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Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

Female Sociopaths

News Books Toxic managers Recommended Links Female bullies Insubordination Threat Fake Sexual Harassment Claims
The psychopath in the corner office The Techniques of a Female Sociopaths Borderline Psychopath Narcissistic Managers  Understanding Micromanagers and Control Freaks Empty Suits (Aggressive Incompetent Managers) Aikido
Surviving a Bad Performance Review Diplomatic Communication Negative Politeness Films depicting female sociopath Psychopaths in Movies Groupthink 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."


Female sociopaths are class of its own. They are much more manipulative than male psychopaths. They have the ability to tell bare-faced lies and remain utterly shameless if caught, as is the case with psychopaths in general.

At the same time they are different from male sociopaths. Even the motivation for murder is different, for example the "black widow" marries a wealthy old man and puts poison in his drink."

Moreover, among female manager with sociopathic tendencies percent of micromanagers is considerably higher then among male managers with the same tendencies. Typically female sociopaths are much more vicious then man sociopaths. Often, even typically, sadistic -- which means that they experience pleasure from suffering of their victims.  

They typically have high IQ which makes them even more dangerous. Especially 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. 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 expect from a female sociopath. 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.

Borderline rage as a telling symptom

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

Female sociopaths almost always fit the DSM IV diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder, so you can start with studying it

One telling symptom  is bouts of Borderline Rage (which is also typical for Double High Authoritarians, but they are primarily males).  Cruelty to animals, especially such episodes in childhood, is another very telling sign.

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, especially such episodes in childhood, is another telling sign.

Female sociopaths tend to be relentless, methodical bullies and micromanagers who can really tear the victim to shreds given enough time.  In office environments they are often more vindictive and much more cruel in management positions, then male sociopaths.

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.

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 be a teaching guide that help to see under the mask they wear the typical collection of traits which include:

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 ruthless, dangerous terminators in an attractive female body.

They are really 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 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 an important customer for the company. A good depiction of such behaviour is provided 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.

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

Queens of manipulation

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 ". We will reproduce his review with some cuts as our focus is not on personal life, but on office problems caused by female sociopaths.

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 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.

Typical set of traits

Sets of traits are notoriously unreliable and unscientific approach but we do not have anything better. As for more specific nuances Sheppard and Cleary write:

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.

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[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:

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 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

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.


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...


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.


18 August 2008


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 :)


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.

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. 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.


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.

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