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The Psychopath Code: Cracking The Predators That Stalk Us Kindle Edition
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Hintjens told his reader right off the bat that
a) he was not an expert and in fact has no actual training in psychology
b) he was looking at anecdotal evidence gained from people in his own life
c) he did his best to observe and study manipulative behavior from as many sources as he could while writing this book
The result was great. It is almost comical that someone with no education in psychology wrote a book that outshines 90% of books I have read that were written by those who have PhDs in psychology and see patients on a regular basis. Does he get everything right? Probably not. I definitely don't know if I am buying his theory that psychopaths lack creativity. While I think it is likely that a subset of psychopaths are exactly what he describes (so well!), I am not sure it is generally true of all psychopaths. I really want to know and might do some research to try to find out if there is indeed a connection between psychopaths / manipulation and lack of creativity. His claim is that psychopaths will not create art, new food recipes, or any other creation. They will follow a formula to make anything. He also claims that they lack a good sense of smell and that they have no disgust response when eating bad food. They simply spit it out. These are all claims for which I would like verification.
Hintjens really shined when he discussed various emotions. He categorized various types of emotions, e.g. defense, love, sexual, and predator and made the claim that psychopaths only possess "predator" emotions. What a great hypothesis. This section definitely sets Hintjens apart from other authors covering the same topic.
When discussing the psychopath, Hintjens used Alice and Bob -- familiar to anyone who studies information theory, economics, black holes, etc -- to represent the non psychopathic individual and Mallory (akin to malware or malice) to represent the psychopath. . Mallory represents both male and female manipulators and was interesting choice. However, at times it felt, to me anyway, that it detracted from helping the reader understand that there are many faces of a manipulator. All psychopaths are not the same. He knows this and has said as much. I am not suggesting he thinks Mallory is one person and every thing attributed to Mallory can be attributed to every psychopath. It just didn't work for me at times. In Martha Stout's book, she assigned a name to the manipulator and told us his or her story. Each was different and I came away thinking how fascinating the many faces of psychopathy were. With Mallory, I had trouble seeing him or her as separate people. That might say more about how I read than how Hintjens writes. I would like for the manipulator to change but would have been happy for Bob and Alice to stay the same.
My issue with Mallory aside, he provided many scenarios in which the manipulator took control. His explanations were clear, insightful, and accompanied by what seemed to be real world solutions that might actually work with individuals who manipulate. As I read, I remember feeling shocked at the practical solutions offered. My familiarity with psychopaths was through taking coursework on neuroscience and psychopathy, gender and psychopathy, and a basic abnormal psych class. None of these offered solutions about how to deal with a psychopath because they would have had to have tested the approaches for efficacy. If they do test to see what works, they should use the suggestions in this book as a starting point. Seemed pretty on target to me.
There were too many descriptions of manipulative behaviors to cover here but some of the best were:
- Manipulators often lack loving emotions and use people for gain, and yet they are still able to sell themselves as moral authorities who think it is their job to teach others.
- The biggest indicator that you are dealing with a psychopathic type is their inability to apologize or self reflect. Psychopaths see themselves as the authority and are supremely confident about that authority. They often compulsively teach others about moral behavior.
-They play the victim but the details are often vague and changeable and they stop all attempts to verify their story. They do all they can to cut off contact between the prior victims and their present victims, meaning there is always a reason why you can't talk openly with the people in their past.
-They choose targets who are a submissive, often a little nervous or awkward in social situations, and show a willingness to listen and take action on the psychopath's behalf. When they find the appropriate target, they go after the target's assets and do not stop until they have drained them of everything possible.
- They begin by making their target feel like the most special person, over valuing them. Then they convince the target that their friends and family members are disrespecting them. This is so they can isolate them from anyone who could challenge the psychopath, when they finally stop over valuing their target and begin cutting them down emotionally in order to drain them of their resources.
- They are often quite good at reading emotions in others and faking empathy, love, or other emotions when it will get them what they want. However, these emotions quickly disappear when they are unable to control the situation.
- They demand to know every detail about others, while keeping details about their own life very private, even from significant others.
It is hard to imagine a more interesting disorder than psychopathy, and this book is one of the better books on the topic. I highly recommend.
Most recent customer reviews
There's not a syllable of scientific jargon in this book.Read more