Bad People – how many people are bad, really?
My dad was a deeply introspective person but felt unfairly treated in life and used to say to me
‘80% of people are no good.’
Even though he was an engineer in the UK from the 50s onwards, he read Khalil Gibran amongst other text to try and uplift himself. As a result I like to think of him as a progressive.
He was certainly a different thinker, even if he was bound by his patriarchal upbringing.
His childhood was tough and he didn’t receive much in the way of regular parenting, by his account.
My dad was born to his mother in her early forties, which in those days was considered rather shocking. His mother had some problems of her own and struggled to parent him.
Fortunately, his aunt (his mother’s sister), lived next door. She made sure he got a hot meal and a bath once a week at least.
My dad used to talk about ‘Cuckoo children’.
It made him angry to see people have children and then make no attempt to parent them.
(Cuckoos lay their eggs in other birds’ nests and throw the baby chicks out when the parent bird isn’t around.)
I believe he was speaking from his own experience in that instance.
Are the majority of people really all ‘bad people’?
I believe there are good ideas and bad ideas in the world. If we run them through the brain, body (and Soul) we can change our nature.
Some people, however, are truly bad to the bone. Have they been made that way, or is something else at play here?
In truth, there are few people in the world who live their lives totally free from trauma and difficulty. Sometimes a person’s response to their experiences can result in bad behavior.
This is not true for really ‘bad people’ however.
Who are the really bad people, anyway?
After much reading and research to date, I believe there are people in the world who are
- Psychopathic – born that way in this incarnation, possibly through other incarnations also.
- Sociopathic – nurtured that way – through a lack of being taught about empathy, or being raised by non-empathic carers.
- Narcissistic – wounded that way. People who receive an essential wound of abandonment from a parent. Some narcissistic parents expect their children to take on the role of parent. There may also be an expectation to make the parent feel good as a condition of the relationship.
The above issues can become combined and create multiple different combinations of nastiness.
Any of the above conditions are considered to be personality disorders from a modern psychological perspective.
Borderline Personality Disorder, or BPD
Some people contain some aspects or parts of one of the above disorders which don’t necessarily manifest in obvious destructive behaviors towards others — some conditions like this are known as Borderline Personality Disorder, or BPD for short.
This can result in a person being persistently difficult to relate to, sometimes actively nasty, but often quite pleasant.
If you are an acquaintance or a friend of a person with BPD or Narcissistic Personality Disorder, how can you know? To you they may well be the nicest person on the block, unfortunately, it’s one of the aspects of these disorders.
To one or more family members or friends in a close circle, a person with a Personality Disorder may show their true colors. The behavior shown in private could result at a minimum to a constant feeling of energy drain.
More extreme examples can result in a highly verbally or physically abusive partner.
Yet no-one else may never know, which can be crazy-making for that close friend or family member.
So how can we know who are the bad people, really?
Sometimes Borderline Personality Disordered people, especially Narcissistic types, can hide their difficult personalities initially from a relationship with a new person.
Why would anyone display their difficult personality early on in a friendship? If they did, they may not get past that stage in the friendship and become more intimate with their target.
Learning new intuitive tools will help an empathic or intuitive sensitive type like yourself learn to detect these types as you move through your life.
You can start with this simple checklist
- Does the person like to talk about themselves a lot?
- Is the person ‘love-bombing’ you with excessive charm and attention? (People are usually excessively charming for a reason).
- Does the person have a checklist of people who annoy them or who have ‘done them wrong’?
- Are you sensing red flags but doing your best to ignore them because you like the pretty picture?
- There is a tendency for the other person in the relationship to feel quite obsessed with their new partner.
If you can say yes to two or more of the indicators on this checklist, your personal boundaries have been invaded in some way.
Simply draw back from the person and take a lot more time to get to know them, learn more about their family, friends, and history from other people, not from them, then you can be surer moving forward.
What about the really ‘bad people’ – the Psychopaths, Sociopaths or full-blown Grandiose Narcissists?
In modern psychiatric practice and research personality-disordered people are now being studied.
Three types of extreme personality-disordered people have different brain structures than the rest of us.
A person with a psychopathic brain when scanned can often show evidence of reduced connections between the prefrontal cortex.
The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain where sentiments such as empathy and guilt are generated.
The prefrontal cortex also contains the amygdala, which mediates fear and anxiety. Research shows that psychopaths are born that way.
A Sociopathic brain is can often be more neurotypical. A brain scan of a sociopathic brain wouldn’t discover the same pattern as for the Psychopath.
Research shows that in the case of a sociopath, the neurons that connect the parts of the brain together to help create a sense of empathy with others have been burned away.
This can be as a result of a traumatic experience or series of experiences and these neurons never reconnect. It’s almost as if their ’empathy circuit’ is burned out. So research shows that sociopaths demonstrate their behavior as a result of disastrous parenting or some kind of abusive treatment.
Finally, the Narcissistic brain can also be recognized in a brain scan.
There are structural abnormalities in the part of the brain that has been linked to empathy. Narcissists have what is called an ‘essential wound’. This refers to a situation where early trauma of some kind has caused them to disassociate from their essential selves.
What’s the difference between a Narcissist and the other two categories?
In my experience, the Narcissist has more cognitive skills than the other two types when it comes to relating to people and reading people, especially through observational learning and eye contact to ‘know’ what your emotions might be and to copy them exactly.Narcissists can learn behaviors very easily and act them out very convincingly, so that, even to those close to them, they are the proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing.Click To Tweet
Narcissists need you
They need your attention, your energy and often your adulation. You are their ‘supply’, therefore there is more motivation to reel you in and keep you close.
The other two types will manipulate you and enjoy controlling you. They don’t need you in the same way that the Narcissist does.
It’s as creepy as it sounds once you know what you are looking for.
All three have something in common – how their autonomic nervous system works
The autonomic nervous system is the nervous system that includes our fight or flight responses. These two systems are known as the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems.
Psychopaths, Sociopaths, and Narcissists don’t feel fear and anxiety in the same ways that we do.
A good example of this, as Dr. Ramani Durvasula says, (author of Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Surviving a Relationship with a Narcissist) is to imagine yourself being pulled over by the police when you are driving.
Your heart rate is up and your hands might be sweaty. Your mind will be racing about what could possibly have gone wrong. You may feel very flustered.
A psychopath, sociopath or narcissist will be angry and annoyed. The level of upset that they experience will not affect their nervous system in the same way that it might affect yours.
It’s a much more measured response and if you develop your observational skills, you will notice it over time.
Empathic Intuitives need to learn more about bad people
As empathic, aware Souls on our planet, I do believe it is one of our roles to learn to identify more fully how we function in the world and to learn to identify those who function very differently from us.The world is not all 'Narcissists vs Empaths', yet part of our awakening as intuitive empaths is to understand ourselves better and to identify those who drain energy from others, rather than choosing to evolve in their own lives.Click To Tweet
As intuitive empaths, it’s time to stop being nice and giving by default. It’s time to learn how to become more discerning of others and their motivations.
I like to think I am my father’s daughter.