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Archive for September, 2006

Psychopaths on the loose

Much of the research about psychopaths had been conducted among prison populations. It’s probably necessary to find a “captive” audience for this research—psychopaths (or sociopaths, but I’ll call them psychopaths in this post) wouldn’t come in for testing and treatment voluntarily, because they don’t believe there is anything wrong with them.

Dr. Robert Hare estimates that psychopaths (the term he uses) make up 1 percent of the general population of North America, but almost 25 percent of the prison population.

Let’s turn these figures around. Sometime in October the population of the United States will reach 300 million people. If 1 percent of all these people are psychopaths, that means there are 3 million remorseless predators roaming the United States.

The U.S. has the highest prison population in the world. As of June, 2005, there were almost 2.2 million people behind bars in the U.S. If a quarter of them are psychopaths, that would mean 550,000 psychopaths are locked up.

Pop psychology doesn’t work with sociopaths

I remember the first time I had proof that my ex-husband, James Montgomery, was cheating on me.

Montgomery had talked me into giving him a credit card to use. He charged things on the card, and I paid the bills (a good deal for him). One time the bill came and it listed a charge for the Berlin Motor Lodge.

This is not Berlin, Germany. There’s a small town called Berlin not far from where I live in New Jersey. It isn’t much more than a blip on the highway.

Now, my ex was always away on “business.” But there was no possible business reason for him to stay at this budget motel that was only about 40 minutes away. The only realistic explanation was that he was there with another woman.

What should I do?

Survey: psychopath, sociopath or antisocial?

A few weeks ago I posted a blog article entitled Confusion about sociopaths, psychopaths, and antisocials. The article provided background on the evolution of the terms used to describe people who have no heart, no conscience and no remorse. It also acknowledged that Lovefraud uses the definition of this disorder based on the work of Dr. Robert Hare, who uses the term “psychopath.” However, I refer to these people as “sociopaths.”

My reason is that the term “psychopath” carries a lot of cultural baggage. Thanks to movies and media hype, it seems that people tend to associate “psychopath” with deranged individuals or serial killers. I’ve had many victims tell me, “I though a psychopath was someone like Ted Bundy,” They’re right, of course, Bundy was a psychopath. But the vast majority of people with this personality disorder are not serial killers. Victims don’t always realize that the term applies to their spouses or someone else who is turning their lives upside down.

Red flags for workplace sociopaths

Lovefraud readers continue to contribute their insights about spotting sociopaths. Last week a reader contributed her list of red flags to watch for when dating.

Of course, sociopaths do not limit their victimizations to romantic relationships. They often create havoc in the workplace. So inspired by last week’s post, Adrian Melia of Humane Resources Ltd, a UK company that helps employers recognize and prevent workplace bullying, adapted the red flags to help you spot a sociopathic boss or coworker. Here’s what he wrote:

Workplace habits of a career sociopath

  • Chooses and sucks up to allies (not “friends”) who are more powerful, or who he can use to further his aims, or who have something he can gain—especially money.
  • Constantly criticises others, and often criticises allies behind their back.
  • Says things that make no sense, gives people the feeling of walking on eggshells.