Book review - The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout
This is from a user on Rsdn:
I’m not a professional psychologist, but I’ve met people who definitely strike me as sociopaths. This list includes:
- A former wing (former being a key word)
- A girl I dated off and on in 2014 until I finally realized what a lunatic she was
- A high school classmate who eventually got kicked out of the student government at his university for ethics violations (how bad do you have to screw up to get kicked out of STUDENT government? Haha let’s hope he doesn’t run for real office)
- People I have met or encountered while working in financial services, including members of a company in which is now under federal investigation for fraud (dodged a massive bullet...I was interviewing with them, didn't know they were a fraud company at the time, and they decided not to hire me. Not getting hired by them may have been the biggest lucky break I ever got)
This list includes both men and women, and it includes people in positions of power as well as just regular people. Sociopaths go across all demographics. As aspiring pimps, it is important to recognize these behaviors to protect not only yourselves but also the people that you care about. Many of us are likely here because at one point in our lives, we were not operating at a high level of emotional maturity and strength. Unfortunately, sociopaths can pick up on this and use it as leverage to manipulate people. Know the signs so that you don't become a victim.
Main points 1. Most sociopaths are NOT like The Joker in Batman or other over the top fictionalized characters. Most DO understand social norms, but simply do not feel bad by not following them. In fact, most sociopaths often are able to selectively follow social norms as “camouflage” of sorts to hide their manipulative behavior. 2. Sociopathy is more common than people think. The author cites some research showing that as many as 1 in 25 people have sociopathic tendencies. 3. Sociopaths can often end up in positions of power where they can manipulate emotionally vulnerable people. This can even include sociopathic therapists or other people in positions of trust, where that position can be abused by instilling disempowering beliefs instead of empowering ones. 4. Sociopathy and narcissism is related. I’m talking about clinical narcissism, not just the joking around that some of us do:
Narcissism is, in a metaphorical sense, one half of what sociopathy is. Even clinical narcissists are able to feel most emotions as strongly as anyone else does…The half that is missing is the crucial ability to understand what other people are feeling.
The book goes on to state:
Sociopaths can ‘know the words but not the music.’ They must learn to appear emotional as you and I would learn a second language, which is to say, by observation, imitation, and practice. And just as you or I, with practice, might become fluent in another language, so an intelligent sociopath may become convincingly fluent in ‘conversational emotion.’
I want to tie this in to the former wing. He would, indeed, get girls from time to time. Again, I’m not a professional psychologist so this is just my opinion if he’s a sociopath or narcissists, but he straight up had zero approach anxiety. He also could, indeed, use material that he read somewhere or off of some YouTube video and get success with it, but he could never come up with anything on his own. Because of his lack of empathy, he was unable to make a real emotional connection, and the girls that he would get ultimately got weirded out and left. 5. Because sociopaths can camouflage their behavior, it can be hard for most people to detect a sociopath. However, sociopaths are often very good at detecting people who are vulnerable to manipulation. Direct quote from the book:
When a sociopath identifies someone as a good game piece, she studies that person. She makes it her business to know how that person can be manipulated and used, and, to this end, just how her chosen pawn can be flattered and charmed. In addition, she knows how to provide a sense of familiarity or intimacy by claiming that she and her victim are similar in some way…
Relatedly, people without conscience have an uncanny sense of who will be vulnerable to a sexual overture, and seduction is another very common sociopathic technique. For most people, a sexual liaison involves an emotional tie, even if only fleetingly, and such ties are used by the coldly remorseless to get what they want—allegiance, financial support, information, a sense of “winning”, or perhaps just a temporary relationship that has the appearance of being normal.
Takeaway lessons Consider that the screening process for a government security clearance involves background checks not just on criminal history, but also addictive drug use, marital affairs, and credit history. The drug use might make sense just because it’s illegal, but it goes deeper than that. Holding classified information means that you need to be in a position where nobody can blackmail you. If you’re an addictive drug user, someone could threaten to “snitch” on you to the authorities, and you’d lose your job and perhaps also have criminal repercussions for using drugs on a security clearance. There was a case a while back where Robert Hanssen, a top counterintelligence agent for the FBI, had a serious problem with strip clubs, compounded by the fact that his wife and family was very religious and wouldn’t permit that if they knew about it. The KGB took advantage of this by giving him cash to go to strip clubs, so there wouldn’t be any bank withdrawals or anything that his family would know about, in exchange for classified information. Here’s the point of my side story: one of the best defenses against a sociopath’s manipulation is to not give them anything to manipulate you with in the first place. In the case with sociopaths, what they often are using are your emotional insecurities. The more you can resolve your insecurities, the less ammo you are giving to sociopaths to use against you. Moreover:
Good people question themselves constantly, reflexively, and subject their decisions and actions to the exacting scrutiny of an intervening sense of obligation rooted in their attachments to other people.
Most rational people are open to new ideas. This openness, however, can be exploited by sociopaths. When a sociopath makes a statement, it is with unwavering belief and conviction. For better or for worse, people have a tendency to follow this behavior. The Stanford Milgram experiment is a classic example. This is why it is so important to develop core confidence, so sure, you are open to new ideas and discussion, but you don’t easily break under pressure. Finally, the old RSD adage of “be willing to walk away” fully applies. If you sense that a girl is dangling sex as “bait” of some sort, just stop returning her texts. Done. If you start seeing the signs in Tyler's classic "Poison drip" video, hit the eject button. The book winds down with a list of “Thirteen rules for dealing with sociopaths in everyday life.” One that stood out to me was to trust your instincts. I’ve read from other sources, such as Meditations on Violence by Rory Miller, that women are often better at this than men. Perhaps this is why I had some platonic female friends who said that former wing of mine didn’t quite seem right, but I didn’t see that at the time. Another rule is “Do not join the game. Intrigue is a sociopath’s tool. Resist the temptation to compete with a seductive sociopath, to outsmart him, psychoanalyze, or even banter with him.” Rule 10 is “Do not try to redeem the unredeemable.” Don’t try to save a hoe, since these hoes ain’t loyal. Check the book out.
This is a pm I sent the guy:
Pretty fascinating, but it probably takes knowing one intimately for it to really sink in. To the pit of your fucking stomach.
Anyway I know you're a part of Rsd I'm only sharing this with you because I thought you'd find it really interesting, ha!
It's an article I wrote on a long-term run-in with a sociopath in the community. What makes this one particular funny and interesting to read is the fact several of the homeys are in it, lol. This guy was embedded in Rsd for over a year before he finally did enough damage for us to call bullshit on the insanity. In fact for a few months after the end of this affair Owen was still sending me article links on sociopathy. It was very fucking intense. Jeffy just texted me after reading it.
Don't get me wrong I really respect and appreciate Macavity's reply to your post. Very beautiful actually. BUT.. sociopaths do a lot of damage. It's not even a question of if they have the capacity for it or not.. they're going to do it.
I appreciate you including the last paragraph in there.. it's what people really need to know to be forewarned. It's not a game, they're playing by a different set of rules. There's no morality or ethics, there's nothing gentlemanly about it. You're simply putting other people in harm's way by getting into it with them. And doesn't matter how bad ass you think you are, and how many ups you get on them, other people and situations can be manipulated to drag you the fuck down. Trust me, I know ;)
"If you sense that a girl is dangling sex as “bait” of some sort, just stop returning her texts. Done. If you start seeing the signs in Tyler's classic "Poison drip" video, hit the eject button."
What does this mean?
I don't quite remember the poison drip video.. anyone?
Bascially, chicks that slowly bring you down with subtle nagging and trying to change you instead of being supportive.
Look at that little rodent face ^ lol.
Yeah I would mostly attribute poison drip to a girl who simply hasn't figured out her real leadership capabilities. But they are there to inspire and push men in proper directions.
Reminds me of this crazy bitch I got to know. Couldn't quite confirm she was a sociopath. She seemed to be very empathetic/emotional at times but also displayed a lot of sociopathic characteristics. No guilt, shame, constantly lying, leading a double life, fearless, impulsive. Looks wise not the most attractive but her energy and total lack of giving a fuck was very attractive till you started getting the feeling she had no soul.
You and several other people seem to really dislike Tyler but he seems cool as shit, generous and self aware in his videos. Is there something we don't know. I've heard there's a lot of bullshit Vs what they put out. Like hiribg girls for infield etc
No he just has a rodent face in that vid, haha! I don't dislike Tyler we used to be pretty darn close