Identifying toxic/abusive people who are stealthy & complex

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SSJ4_PrestonGarvey
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16 Jan 2018, 1:54 pm

I keep encountering some toxic people who are highly determined to abuse others anyway they can usually mentally or emotionally, and doing so in a stealthy way. I think they identify and target those with mental illness, seemingly in particular those with social deficiencies like Aspergers.

I read about Antisocial Personality Disorder, Narcissism and sociopathy and I find some of these people check the boxes but are not so obvious like they would commit crimes where they can be caught. The key difference is these people are very intelligent socially and seem to charm everyone except for those they target. It's like a bully but who is far more intelligent and uses sophisticated psychological tactics. I vaguely remember the book Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison and one of the people who really antagonized him in high school seemed to be one of these. They seem to have intuitive understanding of psychology and of identifying a person's traits then systematically exploiting it for purpose of mental and/or emotional abuse, all while looking perfect to bystanders in the social environment who aren't targeted by them. In particular they know how to make a person look worse to everyone else and control the framing of social situations.

It occured to me today that perhaps it's an opposite case to Aspergers. Like extreme social intelligence/EQ but maybe deficiency in other areas?


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hale_bopp
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16 Jan 2018, 2:13 pm

They’re quite common in the sense of they’re not easily detected for a lot of people, it’s more than just the serial killers on TV. Though the term does get thrown about easily these days. More often than not, the person is just a dick.

Let me think. I have probably known very few sociopaths in real life, even online. Hundreds of a***holes, but not sociopaths.

There have been a few on this site, and another one from a gaming forum, often misdiagnosed as aspies. One or two in real life, I can’t think of others off the top of my head.

I don’t know about opposite to aspergers, people can be both. It’s simply another neurological disorder.



Esmerelda Weatherwax
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16 Jan 2018, 2:27 pm

Hi... some useful things to read, if you haven't already:
Without Conscience, by Robert Hare;
Snakes in Suits, by Robert Hare and John Babiak;
The Sociopath Next Door, by Martha Stout;
In Sheep's Clothing, by George K. Simon;
Character Disorders, also by Dr. Simon.
Also, Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft (it's about domestic abuse, and that makes it more relevant than you might think.)

I rattled those off from memory, because I had to research this for my own wellbeing about 10 years ago. I own them all.

White-collar sociopaths are dangerous, and very common (based on 32 years of work experience in three countries, I think the percentage is closer to 25% than 4%, which is what experts estimate).

And they really seem to have a "thing" about Aspies. We're less susceptible to their PR, we tend to see through them, we aren't susceptible to personality cults (mostly) and they don't like that, it messes up their machinations. Also, our talents tend to be real, theirs are generally based on hot air. They don't like that, either.

Hope this helps and I'm not telling you stuff you already know, or recommending stuff you've already read. Dr. Simon in particular has a blog, and it's quite interesting (just Google his name).


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HistoryGal
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16 Jan 2018, 3:45 pm

I've worked for two people like that. Let me tell you how raw I felt at the constant gaslighting. Both hated,that I had no interest in social games.



Esmerelda Weatherwax
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16 Jan 2018, 3:58 pm

^ It's horrible, isn't it...

Yeah. I worked full time from 1983 to 2015 (and was a full time grad student before that, so.) - 32 years working, and no matter where I worked, one of these monsters was either firmly cemented in place in management, or one soon arrived and pushed their way in. When that happened, usually the decent person who had hired me was one of the first people the monster sent packing.

Corporations love BS and BS'ers, they thrive on advertising and hype and a lot of them eventually start fooling themselves. Sad thing: I left the US twice for jobs, and both times, the places I went to soon decided they wanted to "reorganize" themselves on the U.S. model. More BS, more mindless worship of bright shiny objects, and more exaltation of sociopathy. It's like plague.

I was very glad to retire and still can't believe I've managed it. It's like the reverse of Arthur Dent's Early Morning Yell of Horror: I wake up, realize I don't have to go to work again today, and start laughing in sheer relief (I did it I did it I did it I did it I survived I retired take THAT you brass studs.)

I don't know how long you have to go, but I wish you (and every single* person here who is working and suffering for it) all the luck in the world.

*each individual, that is. My heartfelt congrats to anyone here lucky enough to be married!


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HistoryGal
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16 Jan 2018, 4:55 pm

Nowhere near retirement. A husband with a great job would be great....hahaha



SSJ4_PrestonGarvey
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16 Jan 2018, 5:30 pm

Another word occured to me for this. Machiavellianism. But the kinds of people I'm describing are a more subtle variety. They also understand the concepts of morality though they either disregard morality when dealing with a target or else view them in a dehumanizing context meaning. They fully understand how to operate in a normal way like establishing healthy relationships however they deliberately choose targets whereby they establish purposefully toxic relationship with them.

It's like understanding the concept of law and concept of social code but believing that for a specific set of individuals, those individuals are undeserving of protection of a laws and/or social code. To them it would be the morally just thing to shame targets perhaps even to suicide or provocation to the point of causing them to do criminal acts.


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HistoryGal
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16 Jan 2018, 5:52 pm

The world is full of bumholes like that.



SSJ4_PrestonGarvey
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16 Jan 2018, 6:23 pm

Another way I'd describe it would be like this: It's like narcissism except the exalted entity also includes most of the social group. They view themselves as above shame and they also view friends and acquaintances as above shame. They view the targets as having nothing to their identities but toxic shame, that the targeted individuals are inherently evil therefore traditional morality need not apply towards them.

hale_bopp wrote:
They’re quite common in the sense of they’re not easily detected for a lot of people, it’s more than just the serial killers on TV. Though the term does get thrown about easily these days. More often than not, the person is just a dick.

Let me think. I have probably known very few sociopaths in real life, even online. Hundreds of a***holes, but not sociopaths.

There have been a few on this site, and another one from a gaming forum, often misdiagnosed as aspies. One or two in real life, I can’t think of others off the top of my head.

That is the thing about them, would they be considered sociopaths if the majority of the time in their interactions they will demonstrate empathy. It's only a small minority of situations where they act in a sociopathic manner, limited specifically to interactions with people they choose to target.

Do true sociopaths use actual empathy at times, when they choose to do? Or even most of the time, except for select situations where they choose not to? I guess I am unsure if it's an inability to use empathy or simply deciding some people aren't worth having empathy for.

hale_bopp wrote:
I don’t know about opposite to aspergers, people can be both. It’s simply another neurological disorder.

What I am thinking is the exact opposite of aspergers. Social brilliance as in they can control social situations like a chess genius. But not necessarily that they are deficient in other areas, only that it may be a possibility as I've thought about what kind of thought processes would be involved and it's far beyond what any normal individual would do. Like how NTs are on a level higher than Asperger's as far as social interaction goes, these people are on another level of their own above NTs with likely a similar gap between them and NTs as the gap between NTs and people with Aspergers. It would require an unusual degree of obsessive focus, which might be due to a potential deficiency in other areas of intelligence. It might be something like an abject lack of talent in STEM areas which they make up for in manipulation and serve as a motivation for selecting targets like people with Aspergers, I can't really think of other reasons to devote massive amounts of mental energy to this kind of stuff. Though I see them target people with other conditions such as Bipolar, Schizophrenia and some others. It seems to be those who are different, especially mental illness.

It's like if the spectrum between Aspergers and NTs had another section altogether like this:
AS-----NT-----(???)

They would selectively demonstrate anti-social/sociopath/machiavellian behaviours not because of a lack of understanding but actually for the opposite reason. They have a very deep understanding therefore they feel this entitles them to play God and decide who is okay or not.

Esmerelda Weatherwax wrote:
Hi... some useful things to read, if you haven't already:
Without Conscience, by Robert Hare;
Snakes in Suits, by Robert Hare and John Babiak;
The Sociopath Next Door, by Martha Stout;
In Sheep's Clothing, by George K. Simon;
Character Disorders, also by Dr. Simon.
Also, Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft (it's about domestic abuse, and that makes it more relevant than you might think.)

I rattled those off from memory, because I had to research this for my own wellbeing about 10 years ago. I own them all.

White-collar sociopaths are dangerous, and very common (based on 32 years of work experience in three countries, I think the percentage is closer to 25% than 4%, which is what experts estimate).

And they really seem to have a "thing" about Aspies. We're less susceptible to their PR, we tend to see through them, we aren't susceptible to personality cults (mostly) and they don't like that, it messes up their machinations. Also, our talents tend to be real, theirs are generally based on hot air. They don't like that, either.

Hope this helps and I'm not telling you stuff you already know, or recommending stuff you've already read. Dr. Simon in particular has a blog, and it's quite interesting (just Google his name).

Very helpful post! Thank you very much!


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Trogluddite
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16 Jan 2018, 6:30 pm

It's not empathy that these people lack, it's compassion that they're missing.


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Darmok
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16 Jan 2018, 6:34 pm

This is a very helpful site:

http://bullyonline.org/index.php/bullies/5-serial-bully


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SSJ4_PrestonGarvey
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16 Jan 2018, 6:37 pm

Trogluddite wrote:
It's not empathy that these people lack, it's compassion that they're missing.

They appear to demonstrate compassion at times for friends and acquaintances though in the latter case it may be for ulterior motives like making the target feel worse.

Darmok wrote:

Thanks. It's been a while since traditional bullies were any kind of an issue but the ones who are more troubling are highly complex bullies. It's strange because oftentimes bullies are that way due to poor functioning on their end but in the "complex/stealthy" cases I've seen it appears to be the opposite case, that is that they function exceptionally well.

It occurs to me also that what I'm describing seems to match up with what many female bullies are said to be like.


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HistoryGal
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17 Jan 2018, 6:36 am

Do we really have to give fancy labels to people who are exceptionally cruel? It's a choice. You can either treat people nicely or not. There doesn't have to be any wiring for that. Let's face it, humans can be really sh!tty to one another. Giving a label is akin to excusing it.



kraftiekortie
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17 Jan 2018, 10:18 am

I'm not "complex" enough to be "toxic."

I'm really pretty simpleminded, to be honest.



Summer_Twilight
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17 Jan 2018, 10:41 am

I have been watching a lot of videos and reading articles on people who are toxic or abusive

Some of their signs are

1. They put you down and insist they are trying to help -
2.They only come around when they want something
3. They find ways to make you feel like something is wrong with you. Example- Insist that others in their lives don't like you over this or that
4. Insist that you have to change while they don't
5. You can't be yourself around them
6. They constantly complain about other people and probably talk about you7. They always take everything out on you
8.They find ways to push your buttons
9. They isolate you from their other friends and family because they are scared that you will outshine them



SSJ4_PrestonGarvey
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17 Jan 2018, 10:46 am

Summer_Twilight wrote:
I have been watching a lot of videos and reading articles on people who are toxic or abusive

Some of their signs are

1. They put you down and insist they are trying to help -
2.They only come around when they want something
3. They find ways to make you feel like something is wrong with you. Example- Insist that others in their lives don't like you over this or that
4. Insist that you have to change while they don't
5. You can't be yourself around them
6. They constantly complain about other people and probably talk about you7. They always take everything out on you
8.They find ways to push your buttons
9. They isolate you from their other friends and family because they are scared that you will outshine them

This is exactly right although the scary part is they can stay golden in everybody else's eyes. tell any lie and get believed, can convince others that I am lying when I am telling the truth


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