This is not a personal note. This is a collection of thoughts after watching a recent TED talk and some observations made along the way because for some reason people open up to me an talk about things.
Sri Lankan culture is such that most of the romantic/marital relationships are either arranged or it is the only relationship for either the boy or the girl or both of them. Though I don’t have data to back, I think this accounts for about 75% of Sri Lankan marriages. It is considered a taboo to have more than one relationship if one falls apart. It is taboo to “shop around” as the following song says.
Most of the time women are the victims. They get used by men either on their ignorance, naivety or by cultural taboo. How do one identify that a boy friend (or a girl friend) is a psychopath? Are psychological trails clear before two people enter into a marriage and live (un)happily ever after?
Some of the readings in the internt lead me to:
The charming manipulator
The socialized psychopath is likely to be too smart to end up in jail.
The socialized psychopath can appear extremely charming. You have to know them really well and have a fair amount of insight yourself to spot that they always and only ever do what suits them. As long as they are getting their own way, they can be as charming as you could wish, and the most delightful company. But they will lie at the drop of a hat, without the slightest twinge of anxiety or guilt (so the old ‘lie detector’ polygraph test wouldn’t be likely to catch them out). They will use other people for their own ends without the smallest concern – treating them as no more than chess pieces in their ‘game’. They have no sense of guilt or remorse and will always be able to come up with plausible rationalizations for their behavior which allow them to lay the blame for any subsequent disaster on other people. And, of course, once chess pieces have served their purpose, there is no reason why they should not be discarded.
Is it surprising that politics and show business are thought to have more than their fair share of socialized psychopaths?
Cruel yet magnetic
The socialized psychopath can be very attractive for the very qualities that make them psychopathic. This is not as contradictory as it sounds. A person whom we sense is not encumbered with the same inhibitions, doubts, uncertainties and sensitivities that plague the rest of mankind can seem very attractive. They can have such an aura of confidence and freedom about them. They may be enormously fun sensation-seeking risk takers. There are ‘no strings on them’ – or so it would appear. They may even seem like heroes to us. And they will keep us onside while we are useful to them. If you watch them carefully, however, their humor will tend to be on the cruel side.
Cult leader Jim Jones was very magnetic and attracted a great number of followers to his ‘Jonestown’ settlement where they met their tragic deaths. He was reported to have enjoyed dissecting live animals as a child – a common childhood indicator of psychopathy. Other people’s suffering does not shock the psychopath as it does ordinary people, although they can look as shocked as anyone on the surface. How so?
Someone with Asperger syndrome (a mild form of autism) finds it difficult to empathise with other people because they are to some extent ’emotion blind’. They find it hard to read the emotions of others, or to see a connection between the emotional responses of others and what they themselves have actually done or said. As a consequence, they can sometimes seem cruel or insensitive, but they don’t mean to be. They assume that other people see the world in the same way as they do themselves, and struggle to comprehend that there really are different perspectives. This makes someone with Aspergers actually less likely to lie or attempt to deceive – they see no need for it.
A psychopath is a different kettle of fish altogether. A psychopath is not ’emotion blind’. They can ‘read’ other people’s emotions perfectly well, and mimic them perfectly well. And for them, other people’s emotions are just another counter to use in their games. They themselves rarely get worked up about anything except not getting what they want.
How do you deal with someone who has no empathy, guilt, remorse or fear?
A psychopath may understand other people frighteningly well. They can watch dispassionately, with a cold and calculating mind, going convincingly through the motions of empathy on the surface while focusing on how to turn the situation to their advantage. The only way to spot them is to observe them carefully over a significant period of time. Do they regularly say one thing and then do another, more than other people? Do they use people emotionally, sexually, professionally and then discard them casually? Do they sometimes seem strangely un-shocked by shocking events?
Not surprisingly, many two-faced bullies show strong psychopathic tendencies. As they say: ‘You can’t turn a lion into a vegetarian by throwing veggie burgers at it.’ Trying to appeal to the better nature of a person who hasn’t got a better nature is a losing strategy. Psychopaths do not feel guilt or shame. They won’t feel genuinely sorry for you and will only put up a front of convincing looking sympathy for as long as it suits them.
If you suspect there is a psychopath causing havoc in your life then you need to avoid them as much as possible. Collect and record evidence of their manipulative behavior. Try to avoid seeing them except when other people are around. Psychopaths leave a string of broken hearts, disappointment, bewilderment and empty wallets in their wake. Romantic relationships with a psychopath (of either sex) are fraught with dangers to your emotional and even physical well-being.
How to Tell if You’re With an Almost Psychopath
The sooner you know whether you are in a relationship with an almost psychopath, the sooner you can do something about it. Here are some warning signs to look for:
1. The person is glib and charming in an inconsistent way: over the top in coming across as likable and engaging, but turning it on and off like a light switch.
2. The person lies. Almost psychopaths may lie about big things, like why they didn’t show up for a date, where they were last night, or their past, as well as about little things, like saying they will go to the store and then denying that you ever asked them to.
3. You pay the rent, the utilities, for drinks; everything. (Although there may be reassurance about “next time”).
4. You find yourself being controlled, isolated from your friends and family, but pressured to report your whereabouts at all times.
5. You are being abused, psychologically or physically, including being pressured to do things, socially or sexually, that you don’t want to do.
6. You feel yourself being pressured to use alcohol or drugs, and you end up doing things you otherwise would not do.
7. When things go wrong, it is always someone else’s fault — including yours.
8. Shallow emotions: The person speaks words of love and affection but doesn’t seem to experience those emotions.
9. The person has no sense of remorse if they hurt you or others.
10. The person doesn’t care about right or wrong, at work, with you, or in any aspect of life
I don’t want to put my opinion here. Just reporting for anyone to make up their own minds…Take Care, it is your life.