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The Psychological Portrait of Female Sociopaths

News Books Toxic Managers Recommended Links Stoicism Borderline Psychopath Films depicting female sociopath The Techniques of a Female Sociopaths
The Hare Psychopathy Checklist Divorcing Borderline Psychopath Negative Politeness Diplomatic Communication Surviving a Bad Performance Review Female bullies Narcissistic Managers Understanding Micromanagers and Control Freaks
Gaslighting Projection Office Stockholm Syndrome Learned helplessness Fake Sexual Harassment Claims The Fiefdom Syndrome Insubordination Threat Psychopaths in Movies
The psychopath in the corner office Authoritarians Insubordination Threat Bully Managers The Hare Psychopathy Checklist Empty Suits (Aggressive Incompetent Managers) Rules of Verbal Self Defense against Corporate Psychopaths Socratic Questions
Dangerous Liaisons The Last Seduction Fatal Attraction The Devil Wears Prada Marriage and family conflicts Marital Infidelity Movies about marital infidelity Belief-coercion in high demand cults
Surviving a Bad Performance Review High Demand Cults Leaders Practices Conformism Corporate bullshit as a communication method Groupthink Aikido Humor Etc
"Her regular tantrums involve swearing, shouting, intimidation and threatens. She will wear people down until, for a quieter life, they agree with her. Interestingly, what she threatens to inflict on others is what she would find most damaging and hurtful to herself.

Equally interestingly, she feels criticism and humiliation intensely, even if none is intended or given, and she will fight ferociously to defend what she sees as an attack, whether or not there is one. Sometimes she will create a threat in her mind merely to defend and excuse what she knows to be her own dreadful behavior."


Introduction

Female sociopaths are a class of its own. They are much more manipulative than male psychopaths. We will distinguish the term "sociopath" and "psychopath" based on physical violence: psychopath is sociopath who routinely or even predominantly uses physical violence.  Often they are criminals. 

Female sociopaths rarely use physical violence and can much better mask their real intentions then make psychopaths. They are more patient (although the term patience and sociopath are mutually contradictive -- they are after instant gratification) and can hunt for a pray somewhat longer.  Some of them considerably longer. And probably are more dangerous when you have them close by.  As a rule female sociopaths are much more vicious and vendettful than man sociopaths. You can lean a lot about female psychopath by studying politicians.  They are born Machiavellians. And, unfortunately,  this is not exaggeration.  They can break important promises and betray the partner, if it suits their needs, with such an ease that your jaw can simply drop.  As bosses they cultivate "close circle" which is often selected on the base of blind loyalty, sometimes sweetened by sex or a promise of sex "really soon".  Most of female sociopath are sexually promiscuous.

Typically, they are somewhat sadistic, especially toward women  -- which means that they experience pleasure from suffering of their victims.  Like all sociopaths they are natural born, talented actors and have the astonishing ability to tell bare-faced lies and remain calm, utterly shameless if caught. They also can preserve cool demeanor in really dangerous situation. This is the case with psychopaths in general, but with female sociopaths you really see the master class of this art.

Ruthless and conniving they can extort favors using fake pregnancies, injuries to themselves, threats to kill themselves, etc. They are really like a proverbial person, who killed her/his parents, and then asks for lesser sentence because she is now an orphan.  While they are adept in masking their real mean and cruel personality some signs and discrepancies in their acting and in their life stories (which are always fictional) are often visible. 

The problem is that due to their charm the victim typically fails to pay any attention to them. Here this page might, probably, help as, hopefully, it provides a framework and several checklists for analyzing such a person.  A lot of tragedies could be avoided, if people who are facing something strange or inconsistent in behaviour simply take the time to ask, "What else could this mean?”  "Can it be explained as an attempt of manipulation,  or bold faced lie?"

Paradoxically, most of the victims of female sociopaths are woman. So a female sociopath in the role of the manager is more dangerous to female subordinates then to male subordinates. That can be quite indirect, but typically extremely vicious. Add to that compulsive desire of winning at all cost (they are about power; such a natural born power addicts) and see other people just of tools for achieving her goals.  They use them and throw them our like paper plates for their meals. 

They roll over their victims like steamroller and feel nothing

The last sentence is impossible to understand by just reading this page, You need to see couple of movies depicting such a character and first of all Dangerous Liaisons  In this film Glenn Close (she also presents similar, but more close to the borderline personality character in Fatal Attraction ) created an unforgettable character of a female sociopath (Marquise de Merteuil), while John Malkovich created even more impressive and pretty sinister and more convincing male sociopath character ( Vicomte de Valmont). The latter like often happens in real life is not devoid of some positive traits such as courage, ability act decisively and ability to forgive (in the final scene, when he is dying after being fatally wounded during a duel cleverly staged by Glenn Close character -- Marquise de Merteuil ).   Here you really see that a female psychopath approach to personal relations much like to a war of conquest.  It is all about domination and power.  There is no emotional attachment to anybody. Everybody is just a tool. We become slaves the moment we hand the keys to the definition of reality entirely over to someone else. And what female psychopath wants most is the power to define your reality. Often this is done via exploiting sexual attractiveness.  This is not clear from the first watching of the film, but if you watch it the second time from the specific angle of Marquise de Merteuil behaviour as a sociopath, you can probably learn a few things about this condition.  Similarly in Fatal Attraction you see how relentless they can stack the victim, using everything to keep the person on a short leash. Claims of being pregnant, cutting own wrists, you name it.  They have no boundaries and are ready to go to the bitter end to achieve their goal. Like Green Berets or Terminator.

They typically have high IQ which makes them even more dangerous if they are a member of your family or girlfriend. And they are really lethal weapon as managers. Demanding, ruthless, two-faced, manipulative, relentless and very methodical bullies. At the same time they are different from male sociopaths. Among female managers with sociopathic tendencies percent of micromanagers is considerably higher then among male managers with the same tendencies. And typically they are more sophisticated.  Even the murder cases involving female sociopaths are typically are more complex, more devious and less direct, for example the "black widow" marries a wealthy old man and puts poison in his drink. Money are often a strong motivating factor.

To detect a female sociopath for the outsider is a very challenging task as they are masters of mimicry -- natural born great artists.  They usually produce a very good, positive first impression. They excel in interviews. They do not allow themselves to show their anger for people on the same level, oe above them. Anger is reserved to subordinates and members of the immediate family. Despite inability to feels love, they can imitate it and they are often seductive. Love for them, like for an escort, it's not about reality, but about creating the illusion of reality. In a way, you view them as self-employed escorts with deferred payment.

There are no telling signs that they deceive you, other then some minor inconsistencies in their life stories, a little bit free dealing with the facts, a little bit exaggerated emotions and attempts of love bombing. In such situations, the devil is in details, but people in romantic mode and under influence of psychopathic charm have a strong confirmation bias, and as such are rarely able to see them, until too late.

The same is actually true for upper management in the corporate environment: often they do not suspect whom they are dealing with and that their lack of fear, boldness, ability to take outsize risks, are contributing factors to their shrewd performance during the interviews. And their high "likebility" during the interview masks real danger for them them and their company... 

But for subordinates the situation is completely different: they are tools that do not deserve to be treated as human beings. Make no mistakes here.  You will immediately:

Their behaviour is somewhat close to so called Borderline Psychopath (which is diagnosed in three times as many females as males) and description of a borderline personality behavior (which are more common on the Internet) can serve as a good proxy for what to expect from a female sociopath.

This diagnose is about some fuzzy "red line" crossing, which turns quantity of individual traits (or let's say traits that signify deviations from normal) into quality ("sociopathic personality")

Remember that both psychopathy and borderline behaviors are never pure and can be demonstrated to a various degrees with some features clearly present and other suppressed or even non- existence. Psychology is not a precise science, and probably will never be.  You can't offload and analyzed the internal program that guides such people behaviour. You can't pinpoint genes responsible for such behaviour.

It is very important to understand that there is no "black and white" distinction: no "sociopath vs. normal person" dichotomy. It's all shadows of grey.

There is just some fuzzy "red line" crossing which turns quantity of individual traits (or let's say traits that signify deviations from normal) into quality ("sociopathic personality")  and at this point we are talking about a person as accomplished sociopath.  Here is one quote for such a diagnosis that demonstrates this point -- each and every individual trait listed can be found in normal individuals, but it is their constellation and mutual reinforcement that matter most:

...Manipulation and deceit are viewed as common features of BPD by many of those who treat the disorder as well as by the DSM-IV.  Borderlines are ruthless, conniving, mean, heartless, two-faced, manipulative, and worse. It's like a feminine version of sociopaths, and nearly as dangerous.

Borderline personality disorder is diagnosed in three times as many females as males. Persons with BPD are described  as “difficult,”  “manipulative,” “demanding” and “attention seeking".

People with BPD are seen as among the most challenging groups of patients, requiring a high degree of skill and training in the psychiatrists, therapists and nurses involved in their treatment. See Understanding Borderline Rage

An unusual degree of instability in mood and black-and-white thinking often manifests itself in idealization and devaluation episodes and chaotic and unstable interpersonal relationships, issues with self-image, identity, and behavior; as well as a disturbance in the individual's sense of self. 

Diagnosed only in individuals over the age of 18; however, symptoms necessary to establish the disorder can also be found in adolescents.

Note the even the term Borderline implies being close or even crossing sometimes some imaginary "red line".

Typical set of traits

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Please read Linda Taylor, welfare queen   and watch several films listed in Films depicting female sociopath. As for more specific nuances Sheppard and Cleary write:

Entrapment of the victim

Female sociopaths often use sex to entrap a victim in the relationship. They are natural predators that use sex as a weapon.  When meeting someone they immediately assess the victim. How likely are you to fall for the con? They ask probing questions to try to test the victim attitudes about casual sex and other interesting  for them topics. What is interesting is tht, they are typically more successful is luring high IQ male victims then low IQ male victims. See scene in the cafe in Fatal Attraction as an example of such behaviour.

 Often the entrapment of the victim goes in several, overlapping phases:

In the movie Solaris (1972) by Tarkovski based on  famous novel Solaris by Polish author Stanislaw Lem there is an interesting moment when a  created by the alien super brain (thinking ocean) "animated holographic image" of a dead person gets more and realistic details as more information is collected by super brain from the person who is interacting with the image. The same process takes place at this stage with a female sociopath: she creates an artificial personality that the victim wants to see adding details as she gets more information, using their amazing natural capabilities as first class actresses.  All this is done under smoke screen of psychopathic charm, which disarms the victim.   They may even claim that they fall in love with you at the first sight. High IQ female sociopaths usually avoid such a primitive lie, instead they are usually trying to imitate a genuine interest in you as a person and make themselves a perfect match for you interests in life. So if you are baseball fan, they will instantly became a baseball fan too and on the next meeting will tell you intriguing details about  Yogi Berra and will use in conversation some of his bon mots like "It's déjà vu all over again." .  And if another victim later loves classic music they will get themselves to speed in this area too and during the next meeting can talk about Beethoven with ease.  Everything they say is typically false, and is designed to entrap the victim. But it is very difficult to understand that the behaviour is based upon lies, while being on the other side of the "charm offence".

Female sociopath are masters of playing male vanity like gifted musician plays violin. They typically demonstrate (pretty convincingly) a huge (albeit fake) admiration of you as a person, as a specialist, as a manager.  That increases your self-worth and in grey, boring real world were there are very few people openly admire others, such attitude usually has immediate success. You are in a trap before you realize what is happening. Again, this works even better if the victim has high IQ as people with high IQ typically have doubts about their self worth, and as such are more vulnerable to flattery and excessive but subtle praise (aka love bombing). What greater flattery could there possibly be than having someone who believes you’re the most wonderful person they’ve ever known, someone who truly appreciates you and believes you are worthy of their time, attention, admiration, energy and love?

They are also perfect on invoking a pity, able to act like a  "drama queen" ( What is a Drama Queen) 

In literature, the character Scarlett O'Hara from Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind would be considered a drama queen by today's standards. This type of person is notoriously self-centered and self-absorbed, often viewing friends and relatives as lesser beings assigned to take care of her personal needs. Her worst enemy is solitude, so she tends to be very outgoing and sociable, although many of her friendships tend to remain at surface level. Others who have experienced the drama queen's sudden outbursts in the past may have a feeling of walking on egg shells around her, not wanting to be the person who delivers upsetting news or offends her in any way.

Fake stories about ill relatives, previous abuse, etc are just a natural ways to them to play the victim.

It goes without saying that it is very effective strategy of attacking most males. But if "strong encouragement" needs to used on the final stage (for example to get the victim in the bed)  it will be used just as ruthlessly as male seducers do.  Those girls can force the victim drink too much or even put something into the drink, watch a provocative movie and then rush a man into the bed and brutally mock the victim to overcome their doubts and to force the intercourse no less effectively then male seducers do the same for female victims. 

You will not be aware of the lies until much later. Like in war, there is a "fog of war"  during initial meetings when neither party  have adequate information about the whole situation  and has only some vague hypothesis about the personality (i.e., you are facing incomplete, dubious, and often completely erroneous information and high levels of fear, doubt, and excitement). Here keeping daily log might be of tremendous help as it might slightly help to see though the fog. Still the level of uncertainty is high, which complicate rational assessment of the situation so delays with the reaction and keep your cards close to your chest. This simple tactic might in many cases be not detrimental, but advantageous. Actually studying war tactics which were discussed for example in famous Clausewitz On War (available free from clausewitz.com) and The Art of War  might help. Among them (cited from Wikipedia):

Borderline rage as the most telling symptom

Sociopaths are notoriously difficult to spot because most of them are incredibly adept at hiding their true self and their motives. Since childhood the female sociopath may have developed complex and often subconscious methods to deceive her targets. On the surface she appears excessively friendly and charming. In fact, an early warning sign is that you start to suspect that she is too good to be true. She probably is. But there is another telling sign, which unfortunately is typically discovered when it is too late: a difference between her behavior in public and in private settings. Charming and attentive in public they are usually quite abusive, rude and vindictive in private.

The first and very unpleasant surprise that a man discovers after marrying a female sociopath is that while he though to marry a nice  kitty (especially when  somebody married a foreigner who is considerably younger and is very attractive, aka "mail bride"), but he actually married a tiger, who in home setting is ready to jump and eat him alive :-).   Uncontrollable anger attacks usually hit a poor guy like a typhoon.

Unfortunately  you rarely have a chance to discover the "dark side" of psychopathic personality before you became a subordinate or a marriage partner.  In reality they control their anger more than it has controls them. This is just a sharp weapon to get what they want.  Often anger rises to the level of throwing things or physical violence: they are really beating crap of their spouses. Yes weaker sex can be not so weak in anger.  Of course you can buy her a punch bag and the boxing gloves, to redirect her anger into less vulnerable target, but that rarely helps. They actually enjoy their reputation of being mean (but only in private). And they are not afraid of destroying relations.  This is somewhat correlate with being reckless.  Ambrose Bierce  quote “Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.” is not applicable. They have no regrets. Moreover they are ready to attack again the next day after the previous incident.

That makes bouts of Borderline Rage (which is also typical for Double High Authoritarians, but they are primarily males)  a very telling symptom that dramatically increases probability that you are dealing with a female sociopath. As now you probably get her real life story from third sources, cruelty to animals, siblings or other  weaker or dependent persons, especially such episodes in childhood, is another telling sign. As one reader commented "female sociopaths almost always fit the DSM IV diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder." So you can start with studying it, as this is one of well studied disorders and information about it is more readily available.  See Borderline Psychopath

One telling symptom of a female sociopath is bouts of Borderline Rage (which is also typical for Double High Authoritarians, but they are primarily males).  Cruelty to animals, siblings or other weaker or dependent persons, especially such episodes in childhood, is another telling sign...  Female sociopaths almost always fit the DSM IV diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder, so you can start with studying it

Female sociopaths tend to be relentless, methodical bullies and micromanagers who can really tear the victim to shreds given enough time.  This true both in family life and in  the office environment. But bouts of anger are reserved only to people, who she already controls. For superiors they are all nice polite, clever, witty woman with considerable charm (and who often act as relentless and effective seducers.)

In office environments they are often more vindictive and much more cruel to subordinates, then male sociopaths. They really view all and especially female subordinates as disposable items.  The facts that they are devoid of feeling of compassion does not make they incapable to detect and exploit their victims weaknesses. Quite to the contrary. Sometimes I have an impression the psychopathy greatly increases such an ability, giving them almost surgical precision in attack on human weaknesses, sometimes dramatically so as in cases of seduction. 

The facts that they are devoid of feeling of compassion does not make they incapable to detect and exploit their victims weaknesses.  Sometimes I have an impression the psychopathy increases such an ability, sometimes dramatically so.

Negative politeness is an important defense tactic against those individuals.  Limiting contacts to bare minimum is very important, as it lessens the chances that you get into some kind of trap.  Avoiding intimacy with them is equally important. It is pretty difficult to withstand a female seducer is say in business trip in a hotel room.  They are more subtle that simply proposing their body. They are able to create condition in which you drink too much, or watch some arousing movie, etc that make simpler to achieve their goal.

Machiavellian manipulation, female sociopaths as naturally born power addicts

Simplifying Machiavellism is about getting/preserving power at any cost, as in "the end justifies the means". Such people play the society and individual with whom they are involved like a violin. The ability and willingness to employ savage methods for obtaining power is a distinct feature that distinguish sociopath from normal persons. They are all about power, naturally born power addicts. The casual way in which Machiavelli discusses the need to kill opponents was necessary to those who wished to be princes 500 years ago. Today, of course, "killing" is translated as rendering less powerful, or taking an opponent out of the game. But the key ideas stay the same and even now after 500 years the books gives a valuable insight in behaviour of all sociopaths. We can legitimately call female sociopath "Princesses of manipulation".  The book refines their strategy to two main points: 

  1. Get ahead of others to attain power by any means; and
  2. Maintain and expand one's power in the face of others who would usurp one or who wants to move yourself into competing  posiition.

This book is about ruthlessness and putting the attainment and preservation of power ahead of any other consideration. In this sense all sociopath, enad especially female sociopath are loyal followers of Machiavelli, even if they never heard about this book. They use the same set of power gaining  strategies exemplified in maxims such such as  "the end justifies the means," "it is better to be feared than loved," "if you fight the prince, kill the prince" to name a few.

It is essential reading to anyone who want to get into sociopathic mind. Human history deliver plenty of examples of ruthless self-interest (Machiavellianism) behind success in power situations.

The key of teaching of Machiavelli is the difference between Prince substance and Prince appearance:  

As we mentioned this is fully applicable to female sociopath  who are ruthless, hell-bent on personal power, amoral, intimidating, vengeful, pitiless, exploitive, manipulative, dishonest cheaters, mean-spirited, two-faced and more.

As for the character and behavior of the prince, Machiavelli  recommends the following :

Glenn Sacks in his  January 8th, 2008 post on this blog Venus: The Dark Side--Female Sociopaths created a very good summary of main points of the book by Venus: The Dark Side.

In this book the authors Roy Sheppard and Mary T Cleary call such person "a queen of manipulation ". Some points looks like overstatements and hard to believe, if you never dealt with such a personality. But I strongly doubt that this is possible to avoid dealing with female sociopath in modern life ;-). At the same time if you has had, they looks like dispassionate observations or even understatements. It is really difficult to believe the extent of dirty tricks and unsubstantiated rumors that female sociopath routinely uses against their victims. 

"The consequences of her behavior are always somebody else’s problem, not hers. She is never to blame for anything...Because she’s out to control, she manipulates and punishes at will. She is the witness, the judge, the lawyer, the jury, the executioner - but never the accused... She will break the rules without a second thought, if the end justifies the means."

... ... ...

Sadly, the female sociopath they describe sometimes sounds like the vindictive or alienating or abusive ex-wives readers write me about.

The key goal is enslavement of the victim as in high demand cults

Again in many ways sociopath in general and female sociopath in particular behave like cult leaders in high demand cults:

Cult leaders, however, practice forms of control, such as intimidation and humiliation, which demand submission. In Ghent’s view, masochistic submission is a perversion of surrender. Cult leaders often use the idea of surrender as "bait, and then switch" to a demand for submission. Nevertheless, in so doing, they may not actually be practicing mind control in any conscious way. They may simply be behaving in ways typical of pathological narcissists, people whose personalities are characterized by paranoia and megalomania—characteristics, by the way, that are readily attributable to one of the modern masters of thought reform techniques, the totalitarian dictator known as Chairman Mao. Totalitarian dictators study and invent thought reform techniques, but many cult leaders may simply be exhibiting characteristic behaviors of the pathological narcissist, with the attendant paranoia and mania typical of this personality disorder. Thought reform is the systematic application of techniques of domination, enslavement, and control, which can be quite similar to the naturally occurring behaviors of other abusers, like batterers, rapists, incest perpetrators, in all of whom can be seen the behaviors of pathological narcissism.

... ... ...

For the cult leader, his ability to induce total dependence in followers serves to sustain and enhance a desperately needed delusion of perfect, omnipotent control. With many cult leaders, (e.g., Shoko Asahara [Lifton, 1999]), the dissolution of their delusion of omnipotence exposes an underlying core of psychosis. Sustaining a delusion of omnipotence and perfection is, for the cult leader, a manic effort to ward off psychic fragmentation. Again it is useful to consider that this kind of pathological narcissism and defensive mania is often seen in persons whose childhood development was controlled by extremely dominating, often sadistic caregivers, or whose developmental years were characterized by traumatic experiences of intense humiliation. Cult leaders then create elaborate rationalizations for their abusive systems, while unconsciously patterning those systems from the templates of their own experiences of being abused.

... ... ...

Cult leaders succeed in dominating their followers because they have mastered the cruel art of exploiting universal human dependency and attachment needs in others. The lengthy period of dependency in human development, the power that parents have, as God-like figures, to literally give life and sustain the lives of their children, leaves each human being with the memory, however distant or unconscious, of total dependency. Cult leaders tap into and re-activate this piece of the human psyche. Followers are encouraged to become regressed and infantilized, to believe that their life depends on pleasing the cult leader. Cult leaders depend on their ability to attract people, often at critically vulnerable points in their lives, who are confused, hungry, dissatisfied, searching. With such people, cult leaders typically find numerous ways to undermine their followers’ independence and their capacity to think critically.

Like high demand cult leaders, female sociopath  enjoy manipulating and exploiting others. The power, dominance over the others is the goal, the  main purpose of their lives. They are addicted to power and in this sense behave like a typical narcoaddicts. So even in love relations they are not after love, not after sex, they are after power. Which makes them very similar (albeit more canning) then male seducers (who are typically malignant narcissists). While people typically view seduction narrowly as purely sexual in nature,  actually the concept is wider then that and widely used, for example, for recruiting members into high demand cults. Wikipedia gives the following definition:

Seduction is the process of deliberately enticing a person, to lead astray, as from duty, rectitude, or the like; to corrupt, to persuade or induce to engage in sexual behaviour. The word seduction stems from Latin and means literally "to lead astray". As a result, the term may have a positive or negative connotation. Famous seducers from history or legend include Lilith, Giacomo Casanova and the fictional character Don Juan. Seduction as a phenomenon is not the subject of scientific interest, although similar, more specific terms like short-term mating, casual sex or mating strategies are used in evolutionary psychology.[1] The Internet enabled the existence of a seduction community which is based on pseudoscientific discourse on seduction.

Seduction, seen negatively, involves temptation and enticement, often sexual in nature, to lead someone astray into a behavioral choice they would not have made if they were not in a state of sexual arousal. Seen positively, seduction is a synonym for the act of charming someone — male or female — by an appeal to the senses, often with the goal of reducing unfounded fears and leading to their "sexual emancipation"

It is prudent to view them as a female version of male seducers, so well depicted in literature.  The key strategies are all the same: creation of a something like a high demand cult consisting of just two members the victim (and in case of male seducer worshiping on altar of sex) and the cult leader. See High Demand Cults Leaders Practices

At some point y our perspective on life comes from the virtual cage you were held captive in.

A note on love bombing

Most people think that they can resists excessive flattery and love bombing. This is typically not true. And paradoxically high IQ individuals are more susceptible to this tactics. Enslavement of the victim starts with love bombing and isolation from previous contacts (LOVE BOMBING ):

Love bombing is an all-encompassing, exhaustive campaign of flattery that "bombs" the target with non-stop positive reinforcement. Typically, the love-bomber showers his or her mark with compliments, praise and appreciation, declarations of undying love early on, promises of a future together, frequent contact by calls, texts and emails, gift-giving, great sex, and a lot of time spent with each other. It's extreme and over-the-top. It can (and does) happen online as well, sometimes without ever having met in person.

Some experts believe that not all behavior in the beginning with a psychopathic or narcissistic personality type is grooming, although grooming (which is intentionally manipulative) will be part of it. According to Dr. Rhonda Freeman, clinical neuropsychologist, "the emotional high they demonstrate is quite likely genuine. Many are significantly stimulated and intrigued by their new partner. However, in addition to this ‘high’ there also tends to be manipulation... In his or her "game" the psychopathic or narcissistic individual has the advantage. There will be pain for the unsuspecting trusting target... This is the nature of these disorders. No one is bonded to, appreciated, or valued...

Freeman goes on to say, “Unlike the excitement they have for their new target, the grooming component of their relationships is intentional. It is tailored to set the victim up for future use.” She adds that “grooming is purposeful manipulation with an end goal of taking advantage of the target,” and that grooming “facilitates an impression that the psychopathic individual is safe, generous and trustworthy.” In other words, they are not really safe, generous or trustworthy, even though they may be genuinely interested in you. 

...What greater flattery could there possibly be than having someone who believes you’re the most wonderful person they’ve ever known, someone who truly appreciates you and believes you are worthy of their time, attention, admiration, energy and love? The victim is swept off their feet, oblivious to the truth. Love bombing reinforces powerful beliefs about ideal love; fosters trust, loyalty, relationship investment and a positive image of the abuser; creates deep bonding and emotional dependence; and sets the stage for disbelief of the manipulator’s misdeeds when they eventually and inevitably come. The love bomber presents him or herself as your ideal partner, one who is generous, loving, caring and empathetic, and who shares your interests, values, goals and dreams. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Finding out the truth, which happens eventually, is a shocking, heartbreaking experience. The betrayal is deep, and it is hard to overcome.

Sociopathic Charm

Dr. Stout believes that charm is a primary characteristic of woman sociopath. The intense charm of people who have no conscience, has been observed and commented on by countless victims, and by researchers who attempt to catalog the diagnostic signs of sociopath. In corporate environment it is usually directed mostly up and represents a variation of a typical "kiss up, kick down" pattern also found is male authoritarians.

The components of this "psychopathic charm" is difficult to define. But you can easily see it in movies that depict such individuals, for example The Last Seduction. Women who have a closely related set of traits, but without personal fearlessness, courage and ability to handle stress typical for sociopaths are grouped under  the label Histrionic personality disorder. The researchers of this disorder proposed a useful mnemonic that makes it somewhat easier remember the behavioral characteristics that are somewhat typical for sociopathic charm. This mnemonic phrase is "PRAISE ME":

Charming woman is always fascinating a man. You can think about it as a weaker, more subtle type of love bombing. The psychopath's charm is disarming person defenses. It is like a magic spell, one that’s hard to break.  One advantages that the female psychopath has is a razor sharp concentration of her prey. Trying to achieve her goals is the most important and unlike normal persons psychopathic woman is  not bothered by things like social anxiety, self-doubt and insecurity. While personality is liquid like in Terminator  II movies, her determination to get what she wants is steely. Courage and determination of female psychopath can be envied by Breen Berets. 

Female psychopath instinctively adapts her personality to what victim wants to see. Those natural born actresses are brilliantly playing their role in the play that is their life, so to speak.  This fascinating chameleonic process of adapting her personality to the circumstances on the fly (much like shape-changing liquid Terminator in Terminator II movie) goes semi-automatically on intuitive level. This way a female psychopath is able to present the fake personality --  to be what the victim wants to see and thus is able quickly create an emotional connection, or rather the illusion of connection  with the victim and gain the victim's trust.  This is a type of female seduction but in corporate environment it is often performed without obvious sexual overtones, typical for plain-vanilla "classic" seduction. Although,  if they feel your lust, sex will be offered too. They do not have any moral bounds for that activity. They are completely "sexually liberated" so to speak.  It is just another tool in their arsenal, like a nice dress or shoes.

Second, when  talking to victim, the psychopath is simultaneously creating already constructed in her head image of the person you want to see in her.  It's like a talented actor playing a complex role and creating and adapting this role of the fly.  Her response is highly tuned to the feedback she gets by  listening very closely to victim and them adapting her person and saying that the victim wants to hear.  This "adaptable, chameleonic personality" is the psychopath's main weapon in getting person trust. Simultaneously the work is done on discovering weak spots that can be used to manipulate the victim. She turns on the charm  like you turn light in the room -- completely deliverable. Under this fig leaf of charm is hiding her real (rude, callous, mean ) personality, a personality of a Terminator in the nice female body.  What is interesting that typically they complexly despise other females and treat them badly.  

Fake charm that I’m really describing here is a special case of pathological lying. Everything the psychopaths say of done to steer you in the direction of her goal. They are very goal oriented, even more so then male seducers, which also consider the victim as an object. A typical psychopathic trait.  Think about beaten theme of male seducers like Don Juan -- they tell the victim the truth  if and only if it will work to steer the woman to the bed. The same  level of razor sharp goal orientation is completely true for a female psychopath. Like in case of male seducers, female psychopath has a sophisticated often elaborate multistep plan. If for male seducer the goal is simple:  how to get particular woman into his bed, here your mileage may vary. And this plan is created instinctively, almost automatically in the psychopath's mind. In a way they behave as if they are at war, and at war all means are OK to archive victory. In case of female psychopath this ruthlessness in pursuing their goal is masked by the smoke screen of with feminine charm, nice female body, wit and humor, with imitation of weakness or weaker sex, often with some light doze of flirt. But  again, in reality they have steel nerves, and can strangulate, hit with heavy object or poison their victim if that helps -- real Terminators in feminine skin.  Just read a fascinating story about Linda Taylor

Like in case of gifted male seducers the female psychopath has some  “sixth sense”, an uncanny ability see areas where the victim is vulnerable, susceptible to advances, and the ability to anticipate what the victim  will respond to her, to know just the right words to say, to quickly learn your deepest desires so she can pretend to fulfill them, and to learn your deepest fears and insecurities so he can inflict the most damage. While the real focus is completely on getting self-gratification.

Typically female sociopath are very adept to use their intuitive perceptiveness, wit  and charm to gain approval and praise from upper managers. If they feel sympathy they seek intimate relationships with supervisors in order to  increase their status and power over subordinates.  And when the upper manager gives them praise or recognition, such a praise is often  based on charm and canning, and not on ability or usefulness to the organization.

They also have unique and sometime grotesque ability to appropriate achievement s of her subordinates and pretend that they are her own.  As corporate hierarchy works much like Indian casts with little communication between casts such behaviour, the behaviors of a fraud, is almost never detected by their upper managers.  Gender equality policies in modern corporations make their efforts even more effective as upper management is eager to eat fake phony achievement stories to achieve certain organizational goal like percentage of manages at certain level that are woman. such behaviors. Such set of organizational behaviors  in office slang is called "vagina carpet bombing".

Classic cycle of sociopathic  relations (idealize-seduce-devalue-discard)

The description of this cycle now is moved to a separate page Classic idealize-seduce-devalue-deiscard

Female sociopaths in literature and films

Attractive female sociopaths in literature are often called Femme fatale (Wikipedia).  See Films depicting female sociopaths. Some of those films can serve as a teaching guide that help to see under the mask they wear and more quickly detect the typical collection of traits which include:

You should specifically look at, attempts to manipulate you or others,  lying, violating boundaries to get information, impulsivity, lack of tolerance for frustration, inability to deter gratification, trigger-happy behaviour when a person tend to acts before she think and tendency to overreact (especially bouts of anger).  Constellation of those traits make them deviants: people who demonstrate voluntary behaviour that violates significant organizational and moral norms and in doing so threaten the well being of other people or an organization or both. As many companies do not follow their own regulations (Enron is one notable example) and try to hide things that are morally wrong, female sociopaths who have no morals at all  have good prospects of career growth.

All together, this is generally not a good combination of characteristics for either female or a man to have, but in hands of a female they represent a very powerful weapon as the initial assumption is that they represent weaker sex. This is as far from the truth in case of female sociopaths as one can get.   They are really extremely tough, tougher then many males, ruthless, dangerous Terminators in an attractive female body.

They are really extremely tough, tougher then many males, ruthless, dangerous Terminators in an attractive female body.

Using gender as a bulletproof vest

They use their gender as a bulletproof vest and male-dominant atmosphere of many corporate departments (for example, IT departments) provide them an excellent opportunity to advance by exploiting the affirmative policies toward woman. 

They use their gender as a bulletproof vest and  male-dominant atmosphere of many corporate departments (for example IT departments) provide them an excellent opportunity to advance by exploiting the affirmative policies toward woman. 

In case promotion is denied for such a woman, or worse a female sociopath was demoted for some actual misdeeds//blunders, she can became a subtle foe,  especially in a culture that refuses to believe that women are capable of and in fact do commit nasty tricks against men.

Spreading dirty rumors is the specialty of female sociopath and those skills are usually polished since childhood to perfection.  They are accomplished students of lying, cheating, conniving and manipulation with malicious intent. Like all sociopaths they have an uncanny ability to find a character flaw that can to be exploited to their advantage, especially in higher ups to speed their  career advancement and/or to hide of misrepresent damaging blunders.

Using sex as a weapon

Sex is just a weapon for them and sexual relations with higher ups  are used as a cover and as a method of advancement. Sociopaths have lack of empathy and other cognitive deficits which prevent experiencing  "real" feelings. They are cold in a very deep sense of this word. So they need to "play love" which is in reality they are unable to experience. But "technically" they can be extremely seductive as they are masters of imitation, perfect actresses, who have intuitive understanding of their "craft". 

At the same time they consider "winning" a particular male just a business goal, much like acquiring a new car or getting an important customer for the company. A good depiction of such behaviour is provided in the film Dangerous Liaisons - Wikipedia  based on a French novel Les Liaisons dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

... the Marquise de Merteuil (Glenn Close) plots revenge against her ex-lover, the Comte de Gercourt, who has ended their relationship. An amoral, sexually ravenous schemer, Merteuil amuses herself by manipulating men out of boredom, and her resentment of the subservient status of women in 16th-century French aristocratic society. To soothe her wounded pride and embarrass Gercourt, she seeks to arrange the seduction and disgrace of his young virgin fiancée, Cécile de Volanges (Uma Thurman), who has only recently been presented to society after spending her formative years in the shelter of a convent.

Merteuil calls on the rakish and similarly unprincipled Vicomte de Valmont (John Malkovich) to do the deed, offering him her own sexual favors as the reward for a successful conquest. Valmont declines, as he has a seduction of his own in progress: Madame de Tourvel (Michelle Pfeiffer), the virtuous wife of a member of Parliament. Merteuil is amused and incredulous at Valmont's hubris; how can he ever hope to bed a chaste, devoutly religious woman like Madame Tourvel? Never one to refuse a challenge, Valmont modifies the proposal: If he succeeds in sleeping with Tourvel, Merteuil must sleep with him as well. Merteuil accepts, on the condition that he furnish written proof of the liaison.

... ... ...

Variety considered it an "incisive study of sex as an arena for manipulative power games."... Roger Ebert thought the two lead roles were "played to perfection by Close and Malkovich... their arch dialogues together turn into exhausting conversational games, tennis matches of the soul."[11]

There is also "Americanized" adaptation of Les Liaisons dangereuses, the film Cruel Intentions (1999), directed by Roger Kumble and starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Selma Blair and Reese Witherspoon relocates the story to modern-day New York and is set amongst upper-class high school teens. The film had two sequels in 2000 and 2004 starring Amy Adams and Kerr Smith.

Another useful film to watch is The Last Seduction

Victims of female sociopaths are typically women

More than half of the bullies reported to a new UK national helpline are women -- and most of the victims are other women.

We hear so much of women as victims and the disadvantages women encounter in employment, that it sometimes comes as a surprise to realize that women are equally as capable of bullying behavior as men.

Women are supposed to be co-operative rather than competitive, more inclined towards empathy, and less towards seeking dominance. Women are often portrayed as caring more than men about personal experience and feelings.

It may be true that women are less inclined to indulge in vocalized rages - public swearing and shouting - and in physical violence, though I am sure that all of us could think of exceptions. Research indicates, however, that women are inclined towards

Such behavior is evidence of women's socialization: often we do not know how to elicit positive attention, or to assert ourselves so that our views and rights are recognized and respected. So we use inappropriate and ineffectual means to attract attention any way we can. We have been conditioned very early that girls do not shout and scream. No one is surprised, however, if girls go quiet or even sulk.

The problem, however, is that unless people communicate, they will not resolve their differences.

What comes as a shock to many people is just how personally and educationally damaging social and professional isolation and exclusion from networks can be.

More than half of the bullies reported to a new UK national helpline are women - and most of the victims are other women

This page might be a small step alerting to one unanticipated side effect of "gender equality" drive in large corporations, where essentially female managers have a quota to fill. When organizational psychologist Mary Sherry wrote in a national newspaper last month that female managers were far more likely to bully staff than male ones it triggered a large reader response -- almost all backing her view. (Girl power are women the worst bullies - 08-02-2005 by John Charlton )

One unanticipated side effect of "gender equality" drive in large corporations, where essentially female managers have a quota to fill is promotion of female sociopath into management positions

 

Generic methods of fighting sociopaths are applicable

While differences are substantial, most of the findings about behaviour of male psychopaths and methods of resisting them are applicable.

While female sociopath belong to generic category of sociopath the list of genetic traits is always a good starting point. It shows you from which direction they can attack you and how they prepare and (what is the most important) camouflate their attacks.  But details can be revealed only by extensive personal study, working with literature and keeping a diary (that letter is the most important; you should read your observations daily). Without hard work your understanding will necessary be superficial and you might be up for very unpleasant surprises. For staring point see

As bulling and over control in inherent in the female psychopath behavior it make sense to study two related types:

The reason might be that female sociopaths are only are superficially feminine. Under attractive packaging there is a steel core of Terminator in them.

Importance of physical exercise in fighting female psychopaths

Out brains are deeply connected to our bodies. One way to improve your mental stability and the capacities to endure stress is to use vigorous exercise regiment.  This is the point that implicitly was made by prominent neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki in her book Healthy Brain, Happy Life A Personal Program to Activate Your Brain and Do Everything Better. It looks like aerobic exercises are important for mental stability and the ability to cope with stress. Of cause, an important warning attributed to Talleyrand  "Not too much zeal" is applicable here too. Some additional ideas might be extracted from the following reviews:

"... “Exercise is responsible for the majority of the positive brain changes seen with environmental enrichment.”"

A neuroscientist transforms the way we think about our brain, our health, and our personal happiness in this clear, informative, and inspiring guide—a blend of personal memoir, science narrative, and immediately useful takeaways that bring the human brain into focus as never before, revealing the powerful connection between exercise, learning, memory, and cognitive abilities.

Nearing forty, Dr. Wendy Suzuki was at the pinnacle of her career. An award-winning university professor and world-renowned neuroscientist, she had tenure, her own successful research lab, prestigious awards, and international renown.

That’s when to celebrate her birthday, she booked an adventure trip that forced her to wake up to a startling reality: despite her professional success, she was overweight, lonely, and tired and knew that her life had to change. Wendy started simply—by going to an exercise class. Eventually, she noticed an improvement in her memory, her energy levels, and her ability to work quickly and move from task to task easily. Not only did Wendy begin to get fit, but she also became sharper, had more energy, and her memory improved. Being a neuroscientist, she wanted to know why.

What she learned transformed her body and her life. Now, it can transform yours.

Wendy discovered that there is a biological connection between exercise, mindfulness, and action. With exercise, your body feels more alive and your brain actually performs better. Yes—you can make yourself smarter. In this fascinating book, Suzuki makes neuroscience easy to understand, interweaving her personal story with groundbreaking research, and offering practical, short exercises—4 minute Brain Hacks—to engage your mind and improve your memory, your ability to learn new skills, and function more efficiently.

Taking us on an amazing journey inside the brain as never before, Suzuki helps us unlock the keys to neuroplasticity that can change our brains, or bodies, and, ultimately, our lives.

Bassocantor TOP 50 REVIEWER on May 19, 2015

We Have An Enormous Capacity To Change Into The Very Best Version Of Ourselves

HEALTHY BRAIN, HAPPY LIFE is a fun read, filled with all kinds of exciting ways to expand your brain power. My favorite parts of the book are these little sections that the author calls "Brain Hacks." These sections are lists of easy ways to really supercharge your brain and make use of the latent power in it.

Here's the theme in a nutshell: "One thing I know for sure is that brain plasticity endows us with an enormous capacity to change into the very best version of ourselves that we can be." Dr. Suzuki explains that she uses 20 years of research in neuroscience to apply these same principles to her own personal life. She admits that she "Went from living as a virtual lab rat --an overweight middle aged woman would had achieved many things in science, but who could not seem to figure out how to also be a healthy, happy woman..."

One of her main discoveries is the powerful mind-body link. The author emphasizes how powerful exercise is. "Exercise is responsible for the majority of the positive brain changes seen with environmental enrichment." And so, Dr. Suzuki invests much time talking about the power of the brain-body connection. Towards that end, she combines physical workouts as a way to energize your brain: "The body has a powerful influence on her brain functions and conversely but the brain has a powerful influence over how are bodies feel and work and heal." Exercise causes definite changes in your body--it boosts the level of three key chemicals that affect mood.

The key is to make your workouts intentional. Towards that end, the author suggests ways to do this--for example, proclaiming affirmations out loud. "Intentional exercise happens when you make exercise both aerobic and mental...You are fully engaged in the moment and trigger a heightened awareness of the brain body connection." In the Brain Hacks suction, the author lists different exercises that would best fit you.

Another great section is the section on creativity. You can actually improve your creative thinking; it is "a particular version of regular thinking they can be practiced and improved like any other cognitive skill." Once again, the author lists great suggestions in the Brain Hacks section on ways to jumpstart your creativity. The key point is to learn something new and "Try to use as many senses as you can." For example, one fun suggestion is to "Sit outside and blindfold yourself for 4 minutes. Then, listen to the world sounds in a new way."

All in all, HEALTHY BRAIN, HAPPY LIFE is a fun, inspiring read. The author is full of great, uplifting ideas. My favorite chapter is the one on creativity. The end of the book contains an extensive Reference section, in which the author documents the various points she makes.
Highly recommend!

Advance copy for impartial review

love2dazzle on June 10, 2015

Happy Life” by Wendy Suzuki is all about focusing on ...

“Healthy Brian, Happy Life” by Wendy Suzuki is all about focusing on expanding your brain power. Our bodies and mind have a very powerful link. Dr. Suzuki has invested her life to focusing on the brain. She goes on to state that “Exercise is responsible for the majority of the positive brain changes seen with environmental enrichment.” Dr. Suzuki is making the point that we need to exercise to work our brain to its fullest potential. She goes on to make the point that you want to make sure the exercise is intentional because that is what exercise you both mentally and aerobically.

The second best way to expand your brain is by creativity. The point of creativity is to learn new things that will improve your brain and your senses. One is able to find different ways to help build and exercise their brain. The author calls some of the tips she gives “Brain Hacks” so I thought this was a great learning tool.

I thought “Healthy Brain, Happy Life” was very insightful. I thought this book had a lot of good tips and was also able to explain the brain and how things worked really well. I did enjoy reading it and learning new things on how I am able to improve my brain function.

Bruny Hudsonon June 13, 2015

Interesting theory for improving one’s life

The book “Healthy Brain, Happy Life” by Wendy Suzuki is about a success story, about the author’s life. It’s entertaining and enriching but sometimes out of touch with reality. Considering that the author is a neuroscientist, her line of reasoning sounds dubious in parts of the book, especially her generalizing concepts of life. Just because an effort has worked for her, it does not mean it will work for someone else. Nevertheless, the book deserves a five-star rating because of the author’s pleasant writing style and the well-explained examples of research in neuroscience.

Transporter chair reviewer, on July 9, 2015

Mainly autobiographical

I saw her interviewed on CBS and found her a charming and energetic person. I am not sure what take always I have from the book, though it interested me since I am also an Asian American woman who is an over achiever, and many of her experiences resonated. I enjoyed the read. I am not sure what type of person I would recommend it to . I am also a doctor. It was fun to review some of the neurobiology and learn some new things.

Literature and films about borderlines as an additional resource

See

A lot of valuable material about female sociopath is provided in books, article, movies and pages related to Borderline Psychopaths. that includes such themes as Divorce which is never easy but with such individual is a minefield.

Recommended Links



Etc

The Last but not Least Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand ~Archibald Putt. Ph.D


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