This is part of an ongoing series on sociopaths.
There are millions of sociopaths and psychopaths in America, maybe a 250 million of them on the planet, 8.5 million in the US alone-- something I intend to do something about.
These people come in all demographic varieties, though there are a lot more males than females, there are still probably a million female sociopaths in the US.
These people are predators. They don't feel emotions like other people. They don't feel empathy or compassion. Researchers study callousness
as a parameter of their emotional makeup.
Some psychiatrists and psychologist clump psychopaths and sociopaths together. Others differentiate. I will be using the terms interchangeably unless specified otherwise,
Psychopaths have a predatory pattern of interaction they use to take advantage of and use people-- to form "the psychopathic bond."
I'm summarizing what is described in the book, Snakes in Suits,
by Paul Babiak and Robert D. Hare
1-First, the psychopath makes you feel like the person you present to the world is awesome-- that he likes the "you" who want the world to know of. People like to be "validated" and psychopaths latch on to this propensity to gain your favor.
2-Second, the psychopath figures out some of your issues and concerns and fabricates a persona that is similar to yours. Then, he makes you feel like he's just like you, has the same cares and concerns. this is designed to build your trust so you will lower your guard-- so you'll trust him because he really knows who you are.
3- Third, the psychopath gets you to feel that you can tell him your secrets, like you can tell a true friend.
4-Fourth, the psychopath makes you feel like he or she is "the perfect friend...lover...partner" or new hire for you. I'd add volunteer or fellow activist.
The authors of Snakes in Suits say, that once the psychopathic bond is accomplished, "your fate is sealed."
These relationships are built on lies and predatory decisions by the psychopath, on the one side, while on the other, the person believes the lies and fake emotions. But psychopaths are so good at these relationships that even after people discover the truth they still mourn the loss of what they never really had.
These relationships are dangerous. Snakes in Suits
...the psychopath has an ulterior-- some would say "evil" --and at the very least, selfish motive. This victimization goes far beyond trying to take advantage of someone on a date or during a simple business transaction. The victimization is predatory in nature; it often leads to severe financial, physical, or emotional harm for the individual."
One of the kinds of intelligence in Gardner's Theory of multiple intelligences
is interpersonal intelligence. Psychopaths and sociopaths are BRILLIANT interpersonally. They're great at reading and pleasing and manipulating people.
Sociopaths ruin the world for us in many ways. This one-- where they use this four step approach to woo and win you-- is pernicious, but it is also sad, because it forces us to raise our guard when we encounter anyone who seems like they could be a new good friend.
And in general, the sociopaths in the world make it necessary for us to keep up our guard, to protect ourselves from their predations, from their abuse and the trouble and pain they can cause.
The way this feels is one minute you have a new friend, someone who's really appreciating you, perhaps working with you, teaming with you, sharing your enthusiasm for a new project or an issue. The next minute, you've been ripped off, or the "new friend" betrayed you or showed another side that is the opposite of what you believed you were buying into. Or, if the psychopath has been caught, or is done with you, he or she may brutally attack you and try to hurt or destroy you. People in intimate relationships with sociopaths are often physically assaulted and injured. People on line are bullied, harassed, threatened or stalked. Fortunately there are now some state and federal laws against cyber-stalking and harassment. Unfortunately they are not always enforced and can be difficult to get enforced.
There is much research
developing on psychopaths. There should be a lot more. We have laws to protect the public from sexual predators. We should have laws to protect us from psychopathic and sociopathic predators. Those laws should include ways to identify who they are. I realize this is a slipper slope. But it is not about picking out a minority group. Psychopaths exist in all races and cultures. We also have laws that allow people with deadly communicable diseases to be quarantined.
I'm not saying we should jail all psychopaths, but, so far, there's no known cure for psychopathy. These people should be identified so the public can at least know they are considering voting for a person who is a psychopath, so managers and investors and school principals can know that a job candidate is a psychopath.
If I have a psychopath living next door, I want to know about it, or better, I want to know about it before I buy my house or rent that apartment.
Some might argue that this is discrimination. I would agree. This is the kind of discrimination we need.
I'll go even further. I believe that psychopaths and sociopaths are a major reason for the problems we face in this world. I wouldn't mind seeing psychopaths made unable to have children. The studies show that there is a major genetic factor.
Bottom line, psychopaths may deserve some compassion. They didn't ask to be born or raised as psychopaths (usually a combination of the two,) but they do not have compassion and they are dangerous predators. Humanity needs to take action and set stronger policies to protect itself agains these rogue creatures.
We need legislation to fund massively more research-- a "Manhattan project" to identify sociopaths and protect the public from them.
other writings in my series on sociopaths and psychopaths:
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Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect,
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more detailed bio:
Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind. Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big) to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization (more...)