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Is the cruise ship captain a psychopath? I think so, and here’s why

By Joyce Alexander, RNP (retired)

The Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia wrecked a few days ago and early reports said that it had hit some rocks. Quickly though, reports came out that the captain, Francesco Schettino, had driven the ship closer than normal to those rocks on the way out of port in order to show off the ship to the residents. An article from the New York Times gives more details.

More bodies found on ship, as transcripts reveal rebuke to captain

Interviews from some of the over 4,020 passengers of the liner stated in news reports that it was “like the Titanic.”

Only shortly after the shipwreck it was determined that the captain had left the ship early on, and also that he had been seen drinking on the bridge with a young, attractive woman at the time of the crash, and that he had been drinking at dinner before the crash. This indicates to me that the man may have been drunk at the time he made the decision to go closer than was safe to the reef.

Rescue crews had reportedly told the captain to “go back to the ship” and at that time they were in command with the authority to demand that he return. He didn’t return and was subsequently branded a “coward,” as well as taken into custody by authorities for not doing his duty in the time of the wreck. I have a feeling this man’s professional life as a sailor is over, and that he will become an international pariah.

Videos taken showed the passengers lined up, going down the side of the overturned boat on one rope, like a line of ants going to a food source.

The captain finally came up with a story that he somehow believed would show that he was not at fault for leaving the ship early (excuse me if I laugh). He said he had “accidentally fallen into a lifeboat while trying to help rescue efforts.” This single statement, to me, branded the man a psychopath. Dr. Robert Hare said in his book, Without Conscience, that the psychopath’s brain doesn’t work like other brains when it comes to lies. They will tell a lie when there is evidence to show it is a lie right in front of them, they will tell a lie that is so unbelievable that no one would believe it, but they do not “get it” that their lie is totally unbelievable.

Of course a psychopath would also put his own well-being above those of his responsibility, such as the passengers, and would desert a sinking boat on the first available lifeboat. Capt. Schettino leaving first, by itself, would not brand someone a psychopath, when maybe they would only be a coward, or so terrorized that he became unglued and deserted the sinking ship. But being told to “get back on the ship!” and refusing to do so does seem to indicate that he was either totally unglued or had no concern for the passengers.

The other things that the captain did that were irresponsible, like drinking at dinner, and drinking at the time of the crash with the rocks, and steering the boat close to the rocks so that he could show off, all of those things might have just been a day of poor judgment, and would not necessarily make me brand someone with the term psychopath. But those things, in concert with the unbelievable lie, make me think that this man has not only no conscience, but that his brain is unable to distinguish a believable lie from one that is so unbelievable that only a psychopath would tell it.

I’m not sure that there is a lie that would be believable or that would not damn any captain who deserted his ship like Capt. Schettino did. However, a man who was not a psychopath, who had simply panicked and deserted his ship, who otherwise had a moral compass, would show some remorse for what he had done. He would at least show some shame at having failed in a pivotal moment in his life, in which he should have showed some courage and concern for the more than 4,000 lives in his charge.

I think that anyone can “fail” in a moment of horrible terror, in combat or accident. The overwhelming terror of something like a ship capsizing, the panic of the passengers, and possibly also the man being drunk, could account for him deserting the ship early and refusing to do his duty, or letting go of his responsibility. But the unbelievable lie is the one thing, that taken with all the others, that makes me think this man is truly a psychopath.

Here’s another article about the captain by a former commander of the U.S. Coast Guard on CNN.com:

Ex-Coast Guard chief: Captain failed in every way


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157 Comments on "Is the cruise ship captain a psychopath? I think so, and here’s why"

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More on the ship captain:

Costa CEO says captain misled company, crew, on CBSNews.com.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505245_162-57363122/costa-ceo-says-captain-misled-company-crew/

Maybe I am cynical but sometimes I can just look at a person and instantly know he/she is a jerkospath, just from the way he looks, act’s, body language etc..without knowing a darn thing about them..I instantly coined this arrogant pompous narc. Tripped and fell into a life boat? Yeah sure, just like my x tripped and fell into somebody’s unzipped pants…I hope he get’s fed to the the sharks….
Goodmorning~!

Henry ~ my first impression – exactly !!!

There was a psychologist talking about him this morning on HLN – said first thing he did was call his mommie and tell her he was OK. Psychologist said that speaks directly to his problem.

Henry – read about your little doggie’s teeth – if you have any younger dogs may I suggest giving them Hills Prescription Diet – Canine Dental Health – as treats. My boxer boy gets several a day and it has really controlled his plaque.

Morning Milo,
Thanx I will check get some of that next time I go to petsmart, Posy is doing fine.

Henry, you gave me a BELLY laugh this morning, your X tripped and fell into someone else’s pants! LOL ROTFLMAO Yea, right!

I think he WILL get fed to the sharks…probably prison for manslaughter of upwards of 30 people, I think there are 11 confirmed dead and 21 “missing” and not likely to be found alive. Then he will never be able to find a job…and if he did the money would go to the victim’s families.

I watched an article last night on Date line about this one and also cruises in general. How the cruise lines treat customers and staff alike.

One woman who was an officer said she was raped and the Captain told her that she had to get to work NOW and deal with the problem later. It showed videos of people fighting on board, tales of rape by staff (recently a 14 year old passenger was raped by a staff member) and apparently there is LITTLE TO NO LIABILITY for what happens to you on board a cruise. Plus, the security has no place to lock someone up on most boats…just send them to their room.

I’ve only been on one cruise but I get so SEA SICK I am not up for another one and I am actually glad, given the number of DRUNKS on most cruises. I did enjoy the off shore sights though.

While it is unusual for a guy to reach this rank without having responsibility and caution, we all know that psychopaths can ingrate themselves to the power positions in many different lines of employment. Look at how many become governors, Senators, Kings, and dictators, much less sea captains. They can be smart and even charming, appear responsible…SNAKES IN SUITS can also be SNAKES IN UNIFORM, if I may borrow Dr. Hare’s book title to change a bit.

I’ve read all the things that have been released so far about how he abandoned his duty…how there were no safety drills when the people first got on board and he kept denying there was anything wrong except a power outage even after the ship had hit the rock and was taking on water. All that together proved that he was lying about what was going on, desperately trying to find some way to make himself not look bad…but FALLING INTO A LIFE BOAT was the kicker for me that said PSYCHOPATH, LOUD AND CLEAR.

That’s why I am no longer in a relationship of trust with my son C….the lie. He’s not a good liar either, but even his lies are not that far off the grid! LOL But C isn’t a psychopath, just a jerk….but one I can’t trust to have my back, so right now our relationship is only about protecting our mutual interests where Patrick is concerned and keeping Patrick in prison.

Great article Oxy, and thanks for the updated link, Donna.

Re: Donna’s link: I have to call a foul on the company’s response. IMO they are just maneuvering to avoid accountability on this one.

Oxy’s second article “Ex-Coast Guard chief: Captain failed in every way” was very apt. As he said:

“The captain of a ship at sea is one of the last bastions of total authority in this world. The ocean is a dangerous place, where life and death decisions often need to be made in an instant. For this reason, a sea captain is granted complete independence, power, and control aboard his vessel.

But with that absolute authority comes absolute responsibility. In the case of a cruise ship, thousands of passengers have come aboard with the expectation that they are in the hands of a competent crew headed by a competent captain. They are depending on his professionalism, skill and dedication to his one and only mission: to navigate his vessel safely and prudently from point A to point B.

To meet that mission, a modern sea captain is provided with all kinds of resources. He is given extraordinary training for the challenges of the waters he is in and the vessel he is commanding. He is given extraordinary electronic gadgetry that allows him to fix his position on the globe within inches. He receives all sorts of input information — weather reports, charts detailing virtually every hazard in his area of operation, and detailed information on pathways to take and pathways to avoid — all of which arm him to make good judgments as to where he is going.”

As I mentioned in my comment on Donna’s post re: banks intentionally hiring psychopaths, the absolute minimum requirement for critical systems of any type: financial, transportation, medical, airlines, etc… are appropriate controls and checks and balances. Every critical system must – almost universally by law – have backups on their backups. One of the biggest audit failures is finding a “SPOF”: single point of failure. It is the companies sole responsibility to put in place those checks and balances so that any one disordered individual CANNOT singlehandedly wreak the kind of havoc we see here.

Here in Canada I often watch the show “Mayday”. Not sure if it’s available in the US, UK, or Europe. It dramatizes major accidents – usually airline accidents – and goes through the forensics activity that identify root causes, through to the legislation/technology requirements changes that are enacted. In every case of a major accident there have been multiple failures.

I once had an interesting discussion at a cocktail party with a retired US history professor. Without knowing any of my history or interests, he started on a discussion of how the US constitution was designed with checks and balances between the Senate and House of Representatives and Presidential Veto (forgive me if I’ve described that incorrectly – I’m not familiar with the US constitutional setup) specifically to thwart psychopaths taking sole control of the country. The concept of ensuring that there are checks on absolute control of any critical entity or instituation, in order to correct things midstream, has been known for thousands of years.

Odds are there was some spath-like behaviour in the company management that served to reduce or undermine those checks and balances that should have been in place, probably done under the notion of cost-cutting of ‘unnecessary regulation’. Spaths, as we all know by know, are fond of playing the odds – particularly when they don’t have a lot of skin in the game – and taking risks that the rest of us would never dream of. As Oxy’s article pointed out, there were layers on layers of significant errors over time that were visible yet unaddressed by the rest of the crew. Someone other than the captain is responsible for that.

The airline industry has for years now required training and cultural awareness raising that empowers others in the cockpit to speak up and challenge the captain’s authority when required. The Titanic happened over 100 years ago, and the shipping industry should be, one would imagine, similarly aware of this risk.

In my opinion, it’s not just psychopaths that ruin the world, it’s equally the rest of us who sit back and say nothing and allow them to continue without consequence to the point of disaster.

I particularly liked this paragraph from the article, “Captain failed in every way.”

When I first heard about the Costa Concordia, I thought back to the guidance that Alexander Hamilton provided in 1790 to the captains of the first 10 cutters of the U.S. Revenue Marine — the precursor to the Coast Guard. Hamilton advised that they had been “selected with careful attention to character” and told them to “Refrain from haughtiness, rudeness, or insult” and to “Endeavor to overcome difficulties by a cool and temperate perseverance in your duty.” He declared that a captain’s demeanor and behavior must “be marked with prudence, moderation, and good temper. Upon these qualities must depend the success, usefulness and … continuance of the establishment in which they are included.”

Anyone who serves in a capacity of responsibility should be selected with careful attention to character. But that isn’t the case anymore. As is evidenced by the people who are running for office these days.
http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/01/20/the-gingrich-question-cheating-vs-open-marriage/voters-prefer-newt-gingrichs-adultery-to-open-marriage

Too many people think that the person in office should not have to be a good person in order to be a good leader. They only have to be “grandiose” for most people to vote for them or hire them.

So Annie, your point is well taken. It is the rest of us who are ultimately responsible for allowing the cowardly, infantile spaths to take power. Our culture has become one in which only the narcissists get attention. A good honest person is just too boring to get ahead in life.

Annie, your comments are well thought out and truly on point. This man had absolute authority on board and there should have been some sign that he was not responsible enough to hold this position.

You are also right I think in that there should have been some checks and balances. There are other officers on board who had probably seen evidence of psychopathic and risky behavior prior to this happening. I bet this is not the first time he tried to do something dangerous just to “show off.” Why did these other officers not report this? I think because there is no check or balance on a ship. There have been stories for thousands of years of how captains have been psychopaths and abused the crews, sunk their ships, given orders that were suicide for the entire ship. The book “Two Years Before the Mast” written in the early 1800s is a great classic about how the Navies of the world operated and to some extent still do. Civilian navies are not quite so checked or balanced as military captains might be.

I think the civilian navy is more concerned with profits than with anything else.

Dateline last night had some good interviews, one with a guy who fell over board off a cruise ship….apparently there are a couple of dozen of those a year, with only 3 of them found alive last year.

Airline safety I think is probably much better than ocean going vessels partly due to the lower numbers of passengers. With 4,200 people on board the ship it is like a TOWN rather than a vehicle. Getting word out to all 4,200 people at best would be difficult.

Also when a ship turns over on it’s side, the life boats from either side are about useless. The captain denied the wreck for over an hour so the time these people could have gotten off when the ship was more or less up right was LOST. Actually one of the captains said 30 minutes would have done it if it had been started when the ship first hit the rocks and if the people had had a safety instruction.

With psychopaths in positions of POWER and a no checks or balances, things can go wrong quickly. This wreck is going to cost the owners BIG BUCKS in lost revenue from canceled trips and so on. I do imagine that the management is distancing themselves from this man. For what it is worth though, his life is ruined whether he knows it or not.

Sky,m GOOD post! I think it does boil down to who WE (the public) allow to run the companies and the world.

I read the other day about Nazi Germany and a young Pole who fought against the Nazis in the resistence. It said that only 10% of the people were actually WITH the Nazis, and another 10% “went along” and the rest of the people DID NOTHING EXCEPT SIT BY and DO NOTHING. about 5-10% FOUGHT against the Nazis and hid Jews or did other things to fight against the Nazis. It is amazing how low a percentage of the people can take over the other majority. It is frightening too. But we see it when we tell our stories to others and they have no empathy or compassion for us, or even belief sometimes. So I think about the story I heard a while back about a Jewish man who knew the Nazis were coming and tried to warn his friends to flee while there was time to just take a suit case and walk out before it was too late…..which he and his family did do just that, walk out with nothing but what they could carry in a small bag, his wife gave her wedding ring to a man to cross a river in his boat….but their friends said “Oh, what would we do with the business or the furniture?” They stayed and died and ultimately someone else got their buiness and their furniture.They did not want to BELIEVE their friend, so they worried about inconsequential things and paid with their lives.

Donna, thank you for this article! Seeing the psychopath engaged in a world-wide scandal might help reach some people to be more aware of the psychopaths around us, especially those in high positions or those responsible for the safety of others.
I know that since joining LF, my eyes have opened to so many truths I would have never known otherwise. I think it’s so important what you do. Making people around you and those visiting your website aware of your experience with the psychopath is doing God’s work, in my honest opinion. It’s not easy convincing people of the awful truth that psychopaths exist and not just in movies. Convincing them that these people do not function with normal human emotions and that they complrtely lack empathy, responsibility, remorse, and a conscience is no east feat. But you are doing a real social service, Donna, and you’re reaching and teaching so many like me. Now I can live more confidently that I won’t fall into the same horrible trap again.
You and all of the people commenting on this website have my undying gratitude. God bless you!

Woundlicker,
just to set the record straight, the blog is Donna’s but this article was Oxy’s work.

Yes, I agree that this article brings us full circle to understanding the damage that spath cause in the world at large. So many people think that “love fraud” is about a woman scorned. Not the case at all. It’s about the dysfunctional characters causing havoc in our society. It just so happens that one characteristic of these spaths is the need to prey on people’s emotions and therefore they all commit love fraud to some extent or another. Love Fraud is another red flag that you are dealing with a psychopath, a human being without scruples, no loyalty, no sense of responsibility and no empathy for anyone but themselves.

Thanks, Sky…I agree with you and Woundlicker that getting the word out is doing God’s work….and this guy is “famous” but he is not a “serial killer” of the type that goes out and stalks people or breaks into their houses, he is just without conscience, without remorse, without responsibility, without a lot of the things that makes a person, man or woman, “good.”

It is when the chips are “down” that we can see what someone is made of. Anyone can “be good” when things are going right, but to “be good” when the world falls apart….another story entirely.

A psychopath can “keep up a front” or mask when things are good and there is, excuse the metaphor, “smooth sailing” but when things are Bad, they fall apart, drop any pretext of assuming their responsibilities and jump ship like a rat! Of course they were a rat all along, it was just not so obvious before he “fell into a life boat by accident.” I could have found something to doubt about all the other things he was accused of doing but not that lie! LOL I actually did LAUGH OUT LOUD when I read that excuse. Psychopathic.

Oh, my apologies. I am not a bit surprised Oxy wrote this article! It’s brilliant. Great job as usual!!

Ox;

First thing I noticed about him was a wide face. Over the summer, we talked about a study correlating wide faces to dishonesty and unethical behavior!

http://www.livescience.com/14909-wide-faces-predict-unethical-behavior.html

The second thing I noticed was his immediate blame shifting to rocks that were not on charts. This is a hallmark trait of sociopaths. OTOH, he strikes me more as a narcissist than a sociopath, although as you point out there is no black and white only a continuum.

On second though, his lying is very sociopathic. Also, his fleeing the ship may not have been an act to save is own hide, rather, the spontaneous act of a sociopath when confronted with an “unscripted” situation, typically one that is unmasking.

Under this theory, this disaster unmasked Schettino as an incompetent captain and he fled not to save himself, but because he was unmasked.

Blue eyes, wow, that was an interesting article on wide faces. I have noticed a definite similarity between the ex spath I had the misfortune of knowing, blechh, and other psychopaths. He had a very large head and looks not only like this Schettino b-wipe but could be the twin of a convicted child molester who lives in my neighborhood (right next door to an elementary school….how does that happen?). There are others I will notice on the news who also have commited crimes who look like the ex spath, (also proud owner of a long criminal record including sexual predator).
With so many similarities, there must be something deeper to consider. Profiling is dangerous, but how can I have a knack now for being able to pick a sociopath out of a crowd? And this is no joke- I always get a ‘pig’ quality about them. That’s an insult to pigs, I know.

woundlicker;

It was learning of a physical trait — the stare, that first led me to believe I had been involved with a sociopath. In fact, I remember him staring at me from across the room and I went over and introduced myself to him.

When I saw the article on wide faces, I was nearly floored as my ex-spath has a very wide face. Now, not all people with stares (or intense eyes) are sociopaths, nor are all men with wide faces dishonest, but it is something to consider.

There is at least a third external manifestation of sociopathy called the “vocal effect,” meaning sociopaths tend to have monotonous way of speaking. This is also a characteristic of my x-spath.

Thus, my x-spath exhibited all three external physical manifestations of sociopathy of which I know.

Perhaps this belongs in a different thread but speaking of wide faces, that description aptly fits Newt Gingrich, who I am convinced is a sociopath.

I have definitely experienced the stare. I recall when I first read about it my jaw dropped. I thought the ex spath was the only one with that “look”. It scares me when I think of his face now. Big, giant head and creepy intense stare, yikes.
I am going to look up the “vocal effect” right now. I’m sure this will be interesting…

BBE

Yes, about Newt. Did you read the article in the NY Times today? It spells it out rather clearly in my humble opinion.

When he was 19 he married his high school math teacher.
Who does that.

He is said to trade in his wives like he trades ideas.

It is said that is highly grandiose.

He apparently cheated on every wife with the following wife.

He dodged wife #2’s accusations about the open marriage by blaming the media. Is that gaslighting?

I think he’s a spath, and at a minimum, very bad news.

BBE, the thing is that “wide faces” or different shaped heads or eyes have been pretty much ruled out as showing personality, though there are certain types of genetic disorders that do have distinctive “faces” such as Downs syndrome children, etc.

“The stare” I think is more a* behavior* that shows dominance behavior I think. Researchers have mentioned it but not sure any one has done anything about researching it. I wish they would. There have been some ancedotal mentions of the fact that 25% of reserachers react physically to the presence of a psychopath. I think the stare is the reason they do. I’d like to see this researched.

Anytime someone acts “dominant” or too “grandiose” or over bearing I think that is a symptom, a RED FLAG if you will of something being off. Maybe not fullfledged psychopathy but at leasxt someone in a control mode.

The captain could have run for the life boat–excuse me, fallen over board into a life boat by accident–LOL out of fear or any number of reasons…I think the failure to call the wreck in for over an hour is FEAR reaction, but may not be…just GUESSING here as we can’t READ HIS MIND but a fear reaction, denial, would be a logical conclusion I think..for anyone but especially a Psychopath since he lost his mask and he was trying to figure out some way to keep down panic in himself and passengers so he could “fix” the situation some way….but of course delay/denial made it worse…his life was falling apart, and he was looking into the face of absolute life failure…the loss of everything he had in the world, the girls, the status, etc. he was scared all right. I think I can say that without going too far into “mind reading.”

I worked at the corporate office of a company that hired a lot of psychopath’s and these were the people routinely promoted. Herman Cain was one of the extravagantly paid board of directors and this agricultural company donated many thousands to the Republican party. I noticed a picture of Newt in front of one of the tractors this company produces. Hmmm…Cain is out so let’s stand behind Newt. Anyway, I quit over 3 years ago because of not only the ex spath, but also because my boss, bosses boss, and so on all the way up were sick, stupid lunatics. I see now that that company was breeding psychopathy. Every one that was good and decent quit or was fired, but the psychopath’s will be forever permanent fixtures. They also did many unethical and illegal acts. I should know, I worked in accounting. Oh, they would get audited and investigated constantly, so much so that they would have to hire extra workers to deal with the mess of having to assist the auditor’s, etc., but few charges ever came out of it. I do recall a $20 million penalty they had to pay and numerous ex employees were discovered stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the company, but they kept sweeping it all under the rug instead of reporting the crimes.
In this day it is hard for most companies to stay afloat, but this agricultural farming equipment manufacturer has grown leaps and bounds since the economic meltdown. They’ve acquired many businesses overseas and line their pockets (the psychopath’s who control the company) with ridiculous salaries, pensions, bonuses, and perks.
It all comes up very stinky, very fishy-smelling when they contribute so much to politicians and never fail to expand and grow at an abnormal rate from what the rest of the nation and planet have had to face.
I’m apolitical and I believe politicians on all sides have more than 4% of the psychopath population. They are driven to this sort of position. It’s the corporations and politicians together with their high psychopath rate that is ruining this world in a grander scheme then all the other murdering, theiving, manipulative, bigtime, smalltime, perverted, addict, cheating psychopaths put together. I say that because our very freedoms, our economy and way of life, our future is in the hands of these powerful psychopayhs.
We can do much to avoid them in our daily lives, but when they reach that position of power, everyone feels the pain.

Woundlicker you and I are on the same page about politicians, I think they are ALL Crooks (politicians) and by the time they get to the office in the higher levels they have sold their sold to the devil to get there.

The people who support them for “favors” are just like them, unfortunately. The Bernie Madoffs of this world.

I reacted physically to my spath but then I over rode that and went out with him anyway.

A few years ago, I caught a glimpse of a man from the corner of my eye who made me feel terrified. I didn’t see him because I averted my face so as not to look at him. There was no reason, but I just had the overwhelming sensation that he wanted me dead. When I left the store, he followed me out and said, “do you know anyone who wants a puppy?” It wasn’t until he spoke to me that I saw his face. He looked perfectly nice, but my gut told me that he was a predator.

Later, I told the spath about it. He agreed, “yep that’s what pedophiles ask their victims, “do you want to see my puppy?” ” He should know.

So anyway, I don’t think it’s the eyes or the stare, I think it’s some kind of 6th sense. Just like zebras get when a lion is hiding in the grass.

one/joy_step_at_a_time

woundlicker – I have been in contact with CNH recently in relation to my work. They seem pretty dysfunctional. Don’t want to know who you worked with, but i was quite surprised by how the oddness of some of the interactions, practices, etc. at CNH.

It wasn’t CNH, nor John Deere. The parts are manufactured in Mexico, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, and Turkey. This is supposed to be an All-American ag company? Their hands are firmly planted down our politicians pants and these are the psychopath’s we vote in office. It is a never ending cycle of deception.

behind_blue_eyes,

I agree with you about Newt Gringrich. I’ve read articles about him and he is (in my mind) a spath – in one article, he told wife #2 (after she knew their marriage was over) that basically (regarding his position on family values) that he tells the public what they want to hear. He reminds me of another spath that I know.

Wound licker,

“Big giant head, creepy intense stare”

Chortle! Thanks for that definition of the spath. I have to say my ex had a MASSIVE head. 😆

I think we need to be careful with the ‘big head’ thing. Sounds like pseudoscience to me. Agree with Oxy that it’s the behaviours, not the physical features, that are important.

As for Skylar’s point about the 6th sense – for some reason for the longest time I didn’t have one at all. You would think after growing up with my mother (who is a sadist) I would have a completely overdeveloped one. But I recently came across some tv shows and web articles that stated that the only way to survive sadism is total submission. To do that you must shut off your perceptions of reality. Which helps explain, or at least I think it does, why I just didn’t have that 6th sense at all for the longest time. I’ve started to teach myself how to read body language, and that’s helped immensely. It’s helping me to develop that sixth sense. Reading about ‘victim selection’ by predators really started me off on a better foot. That, combined with Kathleen Hawk’s LF post about the strategy of the dolphin really convinced me that I needed to learn how to recognize them, and helped me to understand what they were reading in me. Odd thing is that, before that, I felt safe on the outside (stupidly safe, but you all know that!), but unsafe on the inside (meaning my own thoughts and emotions). Now that I’ve developed some detection skills (and see warning signs everywhere!) I’m feeling much more unsafe on the outside, but safer on the inside.

But man, I was stupidly unaware of them before, and made myself unnecessarily vulnerable so many times. Considering that they detest and must destroy weakness, no wonder I was a target.

Came across a wonderful quote recently (on a primal-eating blog) that I think is amazing, and kind of captures what Donna is doing here: “You can’t child-proof the world. Better to world-proof your child.”

Wish that Captain’s crew had had a bit more ‘world-proofing’.

One final thought: in 2002 UK citizens voted Winston Churchill the greatest Briton of all time. Big head. R-e-e-a-a-l-l-y big head. Just sayin. 😉

Hi Annie I’d really like to read the post on the strategy of dolphins. Don’t suppose you could post the link?

Ps. I’ve got a big head too. Small woman but my head is huge!!! 🙄

me too strongawoman – you can call me conehead or butthead – dont matter to me – I am just me. I would rather be broad minded then a narrow minded penhead..

I agree with the big head thing. I know very wonderful people with big heads, great loving left-handed people, and so on. In my desperation to explain and confirm the spath I grasped at any and all similarities as further proof that I am the one that’s not crazy. Of course, I realize without a doubt that the ex is a classic textbook sociopath and the residual mind control IT had over me keeps me wondering if IT is normal and I’m the one with a disorder.
IT used to tell me I was bipolar and f-ed up in the head, but when I start to wonder if IT was on to something I would recall why IT said those things. It wad because I questioned IT about drugs, stealing, screwing anything with a pulse, damaging my material things, my reputation, the lies, threats, my God! How did I get so blind?!
Sixth sense is something I always had, but I seemed to put it away when challenged. I believe spaths can detect a sixth sense and aggressively suppress it in their victims.
But all that being said, the STARE, the stare is something totally unique to the spath. That is something I have never experienced in a person with a conscience. I’m not saying all spaths have the stare, but then again not all spaths are serial killers. That stare is a sure sign that someone is a psychopath, IMO.
P.s. I want to know about the dolphin stradegy, too!

Henry, have you forgiven me? I was calling that THING a meglamaniac, NOT you! I would never call you a bad name, you’re my co-parent of our children. LOL BTW one of our children that I thought was a girl, has now grown a green head and a curly tail feather 2 or 3 months after the other drakes turned green headed and curly tailed. Isn’t that a hoot? A transexual duck? LOL

ANNIE: Being raised to be SUBMISSIVE and being taught that WE are responsible for their moods is the perfect **PERFECT** training to be a VICTIM. It squashes our “6th sense” and it also squashes our self esteem and the Ps can sense this the same way a lion can pick out the ONE antelope in a heard of 1000 that has a sore foot that day. They pounce on the one who has a characteristic that will make them EASIER PREY. They are not going to attack the fleetest antelope in the herd, but the slowest.

I was the same way, Annie, I was taught that I was responsible for keeping the family’s dark secrets, I was responsible for every one else’s happiness and if I didn’t follow the “rules” I would be PUNISHED….my P son is the “golden child” that must be protected AT ALL COSTS NO MATTER WHAT HE DOES…even murder. I am the woman who must protect him, or be PUNISHED.

Strong woman, the size of a person’s head is pretty much the same on most of us, but because you are a small woman with a normal sized head it may appear “big” but probably isn’t any bigger than normal at all.

Ox I can never stay mad at you as hard as I try. Ok, I have my coupons clipped, taking my skillet shaped head to the grocery store..so dont call me names while I am gone…

Henry and Ox,

Honestly ….I can never get hats to fit. It’s huge lol

Strongwoman, BIG HEAD FOR LOTS OF BRAINS!

Oxy, I wish!

Not much common sense though ESP when it comes to spathy types.

We have a saying here……trouble with common sense is it’s not that common.

Strongwoman,

You are right “common sense” is NOT common, and I have trouble too with the spathy things, but WE ARE LEARNING and that is the big TAWANDA for us—knowledge IS POWER. We are taking back our power, and we are LEARNING TO SET BOUNDARIES.

I think that learning to set boundaries is and has been the biggest thing for me.

I often go back in my memory to the time I caught the woman who was living here on my farm FREE (in her motor home) and I CAUGHT HER STEALING something that she could have had for free if she had asked. I was SO UPSET and so AFRAID I WOULD MAKE HER FEEL BAD that I cried for 3 days. LOL Can you believe that?

I not only didn’t CONFRONT her I pretended it hadn’t happened.

Later, though, I asked her and her husband to leave here, and I took all the JUNK that they had brought here and stored in MY space where I had no storage room and couldn’t even get to my stuff that was there before they came, and put it in an off-farm building I owned and gave them a Key and told them that they could get their stuff there any time they wanted without coming on the farm which would have a LOCKED GATE….

I have “completely learned to set boundaries now, I think….and then I have another “learning” experience because I don’t do it, or don’t do it well for a while. LOL But I AM getting BETTER

“I think we need to be careful with the ’big head’ thing. Sounds like pseudoscience to me. Agree with Oxy that it’s the behaviours, not the physical features, that are important.”

That study was by a reputable and was not pseudoscientific. The following was a good explanation:

“A growing body of science is showing that facial configuration placement of the eyes, width of the cheekbones and so on provides clues to a person’s personality, including likelihood to be extroverted, conscientious and, now, trustworthy. While this analysis is not unfailing, it works slightly more often than not.”

As I said, these studies show correlation and are not 100% accurate.

BBE, “slightly more often than not” could mean 51% of the time. Not a good analysis. I do agree though that when I worked in a nursery we would have kids born that were what we called FLKs–funny looking kid. The brow would be too big, the hair line too close to the nose (small foreheard) the ears set low or at an odd angle, or other facial features that were “odd”—and sometimes upon checking this out, it would be found the kid had downs syndrome, hydrocephalic, or one of the tris-otomies (a genetic mutation of some kind but different from Downs) which would make the kid retarded or some other problem. Even children born without a brain (ancephalic) had an odd looking face that is pretty common among them and the size of the skull is very small but the size of the face is almost normal. So, yes, there ARE things that can indicate problematic genetics.

Can you quote the link to the study itself, rather than the article about it, so that we can read the STUDY ITSELF rather than an article about it. Sometimes the news reporter’s articles about a study are not quite what the study says.

Back to usual reactions. This article is perhaps the best I have ever read regarding using the sociopath’s innate lack of self-control to unmask them.

http://pathwhisperer.wordpress.com/2010/03/04/quadruple-search-today-how-to-cross-examine-a-sociopath/

Very interesting:

“Once I was called into HR (at Lehman Brothers) for handing out 8-10 pages (from Hare’s Without Conscience and Cleckley’s Mask of Sanity) to friends on recognizing sociopaths… When I told the SVP why, she suddenly started screaming at me, ’we have 15,000 employees, of course we have sociopaths working here’ and then she collected herself.”

Any time you come close to unmasking the sociopath, their fundamental lack of self-control causes an inappropriate response. We have all seen this. Those WTF? moments…

The author’s comments about sociopaths and arrested development is also very true. The “fratboy” culture of Wall Street and law firms is probably due to a large number of socioapths at high levels, whose emotional development stopped as college freshmen. Since these are the power people, underlings emulate them.

“Can you quote the link to the study itself, rather than the article about it, so that we can read the STUDY ITSELF rather than an article about it. Sometimes the news reporter’s articles about a study are not quite what the study says.”

Ox, you have taken the words out of my mouth. Let me give it a shot.

I found it:

http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2011/06/29/rspb.2011.1193.full

Interestingly, the effect is not seen in women.

Hello BBE,
My apologies if my post sounded like it was being oppositional or directed at you. It wasn’t meant that way. I admit it was flippant, so I apologize for that. I was originally a psych major in uni, but switched to math because I couldn’t handle the shoddy work that was passed off as science in that field (my apologies to ppl in the social services fields, but that’s the way I feel!). I looked over that study and have quite a number of criticisms, which I won’t go into here for fear of boring everyone to death!

My main concern is that we should be extremely careful with theories like those because they can be so very easily abused, and so many innocent people can be hurt – unnecessarily. In my opinion rigorous criticism for these kinds of studies should be an absolute requirement. I, personally, do not have a wide head, but my husband does. My husband who is a wonderful person and one of the most ethical people I’ve ever met. I could just imagine how anyone with a wide face would feel reading some of the posts on this subject, and just thought it important to put out a counterargument.

Hi Strongawoman and woundlicker:
The dolphin article can be found here:
http://www.lovefraud.com/blog/2009/01/04/sociopath-proof-in-2009/

And here are two of the articles on Victim Selection that really helped me shift my perspective:
http://www.protectivestrategies.com/victim-selection.html
http://www.protectivestrategies.com/awareness.html

There are quite a few more from the last author that were very helpful (I believe he is a retired SWAT officer who trained police, and has a self-defence training school).

Does anyone happen to know the max. # of links allowed before the website filters block the post?

Annie thanks for posting the links.

I especially liked the self defence class advertised. “Reach out and punch someone”
Now then I wonder who might be deserving of that! Maybe in the next life(lol) I’ll come back as a sumo wrestler and he’ll come back as the puny guy an I’ll kick his arse!!

I can dream

THANKS BBE: Here is a couple of clips from this VERY INTERESTING study….sort of summing it up! WHR (is width to height ratio)

Quote: Specifically, we identify a key physical attribute, the facial width-to-height ratio, which predicts unethical behaviour in men. Across two studies, we demonstrate that men with wider faces (relative to facial height) are more likely to explicitly deceive their counterparts in a negotiation, and are more willing to cheat in order to increase their financial gain. Importantly, we provide evidence that the link between facial metrics and unethical behaviour is mediated by a psychological sense of power. Our results demonstrate that static physical attributes can indeed serve as reliable cues of immoral action, and provide additional support for the view that evolutionary forces shape ethical judgement and behaviour…….

More concretely, we posit that aggression, a trait that is positively associated with mate preference [10], will also be correlated with unethical behaviour. Thus, physical traits that have been selected as reliable signals of male dominance and aggression may also serve as reliable predictors of morally questionable actions. …..

We propose that one reason for the aggression and self-interest demonstrated by men with higher facial WHRs [10,13] is that they feel more powerful. Individuals who feel powerful think and behave egocentrically (e.g. [14]), and power is often associated with aggressive behaviour (e.g. [15]). …

Across two studies, we demonstrated that men’s facial structure predicts unethical behaviour. For the first time, the current research shows that a persistent physical trait, the facial WHR, reliably predicts deception (study 1) and cheating (study 2). In addition, we identify the psychological underpinnings of the relationship between facial metrics and unethical action: the psychological experience of power. Men with greater facial WHRs felt more powerful, and this sense of power directly affected their ethical behaviour.

Two interesting sex differences emerged in our studies. First, men’s facial WHR predicted unethical actions while women’s facial WHR did not.

Thanks for finding this BBE—-it is amazing all the interesting studies that are being done and knocking down some old “truths.”

I can say that we have known for a long time that there are some facial shapes etc that show various genetic problems, and may seem rather benign until you realize that that “shape” means X problem. So maybe there are more things that are less obvious and much more subtle. Interesting….verrrrry interesting! Thanks!

Annie,
Thank you for the links. I love reading and learning as much as I can about the subject of sociopath’s and their victims. I get so much out of it, and not just in the form of healing through knowledge, but real growth. I see now that this can help me in so many more areas of my life than just recovery from the sociopath. Thank you!

Annie and Ox;

Let me reiterate that I am very sensitive to anything that seems even remotely Eugenic. Also, we are not talking about a 100%, or even 90% correlation. There are other personality traits having correlations to physical manifestations, for example homosexuality has several, including left-handness and hypothalamus size.

What particularly interests me regarding the face width correlation to honesty, is that the underlying genetic/fetal development factors overlap some of those believe to cause sociopathy, i.e. womb testosterone levels.

BBE, oh, absolutely fetal testosterone levels and even adult levels do correlate somewhat with psychopathy, and when the hormones hit in puberty the psychopathic behavior increases along with the sexuality for sure.

Also in some groups of people I think the percentage of psychopaths might increase due to certain selections….say in a group where the biggest baddest P on the block or in the tribe has the most women/children.

Look at that Jeffs character who was put in prison for child molestation., he had 70+ wives and god knows how many children. If he is not a P I don’t know who is one….and Liane Leedom said that a study in England that 25% of the children born in the “projects” were sired by psychopaths.

I know one woman with a P son who by the time he was 30 had 9 kids by 4-5 women….this poor woman married 2 psychopaths and had two sons,. both psychopaths, but she has escaped the last I heard and I hope she is safe.

In several different genetic defects there will be a certain facial shape like Down’s Syndrome is easily seen though they dont all look identical, there is a common facial expression that is easily detectable by even most non medical people. My son Patrick was born with a genetic defect concerning the shape of his skull and had surgery to correct this at a very young age, It is quite rare and is generally X linked, but I have seen a few people with this same defect who have not had surgery and they had a very “odd” shaped skull from the cheek bones up. This kind of thing did not effect the brain adversely so they may not have even known they had a genetic “defect.”

I’m with you, BBE, I am not into Eugenics either, but this was an INTERESTING STUDY. Frankly I think the psychopaths have out bred the rest of us for a long time in many cultures and are still doing it in some areas as “responsible” people generally limit the number of children to what they can feed and care for, the psychopath, especially the male, goes out cheerfully spreading his seed to every woman who will open her legs or become involved with him. I even know of one psychopathic woman who had 5 kids of which she is raising NONE and the last born in prison. Thank God she finally got her tubes [email protected]

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