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.