Top positive review
23 people found this helpful
on 24 August 2015
Superb! A complete eye-opener to me, having experienced a corporate P (psychopath) but not knowing what the heck I was dealing with.
In short look for a charming, brilliant actor, the life and soul of the party, very popular, the centre of attention, a lot of fun and with the gift of the gab - but amoral, ruthless, with no pity, no remorse, very shallow emotions, no fear (or love) and manipulative and back-stabbing.
They're best mates with authority figures and anyone useful to them (people who lend them credibility, who have useful skills or who're plugged into the gossip network etc.).
They make themselves invincible by ensuring that they're very popular, best friends with the Bosses and and part of the information flow (e.g. they're in the 'in-team'). They turn the Bosses and the group against anyone they want to destroy by subtly distorting information (e.g. smear campaigns) in order to undermine that person's credibility.
Most people will almost worship the P whilst a few 'dissenters' who see behind the mask will despise them, which is one of the ways an outsider can guess that there's a P in an organisation.
The 'psychopathic fiction' is the story they try and create in everyone's mind about how they're a future leader.
This book led to LOTS of online research (there are plenty of forums for survivors of psychopaths), some of which follows:
They're very easily bored (which can make them restless and high-energy and in need of constant stimulation).
Their charm is almost superhuman and they can persuade anyone that they're 'right'.
They don't have deep emotions and show zero shame, embarrassment or remorse if they're caught doing anything wrong, simply continuing as if nothing happened and as if it was all the target's fault.
Their whole life is an act so their whole life is a lie. But 'charismatic' / 'corporate' / 'successful' psychopaths give the appearance of being 'honest' whilst slanting their words to gradually manipulate the people around them, using truths, half-truths and outright lies when necessary and also acting in completely amoral ways.
'Love-bombing' is overwhelming a target with drama, excitement and attention so that he/she doesn't get a chance to breathe, followed by the rapid declaration of being 'soul-mates' and then instant marriage.
The 'psychopathic bond' is the bond that a target ends up in with the completely fictional 'Mask' (from 'The Mask of Sanity' by Harvey Cleckley) that the psychopath creates. The psychopath reflects back to us the best parts of our character and our personality ('mirroring') and also our needs and desires (he does this through keen observation and self-taught 'cold-reading' techniques since he has no emotions and no empathy and therefore has to work out what's going on around him). We therefore end up in love or best friends with an illusion tailor-made for us - and because it fits us so perfectly it becomes a very powerful bond.
A 'relationship' with a pschopath goes through three stages - Idealize, Devalue, Discard (love-bombing followed by a descent into hell followed by the psychopath moving on to the next relationship).
The 'Pity Play' is when it's all going pear-shaped and the psychopath subtly invokes our pity as a 'get out of jail free' card.
They have a parasitic lifestyle and use others for status, respectability, s*x, money, contacts, shelter etc.
They don't learn from punishment, perhaps because they have no fear and love taking risks. So if there's a P in your organisation and his behaviour's being monitored you can bet your bottom dollar any bad behaviour will resume once the monitoring’s finished.
Because they have no deep emotions and no empathy they see people as objects in the same way that we see tables and chairs as objects, and so have no hesitation in manipulating us just as we'd move tables or chairs around the room.
They often make intense eye-contact (a steady, unblinking, level stare but not all the time) - I've definitely experienced this. I think it's to do with tuning into us 100% in order to figure out what makes us tick.
They have no long-term goals, no master plans for their lives, but instead live more in the moment, trusting that their natural abilities will see them through.
They're unflappable and show no anxiety. They also show very little real distress after major life events e.g. the breakup of a relationship.
They have to 'win' at all costs (there's nothing else in their lives except the 'game' they're playing.) This 'winning' can mean destroying other people and if they can't have something (popularity, love, happiness) then some psychopaths will make sure the person they target also doesn't have it (even though the target might have done nothing to them.)
They 'gaslight', telling their target black is white and white is black until they no longer believe their own perceptions.
They 'hoover', sucking the target back into the toxic relationship by trying to make contact in many very subtle ways.
'Narcissistic supply' is the attention that Narcissists and possibly some Ps need. Ps at the centre of attention however usually need the attention so that they can be at the centre of the information flow and thus control everyone. Sounds crazy, huh? Not until you've witnessed a P deliberately making themselves immensely popular (and therefore untouchable) will you realise how clever it is.
They have an empathy switch so they can switch their empathy on or off at will (e.g. they stand before us with 'love' and 'interest' in their eyes as they tune into us and mirror us, then switch their empathy off once they've walked away before stabbing us in the back). Psychopaths have 'cold' intellectual empathy whereas normal people have 'warm' emotional empathy.
Scared? You should be. If you enter into a head-on battle with a P you will lose. Not until you've experience their superhuman charm and the way they diligently get the authority figures, the high-status figures and then anyone else with any worth on their side will you realise what you're up against. They've spent their whole lives lying and deceiving and they're very, very good at it. Not unless you become a P yourself will you beat them at their game. And even if you're honest and trustworthy you only have to say one word out of place and your credibility will be undermined. No credibility = no influence = game over. That's how good at the 'game' they are. They have to win. The 'game' is the only thing they have in their lives.
Full-blown psychopaths are 'clinical' psychopaths; those with less severe traits (but still very dangerous) are 'sub-clinical'. Maybe 5 - 15% are subclinical psychopaths ('Comprehensive Handbook of Personality and Psychopathology: Personality and Everyday Functioning’ ). 1% of the population are clinical Ps; 4% are clinical Ps in the upper reaches of corporations.
What can you do?
As mentioned in other reviews, run. Or keep your head low. Good luck with that (it's called the 'gray rock' technique - act like a gray rock). The best thing to do is to educate other people but that won't help anyone right now. The authors suggest documentation but to be honest they haven't any other real answers and that's because at the moment there are none. Ps are the perfect predators, right at the centre of the information network, full of charm and perfect liars, perfect deceivers and perfect actors. It's like being enmeshed in a spider's web - the more you struggle, the more entrapped you become.
Definitely read this book. Do some online research. Try and raise awareness of the problem.
Hope this helps someone with a P in their life who chances to come across this post. Hopefully I've given you a head start, raised some red flags or even given you that 'light bulb' moment.
Updated to make it more readable as I originally wrote this in a rush. Also, the authors have a fictional narrative interwoven into the book, and that doesn't really work, but apart from that this is based on solid research from the world's top expert on psychopathy and is a life-changer.