Another dynamic which can unfold with a psychopath, particularly in the workplace, is that they have a “sidekick” or other person who is around a lot, who ostensibly loves to project the role of “peacemaker” or “diplomat” who smoothes over any conflicts and “plays the politics” to try and keep the peace between the psychopath and the rest of the workforce.
Whilst in some cases this may be a genuine reflection of their motives and intentions, we suggest that onlookers be very careful of this “sidekick” dynamic, and watch the behaviour and character (and not the words) of this person very carefully. Often their projected persona of the “peacemaker” and politician in this scenario is merely an act to cover the fact they are cut from the same cloth as the psychopath and have the same underlying character.
The sidekick is often trying to broadcast an image of “I’m OK, I’m not the threat, it’s that guy over there who’s the real problem. In fact I’m the peacemaker that smooths over all the problems and keeps this guy sweet with everyone”.
Often playing the act of the sidekick peacemaker ables them to better conceal who they truly are. The main psychopath acts as a kind of cover for the sidekick, who may have similar characteristics but be better able to conceal them. Once again looking closely at a person’s character and moral behaviour over time will be very revealing as to what their true motives are.
An Obsession With Politics
One of the things you will notice with both the psychopath and their “sidekick” is a relentless obsession with politics. There will be constant talk about who said this, who did that etc. and the sidekick will relish a drama where they have to step in and play politics to try and resolve the scenario.
Most reasonable people will simply ask of this mindset “What’s the damn point? Why can’t these people just get on with their job without all this politics”. We agree completely with this sentiment and the obsession with politics is indicative of the entire emptiness and pointlessness of the psychopathic life and mindset.
Many jobs, especially lower end retail jobs, are at the core simple jobs which do not need drama or politics injecting into them. However people that work in these jobs will confirm they are full of characters who create and manufacture drama and politics when there is absolutely no need.
It is as if the politics creates some kind of relief for the endless boredom that psychopathic and sociopathic characters experience. “If there isn’t a problem or conflict then let’s create one to liven up my day”, the psychopath might think. “I’m bored today, let’s start an argument for no reason”.
From this results this exasperation many people who have dealt with psychopaths feel, where they walk away from an interaction thinking something like “What was the point of that? He just created an argument when there was no need whatsoever. He just turned a totally innocent question/inquiry/attempt to make conversation into a conflict for no reason!”.
The sidekick may not be the one that starts these conflicts but he will relish getting involved, sticking his nose in, projecting an image of the “politician” who sweet talks and smooths over the psychopath. He likes the idea of being seen as an indispensable middle man who makes everyone else’s life under the psychopath bearable in the workplace.
In some cases, readers may argue this is a valid and even useful role for someone to play. This may well be true sometimes. However, is not this very obsession with politics and playing games itself indicative of a mindset similar to that of the psychopath? Why is the sidekick even choosing to get involved in constant politics in this way?
Creating an image of himself in these terms can be a clever way of hiding for the sidekick. It keeps the main psychopath out front as the real troublemaker which in turn diverts attention away from the sidekick and allows them to conceal who they truly are.
A relentless obsession with politics, drama and scheming characterizes both the psychopath and their sidekick
Watch Carefully For Character Traits
It is for this reason that we strongly suggest people watch very closely for character traits in both the psychopath and any sidekicks that are around. You are looking for signs of certain qualities (or a lack of them) over time as a marker of who these people really are.
We mention character traits in this instance as even observing behaviours can be misleading sometimes with the sidekick. They may appear to be doing good in one sense, apparently playing the politics and “sweet talking” the psychopath to make everyone’s life easier. Perhaps even intervening to stop brewing conflicts or cooling down conflicts which the psychopath has created.
However, in this case we believe that it is not the behaviour so much as the underlying motive behind the behaviour that is crucial for reading a person’s character here. We must consider the possibility that by playing the role of constant peacemaker and diplomat in the workplace, they are more effectively concealing who they truly are.
We say this because a strong, moral person with vocational traits and good intentions would not stay in this environment and continue to play constant politics. They would realize the pointlessness of it and move on to better things.
They would only carry on playing this politics if on some level they want to do this. And this obsession with politics is in itself a red flag and symptomatic of a deeper malaise in the person of a lack of vocation and higher purpose and a narrow, petty, fixated mindset.
Normal, decent people just can’t be bothered with all this nonsense but the sidekick seems to love it. Why is this? Let’s turn now to some red flags which indicate that you should look out for the sidekick as well as the main psychopath.
Some Red Flags To Look Out For
Here are some character traits and behaviour patterns to watch very carefully for in these sidekick characters who may appear to be playing peacemaker or middle man between a psychopath and others in the workplace. If you ignore words and an image a person is trying to project and just watch for a person’s character, then sooner or later you will see who they really are.
- A complete and relentless obsession with playing politics, gossiping, creating or pouncing on drama, and general irrelevancies that distract from just doing the job you are meant to do.
- Watch out especially for these tendencies in older people who should by now have moved past this to more vocational and mature aspects of their identity and life in general
- The sidekick may smooth over conflict and arguments but never actually confronts the psychopath on unacceptable behaviour and conduct.
- Similarly, they never validate and vindicate any victim’s perception of abuse or manipulation they have suffered at the hands of the psychopath. They never say “the way he treated you was unacceptable” or something similar.
- It is as if the politics and smoothing over of conflict is purely functional and has no moral backbone or intent to it from the sidekick.
- Ultimately, despite certain seemingly useful behaviours, the sidekick does not have any moral principles, ethics or conscience in the way they do their job. They are not strong people with integrity and they don’t stand for anything. They are clever politicians and nothing else.
- You may find they even hang around with the psychopath out of work, or else they are constantly speaking on the phone when both in and out of work.
- If you look past the persona or image you actually see many of the same traits as the main psychopath, just perhaps better concealed. See our Checklist page for more traits to look out for.
- Other red flag traits such as manipulativeness, bullying, fixation on power and ego, emptiness and fakeness and a slippery, slimy personality.
Compromises Don’t Work
These slimy sidekick types are not as useful as they would like to think. Ultimately, truly moral and decent people will stand up to and confront the psychopath, not appease and play politics to placate them. Playing this game the psychopath’s behaviour just goes on the same.
This middle man, diplomat persona some sidekicks try to present is false and shows a lack of true principles and integrity on their part. On one level, these types need to be avoided just as much as the psychopath.
Indeed, if you push the wrong buttons with these people, you will start to see some of their psychopathic traits start to leak out more noticeably, which they had cleverly diverted attention away from by presenting themselves as the peacemaker and politician to the main psychopath.
The general advice for people caught up in these environments remains the same – look to get away from these types of people and organizations as quickly as possible since the chances of these characters changing is somewhere close to zero. See our articles on Psychopathic Companies and Psychopathic Managers for more details on the subject.