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Bernie Madoff case draws attention to problem of sociopaths

Last Thursday morning, my husband informed me that Larry Kudlow, a supply-side economist and television personality, had just called Bernie Madoff a “sociopath” on The Call, a financial news show on CNBC.

“This guy, Madoff, who has caused everybody so much grief, why is he not in jail now?” Kudlow asked, practically apoplectic. “He had a smirk on his face. This guy’s a sociopath.”

There it was—the term “sociopath” on a financial news TV show.

Then there was Andy Serwer, managing editor of Fortune magazine. Serwer is an excellent business reporter; I’ve always been impressed with his work. He’s not one to be tossing psychological terminology around lightly. Yet he referred to Madoff, and Marc Dreier, who cheated investors out of $380 million, as “financial psychopaths.”

Media chic

Two writers for the in-crowd at the Huffington Post equated Madoff with sociopathy.

Mona Ackerman, a clinical psychologist in New York City, wrote The psychology behind Bernie Madoff. She said:

“A sociopath feels no real love toward others. They feel power over others precisely because they are capable of lying without any remorse or second thoughts. Many sociopaths are also quite intelligent and quite charming. So they, or any rogue, can convince people to trustingly hand over their life savings, which is what Bernie Madoff did.”

Dan Agin is emeritus associate professor of molecular genetics and cell biology at the University of Chicago. In Political Corruption, Wall Street Frauds, and Sociopaths, he talks about “social cognition”—our awareness to our connections to the people around us. “Sociopaths in general usually have social cognition problems, especially with empathy,” he writes. “They are people who feel nothing when viewing or imagining the pain and suffering of other people.”

Then he makes what I consider to be very important points:

Not everyone with the traits of a sociopath is a serial killer. Not everyone with the traits of a sociopath is in prison. Not everyone with the traits of a sociopath is autistic or psychotic.

One can have enough empathy to refrain from homicide, but not enough empathy to refrain from fraud or political callousness that causes harm to many thousands of people.

Gossip column

Bernie Madoff was even described in as a sociopath in the gossip blogs. David Parick Columbia’s New York Social Diary wrote,

Bernie Madoff may be what is popularly known as a sociopath, someone who, in the words of Mr. Random House is “a person who, as a psychopathic personality, whose behavior is antisocial, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.” Unusual but not, we all know the kind. ”¦ In the case of Bernie Madoff, scores of bright and intelligent individuals didn’t know and now are truly confounded. Men, brothers, who knew him, who were grateful to know him not because he could make them and so many others so much money but because they liked him, they respected him; some even admired him.

Betrayal is a sociopathic condition, kids.

Value in the tragedy

This is the real value of the Bernie Madoff story to those of us who didn’t lose everything we had because of him: The term “sociopath” is finally being applied to someone other than a serial killer or mob hit man. Bernie Madoff doesn’t look like a wild-eyed murderer. He looks like a Jewish grandfather in a business suit.

The story also proves that anyone, absolutely anyone, can be fooled by a sociopath. The list of people taken by Madoff is filled with people who should have known better: sophisticated investors, international banks, the Securities and Exchange Commission.

I am shocked and appalled at the scope of Madoff’s fraud. But I hope that the story, and all the attention it is getting, has the beneficial effect of teaching people how sociopaths really operate, and how devastating they are.


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155 Comments on "Bernie Madoff case draws attention to problem of sociopaths"

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Thank you for writing about Bernie Madoff. He certainly qualifies as a sociopath in my book. The heartlessness with which he took the life savings of friends, family and hundreds of acquaintances shows he truly lacks empathy.

I wish to add two observationos to what you wrote.

1 – It is cleat that many or most of Madoff’s victims at one time profited from his deceit, probably unknowingly, but still. What are we to make of one gentleman who reportedly lost $450 million with Madoff? First of all, siince he began investing in the 1960s, and with Madoff’s steady 10 percent annual returns, it’s possible this investor started with only $25 million and ended up with $450 million through Mr. Madoff’s perfidy. It’s ill-begotten money, falsely accumulated. The investor is not at fault, of course, but one has to look at the whole picture and the magniture of the “profits” generated. If the investor had put his money in the legitimate stock and bond market, what would he have now? Would he still have $450 million or would it be closer to $100 million? So I think we should keep ini mind that some of these huge losses being reported are actually false profits made on the backs of other investors.

2 – It’s also clear that the people who invested in Mr Madoff’s scheme got something out of it. It makes me wonder what we, the victims of sociopaths, got out of investing our energies with them. It seems sociopaths are good at delivering on dreams….but the price is very high.

Bernie Madoff’s story is spectacular, and he is no doubt a sociopath. What is more chilling tho is that the whole financial system, the corporate gllobalized system, is sociopathic. The mythical “bottom line” serves as a stand in for narcistic supply.

all interests are overruled by the need for profit (greed) and the costs to society are passed on to the consumer (parasitic lifestye) and so on. As long as the financial system works (the socio) we ( the victim) are willing to turn a blind eye.

Alina
What we Profit is Knowledge and Power! Knowing , Realizing , Fundemental understanding that EVIL exist and is not a fairybook story is Prcieless! Your mother told you that there was no such thing as MONSTERS! She told you this so you could Sleep! The Truth is that There are MONSTERS and they are US! No Animal , No Plant , No Chemical , Seeks to DO harm for the PURE Pleasure of destroying YOU! The BIGGEST LIE EVER TOLD IS THAT Satan does not exist! Live-evil , Life-death , LOVE-use , Truth-Lie. It all started with a lie , that God had kept something from us! The Truth HURTS does’nt it!? LOVE JJ

Eyeswideopen
Very well said!

Now I would be willing to bet the House he does’nt have a great Mariage Or a sucessfull home life! Any takers?

“Now I would be willing to bet the House he does’nt have a great Marriage Or a successful home life! Any takers?”

I dunno.

It seems it’s chic to call everyone who does bad things a Sociopath.

I don’t know enough about Bernie Madoff to conclude that he is or he isn’t.

I am curious as to why he isn’t in prison.

To me, that means our culture is a big part of the problem. Apparently, our entire financial system “lacks boundaries”. Boundaries, Self-Respect, Brains, Will to Live, a Pulse… You name it.

Madoff is accused of serious crimes. Big bucks are involved. He should be in jail with an insanely high bail, ’cause obviously he’s a flight risk.

We handle white collar crime all wrong. If you want to pillory me for “blaming the victim”, then take your best shot. I don’t give a darn. I think it’s terminally stupid not to make the consequences of white collar crime much, much higher. No wonder so many people lie cheat and steal. As long as you’re wearing a three piece suit, you’re golden.

We’re a nation of air-headed patsies, and we deserve to be taken to the cleaners. Until we wake up and take some responsibility for our lax attitude toward white collar crime, we’re part of the problem. Whining and scapegoating fixes nothing.

Do you think ol’ Bernie Boy gives a hang that “lesser people” think he’s a sociopath? Until such time as we’re willing to take action, he’ll consider us all beneath his notice.

I think, for what it is worth, that Madoff is only the TIP OF THE ICEBERG, I thiink there are so many “smaller” con-men out there who are in business, but not on the scale of Madoff in “success” but none-the-less have awarded themselves multi-million-dollar “bonuses” and other perks while the stockk holders have lost their butts. The “bail out” money is not being supervised on how it is spent, and already the tales of it being used to take executives on vacations and pay bonuses is starting to come out in news reports, and NOTHING WILL BE DONE ABOUT IT.

I think the way “white collar” crime, like Elizabeth said, is being swept under the table for the most part, and the culprits with their ill-gotten gains stay out of jail. Look at our earstwhile Senator from Alaska after his conviction isn’t in jail and should be. How about the mayor of detroit? The governor of Illinosis? The Ex-governor of NY? and so on….etc.

Unfortunately the many people being turned out of their homes because of the greed of the mortgage brokers for fraudulent loans that these people could never have repaid, the people (I think upwards of 500,000 people) who lost their jobs last month, and the millions of people who have been put on part time work without benefits and aren’t “completely unemployed.” I saw on the news last night that China is going belly up financially with huge job losses because we are no longer buying their products and their economy has become dependent on exports to the US. Mexico’.s economy to a great extent depends on the money sent home by illegally hired workers here in the US. If jobs are drying up, those people who are suffering anyway, will be in worse shape, and so it goes on around the world.

All because of the greed of people like Madoff and other “executives” built a house of cards on greed and know that they will ultimately get away with it. Madoff may end up at his age never spending a day in prison with appeals and more appeals. In the 1970s when a group of psychopathic “businessmen” attacked and destroyed my husband’s successful business for their own enrichment in a fraudulent take over, only one of them ever went to prison and it wasn’t for the fraud they did to my husband, but a later fraud. They not only stole millions, they destroyed multi-millions, and by craft in using the court systems got away with it by keeping the company records tied up in court for 12 years. Madoff will know all the tricks and he has the resources to use to accomplish keeping himself out of prison.

Since he has no shame, and is probably PROUD of his success at conning people for so long and knowing that his name at least will “go down in history” as one of the worst cons ever, I do not doubt that the smirking creep will enjoy the attention to his “success.” That’s something that just sort of floors me, the Trojan HOrse Psychopath in my own case, sat there in his orange jump suit and jelly flip flops in court in chains and SMIRKED, like he was a “big success.” He had harmed us, and gone back to jail, but in HIS MIND, HE HAD WON! I think Madoff has also “won” at least in his own mind.

Oxy: I feel great that Obama is in office. I’m sitting back to watch how his team cleans up the greedy.

Just wait and watch. I feel it down deep in my soul that this man will do wonders for our country and finally, after years of corruption see our country come alive with honest creativity!

That is my prayer for all!

Peace.

A word about incarceration.

When I was a young Marine I was once in a situation where I thought I might have to physically protect myself. I stood still and quiet, taking verbal abuse from a fellow Marine whom I knew to be a total nut job, hoping the assault stopped at verbal abuse. Thankfully it did. The whole time I waited and watched, ready to respond if he attacked, I prayed for one thing and one thing only. “Please God, don’t let me wind up in the brig night. Please Lord, not the brig.”

Being stripped, deloused, thoroughly searched and thrust into an orange jumpsuit and the 24/7 company of total freaks O’ nature is a serious deterrent for everyone except serious freaks of nature.

I guarantee that if white collar cheese balls thought they could end up in the city jail within 12 hrs of being charged, they’d straighten up.

Elizabeth: No they wouldn’t … their EGOs are in full gear and they always think everyone else is beneath them … the looking down their nose routine.

I say, round them all up …. years of incarceration … while they work physical labor on all the infrastructure repairs that need to be done throughout our country. I’m sure the prison officials wouldn’t mind overseeing these thugs while they have them lined up on chain gangs. This way, we kill two birds with one stone … we get these BIG egos off the public streets … stopping them from scamming others. The American public can watch them on the nightly news … seeing what our tax dollars are doing for us via manual labor for years of their sentencing. This goes for dead beat dads that have been beating the system for years. Time to repay society for all your greed!

Sounds like a positive step to me to solve the greed problem in the US!

Peace everyone.

Any kid who jumps a turnstile in New York City will probably end up at The Tombs! Too bad we don’t send all securities fraud con artists there for a taste of what their future should hold if convicted.

Much is being made of the Madoff fraud because it involves the rich and famous. Madoff was redistributing investor’s wealth on his terms! the fact remains that exotic risky schemes are the mainstay of most hedge fund activity. People have short memories and a closer look makes me wonder WHY previous experience did not sound enough alarms and raise enough red flags to prevent the Madoff fraud.

In 1994, two nobel prize winning economists founded Long Term Capital Management….a hedge fund! Investment banks and sophisticated wealthy investors flocked to it! Four years later, it was on the verge of financial collapse with a portfolio of around $100 billion dollars! I don’t think fraud was at the root of the failure, but a high level of inappropriate risk certainly was. Because allowing it to fail would have created chaos in the financial markets worldwide, THE FEDERAL RESERVE BAILED IT OUT! Investors lost their shirts! Didn’t someone post something about wash and repeat cycles!

In the last recession earlier this decade, there was a major downturn in the markets, and investors lost their shirts!

Have you ever looked up the number of securities fraud attorneys around the country! There are a lot of them! Guess why!

So, I agree with Ox Drover………..Madoff is the tip of the iceberg. The puzzling part of it is that it’s the same iceberg we keep seeing over and over, and as OxD points out, it’s not just Wall St.

Incidentally, do people realize what Jon Corzine did before becoming Governor of New Jersey! He was the CEO of Goldman Sachs……….after he left the company (pushed out by Paulsen who is now our Sec’y of the Treasury), it is estimated he made $400. million when Goldman went public!

There is nothing illegal about being a Wall St. CEO, or capitalizing on an IPO, however the enormous amounts of money resulting from Wall St. connections in high places always make one wonder.

Elizabeth, I hate to disagree with you, but only the NON-psychopathic ones would cringe at being arrested, the psychopaths don’t fear prison or anything else really.

My X-DIL who tried to kill my oldest son spent 7-8 months in JAIL (which is quite different from prison actually) and she does NOT want to go back, but I think she is probably more of a Borderline Personality Disorder than a genuine 30+ on the PCL-R, and she got the crap beaten out of her a time or two in jail and does NOT want to go back. But, sometimes borderlines will behave as psychopaths under circumstances of great frustration or stress. She has a history of dysfuncitonal and abusive relationships and she had been both the abuser and the abused. My son said as far as he knew she never did any self-cutting, but that she did have some strange and frequent bruising that could have been self abuse.

She is currently with a man she met on the internet on “collarme.com” which is an S&M site apparently and she is the submissive. My son said that she told him she had “discovered herself” with the Trojan Horse Psychopath and that she liked to be “submissive.” She even told my son about the little “intimate collaring ceremony” they had, like some sort of twisted “marriage.” Oh, well, “different dysfunctional strokes for different dysfunctional people.”

Unfortunately, even incarceration with the genuine psychopaths only gives them Ph. D’s in conning and crime, and my P-son is a great example of this. From his first two year incarceration (of a 5 year sentence) he learned some new tricks which he immediately put into action upon his releasse which would have resulted in his re-arrest on new charges + parole violation, AND led to the revenge murder of his “partner in crime” of a 17 year old girl….and still put him back in prison. He is in his “element” there, living on the edge, continaul danger, continual con games with other inmates and with the corrupt guards and the other guards as well, plus his “fun” in plotting to have his family killed. What more couldl a genuine psychopath want? The perfect life! Hard labor? Not a chance although some inmates are worked on the cotton hoe lines in southern prisons, Texas and Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana, they figure a way to get out of that after a few months or years.

“Sheriff Joe” in Arizona who puts his county inmates in tents in the Arizona summer heat and cold in winter, feeds them food that they don’t like and makes them dress in PINK and pick up trash etc. is about the only official that I truly admire in this aspect.

“Boot camps” for young, first-time offenders, sometimes works wonders on Non-p kids, and the “scared straight” programs have a reasonable amount of success. Again, with NON-P offenders.

At least though, incarceration for long periods of time in the 3-strikes-and-you-are IN programs would keep the worst of the violent offenders locked up.

I know what you’re saying Ox drover, and I agree with you. I think cluster Bs who have a tendancy toward violence anyway are pretty comfortable in jail and prison. As you say, they really couldn’t care less.

Further, I may be wrong. I’d love to read a study on how white collar criminals feel about being in lock up at the county jail with drunks, dopers, and violent criminals. I’d be fascinated to read how they feel about being in prison with the general population. I read a fascinating article written a few days ago that contained some interview remarks from white collar criminals who’d been locked up among the general population. One of my favorite was from a criminal with obvious narcissistic tendencies. He felt it was wasteful to lock him up in regular prison because it deprived society of his brain and is talents. I’m still chuckling over that one!

I think your white collar criminal is going to respond differently than your standard “high conflict” cluster B with violent tendencies. Yes, white collar criminals are often S/P/N, but I think they are almost as ill equipped for incarceration as good people are.

Oh They Care!

When P got put up! all of a suden guess who gets mail? Jail shucks if you don’t have $ or income from out side!

One time he was in on DV on his Aunt, right thats not enough of an attention getter! He writes me to phone His Aunt for the Twenty $ that was in His wallet! I know when He gets Put Up again thats when the Mail will Show but He’s not real good on planning for the future! So my address is probably lost like my keys!:)~ LOVE JJ

Elizabeth,

Part of it is going to be WHERE they are incarcerated. If they are in a minimum security federal prison they are NOT in with the violent criminals and the atmosphere is more of a “country club” with tennis courts etc, they can wear their own clothing, and many of those minimum security institutions are about like living on campus, and some are even CO-ED.

One of my friends, who is now deceased, had a son who was a “white collar” criminal (at first) and served time in a minimum security federal prison. It was much closer to my home than her home so in order to visit him, she would come visit with me for a month at a time and go visit him on the weekends. Visitation is very liberal in the federal prisons, at that time it was up to 30 hours a month and she could actually stay 8 hours a day when she went to visit him. It was contact visits.

As he later went to a maximum security prison in El Reno, where he spent much of his time in solitary confinement for assaults on other inmates and guards (he actually did the assaults to GET put into solitary because “everyone left him alone”) ??? I got some “inisde information” on how the federal system works from the minimum security to the super max’es. I also know some guards who work in one in Arkansas. I am well acquainted with TExas prisons workings and the Ft. Worth and Dallas jails where my son was held once for a year and a half before trial and again for a year and a half before trial. Texas is, BTW one of the FEW states wtithout a “speedy trial act” and anything less than three years incarceration PRE-TRIAL is not considered by the Texas courts as “less than speedy.” ???? I actually thought the US coonstitution guarenteed a “speedy trial” if you were incarcerated, but obviously my definition of “speedy” and theirs is not the same. My son got scurvy in Dallas because they were not required t serve a balanaced diet since the AVERAGE stay of an inmate there was 30 days.

I do think you are right that the “entitlement” aspect of the N/S/P white collar criminal would make them not “be at home” in a violent prison atmosphere, but generally the violent inmates are separated from the non violent except maybe in a drunk tank.

My DIL did get beaten up a couple of times and the Trojan HOrse P got seriously beaten up by a local inmate who knew what he had done to our family. OUr local “bank robber” (real bright, he went to a one-teller local branch where the teller KNEW HIM, and only asked for $1100 to pay his drug supplier) LOL but he was at one time a former patient of mine in the clinic and when the TH-P started bragging about his crimes, the guy, knowing he was going down for LIFE anyway decided he would kill the TH-P because they wouldn’t execute him for it and it wouldn’t add any time (I heard this from his BIL) so he severely beat the TH-P who suffered a broken nose, two black eyes etc. Another inmate who was coming down off drugs at the time was irritated by the TH-P’s begging, crying and pleading that he started kicking the TH-P at the same time he was being beaten.

My DIL does NOT want to go back to jail or prison after her thumping and 7-8 months inside, so I have a feeling that she will stay on the shiny side of the law at least, but the TH-P has never finished a parole without new crimes so I am hoping that he is rearrested soon. I am staying on top of his PO to keep him well supervised. At least we have restraining orders to keep him away, and if he does manage to get here he won’t like the reception he gets at all. He is well aware that we are and always will be armed to the teeth.

I’m not going to live in terror, but I will be cautious and do what I have to to protect myself, and so will my sons. AT least I do live in a state whereit is still a “valid defense” that “he just needed killing.” LOL (bad-taste joke)

yes sociopaths can be very evil, after 18 yrs of marriage, my ex decided she wanted out, but the day before she lied on a restraining order, so she could bring in her ex con boyfriend, she took my hand walked me over to the couch, sat me down and looked at me and said “honey i want to grow old with you”….the next day BAM!…..when i got custody of my son, she was so mad she smashed my 76 honda 750 motorcycle with a hammer and with her boyfriend, and threw paint all over my classic 71 javelin amx………….i didn’t care i just wanted my son away from her and the ex con boyfriend!………people out there you have to understand, sociopaths are a different breed, the only way they can be hurt is taking money away from them, or showing them that you have some power too…………….i thank god every day, my sons and i are away from her, she has not seen or contacted her sons at all….10 years now…………in the end i had to put a restraining order against her because she attacked me in front of our sons, she had dropped hers against mine…….last year she wanted to buy a handgun, yeah a 55 yr old woman needs a gun!…..i wrote the judge a 4 page letter telling him all the crazy things she did while being married to her…….he denied her the gun…………and 4 months ago she tried again to get a gun……………denied again………………there is just something missing with these people, a hint i should have picked up on was…while watching a tear jerker of a movie, i’d tear up, nothing from her at all…………A BIG SIGN……..something is missing!!!……..just get away from these people and do not let them get into your mind again!……very imporant!,,,,,,,,,,,,,good luck

Dear Modelman,

I am so glad that you got away from this woman, and most importantly, got your sons away from her.

BTW, if she wants a hand gun, she can get one illegally no doubt. One of the Ps who attacked me was an x-con, and he went to jail for getting a hand gun (he is forever prohibited from buying one legally) The law doesn’t seem to stop them. BTW, I’m a 62 year old woman and I HAVE A HAND GUN, several in fact, and now that my P is out on parole, I keep it handly, just like my glasses, always within reach. And, I do know how to use it. Yes, they can be dangerous, and do not EVER believe this woman has “forgotten” about your “win” with your sons—they are like the “elephant, they never forget or forgive” a “loss” from their victims.

Sometimes, however, they can turn the tears on like a faucet and make a great show of sadness or remorse. My P son is so good at it he should have become an actor.

Yes, they destroy things they think are important to us, and they just don’t get it that STUFF is just stuff, and the REAL wealth we have is our souls and our children. I hope your children have healed from the trauma of this woman. God bless and happy holidays.

Modelman360

Very Nice! You sound/type like your on the frontlines in a battle to save Mankind! May The Force Be With You!:)

Did Someone wanna go get me suntin from the Store?:)~

Madoff’s legal team is currently mounting an insanity defense.

Should be interesting.

Fighter: Anyone that would represent Madoff is of questionable character themselves, in my personal opinion. This nonsense of hiding behind everyone has the right to be represented is sadly outdated with today’s slimy affairs.

Peace.

Beware: The previous comment is spam hiding as a comment. Please delete.

I hope at the end of the day somebody with expertise in sociopathy undertakes a study of the family dynamics in the Madoff clan.

In today’s news there was one article on how Bernie Madoff and his wife EVEN AFTER THE COURT ORDERED HIM NOT TO DISBURSE ASSETS mailed packages of diamonds, watches etc worth millions to various family members. Another article reported how Bernie Madoff has financially cleaned out HIS OWN SISTER, who is now frantically trying to sell her house.

I don’t believe for a minute that Bernie Madoff could pull this scam off by himself. What is fascinating to me is how he got his sons, his brother, his nieces and nephews and others all to do his bidding. Classic sociopath.

Matt: All I can say about Madoff and others like him is … shame on them.

Shame, shame, shame … he should keep his head down in shame for bringing this upon his family, friends, investors and the community.

I’m shaking my head … for my EXs is s chip off the ole Madoff … all wannabees.

Peace.

Wini:

I think this so goes beyond Madoff. I really think this is going to force a re-examination of our society and values as a whole. To quote my grandmother “Bernie Madoff is the cherry on the charolotte russe”.

The unbridled greed, the “let them eat cake” mentality of the last 8 years, mockery that ‘business self-regulation’ has made of our business sector, the “let me get mine and the rest of mine be damned” attitude of our society has gotten us, as a country, to the point that, if we weren’t a democracy with a middle class, albeit shredded as it is, would probably be ready for a revolution to rival that of the Russians or the French.

I have high hopes for President-elect Obama. I think he realizes that as a society we can’t continue with “business as usual.”

As a society, I think we have lost the concept of shame. But, I think we’re starting to wake up to the concept again. Based on conversations I have had with colleagues who are prosecutors, the concept of white-collar criminals going to “Club Fed” is about to become a thing of the past under our next President.

Remember the word SHAMELESS?! That’s part of the definition of an S/P!

Remember, they don’t feel shame! Now, others may have become immune to the concept, but like Matt says, it’s time the rest of us wake up! We should embrace the idea that we ARE connected, our actions DO affect others, and we need to watch our own actions and the unintended consequences of our thoughtlessness and our willful choice to ignore this behavior around us.

Rune:

Another word we seem, as a society, to have forgotten is “remorse”.

Rune: I don’t think they feel shame when they are doing their damage out of the public eye … but, say that to them in the headlines, in a court of law, from loved ones and I do think they at least hear it and I think it gets to them … they just don’t want to show any reaction.

Remember, these folks like to slink around and do their dirty deeds with a smile … as they put on their mask of normalcy (sanity) to show and fool folks.

Just a thought … you can debate this with me. I know the wingnuts I worked with … when they got caught … they would cry and cry and cry … then get super angry … then of course call the person who caught them in the act a derogative name to be one up on them.

Rune: You have to be in a humble mindset to experience remorse.

Peace.

Did you ever meet a humble narcissist?

Rune: Funny… but, man does himself in … NOT GOD. God made us all perfect … and with free will, man messes himself up.

That’s why I don’t believe their is a missing gene in them … I believe they condition themselves not to feel. Plus, if you don’t want to live the way God wants us to live, you aren’t living.

If a person wants to live in their own ego … that is what is considered “death to our souls” or “being in Hell” … aka “living a Hell” or a “life of Hell”.

Peace.

Good morning LF bloggers. I’m late opening last week’s e-mails due to the bloody snow storms we had all week. No need to sign up for a gym to work out … I only have to walk out my door and shovel every hour on the hour, day in and day out (LOL) … oh common, I’m used to it.

Anyway, here’s two quotes I received last week and thought that you would find them as thought provoking … since we always blogg about these subjects.

Your Great Quotation of the Day

Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others.

Aristotle

and the other one is ….

Do not over rate what you have received, nor envy others.

He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind.

Buddha

Rune,

“Did you ever meet a humble narcissist?”

I met one who feigned it well enough to fool “most of the people, most of the time”. I’m pretty sure he fooled himself most easily, but I can’t be certain. His congregation lionized humility, which he was not capable of. All he could do was feign it. He gave himself away to the discerning because he regularly puffed himself up by putting others down.

He was/is a severe pathological narcissist. One of his more bizarre behaviors is the “stealth attack”. He slips up on a sweet, gentle woman or young girl, commits a vile verbal assault under his breath, then slips away again. The woman/girl is left shattered and bewildered, afraid to tell anyone what’s happened. His mask of benign sanity is so good the rest of the time that she 1. fears she won’t be believed, 2. wonders if the deserves it, 3. feels ashamed that “a Bible Teacher” and “Christian Leader” clearly despises her.

Many girls and women have suffered in silence, but several families have melted away from the church seeking a more wholesome environment for their daughters. The conspiracy of silence is maintained, but at least some of the families are sensitive enought to their daughters to know what’s going on and protect them. I guess that’s the best anyone can hope for in their particular subculture.

His outward displays of piety and humility are impressive. Because of this and other things, he and his wife get away with outlandish slander and steady pilferage from the church. His perverse behavior has really tarred this church’s image. His continued presence on their leadership team makes the church look stupid or disingenuine, depending on the observer’s degree of cynicism. These dupes are technically victims, but under his influence their behavior has been terrible. It’s hard to sympathize with them.

I think C.S. Lewis pegged it best when he wrote that if you’re not careful you can come to pride yourself in humility. This can happen to anyone, because some degree of narcissism is healthy. In a pathological narcissist, it’s practically a given. If they convince themselves they’re humble, then they take great pride in it. This guy has immense pride in himself and contempt for others. I’m not sure if he prides himself in humility, or prides himself in having fooled so many. Really and truly, it’s hard to know the mind of a person as depraved as this guy is.

Elizabeth Conley: This congregation doesn’t practice what the churches know.

Double click on this link: http://www.abusefacts.com/articles/Givers-Takers.php

Most N’s pretend to be humble or normal or both. (LOL).

Peace. All I can say is “at least we are learning so we can stay far away from the likes of them”.

Dear Wini,

You’ve posted that a few times. I’ve read it. It is interesting, but I believe it contains elements that foster exploitation.

We shouldn’t lionize the ideal of a “Giver” who is a doormat and a patsy. “Trusting Leaders” is not a virtue. Christians are obligated to practice discernment. When we place our brains in the keeping of leadership, we invite abuse and exploitation. Trust must be conditional and earned. Leaders need accountability, and ethical leaders actually appreciate oversight. Congregations that extend unconditional trust to leadership permit appalling spiritual abuse within their ranks. This is profoundly evil, and the primary perpetrators do not bear all the responsibility. These doormat congregants set the stage for the evil in their midst.

We shouldn’t consider complaining of abuse an automatic sign that someone is a “taker”. If we do, then how can we stop abuse? In particular:

“Taker”‘s can take all kinds of forms, but the common denominator is they are individuals who cry “unfair” or whine about being “victimized.”

I’ve seen these attitudes before in the rhetoric of our nation’s most spiritually abusive cults. It sounds good, but it causes the very problems it purports to address. If a congregation stifles dissent by rejecting anyone who complains, then who are victims to turn to.

Think about the unfortunate girls and women in my previous post. They fear being labeled as “troublemakers”, or “unsubmissive” if they protest. Do you realize how awful spiritual abuse can get when anyone who asks for help is condemned? This is how the most awful abuses are permitted to continue, even though EVERYONE KNOWS!!!

I’m sorry Wini, but I can’t agree with this web page. Christians are not supposed to be doormats and patsies. There is no virtue in letting ourselves be used as by anyone and everyone who purports to be a “Christian Leader”.

Discernment is the responsibility of all Christians.

Elizabeth: I would make a copy of it and mail it to the Archdiocese in your area…. just as a gentle reminder that they need to protect their flock.

Hey, what if they never knew about this character and his wife?

Peace.

Do you think the Narcissist could keep on terrorizing women in an environment where leaders could be confronted and complaints were given a fair hearing?

Of course not!

Let’s take our churches back from the cluster Bs! We don’t have to kick them out, we just have to stop following them, covering for them and pretending away their bad behavior.

Wini,

They’ve been told. They’ve just labeled the people naive enough to speak up as trouble-makers. This congregation practices a form of shunning, by the way. They’ve got their tentacles into the Christian community in this city pretty deep. Being on their “trouble-maker” list is very unpleasant.

A few discerning pastors and denominations in the area have gotten wise to their sickness, but by no means all.

Elizabeth, I hear you loud and clear, it was just a thought. Couldn’t hurt if an anonymous letter went into the office outlining this characters “flaws”.

Peace.

Wini,

You’re probably right. For me, it’s a NC thing. I was burned by this narcissist and his wife pretty badly a few years back. I did all the “notifying” I ever intend to do at that time.

He taught me a lot, and I’m grateful. Before he came along, I didn’t have any words for cluster B disorders, nor did I know they had been cataloged and studied. I’m richer for the experience. Their kind won’t get over on me again.

That, and Matt taught me a trick or two. If I had known then what I know now, I would have used IRS reporting tactics to reveal the way he and his wife diverted my donations to the church. It would have been smart. Live and learn.

Elizabeth: Do you have the cluster B site at your finger tips? I never did get a chance to read the info you provided.

I’m not sure what you’re looking for. There’s a lot of stuff out there about Cluster Bs.

I’ll dig up a few, but basically it’s just another way of saying “character disordered”.

Elizabeth Conley & Wini:

You both bring up a concept that has been nagging at me regarding my S — the concept of “humble”.

My S would use that as the highest accolade “So-and-so is humble” and as a bludgeon on me.

I reflect on the interactions I have with what I’ll term normal people in my life, and see that “humble” is not an adjective which is bandied about.

What exactly is it about “humble” that rings a sociopathy’s chimes?

Elizabeth: I thought it was you that mentioned a new site and you posted the site.

Maybe it wasn’t you … which means, that I will have to read backwards through the site … which I haven’t done in months … never mind about my not wanting to read the blogg backward (LOL).

Peace.

Matt: That’s because the anti-social personalities know they are not in any way, shape or form … humble and probably look for the most humble in the herd to pounce upon.

I don’t know if you ever read when I wrote about my first roller coaster ride … the guy said he could size a person up in 10 minutes or less… basically telling me who he knew he could con without a problem and who was more of a challenge.

Peace.

Matt,

“What exactly is it about “humble” that rings a sociopathy’s chimes?”

I’m not sure, but I’ve given it a bit of thought. My pet theory is that as a pervasive personality trait, humility makes for the ideal dupe. If you can convince an individual, or better yet a class of people, to be utterly spineless, they’re yours to exploit and discard at will. It is for this reason that high control groups such as cults and spiritually abusive churches go overboard sanctifying humility.

Since humility is a virtue, building it up as the most important virtue is very convenient for Narcissists, Sociopaths and Psychopaths. Don’t get me wrong, humility is a quality all Christians should cultivate. All means All, however. This means leaders too. Beware the leader who rejects oversight.

Oh, and PS to Matt,

“My S would use that as the highest accolade “So-and-so is humble” and as a bludgeon on me.”

It could be your S was church trained. He could have learned some of his best tricks in a spiritually abusive church. They’re more common than anyone wants to admit.

Elizabeth Conley: Thanks for the site. I research on:

http://www.mentalhealth.com

Peace.

Wini,

That looks useful. I saw a lot of enticing articles there. It’s good to be reminded that there’s more to mental health than personality disorders.

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