Online Resource for Victims of Psychopaths and Narcissists

 

Some Basic Concepts Needed to Understand Psychopaths in Our World

As psychologist Martha Stout has pointed out so eloquently, psychopaths seem to be born without a conscience.

Conscience seems to depend on the ability to imagine consequences. But most "consequences" relate to pain in some way, and psychopaths really don't understand pain in the emotional sense. They understand frustration of not getting what they want, and to them, that is pain. But the fact seems to be that they act based solely on a sort of Game Theory evaluation of a situation: what will they get out of it, and what will it cost? And these "costs" do not seem to factor in being humiliated, causing pain to others, sabotaging the future, or any of the other possibilities that normal people consider when making a choice. For some reason, the ability to think about such things is lacking in the psychopath. Since imagining, daydreaming, is so much a part of human thought processes, it is hard to imagine someone who cannot. In short, it is almost impossible for normal people to even "imagine" the inner life of the psychopath.

This leads us to what psychopaths DO have that is truly outstanding: an ability to give their undivided attention to something that interests them intensely right now. Some clinicians have compared this to the concentration with which a predator stalks his prey. This is useful if one is in an environment with few variables, but most real life situations require us to pay attention to a number of things at once. Psychopaths often pay so much attention to getting what they want that they fail to notice danger signals.

For example, some psychopaths earned reputations for being fearless fighter pilots during World War II, staying on their targets like terriers on an ankle. Yet, these pilots often failed to keep track of such unexciting details as fuel supply, altitude, location, and the position of other planes. Sometimes they became heroes, but more often, they were killed or became known as opportunists, loners, or hotshots who couldn't be relied on - except to take care of themselves. [Hare]

Again, it should be emphasized that psychopaths are interesting as all get out - even exciting! They exude a captivating energy that keeps their listeners on the edge of their seats. Even if some part of the normal person is shocked or repelled by what the psychopath says, they are like the mouse hypnotized by the torturing cat. Even if they have the chance to run away, they don't.

Many Psychopaths "make their living" by using charm, deceit, and manipulation to gain the confidence of their victims. Many of them can be found in white collar professions where they are aided in their evil by the fact that most people expect certain classes of people to be trustworthy because of their social or professional credentials. Lawyers, doctors, teachers, politicians, psychiatrists and psychologists, generally do not have to earn our trust because they have it by virtue of their positions. But the fact is: psychopaths are found in such lofty spheres also, and more often than most people suppose!

At the same time, psychopaths are good imposters. They have absolutely no hesitation about forging and brazenly using impressive credentials to adopt professional roles that bring prestige and power. They pick professions in which the requisite skills are easy to fake, the jargon is easy to learn, and the credentials are unlikely to be thoroughly checked. Psychopaths find it extremely easy to pose as financial consultants, ministers, psychological counselors and psychologists. And that's a scary thought. It may even be due to the fact that the science of psychology is infested with psychopaths that truly helpful research on psychopathy is never funded despite the fact that psychopaths cause more damage to society than any other psychological problem.

Psychopaths make their way by conning people into doing things for them; obtaining money for them, prestige, power, or even standing up for them when others try to expose them. But that is their claim to fame. That's what they do. And they do it very well. What's more, the job is very easy because most people are gullible with an unshakable belief in the inherent goodness of man.

Manipulation is the key to the psychopath's conquests. Initially, the psychopath will feign false emotions to create empathy, and many of them study the tricks that can be employed by the empathy technique. Psychopaths are often able to incite pity from people because they seem like "lost souls" as Guggenbuhl-Craig writes. So the pity factor is one reason why victims often fall for these "poor" people.

Hare cites a famous case where a psychopath was "Man of the Year" and president of the Chamber of Commerce in his small town. (Remember that John Wayne Gacy was running for Jaycee President at the very time of his first murder conviction!) The man in question had claimed to have a Ph.D. from Berkeley. He ran for a position on the school board which he then planned to parlay into a position on the county commission which paid more.

At some point, a local reporter suddenly had the idea to check up on the guy - to see if his credentials were real. What the reporter found out was that the only thing that was true about this up and coming politician's "faked bio" was the place and date of birth. Everything else was fictitious. Not only was the man a complete impostor, he had a long history of antisocial behavior, fraud, impersonation, and imprisonment. His only contact with a university was a series of extension courses by mail that he took while in Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary. What is even more amazing is the fact that before he was a con-man, he was a "con-boy." For two decades he had dodged his way across America one step ahead of those he had hoodwinked. Along the way he had married three women and had four children, and he didn't even know what had happened to them. And now, he was on a roll! But darn that pesky reporter!

When he was exposed, he was completely unconcerned. "These trusting people will stand behind me. A good liar is a good judge of people," he said. Amazingly, he was right. Far from being outraged at the fact that they had all been completely deceived and lied to from top to bottom, the local community he had conned so completely to accrue benefits and honors to himself that he had not earned, rushed to his support!

And it wasn't just "token support." The local Republican party chairman wrote about him: "I assess his genuineness, integrity, and devotion to duty to rank right alongside of President Abraham Lincoln." As Hare dryly notes, this dimwit was easily swayed by words, and was blind to deeds.

This has been observed in many psychopathy cases; more often than not, and it tends to make one shake their head in wonder at how many people seem to WANT to be duped, to be made fools of. What kind of psychological weaknesses drive people to prefer lies over truth?

This may have something to do with what is called Cognitive Dissonance. Leon Festinger developed the theory of Cognitive Dissonance in the 50's when he apparently stumbled onto a UFO cult in the Midwest. They were prophesying a coming world cataclysm and "alien rapture." When no one was raptured and no cataclysm he studied the believers response, and detailed it in his book "When Prophecy Fails." Festinger observed:

A man with a conviction is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point.

We have all experienced the futility of trying to change a strong conviction, especially if the convinced person has some investment in his belief. We are familiar with the variety of ingenious defenses with which people protect their convictions, managing to keep them unscathed through the most devastating attacks.

But man's resourcefulness goes beyond simply protecting a belief. Suppose an individual believes something with his whole heart; suppose further that he has a commitment to this belief, that he has taken irrevocable actions because of it; finally, suppose that he is presented with evidence, unequivocal and undeniable evidence, that his belief is wrong: what will happen? The individual will frequently emerge, not only unshaken, but even more convinced of the truth of his beliefs than ever before. Indeed, he may even show a new fervor about convincing and converting other people to his view.

It seems that part of the problem has to do with ego and the need to be "right." People with a high "need to be right" or "perfect" seem to be unable to acknowledge that they have been conned. "There is no crime in the cynical American calendar more humiliating than to be a sucker." People will go along with and support a psychopath, in the face of evidence that they have and ARE being conned, because their own ego structure depends on being right, and to admit an error of judgment would destroy their carefully constructed image of themselves.

Even more amazing is the fact that when psychopaths do get exposed by someone who is not afraid to admit that they have been conned, the psychopath is a master at painting their victims as the "real culprits." Hare cites a case of the third wife of a forty year old high school teacher:

For five years he cheated on me, kept me living in fear, and forged checks on my personal bank account. But everyone, including my doctor and lawyer and my friends, blamed me for the problem. He had them so convinced that he was a great guy and that I was going mad, I began to believe it myself. Even when he cleaned out my bank account and ran off with a seventeen-year-old student, a lot of people couldn't believe it, and some wanted to know what I had done to make him act so strangely! [Without Conscience]

Psychopaths just have what it takes to defraud and bilk others: they can be fast talkers, they can be charming, they can be self-assured and at ease in social situations; they are cool under pressure, unfazed by the possibility of being found out, and totally ruthless. And even when they are exposed, they can carry on as if nothing has happened, often making their accusers the targets of accusations of being victimized by THEM.

I was once dumbfounded by the logic of an inmate who described his murder victim as having benefited from the crime by learning "a hard lesson about life." [Hare]

The victims keep asking: "How could I have been so stupid? How could I have fallen for that incredible line of baloney?" And, of course, if they don't ask it of themselves, you can be sure that their friends and associates will ask "How on earth could you have been taken in to that extent?"

The usual answer: "You had to be there" simply does not convey the whole thing. Hare writes:

What makes psychopaths different from all others is the remarkable ease with which they lie, the pervasiveness of their deception, and the callousness with which they carry it out.

But there is something else about the speech of psychopaths that is equally puzzling: their frequent use of contradictory and logically inconsistent statements that usually escape detection. Recent research on the language of psychopaths provides us with some important clues to this puzzle, as well as to the uncanny ability psychopaths have to move words - and people- around so easily. [...]

Here are some examples from Without Conscience:

When asked if he had ever committed a violent offense, a man serving time for theft answered, "No, but I once had to kill someone."

A woman with a staggering record of fraud, deceit, lies, and broken promises concluded a letter to the parole board with, "I've let a lot of people down... One is only as good as her reputation and name. My word is as good as gold."

A man serving a term for armed robbery replied to the testimony of an eyewitness, "He's lying. I wasn't there. I should have blown his -flicking- head off."

From an interview with serial killer Elmer Wayne Henley:

Interviewer: "You make it out that you're the victim of a serial killer, but if you look at the record you're a serial killer."
Henley: "I'm not."
I: "You're not a serial killer?"
H: "I'm not a serial killer."
I: You're saying you're not a serial killer now, but you've serially killed."
H: "Well, yeah, that's semantics."

And so on. The point that the researchers noted was that psychopaths seem to have trouble monitoring their own speech. What is more, they often put things together in strange ways, such as this series of remarks from serial killer Clifford Olson:

"And then I had annual sex with her."
"Once a year?"
"No. Annual. From behind."
"Oh. But she was dead!"
"No, no. She was just unconscientious."

About his many experiences, Olson said, "I've got enough antidotes to fill five or six books - enough for a trilogy." He was determined not to be an "escape goat" no matter what the "migrating facts." [Hare]

Those of us who have had experiences with psychopaths know that the language of the psychopath is two-dimensional. They are, as someone once said, as "deep as a thimble." An analogy is given of the psychopath as a color blind person who has learned how to function in the world of color by special strategies. They may tell you that they "stopped at a red light," but what it really means to them is that they knew that the light at the top means "stop," and they stopped. They call it the "red" light like everyone else, but they have no experience of what "red" really is.

A person who is color blind who has developed such coping mechanisms, is virtually undetectable from people who see colors.

Psychopaths, they use words about emotions the same way people who are color blind use words about colors they cannot perceive. Psychopaths not only learn to use the words more or less appropriately, they learn to pantomime the feeling. But they never HAVE the feeling.

This quality of the mind of the psychopath has been extensively tested with word association tests while the subjects are hooked up to an EEG. Words that have emotional content evoke larger brain responses than do neutral words which is apparently a reflection of the large amount of information that can be packed into a word. For most of us, the word cancer can instantly bring to mind not only the description of the disease, but also fear, pain, concern, or whatever, depending upon our experiences with cancer - whether we or someone we love has had it, or if it had some impact on our lives, and so on. The same is true with many words in our collective and individual vocabularies. And, unless we had a traumatic experience with it, a word such as box or paper will be neutral.

Psychopaths respond to all emotional words as if they were neutral. It is as if they are permanently condemned to operate with a Juvenile Dictionary. Hare writes:

Earlier I discussed the role of "inner speech" in the development and operation of conscience. It is the emotionally charged thoughts, images, and internal dialogue that give the "bite" to conscience, account for its powerful control over behavior, and generate guilt and remorse for transgressions. This is something that psychopaths cannot understand. For them, conscience is little more than an intellectual awareness of rules others make up - empty words. The feelings needed to give clout to these rules are missing.

What is more, just as the color blind individual may never know he is color blind unless he is given a test to determine it, the psychopath is unable to even be aware of his own emotional poverty. They assume that their own perceptions are the same as everyone else's. They assume that their own lack of feeling is the same for everyone else and, what's more, they seek to impose that world view on others, by force if necessary. And make no mistake about it: you can NOT hurt their feelings because they don't have any! They will pretend to have feelings if it suits their purposes or gets them what they want. They will verbalize remorse, but their actions will contradict their words. They know that "remorse" is important, and "apologies" are useful, and they will give them freely, though generally in words that amount to blaming the victim for needing to be apologized to.

And this is why they are so good at using Game Theory. And unless we learn the rules of how they think, they will continue to use it on us with devastating results. Normal people HURT when treated cruelly and insensitively. Psychopaths only feign being hurt because they perceive hurt as not getting what they wanted, and tried to get by manipulation!

In the book Violent Attachments, women and men have noted the particular stare of the psychopath - it is an intense, relentless gaze that seems to predict his destruction of his victim or target. Women, in particular, have reported this stare, which is related to the "predatorial" (reptilian) gaze; it is as if the psychopath is directing all of his intensity toward you through his eyes, a sensation that one woman reported as a feeling of "being eaten." They tend to invade peoples' space either by their sudden intrusions or intimidating look-overs (which some women confuse for sexuality.)

Another extremely interesting study had to do with the way psychopaths move their hands when they speak. Hand movement can tell researchers a lot about what are called "thought units." The studies indicate that psychopaths' thoughts and ideas are organized into small mental packages. This is handy for lying, but makes dealing with an overall, coherent, integrated complex of deep thoughts virtually impossible.

Most people are able to combine ideas that have consistent thought themes, but psychopaths have great difficulty doing this. Again, this suggests a genetic restriction to what we have called the Juvenile Dictionary. Not only are they using extremely restricted definitions, they cannot, by virtue of the way their brains work, do otherwise. Virtually all of the research on psychopaths reveals an inner world that is banal, sophomoric, and devoid of the color and detail that generally exists in the inner world of normal people. This goes a long way to explain the inconsistencies and contradictions in their speech.   

The situation is analogous to a movie in which one scene is shot under cloudy conditions and the next scene - which supposedly takes place a few minutes later - is shot in brilliant sunshine. [...] Some moviegoers - the victims of psychopaths - might not notice the discrepancy, particularly if they are engrossed in the action. [Hare]

Psychopaths are notorious for not answering the questions asked them. They will answer something else, or in such a way that the direct question is never addressed. They also phrase things so that some parts of their narratives are difficult to understand. This is not careless speech, of which everyone is guilty at times, but an ongoing indication of the underlying condition in which the organization of mental activity suggests something is wrong. It's not what they say, but how they say it that gives insight into their true nature.

But this raises, again, the question: if their speech is so odd, how come smart people get taken in by them? Why do we fail to pick up the inconsistencies?

Part of the answer is that the oddities are subtle so that our general listening mode will not normally pick them up. But my own experience is that some of the "skipped" or oddly arranged words, or misused words are automatically reinterpreted by OUR brains in the same way we automatically "fill in the blank" space on a neon sign when one of the letters has gone out. We can be driving down the road at night, and ahead we see M_tel, and we mentally put the "o" in place and read "Motel." Something like this happens between the psychopath and the victim. We fill in the "missing humanness" by filling in the blanks with our own assumptions, based on what WE think and feel and mean. And, in this way, because there are these "blank" spots, we fill them in with what is inside us, and thus we are easily convinced that the psychopath is a great guy - because he is just like us! We have been conditioned to operate on trust, and we always try to give the "benefit of the doubt." So, there are blanks, we "give the benefit of the doubt," and we are thereby hoisted on our own petard.   

Psychopaths view any social exchange as a "feeding opportunity," a contest or a test of wills in which there can be only one winner. Their motives are to manipulate and take, ruthlessly and without remorse. [Hare]

One psychopath interviewed by Hare's team said quite frankly:

"The first thing I do is I size you up. I look for an angle, an edge, figure out what you need and give it to you. Then it's pay-back time, with interest. I tighten the screws."

Another psychopath admitted that he never targeted attractive women - he was only interested in those who were insecure and lonely. He claimed he could smell a needy person "the way a pig smells truffles."

The callous use of the old, the lonely, the vulnerable, the disenfranchised, the marginalized, is a trademark of the psychopath. And when any of the victims wake up to what is happening, they are generally too embarrassed to complain.

One of the chief ways psychopaths prey on others is to make use of the normal person's need to find meaning or purpose in life. They will pose as grief counselors, or "experts" of various sorts that attract followings of people who are looking for answers. They are masters of recognizing "hang-ups" and self-doubts that most people have, and they will brazenly pander to them to gain a follower to use later.

Hare tells of a staff psychologist in a mental hospital whose life was destroyed by a psychopathic patient. He cleaned out her bank account, maxed out her credit cards, and then disappeared. How did he get to her? She said that her life had been "empty" and she had just simply succumbed to his sweet words and verbal caresses. As we already know, such words are cheap legal tender to the psychopath. They can say "I'll pray for you," or "I love you" just to create an impression. It really, really doesn't mean a thing. But some people are so lonely and so desperate that even imitations are better than nothing.

Then, of course, there are people who are just simply so psychologically damaged themselves that the psychopath is the obvious choice for a partner. They may have a need to be treated badly, or a need to be excited by danger, or a need to "rescue" or "fix" somebody whose soul is in obvious peril.   

In a book about Richard Ramirez, the Satan-worshipping "night Stalker," the author described a young coed who sat through the pretrial hearings and sent love letters and photographs of herself to Ramirez. "I feel such compassion for him. When I look at him, I see a real handsome guy who just messed up his life because he never had anyone to guide him," she is reported to have said. [Hare]

Sadly, as we see, psychopaths have no lack of victims because so many people are ready and willing to play the role. And in many, many cases, the victim simply refuses to believe the evidence that they are being victimized.

Psychological denial screens out knowledge that is painful, and persons with large investments in their fantasies are often unable to acknowledge that they are being deceived because it it too painful. Most often, these are women who rigidly adhere to the traditional role of the female with a strong sense of duty to be a "good wife." She will believe that if she tries harder or simply waits it out, her husband will reform. When he ignores her, abuses her, cheats on her, or uses her, she can simply just decide to "try harder, put more energy into the relationship, and take better care of him." She believes that if she does this, eventually he will notice and will see how valuable she is, and then he will fall on his knees in gratitude and treat her like a queen.

The fact is, such a woman, with her fierce commitment to such a man, her dedication to being a proper wife, has allowed such fairy tales to distort her sense of reality. The reality is that she is doomed to a lifetime of abuse and disappointment until "death do us part."

One of the basic assumptions of psychotherapy is that the patient needs and wants help for distressing or painful psychological and emotional problems. The psychopath does not think that they have any psychological or emotional problems, and they see no reason to change their behavior to conform to standards with which they do not agree. They are well-satisfied with themselves and their inner landscape. They see nothing wrong with they way they think or act, and they never look back with regret or forward with concern. They perceive themselves as superior beings in a hostile world in which others are competitors for power and resources. They feel it is the optimum thing to do to manipulate and deceive others in order to obtain what they want.

Most therapy programs only provide them with new excuses for their behavior as well as new insights into the vulnerabilities of others. Through psychotherapy, they learn new and better ways of manipulating. What they do NOT do is make any effort to change their own views and attitudes.

One particular psychopath studied by Hare and his team of researchers was in a group therapy program in a prison. The prison psychiatrist had written in his record: "He has made good progress... He appears more concerned about others and to have lost much of his criminal thinking."

Two years later, Hare's staff member interviewed the man. (At this point, it ought to be made clear that, in order to make the research more accurate, the terms were that nothing said by the subjects to Hare or his staff could or would be repeated to the prison authorities, and they kept to their agreement in order to insure that the subjects felt free to talk to them. Psychopaths, if they know that they won't be penalized for what they express, are very happy to boast about their prowess in deceiving others.) The man, assessed above by his prison psychiatrist as having made such remarkable improvement, was described by Hare's staffer as "the most terrifying offender she had ever met and that he openly boasted about how he had conned the prison staff into thinking that he was well on the road to rehabilitation. "I can't believe those guys," he said. "Who gave them a license to practice? I wouldn't let them psychoanalyze my dog! He'd shite all over them just like I did."

Psychopaths are not "fragile" individuals, as Robert Hare says after years of research. What they think and do is produced from a "rock solid personality structure that is extremely resistant to outside influences." Many of them are protected for years from the consequences of their behavior by well-meaning family and friends. As long as their behavior remains unchecked or unpunished, they continue to go through life without too much inconvenience.

Some researchers think that psychopathy is the result of some attachment or bonding difficulty as an infant. Dr. Hare has turned the idea around, after all his years digging into the background of psychopaths. He says:  

In some children the very failure to bond is a symptom of psychopathy. It is likely that these children lack the capacity to bond readily, and that their lack of attachment is largely the result, not the cause, of psychopathy. [Hare]

In other words: they are born that way and you can't fix them.

To many people, the idea of a child psychopath is almost unthinkable. But the fact is, true psychopaths are born, not made. Oh, indeed, there is the psychopath that is "made," but they are generally different from the born psychopath in a number of ways.

The fact is, clinical research clearly demonstrates that psychopathy does not spring unannounced into existence in adulthood. The symptoms reveal themselves in early life. It seems to be true that parents of psychopaths KNOW something is dreadfully wrong even before the child starts school. Such children are stubbornly immune to socializing pressures. They are "different" from other children in frightening and inexplicable ways. They are more "difficult," or "willful," or aggressive, or hard to "relate to." They are difficult to get close to, cold and distant and self-sufficient.

One mother said: "We were never able to get close to her even as an infant. She was always trying to have her own way, whether by being sweet, or by having a tantrum. She can put on a sweet and contrite act..."

The fact is: childhood psychopathy is a stark reality, and failing to recognize it can lead to years of vain attempts to discover what is wrong with a child, and the parent blaming themselves. Hare writes:   

As the signs of social breakdown grow more insistent, we no longer have the luxury of ignoring the presence of psychopathy in certain children. Half a century ago Hervey Cleckley and Robert Lindner warned us that our failure to acknowledge the psychopaths among us had already triggered a social crisis. Today our social institutions - our schools, courts, mental health clinics - confront the crisis every day in a thousand ways, and the blindfold against the reality of psychopathy is still in place.[...]

The last decade has seen the emergence of an inescapable and terrifying reality: a dramatic surge of juvenile crime that threatens to overwhelm our social institutions. [...]

Children under the age of ten who are capable of the sort of mindless violence that once was reserved for hardened adult criminals. [...]

At this writing, a small town in a western state is frantically searching for ways to deal with a nine-year-old who allegedly rapes and molests other children at knife point. He is too young to be charged and cannot be taken into care because "such action may only be taken when the child is in danger, not his victims," according to a child protection official. [Hare]

Why does it seem that we have a veritable epidemic of psychopaths? Sociobiologists are suggesting that increasing psychopathy is an expression of a particular genetically based reproductive strategy. Simply put, most people have a couple of children and devote a lot of time and effort to their care. Psychopaths systematically mate with and abandon large numbers of women. They waste little of their energy raising children, and in this way, psychopathic genes are being propagated like wildfire. The sociobiologists aren't saying that the sexual behavior of people is consciously directed, only that "nature" has made them a certain way so that it will happen effectively.

The behavior of female psychopaths reflects the same strategy. "I can always have another," one female psychopath coldly replied when questioned about an incident in which her two-year-old daughter was beaten to death by one of her many lovers. When asked why she would want to have another child, (two had been taken into protective custody), she said "I love children." Again we see that the expressed emotion is in contradiction to the behavior.

Cheating skills seem to have an adaptive value in our society. The fact is: psychopaths often end up on the top of the heap.

At the present time, there is something very scary going on in the metaphysical community that may relate to this upsurge in births of psychopaths: talk about the so-called "Indigo Children." One of the chief promoters of this idea, Wendy Chapman, writes:   

Indigo Children are the current generation being born today and most of those who are 8 years old or younger. They are different. They have very unique characteristics that set them apart from previous generations of children. [...]

These are the children who are often rebellious to authority, nonconformist, extremely emotionally and sometimes physically sensitive or fragile, highly talented or academically gifted and often metaphysically gifted as well, usually intuitive, very often labeled ADD, either very empathic and compassionate OR very cold and callous, and are wise beyond their years. Does this sound like yourself or your child?

Indigos have come into this world with difficult challenges to overcome. Their extreme levels of sensitivity are hard to understand and appreciate by parents who don't share this trait. Their giftedness is unusual in such high numbers. Their nonconformity to systems and to discipline will make it difficult to get through their childhood years and perhaps even their adult years. It is also what will help them accomplish big goals such as changing the educational system, for instance. Being an Indigo won't be easy for any of them, but it foretells a mission. The Indigo Children are the ones who have come to raise the vibration of our planet! These are the primary ones who will bring us the enlightenment to ascend.

Sounds like a severe case of denial and wishful thinking, in my opinion. I suspect that the reader already has jumped ahead of me here and realizes what a big snow-job this "indigo children" deal is. Ms. Chapman has kindly provided a check-list to determine an "indigo child." After learning what we have about psychopaths, let's have a look at her list:

*Have strong self esteem, connection to source
*Know they belong here until they are told otherwise
*Have an obvious sense of self
*Have difficulty with discipline and authority
*Refuse to follow orders or directions
*Find it torture to waiting in lines, lack patience
*Get frustrated by ritual-oriented systems that require little creativity
*Often see better ways of doing thing at home and at school
*Are mostly nonconformists
*Do not respond to guilt trips, want good reasons
*Get bored rather easily with assigned tasks
*Are rather creative
*Are easily distractible, can do many things at once
*Display strong intuition
*Have strong empathy for others or NO empathy
*Develop abstract thinking very young
*Are gifted and/or talented, highly intelligent
*Are often identified or suspected of having ADD or ADHD, but can focus when they want to
*Are talented daydreamers and visionaries
*Have very old, deep, wise looking eyes
*Have spiritual intelligence and/or psychic skills
*Often express anger outwardly rather than inwardly and may have trouble with rage
*Need our support to discover themselves
*Are here to change the world - to help us live in greater harmony and peace with one another and to raise the vibration of the planet

What we see above is a list that includes certain definitely psychopathic behaviors along with behaviors of gifted children. We have to wonder at the attempt to weave the two together.

Where did this idea of "Indigo Children" come from? The phrase, "Indigo child" was coined by Nancy Ann Tappe in her book Understanding Your Life Through Color (1982) and refers to the alleged color in these children's aura. Ms. Tappe was interviewed by Jan Tober for her book The Indigo Children (1999) and said: "These young children - every one of them I've seen thus far who kill their schoolmates or parents - have been Indigos."

That didn't stop Tober from writing her book and declaring that these children are "Spiritual Masters, beings full of wisdom, here to teach us a new way of being." The way the followers of the idea justify the fact that "not all Indigo children are filled with unconditional love, tolerance and non-judgment," is by declaring that they require "special" treatment and handling with kid gloves because they are so "special and delicate and sensitive".

One can't help but think that this is simply a manifestation of an evolutionary strategy: somehow, someone or something is trying to make sure that its offspring are well cared for, and that a lot of psychopaths grow up without being identified as what they are.

Nevertheless, there is no explaining the extremes that "true believers" will go to in order to find excuses for inexcusable things. Elizabeth Kirby, a businesswoman in southern California, who has "studied and practiced metaphysics for the last 21 years," writes:

In hearing about the school shootings, I knew Indigo children were pulling the triggers. The Columbine High School shooting was so horrific it caught everyone's attention. At the time my eldest daughter said to me, "Because they (Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold) were Indigos they wanted to do it, so they just did it. No remorse, no guilt, they just went ahead and shot all those people because they wanted to and felt they needed to." Indigo children don't have guilt to keep them in check and because they balk at authority they don't believe they have to follow the rules.

Writers in mainstream America like Jonathan Kellerman are lumping the Indigo school shooters with the psychopaths; the dark entities who are bullies, con-men, stalkers, victimizers, serial killers and those who kill for thrills. I don't believe these Indigo children who have taken weapons to school to harm other children are psychopaths. They have been bullied and teased and have an avenger attitude seeking justice for injuries inflicted on them. They aren't killing just for the thrill of killing. These kids know changes have to be made within the school system and they chose violence to make their statement, to give us a wake up call. Some of these metaphysical Indigo children are not hesitant about using violence to bring about change, and to bring us to enlightenment.

Indigo violence is here and it will continue, at least with this present generation of Indigo children. We are seeing with the current Indigo violence how the school system needs to be changed and how imperative it is to address the issues of bullying and intimidation in school. As the Indigo children grow to adulthood, their agendas will move out of the school system into our other systems, our social, political and judicial systems for example. Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, is an Indigo.

Amazing, huh? Did you catch the remark: "Some of these metaphysical Indigo children are not hesitant about using violence to bring about change, and to bring us to enlightenment."

Don't we find that just a tiny bit contradictory? Aren't we stretching a bit? How about diving straight into denial?

At the present moment in history, the appeal of the psychopath has never been greater. Movies about psychopaths are all the rage. Hare asks "Why? What accounts for the terrific power that the personality without conscience has over our collective imagination? One theorist proposes that people who admire, believe, or identify with psychopaths, are partly psychopathic themselves. By interacting with a psychopath, even peripherally, they are able to voyeuristically enjoy an inner state not dominated by the constraints of morality. Such people are enabled to enjoy aggressive and sexual pleasures at no cost.

For normal people, such movies may serve to remind them of the danger and destructiveness of the psychopath. They will shiver with the sense of something cold and dark having breathed on their neck. For others, people with poorly developed inner selves, such movies and glorification of psychopathic behavior only serves as a role model for serious acts of violence and predation against others.

The only difference that family background seems to make is how the psychopath expresses himself. A psychopath who grows up in a stable family and has access to positive social and educational resources might become a white-collar criminal, or perhaps a somewhat shady entrepreneur, politician, lawyer, judge, or other professional. Another individual with the same traits, and a deprived background might become a common con-artist, a drifter, mercenary, or violent criminal.

The point is, social factors and parenting practices only shape the expression of the disorder, but have no effect on the individual's inability to feel empathy or to develop a conscience.

Robert Hare once submitted a paper to a scientific journal. The paper included EEGs of several groups of adult men performing a language task. The editor of the journal returned the paper saying "Those EEG's couldn't have come from real people."

But they did. They were the EEG's of psychopaths.

Some people have compared psychopathy to schizophrenia. However, there is a crucial distinction as we will see:

Schizophrenia and psychopathy are both characterized by impulsive, poorly planned behavior. This behavior may originate from a weak or poorly coordinated response inhibition system. We tested the hypothesis that schizophrenia and psychopathy are associated with abnormal neural processing during the suppression of inappropriate responses.

The participants were schizophrenic patients, nonpsychotic psychopaths, and nonpsychotic, nonpsychopathic control subjects (defined by the Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised), all incarcerated in a maximum security psychiatric facility. We recorded behavioral responses and event-related potentials (ERPs) during a Go/No Go task.

Results: Schizophrenic patients made more errors of commission than did the nonpsychopathic offenders. As expected, the nonpsychopathic nonpsychotic participants showed greater frontal ERP negativity (N275) to the No Go stimuli than to the Go stimuli. This effect was small in the schizophrenic patients and absent in the psychopaths. For the nonpsychopaths, the P375 ERP component was larger on Go than on No Go trials, a difference that was absent in schizophrenic patients and in the opposite direction in psychopaths.

Conclusions: These findings support the hypothesis that the neural processes involved in response inhibition are abnormal in both schizophrenia and psychopathy; however, the nature of these processes appears to be different in the two disorders.

"More and more data are leading to the conclusion that psychopathy has a biological basis, and has many features of a disease," says Sabine Herpertz, a psychiatrist at the RWTH-Aachen University in Germany.

The brain imaging techniques of positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provide the opportunity to investigate psychopathy further. They might allow researchers to discover whether psychopaths' physiological and emotional deficits can be pinned down to specific differences in the anatomy or activation of the brain.

Among researchers who are starting to explore this area, there are two main theories of psychopathy. One, championed by Adrian Raine of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and supported by the work of Antonio Damasio of the University of Iowa, gives a starring role to a brain region called the orbitofrontal cortex. This is part of an area of the brain, known as the prefrontal cortex, involved in conscious decision-making.

The other theory, promoted by James Blair of University College London, holds that the fundamental dysfunction lies within the amygdala, a small almond-shaped structure that plays a critical role in processing emotion and mediating fear. Recently, using PET scanning, Blair has shown that activation of the amygdala in normal volunteers is involved in responding to the sadness and anger of others, and he hypothesizes that amygdala dysfunction could explain the lack of fear and empathy in psychopaths.

The two theories may not be mutually exclusive, Blair points out, as the orbitofrontal cortex, which does the 'thinking', and the amygdala, which does the 'feeling', are highly interconnected.

Following widespread concern that the criminal justice and mental health systems are failing to deal effectively with dangerous psychopaths, there is a movement in several countries to instigate fundamental legal reform. The most controversial suggestion is to make it possible for individual who have severe personality disorders to be detained in secure mental institutions even if they have been accused of no crime. Although these particular provisions have alarmed civil liberties campaigners, the raft of measures also includes a major initiative within the prison service to improve the handling of those with APD--including psychopaths.

According to one individual who suffered at the hands of a psychopath:

"The World has only one problem, Psychopaths. There are two basic types of Psychopaths, Social and Anti-Social. The essential feature of Psychopaths is a Pervasive, Obssesive- Compulsive desire to force their delusions on others. Psychopaths completely disregard and violate the Rights of others, particularly the Freedom of Association which includes the right not to associate and the Right to Love."

Over and over again we come up against the problem of religion and belief systems that have to be defended against objective evidence or the beliefs of others. We have to ask ourselves "where did these belief systems come from that so evidentially are catastrophic?" And then, we have to think about the fact that now, in the present day, when many of these systems are breaking down and being replaced by others that similarly divert our attention, it becomes necessary to "enforce" a certain mode of thinking. And that is what Psychopaths do best.

Psychopaths dominate and set the standard for behavior in our society. We live in a world based on a psychopathic, energy stealing food chain, because that's just the way things are. Most people are so damaged they no longer have the capacity to even imagine a different system based on a symbiotic network.

They are not only damaged by others, but also by the thousand little evils they have done to others to survive. For them to see the system for what it is, would require them to see the part they have played in perpetuating it. That is a lot to ask of a fragile ego. Also, those who are not psychopaths, still want to make human connections but are afraid to, for fear of being taken advantage of and stolen from energeticaly speaking. [Thank you S.M. for such a clear explicaton!]

With just a cursory historical review, we become acutely aware that this is NOT a phenomenon confined to our present "time." It is a trans-millennial social disease that, step by step, has brought us to our present pandemic state. As Wilhelm Reich wrote about the problem (though he was unable to identify it as psychopathy):

Why did man, through thousands of years, wherever he built scientific, philosophic, or religious systems, go astray with such persistence and with such catastrophic consequences?" [...]

The answer lies somewhere in that area of our existence which has been so heavily obscured by organized religion and put out of our reach. Hence, it probably lies in the relation of the human being to the cosmic energy that governs him.

No, it was because of psychopaths that infiltrated societies, reproduced, and grew powerful. All the great social and political tragedies of humankind can probably be attributed to endemic and pandemic psychopathy. Carlos Castaneda struggled with this problem as well and put the following words into the mouth of his semi-mythical Don Juan:

I want to appeal to your analytical mind, ' don Juan said. 'Think for a moment, and tell me how you would explain the contradiction between the intelligence of man the engineer and the stupidity of his systems of beliefs, or the stupidity of his contradictory behavior. Sorcerers believe that the predators have given us our systems of beliefs, our ideas of good and evil, our social mores. They are the ones who set up our hopes and expectations and dreams of success or failure. They have given us covetousness, greed and cowardice. It is the predators who make us complacent, routinary, and egomaniacal.

In order to keep us obedient and meek and weak, the predators engaged themselves in a stupendous maneuver - stupendous, of course, from the point of view of a fighting strategist. A horrendous maneuver from the point of view of those who suffer it. They gave us their mind! Do you hear me? The predators give us their mind, which becomes our mind. [...] Through the mind, which, after all, is their mind, the predators inject into the lives of human beings whatever is convenient for them.[Castaneda]

George Gurdjieff put the problem in similar terms:

"So that in the actual situation of humanity there is nothing that points to evolution proceeding. On the contrary when we compare humanity with a man, we quite clearly see a growth of personality at the cost of essence, that is, a growth of the artificial, the unreal, and what is foreign, at the cost of the natural, the real, and what is one's own.

"Together with this, we see a growth of automatism.

"Contemporary cultures requires automatons. [...] One thing alone is certain, that man's slavery grows and increases. Man is becoming a willing slave. He no longer needs chains. He begins to grow fond of his slavery, to be proud of it. And this is the most terrible thing that can happen to a man. [Gurdjieff quoted by Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous]

Intolerance and cruelty are NEEDED to guarantee the "cover-up"  of the take-over of humanity by psychopaths.  A certain kind of "human being" acts on behalf of this cover-up. And in this sense, psychopaths, as  Reaction Machines are the playing pieces in the Secret Games of the Gods.


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