I have previously blogged about something I noticed–that a club enabled and protected my ex narcopath. I saw it for myself and noticed the phenomenon, but I recently found an article from a professional that better explains what I was seeing. This article is titled and focused on predators in religious organizations, but it begins with an explanation of why predators thrive in clubs. It is RIGHT ON! The article is by a former FBI profiler, (whose books I recommend.) My ex narcopath is extremely active–obsessively active–in a national club, and I realized that he depends on the nature of the club to find new victims, to “prove” he’s safe since he’s part of the group, and to find safe harbor where he won’t be held accountable for his victimizing because he’s “one of the gang.” To see my realizations validated by an expert reminds me that my narcometer is working well. Just think, if we all trust our instincts and stop being afraid to look critically, we would learn that we really can understand a predator and better protect ourselves. Unfortunately, we are trained to expect the best from others and ignore the little warnings in our heads when things don’t match up.
There are so many good things in this article, but I want to share the quotes that stood out to me most since I saw them for myself:
“Having said all of that, we need to be reminded that predators seek to be in organizations (any organization) for a variety of reasons that are both useful and beneficial but that may not be clear to us; including of course so that they can better conduct their predatory activities.”
“Membership in a legitimate institution, be it a club, a branch of the military, or a corporation, gives legitimacy to individuals.”
I felt falsely safe with the ex narcopath. I thought if he had been in the club so long, surely he must be okay. If people I know think he’s okay to be around, he must be safe. If he was dangerous, he would have been kicked out. WRONG!
“Organizations give predators ready and easy access to an identifiable pool of individuals or potential victims.”
Single people often say it’s hard to meet others. However, it’s easier to feel safe in a club where you know you have something in common with others. It narrows down the dating pool…and it narrows down the sociopath’s victim pool. It gives the predator a perfect place to shop around.
“Alliances are easy to make in an organization. These can serve to provide the predator information about exploitable weaknesses of others, as well as proprietary, personal, or sensitive data otherwise difficult to obtain.”
There is going to be more than one sociopath or predator in a club. And there is going to be more than one enabler or more than one naive person who believes the sociopath. After they hurt one person, there is always more supply available. Also, people in groups protect each other. He might be a jerk, but he’s OUR jerk. In groups, people protect the integrity and reputation of the group–at the expense of the victims.
There is a lot of good information in this article. Even if you aren’t religious or concerned about clergy, the same dynamics can still apply to any group a predator hides in–work, school, clubs, family….