I confess to never having had the patience to read The Sociopath Next Door all the way through, but I did find this psychologist's review of it interesting because it gets at the core of what many have accused this blog of trying to accomplish -- manipulating people to pity us:
"The most reliable sign, the most universal behavior of unscrupulous people is not directed, as one might imagine, at our fearfulness. It is, perversely, an appeal to our sympathy."I sort of don't understand this argument, perhaps not surprisingly. Does the devil not deserve pity because he doesn't meet the criteria (i.e. not pitiable enough)? Or does he not deserve it because it wouldn't mean the same thing to him (i.e. wasted on him)? Or is it because, as the author suggests, there is something wrong with your pity being used for a purpose (i.e. getting you to think about something from another's point of view) rather than just functioning as one of the empath's favorite self-indulgent pastimes? I really want to understand, and I know some of our readers are very smart with strong feelings about this subject, so let's have at it. For once and for all, let's discuss all the reasons why this blog is manipulative and sociopaths aren't worthy of pity, etc. etc. And just for fun, let's try to use arguments that wouldn't apply equally to some other more "acceptable" variants of humanity.
The pity play or attempt to appeal to the sympathy of others was also addressed in research conducted by the Minnesota Department of Corrections and The Hazelden Foundation (2002). There, researchers concluded that criminal thinkers most often attempt to control others by portraying themselves as a victim, turning to fear tactics only when the victim stance fails to get them what they want.
The act of eliciting pity from another unequivocally makes the elicitor something to be pitied, a victim, per se. It is human nature to aid the pitied. Hence, the pity play, or victim stance, stands to get the Sociopath what he or she wants easily and without being found out as a bad guy. This is manipulation. Manipulation is the tool of choice for smart criminal thinkers and, according to Dr. Stout, the Sociopaths amongst us. She says, "Sociopaths have no regard whatsoever for the social contract, but they do know how to use it to their advantage. And all in all, I am sure that if the devil existed, he would want us to feel very sorry for him."