Reply To: Taking on psychopath's behaviors?

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There’s a couple of ways to look at it. The first is that you have simply learned a behaviour that gets you what you want. Think about it. The psychopath was very effective in getting what he wanted. He gets rewarded by being manipulative, dramatic etc. You simply might have learned that being dramatic, manipulative is an effective way of getting what you want. This is addressed in the way in which any bad habit it addressed. Just make a conscious decision to stop. You will have slip-ups. When these occur, stop the demanding behavior, apologize and make amends. Your unwanted behavior will occur less and less frequently and eventually it will disappear.

You could also be suffering from the effects of PTSD. This could contribute to panic attacks and “dramatic” behavior. There is material on this and other websites about PTSD and how to deal with this as it pertains to being the target of a psychopath.

Maybe you have psychopathic or other personality disorder type tendencies already and these have come to the fore as a result of your current experiences. I believe that psychopathy lies on a spectrum and that every human being has psychopathic attendances to some degree. How these are expressed depends on the context the individual finds themselves in. In Western culture many psychopathic characteristics are admired and rewarded. Getting rich at other people’s expense (like many Wall Street traders do) or at the expense of the planet (like many multinational corporations do) brings many rewards, including admiration. The infatuation with the Kardashians who are spoilt and rich says a lot about our culture and what we value.

The problem with either reason 2 or 3 is that if the latent psychopathic tendencies are indulged (not stopped), then the resultant rewards (getting what you want) reinforce the behavior. Therefore, the first reason I gave (a bad habit that gets you what you want at other people’s expense) is probably operant in addition to whatever cultural influence or psychological trauma exists.

So I would see that if there is underlying trauma or biological psychopathic tendencies, these need to be addressed. However, this is not enough. Regardless of causes and despite the rewards psychopathic behavior, everyone has the ability to make the decision NOT to hurt other people for one’s own ends. The need to make this decision occurs dozens of times every day (should you return the shopping trolley or leave it in the parking lot to be a traffic hazard? Would walking or public transport be kinder to the planet than driving a short distance? Is winning this argument worth shaming or hurting the other person?).

Psychopaths and sociopaths are losers, not because of the biological faulty wiring in their brain, but because they choose to use other people for their own ends. They could choose not to use people, but they just don’t feel like making the effort. They simply choose to put their own needs above other people’s to the point where people become objects to them. They are perfectly capable of choosing not to do this. So are we all.

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