Swimming With Sociopaths

I once worked at a job where the person in charge was a textbook sociopath.

Intelligent sociopaths are artists in their own right. They have the capacity to understand human emotions at some tainted level and are smarter than many of the people with whom they spar. To someone of this ilk people are stupid. Their experience backs this up, they know how to win. They are often more successful, more popular, and certainly more feared than those sheep could ever dare to imagine, and things are only getting started.

Things were going well but somewhere along the line they got offended, or embarrassed, or lied to, and it was game-on. Good Sociopaths are thorough and on point and so things went on happily for a few years until people got comfortable, and then it was party time. The business was thriving because sociopaths with skills make very good managers, who just happen to lack empathy and are therefore incapable of caring when other people are hurt and incapable of sufficiently sucking up (and  they enjoyed every minute of it). It’s called making the hard call and damn it, they were capable. The very skill sets that make this person a seasoned predator are all too often the very same passions that successful companies are born and raised on. Sociopaths will commit everything, unrelenting and determined, if they really want something or want to make some poor victim pay because they accidentally cut them off in traffic or didn’t compliment their new hairdo or small-penis truck. People who fail to live up to expectations, and no one does, don’t deserve a break because they are all lazy, or all incompetent, or both. Weak people are going to be exploited, why would they allow this to happen to themselves if they had any self-respect in the first place? Leave your personal life at home and stop being weak. Swim with the sharks or just lie down and be prey.

They didn’t want it to come to this, but it did. They tried to be reasonable but you wouldn’t listen and please don’t ask for forgiveness, you brought this on yourself. The data doesn’t lie and sociopaths are adept at using information, when it seems to bend in their favour, as a weapon of mass destruction. No tears, or at least real ones, no regrets. Never any regrets.

As any web search will tell you, people who are sociopaths and psychopaths lack empathy. They really are different maladies, but for our purposes we’re just going to talk about them as one thing because they share common characteristics on one level. Sociopaths use relationships and people to achieve their ends, which for some reason always gets dark in the end and involves hurting people who are idealistic (stupid) enough to hope for the best in others. These predators are often good at knowing where to stick a knife while whispering sweet nothings in your ear. They gaslight. They are often sexy. They make promises you think they will keep but in the end it was probably your fault all along. They see no need to retreat. Your feelings are inconsequential and your grovelling only makes them enjoy the process more. Loser. I know because I conducted several studies with a recent sociopath who visibly grew stronger, the weaker I appeared to become. I pretended to grovel and there was absolutely no sign of empathy. I slumped into my chair and let my voice quiver and appealed to their reason and their pity. What pity. Reasoning with them only confirmed their suspicions. I’m not going to tell you the details because I know at least three people who may be reading who could potentially believe I was talking about them. You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you.

It is a common misconception that psychopaths are somehow more intelligent than the average person. While this is demonstrably not true, it may be more accurate to say that sociopaths and psychopaths are often more focused. They may, in fact, be brilliant when it comes to certain details that promote their agenda and fulfill their need for a dopamine rush at your expense. They have undoubtedly, after all, exerted significant energy studying how to do what they do, while you were busy having a normal life and being ridiculously empathetic and sincere like a chump. Often street-wise and adept at manipulation, predators zone in on certain aspects of reality which serve their greater need to prove to the world that they are smarter, better, faster. (Sounds like the opening to The Six Million Dollar Man). They are often successful in business, and it is estimated that as high as 20% of high-level movers and shakers are psychopaths (I know I’m using those words interchangeably, but this is largely because popular literature has reckoned them as equivalents. They aren’t). The heights of narcissism for this group would be astronomically high, very very high. It is little wonder, than, that corporations and titans of industry are sometimes portrayed as cold or unfeeling or driven by bureaucracy at the expense of humanity (this is absolutely accurate). Even if these percentages are inflated, a mere 10% would still be a staggering number.

You know who you are. But what you couldn’t realize in your unbridled arrogance was that I was faking it as well. There was a script, we took notes, and you performed admirably. Thank you for your contribution to this article.

And because there is absolutely no way to win against a narcissist-in-charge we all walked away to better times and healthier vistas while you continue to wallow in your miserable and petty life.

The best part is, you still think you won.