“A lot has been written about psychopaths, some insightful, some neutral and some hilarious. Of the hilarious ones, nothing is more arresting than what is said about our eyes. One blog called Psychopaths and Love says, “Many of us have seen firsthand or read descriptions of psychopaths having an intense gaze, a predatory or reptilian stare, or eyes that are lifeless, dead, emotionless, cold, icy, flat, black, or empty.” Why do our eyes look this way? The article continues, “Dr. Reid Meloy’s Reptilian State Theory hypothesizes that psychopaths are more like reptiles than mammals.” So now we’re not mammals. We’re reptiles? The author quotes Dr. Robert Hare as saying, “Many people find it difficult to deal with intense, emotionless, or ‘predatory’ stare of the psychopath. Normal people maintain close eye contact with others for a variety of reasons, but the fixated stare of the psychopath is more prelude to self-gratification and the exercise of power than simple interest or empathetic caring.”
“Now that we’ve gotten beyond the over-the-top rhetoric expelling us from the human race and even from the category of “mammal,” we can get some more explicit description of what bothers some people about our “stare.” (Some people aren’t even satisfied with relegating us to membership in another species, even another phylum. To them our stare reveals evil, itself. Lucky Otter says, “there’s nothing inside them except an vast and endless black void of nothingness….Behind the twinkle, the eyes are still reptilian and dead.”) It is “fixated,” “intense,” “emotionless” and “predatory.” The picture shown here indicates to me, “I know what’s really happening.” It reminds me of moments I have had the same godlike, omniscient awareness of being the only one in the room who was awake. A fixated and intense “stare” can simply be a sign that the psychopath is really interested in what s/he is looking at. As I discussed in my blog post about charm, psychopaths are often intensely interested. We recognize some people as deeply mysterious and we love to solve mysteries. Many people think psychopaths are serial killers. But, once disabused of this incorrect stereotype, the “predatory” characterization begs the question of what we are looking for in our “prey.” Most of us are not looking for a victim to be murdered. Many psychopaths are merely looking for someone to have a sexual relationship. In this respect, psychopaths are not very different from ordinary men. Every girl or woman who has dates can attest to the fact that most men want a conquest, that is, to have sex with the woman they are dating. Nobody seems to find this sinister when it is a goal of a “regular” or NT male. When a psychopath does it, it’s “predatory.” The fact that most relationships with psychopaths are short-lived, most “hook-ups” today are, in fact, short lived. The sooner a couple get horizontal, the more quickly they tend to tire of one another and move on. Again, this is as true of the “non” as it is with the “path.” I must confess bewilderment with the way a psychopath on the make is considered more “predatory” than the NT man on the make. Perhaps the answer is in the adjective in Hare’s statement I haven’t discussed, “emotionless.” Psychopaths are known to be less emotional (and more rational) then the rest of the population. Is the sexual come-on of the “emotionless” psychopath really more “self-gratifying” than the that of the more emotional Don Juans in our midst?
“So far, I have only talked about one possible interest a psychopath may have in hir “prey.” But we can have other interests. Someone may be interesting, have information to share, money or even connections to other people. These are all things anyone can desire and try to get from another.
“The article goes on, “In my own experience, the psychopath I knew had lambent eyes — brilliantly playful, softly bright, luminous. They twinkled with warmth when he smiled, or so I thought. It was actually the twinkle of amusement as he manipulated me. A few times I saw the light go out in his eyes, and in those moments they became flat and dead.” This brings us to another quality we are reputed to have. We are alleged to have a void within ourselves. Blogger Lucky Otter wrote, “sometimes they can be caught when their mask is momentarily down (usually when they’ve been called out–or caught), and it’s here when we see the emptiness and evil inside them.” Evil? Not merely reptilian? She goes on to say, “It’s not so much a demonic look (which has a sort of life to it) as a dead, lifeless look that is far worse. It’s a malignant look that makes you want to get away from them fast. Like there’s nothing inside them except an vast and endless black void of nothingness. It’s like standing at the precipice of a black hole, and what can be more terrifying than some nameless void that can suck you into itself–and can even swallow light?” WOW! I’m actually impressed! I have a black hole inside me? Good grief!
“A new explanation (new to me anyway) for the “psychopathic stare” has been articulated in the article, Subtle Signs of Psychopathy, “Psychopaths look people in the eyes, but only because they learned that it is the proper way to communicate. Eye contact does not come naturally to them. This is why their stare is too strongly fixated on the other person and it looks weird. Some people say that they try to hypnotize their victims. But I believe that sometimes they just try too hard.” Um, OK.
“People have always been concerned about each other’s eyes and considered them to be windows to the soul. Interestingly enough, most animals avoid eye-to-eye contact. When stared at by another animal, they interpret that star as a prelude to an attack. When I was a child, I liked to pretend I was a cat like my lovable pet. Once, I get under my cat’s favorite chair and stared at her. My cat didn’t understand that I was playing. She pounced at me as if I had been challenging her space. I never tried that again, understanding what she must have considered my behavior. In the wild, people threatened by a lion or tiger can sometimes bluff the animal by staring it in the eyes. If they are lucky, the beast will think this person must have power to be so unafraid and confrontational. Only the human species sees eye contact as something warm and friendly. I have been told that even some human cultures consider eye-contact as rude. In the Latino cultures, I have heard, looking away is a gesture of submission and respect. Anglos often think the person is being “sneaky” when he is only being polite.
“An American dollar bill has a very compelling occultist symbol. It is a pyramid truncated close to its apex. The apex of this pyramid forms a triangle with a single eye within it. This symbol is familiar to Masons. It is variously called the “eye of Horus” (Egyptian) and the “eye of Shiva” (Hindu). The Christian fundamentalists like to believe that the “founding fathers” were Christian fundies like themselves. But many of them were agnostics and free-thinkers. All the American presidents (until JFK) were Masons. The slogan, “in God we trust” was not put on the dollar until the 50’s. Some people say the eye is the eye of God. It certainly was the eye of many Pagan gods, Horus, Osiris, Shiva… It has also been called the eye of the phoenix. Meanwhile, others say the eye is “creepy.”
“I am not particularly concerned with the conspiracy theories that the eye is “satanic.” My interest is merely to explore the deep significance the eye holds for humanity. The eye is the “window to the soul.” It is the instrument through which we are “seen.” Many people are fearful and nervous about the extent to which our government has us under surveillance. The eye is indeed a window through which we can see and be seen as well.
“The abyss is something most people fear without knowing why. In the Kabbalah, which is claimed both by the Jews and the Egyptians, the Tree of Life is like a diagram or map of spiritual reality. It’s a strongly felt instrument of occultism. The Golden Dawn called it the Qabbalah and made it a center of their studies. On the Tree of Life, there are spheres or “Sephira” representing aspects of spiritual reality. But there is one place on the Tree where a Sephira is absent. In it’s place is a void, called Daath. Only the bravest and most adventurous occultists dared to explore Daath. It is considered both dangerous and a gateway to the highest forms of wisdom. Coincidentally(?), astronomers speak of the black hole in space where everything is sucked into nothingness.
“As can be seen, both the eye and the void are deeply felt by humanity, at least the Western part. The reason psychopaths are feared is, to a great extent, the lack of a conscience. Even Dr. Hare’s book about psychopathy is entitled Without Conscience. The fact that we are not controlled or held back by something most people claim to have within spooks those who are conscience-bound. I discuss this matter in an article on my web site, Free to Choose. We are not all “evil” and we are not forever doing bad things. But the fact that we can if we want to without being bothered by conscience scares the shit out of people. I think this fear is the root of my people’s “creepy” experience of looking into our eyes. Here’s looking at you.”
She gave me psychopathy’s family jewels — that psychopaths have self knowledge and a group identity (this is assuming that I am correct in my opinion of her being a psychopath). Even more importantly, that they backed each other up versus the empath world. And finally, that their self control is actually very difficult, appearing normal is an effort.
I was called into Lehman HR by this SVP, Kyle Maldiner, and a manager (I believed this manager to be a male lover of the blackmailing psychopathic Don Juan/Dress Grey rapist whom they were seeking to protect — in my experience, gays routinely protect pansexual psychopaths). They stated that my assignment at the firm was being canceled due to my handing out to friends 8-10 cut and paste sheets from Cleckley’s Mask of Sanity and Hare’s Without Conscience. She kept saying they were sexually inappropriate. ‘But I deleted all sexual behaviors and crimes, that’s why they are cut and pastes, not straight copies,’ I said. She just repeated the same thing again. Her superiors wouldn’t look over her shoulder, that’s the corporate chain of command. The truth didn’t matter and there is no appeal or promise of fair play or due process in corporations. Then when I said, against her protestations that she didn’t need to know, that I was giving them out due to the presence of a psychopathic co-worker (mentioned above), she started screaming, “WE HAVE 150,000 EMPLOYEES, OF COURSE LEHMAN HAS PSYCHOPATHIC EMPLOYEES!!” Then she immediately and visibly calmed herself down and regained her self composure.
After leaving friends told me of rumors following my exit. It was practically a novella. Made up out of whole cloth, not even based/exaggerated on/from something real. The only truthful elements were getting my name and a few other co-workers’ names right. These were co-workers whom I had never interacted with off-premises. But the novella had all kinds of goings on and involvement of outside players.
She denied any knowledge of the source of these rumors. But I imagine the source was the Lehman HR department, from my experience with psychopathic HR departments in various Wall St. firms. Destroying exited co-workers’ reputations is something they all do all the time, this was just more extreme. At HR conventions, they must sit around bragging about their lies, comparing notes and refining strategies, just as psychopaths and con artists do.
I couldn’t find a lawyer who thought we could trace down the vaguely sourced campaign of lies or win an appreciable amount of money. I should have filed a John Doe case pro se, at least as a record if I couldn’t build a case. I settled for sending a truthful accounting to my personal friends and all the co-workers listed in the company address book.
The novella was incredibly detailed. Perhaps that’s a standard psychopathic character assassination campaign strategy. Normal people probably just can’t imagine that such a detailed account could be a lie. Of course, this is because they couldn’t imagine doing it themselves. That’s part of the naive prey response syndrome, people still try to understand psychopaths from their own viewpoint, not understanding that they need to step out of their own world to understand psychopaths’ motives and to recognize them. Finally, most of us are not only naive prey to psychopaths, but naive prey to evil.
Note the almost identical expression in the two photographs (over the decades). Many psychopaths, particularly female, chose an acceptable ‘mask of sanity’ and then wear it forever.
This post is one of my most often visited posts, yet has relatively few comments. Any other real world experiences to share?
First of all blackmail is always a contest of wills. Often reverse blackmail is possible — ‘carry out your threat and I’ll have you arrested’ or “you think you couldn’t be identified in that picture?” To have the blackmailer on tape would be very useful, use a cellphone or a discreet tape recorder. I am not a lawyer, but I believe a tape of even a “your secret is safe with me” or a joking (but not really) threat would still carry weight in court. Implied threats would be more problematical but worth noting.
Could a blackmail threat be subliminal? Subliminal extortion is certainly possible. If one loans too much money to a sociopath, there is a stress to keep loaning money lest the earlier amounts never be paid back. (But of course, they almost never will be – one has to wake up and stop throwing good money after bad.)
But back to blackmail. I don’t know what this searcher’s situation is, my experience involved what I assumed to be sexual blackmail taking place in a workplace.
Blackmail of course relies on the cooperation of the victim who is counted on to have as much interest in not going to the police as the blackmailer does. For the sociopath this makes it almost a perfect crime, a crime without consequence to the perp. Further if the sociopath can blackmail others into doing his dirty work, slander or murder etc., he’s protected on these additional crimes. The victim needs to understand that blackmail is rarely a onetime thing, the victim is really entering into a criminal compact with the blackmailer that can last for years.
You do not want to be blackmailed. You may start by feeling ‘this is insane.’ But as the years go by the insanity becomes a way of life. If it’s in a job situation, leave, asap — the situation is not manageable.
Depending on how tough of a strategy you wish to use, you might want to file harassment or even stalking charges against the blackmailer. You might also want to check your local laws and get a concealed carry permit (but don’t threaten the sociopathic blackmailer directly, just let the word out). Regarding a concealed carry I would suggest never threatening a sociopath with a gun. The sociopath will sense, before you know yourself, whether you have the will and intent to use it. That’s their prime ability, reading others’ emotional states.
Let me add a couple searches here.
what is reverse blackmail?
Blackmail always presents the opportunity of reverse blackmail, namely, ‘if you do what you threaten, then I’ll have you jailed for blackmail, your choice.’ It’s an ‘out cooling’ strategy. You can’t pull it off if you are playing however. You need to really believe you can do it, so practice etc. Otherwise a sociopath will see right through the attempt. The reverse blackmail has to be true to your personality, you might chose humor and joking.
does blackmail lead to further blackmail?
Absolutely, often a lifetime of blackmail. Sometimes it seems someone will accede to a blackmail demand as a way to preserve their world and their life as they know it — but then the blackmailer will essentially move in and take over their life. No sociopath will ever be bound by a promise of ‘do this and then you’re free.’ That’s why it is worth fighting the initial blackmail attempt tooth and nail (reverse blackmail, building a harassment case, getting a concealed carry permit, etc.).
will a sociopath carry out a blackmail threat?
I think they would be extremely cautious about doing so. The whole advantage of a successful blackmail is that the perpetrator is not exposed to any danger, the victim in effect becomes his accomplice.