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 Thirteen Rules for Dealing with Sociopaths in Everyday Life

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PostSubject: Thirteen Rules for Dealing with Sociopaths in Everyday Life   Mon Oct 19, 2009 8:05 am



  • The first rule involves the bitter pill of accepting that some people literally have no conscience, and that these people do not often look like Charles Manson or a Ferengi bartender. They look like us.

  • In a contest between your instincts and what is implied by the role a person has taken on -- educator, doctor, leader, animal-lover, humanist, parent -- go with your instincts.

    Whether you want to be or not, you are a constant observer of human behavior, and your unfiltered impressions, though alarming and seemingly outlandish, may well help you out if you will let them. Your best self understands, without being told, that impressive and moral-sounding labels do not bestow conscience on anyone who did not have it to begin with.

  • When considering a new relationship of any kind, practice the Rule of Threes regarding the claims and promises a person makes, and the responsibilities he or she has.

    Make the Rule of Threes your personal policy. One lie, one broken promise, or a single neglected responsibility may be a misunderstanding instead. Two may involve a serious mistake. But three lies says you're dealing with a liar, and deceit is the linchpin of conscienceless behavior. Cut your losses and get out as soon as you can. Leaving, though it may be hard, will be easier now than later, and less costly.

    Do not give your money, your work, your secrets, or your affection to a three-timer. Your valuable gifts will be wasted.

  • Question authority.
    Once again -- trust your own instincts and anxieties, especially those concerning people who claim that dominating others, violence, war, or some other violation of your conscience is the grand solution to some problem. Do this even when, or especially when, everyone around you has completely stopped questioning authority. Recite to yourself what Stanley Milgram taught us about obedience. (At least six out of ten people will blindly obey a present, official-looking authority to the bitter end.) The good news is that having social support makes people somewhat more likely to challenge authority. Encourage those around you to question, too.

  • Suspect flattery.
    Compliments are lovely, especially when they are sincere. In contrast, flattery is extreme, and appeals to our egos in unrealistic ways. It is the material of counterfeit charm, and nearly always involves an intent to manipulate. Manipulation through flattery is sometimes innocuous and sometimes sinister. Peek over your massaged ego and remember to suspect flattery. This "flattery rule" applies on an individual basis, and also at the level of groups and even whole nations. Throughout all of human history and to the present, the call to war has included the flattering claim that one's own forces are about to accomplish a victory that will change the world for the better, a triumph that is morally laudable, justified by its humane outcome, unique in human endeavor, righteous, and worthy of enormous gratitude. Since we began to record the human story, all of our major wars have been framed in this way, on all sides of the conflict, and in all languages the adjective most often applied to the word war is the word holy. An argument can easily be made that humanity will have peace when nations of people are at last able to see through this masterful flattery.

  • If necessary, redefine your concept of respect.
    Too often, we mistake fear for respect, and the more fearful we are of someone, the more we view him or her as deserving of our respect.

    I have a spotted Bengal cat who was named Muscle Man by my daughter when she was a toddler, because even as a kitten he looked like a professional wrestler. Grown now, he is much larger than most other domestic cats. His formidable claws resemble those of his Asian leopard-cat ancestors, but by temperament, he is gentle and peace-loving. My neighbor has a little calico who visits. Evidently the calico's predatory charisma is huge, and she is brilliant at directing the evil eye at other cats. Whenever she is within fifty feet, Muscle Man, all fifteen pounds of him to her seven, cringes and crouches in fear and feline deference.

    Muscle Man is a splendid cat. He is warm and loving, and he is close to my heart. Nonetheless, I would like to believe that some of his reactions are more primitive than mine. I hope I do not mistake fear for respect, because to do so would be to ensure my own victimization. Let us use our big human brains to overpower our animal tendency to bow to predators, so we can disentangle the reflexive confusion of anxiety and awe. In a perfect world, human respect would be an automatic reaction only to those who are strong, kind, and morally courageous. The person who profits from frightening you is not likely to be any of these.

    The resolve to keep respect separate from fear is even more crucial for groups and nations. The politician, small or lofty, who menaces the people with frequent reminders of the possibility of crime, violence, or terrorism, and who then uses their magnified fear to gain allegiance is more likely to be a successful con artist than a legitimate leader. This too has been true throughout human history.

  • Do not join the game.
    Intrigue is a sociopath's tool. Resist the temptation to compete with a seductive sociopath, to outsmart him, psychoanalyze, or even banter with him. In addition to reducing yourself to his level, you would be distracting yourself from what is really important, which is to protect yourself.

  • The best way to protect yourself from a sociopath is to avoid him, to refuse any kind of contact or communication.
    Psychologists do not usually like to recommend avoidance, but in this case, I make a very deliberate exception. The only truly effective method for dealing with a sociopath you have identified is to disallow him or her from your life altogether. Sociopaths live completely outside of the social contract, and therefore to include them in relationships or other social arrangements is perilous. Begin this exclusion of them in the context of your own relationships and social life. You will not hurt anyone's feelings. Strange as it seems, and though they may try to pretend otherwise, sociopaths do not have any such feelings to hurt.
    You may never be able to make your family and friends understand why you are avoiding a particular individual. Sociopathy is surprisingly difficult to see, and harder to explain. Avoid hi/her anyway.

    If total avoidance is impossible, make plans to come as close as you can to the goal of total avoidance.

  • Question your tendency to pity too easily.
    Respect should be reserved for the kind and the morally courageous. Pity is another socially valuable response, and should be reserved for innocent people who are in genuine pain or who have fallen on misfortune. If, instead, you find yourself often pitying someone who consistently hurts you or other people, and who actively campaigns for your sympathy, the chances are close to one hundred percent that you are dealing with a sociopath.

    Related to this -- I recommend that you severely challenge your need to be polite in absolutely all situations. For normal adults in our culture, being what we think of as "civilized" is like a reflex, and often we find ourselves being automatically decorous even when someone has enraged us, repeatedly lied to us, or figuratively stabbed us in the back. Sociopaths take huge advantage of this automatic courtesy in exploitive situations.

    Do not be afraid to be unsmiling and calmly to the point.

  • Do not try to redeem the unredeemable.
    Second (third, fourth, and fifth) chances are for people who possess conscience. If you are dealing with a person who has no conscience, know how to swallow hard and cut your losses.

    At some point, most of us need to learn the important if disappointing life lesson that, no matter how good our intentions, we cannot control the behavior-- let alone the character structures-- of other people. Learn this fact of human life, and avoid the irony of getting caught up in the same ambition he has-- to control.

    If you do not desire control, but instead want to help people, then help only those who truly want to be helped. I think you will find this does not include the person who has no conscience.

    The sociopath's behavior is not your fault, not in any way whatsoever. It is also not your mission. Your mission is your own life.

  • Never agree, out of pity or for any other reason, to help a sociopath conceal his or her true character.

    "Please don't tell," often spoken tearfully and with great gnashing of teeth, is the trademark plea of thieves, child abusers-- and sociopaths. Do not listen to this siren-song. Other people deserve to be warned more than sociopaths deserve to have you keep their secrets.

    If someone without conscience insists that you "owe" him or her, recall what you are about to read here-- that "You owe me" has been the standard line of sociopaths for thousands of years, quite literally, and is still so. It is what Rasputin told the Empress of Russia. It is what Hannah's father implied to her, after her eye-opening conversation with him at the prison.

    We tend to experience "You owe me" as a compelling claim, but it is simply not true. Do not listen. Also, ignore the one that goes, "You are just like me." You are not.

  • Defend your psyche.
    Do not allow someone without conscience, or even a string of such people, to convince you that humanity is a failure. Most human beings do possess conscience. Most human beings are able to love.

  • Living well is the best revenge.
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PostSubject: Re: Thirteen Rules for Dealing with Sociopaths in Everyday Life   Mon Oct 19, 2009 8:30 am

And in the same vein:
(watch it for free from this linked page)


Quote :
Synopsis

Psychopaths…they’ll charm you, manipulate you, then ruin your life. But, not all of them with a gun or a knife. In this extra-ordinary documentary, suspected psychopath Sam Vaknin goes in search of a diagnosis…was he born without a conscience?


“Making a movie with a psychopath,” declares I, Psychopath’s director Ian Walker, “is a little like poking a snake with a stick.” Unwittingly, the film-maker becomes a textbook victim. Joined by Vaknin’s long-suffering but ever-loyal wife Lidija, the threesome embark on a diagnostic road trip to the world’s top experts in psychopathy in which Vaknin (and his wife) undergo a battery of rigorous psychological tests and neuroscientific experiments. He is the world’s first civilian to willingly seek a diagnosis for psychopathy.

The former corporate criminal turns out to be a way better psychopath than any of them imagined. By the end, Walker almost calls it quits on his own film rather than spend another day with its main subject.

Shocked
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PostSubject: Re: Thirteen Rules for Dealing with Sociopaths in Everyday Life   Mon Oct 19, 2009 8:41 am

And, of course, Kevin Barrett's

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youngcynic



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PostSubject: Re: Thirteen Rules for Dealing with Sociopaths in Everyday Life   Mon Oct 19, 2009 12:48 pm

NonEntity wrote:
And in the same vein:
(watch it for free from this linked page)


Quote :
Synopsis

Psychopaths…they’ll charm you, manipulate you, then ruin your life. But, not all of them with a gun or a knife. In this extra-ordinary documentary, suspected psychopath Sam Vaknin goes in search of a diagnosis…was he born without a conscience?


“Making a movie with a psychopath,” declares I, Psychopath’s director Ian Walker, “is a little like poking a snake with a stick.” Unwittingly, the film-maker becomes a textbook victim. Joined by Vaknin’s long-suffering but ever-loyal wife Lidija, the threesome embark on a diagnostic road trip to the world’s top experts in psychopathy in which Vaknin (and his wife) undergo a battery of rigorous psychological tests and neuroscientific experiments. He is the world’s first civilian to willingly seek a diagnosis for psychopathy.

The former corporate criminal turns out to be a way better psychopath than any of them imagined. By the end, Walker almost calls it quits on his own film rather than spend another day with its main subject.

Shocked

Wow. I watch that and at first I'm diagnosing myself as a psychopath. I probably am one to some degree though not on par with "Sam" there.

I have to say that I wonder if being an Israeli national has anything to do with it. I remember how callous virtually all of my Israeli teachers were from my school. In 3rd grade when we were studying outside, a friend of mine, Lee, had tried to jump over a chain that went through fence posts around the grass . His foot got caught and he broke his nose, was bleeding like crazy and was obviously in a lot of pain. Mrs. Shahora just left him out there and took the class inside. She told him to stop trying to get attention and being a baby (or words to that effect.) My American teachers were nothing like that.

It might have to do with the siege mentality in Israel, and the forced enlistment in the army. You do all this oppression and then you have to rationalize it somehow. So you suppress empathy for the oppressed and you don't have to deal with your wrongs.
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PostSubject: Re: Thirteen Rules for Dealing with Sociopaths in Everyday Life   Mon Oct 19, 2009 1:31 pm

Spot on regarding dealing with sociopaths and psychopaths. Lesson well learned here. Take heed!

affraid
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PostSubject: Re: Thirteen Rules for Dealing with Sociopaths in Everyday Life   Mon Oct 19, 2009 1:53 pm

NonEntity wrote:


[*]Do not join the game.
Intrigue is a sociopath's tool. Resist the temptation to compete with a seductive sociopath, to outsmart him, psychoanalyze, or even banter with him. In addition to reducing yourself to his level, you would be distracting yourself from what is really important, which is to protect yourself.


I have previously pointed this out but unfortunately, when people are caught up in this, they rarely see it for what it is.
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PostSubject: Re: Thirteen Rules for Dealing with Sociopaths in Everyday Life   Wed Oct 21, 2009 6:01 pm

NonE ~ thank you for sharing that, it came at a very good time for me. I will forward this to my Mother who is being consumed by all the wrong thoughts and claims to be "just over it daily" (lol). Its a great solidifier for me as well.

Now can you find the thirteen rules for dealing with people who are plane and simply full of themselves; or are the Sociopath and Egocentric..kissing cousins?
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PostSubject: Re: Thirteen Rules for Dealing with Sociopaths in Everyday Life   Thu Oct 22, 2009 8:45 am

I think that labels (such as Psychopath, Narcissist, etc.) are all simply markers for certain areas along a spectrum. Actually, 'spectrum' isn't even a good word as what I'm thinking of is probably better represented as a three dimensional space with each label indicating an area similar to a bubble within that great space. Nonetheless, they are helpful to get one into the general area of discussion. My mother is quite narcissistic and I see a lot of similarity between the discussion of psychopath and the way she behaves, but then there are differences as well. I've had this one fellow as a close friend for aver 15 years now before I finally figured out that he qualifies as a psychopath. Now that I've recognized that I can look back on our relationship and ALL SORTS of stuff jumps out at me and says, "How in bloody hell could you have missed THIS?!" Ah, but I did. Interesting stuph.

- NonE
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PostSubject: Re: Thirteen Rules for Dealing with Sociopaths in Everyday Life   Sat Oct 24, 2009 12:12 pm

Most of what's labeled 'sociopathic' or 'psychopathic' is just ordinary behaviour acted upon consistently, but taken to extents that it is unpopular due to the unspoken agreement never to talk about how the world actually works (lest we break the tribal myth). Since most of these behaviours are actually logical and effective, and can not be refuted by argument, the turn to take is to call them 'crazy'.
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PostSubject: Re: Thirteen Rules for Dealing with Sociopaths in Everyday Life   Sat Oct 24, 2009 3:17 pm

vichy wrote:
Most of what's labeled 'sociopathic' or 'psychopathic' is just ordinary behaviour acted upon consistently, but taken to extents that it is unpopular due to the unspoken agreement never to talk about how the world actually works (lest we break the tribal myth). Since most of these behaviours are actually logical and effective, and can not be refuted by argument, the turn to take is to call them 'crazy'.

Most people simply do not understand sociopathic behaviour, or glorify it until they become a target and then they get it.

The behaviours are not logical and effective, they are destructive and who says they cannot be refuted by argument? Also, they are not labelled as crazy, at least not legally, as it is not considered a valid reason for the insanity plea.
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PostSubject: Re: Thirteen Rules for Dealing with Sociopaths in Everyday Life   Sun Oct 25, 2009 2:44 am

NonEntity wrote:
And in the same vein:
(watch it for free from this linked page)


Quote :
Synopsis

Psychopaths…they’ll charm you, manipulate you, then ruin your life. But, not all of them with a gun or a knife. In this extra-ordinary documentary, suspected psychopath Sam Vaknin goes in search of a diagnosis…was he born without a conscience?


“Making a movie with a psychopath,” declares I, Psychopath’s director Ian Walker, “is a little like poking a snake with a stick.” Unwittingly, the film-maker becomes a textbook victim. Joined by Vaknin’s long-suffering but ever-loyal wife Lidija, the threesome embark on a diagnostic road trip to the world’s top experts in psychopathy in which Vaknin (and his wife) undergo a battery of rigorous psychological tests and neuroscientific experiments. He is the world’s first civilian to willingly seek a diagnosis for psychopathy.

The former corporate criminal turns out to be a way better psychopath than any of them imagined. By the end, Walker almost calls it quits on his own film rather than spend another day with its main subject.

Shocked

So glad I, along with other taxpayers helped fund the attention whoring of Sam Vaknin.

http://screen.nsw.gov.au/index.php?page_id=25&fund_id=&page=approval_details&fund_approval_id=1158
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PostSubject: Re: Thirteen Rules for Dealing with Sociopaths in Everyday Life   Sun Oct 25, 2009 3:22 am

NonEntity wrote:
I think that labels (such as Psychopath, Narcissist, etc.) are all simply markers for certain areas along a spectrum. Actually, 'spectrum' isn't even a good word as what I'm thinking of is probably better represented as a three dimensional space with each label indicating an area similar to a bubble within that great space. Nonetheless, they are helpful to get one into the general area of discussion. My mother is quite narcissistic and I see a lot of similarity between the discussion of psychopath and the way she behaves, but then there are differences as well. I've had this one fellow as a close friend for aver 15 years now before I finally figured out that he qualifies as a psychopath. Now that I've recognized that I can look back on our relationship and ALL SORTS of stuff jumps out at me and says, "How in bloody hell could you have missed THIS?!" Ah, but I did. Interesting stuph.

- NonE

http://www.geocities.com/zpg1957/narcissists.htm
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PostSubject: Re: Thirteen Rules for Dealing with Sociopaths in Everyday Life   Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:10 am

I called my mother to tell her that I had gotten married. She replied (the exact words are seared into my memory), "The day your father died was the happiest day in my life compared to today." (And she and my father were deeply in love with each other.)

Scary shit. It took me around two decades to 'defoo' her, but I've not spoken to her in many, many years. I'm much the better for it. Even so, I wish her no ill will - I simply wish to not have her polluting my life.

So I do see where there is some truth to what Stefan has to say, or at least there can be. But the man himself is a hateful dangerous person.

- NonE
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PostSubject: Re: Thirteen Rules for Dealing with Sociopaths in Everyday Life   Mon Oct 26, 2009 4:59 am

^My best friend's mother is a psychopath. Long ago, my friend had to make the painful decision over whether to go no contact or not.

Long before Moly, the children, relatives and spouses of psychopaths, sociopaths, malignant narcissists and any other personality disorder that renders people just too toxic, predatory and destructive to be in a relationship with have been discussing their REAL problems in various support groups, etc. Sadly, the only option for some people whose lives are being ruined by people who will not change their behaviour is to go no contact. It is not called defooing, that's Moly's word, which is fortunate, as he already confuses other concepts by manipulating words for his own purposes.

Going no contact is a painful decision to have to make, which is why I am horrified at the FDR flippant use of defoo. I supported my friend through this long and arduous process and she is better off for it. She would have given anything to have the imperfect parents that FDR rejects. Moly is abusing this concept for his own purposes. Mad


Last edited by Cassandra on Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:03 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : sentence structure and punctuation)
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PostSubject: Re: Thirteen Rules for Dealing with Sociopaths in Everyday Life   Mon Oct 26, 2009 11:00 am

Yep. Point taken. I did NOT defoo, in that I still have contact with other family members, just not my mother. But I still send her birthday presents and mother's day stuff, I just don't engage in contact. She's still my mother and I don't want to 'hurt' her, I just want to protect myself from a relationship which is not beneficial to me.

I've had people tell me that I'm doing a terrible thing because it is hurtful for a mother to lose her son, but they don't seem to consider that I have a side in the conversation as well. Screw 'em. She may have feelings, but then, so do I. It's a two way street. As always. (key word: voluntary, or mutual consent)

- NonE
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