gives me the creeps..... Reminds me of my NMom....

    [–] KissMyAspergers NAunt, Parent(s) with FLEAS 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    Right? It's fucked up.

    [–] ArabRedditor 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    BATES MOTEL.

    The mother is the N, the younger child is the golden child, and the older son is the Scapegoat.

    [–] Dotdotbludot 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    I love the original, Gaslight (1944). Ingrid Bergman is slowly driven mad by her handsome new husband. It perfectly demonstrates Gaslighting abuse. Oddly, my Nmom loved the film, too. It can be hard to watch for those of us who have a lot of practice with recognizing red flags. Bergman's character is so trusting and walks right into so many N-traps!

    [–] PagingDrLector 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    I always thought the mother in Igby Goes Down was an Nmom.

    [–] modecat forging a new path 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    I think White Oleander is amazing. An amazing portrayal of narcissism. Just excellent. I can still feel the sting from that one. Just smolders.

    It's always so interesting when you watch a movie and start to figure out it's about narcissism.

    For me, as soon as I found RBN, all of a sudden every movie i watched was about a narcissist or his victim. It was so weird.

    [–] jm_kaye 1 point 2 points 3 points 1 year ago (1 child)

    Frances (1982) about Frances Farmer. Although she clearly had serious mental problems, her mother was absolutely no help.

    [–] modecat forging a new path 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    Yup, i think Frances makes such a great depiction of it. This movie is so sad. Just awful.

    [–] ArtichokeOwl 1 point 2 points 3 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    The Sopranos. Tony's mom is sooooo much like my Nmom!! Also the mother in Requiem for a Dream resonates with me a bit.

    [–] KissMyAspergers NAunt, Parent(s) with FLEAS 1 point 2 points 3 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    Just about anything involving serial killers (e.g. Criminal Minds) is gonna feature narcissism at some point.

    [–] DmKrispin ADoNM -1 points 0 points 1 point 1 year ago (0 children)

    Now Voyager (1942) starring Bette Davis and Paul Heinried.

  • [May 16, 2016] Barack Obama – Narcissist or Merely Narcissistic?

    Notable quotes:
    "... Narcissism is a defense mechanism whose role is to deflect hurt and trauma from the victim's "True Self" into a " False Self " which is omnipotent, invulnerable, and omniscient. This False Self is then used by the narcissist to garner narcissistic supply from his human environment. Narcissistic supply is any form of attention, both positive and negative and it is instrumental in the regulation of the narcissist's labile sense of self-worth. ..."
    lettingfreedomring.com
    Dr. Sam Vaknin, Ph.D

    January 28, 2012

    Barack Obama appears to be a narcissist . Granted, only a qualified mental health diagnostician (which I am not) can determine whether someone suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and this, following lengthy tests and personal interviews. But, in the absence of access to Barack Obama, one has to rely on his overt performance and on testimonies by his closest, nearest and dearest.

    Narcissistic leaders are nefarious and their effects pernicious. They are subtle, refined, socially-adept, manipulative, possessed of thespian skills, and convincing. Both types equally lack empathy and are ruthless and relentless or driven.

    Perhaps it is time to require each candidate to high office in the USA to submit to a rigorous physical and mental checkup with the results made public.

    I. Upbringing and Childhood

    Obama's early life was decidedly chaotic and replete with traumatic and mentally bruising dislocations. Mixed-race marriages were even less common then. His parents went through a divorce when he was an infant (two years old). Obama saw his father only once again, before he died in a car accident. Then, his mother re-married and Obama had to relocate to Indonesia : a foreign land with a radically foreign culture, to be raised by a step-father. At the age of ten, he was whisked off to live with his maternal (white) grandparents. He saw his mother only intermittently in the following few years and then she vanished from his life in 1979. She died of cancer in 1995.

    Pathological narcissism is a reaction to prolonged abuse and trauma in early childhood or early adolescence. The source of the abuse or trauma is immaterial: the perpetrators could be dysfunctional or absent parents, teachers, other adults, or peers.

    II. Behavior Patterns

    The narcissist:

    * Feels grandiose and self-important (e.g., exaggerates accomplishments, talents, skills, contacts, and personality traits to the point of lying, demands to be recognised as superior without commensurate achievements);

    * Is obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance (the cerebral narcissist), bodily beauty or sexual performance (the somatic narcissist), or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or passion;

    * Firmly convinced that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people (or institutions);

    * Requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation â€" or, failing that, wishes to be feared and to be notorious ( Narcissistic Supply );

    * Feels entitled. Demands automatic and full compliance with his or her unreasonable expectations for special and favourable priority treatment;

    * Is "interpersonally exploitative", i.e., uses others to achieve his or her own ends;

    * Devoid of empathy. Is unable or unwilling to identify with, acknowledge, or accept the feelings, needs, preferences, priorities, and choices of others;

    * Constantly envious of others and seeks to hurt or destroy the objects of his or her frustration. Suffers from persecutory (paranoid) delusions as he or she believes that they feel the same about him or her and are likely to act similarly;

    * Behaves arrogantly and haughtily. Feels superior, omnipotent, omniscient, invincible, immune, "above the law", and omnipresent ( magical thinking ). Rages when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted by people he or she considers inferior to him or her and unworthy.

    Narcissism is a defense mechanism whose role is to deflect hurt and trauma from the victim's "True Self" into a " False Self " which is omnipotent, invulnerable, and omniscient. This False Self is then used by the narcissist to garner narcissistic supply from his human environment. Narcissistic supply is any form of attention, both positive and negative and it is instrumental in the regulation of the narcissist's labile sense of self-worth.

    Perhaps the most immediately evident trait of patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is their vulnerability to criticism and disagreement. Subject to negative input, real or imagined, even to a mild rebuke, a constructive suggestion, or an offer to help, they feel injured, humiliated and empty and they react with disdain (devaluation), rage, and defiance.

    From my book "Malignant Self Love – Narcissism Revisited":

    "To avoid such intolerable pain, some patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) socially withdraw and feign false modesty and humility to mask their underlying grandiosity . Dysthymic and depressive disorders are common reactions to isolation and feelings of shame and inadequacy."

    Due to their lack of empathy, disregard for others, exploitativeness, sense of entitlement, and constant need for attention (narcissistic supply), narcissists are rarely able to maintain functional and healthy interpersonal relationships.

    Many narcissists are over-achievers and ambitious. Some of them are even talented and skilled. But they are incapable of team work because they cannot tolerate setbacks. They are easily frustrated and demoralized and are unable to cope with disagreement and criticism. Though some narcissists have meteoric and inspiring careers, in the long-run, all of them find it difficult to maintain long-term professional achievements and the respect and appreciation of their peers. The narcissist's fantastic grandiosity, frequently coupled with a hypomanic mood, is typically incommensurate with his or her real accomplishments (the "grandiosity gap").

    An important distinction is between cerebral and somatic narcissists. The cerebrals derive their Narcissistic Supply from their intelligence or academic achievements and the somatics derive their Narcissistic Supply from their physique, exercise, physical or sexual prowess and romantic or physical "conquests".

    Another crucial division within the ranks of patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is between the classic variety (those who meet five of the nine diagnostic criteria included in the DSM), and the compensatory kind (their narcissism compensates for deep-set feelings of inferiority and lack of self-worth).
    Obama displays the following behaviors, which are among the hallmarks of pathological narcissism:

    * Subtly misrepresents facts and expediently and opportunistically shifts positions, views, opinions, and "ideals" (e.g., about campaign finance, re-districting). These flip-flops do not cause him overt distress and are ego-syntonic (he feels justified in acting this way). Alternatively, reuses to commit to a standpoint and, in the process, evidences a lack of empathy.

    Ignores data that conflict with his fantasy world, or with his inflated and grandiose self-image. This has to do with magical thinking. Obama already sees himself as president because he is firmly convinced that his dreams, thoughts, and wishes affect reality. Additionally, he denies the gap between his fantasies and his modest or limited real-life achievements (for instance, in 12 years of academic career, he hasn't published a single scholarly paper or book).

    – Feels that he is above the law, incl. and especially his own laws.

    – Talks about himself in the 3rd person singluar or uses the regal "we" and craves to be the exclusive center of attention, even adulation

    – Have a messianic-cosmic vision of himself and his life and his "mission".

    – Sets ever more complex rules in a convoluted world of grandiose fantasies with its own language (jargon)

    – Displays false modesty and unctuous "folksiness" but unable to sustain these behaviors (the persona, or mask) for long. It slips and the true Obama is revealed: haughty, aloof, distant, and disdainful of simple folk and their lives.

    – Sublimates aggression and holds grudges.

    – Behaves as an eternal adolescent (e.g., his choice of language, youthful image he projects, demands indulgence and feels entitled to special treatment, even though his objective accomplishments do not justify it).

    III. Body Language

    Many complain of the incredible deceptive powers of the narcissist. They find themselves involved with narcissists (emotionally, in business, or otherwise) before they have a chance to discover their true character. Shocked by the later revelation, they mourn their inability to separate from the narcissist and their gullibility.

    Narcissists are an elusive breed, hard to spot, harder to pinpoint, impossible to capture. Even an experienced mental health diagnostician with unmitigated access to the record and to the person examined would find it fiendishly difficult to determine with any degree of certainty whether someone suffers from a full fledged Narcissistic Personality Disorder or merely possesses narcissistic traits, a narcissistic style, a personality structure ("character"), or a narcissistic "overlay" superimposed on another mental health problem.

    Moreover, it is important to distinguish between traits and behavior patterns that are independent of the patient's cultural-social context (i.e., which are inherent, or idiosyncratic) and reactive patterns, or conformity to cultural and social morals and norms. Reactions to severe life crises or circumstances are also often characterized by transient pathological narcissism, for instance (Ronningstam and Gunderson, 1996). But such reactions do not a narcissist make.

    When a person belongs to a society or culture that has often been described as narcissistic by scholars (such as Theodore Millon) and social thinkers (e.g., Christopher Lasch) how much of his behavior can be attributed to his milieu and which of his traits are really his?

    The Narcissistic Personality Disorder is rigorously defined in the DSM IV-TR with a set of strict criteria and differential diagnoses.

    Narcissism is regarded by many scholars to be an adaptative strategy ("healthy narcissism"). It is considered pathological in the clinical sense only when it becomes a rigid personality structure replete with a series of primitive defence mechanisms (such as splitting, projection, projective identification, or intellectualization) and when it leads to dysfunctions in one or more areas of the patient's life.

    Pathological narcissism is the art of deception. The narcissist projects a False Self and manages all his social interactions through this concocted fictional construct.

    When the narcissist reveals his true colors, it is usually far too late. His victims are unable to separate from him. They are frustrated by this acquired helplessness and angry at themselves for having they failed to see through the narcissist earlier on.

    But the narcissist does emit subtle, almost subliminal, signals ("presenting symptoms") even in a first or casual encounter. Compare the following list to Barack Obama's body language during his paublic appearances.

    These are:

    "Haughty" body language. The narcissist adopts a physical posture which implies and exudes an air of superiority, seniority, hidden powers, mysteriousness, amused indifference, etc. Though the narcissist usually maintains sustained and piercing eye contact, he often refrains from physical proximity (he is "territorial").

    The narcissist takes part in social interactions, even mere banter, condescendingly, from a position of supremacy and faux "magnanimity and largesse". But he rarely mingles socially and prefers to remain the "observer", or the "lone wolf".

    Entitlement markers. The narcissist immediately asks for "special treatment" of some kind. Not to wait his turn, to have a longer or a shorter therapeutic session, to talk directly to authority figures (and not to their assistants or secretaries), to be granted special payment terms, to enjoy custom tailored arrangements – or to get served first.

    The narcissist is the one who vocally and demonstratively demands the undivided attention of the head waiter in a restaurant, or monopolizes the hostess, or latches on to celebrities in a party. The narcissist reacts with rage and indignantly when denied his wishes and if treated equally with others whom he deems inferior.

    Idealization or devaluation. The narcissist instantly idealizes or devalues his interlocutor. This depends on how the narcissist appraises the potential his converser has as a Narcissistic Supply Source. The narcissist flatters, adores, admires and applauds the "target" in an embarrassingly exaggerated and profuse manner or sulks, abuses, and humiliates her.

    Narcissists are polite only in the presence of a potential Supply Source. But they are unable to sustain even perfunctory civility and fast deteriorate to barbs and thinly-veiled hostility, to verbal or other violent displays of abuse, rage attacks, or cold detachment.

    The "membership" posture. The narcissist always tries to "belong". Yet, at the very same time, he maintains his stance as an outsider. The narcissist seeks to be admired for his ability to integrate and ingratiate himself without investing the efforts commensurate with such an undertaking.

    For instance: if the narcissist talks to a psychologist, the narcissist first states emphatically that he never studied psychology. He then proceeds to make seemingly effortless use of obscure professional terms, thus demonstrating that he mastered the discipline all the same, as an autodidact, which proves that he is exceptionally intelligent or introspective.

    In general, the narcissist always prefers show-off to substance. One of the most effective methods of exposing a narcissist is by trying to delve deeper. The narcissist is shallow, a pond pretending to be an ocean. He likes to think of himself as a Renaissance man, a Jack of all trades. The narcissist never admits to ignorance in any field yet, typically, he is ignorant of them all. It is surprisingly easy to penetrate the gloss and the veneer of the narcissist's self-proclaimed omniscience.

    Bragging and false autobiography. The narcissist brags incessantly. His speech is peppered with "I", "my", "myself", and "mine". He describes himself as intelligent, or rich, or modest, or intuitive, or creative but always excessively, implausibly, and extraordinarily so.

    The narcissist's biography sounds unusually rich and complex. His achievements incommensurate with his age, education, or renown. Yet, his actual condition is evidently and demonstrably incompatible with his claims. Very often, the narcissist lies or his fantasies are easily discernible. He always name-drops and appropriates other people's experiences and accomplishments.

    Emotion-free language. The narcissist likes to talk about himself and only about himself. He is not interested in others or what they have to say, unless they constitute potential Sources of Supply and in order to obtain said supply. He acts bored, disdainful, even angry, if he feels that they are intruding on his precious time and, thus, abusing him.

    In general, the narcissist is very impatient, easily bored, with strong attention deficits unless and until he is the topic of discussion. One can publicly dissect all aspects of the intimate life of a narcissist without repercussions, providing the discourse is not "emotionally tinted".

    If asked to relate directly to his emotions, the narcissist intellectualizes, rationalizes, speaks about himself in the third person and in a detached "scientific" tone or composes a narrative with a fictitious character in it, suspiciously autobiographical. Narcissists like to refer to themselves in mechanical terms, as efficient automata or machines.

    Seriousness and sense of intrusion and coercion. The narcissist is dead serious about himself. He may possess a subtle, wry, and riotous sense of humor, scathing and cynical, but rarely is he self-deprecating. The narcissist regards himself as being on a constant mission, whose importance is cosmic and whose consequences are global. If a scientist, he is always in the throes of revolutionizing science. If a journalist, he is in the middle of the greatest story ever. If a novelist, he is on his way to a Booker or Nobel prize.

    This self-misperception is not amenable to light-headedness or self-effacement. The narcissist is easily hurt and insulted (narcissistic injury). Even the most innocuous remarks or acts are interpreted by him as belittling, intruding, or coercive. His time is more valuable than others' therefore, it cannot be wasted on unimportant matters such as mere banter or going out for a walk.

    Any suggested help, advice, or concerned inquiry are immediately cast by the narcissist as intentional humiliation, implying that the narcissist is in need of help and counsel and, thus, imperfect and less than omnipotent. Any attempt to set an agenda is, to the narcissist, an intimidating act of enslavement. In this sense, the narcissist is both schizoid and paranoid and often entertains ideas of reference.

    These, the lack of empathy, the aloofness, the disdain, the sense of entitlement, the constricted sense of humor, the unequal treatment and the paranoia render the narcissist a social misfit. The narcissist is able to provoke in his milieu, in his casual acquaintances, even in his psychotherapist, the strongest, most avid and furious hatred and revulsion. To his shock, indignation and consternation, he invariably induces in others unbridled aggression.

    He is perceived to be asocial at best and, often, antisocial. This, perhaps, is the strongest presenting symptom. One feels ill at ease in the presence of a narcissist for no apparent reason. No matter how charming, intelligent, thought provoking, outgoing, easy going and social the narcissist is – he fails to secure the sympathy of others, a sympathy he is never ready, willing, or able to reciprocate.

    IV. Narcissistic and psychopathic Leaders

    The narcissistic or psychopathic leader is the culmination and reification of his period, culture, and civilization. He is likely to rise to prominence in narcissistic societies.

    The malignant narcissist invents and then projects a false, fictitious, self for the world to fear, or to admire. He maintains a tenuous grasp on reality to start with and this is further exacerbated by the trappings of power. The narcissist's grandiose self-delusions and fantasies of omnipotence and omniscience are supported by real life authority and the narcissist's predilection to surround himself with obsequious sycophants.

    The narcissist's personality is so precariously balanced that he cannot tolerate even a hint of criticism and disagreement. Most narcissists are paranoid and suffer from ideas of reference (the delusion that they are being mocked or discussed when they are not). Thus, narcissists often regard themselves as "victims of persecution".

    The narcissistic leader fosters and encourages a personality cult with all the hallmarks of an institutional religion: priesthood, rites, rituals, temples, worship, catechism, mythology. The leader is this religion's ascetic saint. He monastically denies himself earthly pleasures (or so he claims) in order to be able to dedicate himself fully to his calling.

    The narcissistic leader is a monstrously inverted Jesus, sacrificing his life and denying himself so that his people – or humanity at large – should benefit. By surpassing and suppressing his humanity, the narcissistic leader became a distorted version of Nietzsche's "superman".

    But being a-human or super-human also means being a-sexual and a-moral.

    In this restricted sense, narcissistic leaders are post-modernist and moral relativists. They project to the masses an androgynous figure and enhance it by engendering the adoration of nudity and all things "natural" – or by strongly repressing these feelings. But what they refer to as "nature" is not natural at all.

    The narcissistic leader invariably proffers an aesthetic of decadence and evil carefully orchestrated and artificial – though it is not perceived this way by him or by his followers. Narcissistic leadership is about reproduced copies, not about originals. It is about the manipulation of symbols – not about veritable atavism or true conservatism.

    In short: narcissistic leadership is about theatre, not about life. To enjoy the spectacle (and be subsumed by it), the leader demands the suspension of judgment, depersonalization, and de-realization. Catharsis is tantamount, in this narcissistic dramaturgy, to self-annulment.

    Narcissism is nihilistic not only operationally, or ideologically. Its very language and narratives are nihilistic. Narcissism is conspicuous nihilism – and the cult's leader serves as a role model, annihilating the Man, only to re-appear as a pre-ordained and irresistible force of nature.

    Narcissistic leadership often poses as a rebellion against the "old ways" – against the hegemonic culture, the upper classes, the established religions, the superpowers, the corrupt order. Narcissistic movements are puerile, a reaction to narcissistic injuries inflicted upon a narcissistic (and rather psychopathic) toddler nation-state, or group, or upon the leader.

    Minorities or "others" – often arbitrarily selected – constitute a perfect, easily identifiable, embodiment of all that is "wrong". They are accused of being old, they are eerily disembodied, they are cosmopolitan, they are part of the establishment, they are "decadent", they are hated on religious and socio-economic grounds, or because of their race, sexual orientation, origin … They are different, they are narcissistic (feel and act as morally superior), they are everywhere, they are defenceless, they are credulous, they are adaptable (and thus can be co-opted to collaborate in their own destruction). They are the perfect hate figure. Narcissists thrive on hatred and pathological envy.

    This is precisely the source of the fascination with Hitler, diagnosed by Erich Fromm – together with Stalin – as a malignant narcissist. He was an inverted human. His unconscious was his conscious. He acted out our most repressed drives, fantasies, and wishes. He provides us with a glimpse of the horrors that lie beneath the veneer, the barbarians at our personal gates, and what it was like before we invented civilization. Hitler forced us all through a time warp and many did not emerge. He was not the devil. He was one of us. He was what Arendt aptly called the banality of evil. Just an ordinary, mentally disturbed, failure, a member of a mentally disturbed and failing nation, who lived through disturbed and failing times. He was the perfect mirror, a channel, a voice, and the very depth of our souls.

    The narcissistic leader prefers the sparkle and glamour of well-orchestrated illusions to the tedium and method of real accomplishments. His reign is all smoke and mirrors, devoid of substances, consisting of mere appearances and mass delusions. In the aftermath of his regime – the narcissistic leader having died, been deposed, or voted out of office – it all unravels. The tireless and constant prestidigitation ceases and the entire edifice crumbles. What looked like an economic miracle turns out to have been a fraud-laced bubble. Loosely-held empires disintegrate. Laboriously assembled business conglomerates go to pieces. "Earth shattering" and "revolutionary" scientific discoveries and theories are discredited. Social experiments end in mayhem.

    It is important to understand that the use of violence must be ego-syntonic. It must accord with the self-image of the narcissist. It must abet and sustain his grandiose fantasies and feed his sense of entitlement. It must conform with the narcissistic narrative.

    Thus, a narcissist who regards himself as the benefactor of the poor, a member of the common folk, the representative of the disenfranchised, the champion of the dispossessed against the corrupt elite – is highly unlikely to use violence at first.

    The pacific mask crumbles when the narcissist has become convinced that the very people he purported to speak for, his constituency, his grassroots fans, the prime sources of his narcissistic supply – have turned against him. At first, in a desperate effort to maintain the fiction underlying his chaotic personality, the narcissist strives to explain away the sudden reversal of sentiment. "The people are being duped by (the media, big industry, the military, the elite, etc.)", "they don't really know what they are doing", "following a rude awakening, they will revert to form", etc.

    When these flimsy attempts to patch a tattered personal mythology fail – the narcissist is injured. Narcissistic injury inevitably leads to narcissistic rage and to a terrifying display of unbridled aggression. The pent-up frustration and hurt translate into devaluation. That which was previously idealized – is now discarded with contempt and hatred.

    This primitive defense mechanism is called "splitting". To the narcissist, things and people are either entirely bad (evil) or entirely good. He projects onto others his own shortcomings and negative emotions, thus becoming a totally good object. A narcissistic leader is likely to justify the butchering of his own people by claiming that they intended to kill him, undo the revolution, devastate the economy, or the country, etc.

    The "small people", the "rank and file", the "loyal soldiers" of the narcissist – his flock, his nation, his employees – they pay the price. The disillusionment and disenchantment are agonizing. The process of reconstruction, of rising from the ashes, of overcoming the trauma of having been deceived, exploited and manipulated – is drawn-out. It is difficult to trust again, to have faith, to love, to be led, to collaborate. Feelings of shame and guilt engulf the erstwhile followers of the narcissist. This is his sole legacy: a massive post-traumatic stress disorder.

    DISCLAIMER

    I am not a mental health professional. Still, I have dedicated the last 12 years to the study of personality disorders in general and the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) in particular. I have authored nine (9) books about these topics, one of which is a Barnes and Noble best-seller ("Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited"). My work is widely cited in scholarly tomes and publications and in the media. My books and the content of my Web site are based on correspondence since 1996 with hundreds of people suffering from the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (narcissists) and with thousands of their family members, friends, therapists, and colleagues.

    Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love – Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain – How the West Lost the East as well as many other books and ebooks about topics in psychology, relationships, philosophy, economics, and international affairs. He served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, Global Politician, PopMatters, eBookWeb , and Bellaonline, and as a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent. He was the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101. Visit Sam's Web site at http://samvak.tripod.com You can download 30 of his free ebooks in http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/freebooks.html .

    [May 16, 2016] Dr. Sam Vaknin - Barack Obama Is a Narcissist

    Notable quotes:
    "... His posture and his body language were louder than his empty words. ..."
    "... One must never underestimate the manipulative genius of pathological narcissists. They project such an imposing personality that it overwhelms those around them. Charmed by the charisma of the narcissist, people become like clay in his hands. They cheerfully do his bidding and delight to be at his service. The narcissist shapes the world around himself and reduces others in his own inverted image. He creates a cult of personality. His admirers become his co-dependents. ..."
    "... Narcissists have no interest in things that do not help them to reach their personal objective. They are focused on one thing alone and that is power. All other issues are meaningless to them and they do not want to waste their precious time on trivialities. Anything that does not help them is beneath them and do not deserve their attention. ..."
    www.snopes.com

    snopes.com

    Dr. Vaknin states "I must confess I was impressed by Sen. Barack Obama from the first time I saw him. At first I was excited to see a black candidate. He looked youthful, spoke well, appeared to be confident - a wholesome presidential package. I was put off soon, not just because of his shallowness but also because there was an air of haughtiness in his demeanor that was unsettling. His posture and his body language were louder than his empty words.

    Obama's speeches are unlike any political speech we have heard in American history. Never a politician in this land had such quasi "religious" impact on so many people. The fact that Obama is a total incognito with zero accomplishment, makes this inexplicable infatuation alarming. Obama is not an ordinary man. He is not a genius. In fact he is quite ignorant on most important subjects. Barack Obama is a narcissist. Dr. Sam Vaknin, the author of the Malignant Self Love believes "Barack Obama appears to be a narcissist."

    Vaknin is a world authority on narcissism. He understands narcissism and describes the inner mind of a narcissist like no other person. When he talks about narcissism everyone listens.

    Vaknin says that Obama's language, posture and demeanor, and the testimonies of his closest, dearest and nearest suggest that the Senator is either a narcissist or he may have narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Narcissists project a grandiose but false image of themselves.

    ....All these men had a tremendous influence over their fanciers. They created a personality cult around themselves and with their blazing speeches elevated their admirers, filled their hearts with enthusiasm and instilled in their minds a new zest for life. They gave them hope! They promised them the moon, but alas, invariably they brought them to their doom.

    When you are a victim of a cult of personality, you don't know it until it is too late. One determining factor in the development of NPD is childhood abuse. "Obama's early life was decidedly chaotic and replete with traumatic and mentally bruising dislocations," says Vaknin.

    "Mixed-race marriages were even less common then. His parents went through a divorce when he was an infant (two years old). Obama saw his father only once again, before he died in a car accident. Then his mother re-married and Obama had to relocate to Indonesia, a foreign land with a radically foreign culture, to be raised by a step-father. At the age of ten, he was whisked off to live with his maternal (white) grandparents. He saw his mother only intermittently in the following few years and then she vanished from his life in 1979. She died of cancer in 1995".

    One must never underestimate the manipulative genius of pathological narcissists. They project such an imposing personality that it overwhelms those around them. Charmed by the charisma of the narcissist, people become like clay in his hands. They cheerfully do his bidding and delight to be at his service. The narcissist shapes the world around himself and reduces others in his own inverted image. He creates a cult of personality. His admirers become his co-dependents.

    Narcissists have no interest in things that do not help them to reach their personal objective. They are focused on one thing alone and that is power. All other issues are meaningless to them and they do not want to waste their precious time on trivialities. Anything that does not help them is beneath them and do not deserve their attention.

    [May 15, 2016] The Truth About Donald Trump's Narcissism

    Aug. 11, 2015 | /time.com
    Even as the comet that is The Donald continues to streak across the political sky-as babes peer in wonder out their windows, dogs bay in fear in the night and scholars debate the source of the great apparition-it's worth taking a moment to feel some compassion for the man who's causing all the mischief.

    The fact is, it can't be easy to wake up every day and discover that you're still Donald Trump. You were Trump yesterday, you're Trump today, and barring some extraordinary development, you'll be Trump tomorrow.

    There are, certainly, compensations to being Donald Trump. You're fabulously wealthy; you have a lifetime pass to help yourself to younger and younger wives, even as you get older and older-a two-way Benjamin Button dynamic that is equal parts enviable and grotesque. You own homes in Manhattan; Palm Beach; upstate New York; Charlottesville, Virginia; and Rancho Palos Verdes, California; and you're free to bunk down in a grand suite in practically any hotel, apartment building or resort that flies the Trump flag, anywhere on the planet-and there are a lot of them.

    But none of that changes the reality of waking up every morning, looking in the bathroom mirror, and seeing Donald Trump staring back at you. And no, it's not the hair; that, after all, is a choice-one that may be hard for most people to understand, but a choice all the same, and there's a certain who-asked-you confidence in continuing to make it. The problem with being Trump is the same thing that explains the enormous fame and success of Trump: a naked neediness, a certain shamelessness, an insatiable hunger to be the largest, loudest, most honkingly conspicuous presence in any room-the great, braying Trumpness of Trump-and that's probably far less of a revel than it seems.

    Contented people, well-grounded people, people at ease inside their skin, just don't behave the way Trump does. The shorthand-and increasingly lazy-description for Trump in recent weeks is that he is the id of the Republican party, and there's some truth in that. Trump indeed appears to be emotionally incontinent, a man wholly without-you should pardon the expression-any psychic sphincter. The boundary most people draw between thought and speech, between emotion and action, does not appear to exist for Trump. He says what he wants to say, insults whom he wants to insult, and never, ever considers apology or retreat.

    But that's not someone driven by the pleasures of the id-which, whatever else you can say about it, is a thing of happy appetites and uncaring impulses. It's far more someone driven by the rage and pain and emotional brittleness of narcissism, and everywhere in Trump's life are the signs of what a fraught state of mind that can be.

    There is Trump's compulsive use of superlatives-especially when he's talking about his own accomplishments. Maybe what he's building or selling really is the greatest, the grandest, the biggest, the best, but if that's so, let the product do the talking. If it can't, maybe it ain't so great.

    There's the compulsive promotion of the Trump name. Other giants of commerce and industry use their own names sparingly-even when they're businesspeople who have the opportunity to turn themselves from a person into a brand. There is no GatesWare software, no BezosBooks.com; it's not Zuckerbook you log onto a dozen times a day.

    But the Trump name is everywhere in the Trump world, and there's a reason for that. You can look at something you've built with quiet pride and know it's yours, or you can look at it worriedly, insecurely, fretting that someone, somewhere may not know that you created it-diminishing you in the process. And so you stamp what you build with two-story letters identifying who you are- like a child writing his name on a baseball glove-just to make sure there's no misunderstanding.

    On occasion, there is an almost-almost-endearing cluelessness to the primal way Trump signals his pride in himself. He poses for pictures with his suit jacket flaring open, his hands on his hips, index and ring fingers pointing inevitably groinward-a great-ape fitness and genital display if ever there was one. After he bought the moribund Gulf+Western Building in New York City's Columbus Circle, covered it in gold-colored glass, converted it into a luxury hotel and residence, and reinforced it with steel and concrete to make it less subject to swaying in the wind, Trump boasted to The New York Times that it was going to be "the stiffest building in the city." If he was aware of his own psychic subtext, he gave no indication.

    It's not just real estate Trump seeks to own or at least control. There was his attempt to trademark the words "You're fired," after they became a catchphrase on his reality show, The Apprentice. There was his offer to donate $5 million to a charity of President Obama's choosing if Obama would release his college transcripts to him, Donald Trump. In both cases, Trump wants something-possession, attention, the obeisance of no less than the President-and so he demands it. The behavior is less id than infant-the most narcissistic stage of the human life cycle.

    The petulance of Trump's public feuds-with Rosie ODonnell ("a total loser"), Seth Meyers ("He's a stutterer"), Robert De Niro ("We're not dealing with Albert Einstein") and Arianna Huffington, ("Unattractive both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man . . .")-is wholly of a piece with the fragility of the narcissistic ego. In Trump's imaginings, it is Fox News's Megyn Kelly who owes him an apology for asking pointed questions during the Republican debate, not Trump who owes Kelly an apology for his boorish behavior and school-yard Tweets ("Wow, @ megynkelly really bombed tonight. People are going wild on twitter! Funny to watch"). As for his sneering misogyny-his reference to blood coming out of Kelly's "wherever"? Nothing to see here. It's Jeb Bush who really should apologize to women for his comments about defunding Planned Parenthood.

    Trump was right on that score; Bush was indeed clueless to suggest that the annual cost of protecting women's health should not be as high as $500 million-or just over $3.14 per American woman per year. So Bush did what people with at least some humility do: He acknowledged his mistake and at least tried to qualify the statement. That option, however, is closed for the narcissist. The overweening ego that defines the condition is often just a bit of misdirection intended to conceal the exact opposite-a deep well of insecurity and even self-loathing. Any admission of wrong shatters that masquerade.

    To call Donald Trump a narcissist is, of course, to state the clinically obvious. There is the egotism of narcissism, the grandiosity of narcissism, the social obtuseness of narcissism. But if Trump is an easy target, he is also a pitiable one. Narcissism isn't easy, it isn't fun, it isn't something to be waved off as a personal shortcoming that hurts only the narcissists themselves, any more than you can look at the drunk or philanderer or compulsive gambler and not see grief and regret in his future.

    For now, yes, the Trump show is fun to watch. It will be less so if the carnival barker with his look-at-me antics continues to distract people from a serious discussion of important issues. It will be less still if Trump actually does wind up as the nominee of a major political party or mounts an independent campaign and succeeds in tipping the vote one way or the other.

    But that kind of triumph is not the fate that awaits most narcissists. Their act becomes old, their opponents become bold, and the audience-inevitably-moves onto something else. Trump the phenomenon will surely become Trump the afterthought. He is a man who desperately hungers for respect and attention and who, by dint of that very desperation, will likely wind up with neither. The pain will be his; the relief will be ours.

    Adapted from The Narcissist Next Door: Understanding the Monster in Your Family, in Your Office, in Your Bed-in Your World by Jeffrey Kluger by arrangement with Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, Copyright © 2015 by Jeffrey Kluger.

    [May 15, 2016] 10 Great Self-Absorbed, Narcissistic Movie Assholes The Playlist

    blogs.indiewire.com

    There's more than a few examples of the archetype doing the rounds at the moment, from the three lovably awful kids in Amazon's brilliant "Transparent" to the title character of Alex Ross Perry's brilliant "Listen Up Philip," which opened in limited release last Friday and will continue to expand in the coming weeks. Said archetype is of course often complex, and "asshole" frequently doesn't cover it. These characters often are masking deep pain, insecurity, self-doubt and or misplaced arrogance. But we know these types and while often not likable, they're real and often quite hilariously awful.

    So, to mark the release of "Listen Up Philip," which features a deliciously prickly Jason Schwartzman in the lead as a egocentric young writer who damages all his relationships, romantic or otherwise, we thought we'd pick out ten of our favorite self-absorbed, unpleasant and yet curiously watchable characters to go alongside his great turn in the aforementioned film. It should be noted that most of our examples come from the last decade or two, but that's not entirely surprising, given that we're arguably living in the most self-obsessed, insular age in human history (this is of course the era of the selfie). Take a look at our picks below, and let us know your favorites in the comments section.

    Sweet and Lowdown

    Sean Penn as Emmett Ray in "Sweet & Lowdown" (2000)

    Woody Allen is an obvious touchstone for "Listen Up Philip" ("Husbands And Wives" is named specifically by Ross Perry, and Sydney Pollack's character in that arguably qualifies for this list too), and Allen's certainly representative of self-absorption. But none of his creations have been more self-absorbed, or more asshole-y, than Sean Penn's central figure in "Sweet & Lowdown." The role of Emmet Ray, a reasonably well-known, heavy-drinking, scumbag of a jazz guitarist whose life is continually overshadowed by that of his idol Django Reinhardt, was originally penned by Allen (under the original title of "The Jazz Baby," back in the early 1970s) to be played by the writer/director, but after nearly thirty years in a drawer, went to Penn (though Johnny Depp was also reportedly considered). And it's hard to imagine anyone doing a better job. Penn brings a mix of swagger and deeply insecure neuroticism that makes him very much a creation of Allen, but one that doesn't simply echo the filmmaker in the manner of so many of his leading-men surrogates. As with the lead of another later film about a guitarist, the Coens' "Inside Llewyn Davis," Ray is talented, but enough of a fuck-up (drunken, a sometime pimp, kind of a coward, tight with money, and with a self-inflated view of his own "genius") that he'll never make the kind of impact that he'd like to. And when potential redemption comes along in the shape of Samantha Morton's sweet, mute Hattie, he throws it away in order to marry socialite Uma Thurman. And when he's dumped by her, he's stunned when Hattie's moved on. He's almost irredeemably awful, and yet Penn's performance, one of his very best, manages to find pathos, as well as a pleasing level of comedy, in the character, the kind of thing the actor doesn't get to do enough.

    The Life Aquatic

    Bill Murray as Steve Zissou in "The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou" (2004)
    Wes Anderson characters can generally be grouped under the banner of "self-regarding" to one degree or another, from Max in "Rushmore" to even the animated Mr. Fox. But his prize asshole might just be Steve Zissou, in Anderson's fourth film. An oceanographer and documentary maker modelled loosely after Jacques Cousteau, Zissou is a man whose limited fame and prestige has gone very much to his head, who drags his inexplicably loyal crew on an Ahab-ish revenge trip against the shark that ate his long-time partner (Seymour Cassel). He has a certain affection for the people he travels with (he does at least launch a rescue mission when even hated insurance company employee Bud Cort is captured by pirates), but is resolutely unlovable otherwise, particularly in his relations with basically everyone, from consistently hitting on pregnant reporter Jane (Cate Blanchett), treating Klaus (Willem Dafoe) like a bullied lapdog, or feuding childishly with his maybe-son Ned (Owen Wilson), who's eventually killed in a helicopter crash on the hunt for the shark. Anderson's characters, even cantankerous assholes like Royal Tenenbaum, usually find some form of redemption, but there's surprisingly little for Zissou: Ned, who turns out not to be his son anyway, dies, and Zissou is once again acclaimed at a film festival for his finished picture. It's a decidedly sour note, and perhaps one of the reasons that the lavish, lovingly made 'Aquatic' is possibly Anderson's least-loved picture.

    The Social Network

    Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg in "The Social Network" (2010) "You're going to go through life thinking that girls don't like because you're a nerd," says Rooney Mara's Erica to Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) at the beginning of David Fincher's Aaron Sorkin penned "The Social Network." "And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won't be true. It'll be because you're an asshole." And it's perfect introduction to the condescending, snobbish, ambitious, narcisisstic founder of Facebook, the website that will eventually make him a billionaire.

    And as the film goes on, Zuckerberg never exactly improves: he creates an insulting blog about Erica, hacks into Harvard's network to steal photos of women to let people rate their attractiveness, possibly steals the idea for his site from a trio of other students, freezes out best friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), and ends up rich but estranged, endlessly refreshing his friend request to Erica. He's selfish, self-regarding, prickly and defensive, but in the hands of Eisenberg's meticulous, brilliant performance, you can also see why.

    He embodies the true revenge of the nerds, a twisted and bitter one, but he's only that way because that's what he thinks he has to be. As his attorney, Marylin (Rashida Jones) tells him at the film's conclusion, "you're not an asshole, Mark. You're just trying so hard to be."

    A Fish Called Wanda

    Kevin Kline as Otto in "A Fish Called Wanda" (1988)
    Self-absorption is often something that seems to come with intellect, as demonstrated by the characters on this list. Many of these figures genuinely are the smartest person in the room and treat anyone they deem not to be on their level with according levels of contempt. Otto, in "A Fish Called Wanda," is something slightly different, and all the funnier for it: he's a moron who only thinks he's the smartest person in the room. The result, unusually for a broad comedy like Charles Crichton's 1988 hit (penned by co-star John Cleese), won Kevin Kline a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. The character is the film's secret weapon, a borderline psychotic, Limey-hating dimwit with a severe inferiority complex, which manifests in his continual threats to those around not to call him stupid. But as his lover Wanda (Jamie Lee Curtis) tells him, "I've known sheep that could outwit you. I've worn dresses with higher IQs." Otto is a man who thinks "the Gettysburg Address was where Lincoln lived," that the central message of Buddhism is "every man for himself," and that the London Underground is a political movement. He's the ultimate Ugly American abroad ("you are the vulgarian, you fuck," he tells Cleese's Archie when he calls him on his swearing), a terrible driver with the most hilarious off-putting cum face in cinematic history, and a total tour de force from Kline that still remains the actor's finest hour. He's the truly hateable kind of asshole in the best possible way. It says it all that, after somehow surviving being run over by a steamroller, he becomes Minister of Justice in apartheid-era South Africa…

    Young Adult

    Charlize Theron as Mavis Gary in "Young Adult" (2011)
    Arguably Jason Reitman's best film to date, a brilliant gender-swapped inversion of the arrested-development theme that's dominated the comedy movie in the last decade or so, "Young Adult" revolves around a titanic performance from Charlize Theron, playing one of the most unrepentantly unlikable, unchangeable characters in recent cinema. Theron, arguably in a career-best turn, plays Mavis, a divorced writer of the teen-aimed books whose series has just been cancelled. On a whim, she returns to her small Minnesota hometown in an attempt to win back her high-school sweetheart (Patrick Wilson), who's just a had baby with his wife (Elizabeth Reaser). Mavis is clearly having some kind of deluded break with reality, but part of the brilliance of Theron's performance is how unquestioning she is of herself: a Mean Girl grown up, chasing simpler times when she ruled the world, and prepared to do just about anything to get there. Theron never courts your sympathy, but there's still a deep sadness in Mavis' absolute lack of self-reflection, not least when she's comes close to a breakthrough, only to be talked out of it by one of her few remaining admirers (a brilliant Colette Wolfe). People talked about her bravery in changing her appearance for her Oscar-winning turn in "Monster," but there's just as little vanity in her performance here, and the film simply wouldn't work without her.

    Baumbach Squid

    The Assorted Jerks Of Noah Baumbach
    Another obvious touchstone for "Listen Up Philip," Noah Baumbach is arguably, and we mean this in the nicest way possible, the king of the self-absorbed asshole. In fact, we decided to amalgamate his collected jerks into one selection, because otherwise it could have taken up half of the entire list. The filmmaker's been interested in the archetype ever since his debut "Kicking And Screaming," about chronically procrastinating recent college grads, but (after co-writing the script for two of Wes Anderson's most self-absorbed characters with "The Life Aquatic" and "Fantastic Mr. Fox") reached something of a zenith with what we like to call 'The Asshole Trilogy' : "The Squid & The Whale," "Margot At The Wedding" and "Greenberg." 'Squid' is the best, as we gradually see the effects of self-absorbed, generally toxic novelist Bernard (Jeff Daniels) on his son (Jesse Eisenberg) during the parents' bitter divorce, ending movingly with Walt rejecting the Way Of The Jerk. 2007's 'Margot' was disliked by many at the time, but has only grown in stature, with Nicole Kidman's brittle, sharp turn proving to be a perfect fit for the filmmakers' world-view, appalling (but still human) as she takes her frustrations in life out on her son. 2010's "Greenberg" is the least of the three, despite a raw and uncompromising performance by Ben Stiller in the title role, a thwarted man-child who can't see much beyond his own needs and worldview. The three films aren't the easiest watch (no wonder that Baumbach's next film, the delightful "Frances Ha," felt like such a breath of fresh air), but together do a pretty great job at encapsulating the era of mammoth selfishness.

    Roger Dodger

    Campbell Scott as Roger Swanson in "Roger Dodger" (2002)
    Jesse Eisenberg makes another appearance on this list (his more malevolent side in the recent "The Double" could also have qualified), but for once, he's not the asshole. That would be Campbell Scott, who is remarkably brilliant in Dylan Kidd's minor classic "Roger Dodger." Scott plays the titular Roger Swanson, a New York ad-man who's asked by his 16-year-old nephew to help him learn how to seduce women so he can lose his virginity. Roger's a self-described player and essentially a misogynist, and attempts to induct his young relative in what he describes as essentially a war of the sexes. A smarmy early '00s precursor to today's pick-up artist scumbags, Roger doesn't have the charm that he thinks he does, particularly given that he's in an unacknowledged meltdown after being dumped by lover/boss Isabella Rosselini. Like many such people, he hates almost everyone around him, but no one brings out quite so much bile in him as himself, and it's this brilliant duality that makes the performance one of Scott's best. Kidd's film is a woozy, witty examination of sex and masculinity, and though it missteps a little towards the end in offering something of a redemption for the character, it still gave us one of the more iconic cinematic douchebags of the last couple of decades.

    Rachel Getting Married

    Anne Hathaway as Kym in "Rachel Getting Married" (2008)
    We think of being an asshole as a specifically male trait, but we've already seen with "Young Adult" and "Margot At The Wedding" that there's no gender divide. "Rachel Getting Married" is another great example, one that's arguably sadder and psychologically richer than either. Jonathan Demme's film stars a revelatory Anne Hathaway as Kym, who returns home from drug rehab to attend the wedding of her sister (Rosemarie DeWitt), only for the family's long-brushed-over painful past to emerge, as it tends to do in movies like this one. Kym initially seems like a comically awful person, a selfish, up-staging drug addict who hijacks the rehearsal dinner to make twelve-step apologies, and who seems to delight in deliberately upsetting almost anyone in her family and not accepting any blame for her actions. But over time, Kym richens, as we learn that she killed her younger brother in a car accident when she was high, and while that itself is clearly a terrible and selfish action, it's only continued to haunt her, and Hathaway is superb in painting a picture of a woman who longs to be forgiven by people who would like to, but might just find it impossible. Demme and the movie never let her off the hook, but that whatever small progress she might make happens at all feels all the more moving for being so hard-won.

    As Good As It Gets

    Jack Nicholson in "As Good As It Gets" (1997)
    Ol' Jack plays cantankerous assholes the way Tom Hanks plays nice guys or Tom Cruise plays people who jumps off tall buildings: brilliantly, vigorously and frequently. In James L. Brooks' award-winning rom-com, Nicholson builds on earlier performances like "Five Easy Pieces" "Carnal Knowledge" and "Heartburn" to create something like a crown prince of unlikable fellas, OCD-suffering, racist, homophobic, misogynist misanthrope novelist Melvin Udall, whose carefully controlled life is upended by the intervention of gay neighbor Simon (Greg Kinnear), and single-mother waitress Carol (Helen Hunt). Nicholson might be playing a slightly sitcom-ish, Archie Bunker-ish character, but the mix of his typical devilish charm, smartly and sparingly used, and a detailed psychological realism that makes Melvin into more than just an archetype, elevated the performance to Oscar-winning effect. Though of course it helps that Nicholson is clearly relishing the lovingly and intricately-written speeches that he gets to deploy ("never, never interrupt me, okay?," he tells Simon. "Not if there's a fire, not even if you hear the sound of a thud from my home and one week later there's a smell coming from there that can only be a decaying human body and you have to hold a hanky to your face because the stench is so thick that you think you're going to faint"). There's a certain degree of cheesiness to the way that Melvin softens up thanks to the love of a good woman, but Jack never makes you doubt it for a minute.

    Last Days of Disco

    The Many Assholes Of Whit Stillman
    Like Baumbach, Whit Stillman is a director who's made a career with characters who can't quite see past their own bubble of existence (and, usually, privilege), up to and including his current Amazon pilot "The Cosmopolitans." The pattern began with his debut "Metropolitan," in which Stillman favorite Chris Eigeman plays arguably the platonic ideal of the director's favorite archetype, a big-mouthed upper-class cynic who one can imagine going into Wall Street and essentially becoming Patrick Bateman in years to come ('"the surrealists were just bunch of social climbers," he condescendingly says at one point). Follow-up "Barcelona" sees Eigeman in a similarly smug role, the ugly American abroad, while "The Last Days Of Disco" sees Kate Beckinsale (who's fantastic here) as a particularly callow example of the type ("remember the Woodstock generation of the 1960s that were so full of themselves and conceited? None of them could dance," she tells someone at one point with the naivety of youth). If one was ungenerous, one could argue that the narrow worldview of his films makes Stillman and his archaic language rather self-absorbed himself, but that's a misreading: Stillman is ultimately a social satirist, a sort of cinematic heir to Jane Austen (whose influence is felt in his most recent picture, "Damsels In Distress," more than ever), savagely poking at the ridiculous attitudes and views of his characters without ever quite judging them.

    Honorable Mentions: There were various other possibilities that we dismissed as not quite being quite the right brand of asshole for this specific theme: think of Kirk Douglas in "Ace In The Hole," Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster in "Sweet Smell Of Success" (too toxic), even William Atherton in "Die Hard" and "Ghostbusters" (which veers closer to a simple villain). Among the ones who came closest to qualifying were Ed Norton and Micheal Keaton in "Birdman" (we wrote about their self-absorbed asshole-ish tendencies here), Rachel McAdams in "Mean Girls," Matt Damon in "The Departed," Paul Reiser in "Aliens," Aaron Eckhart in "In The Company Of Men," and Tom Hulce in "Amadeus," along with both Jason Schwartzman's villain, and arguably Michael Cera's hero, in "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World." Any others? Let us know below

    [May 15, 2016] Famous Narcissistic Movie Characters -

    May 14, 2013 | The Narcissistic Life

    If you want observe people with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) or strong narcissistic traits, look no further than your TV set. There are many memorable movie characters who display the basic characteristics of narcissism: the grandiose and overinflated sense of self, lack of empathy, exploitation of others with no remorse, and excessive self-focus. Listed below are some of the more well-known narcissists portrayed in the movies:

    Movie: The Devil Wears Prada
    Played By: Meryl Streep
    About: Now this is an NPD character that sticks with you.

    Movie: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
    Played By: Kenneth Branagh
    About: This is the definition of narcissism. Lockhart is hilarious. One of the comical moments from the series is when Lockhart is talking to Harry during his detention and says "Fame is a fickle friend, Harry. Celebrity is as celebrity does. Remember that." *turn and smile* He goes to such lengths as to fake his fame and risk the deaths of many students just to keep his ego fed.

    Movie: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
    Played By: Sam Rockwell
    About: Zaphod (and Sam Rockwell) is great and Rockwell plays him well- he's fun for the role he has.

    Movie: American Psycho
    Played By: Christian Bale
    About: Bale plays the role with what appears to be ease. He's a completely memorable character with some very iconic scenes.

    Movie: Dinner for Schmucks
    Played By: Jemaine Clements
    About: Whether or not you liked the movie, most have agreed that Jamaine Clements was the best part.

    Movie: The American Pie Trilogy
    Played By: Seann William Scott
    About: Stifler thinks he's hot stuff, almost obnoxiously so. But he's not without his insecurities underneath it all. He's probably not a true narcissist as the rest on this list–it's much more of a front, at least partially. But there's no doubting he thinks highly of himself, and he's funny while he thinks so.

    Movie: Zoolander
    Played By: Ben Stiller
    About: "I'm pretty sure there's a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking. And I plan on finding out what that is."

    Movie: Forgetting Sarah Marshall/Get Him to the Greek
    Played by: Russell Brand
    About: Russell Brand was hilarious in them–clearly the best part of the movies.

    Movie: The Princess Bride
    Played By: Wallace Shawn
    About: Vizzini: "I can't compete with you physically, and you're no match for my brains." Westley: "You're that smart?" Vizzini: "Let me put it this way. Have you ever heard of Plato? Aristotle? Socrates?" Westley: "Yes." Vizzini: "Morons."

    Movie: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
    Played By: Will Ferrell
    About: The narcissism is right there in the title of the film! He's a fun character, wrapped up in his own little world.

    MOVIE: Gaslight
    Played by: Charles Boyer
    ABOUT: This classic movie is where the term gaslighting comes from, to indicate how an N (or other abuser) lies to you to make you doubt your experience of reality. Although the film is a bit dated now (it was made in the 1940s) it is still extremely gripping and terrifying. The narcissist in this film, Gregory Anton, is trying to deliberately send his new wife insane in order to inherit from her. An absolute must-watch for anybody interest in learning more about malignant NPD.

    MOVIE: Mommie Dearest
    Played By: Faye Dunaway
    ABOUT: A classic film. It's the real-life story of total narcissist Joan Crawford and her daughter Christina. This is a chillingly accurate portrayal of the hell of being raised by a narcissist.

    MOVIE: White Oleander
    Played by: Michelle Pfeiffer
    ABOUT: Michelle Pfeiffer plays the narcissistic mother in this amazing film, and by all accounts does a terrific job.

    MOVIE: Gone With the Wind
    Played by: Vivien Leigh
    ABOUT: Scarlett O'Hara is a total narcissist in this classic tale.

    Other Movies Portraying Narcissistic Characters

    • American Beauty (narcissistic mother)
    • East of Eden (narcissistic father)
    • Ordinary People (narcissistic mother)
    • Mermaids (Cher as Mrs. Flax)
    • Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (narcissistic sister)
    • Sybil (narcissistic mother)
    • The Little Foxes (narcissistic mother)
    • Flowers in the Attic (narcissistic mother)
    • Matilda (both parents are narcissists)
    • Coraline (both "other" parents are narcissists)
    • Precious (narcissistic mother)
    • Girl Interrupted (Angelina Jolie)
    • Life or Something Like It (Angelina Jolie)

    References:

    http://www.narcissism101.com/NarcissistsinMedia/narcissistsinmov.html
    http://dementeddoorknob.blogspot.com/2010/10/top-10-favorite-narcissistic-characters.html
    http://daughtersofnarcissisticmothers.com/movies-featuring-npd.html
    http://www.outofthefog.net/Movies.html

    [Apr 12, 2016] Mind Games Emotionally Manipulative Tactics Partners Use to Control Relationships and Force the Upper Hand

    Notable quotes:
    "... They view relationships as power struggles and always want to be on the winning side of it. They have impaired consciences and don't mind fighting dirty. They can lie with a straight face and have a professional-level poker face. ..."
    www.amazon.com
    To an abuser, emotional manipulation serves one goal and one goal only. It's the determination to win and possess the most power in a relationship. They believe that when they have such power, they will be happy... and it's all at your expense. It's an amazingly unhealthy approach to a relationship, and anything for that matter. If you approach something solely to win, that means you put winning as a higher priority than someone's feelings and ultimately wellbeing.

    If you approach an argument solely to win, then you ignore the underlying issues and are not resolution-focused. And if you approach a relationship solely to win, then you are spitting on the underlying concept of a relationship.

    You are mistaking it for a battle of vulnerability and control, while relationships should be the polar opposite. Relationships are a give-and-take and require compromise. Relationships are not a zero-sum game, and they do not function like a dom-sub relationship from the BDSM world. Abusers forget this, or worse... they realize it and know exactly what they are doing when they manipulate you.

    Abusers embody a frightening combination of traits that make them dangerous.

    They are focused and intentional about what they want from you. They have a penchant for deception and backhanded tactics of questionable morality. They view relationships as power struggles and always want to be on the winning side of it. They have impaired consciences and don't mind fighting dirty. They can lie with a straight face and have a professional-level poker face.

    They live in a zone of danger where they are smart enough to be able to fool you yet dumb enough to not see the damage they are doing.

    But let's get one thing straight. Your abuser wants power over you, and this means one simple truth. They don't love you. They just don't, or else they would treat you better and respect you. They may think they love you, but that's a testament to their skewed understanding of love and how relationships work. At best, the} believe they know what's best for you and seek to control every aspect of your life.

    If they don't love you, what do they love? What motivates them?

    They love controlling someone. That's what gives them pleasure, and they will go to any lengths to maintain that pleasure. That's why they make you feel downtrodden on a daily basis and constantly tell you that you aren't good enough or smart enough. You hear it so much, you begin believing it instead of trusting yourself and your self-esteem... and that's exactly where your abuser wants you. It makes them feel better about themselves and happy to be adored.

    .... ... ...

    Emotional manipulation is rarely as direct and obvious as you might think. Perhaps it might be obvious to the casual bystander, but when you're emotionally invested, everything simply appears incredibly complex and layered.

    [Apr 12, 2016] Surviving Sara Marrying a narcissistic sociopath

    Notable quotes:
    "... Some of the chapters were next to impossible to write because of the nature of the situations I found myself in, and how personal the memories were, and I hesitated including them in this book, however I felt it was needed to show the lengths Sara would go to to manipulate, degrade and brainwash me, ultimately leading to the destruction of our marriage. It took me a very long time to recognize and admit I was a victim of abuse, especially from a woman. ..."
    "... Being a man's man, that wasn't easy. After my admission, I had to take a look back at the big picture and realize my intentions were always good, but I was just manipulated, brainwashed and beaten down to the point of alienating virtually everyone away from me. ..."
    "... This was the life I lived for 12 years.... ..."
    "... As time went on, and we spent virtually every waking moment together, I began to feel the suffocation of a poisonous relationship creeping in, but by the time I realized this, I was too deep into it and didn't know what to do; the brainwashing had begun. ..."
    "... Admittedly, there was a fairly significant amount of fear I developed towards Sara. Along the way, I had friends I turned to here and there, but eventually, telling people some of the things that were going on was far too embarrassing to share. ..."
    Amazon.com

    Author's Note The events that happened throughout this book are all true, recalled from the best of my memory and/or old journals I had kept. Those who read it, may not like everything they read, but unfortunately sometimes the truth is the hardest thing to hear. All of the dialogue has been reconstructed from memory; it may not be word for word, but the nature of what was said is accurate. It was suggested by some of my closest friends and family that I take my unbelievable story and life lessons learned with Sara and not only write them down, but publish a book for others to read and try to grasp the hell I lived. I know I'm not alone in what I had gone through and there are other people out there who are living a similar life that I lived. I thought that if I wrote this book, sharing the struggles I faced being married to someone who was mentally, emotionally and sometimes physically abusive (not to mention controlling, completely unpredictable and manipulative), there may be some small chance that one of these people living in a similar hell may read it and find that there is a way out. There is hope for a better life.

    I will say, wiiting these memories, (or in most cases nightmares) down was very therapeutic but not often easy. I do not regret anything I wrote in this book. I wanted everything to be honest, factual, uncensored and descriptive, and I believe in order to do it right, it couldn't have been done any other way. Some of the chapters were next to impossible to write because of the nature of the situations I found myself in, and how personal the memories were, and I hesitated including them in this book, however I felt it was needed to show the lengths Sara would go to to manipulate, degrade and brainwash me, ultimately leading to the destruction of our marriage. It took me a very long time to recognize and admit I was a victim of abuse, especially from a woman.

    Being a man's man, that wasn't easy. After my admission, I had to take a look back at the big picture and realize my intentions were always good, but I was just manipulated, brainwashed and beaten down to the point of alienating virtually everyone away from me. I was lost and spiraling quickly down a very dark, destructive path. I am still working on standing tall and holding my head up after many years of abuse. I am not ashamed of myself any longer, and have become comfortable speaking out on this subject. I am a much different man today than I was back then. This is my story. This was the life I lived for 12 years....

    ... ... ...

    My point? We were like any other teenage romance. It was not uncommon for us to do sweet gestures for each other like writing little notes in our lockers at school to each other, or meeting each other for lunch. I'm sure we made some people sick. Then things began to slowly change. As time went on, and we spent virtually every waking moment together, I began to feel the suffocation of a poisonous relationship creeping in, but by the time I realized this, I was too deep into it and didn't know what to do; the brainwashing had begun.

    Admittedly, there was a fairly significant amount of fear I developed towards Sara. Along the way, I had friends I turned to here and there, but eventually, telling people some of the things that were going on was far too embarrassing to share. I kept things to myself and tried to work through them alone, or just simply ignore them...

    [Apr 07, 2016] Characteristics Associated with Cultic Groups - Revised

    csj.org

    Janja Lalich, Ph.D. & Michael D. Langone, Ph.D.

    Concerted efforts at influence and control lie at the core of cultic groups, programs, and relationships. Many members, former members, and supporters of cults are not fully aware of the extent to which members may have been manipulated, exploited, even abused. The following list of social-structural, social-psychological, and interpersonal behavioral patterns commonly found in cultic environments may be helpful in assessing a particular group or relationship.

    Compare these patterns to the situation you were in (or in which you, a family member, or friend is currently involved). This list may help you determine if there is cause for concern. Bear in mind that this list is not meant to be a "cult scale" or a definitive checklist to determine if a specific group is a cult. This is not so much a diagnostic instrument as it is an analytical tool.

    1. The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.
    2. Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
    3. Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).
    4. The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry-or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).
    5. The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar-or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).
    6. The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.
    7. The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).
    8. The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members' participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).
    9. The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt iin order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.
    10. Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.
    11. The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
    12. The group is preoccupied with making money.
    13. Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.
    14. Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.
    15. The most loyal members (the "true believers") feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.

    This checklist will be published in the new book, Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships by Janja Lalich and Madeleine Tobias (Berkeley: Bay Tree Publishing, 2006). It was adapted from a checklist originally developed by Michael Langone.

    [Apr 07, 2016] The Confidence Game Why We Fall for It... Every Time by Maria Konnikova

    Hardcover: 352 pages, Viking (January 12, 2016)
    Notable quotes:
    "... I went back and saw ways I got conned in matters of the heart while dating; in buying things; in following certain leaders in church. ..."
    "... As a former prosecutor of elder abuse crimes (both physical and financial), I have a lot of experience with people who "fall for it." But that certainly doesn't mean everyone does. Nor does it mean that the ones who don't "fall for it" are more cynical, less humane, less open to true friendship, etc. In fact, Konnikova's description of victims of con artists as being more open and in touch with their humanity sounds like the manipulation of a con artist. ..."
    "... As a scientist, used to sorting through ambiguous evidence and well-meaning but underdetermined interpretations, I find this book excellent. The author no doubt has to cast speculations of her own, and overplay some connections and implications, but the connections between gullibility, optimism, cults, and scams strike me as well articulated. ..."
    "... But you are not at all privileged to launch unsolicited attacks on the personal attributes of the author. (Your line "until she matures as a thinker and researcher....." was completely uncalled-for, and hints more at your feelings of insecurity and inadequacy than anything else.) ..."
    "... Three-card monte gets some attention - but that's not that interesting to me...I know why they succeed, because people want to see if THEY can beat the game - it's not a con as much as a battle of wits, which the rube always loses (I was cheated on a rigged carny game years ago - they suck you in with a few easy wins, then it gets progressively harder to win the stuffed animal). ..."
    "... as long as there's an advantage to fooling somebody, people will try to fool other people. ..."
    "... A confidence game starts with basic human psychology. The con identifies what the victim wants and how to play on that desire to achieve what the con-artist wants. Size someone up well, and you can sell them anything; it helps to have someone in the throes of some sort of life turmoil - the conman preys on what people wish were true, reaffirming their views of themselves and giving their lives meaning. Doing so requires the creation of empathy and rapport - laying an emotional foundation before any scheme is proposed. ..."
    "... The con is an exercise in soft skills - trust, sympathy, persuasion. He doesn't steal - we give. We believe because we want to, and we offer whatever they want - money, reputation, trust, fame, support, and don't realize what is happening until it is too late. No one is immune to the art of the con - it is not who you are, but where you happen to be at the moment in your life (eg. undergoing misfortune). ..."
    "... The con is the oldest game there is, and it's likely to be entering a new age - thanks to new opportunities brought by increasing technology that make it far easier to establish convincing false identities (eg. LinkedIn), as well as identify those who might be more likely conned (dating sites that identify widows and divorcees). ..."
    "... Con artists aren't just master manipulators - they are expert storytellers (eg. 'I'm supporting my mother, who now has AIDS,' 'I had PTSD from Iraq,' etc. Once we've accepted a story as true we will probably unconsciously bend any contradictory information to conform to the conclusion we've already drawn - it's known as 'confirmation bias.' Ultimately, what a confidence artist sells is hope. Many cases go unreported - most cases, by some estimates. AARP found that only 37% of victims over 55 will admit to having fallen for a con, and just over half those under 55 do so. Most con artists don't ever come to trial because they aren't brought to the authorities to begin with. ..."
    "... The first commandment of the con man - 'Be a patient listener.' (Victor Lustig, con artist) Emotion is the primary hook used, much more powerful than logic. Cons tend to thrive in the wake of economic or natural disaster illness, personal travail. Sadness makes us more prone to risk taking and impulsivity - perfect for certain types of cons. Con artists love funerals and obituaries, divorces, layoffs, and general loneliness. He does everything in his power to bring our self-perceived better-than-averageness perceptions to the fore - eg. 'How intelligent you are, Professor Frampton.' And we believe it, because we want it to be. ..."
    "... They recognize common traits, like our tendency to see others as similar to ourselves, our illusion of control, and our unwillingness to think badly about ourselves. These traits aren't weaknesses; without them, we'd be functionally paralyzed. Effective swindlers work by turning our best characteristics and human capabilities against us. ..."
    "... Fraudsters prey on traits that open us to community, family, and fiscal reward. As Konnikova writes: "The same thing that can underlie success can also make you all the more vulnerable to the grifter's wares. We are predisposed to trust." With swindles, as with propaganda, those who think themselves most immune are, actually, most vulnerable. ..."
    "... "It's not that the confidence artist is inherently psychopathic, caring nothing about the fates of others. It's that, to him, we aren't worthy of consideration as human beings; we are targets, not unique people." ..."
    "... Konnikova suggests it's difficult to prevent con-games without isolating ourselves and descending into cynicism. In the later chapters, though, she reverses the trend, showing how skilled, self-aware people can resist flim-flam artists' techniques. Not hypothetically, either: she shows how real people, cult busters and cultural anthropologists and police, have maintained their sanity when confronted by seemingly insurmountable double-dealing. Resistance is possible. ..."
    "... Even if we never vote for crooks, invest with Bernie Madoff, or buy salvation sellers' wares, the potential for confidence games still surrounds us. Konnikova provides needed tools for self-awareness, clear boundaries, and bold self-defense. Swindles are inevitable; victimhood isn't. ..."
    amazon.com
    Dan E. Nicholas, February 4, 2016
    And some are not even bad people. She says it's when folks who lack ...

    I'm reading and loving this book. I'll expand my review when I'm completely done in a couple days but just have to say: get it. Read it. Learn about yourself; if you dare. (I gave it four stars rather than five to protect myself!)

    I was shocked how well she documents that it is we the conned that want the con to be real. The Grifter doesn't even have to always be that skilled. I went back and saw ways I got conned in matters of the heart while dating; in buying things; in following certain leaders in church.

    Stunned to learned that 1% of the population is psychopathological in the way their brains are wired, some folks just can't feel or give meaning to your pain or the pain of others. And some are not even bad people. She says it's when folks who lack this "proper" wiring aim to use it for financial gain or to win and break hearts? Awful.

    I fell in love with a Man Eater once. Looking back I see how it was my fault in setting up my own fall. I want things to look like they would work. The bad rests on me now. She's still a Man Eater. But the wounds I earned with my stupidity. I went on to find success with love but I've some scars for sure due to female cons running scams unwittingly online with dating sights.

    She shows we can be wise without being cynical. I like that.

    Wild'n'Free
    Disappointing but with some qualities, November 28, 2015

    Konnikova promises a lot in the titles to her books. I read Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes and was disappointed. I did not learn to think like Sherlock Holmes; not by a long shot. In this book, Konnikova has come closer to delivering the "Why We Fall for It . . . Every Time" but I disagree with her observations and conclusions.

    As a former prosecutor of elder abuse crimes (both physical and financial), I have a lot of experience with people who "fall for it." But that certainly doesn't mean everyone does. Nor does it mean that the ones who don't "fall for it" are more cynical, less humane, less open to true friendship, etc. In fact, Konnikova's description of victims of con artists as being more open and in touch with their humanity sounds like the manipulation of a con artist.

    Not that I think Konnikova is a con artist. She is just a very ambitious young woman and a self-promoter. I have read a lot of her magazine articles and have enjoyed many of them. Unfortunately, her organizational and analytical skills as a writer do not make her a good writer of books. Viewed as a series of magazine articles with the inevitable repetitions this book holds up fairly well.

    But as a book, it lacks a great deal. It certainly deserves 3 stars, but its failure to respond to bigger questions with bigger answers makes it fall short. For me, it was an uneven, often repetitious, fairly shallow approach to a fascinating subject. Until she matures as a thinker and researcher, Konnikova does better when she sticks to the magazine articles that she handles so well.

    SundayAtDusk says:

    "In fact, Konnikova's description of victims of con artists as being more open and in touch with their humanity sounds like the manipulation of a con artist."

    Excellent observation and excellent review.

    JohnVidale says:

    As a scientist, used to sorting through ambiguous evidence and well-meaning but underdetermined interpretations, I find this book excellent. The author no doubt has to cast speculations of her own, and overplay some connections and implications, but the connections between gullibility, optimism, cults, and scams strike me as well articulated. The field of psychology is messy, but this book was very interesting and enlightening, clear as is possible (aside from chapters organized like magazine articles), and the connection between empathetic people and people who get scammed seems completely reasonable, albeit with a less than perfect correlation.

    Joe Madison says:

    I have the same question as Ellis Reppo: If this book is only average, can you recommend a good one? I have not read The Confidence Game, but I have a psych degree and a longstanding interest in persuasion. I often find popular psych books to be like you describe The Confidence Game (repetitive, without great breadth of understanding), and so your own book recommendations would be of real value. Thanks!

    pat black says:

    There's one called Eyeing the Flash: The Making of a Carnival Con Artist. A case study, if you will, of a 17-year-old middle class math whiz who became a midway con man in 1960s midwest

    JLMK

    I'd stick to making an unbiased appraisal of the merits of the book if I were you, and cut out the ad hominem nonsense. As a reviewer you are privileged to make an opinion on the book's attributes, how it answers the questions raised by the author, etc.

    But you are not at all privileged to launch unsolicited attacks on the personal attributes of the author. (Your line "until she matures as a thinker and researcher....." was completely uncalled-for, and hints more at your feelings of insecurity and inadequacy than anything else.)

    Kirk McElhearn says:

    Read David Maurer's The Big Con. It explains how the cons work, rather than focusing on lots of psychological studies that Konnikova looks at, trying to suss out why we respond the way we do.

    Nathan Webster TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE on November 27, 2015

    Entertaining and interesting look at conmen and the rubes who buy what they sell

    This is a fun book that covers a lot of ground about 'cons,' from the personalities of those who can commit them, to the marks and rubes who get taken advantage of.

    You would think in our informed culture, we couldn't be fooled, but we know that's not the case. Author Maria Konnikova does a good job presenting all sides of these stories and it's often entertaining reading about the pure brazeness of it all. I had not heard of many of the conmen (and women) that she describes and I always like reading new stories.

    I do wish there had been more recent accounts - there are so many cheaters like Lance Armstrong that aren't exactly doing it for profit, and more attention to them would have been interesting. Three-card monte gets some attention - but that's not that interesting to me...I know why they succeed, because people want to see if THEY can beat the game - it's not a con as much as a battle of wits, which the rube always loses (I was cheated on a rigged carny game years ago - they suck you in with a few easy wins, then it gets progressively harder to win the stuffed animal).

    I think the book is not disorganized, but it does cover a lot of ground, and the different names and situations can be difficult to follow at times. Interesting and entertaining, yes, but just be ready to pay attention.

    Ultimately, it's an interesting sociological study - as long as there's an advantage to fooling somebody, people will try to fool other people. I would not use this book as the primary source - I think a reader should have interest in this specific topic first, and not use this book to try to get interested. It's a little too specific to get a reader invested who comes to the topic totally new.

    Loyd Eskildson HALL OF FAMEon January 12, 2016
    Rogues Regularly Triumph Over The Meek

    Author Maria Konnikova has a Ph.D. in Psychology from Columbia, along with considerable experience researching topics in and writing about psychology. This, her second book, is about conmen - elegant, outsized personalities, artists of persuasion and exploiters of trust, not just your dime a dozen cheats and swindlers. Their 'bible' is Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People."

    A confidence game starts with basic human psychology. The con identifies what the victim wants and how to play on that desire to achieve what the con-artist wants. Size someone up well, and you can sell them anything; it helps to have someone in the throes of some sort of life turmoil - the conman preys on what people wish were true, reaffirming their views of themselves and giving their lives meaning. Doing so requires the creation of empathy and rapport - laying an emotional foundation before any scheme is proposed.

    The con is an exercise in soft skills - trust, sympathy, persuasion. He doesn't steal - we give. We believe because we want to, and we offer whatever they want - money, reputation, trust, fame, support, and don't realize what is happening until it is too late. No one is immune to the art of the con - it is not who you are, but where you happen to be at the moment in your life (eg. undergoing misfortune).

    By the time things begin to look dicey, the victims tend to be so invested, emotionally and often physically, that they do most of the persuasion themselves. The con-artist may not even need to convince his victims to stay quite - they usually are more likely than not to do so themselves. When we hear others talking about their unbelievable deal or good fortune, we realize at once they've been taken for a sucker, but when it happens to us, it's simply because "I'm lucky and deserving of a good turn."

    The best of cons are never discovered - we simply write our loss off as a matter of bad luck.

    Psychopaths make up an estimated 1% of male population; among women, they are almost nonexistent. Grifters also are highly likely to be narcissist and Machiavellian. Narcissism entails a sense of grandiosity, entitlement, an overly inflated sense of worth, and manipulativeness. Machiavellian has come to mean a specific set of traits that allows one to manipulate others - employs aggressive, manipulative, exploiting, and devious moves. They are also more likely to attempt to bluff, cheat, bargain, and ingratiate themselves with others, and more successful at doing so.

    Leadership and high-profile roles, salesmen/marketers, and the legal profession are all more likely to be populated by confidence men.

    Researcher James Fallon believes that certain critical periods in childhood can nudge one more or less towards full-blown psychopathy - luck out, you become a high-functioning psychopath, get the bad draw and you become a violent psychopath. Fallon believes the first three years of life are crucial in determining one's psychopathic future.

    The con is the oldest game there is, and it's likely to be entering a new age - thanks to new opportunities brought by increasing technology that make it far easier to establish convincing false identities (eg. LinkedIn), as well as identify those who might be more likely conned (dating sites that identify widows and divorcees). Since 2008, consumer fraud in the U.S. has risen more than 60%, with online scams more than doubling. In 2012 alone, the Internet Crime Complaint Center reported almost 300,000 complaints of online fraud, with over $500 million lost. Between 2011 and 2012, the Federal Trade Commission found that a little over 10% of American adults (25.6 million) had fallen victim to fraud. The majority of the cases involved fake weight-loss products, second place went to false prize promotions, and in third place was buyers' clubs in which what seemed like a free deal actually involves membership charges you didn't even know you'd signed up for. Fourth was unauthorized Internet billing, and finally work-at-home programs.

    Con artists aren't just master manipulators - they are expert storytellers (eg. 'I'm supporting my mother, who now has AIDS,' 'I had PTSD from Iraq,' etc. Once we've accepted a story as true we will probably unconsciously bend any contradictory information to conform to the conclusion we've already drawn - it's known as 'confirmation bias.' Ultimately, what a confidence artist sells is hope. Many cases go unreported - most cases, by some estimates. AARP found that only 37% of victims over 55 will admit to having fallen for a con, and just over half those under 55 do so. Most con artists don't ever come to trial because they aren't brought to the authorities to begin with.

    Most people require three things to align before going from legitimacy to con-artistry - motivation (underlying predisposition created by psychopathy), narcissism, and Machiavellianism - along with opportunity and a plausible rationale. In corporate fraud, for example, few choose to con in a vacuum - they also perceive an aggressive sales environment (opportunity) and a feeling they must do something to stand out. For a significant percentage of the conning population, surroundings matter. About half those who commit fraud cite intolerable competitive conditions as justification. They can rationalize away just about any behavior as necessary.

    In one study of 15,000, only 50 could consistently detect liars - they relied on detecting incredibly fast facial movements as their clues. One of those 50 is now employed in law enforcement, and she told the author that smart psychopaths are super liars and have no conscience, and are very hard for her to identify.

    The first commandment of the con man - 'Be a patient listener.' (Victor Lustig, con artist) Emotion is the primary hook used, much more powerful than logic. Cons tend to thrive in the wake of economic or natural disaster illness, personal travail. Sadness makes us more prone to risk taking and impulsivity - perfect for certain types of cons. Con artists love funerals and obituaries, divorces, layoffs, and general loneliness. He does everything in his power to bring our self-perceived better-than-averageness perceptions to the fore - eg. 'How intelligent you are, Professor Frampton.' And we believe it, because we want it to be.

    Consistency plays a crucial role in our ongoing evaluations of a person we're helping - 'If I've helped you before, you must be worth it.'

    Overall - some good points about con-men - but far too reliant on anecdotes.

    Kevin L. Nenstiel TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE. November 2, 2015

    Know How Crooks Think, So They Can't Outthink You

    Our world positively teems with swindlers, ripoff artists, and con-men. From ordinary curbside Three-Card Monte to charming, narcissistic domestic abusers, to Ponzi schemers and Wall Street market riggers, the confidence game exudes from society's very pores. Psychologist turned journalist Maria Konnikova wants to unpack what makes us susceptible to con artists, a journey that leads through all human psychology, sometimes vulnerable to diversions and cow paths.

    Konnikova's first book, Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, dealt with how crime fighters organize thoughts, observe reality, and undermine criminal mentality. This book essentially addresses the same issues from the opposite angle: how criminals create situations that need busting. Konnikova's conclusions may seem surprising, until we consider them further. Vulnerability to confidence artists and other professional chiselers actually means our psyches are healthy.

    Confidence artists work with an encyclopedic understanding of human psychology with which research scientists are only now catching up. They recognize common traits, like our tendency to see others as similar to ourselves, our illusion of control, and our unwillingness to think badly about ourselves. These traits aren't weaknesses; without them, we'd be functionally paralyzed. Effective swindlers work by turning our best characteristics and human capabilities against us.

    We must recognize, therefore, that making ourselves insusceptible to cons isn't actually desirable. Fraudsters prey on traits that open us to community, family, and fiscal reward. As Konnikova writes: "The same thing that can underlie success can also make you all the more vulnerable to the grifter's wares. We are predisposed to trust." With swindles, as with propaganda, those who think themselves most immune are, actually, most vulnerable.

    The answer lies in understanding ourselves and the swindlers better. They don't see us like we see ourselves. They don't want to. We must cultivate complex understanding of different human thought patterns, and a stronger sense of ourselves. Konnikova again: "It's not that the confidence artist is inherently psychopathic, caring nothing about the fates of others. It's that, to him, we aren't worthy of consideration as human beings; we are targets, not unique people."

    All isn't bleak. Throughout most of this book, Konnikova suggests it's difficult to prevent con-games without isolating ourselves and descending into cynicism. In the later chapters, though, she reverses the trend, showing how skilled, self-aware people can resist flim-flam artists' techniques. Not hypothetically, either: she shows how real people, cult busters and cultural anthropologists and police, have maintained their sanity when confronted by seemingly insurmountable double-dealing. Resistance is possible.

    As Konnikova explains confidence artists' psychological techniques, her focus expands to include much about recent discoveries in psychology and behavioral economics. She wants readers to emerge with as thorough an understanding of human minds as the fraud merchants enjoy. This sometimes makes her technique sprawling (this book runs over 300 pages plus back matter, unusually long for its genre.)

    Reading Konnikova sometimes requires especial concentration and focus.

    She richly rewards those who stick with her narrative, though. I've recently seen one friend lose rafts to shady investments and two others get burned by charming, narcissistic romantic partners. Even if we never vote for crooks, invest with Bernie Madoff, or buy salvation sellers' wares, the potential for confidence games still surrounds us. Konnikova provides needed tools for self-awareness, clear boundaries, and bold self-defense. Swindles are inevitable; victimhood isn't.

    [Apr 07, 2016] How Cults Manipulate People

    www.aibi.ph

    Many people now agree that cults frequently psychologically manipulate their membership to ensure conformity and control. Steve Hassan's excellent book "Combating Cult Mind-Control" is a great starting point. The following points come from numerous sources. Not all of these are found in every cult but enough of them are found in most cults to make them very frightening places that inflict deep psychological damage on their membership.

    1. Submission to Leadership - Leaders tend to be absolute, prophets of God, God Himself, specially anointed apostle, or just a strong, controlling, manipulative person who demands submission even if changes or conflicts occur in ideology or behavior.

    2. Polarized World View - The group is all that is good; everything outside is bad.

    3. Feeling Over Thought - Emotions, intuitions, mystical insights are promoted as more important than rational conclusions.

    4. Manipulation of Feelings - Techniques designed to stimulate emotions, usually employing group dynamics to influence responses.

    5. Denigration of Critical Thinking - Can go so far as to characterize any independent thought as selfish, and rational use of intellect as evil.

    6. Salvation or Fulfillment can only be realized in the group.

    7. End Justifies the Means - Any action or behavior is justifiable as long as it furthers the group's goals. The group (leader) becomes absolute truth and is above all man-made laws.

    8. Group Over Individual - The group's concerns supersede an individual's goals, needs, aspirations, and concerns. Conformity is the key.

    9. Warnings of severe or supernatural sanctions for defection or even criticism of the cult - This can go so far as to apply to negative or critical thought about the group or its leaders.

    10. Severing of Ties with Past, Family, Friends, Goals, and Interests - Especially if they are negative towards or impede the goals of the group.

    11. Barratrous Abuse - Some cults use "cult lawyers' to sue ex-cult members and critics often using fabricated evidence and causing financial stress by repeated trivial law suits. The cult's aim is not so much to win the lawsuit (though they often do) as to harass and intimidate their critics into silence.

    Cult Conversion Techniques

    Conversion into a cult is usually the result of two interacting dynamics. The first is the personal vulnerability of the potential recruit. This vulnerability may be enhanced by, but not limited to, transitional situations such as divorce, abuse, job or career change, moving away from home or leaving college, an illness, or death of a loved one.

    The second dynamic are the tactics used to convert, indoctrinate (brainwash) and hold the members. Some groups attempt a radical and rapid conversion over an intensive week-end or week, such as The Forum or Scientology. Others have a more subtle approach which may take weeks or months, such as the Jehovah's Witnesses. The following are techniques of unethical thought reform and mind control:

    The importance of cognitive dissonance

    Any person will act so as to reduce conflict between their thoughts, their emotions and their behavior. When these things are at odds with each other a person experiences 'dissonance" (the opposite of harmony). Cognitive dissonance is when what a person knows is right is at odds with either what they feel is right or what they are doing. Cults quickly move to control four key areas of a person's life during the conversion process -

    Behavior - by intense involvement in activity and isolation from others. Behavior is closely prescribed and carefully supervised.

    Emotions - a new recruit is often "love bombed" and greeted enthusiastically and told they are very special. They are made to feel that everyone in the cult loves them and that "nothing could be wrong with such a loving group of people". However this does not last. Emotions are sent on a roller coaster and the only hope of emotional stability is total conformity and pleasing the cult leadership.

    Thought - indoctrination, extended "teaching sessions", memorization of cult dogma, "auditing sessions" where inner secrets are revealed and thought processes exposed - all are a part of attempts at thought control so that the thought life of the convert is taken up entirely with the group.

    Information - isolation from peers, TV, radio, newspapers, (often labeled as "Satanic") and careful control of associations ensures that little or no material critical of the cult reaches the new recruit during the conversion process.

    The combination of all these factors make it very likely that if the new recruit stays in the cult for any length of time they will come to believe in it utterly. We are not as objective as we like to think and when all these powerful forces combine then very intelligent people will be "converted" but not by God.

    A Quick List of Nasty Practices

    1. A Focus on felt needs, defects, with exaggerated promises of fulfillment.

    2. Rigid Control of Time and Activities - Often physically and emotionally draining activities leaving little time for reflection, questioning and privacy.

    3. Information Control - Cutting off or denigrating outside sources of information especially if it is critical of the group. This can also include misrepresentation and information overload.

    4. Language Manipulation - Ascribing new "inside" meanings in ordinary words or the use of an exclusive vocabulary subtly moving a person to want to become an insider.

    5. Discouraging Critical, Rational Thought and Questions - For instance, comments like, "Satan is the cause of all doubt; he wants to keep you from the Truth", or, "one must move beyond the cognitive left-brain and get in touch with one's higher self, his right-brain, intuitive self for true knowledge".

    6. Instruction and Repetition in Trance Induction Techniques - These include progressive relaxation, chanting, hypnosis, meditation, trance states, guided imagery or visualization, deep breathing exercises, all of which make a person highly suggestible, often unable to distinguish between fantasy and reality, and can cause psychopathology such as relaxation induced anxiety.

    7. Confession Sessions - Promoting full disclosure of all secret sins, thoughts, temptations which can become a powerful tool to manipulate, blackmail, and emotionally bond people to the leader or group. It is actually a depersonalization or stripping of the inner self , a forced submission to the group.

    8. Guilt, Fear - Weapons used to maintain group loyalty, suppress questions and defections.

    9. Control of Sexuality and Intimacy within the Cult - This may extend to marriage decisions (Moonies), sexual relations, promiscuity (Children of God), group sex (New Age Therapy groups), child sex, adultery, and polygamy (Branch-Davidians).

    10. Excessive Financial Obligations - More and more money is needed to attain higher degrees of spirituality (Scientology), or complete submission to God requires one to give up everything to the group or leader (pp. 26-29).

    The more points of ideology and conversion methodology that are in place, and the degree of intensity of their application is proportionate to the effect and damage of mind control.

    These factors tend to make normal evangelism, or even dialogue, much more difficult. Therefore, some people have looked to deprogrammers or exit-counselors to help break the mental head-locks of their loved ones in an attempt to rescue them from the cult.

    Can an Orthodox Christian Group Get Like This ?

    Yes they can!!! Just because the theology is straight down the line does not mean the behavior will be. I was in a mission society that in a particular place under the influence of a leader with a great deal of charisma and authority became "cultic" for a year or so. That has been corrected but much damage was done.

    Some Christian groups start off great -like the "children of God' and end up utterly wrong and evil. The church needs strong leaders, but they must always be accountable to Scripture and to other wise Christians.

    We must allow people to be critical, to think for themselves and to understand scripture freely apart from the dictates of any leader. we must allow a great deal of emotional and intellectual freedom and renounce our desires to control others if we are to have healthy churches where people rejoice in the Truth.

    This article may be freely reproduced for non-profit ministry purposes but may not be sold in any way. For permission to use articles in your ministry, e-mail the editor, John Edmiston at johned@aibi.ph.

    [Mar 22, 2016] The Vampire's Bite Victims of Narcissists Speak Out

    Notable quotes:
    "... N would [even] lie when the truth would save his neck ..."
    "... "I lie. Compulsively and needlessly. All the time. About everything. And I often contradict myself. Why do I need to do this? To make myself interesting or attractive. In other words, to secure narcissistic supply (attention, admiration, adulation, gossip )." ..."
    "... Because they're not genuinely interested in others, they're poor listeners ..."
    "... They can be extremely mean-spirited (as in taking an almost perverse delight in raining on another's parade). ..."
    "... They're untrustworthy: As one discussant bluntly puts it: "Don't tell them anything you aren't prepared to get shoved up your butt later ..."
    "... Despite their self- confident , better-than-thou exterior, they often betray feelings of weakness, insecurity, inferiority, jealousy , and cowardice. One commenter even sums them up as "emotional cripples." ..."
    "... What I, and others on this board, have learned from dealing with N bullies in our personal lives applies to terrorists. There can be no appeasement, no attempting to reason with them, no attempt to "fix" them, to unseat their deep-seated hatred, shame and envy. Sounds terribly harsh to the uninitiated, but not recognizing that can only lead to our own destruction. ..."
    "... Looking back on ALL the Ns I've ever known and merged with, I see there WERE signs within minutes of meeting the N that they were grossly selfish, immoral, sex -addicted or [that] something was definitely 'off' [about them]. I didn't honour my intuition, gut feelings and instinct. The truth is that I had almost no experience setting healthy boundaries. ..."
    Apr 23, 2014 | Psychology Today
    Of all the oppressive, crazy-making features of the narcissist, the one perhaps most frequently cited is their exasperating dishonesty. And such untruthfulness has at times led their no-longer-so-gullible victims to describe them as con artists. Here's a highly selective sampling of such complaints:

    The controversial Dr. Sam Vaknin, creator of this forum on narcissism and himself a self-confessed NPD, has written profusely-at times, brilliantly-on the subject. In his article "Pseudologica Fantastica," he freely admits:

    ... ... ...

    Below, I'll summarize some other distressing characteristics of the narcissist regularly alluded to by their victims:

    The one consolation for victims of the narcissist's "dagger" (or "vampirish teeth") is the hard-won insights they eventually gain, which makes it possible for at least some of them to repudiate a relationship that's been so toxic to them. Again, in their own (sadder-but-wiser) words:

    [Mar 22, 2016] The Secret to Spotting Subtle Narcissists

    Notable quotes:
    "... The entitlement surge of subtle narcissism is a bit like the normally happy drunk suddenly becoming surly and going on a bender, cleaning out the liquor cabinets and storming off to buy more booze. ..."
    "... Your partner begins complaining about the messy house after your pregnancy, feeling he works hard enough that he deserves to come home to a clean house.... ..."
    Mar 16, 2016 | Psychology Today

    ...narcissism is marked by an entitlement surge-those moments when a normally understanding friend or partner or coworker angrily behaves as if the world owes them. It's usually triggered by a sudden fear that their special status has been threatened in some way. Until this point, their need for the world to revolve around them is mostly under wraps, because it hasn't been called into question. Kevin didn't ask for Sherry's support or even try to understand how hard her year after her mother's death had been. In his mind, he deserved her full understanding because he felt so close to his dream of a becoming a law partner.

    The entitlement surge of subtle narcissism is a bit like the normally happy drunk suddenly becoming surly and going on a bender, cleaning out the liquor cabinets and storming off to buy more booze. Your usually affable boss suddenly tears into you, worried that the latest project (his idea) is failing. Unbeknownst to you, he's secretly had plans to become the CEO ever since he arrived. Your partner begins complaining about the messy house after your pregnancy, feeling he works hard enough that he deserves to come home to a clean house....

    ... ... ...

    To read more about subtle (and dangerous) narcissism, including specific, research-backed strategies to protect yourself from it, order Rethinking Narcissism (link is external) today.

    [Mar 22, 2016] The 5 Most Dangerous Myths About Narcissism (Part 2)

    Notable quotes:
    "... The other narcissist is my mother. For years I lived in terror of her rages, and how the family pretty much revolves around her. I didn't understand how a parent could be so cruel, and assume everyone else was a bad person. ..."
    "... As far as healthy narcissism goes, it's something I'm working on. My mother has stripped all of our self-esteem, as she relishes putting loved one's fault under the microscope as often and loudly as possible. I grew up with massive amounts of fear and anxiety assuming everyone was very concerned about every minor mistake I made. I wish I had worked on this earlier. Mom taught me how to make a mountain out of a tiny molehill. ..."
    "... It's true, many children who've lived with extremely narcissistic parents--and I count myself among them--grow up to struggle with a more generous self-image. ..."
    Feb 17, 2016 | Psychology Today

    Narcissism has never been an official mental health disorder. Narcissist isn't a recognized diagnostic descriptor either; it's shorthand for someone who scores higher than the average on narcissism measures and may or may not be disordered

    ...It's a mistake to talk about "symptoms of narcissism." What people usually mean is symptoms of pathological narcissism or NPD.

    Anonymous on February 17, 2016 - 9:04am

    I have two narcissists in my family. One borders on sociopathy so I avoid her, she scares me. The other narcissist is my mother. For years I lived in terror of her rages, and how the family pretty much revolves around her. I didn't understand how a parent could be so cruel, and assume everyone else was a bad person.

    But now that can attach a label to the problem and get a better understanding of what is happening and why, I can create much better boundaries and sit back and watch the crazy unfold. My mother is pretty frustrated that her usual tricks aren't having the impact on me that they once did.

    As far as healthy narcissism goes, it's something I'm working on. My mother has stripped all of our self-esteem, as she relishes putting loved one's fault under the microscope as often and loudly as possible. I grew up with massive amounts of fear and anxiety assuming everyone was very concerned about every minor mistake I made. I wish I had worked on this earlier. Mom taught me how to make a mountain out of a tiny molehill.

    Craig Malkin PhD on February 19, 2016

    It sounds like you've been through hell

    And come back. It's true, many children who've lived with extremely narcissistic parents--and I count myself among them--grow up to struggle with a more generous self-image. It's like we swallow that parent whole, their voice plaguing us at every turn. It's hard work silencing that inner critic. But that's the task -- well worth undertaking-- of overcoming echoism and finding our voices. I wish you well in continuing to find yours.

    [Mar 22, 2016] 9 Enlightening Quotes on Narcissists

    Notable quotes:
    "... In fact, one of their central defenses (or stratagems) is to endlessly project onto others the very flaws (and fears!) they're unable, or unwilling, to allow into awareness. ..."
    "... "Narcissists are great con-artists. After all, they succeed in deluding themselves! As a result, very few professionals see through them." ~ ..."
    "... most therapists learn quickly enough the signs and signals that give away a narcissistic patient (e.g., regularly blaming others for their problems, taking very little responsibility for why their lives aren't working, telling them how to do therapy , ..."
    Apr 14, 2014 | Psychology Today

    Curiously, deep, deep down-and undoubtedly unconscious to them-they know they're not really what they project. In fact, one of their central defenses (or stratagems) is to endlessly project onto others the very flaws (and fears!) they're unable, or unwilling, to allow into awareness. As critical as they are about others' shortcomings, they're amazingly blind to their own. (And in this respect, the reader might take a look at my earlier piece, "The Narcissist's Dilemma: They Can Dish It Out, But . . . ").

    ... ... ...

    "To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance." ~ Oscar Wilde

    Although as stated, this quote is undoubtedly ambiguous, the term "romance" leads me to believe that Wilde's notion of self-love leans toward the pathological-and maybe the auto-erotic as well. But healthy self-love really has very little to do with the romantic: it's grounded in positive self-regard and an acceptance of one's flaws and frailties. On the contrary, being "in love with" oneself (as implied by Wilde's quote) suggests a self-absorption that can only be detrimental to narcissists in their relationships with others. In fact, one of the most common descriptions of unhealthy narcissism emphasizes their inability to care about other people-apart, that is, from how these others might satisfy the demands of their (insatiable) egos.

    "Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm, but the harm [that they cause] does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves." ~ T. S. Eliot

    This quote makes a vital distinction between narcissists' being malevolent (cf. the sociopath) and their simply lacking concern about how their behaviors might adversely affect others. It's yet another way of drawing attention to their supreme self-absorption, which makes it impossible for them to empathically identify with another's feelings, Most of the time they don't consciously intend to take advantage of others. Such exploitation is merely a side effect of their overriding need to feel more important and better than others-and so feel "good enough." Nonetheless, their insensitivity to the wants and needs of those around them can at times be nothing less than astonishing.

    ... ... ...

    "Narcissists are great con-artists. After all, they succeed in deluding themselves! As a result, very few professionals see through them." ~ anonymous.

    This statement seems somewhat exaggerated to me. For most therapists learn quickly enough the signs and signals that give away a narcissistic patient (e.g., regularly blaming others for their problems, taking very little responsibility for why their lives aren't working, telling them how to do therapy, etc.).

    Still, the quote is instructive in pointing out not only the enormous self-deception in the way narcissists see themselves, but also their singular expertise in deceiving others. Speaking with bogus authority, they typically have an excellent track record in getting others to see things as they do, even though the result to those so taken in can be disastrous (e.g., being persuaded to make a truly ill-considered investment).

    All of which is to say that-on many different levels-getting involved with a narcissist can be as dangerous as a snake bite. And the unexpected sting of it all can, alas, last a good deal longer.

    Note 1: In examining literally hundreds of quotes for this post, I came across many that centered not anywhere so much on the narcissist as on their hapless victims. Consequently, my next post will explore the damage that narcissists-especially those far out on the narcissistic continuum -do to those who unwittingly put their trust in them. It's called "The Vampire's Bite: Victims of Narcissists Speak Out."

    Note 2: If you'd like to explore other posts I've written on narcissism, here are the links:

    Note 3: If you'd like to check out other posts I've done for Psychology Today blogs generally-on a broad variety of topics-click here.

    [Mar 20, 2016] Misogynist Jonathan Bennett, Jon Briddell, Eve Mauro, Tracey E. Bregman

    www.amazon.com

    Amazon.com

    TAXES AND TANGERINES

    By The Movie Guy on August 16, 2015

    Format: Amazon Video

    Trevor (Jon Briddell) takes the love torn Harrison (Jonathan Bennett) under his wing and teaches him about women. Harrison in return recruits more students as Trevor has created a cult where he teaches men how to control beautiful women by basically being an a-hole. Much of this low budget film is guys talking about what women want, lumping them all together as if they are the same and can all be treated the same. There are some flashbacks.

    I found the discussions boring. Women might like watching this, thinking it is akin to a Cosmo article on what men are like, but I found it insulting as it too lumps men all together as simply animals that want to completely control women and use them as sex objects. BTW that naked girl on the cover is not in the film.

    Guide: F-bomb, sex. No nudity. Some violence.

    The Battle of the Sexes ... With A Touch of Revenge

    By Edward L Zimmerman TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 6, 2015

    Format: DVD

    The battle of the sexes has quite probably been around as long as – well – as long as we've had sexes. I've heard it said that the male mind will never effectively grasp what goes on inside the female of the species, and no doubt it's been challenged vice versa. Rather than seeking to understand it, what happens when we just want to make the best use of what's in there instead? That's part and parcel of what's lurking near the core of MISOGYNIST, a film that may challenge some viewers to sit until the finish … and if they do they just might be rewarded with something to talk about afterwards along with some pretty spiffy independent performances.

    (NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and/or characters. If you're the type of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I'd encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you're accepting of a few modest hints at 'things to come,' then read on …)

    From the product packaging: "Trevor is an extreme misogynist who campaigns underground seminars, teaching his ideology of women. Only through referrals and word of mouth, he provides bizarre, offensive, and outlandish strategies to young men, with the promise that they can control any woma. His best student is Harrison, a young man Trevor took under his wing when he was most vulnerable. Viewing Trevor as a father figure, Harrison will do what Trevor instructs him to do. Soon Harrison starts to realize that he is just a pawn in Trevor's plot …"

    I'm stopping there because methinks the last bit on the box spoils too much of the finish, though I've no doubt others may see this conclusion coming, especially if they're watching closely. I did, but I have to say that that didn't happen by enjoyment of MISOGYNIST, a slightly uneven film that vacillates between an effective performance piece for gifted actors (all around) and perhaps the sickest revenge flick one might stumble upon.

    At the center of the conversation that dominates the first half of the picture are Trevor (Jon Briddell) and Harrison (Jonathan Bennett), two men who upon first meeting would appear to be polar opposites. But when the real action of the film begins (three years later), we find out that they've become curious soulmates – two peas in the same pod – and they're destined to make Trevor's philosophy for mastering the attentions of any women into a successful underground business. (How do they make money on this is never clear, but it ultimately isn't all that important to the story being told.)

    And just to clarify for those still reading: there is at least one woman around throughout the lion's share of philosophizing (Cheryl, played by the comely Alia Raelynn). As a character, the dynamic is such that she's meant to reinforce Trevor's world view, and she does this in both the more public and private moments of this story.

    Now, all that said, I can certainly understand how some might object to the subject matter explored in a film titled MISOGYNIST. Let's agree that this isn't the kind of feature that's going to be for everyone; Trevor's particular take is rude, offensive, and decidedly misogynistic (hence the effective name) … but there's more to the story here than just offending others. And – for the record – yes, we've all known men who've been able to treat one woman after another the way he does while receivable favorable results. Such is the battle of the sexes I cited at the opening: it's a never-ending battle, and no doubt it'll continue to defy understanding until our sun grows cold.

    However, in MISOGYNIST's second half, the story takes a turn, chancing a somewhat predictable reveal that tries to modestly redefine who Trevor is and why he behaves the way he does. As much as I appreciated the twist, it's also easily to dismiss it as the film's most cinematic conceit – the kind of thing that always happens in movies.

    Still, kudos to writer/director Michael Matteo Rossi for making what could go down as the worst date movie ever but doing so in a way that makes it worth talking about. That's no easy feat.

    MISOGYNIST (2013) is produced by Four Legged Pictures, Italian Cowboy Productions, and Ryan Ricketts Productions. DVD distribution is being handled by the reliable Midnight Releasing. As for the technical specifications, this is one smartly shot indie feature, so audiences can expect some high quality sights and sounds to accompany it. Lastly, if you're looking for special features, then you do have some short behind-the-scenes bits along with an audio commentary to look forward to.

    RECOMMENDED. At times, MISOGYNIST felt more than a bit incomplete to me: what started out as a pretty dynamic performance piece morphed into a macabre revenge flick in the latter half, and I'm not entirely sure both halves gelled the way they should've. Still, when it worked it worked, and the film boasted smart scenes, interesting dynamics, and a kind of water cooler appeal rarely seen in most indie fare these days. Well worth the 76 minutes, my friends, though not without some discomfort, I'm sure.

    In the interests of fairness, I'm pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Midnight Releasing provided me with a complimentary DVD copy of MISOGYNIST by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review; and their contribution to me in no way, shape, or form influenced my opinion of it.

    [Mar 20, 2016] Psychopath John Purdie, Rosalind Arden

    Notable quotes:
    "... Unfortunately, as far as a psychopath is concerned I am far better off seeing them as an alien life form who does not possess the same emotions that puts the word human in term human being. ..."
    Amazon.com

    A look at recent research into the brains and behavior of psychopaths and the prospects for treatment or containment of this antisocial group. Psychopaths who have been convicted of appalling crimes explain with disturbing clarity what motivated them. 48 minutes.

    Nonfiction Only, January 13, 2016

    Interesting and informative, however...

    The danger of this film is that people watching who have not studied psychopathology will look at the descriptive words drifting across the screen and remember that glibness, manipulative, remorseless, conning, lying, and charismatic are traits of a psychopath and may look at loved ones, friends, coworkers and others in a different, and perhaps wrong, light. Hare's psychopathology scale is the industry standard but it consists of 40 items that must be a cohesive group of traits within an individual. Not all 40 of the marker traits were shown. The other danger is that many of the traits shown and discussed, such as an abnormal amygdala, flat affect, lack of emotion, and disconnected are also traits of those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and other disorders.I gave it a 4 star rating because it was informative regarding research and the results of experimental treatments.

    Victoria J. Dennison, January 11, 2016

    This is a very good documentary which attempts to explore the mindset of a psychopath. I was surprised at the amount of psychopath's in the U.S. and England. I didn't think the dysfunction of Psychopathy affected so much of the population. I too believe a person can be born as a psychopath and that it is basically a wiring problem with the brain. Bio-psychology with an emphasis on Neuro-Science does hold the key to remedy many brain dysfunctions such as alcoholism and other mental health issues including psychopathy.

    As a person who has a lot of empathy, I can understand the therapists dilemma in trying to work with psychopaths within the prison system and the inevitable failure of behavioral modification. I always view another person as having the same feelings and needs as I do.

    Unfortunately, as far as a psychopath is concerned I am far better off seeing them as an alien life form who does not possess the same emotions that puts the word human in term human being.

    It was interesting that one psychopath who was being interviewed (in prison) mentions that a person learns from birth and develops a conscience. At which point he mentions "a baby learns not to touch a stove when it is hot". In my opinion touching a hot stove and learning not to burn yourself does not involve the conscience at all. Could it be since he never experienced the pangs of "conscience" and that basically; he doesn't know what it is?

    Caton March 15, 2016

    Insightful, educational and scary...

    The statistics noted in this documentary, if accurate, are really frightening. Apparently, unlike zombies, psychopaths are quite common and do walk among us. The information is put forth in an entertaining yet sober fashion, with interviews with actual psychopaths and numerous members of the forensic psychological expert community. I wish it was a lengthier documentary or had additional parts to it because it was so interesting that I wanted to learn more about the topic.

    George Edmondson, March 3, 2016

    Interesting study of this disease.

    Interesting study of this disease. It also sheds a bright light on why politics are (as opposed to appear to be) crazy.

    Karen Roberton November 19, 2015

    PSYCHOPATHS RUN THE WORLD.

    Great film, when we discover the precise way to identify and diagnose true psychopaths,...society will be stunned to know just how many police, politicians, inter-governmental parasites, and assorted corporate CEO scum that there are sabotaging societies in every country; but whom will have the courage and fortitude to identify and eject these maladjusted maggots to the heavily fortified mental institutions where they belong.

    [Mar 19, 2016] Are You High Maintenance Spouse?

    www.nationalmarriage.com
    Are you high maintenance? Some people seem to always be on the edge of becoming upset. They require a lot of attention, approval, and maybe reassurance. Often such individuals take offense easily at being overlooked or somehow not recognized. These individuals enjoy being in control of a relationship. They can be easily overwhelmed with stress and responsibility and often feel as though they are the most put upon in a relationship. They may see themselves the victim of their mate's insensitivity and distraction.

    Maybe you are married to someone who is high maintenance. You constantly find yourself the object of criticism and it seems as though you can never do anything to the other's satisfaction. Spouses of high maintenance individuals often find themselves in no-win dilemmas. No matter what they do they will incur the disapproval, if not wrath, of their spouse. The high maintenance spouse often claims their expectations are normal and any reasonable caring loving spouse should anticipate what to them are the most basic of considerations. Spouses of high maintenance partners can feel as though they are walking on egg shells waiting for the next failure to occur and they once again are the source of hurt, injury and pain to their spouse.

    Sound familiar at all? Many relationships can be described as one member being more "high maintenance" than the other. In some relationships this is a long standing pattern and contributes to erosion of affection and commitment over time. In other relationships the "high maintenance" tag gets shared depending on changing circumstances and felt needs. One week it is the wife who is high maintenance, the next week it is the husband. It is conceivable that a relationship might occur in which both spouses are high maintenance and the relationship dynamics revolve around competition over whose 'felt need' is greatest at any given time.

    If you honestly recognize you can be "high maintenance" take heart, be encouraged there is good news. One, the simple fact you recognize you can be demanding and easily offended puts you in a position to change. Many high maintenance individuals are oblivious to the pain and suffering they inflict upon those around them. Self-objectivity, the ability to look at oneself honestly and objectively is a characteristic of maturity and essential to personal change. If you are unsure about whether you can be high maintenance, your spouse and loved ones can probably tell you. But, don't ask until you are really ready to hear their input. A part of being high maintenance is being defensive when others are critical. If you ask for this feedback, challenge yourself to hear the person out without rebuttal. Maybe take notes and set them aside for a few days, then go back and review the notes before responding to the feedback.

    Secondly, be encouraged because your sensitivity which leads you to be high maintenance is also a gift. High maintenance persons are often capable of deep emotional connection and appreciation. What may be judged as high maintenance may actually be an undeveloped sense of emotional sensitivity that can be harnessed and directed for deep emotional connection with others. High maintenance individuals are often capable of deep empathy and compassion. Their sensitivity affords them the recognition of how circumstances, events, and behavior can impact people emotionally. This is valuable insight and can be cultivated for great connection and support with others.

    The problem with being high maintenance lies with the expectations which we can attach to our felt wants and desires in relationship. If you are high maintenance, learning how to recognize how expectations develop in you and how to hold your wants and desires more lightly may help soften the disappointment when a spouse does not recognize how important something is to you. Most importantly, beware of looking to a spouse for the significance and security you should be finding in your relationship with God. High maintenance conflict may be due to demanding some attention, approval, and affirmation from a spouse which first should be found in our relationship with God and ourselves. If we are secure in how God sees us, how He loves and cares for us, then the care, attention and affirmation of a spouse is a gift. We may be disappointed if our spouse neglects us in some way but this is way less distressing than if we tell ourselves we must have our spouse notice and provide our need. Feeling entitled to something from our spouse is a sure sign we are becoming "high maintenance."

    Being open about desires and wants can go a long way toward helping our spouse understand what impacts us and contributes to our feeling loved and supported. Recognizing and being grateful when a spouse is attentive and affirming is especially rewarding and encourages a spouse to be attentive and affirming in the future. Spouses may not understand the power of reassurance, attention, and support. Often times they are making efforts to be accommodating but do not recognize the effort is not in a manner desired or hoped for. Communication about feelings, hopes, and wants beforehand can go a long way to avoiding conflict when you're prone to be "high maintenance."

    If you are married to a high maintenance person you too can be encouraged as well. The cycle of disappointment and conflict can be sometimes diminished through some basic relationship skills. Giving your spouse a full hearing when they are distressed will often go a long way to dissipating the emotional intensity they may be feeling. Remember, listening and validating their feelings do not require anything to be fixed or changed. It's just an opportunity to offer understanding and care in the way of attention and presence. The high maintenance spouse can often use judgmental and accusatory language. If one can listen past the personal criticism to the hurt, disappointment, anxiety and/or fear behind the attack it may be possible to have compassion for their emotional distress. This is challenging, but spouses who learn not to take personally the distress in their mate even when it is delivered as a personal attack learn how to diffuse a great deal of conflict.

    Letting the high maintenance spouse know when the attack is crossing over to becoming abusive and exiting a conversation will also be helpful. A person may lose awareness in the midst of their negative emotional spin and a caring, calm confrontation and firm "time out" temporary withdrawal will sometimes help that person become more aware of how their words and tone are not helpful. Above all, avoid responding in kind to a high maintenance person who is discharging their disappointment and hurt with a lot of intensity. By remaining calm and not escalating with the other person, a spouse can often ride out the initial emotional venting, to arrive at a place where genuine emotional connection can occur.

    The emotional distress surrounding disappointment and unmet expectations can be at the center of so much conflict in relationship. Sorting out one's own emotional expectations and how they are operating in a moment is key to managing the pull toward becoming "high maintenance." Being able to absorb some emotional intensity and remain patient and loving with a spouse who is distressed is a valuable discipline to working through disappointment in relationship. Hopefully these comments and observations will give you and your spouse some food for thought and maybe some occasion for conversation. Be careful not to judge each other too harshly about being "high maintenance." Remember, there is an upside to most personal qualities that initially may seem problematic or annoying, "high maintenance" is no exception.

    Please post a comment to enter a conversation about this column. I so much enjoy the responses folks are sending to this column. I will contribute to the conversation as well. Let me know if you have a concern or question which could be addressed in a future column. You can also email concerns and questions to me at aftercare@nationalmarriage.com. God Bless You, and know we at National Institute of Marriage are praying for you.

    Dr. Robert K. Burbee
    Licensed Psychologist, Intensive Therapist
    National Institute of Marriage

    [Mar 18, 2016] The Last Seduction

    "Bridget is a woman with a warm exterior that has ice water running through her veins, who believes in manipulating others into doing her dirty work for her." See also The Last Seduction
    Amazon.com

    Desireeon August 23, 2007

    Modern Noir At It's Best

    When you think of film noir, you think of the wonderful dark movies made in the 1940's with thugs, and "dames", and vamps. I don't think there has ever been a better vamp than Linda Fiorentino in this movie. Lana Turner in The Postman Always Rings Twice and Kathleen Turner in Body Heat might come close, but first prize belongs to Linda for her performance as Bridget Gregory in The Last Seduction.

    Bridget is a woman with a warm exterior that has ice water running through her veins, who believes in manipulating others into doing her dirty work for her. Great supporting performances by Peter Berg and Bill Paxton, but the movie belongs to Linda Fiorentino. You'll love to hate her in this dark erotic thriller that will take your breath away.

    [Mar 17, 2016] Female Sociopath

    This article contains a valuable discussion with 606 (as of Mar 17, 2016) posts.
    SociopathHell.Com
    When a man has been a victim of a Female Sociopath, usually one of the above labels is given, {crazy ex-girlfriend, vindictive ex-wife, etc} instead of a Sociopath and/or Narcissistic Sociopath.

    Female Sociopaths are mentally and emotionally destructive liar’s, cheaters & deceivers, etc. They are extremely self-centered, and she is always right! Some female sociopaths may be unable to care for their children, providing the unconditional love and nurturing. Her children are just another ‘object’ to be used against the father.

    The children are often used as a supply source for her. Or in some cases divorced sociopath women with children will use them to gain sympathy from a new partner. These children can grow up feeling like an inconvenience to their mother’s, as they are also emotionally and mentally manipulated. They are also, in some cases made to feel inadequate, and never living up to their mother’s standards. Some female sociopaths are emotionally disconnected from their children, causing the ‘whiplash’ scenario, leaving the children with a deep craving for admiration. Could this be the beginning of some Narcissist?

    Many of these women ‘appear’ normal in the public setting, but are verbally and emotionally abusive in the private setting. The Female Sociopath needs to be dominate, and she does this by being verbally intimidating and emotionally manipulative. She will systematically attack your personality, your objections, your displays of emotion, and your questions. She does this to obtain her supply source, {boost to her ego/dominating factor} They want do this with little or no regards to your needs and wants. To a Female Sociopath the end justify’s the mean’s.

    Female Sociopath have a high sex drive, and in case studies, sex is not just good, it is over-the-top good. They are also very sexually promiscuous. As with this sex drive, they use this as one of the many manipulation tools to attract her next victim, she will use sex to her advantage, unbeknownst to the male. She will appear sympathetic, caring, concerned and display all the empathy/sympahty emotions, when in all reality she is pulling you in closer to keep the control for personal gain. This could be for material possessions, financial reasons, or reassurance that she is ‘the one’ (when she in fact may have several ‘one’s on the side). If a Female Sociopath feels she is being exposed, she may turn up the passion, and give you the false sense of security that you have nothing to fear. Or you will begin to see the Narcissistic Rage(s) if you haven’t already. She may be setting you up to leave, so she will keep you emotionally and physically close. Female Sociopaths can show fake their emotions if they are caught, and blame perhaps a one incident {yet you know the incidents are repeated behaviour}, on someone or something else, never taking accountability. Some men are so drawn to the physical aspect with a female Sociopath that when they catch their partner, girlfriend/wife cheating and lying, they tend to believe the lies more easily because the female Sociopath can turn on the sex factor, play the ‘pity card’, or cry rivers of tears while expressing how “sorry” she is etc. Therefore this puts the man back into the spin cycle of crazy and the false sense of security.

    shane – March 5, 2016

    This was spot on and informative! I met a girl on a dating site! She made me feel as if I was the greatest person in the world at first! Then she started telling me about her past and gaining more of my sympathy! I ended up leaving my job because she needed somebody to help her! I ran into some money! She also had money at the time! She would never let me know anything about the finances, she also would verbally downgrade my family via voicemail or Facebook! She had me believing my family or friends didn’t care for me!

    My drinking elevated cause I felt alone, and cause I would get off work she would be drunk! One night we got into an argument, she was beating me, I finally grabbed her by her shoulders and wrestled her down! She hurt her shoulder, went to the cops! I ended up going to jail! She came back around and convinced me it was a mistake and we could get thru it! So as I had obtained a lawyer to fight the domestic, my lawyer told me to fight it, but once again she got me to just accept the charge!

    I became so dependent for acceptance from her that it ruined my life! I was even accused of a false rape, which all she got was 4 days in jail! Know I’m jobless and on probation, owe fines and my family hates me! Beware!

    Kay – February 18, 2016

    articles taking about the sexual abuse and manipulation of male sociopaths, call them cheaters, etc and assume everyone understand the meaning without saying much more..

    I’ve been reading articles about narcissism for a couple years now and the term “promiscuous” is only ever applied to females.. articles talking about the female sexuality (Jessica Rabbit) go on and on about the seduction,, but rarely does it go past anymore definition than; “cheater” for the males..

    There’s a cultural investment in this description, it subtly shames female sexuality while stacking the truth, that women can also be sexual predators..

    In otherwords, the definition of the female gold-digger or fem-fetal hasn’t changed in over 100 years, and the male narc is still being let off the hook in our descriptions of them and I’m just thinking out loud..

    Ian James Littlejohn – January 22, 2016

    Santaland – No offence taken. “Extrapolating” the kids from Socio / Psychopathic rage is what my life is now all about. They are young. At this stage in their lives most of my effort is directed towards ‘protection’ – but I also have to nurture them and give them the insight and the tools to deal with it later. This is what I’m seeking advice on.

    In my circumstance I may be arrogant and foolish to be comfortable with who I am but I will not allow her dominion over the latter stages of my life and destroy that feeling.

    On the stats, the research says that it’s about 1% who are clinically, certifiably psychopathic, i.e. they’ve crossed the line. But the truth is that it’s a spectrum – not ‘black and white’ and not all who have crossed the line would score 100% in each of the behavioral tests. Some are worse or better in some aspects. The point is though that if the “about” 1% is accurate there must be millions of them out there and even more millions of victims. WE only hear about a few. What are the others doing? After doing the math I just can’t believe that the these vast numbers of dysfunctional people who are getting away with causing the damage they clearly do – and nobody notices. Therefore there must be millions people out there who are coping with it. Not all, many must be suffering in silence, but surely some have learned how to live with it. How?

    When I was in my teens, being Gay was not only socially unacceptable but also illegal in the UK. Gays were persecuted, isolated and jailed. I don’t know the stats on Gay people but how have attitudes changed? Now we have Gay-Pride processions. My God, can you imagine a Psycho-pride march. That would be an event to watch. My point is that they are still people – despite some the assertions that they are inhuman / zombies / wild animals / etc. I’m not into extermination or even isolation for that matter. Where do you stop?

    As I’ve said, I’m new to this conversation, but one of the learnings I’ve gained in the brief time I’ve been here is that Socio / Psychopaths will NOT change. They are what they are. To be honest, that was a bit of a ‘downer’ at first. I guess I was looking for a technique or strategy that would initiate a change in her behaviour. Realising that that ‘aint going to happen’ destroys hope; – the hope that she would have some kind of revelation or catharsis and we could return to ’normal’ married life and all would be well in the future. WRONG!

    It’s always difficult to recognise that you’ve been wrong. However, It doesn’t mean that I have to give up MY hopes and dreams. I just have to adjust MY plans on how to achieve them – up, down or sidieways. I don’t know yet. But that’s OK – it’s a pain in the neck to do at my age, but I can do that.

    Santaland – January 23, 2016

    Ian you know best what works for you and how to slalom through this jungle of crap. Hope in my case was futile, at least with the personality traits my ex had/has. Throughout Tela’s site there are countless victims who hurt from the experience or are still hurting.

    They do not change, it is a script and that script is the same over and over again, no matter what cultural background. The more attractive they are the more they bounce around…it is the lies, blame and shame that tore me apart, besides the physical attacks, threats and broken items. IF my ex ever apologized, well I learned that in a matter of days it will be the same abuse and lies, but I hoped that perhaps this time….but nope it just continued to the end. Walking through a mine field every day…except they are smart, they move the mines so just when you think you have figured the lay of the land, boom it explodes.

    The end came when I was finally fed up, when I realized it was a hopeless cause, a waste of time and that was it. Plus my son was exposed to her childish behavior, and this made me reflect on myself…what kind of father would expose his son to a person like this…mea culpa. For this I am ashamed, and will have to live with that. My son is 15 years old but he met her when he was 12 and 13….and she certainly was not a good ‘mentor’ or roll model.

    Once I was alone I was always thinking…what if she was right, what if I could have done things differently, why does she have a history of this behavior, is it lack of love and unconditional support, what if…..in my case there is no what if…they move on when they have secured a new source, yet keep you (not you you) on a shelf just in case.

    In the aftermath, she has attempted to engage in conversation but I ignore, have her totally blocked and if I see her I walk right by, stone cold. They thrive on drama and twist the truth, the facts and the realities. Then they use their flying monkeys to do their intelligence gathering or sending a message.

    rob – January 24, 2016

    Ian,

    Having been educated for quite some time some time now about these “its”, having experienced the diabolical creativity of one of these “things” first hand over a period of years, and sensing from others on this site a most sincere and profound desire to help victims in their struggles with these anomalies………..

    In my honest opinion,

    There is only one way a normal person can develop a “survival strategy” for dealing with them and that is by cutting them out of your life. If there are other ways of dealing with them – other than becoming a codependent slave to their every need or adjusting YOUR personality to win “battles” with them, I would honestly love to be enlightened.

    From your notes you have obvious concerns about direction as you are seeking “a quest for a survival strategy”. I think what most people are trying to say is that when it comes to dealing with a true sociopath there are no good “survival strategies” which include staying with them in any capacity.

    I think this is primarily stated because the true nature of these people is as unpredictable as the most violent typhoon or hurricane. Their capricious and erratic behavior, which you have experienced and read about, is because they lack a conscience which means they are truly cable of doing anything they please without regard to your concern or anyone else for that matter.

    I know that you mentioned you considered some of your previous decisions as “foolish” and you have no interest in rehashing those mistakes and I personally find that commendable. I too try and live my life that way as there is nothing I can do today to change my own foolish decisions of the past.

    HOWEVER :),

    There is much we CAN do today to change our future. UNDERESTIMATING them and their ability to wreak havoc on ones emotional and physical well being is perhaps the most “foolish” thing one can do. Especially when one has gained knowledge and been given credible (if not difficult to follow) direction and information on dealing with such.

    For example….

    If someone whom had driven down a road ahead of you approached you (prior to you going down that road) and told you, “hey bro, you might want to turn around and find another direction. The bridge up ahead is no longer there”

    Then lets add to this that one had also read about such and was knowledgeable about the fact that the bridge was no longer there.

    In other words, not only did he “get it” as you like to say that the bridge was out and he had witnessed a man rehashing the fact that the bridge was out……yet he still wanted to know if he could go down that road…..and then worse…..in light of all he knew………..he decided to go ahead anyway

    Hopefully you can understand the analogy here.

    I hardly think most of the people whom have been down that road and found that the bridge is out prefer to spend their entire day guarding the road bitching and moaning about the bridge being out or their experiences related to such.

    I think it is just they have been down the road and know the bridge is out and are trying to help others not be “foolish” by attempting to drive down a road that is missing a bridge (over some very troubled waters i might add).

    In other words, due to their personal experience and knowledge and given the fact that they do have a conscience, they just feel as though it is their responsibility to warn others that there is no bridge ahead.

    You mention in your notes that you “get it” and you have read on every site the same basic things. in other words, you would easily agree there are many people whom have been down this road and are all basically telling you the same thing. It is not as though you have large group telling you that “the bridge is in good shape” or “no worry you can still make it”

    Hmmmm…..

    Its truly not about being an optimist, pragmatist, idealist, skeptic, or a even a realist for that matter. Nor is it about being a victim, crying about being a victim being in a battle or signing a peace treaty – its about coming to terms with what she is CAPABLE of doing to you that you MUST “get”.

    You see, her reality involves a game, if you will, which quite candidly you, me or any other Tom, Dick, Harry or Jill are now and forever more will be ill prepared to play.

    Granted, there does not exist a single person capable of predicting your future. However, if she is in fact a Sociopath……and you decide for “better or worse” to stay in a relationship with such a person and go down that road with the bridge out……

    I would be willing to place a hefty wager on being able to predict as you say a “scary” future…..and i might add to that…….. “a f&^%$# nightmare” of a “scary” future.

    I wish you the best.

    Rob

    Don – January 25, 2016


    Ian,
    I am here on this site for support. When i feel weak i come here and read. I have read your postings and all the comments. They are very helpful to me in my recovery. I see some of myself in you. Heck, I married this woman twice knowing full well she was crazy as a bedbug, totally unpredictable, her selfish action were nothing short of abusive. What I suffer from is codependency.

    I suspect upon self examination you may find you suffer from some of those tendencies too. A classic for me is to justify her actions “because”. I let her off the hook “because”. The “because” thing relieves her of personal responsibility for her actions.

    The reality is that a loving and caring normal person could never act the way these people act. AND normal people don’t let others act in such an abusive way to them. After years of dealing with them it effects us too. I suggest you get some information about codependency and trauma bonding. Rather than the focus being on her do a honest self examination on yourself. Easier said than done.

    Last night during the second football game I started getting “love bombed”. There was five of us watching the game. Once the bombs started to drop one of my friends said to the group ” that’s his ex texting, it sucks the life out of him”. Recovery is one day at a time.
    Best of Luck,
    Don

    Ian James Littlejohn – January 28, 2016

    Don,

    Thanks! You’re a star! I believe that you may have hit the nail on the head in putting me onto ‘co-dependency’. I’d never heard the term before or realised it’s implications. I spent the rest of my afternoon and evening reading about it. The behavioural manifestations may be similar to a psychopath’s but the root causes are not – and the behaviours of co-dependants can be modified, – and I include mine in this. Whatever the ‘rights and wrongs’ of my analysis, – and I’m clearly no expert at this stuff, – this FEELS more like her/us and the situation we’re in.

    By all accounts, her, and her siblings’ childhood was not easy. Perhaps not too difficult to appreciate given that she was brought up in a small town in the immediate post “Cultural Revolutionary” China and is the daughter of two “Red Guards”. ‘Punishment’ was the norm. “Each grain of rice represents the tear of a peasant and must not be wasted’ – she’s actually said that to me. For her, failure to comply resulted in punishment – usually violent verbal abuse and/or beatings. I’ve had these stories confirmed by her younger sisters. This is clearly the ‘role model’ she has carried forward – both as a mother and as a wife. Also, Chinese Daoist / Confucian tradition does not view the marriage relationship in the same way as western, Christian traditions. Chinese attitudes are or were, much more heavily directed towards ‘family’ expectations – as opposed to personal desires.

    Even today, although she calls me ‘Daddy” partly in deference to my status as the father of her children but also I suspect that perhaps there are deeper reasons, EVERY major decision is referred to and discussed at length with her father. However in China’s rush towards materialism, attitudes have changed. In some part I believe as a consequence of the ‘one-child’ policy. Nowadays there are many – 15% some say – more men than women, and women are MUCH – and some would say unrealistically – more demanding about what they want in a husband in terms of fulfilling their life-style expectations.

    “To be rich is glorious” as Deng Xiao Ping said – and they ALL want to be rich. I only have anecdotal evidence but many if not most of the relationships between the Chinese women and the Western men I know have broken down – primarily because the women thought they’d married onto a ‘gravy train’ and couldn’t handle the reality of true life. In our case she did land on the ‘gravy train’ but that was more good luck than good judgement. I could probably ‘bang-on’ for hours with a sociological analysis of our ‘problems’ – and I haven’t even started to discuss MY issues – but that’s not the point.

    The point is to improve things. Before we can progress, there has to be a MUTUAL acknowledgement that something needs fixed. The ‘trick’ is going to be in how to even open up the discussion. I’ve looked at some of the self-help and other sites, albeit briefly, and whilst I understand the approach, similar to AA, and acknowledge the success they’ve had, for the moment I can’t get past the Christian God thing on all the advice / 12 steps/ etc. If anything, she’s Confucian / Buddhist and I’m a ‘dyed-in-the -wool’ Atheist / Humanist, so I doubt that reference to “God” is going to make much headway. More research – and a bit of creativity – required, I guess.

    Anyway, thanks again. You’ve been a great help.

    Regards

    Ian

    rob – January 19, 2016

    Your search for the answer to what it was you were dealing with sounds so similar to mine. I knew one of two things (a) I was going nuts or (b) I was dealing with something beyond my comprehension.

    I found out by googling “liar”, “sexually promiscuous” and “irresponsible” that I was not going “nuts” and that I was most certainly married to a person without conscience.

    It did, as you say “provide some solace”. It also enabled me to realize that what I was dealing with was not human……at least as most people would define human.

    By understanding that what I was dealing with was incapable of changing or ever developing a conscience and then realizing that their behavior was 100 percent predictable, I was able to develop an exit strategy from the relationship. I got out pretty much unscathed (did lose approximately $20,000 as a result of having to pay off part of her debt to the IRS and my brain was F%&^$* up like no other for the better part of a year) and I am very grateful as it could have been so much worse as she had bigger plans for my demise (found this out later)

    On the subject of survival strategies, I can only say that for me it was “no contact”. Once she was out of my life completely and in every shape and form my life improved dramatically.

    I do understand that you guys have kids together and this is not entirely possible. However, I do know from personal experience that these people will stop at nothing to push you to the brink of madness. In other words, if you give in an inch they will take a mile and they have no qualms whatsoever of running over you and and spitting on your kindness as though you were a tick on a lost dog.

    If you let her run and ruin your life – trust me she will and then she will discard you like she would a piece of toilet paper she had wiped her @$$ with …..and you will feel even worse. You can not win by playing the game her way. Knowing what you are dealing with is critical and allows you some major advantages. Use these advantages wisely and don’t make the mistake I made of letting her know that you know what she is.

    how do you best use these advantages?

    DOCUMENT DOCUMENT DOCUMENT :)

    I wish you the best !

    Rob

    Liz – January 20, 2016

    Ian you’re right, there’s no peace with the psychopath when employing methods to manage her.

    A safer method may be to break away mentally first, then emotionally, after which the physical act naturally happens at the right time.

    Also, because psychopaths need a human host to carry their evil burdens, while exploiting us financially, sexually, and in other ways – one helpful bit of advice that requires no physical action is to: Calmly and gently (and non-verbally) return her burdens to her. One way is to mentally see yourself taking off a mantle of her burdens from your shoulders and gently placing it back on hers with the words: “I return this to you. It is not my responsibility and I don’t want it for me or our children. It is for you to deal with it.”

    This visualization is especially helpful before sleep because the body naturally reaches optimum relaxation and lets go of the earthly world and its troubles. During the day this visualization is good at any time especially while in the shower or soaking in the tub, which also relaxes the body so that it is easier to let go.

    Ian I hope you keep dialoging on this site – your methods of dealing with your situation are deeply healing. Surely a breakthrough will come for all as a result.

    Ian James Littlejohn – January 22, 2016


    PS

    I went out and bought one of those wee counter thingies that they use to count people on planes. I keep it in my pocket and give it one click for every “Whoosh” I hear. If I react – no “Whoosh!” and no click – i.e. she scored a hit. We’ll see how it works.

    Rgds

    Ian

    Ian James Littlejohn – January 20, 2016

    Liz, Rob,
    My heartfelt thanks to you both for your responses and insightful and sage advice.

    Liz, I agree that one can’t ‘co-exist’ with a psychopath ‘ from the perspective that co-existence means sharing the joys and sorrows of a normal family life. They just don’t get it and never will. I also agree that ‘they can only be managed from within the relationship’. ‘Management’ is what this is all about now. Your advice to basically – ‘go along to get along’ is wise and probably the right thing to do. When I’ve tried it, it works in terms that the overall emotional temperature in the house improves for a while. But, man, it’s hard to maintain!

    Also without some measure of challenge or push-back the demands only get more and more bizarre. I’m only human and there are limits to my tolerance.

    You are spot on about staying calm is absolutely essential. Not only calm in the face of their / her aggression but finding an inner calm that helps one to keep going.

    I’m actually pretty good at keeping calm in the midst of a crisis. As an oil-field Ops Manager I’ve faced blow-outs, fires, explosions, etc. , and had to organize the response and deal with the trauma they cause. I found that my brain tended to get pretty ‘frosty’ in these situations. It had to be in order to cope. I’ve always tried token my work and my home life separate and I guess I’m having just a wee bit trouble transferring that approach to my home life. I’ll work on it.

    Rob, I’ll look up some of the books you suggest on Amazon. They deliver to China. Thanks for the guidance.

    Finding the inner peace is a bit more of a challenge as I’m somewhat isolated here in China. Maybe I’ll get into Yoga or Buddhist meditation. But I think your advice to allow her demands and shenanigans to roll over me and then just get on with the things I want to do is very sound. My life comes first. She has her little ploys to make sure that her life is always ‘front and centre’ of the family life but I can probably find ways to deal with that.

    When I talk with my mates in the pub I often reflect on my day / my life as looking after 4 kids, my 9 year old daughter, my 2 year old twin sons and my 3 year old wife. That’s what it feels like. Perhaps I should change that to 3 kids and a dog because, Liz, you’re right that they /she is like a wild animal. I guess as the relationship has deteriorated I’ve been guilty (if that’s the right word) of withdrawing any positive emotional feedback on her life. I’ll never LOVE her again as a woman / human being , there’s been too much water under the bridge for that but as you say even psycho/sociopaths need to be petted now and again. I’ve occaissionally tried to ‘make-up’ and be Mr Nice Guy again – but she seemed to take it as positive feedback on EVERYTHING she does and her behaviour got worse. I’ll need to think carefully about the what, when and how to do this.

    I hate the negativity that inevitably permeates these conversations so on a more positive note, life is not ALL bad. The kids help me immensely. Whose heart isn’t lifted by the laughter and sheer joy of life in a 2 year old or the burgeoning curiosity of a 9 year old. There are days when we at least maintain the appearance of a normal family – even if the tension in my shoulders never really relaxes. When she’s out of the house and I’ve got the kids to myself – it’s great. Occasionally I meet up with my mates in the pub and have real, adult conversations about life, politics, sports, the weather, etc., and there are still things that happen, things I see and hear, beautiful sunsets & fresh mornings – that make me glad to be alive.

    Paul, Rob’s right. Being caught in a psychopathic $%^ storm is absolutely horrible but by recognising your ex for what she is – you’ve already “won”. You have to trust that life will get better – and, believe me, it will. Hang on to the relationship with your daughter. She’ll do more to help you than any web-site or self-help book. I’ve made – and lost – a lot of money in my life but it doesn’t matter. Money is only the means to an end.

    As I’ve told my wife, she’s already wealthy and even if she was the richest person in China but no matter what, HER soul will ALWAYS be mired in poverty – mine / ours won’t. To me- that’s a win.

    [Mar 16, 2016] Linda Taylor, welfare queen Ronald Reagan made her a notorious American villain. Linda Taylor’s other sins were far worse By

    Dec. 19 2013 | slate.com

    In the 1970s, Ronald Reagan villainized a Chicago woman for bilking the government. Her other sins—including possible kidnappings and murders—were far worse.

    Jack Sherwin knew he’d seen her before. It was Aug. 8, 1974, and the Chicago burglary detective was working a case on the city’s South Side. Though her name and face didn’t look familiar, Sherwin recognized the victim’s manner, and her story. She’d been robbed, Linda Taylor explained, and she was sorry to report that the burglar had good taste: $14,000 in furs, jewelry, and cash were missing from her apartment. Thank heavens, most of it was insured.

    After listening to her tale of woe, Sherwin asked Taylor if she’d mind getting him some water. When she returned, the detective kept the glass as evidence.

    The fingerprints collected from Taylor’s kitchen helped jog Sherwin’s memory. Two years earlier, the same woman had been charged with making a bogus robbery claim—that time, the thieves had supposedly made off with $10,000 worth of valuables. Sherwin knew Linda Taylor because, out of pure happenstance, he’d been called on to investigate both of these alleged burglaries. She was living in a different part of town, using a different name, and sporting a different head of hair. But this was the same woman, pulling the same stunt.

    Sherwin cited Taylor, again, for making a false report. But the 35-year-old police officer, a former Marine and a 12-year veteran of the force, didn’t stop there. “The more I dug into it, the more I found that just wasn’t right,” he remembers. First, he learned that she was getting welfare checks under multiple names. Then he discovered Taylor’s husbands—“Oh, I guess maybe seven men that I knew of,” Sherwin says. The detective and his partner, Jerry Kush, got to work tracking down this parade of grooms, and they found a few who were willing to talk. Sherwin’s hunch had been right: This woman was up to no good.

    In late September 1974, seven weeks after Sherwin met Taylor for the second time, the detective’s findings made the Chicago Tribune. “Linda Taylor received Illinois welfare checks and food stamps, even tho[ugh] she was driving three 1974 autos—a Cadillac, a Lincoln, and a Chevrolet station wagon—claimed to own four South Side buildings, and was about to leave for a vacation in Hawaii,” wrote Pulitzer Prize winner George Bliss. The story detailed a 14-page report that Sherwin had put together illuminating “a lifestyle of false identities that seemed calculated to confuse our computerized, credit-oriented society.” There was evidence that the 47-year-old Taylor had used three Social Security cards, 27 names, 31 addresses, and 25 phone numbers to fuel her mischief, not to mention 30 different wigs.

    As the Tribune and other outlets stayed on the story, those figures continued to rise. Reporters noted that Linda Taylor had used as many as 80 names, and that she’d received at least $150,000—in illicit welfare cash, the numbers that Ronald Reagan would cite on the campaign trail in 1976. (Though she used dozens of different identities, I’ve chosen to call her Linda Taylor in this story, as it’s how the public came to know her at the height of her infamy.) Taylor also gained a reputation as a master of disguise. "She is black, but is able to pass herself off as Spanish, Filipino, white, and black," the executive director of Illinois’ Legislative Advisory Committee on Public Aid told the Associated Press in November 1974. "And it appears she can be any age she wishes, from the early 20s to the early 50s.”

    For Bliss and the Tribune, the scandal wasn’t just that Taylor had her hand in the till and had the seeming ability to shape-shift. The newspaper also directed its ire at the sclerotic bureaucracy that allowed her schemes to flourish. Bliss had been reporting on waste, fraud, and mismanagement in the Illinois Department of Public Aid for a long time prior to Taylor’s emergence. His stories—on doctors who billed Medicaid for fictitious procedures and overworked caseworkers who failed to purge ineligible recipients from the welfare rolls—showed an agency in disarray. That disarray didn’t make for an engaging read, though: “State orders probe of Medicaid” is not a headline that provokes shock and anger. Then the welfare queen came along and dressed the scandal up in a fur coat. This was a crime that people could comprehend, and Linda Taylor was the perfectly unsympathetic figure for outraged citizens to point a finger at.

    ... ... ...

    The 21-year-old sailor was working in the dental clinic at Chicago’s Great Lakes Naval Training Center when a beautiful woman walked in to get her teeth cleaned. Something about her was totally fascinating, Jones remembers. “I met her because she was pretty and I was shooting game to her,” he says. “I guess her game must’ve been stronger than mine, because I met her that Monday and [got] married that Saturday.”

    Jones thought he was lucky to get hitched to the 35-year-old Linda Sholvia. She was beautiful, with the smoothest skin he’d ever seen. She also gave him $1,000 as a wedding present, and he had his pick of fancy new cars. But Lamar and Linda’s marriage lasted only a little longer than their five-day courtship. A few weeks after they exchanged vows, Linda was arrested. When Jones paid her bond, his new wife fled the state. To make things worse, she stole his color TV.

    The young Navy man realized that something was amiss with his new bride even before the television went missing. When she showed him a degree from a university in Haiti, he noticed that it said Linda Taylor, not Linda Sholvia. Jones says Linda had five mailboxes at her residence at 8221 S. Clyde Ave., and she’d get letters in all five, addressed to different names. He got a bit uneasy when Linda told him, after they were married, that he was her eighth husband. She also had a “sister” named Constance who seemed more like her adult daughter.

    ... ... ...

    A month after his wife was brought back from Arizona, Lamar Jones testified against her in front of a Cook County grand jury. Jones says that around the time of that proceeding, he was shuffled into a car with another witness and told they had something in common: They were both married to Linda (or maybe it was Connie) at the same time. That was a surprise to Jones. His wife had told him that husband No. 7 was dead.

    ... ... ...

    Isaiah Gant, who has been an attorney for nearly four decades, says his onetime client “was a scam artist like I have never run across since.” Gant, now an assistant federal public defender in Nashville, Tenn., says Taylor could change personalities in an instant. “If she wanted to be a ho, she could be a ho. If she wanted to be a princess, she could be a princess,” he says. “The woman was smooth.”

    ... ... ...

    It got stranger from there. Constance told the Defender that Rose Kennedy, Lawrence Wakefield’s purported common-law wife, was no such thing. She also accused Kennedy of trying to poison her, saying, “The doctors said I had swallowed enough strychnine to kill a dozen people.” And in just the last few weeks, she reported, police had captured two white men trying to break into her house; a “swarthy Italian” had threatened to kill her; and her bodyguard had narrowly thwarted an attempt to blow up her 1964 Cadillac. A few days after that, the Associated Negro Press wrote that Constance Wakefield Steinberg—she was a “light-skinned Negro woman with a ‘Jewish’ surname”—“reported to police that her 11-year-old son, John, had been kidnapped and that she had received a number of threatening calls.”


    Whether she was going by Constance Wakefield, Linda Taylor, or any other name, the future welfare queen never went for subtlety. She was a woman of great ambition, and she conjured a universe in which the forces arrayed against her were equally extraordinary. Someone was always trying to kill her, or steal from her, or kidnap her, or take her children. These stories rarely checked out. Her son John, the Chicago Sun-Times would report, hadn’t been kidnapped. He was found by FBI agents wandering near his house, and explained that he’d run away after a fight with his sister. Census records and Lawrence Wakefield’s own death certificate reveal that Edith Jarvis was not Wakefield’s wife, as Taylor had asserted—she was his mother. When Taylor went to probate court to press her claim to the Wakefield fortune, even more of her story fell apart.

    Constance Wakefield was many people, but she probably wasn’t Constance Wakefield.

    In this and many of her other battles, Linda Taylor’s weapons were documents, paperwork of uncertain provenance that buttressed her version of events. Though her birth to Lawrence and Edith did not appear in contemporaneous records, she procured a delayed birth certificate from the doctor who she claimed had delivered her. She also furnished a pair of Lawrence Wakefield’s heretofore-undiscovered wills. The first, which dated to 1943, included a description of Wakefield’s daughter that matched her own, “specifically describing a scar and a mole and their location on her body,” the Tribune reported. The second will, from 1962, indicated that Wakefield had $2 million, that the vast majority of that lucre should go to his daughter, and that Rose Kennedy—who Taylor maintained was Lawrence Wakefield’s housekeeper, not his common-law wife—was entitled to precisely $1. "She is no good and will try to take everything from my baby,” the will read, according to the Tribune. “She has stoled enough from me since the death of my Edith."

    None of this evidence—the delayed birth certificate, the will that conveniently trashed her primary rival—convinced Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Gerald Mannix that he was dealing with Lawrence Wakefield’s real daughter. A long way from Chicago, he found someone who could help him prove it.

    “A surprise witness testified in Probate court yesterday that Miss Constance Wakefield, who claims to be the illegitimate daughter of the late Lawrence Wakefield, policy king, and thus heir to his fortune, actually is Martha Louise White,” the Tribune reported on Nov. 10, 1964. Hubert Mooney, who claimed to be Martha’s uncle, explained that his niece was born in Summit, Ala., around 1926, making her about 38 years old—nine years older than she’d claimed to be in the guise of Constance Wakefield. Martha, Mooney said, was the daughter of his sister Lydie and a man named Marvin White. The court didn’t have to take his word for it. Hubert’s 84-year-old mother came from Tennessee to testify that she’d assisted in her granddaughter Martha’s birth.

    Mooney said he’d seen his niece most recently in Arkansas—the state where “Constance Wakefield” had grown up, according to her interview with The Chicago Defender. He’d also run into her in Oakland, Calif. On that occasion, she’d asked her uncle to bail her out of jail. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the assistant state’s attorney produced fingerprints and “police records from Oakland, which he said were those of Miss Wakefield, listing arrests for prostitution, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and assault.” A police expert testified that those fingerprints matched those of Beverly Singleton, a woman who’d been arrested the year prior for assaulting a 12-year-old girl. Constance Wakefield, it seemed, was many people, but she probably wasn’t Constance Wakefield.

    This dramatic testimony didn’t clear everything up. For her part, “Constance Wakefield” said she knew Hubert Mooney but that she was not Martha Louise White. She also denied that she was the woman identified in all those criminal records, though she did confess that she’d been charged with assault in Oakland.

    Weighing all the evidence, Judge Anthony Kogut cited Taylor for contempt of court and sentenced her to six months in jail. She wouldn’t get any of Lawrence Wakefield’s money, the balance of which would go to Rose Kennedy, the policy king’s common-law wife.

    ... ... ...


    There’s almost no chance that Sandra was really kidnapped. Two years prior, Taylor had falsely reported that Johnnie had been abducted. He says now that his mother likely just wanted the cops to do the hard work of tracking him down after he’d left home of his own volition.


    In 1967, she’d try the same line again, telling Chicago police that another of her children had been taken. When the cops investigated, they found that the child wasn’t missing. They also discovered that the kid didn’t belong to her.

    ... ... ...

    In another Tribune story, Bliss and Griffin noted that Linda Taylor had been arrested twice in the 1960s for absconding with children, though she wasn’t convicted in either case because the little ones were returned. The reporters also laid out a possible motive. “Chicago’s welfare queen,” they wrote, “has been linked by Chicago police to a scheme to defraud the public aid department during the mid-1960s by buying newborn infants to substantiate welfare claims.”

    ... ... ...

    This theory is a little hard to believe. Given Taylor’s ability to fabricate paperwork, acquiring flesh-and-blood children seems like an unnecessary risk if all you're looking to do is pad a welfare application. Her son Johnnie believes his mother saw children as commodities, something to be acquired and sold. He remembers a little black girl—he doesn’t know her name—who stayed with them for a few months in the early 1960s, “and then she just disappeared one day.” Shortly before Lawrence Wakefield died, Johnnie says, a white baby named Tiger showed up out of nowhere, and then left the household just as mysteriously. I ask him if he knew where these kids came from or who they belonged to. “You knew they wasn’t hers,” he says.

    ... ... ...


    Nine days later, a newborn child was kidnapped by a woman dressed in a white nurse’s uniform. Dora Fronczak told police that the mystery woman whisked away her son Paul Joseph, telling the new mother that her baby boy needed to be examined by a doctor. Witnesses said the ersatz nurse carried the infant through a rear exit and disappeared.

    The Fronczak case transfixed Chicago and the nation. The Tribune, the Sun-Times, and the national wire services printed eyewitness accounts, sketches of the suspect, diagrams of the kidnapper’s probable path, and the family’s pleas for their child’s safe return. Within a day, 500 policemen were working the case, including 50 FBI agents. They were looking for a woman between her mid-30s and mid-40s, around 5-foot-4 and 140 pounds, with close-set brown eyes. Nine months after the kidnapping, the Tribune reported that a staggering 38,000 people had been interviewed in connection with the case, and that 7,500 women had been eliminated as suspects. Still, the baby-snatching nurse remained at large.

    Did Linda Taylor pull off one of the most notorious kidnappings of the 1960s? In early 1975, law enforcement officials got a tip from one of Taylor’s ex-husbands that she “appeared one day in the mid-1960s with a newborn baby, altho[ugh] she had not been pregnant.” Her explanation, the Tribune said, was that “she hadn't realized she was pregnant until she gave birth that morning.”

    ... ... ...

    In 1977, a man named Samuel Harper told police prior to Taylor’s sentencing for welfare fraud that he believed she had kidnapped Paul Joseph Fronczak. He explained that he was living with her at the time, that several other white infants were in her home, and that she left the house in a white uniform on the day of the kidnapping. Johnnie Harbaugh confirms that Harper, who was 69 years old in 1977 and likely died many years ago, lived with his mother for a period in the 1960s. If anyone was in a position to know what Linda was up to, Johnnie believes, it was Sam Harper.

    ... ... ...


    Jack Sherwin, who retired from the Chicago Police Department in the mid-1990s, says he saw a composite drawing of the Fronczak kidnapper in an FBI office. “I looked at it for a second and knew it was her,” he says. In police reports from the 1970s, Taylor is listed at 5-foot-1 and 140 pounds with brown eyes—not that far off from the suspect’s description. Sherwin says she also had a station wagon at that time that matched the description of the potential getaway car. He believes she was “guilty as hell.”


    And yet, Linda Taylor was never charged in the kidnapping of Paul Joseph Fronczak. Ron Cooper, a retired FBI agent who worked on the Fronczak case in the 1970s, says that they “had no cooperation from people around her.” Everyone who talked “would tell you a story and it would just sort of be a flim-flam thing, and it wouldn’t make any sense.” If she had taken Paul Joseph in 1964, he was long gone.

    ... ... ....

    Jack Sherwin, the fight to take down Linda Taylor was a multifront war. Some battles were contested face to face. “At one point the arrestee Linda Taylor stated that no matter how much money it took she was going to get my badge and me,” the detective wrote in one police report. “She then blurted out that she had a bullet for me. [There] were other things said such as she would tell my wife about all the ‘Black Ass’ I had.” Taylor also waged a disinformation campaign, calling Sherwin’s superiors to complain that the detective had it in for her. She even took the fight to the astral plane, jabbing sharp pins into a voodoo doll, one she told Sherwin that she’d made especially for him.


    Sherwin did the digging that led to Taylor’s arrest for welfare fraud, and his testimony helped send her to prison. But four decades after he first met Linda Taylor, the 74-year-old retired detective can’t help but feel that she beat him. She was his prize catch, but Sherwin ended up getting snared in her net.

    ... ... ...

    For the Chicago burglary detective, Linda Taylor was never really the welfare queen. He believed she was a kidnapper and a baby seller. Maybe something worse.

    ... ... ...


    Mrs. Parks, who was also named Patricia, earned her living as a schoolteacher. Her daughter describes her as polished, a woman with a master’s degree who hung out with college-educated types. Parks-Lee says that Linda Taylor, by contrast, looked weathered, like she’d done a lot of hard living. “She didn’t associate with people like that,” says Parks-Lee, who’s now 48. She believes her mother must have hired Taylor to keep house and watch the kids, nothing more. She says that Linda Taylor was the worst nanny they ever had.


    Taylor took up residence with the Parks family in 1974. At that point, Patricia Parks was a healthy woman with three young children. Less than a year later, she was dead. At the time, Taylor was out on bail, awaiting her welfare fraud trial. The Tribune explained that she was now under investigation yet again after authorities “learned that Mrs. Parks reportedly had willed her home to Miss Taylor and had made her the beneficiary of ‘several’ insurance policies and the guardian of her three children.”

    ... ... ...

    Taylor told the funeral director that Patricia Parks had cervical cancer. When her blood was drawn at the funeral home, however, the sample contained a high level of barbiturates. On Parks’ death certificate, the coroner indicated that she had died of “combined phenobarbital, methapyrilene, and salicylate intoxication.” There is no indication that she had cancer.

    “She killed my mother,” Parks-Lee says. She’s so sure about what Linda Taylor did that she says it three more times: “She killed my mother. She killed my mother. I just, I mean—she killed my mother.”

    ... ... ...

    As in the Fronczak kidnapping, Taylor was never charged with killing Patricia Parks. James Piper, the prosecutor in the welfare fraud case, also looked into the alleged Parks homicide. He tells me that he “was satisfied personally that there had been chicanery.” But Piper says that he wasn’t able to acquire blood samples from the hospital where Parks had been pronounced dead. He believed that without the samples there was no “connector”—nothing to convince a jury that Taylor had administered a lethal drug cocktail to Parks. Piper says that his decision wouldn’t have prevented the Chicago police from continuing their investigation. He believed, though, that indicting Taylor for murder would have created the perception that he was looking for more publicity for the welfare fraud case—a case with clearer evidence, and one that he didn’t want to jeopardize.

    ... ... ...

    Other than Sherwin, nobody seemed all that motivated to learn the full extent of Linda Taylor’s crimes. Though the Tribune wrote about Taylor’s purported connections to the Fronczak kidnapping and the Parks homicide, the paper treated her kid-snatching and voodoo spells as colorful details—odd facts to embellish the shocking welfare queen story. In 1975, the Tribune reported the allegation that Linda Taylor was “buying newborn infants to substantiate welfare claims.” Somehow, though, the welfare claims remained the bigger story, not the allegations of black-market baby trafficking.

    ... ... ...


    In the aftermath of Ray’s death, the National Home Life Insurance Company requested a complete coroner’s report from Illinois’ Kankakee County. Byron Keith Lassiter, who looked into the case on behalf of the insurance firm, says such a contestable death claim investigation would have been routine. With no charges filed against Loyd, the money from Sherman Ray’s life insurance policy would be paid out to his wife, Linda.

    A month after Sherman Ray’s death, Taylor bought a parcel of land in Holmes County, Fla. Her name is listed on the deed as “Rev. Linda Ray.” In the Sunshine State, public records reveal, she’d use at least six names and six different Social Security numbers. She wasn’t there alone. Her companion was her husband’s killer, Willtrue Loyd.

    This is Linda Taylor’s life in microcosm: a series of tangled connections, a death that serves as a potential windfall, a quick move, and a new start in a faraway place. Sherman Ray, the former Marine with emotional problems, was a man in uniform—a classic Taylor mark. Paul Stull Harbaugh, the man listed as her son Paul’s father on the child’s birth certificate, was in the Navy. So was another supposed husband, Paul Steinberg—the Tribune alleged that in the 1960s she was “obtaining federal support” as the widow of both Harbaugh and Steinberg.

    ... ... ...

    In 1978, one of her lawyers wrote that Linda Taylor was likely psychotic, that she “was incapable of knowing whether or not she was telling the truth.” Johnnie Harbaugh is certain that’s not the case. “She was cold,” he says. “She knew what was right and wrong, but she was choosing wrong.”


    or Linda Taylor, people were consumable goods, objects to cultivate, manipulate, and discard. Once she’d extracted something of value—an identity, a check, a life insurance claim—she’d move on to someone else. No matter her circumstances, and no matter her surroundings, there was always a new target.


    What kind of person behaves this way? In the 1970s, psychologist Robert Hare developed a checklist to assess a given subject’s personality. The symptoms on Hare’s list read like a catalog of Linda Taylor’s known behaviors and personal characteristics: glib and superficial charm, pathological lying, manipulativeness, lack of empathy, parasitic lifestyle, frequent short-term relationships, and criminal versatility.


    Of the 20 items on the Hare Psychopathy Checklist–Revised, nearly every one describes the welfare queen to some degree. Dr. Steve Band, a behavioral science consultant and an expert on criminal behavior, says “people with that personality know right from wrong.” Dr. James Fallon, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the University of California at Irvine and the author of The Psychopath Inside, says that Taylor “screams psychopathy.” Along with deriving pleasure from criminal behavior, he says, psychopaths “really like getting away with it”—that “the ones who have intelligence, they don’t want to get caught.”


    Despite the striking synchronicity between this checklist and Taylor’s behavior, diagnosing someone as a psychopath isn’t as easy as ticking a set of boxes. As Dave Cullen wrote for Slate in 2004, it took an elite group of mental health experts to establish Columbine shooter Eric Harris’ psychopathic “pattern of grandiosity, glibness, contempt, lack of empathy, and superiority.”


    If a similar team of psychologists scrutinized the welfare queen, Hare’s checklist would be a logical place to start. For her part, Taylor’s daughter-in-law Carol Harbaugh has a simpler list, one with just three points: “She was brutal. She was mean. She was terrible.”

    ... ... ...

    Some of Taylor’s victims were spared her worst behavior—they just learned an expensive lesson and got on with their lives. Kenneth Lynch, who’s now in his early 80s, bought a property with Taylor in Holmes County, Fla. Lynch remembers her saying that her husband had been killed by mobsters in Chicago. He also says that Taylor never came up with her share of the money, though she did pilfer Lynch’s last name. Reta Hunter, who lives in Live Oak, Fla., says “Linda Lynch” led her to stop trusting people. Taylor told Hunter she was a psychic who’d descended from Caribbean royalty, and that she could help remedy her relationship with her daughter. “The last time I seen her it cost me $80 for about 20 minutes,” Hunter says. “She could take you, honey. She was a slick talker.”


    Not all of Linda Taylor’s relationships ended so harmlessly. Sherman Ray took a shotgun blast to the chest. Patricia Parks’ life ended in her daughter’s bedroom with her body pumped full of phenobarbital. And an elderly African-American woman named Mildred Markham died in Graceville, Fla., far away from her home and loved ones.


    Taylor and Markham met in Chicago in the early 1980s. Markham’s husband James, a retired Pullman porter, earned a good salary in his day. Soon after he passed away, Taylor convinced the railroad man’s widow that she was her long-lost daughter. “All [Mildred] used to do was talk about this Linda,” recalls Markham’s granddaughter, Theresa Davis, who is 75 and still lives in Chicago.


    By the time she fell under the sway of her new “daughter,” Mildred Markham was well into her 70s. Davis and her mother tried to convince Markham that Taylor was a con artist, but she wouldn’t listen. Markham went with Taylor to Momence, Ill. From there, they moved to Florida. All the while, according to Davis, “my grandfather’s money was going out the bank.” She says that as much as $50,000 went missing, along with Markham’s furniture, sewing machine, jewelry, and mink coats. And in 1985, Mildred deeded away 185 acres of Markham family land in Mississippi. The grantees were Linda Lynch and her son Clifford. For his part, Clifford says he had no idea that his name was on the deed, and that he played no part in this land deal.

    ... ... ...


    Once, when the Harbaughs were in Florida for a visit, Markham begged them to take her back to Chicago. Carol says Taylor was verbally abusive, and that she watched her lock Markham in a room. Markham also told them that she wasn’t being fed. “She was forced to be there against her will,” Carol says.


    They did not rescue Mildred Markham. Johnnie says that he was determined to take her but that she changed her mind at the last minute and decided to stay. In Carol's recollection, Taylor told Johnnie, “You even think about it, and I’ll blow your head off.” She says her husband took the threat seriously, and he decided not to get involved.


    Mildred Markham died on Oct. 5, 1986. Her death certificate says she passed away of “presumed natural causes,” and that she had previously suffered a stroke. The Graceville police department reported that her husband, Willtrue Loyd, found her body in bed.


    Carol Harbaugh says she thought Loyd and Markham had gotten married. Florida records suggest that was probably the case. In March 1986, Loyd married a woman named “Constance Rayner” in Marianna, Fla. The marriage application says Constance’s home state is Louisiana; Theresa Davis says that’s where her grandmother, Mildred Markham, was born. The bride signed her supposed maiden name, Constance Wakefield, in a looping script. It’s a shaky signature, one that doesn’t much resemble Linda Taylor’s tidy penmanship.

    Taylor always took something from her prey. But this marriage record, with the telltale Wakefield surname, shows that even as she sucked this older woman dry, Taylor was grafting parts of herself onto Mildred Markham.

    ... ... ...


    As in the cases of Patricia Parks and Sherman Ray, Taylor stood to gain financially from Mildred Markham’s death. Mildred’s medical examiner’s file includes letters from Union Fidelity Life Insurance and Gulf Life Insurance, both of which were looking to verify the claims of one “Linda Lynch,” the decedent’s daughter. The file also contains a note in which someone, presumably the medical examiner’s assistant, writes that Markham’s daughter “took out insurance policies at varied times using different names (marriages).” The daughter needed a letter to clear up this misunderstanding, and the medical examiner complied. “To the best of my knowledge Mildred Constance Raner Loyd, Constance Loyd, and Mildred Rayner are one in the same person,” he wrote.

    A letter from Dr. D. Bruce Woodham in the medical examiner’s file for Mildred Markham (aka Constance Mildred Rayner Loyd).

    A letter from Dr. D. Bruce Woodham in the medical examiner’s file for Mildred Markham (aka Constance Mildred Rayner Loyd).

    Florida Medical Examiner, District 14. Graphic by Slate.


    That wasn’t the only confusion about Mildred Markham’s death. On May 15, 1987, Dr. D. Bruce Woodham sent a letter to the medical examiner’s office saying that his patient did not die of natural causes. Woodham, a neurological surgeon, wrote that Markham hadn’t suffered a stroke. Rather, she’d fallen and hit her head. “I believe that Ms. Loyd's death was the result of an injury, she fell, she sustained a subdural hematoma, and she herniated from this, and that caused her demise,” the doctor explained.


    On account of Dr. Woodham’s letter, Markham’s death was reclassified as an accident. Regardless, Taylor probably collected on those life insurance policies—so long as there were no accusations of foul play, the companies more than likely paid up.

    Dr. Woodham, who is still practicing, says that although he wrote that Mildred Markham fell and hit her head, there’s no way he can know with certainty. He’s not a forensic pathologist, and he doesn’t have the expertise to distinguish between injuries that are consistent with a fall or ones that might come from a car accident or a blunt instrument. Dr. Woodham says he doesn’t remember the particulars of this case, but in general he goes by what he’s told—information provided by a paramedic, or possibly a family member.

    Theresa Davis does not believe her grandmother fell and hit her head. She is convinced that Mildred Markham was murdered, and that Linda Taylor is somehow responsible.

    Six years after Mildred Markham’s death, her widower Willtrue Loyd died in Florida at age 72. The medical examiner’s report says he succumbed naturally, to heart disease. Loyd’s next of kin is listed as Linda Lynch, his granddaughter. Taylor was only about seven years younger than her “grandfather.” Nevertheless, as Loyd’s supposed heir, she presumably stood to receive the World War II veteran’s benefits. Another death, another check.

    ... ... ...

    For Linda Taylor, documents were never simple accountings of the truth. Pieces of paper always told a story—about her identity, her husbands, her children, her parentage, what was owed to her, and who owed it—and that story was usually self-serving, contradictory, and false. That didn’t change just because she was dead.

    Her death certificate, compiled from information provided by her daughter Sandra Smith, is a blend of truth, lies, and conjecture. The welfare queen’s name is rendered as Constance Loyd, which it wasn’t. Her date of birth is listed as Dec. 25, 1934. It wasn’t. She’s described as a homemaker, which she wasn’t. Her father and mother are given as Lawrence Wakefield and Edith Elizabeth Jarvis. They weren’t. Her race is white—the same as in the 1930 and 1940 census. Among her itemized medical conditions is bipolar disorder. That may be true, or it may be a fabrication.

    [Mar 12, 2016] The Female Sociopath

    Reproduced in full. Website is down as domain name expired.

    Emily Thorne of Revenge “behaves like a sociopath,” according to the actress who plays her, because she is “a vulnerable, hurt, angry young girl who ultimately wants to rid herself of those feelings.” Playing master manipulator Patty Hewes on Damages “toughened” Glenn Close, leading her to proclaim that the show and the women it depicted “were not for sissies.” Even Quinn Perkins of Scandal has, over the past season, managed to cultivate a “high-functioning sociopathy” that has transformed her from former CIA agent Huck’s damsel in distress to his adversary — a preternaturally gifted hacker who manages to make the art of torture sexy.

    ... ... ...

    in the southern United States, Thomas describes herself as a high-functioning, pro-social sociopath — an apostle for the belief that under the right circumstances, sociopaths can prove beneficial to society as ingenuous thinkers and ambitious leaders. If this doesn’t put her fellow sociopaths at ease, there’s also the fact that, when I spoke to her over the phone in March, she seemed unfathomably nice, her voice shot with just the right amount of charm.

    Confessions narrates Thomas’s upbringing as a budding sociopath in a devout Mormon household, and her dawning recognition that “the label of girl was too limiting to contain my own grandiose conception of myself.” Sociopathy became a way for her to score small victories over the men who tried to limit her agency in a variety of domestic and professional contexts: her emotionally overbearing father; the lascivious principal of her high school; the partners at a prestigious Los Angeles law firm, where she billed long hours while luring her hapless supervisors into thrilling and untenable sexual liaisons.

    “I couldn’t stand that such unfit people could have authority over me,” she complains. “And that was the double injustice of being a young sociopath and girl, too.” But the upside seemed clear. Female sociopaths, Thomas writes on her blog, could afford to be “less influenced by some of the defeating (and self-defeating) lessons that young girls are taught about a woman’s place in the world,” making them “very successful in their careers.” More than anything else, her statement recalled Sheryl Sandberg’s proclamation to women in her introduction to Lean In that we are “hindered by barriers that exist within ourselves. We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small.”

    Despite its uncanny resemblance to a book like Lean In, which was released two months before, Confessions of A Sociopath debuted to mixed reviews, many of which fixated on Thomas’s gender. Writing in The Boston Globe, Julia M. Klein noted the fact that “the author is female somehow makes Confessions of A Sociopath even more chilling. It is hard to shake the sense that the book is the work of a male, so cool is the narrative voice. One might argue that sociopathy […] is maleness taken to a dysfunctional extreme.” Jon Ronson pointed out in The New York Times that we have “only her word that Thomas is the woman she says she is,” and, by extension, only her word that she is a woman at all.

    Perhaps in response to these suspicions, Thomas appeared on the Dr. Phil show, handsomely made up and wearing a long, off-centered blonde wig. As she answered Dr. Phil’s blustering questions with poise and self-possession, the camera cut to audience members — all of them women — who wore not looks of horror, but of appreciation, even of admiration. Unlike the book’s reviewers, Dr. Phil’s strategy for disarming his guest was not to undermine her status as a woman, but her credibility as a sociopath. Throughout the interview, he frequently interrupts Thomas to drawl in disbelief, “That’s not a trait of sociopathy,” to which she genially replies, “Have you known many sociopaths?” (His answer: “Yes. Oh, yes.”)

    The two lines of attack converge at a perverse and illuminating angle, revealing the reluctance of scientists, psychiatrists, critics, and the public more generally to grant this identity to a woman. Thomas recalls that when she came out on Sociopath World as female, she received messages of fierce irritation from readers who followed her blog, many of whom insisted that she was a borderline case masquerading as an archetype. The situation she found herself in was a peculiar one; being a sociopath was one of the only means of asserting her strength as a woman, but everyone seemed determined to deny her that kind of power.

    There’s something oddly touching about Thomas’s fight to be recognized as a sociopath; a fight that, for her, is as much about equal opportunity for women as it is about personal legitimization.

    Among Thomas’s skeptics is Dr. James Fallon, neuroscientist, author, and bonafide psychopath. A big, bearish man with a dizzying breadth of scientific knowledge, Fallon is something of a legend in the psychiatric community for inadvertently diagnosing himself, the result of an experimental comedy of errors that he details in The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist’s Personal Journey Into the Dark Side of the Brain.

    While studying the brain structures of violent criminal offenders in his lab at the University of California-Irvine, Fallon made the mistake of comparing PET scans (positron emission tomography) of his subjects’ brains with a scan of his own — the “normal” brain of a family man, respected professor, and law-abiding citizen. Except that it wasn’t. Fallon’s PET scan revealed the same structural anomalies of the psychopaths whose brains he had pored over, but unlike the psychopaths he studied, Fallon was not, and never had been, a violent criminal. In distancing himself from his subjects, Fallon jokes that his behavior conforms to what he describes as the socially useful and “female” art of manipulation — bartering compliments for loyalty, ingratiating his way into the lives of influential colleagues, posing as a sympathetic listener so that people will divulge their best gossip.

    ... ... ...

    Fallon, on the other hand, seems to be doing just fine. In April, he attended the Tribeca Film Festival to speak on a panel called “Psychos We Love.” To his right sat Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad fame, and to his left, Terence Winter, the show runner for Boardwalk Empire and screenwriter of The Wolf of Wall Street. The moderator was Juju Chang, a television journalist who recently won an Emmy for covering gender inequality in the sciences. After the panel batted around some questions about the male psychos we love — Tony Soprano, Walter White, Jordan Belfort, Nucky Thompson — I raised my hand and asked if we, as consumers of culture, had a different affective relationship to female sociopaths and their ambitions to success. Winter looked confused and mumbled something about evil stepmothers. Fallon reached for science, explaining that one of the primary genes that encodes anti-social behavior is transmitted on the mother’s side. “You know when criminals tell their psychologists or a jury, ‘My mother made me do it?’” he asked jovially. “Well, there’s some truth to that.” Chang rolled her eyes at the audience, and then, perhaps remembering her duties as a moderator, sarcastically chimed, “Y-e-e-a-h-h, why don’t we have more female psychos?” and called for the next question.

    Merve Emre is a writer and doctoral candidate in English Literature at Yale University. She is the film editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books.

    [Mar 11, 2016] Hillary Clinton Says She Had 'Obligation' to Defend Accused Rapist

    An interesting example is the defense of Hillary Clinton of 41 years old rapist who raped 12 years girl. Note that Hillary Clinton is lying that she was appointed by the judge. She did it as a favor to the prosecutor. I do not know where Hillary is actual female sociopath or not, but here you see one typical nuance: people are just objects to them and she demonstrates this behavior by having no compassion for the little girl that was raped. Laughing about the case ON THE RADIO afterward says so much about her character. She was laughing because she thought it showed how clever she was.
    ABC News
    Hillary Clinton has responded for the first time to recent criticism of her successful 1975 legal defense of an accused rapist, telling a British website that she was "appointed" to the case against her will and that ultimately she was just doing her "professional duty" as an attorney to defend him.

    Last month, the conservative news site the Washington Free Beacon released audio uncovered from the Clinton archives at the University of Arkansas in which Hillary Clinton discusses how as a young lawyer she represented a 41-year-old accused rapist. In the recordings, from more than 30 years ago, Clinton is heard laughing as she describes how she was able to find a loophole in the system to discredit the evidence against her client, despite suggesting she knew he was guilty.

    Last month, the conservative news site the Washington Free Beacon released audio uncovered from the Clinton archives at the University of Arkansas in which Hillary Clinton discusses how as a young lawyer she represented a 41-year-old accused rapist. In the recordings, from more than 30 years ago, Clinton is heard laughing as she describes how she was able to find a loophole in the system to discredit the evidence against her client, despite suggesting she knew he was guilty.

    During a video interview over the weekend with Mumsnet, an online network for mothers in the UK, the former secretary of state spoke about the case for the first time since the story resurfaced.

    READ: Hillary Clinton dogged by 1975 rape case defense

    "When I was a 27-year-old attorney doing legal-aid work at the law school where I taught in Fayetteville, Arkansas, I was appointed by the local judge to represent a criminal defendant accused of rape. I asked to be relieved of that responsibility, but I was not, and I had a professional duty to represent my client to the best of my ability, which I did," Clinton said.

    Clinton continued to explain that as an attorney she had an "obligation" to provide him with a fair legal defense.

    ... ... ...

    free_2_choose > Ibcingu

    But she WASN'T a criminal defense attorney. She took the job after being asked to take the case as "a favor" (her words) to the prosecuting attorney. The real issue is her lying in saying she was appointed against her will.

    Kaspian > Beawild

    She took the job as a favor. Here's what she said on the tapes.

    "Hillary: “a prosecutor called me years ago, said that he had a guy who was accused of rape… and the guy wanted a women lawyer..

    Roy Reed: Mmh..Why?

    Hillary: Would I do it as a favor to him…"

    Philip Marlowe > Don Semora

    *****She did like any lawyer would do. ******

    Baloney. If she knew her client was guilty (which she did) and she then advised the court in a pleading that the victim was mentally unstable (which she wasn't) and that she chased after older men (which she didn't) just to subvert justice and get her client off the hook, then she crossed a line that would get her disbarred. No HONEST lawyer would stoop that low. You are hired to give a client the best defense, but you are still held to an ethical obligation not to subvert justice or suborn perjury. In this case Hillary manufactured evidence that she knew would cast the victim in a false light. That is not what "any lawyer" would do. That is what shyster lawyers and unethical lawyers do.

    Richard Kroll > Don Semora

    She did have a choice to be ethical, but didn't take it.

    Code of the West > catmom

    Everyone, including conservatives, understands that defending the accused is what she was required to do. No issues with that at all. What IS the issue here is her laughing about it on a radio talk show afterward. Laughing about gaming the system, laughing and winking about her client's guilt. This isn't a "scandal" but it sure says a lot about her character.

    free_2_choose

    From the previous ABC story referenced in this article-----"UPDATED: An earlier version of this story described Clinton as Taylor’s court-appointed attorney. The story has been changed to reflect the difference between what Clinton wrote in her memoir, “Living History,” and what she is heard saying on the newly-released audio records. A discussion of this difference has been added above."-----In other words she is lying.

    Sourcecode-v11

    This is BS because I know for a fact Killary took this case completely WILLINGLY. Another Hillary lie. When does this trash bag stop spewing her garbage?

    JailBanksters

    Yikes, this is one of those moments when Hilly's Psychopathic nature just doesn't know when to shut up. One Psychopath per White House is enough don't you think.

    g10011

    1. the dude raped a 12 year girl and she laughed about him beating a polygraph test.
    2. she didn't have to take the case at all
    3. to quote Walter Sobchak, "he's a sex offender. With a record," and she got him off on a technically after she berated the little girl on the stand. that is war on women. I am sure thinks it was ok because she was just a trailer girl anyway but it is disgusting.

    Gorn376

    Hillary Clinton Says She Had ‘Obligation’ to Defend Accused Rapist
    ___________________________________
    did she have the 'obligation' to say that the 12-year old girl desperately wanted to have sex with older men or laugh and joke about the case on tape?

    Normally I would say it's typical of a scum bag defense attorney who makes millions defending obviously guilty people but Hillary is trying to pass herself off as a spokesperson for all "women".

    Kaspian, 2 years ago

    Hillary broke the oath she took to join the Arizona bar in more than one way.

    I, (state your name), do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Arizona;
    I will not counsel or maintain any suit or proceeding that shall appear to me to be without merit or to be unjust

    ------------- Hillary acknowledged on the tapes that the man was guilty of rapng the 12 year old, yet she twisted the facts surrounding the case to get him off the hook.

    I will never seek to mislead the judge or jury by any misstatement or false statement of fact or law

    ---------------- Hillary misled he court on the evidence, by suggesting that there was none.

    I will abstain from all offensive conduct; I will not advance any fact prejudicial to the honor or reputation of a party or witness

    ----------------- Hillary spread lies about the character of the 12 year old child by suggesting that she was into older men. Hideous.

    Guest

    I think it shows Hillary Clinton's brash character of relishing any of her achievements no matter how vile they may appear to be. This wasn't about the defendant, the girl, the 'system', or the results. It was about HER!

    [Feb 28, 2016] Netrebko in lady Mackbeth in Metropolitan

    Amazing, simply amazing. Dangerous woman or female sociopath if you wish.
    Macbeth Vieni, t'affretta (Anna Netrebko)

    netrebko Lady Mackbeth

    Larry Mitchell 9 months ago

    She's as exciting as hell. The role is a treacherous one and the critics all praised her in spades. I saw the HD presentation at the theaters and found her to be riveting. Her singing has a searing intensity that makes one recall Maria Callas. I also heard the opening night broadcast and loved how she blew away the audience with her Sleepwalking Scene. This less than 2 minute segment shows nothing of the total effect she made in this role.

    Yige Li 1 year ago

    Many haters simply do not understand "how THEY THINK Lady Macbeth should be sung" is never "how Lady Macbeth should be sung". Anya is the rare kind of imaginative artist who has always given a sight out of the box. Narrow minded people, sorry, you just don't deserve to have her.

    Leopold Leopold 1 year ago
    +Detectivefiction The wrong sex. "Un-sex me here" is sex as in gender, not having sex. Lady Macbeth thinks she needs a killer's instincts to succeed. Macduff thinks a woman is so delicate that he's afraid of telling her about Duncan's death, believing it would make her fall dead from shock. Lady Macbeth has contempt not for women, but for these qualities (of vulnerability) associated with women, no matter who they appear in, and likewise tells her husband only when when he was ready to perform a murder was he a man. The full context is "Un-sex me here and fill me from the crown to the toe top-full of direst cruelty." That being said, the costuming is the least of this productions problems.

    CarlaMusic 1 year ago

    She's like the modern day Callas. To some she maybe singing the wrong rep, but she act her ass off and look good doing it. Time will tell if her career is cut in half by it.
    TOTIC 1 year ago
    I saw her at the Met tonight and she brought the house down. Amazing performance. 

    Lawrence Wraith 1 year ago

    it's true she brought the house down on September 27...but some thing else happens

    it was during her final scene that the audience wouldn't stop clapping and applauding and she just stood there on those damn high chairs like a statue in a trance for 40 seconds.. ....the audience becoming more and more excited....they would not let Lady Macbeth die...it was beautiful...

    Compare

    [Jul 14, 2015] Importance of physical exersize in fighting toxic managers

    Out brains are deeply connected to our bodies. One way to improve your mental stability and the capacities to endure stress is to use vigorous exercise regiment. This is the point that implicitly was made by prominent neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki in her book Healthy Brain, Happy Life A Personal Program to Activate Your Brain and Do Everything Better. It looks like aerobic exercises are important for mental stability and the ability to cope with stress. Of cause, an important warning attributed to Talleyrand "Not too much zeal" is applicable here too. Some additional ideas might be extracted from the following reviews:
    "... “Exercise is responsible for the majority of the positive brain changes seen with environmental enrichment.”"

    A neuroscientist transforms the way we think about our brain, our health, and our personal happiness in this clear, informative, and inspiring guide—a blend of personal memoir, science narrative, and immediately useful takeaways that bring the human brain into focus as never before, revealing the powerful connection between exercise, learning, memory, and cognitive abilities.

    Nearing forty, Dr. Wendy Suzuki was at the pinnacle of her career. An award-winning university professor and world-renowned neuroscientist, she had tenure, her own successful research lab, prestigious awards, and international renown.

    That’s when to celebrate her birthday, she booked an adventure trip that forced her to wake up to a startling reality: despite her professional success, she was overweight, lonely, and tired and knew that her life had to change. Wendy started simply—by going to an exercise class. Eventually, she noticed an improvement in her memory, her energy levels, and her ability to work quickly and move from task to task easily. Not only did Wendy begin to get fit, but she also became sharper, had more energy, and her memory improved. Being a neuroscientist, she wanted to know why.

    What she learned transformed her body and her life. Now, it can transform yours.

    Wendy discovered that there is a biological connection between exercise, mindfulness, and action. With exercise, your body feels more alive and your brain actually performs better. Yes—you can make yourself smarter. In this fascinating book, Suzuki makes neuroscience easy to understand, interweaving her personal story with groundbreaking research, and offering practical, short exercises—4 minute Brain Hacks—to engage your mind and improve your memory, your ability to learn new skills, and function more efficiently.

    Taking us on an amazing journey inside the brain as never before, Suzuki helps us unlock the keys to neuroplasticity that can change our brains, or bodies, and, ultimately, our lives.

    Bassocantor TOP 50 REVIEWER on May 19, 2015

    We Have An Enormous Capacity To Change Into The Very Best Version Of Ourselves

    HEALTHY BRAIN, HAPPY LIFE is a fun read, filled with all kinds of exciting ways to expand your brain power. My favorite parts of the book are these little sections that the author calls "Brain Hacks." These sections are lists of easy ways to really supercharge your brain and make use of the latent power in it.

    Here's the theme in a nutshell: "One thing I know for sure is that brain plasticity endows us with an enormous capacity to change into the very best version of ourselves that we can be." Dr. Suzuki explains that she uses 20 years of research in neuroscience to apply these same principles to her own personal life. She admits that she "Went from living as a virtual lab rat --an overweight middle aged woman would had achieved many things in science, but who could not seem to figure out how to also be a healthy, happy woman..."

    One of her main discoveries is the powerful mind-body link. The author emphasizes how powerful exercise is. "Exercise is responsible for the majority of the positive brain changes seen with environmental enrichment." And so, Dr. Suzuki invests much time talking about the power of the brain-body connection. Towards that end, she combines physical workouts as a way to energize your brain: "The body has a powerful influence on her brain functions and conversely but the brain has a powerful influence over how are bodies feel and work and heal." Exercise causes definite changes in your body--it boosts the level of three key chemicals that affect mood.

    The key is to make your workouts intentional. Towards that end, the author suggests ways to do this--for example, proclaiming affirmations out loud. "Intentional exercise happens when you make exercise both aerobic and mental...You are fully engaged in the moment and trigger a heightened awareness of the brain body connection." In the Brain Hacks suction, the author lists different exercises that would best fit you.

    Another great section is the section on creativity. You can actually improve your creative thinking; it is "a particular version of regular thinking they can be practiced and improved like any other cognitive skill." Once again, the author lists great suggestions in the Brain Hacks section on ways to jumpstart your creativity. The key point is to learn something new and "Try to use as many senses as you can." For example, one fun suggestion is to "Sit outside and blindfold yourself for 4 minutes. Then, listen to the world sounds in a new way."

    All in all, HEALTHY BRAIN, HAPPY LIFE is a fun, inspiring read. The author is full of great, uplifting ideas. My favorite chapter is the one on creativity. The end of the book contains an extensive Reference section, in which the author documents the various points she makes.
    Highly recommend!

    Advance copy for impartial review

    love2dazzle on June 10, 2015

    Happy Life” by Wendy Suzuki is all about focusing on ...

    “Healthy Brian, Happy Life” by Wendy Suzuki is all about focusing on expanding your brain power. Our bodies and mind have a very powerful link. Dr. Suzuki has invested her life to focusing on the brain. She goes on to state that “Exercise is responsible for the majority of the positive brain changes seen with environmental enrichment.” Dr. Suzuki is making the point that we need to exercise to work our brain to its fullest potential. She goes on to make the point that you want to make sure the exercise is intentional because that is what exercise you both mentally and aerobically.

    The second best way to expand your brain is by creativity. The point of creativity is to learn new things that will improve your brain and your senses. One is able to find different ways to help build and exercise their brain. The author calls some of the tips she gives “Brain Hacks” so I thought this was a great learning tool.

    I thought “Healthy Brain, Happy Life” was very insightful. I thought this book had a lot of good tips and was also able to explain the brain and how things worked really well. I did enjoy reading it and learning new things on how I am able to improve my brain function.

    Bruny Hudsonon June 13, 2015

    Interesting theory for improving one’s life

    The book “Healthy Brain, Happy Life” by Wendy Suzuki is about a success story, about the author’s life. It’s entertaining and enriching but sometimes out of touch with reality. Considering that the author is a neuroscientist, her line of reasoning sounds dubious in parts of the book, especially her generalizing concepts of life. Just because an effort has worked for her, it does not mean it will work for someone else. Nevertheless, the book deserves a five-star rating because of the author’s pleasant writing style and the well-explained examples of research in neuroscience.

    Transporter chair reviewer, on July 9, 2015

    Mainly autobiographical

    I saw her interviewed on CBS and found her a charming and energetic person. I am not sure what take aways I have from the book, though it interested me since I am also an Asian American woman who is an over achiever, and many of her experiences resonated. I enjoyed the read. I am not sure what type of person I would recommend it to . I am also a doctor. It was fun to review some of the neurobiology and learn some new things.

    [Jun 24, 2015] Psychology the man who studies everyday evil By David Robson

    "...the everyday sadists were more than happy to take the trouble. “There wasn’t just willingness to do it but a motivation to enjoy, to put in some extra effort to have the opportunity to hurt other individuals.” Importantly, there was no provocation or personal gain to be had from their cruelty – the people were doing it for pure pleasure."
    January 30, 2015 | BBC

    Why are some people extraordinarily selfish, manipulative, and unkind? David Robson asks the scientist delving into the darkest sides of the human mind.

    If you had the opportunity to feed harmless bugs into a coffee grinder, would you enjoy the experience? Even if the bugs had names, and you could hear their shells painfully crunching? And would you take a perverse pleasure from blasting an innocent bystander with an excruciating noise?

    These are just some of the tests that Delroy Paulhus uses to understand the “dark personalities” around us. Essentially, he wants to answer a question we all may have asked: why do some people take pleasure in cruelty? Not just psychopaths and murderers – but school bullies, internet trolls and even apparently upstanding members of society such as politicians and policemen.

    It is easy, he says, to make quick and simplistic assumptions about these people.

    “We have a tendency to use the halo or devil framing of individuals we meet – we want to simplify our world into good or bad people,”

    says Paulhus, who is based at the University of British Columbia in Canada. But while Paulhus doesn’t excuse cruelty, his approach has been more detached, like a zoologist studying poisonous insects – allowing him to build a “taxonomy”, as he calls it, of the different flavours of everyday evil.

    Self-regard

    Paulhus’s interest began with narcissists – the incredibly selfish and vain, who may lash out to protect their own sense of self-worth. Then, a little more than a decade ago, his grad student Kevin Williams suggested that they explore whether these self-absorbed tendencies are linked to two other unpleasant characteristics – Machiavellianism (the cold, manipulative) and psychopathy (callous insensitivity and immunity to the feelings of others). Together, they found that the three traits were largely independent, though they sometimes coincide, forming a “Dark Triad” – a triple whammy of nastiness.

    It is surprising how candid his participants can often be. His questionnaires typically ask the subjects to agree with statements such as “I like picking on weaker people” or “It’s wise not to tell me your secrets”. You would imagine those traits would be too shameful to admit – but, at least in the laboratory, people open up, and their answers do seem to correlate with real-life bullying, both in adolescence and adulthood. They are also more likely to be unfaithful to their spouses (particularly those with Machiavellian and psychopathic tendencies) and to cheat on tests.

    Even so, since Paulhus tends to focus on everyday evil rather than criminal or psychiatric cases, the traits are by no means apparent on the first meeting.

    “They are managing in everyday society, so they have enough control not to get themselves into trouble. But it catches your attention here or there.”

    People who score particularly high on narcissism, for instance, quickly display their tendency to “over-claim” – one of the strategies that helps them boost their own egos. In some experiments, Paulhus presented them with a made up subject and they quickly confabulated to try to appear like they knew it all – only to get angry when he challenged them about it. “It strikes you that yes, this fits into a package that allows them to live with a distorted positive view of themselves.”

    Born nasty

    Once Paulhus had begun to open a window on these dark minds, others soon wanted to delve in to answer some basic questions about the human condition. Are people born nasty, for instance? Studies comparing identical and non-identical twins suggest a relatively large genetic component for both narcissism and psychopathy, though Machiavellianism seems to be more due to the environment – you may learn to manipulate from others. Whatever we’ve inherited cannot take away our personal responsibility, though. “I don’t think anyone is born with psychopathy genes and then nothing can be done about it,” says Minna Lyons at the University of Liverpool.

    You only need to look at the anti-heroes of popular culture – James Bond, Don Draper or Jordan Belfort in the Wolf of Wall Street – to realise that dark personalities have sex appeal, a finding supported by more scientific studies. Further clues to the benefits might come from another basic human characteristic – whether you are a morning or evening person. Lyons and her student, Amy Jones found that “night owls” – people who stay up late but can’t get up in the morning – tend to score higher on a range of dark triad traits. They are often risk-takers – one of the characteristics of psychopathy; they are more manipulative – a Machiavellian trait – and as narcissists, they tend to be exploitative of other people. That might make sense if you consider our evolution: perhaps dark personalities have more chance to steal, manipulate, and have illicit sexual liaisons late while everyone else is sleeping, so they evolved to be creatures of the night.

    Whatever the truth of that theory, Paulhus agrees there will always be niches for these people to exploit. “Human society is so complex that there are different ways of enhancing your reproductive success – some involve being nice and some being nasty,” he says.

    Dark corners

    Recently, he has started probing even further into the darkest shadows of the psyche. “We were pushing the envelope, asking more extreme questions,” he says – when he found that some people will also readily admit to inflicting pain on others for no other reason than their own pleasure. Crucially, these tendencies are not simply a reflection of the narcissism, psychopathy or Machiavellianism, but seem to form their own sub-type – “everyday sadism”. For this reason, Paulhus now calls it a “dark tetrad”.

    The “bug crushing machine” offered the perfect way for Paulhus and colleagues to test whether that reflected real life behaviour. Unknown to the participants, the coffee grinder had been adapted to give insects an escape route – but the machine still produced a devastating crushing sound to mimic their shells hitting the cogs. Some were so squeamish they refused to take part, while others took active enjoyment in the task. “They would be willing not just to do something nasty to bugs but to ask for more,” he says, “while others thought it was so gross they didn’t even want to be in the same room.” Crucially, those individuals also scored very highly on his test for everyday sadism.

    Arguably, a rational human being shouldn’t care too much about bugs’ feelings. But the team then set up a computer game that would allow the participants to “punish” a competitor with a loud noise through their headphones. This wasn’t compulsory; in fact, the volunteers had to perform a tedious verbal task to earn the right to punish their competitor – but, to Paulhus’s surprise, the everyday sadists were more than happy to take the trouble. “There wasn’t just willingness to do it but a motivation to enjoy, to put in some extra effort to have the opportunity to hurt other individuals.” Importantly, there was no provocation or personal gain to be had from their cruelty – the people were doing it for pure pleasure.

    Troll tracking

    He thinks this is directly relevant to internet trolls. “They appear to be the internet version of everyday sadists because they spend time searching for people to hurt.” Sure enough, an anonymous survey of trollish commentators found that they scored highly on dark tetrad traits, but particularly the everyday sadism component – and enjoyment was their prime motivation. Indeed, the bug-crushing experiment suggested that everyday sadists may have more muted emotional responses to all kinds of pleasurable activities – so perhaps their random acts of cruelty are attempts to break through the emotional numbness.

    More immediately, his discoveries have attracted the attention of police and military agencies, who want to collaborate with Paulhus to see if his insights might explain why some people abuse their positions. “The concern is that these people might deliberately select jobs where you are given the mandate to hurt individuals,” he says. If so, further work might suggest ways to screen out the dark personalities at recruitment.

    He’s also excited about new work on “moral Machiavellianism” and “communal narcissists” – people who perhaps have dark traits but use them for good (as they see it). In some situations, ruthlessness may be necessary. “To be prime minister, you can’t be namby pamby – you need to cut corners and hurt people, and even be nasty to achieve your moral causes,” he says. After all, the dark personalities often have the impulse and the confidence to get things done –even Mother Theresa apparently had a steely side, he says. “You’re not going to help society by sitting at home being nice.”

    All of which underlines the false dichotomy of good and evil that Paulhus has been keen to probe. In a sense, that is a personal as much as a professional question. He admits to seeing a dark streak in his own behaviour: for example, he enjoys watching violent, painful sports like Mixed Martial Arts. “It didn’t take long to see I would stand above average on these dark traits,” he says. “But given my abiding curiosity as a scientist and my enjoyment of investigating such things – I thought that perhaps I was in a good position to take a closer look at the dark side.”

    [May 27, 2015] How to turn a liberal hipster into a capitalist tyrant in one evening

    May 27, 2015 | The Guardian

    Why do so many decent people, when asked to pretend they're CEOs, become tyrants from central casting? Part of the answer is: capitalism subjects us to economic rationality. It forces us to see ourselves as cashflow generators, profit centres or interest-bearing assets. But that idea is always in conflict with something else: the non-economic priorities of human beings, and the need to sustain the environment. Though World Factory, as a play, is designed to show us the parallels between 19th-century Manchester and 21st-century China, it subtly illustrates what has changed.

    ... ... ...

    A real Chinese sweatshop owner is playing a losing game against something much more sophisticated than the computer at the Young Vic: an intelligent machine made up of the smartphones of millions of migrant workers on their lunchbreak, plugging digitally into their village networks to find out wages and conditions elsewhere. That sweatshop owner is also playing against clients with an army of compliance officers, themselves routinely harassed by NGOs with secret cameras.

    The whole purpose of this system of regulation – from above and below – is to prevent individual capitalists making short-term decisions that destroy the human and natural resources it needs to function. Capitalism is not just the selfish decisions of millions of people. It is those decisions sifted first through the all-important filter of regulation. It is, as late 20th-century social theorists understood, a mode of regulation, not just of production.

    Yet it plays on us a cruel ideological trick. It looks like a spontaneous organism, to which government and regulation (and the desire of Chinese migrants to visit their families once a year) are mere irritants. In reality it needs the state to create and re-create it every day.

    Banks create money because the state awards them the right to. Why does the state ram-raid the homes of small-time drug dealers, yet call in the CEOs of the banks whose employees commit multimillion-pound frauds for a stern ticking off over a tray of Waitrose sandwiches? Answer: because a company has limited liability status, created by parliament in 1855 after a political struggle.

    Our fascination with market forces blinds us to the fact that capitalism – as a state of being – is a set of conditions created and maintained by states. Today it is beset by strategic problems: debt- ridden, with sub-par growth and low productivity, it cannot unleash the true potential of the info-tech revolution because it cannot imagine what to do with the millions who would lose their jobs.

    The computer that runs the data system in Svendsen's play could easily run a robotic clothes factory. That's the paradox. But to make a third industrial revolution happen needs something no individual factory boss can execute: the re-regulation of capitalism into something better. Maybe the next theatre game about work and exploitation should model the decisions of governments, lobbyists and judges, not the hapless managers.


    Earl Shelton -> phil100a 27 May 2015 14:14

    Avoid arguing with Libertarians -- unless you have lots of patience. Their philosophy boils down to: Greed is good; government is bad.

    And they will stick to those dubious premises -- despite the tons of contrary facts, evidence (and stories of human suffering those ideas cause) that you might present -- from Jesus Christ to John Maynard Keynes....

    NomChompsky -> imipak 27 May 2015 12:04

    You spilled some pseudo-intellectual gibberish on your post. You also ignored that the number of computers isn't a constant, in particular, and that zero-sum economic theories are, by nature, incredibly fucking stupid in general. You also seem to think that the Pareto principle is some sort of a law instead of a rule of thumb that has numerous exceptions.

    Just, eww.

    asquaretail 27 May 2015 09:25

    We won't discuss whether or not a UK resident can be a "Hipster." Sounds like cultural theft to me.. What I really want to point out is something more basic. Banks are not empowered by government, at least not initially. Initially, they were restricted by government which then reduced the restrictions to allow banks to function. This has profound analytic consequences for those brave and courageous enough to pursue the chain of thought.

    toffee1 27 May 2015 08:12

    This validates that Marx's was right. A capitalist (or a manager in a capitalist firm), acts as a capital personified. His/her soul is the soul of capital. But capital has one single life impulse, the tendency to create value and surplus-value, to make its constant factor, the means of production, absorb the greatest possible amount of surplus-labour. So, the problem is the system. The liberal view is wrong. What needs to be changed is the system.

    Thomas G. Wilson 26 May 2015 23:15

    So, the choice is sack one third of the workers or spread the pain by cutting the worker's pay by a third? The unstated third choice is do nothing and go bankrupt.

    "Decent liberal hipsters" don't usually confront these problems-they only complain about those who do. "Ruthless capitalists seated at the boardroom table" are just liberal hipsters that had to grow up.

    Hiring people and giving raises is fun and heartwarming-firing people and denying raised when finances are tough -- not so much. I've done both.

    Michael Pettengill 26 May 2015 20:36

    Employers in this "factory world" do not need to find or create consumers, so the employers are free to destroy consumers to save themselves from bankruptcy. But when the retailers who pay the employers cut the size of their orders, the employers have no choice but to fire workers and destroy consumers.

    That this is what is going on is hidden by the long chain the money flows through. The workers are paid by employers paid by retailers who sell to workers paid by other employers who sell to retailers who sell to workers which eventually needs to be the original group of workers in that original factory. Cutting their wages will cut their buying which will ripple back to reduced sales by the retailer paying the factory paying their wages by buying goods.

    Adam Smith argued this value chain would work without fail to employ all workers in producing just barely what the workers desired, but not more and just enough less to motivate workers to produce more to be paid more.

    Keynes argued, after it was conventional wisdom, that unemployment would cut demand causing more unemployment, so government needs to force spending to cause workers to be hired and paid.

    Keynes did not argue for paying people not to work. FDR in 1935 laid out the case for the moral imperative to pay people to work for the good of the nation.

    In any case, the wealth of nations depends on the collective action of all the people of the nation, and Keynes argued and FDR demonstrates that collective action through people acting through government works.

    The play merely teaches that you are a cog in a machine that is beyond your control.

    DoRonDoRonRon 26 May 2015 19:26

    "Our fascination with market forces blinds us to the fact that capitalism – as a state of being – is a set of conditions created and maintained by states. ... But to make a third industrial revolution happen needs something no individual factory boss can execute: the re-regulation of capitalism into something better."

    The author sees capitalism as flawed because it is "set of conditions created and maintained by states." But how is the "re-regulation" he thinks will make it better be carried out? It would, of course, be carried out by states.

    [May 15, 2015] Fed-Up Employee Just About 14 Years Away From Walking Out Door

    Pretty biting humor
    The Burning Platform

    WALTHAM, MA—Frustrated with a growing list of unacceptable workplace indignities, fed-up Catamount Systems employee Marc Holden is just about 14 years away from walking out the front door of his office and never returning, sources confirmed Thursday. “I swear to God, if things don’t improve around here real fast, I am out of here in 14 years or so—I am not bluffing,” Holden said, noting that if he has to endure just a decade and a half more of company-wide incompetence and pointless micromanagement, he is gone for good. “Seriously, I don’t think I can take any more than 3,000 more days of this before I snap.

    Mark my words, if 2029 rolls around and it’s still the same old shit around here, I’m cleaning out my desk, getting on that elevator, and never coming back.” Holden added that if his boss belittled him in front of the entire staff just 200 more times, he would storm right into his office and tell him exactly where he can stick it.

    [Apr 20, 2015] Colleagues Addicted to Tech

    Apr 20, 2015 | NYTimes.com

    Discussing Bad Work Situations

    I have been in my present position for over 25 years. Five years ago, I was assigned a new boss, who has a reputation in my industry for harassing people in positions such as mine until they quit. I have managed to survive, but it's clear that it's time for me to move along. How should I answer the inevitable interview question: Why would I want to leave after so long? I've heard that speaking badly of a boss is an interview no-no, but it really is the only reason I'm looking to find something new. BROOKLYN

    I am unemployed and interviewing for a new job. I have read that when answering interview questions, it's best to keep everything you say about previous work experiences or managers positive.

    But what if you've made one or two bad choices in the past: taking jobs because you needed them, figuring you could make it work — then realizing the culture was a bad fit, or you had an arrogant, narcissistic boss?

    Nearly everyone has had a bad work situation or boss. I find it refreshing when I read stories about successful people who mention that they were fired at some point, or didn't get along with a past manager. So why is it verboten to discuss this in an interview? How can the subject be addressed without sounding like a complainer, or a bad employee? CHICAGO

    As these queries illustrate, the temptation to discuss a negative work situation can be strong among job applicants. But in both of these situations, and in general, criticizing a current or past employer is a risky move. You don't have to paint a fictitiously rosy picture of the past, but dwelling on the negative can backfire. Really, you don't want to get into a detailed explanation of why you have or might quit at all. Instead, you want to talk about why you're such a perfect fit for the gig you're applying for.

    So, for instance, a question about leaving a long-held job could be answered by suggesting that the new position offers a chance to contribute more and learn new skills by working with a stronger team. This principle applies in responding to curiosity about jobs that you held for only a short time.

    It's fine to acknowledge a misstep. But spin the answer to focus on why this new situation is such an ideal match of your abilities to the employer's needs.

    The truth is, even if you're completely right about the past, a prospective employer doesn't really want to hear about the workplace injustices you've suffered, or the failings of your previous employer. A manager may even become concerned that you will one day add his or her name to the list of people who treated you badly. Save your cathartic outpourings for your spouse, your therapist, or, perhaps, the future adoring profile writer canonizing your indisputable success.

    Send your workplace conundrums to workologist@nytimes.com, including your name and contact information (even if you want it withheld for publication). The Workologist is a guy with well-intentioned opinions, not a professional career adviser. Letters may be edited.

    [Feb 28, 2015] How to Deal With a Psychopath

    [Feb 28, 2015] Psychopath BBC documentary Full Documentary

    national geographic,national geographic 2014,national geographic documentary,documentary,documentary 2014,documentaries,documentaries 2014,bbc documentary,di.

    [Feb 28, 2015] The Psychopath Next Door (2014) - ( Documentary )

    [Feb 28, 2015] The Mind of a Psychopath

    [Jul 06, 2014] How a phychopath boss can turn friends into enemies

    yalensis , July 5, 2014 at 4:12 am
    ...

    This guy got his rocks off by pitting his underlings against each other: Turning friends into enemies, etc. He did this through a combination of (temporary) favoritism, using office spies, power plays, and also employing an “office wife” to spread gossip about people behind their back.

    It was very effective: in the end, nobody trusted everybody, the whole team became completely dysfunctional because people would rather root for others’ failures than try to achieve something themselves; hence, nothing ever got done, and some very talented brains were completed wasted with this intrigue and B.S.

    ... ... ...

    [Jun 22, 2014] THE TYRANNY OF TOXIC MANAGERS: AN EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE APPROACH TO DEALING WITH DIFFICULT PERSONALITIES by Roy Lubit

    March 1, 2004 | iveybusinessjournal.com
    Toxic managers are a fact of life. Some managers are toxic most of the time; most managers are toxic some of the time. Knowing how to deal with people who are rigid, aggressive, self-centered or exhibit other types of dysfunctional behaviour can improve your own health and that of others in the workplace. This author describes the mechanisms for coping.

    Toxic managers dot the landscape in most organizations, making them seem, at times, like war zones. These managers can complicate your work, drain your energy, compromise your sanity, derail your projects and destroy your career. Your ability to deal with these corporate land mines will have a significant impact on your career. Those who are able to recognize toxic managers quickly and understand what makes them tick will be in the best position to protect themselves. Difficult managers are a fact of life and how they affect your life depends upon the skills you develop to deal with them.

    The issue is not simply a matter of individual survival. Toxic managers divert people’s energy from the real work of the organization, destroy morale, impair retention, and interfere with cooperation and information sharing. Their behaviour, like a rock thrown into a pond, can cause ripples distorting the organization’s culture and affecting people far beyond the point of impact.

    Senior management and HR can significantly improve an organization’s culture and functioning by taking steps to find and contain those who are most destructive. Leadership can spare an organization serious damage by learning how to recognize problematic personality traits quickly, placing difficult managers in positions in which their behaviour will do the least harm, arranging for coaching for those who are able to grow, and knowing which managers are time bombs that need to be let go.

    This article will help you learn how to avoid becoming a scapegoat, to survive aggressive managers’ assaults, and to give narcissistic and rigid managers the things they need to be satisfied with you. It will also help senior management and HR to recognize toxic managers before they do serious damage. The basic theme of the article is that to deal effectively with toxic behavior you need to understand what lies underneath it, design an intervention to target those underlying factors, and have sufficient control of your own feelings and behaviour so that you can do what is most effective, rather than let your own anger or anxiety get the best of you. In other words, you need to develop your emotional intelligence.

    [May 31, 2014] Psychopaths: how can you spot one?

    telegraph.co.uk
    We think of psychopaths as killers, alien, outside society. But, says the scientist who has spent his life studying them, you could have one for a colleague, a friend – or a spouse

    There are a few things we take for granted in social interactions with people. We presume that we see the world in roughly the same way, that we all know certain basic facts, that words mean the same things to you as they do to me. And we assume that we have pretty similar ideas of right and wrong.

    But for a small – but not that small – subset of the population, things are very different. These people lack remorse and empathy and feel emotion only shallowly. In extreme cases, they might not care whether you live or die. These people are called psychopaths. Some of them are violent criminals, murderers. But by no means all.

    Professor Robert Hare is a criminal psychologist, and the creator of the PCL-R, a psychological assessment used to determine whether someone is a psychopath. For decades, he has studied people with psychopathy, and worked with them, in prisons and elsewhere. “It stuns me, as much as it did when I started 40 years ago, that it is possible to have people who are so emotionally disconnected that they can function as if other people are objects to be manipulated and destroyed without any concern,” he says.

    Our understanding of the brain is still in its infancy, and it’s not so many decades since psychological disorders were seen as character failings. Slowly we are learning to think of mental illnesses as illnesses, like kidney disease or liver failure, and personality disorders, such as autism, in a similar way. Psychopathy challenges this view. “A high-scoring psychopath views the world in a very different way,” says Hare. “It’s like colour-blind people trying to understand the colour red, but in this case ‘red’ is other people’s emotions.”

    At heart, Hare’s test is simple: a list of 20 criteria, each given a score of 0 (if it doesn’t apply to the person), 1 (if it partially applies) or 2 (if it fully applies). The list includes: glibness and superficial charm, grandiose sense of self-worth, cunning/manipulative, pathological lying, emotional shallowness, callousness and lack of empathy, a tendency to boredom, impulsivity, criminal versatility, behavioural problems in early life, juvenile delinquency, and promiscuous sexual behaviour. A pure, prototypical psychopath would score 40. A score of 30 or more qualifies for a diagnosis of psychopathy. Hare says: “A friend of mine, a psychiatrist, once said: ‘Bob, when I meet someone who scores 35 or 36, I know these people really are different.’ The ones we consider to be alien are the ones at the upper end.”

    But is psychopathy a disorder – or a different way of being? Anyone reading the list above will spot a few criteria familiar from people they know. On average, someone with no criminal convictions scores 5. “It’s dimensional,” says Hare. “There are people who are part-way up the scale, high enough to warrant an assessment for psychopathy, but not high enough up to cause problems. Often they’re our friends, they’re fun to be around. They might take advantage of us now and then, but usually it’s subtle and they’re able to talk their way around it.” Like autism, a condition which we think of as a spectrum, “psycho­pathy”, the diagnosis, bleeds into normalcy.

    We think of psychopaths as killers, criminals, outside society. People such as Joanna Dennehy, a 31-year-old British woman who killed three men in 2013 and who the year before had been diagnosed with a psychopathic personality disorder, or Ted Bundy, the American serial killer who is believed to have murdered at least 30 people and who said of himself: “I’m the most cold-blooded son of a bitch you’ll ever meet. I just liked to kill.” But many psychopathic traits aren’t necessarily disadvantages – and might, in certain circumstances, be an advantage.

    For their co-authored book, “Snakes in suits: When Psychopaths go to work”, Hare and another researcher, Paul Babiak, looked at 203 corporate professionals and found about four per cent scored sufficiently highly on the PCL-R to be evaluated for psychopathy. Hare says that this wasn’t a proper random sample (claims that “10 per cent of financial executives” are psychopaths are certainly false) but it’s easy to see how a lack of moral scruples and indifference to other people’s suffering could be beneficial if you want to get ahead in business.

    “There are two kinds of empathy,” says James Fallon, a neuroscientist at the University of California and author of The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist’s Personal Journey into the Dark Side of the Brain. “Cognitive empathy is the ability to know what other people are feeling, and emotional empathy is the kind where you feel what they’re feeling.” Autistic people can be very empathetic – they feel other people’s pain – but are less able to recognise the cues we read easily, the smiles and frowns that tell us what someone is thinking. Psychopaths are often the opposite: they know what you’re feeling, but don’t feel it themselves. “This all gives certain psychopaths a great advantage, because they can understand what you’re thinking, it’s just that they don’t care, so they can use you against yourself.” (Chillingly, psychopaths are particularly adept at detecting vulnerability. A 2008 study that asked participants to remember virtual characters found that those who scored highly for psychopathy had a near perfect recognition for sad, unsuccessful females, but impaired memory for other characters.)

    ...And in his youth, “if I was confronted by authority – if I stole a car, made pipe bombs, started fires – when we got caught by the police I showed no emotion, no anxiety”. Yet he is highly successful, driven to win. He tells me things most people would be uncomfortable saying: that his wife says she’s married to a “fun-loving, happy-go-lucky nice guy” on the one hand, and a “very dark character who she does not like” on the other. He’s pleasant, and funny, if self-absorbed, but I can’t help but think about the criteria in Hare’s PCL-R: superficial charm, lack of emotional depth, grandiose sense of self-worth. “I look like hell now, Tom,” he says – he’s 66 – “but growing up I was good-looking, six foot, 180lb, athletic, smart, funny, popular.” (Hare warns against non-professionals trying to diagnose people using his test, by the way.)

    “Psychopaths do think they’re more rational than other people, that this isn’t a deficit,” says Hare. “I met one offender who was certainly a psychopath who said ‘My problem is that according to psychiatrists I think more with my head than my heart. What am I supposed to do about that? Am I supposed to get all teary-eyed?’ ” Another, asked if he had any regrets about stabbing a robbery victim, replied: “Get real! He spends a few months in hospital and I rot here. If I wanted to kill him I would have slit his throat. That’s the kind of guy I am; I gave him a break.”

    And yet, as Hare points out, when you’re talking about people who aren’t criminals, who might be successful in life, it’s difficult to categorise it as a disorder. “It’d be pretty hard for me to go into high-level political or economic or academic context and pick out all the most successful people and say, ‘Look, I think you’ve got some brain deficit.’ One of my inmates said that his problem was that he’s a cat in a world of mice. If you compare the brainwave activity of a cat and a mouse, you’d find they were quite different.”

    It would, says Hare, probably have been an evolutionarily successful strategy for many of our ancestors, and can be successful today; adept at manipulating people, a psychopath can enter a community, “like a church or a cultural organisation, saying, ‘I believe the same things you do’, but of course what we have is really a cat pretending to be a mouse, and suddenly all the money’s gone”. At this point he floats the name Bernie Madoff.

    [Nov 03, 2013] The Age of Narcissism

    Jesse's Café Américain

    "Narcissism falls along the axis of what psychologists call personality disorders, one of a group that includes antisocial, dependent, histrionic, avoidant and borderline personalities.

    But by most measures, narcissism is one of the worst, if only because the narcissists themselves are so clueless."

    -- Jeffrey Kluger

    “Hate is the complement of fear and narcissists like being feared. It imbues them with an intoxicating sensation of omnipotence...

    The sadistic narcissist perceives himself as godlike, ruthless and devoid of scruples, capricious and unfathomable, emotion-less and non-sexual, omniscient, omnipotent and omni-present, a plague, a devastation, an inescapable verdict.”

    -- Sam Vaknin

    If you wish to see the narcissist in their natural habitat, the chat boards and comment sections of some blogs are where the marginally successful dwell, often dominating the conversation with their self-obsessed arrogance. Sometimes in periods of unusual circumstances they can even rise to positions of power. They are attracted to corporate structures, and financial and political positions.

    They have no humility, no doubts, and no empathy. Whatever life or luck or others may have helped them to achieve, they feel that they deserve it all, and more. They have worked for everything they have, whereas others who have suffered setbacks and misfortune simply have made bad choices or been lazy. And if others have been cheated and abused, then they deserve it for being stupid.

    They are often judgmental and racist, and brimming over with hateful scorn for others, unless they can be co-opted into their sphere of influence and behave according to the narcissist's world and rules.

    As Thomas Aquinas said, 'well-ordered self-love is right and natural.' It is when this natural behaviour becomes excessive and twisted that it becomes a pathology, a disorder of the personality.

    Often narcissists have exaggerated ideas about their own talents and worth and work. Sometimes they are compensating for the neglect and disregard, or even abuse, of one or both parents who failed to see and appreciate how special they are. At other times they are the product of an environment in which they have been raised to believe that they are special, and deserve special treatment and consideration. Since obviously not all children of privilege or abuse become narcissists, it might have its genesis in an untreated form of depression or genetic predisposition.

    "The classic narcissist is overly self-confident and sees themselves as superior than other people. Think of a child who has always been told by mom and dad that they would be great, and then that child takes and internally distorts that message into superiority.

    The compensatory narcissist covers up with their grandiose behavior, a deep-seated deficit in self-esteem. Think of a child who felt devalued but instead of giving up on life, resorts to fantasies of grandeur and greatness. This person will either live in that fantasy world or decide to create that fantasy world in real life."

    If this affliction is accompanied by other problems such as sadism or malignant mania, they may become a destructive element for all who encounter them. Their illness affects others more than themselves, so they may often not seek treatment, and excuse the damage they inflict with the 'weakness' of others.

    They seek to fill the great empty holes of self-loathing with the lives and possessions of others, all the while proudly wreathing their actions with self serving rationalization.

    They are more to be pitied than scorned, as they are living in a small part the hell which they are making for themselves. But we must guard ourselves against their powerful certainty in an age of uncertainty. Their certainty is a madness which serves none but itself.

    "Narcissism is a psychological condition defined as an obsession with the self. While not all forms of self-love or self-interest are destructive, extreme cases can be very damaging and may be diagnosed as narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

    In these instances, the disorder is characterized by a lack of empathy for others, sadistic or destructive tendencies, and a compulsion to satisfy personal needs above all other goals.

    People suffering from NPD tend to have difficulty establishing or maintaining friendships, close family relationships, and even careers. About 1% of people have this condition, and up to 3/4 of those diagnosed with it are men.

    The signs of narcissism often revolve around a person's perception of himself in comparison to other people.

    Those with severe cases often believe they are naturally superior to others or that they possess extraordinary capabilities. They may have extreme difficulty acknowledging personal weaknesses, yet also have fragile self-esteem.

    Narcissistic people also frequently believe that they are not truly appreciated, and can be prone to outbursts of anger, jealousy, and self-loathing when they do not get what they feel they deserve."


    Hallmarks of Narcissism

    A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

    •Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
    •Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
    •Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
    •Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
    •Is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her
    •Requires excessive admiration
    •Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
    •Believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
    •Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

    [Feb 05, 2013] Catalyst Corporate Psychopaths

    Selected comments only...
    ABC TV Science

    B - 16 Feb 2012 8:11:55pm

    They are out there. I manage a small team in the public service. A female corporate psychopath was seconded into my workgroup for a period of nine months. She heaped praise on me, offered me gifts (I rejected), and spoke of previous excellent work achievements. My subordinates lapped up the praise, accepted the gifts and listened to every word.

    I uncovered a minor fraud, when I challenged her all hell broke loose. There was much cunning, bizarre behavior was directed to me, she made sure there were no witnesses. Incidents included sloshing a bucket of vomit at me, death threats, suicide threats, and totally alienating me to the group I managed.

    I was stunned when she denied these actions. A harassment claim was lodged against me painting her as the victim. Outright lies, twisted truths, union involvement. My HR and leadership team went missing. She spread rumors I threatened to kill her via email. I was investigated, but I also finally had proof (no death threat).

    I demanded action should be taken, nothing was. I then threatened to quit, still no action. She has since been granted compo on stress leave (which is why I don't think work perused her). As it turns out, this is a pattern of behavior.

    I will resign within the next few weeks on principle, I am absolutely disgusted with my department (11 years of service). She had my team in her clutches, they did not have the courage to stand up and say this behavior is wrong - cowards. She backstabbed these people and I stood up for them.

    Despite this being extremely unpleasant, I come out much the wiser. They don't play by the same rules. For all those dealing with this, my advice is put yourself first. This may mean quitting.

    Mia - 09 Jul 2011 10:47:25am

    I think the nice part is to keep you thinking she is still not a threat. I worked with someone like this too. Maybe she feels guilty so she acts nice. I had one change her shirt in front of me once...when we were alone and talk about how she had a stain on it and that was the reason why. She still talked about work as she fixed her shirt and stuff. I laughed because a minute before she was acting all power trippy and then acted like a human being who has problems too. I learned not to trust them anyways. Keep your distance and never talk about your troubles or whatever. It will be used against you, unlike what she does with you. The difference is that you do not use it against her but you could,

    jmac - 14 Oct 2011 6:18:40pm

    my boss had lied again and again to discredit me with her boss....they appear to have a symbiotic relationship. As a new mature aged graduate the treatment I have been dealt has been disgusting. If it wasn't for the good supportive relationships I have made in the workplace, and support of wonderful friends I think I would have had a breakdown. I identified early that these people are lacking empathy. As a social worker I feel empathy is inherent in my make-up so to be controlled and manipulated has been a shock and very distressing. Their subversive techniques are soul destroying.

    Kate - 03 Jul 2010 2:49:17pm

    I have just returned from the first session with the psychologist and discovered it was not me as incompetent, and the rest. I work for a CP and am now on one hand feeling a bit better knowing it is not me but horrified that there is almost no hope for me to stay in the job I love. I am having a week off work to overcome the breakdown but cannot see what I will do next. My Doctor says to fight will just kill me an further cement her position. Devastated .

    Craig Barry - 20 Jul 2010 1:07:39am

    I Take it that CP is for child protection? I have worked for the last 24yrs in many positions working with young people, I tell you now, "get out" don't let them burn you out at such a young age!!! The Department will destroy you!!!

    Mia - 09 Jul 2011 10:54:18am

    I don't know if you should quit. Sometimes there are situations that you cannot leave or quit. Try the military for one.;). We get so used to Psychopaths in positions of authority that we are practically immune to yelling, humiliation, and being called incompetent or slow or whatever. We deal with jobs that no one explains how to do and all sorts of micromanagements and finally we learn to use our heads, filter out the stupidity and meanness and say "what are the results of this being done" That is all we want at the end of the day. Results.

    marc - 26 Jun 2010 2:19:56pm

    a few P's joining the conversation here no surprise-important info for them on how to do it better! Being the daughter of one and sadly not realizing until too late the mother of a few I have an inkling that I may have a co dependence issue. Hospitalization alerted me to the prevalence of the cost to society of those victims who avoid ending their lives-not many! Also interesting was the prevalence of certain professions being over represented on the wards suffering from'Burnout'a euphemism for consequences of a P. the prevalence of Asperger's Syndrome(on the Autistic Spectrum)in my family makes me wonder about the same disconnect to emotions that the P has. Another prog.ABC aired recently "I Psychopath" was absolutely brilliant more exposure is required

    Jen - 23 Jun 2010 7:49:23pm

    Definitely exclude - there is no positive outcome from employing staff at any level with these characteristics - in fact the opposite is sure to be the result - gradual destruction of individuals and any possibility of team work. The planned, cold and calculated destruction of individuals is the purpose of these people.

    Jazz - 15 Mar 2012 4:46:23pm

    No, their purpose is survival and personal gain. This means that unlike people with ordinary social/ emotional responses they will trample people without conscience to attain their goals. And if you're standing in the way of their objectives, they will set out to destroy you.

    In this competitive, capitalist society they thrive because they embody the attributes of success. This is an interesting psychological analysis of them: http://www.crisiscounseling.com/Articles/Psychopath.htm

    Just say grow - 22 Jun 2010 11:01:10pm

    The question is however is cp a fundamental part of leadership or would companies that recognize this personality type and seek to exlude it foster a healthier more productive culture of engagement?

    Jen - 24 Jun 2010 8:38:02pm

    Definitely exclude as they can only add individual and team misery, whilst going undetected for some years. The worst are the professionally trained in some way, such as psychologists, who can use thier profession to enhance their skill at destruction and to hide that from detection.

    C - 16 Jun 2010 9:42:15am

    Dear Dr John, I have been struggling now for 2 yrs with the workplace psychopath. I work in a clinic for youth and adolescents with mental health issues. I thought only caring and concerned people wanted to work for young people!!!!!! My mistake. My concern is for family and patients... but now has moved on to me!!! I am so drained by this experience. The only sustaining factor are the few staff who are aware of this person. Some management are also aware but it is hard to get hard data on them. They are very good at covering their tracks- but the poor kids and their families get their heads done in quite frequently. I am also due for a big payrise. It seems pretty empty though and comes at a big cost of surviving this psychopath. I feel myself losing any empathy I had and am now thoroughly suspicious, paranoid, and unfeeling. I feel like I have developed a 'lizard brain' as soldiers term it and I am turning into the bitter, narcissistic, manipulative creep I despise!!!!! Help!

    Mia - 09 Jul 2011 11:34:56am

    Here is what I would do. Stay there and get the big pay raise. Then as you establish yourself in the new position I would look for another job to match the NEW PAY level. New skills acquired make for a better resume and if your skills are in demand then you will find a great job with the new salary and since you worked at this job you need to become more "desensitized" anyway to the patients and families around you. Alot of these adolescents will drain you and then later not be so messed up...but you will still carry their troubles with you not even knowing that ALL TEENS are usually troubled with mental health issues. Later it somehow gets better but you only see their present states and not their futures.

    Whistling Woman - 11 Jun 2010 12:50:54pm

    I am a veteran, having worked for three women in the past twenty years or so. All had personality problems of some kind. The first had what I now think was narcissistic personality disorder; the second became disturbed and abusive in the final year before she left very suddenly; the third and most recent is retiring TODAY! She has been lazy, self-serving, self-absorbed, gutless, and undermining. She has launched an investigation into my "misconduct", leaving it up in the air, because she knew she was retiring (but has not even had the courtesy to tell me or the other managers who report to her!). It is probable that she has been driven to this by her own (male) manager, and is either too gutless or uncaring or unprofessional or all three, to refuse to participate in it. I am past caring. It seems they are everywhere - and it's power that enables their true colours to come out. One thing I disagree with Dr Clarke's diagnosis of CP's is the charm - none of them was/is particularly charming, or even interesting as people (which makes it all the more annoying that one has to spend so much time obsessing about them). I think the best thing is just to carry a mental impermeable membrane around oneself, and just write them off one's mental horizon - act as if they are NOT THERE, or when communicating with them is unavoidable, maintain an aura of freezing politeness.

    Mia - 09 Jul 2011 11:50:44am

    I worked with one too and I was in the military myself. I noticed that she pointedly did things to exclude me. Like first it started with meetings...saying "this is not concerning your work so you don't have to stop working" but I would overhear her and sometimes she mentioned me like.."what is she working on today?" which made me feel paranoid. Then it went to social exclusion like " we are having a ceremony for blah blah but you need to watch this office while we go". I suspected that she blamed me for mistakes and it went on like this. One day I was driving in my car and suddenly I thought of her and said to myself..."no don't pay her no mind" and wondered "does she think of me?" And thats when I realized not to let her "rent head space". Later I read that they often think about their subjects and I thought no to feeding into her weird head gaming ways.

    movingon - 08 Jun 2010 9:31:31pm

    I have worked for a female boss for over 2 years and have been subject to micromanagement, subtle and untraceable bullying for the entire time. Her method of insidious grinding victimisation has reduced my confidence and at times my ability. further advancement in the institution is impossible as she has friends and networks with stealth.

    I am constantly told of her supportive relationship with her boss which leaves me isolated and unable to go to work without feel sick. Is this a P? Either way I want to move on and have applied for several senior admin positions. Is it a war zone in every workplace?

    Chris F - 21 Aug 2010 8:14:32pm

    Yes, she is a P. Only after getting terminated from my previous job of nine years in May 2010 (now collecting unemployment), did I labeled the problem. It was systemic and so subtle that I didn't even realize that they were trying to abuse me until after I was fired. You described the exact same situation I was once in. The corporation has developed a psychopathic environment overall. Most of my coworkers feel micromanaged, a severe lack of respect from management, cannot talk to anyone in management about how they feel, they dread taking any time off for being sick as psychopathic bosses feel no empathy for the sick or weak, they absolutely dread waking up and going to work and often feel like not going in. Every mistake they make is treated as the same whether it's big or small.

    After reading about psychopaths in the workplace, I've come to the conclusion that we have at least 4 psychopaths in the office, two of which are female. It's not a war zone in every workplace, but now that you are aware of psychopaths in the workplace, just being able to identify them will allow you not suffer future abuse.

    Onthe egde - 28 Apr 2010 5:27:35pm

    Amazing stuff... explains a lot really. I thought these people were borderline personality disorder types but there was too many of them I thought, surely. Yes, CP seems the logical answer now I have watched the episode and read some of the posts. Try working in a uniformed service with these people. It is an absolute nightmare. They herd and gather like shopping trolleys and are just about as unmanageable always power broking and putting some skew on everything. They delight in destabilising the senior officers group and the organisation being dysfunctional because of it. What do you suppose the collective noun for a group of CP's would be? A 'Toxic' of CP's.

    ghostwriter - 03 Apr 2010 2:57:20am

    Seenit.. the moral of the story is if they r a true psychopath they will NOT LEARN because they DON'T CARE.... they aren't happy with themselves for the actions they commit they do it for the reaction to test peoples limits. human nature facinates them as they are not capable of feeling empathy or sympathy & many other "natural" emotions so they feed on u to get a reaction in order to witness these feelings even though the connection to the feelings themselves does not exist.. by giving them a reaction u r playing right into their hands.. they will WEED themselves out in time if u give them NO REACTION... they will get bored with u & move on to other people or places... but if u give them what they want BE PREPARED to be in it for the long hall...my experience is great in this matter.. FYI if not sure your dealing with a TRUE PSYCO ASK THEM... in my experience they will tell u point blank just to issue & study your reaction..most are VERY PROUD of what they are.. who knows u might even get a 1st real answer.

    Survivor - 09 Feb 2010 12:35:54am

    I survived an experience that had all the trademarks of the C.P.

    I'm happy to say I managed to get through without being personally defeated. Would I like to go through it again? No, once is enough - I have my scars but I've proven to myself my character was stronger and I see no further learning from going through it again. It was a first for me. I was generally trusting of people in the workplace, but I guess now I’m a tad more careful from coming out the other end of the C.P. experience.

    What I find interesting about the C.P. phenomenon are the quantity of weak minded individuals that often assist the C.P. in their endeavours, conquests and laugh at their sick and sad jokes. All in the hope to be permitted entry into the C.P.'s inner circle.

    This is why I said it was a test of character. I felt the whole experience put my character to the test and I survived. Unfortunately, a number of people of whom I knew from previous workplaces flaked under the pressure and assisted the C.P. Some might say they were just trying to survive as best they could. Maybe, but I couldn't live with myself to do it - just not how I was raised. In fact I feel those people are the saddest casualties, not those who are the completely broken by the C.P. or who end up leaving.

    I'm thinking of getting some t-shirts printed up with the slogan: "I survived a C.P."

    Otherwise what else could be done? A website to name and shame - effectively a black list? Unfortunately no, as it would probably constitute libel. N.B. "Probably" because if it can be proven true I suspect it isn’t libellous.

    Good luck people and remember to hold your own moral strength of character to help survive the ordeal.

    AV - 07 Feb 2010 2:59:53pm

    My female boss is a psychopath and hormonally unstable which is always even more of a treat 2 weeks of the month. I had been at the company for 10 years in a regional branch and was transferred to Head Office of which she was the new manager of a new department. The first DAY i could feel my confidence coming undone. Nothing I did was right. At first I took everything on board, working long hours but she kept changing the goal posts ensuring that people could hear her disapproval of my work.

    She would put a big display of tearing up work that I had spent hours on saying words like, 'huge disappointment' and my favourite 'some pple do not deserve a job'. By the 4th day I was spending my lunch breaks wiping tears in the toilets. It was like being constantly slapped in the face. I was shocked! - words, cruel, behind doors locked and humiliation in front of my co-workers. It was more distressing then giving birth!

    I found her to be unnaturally aggressive and overly charming at the same time with a blank coldness, completely unmoved. She'd humiliate me and then ask if I'd like some lunch and to come outside for a break where she would talk about her family and laugh and joke with other people in the building. I was like .. what the?? Skitzo much??

    Luckily she had not factored in my personal relationships at Head Office with HER superiors. (10 years of fun Christmas Parties and Corporate Box shenanigans share a bonding of its own) These things I used to my advantage. I had a not so secret meeting with her manager of whom she'd shared an adjoining window. He had heard the things being said behind closed doors and had not said anything because he wanted to see how she would play out (being an unknown factor). He apologised that he had not intervened earlier but he thought I was handling her well. Well, after a few minutes of explosive expletives I warned him to put a stop to her behaviour or I would go higher. He spoke to her. Monday morning she was nice as pie but I KNEW i was in for a fight. Whenever her insidious attempts at work and character assassination wore me down Id make a point of sitting in her managers office sharing chocolate and laughing and smiling at her through the adjoining window. I have become very good at detailed file notes of conversations and phone calls always cc-ing correspondance and emails openly providing evidence to the team and sometimes BCC'ing contacts in Head Office of my work leaving minimal room for error and if so, showing the criticisms to be hardly worthy of attention. It was exhausting but exhilarating at the same time. I wasnt going to let her beat me and I still havent. She backed off about 6 months later because she was exposed but I have continued to detail my work. She also realised early on she needed my support in getting the department off the ground due to my inside knowledge of the industry, our clients and my professio

    Dr John B Conlon - 04 Mar 2010 5:03:47am

    No, as far as I know (ok so I'm only a retired Anaesthetist). Insight is either extremely rare or unknown in Psychopaths. Funnily enough I had a Psychopath to interview in my Psychiatry finals in 1973 - got the diagnosis right too. Examiners v. impressed. I digress. It was called "Bullying" at work and my eldest sister had a terrible few years before she retired. When the bullies are confronted they deny everything and feel they have been doing their best for the organisation, leaving a trail of destruction. In My Opinion: think Margaret Thatcher, Rupert Murdoch, Kerry Packer.

    HappyNow - 02 Feb 2010 3:23:00am

    I want to thank the ABC for re-running this show tonight and wished I had seen it back in 2005 when I was victimised.

    I didn't understand the extent of my male 'friend's' perverseness to cruelty until it was too late when I suffered post traumatic stress, depression, anxiety and ruined mutual friendships/ reputation. He also left a trail of financial destruction for others who have engaged in business with him. The scary thing is that although he has recently declared bankruptcy, he is back in Corporate Finance soliciting for investors and an MD of his own company.

    If you have to endure a psychopath - remember two words: wasted energy. It's not worth the pyhrric victory - because they are not capable of remorse.

    In hindsight and from my lessons learned - to counteract any attacks, build a good sense of self worth, maintain your integrity and never give in to self doubt. Try not to beat yourself up after they've pummeled your self esteem. It would also be good to have an outlet where you can speak out in safety and who does not know the P.

    I could ramble on but I think it's been said by everyone else. The only question I have is - do we know of any psychopaths who have successfully reformed and regained a fully functioning conscience?

    Kev - 19 Dec 2009 7:59:51pm

    Hello fellow victims. Bernie (not my real name) - 24 Feb 2009 You make some excellent points. I would also add get a small tape recorder and a microphone - there are 'spy' shops online that sell these marvels. Transcribe the conversations and keep the recordings organized for the day that you need to play them. There are ones that will record up to 8 hours or more at a time so you needn't fuss with turning it on and off.

    If you must stay in your job - start preparing now for your wrongful dismissal suit. And start saving for a lawyer. If you can get a background check done on them and their resume. P's lie. They lie a lot and they lie badly. Mine had 2 degrees on his resume (turns out he had none) and he didn't even leave a gap large enough to have earned the degrees! That is a firing offense. If HR has had complaints or questions about the P before that may be just what they're looking for - proof. Hire a private investigator to do reference checks on past jobs of his, in addition to criminal and credit checks. If you can show that the company clearly had a monster in their midst they'll want to hush you up. Always be anonymous - never point a gun at your head by letting the P know you're after him. Never assume HR won't rat on you to him. A P will butter up HR and get them on their side' they know the value of a befuddled HR dept.

    Ex-wives and girlfriends are outstanding sources of info. You're not the first person they've screwed over. Credit checks are usually very revealing as well.

    They will stop at NOTHING to destroy you if they suspect you don't buy their act. Be very careful. Do not think for a second if you let them know subtly that you're onto them that they will back down. Quite the opposite will occur. Same thing if you're passive. Bernies ideas were very good.

    Try to never be alone with one. Avoid looking them in the eye; you'll think better and hear better if you don't - if you know a true P you'll understand what I mean.

    jennifer - 30 Sep 2009 9:25:14pm

    Is there any chance of Aunty getting John Clarke to expand on the processes used by organisational psychopaths. Most people are blinded by the superficial charm and don't see the victimisation occurring. Clearly this is the psychopaths game and adds to their feelings of superiority. The actual damaging process is much more insidious than the usually portrayed yelling bosses, and can come from any level of staff. From experience the most devastating part is that others believe the lies and manipulative behaviour and the victim is generally in a no win situation.

    Sick of Psychopaths - 10 Aug 2009 3:37:17pm

    After first watching this story some months ago I have been on a long learning journey . It still hasn't stopped me from being a victim but it has helped me realise that i'm not the one who is mad . What I have learnt is that to stand a chance with a psychopath you must record your conversations with them . It is the only way any one will believe you . There are plenty of discreet & preferably voice activated (so you don't have to fiddle with it ) recording devices out there . Even if you are not sure of the legalities do it any way as it can be presented anonymously . It is the only way to expose these people for the evil bastards they really are .

    Judy,Canada - 15 Jul 2009 7:11:06pm

    I have one other interesting comment to share. I was never bullied in school or throughout my twenties and thirties. It started once I was successful in my business, compounded with lots of attention and high priced cars. Girls in our schools are ganging up in groups of 4 or 5 and the victims are afraid to report it.

    I have preached about this example lately as I feel its the root cause of the hardened women I have been exposed to as a business owner. I feel the problem is in the adult women (something is lost in the mothering bond). I personally enjoyed being a manager throughout my career with a long track record of mentoring many into success, however I do not feel women are ready to rule quite yet until they keep their emotions in check. They truly play an ugly game when they go into high gear. W5 had an excellent show on a successful firm that was destroyed by a new female manger who utilized the divide and conquer principle and broke up a strong team as she ruined a once thriving firm. Once it is underway why is it so hard to bring back?

    It would be wonderful to educate employers and government specialists on the "divide and conquer" principle which basically is how the process works at destruction. There are many wonderful women however the increase in jealous, brutal women who thrive off of breaking another woman amazes me compounded with all the guilt that has been put on men, I personally do not feel many of these women are ready for their new found power. Is it the left overs of going too far with human rights in Canada?

    O C - 17 May 2010 6:18:16pm

    I think female bullies are on the rise. I was brutalied by a female director. I had been a founing member of a sucessful theatre company for 8 years, with terrific reviews and was well liked by almost all directors I worked with. Then I met M...... who was very charming at first. She was very complimentary of my work for 3.5 weeks and then suddenly she snapped. She would isolate me from the rest of the cast and ridicule me. Hwe comments were such a far cry from the compliments she had paid me for the majority of the rehearsal period. With a week to go until opening I thought I would keep it to my self for the sake of the show. My partner and friends knew I was having a hard time though as I would come home and break down. Then she did the unspeakable-she fired me with only a week to go until opening! The worst part was that she turned the entire company against me. When I sought support there was none to be found. She was this "brilliant and charming director who knew best" and I was the incompetant actor who had to be replaced. It was crazy I had been there for 8 years and in 4 weeks she had charmed the company into taking her side. I sought union and legal advice and there was little i could do in the end. I left a company which I had built from scratch and I was completely abandoned by my fellow actors. Looking back the signs were there.

    She had to always be the centre of attention, was constantly talking up her accomplishments (in reality they were few) and was canoodling up to a young actor. Psychologists suggested she was a psychopath, as the younger, more attractive and talented star I stood in her way of being queen bee. I will report bullying much sooner next time. She got away with it but in time kharma will get her, perhaps the scathing review of her direction of that production was that very kharma!!

    Foot soldier - 22 May 2009 1:22:46am

    Well done Aunty. Typical of your informative/educative and socially responsible programing.

    Agree with Dave (31st December), a follow-up is needed with more detailed facts about these psychopathic people and information about what is being done to 'deal' with these people and support good employees of these typically large corporate organisations. Interesting to note that most of the perpetrators mentioned below in other comments are female! Interesting given academic studies show that 0.5 of corporate psychopaths are female and 2% are men. The other interesting theme noted from the comments is most people who wrote comments experienced the corporate psychopath in an office environment. I am a nurse, and experienced the corporate psychopath both within health and in the university environment. I survived the battle to fight the war. I lost at first, but eventually won the bigger fight. The perpetrator was the same person in both cases. That person was eventually 'outed', and followed a gruelling process for that person who lost much credibility, income and employment position.

    Psychologically I was a wreck, and after 4 years, I am making MY WAY as a contract nurse, ensuring I do not belong to any one organisation or work for any one employer. Its an isolating experience but safer this way! I am regaining my confidence slowly and beginning to once again believe in myself - I have to for my children's sake. I look forward to the day when I can trust again, and move to work with others in a permanent position for an organisation.

    To those seeking help while currently going through it - YOU are the most important person here. YOUR sanity is at stake and subsequently your income, etc. I urge you, move on before you are so badly damaged you are paralysed. There is life outside your current employment, and many lovely people. There is another way. You have skills, knowledge and experience - think laterally - use them in other ways - and move on. You have the strength.

    Jane - 16 Apr 2009 1:10:57pm

    This is an excellent discussion. Twice in my career, I've worked with bosses who are psychopaths. The first time, I reported the abusive behavior to HR and, while that eventually led to the boss's leaving months later, he retaliated in the short term and made me so miserable that I left. Never again would I report someone. I'd just get out fast. The second time, I and several others were targeted and laid off as part of a restructuring. That's OK with me; I'm out of there. I loved the job and the colleagues but not the new boss, who's trying to make herself look good. I have since heard from other colleagues who are really suffering as they're now targets of this individual. It's sad.

    victim - 03 Apr 2009 11:15:19am

    Being a victim of abuse by my team laeder and now manager for ten years I thought I was alone. I went to her boss and then to HR to find that she had already waeved her web. As a result no job opportunies came my way and even when I applied I was 'unsuccessful'. Bad reviews, being told that I was disliked by all of my peers and fellow employees I did not crack.

    Instead one day she slipped and someone saw her, I was saved mentally just knowing that someone knew it was true.

    Another victim - 17 Mar 2009 1:13:53pm

    An ex-colleague of mine forwarded the link of this article to me - this person knew the hell I had gone through under my "Corporate Psychopath" and after reading this article, it is such a relief that my suspicious now have a foundation!

    It's not me or the 4 other people before who left this role. It's the fact that there is a corporate murderer at the top killing off her staff members...emotionally and mentally. It is just sad that a number of high performing organisations seem to thrive with such "leaders" and the attitude is, if you can't take it, then leave it. Perhaps it's time to shake it up a little more and find a nice little island to ship these psychos off to!

    After all, we are not fans of letting repeat offenders off likely in this country, perhaps we can apply the same rules here.

    And for those who have come out of this awful experience alive, I take my hat off to you.

    standyrgrd - 13 Oct 2011 9:17:12am

    They will never be shipped off because organisations love CP as they rule by fear and will do anything to get the job done. I have been working with a CP for 3 years now and reported her for slapping another staff member at work on two different occassions. The response i go from HR is that the slap may have been done jokingly and if so there will be no formal investigation. It's been one month now since i reported this physical abuse and the CP is still in the corporation, in the same job! She shows no remorse because when i report some of her bullying to her superiors she just ups the anti.

    Emancipated - 03 Dec 2010 11:10:57pm

    Wow-reading your comments makes me feel like fighting harder than ever!These bullies need to be made accountable for their atrocious actions. I've been working in my current environment for three years, and the psychopath that I have had to deal with has become more devious and manipulative as the years have progressed. With a 60% turnover in staff, one would think that that would be enough to trigger ‘alarm bells' about our manager and manage the behaviour of the one common denominator-the bully. Unfortunately, many qualified and valuable staff members have walked away from their jobs. They later described themselves to me as feeling “useless and incompetent”. My ‘Team Leader' has based her career on the the work of others, and she ensures that staff members maintain a sense of gratitude towards her-even though the work is not her own. I decided that I had mentally had enough of the stress involved in working with her, and I took the BIG STEP in submitting a formal grievance. I needed to get to a point within myself that I could handle the fall out associated with this step. I knew that other people had taken her on in the past, and that they had eventually lost their case. They walked away down trodden and shaken by the experience of working with her. HOWEVER, thankfully as a result of their complaints, their voices now count as I have placed a formal grievance against her. Most staff members only stayed for a short period of time within their roles, and therefore had little time to collate concrete evidence to support their complaints. I am a compliant, hard worker and I take pride in my work. I tried for a long time to keep my head down and stay ‘out of her radar' but eventually you do become a target. My best advice to you all would be to do what I did a year ago-STOP answering your phone at work/mobile when he/she calls, and AVOID all informal one-on-one meetings.Instead, build evidence with emails and create a solid case.Always have a representative with you when you have to meet with him/her, and when you place your grievance, make sure that you have organised a go-tween email receiver/sender, so that when the bullying behaviour is turned up, then you have another ‘listening ear'. The last most important thing that you should do is JOIN YOUR UNION.

    Also remember, that these bullies only make up a small proportion within a workplace: WE MAKE UP THE MAJORITY so let's stand up to psychopaths and GET RID OF THEM!!!! After I had placed my grievance with HR I was told that I was the first one to make an official complaint' against my boss. I was shocked when I heard this as she has been arguing with everyone' for years. Another staff member mustered up the confidence to place a second grievance against my boss after me. So the whole process has been going on for months, but it has been the best therapy that I could have ever received, and I feel a great sense of relief. I don't know if I have a job

    Moderator: Please keep posts to a reasonable length - under 200 words.

    scared - 16 May 2011 4:29:15am

    Can't believe I'm on this page finding so many people in the same situation as myself. Something needs to be done. I feel like I'm going crazy. Been on my job for 9 years the last 2 have been a living hell working with a psychopathic co-worker and a passive aggressive supervisor. I have a plan with legal help hopefully it will work. I'm using my sick time and hopefully can get my unemployment.

    Andrew - 23 Jan 2009 7:26:00pm

    I have a workplace psychopath at the engineering company where i work.

    She decided that i would be her victim on day one and constantly harasses me. She also makes complaints against me to the boss. The key problem is that he takes her word as gospel.

    She tried to get me sacked after 3 months, however i survived after proving myself. This has only intensified her determination. She made a complaint against me again today. we had an argument and after she won it, she then decided to get revenge on me (who takes revenge for winning an argument???) by complaining about me on an unrelated matter.

    Luckily my immediate supervisor, as well as the other job team leaders in the business back me and share my concern about this individual.

    But i don't know how long i can stand up to this bullying.

    Lisa - 14 Mar 2009 5:15:03pm

    I am working with one currently. She is constantly harases me and others. She is lying all the time. She is inconpetent with her work but she always tells her superiors that her mistakes made by me. I have worked so hard because she always gives me incorrect information or wrong information which has increaed my work load. Although someone can back me up as they have experienced same thing as I have been constantly experienced on a daily basis, I don't know how long it can last.

    Dude - 09 Jan 2009 10:57:17pm

    I had never experienced a "workplace psychopath" until 3 years ago. After researching the internet to obtain some understanding of these people I became amazed that so many of these low life mongrels exist. I am a long serving Police Officer who works in a small "specialist" area.

    Our OIC fits all the criteria of an "attention seeking" workplace psychopath. The working environment is absolute hell to say the least. This person exhibits swinging moods, bizarre behaviour, extreme self pity, manipulation and deceit. This persons constant whining is immense and very difficult to take everyday.

    I have experienced difficulty sleeping at night over a long period of time because of the behaviour. When this person goes on holidays the workplace becomes relaxed and everyone is so happy. Everyone in our office "suffered in silence" for a very long period of time until we all started realising that we all felt the same.

    Thankfully higher management have now become aware of the behaviour of this person, however I have now leart that it's not an easy issue to deal with. This person is shameless and is fighting "tooth and nail" to keep their position and is stooping to very extreme manipulation and deceit in doing so. I just hope this person moves soon.

    Alicia - 14 Nov 2008 12:58:27pm

    I am currently studying personality in psychology and am about to do a research proposal on workplace psychopaths. I am motivated to do this personally as I have been the victim of workplace psychopaths not once but twice, and have seen many others suffer the same fate as me long after I have left an organisation.

    This is a real problem, one that is an 'underbelly' of the workplace. Education campaigns or wider community knowledge about this fact of the workplace really needs to be addressed. As too many people that I have spoken to that are going through or have gone through it, feel that the problem is with themselves. It wrecks self esteem and impacts greatly on the quality of life, something really needs to be done about this problem.

    Emancipated - 03 Dec 2010 11:32:34pm

    HR exists to protect the interests of the corporation - this involves smoothing problems over as economically possible. It takes an enormous amount of courage to stand up to a psychopath, and it needs to be done in a carefully crafted and timely manner. Gather your evidence, join your union, and then strike when you are informed and equipped! Patience first...then fight when the the time is right.

    krentz - 12 Nov 2008 8:50:15am

    When you consider that these people literally don't care at the end of the day, consider their psychopathy as a distinct advantage over the general population, whom they view as either moronic, stupid, or wrong, and are incapable of empathising with others, at the end of the day there is nothing to sympathise with.

    These people are not having a hard time, they just leave us with all their crap. They are not "cruel" or "nasty", as these are emotive words, and they do not feel (much) emotion. They just do whatever they can to get whatever they want, and damn the rest. As luck would have it, emotions are easy to manipulate, and so that's what happens most of the time.

    Luckily I'm very aware of the nature of psychopathy and quite perceptive regarding people so I am unlikely to fall into the same trap many others have done. Unfortunately, this will seem like a declaration of war to most psychopaths, and they love challenge and competition. Protect your own best interests - that's the best advice I can give you. Remember that healing takes time and there is always light at the end of the tunnel, you might just have to travel a long time to find it.

    Kathy - 13 Dec 2008 7:27:18pm

    Unless you are a psychopath you cannot compete with them - you will be the one that ends up emotionally destroyed. Also you are lowering yourself to their standard. The only thing to do is avoid them as much as possible. It is better to find a better place to work. Walk away with your sanity, don't waste your precious time and energy playing their stupid mind games.

    Corporate Psychopaths - 08 Nov 2008 12:11:55am

    Once I realised my boss was a corporate psychopath, it was almost a relief and everything began to make sense. Unfortunately it was too late for me and many colleagues in terms of the mental abuse she caused.

    She appeared so charming to others, yet I can only describe her as being a truly wicked person. There is light at the end of the tunnel. I took her to court. I agree that they cannot be changed. they are fundamentally nasty people. The only solution is recognise the traits early and leave the company quick.

    almost victim - 16 Apr 2009 12:01:43pm

    My psychopath boss is new to the boss game and was easily spotted as she chose to target everyone subordinate at once. Unfortunately, her bosses love her (more psychopaths?) so she is not going anywhere anytime soon.

    We are protected by our union so she can't just fire anyone, either. Unions were formed for a reason, afterall. We are mostly women and we confide in each other. Thwarting her is a group effort and supporting each other makes the constant harassment more tolerable. We consulted higher ups in the union, from outside our organization, and we were advised to "keep the devil we know" as getting rid of her would be next to impossible and her replacement might be even smarter and nastier. My advice is talk, talk, talk to each and support each other and under no circustances let the psycopath get you alone! Find a buddy to go into the office with you as a witness. You have that right. And DON'T let them see you sweat...stay calm and be prepared.

    [Feb 04, 2013] Women in management

    ... from cattiness to going all out to destroy someone’s career
    April 11, 2009

    When I first started out in my career, there were very few female managers and I used to think it would be nice if there were more women in management because women tend to be more understanding towards sensitive issues. I think I may have been wrong.

    I have now had the opportunity to work with managers of both genders and while the men have been good to work with, I wish I could say the same for the female managers. Two female managers have been excellent (as in firm, but fair), but many of the others have been the opposite. I have had witnessed many displays of inappropriate behavior from some female managers, from cattiness to going all out to destroy someone’s career. Being a woman, I find this very disturbing. I don’t fancy having my career destroyed by a woman just because she has the power to do so.

    [Sep 18, 2012] Venus: The Dark Side on Female Sociopaths by Glenn Sacks |

    Jan 15, 2008
    "So obsessed with what she wants, she will ignore or neglect her children while claiming the opposite. She plays the martyr and expects constant attention. Her demanding behavior almost guarantees it.

    "If she is divorced, she may have grown to hate her ex-husband more than she loves her children. She abuses the children by depriving them of access to their father, because she’s punishing him for not delivering what she wanted in a husband. She refuses to consider that she played any role in the marriage break-up."

    There are male sociopaths and there are female sociopaths, but female sociopaths are rarely discussed. In Venus: The Dark Side, authors Roy Sheppard and Mary T Cleary discuss this important subject in depth. Sheppard and Cleary write:

    "She believes she is entitled to everything she desires. With an overdeveloped sense of self, working for what she wants is an inconvenience. Hard work is for everybody else. She wants the fast buck and the short-cut to success. Becoming a social parasite is quicker than toiling for anything. And when she pulls it off, she can then congratulate herself on cheating, conning or defrauding others who may be more intelligent or successful than she is.

    "Her every whim must be accommodated. Humility is alien to her. She is self-centered, opinionated and over-confident, and expects to be pampered and treated as superior.

    "She has possibly dabbled at shoplifting to feed her sense of entitlement for whatever she wants and for the ‘buzz’. So obsessed with what she wants, she will ignore or neglect her children while claiming the opposite. She plays the martyr and expects constant attention. Her demanding behavior almost guarantees it. (more...)

    Falsely Accused? How to Get Beyond the 'He Said/She Said' Dilemma

    Restraining orders and supervised visitation orders are often issued after relying solely on statements made by the accuser and the accused. Borders, McLaughlin & Associates are former police detectives who employ a new and different approach to such cases. Their Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Risk Assessments are designed to prove or disprove abuse allegations, and to answer the questions judges face. Contact them at (888) 621-1900 or go to www.bmaa.com

    Favorite Female Sociopath

    Movie Forums

    How many of you has seen the movie "The Last Seduction"? Bridget Gregory/Wendy Kroy, who is played by Linda Fiorenting has got to be the the top of the list of unremorseful females. I have watched this movie a few times, though the plot seams abit nonrealistic, her character is so using. Another movie that comes to mind is "Body Heat".

    === Quote:

    Originally Posted by agent_007

    ==

    This category is commonly known as femme fatale.

    Jane Greer as Kathy Moffat - Out of the Past

    This chick is deadly, and then some. She brings down just about everyone she comes in contact with in this film, playing the victim almost the entire time. At one point, she poses as another character in the film (appropriately named Meta), whom we never see again afterward. It's as if Moffat actually absorbs her.

    One of my favorite films of all time.

    ==

    Charlize Theron in Monster. She totally embodied the essence of Beetlejuice/serial killer.

    Rebecca De Mornay was better than The Hand that rocks the Cradle.

    I'll second Linda Fiorentino's femme fatale in The Last Seduction. She's such an epic bitch.

    Questions about female with Sociopath/BPD?

    Okay for those people who know a bit about personality disorders, imagine this and tell me what you think...

    18 year old sister has Sociopathy (Antisocial) with Borderline traits...

    She has not left the house for 3 weeks...just brooding...staying on her computer all day...hardly talking to anyone at all and if so just picks fights and is biitchy...

    Also I was in her room a few times while she was in the bathroom and noticed her laptop was up and it seems that she is obsessed with one guy and made a fake facebook alias and got him to add her and now she just lurks on his page all the time.

    So any ideas whats up...? She stopped going to her therapist, she thinks its bs cause half the time she thinks she is normal anyways. She was also being kind of inappropriate with him. I don't know if I should call him or not...I'm not sure if her behavior is threatening or unusual enough...

    She isn't acting her "normal" self...
    she's being extremely apathetic and zombie like.

    [Aug 29, 2012] JCU - Female bullies

    Feb 1, 2007

    We hear so much of women as victims and the disadvantages women encounter in employment, that it sometimes comes as a surprise to realize that women are equally as capable of bullying behavior as men.

    Women are supposed to be co-operative rather than competitive, more inclined towards empathy, and less towards seeking dominance. Women are often portrayed as caring more than men about personal experience and feelings.

    It may be true that women are less inclined to indulge in vocalized rages - public swearing and shouting - and in physical violence, though I am sure that all of us could think of exceptions. Research indicates, however, that women are inclined towards

    Such behavior is evidence of women's socialization: often we do not know how to elicit positive attention, or to assert ourselves so that our views and rights are recognized and respected. So we use inappropriate and ineffectual means to attract attention any way we can. We have been conditioned very early that girls do not shout and scream. No one is surprised, however, if girls go quiet or even sulk.

    The problem, however, is that unless people communicate, they will not resolve their differences.

    What comes as a shock to many people is just how personally and educationally damaging social and professional isolation and exclusion from networks can be.

    D Gray, Manager, Equal Opportunity, 2003

    May be reproduced with acknowledgement

    [Aug 18, 2010] Female sociopath first described 4,000 years ago!

    February 2, 2007 | Lovefraud Blog
    I searched the scientific literature for the best description of a female sociopath. None rivaled this one that is more than 4,000 years old:

    For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey,
    and her speech is smoother than oil,
    but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
    sharp as a two-edged sword.
    Her feet go down to death;
    her steps follow the path to Sheol;
    she does not ponder the path of life;
    her ways wander, and she does not know it.

    And now, O sons, listen to me,
    and do not depart from the words of my mouth.
    Keep your way far from her,
    and do not go near the door of her house,
    lest you give your honor to others
    and your years to the merciless,
    lest strangers take their fill of your strength,
    and your labors go to the house of a foreigner (Proverbs 5:4-10)

    Notice that the writer identifies the slick speech of a sociopath as well as the results of being fooled by her. He also identifies the profound lack of insight found in this disorder. Sociopathic women 4,000 years ago were also apparently using their sex appeal to con men out of money and possessions. This is indeed nothing new!

    There is something inherently more repulsive and unbelievable about a female sociopath. Women by nature are preprogrammed to learn empathy and care-taking, the antithesis of sociopathic behavior. Indeed, one of the best indicators of sociopathy in a women is seen when the woman fails to care for her own child. It would seem then, that we would all be revolted by a female sociopath, so why do men become victims?

    My own theory, which has been corroborated by many men who have written to Lovefraud, is that men accidentally fall victim to sociopathic women when they have sex with them. You see, normal men experience bonding just like normal women-especially when the sex is good. The sex with a female sociopath (I’m told) isn’t just good, it’s better than most mortal men have ever hoped for. Once hooked on the female sociopath, men become victims just as much as the women who become hooked on the male sociopath. Many male victims feel ashamed and emasculated. But, take heart guys, she actually preyed on the more masculine side of your nature, your enjoyment of sex!

    Why are successful female sociopaths so sexual and so sexually appealing? Science does have some answers for us here. Testosterone which is elevated in many male sociopaths is also elevated in female sociopaths. Studies of non-disordered women indicate that higher testosterone levels are associated with increased sex drive, increased sexual activity and YES sexual attractiveness to men! High testosterone makes both male and female sociopaths sexually appealing. Testosterone may also be related to the lack of parenting behavior seen in sociopathic women. Women with higher testosterone have been found to be less interested in motherhood.

    Men who have married and fathered children with sociopathic women face special challenges. They deserve all our love and support. The courts often do not recognize that a sociopathic woman is incapable of functioning as a mother. Fathers are left to helplessly watch as precious children suffer at the hands of their mother.

    The courts would be wise to get smart and take heed because studies of adopted children reveal a terrible truth about female sociopaths. Female sociopaths carry stronger genes for the disorder than do males. A mother is more likely to pass this trait to children she has never met than is a father.

    Even with a biologic mother who is a sociopath, children can do well if they receive exceptionally good parenting. If you are a man facing this situation, I invite you to visit Tips for Single Fathers, and to write Lovefraud with your story. We hope to one day be in the position to lobby for the rights of children of both male and female sociopaths.

    sistersister says:

    I’m going to read these long posts about the workings of S/Ps at lunch. Thanks for posting!

    Initial thoughts, which I feel I must dump.

    If S/Ps can’t even feel these emotions very deeply, then it seems to me that holding them responsible for what they do is a hopeless cause.

    NOT that I’m saying they shouldn’t be held responsible in a judicial sense. Stolen goods must be returned, criminals must go to jail, psychopath spouses must be divorced.

    I’m saying that, beyond that, there’s no hope for holding them responsibly emotionally.

    So there I was, sitting in a bar in my hometown next to my childhood “best friend,” Susan. We’re sitting there, and she is being extremely nice, bubbly, fun, and looking far better than I had imagined these past 25 years. Happy, finally in the career she was always meant for — believe it or not, farming. There’s something there, a person who is finding her bliss, even defying her family in some ways, being “authentic” on some level. I knew her at 10, and even then she was off-the-charts smart, charming . . . and controlling.

    She said she’d never married — true — but that the last one she “lived with” for 10 years. No, not lived with. They were engaged until he found out she was carrying on multiple affairs with all the previous schmucks she’d dated. And more lies, stories. It just went on and on.

    Just oblivious. Oblivious to the fact that where we left it, back then, was not a good place. Blind to the reality that she really did owe me an apology. As far as she was concerned, nothing happened.

    Nothing?

    Getting thrown out of the college dorm room at 18 after she set up a complete world of false rumors about me to friends there and back home in the small town was . . . nothing? Persisting in certain lies about me, to my face, 10 years later? (She doesn’t dare do that now.)

    She just doesn’t get it, I told myself. Not worth causing a scene, or expressing any feelings at all. She wouldn’t even hear them.

    As I have said before, these people can’t actually feel the emotions, so they do a monkey-see, monkey-do and can be very convincing.

    In Susan’s case, she studied romance novels.

    Sometimes, we used to read a few pages together. She could read at a furious pace, and was often impatient at my slowness. Piles of these things. Must have been every “Harlequin” romance ever written. All the same: They meet at sunset, he looks into her eyes, grabs her vigorously yet tenderly, she feels this, he says that, he cops a feel of her breasts, the junior-high-school reader wets her pants. It was as if she was learning emotions through these things. (Not sex, though; she took it way further than copping a feel and was the best sex teacher in the 9th grade.)

    I used to mortify her by reading these things aloud at the high school lunch table. To me, it was just interesting, funny writing. To her, it was embarrassing. Like, “her” feelings and lusts, out there on display. I honestly don’t think she detached, as in, “It’s only a movie.” She was there, inside those stories — but off-the-charts smart, no romance-novel airhead.

    Learned emotions, bought for $1.95 apiece.

    An Introduction - The female Sociopath

    MyTherapy Discussion Forums

    Mr. Green said I am pleased to finally meet a female "sociopath". Your breed is very rare.

    I am the adult daughter of a diagnosed female "sociopath". I was shocked and unfamilar with the term's real meaning when I was told the diagnosis. That was 5 years ago and I first learned to have boundries with her.
    I am now aware that I was in denial until that time. The reason that I am here is to share some of the things I have learned and experienced having been partially raised by a sociopath.

    I was lucky to have lived with her parents most of my childhood but she did have an influence on my life and it has clearly been her goal to degrade me with every word out of her mouth. This is used to make the child feel that they must listen to the parent because thier self esteem is so low. They are taught that they cannot trust themselves.

    We did a few psychiatric session's together before the Doc. realized that she had arranged the appointments to have an audiance to degrade me in front of and that her intent was to manipulate his view of me while elevating herself. He was shocked and appalled. I was offered a separate Doctor free and I took the opportunity. They saw me weekly for a year before I was given a clean bill of health.

    It took a lot of cooperation and patience for the doctors to go back and forth between the two of us in order to find the truth.

    They told me that she had done many things to me that I don't even remember, there are many that I do remember however and they are mostly altering reality to never allow me to live in the present, using scare tatics to get her own way, things like trying to kill herself at the birth of both of my children, going out together socially and dressed causal and then have her excuse herself from the group only to return having totally changed into formal *****tail attaire with her hair and makeup perfect.

    She used my stepfather as the heavy when in many ways he was also being used by her. I am now 64 and she is 84. In the past ten years she managed to have my house taken from me, almost took one of my daughters, telling me that she would leave one for me. She has no remorse and after admitting the awfull things she does she denies them completely.

    She buys the same color and make of car I buy, she tells my father, daughters, friends, boss and co-workers lies and looks for every opportunity to find a new way to hurt me. She is fair and hates her looks, I am dark haired and olive skin, she resents my looks and coloring.

    She has no idea what love is and when I try to explain she is blank or echo's my words. She blantly tells people what ever she wants them to think even when they know it is a lie. She goes after anyone who is placed in a position of authority in her life.

    This is enough but I wanted to make the point that as a child I didn't know that her her words were lies and meant to hurt me, I believed that my parent had my best interest at heart.

    ===

    Hi to all,

    I just posted a new topic last night (Help - is this a nightmare or my imagination) to try and understand what I am dealing with and I noticed your several comments that female sociopaths are very rare.

    In my partners case all the symptoms are there, adopted, beatings, mother suicide, early teens rape with child and unsettled partner history up to me.

    In reading up on the whole subject in the last few days it seems that female cases are less than 1% of the population and the majority are primary sociopaths in that they rarely come into contact with the law. The second category, which I think best fits my partner is neurotic sociopathic i.e. much more noticeable emotional problems and who has a much greater anti social problem and is much more likely to have repeated contact with the law - in my case 4 charges of fraud plus over one hundred traffic infringements about two year ago, which I have since found out that I am in effect paying off thru theft of money from my company.

    Please note that I am not in any way a trained psychologist just a devastated victim but I thought that the rarity of female sociopaths was interesting,

    Help - My female partner just got 7 months in jail for corporate fraud which she committed while we were together and without my knowledge and was locked up two weeks ago. Since then I have confirmed that she has stolen large amounts of money from my company since October 2005 up to when she was jailed. I thought she was depressed but a therapist is suggesting sociopathy is the problem.

    I have spent the last two days reading up and its too close not to be true. I visited her in jail today for 2 hours and asked many questions re her action which she admitted but still didnt even say sorry or offer an explanation apart from saying she needed the money to support her daughter, pay a large accumulation of traffic infringements and now legal fees. She has pretty well cleaned out all the cash and left mountains of bills.

    I cant believe if this is a nightmare or just my imagination. Can anybody help

    [Aug 17, 2010] Put Yourself to Bedlam Sociopath = My Mother

    This is offtopic as this page is about office psychopath but it reminds you that if such people have a family, the number of sufferers from female sociopaths is not limited to those who contact them in office...

    patricia

    I have a mother who is manipulative and malevalent. She, however, presents as a perfect angel. She is able to convince others to remove love and support from me.

    She once said, "They know I am a saint now. You, they think, are a crazy vicious bitch." "It is much better for you to look crazy than for me to look like a bad mother."

    She went so far as to return to my father's death bed after a 26 year seperation and look like she was caring for him. She told me that "other things" happened when no one was there. I can only imagine.

    Enough for me. No more contact!
    It takes so long to beleive some one you love would hurt you like that.

    Hold your truth and love yourself. Mothers like this exist and harm us to the core.
    I am a good mother with successful children despite my "fairy princess mother". I send you caring mother energy that she did not.

    Love
    Patricia

    18 August 2008

    Mitch

    Hey to everyone whose experienced this with their mother. I'm in the same situation with mine.

    My advice is to stay strong inside and take everything said with a pinch of salt. Just keep reminding yourself, her actions are a reflection on her and not you.

    I've given up on the arguments and instead I just hold my position. I know what she is and nothing she can say 'nice' or 'evil' can make any difference to what I know to be the truth. Once you accept this the rest is a little easier to deal with.

    If she is a sociopath, she can't see reason in emotion and contacting her is buying into her game because that's all it will be to her. Good luck and hugs to you :)

    Steven

    Thanks for taking the time to post everyone. Respect. You've all helped to make a difference in my life.

    In return i'd like to share this little weapon i'm finding rather useful in my quest for emotional and mental balance (being the son of two APD's I'm well versed in the spider web of tendencies and patterns intertwining beneath this rotten illness).

    Specifically, 'my weapon' is helping me with setting, resetting and maintaining healthy relationship boundaries.

    Let me first clarify that i've no contact with either parents but unfortunatley have, along the way, surrounded myself with clowns that (up until now) like to take advantage of my disease to please etc and provide nothing worthy in return for my friendship and love.

    I stumbled onto a great tool for me for 'cleaning house' and it seems to make these 'clowns' go away, instead of me avoiding phone calls etc I answer calls emails whatever but my secret weapon: AKA negative politeness, helps them get the 'off you go' vibe from me.

    Clearly this has its application but man it's the business for cleaning house without any awkwardness down the track. True. They really do avoid me now. How good's this.

    If cleaning house is something you need then Google it and check it out. If it helps someone else like it's helping me then brilliant.

    I've printed loads of little examples to reference when needed.

    A personal favourite is:
    'you must forgive me but... (make this part about yourself not them they dead set hate it LOL)

    Here is the link to the first site i found it on. Have fun with it and all the best.

    http://www.softpanorama.org/Social/Toxic_managers/Communication/rules_of_verbal_self_defense.shtml

    02 June 2010 at 11:46 AM

    [Aug 13, 2010] Female Sociopath Traits - Guys Save Yourselves from Hell's Whores - Page 4

    ...As much as 4-6% of the population are truly sociopath/psychopaths.

    Identifying the women is far more difficult for sure.

    But it is getting easier as books such as Martha Stout's The Sociopath Next Door have created awareness that there is even such a thing as a female sociopath.

    If you look at most of the sites dealing with sociopaths they go on as if only a man can be a sociopath. This is what has allowed the Fem-Socs DSEs to hunt freely on humans.

    ...According to the book "The Maladapted Mind," sociopaths are believed to make up 3 to 4 percent of the male population and less than 1 percent of the female population.

    ...They are incredibly skilled at 'compromising people', and this happens in the blink of an eye. I know one who had lawyers (who should have known so much better) act illegally exposing themselves to untold problems - all on account of this manipulative individual. Same with accountants - it doesn't matter who the person is - within moments they are tricked into acting against their own professional/personal interests. It is totally bizarre.

    Re: Female Sociopath Traits - Guys Save Yourselves from Hell's Whores Quote

    Hi OP, I also know a good deal about this stuff and indeed it's a touchy subject that not many people are willing to discuss.

    A good percentage of the human population lack the spark of consciousness that some humans have. Hence these "shells" are actually housing other types of entities. T

    ===

    Excellent thread, and some excellent points!

    Female sociopaths almost always fit the DSM IV diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder.

    I was just almost fooled by one. Wow, and I am a retired Psychologist.

    This one had a history of a mentally ill father, a mother who was terrified of the father (the father was quite charismatic). The father wouldn't let the daughter get undressed in her bedroom or bathroom without keeping the door unlocked (covert incest). The mother could never protect the daughter.

    An aunt is said to be a "high" spiritual soul, higher than Christ or Buddha", just waiting to save the world I guess.
    The 35 year old woman is a chameleon, looking for men in their 50's to save her (and provide adequate financial and material support). She is always blaming others for what she denies in herself. She is a perpetual liar. She sucks anyone's energy, all to admonish (eventually), save (eventually), or to share her history of woes to soften them up for the fatal blow. She believes that she is on earth, sent with a purpose to save others (A delusion).

    Then there is the sexual addiction and sexual identity ambiguity. Vampires come from the sociopathic/borderline genre.

    60 % of all psychiatric recidivism are from borderline personalities (predominately a female diagnosis).

    Watch the DVD "What About Bob" if you want an up close, but not too personal, adventure with a Borderline Personality. They are like Black Holes.

    Mental Health Practitioners do everything they can to get them passed off to someone else.
    There is no medication or cure for them. And by the way, they will devour you, and destroy their children if you have a family with one.

    BullyBusters.org Workplace Bullying in the News

    The Lawyer

    Sam Samaro, a partner at the Hackensack, NJ, law firm Pashman Stein who specializes in employment law, says, "Bullying that isn't caused by the victim's membership in some protected class is not illegal." In other words, if the bully attacks men and women; Christians, Jews, Muslims and atheists; blacks, whites and Asians; disabled and non-disabled people equally, he says, "It's hard to make a legal case."

    Rather, he says, when a target asks for his help, he takes a crisis-counseling approach. He first tries to determine whether the issue is persistent bullying or just situational, and what triggers it. "We all have the capacity to be a bully in the right ­ or wrong ­ circumstances. Is this just a performance issue?" he asks. Unfortunately, he adds, "There's no general protection from unpleasant people."

    Beware the bullying female boss Independent, The (London) - Find Articles

    More than half of the bullies reported to a new national helpline are women - and most of the victims are other women.

    In the first half of this year, nearly 700 complaints were made about women managers, according to a report from the National Workplace Bullying Advice Line.

    The data from the line also reveal that white-collar bullying among professional and office workers is far more common than among shopfloor workers.

    Nine out of 10 calls involved office-based workers. The public sector accounts for more than half the calls, with one in five complainants working in the caring agencies, the NHS or social services.

    "Workplace bullying among women is increasing, partly because they are occupying more senior positions," said Tim Field, an Oxford counsellor who runs anti-bullying workshops. "Women when they are bullies tend to be more manipulative and divisive, whereas men in the same situation are more overtly hostile. Women also tend to leave less evidence about their bullying activities. "In around 10 per cent of the cases dealt with by the advice line, suicide had been contemplated. Eight cases involved actual suicide."

    Blogasmic Sunday morning ramblings...

    The woman at my last job, who was the reason I left, was the worst one of the lot. She was a classic workplace bully. She would whisper to your colleagues in front of you, causing you to wonder what they could possibly be talking about that couldn't be said out loud (or in a quiet conference room somewhere). She would set impossible tasks and give you very little direction and no time to do it in, then question your commitment to your job in front of the Manager. Her power-move was the one where, if you finally got up the nerve to tell her that she was asking too much of you, was to BURST INTO TEARS in front of the Manager, making him believe that you had said something unkind to her, and thus causing him to ask you to leave one week into your four weeks' notice.

    That woman still works there, the people above her still think she's great, her clients think she's terrific, but there are now twelve former employees of that company who have left on account of her behaviour.

    She gave the illusion of being a nice person, but scratch the very thin surface and you see that it's just that - an illusion. A dozen people, men and women, can't be wrong. But I'd be willing to bet her friends all think she's wonderful.

    The Age Blogs Management Line

    the worst manager I had was a self-obsessed childless bitch. I really hope she never procreates. The MD at the time, though, thought that her bullying and rudeness demonstrated toughness and has promoted her endlessly. She is incredibly paranoid and everynow and then lets her guard down and confesses she is a 'fraud' and that her whole bravado is an act. Beneath her she only promoted people who behaved in the same depraved manner..and having a child would have been seen as some kind of weakness.

    Anyway, having a child for me has made me a much more relaxed person as you just don't have time to worry about stupid little things! I find that people in the workforce with children have a much better and balanced perspective on life and don't go to bed grinding their teeth endlessly (like aforementioned psycho bitch).

    Answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about bullying, mobbing and harassment

    People who claim they're being bullied are just trying to hide the fact they're not very good at their job, aren't they?
    In at least 95% of the cases of bullying reported to the UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line, the person has been picked on because they are good at their job and popular with people. Bullies are driven by jealousy (of relationships) and envy (of abilities). The target just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
    If you have an employee who is genuinely underperforming, then:

    a) there will be substantive and quantifiable evidence that they are underperforming

    b) there is already a problem with that person's manager for i) causing and allowing that situation to develop, ii) not taking positive action before,

    c) bullying will always make a problem worse so any manager who thinks that bullying improves performance is revealing their inadequacy as a manager

    How do I tell the difference between someone who is really being bullied and someone who's claiming bullying to hide their poor performance?

    The person who is being bullied will have, or quickly be able to construct, a fat folder of evidence, often covering several months, maybe years. They will report a stream of bullying behaviours, especially nit-picking, fault-finding and constant criticism and allegations, all of which lack substantive and quantifiable evidence, for they are just the bully's opinion.

    It's the patterns, the regularity and the number of incidents which reveal bullying.

    The person who is making a spurious claim might produce half a dozen sheets of paper, if that.

    But you've got to bully people to get the job done, haven't you?

    Bullies are weak, inadequate people who lack people skills, lack empathy, lack interpersonal skills, lack leadership skills, lack motivational skills, lack judgement, lack foresight and hindsight, lack forward thinking skills, etc. Bullies bully to hide the fact they lack these skills. Serial bullies are compulsive liars with a Jekyll and Hyde nature who use charm and mimicry to deceive peers and superiors. Bullying results in demotivation, demoralisation, disenchantment, disaffection, disloyalty, ill-health, high sickness absence, high staff turnover, an us-and-them culture, low productivity, frequent mistakes, low morale, non-existent team spirit, poor customer service, no continuity of customer care, etc. And that's just for starters.

    Isn't there a fine line between admonishing people who are not performing and using strong management to get the job done?

    a) Bullying is a cause of underperformance, not the solution

    b) There are recognised ways of dealing with underperformance; bullying is not one of them

    c) Bullying makes underperformance worse, not better

    d) Bullying prevents employees from fulfilling their duties

    e) "Underperforming" employees seem to follow the bully wherever s/he goes

    f) It is always the bully who is weak, inadequate, and underperforming

    g) Bullies are weak managers; bullying is designed to hide that weakness by giving the appearance of strength whilst diverting attention away from the bully

    Surely a manager has a right to deal with the underperformance of a subordinate?
    False allegations of underperformance are designed to divert attention away from the bully's own inadequacy and to create conflict between those who might share incriminating information about him/her.

    Isn't it always just a case of the employee and employer fighting each other?
    Almost always the employee and employer end up in an adversarial contest in which both are losers regardless of the outcome. However, the employee and employer should be on the same side fighting the bully. Bullies are adept at creating conflict between those who would otherwise pool incriminating information about them. Bullies also gain gratification (a perverse indulgence in that nice warm feeling we call satisfaction) from encouraging and then watching others engage in destructive conflict. Bullies are also adept at manipulation (especially of people's emotions), deception, and evasion of accountability.

    My Human Resources department refuse to take me seriously. Instead, they are doing everything they can to support the bully whilst getting rid of me. Why is this?

    From dealing with thousands of cases in which this happens - albeit a self-selecting audience which may not scale up nationally - I've identified the following reasons:

    1) Human Resources (HR) people are not trained in dealing with bullying - it's not in their textbooks, not in their training, and their professional body in the UK (CIPD) has not given the issue the attention it needs.

    2) The HR profession seems to attract a number of people who are not people-focused and thus not good at dealing with people problems.

    3) HR is not there for employees. The role of HR is to keep the employer out of court.

    4) The majority of HR people are female, and females seem particularly susceptible to charm, which is one of the bully's main weapons of deception.

    5) By the time HR get to hear of the bullying they are faced with an articulate, plausible, convincing, charming "bully" and a gibbering wreck of a "target" who is traumatised and thus unconvincing, inarticulate, incoherent, obsessed, apparently paranoid, tearful, distressed and highly emotional. By this time the bully has already convinced HR that the target has a "mental health problem", is a liability to the organisation, and needs to be got rid of.

    6) When it's one word against another with no witnesses, HR take the word of the senior employee (almost always the bully).

    7) There's no law against bullying so there's no case to answer.

    8) The employer doesn't have an anti-bullying policy so it's not a disciplinary issue.

    9) The employer does have an anti-bullying policy but it's just words on paper

    10) The bully is a tough dynamic manager who gets the job done and the high turnover of staff in the bully's department is because they're all wimps who can't meet the demanding standards of performance demanded by this exemplary manager. Yawn.

    11) If HR recognise they have a bully, they're not going to admit it because to do so is tantamount to admitting liability for this - and previous - cases.

    12) HR are not going to admit that they've made a mistake recruiting an incompetent individual who bullies to hide his or her inadequacies.

    13) When push comes to shove, HR do what they are told to do by management, regardless of the rights and wrongs.

    14) HR are sometimes an outsourced and contracterised profession with little influence.

    15) The constant change, reorganisation, restructuring, downsizing, outsourcing, contracterisation etc mean that there is no continuity in treatment of staff and thus the bully is able to hide the fact that he or she has a history of conflict with employees.

    16) Over the last few years employers have been burdened with numerous legislative changes (working time, data privacy, parental leave, etc) and have no desire, resources, time or energy to deal with issues for which there is no legal requirement.

    17) Bullying cases are so long and complex (a situation the bully fosters) that most HR (and most people) don't have the time, energy or resources to unpick the case.

    18) There are only a handful of people who are capable of providing HR with the training and insight to undertake a successful investigation.

    19) Where HR want to investigate they are sometimes overruled.

    20) HR (and management) are frightened of the serial bully too - and sometimes more frightened than the employees.

    21) HR people get bullied too.

    Girl power are women the worst bullies - 08-02-2005 by John Charlton

    When organisational psychologist Mary Sherry wrote in a national newspaper last month that female managers were far more likely to bully staff than male ones it triggered a large reader response - almost all backing her view.

    Why are some women much worse bullies than their male counterparts?

    One female respondent to Shelly's article said: "Women bosses are worse bullies than men. I also agree with Sherry that usually they employ more insidious tactics such as isolating people and nit-picking in order to undermine the other person's confidence."

    Another wrote: "Your article has provoked me to put down on record that the unhappiest years of my life were caused by female bosses. I was treated so badly that I lived in a state of fear for the last few years of my employment."

    And a third said: "I work for a government department and have been off work since late October due to stress and anxiety exacerbated by a two-year campaign by my female line manager. Women bosses are certainly worse than men at bullying."

    ... ... ...

    Their approach is a lot more subtle and psychological. They nitpick and undermine through constant criticism which leads to those on the receiving end losing their self-confidence and becoming risk and responsibilthese bully-girl bosses?

    In Sherry's view they tend to be middle managers who are managing beyond their level of competence.

    "For example when they are asked to perform at a certain level and don't have the managerial competence to get the best out of people they may bully. I don't think people actually decide to become bullies. It is because they don't have the competence to fulfil their management role."

    And who, typically, are their victims?

    According to Sherry the victim is rarely a new starter. They tend to have been employed for 18 months to 15 years. "A new female manager is brought in and undermines the person concerned by nit-picking and disempowering them."

    She said that although it sounds like she is banging her own drum she does not think internal HR departments are best at dealing with serious bullying cases, especially if they involve senior staff.

    "It is very difficult for internal investigators to look into bullying cases," Shelly said. "HR departments often don't have the level of delicate questioning techniques."

    Stream: Girl power: are women the worst bullies?

    This is an excellent article. Despite my not wanting to believe that women are the worst bullies, too much experience has taught me otherwise. Your article confirms what I have seen for the past 20 years.

    Lisa Oakmonst

    21 Feb 2005

    Female bullies

    I totally agree with this article. As an HR manager for a charity, we have just dismissed a female manager for bullying.

    The investigation into her behaviour completely backs up the evidence that she was working beyond her competence, which she hid very well until the investigation took place.

    Anonymous

    11 Feb 2005

    Bullying - women are the worst

    I can agree completely with Sherry's view of a female bully.

    I was bullied in my previous workplace. The person who bullied me was my equal and was then made my line manager. I was subjected to constant criticism and nitpicking -- it was mental torture. I called upon our Manager for help and was fobbed off.

    I finally decided after losing all of my self confidence and being signed off sick with stress on anti-depressants that enough was enough.

    Luckily I have a very supportive family who contacted our solicitor. I resigned and have claimed constructive dismissal. My case goes to tribunal in August 2005. I will have been left for two years eight months but the company in question have adjourned the case three times. Is this another game they are playing?

    Lucy Lucas

    08 Feb 2005

    JCU - Female bullies by D Gray, Manager, Equal Opportunity, 2003

    We hear so much of women as victims and the disadvantages women encounter in employment, that it sometimes comes as a surprise to realize that women are equally as capable of bullying behavior as men.

    Women are supposed to be co-operative rather than competitive, more inclined towards empathy, and less towards seeking dominance. Women are often portrayed as caring more than men about personal experience and feelings.

    It may be true that women are less inclined to indulge in vocalized rages - public swearing and shouting - and in physical violence, though I am sure that all of us could think of exceptions. Research indicates, however, that women are inclined towards

    Such behavior is evidence of women's socialization: often we do not know how to elicit positive attention, or to assert ourselves so that our views and rights are recognized and respected. So we use inappropriate and ineffectual means to attract attention any way we can. We have been conditioned very early that girls do not shout and scream. No one is surprised, however, if girls go quiet or even sulk.

    The problem, however, is that unless people communicate, they will not resolve their differences.

    What comes as a shock to many people is just how personally and educationally damaging social and professional isolation and exclusion from networks can be.

    D Gray, Manager, Equal Opportunity, 2003

    May be reproduced with acknowledgement

    Family bullying by a serial bully or psychopath in the family verbal abuse and emotional abuse through power, control, domination and subjugation

    Whilst the focus of Bully OnLine is bullying in the workplace, the serial bully at work is a serial bully at home and in the community. All serial bullies have been through school and all have families and neighbours. An increasing number of enquiries come from people dealing with family bullying.

    The violence committed by a serial bully is almost entirely psychological, for psychological violence leaves no scars and no physical evidence. Most commonly the violence takes the form of verbal abuse and emotional abuse including trivial nit-picking criticism, constant fault-finding combined with a simultaneous refusal to recognise, value, acknowledge and praise. Manipulation, isolation and exclusion are other favourite tactics, as is feigning victimhood or persecution, especially when held accountable.

    The objectives of serial bullies are Power, Control, Domination and Subjugation. These are achieved by a number of means including disempowerment, the stimulation of excessive levels of fear, shame, embarrassment and guilt, manipulation (especially of emotions and perceptions), ritual humiliation and constant denial. When you live with someone who is constantly denying what they said or did a day ago, or an hour ago, or even a minute ago, it drives you crazy. When the symptoms of injury to health start to become apparent, the bully will tell others you have a "mental health problem". You may be mad, but this is not mad insane, this is mad angry.

    Control is a common indicator of the serial bully at home - control of finances, control of movements, control over choice of friends, control of the right to work, control over what to think, and so on. All are designed to disempower.

    A favourite tactic of the bully in the family is to set people against each other. The benefits to the bully are that:

    a) the bully gains a great deal of gratification (a perverse form of satisfaction) from encouraging and provoking argument, quarrelling and hostility, and then from watching others engage in adversarial interaction and destructive conflict, and

    b) the ensuing conflict ensures that people's attention is distracted and diverted away from the cause of the conflict

    Bullies within the family, especially female bullies, are masters (mistresses?) of manipulation and are fond of manipulating people through their emotions (eg guilt) and through their beliefs, attitudes and perceptions. Bullies see any form of vulnerability as an opportunity for manipulation, and are especially prone to exploiting those who are most emotionally needy. Elderly relatives, those with infirmity, illness, those with the greatest vulnerability, or those who are emotionally needy or behaviorally immature family members are likely to be favorite targets for exploitation.

    The family bully encourages and manipulates family members etc to lie, act dishonorably and dishonestly, withhold information, spread misinformation, and to punish the target for alleged infractions, i.e. the family members become the bully's unwitting (and sometimes witting) instruments of harassment.

    Big, Bad Bullies

    Don't overreact. As much as we want to protect our kids, remember that it is not your fight. Outward intervention in many cases may make a bad bully situation worse.

    Many well-meaning adults intefere in their offspring's issues. In most all cases, a grown-up should remain neutral, listen, and offer some non-emotional responses about bullies and any bully threats.

    Femme fatale

    Wikipedia
    Actress Theda Bara defined the word "Vamp" in the film A Fool There Was.

    One traditional view portrays the femme fatale as a sexual vampire; her charms leech the virility and independence of lovers, leaving them shells of themselves. Rudyard Kipling took inspiration from a vampire painted by Philip Burne-Jones, an image typical of the era[citation needed] in 1897, to write his poem "The Vampire". The poem inspired the 1913 eponymous film by Robert Vignola, sometimes cited as the first "vamp" movie.[9] Like much of Kipling's verse it became very popular, and its refrain: "A fool there was...", describing a seduced man, became the title of the popular 1915 film A Fool There Was that made Theda Bara a star. The poem was used in the publicity for the film. On this account, in the American slang of the era the femme fatale was called a vamp, short for vampire.[10]

    From the American film-audience perspective, the femme fatale often appeared foreign, usually either of indeterminate Eastern European or Asian ancestry. She was the sexual counterpart to wholesome actresses such as Lillian Gish and Mary Pickford. Notable silent-cinema vamps included Theda Bara, Helen Gardner, Louise Glaum, Valeska Suratt, Musidora, Virginia Pearson, Olga Petrova, Rosemary Theby, Nita Naldi, Pola Negri, Estelle Taylor, Jetta Goudal, and, in early appearances, Myrna Loy.

    During the film-noir era of the 1940s and 1950s, the femme fatale flourished in American cinema. Examples include Brigid O'Shaughnessy, portrayed by Mary Astor, who murders Sam Spade's partner in The Maltese Falcon (1941); Gene Tierney as Ellen Brent Harland in Leave Her to Heaven (1945), and the cabaret singer portrayed by Rita Hayworth in Gilda (1946),[11] narcissistic wives who manipulate their husbands; Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck) in Double Indemnity (1944), Ava Gardner in The Killers and Cora (Lana Turner) in The Postman Always Rings Twice, both based on novels by James M. Cain, manipulate men into killing their husbands.[11] In the Hitchcock film The Paradine Case (1947), Alida Valli's character causes the deaths of two men and the near destruction of another. Another frequently cited example is the character Jane played by Lizabeth Scott in Too Late for Tears (1949); during her quest to keep some dirty money from its rightful recipient and her husband, she uses poison, lies, sexual teasing and a gun to keep men wrapped around her finger. Jane Greer remains notable as a murderous femme fatale using her wiles on Robert Mitchum in Out of the Past (1949). In Hitchcock's 1940 film and Daphne du Maurier's 1938 novel Rebecca, the eponymous femme fatale completely dominates the plot, even though she is already dead and we never see an image of her.

    The femme fatale has carried on to the present day, in films such as Body Heat (1981) and Prizzi's Honor (1985) – both with Kathleen Turner, Blade Runner (1982) with Sean Young, Blue Velvet (1986) with Isabella Rossellini as the seductive torch singer Dorthy Vallens, Basic Instinct (1992) with Sharon Stone, Damage (1992) with Juliette Binoche, The Last Seduction (1994) with Linda Fiorentino, To Die For (1995) with Nicole Kidman, Lost Highway (1997) with Patricia Arquette, Devil in the Flesh (1998) and Jawbreaker (1999), both with Rose McGowan, Original Sin (2001) with Angelina Jolie, Femme Fatale (2002) with Rebecca Romijn, and Mini's First Time (2005) and Jennifer's Body (2009), both with Megan Fox. In 2013, Tania Raymonde played the title role in Jodi Arias: Dirty Little Secret. In 2014, Eva Green portrays a femme fatale character in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.

    Academy Award-winning actress Marion Cotillard has frequently played femmes fatale, in such films as A Private Affair (2002), A Very Long Engagement, The Black Box, Inception, Midnight in Paris, The Dark Knight Rises and Macbeth. Nicole Kidman has also played a few femmes fatales in films as To Die For, The Paperboy and Moulin Rouge!. In the Netflix TV series, Orange Is the New Black, actress Laura Prepon plays Alex Vause, a modern femme fatale, leading both men and women to their destruction.

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