Thomas Erikson is a behavioral expert, active lecturer, and bestselling author of Surrounded by Idiots and Surrounded by Psychopaths: How to Protect Yourself from Being Manipulated and Exploited in Business.
What We Discuss with Thomas Erikson:
- Not all narcissists are psychopaths, but all psychopaths are narcissists. So how can you identify the psychopaths in your life who don’t act like the ones you see in slasher flicks and psychological thrillers?
- What psychopaths have to gain from manipulating and destroying other people.
- The insidious tactics psychopaths use to sow doubt and reap chaos in others.
- How you can resist these tactics before they’re used to ruin your life.
- What to do if you suspect that you might be a psychopath.
- And much more…
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Here are some shocking statistics: psychopaths account for about two to four percent of the population. Of these, about 75 percent are men. And while not all narcissists are psychopaths, all psychopaths are narcissists. So while we all definitely encounter psychopaths more regularly than we may have suspected, how do we identify them — especially when very few of them fit the mold of a Norman Bates or Hannibal Lechter? And if they’re not violent killers, what danger do they actually pose to us? Perhaps an even more disturbing thought to ponder: what if we’re among that two to four percent who can be considered legitimate psychopaths?
On this episode, we talk to behavioral expert Thomas Erikson about what he discovered while researching and writing his book Surrounded by Psychopaths: How to Protect Yourself from Being Manipulated and Exploited in Business. We discuss why psychopathy isn’t considered a mental illness, the destructive patterns psychopaths typically exhibit in interactions with others, what they have to gain from ruining the lives of others, why we fall for their manipulations, how we can learn to identify and guard ourselves against them, and what we can do if we suspect we’re psychopaths ourselves. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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Miss our two-parter with wrongfully imprisoned Erik Aude? Catch up by starting with episode 147: Erik Aude | Imprisoned in Pakistan for a Crime He Didn’t Commit Part One here!
THANKS, THOMAS ERIKSON!
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Resources from This Episode:
- Surrounded by Psychopaths: How to Protect Yourself from Being Manipulated and Exploited in Business by Thomas Erikson
- Surrounded by Idiots by Thomas Erikson
- Thomas Erikson | Website
- Thomas Erikson | Facebook
- Thomas Erikson | Instagram
- James Fallon | How to Spot a Psychopath | Jordan Harbinger
- If You Score Above 30 on This Test, You Might Be a Psychopath | Reader’s Digest
- Wendy Behary | Disarming the Narcissist | Jordan Harbinger
- Caroline Cranshaw: How to Tell the Difference Between Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Psychopaths | The Hits
- How Much Do Cats Actually Kill? [Infographic] | The Oatmeal
- What “Psychopath” Means | Scientific American
- Brain Chemical Is Reward for Psychopathic Traits | New Scientist
- Frog Fable Brought to Boil | Conservation
- Coffeezilla | How to Expose Fake Guru Scams | Jordan Harbinger
Transcript for Thomas Erikson | How to Protect Yourself from Psychopaths (Episode 465)
Jordan Harbinger: Coming up on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:02] Thomas Erikson: Kittens, they would like to go on the hunt for mice because it's what kittens do. They hunt mice. "Didn't you understand the mouse and his family was sort of sad." "No, you know, I'm a cat." We have to understand the mentality of these people. They don't care. They just don't care. The more you tell a psychopath how sad you were or how hurt you got, only few, that'll be more tools to make the situation even worse. You should never tell a psychopath how you feel about it because they will use this information in order to use you. That's just the way it is.
[00:00:41] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people. We have in-depth conversations with people at the top of their game, from astronauts to entrepreneurs, spies and psychologists, even the occasional mafia enforcer, Russian chess grandmaster, neuroscientists. Each episode turns our guests' wisdom into practical advice that you can use to build a deeper understanding of how the world works and become a better critical thinker.
[00:01:08] If you're new to the show or you're looking for a handy way to tell your friends about it, we have episodes starter packs. Those are collections of your favorite episodes, organized by popular topics to help new listeners get a taste of everything that we do here on the show. Just visit jordanharbinger.com/start to get started, or you can help someone else get started with us. And, you know, I love that. I love you guys when you do that. Sharing always helps.
[00:01:31] Now, today, we're doing a deep dive on psychopaths. I've done some shows on this before. For example, with Dr. James Fallon, which we'll link in the show notes. He's the guy who was studying psychopaths and found out that he was a psychopath. That's an incredible story in itself. If you enjoyed that one, this one's going to be right up your alley. Now, we'll discuss the hallmarks of a psychopath, their behaviors, and how we can spot them in the wild, so to speak. And of course, we'll also make sure you know what to do once you identify a potential psychopath in your life, how you can extricate yourself from the situation, and how you can execute a bit of a psychopath self-defense, if necessary. This is a super interesting episode. Who doesn't love a little psychopath talk? Am I right?
[00:02:11] And if you're wondering how I managed to book all these great authors, thinkers, creators, psychopaths, every single week, it's because of my network. And I'm teaching you how to build a psychopath-free network. Well, I probably shouldn't guarantee you that, but I'm teaching you how to build a network for free over at jordanharbinger.com/course. Most of the guests on the show, they're in the course, they contribute to the course. They subscribe to the course. Come join us, and you'll be in smart, virtually psychopath-free company where you belong. Now, here's Thomas Erickson.
[00:02:41] By the way, you've written a book about being surrounded by idiots and another about being surrounded by psychopaths. So you must keep some pretty interesting company, man.
[00:02:49] Thomas Erikson: You should see my friends or maybe you shouldn't.
[00:02:52] Jordan Harbinger: Maybe I shouldn't, yeah.
[00:02:53] Thomas Erikson: Maybe you should. Well, the book I am finishing this week, actually. I'm finessing it right now. It is something really — I can't talk about it, but let's call it something asked for by my American publisher, actually. They said, "How about writing this book on that topic?" And I said, "I don't know." But now. I did it and I don't regret it. I mean, it's going to be either people will burn it or love it.
[00:03:17] Jordan Harbinger: Right. I'm guessing the people who talk a lot online about loving freedom are going to be the ones who burn it, ironically. Freedom of information, burn this book and don't read it.
[00:03:25] Thomas Erikson: Yeah.
[00:03:26] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:03:26] Thomas Erikson: True.
[00:03:26] Jordan Harbinger: That's how that works usually.
[00:03:27] Thomas Erikson: I used to keep myself out of politics, but you're living in interesting times, I have to say. I don't envy you very much.
[00:03:34] Jordan Harbinger: Yes. Yes, we've done many, many shows about that sort of thing and about how we are isolating ourselves and making ourselves more victimized, able to both leaders and each other. It's really kind of a shame. And that's probably a good way to dovetail into this work that we're talking about now. I'd love to start off with some qualities of psychopaths. Because I think the stereotype is that psychopaths are violent. They come after you in the shower with a machete and talk to their dead mother who's sitting in a chair in the basement, right? Like Norman Bates or whatever, but psychopaths the most intelligent ones anyways, are walking around with everyone else. They're not in jail because they don't resort to violence to get what they want. They're just bastards. Right? They choose manipulation instead.
[00:04:19] Thomas Erikson: True. Psychopaths are usually, as you mentioned, it depends. I mean, there are stupid psychopaths as well, unintelligent, psychopaths. The stupid psych, he would go up to you on the street and say, "Hey, you got a nice watch," and then he will bang you in the head and take to watch and then he will end up behind bars, obviously — maybe.
[00:04:36] Jordan Harbinger: Maybe.
[00:04:37] Thomas Erikson: And the smart psychopath, the intelligent psychopath, he will see your beautiful watch and say, "That's a nice watch." And then he will talk you into giving him the watch. That's the difference. And even though you might say to yourself, I am not that stupid. Well, you haven't met the best psychopaths, the best manipulators yet. They are usually not Norma Bates or Hannibal Lecter. Actually, they are looking exactly like you and I, but they are not thinking like you and I. They are always in this sort of manipulation mode. "How can I trick this dude? What can I do to gain some extra points for myself?" They're always in this mode actually, which makes it really hard to be around them, but they are still usually very charming, which makes it hard to understand, because it was such a nice guy or a girl.
[00:05:24] I say usually he, him, and guy, because usually statistically 75 percent of all psychopaths are men. That is just a sad fact but it's what it is. We don't know why that is. So we don't have to go there, but they are usually manipulative than they are sort of pathological liars. They lie because it's fun to lie. No, not all, I say not always because they want something from you, but they lie because why not? How far can they take this show? How much can they fool you? How big a fool can they make out of you? It's all gain to them. And as they don't feel empathy, they have disconnected from their emotional center, actually in the brain. That actually had been studied thoroughly. We know they don't feel the same thing as we do, so they just don't care. All of us are just huge smorgasbord for the psychopaths to pick whatever they choose, to be honest.
[00:06:17] Jordan Harbinger: There are far more psychopaths around than most of us are aware of. When I was reading the book — what percentage of the population are psychopaths? I thought, "Okay. It's probably like 0.01 percent." And it's like four percent at the high end, which is shockingly high.
[00:06:32] Thomas Erikson: Yes. It depends on who you're asking. It depends. Different scientists claim different numbers. In Europe, we say two percent. In Sweden, they say one percent. Let's assume it's one percent. Nobody knows where it comes from. The international studies claim that it is basically probably between two and four. It could be as much as five percent depending on actually what country they are looking into. I have to say one thing, there are probably statistically and these are just the numbers. Don't kill the messenger, okay. But there are more psychopaths in the US than it is in Europe. I don't know why that is. It could be a matter of measurements. It could be, we use different systems. As I pointed out in the book, I have to make an explanation, I think so it could be a different methodology or in some way.
[00:07:20] Jordan Harbinger: Sure. But basically, if you're a male in the United States, by pretty much all accounts, you have a better chance of being a psychopath than you do in other areas. And you know, what's interesting? Show fans listen to this one. Occupations that primarily attract psychopaths — and listen, I am not kidding, this is from the book — lawyer, media and broadcast, CEO and journalism. Does anything listeners strike you about that list? Because I have done every single one of those jobs.
[00:07:51] Thomas Erikson: Oh no.
[00:07:52] Jordan Harbinger: Should I concern here? I skipped over drug cartel hitman. So I got that going for me. At least I'm not a drug cartel here, man.
[00:07:59] Thomas Erikson: But you're the one with the good ones, right?
[00:08:01] Jordan Harbinger: Yes. Yes. I'm a nonviolent — well, I mean, I don't even want to say that in a joking way because people are going to be like, "Ooh, stop listening to Jordan when he outed himself as a psychopath." It's a little scary to read that list.
[00:08:12] Thomas Erikson: Yes. But the thing is if you take a look at the psychopath checklist that's based on David Hare who is a Canadian psychologist. Let's call him the godfather of psychopathy research, let say. He made this list of over 20 bullet points and charming and manipulative and lying and taking risks and so on and so forth. And the thing is, all of us would use a score some points on the list. I mean, we have all been using lies sometime, maybe white lies, but still we are not 100 percent honest. Some of us are really, really charming. Some of us like to talk about ourselves and so on. Some of us takes risks, but the thing is we all have some of the traits within us. I'm not saying that we are psychopathic, but we have to show a certain number of psychopathic traits in a certain frequency, so to speak in order to get the diagnosis. It's not an exact term — oh, that's a psychopath, that’s not a psychopath. It's sort of a floating line here, and it's really hard to tell where the line should be drawn, I would say. You have to look for patterns.
[00:09:21] Jordan Harbinger: You mentioned in the book that psychopaths get fuel from manipulating and destroying people. That seems strange to me because if I were a psychopath, I would just want to get things from myself like money or fame or power. What do I have to gain by actually ruining other people's lives? And of course, this is maybe why I would make a terrible psychopath because I would feel really guilty manipulating somebody and having them face consequences. But I guess that's what makes normal people normal, right? Or am I just saying that because that's what a normal person would say. But it seems like you really do have to go the extra mile to make a fool out of someone else instead of just like taking their money. Why go the extra mile to make them miserable instead of just like running off with their bank account? You know, that's the part that I don't really understand. I think normal folks, we just don't understand why. Like why the extra crew involved in all of this?
[00:10:09] Thomas Erikson: It's a really good question. The thing is we have to take a look at narcissism as well. Because all narcissists are not psychopaths, but every psychopath is a narcissist. And narcissism means you like to win. You have this grandiose feeling that you were better than everybody else. You like to feel superior and you like to use your supremacy in order to dominate people. It's a personality trait that can be found in many people. But again, it's really a frequency pattern, so to speak.
[00:10:43] Then you see somebody that likes to use people and psychopaths have that within them. Not everybody shows it because as I mentioned before, the intelligence psychopath knows he will be hated for it. So he can downplay this instinct. But narcissists, they don't have this smartness, so they do it all the time, but it is within every psychopath. The need to use people because it makes them feel better, bigger, smarter, and more valuable than anybody else. Every time I talk about psychopathy, people say, "That's not logical," but you have to skip all the logic. This is not logical. This is just many. These are predators. These are hyenas. They're not even wolfs. There are hyenas. They killed half-dead prey, so to speak. That is what they do. So, yeah, oh, dear.
[00:11:30] Jordan Harbinger: Not good.
[00:11:31] Thomas Erikson: It's fascinating and scary at the same time. It's like a big accident on the highway. You say to your family, "Oh, look at that. That was a very scary and unpleasant to watch. But is that a leg? I thought I saw some blood there." You have to slow down and do some rubberneck because—
[00:11:46] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:11:46] Thomas Erikson: —you can't keep your eyes away from it, you know? The same thing with psychopathy, scary but fascinating.
[00:11:52] Jordan Harbinger: You mentioned book, you had a stalker at one point and she was just a great liar and she almost seemed to believe her own words, but you stopped short of saying that she did believe her own words, so psychopaths, they know they're lying and manipulating. They're just — are they not in a world of their own where they actually are the victim or they know what they're doing the whole time and it's just complete apathy?
[00:12:12] Thomas Erikson: They know what they are doing. The thing is that they know they are lying. They know they are cheating. They know they are stealing. They know they are manipulating us. But the thing is they don't care, they think it is their right. They are entitled to act in this way. It is their birthright because they are born superiors. I mean, they are at the top of the food chain, so to speak. So it is their right to use you and me and anybody else. It's hard to explain.
[00:12:37] It's like, you can talk about a little kitten. Kittens, they would like to go chasing or go on the hunt for mice because it's what kittens do. They hunt mice. You can't talk to them. "Why did you do that? Didn't you understand the mouse and his family was sort of sad, but he's what you need." "No, you know, I'm a cat. Why are you even asking me these stupid questions?" We have to understand the mentality of these people. They don't care. They just don't care. The more you tell a psychopath how sad you were or how hurt you got, only few that'll be more tools to make the situation even worse. You should never tell a psychopath how you feel about it, because they will use this information in order to use you. That's just the way it is.
[00:13:23] Jordan Harbinger: I wonder why these people haven't been bred out of humanity, but it all, I mean, it seems like if money and status are of primary importance for the psychopath, it sounds like that drives ambition and achievement in many ways. Right? So maybe they're good — I hate to frame it like this, but maybe in a way they're good for society because they can control large organizations ruthlessly. A lot of these serve — I really hate to paint any particular job, but like a CEO or a military leader might actually be well-served by some of these traits.
[00:13:53] Thomas Erikson: Well, there has always been psychopaths. All societies have had their psychopaths. Throughout history, we can see signs or psychopathic behaviors. Even though the word psychopath is something that comes from our modern ages, it's a trait that has been known for human kind for at least 10,000 years. We don't know why psychopaths exist at all. We don't know why nature provided us with this kind of let's call it personality disorder. I mean, it's not an illness, it's not a sickness. It's not a mental disease. It's a personality disorder. It's inheritable. Usually psychopathy in some way you can inherit it from your parents. The exact percentage, nobody knows. Extremely difficult to say it is this, or it is that. But the thing is it's always been around like color blindness or using your left hand or your right hand. It is just what it is. The only way to get rid of every psychopath is actually to do something really bad, which I can't phrase in your show here, because it would not be very humane of me to do so.
[00:15:00] But, you know, the Inuits?
[00:15:03] Jordan Harbinger: Inuits, yeah.
[00:15:04] Thomas Erikson: The men went out hunting whales. One guy said, "I had a bad back, you know, I can't come with you. I had to stay home and check the village." So they said, "Okay." And then they went and when they got home again, after two months at sea, the village had burned to the ground and all the women were pregnant. So they took this guy and put him on an ice, piece of ice, ice flute.
[00:15:25] Jordan Harbinger: Floe yeah.
[00:15:25] Thomas Erikson: Ice floe. And said, "Bye-bye, off you go then," because that was their sort of final solution. That's the only way that you actually can deal with psychopathy. You can't get rid of them. And still, who would you frame with psychopathy? It's an impossible thing to do because some people are just jerks.
[00:15:44] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:15:44] Thomas Erikson: You know some people are just unpleasant to be around. And I have received literally thousands of emails from all over the world. I mean, the book about psychopathy was translated into — I don't know — 30 languages or something, and people give me examples of real psychopaths in their family. People who are born with psychopaths, but still again, some — one lady emailed me and said, "You know, I've just gotten through this terrible divorce. My ex-husband, he didn't give me my cooking books. He kept those. Do you think he's a psychopath?" So, you know, you need to have some more information. You can't make the diagnosis yourself. You have to have some expertise.
[00:16:26] I mean, to be honest, it's not enough to read a book. I could probably not discover all the psychopaths in my surroundings. I will see some of them because some are more easy to wrap your head around than others, but it's a tricky question. We just have to learn how to live with this sort of lethal personality, actually.
[00:16:44] Jordan Harbinger: So therapy doesn't work for psychopaths, so they can't be healed. It's not—
[00:16:47] Thomas Erikson: Oh no.
[00:16:47] Jordan Harbinger: What I found was interesting is this is not a mental illness, you've said. So what's the difference between psychopathy and a mental illness? I guess I didn't realize that psychopathy was not a mental illness itself. What is it? A brain condition? I mean, I guess I don't really understand the difference.
[00:17:02] Thomas Erikson: The mental illness is sort of a — I mean, if you're psychotic or if you are suffering from schizophrenia or something like that, that can be treated with therapy, with the specific of, of the medication. We know there are good methods to treat the, let's say schizophrenia, that's an example, it's just one example. There's several of these diagnoses, plenty of them. Psychopathy is not an illness. It's a personality disorder. It starts at the moment in the woman's womb, actually. It's actually at the second when actually the fetus is created. It's a really hard thing to think about a child being a psychopath, but grown out psychopaths were children some years ago. It is just the way it is.
[00:17:46] We know for now, because we can use the real advanced brain scans or MRIs. And we can see where in the brain that the disorder is, it's in the amygdala — which is to simplify it. It's the center of the brain that sort of controls your emotional reactions. I am taking this down if any neuroscientists hear this, they would say, "Not really."
[00:18:09] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:18:09] Thomas Erikson: But in short words, it's the amygdala and it controls your emotional center. We can see on brain scans, they have, they are lacking certain areas in the amygdala. So they actually cannot sense the things that you and I can sense. They cannot feel the same thing. They do not have the same ability to feel certain kinds of emotions, which makes some people say, "Well, so the psychopath is actually the victim. The nature made him like this. So we should feel sorry for him." But that's a misinterpretation of the whole thing. Because again, if a hyena takes your baby, will you feel sorry for the hyena? No, you will not. You will still like to have your baby back in the same condition as before, but with a psychopath that is really hard to achieve, to be honest.
[00:18:56] Jordan Harbinger: I want to talk about some of the characteristics of psychopaths. And we've talked about this a little bit in already a lack of remorse, narcissism, being completely unmoved by the plight of others along with that pathological lying, cunning and manipulative. This is interesting because they spot weakness very easily. Is that because of practice or because there's less interference with other feelings happening that they can just zero in on that? Or do we just not know why they can do that?
[00:19:23] Thomas Erikson: That's a really interesting question. How can they be so good at this? I mean, this is kind of social competence.
[00:19:29] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:19:30] Thomas Erikson: Let's say, they can read me. They can read you, they can read anybody, usually easier than the average guy, than average Joe can do. And why is that? Well, it's two things actually. One is what you touched upon is they don't have to use their emotions. They can be just cold — what's the word? Callousness.
[00:19:51] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. They're just completely — I don't want to say rational. But like, if you do something and I want to manipulate you, but I'm also angry, that's going to mess with me, right? I'm going to be like, "I want to do this thing because I'm mad at you." But if I'm just going, huh, earlier you said this and I want to take all your money. So I'm going to feed your ego and I have no emotional kind of — like, I don't feel weird manipulating your ego by faking that I am beneath you. I'm just manipulating you. It's just more of a pure — the channel is not crowded, right?
[00:20:22] Thomas Erikson: True.
[00:20:22] Jordan Harbinger: There's no other traffic on that road.
[00:20:24] Thomas Erikson: You answer the question better than I did actually. But they are 100 percent rational, logical, and not affected by emotions in any way. So they can do this in a really balanced way. As you mentioned, they are observing us we are like — imagine just the laboratory rat. We can look at him through the glass and say, "Okay, there he goes. Going left, going right. Okay. Interesting. Hmm, I'm going to take some notes." If you yell at the psychopath, he doesn't care. He doesn't mind. He's superior to you. He doesn't care if you're angry. That's just interesting information, as you said. "Okay, that makes Jordan angry. Hmm, how can I use this?" And then put it on shelf to be, you know, it's just what they do. All this irrational thing, which actually makes some psychopaths really useful.
[00:21:09] In extreme, stressful situations, or when it comes to let's say war situations, or really in a physical danger, they are straight, really sort of rational and not scared, not stressed out or anything. So they can actually act in a really good way. The problem is you can still cannot control them, but they are using all these things in order to learn. And of course, the really young psychopath, he hasn't learned the game, yet. He's learning, he's testing and trying some things, and getting better and better at this sort of weird, really absurd game, because it is a game. It is actually a game. They are building their own routine, so to speak, and then they know.
[00:21:54] Sometimes when I hear people describe people as victims for psychopaths, they describe behavior patterns that are so similar that sometimes I think there is some sort of manual out there, the psychopathic handbook, if you know what I mean. Because a lot of them are using the exact same methodology.
[00:22:15] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:22:16] Thomas Erikson: Which only tells me they really know how to read people, because usually people react in an emotional way. There are just that number of emotions to use, you know. If I would like to make you sad, if I would like to make you angry or completely mad or hurt or happy or whatever, I know your trigger points. If I need you to be happy now, because I would like you to lend me some money, then I can make you smile. Then when you ask me to give the money back, I will make you sad because I need to sort of distract you. It's just following the manual. The more you present yourself to the psychopath, the more understanding it has about you, the more dangerous he becomes to you as the victim, because you're a victim.
[00:22:59] Jordan Harbinger: The other characteristics, and there are a lot, so I won't go over all of them, but, uh, impulsive, easily offended, and this one I think is almost like a — this factor here needing dopamine and stimulation that almost opens up a whole tree of other things, right, underneath it? Because you see that they have superficial emotions or emotional poverty. And that probably goes hand in hand with needing dopamine and stimulation. Because if you're not easily fired up in a good way or a bad way about something, you've got to get your dopamine and stimulation elsewhere, which leads to some of these other factors, such as sexual aggression, being promiscuous. These types of things would result in you getting a lot of stimulation and dopamine if you're sexually assaulting or just assaulting people or causing problems that get other people really angry at you. You know, you're getting that stimulation through that. And that kind of explains earlier why, instead of just calmly draining someone's bank account, you have to do it in a spectacular way that causes their entire family anguish, because that's sort of reminding you that you're alive by giving you some sort of stimulation in your defective brain.
[00:24:01] Thomas Erikson: Well, the thing is that they don't have any patience. They need quick fixes and they need dopamine kick, so to speak. They can do things in a spectacular way because it makes them feel something. Probably deep down inside every psychopath that is some small piece of understanding, "I am not like everybody else. The humanity in general is experiencing things that I may be — maybe I don't miss it. I know I am lacking emotionality if you let's say, or empathy or whatever, but still it's not a problem because it puts me on top of things." They need the drama because — I mean, that's the narcissistic part within the psychopath. They need the drama. They need to feel superior. They need stimulation or the need for feeling grandiose. Entering a room and saying, "I am here. Look at me all you peasants, all easy usable assets. Give me the support that I am entitled to." It is complicated. As I mentioned before, skip all the logic, just understand how they are wired.
[00:25:08] Other people say to me, "I think you're exaggerating. I don't believe in those kinds of people." Because I don't think a lot of people don't want there to be psychopaths because they are so mean. And some people's telling me, "Do they have to be psychopaths? Couldn't it just be. They are evil," but hey, for me, same thing.
[00:25:31] Jordan Harbinger: You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Thomas Erickson. We'll be right back.
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[00:28:09] Jordan Harbinger: Now back to Thomas Erickson on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:28:14] Not every psychopath is evil though, right? Or not every psychopath does horrible things. Isn't that correct? I feel like I've studied this or read about this before, I should say. Where there are psychopaths that have decent relationships with their family? Have you heard of James Fallon?
[00:28:29] Thomas Erikson: Yeah.
[00:28:29] Jordan Harbinger: The author.
[00:28:30] Thomas Erikson: Yes.
[00:28:30] Jordan Harbinger: Look, he could easily have just pulled the wool over my eyes, but it looked like from his work that he has an okay relationship with his wife and kids. And, you know, he didn't even know that he was a psychopath because of the story. But then again, that's his own story, so what do we really know about that? Or are all psychopaths so inherently dysfunctional that they really can't hold normal lives?
[00:28:51] Thomas Erikson: Well, James Fallon is an interesting thing. He's actually a psychologist and a researcher who was studying — he was here in Sweden a couple of years ago, and I listened to him when he was on the biggest Scandinavian talk show on the television. It was fascinating to see him and to hear him. And I'm pretty sure he's a very competent guy. Having that said, I have read some statements from his wife about his tantrums and things he can call people that he claimed he loves. On Swedish TV, he got the question — I mean, he had done some brain scans on criminals. "Okay, that's a psychopathic brain. That's another one. Oh now, who's brain scan is this? I had to put it in this pile because that's a psychopathic brain. Oh, oh, that's my brain. Oh, dear."
[00:29:33] Now, if I would have discovered myself as a psychopath, I would not have made it public. I would not have entered the media saying, "Hey, look at me. I am a psychopath but I am the single good psychopath on the face of the earth."
[00:29:48] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:29:48] Thomas Erikson: "I am the only one that you should trust." Because being a psychopath, he needed the attention saying, "Hey, look at me. I am a psychopath." Because they are sort of making magic in our faces without, we are understanding it, because on TV, he looked charming and smiling and—
[00:30:08] Jordan Harbinger: He is charming.
[00:30:08] Thomas Erikson: Very charming. I do not question his competence. I'm pretty sure he is providing for his family. That is not the point, but the things he said behind the smiles. I mean the host of the TV show asked him, "Can you feel love?" You got the straight forward question. Can you feel love? Then he said, Hmm, hmm, and then a smile said, no, not really." Still smiling.
[00:30:33] Jordan Harbinger: Chills.
[00:30:33] Thomas Erikson: "No, I don't know what love is." And for me, who knew what that was — for me, I get shivers down my spine when I think about it.
[00:30:42] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I just did as well.
[00:30:43] Thomas Erikson: But he was still smiling and the audience said, "Ooh, look at him. He's so charming. He can't feel love, but he's still a pleasant guy, you know. For me, that's the scariest part of everything. That is so, so scary because that's how they get under your skin. Again, I say nothing more about James Fallon—
[00:31:00] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:31:01] Thomas Erikson: —other than based on his books, because I read them and his TV performance. That is all I can comment on.
[00:31:07] Jordan Harbinger: That makes sense and I appreciate that answer. I would love to know more about how we can protect ourselves against psychopaths. It seems like it would start with increasing our self-awareness and also probably doing what we're doing here on the show, which is learning how to recognize psychopathic behavior. Am I barking up the right tree here?
[00:31:26] Thomas Erikson: Absolutely. Absolutely. I will say there's three ways to deal with psychopathy. The one is obviously to turn this down psychopathy to sort of take off the shades. Don't lie for yourself. Be realistic. Don't be naive. Fool me once, shame on you, you know, that kind of thing. Don't be naive in this aspect. It's not beautiful to be naive for me. It's being able to hurt you or — it's not a virtue to be naive. It's actually a weakness in a way, even though being naive probably sounds lovely on paper, but it isn't particularly useful in this situation.
[00:32:05] Understand what psychopaths are like. Understand some people are out there and they are actually out there to do evil things to you. They don't care about you, even though they say they love you. They do not. I'm not saying people should walk around and being scared about new acquaintances. But that's a natural sense of looking for patterns. Don't open your wallet on the first date. Don't tell the new acquaintance your deepest secrets because — he let's say you go on a date and you meet this guy. He says. "Okay, what are your worst scares? What are you scared of, really super horrifyingly scared for?" Don't tell him that, you know.
[00:32:47] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:32:47] Thomas Erikson: We will ask you and he will learn it. We'll put it on shelf to be again, right? And he will use it in six months or something. And he will tell you his worst fears in life to make you tell. But you need to understand these patterns or read a book, some book, any book about psychopathy and understand what it actually is. Learn to see the patterns. That is number one. You need to understand these people are, they are evil. And you need to understand yourself the more you understand yourself, the more aware you become about your weaknesses.
[00:33:18] And why are the weaknesses important? Well, it's because psychopaths are looking for the weakest of the weakest of the spots. They are always looking for where to push the knife in and twist it around a little bit. They are not trying to build you up. They are trying to break you down. And some of them, the smart ones, they have patience. They can use a year or two to sort of build their lovely persona to all the people in the whole neighborhood and in your family and everything. So they are positioning themselves and then they open up to you. And if you don't know what they are doing, if you don't understand, these are my weakest spots.
[00:33:54] I mean, I met this lady who said, "My father always shouted at me. He yelled and shouted really loud. So if somebody is raising his voice. I react immediately, physically react." And she told her husband to be on the first date. And he used it against her five years later, for 10 years, the only thing he did to put her out of balance was to raise his voice. Really terrible, terrible story.
[00:34:17] But the third point is how much value would you put in yourself? How much do you think you deserve in life? Do you deserve a good relationship? If the answer is yes, you are stronger when it comes to fighting psychopathy. If your self-worth is yourself, let's say — oh, the word is escaping me.
[00:34:39] Jordan Harbinger: Self-esteem?
[00:34:40] Thomas Erikson: Self-esteem, yes. Thank you. Self-esteem, if you have a big self-esteem, meaning you are appreciating who you are, I'm not saying you are egoistic or self-loving, but you think you are a good person. You deserve the best. That's the best way to actually build defense towards manipulators of any kind, psychopaths or any kind of people. That would be my recommendation. Learn psychopathy, learn yourself, learn how to understand yourself and build your self-esteem in a positive way.
[00:35:07] Jordan Harbinger: Is that sort of adjacent to setting firm boundaries? Where it's like, hey, you know, look, I've realized everyone loses their temper sometimes. That's fine. It's happened once every six months. You say something that's a little out of line when we're fighting, okay. But if somebody, every week is exploding, because you asked them to give you your $10,000 back that you lent them for something. And they're just redirecting the conversation by tormenting you — you know, you've got to draw the line. Is that kind of what we're talking about? Like, set firm boundaries based on the way you want to be treated in a relationship. Again, everybody has fights, right? So it's like, you fight with your wife here and there, but you don't make her cry every month or every three weeks or something like that, just because she didn't do some little thing that you wanted and you want to control her. Right? You have to set up a bound — I guess I'm just beating this to death, but you have to set up a boundary and then stick to it.
[00:35:56] Thomas Erikson: You're answering your own question, you know?
[00:35:58] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, the psychopath looks for somebody who's who doesn't have boundaries or sets a boundary and then lets them just walk right over it every single time, right? And just trample it.
[00:36:06] Thomas Erikson: Boundaries are really good. I mean, one thing that you have to pay attention to is comparing, what did he say you should do and what did he actually do? Compare words with actions. If the actions are very not similar to the words. That's manipulation. A lot of people are saying things to get out of an unpleasant situation. I've done that and he's done that. You told your manager, "Yeah, I'm going to fix that project. I'm going to do this. I'm going to fill in the report," and then I’m thinking, "Aah, let's see when I can squeeze in that one as well." But that's not what I'm talking about. Again, look for the patterns. Look to see, is this a frequent behavior? If somebody is always sort of tormenting you when you bring, let's say money, I mean, psychopaths are — they will ask you to take the bail on everything. Could they make you pay? They will.
[00:36:56] They are parasites when it comes to finance. Parasites. We can't sugar coat this word. They are parasites, basically. If the topic of money comes up, the subject of money comes up and every time the person starts to do something, then you can say, "Okay, now, I am looking at this pattern." Again, he just might be a jerk or just somebody who isn't in touch with himself. Maybe he doesn't see it. So you have to say, "Okay, when I said this, you did that. That is not okay with me. I need you to do something else. That doesn't work." Do not say, "You made me feel bad. You hurt my feelings." Again, just more ammunition for the manipulator. Say instead, "When you did this to me, that is not okay. I need you to stop it now." You will hear, "Oh, I am so sorry. Absolutely." If it comes back the next week, "Ah, there you go again. Now, you read the same thing and that is not okay." The psychopath can control this for two weeks, five weeks, maybe a month. And then he will fall back into his own sort of behavior pattern.
[00:37:53] That's when you know, as you said Jordan, in a normal relationship, you have arguments, you have fights about this and that, and it's usually you can sort it out, you can discuss it and sort of balance your opinions. So you negotiate your way through the situation, but a psychopath always negotiates himself through the situation in order to be the biggest winner, always to gain the upper hand and you have to look for it. Sometimes you have to take notes. What did he actually tell me? Some people say, "When I started re-thinking, I have to record our conversations." Now that's a warning sign if nothing else — that is a huge warning sign, but you have to look for these things and there's 20 traits to look for. So yes, it is complicated.
[00:38:37] Jordan Harbinger: Tell me if I'm oversimplifying this, but I tried to reverse engineer this from the book. So if we know that psychopaths are really good at spotting weaknesses, shortcomings, vulnerabilities, exploits, it follows that we should then be on the lookout for people that spot those and attempt to exploit them easily. So if we have really good self-awareness and we know, "Okay, I'm easily flattered. And I'm always looking for shortcuts on how to make easy money, because I grew up poor," something like that. And then we see somebody swooping in and doing that to us. We can't necessarily diagnose them as a psychopath. But it seems like a pretty good indicator that that person is trying to victimize us if we know that they're going to be good at spotting it and we know our own weakness, and then they do just that. Is that sort of a safe — would you recommend that sort of tactic? Like if we have that sort of self-awareness to obviously be on the lookout for people who spot it right away and come after it.
[00:39:28] Thomas Erikson: Yeah, absolutely. That's a good point. Again, a lot of people use manipulation techniques. Not all of them are psychopaths. Not all of them are narcissists, sociopaths or anything. Some people just found a way to make life easy for themselves. That is just the way it is. I mean, as I just said before, if you confront somebody, say like, "Hey, that's not okay. Now I can see what you're doing here." Sort of call them out, say, "Hey, I know what you're doing. I know what you're doing." That should be done in all kinds of relationships. It could be at work or with some — you know where your brother-in-law or whoever. You have to do something. Don't let people step on you. That's not never. You have to react. I mean, my advice is if it feels bad, it is bad. Do something.
[00:40:16] And what you just said, I can rephrase it but what you just said is actually what we have to do. Act and do something. If it's a jerk, he or she will see, "Okay. Sorry my bad. I didn't realize I did that, actually. I haven't thought of it like that. Help me to adjust my behavior because I don't want to be seen as a joke. I want to be seen as at least an okay person." Let's say it's sort of a loose acquaintance or somebody at work or some sort of friend of a friend or something, well, just block him on Facebook or whatever, you know? So you don't have to deal with it because usually you cannot change other people. You can never change a psychopath. You can't treat them. You can't just do anything. You can usually not change other people either. I mean, just look at how hard you have to change yourself.
[00:41:02] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:41:03] Thomas Erikson: And imagine putting that pressure on somebody else. Usually it cannot be done.
[00:41:07] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:41:08] Thomas Erikson: You can tell them, "That is not okay. If you don't stop this, this relationship is over." And then you have to back up your words with action. If you say, "I don't recommend to use threats," but if you say to the manipulator, "If you don't change your behavior, I will move out of this apartment." Then you have to solve the situation or you're going to sleep over at a friend's house. Or you have got your own apartment. You have to have a plan because if you phrase this threat and say, "If you don't stop, I will move." And he doesn't stop and you don't move.
[00:41:46] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:41:47] Thomas Erikson: My God now you're in deep sh*t.
[00:41:49] Yeah. It totally
[00:41:50] Jordan Harbinger: makes sense.
[00:41:51] Thomas Erikson: That is bad, bad, because now you only have proof that your words doesn't count.
[00:41:56] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Your boundaries aren't real. So then they go, "Oh, well, sh*t, I can do whatever I want."
[00:42:00] Thomas Erikson: "I have learned more about your weakness. You say things you're not willing to back them up with directions. Now, I know even more about you. Please hand me some more rope." Don't do it. Just don't. If it feels bad, it is bad. Do something.
[00:42:16] Jordan Harbinger: How do we separate a psychopathic partner or co-worker or whatever from somebody who's just a regular asshole? Or does it just not matter?
[00:42:24] Thomas Erikson: I guess in a way it doesn't matter. Regular assh*les make us feel bad. Is that okay? No, the psychopaths make us feel even worse. Is that okay? No, it's never okay. Nobody that makes you feel bad is acceptable. The difference is, again, as I said, you can maybe have a sort of, let's call it a — you can have a conversation with a regular jerk and make him listen, and maybe he can change himself. The psychopath will always lie to you and he will still try to fool you. He will ever change because he's born like this. The regular jerky, he's just — some people just don't think. They don't use what's between their ears. They just don't think about these things. They just wander through life because nobody has stopped them from being a jerk. Maybe you can help this guy or girl for that matter saying, "Hey, now you're being a jerk. You're a bit of a jerk there, you know? Do you think that's okay? Is that the room that you would like to build? Oh, I didn't think of that." So now you can make them and do them a favor, but still it's difficult to change other people. It's really tricky.
[00:43:30] Jordan Harbinger: You've mentioned some behavioral traits of psychopaths as well. Aside from what we've already discussed, one of which is staring. And this is obviously not super reliable, right? It's one characteristic among others. Not everyone who stares at somebody is a psychopath automatically, but I found that interesting. Why can sometimes staring be an indicator of psychopathy? Is that just because it's predatory? I didn't really pick that up from the book.
[00:43:55] Thomas Erikson: No, the reason — it's called the long glance, I think in English.
[00:44:00] Jordan Harbinger: Gaze, maybe?
[00:44:01] Thomas Erikson: The long gaze, but the thing is it's about social competence. Again, a psychopath does not always understand, let's say the social game, so to speak. They have to learn each and every individual. It's not like saying they understand you, then they understand me. It's not that simple, but if you are sort of — you don't understand, you don't have the social skills in the way that you can manage your threads through and mingle at a party, if you know what I mean? If the psychopath is interested in you, he will look at you like this — like an interesting object. And he doesn't know it's looked upon as being a bit rude. The only people who stare at you, it would be a psychopath or maybe a policeman because he's looking for fraudulent behavior. Are you a criminal or, you know what? That's the policeman's business, looking too much into people's eyes. But if you look in somebody's eyes more than, I don't know, two or three seconds, it feels unpleasant. That's why we are doing this. You, we are looking into the camera.
[00:45:02] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:45:03] Thomas Erikson: Simultaneously, we are looking away, you know, because it's a bit strange. We don't do this because we know it just instinctively—
[00:45:10] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:45:10] Thomas Erikson: —that it's not, it's not a nice thing to do.
[00:45:12] Jordan Harbinger: It's taken me years to realize that you can't really tell via webcam, if I'm looking directly at your eyes. So I worry about it a lot less, but I still try and keep up the habit of looking away because I don't want to be in a normal social situation. And someone's like, "Yo, you're being super weird." And I'm like," Oh, sorry. I'm used to staring at people on a video screen who can't really necessarily tell if I'm looking directly at their eyes." So you're right. This psychopath may simply have never learned that and moderating how long you look at somebody or how long appropriate eye contact is, that is a very difficult skill to do manually and it's almost impossible.
[00:45:49] Thomas Erikson: Well, the thing is it differs between different cultures as well — if you go to Japan, you might get a smack on the head at second one. If you do it, let’s say, in Hungary, it's more okay because of the culture. The thing is there's millions of these small, small signals that you don't really know how to deal with. Then again, it's easier for us because we can sort of sense the other person's unpleasantness. And we don't want to make people feel unpleasant. The psychopath again is putting it in his notebook. "Hmm. Interesting. When I look at you like this, you will feel unpleasant. Now, let's see where I can use it." You and I think, "Oh, that was bad. Maybe he thinks I'm a weirdo.
[00:46:30] Jordan Harbinger: Weirdo.
[00:46:30] Thomas Erikson: Because the idea of those things. So again, it's a total of different manuals again, yes.
[00:46:37] Jordan Harbinger: The other behavioral trait was isolation. So psychopaths often attempt to isolate their victims by turning them against their friends, pretending to be the only person that they can trust. And this makes them more powerful and it makes their victim more forgiving of what they're doing, because they're afraid to lose their only friend. Right? They don't have anyone else to turn to. And we hear this a lot about cults and things like that as well. So I would advise people to look out for this. But one that I wanted to ask you about was nitpicking, right? Psychopaths will nitpick someone's behavior. What's going on here? That was new for me. I hadn't really ever thought about this.
[00:47:12] Thomas Erikson: Well, there's another manipulation technique. It doesn't work on everybody. I mean, we have people who are, let's say, everybody that we meet is not relation oriented, so to speak. Everybody doesn't like to be surrounded by lots of new people all the time. Some people are feeling pretty okay during lockdown, working from home and nobody distracts them and it feels pretty much okay actually. But the thing is a lot of us are focused on relationships and when we are focused on other people, it's easy to get us, so to speak because of that. And it's tricky to understand. What they do is, I mean, if the psychopath is presenting his persona to everybody around you and making himself look like a prince charming or whatever. Princesses charming for that matter.
[00:47:58] And then they have to show themselves to you because the true manipulation starts. Then I was sort of taking the mask off a little bit, the mask of sanity falls apart, and then you will know. "Ooh, what's going to happen here?" And then you will call your friend, say, "Hey, he's really an ass. He's a jerk or he's a psychopath." Two things could happen. They can say, "Okay, that's bad. You should move out." Or your friend could say, "No, no, he's the nicest guy on the planet. It depends a little bit how far this goes. It depends on how skilled this psychopath is in this sort of manipulation game. The only way to make sure you cannot call your friends is to isolate you from them, making you totally dependent on the psychopath. Saying that, "Bob over here is he actually said this and that about you or that I don't think you should stay away from Bob, you know? And Georgia over there, she said, this and that, and that wasn't very pleasant. How can you hang out with those guys? You know your mother, she's really mean. I overheard her saying these things about you. I sort of stood by you there. You weren't there but I fought for you."
[00:49:02] And then you start thinking so many people disliking me for reasons that the psychopaths know you will react to. Your mother said something that you know she could say. Your friend, Bob here, he said something that you know is one of your, maybe not so pleasant sides, so to speak and Georgia and so on. So they are sort of building this puzzle. And all of a sudden, you believe these people don't like you, and then they have you, the psychopaths have you in a little box. Now, you're completely dependent on the psychopath's goodwill. "I am the only one." This is something to look for as well, the long gaze, "But it's me, I am protecting you from this world. You can trust me. I will always be on your side." Why do you do this? It's a stupid gesture, but still it's to point out I am trustworthy. Why do you have to point out that you are trustworthy, either you are or you're not, you know, your actions speak for you.
[00:49:56] So now, you're dependent on them. So the only thing you have to say, "Could you talk to him, could you talk to her?" And they come back and say that, "They hate you. They totally hate you." Putting you in a box, isolating you. That's pretty common for psychopaths to do because they are sort of taking out every possible threat to the persona that they are building around themselves. And then when they have bled you dry, they will just leave you.
[00:50:19] Jordan Harbinger: Yikes.
[00:50:20] Thomas Erikson: Again, not caring about where you end up. They don't give it a damn.
[00:50:27] Jordan Harbinger: This is The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Thomas Erickson. We'll be right back.
[00:50:32] This episode is sponsored in part by Better Help. I know what you're thinking. I don't need therapy. My friends are my therapists. Good friends are natural sounding boards for our anxieties. And while it's true that talking with a friend can be very therapeutic, these kinds of chats, they take a toll on a relationship and rather than burden friends who are not even trained to handle all the complexities of your past, why not work with an expert instead? Therapists can provide many of the same benefits, a great chat with a friend does, but their experience in education can deepen the conversation and help you make connections between your current choices and ones that would better serve you in the future. Plus you can just never see them again after you unload on your Better Help therapist, and that's always kind of a nice feeling. You just never have to face them again. They're not going to show up at an awkward Christmas party. If you've been avoiding therapy, because you think your friends can be your therapist, please do consider this your sign to make an appointment with Better Help today. You fill out a questionnaire. They pair you in a couple of days. Everything is confidential. It's available worldwide. Start now. It's a great way to dip your toes in the water of therapy.
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[00:52:55] Thanks for listening and supporting the show. Your support of our advertisers is what keeps us going. By the way we put all the deals in one place, jordanharbinger.com/deals is where you'll find all the codes that are all in order. It does really help us when you support our sponsors. So please consider supporting those who support us. And don't forget, we've got a worksheet for today's episode. If you want some of the drills and exercises and psychopath avoidance strategies we talked about here in the show, they're all in one easy place. They're in the worksheets. That link is in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast.
[00:53:27] Now, for the conclusion of our episode here with Thomas Erickson.
[00:53:32] There was a substory in the book about psychopaths trying to sabotage memories, so gaslighting in a certain way, and say maybe that a good evening was terrible for some bullsh*t arbitrary reasons that the psychopath creates in their own minds. So like you come back, you have a great evening with friends and then as soon as you get home, she says, "I can't believe it. You run this perfectly good evening. You were making so-and-so's wife so uncomfortable." And you're thinking, "What I thought we all had a great time." "No, it's embarrassing. And then when we went to the bathroom, she was saying how weird you were being." And I've experienced this myself from somebody that I used to work with. We would go out with friends and then they would say, "Oh man, we have to apologize for your weird behavior." And I'm thinking, "What? It doesn't even make sense. They just called me when I was on the way home driving in my own car to chat." But then, "No, you don't understand. Everyone there thought you were being a jerk." And I'm just sitting there questioning myself because I'm in my late 20s, early 30s, and it kept happening over and over and over until it almost got to me. It did in many ways get to me.
[00:54:35] But I finally started — I got a girlfriend who was very, very socially aware and she started to say, "Hey, every time that we do something, he says something like this, have you noticed?" And I went, "Yeah, I have noticed that. But you know, maybe I just can't control my behavior. I'm socially unaware." And she goes, "No, no, no, no. He's just doing this on purpose to make you feel bad." And I go, "You know, I always thought that, but nobody who's normal wants to think every time someone points out negative behavior that I'm doing, it's them and not me. I don't want to think that way. I want to learn and grow as a person." And that's what this person was picking up on, which was, "I can just tell Jordan he's being a weirdo and he'll believe me, and I can break him down gradually over time." And then he could tell me what to do in social scenarios, because otherwise I might make a big gaffe again. So I got to lean on him to lead by example. And my girlfriend was finally like, "No, he is a jerk and a creep and everyone that we know doesn't like hanging out with him. We tolerate him because we want to hang out with you." and that was a big turning point for me. But if I hadn't met this girl who knows it would have happened? I would've kept going down that road for potentially, for years.
[00:55:38] Thomas Erikson: It's a good example and, of course, it's a horrible story. And still this guy would claim to be your best friend probably.
[00:55:46] Jordan Harbinger: He did. He indeed did claim.
[00:55:47] Thomas Erikson: "I am really caring for you. I love you, buddy. You're my best buddy." I've heard similar stories over and over and over. And I mean, if somebody is talking bad about person X, he will talk bad about person Y and person Z and whatever. Some of them use technical triangulation that you sort of play two people against each other. And you step in as the hero, it's really complicated, but they do it. And some of them don't even have a purpose. Why would this guy make you feel bad? What did he gain from it? It was just fun. I mean, it's sort of a grown-up play, if you know what I mean. It's appalling. Nobody should — but sometimes you need the third party to come in and say, "Hey, I am observing this situation from some distance and I see this is bad for you. Step away from it. Leave this relationship."
[00:56:39] I got this message on Instagram, actually this very morning from somebody said in our family, some brother-in-law with some, I don't know, doesn't matter. And he is really struggling. He is suffering severely from this relationship. His fiancee or whatever it was and she says that he's not listening to anyone. Nobody can make him listen to our logical arguments. And I said, "Skip logic. Ask him to look for the true emotions. Ask him to describe how does he feel in situation A or situation B." And she answered, "I'm going to try that one because we have tried to prove things and make lists. It doesn't work." If you think you're in love with somebody don't use lists, you use emotions. So it takes time. It's easier to fool and manipulate somebody than it is to convince them they have been fooled and manipulated. That is the sad story actually about it.
[00:57:36] Jordan Harbinger: I also read in the book that psychopaths don't feel jealousy, but they will pretend to feel it to gain control. I thought that was interesting because you would think somebody who's this manipulative and petty would actually feel some hint of jealousy, but I guess that requires you to care about the other person or what they think. Right?
[00:57:52] Thomas Erikson: Well, it's not jealousy as in, why aren't you spending time with me? It's more of, let's say, being in control. They're not jealous at you in this sort of emotional way, feeling bad when you're out dating somebody else or something like that. It's not that. It could be, it's more about gaining control. They are irritated and maybe annoyed, maybe even angry that you didn't pay them the required amount of appreciation or attention or whatever. Again, it's this grandiose feeling of being superior and being at a higher worth than everybody else. It's more than that. They need to control you, but jealousy, that's not the thing. It's like feeling sad or feeling stressed or being a victim. I mean, they don't feel these emotions. Again, it's related to the amygdala story there.
[00:58:40] But the thing is psychopaths is they're really good at playing this emotion, sort of imaging mimicking this emotion. Mirroring the behavior that you have when you are sad, producing some tears. Because they know victims are usually supported and they get a lot of attention and so on. A lot of people with psychopathic behaviors are playing the victim role. Now in society, you can see this. "I am the victim here. Please feel sorry for me and give me the goods." You can see it publicly, but you have to look for it. Some people are playing the victim card over and over again, but still being actually tough as the toughest. "How could he suffer in that situation?" "Well, I felt bad. I felt so hurt." But the victim card is so important.
[00:59:29] Jordan Harbinger: There's positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement, which is kind of standard manipulation. So I think we can kind of gloss over that, right? If you do something they like, they reinforce it. If you do something they don't like, they punish you for it. But love bombing, this is something interesting. Because I've heard about this being used in cults. Can you tell us about this and how this is used by the psychopath? Because this is something — love bombing, it just sounds hippie but it's actually quite dangerous.
[00:59:51] Thomas Erikson: Love bombing is one of the most dangerous manipulation techniques that we can use. Usually again, they are not looking for the alpha in the herd, so to speak. They are looking for somebody weak enough to fall prey rather quickly. And people that are hanging with their heads, you know, going like this around in life, feeling unloved. Thinking they are useless and miserable and everything. If somebody starts telling you all of a sudden, "Oh, you are a lovely person. Oh, I love this. I love that. Or you are so fantastic. You are so brave and interesting and charming," and they bring your flowers and they tell you all these spontaneous good things. And they invite you for fancy dinners and they lend you money. They do everything that you have never experienced in your whole — you have to be a robot not to react. If you see somebody — again, rest assured, they look like they think what they are saying. They look like they actually think that you are God's gift to mankind.
[01:00:53] So when they say, "Oh, you are the most amazing character I have ever met," you will trust them. You will believe even if you're like "No, I'm just me. Oh, this feels really strange." But if you heard it for three weeks, you start to believe it. "My God, I think he likes me. Wow." So then you're like an open book. Tell me your biggest weaknesses. Let me use you. I love you." Love bombing is really, really dangerous. "I will take care of you. I will provide for you. I will protect you from all the bad stuff. I will buy you fancy things and whatever," and then they just junk it away and you will think what happened here. But you will remember that feeling. You will remember all the real strong emotions from the love bombing.
[01:01:39] This is very, very common because usually people don't feel, well, let's say true love. I'm a bit of a romantic myself. If you haven't experienced, let's say true love, let's call it, and then you think you have it within your reach. You're done.
[01:01:55] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. And they'll spot that in you. Right?
[01:01:57] Thomas Erikson: Oh yes.
[01:01:58] Jordan Harbinger: Go for the jugular.
[01:01:59] Thomas Erikson: They have sixth sense into spotting who will be easy, usable on these terms. This is scary. I've seen this several times as well. And it's horrifying to see actually.
[01:02:11] Jordan Harbinger: How do we find out if these techniques are being used on us? We've touched on some of these ideas, but it almost seems like boiling frog, which by the way, the boiling frog, I asked an actual scientist about this, probably a psychopath himself — anyway, he actually tested boiling frog, turns out they just jumped out of the hot water. They don't actually stay in there.
[01:02:27] Thomas Erikson: That's a myth, but it's a good story anyway.
[01:02:29] Jordan Harbinger: The allegory is not true, but it is useful. How do we find out if these are being used on us, because, you know, look, if I'm dating somebody and they're really, really great? And then, they start being kind of crappy. I might think like, "Ugh, well, they're having a rough time at work. Their life is stressful. This isn't how they've been for the first three months of the relationship. It's fine." And then like six months later, your mom calls you and says, "You're a different person. What's wrong?" "Oh, well, you know, we're hitting a rough patch in the relationship." And then, you realize you haven't seen your best friend in seven months because your new girlfriend doesn't like him. And all your female friends that you were so close with for so many years, you haven't talked with them because she gets really jealous and you know, she's really stressed.
[01:03:06] And like at some point, how do we wake ourselves up and go, "Holy crap, I'm isolated. This person is nitpicking and breaking me down. And the relationship has been more crappy than it was good. But in the beginning it was so good. And I remember that." You know, how do we sort of fight our own cognitive bias where we say, "But in the beginning it was so great. And she is my soulmate," or whatever garbage we're telling ourselves? How do we wake the freak up?
[01:03:28] Thomas Erikson: Yeah. True. Very important point. You come with it. But I will use, let's say the trust argument. Good sound relationships are based on trust, right? You have to trust each other. You have to trust your man or your woman or whatever. If you don't trust your partner, it's not going to work out. And trust means you can tell them your inner secrets without them using them against you. You can ask them for help and they will actually give you real help, and all of these things. And you can cry on their shoulders and all of these things. But trust is, it has to be sort of fresh. Old trust is useless. You have to gain new trust every day. You have to build the trust every day, every week, every month, every year, sort of showing that you are a trustworthy person. Well, let's say why not every day that you stand by your words, that you are trustworthy, they can rely on you when you say you will come at eight, you will come at eight and all these things. Because what you say here is, it was so good. Before six months back, everything was brilliant, and now it's just rubbish.
[01:04:37] You have to look at this. You'd have to step back and say, "Hmm, what's happening here?" And if the person hasn't been trustworthy for three months, then there's something wrong. You know, you can't base trust on what they did in January. Now, you're in September and everything is just gone completely south. You can't trust anybody who isn't trustworthy now. You have to be trustworthy all the time. Right? That's something to look for actually. And then you will see, he came up on time. He picked me up when he said he should. Now, he doesn't even bother to come at all, but still I think I love him or her. No, you don't. You are just getting used to the person. Go away, you know, just leave. You can't stay there. That's the toughest message to say, because people, maybe you have one of those questions on your plan there, but what should you do? Well, leave, just leave. There's nothing you can do. Leave. If it feels bad, it is bad again.
[01:05:32] Jordan Harbinger: One thing I noticed that you mentioned in the book also is taking notes and documenting things to protect yourself and your sanity. I may have read that in something else you wrote in not the actual book itself. Taking notes to write down, because if you journal things, and then you — it's easier to get clarity in hindsight. If you notice that the first 90 days are really good in the last two years or three years were horrible, it's easier to then get clarity on that instead of saying, "Oh, well, most of the relationship is good." Well, is it? Because every day you're writing in your journal about how tormented you are and, you know, there's tear drops that have smeared the ink on each of the pages. Maybe you don't have such a great relationship. You're just kind of succumbing to cognitive bias.
[01:06:14] Thomas Erikson: To keep a journal is good. It's a sad thing to do because as I said a couple of minutes ago, if you feel you need to take notes and record the conversations, something is wrong here. But let's say your journal every week or every day or whatever you have a diary, maybe the thing is usually people are using self-defense mechanisms to protect themselves from bad emotions. So therefore, you sort of sugarcoat the today. Today is really good then you sort of tell yourself, "This is good. This is great. This is so super. Everything is fantastic. Look at the lovely house we have, my beautiful kids and so on. Okay, he obviously — but still everything is good."
[01:06:55] If you look at the pages the week before and the week before that you will see the pattern. Again, the tricky part is probably to start journaling things, to start to write things down. Probably you need a good friend to say, "You have to take notes, you know." But again, as you said, put a heart on all the good days. And then you put, I don't know, a crucifix on all the bad days or blackheart, or I don't know.
[01:07:17] Jordan Harbinger: A frowny face.
[01:07:18] Thomas Erikson: But still again now we are being rational. We are two guys thinking, "Okay, maybe you should do this or that." And that's good advice, but rarely will somebody use this advice.
[01:07:26] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[01:07:27] Thomas Erikson: Because it sounds so strange. It's a weird thing to do. "Have a joke about my relationship. What do you mean?"
[01:07:33] Jordan Harbinger: I guess if you have a friend that you confide in, they could write down all the days where you call them. They don't even need to write it down. They can just put a frowny face on every day on the calendar, which you called them crying. And then one day they come over and they go, "Look at August 23 days. Look at July 19 days. You know, this guy is a bastard. I freaking tracked it. I've got it point by point." And then when they do their intervention with your mother and your sister and your brother-in-law or whatever, you know, they've got something that isn't just their impressions and things that they remember. They've got like data. I don't know, it probably wouldn't work anyway, but it's better than nothing because—
[01:08:12] Thomas Erikson: I'll vote for that, definitely.
[01:08:14] Jordan Harbinger: What if we feel like we're capable of some of this? Or if we're using some of this, these techniques on our co-workers or our partners or our friends, does it mean we're a psychopath or have psychopathic tendencies? I get letters like this on our Feedback Friday inbox, our advice episodes. Often people say things like, "Well, I'm very concerned about this and that and the other thing. Am I a narcissist? I want to make sure my team is taken care of and that I'm not hurting anyone. Am I a psychopath?" My reply to that is usually something like, "Look, if you're that concerned with how people view you and you don't want to hurt their feelings and you want to make sure that they feel valued and you're a valuable dear friends and family, you're probably not a narcissist or a psychopath who's too self-involved." But I guess the question is what's the difference between an unpleasant trait in someone's personality and a psychopath?
[01:08:56] Thomas Erikson: I would say what's the meaning behind a certain action. I mean, if you mean to hurt somebody or you don't care, then you probably are psychopaths or some kind of manipulator. I mean, we all manipulate in a way. I take in the book of the examples of a salesman. Somebody would like to sell you a car. So he would try to say everything that makes the car look good and he will deal with all your bad answers and your bad reactions to these things. But we know he's a salesman. We know that's his job. His job is to make us think that's the best car ever. It's on the table.
[01:09:30] If you go to the doctor and he say, "Well, you need to lose some weight." That's a good advice. "Oh, you need to gain weight. You need to go to the gym and build some muscles of whatever. At the same time, I have these pills that I am actually producing, selling myself, little bit to the side. Buy my pills." Now where it goes the line between good advice. Or sort of making people think in a certain way and manipulation somewhere. And again, you need to be really, you need to pay attention because it's not so easy to see these things, but if you mean good, but acting in a bad way, that's better than to mean bad, but actually in a good way, if you know what I mean.
[01:10:10] The intention behind the act has to be sort of a — I mean, our proclivity to do good is there, but sometimes we do bad things because we don't understand. We misread the situation. But if the intention is positive, I think we could get away with it and say, "Okay, I'm sorry. I misunderstood. I didn't mean that. I do apologize if you mean bad, you will always do anything that goes, that makes you win the game or come out with the upper hand or whatever.
[01:10:40] Manipulation can be used by your old mother, who would like you to make more phone calls. "Nobody's calling me anymore. During lockdowns, everybody's gone. Nobody's visiting because they don't dare to come here. Oh, you have forgotten me." "Well, how about dad?" "Oh, dad. Yeah, him. Yeah, all right." So that's kind of manipulation again, but still she means good. She needs you maybe. I mean, maybe you should call her more often. That's okay. But if she says, "You never call me. And, and I think you hate me." That's bad because that's not true.
[01:11:12] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[01:11:13] Thomas Erikson: She only wants to make you feel bad. But again, we need to look for the patterns and the people closest to us. I mean, all psychopaths have families, right? The psychopath within the family is the most dangerous one because we have to trust him or her because his family. Those are the ones that can fool us.
[01:11:35] Jordan Harbinger: Those are the ones where — yeah, I think about this and I go like, "What if your brother's a psychopath?" And he's like, "Let me take the kids to Disneyland." You're like, "Crap. I don't want to tell my brother that I can't give him his nephew and niece to go to Disneyland when he's trying to do a nice thing, but he's a freaking psychopath. So like, do I really want to do that? I guess we all have to go to Disneyland so we can keep an eye on him. This sucks. I wasn't planning on doing that."
[01:11:57] Thomas Erikson: It's not a perfect system and we can't control everything.
[01:12:00] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[01:12:01] Thomas Erikson: But again, you have to know this. Read the books, train yourself to look for these things. And try to confront people with, let's say, disrespectful behaviors and call them out and say, "Hey, I think you're disrespectful. I understand if you have a bad day, but please tell me about it."
[01:12:17] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[01:12:17] Thomas Erikson: I mean, practice these things, confront people. Make it positive. "I would like this relationship to be a little bit better. Can we talk about it?" If they say, "Oh, there's nothing to talk about here. You know, nothing to see here. Everything's perfect, blah." Warning signs.
[01:12:31] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[01:12:32] Thomas Erikson: Or, "Okay. We can talk, let's have a conversation about these things and see what could come out of it." You can practice these things. And the thing is the more you, let's say, call them out. But the more you sort of — let's say in a positive way, you confront somebody with things that you feel is a bit unpleasant. The more you practice this, the more self-assured you will be in those situations. And then you will probably at the end of the day, you have strengthened yourself. So now you can call the manipulator or the maybe psychopath out, even though I don't recommend it, if it's a 40-point person on the list, he's dangerous.
[01:13:08] Jordan Harbinger: To clarify what you mean by 40-point person on the checklist, in the book, there is a checklist where you can essentially score some of the behavior of the people in your life. And if they're checking off a large number of those boxes, it might not be somebody you want to confront. You might just want to vanish from their life, but if it's a lower number, you might want to use it to see if maybe you can correct the behavior. Maybe they're just having a bad time. Maybe they don't handle their temper well because they were raised a certain way. Not necessarily a psychopath.
[01:13:33] Is there any good news here that we can leave people from? Because right now everyone's like, "Okay. So the world's a dangerous place. Everyone's out to get us. Everybody I know and love is a psychopath and potentially, maybe I'm a psychopath. Thanks, Jordan. Great show." You know, what can we leave people with that they feel better for having learned this instead of simply an ominous warning?
[01:13:52] Thomas Erikson: Yeah, okay, how much time do we have here? But the thing is this—
[01:13:55] Jordan Harbinger: Plenty.
[01:13:55] Thomas Erikson: —psychopaths can be used in society for good reason. I mean, let's take James Bond, right? He's probably the most famous psychopath besides Hitler.
[01:14:05] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[01:14:06] Thomas Erikson: Did he say James Bond? Yes, he actually did. Again, he's a serial killer. He's a liar. He's extremely charming, manipulative. He is a criminal. He was scored pretty high on the checklist, but he's one of the good guys. We can use him for lethal situations and he'll save the world a couple of more times before he retires. But the thing is, I am not telling people to go around and be scared of talking to people, be afraid of things. Still the psychopaths are a minority. Between two and four percent of the population, so you won't meet them every, every week or every month even. But they are out there. But it's like driving your car through a really heavy traffic, it's dangerous to be in traffic. The heavier the traffic, the more dangerous, but still you don't keep yourself from using your car. You go out there, but you pay attention. You look in the mirrors. You take a look to the sides. You look at the traffic lights. And you observe the guy on the bicycle over there. And that's an old lady with her. I don't know, three handbags and so you wait for her, you let her over. Oh, that car comes a little bit too close. You are aware, and that's the same thing.
[01:15:23] You have to be in the traffic as you have to be in the world, but you can be at least a week. Again, don't be naive. Use your common sense, even though that's not so common, as people might think, having common sense that is. Use your common sense and just be aware, be awake and look around and see what happens. And if somebody is behaving bad, we'll just increase the distance. Don't take them too close. If you meet new people, it feels good. Fine. Go on another date, on another meeting. If they start to behave weird. You can just say, "Okay, thanks, that's about it for me. You know, don't just take them too close. That's all I'm saying. Because they are out there regardless that we are talking about it or not.
[01:16:07] Jordan Harbinger: Thomas Erickson, thank you so much. We'll link to the book, of course, Surrounded by Psychopaths and Surrounded by Idiots in case you're also interested in the stupid people in your life. We will link to that in the show notes. Thanks so much for your time today. I know it's late over there as well in Sweden. So, I'm glad that we were able to make this happen.
[01:16:24] Thomas Erikson: Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
[01:16:28] Jordan Harbinger: I've got some thoughts on this episode, but before I get into that, here's what you should check out next on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:16:35] Eric Aude: Pakistan was just one of many bad things that happened to me in my life. I've had so many things happen and I just learned to get over it. You know you get knocked down six times, you get up seven. And that's the only way I've ever known how to live.
[01:16:46] When I got out of the cab with the suitcases to leave Pakistan, the guy who was there was like, "Next time you come back, we'll show you around. We will hook you up with some girls. You have a great time," and I'm humoring this guy. I'm like, "Yes, sure, next time I come back." I know for a fact I'm never coming back to Pakistan. Country sucks. That f*cking country sucks, and I'm good at finding like good things that are everywhere.
[01:17:05] So it's early in the morning and I go into international departures and long line curving around the corner. I'm waiting in line and the line goes all the way up this wall to where there's customs tables. And when the customs officer sees me and flags me because I'm about six inches taller than everyone. And I get brought to another room. Finally, the guy who asked me if there was narcotics in my suitcase comes in and he's holding these two sandwich sealed things. And his exact words to me is, "What is this?" And I said, "I don't f*cking what it is." He says, "This is opium." I said, "Why are you showing me this is?" "Because it came out of your suitcase."
[01:17:41] I felt like such a f*cking idiot. Because I thought that the DEA was going to hook me up, you know, because they're going to see that I'm innocent. I truly thought those guys are going to be there to help me now because I wasn't guilty. This sh*t doesn't happen to innocent people. Three years of my life for a crime I didn't know I was being used to commit.
[01:18:02] Jordan Harbinger: To hear the rest of one of the most harrowing stories I've ever heard in my time doing this podcast, check out episode 147 with Eric Aude here on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:18:14] Man, I don't know what it is, but I just love me some psychopath talk. The stories in the book, by the way are really sad and terrifying just because of how manipulative some of these people are in the examples. Hypothetical or not, it's heart-wrenching. Psychopaths give and withhold praise in order to manipulate, but not everyone who uses these manipulation techniques is a psychopath. Some people are just damaged assholes. I think we already knew that right. Psychopaths by the way, they totally understand how we feel, okay. It's a misconception to think that psychopaths don't have emotions or that they don't understand the feelings of it. They do. They just don't care. Let that chill travel slowly up your spine, right?
[01:18:54] Now we wear our seatbelt. We do a good job at work. We eat healthy. We work out, but we do nothing to protect ourselves against psychopaths. Why? Why? Is it because we don't want to believe that they're so common? Is that why. Or maybe we just didn't know they are until now. By the way, if you're easily flattered or you're looking for shortcuts in life to make easy money, you are especially vulnerable to psychopaths. I see this all the time online. These fake gurus going after the young and going after the vain. It's very, very common. Younger or less educated people falling for these scams by people who are obvious psychopaths. Think about those guys you see in YouTube ads all the time or Instagram ads selling their dumb real estate courses. I'm pointing — yes, it's the one you're thinking about. I won't mention names, but if you're falling for real estate investment scams or dropshipping scams online from these big names, want to be gurus, you're likely dealing with a psychopath. You've heard me talk about these guys.
[01:19:48] By the way. If you haven't heard the Coffeezilla episode, where me and Coffeezilla, the YouTuber, take down and dismantle the guru scams. We'll link to that in the show notes. That's a good one. Search for Coffeezilla in our feed. You won't regret it. You'll know exactly who we're talking about.
[01:20:01] Psychopathy also cannot be cured. It's a condition of the brain. Therapy often makes things worse with psychopaths. They tend to calm down over the years. That's all we got. As they get older, they tend to just sort of chillax a little, thankfully, but it doesn't mean that they're not dangerous.
[01:20:16] If you run into one or you know one, distance yourself. Any contact you have with a psychopath, it's always on their terms. Unless it's through bars, okay, they're in prison. These people are full-time manipulators. You can't keep up with them. You can't compete with them. You can't make the relationship normal. It is a disorder. And remember the psychopath's real personality is the abusive one that you see now. If you're dealing with one, you know what I'm talking about, it's not the charming personality that they used to snare you. That is fake. It's a tool to accomplish the goal of getting you to trust them. So there's a lot of people that think, "I just want the old you back." That was never you. It's like meeting someone on Halloween and being like, "I missed when you were a kangaroo. I missed when you were Pokemon." They were never Pokemon. It was a costume. The sooner you realize this, the better. And no, you can't just go back to the way things were before that person changed the person you thought you were with before never existed, right? They were Pokemon, okay. It was a facade that person built for appearances to earn your trust and get into your circle.
[01:21:20] I'll tell you from personal experience, I was in business with somebody who is probably not a psychopath, but was extremely manipulative. Not just with me, but with his girlfriends, with all of our staff and employees, he would use a lot of these techniques we heard here on the show on people. Like making them think that they were senile or misremembering something or claiming he didn't say something even when he did, just straight up gaslighting. I finally started to regain some sanity when I hired an assistant who took notes on every conversation. Then later on, I would check with my assistant to see if it was me who was crazy or what, and my assistant, who, by the way, had a great memory for detail would refer to her notes and find that not only did he misremember some things or claim that we misremembered something, but the story was completely different, not just one shade of different, but completely and totally different. Often the opposite of what he had said. Often the real version of events was totally in a different direction. And this kept happening in the business, setting people up to fail, then yelling at them for failing. And it was really a mystery.
[01:22:16] You don't have to have enough money to hire an assistant. What I do suggest here is taking notes. So when someone says, "Hey, this is up and this is down," and you write it down and you're very clear. And then later on they say, "What's wrong with you? You idiot. That's not up and down." You can really look back and go. No, no, no. I wrote this out at the time. So now I know I'm not crazy because these people will gaslight you until you feel like you can't even trust yourself. Further, this person I was in business with would never solve the problem. He would just keep abusing people and berating them for not getting something right. It always mystified me why he would not want to solve the problem. I'd say, "If this person is so bad, fire them. If this situation is so bad, stop contributing to it. If this company we're working with is so bad, let's fire them and get another vendor." Until I started looking at this as manipulation and abuse and not simply bad corporate governance, it made no sense. But once I realized he was a manipulative person and an abusive person, then it all clicked and it all made sense.
[01:23:13] You don't want to fix the problem when you are the one creating the problem in the first place so that you can control other people. Solving the problem, defeats the purpose of setting up their regime of control in the first place. You don't fire someone or solve the problem because then you just have to start over manipulating and breaking down a new person who takes their place. And so once I started looking at this guy as a classic manipulator, I got a lot more clarity and I also felt a lot worse for his girlfriends and people who were in a relationship with him as well, because they were dealing with this guy every day and they were thinking it was their fault.
[01:23:46] Further, psychopaths usually pounce on people who are having a rough time because those people are more vulnerable and easier to manipulate. So if you're going through something or your self-confidence has taken a hit, now is the time to be especially vigilant against psychopaths and other people that might try to take advantage of you. So if you just got out of a breakup or you just got fired or something like that, not the best time to jump into a relationship with somebody who's trying to move the relationship quickly, or seems like they might be a little bit shady. You got to be very, very careful here. Of course, the problem is when you're vulnerable, you are less careful almost by definition.
[01:24:21] So look, it's maybe not even good to have these people in our orbit because even if we're not vulnerable now, having them around us just positions them to wait until the right moment to pounce. And then they've already got access to us. So that's a little bit of psychopath self-defense there. Last but not least look, many high level people are psychopaths. They make important decisions for everyone in the world, for everyone in their country, for everyone in their business. We can't really do anything about that. But we can, and we should keep our own backyard clean.
[01:24:54] Thanks to Thomas Erickson. The book title is Surrounded by Psychopaths. We'll link to that in the show notes. Please use our website links if you buy the book. That always helps support the show. Worksheets for the episode are in the show notes. Transcripts of the episode in the show notes. There's a video of this interview going up on our YouTube channel at jordanharbinger.com/youtube. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram. You can also find me on LinkedIn.
[01:25:16] I'm teaching you how to connect with great people and manage relationships, using systems and tiny habits over at our Six-Minute Networking course, which is always free. That's over at jordanharbinger.com/course. Dig the well before you get thirsty. Most of the guests on the show, they subscribed to the course and the newsletter. Come join us, you'll be in smart company where you belong.
[01:25:34] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Millie Ocampo, Josh Ballard, and Gabe Mizrahi. Remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for the show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting. If you know someone who's dealing with a psychopath or you suspect they're dealing with a psychopath, or maybe they're dealing with somebody at work, that's driving them crazy, they're in a relationship with somebody who's a little sus, share this with them. I hope you find something great in every episode of this show. We work real hard on this. So please do share the show with those that you care about. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
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