Monthly Archives: June 2015

Psycho Buster Brigade

On several forums in the vein of Psychopath Free, the safety issue is just a pretext to achieve complete dominance over forum members. What they really seem to want is wilful players in their Psycho Buster Brigade game, which must, by definition, include active villains they can demonstrate their efficiency on. Your example can serve as psychological fodder for those who see a threat in everything that moves; they can fortify the idea their group is surrounded by enemies and infiltrators who must be dealt with promptly.

It’s a bit like saying “The world outside of this group is hostile and dangerous; that’s why we have to build this lovely compound on the hill.”

You realise very quickly you are in an “us” vs “them” scenario, where two
“armies” collide and you must choose the side of their heroic volunteers or be cast out like a Gollum figure slithering restlessly at the gates of their sanctuary.

As you notice from their site description, they think their amazing moderation is guaranteed to keep psychopaths out – meaning they are actively looking for signs of psychopathy among members. Sometimes they get carried away and identify one of their own, hence the saga with one of their moderators, who was apparently subjected to a vicious public attack. Which is what they do when you find yourself on the wrong side of them.

Have you seen Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds ? Many have; it’s a cult film, no pun intended. Actually, I did get a mental glimpse of Lila Green when I read the comment denouncing “trolls” and “trouble makers” with such pedantic certainty,  in response to articulate descriptions of the PF  forum experience.

“Triggering”

Within days,  PF members will notice they are very exclusive about what can be discussed there; one cannot diverge a quarter of an inch from their fixed array of sub-themes and approaches, even if the new subject suits the general discussion.

On more than one occasion, members wishing to discuss an original idea have been abruptly told off on the grounds of their posts being “triggering” to others. Which makes no sense since their entire forum qualifies as “triggering” material; most of it is a venting space where people reminisce about the worst times of their lives. In spite of that, they find an abstract new idea threatening. In my view, this is a thought-stopping technique to ward off any originality; it has been absurdly applied in various contexts, in Pavlovian fashion.

Basically, you are only allowed to post in the following lines:

  • Responding in agreement to the articles they provide.
  • Posting personal stories and examples adding to the same ideas.
  • Opening threads which solicit these stories based on a common element.
  • Opening threads which criticise or mock presumed psychopaths or certain traits they have.
  • Opening threads about famous psychopaths or famous people you suspect are that way.
  • Chatting about trivialities.
  • Chatting about ways to improve your spirituality, health and the likes.

According to their Decalogue, former members and my own experience, it is forbidden to:

  • Talk about co-dependency. If you mention you suspect you are co-dependent, without placing that label on others or involving them in any way, you are almost immediately banned. They are so vigilant they’ll ban you for offending yourself!
  • Come up with a new approach to healing from an abusive relationship.
  • Come up with a different explanation for the behaviours discussed there, other than personality disorders.
  • Insist on quoting other authors on this subject as opposed to the site admin, whose quotes can be seen all over the forum.
  • Have a jovial attitude, especially if you are a heterosexual male. You are perceived as flirting with female members.
  • Not toe the party line in cutting all contact with the presumed psychopath in your life, however difficult that may be logistically. Believe it or not, other members will report you for it and you will be banned or publicly admonished and asked to leave.
  • Not toe the party line in cutting contact with that person’s family and entourage. You must perceive them all as a threat to you and yours and avoid them, even when children are involved that they have the right to see.
  • Question the validity of any points made by staff in their material.
  • Question any action taken by staff and defend other members they have targeted.
  • Fail to report your every encounter with the so-called psychopath accurately; they even have a “no contact” counter you should update regularly. If you seem to be in trouble at some point and fail to inform them of the outcome, you will be admonished as if you were a minor.
  • Express any doubt that a suspected psychopath actually is that way.
  • Defend the actions of someone who is accused of being a psychopath; you will be seen as a traitor to the cause, Westboro-style.
  • Post too much out of an excess of enthusiasm, even if you stay on the safe side of the rules. You will be told you are “flooding”.
  • See human interaction as a continuous grey area, as opposed to black and white.
  • Refer to material put out there by self-diagnosed psychopaths, narcissists etc.

Beside the “no contact counter”, which must accurately report what you do in your private life – as opposed to simply talking to members and staff – is a list of moods you can choose from. You may find it entertaining to select yours, without knowing how seriously they are trying to assess every member’s emotional state, tone, attitude etc, with the actual impression of being able to.

On more than one occasion members were told they didn’t seem to be suffering enough, or seemed too happy after being victimised. These sobering statements should pull the veil off anyone’s eyes, no matter how naive they normally are.

Psychopath-Free-For-All on Your Private Data

If you’re thinking about joining Psychopath Free because it’s such a safe community, please read this and save yourself a very likely headache.

By far the most vicious, arrogant and irrational description of the use of private info, the PF policy has been embellished several times, each time giving staff more prerogatives to misuse your information and abuse your trust.

Out of the ten rules put before prospective new members, only one refers to their implicit acknowledgement that they will inform authorities if you post about committing suicide. The rules never mention their discretionary sharing of your information with the owners or administrators of other websites to check out members they think show suspicious behaviour. But another forum page, referring to ”trolls”, indicates this is common practice:

I want to assure you that there were reasons beyond what other forum members saw or knew about, so some may have appeared to be unjustified, but they were not. Harassing other members through private messages, numerous complaints from people sent to us privately, known trouble-makers from other sites who pretend to be someone else using a different alias, people who have a reputation from other forums of trying to intentionally discredit those websites and the people running them, and people who are here merely for the purposes of “researching” the rest of us without our permission. Others have asked to be removed for personal reasons. We take security very seriously here, and we will not allow trolls, psychopaths, or people with a hidden agenda to try and derail what we are doing here and upset or re-traumatize the members.

What they are basically saying is they routinely try to find matching profiles of trouble makers and collaborate with other sites in this detective work.

But how would they find them in a time-effective way? If you’re a troll and you’re posting under a different alias, you probably made up a different story as well. Not that they would have time to remember the stories posted by tens of thousands of people. So how do they determine if you were ever active on those specific sites they collaborate with?

Simples, as Alexander the meerkat would say. Mere logic tells me they must use data which is very relevant and easily comparable, such as one’s IP and location – shared with third parties without that person’s knowledge or permission. If even aliases differ, there’s simply no other way to verify a match than these details.

When they register on a forum people often think the provision of data sharing only applies to authorities and will be used in exceptional situations. Most don’t register with any intention of being malicious so they think it will never apply to them. That is not the case with PF  – what they do is arrogant and dangerous; not to mention paranoid. It borders on stalking; it exceeds the common sense limits forum administrators are generally known to have.

In my view, they are seeking to play out the same scenario time and time again – that of finding people with ASPD and removing them from their entourage, as well as claiming to protect others from them. It’s a never-ending game they play and they seek out cannon fodder to keep it going. That’s how the admin gleefully admits he would rather receive ten potentially false reports in one day than receive none. Each report gives him a chance to play detective and invade the privacy of a most likely innocent person.

They will actually try to determine if you’re a psychopath just because you contradicted them or insulted them or their ”mission”.  This is the level and true character of the people you are looking to for advice on how to handle your relationships with others.

Wait, it gets even better.  Perhaps you’ve noticed a few threads about cults on the forum and feel safe in your assumption that staff denounce such groups and their practices.

Unbeknownst to some members, especially new ones, the security of the forum was entrusted to a doomsday cult known as  Cassiopaea, its leaders claiming to channel space aliens. One has to trust the realism and good judgement of these people, right…? This cult is known to organise really vicious smear campaigns against public figures or ex-members who pose an image threat to their financial – pardon me, spiritual – mission.

While they rake your trash hoping to find some dirt, they hypocritically insist you don’t reveal too much on the forum about yourself (details which could help others identify you), for you own protection. This would almost be funny if it weren’t so disgusting.

Now for some heart-warming stuff in defence of those who have been victimised by deranged individuals:

”We are here to heal, not to argue. I will not tolerate the disrespect or ridicule of another member. This is the one moment when I will stop being friendly and immediately suggest a ban – no survivor deserves more of this garbage after what we’ve been through. ” Peace

”Here at PF we have a zero tolerance policy for this kind of behavior. Call me a nazi communist fascist dictator, I don’t give a crap. We are all very well versed to the methods of manipulators who shift blame, minimize feelings, and mock others. ” Peace

”In case anyone wonders why we deal with trolls and other frauds strongly: they detract from the real comments of members who are here for sincere reasons. No contact with imposters! ” Victoria

Hence, if you call someone an imposter in public, dismissing or minimising their experience of abuse, you are banned immediately.

But if you do so in private, by reporting them and putting the PF Stasi on their backside, you are congratulated for helping to keep the community safe, even if your target turns out to be genuine. Your act of falsely accusing that person is no different in either situation, yet the outcome is.

How’s that for a mind fuck?

Remember all this is coming from self-proclaimed advocates of the defamed, who so deeply ”feel” for those who are targeted by smear campaigns and dismissed as crazy. Who so ”understand” what it’s like for someone in control to tarnish one’s image before a large group.

UPDATE

There’s a three year old thread I’ve only come across now; priceless in terms of the sheer hypocrisy. The emphasis on point 3 is mine.

“Dear Friends on PF:

The following announcement comes from a great suggestion by DawnG. As you know, PsychopathFree is a community for people to heal from relationships with a psychopath, and we are all here to support one another, start our own personal recovery and to learn.

This is a place to meet amazing people from all over the world who also share lessons and happiness that comes as recovery progress and as we maintain NC.

Most important for us all is to maintain your own privacy and safety, as well as to communicate with each other in a respectful manner. We wish to remind you that PsychopathFree welcomes people with different backgrounds, age and experiences – we expect from members to be sensitive to each other stories and opinions.

However, due to the content nature of PsychopathFree, at times there are impostors, mentally imbalanced people, fakes, troublemakers, and predators who come to register as well. The Administrators do their best to remove these people from the forum, but there are things that you might want to keep in mind in order to perseve your own safety and peace of mind.

In this community you always have a right to:

1. Say “no” to any requests, suggestions, or whatever you might come across, publicly or privately, that make you feel uncomfortable.

2. Not answer a private message or a friend request. Beginning today, we will be changing the default PM setting to “Receive Messages from Contacts and Moderators Only”. You may also turn off Private Messaging altogether, if that is your preference. If you are 100% comfortable dealing with unsolicited PM’s from any member, you may return to the old “Receive All Messages” option. These can all be found in the User Control Panel

3. Not give out your name or other identifying information to anyone, including the Administrators. This includes your country of origin, revealing story specifics, email/Facebook contact information, pictures of yourself, and workplace details. You are free to share any this information with anyone whom you have taken the time to deem trustworthy and non-threatening.

In addition, we would like to ask that you never post pictures of the psychopath you had relationship with, because this place is about your own personal healing and we would like you to stay focused on yourself. This is not a place for revealing and exposing.

If you are unsure about another member for ANY reason, feel free to ask or alert an Administrator by private message, or by reporting a post/PM. We have never judged any queries or concerns regarding safety. Your comments will always remain anonymous and we will appreciate it.

We hope that we can all participate in making this a safe place for everyone.

Have a good PsychopathFree day!”

This is Peace’s post, right after the one mentioned above (emphasis also mine):

“Thank you, MorningAfter – this is perfect! We really needed an expansion to the whole “Trolls on PF” topic. There are a lot of people who aren’t trolls but still make others feel uncomfortable. Private messages are a great friend-building tool, but they’re also a sneaky way for people to circumvent admins and other safety-conscious members.

Member safety will always be the top priority here. There is absolutely no place for trolls, drama queens, data-gatherers, manipulators, and pseudo experts. We crack down hard on these, because that’s what keeps the PF member base safe & uniquely pleasant.”

Notice that they fit into all these categories themselves, aside from trolls (as they obviously can’t troll their own website).

Is that so then? You have the right to deny them information – when in fact they take it behind your back without asking, going much further than one would ever imagine when registering?

The fact that they left this post up is proof that they’re actually lying to members (not that it hadn’t been established already). It’s no longer omission or an ambiguous situation – it’s plain lying.

Free Thinkers, Inquisitive People and Other Trolls

One could argue that if left to evolve naturally, the discussions on many recovery forums could be beneficial, or at least provide some cathartic value for a short while. Also, it is obvious that staff involvement is sometimes needed to halt genuine trolls, who leave no doubt regarding their intentions.

Of course, since you stumbled upon this blog, you probably know a rational approach will never apply to today’s most popular forums of this type. Let’s take Psychopath Free for example.

There, safety is paramount, given that members are egged on to report each other on suspicions and feelings, instead of actual rule infringements. One is never sure who staff members are meant to guard them against – real or imagined – but rest assured that they are in position day and night. Here’s an encouraging message from the site admin:

People with ulterior motives & agendas can be hard to spot, but there are signs – for example, they do not seem to actually care about the well-being of other members, and instead come across as a bit fake, self-centered, and emotionally disconnected. You will notice EVERY topic always comes back to a lengthy, exhausting story about “My P”, even if the topic has nothing to do with them.

Trust your gut, always. Most of us already learned this lesson the hard way.

And use the report button! There’s one at the bottom of every PM, as well as posts (the little triangle with !). It’s SO fast & easy, and automatically shoots an email to every Admin so we can review it immediately, even if we are not on PF (which is more common for me now that I’m at work). There is absolutely zero penalty or grudge for a false red flag. It takes two seconds to review them, and I would rather get 10 in a day than 0. Reports are GOOD. We do our best to keep up, but with 20,000+ posts, we need to rely on our your intuition as well.

Which reminds me I forgot to call the police about the person who stopped in front of my garden and smiled for a fraction of a second; my gut feeling tells me she was going to steal my begonias. 🙂 Off the top of my head, this video hilariously depicts the paranoia some have about running into “psychos”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNwhaXLvkdU

Seriously, the above quote is beyond ridiculous and irresponsible from someone who plays the affectionate brother, if not the pretend therapist, to thousands of vulnerable people.

If those who focus on their story too much are exhausting, here’s an idea: maybe they should write a book about it and promote it as a study on psychopathy, like he did. They could then repeat each aspect a hundred times without becoming tiresome – and they might make a few quid as well.

So what exactly does it take to become a troll on Psychopath Free, aside from thought crimes, selfishness and suspiciously little emotion? Here is a more rigorous guide:

”As this site grows to traffic in the millions, it is only natural that trolls start joining us every now and then. Please be on the lookout for behavior such as:

  • Inflammatory comments
  • Condesceding attitude
  • Accusing anyone who disagrees with them of “censorship” or being unable to handle criticism
  • Sharing an apologist viewpoint of psychopaths (victim blaming, arguing that psychopaths are themselves victims)
  • Mocking others for (rightfully) being offended by their BS
  • Professing to have higher knowledge than others
  • Frequently the center of arguments and flame wars in threads
  • Hijacking topics with comments that have nothing to do with the original post
  • Accusing you of being “afraid of a fight”
  • Bossing others around. That know-it-all attitude is not allowed here.”

It’s funny how many of these lines describe his behaviour and that of his acolytes/ sycophants. Perhaps this blog should have been named Sycophant Free instead; it’s amazing how so many can read these arrogant statements, know they are subject to them and still not call him out on it.

Isn’t accusing someone of flirting or having a hidden agenda (without any proof) inflammatory?

Isn’t trying to guess someone’s thoughts and emotions, or lack thereof, condescending?

Don’t they claim to have the single viable approach to healing, aka “higher knowledge than others” and refuse to deviate from it one quarter of an inch, to the point of considering themselves above all criticism?

Don’t they label people in all sorts of ways for “rightfully being offended” by their BS suspicions and accusations?

Don’t they aim to boss others around to a ridiculous degree, as in  leave your partner right away or we’ll kick you out of this community, in the vein of the Exclusive Brethren?

This guideline is one of the finest examples of hypocrisy and projection I’ve seen on the internet so far (and the internet is a big place).

Besides trolls of the general denomination, there are “concern trolls”, “meddlers” and “troublemakers”. And of course, psychopaths. The rhetoric of all these categories is known as “psychobabble” and “word salad” (regardless of how coherent, logical or polite it may be). Here’s a further briefing by a moderator:

The really obvious psychopaths come on here and proclaim their pathology in the very first post and wear it like a badge, so that makes our job easy. But then there are the very covert, clever ones, who write prolifically, and infiltrate the forum as a regular member. They not only make ten people believe them, but actually make lots of friends and gain a “fan-club” and following of sorts. They come here looking for new supply because there is a whole pool of vulnerable people on recovery forums. This is also why we warn people about safety and befriending other people they don’t know when they’re fresh out of the D&D.

And here’s another cold, hard truth. If 4-6% of the general population is made up of psychopaths, what makes you think those statistics don’t apply everywhere? You can pretty much figure that 4-6% of the members are potential psychopaths too. And your friends list on Facebook? Same thing. People in your office building, a party, any gathering of any kind. Figure on 4-6% being psychopaths.

For all an outsider knows, they are banning people for the very fact that they are gaining a following of sorts with their ideas. Intelligent and creative people are usually charismatic and have a certain magnetism, whereas their forum policy is to quell any originality and put everyone in their designated place. The second paragraph is a push towards paranoia, as if anyone could know the repartition of psychopaths on this planet (the percentage being a mere approximation anyway) , in order to conclude there are some in every building and at every party. A person who lives by this creed will actually look for them in every social situation and that is plain sad. No wonder they end up seeing them everywhere.

From the same page:

You can help us catch the trolls! We really appreciate it when you report suspicious posts via the triangle icon and/or share your concerns privately with us via the Contact the Team link. However, please leave confrontations to us! Arguing with or otherwise engaging someone you suspect to be a troll will only make the situation worse. As Peace wrote, DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!

Isn’t it downright awful for someone to communicate straightforwardly (without deception, sarcasm or any intent of manipulation) and be met by other adults with a thought-stopping do not feed the trolls attitude?  I can almost hear the sheep at Orwell’s Animal Farm going ”Four legs good, two legs bad! Four legs good, two legs bad!”...

This is what human interaction is reduced to over there. Inane finger pointing, labelling and all communication being regulated by staff, down to the last detail.

To think of it, it’s just sad.

Lifeline or Mental Trap: Can You Afford to Gamble?

We spend our lives hoping to encounter at least a handful of people who truly understand us in an age of fast-paced living, of the self-absorbed who treat us superficially, dismiss our feelings and ignore us when we are emotionally frail. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could find our ideal community with just a few clicks? If we could find acceptance, reciprocity and unconditional support, as well as valuable guidance for our social problems? A meme of ancestral wisdom says that if it sounds too good to be true, it is.

We find these communities when our need for support is so pressing that we often jump right in, taking them at face value and sharing our intimacy. They often seem to have answers to our deepest problems; they guide us in such a firm manner we assume they must know better.  We take their advice, making radical decisions about our relationships  – to later realise their knowledge was mere improvisation, their moral high ground was hypocritical and their empathy non-existent.

As  a disclaimer, this is solely my opinion, as a person who has sought comfort in online advice for various emotional and motivational issues. It is based on careful observation, honest introspection and the similar experiences of others. Also, I am not arguing there aren’t genuine communities based on abuse recovery, run by professional and empathetic people.

My focus is on the following aspects which come with forming part of  recovery groups run by wannabe life coaches for people who believe to be targets of disordered individuals (I’m trying to word this carefully).

  • A very limiting paradigm;
  • Black and white thinking;
  • A distraction from introspection;
  • The danger of a hysterical and paranoid approach towards others;
  • Toxic group dynamics echoing a cult atmosphere;
  • Replacing an abuser’s mental hold with that of the group;
  • Playing a part in other people’s game of status and recognition;
  • Suppressing one’s critical thinking to fit in;
  • Radical decisions one might regret;
  • Additional damage after putting one’s trust and privacy into the hands of the wrong people;
  • Ad hominem attacks from staff members (it has been known to happen).

We live in a world where duplicity can be found at every turn; TV programs about scams abound and we are generally worried about others misrepresenting their intentions. We are now wary of spiritual imposters as well.

The moral fraud of self-help is still virgin territory to many of us; the huge membership of these forums appears to give them validity. However, many of the recorded members were there temporarily; many were banned or left when realising the group dynamics. And the handful of devotees who have lasted for years are not necessarily better off.

When analysing what goes on there with a calm and rational mind, as opposed to their initial vulnerability, one cannot help but see how twisted the whole scene is and how different from what staff members promote.

Quite a few people who registered on forums like Psychopath Free, The Path Forward and Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers (which no longer exists but was very popular in its time) describe the same heavy atmosphere, which leads to the conclusion that toxic recovery forums are fairly common. They typically mention the following:

  • A loving, non-judgemental facade, hiding a web of gossip and paranoia;
  • Financial interests (by pushing books, CDs, counselling sessions etc which are of no use to the member and refusing to refund, in spite of a refund policy; by charging for  membership and banning people for no reason);
  • The false comfort of a support network, taken away in an instant through absurd bans;
  • Administrators and moderators on a power trip, displaying the same behaviour as the disordered people they demonise;
  • Emotional damage as a result of being duped into trusting the group.

Although these sites do not claim staff members are educated in the fields of psychology, psychiatry, recovery from trauma etc., the abundance of material they put out gives an air of authority to the untrained eye and lures people in, only to notice an establishment run by immature, petty tyrants hunting others down for imagined offences. They refer to themselves and each other as experts in these fields, even if they admit their lack of actual training. And for many new members that is enough.

The crux of the matter is one’s chance of mistaking a difficult relationship, especially during a break-up, with a full-blown encounter with a psychopath or narcissist, meant to – as they put it on PF – destroy them as a human being.

My observation is that cruel behaviour is often caused by selfishness and insensitivity, which may be temporary or repairable. There are limits of course and no one can doubt the dysfunctional nature of a person who, let’s say, tortures animals, habitually beats up their family members, stalks and threatens others etc. But many of the traits found in the ”spot the psycho” list are common among normal people, at least temporarily.

If one is trying to establish someone they know is disordered and they are steering towards confirmation, their brains will fish out the worst episodes in said relationship and will find the very instances which tick the boxes, even if there were few serious ones over a decade.

Yes, decent people are capable of rotten behaviour in certain circumstances. No one, if judged solely by their list of mistakes, would be seen in a positive light.

If you are steering in that direction, to start with, it is essential to make sure you are as objective as possible.

Being angry, in despair over the break-up, bitter, strongly disappointed etc will definitely influence your capacity to analyse matters. The same for being bored with the relationship, wanting something new  and seeking justification etc. The same with being depressed and the problems in your relationship being a marginal cause in your depression. Also, be extremely cautious if you are on psychotropics or a user of any substance which can influence you at a psychological or emotional level. Also, be extremely careful if there is any chance you might be sleep deprived or exhausted by an overly demanding lifestyle (that can result in other people’s mistakes or bad attitudes being blown out of proportion).

I honestly believe, and I am not alone by far, that true encounters with psychopaths are far more rare than these forums claim. They want you to see psychopaths around every corner and become dependant on their way of thinking, which is based on paranoia.

Members will encourage each other in that direction not only out of the mere assumption the person claiming to have met a psychopath is right in their assessment, but in order to validate their own experience as well. They will see matching aspects which may be coincidental and will apply the label. When they have spent enough time doing so, surely it becomes second nature to think they have enough expertise.

Here’s a thought regarding the similar experiences members share.

When you are baffled by the similarities and say ”well, he/she must be a psychopath, look at all these stories”, you are going by the assumption the people being discussed there are genuinely disordered. You can’t possibly know that. Hence there is a 50-50 chance you and the others are participating in mass hysteria.

The truth is most people registering on such sites are very confused. They are looking to others for answers regarding matters only they know well enough to issue such strong judgements on. 

Once they are part of such a community, they feel peer pressure just like in any other; it’s very strange but true – the need to not seem chaotic makes some of them persist on that path (that’s how many people end up staying in cults!). Adding to that the self-professed expertise of the group’s leaders. When a person starts experiencing doubts and is confident they have made a mistake by labelling another as disordered, instead of closing that window and deleting the bookmark, they turn to the group for advice, assuming they know best.

And the group will always say one thing, and one thing alone.

Sometimes it may be good advice, and sometimes it may be destructive. But rest assured it will not be custom tailored. On such forums, one size fits all. Which is why you want to avoid them.

Alternative Approaches to Dysfunctional Relationships

In an age of quasi-robotic living, quick answers and quick solutions, we tend to see human interaction as less complex than it actually is; we sometimes want to divide people into strict categories to love, hate, respect, trust, disdain or fear.

We no longer look inside ourselves or to those around us for ways to address our conflicts, but turn outwards instead, in search of the  ”mathemathics” of human relationships, thinking somehow others have decoded them and we can take a quick course which will give us the ability to always control who we relate to and how. That is an illusion; life is unpredictable and so are human beings.

Obviously, there are  situations when people can pose a real danger to others and the latter need to cut ties with them immediately; I am not referring to them here. Also, I choose not to refer to work-related conflicts as I have found people who needlessly pick on strangers (such as employees, co-workers, employers) are usually nasty and should be avoided.

Personal relationships are always tricky; there are issues such as a common history, a separate and joint evolution, high expectations, errors not yet forgiven, unvoiced frustrations, misinterpreted or undiscussed emotional signals and communicational problems.

There could be multiple explanations and solutions for personal conflicts, yet the tendency today is to seek the fastest one – my partner/ my ex/ my parent/ my sibling is a disordered individual and immediate separation is my only chance to live a normal life. Of course, sometimes that is the actual case. However, after watching the dynamics on recovery forums and my own tendency to ply myself to this stereotypical thinking, my observation is that some people do rush to this conclusion.

I am not arguing those who erroneously reach this conclusion are not actually hurting –  when one is overwhelmed by depression, anger, confusion or helplessness, they are an easily gained audience by know-it-all types with a quick answer and an agenda of personal validation. From first hand experience, people in such states are so mentally tired they embrace any plausible answer which gives them certainty and a direction in life.

Once they are in a group of this type they reinforce their approach and echo it to each other; it becomes their reality; then, as opposed to considering psychopathy an extreme societal aspect, they end up applying this label way too easily.

I remember when I became aware of the modern shift towards cultural Marxism; I was seeing marxists everywhere. In the same manner, people who are on the look out for psychopaths live by the ”warning signs” and when one or two seem to be present their guard goes up immediately. This leads to many ”false flags”, so to speak, and constricts the lives of those who live in a permanent fear of encountering disordered types.

In my opinion, extreme disorders such as psychopathy should be the last option to examine – certainly not the first.

Even if a relationship is toxic, it doesn’t automatically mean one person is at fault, and even when one person really is at fault it doesn’t automatically make them evil. And even if they are evil to some degree, it does not make them heartless, which is what psychopaths are.

When partners end up arguing all the time for no specific reason and become estranged from each other, the root could reside in issues such as:

  • Unvoiced frustrations;
  • Fears, phobias, complexes, obsessions and other aspects left undiscussed;
  • Other emotional baggage popping up unexpectedly;
  •  Past events, unrelated to the current relationship;
  •  Depression, hormonal imbalance, midlife crisis etc;
  •  Substance abuse;
  •  Stress, sleep deprivation etc, which affect one partner in particular;
  •  A spiritual crisis;
  • Major cultural and educational differences which start showing overtime;
  • Negative parental influences which start showing at some point etc.

These are common sense suggestions, to which I can add the overall difficulty of being a man or a woman in this day and age, when morals and gender roles are so blurred. People grow and change; it’s truly wonderful when they can put up with each other for many years.

Our culture is replete with the dysfunctional relationship and family motif, which is omnipresent on television, in films, in music etc. It is also replete with false ideals and expectations for partners to internalise, seeking to turn women into little more than blow-up dolls and men into emasculated metrosexuals who never grow up. Marketers seeking to sell the illusion of eternal youth know exactly what buttons to push and have a devastating impact on our psyche; we are brought up with messages which go against our instincts and often cause us to be confused.

When intense conflicts with family members are involved, aside from different values, repressed childhood memories and generational differences, there is a theory that spiritual issues may be involved as well, as described by Dr Kenneth McAll in his works, such as Healing The Family Tree.  Whilst this approach surely isn’t for everyone, it is generally accepted that family secrets have a strong impact when they finally emerge.

Past generations certainly had their flaws, yet also their strong points. One is a double-edged sword – the principle of protecting one’s intimacy and the public image of those we love. In past centuries and decades, the family was thought to be a fortress and people stuck together. Of course, that can be very damaging when real abuse is involved and no one should be shamed or emotionally blackmailed into covering it up – which is what happens in cults for instance.

But today we tend to use the internet as a venting platform for our grievances, regardless of their nature and seriousness (or lack thereof). As a person who has been guilty of this on occasion, I know that type of exposure, albeit anonymous, does draw a wedge between people, as well as guilt and embarrassment when realising the exaggerated reaction. Just as some people can be cruel jerks at times, others can be oversensitive and react too strongly to behaviour which would otherwise be annoying, yet not a matter of life and death.

A person can mislead themselves and those around them into demonising another without having to lie, by listing the shortcomings and mistakes of the latter. Logically, if we all made an honest list of our own defects, mistakes, wrong turns in life etc, hardly anyone would preserve a good image. Hence they can collectively draw a false conclusion based on true facts, if that makes any sense.

My stance is not of accusing those who lash out when they get too emotional, or who temporarily see a person in the wrong light; that would be hypocritical. We live in a messed up world where we no longer know what healthy living is, where we keep more contacts than we can sustain and have little time left for reflection. In my opinion, by constantly exposing our intimacy we harm ourselves and those around us. Again, I am not referring to actual abuse, which should be exposed and addressed.

6 Red Flags of Pseudo-experts in Psychopathy

When dealing with psychopathy experts whose credentials are based solely on the number of followers they have managed to attract, one must always use caution. So here’s a common sense list of behaviours and attitudes you want to watch out for among recovery forum experts.

They are probably not able to recognise a real psychopath if …

1. They call you one after a couple of short disagreements, in order to dismiss your arguments.

2. They state that everyone who is against their ”sacred mission” must by default be a psychopath, as opposed to a sceptic or someone who sees through their great confusion.

3. They claim to be able to fence psychopaths out of their forums, as if they could realistically give someone that label after a quick virtual interaction.

4. They tend to identify them a bit more often than you and the majority of your peers do (as in claim an unusually high percentage of the people they’ve met were psychopathic).

5. They adopt the very behaviours they are describing in their materials, from luring in unsuspecting strangers to triangulating in secrecy and discarding them without a reason or warning.

6. They claim to want to free you and simultaneously try to control you by imposing lifestyle changes you must implement if you want to continue speaking to them. Control freaks are much more likely to be psychopaths than help others guard against them.

Account Deletion on Psychopath Free – Your Trauma, Their Whims

On Psychopath Free, everything you post can (and chances are it will) be used against you.

The forum rules state that if you are banned your account is also deleted; however, a later announcement, far less visible than the ten commandments, makes an 180 degrees turn:

delete account

”Our policy has always been to delete full accounts & posts at any member’s request. We understand that relationship abuse is a sensitive topic, where anonymity is extremely important.

But we need to make a little clarification: we are done deleting accounts for trolls. If you join this site to belittle, criticize, create drama, and provoke others, you can expect your posts to stay here forever. You are not entitled to have your account deleted when you intentionally cause trouble. The majority of people making this request are people who go out in flames – insulting members, the admins, and our mission. After getting banned, they astoundingly send an email demanding to have their posts deleted.

Seriously?

I’m saying this now, loud and clear: if you want to embarrass yourself with childish, immature behavior on a public forum, then you can deal with the real-life adult consequences. It is not our job to clean up after your mess. It is not our job to erase your word salad. It is not our job to protect you from yourself . This is a very time-consuming task for the admins, since it requires the manual removal of every post. So don’t expect compliance when you PM an admin immediately after calling them names. It’s unbelievable, and we’re done playing these silly games.

And of course for any other normal member, please don’t ever hesitate to PM an admin if you need something deleted. This post is directed towards trolls only.”

1. “It is not our job to clean up after your mess. It is not our job to erase your word salad. It is not our job to protect you from yourself .”

And there I was thinking obnoxious members were banned because their posts offended others, ruining the safe and warm atmosphere – does it make any sense to leave the posts in place, so they can keep offending those who read them?

The only context this makes sense in is the admin’s choice to have them there akin to gory heads on pikes in a public square, rotting in the sun, so others can “see what happens” when they disagree. It has nothing to do with protecting others or the “atmosphere”.

2. ”If you join this site to belittle, criticize, create drama, and provoke others, you can expect your posts to stay here forever. You are not entitled to have your account deleted when you intentionally cause trouble.”

In their twisted world, creating drama and provoking others can consist of as little as a disagreement, however politely expressed. You can go from being considered a victim of abuse to being considered a troll in a matter of minutes. Their decision is final and will not be looked into, as you don’t deserve a tenth of the chance to defend yourself as others have to falsely accuse you.

In their twisted world, if you end up arguing at some point it means you joined the site with the sole intention of disrupting their supposed harmony and everything you ever posted is either invalid or unimportant compared to the “security threat” you pose.

And he dares wave his middle finger about how one’s posts (some about being raped and beaten and verbally torn down) will stay there forever because of one or two disagreements with a moderator. These people astoundingly had the audacity to request or demand that their extremely sensitive information is removed, which a decent human being would do even for someone they hated. Decency and maturity oblige, provided there is any.

Does anyone else need a bucket?

3. ”This is a very time-consuming task for the admins, since it requires the manual removal of every post.”

Oh really…? When you delete an account, which takes a few seconds, all posts are deleted with it. And if you want to keep the account for some reason, forum software generally comes with a magic button which only removes the posts; it was available on vBulletin years ago. It takes a few clicks to delete 3 or 3000; the rest is done automatically.

My guess is that they want to keep threads which are active and good for traffic, without actually admitting that a “troll” might have added something of value to the forum. They want to choose what they discard and what they keep.

In terms of time, perhaps they are too busy checking out false reports, as they are proud to take every single one seriously and address it asap.

Apparently, false reports are not time-consuming.

Bucket?

Later Edit

It appears that not only did the PF team fail to ensure members’ privacy – they, at least at one point in time, drew attention to their personal stories on social media platforms, primarily Facebook, admittedly without asking for their consent, at least until one member (later banned) pointed this out.

pf sharing

pf sharing2

 

What was the point in allowing members to delete their posts at any given time when he was using them as marketing tools on Facebook, behind their backs? And what about members’ fear that they would be tracked down by their abusers? “Your post makes me realise some people might not want that”…? Seriously?

Psychopath Free: Behind the Mask of Empathy

As the self-proclaimed largest forum for victims of narcissistic, psychopathic and sociopathic abuse, PF sees a handful of new registrations daily, as more people suspect they are enmeshed with disordered types. Their doors are wide open; registration is easy; it only takes a few minutes.

At first glance, you are greeted by an amazing uniformity of opinion; you tell yourself it’s because they’re all so sensitive, so considerate towards each other (the reality being you can find yourself labelled a troll for breathing out the wrong amount of CO2; long time members have learned not to ever disagree with the status quo).

You stumble in there as if you’d found an oasis in the desert; you cannot believe how lucky you are to have come across so many people with a similar experience. Encouraged by the general eagerness to discuss painful memories, you start sharing yours almost immediately, thinking you have found the most open, honest group ever.

Above all, you assume they know you are hurt and confused, in need of support, as they claim to have designed the website for people like you. You assume they will treat you as such; that they will always be considerate.

Unfortunately, they promote themselves in a completely false manner, drawing naive and vulnerable people into their game of delusional paranoia.

While you see members liking each other’s posts by the dozen, sending “hugs” and behaving like good old friends, always willing to lend an ear, some lend an ear so well they hear what you’re not even saying, as shown here:

reporting

Reporting Sketchy Members

Just wanted to write a quick notice about the safety culture we want to cultivate here.

If you ever have any suspicions about a member, our policy is “better reported than not”. A huge part of the healing process is learning to trust your intuition. Here at PF, just like everywhere else in life, you are going to continue to encounter toxic people.

You should never brush aside your gut feeling about someone, as that’s how we end up “dancing the dance”, when really the person should just be shown the door. So please if you ever feel uneasy about a member, do not hesitate to use our reporting features to tell us. Because if you’re feeling suspicious, the odds are you’re not alone.

You will never be punished or judged for reporting someone who turns out to be genuine. We take all reports seriously. Mistakes happen, although I honestly have never seen this. Member reports are usually 100% on board with our own suspicions. Please understand that safety is always being assessed here, even if it’s not visible. Even if you see a thread going on where you can’t believe the member hasn’t been banned yet. Trust me, they are on our radar.

There are several ways to report a member. Please use them:

Under every post, you will see a little triangle with an exclamation point. This reports the specific post and member, completely unknown to them. The reference to the post will also help us pinpoint any specific things they said.

The Contact Form here: http://psychopathfree.com/sendmessage.php – Check “Troll Suspect” for the category, and it will be looked at immediately. Using this method, you can also log out and report anonymously. It is helpful to have any specific post references if you do this. Again, remember that you will never be judged for reports, but I do understand the desire for anonymity when it comes to security.

PMing an administrator. If you have a good friendship with an admin, please feel free to send along a personal message. It will be brought to the team either anonymously or with your endorsement, whatever you ask for. The process will always be dealt with in the same way

I really hope this helps to encourage an open-door philosophy when it comes to trolls. You are not crazy”

That’s right. You actually read that. On a support forum claiming to be the world leader in its field.

Members are encouraged to report each other on a “gut feeling”, without any proof their target has broken a single rule – which is probably unprecedented on any serious forum. That is how people are targeted and closely watched without having shown any maliciousness whatsoever.

Indeed, you are not crazy, but you are definitely an asshole if you engage in his sort of practice, as any false accuser is.

It is unacceptable for any bona fide person to become fodder for older members’ exercise of good intuition and be subjected to the abstract version of a vivisection while knowing nothing about it.

Under that veneer of safety and brotherhood lie several layers of obsessive distrust, which come before any concern of treating people fairly – not to mention being careful with someone who is emotionally frail.

In case you think the admin’s intentions should be given the benefit of the doubt and might be in the lines of being overprotective, here’s another gem:

People with ulterior motives & agendas can be hard to spot, but there are signs – for example, they do not seem to actually care about the well-being of other members, and instead come across as a bit fake, self-centered, and emotionally disconnected. You will notice EVERY topic always comes back to a lengthy, exhausting story about “My P”, even if the topic has nothing to do with them.

Trust your gut, always. Most of us already learned this lesson the hard way.

And use the report button! There’s one at the bottom of every PM, as well as posts (the little triangle with !). It’s SO fast & easy, and automatically shoots an email to every Admin so we can review it immediately, even if we are not on PF (which is more common for me now that I’m at work). There is absolutely zero penalty or grudge for a false red flag. It takes two seconds to review them, and I would rather get 10 in a day than 0. Reports are GOOD. We do our best to keep up, but with 20,000+ posts, we need to rely on our your intuition as well.

And yet another gem

I would also like to thank the administrators and moderators who work around the clock to keep this site so safe, secure, and free from drama/gurus/know-it-alls/predators. I see the members of this team as gatekeepers, absorbing the daily poison, lies, manipulation, and lunacy, in order to maintain the peaceful harmony that we all get to wake up to each morning. To give you an idea of just how hard they work, there are more security reports from the past three months, than there are threads in The Cafe since 2011. They don’t just clean things up, they are responsible for setting and maintaining the amazing atmosphere that I have come to love so much here on PF. These people never give up, and they never ask for any sort of recognition. So I would like to recognize them now, because this forum would be nothing without them.

Yes, you read that also. Your eyes are not playing some twisted trick on you.

This is on a thread celebrating the forum’s great success. The emphasis belongs to the admin, who is so proud of the humongous number of reports, most of which were obviously false, since they still have a community there. More reports in three months than threads on a sub-forum in two years. And he boasts about it; he finds it wonderful that his forum is the online version of North Korea. And then he claims other people have control issues.

Back to this quote:

I see the members of this team as gatekeepers, absorbing the daily poison, lies, manipulation, and lunacy, in order to maintain the peaceful harmony that we all get to wake up to each morning. (…) they are responsible for setting and maintaining the amazing atmosphere that I have come to love so much here on PF.

Have you ever read anything more insane? An “amazing atmosphere” actively dominated by security reports? A “peaceful harmony” and simultaneously, daily poison, manipulation, lunacy? Daily? It reminds me of Scientology’s leader, who reportedly thinks Scientology is amazing while 75% of the people in it are rotten.

Imagine you are a distraught person seeking company and advice, and while you continue to pour your heart out to these people, your witch trial is going on behind your back. You have an anointed bunch with the above-shown insight into human behaviour (way below sea level, as you can plainly see) trying to determine if you:

  • Seem to care too little about the wellbeing of others;
  • Seem to care too much about the wellbeing of others (contacting them directly is a no-no and for new members all communication must be public, or it can easily be labelled harassment; personal questions should also be avoided);
  • Post too much about your problem (which means you are self-centred);
  • Post too little about your problem (maybe you have an ulterior motive for being there, such as studying others);
  • Post too little (they are always suspicious of members with a very small post count);
  • Post too much (they tell you that you are flooding);
  • Seem emotionally detached;
  • Seem too emotionally involved in what is being posted (you’re coming on too strong and that is suspicious).

And so forth.

They actually think they have the ability to get inside your head and read emotions you are not expressing, or the lack thereof. That is how delusional and irrational they are.

Does anyone else find it sick that he would rather get piles of false reports than get none, and he encourages reporting so enthusiastically (almost frantically), which is guaranteed to make targets out of innocent people? Is there any doubt at all regarding what new members really get themselves into?

You are guilty until proven innocent and those who accuse you are always unaccountable, to the point of not having to reveal their online identities when they emit their accusations. As their target, you will not be given a warning – as in stop trusting us as we don’t trust you, an explanation or an apology.

Sometimes, members are banned without an apparent reason and cannot figure out why, since they were never confronted by staff; they are perplexed, having had no idea anything was wrong. They never had a chance to clear others’ doubts, defend themselves or leave peacefully of their own accord, after deleting their information.

Apparently, staff members don’t feel they need to confront you or be transparent in any way; they list you as a potential troll on a mere suspicion and block you immediately, as if your mere presence on the website for an added hour to allow a discussion posed some sort of danger to them. That is the sheer level of their paranoia.

I trust hardly anyone would register if those announcements were added to the forum rules, or better yet, to their plethora of promotional materials, which read like exquisite corporate PR.

Usually though, one is banned for some laughable trifle no sane adult would find threatening from another – after having poured their heart out before them as one would before a close friend or therapist, for days, weeks or many months.

I lack the vocabulary to properly word how duplicitous, insensitive and disgusting that is. Not to mention unprofessional.

This Amazon review of the book and forum is very telling, as are the comments former members have posted there.

It is then – and often, unfortunately, only then – that wronged members take to the internet to investigate this so-called support group which shows no ethics, no transparency, no fairness and little sanity when targeting someone. They look for a different space online to tell their story. Alternatively, they register again or email for an explanation. They want closure and a chance to express their completely understandable frustration.

 Congratulations! They are now officially a troll.

 You see, in their minds, the road from an abuse victim in need to a troll who is frothing at the mouth with venom and envy towards their fine establishment can be a very short one. Trolls are fair game for vicious attacks on their character and misuse of the information they entrusted the blessed “recovery forum” with.

 A person who has gone through the motions I described above is then insulted again to read threads where the admin boasts about “keeping the creeps out” and “not taking their BS” and “keeping a peaceful and loving atmosphere”, as well as refusing to delete people’s very sensitive information because they were labelled as such.

Didn’t I hear someone say psychopaths deliberately provoke intense emotional reactions in normal people, only to ridicule them before others by calling them crazy and hysterical…? Oh yes, it was them.

 The only place where paranoia, unfounded reporting, control and swift discarding equal love and support is a cult. Which is exactly what they resemble.

    If you somehow come across this blog, chances are you are familiar with all the above, so please feel free to post your thoughts and experiences. My intention is to not censor anything. However, please try not to refer to the personal lives of the people involved in that forum, to stay on the safe and decent side. There is plenty to be discussed regarding the forum itself and its policies.