Paul Babiak, PH.D. Robert. D. Hare, PH.D.
Interactions with a psychopaths
Our point is that several abilities – skills, actually – make it difficult to see psychopaths for who they are. First, they have a talent for ‘reading people’ and sizing 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.
Second many psychopaths have excellent oral communications 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 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 and how to say it. To exert influence.
Third, 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. In the great card game of life, psychopaths know what cards you hold, and they cheat… They are the perfect invisible predator. Like chameleons, psychopaths can hide who they really are and mask their true intentions from their victims for extended periods.
…the need for approval and validation from others is normal. Social manipulation begins to be insincere if you really do not care about the feelings of others or you try to take advantage of others. The difference between the psychopathic and non-psychopathic approach lies in motivation to take unfair and callous advantage of people. Psychopaths simply do not care if what they say do hurts people as long as they get what they want, and they are very good at hiding this fact.”
From experience, there are many characters who will take advantage of people whilst pretending they are the nicest person imaginable who really like you – only to find out what they are really like when you change job, are no longer useful to them and they drop you like a stone.
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