I finished reading this book last night and learned something serious and important. I think my narcopath ex is worse than I’d thought! Here’s why….
First of all, the author is a former FBI profiler, (like Criminal Minds,) so he’s coming at this topic from a law enforcement point of view instead of a psychology point of view. For example, instead of talking about anti-social personality disorder, he describes a predator and gives real life behaviors instead of DSM descriptions. He describes four types of dangerous personalities–predator, narcissistic, emotional and paranoid. Each section offers a bunch of examples of how that type of person might act, famous case examples, and a long checklist of behavioral signs, as well as a scale on how to rank the danger. There is a chapter for each personality, one for dangerous people who have multiple personality issues, and finally a chapter on how to protect yourself from these people. Now that I’m all the way through the book, I’m seeing things in a new light.
For example, I used to know a man who was very paranoid, but I thought he was harmless. After matching him with the checklist items for the paranoid personality, I wonder if he’s not a ticking time bomb! I do know he had an “incident” at his workplace a few years ago and was fired on the spot. Yikes! I am glad I am no longer in touch!
My narcissistic mother ranked moderately on the narcissistic scale, which didn’t surprise me. My ex narcopath ranked higher than high on the narcissistic scale and the predatory scale, high on the emotional scale and moderately on the paranoid scale. In the multiple disorders chapter, the author described a killer who matched all four and it was my ex exactly. Uh oh. The author even notes that we need to be careful not to get hung up on an initial diagnosis and miss out on further issues. Ooops…. He describes murderer Josh Powell whose wife went missing and still hasn’t been found. He later murdered his kids with a hatchet then set the house on fire killing himself too. His wife kept a diary before she went missing that shows “she could not do anything without his permission; he was entitled to do as he pleased; he would lash out at her at will, unfazed by his cruelty towards her; and he would keep tabs on her and question whom she talked to. It was so bad that she had to call family and friends from work, so he wouldn’t know.” (page 183.) I lived that exactly. I was struck with fear and a reminder that I can never get complacent about protecting myself from my ex, because he might have an even worse side I haven’t seen yet, or something might activate it one day.
The author warns about something most of us already know…the public is easily fooled by dangerous people. Even after a predator has killed someone, people who know them casually often claim that they seemed so nice. Yeah, right! As the author states on page 175, “There are people who refuse to see what is in front of them, or they’re so biased as to be blind.” Oh how I can relate from when I tried to tell my friends how narcopath was acting!
As I said, the last chapter is about protecting ourselves. The author recommends we gain knowledge and advises that we “don’t just look: observe.” He points out that if we aren’t already educated, we might not connect the dots when we are seeing a dangerous person in action, but if we are prepared with knowledge, we are more likely to know what is in front of us. (I guess that explains why so many of us say that narcissists seem to be all around us after we know about them!) I don’t want to re-write the whole book here, but he gives more good ideas–including control your distance and time with predators so they can’t get too close or rush you into a bad decision. (My ex narcopath pushed me to get married after six weeks and told me if I didn’t he’d have to dump me and move on because he didn’t want to wait. How foolish was I to obey someone with such little regard for my boundaries!)
This author tells it like it is. He has some other books that I want to check out soon, too!