Psychopathic Pity Party

here's looking at you

1 in 25 Americans are sociopaths / psychopaths / conscienceless-freaks … 4% … holy fuck! … that’s way more than you thought … assuming you’d ever bothered to thought about it.

20 of 25 Salty Droid targets are sociopaths :: hopefully :: cause that’s kinda the point.

Some distinguishing traits of the psychopath :: according to wikipedia’s version of Dr. Robert Hare’s Psychopathy Check List …

  • Glibness/superficial charm
  • Grandiose sense of self-worth
  • Pathological lying
  • Cunning/manipulative
  • Lack of remorse or guilt
  • Shallow affect (genuine emotion is short-lived and egocentric)
  • Callousness; lack of empathy
  • Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
  • Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
  • Parasitic lifestyle
  • Poor behavioral control
  • Lack of realistic long-term goals
  • Impulsivity
  • Irresponsibility
  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Early behavior problems
  • Revocation of conditional release
  • Promiscuous sexual behavior
  • Many short-term marital relationships
  • Criminal versatility
  • Acquired behavioral sociopathy/sociological conditioning (Item 21: a newly identified trait i.e. a person relying on sociological strategies and tricks to deceive)

Sounds like a good time.

But maybe you hate checklists because of over/any exposure to Brian Clark. Fair enough. Here’s Dr. Hare explaining to Nicole Kidman how to be a psychopath :: as relayed in Jon Ronson’s interesting and amusing The Psychopath Test

“Here’s a scene you can use. You’re walking down a street and there’s an accident. A car has hit a child. A crowd of people gather round. You walk up, the child’s lying on the ground and there’s blood running all over the place. You get a little blood on your shoes and you look down and say, ‘Oh shit.’ You look over at the child, kind of interested, but you’re not repelled or horrified. You’re just interested. Then you look at the mother and you’re really fascinated by the mother, who’s emoting, crying out, doing all these different things. After a few minutes you turn away and go back to your house. You go into the bathroom and practice mimicking the facial expressions of the mother.”

Psychopaths aren’t humans. People who study psychopathy don’t like to say such things :: because horrible atrocities almost always follow from the dehumanization of any group. But the chief cheerleaders and perpetrators of such atrocities tend to be non-human psychopaths. Maybe if we dehumanize them :: the blood-letting rituals can finally end.

Being a human is about being a part of other people’s lives :: about being a part of ALL life … and knowing it. Sociopaths aren’t alive like that :: they are sub-life :: they invade your lands like a virus :: and use your own rules {of decency and kindness and trust} against you.

Treat them with humanity :: and you will lose to them … they will eat you up and not rinse the blood stains. Because they are NOT like you.

Dr. Martha Stout was on the clinical staff at Harvard Medical for 25 years {appeal to authority!} :: from her book The Sociopath Next Door

After listening for almost twenty-five years to the stories my patients tell me about sociopaths who have invaded and injured their lives, when I am asked, “How can I tell whom not to trust?” the answer I give usually surprises people. The natural expectation is that I will describe some sinister-sounding detail of behavior or snippet of body language or threatening use of language that is the subtle giveaway. Instead, I take people aback by assuring them that the tip-off is none of these things, for none of these things is reliably present. Rather, the best clue is, of all things, the pity play. The most reliable sign, the most universal behavior of unscrupulous people is not directed, as one might imagine, or our fearfulness. It is, perversely, an appeal to our sympathy …

More than admiration — more even than fear — pity from good people is carte blanche. When we pity, we are, at least for the moment, defenseless, and like so many of the essentially positive human characteristics that bind us together in groups … our emotional vulnerability when we pity is used against us by those who have no conscience.

Insult to spiders Naomi Dunford

I got a death threat.

I got another death threat…

As a reasonably prominent female face on the internet, I always knew the day would come when it would get very, very ugly.

I guess that day is here.

I got myself to a safe place, and I’m okay, for now.

She has life coach :: his name is Tim Brownson

On the Friday I had a 450 miles trip to make, something I can only do dosed up to the gills on hydrocortisone. About 25 miles from Fort Myers my nephew contacted me to tell me my eldest sister had had a pulmonary embolism in both lungs and things didn’t look good.

Mike Filsaime on Jason Jason Jason

But his accusations are really nothing more than conspiracy theory. Quite Comical at times. More often very hurtful. I am not going to lie to you. I try not to read it because I am human and the hateful words he says hurts me. It hurts my family, and it hurts my staff. But that is the price you pay when you are a leader in any industry. Think about that.

Perry Belcher exits stage bottom

“While I can take reasonable criticism, today I have concerns for my safety and the safety of family.”

Frank Kern’s just a sad family man

… weep for my baby momma …

Don Lapre can’t take it anymore …

“… in spite of everyone of them being able to make as many $1000 checks as they wanted, I am left to fight a battle that will for sure destroy what energy I have left inside…”

James Arthur Ray to the mother of a dead daughter

“This is the most awful thing that has ever happened to me in my life.”

Oh :: the humanity {or not}!

Am I saying that all these people are sociopaths? No :: of course not. I’m a fake robot … not a doctor of the mindscapes. I’m just asking questions …

… exactly.

Ending with Dr. Stout quoting Dr. Einstein {appeal to authority squared²} …

“The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”

>> bleep bloop

142 thoughts on “Psychopathic Pity Party”

  1. I was reading a book about psychopathy just last week and thinking how many internet scammers fit in the profile. It’s a tricky moral matter however, as one is born a sociopath, it’s not his/her fault, or choice, just his/her brain wired in a different way. Being it a non-treatable condition, you can expect evil for a life-time with no chance of repentance, even punishment doesn’t work. Should society deprive these people of their rights for good? The world would definitely be a better place, but this sounds too much like a first step towards more dangerous views. A delicate matter indeed,

    1. @perfectTiming,

      “you can expect evil for a life-time with no chance of repentance, even punishment doesn’t work”

      As we have already seen with James Arthur Ray, with absolutely no remorse or sympathy or empathy for his victims, both dead and those still living. Let’s hope he gets the maximum and has to serve every last day of it so that “when” he will go back to his evil conning destructive hurtful ways (as he has continued to do without conscience) will be delayed as long as possible. And I’m not so sure about the “depriving these people of their rights for good” being such a bad thing when there is absolute certainty as I believe there is with JAR. Where are the rights of the victims when these evil monsters are allowed to roam free?

    2. @perfectTiming,

      I think you missed the point of the article. No one is advocating locking them up or arbitrarily suspending any of their rights on the grounds of psychological profiling.

      The article warned against giving them the pity they attempt to evoke in you, and to argue that it’s worth risking “profiling” this section of the population, in order to protect everyone’s (including psychopaths’) rights.

      1. @Yakaru,

        No, I didn’t miss the point, I was just taking the opportunity to share some of my own thoughts on the subject.

        And as I said I do think that “profiling” would be useful, yet, as Salty noticed, it feels like a feature of past ghastly regimes. In the modern politically correct ethics that could be considered discrimination, and an action against the right to privacy, or the right to work (would I hire a psychopath?). On the other side, we already “discriminate” not giving visually-impaired people a driving licence, so it might be a good idea to prevent unrepentent criminals from damaging the public. It really is a dilemma to me.

        1. @Yakuru,

          Ghastly regimes, past, present, or future, are those under the control of psychopaths. Marcus Aurelius was caesar, among the few most powerful men on earth at that time. But he wasn’t a psychopath. And that makes all the difference.

          The question, IMO, is not whether psychopaths should be permitted to live in freedom. It is whether they should be positively identified and denied any possibility of gaining power over other people for any purpose.

          If that were the case, it’s entirely likely many career politicians now in office (you know who they are) would have otherwise been forced to pursue different vocations less dangerous to others.

      2. @Yakaru ::

        Well :: I do say “Cages for Psychopaths” a lot … and I’m not sure exactly what I mean by that.

        Right now the Obama administration is detaining and deporting any illegal immigrant who has even the slightest brush with law enforcement … separating mothers from children over speeding tickets and such. It’s useless and horrible … but applied to sociopaths {to include all income stratas} it would probably have dramatic positive results for humanity.

        Maybe any psychopath who enters the system for any reason should never be returned to society except under the strictest of supervision. We have to have a pubic policy that acknowledges the reality of the situation. James Ray is only going to get a couple of years :: charged with manslaughter … but what if he was charged of “psychopathic manslaughter” and once convicted he was forever caged?

        On the other hand :: that’s a very dangerous path to tread … and quite foreign to American Enlightenment style thinking … so I don’t know. It’s a dilemma indeed. But one thing’s for sure :: the current “ignore it” strategy is a mega fail.

        1. @SD,

          Yeh, it would be great to see “psychopathic” as well as “negligent” or reckless” in the legal books. No reason not to, especially if it’s identifiable with fMRI or whatever.


          Thanks for the clarification. In general, I think that the more civil rights are respected, the more possible it is to address problems that affect a specific sector of society.

        2. @SD,

          I don’t know if there are any statistics available (probably not), but I would guess that a high percentage of people in positions of authority are psychopaths.

          I know that Dr. Hare says it’s only four percent among the general population, but I secretly believe the figure is a lot higher.

        3. @SD,
          Well said. Denying that psychopathy exists hasn’t made it go away, but rather has given it free reign. So let’s give everyone a chance to know the TRUTH about it and then make an EDUCATED choice. Why not let us all have access to MRI’s that check for it? Wouldn’t you like this before you started dating someone? Having children with them (and this includes using sperm banks or sperm/egg donors as it’s genetic/chromosomal)?

          And yes, we should consider what to do after they have committed a violent crime. If we don’t want to use the death penalty, Frank Ochberg, MD and acclaimed psychiatrist, recommends putting them away for life with no access to people (so they can’t abuse or hurt anyone). The problem with this is that sometimes psychopaths get bored or lazy and just want to be taken care of and since one of the signs of psychopathy is that they aren’t good at making long range plans, some psychopaths might end up shooting up, let’s say, a MOVIE THEATER, just so they could be taken care of/put away for the rest of their lives. And this is also a lot of attention, something else they thrive on.

          Prevention is something we always hear about. Prevention of birth defects, child abuse, drug use, rape etc. etc. Those who have the brain functioning of a psychopath are unable to make sound judgments based on what is good or right for anyone but themselves at the moment. They simply can’t put themselves in others positions as their brains don’t allow them to do this and it’s why they can torture or harass and destroy another person or even an entire company or society. Haven’t we all noticed that these models of psychology that we have in place have not only allowed psychopaths to thrive because they mimic human emotions and can easily say the right words, but destroyed the rest of us because we’re trying to squeeze the evil behaviors of psychopathy into the premise that we are all born with a conscience?

          And one more thing to think about, why is it that people who are born with the brain functioning of a psychopath MUST harm others? They MUST manipulate and toy with others. They have done studies that show that people who are rendered a “psychopath” due to brain injury or surgery etc. don’t do this. They lose their emotional capabilities yes, but they don’t need to play games with others minds. Don’t you think that this feature is very telling?

    3. @perfectTiming,

      The expectation of punishment might work.

      I know a guy who fits the description of sociopathy perfectly, and his inability to recognize morality or empathy as a useful concept makes him replace it almost completely with game theory. When you talk about how robbing an old woman on the street is appalling ethically, he’ll comment by saying that it’s just not accepted in the society we live in. He surely wouldn’t be a nice guy to be around in times of total chaos when all those cultural standards break down.

      Still, in some sense this type of person is kind of the ideal test for a justice system, as they don’t have empathy holding them back, but a pure consideration of risk vs. reward.

      One of the main problems regarding IMers is (imho) the lack of such cultural rules that would tell the gurus “If you continue doing this, it’s gonna be really painful for you and nobody will buy your pity play”
      At the moment, lots of people do, though, and that obviously amplifies the natural tendency of these guys to deny responsibility and push it to the “evil” FTC or FDA or whoever.

      1. @Clark ::

        They don’t really respond well to expectation of punishment though … even in the military setting where deviations from the standard are swiftly and unforgivingly punished … they are very very hard to control.

        The problem is probably less about IM culture … and more about Western culture.

        Here’s a bizarre factoid :: the prevalence of sociopathy in East Asia is stunningly lower. In Dr. Stout’s book she quotes a study in urban and rural Taiwan showing a range from 0.03 — 0.14 percent.

          1. @SandDune ::

            Yeah that is interesting. Like how the only thing American kids score “the best” at is their ability to mistakenly believe that they are “the best.”

            1. @SD,

              You can thank the self-esteem movement for that, when that crap began in California a few wiser and more experienced teachers pointed out that gang members and bullies had very high self-esteem. Alas, people in charge didn’t listen and there was yet another failed social experiment.

            2. @SD,

              Have you ever considered how much damage Mr. Rogers may have done? How many years did he tell kids that they’re wonderful, just the way they are?

              Those kids are all adults now, in the 25-50 age bracket.

    4. @perfectTiming, I started searching through the internet for more about the brain-wiring part and landed up on something named Koenigs Labs at University of Wisconsin Dept of Psychiatry which studies psychopathy. First I thought about that maybe they were dedicated to studying Mike Koenigs’ brain, but turned out to be different than that, but maybe not too different:

      “In other studies we have shown that brain lesions involving ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) can alter the patient’s “rational” decision-making, such as moral judgment, financial bargaining, or even susceptibility to commercial advertising.”

      Which made me think that maybe Frank & friends are just a-morally bad at financial bargaining and think charging people $5,000 for frauducts is a great deal for their target-marked-mark-market audiences.

    5. @perfectTiming,

      Suppose a person were born that had scissors for hands. Yeah, that’s a tragedy. But you still might need to impose a few reasonable limits on what sort of job they could get for everyone else’s safety.

      But in the case of the sociopath–don’t worry. I don’t think any special societal restriction will come to pass anytime soon. The feeling of concern that you express for them (that they are incapable of expressing back) will prevent it.

      Furry cows moo and decompress.

      1. @Wyrd, @perfectTiming: the idea of some sort of “modified” form of punishment where certain crimes have ramped up prison terms or where some form of post-prison requirements are required is not totally unfounded. We do have some precedent for it.

        hate crimes” are crimes that already exist but have a particular type of motive (i.e., based on hate of a certain race/ethnicity/religion (not sure if sexual orientation is included)). Also, people who commit sexual assaults are required to register as sex offenders. The real key here is that, generally, when someone does NOT complete their original prison sentence and is paroled, then we can impose all sorts of restrictions and that parolee doesn’t have all of the same rights and freedoms that the rest of us have. Once an individual completes his or her full prison sentence, generally the idea is that we can’t continue to punish him or her.

        Yet, sex offenders must register and that lasts even after their prison sentence is completed. Don’t we also take the right to vote from felons? And the right to vote is considered one of the most important (at least in the “spirit of the law”) and is one of the more well-protected rights (again, “in spirit” if not in fact). And don’t forget the “three strikes” law. “The Three Strikes law significantly increases the prison sentences of persons convicted of felonies who have been previously convicted of a violent crime or serious felony, and limits the ability of these offenders to receive a punishment other than a prison sentence.”

        My point is that, it would not be completely off the wall to have more strict prison terms for individuals who run these types of fraudulent business (whether based on scope or “repeat offense”). And it wouldn’t be completely off the wall to require that they “register” on a site that lists their past prison record & the crimes for which they have been convicted. Of course first we would have to START arresting and convicting them.

        Also, we can prevent people convicted of child molestation from living near schools/playgrounds. So why can’t we prevent psychopathic seamsters from owning an online business?

        Unfortunately, we don’t even have good, workable ways to deal with the repeat offense rate of convicted pedophiles and that is a crime that the general population is extremely aware of and extremely passionate about (as well we should be). I don’t have much hope for solutions in the case of these psychos when half the time people just blame the victims for being “just so stupid”.

        And with regard to the “blame the victim” mentality, and @saltydroid will remember this from law school (and was likely as sickened by it as I was). There used to be a time when rape wasn’t rape if the victim didn’t physically fight back to try and prevent it. In that instance I guess it was the victims fault or s/he really did want it anyway. Now, before I start getting flamed I want to make sure I’m clear. I’m not saying that these scams are equal to rape. I AM saying that the mentality of what we expect from victims of certain crimes can be pretty flawed (and the old rape laws are a good example of those flaws). I also want to point out (and salty has pointed out in past posts) that the damage these scammers cause can be completely devastating.

    6. @perfectTiming, I think it comes down to whether or not we view the judicial system as a means of punishing criminals or protecting society. I think we’d all be better off if we emphasized the second. Psychopaths can’t be rehabilitated and returned as harmless to society. In fact, therapy, ironically, can make them much worse because it teaches them tools the better with which to manipulate. They are statistically demonstrated to be highly likely to recidivate. FWIW, Hare’s checklist is used in many penal systems to determine parole eligibility. If they test high on the checklist, parole is denied. It’s not universal… yet. But it should be.

      Just one caveat. There is no consensus as to whether or not psychopaths are born that way. It really depends on whom you read. Hare favors that theory. Other researches have different categories for born or acculturated psychopaths. David Lykken, for instance, separates them into psychopath (born) and sociopath (made). But there’s no consensus on any of it. It’s not even a DSM category. It’s lumped under anti-social personality disorder which also includes many similar behavioral issues that are not psychopathy.

    7. @perfectTiming, there are good psychopaths like Salty Droid and bad psychopaths like Perry Belcher. The difference is that one tries to get something for nothing – the other doesn’t. One chooses to specialize at lying – the other specializes on telling the truth. One specializes at hurting people who are weak – the other specializes at hurting people who deserve to be hurt. We love the one kind and hate the other.

      Is Dexter Morgan a good portrait of a psychopath? Is he a good or a bad person? That is a good question ask in this context. Is killing villains good or bad? Perhaps evil done to some is good in some way. ;-)

      1. @Me,

        It’s odd that you would mention Dexter Morgan. First of all, he’s a fictional person who could never exist in real life. Second of all, he’s a highly moral person–look at how carefully he screens his victims before he kills them. I don’t think he’s a sociopath at all, even though the show says he is. He’s got a compulsion to kill, yes, but he’s tightly controlled. I think he’s a highly principled person who’s become a vigilante. Since he needs to kill anyway, why not kill the people who deserve it?

        1. Not to beat a dead horse, but it might be instructive to compare and contrast Dexter Morgan, a fictional serial killer, with Ted Bundy, a real one.

          Dexter carefully selects evil people who have escaped the law. He researches their cases carefully to make sure they’re guilty, then kills them, after making sure they know WHY they’re being killed.

          Ted Bundy preyed on vulnerable young women who committed no crime other than being too trusting. He killed at least one a month, but killed two in one day on a few occasions. He would strangle them while having sex with them. Then he would dispose of their bodies in the woods, but cut the heads off. He would take the heads home to his apartment and have sex with the heads.

            1. @Bonnie,

              Yeah, I think Ted Bundy is quite a bit worse than Dahmer. Dahmer was able to admit to what he did and show remorse. Bundy could only speak about himself in the third person, as if someone else had committed these crimes.

              When he did make reference to his murders, he referred to it as “acting out,” as if it was simply a temper tantrum.

              His MO made victim identification very difficult, since skeletonized bodies would be found, minus the heads, or vice versa. DNA testing was not available at the time, and I believe that police still have some unidentified body parts.

              Dexter Morgan is starting to look like a saint by comparison.

            2. @Hippo,

              I never knew who Dexter Morgan was before this, but I think we need a few “real” Dexter Morgans in this world — provided they do the due diligence that this fake character does. Because obviously, the justice system is failing us in many instances. Far too many.

            3. @Bonnie,

              I agree. Dexter Morgan is really that part inside all of us that longs for someone to make things right when the normal avenues of justice have failed.

              If James Ray doesn’t get an appropriate sentence, Dexter will be standing by with his syringe and his butcher knife.

              In an odd coincidence, Dexter got involved with a self-help guru last season, and the guy turned out to be a vicious killer (well played by Jonny Lee Miller). Dexter did away with him and it was SWEET.

            4. @Bonnie,

              It’s definitely cathartic to watch fictional psychopaths go after “people who deserve it.” To keep the psychopath squarely in the protagonist role, there seems to be two rules:
              1. S/he follows a personal code of conduct.
              2. The code says to only hurt people who deserve it.

              That’s the case not only in Dexter but in the BBC series Hustle and in the book “Yellow Kid” Weil, which was recommended to me by someone on this site. (It’s an autobiography by a real-life conman, so I assume it’s mostly fiction.)

              Referring to Dr. Hare’s list in the OP, real-life psychopaths are too impulsive to live by any code, wouldn’t feel remorse if they broke their code, and lack the empathy to figure out who “deserves it.” They’ll go after anyone who has what they want right now.

            5. @Lanna,

              Referring to Dr. Hare’s list in the OP, real-life psychopaths are too impulsive to live by any code, wouldn’t feel remorse if they broke their code, and lack the empathy to figure out who “deserves it.” They’ll go after anyone who has what they want right now.

              Mostly, I agree with you, but if we’re going to be calling at least some of the IM scammer crowd psychopaths, then we need to acknowledge that while a psychopath might not be capable of following anything like a moral code that restrains their impulsive actions, they still do follow some sort of learned/ingrained habit or Modus Operandi.

              AFAIK, Frank Kern nor Mike Koenigs nor Tony Robbins have committed homicide. (Although if facts to the contrary come out on Robbins one of these days I won’t be surprised. The possibility of negligent death increases proportionally to the reach of the scammer and the inherent dangerousness of the psychologically manipulative magic tricks used to indoctrinate.)

              Even the very evil (and I mean evil) James A. Ray is guilty of killing (IMHO) by depraved indifference to human life not of killing by intentionally trying to kill people.

              The distinction is important to me because I still think a person that commits serial killing is more evil-er-er than a person that commits serial scamming.

              But I also think serial scamming (new term? already existing?) is a really heinous thing and I don’t think that either it or the indoctrination tactics that almost invariably go with it are viewed with nearly so much serious attention and scorn as they deserve.

              It can wreck peoples’ lives or worse.

              But it’s still not the same as Jeffrey Dahmer. But I think it’s closer to that than mainstream society is prepared to accept.

              (Because how will the TV channels fill all that empty time during the middle of the day and late at night if they can’t run those stupid infomercials and infomercials-disguised-as-news anymore? How will Oprah stay in bidniss if she can’t promote the next scammy guru coming down the pike? How will Google keep googling if they don’t get that cool scam-ad revenue? etc.)

              Furry cows moo and decompress.

  2. Spending your life trying to get something for nothing from other people is a pretty good marker for psychopathy. The garden-variety narcissist is a toxic, chaotic mess on the inside, and the baffling and disconnected things that come out of their mouths on a daily basis is another marker. They both desperately need reassurance (and their basic wants) from other people and yet want nothing to do with them, which makes them a fun date.

    The pity ploy is easy for them because they think everyone owes them. Everyone.

  3. What a fascinating aspect of a sociopath. I think it is interesting that for the most part, they are non-responsive to the usual array of human emotion but yet know exactly how to manipulate emotion for their own purposes.

    I’m a bit hyper-aware of manipulators but realize that pity and compassion are areas that can be manipulated. If you think of it, this is how the typical panhandler works. There have been a few times in my life when I was approached by someone asking for money because “they just had a flat tire” or “their grandmother was ill” and they needed money for her medicine. These scam artists know that a good hard-luck story will squeeze out money fast.

    Long ago, I was in a relationship with someone who had NPD (or was a sociopath at any rate). He was a pathological liar. I had never dealt with anyone like it before and was completely blown away by him lying to me without blinking an eye. Even when shown proof that what he was saying wasn’t true, he had an excuse. Or he’d blow up and shift the argument to something unrelated.

    People like this live in a different world than most of us. Their reality is not your reality. Even if you show them the truth, they can’t absorb it. That’s why I’m thankful for the droid spreading the news about these broken people. I go from feeling sorry for them to loathing them. I think of them as snakes. You don’t cuddle up to a snake. You take note of it and avoid getting close.

    I think it’s tough to do the “pity test” with online marketers unless they expose themselves as ND did with her fake victim story. Maybe you can pick up some of it in their long sales copy. Maybe the best way is to make sure the next time someone tells you a sob story, hold onto your wallet a little more tightly.

  4. Unfortunately we live in a culture that rewards sociopathic behavior.

    Can anyone say Goldman Sachs?

    And we live in a culture that adores and worships status and wealth and under a system that is systematically destroying the middle class.

    Is it any wonder that desperate people look up to and aspire to be like the Frank Kerns of the world?

    I’m not excusing these people; far from it. If anything, we need to recognize that this kind of thing and these kind of people are going to be even more prevalent and rise to the top more frequently here, than in a place like Sweden, where this kind of thing is looked upon with horror and where there are safe-guards in place to limit the damage done.


    1. @Ross Jeffries,

      All the more reason to throw the book at these criminals, lock them up, and wish we could throw away the key!

    2. @Ross Jeffries,

      The PUA field is filled with those who have antisocial personality disorders (psychopaths and sociopaths). These men live to denigrate women.

      You know PUAs who neg women with self-esteem issues, pretend to be gay when striking up that first conversation, ‘seduce’ women with NLP, take advantage of drunk women who cannot consent, and so on.

      The sociopaths do it with the goal of having ‘normal’ dating relationships to fit into society instead of appearing abnormal. The psychopaths do it because they take pleasure in the damage they do to the women.

      Then there are the PUA ‘gurus’ teach others to abuse women in order to make money while pretending to be experts in normal dating relationships.

      They are frauds. Their successes include paying for eye candy to be around them but not sleep with them, paying strippers/hookers for sex, and raping the occasional nearly unconscious drunk woman dragged home from the bar.

      1. @PUA Sociopaths,

        I may be wrong, but I don’t think this is the “real” Ross Jeffries of PUA creepsville. Salty would have to verify that, but I think it’s just someone trying to be funny using the name.

          1. @SD,

            Well geez, talk about talking the talk but not walking the walk — I never would have guessed. Oh well — again, it just proves how easy it is to get conned by these people!

            1. @Bonnie, You said it! He’s criticizing JAR and who knows how many women have been hurt and/or traumatized because of his teachings!

          2. @SD,

            Just as an FYI, syphilis is fairly easy to shake off, unless it reaches its tertiary stage. Before this, common-or-garden penicillin works well.

            Herpes, on the other hand, is forever. Perhaps a better comparator for this occasion?

    3. @Ross Jeffries, exactly – there is a societal problem at play here as well. I think that the more that we shift away from the “dog eat dog” success model and embrace things like simplicity, connection and truth, the harder it will be for these types to gain a foothold.

      1. @LisaSimpson,

        But it is always a good idea to keep the dog-eat-dog model warm on the back burner, as these types will never be eradicated completely and you never know when one will hove into view on the horizon.
        It is essentially a behaviour pattern and, genetic arguments aside, behaviours are learned from others doing that same behaviour pattern to you.
        The choice–if there is a choice– is whether or not you replicate those behaviour patterns.

        The dog-eat-dog model is still useful as that is all that a true psychopath really ever understands.

  5. While I did find Jon Ronson and Martha Stout’s books interesting and entertaining I think the best book on the subject is “Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us” by Robert D. Hare PhD.

    Dr. Hare has been criticized by some readers for using the Bundy’s and Gacy’s of the world as examples of psycopaths but he also points out that only 1 out of 30,000 psycopaths is a serial killer. The most important trait of all is the complete lack of empathy exhibited by these people. I also like the fact that his recommendation concerning these people is to stay way from them. Period. There is no way of “handling” them or minimizing the havoc they will wreak on your life, you can’t. It would be like trying to reason with a tornado or a hurricane. There is no hidden core of decency in them…they are vacant. The other point that can’t be overstated is that psycopaths are not fascinating, as some movies and books have portrayed them, they are dull. ( think James Ray, think of the phrase used by Hannah Arendt “the banality of evil”))

    It’s also essential to recognize that psycopaths are comfortable with who they are, they wouldn’t seek treatment even if there were effective therapies for them which there are not. Schizophrenics suffer from their mental disorders, as do bi-polar and depressive patients. But psycopaths inflict suffering on others, they’re usually quite satisfied with themselves.

    At one point in this book Dr. Hare speaks of psycopaths having a reptilian-like stare, a way of holding eye contact way too long, that really reminded me of James Ray. He spoke of fuzzy, unclear word-usage as being a hallmark of these people..that reminded me of every crappy life-coaching blog I’ve read and Naomi’s garbage.

    My only disagreement with the book is he speaks of the physical attractivness of psycopaths, please, Kern, Dunford, Ray, or Brownson attractive? I don’t think so.

    1. @Barbara ::

      From that book …

      “Many people find it difficult to deal with the intense, emotionless, or “predatory” stare of the psychopath. Normal people maintain close eye contact with others for a variety of reasons, but the fixated stare of the psychopath is more a prelude to self-gratification and the exercise of power than simple interest or empathic caring.

      Some people respond to the emotionless stare of the psychopath with considerable discomfort, almost as if they feel like potential prey in the presence of a predator. Others may be completely overwhelmed and intimidated, perhaps even controlled, with little insight into what is happening to them. Whatever the psychological meaning of their gaze, it is clear that intense eye contact is an important factor in the ability of some psychopaths to manipulate and dominate others.”

        1. @Juice ::


          Here’s better advice … don’t waste your time reading things you have to take with a pinch of salt.

          A book by an established expert :: in his/her area of expertise :: can be read without salt.

          No good book about a scientific topic is presented with certainty.

          1. @SD,

            I think Dr. Hare is recognized as the leading expert on the subject. I took his book with no salt whatsoever.

            He did speak of trying to institute some type of rehabilitation program in Canada, but it fell through. The only way to rehabilitate a psychopath is to convince him that it’s in his own best interest to behave appropriately.

            I would have loved to have seen how Dr. Hare’s program would have fared if it had been allowed to proceed.

            1. @Hippo, There are other books about how early intervention is able to prevent adult sociopathy, but yeah, that’s one I’ve read and can recommend.

              I wonder if perhaps our high rate of sociopathic personality disorders, compared to those in other countries, is due in part to the extreme age segregation of our society (and the availability of electronics to raise our children, in some cases). Children need sufficient healthy interaction with adults, in order to properly develop emotionally. I dunno if maybe it’s easier for children to miss out on that here. *shrug*

    2. @Barbara, The languaging issue Hare writes about is kind of fascinating. It’s not just fuzzy. They say things that are mutually contradictory within moments of each other and seem oblivious to the discontinuity. It seems to point to a brain issue and speaks to the “born that way” theory.

      Hare doesn’t claim that they’re uniformly good looking; just that they’re attractive. He even described one guy who was odd looking but has a childlike quality that drove the lady’s wild. He’d use this impish quality play to the maternal, nurturing instinct.

      I also don’t know that I’d classify psychopaths as dull. They lack depth and tend to have only surface knowledge but they also tend to know a little about a lot. They are often described has humorous, charming, and glib. I can’t say dull. They are, however, bored. That’s a point Stout makes. It’s the only real source of unhappiness for a psycopath. They’re bored constantly and never satisfied. It makes them like sharks, constantly moving and hunting.

      1. @LaVaughn,

        Once you see through them, once the spurious ‘glamour’ (which brings to mind the ‘glamouring’ vampires supposedly use on their prey)that makes them attractive wears off, they are deadly dull because the lack of emotional affect makes them utterly predictable.

        Their initial attractiveness lies in their initial unpredictability, you are forever uncertain about them, forever on the back foot–which can make ordinary life exciting around them.

        Its when YOU change towards them, when you finally know what you are looking at and see that the outcome is always the same—win for them, loss for you—that they appear as utterly dull and not worth your time or trouble.

        Because they are utterly dull and dead as people. I think the vampire analogy fits perfectly. They are concerned only with feeding off the living.

        1. @stoic, “Glamour” is a good word. I’ve known at least 2 people who I firmly believe were psychopaths. One of them, in particular, could sort of warp reality around her. People found her sexually intoxicating and I watched men lose their wits completely around her. But as one of her many conquests put it to me, when she intended to seduce someone, things became surreal and they couldn’t think straight. Weird.

          I still can’t say dull, though. Empty. Utterly without depth. But not dull. No one who creates that much drama and damage can be considered dull. They’re dull like hurricanes are dull.

  6. From Martha Stout’s book:

    “…you can frighten a few people, or cause them to scurry around like chickens, or steal from them, or – maybe, best of all – create situations that cause them to feel bad about themselves. And this is power, especially when the people you manipulate are superior to you in some way. Most invigorating of all is to bring down people who are smarter or more accomplished than you, or perhaps classier, more attractive or popular or morally admirable. This is not only good fun; it is existential vengeance. And without a conscience, it is amazingly easy to do. You quietly lie to the boss or to the boss’s boss, cry some crocodile tears, or sabotage a coworker’s project, or gaslight a patient (or child), bait people with promises, or provide a little misinformation that will never be traced back to you.”

    When I read that passage it just screamed Naomi to me, especially creating situations that cause people to feel badly about themselves. I think she did that with Dave, whispering that his wife hated him, his brother oppressed him, his children weighed him down, etc. And I think Naomi did find it to be great fun. When she failed to keep a coaching appointment with a woman who had paid $600 for an hour of telephone time Naomi publicly shamed the woman for complaining about Naomi’s failure to appear as promised! And Naomi’s little tribe of idiot followers, ( Martine, Simone, Brownson, etc.) all defended Naomi, she had been wronged! I’m sure Naomi enjoyed that bit of ju jitsu tremendously.

    And crying crocodile tears, “Boo hoo! A mean man on the internet is making death threats against widdle old me!”, that’s one of Naomi’s favorite techniques. But I think people are slowly starting to see the truth about her, at least I hope so.

    1. @Barbara,

      “…you can frighten a few people, or cause them to scurry around like chickens, or steal from them, or – maybe, best of all – create situations that cause them to feel bad about themselves. And this is power, especially when the people you manipulate are superior to you in some way. Most invigorating of all is to bring down people who are smarter or more accomplished than you, or perhaps classier, more attractive or popular or morally admirable. This is not only good fun; it is existential vengeance. And without a conscience, it is amazingly easy to do.”

      And this is also what JAR did when he insulted and intimidated and belittled others, and yes, most probably they were all superior, smarter, more accomplished (honestly, not fraudulently), classier, more attractive, popular, and morally admirable than he was and he knew it!

    2. @Barbara, Christ, just about everything that breathes is smarter, classier, more attractive or more morally admirable than Naomi. Reading that, no wonder that she enjoyed her winnings so much. Similar to what Bonnie said about JAR. Cages for Psychopaths! There appears to be no other way.

      Seems as a society, we need to focus less on money and admiration and to focus on things that really matter. Hard to do on a day when I heard Bela Lugosi’s Dracula cape may be auctioned off for $2 Million and many people can’t even really afford food.

  7. Here’s part of a documentary who agrees to be tested. (link goes to Youtube.)

    He describes his attitude to life thus: “I see life as a giant supermarket. I stroll amongst the shelves and take what I want.”

    Reminds me a quote from The Secret: “The universe is like a giant mail order catalogue…” The (repulsive) “Law of Attraction” is a psychopathic idea, sugar coated for humans by appeals to greed, fake quantum physics, fear etc.

    1. @Yakaru, And that quotation about the universe as a giant mail order catalog reminds me of recently being lectured by the author of that infamous quotation. In response to a couple of legitimate points I brought up on his blog, he made a snide remark about “critics who spend their time hurting others.” He has also made reference in the past to critics who are out to “hurt” him specifically. This person, like so many of his colleagues, is a consummate solicitor of pity and sympathy. Even when tragedies happened to others close to him, he made it more about him rather than about them. (He has, however, both distanced himself from and defended that universe-as-catalog quotation.)

      Needless to say, this has been yet another good post, SD. For those who don’t “get” what this blog is about — and I’ve been communicating privately with a few of them lately — I would say that this post is a great starting point if they really want to understand why you do what you do.

  8. I find this quote to be the most interesting:

    “The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”

    I have looked heavily into the backgrounds of all the so called guru’s in the IM crowd: John Reese, Krank Kern, Jeff Walker, Mike Filsaime, Perry Belcher, Ryan Deiss, Ed Dale, Russel Brunson, Andy Jenkins, Brad Fallon, Eben Pagan along with a large group of others. they all have one thing in common in their past

    They all failed miserably in business prior to getting into selling make money courses…massive failure

    Not one of them has a single successful business prior to selling Business Opportunities

    Not one of them has had an ounce of success in anything since then other than selling make money online courses

    They didn’t all of a sudden become brilliant businessmen…they just got real good at conning people

    They don’t call it conning people they call it marketing

    They con because they can’t make money any other way.

    They’re sociopaths for sure…they need the security of the group. They need each other to tell them what they do is not criminal or even unethical or immoral

    This will not stop till everyone takes it personal to stop them

    1. @Shit Storm, And ironically, that is what bonds them to so many people. ‘I was a loser just like you but I made it.’ It doesn’t quite add up.

      1. @Juice,

        You were evidently thinking of that great Elvis song “Blue Spade Shoes”. Next time…concentrate!

    1. @Barbara,

      I said “red spatula,” even while I realized they probably wouldn’t think of a spatula as a tool.

      Out of the general population, it probably is only 2%, but on this blog, the odds may be different.

      Furry cows moo and decompress.

    1. @,Anonymous,

      My significant other failed this test also. It’s making me reconsider our entire relationship. ;)

      I, of course, passed with flying colors. ( my pathology is expressed in other ways, like blog commenting)

      1. @Barbara,

        I said black hammer.

        I can’t believe I’m a psychopath! But I’m serious about getting help, really. I just couldn’t live with myself knowing that I was a danger to others. I’ve taken the difficult decision to commit myself to a hospital ward for life.

        ..naturally that’ll cost money. If anyone has it in their heart to contribute to my ‘mental wellness fund’ and help support my poor vulnerable children during this difficult time, do get in touch. It means so much to me!! And remember: the more you give, the more you will attract!!!

        1. @208-577-6210,

          Damn, who knew one simple test would uncover an entire nest of psycopaths. I’m sure all of the readers here will dig deep into their pockets to help you in your quest for mental health.

          I would help but I’m saving up for this great set of ebooks that I read about to help me make money on the internets…they promised this time it’s for real.

  9. Read the book WORKING WITH MONSTERS which is what I was told to read after leaving the employ of the people Salty mentions on these blogs. I left completely mystified how a person could be so brazen to treat others in such an egotistical, arrogant, selfish and greedy way and think very little of it, in fact what frequently happened was he would turn around and blame the victims. After having to deal with the things that went on before during and after it became evident that something was very wrong, something that I personally could never fix. I was in shock the first few pages into that book. Now I see the patterns repeating over and over again in this person. In confirmation of this recently about a dozen people sent me an email in which my name and several other very well known people were mentioned in an extremely dishonest, derogatory, immature and spiteful way. The information in the email was completely false and along with outrageous comments was a pathetically sad argument for “poor me”. I have come to understand that this is very typical of people who have psychopathic tendencies. I can personally attest that these people are extremely dangerous for many reasons. I used to fall for the “poor me/us” crap for a very long time and I honestly used to feel sorry for the person/s involved until one day all of a sudden everything came into the open and the truth was exposed for what it was. All the comments that others made to me which I had previously ignored, all the phone calls I received with people sobbing on the other end of the phone, all the home visits from people affected, all the photos and letters sent to my home address from anonymous, all the evidence uncovered after lengthy investigations proved to me that I had been completely led by a very dangerous person. To this day this person has never changed and I have now come to the conclusion that I doubt they ever will. Despite having nothing to do with this person any more, not knowing where they are, what they are doing, who they are doing it with or anything about them they still continue with the lies and innuendo because apparently it still serves them to do it. I feel sad that our society has come to the point where people with an illness such as this have influence over the lives of others who are seeking something better for themselves. I have my own opinion about James Ray and others but what I do know is that unless these people are to a point where they are forced to change, they never will.

  10. This thread feels really important to me, because as I’ve re-entered the world of industrial business, I’ve noticed a trend I call: “IM Emulation” . . .

    What I see happening – is this circle of IM’ers ‘The PsychoPath Boys Club’ have become role models to many young and old professionals outside the IM world – many of which, not psychopathic by nature have begun to emulate the psychopathic paradigm, lifestyle, and lessons of these Guru’s.

    It’s as if, we’ve created a modern dynamic where we’ve taken the lowest of our culture, and elevated them to Guru status.

    We’ve made the dregs of society our role models, allowing them to set the standards for behavior – making them our spiritual, political, and professional leaders.

    The ‘Emulation’ that follows that trend is an odd thing to be surrounded by, as what was once abhorrent, becomes ordinary as it is embraced by so many people…

    In other words, these IM’ers, Self Help Leaders, etc. are not actually offering ‘Biz in a Box’ or ‘The Keys to a Better Life’ – they are instead teaching by example the secrets of how to lead a psychopathic lifestyle…

    1. @Injun Samurai,

      This is only my humble opinion, but I think that’s what happened to poor Dave Navarro. I think he tried to emulate Naomi–to take her sociopathic personality traits into himself.

      Furry cows moo and decompress.

    2. @Injun Samurai,
      I’ve noticed this, also. The trend of wanna-be psychopaths (that seems like a strange thing to type) also seems to have grown alarmingly in the MLM “community”, which is about as scammy and scummy as the IM “community”.

      Not only does it lead to people emulating the behavior, it also leads to them finding such behavior desirable, and basing such things as hiring decisions on it (I’m not kidding- I had a lack of ethics described to me as a desirable trait in a new employee. Not only are ethics out the window, rational thought was taking a bath in the same basin and went with.)

      It’s a little scary, but mostly it’s just sad. Luckily, the wannabes are very open about it, so they’re easy to avoid.

  11. Nature vs. Nurture?

    So is it something that can be learned and un-learned? Is it something that can be treated?

    Or is it simply a case of a hard wired brain state that won’t ever change?

    Furry cows moo and decompress.

    1. @Wyrd,

      “Or is it simply a case of a hard wired brain state that won’t ever change?”

      It is, and it won’t. Just ask the droves of people who have wasted years, and massive volumes of effort and kindness and patience, trying to help psychopaths become real people — or even just pretend better. You’ll be talking to some of the most exhausted, disappointed and burnt-out people on Earth.

  12. I used to have a psycho roommate. Not in the whiney college kid sense, but this kid’s legit hero was Patrick Bateman.

    This is similar to the scene described above with the kid getting hit by a car:

    We were playing soccer in an all-ages league, and there was this old fat dude on our team. We were standing on the sideline, and the dude just dropped from a heart a attack. A couple guys sprinted to get the AED, those who knew what to do (there were some doctors on the field) tried to check him out, and the rest of us stayed out of their way. The AED ended up reviving him, he went to the hospital and recovered fully, though I doubt we’ll see him on the soccer field again. Everyone, but my roommate was pretty concerned about his well being.

    My roommate later confessed to me that he was “excited to witness a person die,” “disappointed that he didn’t,” and while it was all happening he found it interesting to watch how people reacted to such a potentially tragic and extreme situation during which he didn’t move a muscle, except those required to grin.

    He said he knew it was weird and wrong that he felt that way.

    My response: “No shit, psycho. Seek help.”

    I have since distanced myself from this creepster, and actually haven’t talked to him in a few years despite having a common circle of friends. It’s pretty damned creepy that this dude is still so close to me though, and even more creepy that there are plenty more like him who keep those thoughts inside, and only show their true nature through their psychopathic behaviors which aren’t easy to spot unless you know what to look for.

    1. @Sid,

      This reminds me of an incident recounted by Robert Hare when he was coaching Nicole Kidman on portraying a psycopathic character in the movie Malice:

      “I said, ‘Here’s a scene that you can use,’ ” Hare says. ” ‘You’re walking down a street and there’s an accident. A car has hit a child in the crosswalk. A crowd of people gather round. You walk up, the child’s lying on the ground and there’s blood running all over the place. You get a little blood on your shoes and you look down and say, “Oh shit.” You look over at the child, kind of interested, but you’re not repelled or horrified. You’re just interested. Then you look at the mother, and you’re really fascinated by the mother, who’s emoting, crying out, doing all these different things. After a few minutes you turn away and go back to your house. You go into the bathroom and practice mimicking the facial expressions of the mother.’ ” He then pauses and says, “That’s the psychopath: somebody who doesn’t understand what’s going on emotionally, but understands that something important has happened.”

      Much like your account of the behaviour of your old roommate this is a perfect example of the total lack of empathy exhibited by these people. It makes it easier to understand how internet marketers could take someone’s last dollar for worthless internet business advice and view it not as a crime or morally despicable but instead as sound business practice.

      1. @Barbara, That’s the story I was referring to when I said “This is similar to the scene described above with the kid getting hit by a car:” It’s quoted in the OP. :)

        It makes it easy to understand, for sure, but no less disturbing. Even if they have some sort of mortality or ethics, they see things as “Business | Ethics,” rather than considering actual business ethics. They see business as some sort of cutthroat world where anything goes, and somehow separate that from the reality of the people at the end of the transaction. To them – if they don’t take a “fool’s” money some one else will. It might as well be them, ethics be damned.

        1. @Sid,

          This article has some almost terrifying accounts of behaviour seen in people identified as psycopaths:

          “It is difficult to appreciate just how different the functioning of psychopaths is compared to that of the non-psychopath. After killing a waiter who had asked him to leave a restaurant Jack Abbott denied any remorse because he hadn’t done anything wrong, and after all ‘there was no pain, it was a clean wound’ and the victim was ‘not worth a dime’ (Hare, 1993, pp. 42-3).”

          “Diane Downs murdered her three children, wounding herself in the process in order to provide evidence for story of an attack by a stranger. Asked about her feelings regarding the incident Downs replied ‘I couldn’t tie my damned shoes for about two months… The scar is going to be there forever… I think my kids were lucky’ (Hare, 1993, p. 53)”

          Of course this article is about the origins of violence and the internet marketers/possible psycopaths under discussion here do not act out violently…as far as I know. But if these people are in the numbers that have been estimated it’s a truly frightening prospect for the rest of us.

          1. @Barbara,

            I hadn’t read that quote by Diane Downs–it’s very interesting. However, it’s worth noting that she shot all three of her children, but two of them survived. One is paralyzed from the chest down, the other surviving one suffered a stroke and had some motor problems with the left side of her body. However, I don’t know what the girl’s condition is now. Happily, both surviving children were adopted by the prosecutor who got Diane convicted.

  13. Love it when this kind of stuff gets out there. There’s nothing more mind boggling/crazy making then being involved on any level with a narcissist and/or borderline, sociopath, or psychopath. Often they come off as better, more special, than the rest of us….and for a while they’re astonishingly believeable. They fit in, look normal.

    What’s hell is when you figure it out,and nobody else does. That’s why supporting JAR’s victim’s families is so important—-that so many people don’t get it has to be excrutiating to the families.

  14. A note for serious consideration.

    Do not expect any “expertise” from the religius quarter when dealing with a psychopathic child. Their usual approach is to hold out hope connected with prayer, etc. Don’t forget that if the clergy is not knowledgable in these matters they usually still proceed as if they have the solution. Their normal approach is to promote love and compassion. In effect, they are really helping the psychopath by continuing to soften up the victims.

    Also, now that you know 4% of Americans are psychopaths you can consider that at least 4% of the clergy are psychopaths. In addition, donning the robes of a cleric is particulary appealing since they can practice their craft with relative impunity and huge rewards.

    1. @ND’s Dad,

      Do not expect any “expertise” from the religius quarter when dealing with a psychopathic child.

      Yeah, well I wouldn’t worry too much about folks on this blog suggesting that. From some recent-ish articles on this blog relating to PZ Meyers, it appears most of the regular commenters here are agnostic or are religious only in a sort of mainstream/rational way. That is to say: some folks here might pray to god asking for a known-to-be sociopath to see the error of their ways, but they wouldn’t be so incautious as to try and personally get to know and/or “fix” the sociopath.

      In any case, trying to “fix” someone that has any kind of severe personality disorder really doesn’t work terribly well. It’s best left to mental health care providers. (IMHO, their success rate isn’t any higher than non-mental health care providers, but at least the mental health care providers 1) get paid for their time and 2) only have to deal with the personality disorder problem for certain hours of the day instead of all the time.)


      Your point about the likelihood that some clergy might themselves be sociopaths is well taken and I am appropriately creeped out by it.

      I’m not quite sure on the numbers though. Statistics are not my strong suite, but I know that even if the figure of 4% of the general population is accurate, it doesn’t follow that, that means 4% of the clergy would be. Instead could easily be more or less of the clergy that would be sociopaths.

      But there’s no need to stop there: we can look at police officers, politicians (probably A LOT there), judges, P.E. coaches, your next door neighbor, etc, etc.

      I think we need to maintain perspective (again) and focus on what we know for sure:
      1) There exist, in the world, certain people that, for whatever reason, unscrupulously, routinely, methodically, tell (convincing) lies to manipulate others to further their own ends.
      * Generally, the people that do this will never, ever stop. Even just talking to them can be vaguely dangerous because they can be so very good at convincing you that they are not bad.
      * One of the biggest giveaways is the Appeal to Compassion or Pity–they will say things or act in a manner that causes you to feel pity for their plight.

      2) There exist, in the world, certain people that are sociopaths or psychopaths. The research is still ongoing.

      * The definitions are not clear cut: []

      * It is definitely not the case that all of these people are violent or serial killers.
      * More or less by definition, it is the case that all sociopaths or psychopaths do not have the same emotional reaction to other human beings that non-sociopaths/non-psychopaths would have.
      * It may or may not be the case that all of these people are like those described in point #1 above i.e. methodical, manipulative liars.

      I want to emphasize the last bullet point: not having the same emotional reactions to situations certainly pre-disposes someone to be, well, “evil”. But it doesn’t logically follow that the person is guaranteed to be.

      In no way should the above be construed to mean that we are required to give Naomi or anyone like her a second chance or a third chance or a fourth, etc. Once a person has consistently demonstrated that they will always lie–that they will always be manipulative and not care about the consequences to others, then we can stop giving them chances.

      Even the fictional Catholic priest in an episode of Wonderfalls said something like that. He was, of course, suggesting that we should always forgive people. But when the main character had an objection to that, he said, “Just because you forgive someone doesn’t mean you have to let them back into your life.”

      Furry cows moo and decompress.

    2. @ND’s Dad & @Wyrd ::

      I’ll bet it’s higher than 4% among the clergy … cause it is such a great place to hide … and it’s a great place to pretend you’re working hard when you’re really doing nothing … it’s a great place to pretend you have credentials when you don’t … and the toxic social dynamics of many religious hierarchies are ripe for manipulation.

      1. @SD,

        With regard to mental health professionals, psychopaths don’t respond to therapy, and in fact, therapy can make them worse. They learn from their therapists how to be more skillful at manipulating people.

        Since they have no conscience and feel fine about themselves, they see no reason to change. But they can learn terminology and techniques from a therapist which will make them more convincing liars.

        1. @Hippo,

          Yeah. The (lack of) conscience thing always makes me think of the song _Evil_ by Voltaire:

          It’s so easy when you’re Evil. /
          This is the life, you see, / the Devil tips his hat to me. /
          I do it all because I’m Evil. / And I do it all for free. /
          Your tears are all the pay I’ll ever need.

          Furry cows moo and decompress.

      2. @SD,

        If you do an analysis of the presence of psychopaths in various professions you will find that some so-called professions are attractive to them more than others. For example, psychopaths find “homes” in law, law enforcement, military, mental health, investment, real estate and religion. I believe that in some cases, the percentage rises above 20%. The simple test is to check if the subject has a “conscience”. If they commence to justify their actions without expressing honest empathy, odds are that they are psychopaths. As Hare’s book title says, they are “Without Conscience”.

        1. @NDs Dad,

          I would not be the least bit surprised to find out that’s true. I’m thinking the percentage must be extremely high in the self-help industry. Ugh.

  15. Alexandra Nouri, i think I read your articles years ago–“So you’re in love with a narcissist.” Let me just say, that series you wrote was one of the most helpful pieces I ever read, and funny, too, when I was in the process of extracting myself from a world class narsissist husband. Just can’t thank you enough for that—if you get a chance, post that link here—you were instrumental in my recovery.

    1. @billie,

      Yes, I read the same article and it was wonderfully helpful. I think I actually gasped out loud a couple of times while reading it–shockingly spot-on, and written with enough humor so that the reader can laugh and cry at the same time.

  16. I believe THE SECRET sent greed to the stratosphere and I also believe that none of the people in it who have been exposed by others as being frauds were involved in it with the right intention and that is why they are being shamed right now.

    I also think it is very ironic that THE SECRET came out just before the GFC. It was almost as if it was the Good Lords best joke against these greedy people. You fools you want greed and notoriety, then I shall give it you but be prepared for what measure you ask you shall receive.

    Not one of the people who have been shamed for their greed and manipulation have been prepared for the consequences of their actions.

    1. @Hellen, I could not agree more. Shame on everyone who USED this to fake their way to wealth. I see a number of them are paying big time now, THANKYOU@!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Only the Korn Kern-al could spin absolutely having no regard for his future wife and baby to sell people more crap into something noble and altruistic.

    “I want you to commit to helping yourself right now” = Buy my stuff, and hopefully my pitiful play on your emotions worked.


  18. @LaVaughn,

    The problem is Western ideas of individuality are based on a belief that individuality is sacred and special.

    That idea is slightly sociopathic in itself. There’s a whole lot less in Western philosophical traditions about sharing, mutual support, or organic interdependence.

    So sociopaths are really just extremes on a continuum which begins at mild collective narcissism and ends at criminality.

    Perhaps it’s as much a social emotional illness rather than a personal one. If you look at collective values, ‘business’ – i.e. screwing over someone weaker than you – doesn’t just get a pass, it gets massively rewarded.

    When was the last time you heard of someone in a corporate setting being rewarded for acting with a conscience, or with honest consideration for others?

    So there’s a kind of psychopathic background noise in this culture, which makes it harder to spot the extremists. I’m thinking if interdependence was emphasised more, genuine born-that-way sociopaths would stand out instantly, and it would be *obvious* they were damaged.

    As things are, they’re more likely to ‘succeed’ than normal folk. The damage is only noticed when they do something so obviously outside the limits of acceptable behavior it becomes impossible to ignore their weirdness.

    1. @AvengingAngel,

      Unfortunately, North American measurements of “success” tend to be sociopathic. During my professional life I was constantly being admonished by the “unethical” that I could be a lot more “successful” if I would just learn to not be “so damn moral” I could make a lot of money. I am certain that with the coaching of her mother and others, Naomi looks at my career as being a total failure, and yet, I am the one who sleeps well at night because I am also looking forward to joyful tomorrows.

    2. @AvengingAngel, It’s interesting that you make the point about corporate culture rewarding seeming “psychopathic” behavior. There is an interesting documentary called “The Corporation” which looks at this exact thing — are corporations “psychopaths”. As I recall, the examine the main diagnostic traits of psychopaths and examine corporate structure and behavior in relation to it. I watched it several months back on Netflix (you can stream many of their documentaries for free). I don’t know where else you might be able to find it. As I recall the production value wasn’t all that great but it was certainly interesting.

  19. I was reading through the James Ray stuff and found this comment from David Schirmer in Australia

    “This morning I logged on to find I had numerous emails from people asking questions and seeking understanding around the situation – so I thought I would share my thoughts here.”

    Let me say something. Who gives a fuck what Schirmer thinks to start with. As a person independent from both of these fucktards I cannot believe how fucking stupid Schirmer can be to pretend he has any idea as to what was going on in Ray’s head to make him make the decisions that he did. Schirmer should shut the fuck up and get a life and keep his fucking opinions about everything to himself because he is NOT welcome here.

    All of these people are psychopaths thats why they do what they do.

    1. @bellyache,

      It’s too bad that anybody would even ask Schirmer to explain. This reminds me of when the tragedy first happened, and Ray swore he was “going to get to the bottom of this.” There’s not much to explain; Ray set up an unsafe sweat lodge, and three people died. Ray tried to make it way more complicated than it really was by bringing in extraneous theories which would minimize his own guilt. Schirmer isn’t credible; Ray isn’t credible.

      It also reminds me of LaToya Jackson vowing to “get to the bottom of” how her brother died; one blogger refers to her as “Detective LaToya.” No great mystery when you have a drug addict and an enabling physician. Dr. Murray should be held responsible for his medical mistakes; however, the entire Jackson family is in denial that Michael was an addict playing Russian roulette.

      1. @Hippo & @bellyache: Obviously, the only reason anyone would ask for Shameless Schirmer’s opinion about the sweat lodge deaths is that both Schirmer and Death Ray were “teachers” in “The Secret.” I have no doubt that all of the “teachers” in that boondoggle were asked for their opinions about the incident early on. Only a few actually made public statements (Bob Proctor, of course, was another one who did). Others, such as Joe Vitale, made non-statements to the effect that “we don’t know what went on in that sweat lodge, so let’s reserve judgment.”

        Meanwhile, most of the Secret “stars” have gone on with their dodgy business-as-usual practices, hoping, no doubt, that the whole Ray thing will eventually get swept under the rug. As for Schirmer, he seems to be on a one-way trip to obscurity; I even got bored blogging about him.

        And @Hippo, I agree with you about the Jackson family being in denial.

        1. @Cosmic Connie, Schirmer is closing down all business activities blaming his previous employees, Bob Proctor and Gerry Roberts apparently. What he failed to factor into his equation was the flack he would get from blaming everyone else but himself while claiming to be Gods gift to mankind. He is one very sad shadow nowadays but despite being exposed even by the authorities (and he has his own interpretation of that too of course) he is promising to be back with a global managed fund. Imagine that. What a perfect excuse for a new blog and what sort of fools would put a penny with a person like him.

          1. @Jonusonus, Schirmer has been claiming to have had millions run through his bidness in the last few years but apparently he doesnt have a penny to rub together to pay anyone now. What convenient excuses for a fake Christian like Schirmer. Schirmer is one intersting character. Who can spend the amount of money that he claims to have made and not have any left? If they did they surely fucked up big time. I wonder if the authorities follow this guy and his family members in and out of the country because you would think it he could have hidden funds overseas in places like Canada where his kids on facebook apparently frequent. I just dont trust this guy at all. Coincidences or not it all stinks especially after all he has claimed publicly. I have noticed that over the years he has always blamed everyone else for his situation. And what is surprising is that some of their apparent “friends” fail to see through the veil of secrecy and deceit but that is more testament to his ability to deceive. Interesting comments coming from the Schirmer camp these days though. It was evident for a very long time that his whole demeanor changes when he is asked questions. Like I said, interesting……

            1. @QuiveringQuidich and @Jonusonus, A “global managed fund?” From Schirmer?!? I guess the snarky bloggers will just have to keep eyes open for that. The public may have a short memory, but fortunately, we don’t. I did know that a couple of Schirmer kids are in Canada, and Schirmer himself has visited the U.S. on numerous occasions, so I guess we can’t count him out entirely at this point. I will say this: He’s a great example of the “pity-party” phenomenon that’s the theme of this post. He has been playing the martyr card ever since A Current Affair nailed him nearly five years ago.

  20. Just checked out Schirmer on the Australian ASIC website and guess what I found:

    “Mr Schirmer chose to deceive ….”

    Is he surprised about his results? I guess nothing much has changed.

  21. In case you’re not lucky enough to get Naomi’s newsletters, here is an excerpt from the latest one:

    Title: Why I don’t do product recommendations (or, Naomi blows the whistle)

    Excerpt #1:

    If you’ve been hanging around IttyBiz for any length of time, you’ll know I used to have a lot to say on the topic of affiliate marketing.

    If you don’t know what affiliate marketing is, before I explain it, please take a moment to congratulate yourself on a well lived life. Congratulations – you are not a sleazy internet marketer.

    Excerpt #2:

    Prices went up. Customer incentives became ridiculous. Bribes went through the roof.

    Because of all of these shenanigans, I got out of the affiliate game. I canceled my own affiliate program a couple years ago – if you see someone recommending something of mine, they’re doing it out of the good of their heart and not because they’re getting compensated in ANY way – and stopped doing affiliate promotions for other people.

    I did several series of promotions last year for Dave Navarro – if you were around at that point, you might remember the Failproof videos – that were very clearly not affiliate promotions. If you bought something, I didn’t make a dime.

    (Naturally, this led the known universe to assume we were sleeping together. I neither confirm nor deny. The scandal’s good for traffic.)

    Wow. Just Wow. There are no words for this type of manipulation, except of course to say, it falls perfectly into the psychopathic behavior covered in this post. She just keeps going, as if nothing has hit the fan.

    I love that she ‘cancelled’ her affiliate program. Yeah, when you don’t pay your affiliates, you kind of piss them off, and in return, you don’t really have an affiliate program. Funny how that works.

    1. @Susie,

      That’s lovely. When my boys are older and they’re wondering why their dad doesn’t have anything to do with them anymore (a question they ask often enough as it is) I’ll be sure and tell them it’s because it was “good for traffic”. I’m sure they’ll understand completely after reading a few online sales pages and it will erase any lingering doubt in their minds that something in their dad’s life was more important than they are.

      I’m glad my family’s heartbreak, emotional turmoil, and financial uncertainty has been so great for for someone else. I can tell you, from this side, it sucks. My husband put his life in the hands of a sociopath and she ruined it, dragging all of us down with them. The saddest part is, we’re all going to be ok – therapy, family, friends, etc – but Dave may never be as long as he’s swept along in her wake.

      1. @Alison,

        Having been successfully through the turmoil with ND and her mother, I heartily suggest that the sooner Dave is “just an insignifant memory” the better for you and the boys. Too often all of our energy is consumed as we attempt to capture somethings that weren’t really there in the first place. For example, I could focus on ND’s childhood and not face the facts of what she has become. She was a great kid.

        Its better to stop thinking of Dave as a victim but rather as a “shit head”. If you keep up with the current comments you will create an image that Dave, with his best efforts and without ND, would NOT be able to live up to. Remember, most victims of psychopathic activities fail to accept their own faulty judgements in order to keep the delusion that they were a good judge of character and that the fault occurred because of someone else’s “influence”.

        Dave came from a dysfunctional family. You are better rid of him and his garbage. Devote your efforts to your boys, get a better man in your life, and get on with your life! I have.

  22. I’ve been a long-time follower but this is my first comment. I think this may be the best post I’ve ever read on this blog and I’d would love to see more along these lines. Based on the information here, I suddenly have a deeper understanding for people in my personal life that display these same tendencies.

    I think it’s easy for us to sit back, point and laugh at the “suckers” who fall for the more obvious scammers, like Kern, Ray, etc. We ask questions like, “How can they be so blind?” It seems so obvious! But the list here of psychopath characteristics and other tendencies helped me realize my ex-fiance could quite possibly fall into this category…as well as a few friends and family members. Of course I’m not going to diagnose them based on one post, but understanding the common traits and behaviors of psychopaths or sociopaths is extremely helpful.

    Thanks Salty for helping me personalize this concept. It’s unbelievable the stats here…but with information like this, we can be better armed to deal with the psychopaths we encounter every day, not just the ones trying to sell us instant internet wealth.

    1. @Tom, Wow Tom! You described Brian Clark using some very profane terminology right there. Keep in mind that using language like that about Brian Clark might make a lot of this blog’s readers wonder why you were being so gentle.

    1. @Tom, You mean you haven’t looked at the list of names under that little drop down box above called “categorically,” in the column to the right?

  23. DOGBERT: I finished ghostwriting your autobiography.
    C.E.O.: [reading] “I was ridiculously lucky. The end.” I was hoping you’d include something about all of my hard work.
    DOGBERT: You didn’t work any harder than your gardener, and he lives in his truck.
    C.E.O.: What about my vision and my intuition?
    DOGBERT: My first draft had a chapter on your hallucinations and magical thinking. But I covered that ground with the title: “I’m A Delusional Sociopath And You Can Too.”
    C.E.O: I’m starting to regret paying you in advance.

    Furry cows moo and decompress.

  24. Does Scott Adams read saltydriod? Seriously, sometimes I wonder…

    (With apologies to Salty’s operator and all other non-evil lawyers out there.)

    C.E.O.: You might be wondering why I called this meeting.
    DILBERT: Well, I see a CEO, a company lawyer, and two salespeople. Those jobs are highly correlated with psychopathy.
    DILBERT: My guess is that you invited me here to disembowel me.

    * (in the last panel the lawyer’s got some implement in his hands. I can’t tell if he’s cleaning his fingernails or sharpening a knife.)

    Furry cows moo and decompress.

    1. @Wyrd,

      //Executive Coaching//

      DOGBERT: Research shows that CEOs are more likely to be psychopaths.
      DOGBERT: Obviously, being a psychopath works. Don’t let anyone tell you different.
      DOGBERT: How’s your grandiose sense of self-worth?


  25. There are a few sites I recommend for anyone interested in reducing the probabilities of getting entangled in a web of a psychopath or other unscrupulous scumbag.

    First, however, I want to comment on the link to I, Psychopath. Sam Vaknin has written a lot about malignant narcissism himself, but how much of it is legit is highly dubious. I recommend to steer clear of the guy.

    What I do recommend is a site by Dr George Simon, whose writings on character-disordered people are insightful and important to know.

  26. the point of your stupid articles are truly beyond me….why don’t you find something useful to do instead of writing crap and wasting people’s time, loser

    1. @Rudolph The Reindeer,

      “the point of your stupid articles are truly beyond me….why don’t you find something useful to do instead of writing crap and wasting people’s time, loser”

      It’s true. You have NO choice about how you can spend your time…MUST read Salty Droid…MUST read Salty Droid…

    2. @Rudolph The Reindeer,

      Are you really the best that scam world has to offer to defend itself?

      Truly amazing.

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