Psychopathy…closer than you might think?
Psychopaths make up about 2% of our population, 1.5 % being male and .5% being female. While our prisons are chock full of psychopaths it might surprise you to learn that they hold only the smallest percentage of the whole and the majority of them walk among us?
The psychopathy spectrum is broad and the ones who commit the most violent crimes are the smallest percentage at the most extreme end of that spectrum. Unfortunately the rest of them live to con, swindle, manipulate, control, and wreak emotional and psychological havoc on those of us who encounter them. When we think of psychopaths we think of Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirrez, Jeffrey Dahmer, but there are people all around us who do cold and heartless things that we cannot understand. They are just nowhere near as severe as the ones mentioned above.
Psychopathic personalities are most often charming, confident, witty, disarming, but it’s all an act and everything they do is geared toward their own gratification. When you cease to be of use to them they simply discard you and move on. Sadly our society provides ample opportunity, and even rewards behaviors that are typical of the psychopath. Big corporations often encourage employees who possess a win at all costs, get the job done no matter what kind of attitude with promotion and a place on the fast track heading toward the top.
One of the pitfalls of our Capitalistic society is that it provides a fertile feeding ground where callous, deceptive personalities can flourish. Just think of some of our politicians, CEOS, Healthcare corporations denying benefits and letting people die, Big Banks, even perhaps some of our presidents?
The very thing that makes us good people is why we are often vulnerable to these predatory individuals. It is too difficult for us to fathom a person doing something cold and unfeeling without remorse, especially if that person is an adolescent or a child. We need there to be a reason. It is our very nature to want to find an excuse. Oh…. they were abused…or oh…something horrible happened to them at a young age and they just weren’t able to bond. But the truth is…many of us are abused, neglected, and have horrible things happen to us in our childhoods and we don’t disconnect from society or become heartless and cruel.
So I believe there has to be a genetic platform for psychopathy to occur, and I am in good company. Sometimes there is no obvious reason. I believe that some people can just be born with a deficit of emotion. It is because we are unable to wrap our heads around this that we often overlook the red flags that should alert us to the imminent danger when dealing with such people. Most of us have either encountered or will encounter in our lifetime, either directly, or indirectly, someone who falls somewhere on the psychopathy spectrum. My goal with this article is to raise awareness and direct those of you who read to resources that will give you some tools to identify someone who suffers from a deficit of emotion. Whether in the workplace or a social group or in an intimate relationship these people leave a wake of emotional and psychological destruction. If you do encounter such a person I strongly suggest you RUN!!!!!!
I wish I had.
I highly recommend (Without Conscience….the disturbing world of psychopaths among us)
by Dr. Robert D Hare, PhD.
I feel it should be required reading for anyone who is about to date or work for a major corporation or even just navigate life.
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