Throughout my life I have been aware of two main types of insane people: Sociopaths and Psychopaths. I believe there is a much greater abundance of both of these types than most people, including the experts, would care to acknowledge.
The psychopath is a person who takes pleasure from the pain of others. The name “Ted Bundy” often comes to mind when people think of psychopaths, but there are all kinds, including the Ted Bundys. In my previous career, I sometimes felt overwhelmed by psychopaths. I have known people whose friends or relatives were killed by psychopathic serial killers (I’m, also, aware of how they were treated by the media and the “authorities,” which is another tale of insanity), but the fact is most psychopaths stop just short of murder, especially if they think they could get caught. Because psychopaths are charming and intelligent, they often go on undetected and even when they are caught, they tend to have amassed many sympathizers and supporters. They are frequently protected and even glorified by the mainstream media.
Sociopaths are extremely common. Like psychopaths, they are often charming and manipulative. Both psychopaths and sociopaths are liars, some are masterful and others will tell obvious lies without shame. They do not have a normal range of human emotions.
Both sociopaths and psychopaths are often sexually perverted and obsessed with sex in some way. A common trait of male sociopaths is a preoccupation with their hatred of women. They want to hurt and kill women and will go to great lengths sometimes to satisfy their hunger.
Many sociopaths are, also, narcissists.
Understanding narcissists is very new to me. I had heard about them and heard them discussed often, especially by ActivismofCare who has a YouTube channel devoted to dealing with crazy people without going crazy yourself. But, I never had an understanding of narcissism or narcissistic behavior until very recently observing the behavior of some posters in the Kboards Writer’s Cafe (formerly Kindleboards).
Forums attract narcissists and other mentally disordered people because they can be whoever they want to be and, especially if the forum is a help-type forum, they will find plenty of victims to psychologically feed off of. It is important to remember that Ted Bundy, the psychopath, worked at a help center for abused women. He enjoyed hearing their stories of abuse and his co-workers thought he was wonderful at handling cases. So, any place there are discussions of rape, abuse, women’s issues, dealing with narcissists, dealing with psychopaths or sociopaths is, also, very likely to attract the narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths.
But, they can appear anywhere online.
Narcissists, however, may be especially attracted to writing forums. This all relates to the previous post on Vanity Authors, in which I described people who get ego fulfillment from writing a book. The fact is anybody can publish a book. Anybody can write something and publish it digitally or sandwich it between covers and a spine. And, now, it doesn’t even cost much, if anything to do so.
So, you can have the admiration of all your friends, family, co-workers and everyone you meet by proclaiming yourself an author. You can put your face and name on Amazon.com right along side many famous, wealthy and accomplished authors. This is a wondrous new opportunity for the narcissist!
To understand why this is significant to the narcissists, consider some of the following characteristics of Narcissistic Personality Disorder:
- Exaggeration of achievements
- Demand for respect
- Lies a lot and sees lying as a legitimate means of getting whatever he feels he deserves
- Sees himself (most narcissists are men, but some are women) reflected in everything
- Thinks every conversation is about him
- Must be the center of attention
- Lack of empathy
Narcissists, also, have many of the traits of a sociopath.
The narcissist will claim he knows more about a subject than anyone else. He is quick to anger if he feels affronted. Ignoring the narcissist can exacerbate the situation because they so desperately want attention – even negative attention is better than nothing, at all. The narcissist is incapable of putting himself in someone else’s shoes because narcissists are incapable of empathy.
The narcissist sees himself reflected in everything. If you say out loud, “The sky is blue.” The narcissist will accuse you of calling him blue. Multiple narcissists can quickly turn into a mob because they like to mirror and praise each other. The praise of each other can take on an almost worshipful tone.
Once you study the narcissist in action, see how he reads himself into every remark and how he must regularly pop up with his face, name and accomplishments for everyone to see, it sheds a great deal of light on issues of “authors behaving badly” like the one referenced in a previous post with regard to Vanity Authors and GoodReads.
Learn more about Narcissistic Personality Disorder and how to deal with a narcissist from Activism of Care.
Here’s another good video describing narcissistic behavior in online social settings:
And, a final word – steer clear of the writing forums unless you absolutely must obtain information somehow. Then, get in anonymously and get back out.