This is the time of year where extended families who may only see each other twice a year come together. For many this means spending time with a psychopath. Remember if you can’t get away your best bet is to shun them. Always be polite but practice absolute minimal conversation. Give gifts, but don’t go out of your way. That becomes a conversation piece.
I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t forgive psychopaths. You should forgive everyone! It’s good for the metamind! If you think carefully about it, you’ll realize that this is forgiveness for them. A grudge would be screaming matches, passive agressive behavior, and a general thirst for vengence. No instead you are offering them, for a short time, the experience they long for the most in the world. What it’s like to have a conscience. You are simulating one for them, externally.
By giving them minimal interaction you are not presenting them with opportunities to manipulate you. In addition you are removing the risk for them every time they open their mouths. They can logically guess what the family is feeling, but since they don’t have the music, they can never be sure if they are singing the right song. Let them off the hook. Don’t make them sing in the first place.
Now in the peace of solitude they can build up the one tool they have, their logical mind. With a lot of this time to observe they might even get it right and treat people in a conscionable way once in a while, an outcome that is good for everyone.
Keep in mind there may be empathic family members who they have worked long and hard to program with external emotions. The best option is shun them too. Each situation is different, but the biggest risk is when the psychopath is actually present. Your empathic kin’s metamind will eventually recognize what is going on. They just need time untangle all those bogus emotions. To remove the bramble of imposition, and clear a path for coherent compassion.
Recently had to attend a sensitivity training at work. It was presented by Barbara Khozam http://barbarakhozam.wordpress.com/ who was sufficiently cynical and irreverent for my tastes. Of course everybody groans, cause nobody likes to be judged, but going in with a positive attitude wasn’t that bad cause well it seems pretty obvious some people could be hit with the nice stick a couple of times. So my sadistic side gave my masochistic side a reason get into it.
Looks like the method to get you to actually think about your coworkers feelings for a whole 10 seconds or so revolves around doing a self style analysis to ground you, and talking about how your one of four different social/work strategies interacts with the other three. This is done by peppering you with questions, performing some math, and then plotting the results. Looks like this part of the presentation is pretty standard. Here is a link to a nearly identical worksheet. http://www.llleus.org/Docs/Personal_Style_Survey.pdf
Of course I messed it up. I refused to pigeon hole myself with three of the fifteen questions and ended up with an even score. If you are curious I am exactly in between fast and slow, and I’m more people oriented than task oriented. I’m fairly well balanced. Very disappointing. ;p
We reviewed how to use this information to communicate with your co-workers, and that’s when I discovered something really interesting. The best strategy for dealing with people in the ‘fast’/’task’ quadrant aka:targeted is to make sure you have a solution handy to any problems you present. This lead to realization this it the ‘shoot the messenger’ quadrant. Who shoots the messenger? People with impaired long term risk management (the job of the conscience) skills. In other words potential psychopaths. After careful consideration it makes perfect sense. Regardless of how they portray themselves, psychopaths are NEVER people oriented. That’s the realm of legitimate empathy. Their aggression also puts them on the ‘fast’ side of things. So psychopaths are permanently relegated to the ‘targeted’ quadrant.
If you have a psychopathic co-worker or boss you can’t get away from, consider the using the targeted list from the link above to help cope with them. To them, you’re just a number, but if you are a good ‘number’ you may come out undamaged. Also consider using the task mindset to demonstrate that they simply just don’t care. Capitalize on (don’t create) a situation where compassion is blatantly called for, and make sure there are plenty of witnesses to the inevitable disregard for their fellow humans pain. Hit them with some bad news just when they are expected to be kind. Remember get away as soon as you can. One day your luck will run out, and you’ll no longer be convenient. But your conscience already knew that, didn’t it.
Feeling less fried and the ideas are starting to pile up again. Outside links, ideas on society and the metamind, and of course perspectives on psychopaths. Put the logistics part of the holiday madness behind me. Feels good to be back.
I’ve had a request, to explain in simple terms what someone can do to get psychopaths out of their life. No psychology, no social impact, just who they are, and who you are.
Who are psychopaths?
Let go of the idea that all people have some good in them. Most do! But some don’t.
Psychopaths are cavemen and cavewomen that look just like us. We evolved from them.
Only a tiny fraction of a percent of them are killers. They prefer crimes that get little attention.
They 1-5% of the population. Worst case one in every classroom, every train car, and most extended families.
They can be born into any family. We all carry the gene.
They can’t resist something they want when they are sure they won’t be caught. (Golden Opportunities.)
They see every other human being as their master or their slave. They sort every person obsessively.
Who are empaths? (People with a conscience)
Conscience is a long term risk management tool, a tool they lack.
We (can) have all of their strengths and none of their weaknesses. We can be cold and ruthless, but they can’t manage abstract risk.
Your conscience is a genetic mutation that lets you think with feelings in addition to your rational mind.
Your feelings can be used to manipulate your rational decisions.
Know your emotions. If you understand your feelings, including the less common ones, you control your actions.
People default to trust. End that behavior and they’ll avoid you as as they do other psychopaths. If this is offensive, consider displaying a false trust. Craft a complete series of tests of minimal personal consequence. Over a long enough period of time they will fail your tests.
If you identify a psychopath, end contact. If you can’t end contact, shun them (manners, but bare minimal interaction) until you can.
Please pass this along. If you need some more information, please look at the theories page. If you want a lot more detail and the origin of the theories please see the background page.
Social pressure is our most important soft power. Soft power, creating change through influence and agreement is superior to hard power. It is superior because it embraces both cooperation and competition, leaving the future open for more economies of scale than it’s master/slave cousin hard power. Hard power, using violence and threats to achieve your ends is mainly a competitive power. Yet both are used in hierarchies that are the ultimate authority. Is this evidence of psychopaths abusing their power? In some cases, but just as often it is a reaction to external psychopathic behaviour. A fight fire with fire approach to hard power. Usually pushing productivity gains into the future in order to accomplish better logistics now. Addressing a present danger, real or imagined.
Rigid hierarchies justify all hard power off this dynamic. The supposition is that to protect you from other rigid hierarchies one must be erected/protected now and for us. This may be true at the front line in a hot war, where sheer terror can overwhelm a soldiers mind, but not before or after. The idea that a master/slave relationship must be established to quiet an empaths mind at some unknown critical moment is correct in some of the worst cases but not all of them. Some empaths complete the journey of self knowledge and are able to morally resolve greater purpose (murder versus kill for example.) Completely internalizing the master/slave relationship, with their conscience as the master and their psychopathic self as the slave. Some of the smarter war films like ‘Apocalypse Now’ or ‘Full Metal Jacket’ explore this dynamic.
in a world peppered with psychopaths, empaths with self knowledge, and empaths without it, a rigid hierarchy is necessary to align their personalities in a common ‘can’t fail’ effort against the cases of a real clear and present danger. But what happens if you completely remove all the psychopaths from power over data or other human beings? Just because defaulting to trust is a fundamental economic force doesn’t mean it’s a sensible defence strategy. I think history has shown us otherwise. A world leader could be incorrect or think to have the ethical higher ground and could attack the unprepared countries. What is interesting is the front line. Without the need to create a psychopathic cooperative among the soldiers, you eliminate the need for standing armies and professional soldiers. Periodic training both to help the volunteer part time soldier know themselves (not to be surprised by a shrieking fear of God on the front line for example) and to normalize justified violence in defence of the self and the innocent, you could create a more predictable, less expensive army.
More simply put, you can use the more self-sustaining soft power to prepare soldiers enlisted by whatever means for war part time when the need arises. They can participate in the society economically while bettering their emotional connections with the society they are sworn to defend. Lessening the negative impact of rejoining that society(PTSD/Shell shock) after a war. Having your society of soldiers as your most important society dedicates time and resources to training, but good planning can produce the same result with part time soldiers as well without the economic drain. History can be a guide here. It is dotted with revolutionary soldiers who won, in part because their conscience said they were morally right. Something a psychopath, or a scrutinized psychopathic society, can’t do.