Truth, Trust, and Ambivalence

A reader sent in the following prompt:

There’s also the topic of manipulating people without negative intent and how empaths can still take it the wrong way if they find out about it. ‘Why didn’t you just say so’ and ‘But you weren’t honest with me’ being common responses, sometimes even disregarding whatever results it had in favor of looking at the disliked methods. Ties into discussions about the value of things like truth and trust.

They raise a good point.  Manipulation does not have to be nefarious.  Lying does not have to carry ill intent.  Neurotypicals often differentiate themselves from psychopaths because of these very notions of truth and trust.  Deceit is a universal trait, however, and it is dishonest to believe that psychopaths and neurotypicals are really all that different when it comes to selective truth and ambivalent manipulation.

Consider the average person attending a bazaar or flea market.  There is an expectation that prices are negotiable and there is a certain tact that needs to be involved to make sure that both parties in the transaction are treated as fairly as possible.  The seller will overprice the goods, knowing that the buyer will demand a lower price, and the buyer will be less than upfront with their desire for the goods in order to place urgency on the seller to come down further in price.  In this case, both parties are essentially playing both liar and manipulator without any real ill intent.

Transactional logic in life demands that there is a give and take between parties and is applied in many more situations than the flea market example above.  Compassion is transactional.  A suffering party requires compassion from another and the other is required to give it or else risk losing social status.  Love is transactional.  If there was not something in it for both parties in a relationship, why would they stick together?  The truth is that truth is relative.  In order to keep transactional endeavors fair, there must be some stretching and massaging of the truth.  And, certainly, if the transaction is unfair, there would be some distortion of truth as well.  Everyone must lie in order to ensure their needs are met in the best manner possible.  Everyone must manipulate from time to time for the same fulfillment of needs.

As a result, it is inane to use the presence of lying and manipulation as a differentiator between the neurotypical and the psychopath.  The degree may vary, sure, but the presence is universal.  The psychopath accepts that trust and truth must be fuzzy.  There should be an expectation that any two humans communicating with one another will be stretching the limits of what is pure at any given moment.  We all have motivations and desires.  However, this should not imply that anyone’s actions be rooted in malevolence.  They certainly can, but all people are subject to this distortion of actuality.

If you want to make the distinction that psychopaths are habitual liars and manipulators, you may certainly do so.  However, these actions need not be destructive in nature and all humans, neurotypical or otherwise, are subject to practicing such actions.  As with many things regarding the perceived gulf between the neurotypical and the psychopath, both groups would benefit from looking into the mirror first before judging the other as a collective.

Can Psychopaths be Masochists?


  1. says

    I used to find this blog very enlightening due to the author`s thorough analysis based on complete honesty. However, in recent weeks (or months) there has been a marked shift away from trying to get at the truth at all costs. Instead, pity play, victim complex and paranoia seem to have taken over.
    I find the idea of a ‘witch hunt against psychopaths’ underlying most of the more recent posts utterly ridiculous. Who bothers about psychopaths as long as they leave us alone? You may need us, but we don`t need you. There are so many great people out there able to form meaningful relationships and worth being with in order to share the joys life has to offer to us. All we are interested in is to be able to see through psychopaths` manipulations and schemes early enough, so we won`t waste precious time and resources on them. But why bother hunting them down? We could`t care less.

  2. mel says

    sv1415 -. This blog substantiates everything I have ever researched about psychopaths. Most recently, the posts have exemplified the “pity-play” they all do to get attention.
    I think the whole “witch-hunt” idea is a result of the psychopath’s grandiosity. I suppose being hunted down would make them feel desired in a warp kind of way. But, psychopaths are not desired. They are to be avoided.

    Recent posts have also tried to justify the psychopathic drive to lie and manipulate. How could there ever be justification for that, no matter who does it?

    Once you learn the signs, psychopaths are pretty easy to spot. Thank God!

          • mel says

            Anonymous – Yes, I stink because I dared to call out the psychopath for accusing me of “insane thinking.”
            Psychopath’s always turn the tables and accuse those who disagree with them of being “crazy.” And then, right on cue, you chime in to make it a pity-play.
            Psychopaths are so predictable.

          • FNP says

            It’s not accusing you of being crazy. It’s more like knowing that you’re delusional.

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