I advanced posted this before the tragedy in California. I just had an uneasy feeling and was prompted to write on the walking time-bombs living among us.
My prayers and thoughts are with all those mourning and hurting in San Bernardino.
The F.B.I. states it is either workplace violence or perhaps terrorism.
A Muslim man goes to Saudi Arabia, brings back a wife, and grows out his beard.
He plans this attack in advance obviously. (You don't make pipe bombs in 15 minutes.)
He attends a company function, leaves, and
comes back with an accomplice (his "wife"), assault rifles, tactical gear including vests with extra magazines,
and kills 14 people, wounding over a dozen more, and then plants bombs (or fake bombs).
That's not workplace violence. It's an act of terrorism occurring at a place of work.
I pray this was not Isis, but only two people self-radicalizing themselves into a misguided act of violence in the name of religion.
You do not stop a forest fire by spinning it into an "unfortunate act of isolated combustion."
“I could forgive you even your cruelty if it were not for your calm.”
- G. K. Chesterton
Psychiatrists have believed that
psychopaths are defined by qualities of callousness, lack of emotion, and coldness.
They lack empathy, in other words.
They start out with barely a moral compass, or don't have one at all,
while sociopaths tend to develop their skewed moral compass throughout childhood and adulthood.
These predators, both male and female, haunt our everyday lives at work, at home, and in relationships.
This is a class of individuals who have been around forever and who are found in every culture, society and walk of life.
Everybody has met these people, been deceived and manipulated by them,
and forced to live with or repair the damage they have wrought.
These often charming—but always deadly—individuals have a clinical name: psychopaths.
Their hallmark is a stunning lack of conscience;
their game is self-gratification at the other person's expense.
Many spend time in prison, but many do not.
All take far more than they give.
QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT THOSE ABOUT YOU
1. Do you often feel used by the person?
2. Have you often felt that he (or she, because women can be sociopaths too) doesn't care about you?
3. Does he lie and deceive you?
4. Does he tend to make contradictory statements?
5. Does he tend to take from you and not give back much?
6. Does he often appeal to pity? Does he seem to try to make you feel sorry for him?
7. Does he try to make you feel guilty?
8. Do you sometimes feel he is taking advantage of your good nature?
9. Does he seem easily bored and need constant stimulation?
10. Does he use a lot of flattery? Does he interact with you in a way that makes you feel flattered even if he says nothing overtly complimentary?
11. Does he make you feel worried? Does he do it obviously or more cleverly and sneakily?
12. Does he give you the impression you owe him?
13. Does he chronically fail to take responsibility for harming others? Does he blame everyone and everything but himself?
1.) MIND YOUR MIND
If in describing a new friend to others, you use
"charming" and "persuasive" and "he/she says the most outrageous things but you just can't get mad at him/her" --
You have trouble on your hands. Disengage quickly.
2.) UNDER THE ICING IS ONLY MORE ICING
It is easy to get get swept up by the winning smile, the captivating body language, and the fast talk of the typical psychopath.
Step back when you feel pulled in too quickly by someone.
Ask why that stunning person was unattached before you met them.
Perhaps there is a wake of ruined lives behind that person.
3.) KEEP YOUR GUARD UP IN HIGH RISK SITUATIONS
This is the holiday season with lots of parties,
meeting new people when your mind is blunted by the relaxed merry Christmas Spirit, laughter and alcohol.
Lions lurk by the water hole for a reason.
Some situations are tailor-made for psychopaths:
singles bars, ship cruises, foreign airports, etc.
In each case, the potential victim is lonely, looking for a good time, excitement, or companionship,
and there will usually be someone willing to oblige, for a terrible future price.
4.) KNOW THYSELF
Psychopaths are skilled at detecting and ruthlessly exploiting your weak spots.
Your best defense is
to understand what these spots are, and to be extremely wary of anyone who zeroes in on them.
5.) ONLY ONE REMEDY
There's only one solution for dealing with a sociopath:
Get him or her completely out of your life for good.
Enjoy your holiday season
but mind your surroundings
and those around you.