Recently, an excerpt from Psychopath Free was added to its Amazon page (quotes are reproduced here from the website, for non-commercial educational purposes, thus qualifying as fair use). Whilst the entire text screams improvisation and if one properly analyses it they can be sure to find more than a dozen logical errors, the worst parts lie below.

To use their terminology of choice, I might as well class this as triggering to former members of the forum, in good humour of course.

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As you frantically share your story, you latch on to the quickest and most sympathetic ear—anyone who claims to understand you. The problem is, these people do not always have your best interests at heart.

Those willing to listen to your psychopathic story for hours on end are, unfortunately, not likely to be people who are truly invested in your recovery. They are most likely “vultures.”

Vultures often seem exceptionally kind and warm at first. They want to fix you and absorb your problems. They are fascinated by your struggles. But sooner or later, you will find yourself lost in another nightmare. They begin drowning you in unsolicited advice. They need constant praise and attention. You are never allowed to disagree with them. They feed off drama and an insatiable need to be appreciated by others. (…)

They do not want you to seek help from anyone except them.

Whether these people are pathological or not, you don’t need this toxic garbage after what you’ve been through. (………)

But real friends won’t be acting as your therapist, and they definitely won’t be rambling on about their ability to empathize and care. Their actions should speak louder than their words.

It takes a long time to start building healthier relationships. It takes breaking old habits, forming new ones, developing your intuition, and finally coming to understand what it is that you want from this world.

So be on the lookout for vultures. In the writing world, there’s a universal rule called “show—don’t tell.” This rule also applies to people. If you encounter someone who’s constantly telling you who they are, how much they want to help you, how they will make things right for you, take a step back and look at their actual behavior. Manipulative people are always “telling” because they have nothing good to show. Their inappropriate and dishonest actions never actually match up with their promising words, causing an overwhelming cognitive dissonance in the people who trust them.

You will find that decent, humble human beings aren’t trying to tell you who they are and what they can do for you. They simply show it through consistent love and kindness. You never need to question them, because their intentions are always pure. Vultures, on the other hand, are really acting out of self-interest; they want to be praised and adored. In an argument, a “teller” will frequently remind you of how well they treat you, even after blatantly hurting you. A “show-er” will simply share their point of view without trying to twist the conversation in their favor. Avoid those who tell you how nice they are, how generous they are, how successful they are, how honest they are, and how important they are. Instead, search for the quiet ones who show these qualities every day through their actions.

Truly cringe-worthy.

No explanation is needed for those who have been given the PF treatment and know what really goes on there, openly and behind the scenes.

When referring to “vultures”, he is describing the behaviour of the Psychopath Free team to a tee.  Not only do they claim to empathise with vulnerable people they couldn’t care less about (as shown on countless occasions); they behave as if those strangers owed them for their brainwashing support; they constantly display controlling, egomaniacal and patronising tendencies.

Whilst behaving in that fashion towards one individual is bad enough, they do so to thousands of people, processing members more diligently than fast food chains process battery farm chickens.

I would strongly urge all survivors to avoid seeking out new friendships and relationships for at least a few months. You must get to the point where you no longer need—or want—to talk about your abuser anymore.

When you do need help, stick to professional therapy or recovery communities and services. These people know what you’ve been through, and you’re going to find that all of them are willing to help—with no strings attached.

I understand the temptation to go out and meet new people. You’re looking to start rebuilding your life. You want to surround yourself with kinder and more genuine friends.

Let me get this straight.

He argues there is a fundamental difference between finding new friends in real life and confiding in strangers on-line, which is what people do in these so-called recovery communities. He places these groups on par with seeing an actual therapist. Not that a therapist is necessarily able to help a hurting soul; regardless, they are guaranteed to be more mindful of their behaviour, as to not leave that person in a worse condition than their original one. They are guaranteed to have more ethics than those who risk nothing when bullying or discarding a vulnerable person on the internet.

No strings attached is a funny one. Let’s see if these qualify as “strings”, aka, in my understanding, issues the group can use in order to manipulate someone into obedience.

  • Tracking members on-line as well as in real life, if they see fit, violating their privacy.
  • Bullying and shaming members to influence their decisions in real life, as opposed to merely providing information.
  • Mandating that in order to participate in simple discussions one has to break all contact with the person who has (presumably) been abusing them, although that rule is not specified when registering.
  • Insisting that members give accurate information regarding their relationships and seeing prospective lies or omissions (again, about the private lives of others) as “security threats” to the forum, posed by “imposters”.
  • Labelling others with variations of ASPD, though they usually skip that part and call them psychopaths directly, to refute their arguments.
  • Mocking members’ sensitive stories in kangaroo courts, using vile language, after having expressed “sincere” empathy for them.

Make no mistake; these people are dangerous.

You register under the impression of posting anonymously, only disclosing what you see fit and being able to leave whenever, which is when a normal forum admin or moderator would cease all interaction with you. That was the whole point of being able to open up on the internet.

If you lived outside the US, were temporarily part of a group like PF, and one day posted about feeling extremely low – as people sometimes do in order to blow off steam – you would think that merely closing the window in your browser was the end of it. Well, guess again. They once tracked down a member from a different country and alerted the police regarding a suicide related post, causing substantial trouble in her life and custody case.

Imagine bringing that on yourself just by clicking “post” on a foreign internet forum. Imagine the absurdity.

So when you feel those things after a relationship, does it really matter if your ex was a psychopath, a sociopath, a narcissist, or a garden-variety jerk? The label doesn’t make your feelings any more or less valid. Your feelings are absolutes. They will endure, no matter which word you settle upon.

YES, it does matter.

Psychopathy is a personality disorder. Being a jerk is a behavioural problem, which needn’t be permanent or affect all sides of an individual’s life. It matters even more in terms of discussing your story on forums based on psychopathy, where the constant use of the word psychopath is encouraged.

There I was thinking the whole “identify the psycho” technique was meant to be accurate; that it was crucial for a “survivor” to apply it correctly. Now we see that the label is just fluff and it’s OK to confuse someone who is a bit of a dick with a deranged, dangerous individual. Pick whatever you want; it’s all the same.

And it certainly matters when you place the word “psychopath” on the cover of your book and market it as such, although it now appears it addresses a much wider audience, some cases having nothing to do with psychopathy whatsoever.

And if you are anything like me, we can agree on this simple truth: good people make you feel good and bad people make you feel bad.

Yup. Never heard that one before. Certainly not in George Orwell’s  Animal Farm, when the sheep would go ‘‘Four legs good, two legs bad! Four legs good, two legs bad!” 

This oversimplification is baffling, really.

The fact that the book mentions it doesn’t solely address victims of genuine psychopaths but people who have been hurt in general is very telling; however, those who read it and join PF end up using the words psychopath and narcissist by default.

I might be biased—actually, I definitely am—but I think PsychopathFree.com has one of the coolest healing processes out there. We believe in education, open dialogue, validation, and self-discovery. We have a uniquely inspiring user base, full of resilient values and honest friendships.

I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry. Laughing is generally healthier. The only thing open about the place is the back door, through which they constantly (and abruptly) shove others. Many compare the way one relates to the forum to a toxic relationship; by the time you get doubts and want to confront the establishment or leave, you have too much invested already, as they know your details and intimate story, hence you choose to stay on their good side and not draw attention to yourself.

It’s a funny world, isn’t it? We have doctors who kill for a living and key people in corporations working with governing bodies who are supposed to regulate their practice. And we have people with awful ethics writing books about human interaction.

Here is a real gem:

But first, you’ll need to forget everything you thought you knew about people. Understanding psychopathy requires letting go of your basic emotional instincts. Remember, these are people who prey on forgiveness. They thrive on your need for closure. They manipulate compassion and exploit sympathy.

And they’re surprised people keep comparing them to a cult…

LATER EDIT

After some pondering, I figured posting the conversation I came across accidentally makes sense in order to warn others, with all precautions taken to hide the details of everyone involved (aside from an admin as the way an admin behaves is quite important).

As mentioned in my comment below, a relatively new member questioned the status quo, politely saying he would prefer a quick solution rather than months or years of analysing the difficult relationship. He named the thread ”Our own obsession”. Nothing unusual – unless you’re a devout PF member, reacting to every word with suspicion. Here is what happened next:

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Still on the good enough side, pretending to try to be helpful, though notice the tone. I covered a few lines giving details of the OP’s personal situation.

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Notice here the “WE”/ “OUR”, which the OP had been jumped for, is kosher when used by an experienced forum member. Hence while the member felt outraged she was being included into the OP’s “our own obsession”, he should be fine with the “we can be toxic to other people”.

The new member needs to understand the following:

-He has found the ultimate experts in the book and forum. Doubting them is like questioning evolution. He is not on the site to share his views in an equal environment, but to be told what to do.

-The experts know better than he does how long his recovery is supposed to last, even though the human mind is the land of all possibilities.  He has to accept the fact that he’ll be suffering for a year or more; arguing otherwise is like arguing pigs can fly. Imagine the fucking nerve, telling someone what they are supposed to feel and for how long, and discouraging them from trying to recover faster. If anything, this is proof of the concerns from others (that their admin ridicules by calling them “concern trolls”) are valid. They are effectively trying to drill the need to dwell on a bad relationship into people’s heads. They don’t want people to get better as soon as possible.

Still wanting for an apology or acquiescence, the member’s tone changes quickly.

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PF gang up 11 - Copy.1

The member making that accusation also wrote the gems below. How does the term gaslighting even apply to that quote? It’s basically an attempt to find a familiarly-sounding “crime” to pin on the comrade who was undermining the PF revolution with contrary views.

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That about sums it up (the attitude on PF). Notice how polite he was trying to be, while still maintaining his point of view. His politeness was met with disbelief and as a personal attack.

He obviously had  a healthy view on taking one’s life back, meaning stopping the toxic, consuming rumination. Taking one’s life back is impossible without taking one’s mind back. But that’s not allowed on PF; one is never supposed to be better off than the average member, who still ruminates daily. ”I want to get better quickly” is seen as ‘‘ you shouldn’t be ruminating for this length of time”, directed at them, which is visibly a touchy subject since it makes members so angry instantly.

Subsequently, the thread disappeared into the big nowhere.

Like I said, I had just stumbled in there intending to spend no more than a minute, after not visiting the site for weeks.  Who knows how often this actually happens; it’s all erased within hours and members carry on, pretending not to see the nastiness.

Hence… so much for open dialogue, self-discovery and whatever PR speech their admin was giving.

If you register on PF with an open mind and heart, chances are this will happen to you. In fact, it is very common for members to be banned on the first day, after just a few posts.

Note: I am attaching this here to avoid writing yet another blog post about Psychopath Free.

Recently, the interest in speaking out regarding the recovery forum phenomenon has grown, former members seeking to expose it for what it is, namely emotional quackery.

This YouTube video describes it as a mental trap, as many former members have before. The interest in this blog is also growing, judging by the traffic increase, most of it via Facebook (where I don’t have an account so I can’t tell what’s going on). As they spread their propaganda, the importance of shedding some light on matters is significant in environments which constitute rich recruitment pools for them.

I was thinking recently of the amount of information such forums obtain on individuals who are desperate for a friendly ear or for an explanation they cannot realistically obtain from external sources – much like people being approached by quacks in their hour of need, with a miraculous solution for their health problems. This site saved my life, a common expression of gratitude from enthusiastic new members, indicates that some people are literally desperate when they land there.

Today, privacy is a frequently used word, when the reality behind it has almost disappeared. However, one is rarely willing to allow complete strangers full access into their lives, bedroom included.

You have a social life – work, acquaintances, hobbies; people in it only see what you consider safe for the public eye. The you have a private life, populated by family and close friends, who know more about you but not necessarily everything.The rest, you save for those you trust the most.

If you don’t hold back at all it’s normally before a therapist, life coach , a priest you genuinely trust etc. And they all have a few things in common: actual knowledge regarding people, experience with others and most importantly, a policy of confidentiality. Moreover, they have accountability. At least you know who they are.

Think about what you’re giving access to on forums such as PF.

  • Information regarding your family, legal status, children, custody case, other details with legal ramifications.
  • The most problematic relationships in your life.
  • Your current and overall mental health and emotional state.
  • Information regarding your hobbies, habits, preferences, political views, spiritual views etc, down to what you do on a daily basis.
  • Detailed accounts of your most painful memories (all types of abuse), some of which you are most likely revealing for the first time.
  • Detailed accounts of your childhood memories, with an openness to be analysed by others in that sense, to be told how past traumas have affected you.
  • Information regarding your vices, affairs, addictions, phobias and deepest insecurities – which they can use against you later.
  • Information regarding your sex life, past and present.

Basically, all your defences are down. Anything you would normally keep from public view is now in their database. Forever.

On top of that, according to former members with inside knowledge, here is what they can find without your permission, using their forum software, your digital footprint as well as other data you automatically provide when posting:

  • Your Facebook profile (though I’m not sure to what extent) and at least the amount of information which is public by default;
  • Other social media profiles, including on other forums, where you thought you were posting anonymously;
  • Your internet browsing, apparently;
  • Private messages you send to other members.

Obviously, most people would not agree to that invasion of privacy by any group or institution.

But they would agree even less when learning the PF team accesses all this data in order to determine if you are a danger to the forum and potentially a psychopath yourself.  So basically, people who usually clutch at straws to prove others are  “evil” and disordered have full access to who you are, who your family is and maybe even where you work. I wonder what’s wrong with this picture ….

YET ANOTHER EDIT 🙂

Some people might argue psychology and psychiatry are dodgy in terms of credibility, since they rely on speculation instead of measurable data. But there are certain things you’re not likely to ever hear when turning to a professional, this being one of them:pfnewban3 mod

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Granted this person seemed annoyed and quite hostile – however, when starting a community for those who are in emotional distress one should expect some members to be hyper-vigilant and have a difficult attitude. Tact is part of the difference between those who have studied human behaviour for a good few years and those who base their expert status on thin air. Whatever the approach of a professional is when hitting a brick wall, so to speak, I bet it’s nothing like the paragraph pasted above, or the one below, addressed to the same new member.

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Not to say that people on forums should put up with any type of attitude; however, the niche they have selected basically implies that some new members will be in a bad place emotionally and even psychologically. So whilst no one is obligated to show endless patience, it surely doesn’t help for them to be called nasty, horrible and vile (the OP ended up with a couple of those labels after being banned), following only a short exchange of replies. The hostility they perceive from the world at large must increase dramatically.

The team shows no worries at all about the high potential of attracting people who are in a troubled state to the forum, to be swiftly booted; they don’t seem to wonder what can happen as a result.

Also, one is expected not only to have the perfect composure at all times, but to give advice to others (their self-involvement being a red flag according to their main admin), unless they have fallen out of grace by breaking “no contact”, which is when they are unworthy, as they are – try not to spill your coffee when reading this – “projecting a false image that is affecting other members”. I wonder who is really projecting here…

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That, by the way, was in response to members complaining that others were allowed to keep their “no contact” time intact although they had resumed contact at some point. The mere fact that they feel righteous indignation regarding other people’s lives and want others to be “stripped of their badge”, so to speak, says a lot about what they’re really doing there in the first place.

Examples could go on an on, but surely these are enough to provide a glimpse into the overall atmosphere unsuspecting people find there.

And in case some members or staff members ever wonder what gives me the right to post these screen shots here and comment on them, well, it’s the same “entity” or concept giving them the right to hold other people’s information captive, to hunt for thought crimes in their history and hold witch trials for all to see, indulging freely in all types of language and speculation. If they can do it, so can others.