Empathy a Target for Sociopaths, the Apath is the Henchman

Reblogged Dr Jane and Tim McGregor Addiction Today Wed, 30 Oct 2013 00:08 CDT

adolescent-inpatient-servicesPeople targeted by a sociopath often respond with self-deprecating comments like “I was stupid”, “what was I thinking” of “I should’ve listened to my gut instinct”. But being involved with a sociopath is like being brainwashed. The sociopath’s superficial charm is usually the means by which s/he conditions people.

On initial contact, a sociopath will often test other people’s empathy, so questions geared towards discovering if you are highly empathic or not should ring alarm bells. People with a highly empathic disposition are often targeted. Those with lower levels of empathy are often passed over, though they can be drawn in and used by sociopaths as part of their cruel entertainment.

Sociopaths make up 25% of the prison population, committing over twice as many aggressive acts as other criminals. The reoffending rate of sociopaths is about double that of other offenders, and for violent crimes it is triple.

family-dinnerBut not all sociopaths are found in prison. There is the less-visible burden of sociopath-induced emotional trauma which, if left unchecked, can lead to anxiety disorders, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Chronically traumatised people often exhibit hypervigilant, anxious and agitated behaviour, symptoms such as tension headaches, gastrointestinal disturbances, abdominal pain, back pain, tremors and nausea.

Exposure to and interaction with a sociopath in childhood can leave lifelong scars. This can apply to people in therapy – and for those who in recovery trained as therapists, re-exposure as an adult can trigger old emotions and PTSD.

This article is not about sociopaths per se but about surviving the harm they cause.


6a00e54f8c56378833019b0076a222Many sociopaths wreak havoc in a covert way, so that their underlying condition remains hidden for years. They can possess a superficial charm, and this diverts attention from disturbing aspects of their nature.

People can be systematically targeted until they feel they can barely trust their own sense of reality – what we call “gaslighting”. Sociopathic abuse is targeted abuse. It can wreck lives. Victims can become survivors, but at huge cost.



15341_t300To deal with sociopaths effectively, you first need to open your eyes. In The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Anderson, two weavers promise the emperor a new suit of clothes that is invisible to those who are stupid and unfit for their positions. When the emperor parades before his subjects, all the adults, not wishing to be seen in a negative light, pretend they can see the clothes. The only truthful person is a child who cries “But he isn’t wearing any clothes!”. You, too, need to see sociopaths as they really are.

We are conditioned to keep quiet, which often means turning a blind eye to or putting up with abuse. The boy in the tale represents those who see the problem behaviour for what it is and find the courage of their convictions to make a stand. Sight becomes insight, which turns into action. Awareness is the first step in limiting the negative effects of contact with a sociopath.


Let’s look at what we term the Socio-Empath-Apath Triad, or Seat. Unremitting abuse of other people is an activity of the sociopath that stands out. To win their games, sociopaths enlist the help of hangers-on: apaths.

d32b3cef81f48b29The apath. We call those who collude in the sport of the sociopath apathetic, or apaths. In this situation, it means a lack of concern or being indifferent to the targeted person.
We have highlighted the importance of seeing the problem for what it is via the tale of the Emperor’s New Clothes, which represents the collective denial and double standards which are often a feature of social life. The apath in this context is someone who is willing to be blind: ie, not to see that the emperor/empress is naked.

Apaths are an integral part of the sociopath’s arsenal and contribute to sociopathic abuse. Sociopaths have an uncanny knack of knowing who will assist them in bringing down the person they are targeting. It is not necessarily easy to identify an apath; in other circumstances, an apath can show ample empathy and concern for others – just not in this case. The one attribute an apath must have is a link to the target.

How apaths, who might otherwise be fair-minded people, become involved in such destructive business is not hard to understand, but it can be hard to accept. The main qualifying attribute is poor judgment resulting from lack of insight. They might be jealous of or angry at the target, and thus have something to gain from the evolving situation.

Woman-Pointing-Her-Finger-006_display_imageAt other times, the apath might not want to see the ‘bad’ in someone, particularly if the sociopath is useful. Or they might choose not to see because they have enough on their plate and do not possess the wherewithal or moral courage to help the targeted person at that time. Usually, be it active or passive involvement, the apath’s conscience appears to fall asleep. It is this scenario that causes people blindly to follow leaders motivated only by self-interest.

Readers might know of Yale University professor Stanley Milgram’s experiments to test the human propensity to obey orders, as participants gave increasingly large electric shocks to subjects. Afterwards, he wrote an article, The Perils of Obedience: “Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process”.

North-KoreaApaths are often fearful people. They are the ones most likely to go with the flow, to agree that the emperor/empress is wearing new clothes. They might also fail to perceive the threat: a danger is of no importance if you deny its existence. An apath’s response to a sociopath’s call to arms can then result from a state of ‘learned helplessness’. Apaths behave defencelessly because they want to avoid unpleasant or harmful circumstances [including the sociopath turning on them]. Apathy is an avoidance strategy.

The empath. Often, the person targeted by the sociopath is an empath. Empaths are ordinary people who are highly perceptive and insightful and belong to the 40% of human beings who sense when something’s not right, who respond to their gut instinct. In The Emperor’s New Clothes, the empath is the boy who mentions the unmentionable: that there are no clothes.

imagesIn the 1990s, researchers suggested that there was a positive relationship between empathy and emotional intelligence. Since then, that term has been used interchangeably with emotional literacy. What this means in practice is that empaths have the ability to understand their own emotions, to listen to other people and empathise with their emotions, to express emotions productively and to handle their emotions in such a way as to improve their personal power.

People are often attracted to empaths because of their compassionate nature. A particular attribute is that they are sensitive to the emotional distress of others. Conversely, they have trouble comprehending a closed mind and lack of compassion in others.

Very highly empathic people can find themselves helping others at the expense of their own needs, which can lead them to withdraw from the world at times.

It is odd. Most of us enjoy watching films and reading books about heroes who refuse to go along with the crowd, which suggests there is something admirable about people who make a bold stand. But in real life, watching someone raise their head above the parapet often makes the rest of us feel queasy. Most – the 60% majority – prefer the easy life. It was interesting to discover, when doing the research for this book, how often people see empaths in problematical terms.

Empaths use their ability to emphasise and to boost theirs and others’ wellbeing and safety. Problems arise for empaths, however, when there are apaths in the vicinity. Empaths can be brought down, distressed and forced into the position of the lone fighter by the inaction of more apathetic types round them.


6a00e54f8c56378833019b007678bfOften empaths are targeted by sociopaths because they pose the greatest threat. The empath is usually the first to detect that something is not right and express what s/he senses. As a consequence, the empath is both the sociopath’s number one foe and a source of attraction; the empath’s responses and actions provide excellent entertainment for sociopaths, who use and abuse people for sport.

The world of the empath is not for the faint-hearted. In the context we are discussing, empaths often find themselves up against not only the sociopath but often a flock of apaths as well. Apaths are afforded pole position in the sociopath’s intrigues. But this prime spot comes at a price for, in what we call the “sociopathic transaction”, the apath makes an unspoken Faustian pact with the sociopath, then passively or otherwise participates in the cruel sport.


The usual set-up goes like this: the empath is forced to make a stand on seeing the sociopath say or do something underhand. The empath challenges the sociopath, who straight away throws others off the scent and shifts the blame on to the empath. The empath becomes an object of abuse when the apath corroborates the sociopath’s perspective.

The situation usually ends badly for the empath and sometimes also for the apath, if their conscience returns to haunt them or they later become an object of abuse themselves. But, frustratingly, the sociopath often goes scot free.

Sociopaths rarely vary this tried-and-tested formula because it virtually guarantees them success.  Sociopaths draw in apaths by various means: flattery, bribery, disorienting them with lies. A sociopath will go to any lengths to win his/her game.


6a00e54f8c56378833019b00765d40Gaslighting is a systematic attempt by one person to erode another’s reality. The syndrome gets its name from the play and films of the same name in which a murderer strives to make his wife doubt her sanity and get others to disbelieve her.

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which false information is presented in such a way as to make the target doubt his/her memory and perception. Psychologists call this “the sociopath’s dance”. It could involve denial or staging of strange events.

This is Machiavellian behaviour of the worst kind. And anyone can become a victim of the sociopath’s gaslighting moves: parent and child, in-laws, friends, groups of people including work colleagues.

Psychotherapist Christine Louise de Canonville describes different phases that the abuser leads the relationship through:
>> the idealisation stage, where the sociopath shows herself in the best possible light – but this phase is an illusion, to draw her target in
>> the devaluation stage begins gradually so the target is not alert to the sociopath’s transformation to being cold and unfeeling, but will begin to feel devalued at every turn; the more distressed the target becomes, the more the sociopath enjoys his/her power, and the abuse can become more extreme
>> the discarding stage – the target is reduced to an object to which the sociopath is indifferent, seeing the game as won; the sociopath rejects any connection, moving on to the next target.

Gaslighting does not happen all at once so, if you suspect in the early stages of a relationship that you are being gaslighted, you can protect yourself by walking away.


To learn more, including how to recover from exposure to a prolonged sociopathic transaction, buy The Empathy Trap: Understanding antisocial personalities by Dr Jane and Tim McGregor (Sheldon Press, ISBN 978-1847092762).

To learn more, including how to recover from exposure to a prolonged sociopathic transaction, buy The Empathy Trap: Understanding antisocial personalities by Dr Jane and Tim McGregor (Sheldon Press, ISBN 978-1847092762).

DR JANE McGREGOR is a freelance trainer and lecturer at the Institute of Mental Health, University of Nottingham. She holds a PhD in public health and worked in the NHS and voluntary sector, mostly in the field of addiction treatment.

TIM McGREGOR is freelance consultant and trainer, and a mental-health practitioner of many years’ standing. He has worked in the NHS and voluntary sector, most recently as a commissioning adviser.

The empathy trap: therapists and counsellors almost by definition are empathic, to facilitate clients’ recovery – but this quality can mean those carers are targets for sociopaths, aided by what Dr Jane & Tim McGregor call “apaths”. The first UK article on this cruel sport shows how to identify and thus avoid it.

Print-friendly version:
Download AddictionToday145-Sociopath-empath-apath-triad

Clearest Example Ever of Projecting onto your Mirror Self

The realization of Projection is one of the biggest tools for recognizing what is our own Shadow and what is the Shadow of others.  A projection is that which we have not faced in ourselves.  What is hidden in the dark, what we judge in ourselves.

human-ken-justin-jedlicaThis article has within it, quite possibly, the clearest example eeeever as Ken guy talks openly about Barbie doll.  What he accuses her of, he is. Read on for this juicy projection as he gives away his Drag Queen fantasy and more.

It doesn’t look like Human Barbie and Human Ken will live happily ever after in real life.

Justin Jedlica, a 33-year-old who has undergone more than 140 cosmetic procedures to look like a Ken doll, said he doesn’t understand the fascination surrounding Valeria Lukyanova, the Internet phenom known as “Human Barbie” and the subject of a recent GQ profile.

valeria-lukyanova-human-barbie“We met at a photo shoot. She’s a cute girl,” Jedlica told GQ of the 20-something Ukrainian, known for her doll-like appearance. “I don’t really get her. I don’t get why people think she’s so interesting. She has extensions. She wears stage makeup. She’s an illusionist.”

Jedlica, who resides in New York City, goes on to say he believes there is “nothing special” about Lukyanova.

“Valeria presents herself as a real-life Barbie doll, but she is nothing more than an illusion who dresses like a drag queen,” he told the Daily Mail last year. “As soon as you wipe away all that makeup, she’s just a plain Jane and there’s absolutely nothing special about her.”

The Ken doll lookalike, though, believes he is the real thing because he has undergone so many surgical procedures to attain his look.

“Unlike me, who has spent nearly $150,000 permanently transforming myself into a human Ken doll, Valeria just plays dress-up,” he said. “Valeria has been my arch-nemesis ever since we met each other earlier this year.”

This isn’t the first time Jedlica publicly discredited Human Barbie. Last year, Human Ken mocked Lukyanova by dressing up as a plastic doll to show what a “total fake” the blonde Ukrainian is.

“By dressing up like her twin I wanted to prove that anyone can look like Barbie, even Ken!” he said. “And in all honesty, I think I make an even prettier Barbie than she does!”

Barbie’s response? “He would do better not to comment on who is plastic and who is not. I think he is handsome man – but he overdid his lips,” Lukyanova said.

Jedlica began his rampant plastic surgery when he was 18 years old, having had five rhinoplasties, a cranial brow bone shape and cheek, lip, buttocks and chin augmentation. Lukyanova, however, said she has only had breast augmentation.


Stuck in “Understanding” or “Wisdom”?

Much of Western Society is stuck on a path called “Understanding” or “Wisdom”.

While this is an improvement from the previous path of Severity, it unfortunately lacks the balance of Wisdom, Just as Severity once lacked the balance of Mercy.

Understanding is a feminine point of reference.  It allows us intuitively to recognize “how that person got that way” or “why I did what I did” and though valuable and necessary, also keeps us reasoning passively for them and ourselves and generally avoids consequence and/or confrontation be it in others or confronting our deepest selves.


Wisdom alone, the partner and masculine point of Understanding.  Is a valuable point of reference but it on it’s own, it lacks understanding.  Too often it is confrontational and the consequences are far too extreme.

The advanced additional perspective of Wisdom in balance with Understanding means I see “the depth of how it affects others”. The moment we question how did that persons actions affect others or me? It also oppoutunes us to say “how am “I” effecting others”.

It is in this awareness, that balance comes together.  Now one can find justice through fair action.  We can recognize what needs to happen both in others, and ourselves.  We now own our responsibilities enough to take fair action through the balance of Understanding and Wisdom.  We also forage the making of responsibility that others need to own.

A judge doesn’t sit in court and say Charles Mason had a bad childhood, so we should let him engage in society at large again.  Yet it is exactly this type of “Understanding” without the balance of Wisdom that is allowing for rampant school shootings and other problems to continue to build-up in our society.

By becoming less afraid of making a “judgement” through Wisdom we can we find justice in which to keep society on a more healthy path so those who are ready can safety evolve and open to more creative aspects of what humanity offers.


What if your Father had said this to your Mother?


If my father had said this to my Mother, I don’t think she would have changed, maybe she would have, but I don’t think that is the point.  We can hope but only we can change.  I do think that in saying this, he would have changed and in doing so he would have had the clarity and perhaps been relieved from his guilt enough to Leave Her.

By Jeff Brown (link below)

“I apologize for my inability to distinguish the benevolent warrior from the heartless warrior, a reflection of my own confusion dealing with the battlefields of yore. When I opened my heart too wide, I was vulnerable to attack from warring factions. I was conditioned to believe that I had to stay rigid, focused, prepared for any eventuality, in the desire to protect myself and others from attack. But I went too far, and closed too tight, and eradicated the bridge between our hearts. I am seeing this now and I am sorry.

I apologize for my perpetual absence, a reflection of my own inner absence, my inability to connect from a heart jammed tight by unresolved emotions that I did not have the tools to work through. I still lack many of these tools, but I am open to their emergence.

1582328I apologize for my inability to distinguish relationship from war. Like a warrior in enemy territory, I would sneak in and out of your life in the night, plundering and selfishly taking what I needed, then crawling back to the other side of the abyss with the spoils. I gave little back for fear that I would become vulnerable to attack. I had war on the brain and I could not see the river of love waiting on the other side of the battlefield. I now recognize that love is the antidote for the armoured warrior, but I could not drink the antidote in my driven state.

I apologize for not seeing you, my eyes blinded by congealed rage and unshed tears. If it is any consolation, and I imagine it is not, I could not see myself either. I saw only that which served my hyper-vigilance, my warrior focus. My mirror was a battlefield.

Sad ManI apologize for my ungrounded materialism, my power driven tyrannies, my obsession with accumulation. Somehow I imagined that accumulation would protect me and those close to me, but I failed to recognize that it just perpetuated the madness. I also apologize for my egoic abuses, a reflection of my own misguided ego, pumped up to deal with an inherently competitive world. I couldn’t distinguish the healthy, confident ego from the cocky, unhealthy ego. I went much too far in the wrong direction.

images-1I apologize for a sexuality that was objectifying and disconnected from the heart. I know you longed for real intimacy, a merging of our souls along the heart-genital highway. But there were too many defences around my heart, and no bridge could form between our souls. There were moments when your loving ways freed me from my body masks, but I had no template to stand in that heart-fire. I am sorry for this, for I know that the path you longed for was the path to God.

raging_storm_by_sunken1-d2y7b37I apologize for my horrifying acts of violence, a reflection of my own congealed rage, my own inability to distinguish real enemies from friends. There are no words that can undo what I have done in those moments of madness. I know this, I do. I would hide my face in shame, but that won’t make things better. I need to own my misdeeds, and then find a way to believe in my capacity to move from a more loving place. I call out to other male warriors to be accountable for the actions of our gender, not in a way that is self-hating, but in a way that is courageously self-honest and genuinely compassionate. The heartfelt warrior acknowledges the error of his ways, and has the courage to do all he can to make amends over time.

heart on sleeve-thumb-240x200-25168I apologize for my inability to develop a conscious relationship. You were right there with your beautiful heart on your sleeve but I was too attached to my individualism and afraid of this unknown terrain. I know the forests, the marketplace and the ways of the outer world so well, but my inner geography is foreign to me. You called me to a place I was ill-prepared to go, although I sensed, below the surface of my bravado, that you called me home.

I am grateful for your willingness to believe that who I was in those rare moments of vulnerability was the real me. You were right- the real me lives inside of my heart- but a few moments now and then was the most I could handle. I saw you as dangerous, for in your presence I began to taste a surrendered way of being. Nonetheless, your faith in my goodness kept me going through many a battle, and restored my faith in life when I most needed it. You were the light at the end of a barbaric tunnel, and I am blessed.

light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnelI am grateful that you stuck with me through thick and thin, and I also understand those times you had to give up and let go. I now recognize that there is meaningful difference between a love-ship and a relationship. Love alone is not enough. Without a shared willingness to become conscious, there can only be frustration. I was so often impossible, clinging to my unconsciousness like a soldier clings to his weapons. I recognize the courage it took for you to keep your heart open in the presence of my resistance. You had every right to seek an authentic relationship, as your spirit was ignited in its presence. Your beautiful heart had every right to be met in its openness and willingness. I am grateful for the time you gave me, a moments respite from the hiding places I mistakenly called home.

bridgeI look forward to the day when the only thing that ignites relationship is two souls calling out to one another, two soul-hearts beating in the same direction, a whisper of longing that bridges one essence to another. I want to want you not because it gratifies my ego, not because you are outwardly beautiful, but because your very presence invites my Godself out of hiding. I want to touch you with my heart on my sleeve, to know chemistry between us that is not gender identified, but that is essence sourced, loves liquid lava flowing from the heart to the genitals to the great beyond. In this love-struck world, relationship will always be experienced as spiritual practice, a devotional expression of our God-self.

I had always believed that sensitivity is impossible to hold to in a harsh world. Yet in this moment, I feel sensitive, but without the fragility. I am still wearing armor but there is a shift in the direction of my intensity. I can linger in the heart-space a little longer than I once could, I am softening in places. After so many lifetimes with weapon in hand, a tenderling warrior is being birthed in the core of my being. He is confused, but he intuitively knows that this is the way home.

0001-SOULMATES MASTHEADPlease don’t give up on me or my fellow warriors. Forgive us our misdeeds, or, at the least, be open to the possibility that we will change as the trail expands to meet our shifting intentionality. The day will come when our warrior spirit loses its harsh edge, and comes into alignment with benevolent action. Some of us are already there, and many more of us will follow. The road to transformation is dependent on a bridge between genders, a benevolent bridge that celebrates our differences with respect and kindness. That work must begin with healing the rifts along the gender continuum, working hard to heal the collective heart until one day we can stand on a bridge across forever, hands held together, hearts open and alight, embracing the sacred masculine and divine feminine living at the heart of us all. I will meet you there...” Please see more here: written by Jeff Brown 

Continue reading

Hate Your Own Country for the Power it Has!

Would you really not mind if YOUR country was occupied by Russia.  Really?

“Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors, not out of strength, but out weakness.”
“Ukraine has been a country which Russia had enormous influence for decades, since the break-up of the Soviet Union, and we have considerable influence on our neighbors, we generally don’t need to invade them in order to have a strong cooperative relationship with them. The fact that Russia felt compelled to go in militarily and laid bear these violations of international law indicates less influence not more.”
“So my response then continues to be what I believe today, which is: Russia’s actions are a problem. They don’t pose the number one national security threat to the United States.”
All very true. Putin is little more than a neighborhood thug with no blue water Navy capable of sustained operations or Air Force capable of establishing and maintaining air supremacy; and his Army certainly cannot project tangible power beyond Russia’s immediate borders. I think the US can breath easy; however, what remains to be seen is if the US will honor our commitments to our allies when and IF Russia poses a real national security threat to them.

Snowden on South Park!! I mean Ted Talk…

Awww In today’s Ted Talk Interview we listen to a reasonable sounding and somewhat passionate guy who incidentally, appeals only to those like him, who are susceptible to fear, and paranoia about their own government, particularly NSA (because he had a job there)!

Conflictingly and ironically Eddie found a traitor-retreat in the safety of, ….drum roll please, Russia!  Edward is making a lovely new life and home in a country that is known historically for being extremely demanding and abusive to it’s own people, hellishly violent to prisoners during war-times, and has been highly Intolerant of would-be traitors and known to be one of the most invasive “spying” governments in the world!  It is also one of the worlds largest current, nuclear-threat dangers and has just invaded and took over another Independant country.

Ok then…

…And You, you Snowden supporter, should be concerned about your relationships/privacy/beliefs and you should consider how you are influencing people against your own country’s National Security as he is, and how you are affecting others with your personal conspiracy fanaticism.

You should be concerned, you should be very concerned because soon, you will be the one being carried off in the fake Fema coffins that you twitter about and we will just be …watching it on the next episode of South Park!

In this (full episode here), Cartman wants to be a hero (and acts like Edward Snowden) as he infilterates the NSA.

Help Create a War with Your Contradictory Energy!

skeletor is love

from skeletor is love

Did you know that Contradictory energy gets parlayed into higher frequencies, that build and cause bigger events to happen, -like what is currently happening in the Ukraine.

Here are a few everyday examples:

1. Yes to open borders, all people should have the right to live where they please

but there aren’t enough jobs, people from other countries are taking our jobs!

skeletor is love

skeletor is love

2. No wars and hurry up with that World Peace!

but no new world order! (as if people that have been fighting for centuries will stop fighting because you read a book about it and projected “light” at them, without new influences brought into their countries such as laws, ideals, morals, ethics, values… )

3. The government should protect us from dangerous people that are living amongst us!

but The government should not use surveillance on it’s citizens!

skeletor is love

skeletor is love

4.  Traffic laws need to be in place to stop those violating the laws, crazies having road-rage, idiots using cell phones that cause accidents, and to generally keep the roads safer.

but: I feel violated and furious by police officers pulling me over in my vehicle when I don’t follow the laws.

and: authorities should not use cameras for ticketing as it is a violation of my privacy!

5. People who might harm or kill others while drunk driving should be stopped, and/or be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

but: it’s not fair if I get prosecuted for drinking and driving because I didn’t (yet) harm or kill anyone.


from skeletor is love

6.  I shouldn’t have to pay taxes to build bombs

but: the government should protect and take care of us.

7. The government should not protect our oil-gas interests

but: these gas prices are unfair and unreasonable!

8. Protect me

but: give me freedom!

9. It’s wrong to have people fight wars

but: drones are evil

There are sooooo many more….