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Are they just evil people?

An evil person is one who exploits or harms most everyone he/she encounters; the question of the utmost importance is do evil people share certain personality characteristics? Perhaps personality type has nothing to do with evil. We all know that every person has made bad moral choices at one time or another so perhaps people who repeatedly make bad moral choices are no different than anyone else.

There are many reasons to consider whether evil people have a special or different personality type. For Lovefraud readers, the best reason is to define and learn to recognize a group of people to avoid.

The assertion that evil people share a common personality type has profound philosophical and practical implications. This assertion implies that while occasionally doing evil is part of all of us, repeatedly doing evil is not. But what does repeatedly mean? Shouldn’t everyone who has made a bad moral choice get a second chance? What about those who have made two bad choices? Perhaps if we can identify an evil person by his/her characteristics, then we can say that he/she should not be given another chance.

The PCLR is born

I believe it was this line of thinking that lead Dr. Robert Hare to develop his Psychopathy Checklist, now Psychopathy Checklist Revised (PCLR). He was working in the prison system and he wanted to describe the characteristics of people most likely to re-offend. He wanted to identify the evil doers.

Dr. Hare was very successful. The PCLR does identify a group of people who are likely to re-offend and who are very evil. But, somehow this attempt to define with a rating scale, a group of criminals who are most likely to re-offend has become much more. The results of this one instrument are increasingly seen as defining a personality type called psychopathy. It turns out that fancy statistics on the answers to the PCLR reveal that some of the answers group together in “factors.” These factors have become the basis for defining psychopathy itself.

The psychopathic personality is more complex than the PCLR

As Drs. Lynam and Widiger point out in their recent paper Using a general model of personality to identify the basic elements of psychopathy, “In the original derivations, the authors (Hare and colleagues) were fairly careful about referencing the factor structure of the instrument (PCLR) rather than the composition of psychopathy”¦ Since that time, however, the measure has almost become the construct (psychopathy), and more recent authors are more likely to write about the structure of psychopathy than the structure of the instrument.”

Lynam and Widiger suggest, and I agree “that factor analyses of the PCL-R are unlikely to reveal the core components of psychopathy.” Therefore, the use of the PCLR to define the psychopathic personality is problematic. It is more useful to find out if there is indeed a “personality type” that is prone to evil. The best way to do this is to use a personality test that has been developed to understand personality in general (the NEO PI-R*, method 1), in conjunction with an inventory like the PCLR (method 2) and expert ratings (method 3). With these methods combined we can describe the personality type of those prone to evil and then extend the findings to non-criminals.

The evil personality

Using these methods, Lynam and Widiger have demonstrated that there is a personality type prone to evil. So now I will tell you who to avoid, and also more importantly who to seek out!

“We believe that these 12 traits** for which there is agreement across all three methods, constitute the core elements of psychopathy. According to these traits, psychopathy consists of extremely low agreeableness”¦The psychopath is cunning and manipulative, greedy and exploitive, oppositional and combative, boastful and arrogant, and callous and ruthless. Relatedly, the psychopath lacks interpersonal warmth. The psychopath is pan-impulsive, marked by the impulsive end of each of the personality pathways to impulsive behavior”¦ The psychopath also appears immune to embarrassment and shame, potentially important emotions for the social control of behavior. Not surprisingly, the psychopath is also undependable and unethical.”

The Inner Triangle again

I believe that the three clusters of personality traits Lynam and Widiger have identified correspond to what I have called The Inner Triangle. The lack of agreeableness and warmth relate to ability to love. Identify a psychopath by his/her inability to really love and take care of others.

Identify a psychopath/sociopath by his/her poor impulse control. Lastly, psychopaths have a lack of moral emotions- embarrassment, guilt and particularly shame. This lack of moral emotions impairs moral reasoning in the psychopath/sociopath.

The combination of poor ability to love, poor impulse control and poor moral reasoning predict evil in people with narcissistic and borderline personality disorder just as these qualities cluster and predict evil in psychopaths/sociopaths.

Who to seek out

Surround yourself with people who have a well developed Inner Triangle! Love people who are warm and have a track record of self-sacrifice for others. Trust only those who can control their own impulses. Admire only those who experience embarrassment, guilt and shame. Depend only on those who are dependable. Since sociopaths/psychopaths are con artists, get proof of these qualities by first hand observation before you ascribe them to anyone.

* The NEO PI-R has been used to develop the five factor model of personality. This model can be remembered with the acronym OCEAN: O-openness to experience, C-conscientiousness, E-extraversion, A-agreeableness, N-neuroticism. Openness to experience (O: fantasy, aesthetic, feelings, actions, ideas, values), Conscientiousness (C: competence, order, dutifulness, achievement striving, self-discipline, deliberation), Extraversion (E: warmth, gregariousness, assertiveness, activity, excitement seeking, positive emotions), Agreeableness (A: trust, straightforwardness, altruism, compliance, modesty, tender mindedness), and Neuroticism (N: anxiousness, angry hostility, trait depression, self-consciousness, impulsiveness, vulnerability)
**Twelve traits were consistently identified by Lynam and Widiger as either low or high in psychopaths. The psychopath is low in 5 facets of A (Straightforwardness 1, Altruism 2, Compliance 3, Modesty 4, Tender mindedness 5, three facets of C (dutifulness 6, self-discipline 7, and deliberation 8), and one facet each of N (self-consciousness 9) and E (warmth 10); the psychopath is high in impulsiveness 11 from N and excitement seeking 12 from E.


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109 Comments on "Are they just evil people?"

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I’ve recently detached myself from an abusive relationship that lasted for off and on 3 yrs. I believe my father was somewhat of a sociopath. I remember him as being abusive and he didn’t seem to have remorse only to say he was sorry to my mother to get on her good side again, I am sure. There must be degrees of sociopaths obviously not all of them commit murder, but why take the chance, right. I don’t understand what went wrong with their brains. If it is biological then they are sick, not evil, right. I’m not talking about the kind of sick as in they’ll get better or that I should feel oh so sorry for him but to say that the person is evil almost makes it sound like he is possesed rather than he has a sick mind. Evil or sick, I guess it doesn’t really matter – the outcome will be pain to the person that is closest to them. It is amazing that in the beginning, I thought he was sick for lying about having cancer but I did not understand to what degree. I’m thankful for this website and all that I have learned here. I wish I would have read this a long time ago, but maybe even if I did, I would not have seen it. Fact is a lot of people told me a lot of things that I should have listened to but for whatever reason I did not. It’s almost like being hooked on a drug that you know is going to kill you but you just can’t stop. They are potent, they are masters of deception. I saw a PBS program about the Fig Tree in Africa and there is a vine that grows around it and keeps growing and wrapping itself around the tree until it finally chokes it and the tree dies. This is what living with a sociopath is like.

I struggle everyday to understand the depth of the evilness inside my son’s father. He doesn’t contact his son via phone, nor visit, nor does he acknowledge his lack of financial accountability. Everyone, including the legal system, know that he is playing them, but yet everyone seems to be afraid of holding him accountable. He lies and manipulates the emotions and security of his nine year old son with no remorse about the emotional devastation he is wreaking on his son’s life. He continues to manipulate the legal system with managing to fly under the radar and have the “pro bono” services of a “man’s rights lawyer” who has lied on the stand for him and allegated unspeakable actions against myself.

I have gone into financial devastation battling this in court to protect my son. His father has stepped up his intimidation and aggression tactics by sending home a bullet with my son to give to me. Promising to teach a nine year old how to shoot a handgun just like his stepsisters who are 7,10, and 13.

Years ago, this would have sent me into a hysterical frenzy. I now refuse to live in fear of this man, but continually worry that if I do not play into his fear and intimidations that he will feel the need to step up the ante and possibly follow through with physical harm to my son or myself or both.

I am now friendly with all of the past lovers, employers, and acquaintences of my son’s father and have kind of formed a “survivor’s group”. We are in contact with each other often as most of us have legal issues that we are still dealing with due to our involvement with him.

He now uses religion to hind his evil behind by being involved with an extremist Baptist group that follows the belief that woman have no rights. He has not worked in two years and owes well over $30,000 in back support and day care. Yet blatantly buys himself a “toy” helicopter in front of his son, that cost more than a week’s child support, and takes it home with himself instead of giving it to his son (who never so much as received a Christmas card from him).

I am grateful everday to those who are supportive of me and my son emotionally and who have gone along on this never ending roller coaster ride with me and for some reason refuse to jump off.

I am grateful to this website blog that comes in right about the time I need reassurance the I am not the one who is crazy. And everyday I wake up and say thank god that I am blessed with my son and that someday there will be justice.

“Someday there will be justice.” I have been reading for the last twenty minutes – it was this phrase that motivated me to make an entry. My ex is a sociopath. He and I are headed back to court for the second time – after more than a year of deliberate delays. I wish the court system could recognize the sociopaths among us. I pray for the day that justice will be served – for you, for me, for all of us who have fallen prey.

Buying a toy helicopter for himself as described above reminds me of my psycho ex’s and their “toys”. They grew up in homes where they had everything and they certainly didn’t provide this type of life for their children. They buy expensive things for themselves (cars, jewelry, motorcycles, vacations, etc…) and their kids have the barest of necessities. The 2 older boys had to pay their way through college and buy their own cars! It galls me that they are this selfish and they live in luxury while everyone else has to scrape just to get by., including myself! Thanks to their greed, I ended up in debt and am unable to properly provide for my own children the way I would like. Everyone suffers from the psycopath’s destruction. Not to mention the medical bills you end up paying to therapists so you can get your mind back. It leaves you with this terrible feeling in the center of your gut and it never really goes away.

Liane,
Thank you so much for your comments and insights. It has taken me a long time to come to grips with what kind of person I was dealing with. I’ve been reading the comments and stories on this website for over a month and it has helped me a great deal. The person I was involved with for 3 years pretended to have cancer. Like I said before, he was an excellent actor and had everyone fooled even his own mother and father. I didn’t listen to my own gut feeling that he was a liar. Then I didn’t listen to my gut feeling that he was a cheater and a user. Then I didn’t listen to my gut feeling that he was so far from being a genuine person. He was a fraud. That’s how I always knew he was seeing someone else. He would have new sayings and hobbies. But I am getting off track on what I wanted to say. I can really relate to what everyone has to say here. I don’t think anyone else could understand unless they’ve been in a relationship with a person like this. I would try to figure him out but then I got to a point where the question of why I was putting up with it was more important than the question of why he was doing what he was doing. I felt like I was just as sick as he was for putting up with it. Like there was something desperately wrong with me and I needed to fix myself and not worry about him. I’ve read many stories and it seems like people like that can fool just about anybody. So maybe I’m not so desperately flawed. I know I have things I need to work on, like my self esteem but I don’t feel so alone after finding this website. I do believe I will heal and I do believe my life will be good again. There is an excellent article in the new issue of Oprah. It’s called “Could a man drive you crazy?” It’s not specific about sociopaths but it does give us some things to think about so we take better care of ourselves in relationships. I recently read a book called “Clowngirl” by Monica Drake. I thought it was a good metaphor for me. Who am I without the clown suit of that relationship? Who am I on my own two feet. I think I was afraid of being noone without him. I’m not afraid anymore. I am much better off without him. I’m learning to like it and enjoy it. I don’t need the drama to feel alive. I want peace in my life. People like that are a huge waste of time. I spent too much energy, time and money on someone that didn’t care about me and was using me. So my advice to anyone that is in an abusive relationship is to get out as soon as possible and don’t look back. Suescov, my wish for you is that the terrible feeling in your gut will turn into peace and joy. That is my prayer for all of us.

Summerthyme, thank you for your wish. I am working on it one day at a time and some days are better for me than others. I like your analogies and I will try to get that book as this will help with my self-healing process. This website has helped me temendously and it is good to see that others have shared my experiences in that I am not crazy. However, I must say that I have developed mental conditions and anxieties that were not present prior to meeting my ex’s but with the hard work and determination, I am overcoming them. The freedom I feel outweighs the torment that I endured with these guys. It never ceases to amaze me the methods they use to lure us into their “underworld” and I feel Dr Leedom hits the nail on the head with her research on sociopaths and their methodology, traits, etc. I also had that instictive “gut” feeling when I first started dating both of my psychos. I remember thinking at the time that they were too good to be true and wondered why noone else had scooped them up as they were both 28 yrs old when I had met them. It was only later that I started to discover their terrible pasts which uncovered the truth about them but, of course, it was too late. In the beginning of the relationship, they were so busy with wooing me that it left little time to do a background check and I often saw clues that me think in the back of my mind that something wasn’t quite right. And, I know all about the chaos!!! It seems exciting at first, but after awhile it starts to wear on you. Like the time when I was busy studying for an important exam late at night, I heard a noise on the front porch and found my ex’s son sitting there because his mother had just dropped him off so she could go out with her friends. I remember being furious with her at the time but what I didn’t know was that my ex had planned it with her, then made it look like he was out “looking” for her all night. He had cheated on me with her and I was the perfect and convenient babysitter for them so that they could have a rendevous for old times sake! I was so blind I could’ve kicked myself for it. But, I believed his lies and didn’t want to see the truth about him. I didn’t want to admit to myself that I had picked yet another loser who could control me with his suave and smooth ways.

Hi Suescov,
This website has been a tremendous help to me also. The authors of this site, Donna Andersen, M.L. Gallagher and Liane Leedman, know what they are talking about, from experience and research. I respect them and thank them for sharing their experiences, knowledge and time with us. It is so good to know that there are people here that can really relate.

The book I mentioned is not a self help book in anyway. I just liked it and think she’s a cleaver writer. When I would come across one of her lines, like “Love and hope are a bad mix sometimes.” I could really relate. I think that’s one of the things that kept me stuck for a while “It will get better.” “It will be different this time.” It never was and never did.

Pleae try not to be hard on yourself. I think that was one of the lessons that I had to learn and am still learning. Why do we forgive others but have a hard time forgiving ourselves.

Take good care of yourself. You do deserve real love.

What an awesome breakdown of the traits – this is really important for victims to know in detail as they map their way through the world post sociopath. One of the major worries after this type of encounter is meeting another one of these monsters somewhere through life.

This specifically outlines the minute attitudes, thinking and likely behaviours that go along with this disorder and is hugely helpful. I recently had the pleasure of reading Women who love psychopaths 2nd Ed and it mapped out in much more detail the traits that women have who stay in these relationships – reading this is like seeing the mirror and explains so much for me about why it was so bad and how I got stuck there for so long trying to fix everything. Reading the book allowed me to see the very positive (but sometimes dangerous) aspects of my own personality that fitted with his sickness to create the dynamic.

I try to imagine at times what it must be like to be like him –
no real authentic self, no introspection or reflection, no learning, never trying anything new, impulsiveness, lack of self consciousness or remorse or regret, selfishness, irritability. He put me through hell but if he ever gets self aware enough his own psychology must be hell as well. I can’t imagine it at all – going through life with a care for not another living soul. It’s unthinkable.

Thankyou Dr Leedom – excellent work and well written for non medicos!

I’m glad you brought up this older article of Lianes, I think it is one of the best! Though I have made concerted attempts to go back and read every article on LF, I find one once in a while I have missed, and this is apparently one of them!

Having a “check list” as it were to compare a person’s behavior against may make us be more aware of the things we need to watch for.

I copied and pasted this article into omy “LF scrapbook” A belated thanks for this one Liane, Great article.

The deception and conning is a huge portion of this disorder, so it is not easy to tell the real personality traits of sociopaths at all, they are well hidden.

I am a man and all my life I noticed those fake men around me, the ones who faked to have my personality traits, but they weren’t like me at all. They faked it better than I can ever present myself. Very few women at initial stages can tell the difference between me – a normal man and a sociopath.

one/joy_step_at_a_time

@peterd,

“they faked it better than i can ever present myself.” wow.

and you have ssen them – this is amazing.

I have been scammed by a woman pretending to be a man. (internet and phone). were you scammed by a woman?

one step

“Twelve traits were consistently identified by Lynam and Widiger as either low or high in psychopaths. The psychopath is low in 5 facets of A (Straightforwardness 1, Altruism 2, Compliance 3, Modesty 4, Tender mindedness 5, three facets of C (dutifulness 6, self-discipline 7, and deliberation 8), and one facet each of N (self-consciousness 9) and E (warmth 10); the psychopath is high in impulsiveness 11 from N and excitement seeking 12 from E.”

I have yet to find any characteristics of a sociopath not exhibited by the person in my life who I now suspect was a sociopath. However, I still don’t accept that all sociopaths are deliberate in their actions. I think that their callousness, lack of empathy and lack of guilty feelings may make their behavior appear deliberate while not actually being so deliberate.

Wonderful article. Once I learned of my ex’s hidden life and lies, I realized he HAD to be deliberate to carry it off for so long. The other life with countless woman didnt just happen, he made sure of it. He manuvered and schemed and conned many people to cover up his other side

.For example, he would tell several of his female clients each week to bring him lunch since he didnt have time to take a break, when his girlfriend brought lunch that week, no one noticed. He had so many female “friends” running errands for him, that one one suspected one could be a lover. He was such a nice guy…just a bud.

All planned. All schemed. Conning and manipulating and winking and laughing behind the scenes. I put tapes in his car. In one those he is with a female” friend” jokingly telling his buddies (ha ha) that they just had sex…or was he joking??

When most of the comments are jokes, how do you know the truth? Isnt that the idea? Teasing, joking and being funny is another con.

When the smiling mask came off , there was a monster behind it. And he was not happy to that his “act” had been discovered.

Flower:
I posted my letter to the judges…..on the other thread….
hope you saw it before it got buried…..

OXY!!!! Ive found out the name of the S. african woman who killed her Tik addicted son.Her name is Ellen Pakkies.
Ive just sent away for a book about her, called.
“Dealing in Death,–Ellen Pakkies and a communities struggle with Tik. ” It isnt sold on Amazon, but a S. African book co. if you send me youre street address privately,{Ill give you my email, an I promise not to give yours to anyone alse.}
Then Ill order a copy for you too. When I get back from my trip,{end of may,} mine should have arrived. Then Ill order another copy for you. Hows that? My treat to you for all the invaluable help youve been to me.
Love, Maia {Gem}.XX

Watched a fooood program tonight….fear was the emotion that he wanted to face…i think we all need to face that emotion…it ‘s the root of it allllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll

ttime makes you bolder…children makes you olderr..I am think music makes you older and I think it get harder to adjust …I AAM GOING TO SEE THE EAGLES!!! yAAY

i have to say I am sorry … and I have to sy this sit e makes me hurt more than I think I should………

conomo… are you ok? don’t want you to hurt more,
i don’t want me to hurt more!

Well I hope I never make you hurt Schic!!!!Sseriously/sincerely!!!!

conomo… no! you will never make me hurt! seriously!!! 🙂

Truth be told …I hurt every frickin day of my life…triying ever to deal with that…I willl one day know your hurt too…

It does hurt … I try not to let it… as I’m sure you do…so many ways…

i guess i hurt everyday too, we all have our own, if we knew each other’s hurt… we would stick with what we’ve got, i heard something like that somewhere before, i forget.

ha ha…not to discount you…but sounded funny….

people cry when they get kicked off dancing with the stars

They do I’m sure…Canada rocks though!!!!…JK…nt really

i loved the movie, but i never read the book

Thanks Schick…

what book? what movie?? I’m lost??

have you ever answered questions on
Yahoo! Answers?
It’s a scream.

sorry, i’m just blathering on and on,
didn’t mean to confuse. There is no movie
and no book. ha ha!!!!

I have to take my final bow for the evening
and wave good evening now
please, don’t throw flowers at me! LOL
didn’t want to disappear on you conomo!!!

no…but I looked for answers ..

screwed up me answers other people questions on
Yahoo! Answers
I’m looking for answers too!!!!!!!!!!

you’re freakin me out S Chick!!! But i like it … thank you

i’m freakin myself out.
you are a sweetie.
I can’t stand it when my cat gives himself a bath
when he is sitting next to me. I told him to stop.
i got a dirty look. oh, ha ha, no pun intended!
a dirty look from a dirty cat… duh.

You’re funny…thanks for that..if you don’t come back…have a more happy night …yeah!!!!

You’re funny…thanks for that..if you don’t come back…have a more happy night …yeah!!!! you are way ahead of me…I’m seem to be a ;loser but I really know I’m not!!!!!

ok, you too, good night conomo!!

no, you are not a loser, is that what you wrote?
we are fabulous!!!!!!

I LOVE the Eagles! Have Fun!

Conomo, Are you on the sauce again? {Booze.} Just asking.
Love, mamaGem,XX
I can usually tell if you are ,your posts start to sound disjointed, self pitying, spaced out and just plain weird. You dont need alcohol, conomo, trust me, its NOT helping you.
And all this is not edifying for newbies.Of course your not a loser, but you WILL start to lose it if you go on like this.Love,
Gem.

Where in the heck did you get Eagles from? That was a while ago…but still in the future….we are gonna sing our hearts out!!!

Are you policing me Moma?

No, Conomo, Im telling you the TRUTH.
Gem.

EF,thanks!!! read your letter to judges! will use parts of it. Have a meet and greet next week and a party. I know most of the candidates and their wives.

Very nice people and it will be hard to convince these nice people that the not so nice ones are out there in suits and ties.

They can understand the tee shirt cons but not the professionals…like my ex. Which is why he can get away with so much. Anyone know how to “expose” a corrupt city councilman..my ex’s bud and one of his mouthpieces..

Flower:
ALSO…..if you don’t get ‘personal’, like relating your info to YOUR situation and DON”T USE THE WORD EX…..
Ears will open further……use the words like advocate, victims etc…
When we personalize it……they tend to close up, because nobody wants to be ‘in the middle’ of a domestic’fight’……
You know….

Good going girl……
Judges DO so ever so much from the bench….you’d be surprised at what they are ‘open’ to……

Dear Flower,

Well “Blogo” got ousted from the Illinois Governor’s chair and is going to trial for his crimes, and that Judge in NY got nailed for bribes for family court decisions, and so on, it does happen, but you have to get the evidence…that is sometimes a problem, but it can be done…the “GOOD OLD BOY” network is not so GOOD after all. Sometimes the bad guys close ranks even with the evidence in plain sight, but other times they get cranked—maybe you might want to talk to a reporter, sometimes a good reporter knows the ins and outs of how to get the evidence. Or if you think you kinow what is going on you might want to contact your states AG’s office.

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