As we all know, the workplace is a perfect place to find psychopaths. Recently I was called in to consult with a small business who was having trouble with an executive. When I met him, he was all smiles and extremely accommodating and polite. He went out of his way to charm me and show me how adept he was in business. I could see why the board of this company was unclear as to what was really going on with him. Over the month I consulted with the company, I began to dig deeper and people started opening up about his behavior. I found that this individual was undermining the founder, lying to employees, threatening vendors and stealing from the company. He was so good at manipulating and lying that he had all the employees wondering what was real and what was happening. He kept the drama flowing so misdirection was easy. When he was held accountable, he easily and effectively blamed someone else. He stopped paying those individuals in the company who were “on to him” and they eventually left. The company slowly began to decline and as one employee said, “I’ve never worked for a company where when you fix one thing, 4 more break.” This psychopath created fear, uncertainty and false hopes. Once the information came to light however, the founder fired him immediately. As the founder remarked, “I was so busy putting out the fires, that I left him to manage the business. Now I see that he created the fires and manipulated us all.” But, true to a psychopath’s nature, he continued to harm and blame and has left a trail of destruction that will take this company and its remaining employees months to remedy.
When one door closes
but we often look so long
and so regretfully upon
the closed door
that we do not see
the one which has
opened for us
1. Get a Clue—Know how to identify a psychopath. Know the traits and pay attention when you feel something is off or wrong about someone. Distance yourself enough to gain perspective and dig deep to see what the psychopath is really saying and doing. Trust yourself.
2. Get a Grip—Help yourself first and foremost. Yes, you will feel victimized, used and angry. But in order for you to be ok after a relationship with a psychopath you must realize there was no way to win against a psychopath. Forgive yourself for not knowing that he/she is a psychopath.
3. Get a Life—Without the psychopath in it. Change everything if you have to. Move if you need to. Change jobs if you can. Your priority is to get away and start again. Move on.
These three steps may sound easy but they are not. Ask for help or find a support group familiar with psychopaths.
Know that with strength, knowledge and dedication, there is nothing you cannot accomplish.
If you have been in a relationship with its power structure built on violence and destruction of who you are, it may seem impossible to move past the abuse.
When faced with the insurmountable obstacle of leaving an abusive relationship, we must first acknowledge that there are no insurmountable obstacles.
We must cultivate a belief that solutions are available for every obstacle.
Do not give up on yourself.
Ask for help.
Expect a solution.
As I watched this psychopath over the years, I witnessed his complete disassociation with his children. He was totally unaware of his connection with his children, community or his effect on any of them. It was as if this psychopath was playing a game…the parenting game. He played the role of father without emotion and connection. His words to his children sounded right at times, but the meaning behind the words was distorted and corrupted.
His obsession with control became a dysfunction and a disease. This obsessive preoccupation with control traumatized his children. He made them feel inferior…he needed to as this allowed him to feel morally superior. It was conditional love in all its agony. He could not recognize the children as individuals. He neglected their true nature.
He fought hard to keep his position of power over the children as they grew older. When the children, turned into young adults, they began to question him and being a psychopath, he retaliated with demeaning comments, lies, judgments on their character, verbal abuse and attacked their self esteem regularly.
There is no happy ending to report for these young adults yet, although I hold out hope that as they distance themselves from their psychopathic father, they will eventually find themselves in the company of people whom they can trust and will slowly rebuild their shattered selves.