Gaining Power & Control over Psychopaths: 4 Humorous Suggestions for Protecting Society from the Personality Disordered

•February 13, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Disordered and Deceitful

There is no cure for psychopathy/sociopathy/cluster B personality disorders. There is no way to teach a monster to have compassion and empathy. Worse, being a sociopath isn’t even a crime, in and of itself. There are plenty of personality disordered, high conflict people running around loose in our culture, and they destroy people’s lives. Not all of them kill, not all of them are physically abusive, and not all of them commit such blatant crimes that they wind up in prison, but they all use and abuse others for their own personal gain.

Given that knowledge, is there any way we could co-exist with psychopaths peacefully? Could they be integrated into society in such a way that they could only be helpful? Here are a few ideas for how to neutralize them, in order to protect the innocent.

Option 1 – Banishment

Exile them. Give them their own remote territory to reside on, but make sure they have no way to leave this place. The vast majority of them are not the foaming-at-the-mouth, axe wielding maniacs that most of us think of when we hear the word psychopath. Many of them are CEOs, doctors, lawyers, politicians and, yes, even mental health professionals. Scary, no?

So, they would have their own community, they could set up their own government, and so on. We would drop in food and other supplies periodically, and they would have to learn to ration it all out. Of course, they wouldn’t; it would be survival of the fittest, and this is all just for fun, so let’s try not to overthink it.

This would be something like John Carpenter’s Escape from New York. Only we wouldn’t shoot them, if they tried to escape; we’d tranquilize them, and return them to their natural habitat. It’s perfectly acceptable; that’s what we do to bears when they wander into the suburbs.

Option 2 – Sedation

Leave them at large in the community, but they have to be on heavy tranquilizers. Friends and family members will be in charge of medicating them and then parking them in front of a television set. They may hang out with everyone else, but they’ll be too loopy to use and abuse anyone. We’re talking doped to the gills, all happy and drooling. There’s no way they’ll feel up to stealing Grandpa’s social security check, gas-lighting their spouse, or manipulating Aunt Mildred into co-signing for a loan.

And, of course, if the family members feel squeamish about having to give injections to their crazy relative periodically, they could opt for a lobotomy. What? It’s a permanent solution, and everyone is appeased. The family members get to keep their beloved sociopath around, and said sociopath will be unable to harm anyone. No more manipulation tactics, no more lying, no more keeping everyone on edge. Imagine it – the new and improved psychopath.

Option 3 – Sanitarium

Removal from the general public might be a better option, if the friends and relatives do not want to keep the disordered individual around. Or the family may not want the responsibility of caring for such an individual, maybe they just want to be able to visit him or her once in a while. In that case, the option of institutionalizing their favorite psycho might have a certain appeal.

Electroshock treatments will be administered only at the discretion of the family members. Otherwise, the psychopaths get locked in a padded room. They will be given some crayons and paper, and classical music will be piped in to keep their thoughts serene and pleasant.

Option 4 – Employment

Give them the jobs that no one else wants to do. This option gives them an enormous amount of freedom, so they would need to be branded in some way, to alert innocent folks of the danger. Perhaps tattoo SOCIOPATH across their foreheads. It has to be clearly visible if it’s going to serve as a warning for people. Besides, these days, everyone seems to have a tattoo or 20. It’s hardly inhumane. Or, perhaps we could come up with a standardized psycho hairstyle to identify them.

Some fitting careers for the sociopaths: garbage man, crash test dummy, lift pump remover, commercial dishwasher, butcher, bat guano collector, Port-O-Let cleaner, and roadkill remover are some of the most appropriate. The disordered who have already earned high level positions – doctors, lawyers, and other professionals, would have to do at least 50% pro-bono work. And if they ever get caught doing something illegal, they get busted down to the lower level employment options.

Keep Dreaming

Unfortunately, the chances of someday living in a world free of personality disordered individuals are slim to none. These creeps do not seem to be in any danger of extinction, and they are quite good at blending in. However, our society should give serious consideration to finding a way to identify and deal with psychopaths in such a way that they are not allowed to mess with the minds and emotions of regular folks.

Welcome to My Dysfunctional Family

•January 7, 2019 • Leave a Comment

As we start the new year, I was reflecting on my goals for 2019, and that got me thinking about how much can happen in a year. A few years ago, my husband and I started a tradition of writing down Happy Thoughts throughout the year and stuffing them into a jar, then we read them to each other during the first few days of the new year. We’ve been doing that this week, and I’m realizing how much I have to be grateful for, and I don’t want to take anything for granted.

I grew up in a dysfunctional family, so it’s amazing that it took me as long as it did to recognize it when I found myself entrapped in it in my adult life. What’s more puzzling is that, even after my own experience, I didn’t see my best friend’s (now my husband) Stockholm Syndrome for what it was. In my defense, I was still licking my wounds and trying to make sense of what I had been through. I was also blinded by optimism and a renewed sense of hope.

So many people feel obligated to maintain unhealthy relationships because of a little shared DNA, and I’ll never completely understand that. I left my abuser, and I had no trouble disengaging from my narcissistic father. (I came to see both of them for what they were at roughly the same time). DNA? That’s superficial. Toxic is toxic, and I refuse to feel obligated to enable a narcissist or to stress myself out.

As of this writing, I haven’t spoken to my father in almost ten years (same for the narcopath I lived with at that time; it was a clean break, no further communication), and it hasn’t been difficult at all. My husband went no-contact with his narcissistic mother a few years ago, and he doesn’t miss her either. I realize not everyone has an epiphany moment, or their toxic relative (or lover) does something so unforgivable to them, that trying to salvage the relationship is no longer an option, but I want to tell you that not having to deal with toxic in your personal life on a regular basis is a much more peaceful way to exist.

Whether it’s a lover, a parent, sibling, or even a child, no one should have to endure emotional, psychological, or physical abuse out of a sense of duty or obligation. It may be difficult, but you can remove the toxicity from your life. You are good enough, and your needs are just as important as anyone else’s. You can have hope and aspirations. You can live up to your full potential.

5 Signs You Might Be Dating a Personality Disordered Individual

•December 27, 2018 • Leave a Comment

You’ve recently started dating someone new, and you’re caught up in the excitement of getting to know each other. But something’s not quite right. You can’t quite pinpoint what it is, you just know you feel a little smothered by this new person in your life, or perhaps they seem too good to be true. The following are five behavior traits to watch out for in the early stages (4 months or less) of a relationship. If you notice one or more of these, you may be dating a highly manipulative person, such as a psychopath or personality disordered individual (most commonly borderlines or narcissists). And, if your new squeeze displays all of these behaviors, especially after only a couple of dates, RUN!

  1. Self-Victimization – Nothing is ever the disordered individual’s fault, at least not as far as they are concerned. When held accountable for their lies, emotional manipulations, and other abuse, they turn it around and play the victim. They accuse the person confronting them of being abusive, often while displaying the exact offenses they are accusing you of. For example, they will make overt threats and then tell you that you are threatening them.
  2. Lacks a Sense of Identity  – They likely have a handful of likes and interests that remain the same through every friendship and romance. They’ve chosen these favorite movies, hobbies, songs, etc. to define their character and project it to those they interact with. For instance, a favorite book makes them seem more intellectual or a certain hobby makes them appear to be more talented. (Frequently, they only dabble in these things, and they can talk about them on a superficial level at best). However, if you notice that they seem to be into everything you are into and agree with every opinion you have, that’s a red flag. The personality disordered adapt their preferences, opinions, and beliefs based on who they are trying to impress at any given moment.
  3. Pushing for a Commitment – In reading stories from people who’ve gotten trapped in abusive relationships with these creatures, time and time again these phrases keep coming up, “whirlwind romance”, “we were married six months after we met”, “she moved in with me three months after our first date”, etc. That’s not healthy. Relationships develop naturally over a period of time; you cannot know someone for who they truly are after only a few days or weeks. It takes time to establish emotional intimacy, and it benefits you to find out whether or not a potential partner is someone you think you will still enjoy spending time with after the initial thrill has worn off.
  4. Clinging – They will try to take up every spare minute of your free time, and when that’s not possible, they will call, text, and message you to the point where you wonder how they could possibly be getting anything else done. They want to know what you are doing and who you are with at all times, and this doesn’t stop once the relationship is fully established. That’s because they very likely have a strong fear of abandonment, but even the ones who don’t will want to isolate you and control you. In the beginning of a relationship, they do this to keep you immersed in them; they don’t want you to be able to come for air and have a chance to be introspective and realize that you’d be happier without them hounding you all the time.
  5. Insecurity/Jealousy – If you are spending time with anyone else but them, they perceive it as a stab in the back. Why would you want to spend time with anyone else, when they are so superior and wonderful? They also don’t want anyone pointing out their abhorrent behaviors, offering emotional support to you, or possibly suggesting that maybe your relationship is unhealthy. Worse, many of them are so delusional, they can’t handle it when they see you talking to someone who is attractive – a server, ticket attendant, valet, it doesn’t matter – and they will accuse you of flirting every time you interact with another man or woman in a perfunctory manner. You’ll probably find that they are even jealous of you. Your achievements and talents don’t support their delusion that they are better than you (and everyone else); they are incapable of feeling genuine happiness at your accomplishments. (The more pathological they are, the more likely they are to fake it though, at least in the very beginning).

If something feels off about the person you are dating, don’t ignore your instincts; take time to explore why your hackles are up and if there is any merit to it. The sooner you remove yourself from a potentially abusive situation, the easier it will be. Don’t wait until you share a lease or mortgage, furniture, bank accounts, or kids.

5 Reasons Narcissists Use Sex

•December 17, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Smoke and Mirrors

It’s quite common for men and women who’ve been romantically involved with narcissists, psychopaths, and other personality disordered individuals to recall the sex as being phenomenal or even the best they’ve ever had. Once that’s set in your mind, it can be difficult to heal from the emotional abuse inflicted by these incessant manipulators. Worse, if you miss going to bed with your ex, you’ll be especially vulnerable to any potential Hoover attempts from him or her. You also run the risk of ruining future relationships with healthy, sane partners if you compare all future partners to your malicious ex-narcissist.

Often, once a narcissist is sure that you are fully invested in them and the relationship, sexual intercourse tapers off. In some cases, they even take it off the table completely. They will use sex as a tool to obtain something from you, to get you to do something they want. Prior to giving it up, they will usually act as if being intimate with you is a chore. The mask has slipped, and you’ve glimpsed the darkness it hides. The kind, adoring, wonderful, too-good-to-be-true persona you fell for was never real, and neither was the sexual creature you thought them to be. To the disordered, sex is transactional in nature. The enthusiastic, acrobatic, anything-goes romps were as much a tool to get you hooked and reel you in as their loving words and adulation were.

What Does Sex Mean to a Manipulator?

1. Control

It makes them feel powerful to have control over you. They manipulate your emotions, making you believe that they love and adore you. In reality, they are incapable of such human emotions. They mirror you in so many ways, creating the illusion that you have the same hobbies, taste in music and films, political views, etc., and sex is no different. They adeptly pick up on what makes you feel good, and they capitalize on that to spellbind you. You feel like you’re with the perfect partner, but you are merely there for their amusement.
They sometimes withhold sex intentionally, as a punishment, maybe simultaneously giving you the silent treatment, until you can’t stand it anymore and apologize for whatever they’ve accused you of, give in to a demand they’ve made, or whatever the case may be. Manipulating your emotions makes them feel powerful, and it’s a turn-on for them. However, it’s not always capitulation they’re trying to elicit from you; sometimes they’ll intentionally make you angry because pushing your buttons also makes them feel like they have control over you.

2. Material Gain

Generally, we think of female personality disorders playing this card, but disordered men do it too. Maybe they’re seeking out a place to stay, food, money, a car to drive, or something else that you are able to provide them with, so they flirt and stroke your ego, and the next thing you know they are sharing your bed. Then they start in with the down-on-my-luck story, and you, of course, want to help, so you move them into your apartment, cook for them, loan them your car, or whatever else it is they seem to be in need of. Those generous souls who consider themselves “rescuers” are especially susceptible to this particular manipulation tactic.

3. Relief from Boredom

Narcissists and psychopaths easily become bored. They like to play with people the way children play with dolls or action figures. They’ll most likely butter you up first (see #1, above), especially if you’re in the beginning (idealization) stage of the relationship.

Relieving boredom may include sexual intercourse itself; maybe they were feeling the urge, and you just happened to be around. Afterward, you’ll either be cruelly discarded or used to meet other needs. In addition to becoming bored on a regular basis, the personality disordered have trouble regulating their emotions and frequently behave impulsively, lash out, or self-medicate, in order to suppress their discomfort; sex can serve as a distraction from feelings of loneliness, depression, anxiety, or general emotional upset.

4. Narcissistic Supply

If they are doting on you and flattering you to no end, you can bet you’re giving it right back to them. They need to feel special; they want you to put them on a pedestal. In the beginning of the relationship, you do this without even thinking about it, and later on you are hyper-vigilant to their moods and know exactly what they want to hear you say.

They are typically promiscuous in nature, and have many sexual partners; having many suitors makes them feel wanted. It makes them feel special. They also quickly become disenchanted with a victim and move on to a new target for fresh supply. So, if you were having intense, frequent romps with your narc in the beginning, but things rapidly cooled off, this may be what happened.

Social status also motivates certain types of narcissists. Maybe you’re someone who happens to be incredibly physically attractive, extremely wealthy, or hold a position of power at your place of employment. Or any combination thereof. You are a conquest. They want to be seen with you. They want to exploit you. To do so, they craftily elicit an emotional attachment from you in order to keep you under their thumb.

5. Triangulation

It’s quite common for narcissists and other personality disordered individuals to use one mate to make another target jealous. As stated above, having many partners to choose from also makes them feel that they are in high demand. To paint this vision for others, they will shamelessly flirt, sometimes dangling the promise of sex as a lure, in order to keep many admiring would-be suitors interested; this makes the narc appear to be ultra desirable to whoever he or she is targeting.

Don’t Get Caught in the Trap

The intensity of sexual interludes with psychopaths is often mistaken for intimacy. Don’t get confused by whatever emotional connections you are feeling during these capers, the narcopath is incapable of having the same feelings for you. Love, deep connection with another human being, a sense of caring for someone else; they can only fake these emotions. They can make you feel like you are the center of their universe, but the other shoe will eventually drop. You can have better relations with a genuinely loving partner; you can develop an emotional connection with a non-disordered person that will only enhance your love-making. But first, you have to get out of the abusive relationship and begin the healing process.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

 

All Predators Operate in the Same Manner

•January 30, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I was reading an article about sex trafficking, and I couldn’t help noticing how the abusers got into the victim’s head in Brianna’s story.

Psychopaths, sociopaths, predators, whatever you want to call them, they all follow basic patterns for victimizing others. It starts by asking seemingly innocuous, friendly questions. What they are really doing is gleaning personal information from you with the intent of using it against you later. In Brianna’s case, the predator used personal knowledge of her likes and dislikes so that he could cast a younger predator in the role of her Prince Charming. The one portraying her “dream guy”, then made her feel special and forged a superficial bond with her, thus making it easier to manipulate her into doing what he wanted.

It’s important to notice these patterns, because anyone is a potential victim for a sociopath. If you have something they want – sex, money, power, access to information, anything really – they will try to charm you into giving it to them. And it’s not only naive teenagers who are fooled by these toxic manipulators. Even seasoned mental health professionals have been known to fall for the lies of psychopaths.

People should be aware that not all inquisitive strangers are simply friendly and curious. Some of them are predators, and the questions they ask are to help them assess how potentially useful you could be to them, how gullible you are, how compliant you will be and, ultimately, how to get into your head. There’s no need to be suspicious of everyone you meet, but, if you are an especially open, talkative person, it’s prudent to guard the personal details of your life a little more closely. In other words, make strangers gradually earn your trust as you get to know them, as opposed to just giving it to them freely and without question.

Educate yourselves about psychopaths and other abusive personalities, so that you’ll know what red flags to watch for. Make sure your teenagers are aware that such malicious characters exist. There’s no reason to teach them to distrust others, but rather how to protect themselves and their peers from predators.

On Forgiveness and Confrontations

•July 22, 2012 • 3 Comments
Cover of "Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their...

Cover via Amazon

I am currently reading Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life by Susan Forward, PhD. Most of her information and advice is spot on. However, I disagree with her on a couple of issues. Before I get into those, I should probably fill you in on why I’m reading this book.

As stated in my introduction post, I lived with a sociopath for a number of years, and my significant other was ensnared by one for over a decade. If you’re reading this, I assume you’ve had your own major encounter with a psychopath, or perhaps you have a loved one who has. And if that’s the case, you may already have learned that the reason some of us get involved with sociopaths is because we’re trying to resolve childhood issues. We had high conflict parents, and we got stuck in dysfunction; we don’t know what normal, healthy relationships are all about.

As far as my parents are concerned, I’ve already made my peace. When I say that, I mean I’ve made my peace within myself and, as a result of that, I was able to make my peace with them. (I want to point out that this was partly a result of the relationship I had with the psychopath. As I was discovering what he was, I realized he and my father seemed to have come from the same template. So it gave me some deep insight into the relationship I had with him, as well).

My SO comes from a dysfunctional family also, and has made significant progress as far as understanding how that has affected his life and his choices. He has learned to recognize when he is being manipulated, and he stands up for himself. We both still read books like this one to continue to gain valuable insight. For me the subject is still fascinating.

Getting back on topic, Dr. Forward tells her clients that forgiveness is not essential. I respectfully disagree. Unfortunately, many people seem to think forgiveness and absolution are one and the same. They are not. Forgiveness does not equal absolution. The two are not synonymous. Forgiving someone does not mean that you will continue to allow them to abuse you.

It’s been my experience though that forgiveness is a process. You cannot simply state that you forgive your abuser and expect that magically, all of the hurt from the past will disappear, you will have your self esteem back, your toxic parent(s) will be grief stricken at ever having hurt you and will become the perfect parent(s), etc. Strangely, many people seem to think that that’s how forgiveness works. You are not Jeannie, you cannot simply blink forgiveness into being. It has to come naturally. For me, it’s been part of the healing process. It gradually started to happen on its own, without any conscious effort on my part. (Other than struggling to make sense of everything and to recover from it all – that was a conscious effort).

I realized I had forgiven these people when I got to the point where I could think of them, and unpleasant incidents from our past, without feeling strong emotions. Now, when I recall traumatic incidents from childhood, they almost seem as if they happened to someone else. I don’t feel anger, confusion, emotional distress, helplessness, hatred or a wish to lash out. Sometimes there’s a little sadness at the fact the we humans can be so cruel, but that’s not what this post is about.

The second thing I disagree with Dr. Forward on is her urging all of her clients to confront their toxic parents. I don’t think a confrontation is necessary for everyone. She suggests putting it in writing or arranging a face to face meeting. The patient basically outlines the abuses/neglect they suffered, how they were affected by it, and that they are not going to tolerate any ongoing abuse or disrespect. I think there are plenty of people who could benefit from writing a letter that they never intend to send. (Writing in a journal is another option).

Dr. Forward suggests that the confrontation is to prove to the patient that he/she can stand up to their parents. In my experience, in order to do that, you must set solid boundaries and stop allowing the parents (or anyone else for that matter) to cross those boundaries. When you can do that, then you know that you are okay. When you no longer allow them to abuse you or treat you with disrespect, when you can calmly tell them that you’re going to walk out/hang up if they keep acting like children, when you can refuse to give in to guilt and manipulations, when they are no longer able to push your buttons, then you are fine.

You can stand up to your parents without confronting them with the past. In some instances, a confrontation may make things worse. For me, I simply don’t see the point – it wouldn’t be helpful to me at all. Everyone is different though and, if you feel the need for a confrontation, Toxic Parents will help you prepare for one. Check your local library, or you can purchase the book on Amazon or e-bay.

There’s one more thing I want to mention. Dr. Forward gives examples of how toxic parents typically respond during these face to face encounters. Not surprisingly, they react exactly the same way personality disordered spouses/lovers do, when we call them on their bullshit. Essentially, they respond with denial, blame shifting, false apologies – in hopes of sweeping everything under the rug, making excuses/rationalizing, the martyr routine, and – my personal fave – the whiny, melodramatic why-are-you-being-mean-to-me crap. I couldn’t help noticing the pattern, and it made me wonder if Dr. F would also advise her patients to have a face off with an ex spouse/lover. I doubt she would, and doing so with one’s parents hardly seems like it would be particularly helpful for most people either.

I’ve comprised a short list of books that have been helpful to me during my recovery. If you’re interested, you can view it here.

Toddlers and Tanning?

•May 3, 2012 • 1 Comment

Some people should not be allowed to reproduce. A NJ mother of a five-year-old  faces child endangerment charges for allegedly exposing her daughter to the UV rays from a tanning bed. If you haven’t seen this yet, you can read about it here. No way to tell for sure if this mommy is personality disordered or a sociopath, but body dysmorphic disorder is probably a safe bet. At any rate, she’s not exactly what you’d refer to as mentally stable.

When I read about this, it reminded me of an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The gang finds a baby in a dumpster, and Dee and Mac try to exploit him for money. They take the baby boy to a tanning salon to get a base tan, so that he can become an actor/model. It’s hard to explain out of context, but you can watch the tanning salon clip here.

A tanning salon is no place for children, and it’s baffling that an attendant had no problem letting Patricia Krentcil take her little girl into the room with her while she tanned. Ms. Krentcil claims her daughter wore protective goggles and played in the room but that she wasn’t exposed to the UV rays. In case you hadn’t already guessed, I’m just not buying that.

Staff members at the girl’s school were concerned when the child went in with a sunburn and ratted her mom out for taking her tanning. What did the mother have to say for herself? “There’s tons of moms that bring their children in.” (Referring to the salon). She also equated it to taking a child to the supermarket with you.

That’s a very poor defense. Taking your child shopping with you does not involve going into a private room with her, shutting the door, and possibly exposing her skin to harmful ultraviolet rays. Shopping for food is done in the public eye.

The father defended mom, and his response was equally inane. “It was 85 degrees outside, she got sunburned. That’s it. That’s all that happened.” 85 degree weather does not cause sunburns. Being directly exposed to ultraviolet rays causes sunburns.

In the video clip, Ms. Krentcil goes on to state that her daughter, who has very fair skin, hasn’t been exposed to a tanning bed, but when she turns eighteen, it will be her choice if she wants to tan. This is a woman who refers to herself (in the video) as a princess or a Barbie, and there’s no doubt she turns a lot of heads, but for a different reason. By the time this kid turns eighteen, her mom is going to look like one of the California Raisins and, hopefully, that will be reason enough for this girl not to go anywhere near a tanning booth.