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The Con Artist – Psychopath, Narcissist & Machiavellian

The Con Artist – Psychopath, Narcissist & Machiavellian
The Con Artist – Psychopath, Narcissist & Machiavellian

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the 3 key traits of the con man – the Psychopath, Narcissist & Machiavellian.

First a quick update:

“10 Reasons Women Have Affairs With Married Men”
Why do some women find married men so attractive? What is the lure of the man with the wedding ring? Why did actress Kristen Stewart have an affair with her movie director, a husband and father of 2 children, Rupert Sanders? There are 10 reasons why women cheat with married men.

“Cheating – Time To Confront The Other Woman”
The 2014 movie about discovering that your husband is having an affair is a comedy. In real life, there are no laughs to be had when you discover cheating and betrayal. Do you confront the other woman? Watch the video

Now, let’s talk about the 3 traits of the con man – the Psychopath, Narcissist & Machiavellian.

A con man is someone who deceives you for their own ends, their own benefits!

In last week’s Success Newsletter, “The Art Of The Con – 15 Ways To Protect Yourself From Con Artists”,  I revealed that confidence tricks exploit typical human characteristics such as hope, optimism, trust, gullibility, greed, dishonesty, vanity, opportunism, lust, compassion, credulity, irresponsibility, desperation, vulnerability, fear, emotional overwhelm, and naïvety.

Maria Konnikova, in her book, “The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It . . . Every Time”, states that the con man is characterized by the dark side or the Dark Triad: a combination of narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy.

As I reveal the checklist for each of these 3 dark traits that characterize the con man, notice that they are also applicable to some politicians, attorneys and businessmen. Also notice that these are the traits that would be necessary for someone to be both adept and joyous at conning and defrauding people.

1. The Machiavellian
Uses clever but often dishonest methods that deceive people so that he/she can win power or control

Niccolo Machiavelli (1469–1527) was an Italian politician and philosopher, famous for his political treatise, The Prince, whereby Machiavelli describes immoral behavior, such as dishonesty and killing innocents, as being normal and effective in politics. Machiavelli is the source of the phrase: “the ends justify the means”. Machiavelli promoted being feared over being loved.

“Machiavellian is someone who employs aggressive, manipulative, exploiting, and devious moves to achieve personal and organizational objectives.”
– Richard Calhoon, marketing professor at the University of North Carolina. 1969

2. The Narcissist
Exaggerated sense of self importance
Need for excessive admiration
Extreme (almost violent) reaction to criticism
Sense of entitlement
Lacking empathy
Believing others to be envious of him
Arrogant, haughty, contemptuous behavior or attitude
Promiscuous behavior

3. The Psychopath
Psychopath is a word commonly used to label someone who exhibits antisocial behavior (sometimes violent behavior), is a pathological liar, superficial, a con artist, and someone who lacks empathy or remorse. In fiction, psychopath often refers to a serial killer.
The term psychopath was coined by German psychiatrists in the 19th century and referred to a mental disorder (a disease of the soul or mind.) American psychologists started using the term sociopathy in the 1930s to refer to a pervasive failure to adhere to societal norms in a way that could harm others.
However, today, no psychiatric or psychological organization has sanctioned a diagnosis titled “psychopathy.” The DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) does not use the term ‘psychopath or sociopath; instead it refers to “antisocial personality disorder (ASPD).” Nonetheless, the word exists and it is used in the criminal justice system as well as in fiction and everyday usage.

Psychopathy and sociopathy generally refer to the same set of symptoms: sociopathy connotes social origins and early environment while psychopathy implies that there are psychological, biological, and genetic factors involved in addition to environmental factors. For a while, sociopathy was also used to denote white collar crime (i.e. non-violent.)
Neuroscientists now believe they have discovered a gene that is responsible for psychopathy: MAOA (monoamine oxidase A), the “warrior gene” which can turn a person violent when activated by environmental factors. 

Despite all of this controversy and confusion, there exists a checklist of the traits/characteristics that are defined as “psychopath” by Robert D. Hare, C.M. – a researcher in the field of criminal psychology. Hare developed the Hare Psychopathy Checklist (PCL-Revised), used to assess cases of psychopathy. A score of between 30 and 40 denotes psychopathy.

1. Glib and superficial charm – smooth talker, great story-teller, insincere & shallow words.
2. Grandiose self-worth – huge egos, confident, arrogant, feelings of superiority and entitlement; huge braggers of things they have done (and not actually done).
3. Seek stimulation or prone to boredom – risk takers, sensation seekers.
4. Pathological lying – skilled liars, unafraid of being caught; lie to manipulate.
5. Conning and manipulativeness – ‘callous ruthlessness’ – deceive, cheat, con, and defraud others for personal gain.
6. Lack of remorse or guilt – they feel pain for themselves but not others; cold-hearted with no empathy for their victims – only disdain for the their victims.
7. Shallow affect – friendly and charming with no feelings for others.
8. Callousness and lack of empathy – callous, heartless, contemptuous, indifferent and tactless.
9. Parasitic lifestyle – they live off others with no sense of responsibility or accountability; will manipulate and exploit others for their own gain.
10. Poor behavioural controls – aggression, verbal abuse, outbursts of anger and temper tantrums.
11. Promiscuous sexual behavior – sex encounters are often viewed as conquests and they boast about them; attempts to coerce people into sexual relationships.
12. Early behaviour problems – antisocial behaviour before age 13 – lying, stealing, cheating, vandalism, bullying, cruelty to animals or siblings.
13. Lack of realistic, long-term goals – lack real direction but talk about big plans; sometimes a drifter
14. Impulsivity – reckless & unpredictable, cannot control impulses, cannot resist temptation; seek instant gratification.
15. Irresponsibility – repeatedly fail to honour commitments or obligations – legally, morally and financially.
16. Failure to accept responsibility for own actions – no sense of duty or conscientiousness, deny their responsibility and even play victim.
17. Many short-term marital relationships – inability to maintain a long-term relationship.
18. Juvenile delinquency – crimes that are manipulative, aggressive, violent or callous between the ages of 10 and 18.
19. Revocation of condition release – probation may have been revoked due to lack of responsibility and accountability – failing to appear, etc.
20. Criminal versatility – often involved in diverse criminal activities, boasting about getting away with crimes.

Remember, don’t play with a con artist; they know what they’re doing, they believe that what they are doing is justified and they celebrate the con. You won’t win.

Who do you know that fits the bill of the dark triad – Machiavellian, Narcissist and Psychopath?

If you are feeling foolish, humiliated or ashamed because of a betrayal or con – book a one-on-one session with me. 

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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