The Dark Triad

Another post, another job.

Anyway, during my time off I was afforded time to delve deeper into the psychology of so-called mental disorders and ended up happening upon the Dark Triad. It isn’t anything new, necessarily, but it is somewhat new to me. I remember coming across it a few times in my previous research but never really looked into it.

Ever since my psychological evaluation, I have been fascinated with the field of psychology, especially with regard to Cluster B Personality disorders as defined by the DSM. The more I read on Narcissism and Psychopathy, the more I began to believe that these two conditions were not completely distinct, but instead overlapped, having more in common than not.

I recently happened upon some studies from 2013 onward showing that the brains of Psychopaths and Narcissists are not as dissimilar as was previously thought. While I was aware of the “deficiencies” in psychopathic brains, thanks to the work of James Fallon, Hare, et al, I was ignorant of the similar findings from fMRIs of those diagnosed with NPD.

Psychopath Brains
http://www.businessinsider.com/what-a-psychopath-brain-looks-like-2015-7

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-empathic-brain/201307/inside-the-mind-psychopath-empathic-not-always

Narcissist Brains
http://m.livescience.com/37684-narcissistic-personality-disorder-brain-structure.html

http://www.drsyrasderksen.com/blog/seeing-narcissism-in-the-brain

These fMRI scans empirically demonstrate that, among other things, the areas of the brain concerned with emotional affect and empathy in Psychopaths and Narcissists are functionally deficienct.

This lead me to believe that, while the DSM clustered ASPD (at its base, Psychopathy) and NPD together, they are even more closely related and intertwined than initially believed. What’s more is that this proves that nature plays a larger part than nurture. Nature (genetics) provides the canvas, paint, and brush, Nurture (environment) guides the hand. I realize this this analogy isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough for the scope of this poorly written post.

Anyway, it seems that the only real difference between Narcissists and Psychopaths is that Narcissists require Narcissistic Supply to keep their mask from slipping whereas Psychopaths do not.

The Dark Triad research meticulously conducted by Peter Jonason and Gregory Webster confirmed my own conclusions on this. Psychopathy, Narcissism, and Machiavellianism form a trifecta of “dark” personality traits that manifest themselves on a spectrum based on the individual’ gemetic predisposition and environmental stimuli. Some “Dark Triad” individuals may demonstrate more Narcissism, some more Machiavellianism, and others more Psychopathic traits. Either way, these three conditions are not clear cut, but in Dark Triad individuals, all three of these traits exist in some measure or another.

To find out more about Dark Triad research, you can Google the term, but I also highly recommend checking out a blog entitled Illimitable Men.

http://illimitablemen.com

One of his more enlightening articles on DT is located here:

Understanding The Dark Triad – The Second Overview

*****

I keep a personal journal of sorts in which I write down certain traits, behaviors, thoughts, and characteristics that I have noticed about myself. After comparing the journal with the traits associated with Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and Psychopathy, I feel comfortable classifying myself as a Dark Triad individual.

I say this for many reasons. Among them are that my initial psychological evaluation concluded that I exhibited both Narcissistic and Antisocial Personality Disorder traits. There was, of course, nothing about Machiavellianism as this is not a recognized disorder by the DSM or any other publication that I know of. I see Machiavellianism as somewhat of a manifestation of Narcissism and Psychopathy as a way of either obtaining Narcissistic Supply or fulfilling the thrill seeking needs of disinhibited behavior respectively. It doesn’t yet seem to me to be as distinguishable as a disorder as NPD and Psychopathy are, although the latter have extreme overlap themselves.

I am also self-aware and, to boot, quite proud of my so-called disorder. I see it as a unique evolutionary advantage that I wield over the rest of humanity. I find myself wallowing in the praise and adulation that I get from others, however, I don’t absolutely need it in order to be happy. I can, and often do (though not enough), get along just fine by myself. I have my own personally devised ways of getting satisfaction if I need a little pick-me-up. While I can be happy alone, I can just as easily fit into nearly any crowd I find myself in. I can talk and cajole my way into any group by simply listening, observing, and then switching to the appropriate mask to become “one of them”. Soon after being accepted, I will capture the attention of the group amd move the conversation or activity in the direction I want it to go. It doesn’t work flawlessly every time, but I’m experienced enough now to where I can adapt to resistance to my will and devise new plans on the fly. It’s a talent that I have always had, but until recently had not really become completely aware of.

Anyway, I’m typing this out on my phone and my thumbs are going numb. I’m getting a bit bored, as well, so I will end this here. Check out the links and do some research for yourself.

Until next time…

The Dark Triad

Soi-Disant Psychopathes

Damn you, James Fallon, and your little book, too.

The self-proclaimed psychopath is very rarely a true psychopath. I have, much to my misfortune and boredom, spent hours reading post after post of whiners and sycophants claiming to be psychopaths. What I find most of the time are weak, pathetic losers, mostly teenagers with a few adults spattered about, looking for a little sympathy and/or a place to fit in.

The thing is, it takes quite a bit of intelligence, perception, and a keen sense of introspection in order to determine whether or not you are a genuine psychopath. Most psychopaths lack the ability of deep introspection in order to make the connection and go about their lives ignorant of the origins of their unique qualities. Take Dr. James Fallon, for instance. This brilliant man lived for 58 years as a psychopath, albeit seemingly lower on the spectrum, without knowing it. His friends and family always knew something was a bit off about him, but for the most part he got along well, even earning his doctorate and becoming a successful neuroscientist. It wasn’t until he saw an MRI scan of his own brain that he realized something was different about him. Even still, according to him, it took a bit of a fact-finding mission on his part to truly confirm his own self-diagnosis. So, given that Dr. Fallon is an obviously bright individual and still didn’t have some profound epiphany one day after reading about the Hare Psychopathy Checklist, how do these pseudo-psychopaths expect anyone with half a brain to believe them?

From what I’ve found, most of the self-proclaimed psychopaths are simply loners who have had some bad experiences in their lives, perhaps because they are socially awkward, not particularly good looking, have been victims of bullying, have dissimilar interests than their peer group, or have a an inferiority complex disguised as a superiority complex. Maybe even all of the above.

Carl Jung, a world renowned Swiss psychiatrist, was famously quoted as saying that “Wherever an inferiority complex exists, there is a good reason for it.”

This could not ring more true in the case of the self-proclaimed psychopaths that seem to be popping up everywhere. One would think that psychopathy is becoming the new ADD. It is the cool band-wagon mental disorder du jour and everyone seems to be hopping aboard, proudly boasting of how traumatized their minds are because daddy didn’t give them any attention, how they always knew they were different somehow, or they just don’t seem to fit in with everyone else at school.

Most of these people seem to congregate around M.E. Thomas’ SociopathWorld.com website. They send in emails offering their adulation and claiming that her book opened the door to their own or a friend or relative’s psychopathy or narcissism. How unlikely these all-too-frequent cases are cannot be overstated.

Most sociopaths or psychopaths just don’t really care about their condition because it works very well for them. The commonly heard phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies perfectly in this sense. Psychopaths don’t see themselves as broken, and rightly so, so why should they “fix” themselves?

Another group of people (again popular to Thomas’ site as well as psychopathfree.com) are those that have experienced a bad relationship and now seem to have diagnosed a relative. Parents and spouses seem to be “diagnosed” ad infinitum. It’s all quite laughable, really. Yes, I realize that there are statistically millions of actual psychopaths in America alone. It doesn’t mean, though, that we’ve reached some profound societal pivoting point in which psychopaths all feel accepted and they’re now safe to come out of the proverbial closet. In most cases, it seems likely to me that all of this might quite the opposite effect and it may not fair well for empaths in the long run.

The vast majority of psychopaths do not want to be found out because then their game is up. All of the popularity surrounding psychopathy and the individual research it inspires is indeed arming empaths with most of the right tools necessary to determine if someone they know is a psychopath. To the empath’s advantage, there is no such thing as a 100% successful psychopath. The mask always slips somehow owing to a myriad of conditional situations. If an empath remains vigilant, they will eventually catch the slip. The problem with all of this soaring popularity surrounding psychopathy is that it’s only serving to entrench those like me even further. It makes us take even more care to keep the mask in place, to keep the game going which renders identification a much more arduous task.

Anyway, back to the point of this post. The soi-disant psychopaths of the internet are simply malingering children (whether grown or not) who simply want a little attention. It would seem that they want to fit in by not fitting in and, by virtue of the accepting, nurturing nature (not qualities of a psychopath) of other psuedo-psychopaths, they find their place for a while. These people may indeed have a psychological problem, but it certainly is not psychopathy. Psychosis mixed with a pinch of Narcissism, maybe? Who knows? It’s only a matter of time before these morons flock to another fad du jour within the mental disorder community.

Soi-Disant Psychopathes

Psychopathy – An Evolutionary Advantage

What if psychopathy is not a disorder at all? What if it is not a sickness? What if psychopathy is actually a special personality trait born of evolutionary necessity? As a psychopath, I am convinced of this assessment.

Can the world do without psychopaths? Would you, as a probable empath, be able to do the things that psychopaths feel no compunction in doing?

Obviously I am not speaking of cold-blooded murder, rape, or child molestation, as the vast majority of psychopaths do not do these things. The very low population of truly psychopathic murderers, rapists, and pedophiles in American prison populations stand to prove that empaths commit far more crime than psychopaths.

Could this fact be assigned to simply the sheer number of empaths vs. psychopaths? Of course. However, save for some drastic, blanket evolutionary genetic mutation, the world’s population will still contain far more empaths.

People fear crime committed against them in general. They fear psychopaths even more, though, because psychopaths can commit crime with no emotion and no remorse. But do emotion and remorse have anything to do with being victimized by someone? If someone were in the process of being mugged at gunpoint, I’m sure the thought of whether or not the person is a psychopath is far from their mind. They are, I’m sure, thinking about their own life and how to preserve it, not the other person’s mental state.

But let us get away from crime, since we know that it plays only a small role as it pertains to psychopaths. What gives psychopaths the advantage? Well, this really depends. In corporate America they have all the advantage in the world. Capitalism is a psychopath’s wet dream, it is a playground to display their talents to the world. As we know, psychopaths are not hindered by moralisms and emotion, so they have no problem getting to the top of the corporate ladder, no matter how many toes they have to step on. If they don’t necessarily have the desire to get to the top, they will certainly find a place of comfort in their job, perhaps one like mine where they can do what they want, when they want and they do not have to deal with people if they don’t want to.

Politics is another arena in which psychopaths can triumph. Much like the competitive nature of Capitalism, politics provides an avenue for the psychopath to ruthlessly make his/her way to the top. Many psychopaths are drunk with the desire for power and what better way to control your fellow citizens than by being elected by them or being appointed to a position over them by another politician. Many times it isn’t the end result that gets the psychopath’s juices flowing, but the journey. Psychopaths relish the hunt itself, most of the time. This is true for both corporate America and politics. With politics, though, the hunt is continuous and less arduous. It is much easier to keep the mask from slipping in politics.

It could be argued that the psychopath is the ultimate leader. He is an unrestrained, fearless, anti-heroic, unemotional spearhead that sets a goal and let’s nothing impede him on his way to achieving it. In most cases, to the psychopath, the ends will always justify the means.

Psychopathy – An Evolutionary Advantage

Friends

The reason that I have no friends is purposeful. I find them tedious, boring, and ultimately the cause of unnecessary and unwarranted drama. Most of all what I hate about friends and acquaintances in general is small talk.

The people that I socialize and/or work with, however, might think differently. Many of them consider me their friend but the feeling is not reciprocal. “Work friendships” are nothing more than forced daily interactions. This is one of the many reasons I chose the IT industry to work in. Most of the time I do not have to interact with people. When I do, I am very polite, approachable, sociable, and I try to appear as understanding as possible. I have made it quite a talent to get along with anyone because ultimately they may end up serving a need I have. On the surface I appear as just a simple family man trying to put food on the table and clothes on my children’s backs. On the inside, though, I am quite empty of any real feelings toward others. Acting friendly certainly has its drawbacks. Because I am so good at making myself approachable, I find myself stuck listening to people dribble on about their pathetic little lives, their kids, their spouses, what they ate for dinner, how their weekends went, ad nauseam.

I have no need of friends. Perhaps I should really say that I have no desire to have friends. I do indeed need people who think they are my friends. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem socializing, but my superficially friendly interactions with people are anything but truly friendly. I see others only as a convenient way to get what I want or need. Yes, this sounds rather selfish and I suppose that it is. However, when you think about it, what are friends for, really? Are they not there to satisfy some need or want that you have? Do they not offer comfort in distressing times? Do they not offer joy and humor in good times? Do they not lend a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen and understand when you just want to talk or vent about the terrible day you’ve had? All of these sound rather selfish to me. Why then are psychopaths looked down upon for simply recognizing the obvious? We’re able to see things in the most pragmatic light and yet we’re put down for not only seeing and using it to our advantage and benefit.

Friends