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icyfire4w5
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28 Mar 2013, 7:54 am

Disclaimer 1: To be honest, I don’t know where this post should be posted. If this post should have been posted elsewhere, mods, feel free to move this post to the forum that suits it best.

Disclaimer 2: I can imagine some of you wondering why I’m talking about psychopaths online when I should have discussed this topic offline with people whom I know. (You are all strangers to me.) Well, I did try mentioning psychopaths to certain people in real life, but so far, somehow I always ended up offending these people. They either wrongly assumed that I’m hinting that they are psychopaths or they said that I “think too much” because “psychopaths only exist in fiction”. Um, maybe I didn’t manage to express myself very well in real life, hence these people still cling onto the belief that only ax-wielding murderers are psychopaths.

I notice that many NTs (regardless of age, gender, race and religion) have the tendency to treat Aspies badly, especially those NTs who dismiss autism as an imaginary condition. Among these NTs, the worst-behaved of them all seem to score very highly in Dark Triad traits, namely Machiavellism, Narcissism and Psychopathy. I call such people Dark Triad People because I can’t think of any better term to describe them.

In this post, I will be combining one website’s description of various traits that psychopaths possess with my own experiences with Dark Triad People. I’m sorry that I might have to change some details here and there so as not to expose any of their identities. (I don’t have time to elaborate on Narcissism and Machiavellism, so I will only be writing about psychopathy here.)

Psychopathy (19 traits)

1. GLIB AND SUPERFICIAL CHARM

Um, I don’t know about other Aspies, but certain people confessed to me that I had left them with a bad first impression because I looked kinda stupid and clumsy and I wasn’t very articulate whenever I spoke. In other words, I don’t ooze the charm that psychopaths ooze. Um, let me digress… Years ago, when I was still serving as a student librarian, there was a fellow student librarian two or three years younger than me who treated me very warmly as if I were her long-lost sister. I suspect that she might not be highly psychopathic because she is unpopular among her own classmates whereas psychopaths are mostly “cool and popular”. Nevertheless, I realized within our first few encounters that she was such a bitchy brat. She thought too highly of herself and openly mocked various groups of people whom she was prejudiced against. I told myself to stay away from her, but she approached me cheerfully whenever she spotted me and then initiated all sorts of conversations with me. In other words, I couldn’t “escape” from her because as soon as she switched on her charm as if switching on the lights, she hypnotized me into agreeing with all her views, even those bigoted views. As a result, many people who knew us both assumed that we were good friends because they often saw us chatting happily with each other. Um, end of story. I notice that many people around me view Dark Triad People as excellent role models. However, I sometimes wonder whether they genuinely admire these Dark Triad People or whether these Dark Triad People’s charm has hypnotized them to the extent that they can’t think straight, just like how that student librarian had charmed me years ago.


2. GRANDIOSE SELF-WORTH

I do admire certain traits that most Dark Triad People possess. They have worked very hard to hone their talents, so I sincerely believe that they deserve the praise that people heap on them for their talents. Many Dark Triad People are genuinely talented and mostly all-rounded, hence I won’t be surprised if any famous person who has left his or her mark in history turns out to be a Dark Triad Person. However, I’m upset that Dark Triad People think of themselves so highly that they seem blind and foolish to me even if the whole world regards them as clever. One Dark Triad Person once blogged something like, “People who aren’t talented enough care about morals because they want others to think well of them. People have already been thinking well of me because of my many talents, so I don’t see the need to cultivate myself into a moral person. I can break any rule I like; people will continue to think well of me.” I have learnt my lesson the hard way that I should always turn a blind eye to Dark Triad People’s behavior because they are highly intolerant of criticism. They might use “desire for self-improvement” as an excuse to entice you into criticizing them, but as soon as you criticize them, they will act against you. For example, they might say something like, “Oh, you criticize me because you are a loser envious of my achievements.”

3. NEED FOR STIMULATION OR PRONENESS TO BOREDOM

I’m the sort who doesn’t mind daydreaming 24/7 while cooped up in my home. When people say that they loathe boredom so much that their perfect life is a rollercoaster ride full of changes or say that they will go crazy the very moment they fail to keep themselves busy, alarm bells ring in my head. Sometimes such people are perfectly nice and harmless, sometimes such people turn out to be Dark Triad People.

4. PATHOLOGICAL LYING

I’m poor at distinguishing lies from the truth so I won’t elaborate too much here. One reason why Dark Triad People disgust me so deeply is because many of them share one common trait—they enjoy telling you highly offensive things while maintaining poker faces, then accuse you of failing to appreciate their so-called “sense of humor” as soon as they see you squirm.

5. CUNNING AND MANIPULATIVENESS

Some Dark Triad People even have the cheek to boast that their greatest strength is that they are so persuasive that they can persuade anyone to do anything. I’m scared of Dark Triad People because some Dark Triad People cover their tracks so well that you don’t even know that they have been manipulating you. In my opinion, Dark Triad People are excellent delegators. By the way, I can’t think of any specific example to back this up, but based on my own observations, I conclude that Dark Triad People sometimes lure you into doing bad things on their behalf. If you get caught, you are the one getting all the blame; not them.

6. LACK OF REMORSE OR GUILT

Long ago, I read the memoirs of a Red Guard (during China’s Cultural Revolution) who later became a university professor in Canada. I suspect that she might be a Dark Triad Person. Throughout her memoirs, she kept reminding readers that many people liked her at first sight despite her shyness. I notice that she didn’t demonstrate remorse or guilt for all the bad deeds that she had done during the Cultural Revolution. Even if she was obviously the one at fault, she pushed the blame to some other person or her circumstances.

7. SHALLOW AFFECT

I initially had no clue what “shallow affect” means. One website explains it as “interpersonal coldness in spite of open gregariousness”. I don’t really know how to explain, but I will try… I think that one difference between Aspies and psychopaths is that Aspies are “cold outside, warm inside” whereas psychopaths are “warm outside, cold inside”.

8. CALLOUSNESS AND LACK OF EMPATHY

As an Aspie, I admit that I’m guilty of callousness at various times in the past because I placed my own needs above others, but I’m remorseful (feel bad about myself) when others point out to be what I had done wrong. I’m not very sure about Dark Triad People, but Dark Triad People are usually bullies rather than the bullied—we all know that bullies lack empathy.

9. PARASITIC LIFESTYLE

Not always true. I have read many articles saying that many psychopaths are corporate high-fliers shouldering heavy responsibilities. On one hand , those Dark Triad People whom I know of often delegate, delegate, delegate. On the other hand, no matter how often they delegate, they still retain some sense of responsibility because they are aware that once they stumble and fall, their reputations will be dented. Many Dark Triad People are leaders rather than parasites.

10. POOR BEHAVIORAL CONTROL

I have already posted elsewhere on Wrong Planet that many Dark Triad People describe themselves as mild-tempered and forgiving, but the truth is that they get angry really easily, just that they tend to turn cold and passive-aggressive when angry instead of having meltdowns.

11. PROMISCUOUS SEXUAL BEHAVIOR

For every Dark Triad Person who is promiscuous, there are many other Dark Triad People who aren’t. Um, since I’m female, I notice that I tend to pay more attention to female Dark Triad People than male Dark Triad People. I think that very few female Dark Triad People whom I know of can be described as “prim, proper, modestly dressed, asexual”. Many female Dark Triad People (whether they are born good-looking or not) pay lots and lots of attention to their ability to attract the opposite sex. For example, they might take pains to portray themselves as “sexy and smart”. One female Dark Triad Person once boasted about how she has never run out of boyfriends since her early teens. She enjoys dating two guys at the same time because such two-timing affirms her self-perception that she is attractive to guys and therefore “valuable”.

12. EARLY BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS

Not always true. One reason why I disapprove of schools that give out “Model Student” awards is because Dark Triad People are highly likely to receive such awards because they are adept at pleasing the teachers who will be nominating candidates for such awards.

13. LACK OF REALISTIC LONG-TERM GOALS

Not always true. Many Dark Triad People have more-or-less the same long-term goal, “I want to be famous, rich and powerful.” They are damned good at breaking this long-term goal down into smaller short-term goals.

14. IMPULSIVITY

Um… I’m not very sure, but I think that this isn’t always true. Even though many Dark Triad People describe themselves as risk-takers, I think that they are more of the cold and calculative sort. They are forever weighing costs against benefits and so on.

15. IRRESPONSIBILITY

Refer to “9. PARASITIC LIFESTYLE”.

16. FAILURE TO ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR OWN ACTIONS

Refer to “5. CUNNING AND MANIPULATIVENESS” and “6. LACK OF REMORSE AND GUILT”.

17. MANY SHORT-TERM MARITAL RELATIONSHIPS

Refer to “11. POMISCUOUS SEXUAL BEHAVIOR”.

18. JUVENILE DELINQUENCY

Not always true. By the way, I have found out the hard way that many Dark Triad People adhere to the belief that “anything is permissible as long as it doesn’t break any law”. Um, many unethical activities (such as backstabbing) are legal.

19. CRIMINAL VERSATILITY

Not always true. Many Dark Triad People don’t commit crimes, that’s why the people around them all believe that there’s nothing wrong with them.

My question: I wonder what types of childhood experiences will cause people to emerge as Dark Triad People. As children, do Dark Triad People receive too much or too little love?



BuyerBeware
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28 Mar 2013, 8:34 am

I think a lot of them probably have harsh childhoods: They are harshly criticized, praised (or genuinely praised) only for winning, taught to be extremely competitive, taught that just about anything you can do to get above someone else is OK because it's a dog-eat-dog world out there.

Oh, Hell. I'm describing American culture here, aren't I??

Well, no wonder we meet so many of them here. Also no wonder we're lagging behind other developed countries with more compassionate social values.


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TinyDancer
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28 Mar 2013, 12:44 pm

I would be careful about constructing categories like this. If you have trouble distinguishing lies from truth, then you're prone to think people are lying when they're not, and you're in danger of putting someone in the "Dark Triad" category, convincing yourself that you see other traits you've defined as part of that category, and you tear that person down before they have time to show you they just want to be your friend. And it might be that stuff that first strikes you as dishonest is someone's attempt at working around your paranoia to get to know you. You've constructed a category where if anyone tries to defend themself against being accused of being in it, they immediately satisfy one the characteristics of the category.

Temple Grandin's books talk about animals who would be called "psychopaths" if they were people.



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28 Mar 2013, 6:16 pm

I have to be kept busy and like to seek stimulation but I'm not any of those types of people you categorise.