Is Your Boss a Psychopath?
Psychopaths succeed in conventional society in large measure because
few of us grasp that they are fundamentally different from ourselves. We
assume that they, too, care about other people's feelings. This makes it
easier for them to "play" us. Although they lack empathy, they develop
an actor's expertise in evoking ours. While they don't care about us,
"they have an element of emotional intelligence, of being able to see
our emotions very clearly and manipulate them," says Michael Maccoby,
a psychotherapist who has consulted for major corporations.
Psychopaths are typically very likable. They make us believe that they
reciprocate our loyalty and friendship. When we realize that they were
conning us all along, we feel betrayed and foolish. "People see sociopathy
in their personal lives, and they don't have a clue that it has a label
or that others have encountered it," says Martha Stout, a psychologist at
the Harvard Medical School and the author of the recent best-seller The
Sociopath Next Door: The Ruthless Versus the Rest of Us (Broadway Books,
2005). "It makes them feel crazy or alone. It goes against our intuition
that a small percentage of people can be so different from the rest of
us — and so evil. Good people don't want to believe it."
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*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics