We have covered in great detail on this site how psychopaths interact with normal human beings, with empathy, conscience and morality. When the inhuman and cold (psychopath or sociopath) meets the human (normal person), the result is usually bad. But what about when the psychopath meets another psychopath or sociopath? What happens then? Is the dynamic any different?
The pattern of interaction between psychopaths and sociopaths is somewhat different, since they will both very quickly realize what the other person is, and therefore the usual easy game of charming and manipulating an unsuspecting and trusting person does not play out.
With two psychopaths, you have two predators who know exactly what the other one is, and therefore the interaction becomes more opportunistic and mutually self serving, interspersed with occasional digs and mind games between them.
The psychopath knows there are much easier targets than fellow psychopaths, so they see any interactions they do have with their own kind as a kind of amusing side game to keep their interest and attention, but their main game is manipulating and deceiving more vulnerable and trusting people who don’t realize who and what they really are.
As predators of the human race, psychopaths will always go for the weakest targets, which to them means the people who do have human traits like empathy, trust, kindness and generosity which can be manipulated and exploited for their own ends.
Fellow psychopaths don’t have any of these traits or qualities and so are in some ways the hardest targets, so they won’t expend much energy on this, but will interact with them when necessary and for mutually self serving ends.
Psychopaths also want to latch onto people who actually have something in the way of traits, virtues or qualities which they want to have. Other psychopaths by definition don’t have any of these traits and are parasitic people who feed off the success and virtues of others.
In these sense there is no point in a psychopath targeting another psychopath, since what do they actually have to give the other person? Psychopaths don’t tend to have or create much for themselves; they are in the business of leeching and parasiting off the efforts of others.
This is another reason why psychopaths don’t get too tangled up with each other, though they will interact when useful and for small time amusement and entertainment.
Let’s look in more detail at how the psychopathic mindset reacts when confronted with it’s own kind, as opposed to someone with human traits and qualities.
Psychopaths View Everyone As Objects to be Used
We have already covered in another article how psychopaths view the world with a cold, calculating detachment. They see other people, not as real human beings, but as objects to be used for their own ends, and will readily charm and manipulate others to serve themselves.
This includes how psychopaths and sociopaths see fellow psychopaths and sociopaths. They approach any interactions and relationships with each other from a purely self serving and opportunistic viewpoint. “What can I get out of this person?”, the psychopath is always asking themself.
The complication here is that you can be sure that in a very short space of time, two psychopaths interacting with each other will both have realized that the other person is also a psychopath. Remember they are constantly screening everyone they speak to for weaknesses, flaws, vanities etc. that can be played on.
We have detailed in another article how psychopaths know full well they are different from others, lacking the empathy, remorse and conscience of normal people. You can therefore be sure that they can very easily spot when someone else is also not like others and shares their traits of glibness, deceptiveness, manipulativeness and arrogant superiority/entitlement.
Very quickly, they will realize two things when talking to another psychopath: a) I can’t manipulate this person as easily as other people, they seem wise to me; and b) This person is also feeling me out just like I feel others out. He’s one of my own type!
This throws a spanner in the works for a psychopath, since in most interactions, there is an asymmetry there, in that they know exactly what they are doing (manipulating and deceiving others for their own benefit) but the innocent, unsuspecting other person usually doesn’t.
This is exactly how a predatory psychopath or sociopath hooks in other people, by using their authentic human emotions against them.
But what about when the other person themself in also a psychopath and has the exact same predatory, exploitative mindset? It would seem that their game would stop right there, but in fact they just modify it slightly so it becomes more of an amusing contest. Let’s look in more detail at this dynamic between psychopaths and sociopaths.
Confusing & Contradictory Interactions Between Psychopaths
When two fellow psychopaths or sociopaths collide together, then their usually easy game of using their glib charm to take in and deceive others for their own ends doesn’t work anymore.
But the psychopath is always seeking for power and control over others – they just realize the other psychopath is a harder target, since they are both fully aware of where the other is coming from psychologically. So they usually resort to targeting other more vulnerable people, whilst getting whatever occasional shots they can get at the other psychopath.
It’s almost as though two predators of the human race “clock” each other as fellow predators, and instead of fighting openly over it, decide to call a kind of temporary “stalemate”, alternating with a covert battle of wills. They will act sometimes as friends, with some occasional cheap shots and mind games thrown in there as well.
Below is a brief thumbnail sketch of a common dynamic I have seen between psychopaths in a workplace environment. I have personally observed these exact same patterns in a couple of different workplace scenarios between psychopathic and sociopathic characters.
The dynamics matched in both cases; it’s just the pairs of people were different, though all with strong psychopathic traits. I have not observed how they interact in personal environments and welcome any comments from readers’ own experiences down below.
Some patterns of interaction between psychopaths and sociopaths in the workplace:
- On the surface, often appear to be quite friendly and “pally” at times, joking and clowning around.
- Will often cover shifts and do small favors for each other when it suits, as long as there’s something in it for both of them.
- Will also sometimes team up in the bullying and targeting of other vulnerable workers.
- This apparent friendliness though is interspersed with bouts of politics, mind games, psychological “digs” through subtle comments and innuendos, and “tit for tat” childishness.
- It’s like their interactions are a constant power game, covered up with a surface layer of fake “pallyness”, but because they both realize what the other one is, it’s like a never-ending battle of wills with neither side backing down, constantly scoring digs against each other.
- Can be very competitive with each other, looking to undermine the other and score points as well. Think of two psychopathic managers running competing shops at the same firm.
- Despite any apparent surface friendliness, the psychopaths don’t care one wit about each other as people. If one person leaves, they never speak again and quickly forget about each other.
- In the criminal world, psychopaths will happily team up with each other temporarily, if it serves both their interests. On the flipside, if they are ever caught, each one will be happy to turn the other one in, or testify against them, to get themselves off the hook.
- They are fully conscious of each other’s manipulativeness right from the start, so it just becomes a game to score as many points as possible against each other.
- They will team up when necessary, but will also score digs against each other whenever possible. As always with the psychopath, any “relationships” entered into are self serving.
- To use the classic phrase, it’s all a bit love-hate between them, to dramatize it a little! But in the end, they hate each other.
However, it’s also true that psychopaths/sociopaths also watch each other’s backs in workplaces. When push comes to shove, they WON’T turn each other in unless it’s a “me or them” situation. They’ll actually protect each other to an extent, despite disliking and “digging” at each other as well. It’s very confusing and contradictory to witness.
I’ve seen this myself. You’ll often have a more obvious, more openly disliked psychopath, but also a kind of less obvious “sidekick” sociopath, who’s more cleverly concealed and harder to spot, but still has the same toxic underlying personality. This second person will try to “play all sides” pretending to be against the more obvious psychopath with others, but also “palling around” with them as well.
But frustratingly, you’ll find this sneaky political player will NEVER “pull the trigger” on the more obvious psychopath and help others take steps to get rid of them. I think this is something to do with pathological personalities needing and preferring to have other pathological personalities around, to bounce off each other and confirm each other’s warped and twisted view of the world. These people need some of their own type around, even if they also dislike, compete with, and take shots at them as well sometimes. It’s a very schizophrenic dynamic.
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Psychopaths Don’t Like Each Other
The ultimate reality to be aware of on this is despite any surface “pallyness” and glib charm, psychopaths don’t like each other. They see each other as fellow predators competing for the same space, resources and opportunities.
It’s just that they both realize what the other person is, and so can’t smoothly manipulate each other as easily as they can the rest of the population. They both know they play the same game of observing others with a cool detachment and manipulating them for their own ends.
Make no bones about it, psychopaths and sociopaths do not care about fellow psychopaths any more than they care about anyone else. They don’t care for anyone, period.
They are not sad when fellow psychopaths die, lose their jobs or have some other unfortunate incident or downturn in life. They usually take the opposite approach and take pleasure out of other people’s downfall and misfortune.
In this sense, psychopaths and sociopaths interact with full awareness of each other’s nature, and will therefore only mix and collaborate when they both get something out of it. There is no real friendship or mutual affection there, and a constant underlying dislike and power struggle going on.
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