In Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work, industrial psychologist Paul Babiak and criminal psychologist Robert D. Hare, describe the typical psychopaths at work, their personality characteristics, and strategies for dealing with the psychopaths.
The Case of Dave
The Case of Dave, is broken down into ten segments, written out as scenes in a stage play, so that the reader can not only see and feel the presence of psychopaths but also directly tie their machinations to the content presented in the related text.
The Case of the Pit Bull
The Case of the Pit Bull, to illustrate the entire psychopathic manipulation process as it often plays out in real life.
On the surface, psychopaths generally come across in public as being at the top of their game, wearing the suit of success. However, they are actually playing out a parasitic lifestyle. They prefer living off the work of others rather than their own efforts, so actually being a drifter, moocher, or wastrel is a common lifestyle choice despite a façade to the contrary.
In general, psychopaths can come across as strong, naive, dominant, honest, submissive, trustworthy, worldly, or whatever they believe will get others to respond positively to manipulative overtures. Some rely on social stereotypes to help them create a useful façade.
Psychopathy is a multi-dimensional clinical construct described by the personality traits and behaviours.
Genetic factors play an important role in the formation of the personality traits and temperament considered essential to the disorder. However, its lifelong expression is the result of complex interactions between biological/temperamental predispositions and social forces. The traits and behaviors that help to define adult psychopathy begin to emerge early in childhood.
Psychopaths are relatively lacking in conscience and in the ability to experience empathy, guilt, or loyalty to anyone but themselves. About 1 percent of the population, and about 15 percent of incarcerated offenders, meet the research criteria for psychopathy.
Psychopathy is a multi-dimensional clinical construct that comprises a cluster of interpersonal, affective, lifestyle, and antisocial traits and behaviors. These include deception, manipulation, irresponsibility, impulsivity, stimulation-seeking, poor behavioral controls, shallow affect, a lack of empathy, guilt, or remorse, and a range of persistent unethical and antisocial behaviors, not necessarily criminal.
Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD)
Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) is a broad diagnostic category introduced in the third edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III; 1980), and continued unchanged in the fourth edition (DSM-IV; 1994)
A diagnosis of ASPD requires the presence of three of seven criteria: Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors; Deceitfulness; Impulsivity or failure to plan ahead; Irritability and aggressiveness; Reckless disregard for safety of self or others; Consistent irresponsibility; and Lack of remorse.
The difference between psychopathy and antisocial personality disorder is that the former includes personality traits such as lack of empathy, grandiosity, and shallow emotionsthat are not necessary for a diagnosis of ASPD.
Sociopathy refers to patterns of attitudes and behaviors that society considers antisocial and criminal, but are normal or necessary in the subculture or social environment in which they developed. Some sociopaths may have a normal or near-normal capacity for empathy, guilt, and loyalty, but their sense of right and wrong depends on the norms and expectations of their subculture or group.
Disorder or Adaptation
Evolutionary psychology provides reasons for the nomadic lifestyle of many psychopaths: the search for multiple sex partners, the need for new and stimulating people and opportunities to exploit (“waterholes”), and becoming too well known by the community as a problem. Psychopaths engage in many casual sexual relationships that are devoid of genuine, long-term emotional and personal attachments to partners.
Sex as a weapon
Frequent liaisons, the use of sex as a weapon, and the callous treatment of intimates are common features of psychopathic individuals, both male and female.
The Three-phase psychopathic manipulation process
A natural manifestation of their personality that often is more automatic than consciously planned out.
Phase 1: Assessment
- Psychopaths assess the value or utility of individuals, and identify their psychological strengths and weaknesses.
Phase 2: Manipulation
- They manipulate the targets (turning them into victims) by feeding them carefully crafted messages (the psychopathic fiction) designed to build and maintain control. They then drain them of psychical, psychological, emotional, and financial resources.
Phase 3: Abandonment
- They leave the drained and bewildered victims when they are bored or otherwise through with them.
Interacting with Psychopaths
- They have a talent for “reading people” and for sizing them up quickly. They identify a person’s likes and dislikes, motives, needs, weak spots, and vulnerabilities. They know how to play on our emotions. We all have “buttons” that can be pushed, and psychopaths, more than most people, are always ready to push them.
- Many psychopaths have excellent oral communication skills. They can jump right into a conversation without the social inhibitions that hamper most people. They make use of the fact that the content of a message is less important than its delivery. A confident, aggressive delivery style—larded with jargon, clichés, and flowery phrases—makes up for the lack of substance and sincerity in their interactions with others. This skill, coupled with the belief that they deserve whatever they can take, allows psychopaths to use effectively what they learn about a person against the person as they interact with him or her—they know what to say interact with him or her—they know what to say and how to say it to exert influence.
- They are masters of managing the impressions of others; their insight into the psyche of others combined with a superficial—but convincing—verbal fluency allows them to change their personas skillfully as it suits the situation and their game plan. They have an ability to don many masks, change “who they are” depending upon the person with whom they are interacting, and make themselves appear likable to their intended victim. Few will suspect that they are dealing with a psychopath who is playing up to their particular personality and vulnerabilities.
Red-Collar Criminals – Frank Perri
The term refers to white-collar criminals who commit fraud on a client and then resort to homicide to prevent the victim from detecting or reporting the fraud.
Detecting the Psychopath
Your chances of recognizing psychopathic manipulation increase if you do not appear to be valuable or a threat. This puts you in a good position to watch psychopathic individuals manipulate others. With the knowledge of how they operate, you may be able to get glimpses behind the mask.
Forging the Psychopathic Bond
Once the psychopath decides you have utility, the next item on the psychopath’s agenda is figuring out the inner workings of your personality. While this assessment progresses, the psychopath begins to focus efforts on building a close, personal relationship on which later manipulations will rest. Their true power lies in their ability to “psyche out” your personality.
The Psychopathic Fiction
A story about themselves that fulfills the requirements and expectations of the company and its members. A company’s expectations are not too difficult to discover.
Talented Corporate Psychopath
A talented corporate psychopath easily comes across to executives as an ambitious, enthusiastic player. To coworkers and peers, he comes across as a likable person, perhaps a bit narcissistic or manipulative, but friendly, open, and honest nonetheless. Whether one is an informal leader, a power holder, or a regular employee, it is quite refreshing to meet a charismatic new employee who expresses a desire to become an accepted member of the team or displays respect and admiration.
All the Best in your quest to get better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.