February 23, 2021

The Psychopath in the C Suite: Redefining the SOB [Seductive Operational Bully—or psychopath]


"...What really puzzled those who had the measure of Richard was that the people caught in his web usually described their initial encounter with him as like finding a soul mate, typically claiming, “We have so much in common,” “We’re so much alike.” They seemed to delude themselves into thinking that they had initiated an instant friendship. They failed to recognize that Richard had really been engaging in an exercise in mimicry, reflecting their own persona back on the person he was talking to, a talent that is sure to be endearing—it’s nice and easy to fall in love with yourself...

...a serious concern for some people in the office was the confusion about Richard’s background. Some began to question whether he was an imposter citing impressive but fictitious credentials. Suspicion circulated about his previous activities and the opacity of his career timeline. Some whispered that there were some gaping holes. What was Richard trying to hide?

...Feelings of shame and guilt are quite alien to these people. They have no understanding of empathy; they are unable to see beyond their narrow self-interest; and they only care about what is good for number one. They also have no moral code or understanding of what is right or wrong. Expediency is all that matters. It is not conscience that enables them to control their antisocial impulses, but convenience...

The question remains, what can be viewed as developmental and what genetic in the creation of psychopathy? Given the lack of consistency about causality, most research about psychopaths has taken a genetic or neurological direction. The biological relationship between the brain and psychopathy is at the center of most of these studies. For example, many intriguing, consistent correlates of psychopathy (affective, semantic, and physiological differences) have been established in the laboratory. Usually, these tests suggest that psychopaths are prone to neurological (probably genetic) anomalies—that is, faulty wiring can be blamed for their condition (Livesley et al, 1992; Harris et al, 2001). 

According to some of these studies, biogenetic deficiencies (neurological abnormalities, mainly in the frontal lobe of the brain) prevent psychopaths from processing complex emotional experiences. The cause of the non-typical anatomy or chemical activity within this area of the brain may be abnormal growth (possibly genetic), brain disease, or injury..."

Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries

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