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Thursday, December 3, 2015


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.

A thought:

The F.B.I. states it is either workplace violence or perhaps terrorism.

Workplace violence?  

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.

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?



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.


 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.


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. 


  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.


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.


  1. Sadly our culture rewards sociopaths. I suspect many CEO's fit the bill quite nicely...

    1. You have sensed correctly. Several studies have shown the traits of a sociopath help people to rise to top positions in businesses. :-(

  2. I remember a time, when complete strangers would ask favors and I would feel guilty saying no. Now, I know, they had pegged me. I still try to help people. I just don't walk away feeling guilty if I can't help in addition to gauging whether the request is too grand.

    1. Those who live in larger cities learn not to make eye contact with strangers. We should help when it makes sense to us not the other person.

  3. Avoid those people at all times.
    And no way what happened in California was workplace violence. Those were not disgruntled employees.

    1. No, he was not s disgruntled employee. A dupe swayed by his love for a fanatic? A hidden recruit of Isis? There really are "Sleeper Cells" in America sowed by various of our enemies. Sigh.

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  5. Great article again. In the back of my mind, I feel like there are differences in the socio and psycho traits? Something about one being more organized than the other and other things. I haven't looked at a DSM in years, so they may now be included together. I'll ask my daughter what she thinks. We talk all the time about mental illness, I like the info for my stories and she's a psychologist so of course it interests her.

    I hadn't heard about the latest on the shooters. Thanks for that. I think there will be more random terrorist actions, in our country. They are probably not ISIS but (additional) idiots who want their 15 minutes of fame. I feel so horrible about the whole thing.

    1. Many forensic psychologists, psychiatrists and criminologists use the terms sociopathy and psychopathy interchangeably.

      Leading experts disagree on whether there are meaningful differences between the two conditions.

      Some say murders done by sociopaths will be haphazard while those done by psychopaths will be highly planned and ritualized.

      The victims still are just as dead.

      I would hate to live off the difference between them. :-)

      Theories in psychiatry constantly evolve. Conditions that were considered disorders when I got my Master's in psychology are now considered functional.

      An interesting book is THE PSYCHOPATH TEST written by the same author who wrote the non-fiction book THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS. It chronicles the very beginnings of the DSM (rather depressing how they agreed what was disorders and what were not.)

      I fear should more atrocities be committed by Muslim attackers there will be a building unmindful wave of hate crimes against innocent Muslims. :-(

  6. You've always had your fingers on the "Pulse of Life" Roland, which provides insights long before they materialize. This is a horrid day, San Berdoo is but 45 minutes away, and occupied moreso than "Occupy Wall Street" with Feds, and other Law Enforcement Agencies. I'm sending you some pics on FB, a couple of which you've already stated the obvious, which those pics reveal.

    With this Presidency, nothing surprises me anymore. This man is not a God Fearing Man, a fraud IMO, who just does not have the public's back, again In my most Humble of Opinions. Sad day here, the Freeway is Closed at most San Berdoo Exits/Off Ramps.

    No Place Is Safe....:-(
    You called it Mon cher ami et frère en Christ...!~~

    1. What is sad that most Americans hearing what government sources are saying is just the cover story, a spin on the truth. It only reinforces the doubt we have that the government or the police will tell us the truth about a sensitive incident. No wonder there are protests in Chicago and were in Ferguson. People feel they are being lied to.

      You're right: no place is safe. We must always mind our surroundings. :-(

    2. Does that mean George W. Bush also did not have our backs and was godless? We suffered terrible attacks while he was president.

  7. This is an interesting post, Roland, because too many people are blind to the signs of an unstable person. The expression on the faces, the words chosen, and the manner in which they interact will give clues. These can be subtle, or not. I read this morning that there have been something like 355 mass shootings in the US this year. (and the year isn't over yet). I would say, "Houston, we have a problem. . ." (with a tip of the hat to NASA)

    1. We often choose not to see what disturbs us: a dangerous form of denial. So many disturbed individuals posing as normal among us.

      Yes, Houston, we do, indeed, have a problem. :-(

  8. I know a sociopath. He is so intelligent and puts on such a show that no one believes me.


    1. Many sociopaths are quite intelligent -- which makes them even more dangerous. Just protect yourself and limit your exposure to him as much as possible.

    2. I moved to another state to escape him. I know he has been here and left a "calling card" of sorts. My boyfriend believes me.