THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF THE PSYCHOPATH CHARACTER
The Emotional and Interpersonal Aspect of “Glibness and Superficial Charm”
THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF THE PSYCHOPATHIC CHARACTER
The Emotional and Interpersonal Aspect of “Glibness and Superficial Charm”
When it comes to understanding psychopathy, I think it is important for any therapist or victim to understand the key symptoms found in Hare’s Psychopathy Checklist (PCL-R). Hare lists twenty items to describe his model of psychopathy; however, this article looks at one of the emotional and interpersonal aspects (i.e. the narcissists glibness and superficial charm). According to Cleckley, psychopaths come across as having a superficial charm and good intelligence, both of which makes them quite likable. When you think about it, these are quite lethal combinations. Unfortunately, when their charming approach does not work for them, they are likely to utilise both covert and overt intimidation.
GLIBNESS AND SUPERFICIAL CHARM
When we speak of psychopaths as being glib or superficial, we are referring to the insincere and superficial charm they use to acquire a victim’s trust to con them. Where they appear to be charming, in reality they are covertly hostile and domineering, and see their victims as a means of personal gain.
Their charm makes them appear to be great listeners. They do this to simulate empathy while zeroing in on their targets’ dreams and vulnerabilities in order to be able to manipulate them later. These high end pathological narcissists are masters of seduction, both figuratively and literally, and that makes them seem more charming and more interesting than most normal people (Stout). These traits render them to appear smooth, engaging, talkative, loquacious, charming and slick to the onlooker (Hare). Of course, some of these individuals may lay on the charm far too thickly, making their delivery somewhat unconvincing.
However, for the most part, the slicker psychopaths have refined their charm down to an art form, and they pride themselves on their talent of the deception of others. Psychopaths use their glib and superficial charm with the intention of being evasive, deflect emotion, or conceal their lack of emotional depth from others.
This psychopathic charm is not in the least shy or self-conscious, which results in the psychopath being unafraid to say anything if it helps their cause. They are articulate conversationalists with the “gift of the gab”, and therefore capable of spinning outrageously witty, convincing stories. They are very amusing, entertaining and believable, not to mention very likable. They go on the “charm offensive” by emphasizing their charisma or trustworthiness and turn on their superficial smile for totally disarming and seducing victims. It is often said that they can beguile even the wariest individuals and trap them in their web of deception Furthermore, pathological narcissists use their charm for getting information. Information is power to the psychopath, so the more they know about you, the more potential they have for gaining power over you.
Psychopaths have an extremely low self-consciousness, and it is this “lacking” that sets them free from the normal restraints of social and emotional impediments experienced by the general population. This means that they are more likely to present themselves well; they come across readily comfortable and relaxed when talking with other people, giving them a natural flair for putting others at ease. They typically like to present themselves as experts on many subjects in order to appear very interesting and knowledgeable. However, they are generally not able to take any subject very far, but it does not seem to matter to them if they are found out as a fraud. They deliver compliments and flattery with confidence, which manages to seduce and win most people over. Even though their tall stories should be unbelievable, somehow, they have a knack of pulling the wool over the eyes of intelligent people who seem to fall for their stories.
Another striking feature of psychopaths is that they have low-level feelings of vulnerability, which leads to them becoming somewhat fearless. It is this fearlessness that makes them prone to engage in high risk activities that are a part of Hare’s checklist, such as conning, crime, drugs, robbing, rape, etc. The effectiveness of these behaviours has to do with the skills of the psychopath, as well as the ability of the person perceiving the behaviour to recognise deception. But the vast majority of victims fall for the con after they have fallen for the psychopath’s superficial smile. Unfortunately, the psychopath’s charm reflects a devious demeanour that is slick and insincere, giving them an animal magnetism. This is why it is so important for everybody to understand how these individuals operate in public so that we can mount our own defence against their charm, seduction and manipulations.
- Narcissistic Female Intimate Partner Violence Against Men Is No Joke - February 28, 2023
- Narcissists and Positions of Power and Influence - February 6, 2023
- Why Is It So Blooming Hard Leaving a Narcissist? - December 9, 2022
The scariest thing to me is that they are in churches. Coming on strong with charm is a big red flag, especially in a church.
My husband and I were happy and in love for 25 years. Than a Narcissistic Sociopath set out to destroy our relationship and to take him away from me.
Before I realized what I was dealing with, she succeeded. She’s had him falsely arrested twice just to keep the control over him. It’s been 6 years since he left me
and I still need help to get through what happened.
He’s still in my life as a friend and as a room mate, And that drives her crazy. He was unaware of what she is and I’ve shared with him the numerous books I’ve bought on what she is to help him understand and with his own recovery from what she’s done.
She moved 1000 miles away and recently came to town and he seen her and during this she manipulated a mutual friend into borrowing my ex’s car than she stole it and drove back to Montana in it. She used the fact he lives in the same house with me as her reason why she stole his car. She didn’t contact him at all for three weeks.
Nothing new she’s still using the same tactics. He flew out there to get his car back and the minute he drove away to come home she texted me the same hurt full B.S. she always did.
My reply was this… He’s on his way “HOME” in “HIS CAR” now you have “NOTHING” to control him with. Ha Ha Ha “HE WINS”
The damage this NS has done to me and to him is devastating. Please! Christine if you have or know of any information that can possibly help me to recover or try to recover from what “I’VE” been through. Thank you.
Signed Victim #2 Colorado Springs, CO.
Thank you for your post.
I want to say some things.
We have these broad labels, narcsissists & psychopaths. I have learned that psychopaths brain scans show abnormalities, vs. narcissicists.
Also, when dealing in such broad terms & lables, it is unsettling for me personally, since I need to deal with the specific behaviors of deceipt, manipulation & using, to gain advantage of an individual, or insincere exploitation to put it into real terms.
I guess I am sick of broad lables because these lables cannot help targets or victims. Instead, we need to describe the common experiences & behaviors of these individuals on their unsuspecting targets.
Best to you Christine!
It seems to me that quite often, especially in elderly people, the oh-so-sweet women are the ones to feed with a long- handled spoon. Their sugar façade is actually saccharin, and behind their well-rehearsed and calculated act is a ruthless, cunning, conniving, manipulative witch. Certain species of female spider uses her web to ensnare a male and after mating, she kills them by eating them alive.
But their cunning does not end there. A sinister hidden agenda lies at the root of their evil because they find some satisfaction and perverted vindication in exploiting the good will and naiveté of others. This is how Satan works. The frosting on the cake is that many of them embed themselves in our churches. Their phony piety has nothing at all to do with a love for God because if they had ever made an effort to know God, they couldn’t live with themselves as they are — absolute hypocrites.
Often it is a healthy litmus test to reflect upon why red flags have gone up in more recent interactions with others, and if there is something within our own character raising the flag, rather than focusing on what we may have observed that seemed out-of-sync in the person with whom we have interacted. It is our responsibility to grow in maturity throughout our lifetime so healthy reflection and self-criticism is a good thing.
That being said, each time Christine posts a new article, I learn more about the areas which I need to heal in order to relate to others as a “safe” person to be around, and more importantly, to learn that when the red flags do go up, most often I come to realize that once again, for whatever His reason, God has placed another psychopath narcissist on my path.
With every round I believe we all go higher and higher and eventually are able to avoid the frustration and pitfalls of interacting at all with these people. Or, if we must interact, we are better equipped with the tools we need to protect ourselves from their inherent evil. Unfortunately, they ARE evil.
I think this is what Christine teaches us here. Thank you, Christine.
This is vital information concerning this mental disorder. I have a friend whose father fits the description exactly! Also describes my 2 parents omg how sick can you get
Hi check out gaslighting number 1 modus operandi your dealing with a narcissist also Flying monkeys they are people use to help there cause undermine your sanity, self esteem reputation.
Stay strong wise up Larina
Narcissism is on a continuum, it is a spectrum disorder.
My book The Three Faces of Evil explain the differences between the classical narcissist, the malignant narcissist, and the psychopath.
Psychopaths are at the high end of the disorder…….. the worst, the dark side of The Dark Triad.
Narcissism is a spectrum disorder, which means that it goes all the way from healthy on one end of the spectrum to the most pathological (the psychopath) at the other end of the spectrum, and with stages in between (i.e. Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), Malignant Narcissism, and Psychopathy). Each level has it own characteristics, but as the narcissist progresses up the scale, they bring the attributes from the lower lever into the next. I explain this better in my book The Three Faces of Evil. I am attaching a free chapter, which explains the classical narcissist (the lower on the spectrum)…. with 9 criteria. But all levels will have this same 9 criteria as part of the personality.
Here is the link should you want to buy the eBook from my website:
Warmest regards. Christine
Thanks for this interesting article. I notice that you use both Psychopath and Narcissist together in this article. Are Narcissist also Psychopaths? I have a Psychopath in my life and it is helping a lot to read as much about how he ticks as I can. Before I realized that he was actually a person with a brain dysfunction, he managed to confuse me endlessly and associating with him could be very painful.He was like two people and when his mask occasionally slipped, usually with too much alcohol, I was stunned by his behavior and lack of feelings and morals.He keeps on telling me he loves women, but I can see from the way he treats us, they seem to be his primary targets to degrade and hurt. I think deep down he actually hates women.
Knowledge is definitely power and now, when he does or says something hurtful or out of context, the knowledge I gained, makes me realize, it has nothing to do with me or what I have done, he is reacting exactly like a Psychopath would. I actually feel sorry for him sometime, because if you cannot feel or experience love, you are a very sad person. They are really hollow shells, but dangerous hollow shells.