Post Redux: A more nuanced description of the nonhuman human

From below, on psychopaths:

Herve Cleckley:  “we are dealing … not with a complete man at all but with … a subtly constructed reflex machine which can mimic the human personality perfectly”

Otto Kernberg:  “an enraged empty self—the hungry wolf out to kill, eat and survive.”

An earlier post:

Per Herve Cleckley, per Joe Mcginniss:

Recall here the words of Herve Cleckley, which I encountered for the first time in the fall of 1980: “Only very slowly and by a complex estimation or judgment based on multitudinous small impressions does the conviction come upon us [in regard to the psychopath] that, despite these intact rational processes, these normal emotional affirmations and their consistent application in all directions, we are dealing … not with a complete man at all but with something that suggests a subtly constructed reflex machine which can mimic the human personality perfectly.” [Mask of Sanity, p. 369]

It took me a long time to accept that MacDonald could be the charming and apparently caring man I’d come to know (or thought I did) during the summer of 1979, and, at the same time be what the psychiatrist Otto Kernberg has described as “an enraged empty self—the hungry wolf out to kill, eat and survive.”


“Ahmed Chalabi dies — the con man who helped push the U.S. into Iraq”

From Lovefraud (

“I [LF’s Donna Anderson] remember thinking back in 2004, as I was learning about psychopaths, that an Iraqi politician named Ahmed Chalabi fit the profile.

Chalabi was charming, smart and persuasive. He was connected to top officials in the administration of President George W. Bush. Chalabi provided the “intelligence” that Saddam Hussein was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, which was the public justification for the United States invasion of Iraq.

Well, he lied. No WMDs were found.

By 2004, it became apparent that Chalabi had manipulated America get what he wanted — the war. But Chalabi did not apologize. He said that the ends — removing Saddam Hussein from power — justified the means.

My psychopathic ex-husband used to say that: “The ends justifies the means.”

Ahmed Chalabi died of a heart attack last week.

In the meantime, 4,493 Americans were killed in Iraq, and thousands more wounded. Estimates of civilian war deaths generally range between 100,000 and 200,000.

Maybe, if government officials knew how to recognize a psychopath, none of this would have happened.”

I agree on Chalabi.  Absolutely, no doubt at all.  ‘The ends justify the means’ — mantra of the psychopathic, mantra of the psychopath wannabes, mantra of the evil.

Assumed similarity bias

From Psychopaths and Love, excerpts and paragraphs (  Blue bolding added.

Do You Make This Simple (But Dangerous) Mistake About the Psychopathic Mind?

“Misinterpreting the behavior of a disordered character is the first step in the process of being victimized by them.” (Dr. George Simon)

. . . Assumed Similarity Bias — a mental shortcut that leads us to the unconscious assumption that others share the same or similar values, thoughts and beliefs. We automatically assume that others are just like we are, especially when it comes to the fundamental aspects of our characters that are so basic we never even give them a second thought — such as having a conscience.  [PW:  let me add additional descriptive terms:  normalcy bias, belief in basic human goodness bias, see-no-evil bias, mom and dad would have told me bias, keep reality within my current frame of reference bias, pound that square peg into that round hole bias, there’s nothing scary here bias, etc.]

In other words, you never for a moment stop to consider that some people in fact have a drastically different way of being, one that is so foreign to you that you can’t even begin to grasp it.

. . .

“He doesn’t depend on our love because he ‘fears emptiness’… he depends on it because our love enables him to exploit and manipulate us. He doesn’t search for people to ‘cling to,’ he searches for people to VICTIMIZE. Don’t forget, we are dealing with a predator. You are attributing your feelings and motivations to him, when in fact they are not like yours at all. The anger is simply from frustration when he doesn’t get his needs met…They do not share our need for ‘authentic purpose.’ That’s your need, not the need of the psychopath. They have their own purpose, which is vastly different from your purpose.”

. . .

The truth is very difficult to understand from our own frame of reference. It’s important to understand it, though, because it is their significant differences that cause the harm we experience.

. . .

When we experience someone engaging in bad behavior of one kind or another, we think of it in terms of why WE might act that way and how WE would feel afterward. When we do this, we come up with the idea that the behavior may stem from insecurity, past wounds, fear, or a lack of love; and we imagine they must feel shame and guilt after treating us so badly. Because of this, we are more apt to forgive, to let things slide, to stick it out and see if things will change with love and acceptance and time.

But when the same things happen again and again, it comes time to face an important truth:

The only intelligent way to make judgements about people is to base those judgements on their patterns of behavior, and not on what we think the reasons for their behavior might be.

. . .

Unfortunately, traditional psychology still hangs on to the outdated belief that everyone is struggling with insecurities and fears, and teaches that this struggle is what causes problem behavior. This puts us at a disadvantage and leaves us vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. And it seems to say that the field of psychology itself is operating under its own ‘assumed similarity’ bias! 

. . .

It’s very difficult to understand how the psychopathic mind works because it is so totally different from what we know. I think it’s made even harder because we don’t want to believe it’s possible, and we don’t want to accept that the person we were with was not at all who or what we thought they were, and that nothing we believed about the relationship was true… and that it wasn’t even a relationship at all.  . . .  (

From Nopsychos: About [psychopaths]

This is a post from  I usually just quote portions, but here I wish to include the post in its entirety (with full attribution of course):


“If we can’t spot psychopaths, we are doomed to be their victims..”-Dr. Hare

DEFINITION of psychopath: A person with a neurologically impaired (lack of) conscience. Designation of someone as a “psychopath” is not meant to be an insult. Psychopathy is a limitation that prevents a person from feeling empathy or having remorse.

Psychopaths are estimated to be 4 percent of population. This means that there are 12 million psychopaths in the United States. Psychopaths like to control and manipulate (covertly) and are drawn to positions of power. How many are politicians?

Psychopaths in government are responsible for the genocidal policies that allow corporations to wreak havoc on society, as well as the laws that blatantly disregard the Constitution. Psychopaths (aka sociopaths) are impaired neurologically, and like drug users, are not fit for positions of leadership. America Sold Out

Psychopaths need to be identified because their void of conscience means they can NEVER be trusted. No matter how civilized, or prosocial a psychopath appears to be, they are neurologically unlimited in their capacity to destroy people emotionally, harm the environment, and create worldwide havoc – without any care at all. Most psychopaths are not obvious, and are not overtly violent. Without a conscience, there is no limit to the material and emotional damage they are capable of doing, in addition to the violence that some exhibit.

A society in the hands of psychopaths brings misery to the citizens and harm to the environment.

A Psychopathic Society / Police State criminalizes everything good (feeding the homeless), and legalizes everything bad (Citizens United and Patriot Act).

Let’s Stop Voting for Psychopaths! …But, How?? TEST Politicians.

We need to make MRI brain scans a mandatory part of the background check for political candidates and policymakers.

“We would not allow a color-blind person to safely work, for example, as an air-traffic controller… society shouldn’t let a clinically-diagnosed psychopath be in a position of power (..don’t give the pyromaniac the matches or put a pedophile in charge of the day-care center).” –Jose Gude

Psychopaths have full intellectual faculties and have no break with reality. (Movies, TV, and mass media give people the wrong idea that psychopaths can be spotted because they’re obviously deranged. Wrong! Psychopaths are not psychotic.) They are false friends, pathological liars, and clever con artists who take advantage of the fact that we are not taught to identify them among us. Most people never realize that there is an uncurable predatory and parasitic presence in their lives.Nothing Makes Sense Because Psychopaths are In Charge![]

Psychopathic lawmakers are contrary and self-serving.

Their focus on power and greed takes precedence over the well-being of the people. They are secretive, deceitful, and corrupt beyond what most people are capable. (An example of corruption of the Congress – blatant contradiction between title of the H.R. 30: Save American Workers Act of 2015 and its real intent to advance corporate corruption :  Passed 252/172)

Recognize your psychopathic candidates. You don’t need to study psychology. A new psychopathy checklist, based on dysfunctional habits, is available:

Habits of Highly Psychopathic People Pic

  •  is a joint effort to shine light upon the societal harms from power in the hands of psychopaths.

Site Admin: Tina Taylor aka GeneticPsycho – Helping everyday people identify a psychopath as easily as we recognize a person who is drug impaired. I am not a psychopath, but my family members are (from a long line of psychopaths.)

I shockingly discovered that I was married to a psychopath for over 15 years. It doesn’t mean he’s violent. It means he has no conscience, nor empathy, but he fakes it better than normal people show true feelings. Psychopathy means he has no love, no loyalty, no decency. Betrayal on a whim. No remorse. Totally self-serving. Wears the disguise of the sweetest guy on earth and no one knows the darkness of his heart.


Teasing truth out of communications with psychopaths

From “Investigating Psychopaths” from Psychopathyawareness via the Psychopathic Times:

“Since psychopaths are pathological liars and their every interaction with others is self-serving and strategic, even seasoned investigators and forensic psychologists have great difficulty dealing with them. Basically, they’re always faced with the liar’s paradox yet still need to get useful and true information from them.

Katherine Ramsland (from wrote an excellent article about how investigators deal with the inevitable obstacles and difficulties they encounter when attempting to retrieve true information from psychopaths about their crimes. I’m pasting part of her article below:

“It’s not easy to know when to trust someone who has already exploited trust as a route to torture, rape and murder. Psychopathic killers view their victims as objects, useful only as pawns in their own personal game, and they thus have this advantage: they feel no remorse. They’re callous, manipulative and resistant to therapy, and when they choose to communicate, they have their own agendas, formed in self-interest and calculation. What we may accept as a “confession,” they may view as bait. Their motives take shape within a framework that has no equivalent in the normal world. That’s why we can’t just accept what they say at face value.

. . .  While psychopaths appear to use the same language as normal individuals, they have their own inner logic. They calculate the world around them in terms of self-gain. They are society’s vampires. They may be intoxicated rather than repulsed by the idea of targeting humans and picking them off, because it makes them feel powerful. Their agendas have no analogues in the normal world. That means developing a careful mode of communication. In this person’s perception, almost any response could be the “wrong” one.””

From “Damaged” by Malcolm Gladwell:

[Dorothy Otnow Lewis:]  “The day before [Ted Bundy] was executed, he asked me to turn off the tape recorder. He said he wanted to tell me things that he didn’t want recorded, so I didn’t record them. It was very confidential.” To this day, Lewis has never told anyone what Bundy said. There is something almost admirable about this. But there is also something strange about extending the physician-patient privilege to a killer like Bundy-about turning the murderer so completely into a patient. It is not that the premise is false, that murderers can’t also be patients. It’s just that once you make that leap-once you turn the criminal into an object of medical scrutiny-the crime itself inevitably becomes pushed aside and normalized. The difference between a crime of evil and a crime of illness is the difference between a sin and a symptom. And symptoms don’t intrude in the relationship between the murderer and the rest of us: they don’t force us to stop and observe the distinctions between right and wrong, between the speakable and the unspeakable, the way sins do. It was at the end of that final conversation that Bundy reached down and kissed Lewis on the cheek. But that was not all that happened. Lewis then reached up, put her arms around him, and kissed him back.

Again, “To this day, Lewis has never told anyone what Bundy said.”  This is just downright bizarre.  She doesn’t know that she was being played?  She thinks Ted Bundy was capable of a ‘soul communication”, that deep inside his psyche was a tortured soul wishing to reach out to others?  “Bundy thought I was the only person who didn’t want something from him,” Lewis says.   Really? 

I do quote her approvingly elsewhere, on dissociation (  I think she has a deep knowledge of the psyche of human beings.  I don’t understand her blindness here, unless it’s simply the special relationship between females and the male psychopath.

She had no idea whatsoever of what was sitting across the table, in her discussions with Mr. Bundy.  Namely, a biological mechanism that could read/sense her emotions, vanities and vulnerabilities, instantaneously calculate a normal human response that would cater to his readings and his manipulative ends, and then mime them.  Actually, in acting terms, psychopathic reactions are a beat off, the readings do take time.  This momentary pause should be noted.

Psychopaths use words as a tool, strategically.  The manipulative use of language is their main lifetool, as fins are to a fish.  Valuable communication is nonverbal.  Borrowing Ramsland’s phrase:  there is no analogue in the normal world to their use of language.  However their strategies are understandable and their communications should be interpreted through that understanding.  It is also important to figure out “how old” the target psychopath is.  That is, how far did they get in their arrested development path (somewhere in latency – 6/7 to puberty, though there are always very, very young traits — none of them for example get the ‘sharing thing’ though many can mime the behavior).  How self referential is the target?  What’s the need to brag?  How arrrogant?  What are the individual’s triggers?  What level of self control?  The more one knows about the individual’s personality the better.  All of this goes into the mix in teasing the truth out of a pathological liar’s communications.

“Man guilty of pushing wife off Colorado cliff to her death” — Harold Henthorn

“Henthorn told investigators that his wife paused to take a photo of the view and fell face-first over the ledge. His attorney, Craig Truman, said prosecutors failed to prove he killed her.

Prosecutors argued during a two-week trial that Henthorn carefully staged Toni Henthorn’s death to look like an accident because he stood to benefit from her $4.7 million in life insurance policies, which she didn’t know existed. They seized on Henthorn’s inconsistent accounts of the fatal fall and said the evidence did not match his shifting stories.”

The same articles also states his first wife had died when their car fell off the jack while changing a flat.  Toni Henthorn, who died here, earlier had a 20 foot beam fall on her head while they were working on their mountain cabin.


henthorn court2 henthorn court1 henthornyoung

Note the identical expression he wears in the top photos — his chosen ‘mask of sanity’ (from Cleckley’s Mask of Sanity).

Search: “sociopaths deliberately create catch 22 for their targets”

It’s called a win-win.  First you are victimized by the bullying, abuse, abuse of power, criminal actions, and then if you complain, bring it to light, go to the authorities and nobody believes you, you lose again.  For the target, it’s lose-lose, for the sociopath, it’s win-win.

Psychopaths count on the naivete of empaths, they know that those inexperienced with sociopaths won’t believe the accounts.  That’s why gaslighting works.  I’ve had sociopaths say to me, in joking situations, ‘go ahead and complain no one will believe you anyway’.  But empaths are absolutely convinced that we are all brothers and sisters under the skin.  It’s called naive prey response syndrome, or simply a state of being naive prey.

No doubt Tony Simmons, the juvenile justice counselor, who would casually detour the elevator on the way to court and molest or rape his charges, said the same thing.  (That flavor of sociopathy — current stories in the newsYes! Sociopathic traits cited from the bench, NY Daily News:  A predator walks: Letting child rapist off without prison time is an outrage in every way.)

NYPD Det. Charles Derosalia probably said the same thing.  He was accused of illegally strip-searching, presumably simply for his own pleasure, 18 women picked up on drug charges.  His response was that they were simply “lying druggies”.   (That flavor of sociopathy — current stories in the news, NY Daily News:  Victim of alleged perv NYPD Det. Charles Derosalia: ‘I was fondled by cop and now I can’t sleep’.)

Finally, let’s not forget third party psychopaths, who will jump on the ‘oh, that’s ridiculous’ bandwagon with no pretense of considering the target’s claims.  Psychopaths stand together versus the normy world.