Sign of Sociopathy: Taking Pleasure in the Pain of Others; I’ve Seen It Many Times; Why It’s Okay to Be Angry About Bullying
I have witnessed people taking pleasure in the pain of others. For example, my blog stalkers sending me a message saying that they “had a good laugh” at my pain, anguish and anger over their many abuses of my husband and me, then threatening me if I tell about it (proving that they knew they did something wrong, or it wouldn’t bother them for the truth to be told).
Or one of those blog stalkers, Tracy, posting on Facebook right after ripping me to shreds over a misunderstanding complete with cussing and aspersions on my character, “I’m having a GREAT day!”
(And this after all the kindnesses I had shown her over the years, because she could not accept that introverts are different from extroverts, that I am quiet and that she is too scary and mean to draw out a person like me.)
My own brother (who I suspect is a narcissist) turning to me and laughing every time a villain did something horrible on TV. My brother burning ants with a magnifying glass. My brother ridiculing everything I did, said or liked, even if he himself liked it first. Hearing from my mother that my brother tried to kill me once when I was a baby.
Bullies making fun of me on the playground. My ex Phil passive-aggressively embarrassing me in front of my friends more than once, for doing something he didn’t like. Richard, the other blog stalker, laughing about turning his former best friend, Todd’s, Internet forum into a Hello Kitty theme, out of vengeance.
Tracy ripping Todd to shreds and smearing him on the Internet, making people think he was crazy, because he did something to help her, and she interpreted it as an attack.
My 18-or-so-year-old Marine brother choking me (I was about 11 or so) and saying, “I’ve been trained to kill.”
A guy who called himself a light bringer, who openly admitted to being “on a campaign against Christianity,” turning a disagreement over my SCA group’s website, into a campaign against that SCA group, posting our names online and claiming he was being religiously persecuted by us–when we just wanted our group site to load quickly, be easy to navigate, and not make the non-religious, educational SCA look like a Pagan religious group.
A girl cyberbullying all sorts of different people on a little BBS, and bringing her friends along to help.
Being sexually harassed day after day my freshman year of high school, by one of my teachers, one of the guys in the cafeteria (who even put his penis on the table next to me), and two guys in the row behind me in Biology class.
Being sexually harassed in filthy words again by a couple of Creeps in an IRC chat room, while Richard and Tracy did nothing, while Tracy in fact egged them on, and later being told by Richard that I was “being ridiculous,” that I needed to get over it, that it wasn’t real sexual harassment.
My aunt constantly ridiculing and scolding her mother during visits. My aunt, as my mother put it, “destroying” my grandmother, who is very old and losing her faculties. My aunt alienating everyone in the family. My aunt scolding me for everything I did or said, and accusing my innocent dad and brothers of sexually molesting me, because of the “way” I was (selective mutism, shyness).
I take no pleasure in writing about these things, only pain that’s being dredged up in order to release mine and help others. But someone who enjoys the pain of others, would giggle while posting real names and/or pictures and clicking “post.”
Some sites I look at say that narcissists/psychpaths/sociopaths lack conscience and empathy. But the blogger of Narcissists Suck puts it another way, that they do have conscience and empathy, but it’s malfunctioning:
How do we know the narcissist still has an operational conscience? Let’s ask the question another way. How do we know the narcissist is aware of the difference between right and wrong? Because of the multiplied and extensive efforts they make to hide their bad acts.
The truly insane person is defined as an individual who is unable to distinguish right from wrong and will therefore commit their crimes regardless of who is looking on.
Their lack of any attempt to hide their crimes is how we determine they are insane, i.e. they lack rational ability and conscience. (By this definition, psychopaths are not insane. Rarely will our justice system allow a psychopath to claim insanity when the evidence shows the psychopath’s many efforts to hide his crimes.)
We don’t see true insanity in the narcissist. We see them presenting an image of perfection to outsiders then going home to beat the wife and sexually abuse the kid.
Then they will pull your face close to theirs and through snarling lips and gritted teeth tell you that if you try to expose their bad deed they will destroy you. This person knows what they are doing is wrong.
They are careful as to when and where they commit their base acts. Only the helpless and the vulnerable get to see the fully unmasked narcissist. This is all the proof we need that they do indeed possess a conscience. Albeit, a perverted, abused and malfunctioning one.
The narcissist still has a conscience, as evidenced by their multiplied efforts to hide their bad acts. We have clear proof they know the difference between right and wrong. –Anna Valerious, Narcissist or Psychopath, Narcissists Suck
This writer would agree, then, that Richard knew that how he and Tracy were treating me was wrong, by the way he spit, hissed, threatened, yelled at, got into the face of and towered over, and tried to intimidate my husband for sticking up for me.
Psychopaths, sociopaths and malignant narcissists are not just high-profile criminals, SS officers, cult leaders, or colorful fictional villains. They also can be otherwise ordinary people living next to us in the suburbs or apartment building. The damage they do is mostly psychological or emotional rather than criminal, though many of them commit physical or sexual abuse as well.
From the two-part article “Who Does That?”:
But being able to spot pathology in less overt and even frequently hid, yet equally as damaging acts, is where most of us fall short-even professionals in the criminal justice and mental health systems.
It’s also where survivors of PLR’s are likely to trip up yet again since the ‘types’ of behaviors pathologicals perpetrate can vary causing confusion to the unsuspecting, highly tolerant and emotionally understanding survivor.
Low empathy is at the core of a cluster of pathological disorders that correlates to ‘inevitable harm’ when it crosses the paths of others. Low empathy has its roots in reduced conscience, remorse, and guilt. Without empathy pathologicals find pleasure in harming others.
While they might not cackle aloud in public when a dog is hit by a car, they no less live in the shadows of enjoying the physical or emotional destruction of others. –Sandra Brown MA, Who Does That?
The sociopath does not accept the blame for any of the harm and hurt they cause other people. In fact the sociopath is convinced that the blame for what happened belongs with someone other than themselves, even when this clearly is not the case.
They don’t care that they damage and destroy other people’s lives. Their only concerns are winning the game and getting what they want. —How to recognize a sociopath
A sociopath can do hideously cruel and immoral things to other people without feeling any guilt. —How to recognize a sociopath
The victim of a sociopath may feel physical and/or emotional pain as a result of what has been done to them. The sociopath cannot identify with the misery they are causing for the other person. Instead they are derisive of the pain of their victims, and they may use the upset they cause to their own advantage. —How to recognize a sociopath
Bancroft’s PROFILE of the TYPICAL ABUSER (actually, of a malignant narcissist):
“The batterer is controlling; he insists on having the last word in arguments and decision-making, he may control how the family’s money is spent, and he may make rules for the victim about her movements and personal contacts, such as forbidding her to use the telephone or to see certain friends.
He is manipulative; he misleads people inside and outside of the family about his abusiveness, he twists arguments around to make other people feel at fault, and he turns into a sweet, sensitive person for extended periods of time when he feels that it is in his best interest to do so. His public image usually contrasts sharply with the private reality.
He is entitled; he considers himself to have special rights and privileges not applicable to other family members. He believes that his needs should be at the center of the family’s agenda, and that everyone should focus on keeping him happy.
He typically believes that it is his sole prerogative to determine when and how sexual relations will take place, and denies his partner the right to refuse (or to initiate) sex.
He usually believes that housework and childcare should be done for him, and that any contributions he makes to those efforts should earn him special appreciation and deference. He is highly demanding.
He is disrespectful; he considers his partner less competent, sensitive, and intelligent than he is, often treating her as though she were an inanimate object. He communicates his sense of superiority around the house in various ways.
The unifying principle is his attitude of ownership. The batterer believes that once you are in a committed relationship with him, you belong to him.
This possessiveness in batterers is the reason why killings of battered women so commonly happen when victims are attempting to leave the relationship; a batterer does not believe that his partner has the right to end a relationship until he is ready to end it.
Because of the distorted perceptions that the abuser has of rights and responsibilities in relationships, he considers himself to be the victim.
Acts of self-defense on the part of the battered woman or the children, or efforts they make to stand up for their rights, he defines as aggression against him.
He is often highly skilled at twisting his descriptions of events to create the convincing impression that he has been victimized.
He thus accumulates grievances over the course of the relationship to the same extent that the victim does, which can lead professionals to decide that the members of the couple “abuse each other” and that the relationship has been ‘mutually hurtful.”
It seems that CONTROL is the problem – not VIOLENCE.
“A significant proportion of batterers required to attend counseling because of a criminal conviction have been violent only one to five times in the history of their relationship, even by the victim’s account.
Nonetheless, the victims in these cases report that the violence has had serious effects on them and on their children, and that the accompanying pattern of controlling and disrespectful behaviors are serving to deny the rights of family members and are causing trauma.
Thus the nature of the pattern of cruelty, intimidation, and manipulation is the crucial factor in evaluating the level of abuse, not just the intensity and frequency of physical violence.
In my decade of working with abusers, involving over a thousand cases, I have almost never encountered a client whose violence was not accompanied by a pattern of psychological abusiveness.”
“An abuser’s desire for control often intensifies as he senses the relationship slipping away from him. He tends to focus on the debt he feels his victim owes him, and his outrage at her growing independence.” —The Mind of the Abuser, Sam Vaknin
My blog stalkers can read these posts and enjoy all the attention, which I’m sure they’re doing, since they show such avid interest in my thoughts and life that they’ve been here several times this week. But I don’t care. And I’m certainly not talking “behind their backs,” because they’re reading everything and I’m well aware of it.
Because they are so interested and I have no other safe means of communication with them, they have made this blog into a vehicle for me to confront them with what they have done and how their behavior affects people, to show them how their actions fit in with the established behaviors of abusers, to show them that their salvation is at risk as long as they do not own what they’ve done, and change how they treat people.
I do this rather than sneak silently into the shadows as if I were doing something wrong, as if I were telling lies instead of the truth I have witnessed and can document.
These posts are for other victims of narcissists and sociopaths who need to understand that it’s not their fault these things have happened, that they’re not crazy, that it’s okay to speak out about what’s been done to them.
These posts are to help you understand what these behaviors look like, not just some clinical traits in an abuse list or the DSM.
Take courage. There really are people who do these things, and quite a lot of them, from the keyword searches I see.
“Evil Is Taking Pleasure From Causing Pain or Harm” —Happiness and Evil.
“He thrived on intimidating me. He derived pleasure from causing me pain” —Taking Pleasure From Pain.
The next red flag is, “Hated for Mysterious Reason by People Close to Them”:
In fact, another red flag is being hated — I mean really hated — for mysterious reasons. And by people that hating is uncharacteristic of.
If, say, a person’s adult son or daughter doesn’t even visit him in the hospital or go to his funeral,* there is a heavy-duty reason for that. Fortunately, it’s not our responsibility to judge.
But we do need to appreciate the weight of such a startling fact. People do things for reasons. They are not always good reasons or just reasons, but people do things for reasons.
*Good examples: Abraham Lincoln did not go to his father’s funeral, and Barbara Bush did not go to her mother’s funeral. “What Makes Narcissist Tick”, pg. 79
This red flag is well understood by those of us who have been through hell with a narcissist and found ourselves loathing them and forcing no contact for our protection.
We would be very unlikely to judge someone else harshly if we found out they had inordinate hatred for a particular person even a parent or sibling. So this red flag is one most of us would readily understand.
Unfortunately, most people out there in the world do not have any of this understanding. They are far too quick to judge what they don’t know.
They are quick to condemn our hatred of a malignant narcissist as being wrong. They are naive to a fault about people who are capable of earning such hatred — so they condemn us.
This red flag should be put on billboards and written with sky-writing: Respect the fact that people do things for reasons therefore don’t be willing to judge what you know nothing of.
Remember, Kathy is talking about a mysterious, intense hatred for a particular person in someone whom you know doesn’t go around routinely hating people.
Narcissists, on the other hand, have a very long “enemies list” so it can’t be said it is uncharacteristic of them to hate others. It is their default and normal setting.
But when you meet someone who typically gets along well with most people then know for sure that if they hate someone there is a reason for it. It isn’t for you to judge whether or not the reason is “good.” Frankly, it isn’t anyone’s damn business. –Anna Valerious, More Red Flags, Narcissists Suck
The sensitive, tender little feelings that the narcissist has for themselves is an extension of the empathy they have for themselves. They refuse to feel your pain, but they expect you to feel theirs!
I use the word ‘refuse’ advisedly. It is a willful act on their part to unacknowledge the pain they inflict upon you. They know what they’re doing. Their empathy allows them to know how you feel. They simply refuse to feel anything for your sake.
I’m going to cast the net a bit wider than just narcissists here. Anyone who is in a relationship with an abusive person has seen how sensitive the abuser’s feelings are.
People who stay in abusive relationships seem to be those who can’t see the huge disconnect in their own thinking.
The disconnect is this wide gulf between the abuser’s lack of empathy for you at the time they’re abusing you and yet how carefully you have to step around the abuser’s feelings at all times! The common refrain among those caught in abusive relationships is “walking on eggshells”.
The abuser’s feelings rein supreme at all times. Everyone else is expected to cowtow to, step around, coddle, soothe, and respect the feelings of the abuser at all times.
Yet, when the abuser needs to unload, he or she reserves all rights to decimating and destroying your feelings and self-respect until they feel better.
It is a sick, sick dynamic. And it is perpetuated by largely by the victim’s non-recognition of the absolute unfairness of this system….
Every psychopath has feelings for himself. The same psychopath gets a total thrill from hurting your feelings.
Even if we’re only talking about someone who emotionally abuses you on occasion so they can feel better it is the same principle. Someone who ignores your pain but has all kinds of compassion for their own pain is a sick sonafabitch. Steer clear. —Do They Have Feelings?, Narcissists Suck
No matter the appearance of a mild-mannered nature — if a person excuses abusers it is because there is some space in their minds which accedes to the notion that in at least some cases abuse can be justified.
In the case of my father there was some evidence of aptitude for abuse, but it was rare enough that I could easily forget and thereby resume my opinion of him that he was not abusive.
His unmitigated support of my mother, his lack of having ever protected myself or my daughter from my mother’s abuses, his absolute demand I be the one to apologize, move on and forgive my mother in the absence of any sincere effort on her part to make things right, his unsubtle reminders of the sins of my youth to try to prove I had no right to hold my mother to any account…all these things proved to me once and for all that he is an abuser himself.
Only abusers are willing to grant other abusers the right to abuse! It is at its very root a pass they are giving to themselves. Excusing abuse is abuse in itself. It is a red flag that the person has themselves a propensity for abuse.
Granting absolution to abusers is always an extremely selfish thing to do; it ignores the humanity of the person abused and preserves compassion for the one doing the abusing and by doing so gives the person excusing the abuse a pass for the abuse they may decide to dish out themselves….
Allow yourself to really think about the selfishly evil use of empathy of the narcissist. They use it to know (and enjoy) exactly how they are making you feel as they use and abuse you. That is what we call sadistic.
They use it to manipulate you to their own ends. Or else they will use it to feel for their sorry-assed selves. These uses of their ability to empathize are profoundly selfish and often cruel.
There is no merit whatsoever for the fact that the narcissist is indeed fully in possession of the ability to empathize. In fact it is a solid basis for our condemnation of them.
They pervert their ability to empathize and use it to selfishly exploit others to their own ends, to find pleasure in the pain they inflict, as well as to grant themselves pity when they least deserve it.
If the narcissist was incapable of empathy we could grant them a pass for having some sort of disability.
We must acknowledge the reality that the narcissist is all the more evil because they do possess this ability but choose to use it for their own selfish ends against you. They have managed to completely pervert their ability to empathize. –Anna Valerious, They DO Have Empathy–Just Not For You
ProzacBlogger gets it, writing about his stepmother, who scolded him for cutting off contact with his father, and defended his father. Heck, what he says about her is just what I want to say to Richard for sticking up for how Tracy treated me:
My father was a monster and she sticks up for him. I know she doesn’t know him that way, which is fine. But respect another person’s experiences, I DON’T CARE IF HE’S YOUR HUSBAND. —Writing to Exhale, Because F*CK! I Need It
From the same writer:
The world is filled with bullies such as the busdriver I ran into yesterday. Your abuser was one of them, bullies at schools are the same trash, my father is one of those idiots; pathetic people compiled of a bunch of failures and insecurities wrapped in a shiny box and coated with a bunch of wild fantasies and lies.
Understand this, these people NEED to do what they do in order to stay alive. Do you think they can look at themselves in the mirror and think: I’m such a nice, good looking person!
Or do you even think they can honestly say to themselves: I didn’t do anything wrong right after they beat the shit out of you or someone else? No.
Instead of that they don’t look in the mirror at all, but instead go with what any other person (besides you) says about them.
They will never look at themselves after they ruined someones life, instead of that they will come up with millions of reasons (lies) why YOU DESERVED IT! –Prozacblogger, How to Prevent Bullies and Abusers From Getting to You
Like ProzacBlogger and Anna Valerious, the writer of Narcissists Suck, I’m not concerned with hearts and flowers and how we should try to “understand” our bullies and sociopaths.
They don’t care about our feelings, so why should we care about theirs? Trying to “understand” the bully and get the victim to “let go” is just defending the bully and letting him get away with what he did.
Stick up for the victim instead, acknowledge his pain and that he has a right to it, and hold the bully accountable. As Anna Valerious writes,
You have the psychobabblers and do-gooder Christian types clucking their tongues if you happen to show a flash of anger when talking about the narcissist.
They immediately assume that you are not progressed yet to a place of ‘healing’ if, when talking about the evil narcissist and her evil acts perpetrated on your own life (which likely has ongoing effects on your life and is therefore a crime in progress), you dare display your outrage.
People are afraid of our anger. Why? One reason is because they are sloppy thinkers. They think that our anger is the problem when the real problem is the monster who inflicts pain every chance they get.
Our anger is an appropriate response to their inappropriate behavior. If the tongue-cluckers insist we should not let ourselves feel an appropriate emotion then they are, in reality, insisting we become like the narcissist–pretending our way through life and denying what we feel. I’m not going there for anyone….
I have always been aware that by expressing my anger and hatred toward people with ‘evil personality disorder’ I would be condemning myself in the eyes of those who choose to think that reaching a zen-like space is proof of having healed. I am willing to be seen as not having progressed to perfect equanimity with evil people. I’ll explain why as I go.
It would have been such a simple thing for me to talk about malignant narcissists completely dispassionately. Kind of like the droning of the boring professor in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” where, regardless of the subject matter, I would speak in one tone endlessly.
I’m sure many would be impressed with how strong I am to have gotten to where nothing rattles me. I could receive much praise for having perfectly ‘healed’ from my past.
I’m not going for any silly little awards like that because I don’t believe perfect calm in the face of evil is a goal to strive for. No matter how many people may praise me for it…
I’m all about being real here. Here’s how I see it. If I were to be completely dispassionate in the discussion of destructive narcissism it would send the message to you that I would not be provoked into defending you if I were to witness the injustices of the narcissist you’ve endured.
When you read my justified anger at the bad acts of the narcissist as it has affected me it gives you good reason to believe I would be just as outraged at what you’ve endured. You sense my empathy when you read my outrage.
To display only perfect calmness in the face of overt evil would not convince you that I give a rat’s ass about you.
I do give a rat’s ass. Which most of you ‘get’ when you read what I have to say. You sense I am one of your champions. You believe I would defend you against the indefensible acts of the narcissist if I were witness to them.
You believe that I would not condemn your own justifiable anger at the total injustice of the evil acts of the narcissist. If I give myself permission to express my anger at injustice…surely I would give you the same latitude. –Anna Valerious, An Accurate Measure of Mental Health ISN’T Lack of Anger
This blogger describes a sociopath as a child bully ganging up on anyone who disagrees with him or her, and giggling at them–but this is emotionally stunted behavior, not normal: Healing from Complex Trauma and PTSD