He was homeless and needed a place to stay. I offered my office. He could stay there until he found a permanent residence.
He was homeless and needed a place to stay. I offered my office. He could stay there until he found a permanent residence.
Millions loved Aunt Bee.
That was the single worst mistake I've ever made. I was wholly unaware that I was effectively inviting a legion of demons into my life.
Life-long friends hate and shun me. It's the outcome of "gaslighting," a strategy commonly used by psychopaths to demonize their victims.
That was the single worst mistake I've ever made. I was wholly unaware that I was effectively inviting a legion of demons into my life.
Life-long friends hate and shun me. It's the outcome of "gaslighting," a strategy commonly used by psychopaths to demonize their victims.
Few cared for Frances Bavier.
Aunt Bee was the paternal aunt of Andy Taylor, sheriff of Mayberry, North Carolina.
Frances Bavier was the actress who portrayed Aunt Bee.
Andy Griffith, who portrayed Andy Taylor, once mused that Bavier didn't like him. He had no idea why.
A few months before she died, Bavier phoned Griffith and apologized for being so obstinate.
Apparently Aunt Bee and Francis were opposites. The fictitious character was warm, loving, and considerate. The real actress, they say, was cold, obnoxious, and acidic.
Francis could switch on the Aunt Bee character at the director's cue, then abruptly turn it off.
Be sure you read this post to the very end.
At the conclusion you will find the most important information:
Ten Commandments for Psychopath Victims.
The most import of those is commandment number 10.
While millions loved Aunt Bee, the cast and crew of The Andy Griffith Show knew the real Francis.
Francis was the real person. Aunt Bee was her act.
The contrast between Francis Bavier and Aunt Bee may be a classic example of the underlying dynamics of the psychopathic personality.
Psychopaths tend to possess two conflicting personalities. The first is the Aunt Bee persona. It is the personality with which most are familiar. The second is the Francis Bavier personality. It is the personality that few encounter.
The Aunt Bee personality is an act. The Francis personality is real.
Those who have been victimized by psychopaths understand how deceptively convincing the Aunt Bee act really is.
Psychopaths are so destructive that their victims often join support groups to deal with the severity of the trauma. Most victims are never the same. Typically, they lose their trust in humanity. Many find themselves fearful of forming new friendships, engaging in business relationships, or finding a new mate.
Again, psychopaths have two personalities. One is cold, calculating, glib and superficial. They pretend to be warm, kind, and considerate. One is real. The other is an act.
Those who don't know the Francis side of psychopaths are easily fooled by their Aunt Bee personas. That's by design.
Psychopaths are not crazy. They are not delusional. They are in full contact with reality. The exception is their delusional self-perception. Psychopaths tend to overestimate their intelligence, social skills, artistic abilities, etc.
Dr. Robert Hare published a checklist of psychopathic traits based on his research. It contains 20 characteristics of psychopaths. Professional psychiatrists use the test to evaluate persons suspected of being psychopaths.
Part 1: Meet my Aunt Bee
Ted (not his real name) was a long-time friend.
His "brief" stay in my office lasted three years.
For three years Ted slept on the office floor and "bathed" in the restroom sink. His clothes were hung on a makeshift bar hung across the back of the office. His belongings were stuffed in every nook and cranny.
I felt good about helping my friend. It is that empathetic altruism that makes us vulnerable to psychopaths.
I trusted him empirically. My gullibility and inability to see his Francis personality is, no doubt, what led him to victimize me.
There were many cues that I missed; nineteen of those cues are outlined in this presentation and are highlighted in red.
• A life of deception
Ted prides himself on his ability to deceive people. He's very good at it. His deceptive ability to explain "big misunderstandings" is, in my mind, legendary. Deception appears to be his joy, delight, and — not surprisingly — occupation.
It's more than an occupation. It is his lifestyle.
I first met Ted more than 30 years earlier when I was a pastor. He was a member of the congregation. He presented himself as as trusted friend and ally. His Francis personality was well hidden from the eyes of the gullible and I, obviously, was more than gullible: I was vulnerable.
I was wholly unaware that my trusted friend was leading a life of crime as now documented in records at the courthouse in Bartholomew County, Indiana. Nor did I know he was a serial defendant in a flurry of lawsuits that transcended many years. You will see a few of the documents below in the section titled Part 7: Duping others.
I didn't see Francis. I only saw Aunt Bee.
• Duped for decades
It's an understatement to say, "I was vulnerable."
In fact, I was duped for decades. Why was I unable to see Ted's Francis personality for so long?
Consider Ponzi-schemer Bernie Madoff deceived his closest friends for decades. He duped thousands of investors, not to mention employees, business associates and even the federal government's Securities and Exchange Commission. What's more telling is that Madoff successfully duped the most intimate person in his life: his wife; the mother of his children. You'll read her statement later in this article.
Consider that "Iceman" Richard Kuklinski was a professional hit man with a death score approaching 250. Like Mrs. Madoff, Kuklinski's wife and mother of his children was duped for decades.
Consider Ted Bundy, perhaps the world's most famous psychopath. Until he was caught, the only individuals who saw his Francis personality were his unfortunate victims.
Then there was the beloved neighborhood clown and community activist John Wayne Gacy. Not until a trove of corpses were toted out of his crawl space did friends and neighbors believe he was anything but a dear friend; an Aunt Bee. Granted, Ted never committed physical murder (as far as I know), but the number of "corpses" buried in his "crawl space" at the Bartholomew County, Indiana courthouse reveal the beloved Ted was anything but a harmless neighborhood clown.
• Deception perception
Ted, however, didn't dupe everyone.
There were others — many others — who sensed Ted's dark side immediately. That presents an enigma: Why are some of us explicitly gullible? Why do we not detect the inner Francis personality of psychopaths while others — like blood hounds — possess a heightened sense of awareness?
Suffice it to say for now: It is gullibility that makes victims vulnerable. We'll explain that odd phenomenon later.
During those earlier years Ted, unbeknownst to me, was frequently being sued. If my calculations are correct, some form of court action occurred about every six weeks on average for a duration of about fifteen years. In fact, public records suggest that he was taken to court more times than any other person in the history of the county.
I was unaware that he was being prosecuted for check deception — three times!
My naïveté was so ingrained that his abrupt months-long disappearance was dismissed as a mere lapse of spiritual discernment. It never dawned on my incredulous mind that he was in jail; sentenced to a one-year term for scamming a host of local businesses and individuals through check deception. See the document below.
|One-year jail sentence for check deception. Click here to view image.|
Nonetheless, he continued his criminal check-deception activity.
In 1988 court records indicate he was convicted again. This second conviction required restitution and included a one-year suspended sentence. Click here to see document.
He remained undeterred.
In 1993 a third conviction appears in court records. The third conviction landed him a "1 YEAR SENTENCE TO THE BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY JAIL," the document reveals. What's more, the court — and, no doubt, local banking institutions — revoked his right to hold checking accounts. "HAVE NO CHECKING ACCOUNT FOR 2 YEARS," the document says.
The plaintiff was the State of Indiana. See the document above.
We wonder how many other bad checks he wrote. Victims often take the loss rather than bother to seek prosecution.
I call this strategy, "duck-and-dupe." Ted ducked out of sight making himself effectively "invisible" or, in legal term, "judgement proof."
A creditor can garnish your wages, place a levy on your bank account, and/or place a lien against any real estate that you own. However, if you don't have any income or property that the creditor can legally go after, then you are what is often referred to as judgment proof.
With no bank accounts or property, creditors were left with few options. One of those options was to garnish his wages. That option ended, as we'll see later, when Ted abruptly quit his job. This allowed him to continue to dupe others with little fear of being sued or prosecuted.
Here's how it worked:
When Ted re-emerged, sans bank accounts and credit cards, he shrewdly shrouded his dishonesty in a cloak of spiritual astuteness. He pretended to have voluntarily disavowed banking institutions as instruments of a satanic world system.
Ted would not present himself as a criminal with a trove of court documents proving him to be a deceiver. Rather, he would present himself as a spiritual giant; a veritable opponent of the coming anti-Christ! He would not present himself as Francis, but as Aunt Bee.
He was an angel of light.
• Deceiving "the very elect"
Ironically, deceivers such as Ted were mentioned by Jesus, himself, as evidence of the imminent appearance of the anti-Christ.
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Emphasis added; Matt. 24:24)The anti-Christ, as depicted by Darbyist Christians, is portrayed to be the ultimate psychopath.
Ted is not only a type of anti-Christ; he appears to be a fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy concerning the advent of the anti-Christ: They shall deceive the very elect.
How will the anti-Christ successfully deceive Christians? To answer that question, simply consider Ted: How are so many Christians successfully deceived by Ted?
In Matthew 24 the disciples asked Jesus, "Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?"
"And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you."
Granted, Ted never claimed to be Jesus and his "great signs and wonders" may be wanting. But his cunning ability to deceive so many — including a few professing Christians — through his Aunt Bee act demonstrates our capacity for deception and punctures gaping holes in the arrogance of church folk who imagine themselves immune from such duplicity.
It is, after all, called check deception.
Ted's deception transcends mere opinion. It's canonized repeatedly as documented public court records. One can actually go to the clerk's office at the Bartholomew County, Indiana courthouse, sit down at a public computer, and verify the authenticity of these documents. I know. I did just that. You will see a few of the documents below in the section titled Part 7: Duping others.
• A life of deception
His repeat offenses smack of revocation of conditional release; a tell-tale sign of a psychopathic personality. We'll delve into that later.
Ted refused to renew his drivers license and claimed he had disavowed his social security number. The reason eventually became apparent: He was avoiding creditors and making himself judgement proof to avoid further lawsuits and prosecutions. Then, after a flurry of wage garnishments — all made evident in public records — Ted simply quit his job.
Ted divested himself of his meager possessions. He owned no vehicles. Ted either walked everywhere he went or bummed rides from friends.
(Court records indicate that Ted had once been arrested for DWI — driving while intoxicated. It could be that the state of Indiana revoked his license due to repeat offenses, though we saw no documentation to verify that supposition.)
Considering the wage garnishments were taking sizable chunks from his paycheck — perhaps most of his paychecks at times — abandoning his job may have been more of a blessing than a sacrifice. It could be that Ted was working for less than minimum wage after garnishments were deducted. Or, no paycheck at all. So, from Ted's perspective he was working for next to nothing after garnishments were deducted. He may have literally been working for nothing after garnishments.
His Aunt Bee personality was a righteous and stalwart Christian withdrawing from a satanic world system. His Francis personality was a scamming psychopath so immersed in his own stubborn arrogance that he refused employment. He chose, instead, to live parasitically off his victims.
At the beginning Ted demonstrated absolute loyalty to my work as a pastor. I thought it odd, however, when congregants informed me that Ted had contacted the former pastor and encouraged him to return to our city and plant a new church. Such a scenario would have been devastating. A split in the congregation would have been inevitable. The former pastor had left the church deep in debt. Those of us who came later were left holding the bag. Losing dozens of families to a new church would have ended the existing ministry.
I missed the first cue: My friend's Francis personality was actively working against me behind my back while his Aunt Bee character continued to play the role of a faithful friend.
• My psychopath is an atheist and worse
Ted is an atheist, in my opinion.
Granted, he claims to be a Christian, but his behavior defies his professed faith in God.
Anyone can claim to be a Christian, just as anyone can claim to be a watermelon. Claiming to be so doesn't make one so. Rather, it may suggest one to be delusional, a liar, or both.
It's called practical atheism. That is, the individual may profess a religion but, in practice, he is an atheist.
Imagine a man who declares himself to be a bona fide, born again, Bible-believing Christian. "I was saved at an early age," he says. "I immediately felt the call of God on my life to serve him. I love the Lord with all my heart and look forward with great anticipation to his soon return."
The man adds, "I'm just kidding. I'm actually an atheist."
Had the man never admitted to being an atheist, we would take him at his word. That is how psychopaths manage to successfully prey on Christians. Like wolves in sheep's clothing, they are readily welcomed into the fold.
I never heard Ted say the words, "I'm just kidding. I'm actually an atheist." His actions, however, spoke louder than words.
• Preying on sheep
Psychopaths who prey on the empathetic nature of church folk are often masters at verbalizing religious lingo. This may be akin to language loading, a term coined by Dr. Robert J. Lifton, a psychologist who specializes in thought reform.
Francis Bavier not only knew how to act the role of Aunt Bee. She knew how to speak like Aunt Bee. Her communication transcended mere words. It included verbal tones, facial expressions, body language, etc.
The apostle Paul explained this psychopathic phenomenon in Titus 1:16: "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate."
Ted professed to know God, but his works denied him. His words declared his Christianity. His works declared his atheism. He spoke like a Christian. He behaved like an infidel.
Again, it is evidence of his Aunt Bee act (pretending to be a Christian) and his genuine Francis personality (denying God by his works).
Most atheists I know have a much higher moral threshold than Ted. That is, he is the most impudent of atheists.
This is reflected in I Timothy 5:8 where we learn that those who fail to provide for "their own" are actually worse than infidels (that is, atheists). "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel."
In my opinion, Ted is not just a practical atheist. He is worse than an atheist. Again, "...and is worse than an infidel."
Ted refused to use his social security number making it virtually impossible to be gainfully employed and provide for "his own." Scamming unsuspecting friends, incidentally, would not qualify as 'providing for one's own.'
Rather than provide for his own, Ted preferred to live the life of a parasite; hiding out in the basements of the elderly and living off the subsistence of his victims. He was ducking out of sight where he could dupe others with minimal fear of consequences. He was ducking and duping.
• Soul winning? Or soul losing?
Consider the victims of Ted's scams.
Then consider how many were turned away from the gospel after being duped by a self-proclaimed Christian. How many others — convinced Ted was a true Christian — watched him commit scam after scam and concluded that Christianity is an ineffective hoax?
What's more, one has to wonder if Ted ever witnessed to the people he scammed.
Witnessing is a term used by evangelicals. It means to present the gospel to others in an effort to convert them or "get them saved."
How would Ted's victims respond had Ted witnessed to them? How will they respond when others witness to them in the future?
From a Christian's perspective, we must wonder how many people will spend an eternity in hell because one psychopath led a duplicitous life.
No wonder the apostle Paul declared that people like Ted are worse then infidels; worse than atheists.
• Unequally yoked
Using Ted's logic — not mine — Christians should avoid any contact or conversation with atheists.
He frequently abused a biblical passage (II Cor. 6:14) which reads, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"
Again, using Ted's logic, Christians should avoid him as well. He is, after all, a practical atheist.
Most English translations prefer the term 'lawlessness' over 'unrighteousness.' Lawlessness, of course, befits most anyone who holds the county record for being sued and prosecuted.
Ted urged others to avoid the "atheists" he has scammed. His motive, I presume, was to protect himself. He knew his victims would divulge his true character if given the opportunity. For example, Ted would not want you to read the article you are reading this very moment. It exposes his criminal past and godless character.
Psychopaths don't like to be exposed. Nor do demons.
In his true hypocritical fashion, Ted maintained business relationships with non-Christians. One of the accounts I helped Ted acquire was a whisky distillery in Kentucky. Ted had no qualms being "yoked" with a whisky distillery, but encouraged Christians to avoid conversations with his "atheist" victims.
What's more, Ted seldom attended church in defiance of Hebrews 10:24 that warns against "forsaking the assembling of ourselves together."
Christians who believe Ted is demonic should avoid him for that reason alone.
It is my opinion that Christians should avoid Ted — not because he is demonic or an atheist — but because he is a dangerously deceitful psychopath.
Part 2: What is psychopathy?
According to Psychology Today:
Psychopathy is among the most difficult disorders to spot. The psychopath can appear normal, even charming. Underneath, they lack conscience and empathy, making them manipulative, volatile and often (but by no means always) criminal. They are an object of popular fascination and clinical anguish: adult psychopathy is largely impervious to treatment... [source].
• Glib and superficial personality
Psychopaths are glib and display superficial charm. Many can see the act. Those of us who cannot are often destined for disaster.
The second cue was his apathy. He knew what he was doing was wrong. He just didn't care.
Again, psychopaths are not crazy. They know what they are doing is wrong. They don't care. Their lack of empathy is a hallmark of psychopathy.
• It's biologial, genetic, and untreatable
Researchers believe that psychopaths are biologically different from the norm. Brain scans, they say, reveal they are pathologically destined for psychopathic behavior. A part of the brain, the amygdalae (plural), doesn't fully function. The amygdalae are the emotional center of the brain. It is believed that the amygdalae of psychopaths are incapable of producing normal empathy.
Psychopaths don't care because they cannot care.
It is my unsubstantiated conjecture that psychopaths may also be pathologically deficient in mirror neurons.
Some psychotherapists conclude that talk therapy (counseling) actually has a negative impact. Some believe that counseling sessions do nothing more than allow psychopaths to learn how to manipulate counselors.
Psychopaths don't change because they cannot change.
It's akin to a person born without eyes. No amount of counseling or drug therapy can alter the missing components: sight. When related to psychopaths it is believed that no amount of counseling or drug therapy can alter the missing component: empathy.
• Psychopaths do care; about THEMSELVES
An article in WebMD.com reveals that empathy-sensitive areas of psychopaths' brains fail to become active when viewing photos of others in pain. However, when they imagine themselves in pain, the activity is higher than normal.
What's more, psychopaths actually find pleasure when viewing others in pain.
When highly psychopathic inmates imagined themselves in these painful situations, they showed higher-than-normal activity in certain brain regions involved in empathy for pain. But these regions failed to become active when they imagined others in pain.
Moreover, when imagining other people in pain, highly psychopathic inmates showed increased activity in a brain area known to be involved in pleasure, according to the study, which was published Sept. 24 in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
Hurting others gives psychopaths pleasure. You may recall hearing or reading about serial killers who, as children, harmed small animals. Such actions are repulsive to most of us. The young psychopath, however, found that harming small animals stimulated the pleasure center of the child's brain.
Ted Bundy achieved pleasure in physically murdering others through acts of violence. Ted achieves pleasure in "murdering" the reputations of others through acts of slander. Bundy used his hands to take the lives of others. Ted uses his tongue to take the reputations of others. In both instances, pleasure is achieved in causing others pain.
• Most psychopaths are not violent
We have a misconception about psychopaths. We expect them to be violent. Hollywood and the news media have created that misconception with characters like Hannibal Lecter and personalities like serial killer Ted Bundy.
Most psychopaths are not violent. They are, however, highly deceptive and manipulative.
Ted was a church member. Nonetheless, he would disappear for weeks — sometimes months — at a time.
That was the third cue. Psychopaths are superficial and undependable. Church members often quipped that Ted was dependably undependable.
Ted changed his address constantly. He seldom lived at the same location longer than a few months.
That was the fourth cue.
• Demons vs angels
Some believe psychopaths are actually demonic.
For the record, I reject this notion out of hand. Ted's behavior is not due to demonic possession. Conversely, I would argue that our concept of demons are derived from psychopathic behavior; at least in part.
Throughout this article I refer to demons in an allegorical, not literal, sense.
Nonetheless, I can readily understand why many faithful Christians embrace this perception: Ted did seem to fit the biblical profile of a demoniac.
• Seeking a dwelling place
Many theologians believe demons are fallen angels who were evicted from heaven and cursed to roam the earth, constantly seeking a place to inhabit; but always dissatisfied.
I didn't know it at the time, but my friend Ted moved frequently because he refused to pay rent. Like demons being evicted from heaven, Ted was constantly being evicted by his landlords.
A related oddity was seen: Ted was constantly shopping for real estate. He would contact real estate agents to arrange to view homes, even though he had no means of purchasing any of them. He once considered buying a small ranch, imagining he would boarder horses. A month later he was making multiple visits to a houseboat. Another time he was treading across 39 acres imagining the house he would build. Another time he was meeting an agent to view an apartment. Again, he was checking out a country house then later walking through a vacated mini-mansion that recently came on the market.
|Fallen angels cast out of heaven|
I suppose Ted had visited at least a hundred such properties; probably more. It was bizarre behavior to say the least. Still, I was duped by his Aunt Bee act.
Ted once confided that his father frequently moved his family from home to home. Eventually his father abandoned the family for a woman younger than Ted's mother. Pathological psychopathy, they say, is inherited.
I wonder how many drifters and transients could be considered demon possessed; fallen angels inhabiting the bodies of men in a millennial-long, compulsive search for a home.
As the biblical demoniac could not be chained, Ted abhorred restraints. He had no permanent job, his marriage failed, he could not maintain a long-term business association, he could not stay in the same home, etc.
I vividly recall Ted holding up his thumb during a conversation as he was slandering his former boss. "He wants me under his thumb," Ted said; then pressed his thumb on the car's dashboard to emphasize his point.
Ted would be bound by no one.
Rules, laws, and regularity were for others, it seems. Ted once walked off with a box design manual explaining he planned to give it to his son. In fact he simply stole it from the box manufacturing plant. The book's value was about $50; I had purchased an identical book a few weeks earlier.
That was the fifth cue: The fact that Ted would steal a single, $50 book with no sense of guilt or remorse sent a resounding signal; but I wasn't listening. A thief is a thief. If he will steal $50, he will steal $50,000.
Ironically, as you will read later, Ted stole an entire inventory of books I had published. I estimate the inventory of books he stole from me had a face value of well over $50,000!
I should have known. Jesus said in Luke 16:10b, "...and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much."
He seemed to think nothing of walking out the door with company-owned materials; without compunction.
Ted often boasted of carrying an unregistered handgun, though I don't recall ever seeing it. He also boasted of possessing no gun permit of any kind. Again, rules are for everyone else.
Ted's life philosophy seemed to be: Rules are for fools.
• Lack of realistic long-term goals
Cue number six is the fact that psychopaths lack long-term goals. I missed another cue.
|Google maps street view of|
Ted's home. He was apparently
evicted by the owner (his
employer) when he abruptly
quit his job.
Ted's boss secured a house for him. Apparently the employer sensed Ted's irresponsibility and deducted a portion of his paycheck as mortgage or rent payments. Considering that Ted's paychecks were being savaged by court-ordered garnishments, it's possible that he had little to live on. It appears that his employer graciously arranged living quarters for him; a comfortable home south of Columbus, Indiana. That would give Ted a roof over his head — a quite nice one, I might add — while avoiding creditors and side-stepping wage garnishments.
|Eviction by former employer. Click here to view image.|
Ted abruptly quit his job for no apparent reason. Nonetheless he continued to live in the house supplied by his former employer. Years later I learned Ted's boss filed a lawsuit to evict him.
That was cue number seven. Psychopaths only live in the present. Quitting a job doesn't bother them. They simply cannot fathom the future beyond the moment.
Ted's former wife described him as a dreamer, he once told me. He always had grandiose notions but never seemed to have the gumption, foresight, and intelligence to fulfill those dreams. What's more, his ideas were — in my opinion — absurd.
That brings us to cue number eight. Psychopaths are given to sexual promiscuity. Ted created a scandal when he married a high school girl. The marriage was short lived, but produced a son.
I later learned that Ted was pursuing a young woman; the daughter of a physician. Court records reveal a woman had filed a restraining order against him. It was likely the same woman.
On another occasion he was kicked out of a Sears department store for making advances to a young female clerk in the store's shoe department. He once expressed frustration that his son, now an adult, accused him of flirting with women.
Ted also had an ongoing Internet love affair with a white woman in Cameroon who, for some reason, could never seem to send him a clear photograph of herself. Still, Ted managed to send the woman support for her "missionary" work.
• Revocation of conditional release
Ted disappeared from my life for a period of months. I had no idea why or where he was. It didn't occur to me that "Aunt Bee" was in jail.
I was wholly unaware of my friend's criminal behavior. Low-intelligent psychopaths often engage in serial scams; believing themselves to be brilliant.
They skillfully hide their Francis personality. Their ability to fool gullible people likely convinces psychopaths that they are smarter than those they deceive.
When he re-emerged I had no clue he had thrice been prosecuted for check deception.
After the first offense the criminal court ordered him to make immediate restitution to his victims. Months later he was prosecuted again for continuing to write bad checks. The second offense produced a suspended one-year sentence. Again, he returned to his criminal behavior; but the third offense landed him a one-year sentence to the Bartholomew County Indiana jail. All offenses are canonized as court records and are available for examination by the public.
Nonetheless, I remained clueless. I was still good buddies with "Aunt Bee" and was unaware, at the time, that I had befriended and unconditionally trusted a convicted criminal.
Psychopaths thrive on gullible Good Samaritans who are blind to their true Francis personalities.
I thought it curious that my Aunt Bee friend frequently pointed out his character flaws in others. He often accused others of being arrogant, for example. I later learned the reason for this behavior.
When I eventually saw the court records I was dumbfounded. How could I have been so deceived?
• Choosing victims
Here's cue number nine. Even though psychopaths lack empathy, they readily recognize it in others. Psychopaths see empathy as a weakness. It's akin to a cheetah seeing a wounded gazelle.
Serial killer Ted Bundy notoriously said he selected victims by the way they held their heads.
Based on Bundy's assertion, a psychologist suspected psychopaths choose their victims by observing body language.
To test her theory, the psychologist video recorded a number of female volunteers from the back as they walked alone in a hallway. The psychologist then showed the videos to prisoners known to be psychopaths.
The prisoners were asked to identify the volunteers most likely to be victims of violent crimes such as robbery or rape. The prisoners were nearly unanimous in selecting the same young woman. Apparently the woman's body language revealed a lack of confidence. She appeared to be a wounded gazelle. There was something in her gait that set her apart. The psychologist confirmed that the woman had, indeed, been the only volunteer previously attacked by a violent rapist.
Some psychologists note that psychopaths gravitate towards religious affinity groups such as churches. The psychopath declares himself a Christian and is immediately trusted by members of the congregation. Parishioners accept the psychopath as one of their own; a member of the group to be trusted. The psychopath views the church members as prospects for scamming. He views their kindness as weakness.
• Empathy is viewed as a weakness
Ted interpreted my kindness as a weakness. He was correct. My altruism made me the ideal candidate to be scammed.
This, I suppose, is why he thought himself brilliant. He observed my foolishness in trusting him, realized he possessed no empathy, then confused his lack of empathy with advanced intelligence. Ted would never be fooled as I was fooled. Therefore, he concluded, he was smarter.
More likely my friend suffered from the Dunning-Kruger effect; "... a cognitive bias in which relatively unskilled persons suffer illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability to be much higher than it really is."
Stated colloquially, my psychopath was too stupid to know he was stupid. Stated academically, he suffered from a the Dunning–Kruger effect.
That raises a question: If Ted's behavior is driven by immutable pathological conditions, should he be held responsible for his actions? After all, it seems he literally could not help himself.
Then, again, we could ask: Should Ted Bundy be held responsible for his actions?
What were my psychopath's actions?
Part 3: The scams
To my knowledge I never did anything to harm Ted. I only tried to help my friend by giving him a place to stay, help him earn an income, provided him food and transportation, cover his cell phone expense, and other acts of kindness.
It occurs to me that some will love others in spite of their depravity. Some will betray others in spite of their acts of kindness.
• The first scam
Cue number ten emerged with a phone call from Ted. Again, I hadn't heard from him in many months. Ted had a business offer. A man in a nearby town owned a warehouse filled with surplus stock. Among the items were hundreds of end tables. Were I to buy the end tables, Ted would sell them and we would share the profit. I purchased ten of the tables. Together we loaded them into my van and delivered them to Ted's home. (At the time he was living in the basement of an elderly couple. Psychopaths, you'll recall, tend to be parasites.)
Ted sold the end tables and kept all the proceeds for himself. Realizing Ted was going through a difficult time, I foolishly overlooked the theft. After all, I thought, what are friends for?
He played his Aunt Bee role so well that I overlooked the emerging Francis.
• The second scam
A few months later Ted informed me that his mother and adult son were stranded out of state without cash to pay their motel bill. He asked me to loan him $100 to wire to his son.
Again, what are friends for?
Together we went to a Western Union office at a local Krogers grocery store and wired the money. Ted was playing his Aunt Bee role and I foolishly imagined myself the benevolent Good Samaritan.
I assumed Ted would repay the loan within a few days. He never repaid the loan. He never even mentioned it.
• The third scam
A few months later he asked me to loan his son $2,000. Apparently his son had lost his job and needed the extra cash to make ends meet. Blind as I was to Ted's Francis personality, I was beginning to catch on. I explained to Ted that I would loan him the money on the condition that I would be repaid before April 14. I was taking the $2,000 from my income tax fund, I explained.
Ted changed his mind. Rather than loan him $2,000, Ted suggested I visit his son and pretend to purchase a junk Cadillac his son owned. Ted would take the car and have it restored, then present it to his son as a surprise birthday gift.
How foolish could I be? you ask.
I went along with the scheme, handed Ted's son a check for $2,000 and even paid to have it towed to a location of Ted's choosing. I gave Ted the title and the keys. As you may have guessed the $2,000 was never repaid and, last I heard, the Cadillac was sold for junk.
Ted not only scammed me for $2,000, he also schemed a "bonus" for himself by reselling the Cadillac for junk.
The Cadillac was, in fact, a piece of junk. I never would have purchased the Cadillac under normal circumstances. In fact, the car was so dilapidated, I would not have taken if his son have given it to me. It was just that bad.
I wondered at the time how foolish Ted's son must have been to have purchased the junk Cadillac to begin with. I later wonder how foolish I must have been to have purchased the same junk Cadillac.
By now you may think I'm a bit of a sap for allowing Ted to continually steal from me. You would be correct. You may have also noticed that Ted started with a small scam — the end tables — and progressively conned me with larger scams.
The largest scams were yet to come; but still I believed in Aunt Bee.
• Pathological lying
Cue number eleven emerged when Ted casually announced he had voluntarily surrendered his drivers license, Social Security number, refused to use credit cards, and even decided to have no bank accounts.
Ted explained that his decision to live off the grid was a matter of deeply held religious convictions. A global system was forming that would usher in the anti-Christ, he explained. Ted had no desire to be part of such a world system, and so he disconnected himself and was living for Jesus.
It seems Ted possesses an uncanny aptitude for explaining 'big misunderstandings.' It is a primary component in his repertoire of deceptions.
|Mel Gibson as Jerry in Conspiracy Theory|
In reality Ted had been ordered by the county court to have no checking accounts after his third conviction for check deception. He had no credit cards because he had no credit. He apparently refused to obtain a drivers license or use his Social Security number to avoid creditors.
While he imagined himself to be Jerry of Conspiracy Theory, many others viewed him as a wandering homeless creep who existed in a bizarre fantasy world of his own making. To their — or our — demise, some extended compassion to this pathetic creature, wholly unaware they were opening themselves to a legion of demons.
In hindsight I realize that Ted's life was a lie. He was not hiding from the anti-Christ. He was hiding from creditors. He did not surrender his checking account. That privilege was denied him by a court of law. He was not Mel Gibson's character hiding out from the prying eyes of an impending world government. He was a parasite living off gullible people; many of them elderly.
Notice that Ted cloaked his Francis personality with religion. He was an actor playing the role of a religious zealot. It made convenient duck-and-dupe cover for his true personality and endeared him to a large number of Christians. It was if his demons were pretending to be angels of light.
Years later I would learn Ted had been taken to court, perhaps, fifty times or more within nearly fifteen years. The exact number is unknown. There may be court documents I've not yet seen. You may view some of those documents by clicking here.
Living off the grid was an effective method of avoiding more lawsuits.
For the moment, however, I was still believing Ted was the best of friends; a male counterpart to Andy's Aunt Bee.
• The fourth scam
Ted came to me with another business proposition. He had befriended the owner of a box manufacturing plant in a nearby town. Ted and I would sell boxes and share the commissions fifty-fifty. I, of course, would do all the driving because Ted had no drivers license. I would cover travel expenses including meals and my beloved Aunt Bee would provide the expertise. He had, after all, worked for years as a box designer before quitting and being evicted by his former employer.
Ted supplied the plant owner with his son's Social Security number. On paper, his son was the employee. Paychecks were payable to Ted's son.
That was cue number twelve.
My friend claimed that a paycheck was part of the world system. That's because a paycheck requires a Social Security number and that entangles one with the anti-Christ. My friend was effectively sacrificing his son to the anti-Christ!
I missed the cue.
• Parasitic lifestyle
Cue thirteen came when Ted was evicted from his basement home by his elderly host. The woman's husband had died and she was relocating — without Ted. He was still playing the role of Aunt Bee and I was playing the role of the Good Samaritan who turned his foolish cheek at every offense.
I told Ted he could stay at my office until he found a permanent place to live. At first Ted moved in with a few essentials such as toiletries and a change of clothes. As the weeks passed he would sneak in other belongings, tucking them throughout the office as not to interfere with my business. Ted lived in my office for about three years, sleeping on the floor and bathing at the restroom sink.
Eventually he unloaded a huge upright bureau just inside the door to my office, nearly blocking the entrance. It stayed there for months until I demanded Ted move it. He was nonplussed. How dare I tell him what to do!?
Over the years Ted lived as a parasite in the homes of, perhaps, dozens of gullible hosts.
• The fifth scam
Cue number fourteen surfaced when, thinking I was being a good friend, bought Ted a cell phone and even paid for his phone service. The only stipulation was that he limit his calls. At the time cell phone services charged hefty fees for overages. On two occasions Ted ran his phone bill over $400. On both occasions he failed to pay for the overages. In fact, he didn't even offer to pay for the overages.
Embedded in the recesses of my mind was the parable taught by Jesus as recorded in Matthew 25:35-49. By caring for the homeless, one is caring for Jesus.
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in?
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
I thought I was a good Christian and a faithful friend. I was not only helping a friend in need; I was vicariously helping Jesus. In reality I was a sap; a sucker for a psychopath.
How stupid could I be? Unbelievably stupid. I was convinced Aunt Bee was a real person.
• Turning point: Discovering Ted's Francis persona
Cue number fifteen arose while we were on a sales trip. The two of us were dining at a Lee's Chicken restaurant in Stanford, Kentucky. While returning from the restroom, I approached Ted from behind. He was talking on the cell phone I had purchased. He was using data for which I was paying.
|From the movie, They Live,|
Roddy Piper sees him as
he really is.
It's reminiscent of John Carpenter's 1988 movie, They Live, in which the lead actor suddenly discovers the true identity of aliens disguised as humans. The difference, of course, that my experience was not fiction, but reality.
I took my seat and Ted quickly ended the phone call. He continued to play the character of the charming friend, but now I knew better. I went along with act. After all, our business association was profitable. To quit now would require I surrender the fruit of my labor and investments. Besides, my mind was not totally divested of the Aunt Bee act. That would come later.
|Lee's Chicken in Stanford, KY|
via Google maps. This site
left an indelible stamp
in my mind.
I began using a dashcam on future sales trips for documentation. The camera, positioned where Ted could easily see it, recorded him slandering friends, co-workers, family members, customers, and others.
Cue sixteen was listening as Ted consistently slandered others. This thought never occurred to me: If Ted were slandering others to me, he was slandering me to others.
• Keeping up appearances
Ted managed to fool me for nearly 30 long years. That, surprisingly, is not unusual as psychopaths are adept at staying in character.
Individuals unfortunate enough to be married to psychopaths often note that their partners maintained the act for many years; even decades.
As noted earlier, infamous Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff pulled off the Aunt Bee act for decades, fooling even his own wife.
Madoff's wife, Ruth, issued a statement, saying "I am breaking my silence now because my reluctance to speak has been interpreted as indifference or lack of sympathy for the victims of my husband Bernie's crime, which is exactly the opposite of the truth. I am embarrassed and ashamed. Like everyone else, I feel betrayed and confused. The man who committed this horrible fraud is not the man whom I have known for all these years." [source]
Psychopaths seem to have a knack for staying in character.
• Subtle sounds of demon-like voices
The following months were miserable. I was traveling with a person who pretended to be my best friend but was, in reality, my worst enemy.
I would drive; he would sit in the passenger's seat and slander.
I would listen for hours as his demonic personality would eviscerate his friends, family, and coworkers. Many of those episodes were recorded by the dash cam.
Perhaps the most disturbing moments were listening to the demonic guttural sounds emitting from his innermost being as he slept in the car. Initially I presumed the horrific voice-like tones was snoring. Or was I hearing the presence of a demonic legion uttering their vile contempt for me as we traveled down the road?
It was, indeed, horrifying; driving along a lonely Kentucky highway hearing nothing but the monotonous sound of the road and the subdued snarling voices emitting from deep within this horrible creature.
A thought later occurred to me: I could take the audio recording from the dash cam and allow a specialist in demonology to listen. Without prompting, I would ask the minister to assess the guttural voice-like sounds: Are these the voices of demons? Or of a man snoring?
The same demonic sounds were heard resonating through my office at night as Ted slept on the floor. The office security camera's motion detector was sometimes triggered by a small television Ted often allowed to play at night.
Demons are restless spirits, they say. Spirits never slumber. They never sleep.
The sounds were, indeed, eerie. Demons? Or simply snoring?
I'm convinced the demonic sounds were entirely natural. Demons, after all, don't exist. Nonetheless, I can understand how humans can erroneously consign spiritual attributes to natural phenomena.
Psychopathy — as all mental disorders — is natural.
Ted's favorite mode of slander was to accuse others of being arrogant. Psychopaths, I later learned, project their faults onto others. Ted was extraordinarily arrogant and considered himself to be exceptionally brilliant, even though he was homeless, penniless, and seemed to have an intellectual threshold of a 12-year-old.
His childlike behavior was reflected in his carelessness, irresponsibility, limited vocabulary, rudimentary writing skills, and a sense of humor typical of Junior High School boys. His adult body masked an emotional and intellectual child.
Ted often complained about his brother-in-law who, he said, wasted away his days sitting alone in a Burger King reading The Wall Street Journal. Oddly, Ted could be frequently found bellied up to a table at McDonalds where he would doodle for hours.
McDonalds restaurants were his haunt. That, by the way, shall serve as a tip to police officers: If you are looking to serve a warrant on Ted, but can't locate him: Try staking out the nearest McDonalds restaurant. He's almost certain to show up sometime within 24 hours.
• The woman at McDonalds
Cue seventeen came when a man and his friends began stalking Ted at night.
Ted's Aunt Bee persona had befriended a young woman employed at a nearby McDonalds. Thinking Ted was a friend to be trusted, she shared personal information about her life. She told her friend, Ted, about her past love affairs and the children they produced. The woman was now happily married and was grateful that Ted provided a shoulder to cry on.
Ted, however, divulged the young woman's past to other patrons at McDonalds. Ted's version of her life was less than flattering. His sordid tales made her appear to be a loose whore.
Another employee overheard Ted's slandering and informed the young woman who, in turn, informed her husband. Night after night young men would prowl the streets near my office, hoping to catch Ted and have a, uh, "conversation."
Ted became so frightened he called the police, in spite of the fact that he feared police; apparently due to his time in the penal system. Within weeks Ted packed his belongings and moved into the basement of another elderly couple across town.
Ted was as dumb as I was gullible. Fortunately, my gullibility subsided.
• Ministers' observations
Cue eighteen came from the warnings of several knowledgeable and experienced ministers.
That begs the question: Why was I so easily duped by Ted's Aunt Bee persona while others immediately sensed a scoundrel?
Oddly, those who detected Ted's dark side were all Christians; most were ministers of the Gospel.
One pastor told me that Ted's weirdness was apparent the first time he met him. A second pastor concluded much the same. His daughters characterized Ted as being "creepy' when they observed him walking around town with a cell phone 'glued' to his ear.
A third pastor confided that he once considered inviting Ted to temporarily live in his home. An inner Still Small Voice changed his mind.
A fourth pastor friend listened to Ted's slander and promptly contacted me. He asked to meet for lunch. During our conversation he readily recognized that I had been scammed and was the victim of demonic slander.
What did they detect that I missed? What did they see that the woman at McDonalds could not see? Why did his former boss not detect what was clearly seen by others? Why are some of us gullible while others are not? What insight do they possess that other don't possess?
Could it be the four ministers were spiritually attuned to demons residing in Ted? Or was their insight due to years of encountering a broad spectrum of personalities?
I chose the latter.
Nonetheless, some Christians contend that when we open ourselves to slander from a demonic presence, we unwittingly invite demons to inhabit our minds. We become demon possessed.
Were that true — and it isn't true — I would swear that Ted is the host vessel to a legion of demons who use him as a vehicle to gain access to the minds of unsuspecting victims.
In reality, we merely love to listen to gossip and slander. And we love to believe it!
• The sixth scam
Cue nineteen occurred when I phoned Ted.
I asked Ted if he knew where my books were located. He grew eerily quiet, then said he didn't know.
Years ago I self published a book that sold well. When sales waned the distributor asked me to claim the leftover books as he could no longer warehouse them. The owner of the box factory agreed to allow me to store the books at his location, an arrangement made by Ted.
It never occurred to me that Ted planned to steal my books.
I offered to give the leftover books to a pastor friend. He planned to give them, in turn, to prisoners.
I met with the pastor at a Cracker Barrel restaurant near the box factory where the books were stored. Ted dined with us and I, of course, paid for Ted's meal. During dinner I agreed to deliver the books to the pastor in the near future. There would be a delay because my van was being repaired.
Ted and I accompanied the pastor to the warehouse where we loaded a few boxes of books in the pastor's car trunk. The remainder would be delivered later.
I was surprised to find the books stacked in boxes next to the warehouse entrance. Ted earlier said he didn't know where they were located. In fact he knew all along. They were placed near the door so he would have easy access to them. He was stealing them piecemeal and selling them for salvage without my knowledge or consent.
• Discarded tissue paper
Ted grew increasingly irritable. He knew his scam was over. He could no longer use me or steal from me.
|How a psychopath sees his victim:|
Used, soiled, and discarded
When psychopaths can no longer abuse their victims, they discard them.
Dr. Mary Ellen O'Toole, Senior Profiler, FBI (ret) compared this to discarding a used tissue paper: "Think about empathy in a psychopath this way. If you had a Kleenex tissue this morning and you disposed of that Kleenex in a trash can: Are you thinking about that Kleenex? Are you thinking about what life could have been like for that little Kleenex just had you not tossed it away? The analogy is, this is how a psychopath thinks about their victims."
There is no emotional attachment and no guilt or shame.
My friend, Ted, saw me a used toilet paper; soiled, useless, and to be discarded.
The psychopath loses no sleep and will often boast of his lack of empathy as if it were a strength.
Many psychologists compare psychopaths manipulating their victims to cats playing with mice.
• Stolen books
Two weeks later I returned to the box factory to pick up my books and deliver them to the pastor. The books were gone.
The factory owner told me Ted had come about two weeks earlier and took the books. I was told that Ted returned later that same night we met with the pastor and took the books.
I called the police and filed a report. The detective summoned Ted for an interview. According to the investigator, Ted admitted to taking the books and selling them for salvage, but insisted I had given them to him. Another friend later informed me that Ted was actually hiding the books in a tractor trailer at the box factory.
Part 4: Evidence "etched in stone"
The evidence of Ted's psychopathic behavior is overwhelming. There are piles of court documents in addition to hours of video recordings.
• A trove of evidence
The story, however, doesn't end there.
Within months I received a packet in the mail containing over fifty sheets of paper. The papers were court documents; a veritable chronicle of Ted's criminal past. It was then that I learned why he had no bank accounts: A county judge prohibited him from having a checking account after his third prosecution for check deception. It had nothing to do with his religious convictions and everything to do with his criminal activities.
The documents revealed that Ted had been sued multiple times by creditors, business owners, and landlords. The envelope was postmarked from the nearby town where the box factory is located.
To verify the authenticity of the documents, I made a trip to the county courthouse. The clerk's office provides a public computer where anyone can search archived court records. In addition to the dozens of court actions involving my psychopathic friend are, perhaps, innumerable criminal acts that never prompted court actions.
• Video evidence
Ted, you'll recall, lived in my office for three years. The office had been earlier equipped with a motion-activated video camera. It sat on a table in full view of anyone who walked in the office. The intent was to alert any prospective thief that he was being recorded.
The camera was connected to my computer. The files were automatically stored on the hard drive.
Years after our faux friendship ended I was deleting files from the computer's hard drive so I could use it for additional storage. I came across a cache of hundreds of videos. I had forgotten about the office security camera. It was somewhat amusing to review scores of videos. Ted often sat smack-dab in front of the camera while talking on his cell phone I had purchased for him. Again, the conversations of Ted slandering his friends, family members, and co-workers were recorded.
The videos remain on the hard drive. I often wonder how Ted's friends and family would react upon hearing his slander. Would they finally see beyond his Aunt Bee act and recognize a psychopathic personality?
Ted's audacity was mind boggling. He sat in my office — which I generously allowed him to use for shelter — as he used a phone I purchased for him and data for which I was paying to slander me to others. And he was recorded on the office security camera.
• Recording Ted's slander
As noted earlier, I first acknowledged Ted's Francis personality when I overheard him plotting to effectively steal one of my accounts.
I began using a dash cam on future sales calls. I would record where we went to prove commissions due. The purpose of the video camera apparently never occurred to Ted.
The video camera was positioned on the dash where he could easily see it.
Ted apparently grew accustomed to the camera during future sales trips. He would openly discuss his friends, family members, and co-workers. Ted spent much of his time slandering others. Many of his rants were captured on video.
Part 5: Gaslighting
During my studies of psychopathy I discovered that psychopaths typically engage in gaslighting.
Gaslighting occurs when the psychopath portrays himself as the victim.
The objective of gaslighting is to undermine perceptions others have of the actual victims or the actual victims have of themselves.
The trait is named for the 1940s movie Gaslight in which a psychopath marries a woman for her money, then attempts to convince the woman and others she is crazy. The psychopath's intention is to have his newlywed wife committed to a mental institution. His plan is to keep her money. Fortunately, a hero senses the underlying Francis and exposes the Aunt Bee as a fraud. Click here to watch the 1940 version of the movie via YouTube.
Ted displayed that same psychopathic behavior. He portrayed me as the offender and himself as the victim. This provided a convenient excuse for scamming me out of thousands of dollars in commissions.
Ted "gaslighted" me by accusing me of being an arrogant atheist. In Ted's version, he ended our business relationship because he could no longer be "unequally yoked" with a nonbeliever. He was taking a stand for Jesus.
In reality Ted simply discarded me like a used tissue because he could no longer scam me.
I was being gaslighted. Ted undermined the perceptions of others by portraying himself as the hyper-religious icon of morality while I was portrayed as the evil one.
In spite of Ted's religious persona, he seldom attended church.
"They profess that they know God," the Bible says, "but in works they deny him."
In Ted's case the "works" are documented by a trove of court records and video recordings. You will see a few of those below.
Incredibly, many still believe him. How can I fault them? I trusted him for decades!
• The gaslight trail
During the three years Ted lived in my office, I noticed some people began to treat me with utter contempt. Their countenance scowled as they stared at me as if I had committed some grievous offense. It was a strange phenomenon I had never previously experienced. The glares seemed demonic.
Some of these haters were people I had known for years. Others were people I hardly knew at all; such as the clerk in a retail store.
Eventually it occurred to me they all had one thing in common: They all knew Ted.
Had the legion of spirits that possessed Ted sent demonic emissaries to possess others? Could it be that, by listening to Ted's demonic slander, the listeners opened themselves to demonic possession? Would that account for their demonic glares?
Of course not. Demons don't exist. The experience does, however, demonstrate the viral effect of Ted's slander.
Here's an example: While speaking with a friend and financial adviser, I urged him not to disclose my personal finances with Ted. I was a bit surprised when he responded, "Yeah. I know."
He explained that Ted had encountered his wife at Walmart. Even though I never met his wife, Ted had convinced her that I was the epitome of evil.
The irony is that Ted had also eviscerated his wife during one of our sales trips. The woman owned an interior design business. Ted had convinced me her work was shabby; that she lacked talent. As Ted had convinced me she was incompetent, he convinced her that I was the personification of evil. To phrase that in the vernacular: As Ted trashed talked about her to me, he trashed talked about me to her.
Ted likely convinced many others that the woman lacked talent and, as such, may have cost her thousands of dollars in sales through his slanderous loose tongue. He displayed no remorse or empathy for damages he may have done to her business. And she was wholly unaware of his devious slander.
Likewise, I don't know how many people hate me solely based upon Ted's slander of me. My gaslight trail may include dozens or even hundreds of individuals. The destruction caused by gaslighting is, perhaps, the most devastating aspect of trusting a psychopath. It was certainly the most painful in my experience.
• Immune from gaslighting
Not everyone was duped by Ted's gaslighting.
As mentioned earlier, a number of ministers readily recognized Ted's Francis personality. Others immune from his gaslighting were those who, themselves, had been his victims. A retired businessman, for example, was nonplussed at Ted's persistent gaslighting and often expressed his sympathy for my plight. The businessman had, himself, been scammed by Ted. He couldn't and wouldn't be fooled.
Tragically, most were convinced by Ted's gaslighting. Here's one example:
• Stealing Stan
Stan (not his real name) and his wife were good friends. We attended church together, were both in the same Sunday School class, shared many friends, would frequently dine together at restaurants after church, and even vacationed together. As teens, Stan's daughter and my son were also good friends.
Ted abruptly made a bizarre statement: He announced that he had taken my friend Stan. It was one of those comments that placed an indelible crease on my gray matter, so to speak; a moment locked forever in the recesses of my mind.
The mental impression was made because his words were so incredulous and unusual; totally off the wall and out of context with our conversation. Ted spoke with a sense of satisfaction. It was reminiscent of golfer who just sunk a hole in one or card player who laid down a winning hand. He was gloating.
It was the oddity of the experience that made it stick in my mind. Ted and I had many conversations over the years and exchanged countless thousands of words. These words, however, made a lasting impression. They were so bizarre.
However, I thought nothing about it when Stan didn't return my e-mail messages. He was, after all, a busy professional. And unanswered e-mails are not uncommon.
I seldom saw Stan after that day. I drifted away from church and lost contact with Stan and other congregants. Nonetheless, many friends from the church were kind enough pay visits when I was hospitalized for heart surgery and again, two years later, for brain surgery. Stan was not among them. I paid it no mind.
I thought it peculiar when I saw Stan and his wife at a pizza restaurant. Their reception was cold. It didn't occur to me that Stan may have "caught" Ted's demon by opening his mind to Slander.
A few years passed after Ted's odd announcement. I saw Stan at a funeral, passed in front of him, and courteously waved. He stared straight ahead as if I were invisible. Maybe he didn't see me, I thought. After the service I approached Stan. He allowed me to shake his hand but said nothing and, again, stared away as if I were invisible. He clearly wanted nothing to do with me.
It was only then that the dots seemed to connect. Had Ted's demon, Slander, convinced Stan I was some devious malefactor? It's impossible to know for sure.
It appears, however, that Ted had in fact "stolen" my friendship with Stan and was gloating in his accomplishment.
It was after this last experience with Stan that I coined Kennism #152: Sometimes I like to be around church people to remind me why I don't like to be around church people.
That is the essence of gaslighting. The psychopath defers his malevolence to his victim. In the minds of others the victim is the "bad guy;" not the psychopath. As noted earlier, its akin to a bully punching a kid on the playground, then accusing the victim. Vicariously the psychopath's victim becomes the bully in the minds of others. And they treat the victim as if he or she were the bully. It's a painful and frustrating experience. First comes the emotional trauma caused by the psychopath's scheming. Second comes amplified trauma; a tidal wave of hatred and rejection from those who have fallen for the psychopath's gaslighting.
I often wonder what Ted's demon told Stan that was so convincing. Did he accuse me of some devious crime? Did he falsely accuse me of slandering Stan behind his back? Did he accuse me of slandering Stan's loved ones? I'll probably never know.
I have no idea how many other "Stans" are out there. Suffice it to say: If you know me and know Ted, you've almost certainly listened to his demon, Slander, eviscerate me. That is, Ted likely involved you in his gaslighting campaign. Did Slander convince you? When I see you, do I see you? Or do I see that hateful scowl of Slander residing inside you?
• Gaslighting amplifies the victims' pain
Psychopaths gain pleasure in the pain of their victims. Gaslighting allows psychopaths to amplify this equilibrium of pleasure from pain: The more pain caused by Ted's viral slander, the more pleasure he received.
As slander goes viral, even close friends may hold victims in contempt. Consequently, gaslighting is often the most painful aspect of being victimized by psychopaths. That pain is caused by the abject rejection of others.
Part 6: Duper's delight
Duper's delight usually occurs after a psychopath has ended his hoax. I've heard several psychologists use the term. Ofttimes duper's delight is manifested as nothing more than a brazen smirk.
Ted expressed duper's delight by parading in front of his victims. When I observed this oddity I was unaware that it was a component of a psychopath's behavior.
For example: Ted and I were leaving the box factory when his former employer drove by. It was very important to Ted that his former boss see him. So he paced back and forth in the parking lot. It was truly bizarre.
You'll recall the young McDonald's employee Ted had slandered. Ted seemed to enjoy parading in front of her during subsequent visits to the restaurant. It was if to say, "I slandered you and there's nothing you can do about it."
I once attended a funeral of a mutual friend. At the grave site Ted went to extremes to walk back and forth in front of me. It was his method of expressing duper's delight.
Psychopaths, you'll recall, gain pleasure from causing pain. Duper's delight — whether a smirk, parading, or some other form of signaling — is intended to cause pain to the victim. It is another opportunity for the psychopath to experience pleasure.
• Nice guys finish duped
|James Fallon is a noted psychologist who|
lectures extensively on psychopathy
That experience prompted me to study the psychology behind such weird behavior. It was then I learned that Ted was not demonic as some suggest, but was almost certainly a quintessential psychopath. He has no empathy because his brain is likely malformed; his amygdalae don't function properly and his mirror neurons may be dysfunctional.
I now believe I understand Ted's behavior. I still don't know, however, why some of us are so easily duped while others are not.
• A rough spot?
Some may be tempted to excuse Ted's failure to meet financial obligations. Did he encounter one of those "rough spots" so many of us face in life?
Dated court documents span about 15 years. That's a very long rough spot. My unfortunate experiences with Ted spanned a period of thirty years. The the most serious offenses concurred more than a decade after my psychopath dropped off the proverbial radar. That is, his rough spot seems to consist of a long series of scams that span his entire adult life.
Part 7: Duping others
Because the pleasure center of the psychopath is stimulated by hurting others, it is almost certain that your psychopath has left a trail of victims. The psychopath's trail may have begun in his childhood.
Part of Ted's trail is documented by court records. As previously noted there are almost certainly scores — perhaps hundreds — of victims who didn't bother to sue him; I being one of them.
An elderly friend retired from his wholesale produce business. He confided that Ted had once made a purchase but never paid the bill. The total amount owed, he said, was over $400. The businessman wrote it off as a bad debt and never filed a lawsuit.
How many other scams are there that were never taken to court?
Court records document a trail of deception beginning in the mid-1980s and continued for about 15 years. The trail seems to end after a court sentenced Ted to a one-year jail term for check deception and denied him the right to have a checking account.
Ted quit his job, declined to renew his drivers license, and refused to use his social security number. The scams and deceptions, however, continued. Victims (like me) were unable to find relief through the judicial system. Ted had effectively made himself judgement proof.
Ted is a master at explaining "big misunderstandings." Perhaps he has a logical explanation for a trail of multiple court actions spanning a period of about 15 years. I'd like to hear that explanation. Also, Ted may have some explanation for others — like myself — who claim to have experienced his schemes and scams. I'd like to hear that explanation as well.
Below are a few documented examples of, perhaps, hundreds of scams attributed to Ted.
A court action dated September 18, 1985 documents a wage garnishment. Apparently Ted had made purchases from Columbus Trophy Company and left a $301 bill unpaid. Ted was gainfully employed at the time allowing the debtor to have his wages garnished. This is one of several wage garnishments documented by court records.
The document reads:
DEFAULT JUDGEMENT $301.00 PLUS CC.Apparently Ted didn't bother showing up in court resulting in a default judgement.
As noted above, Ted later quit his job making wage garnishments virtually impossible. Ted remained hushed about his long trail of civil and criminal court actions. Instead, he shrouded his odd behavior in a cloak of spiritual aloofness: He was avoiding the world system of the coming Anti-Christ.
View document here ►
A court action was filed in 1987 by Beech Acres Mobile Home Park in Columbus, Indiana. Apparently my psychopath had been evicted. The court document read in part:
DISPOSITION: DEFAULT JUDGEMENT $620.07 PLUS CC DEFT TO PICK UP PERSONAL PROPERTY NLT 6:00 PM DEC 19, 1987 AMENDED ORDER ENTERS. CLMT TO SELL PERSONAL PROPERTY OF DEFT AND APPLY TO JUDGEMENTView document here ►
A court action was filed that same year by National Car Rental. Apparently Ted had rented a vehicle then skipped out without paying. The court action was dated October 15, 1987. Cash was commonly used for car rentals in the 1980s.
The court document reads in part:
DISPOSITION: DEFAULT JUDGEMENT $941.84 PLUS CC
• LOHEMEYER PLUMBING (1991)
In 1991 a court action indicates that Ted's wages were garnished to satisfy a debt owed to Lohemeyer Plumbing in Columbus, Indiana.
The document reveals a settlement of $328.82, court costs, and post judgement interests. The default judgement suggests that Ted not only failed to pay his debt but failed to show up in court.
This was one of many wage garnishment records linked to Ted on record at the courthouse in Bartholomew County, Indiana.
View document here ►
It appears that my dear friend purchased tires for his vehicle and managed to skip out without paying.
The court action was dated 1994. Note that nearly ten years had past sense the first court action posted above.
A pattern seems to emerge: It appears that Ted has an incredible aptitude for obtaining service prior to paying. In this case it appears Tire One placed enough confidence in Ted's Aunt Bee personality that they allowed him to drive away with new tires without paying; they assumed Aunt Bee would return to settle the debt in the near future. Likewise, it appears National Car Rental allowed Ted's Aunt Bee to drive off prior to making full payment.
If true, I know the scam. I was confident that Ted would repay the $100 I loaned him to wire to his son.
The default judgement cites a settlement of $188.71 owed the claimant, Tire One, by the defendant.
View document here ►
• RAMADA INN (1996)
A court action dated January 24, 1996 demonstrates how effective Ted was in ducking and duping. He rented a conference room at the local Ramada Inn but apparently skipped out without paying. The occasion was a presentation for a multi-level program in which Ted was involved.
That prompted a court action called "civil plenary" (or lawsuit). The plaintiff was apparently seeking $100 owed by Ted. Ted, however, was nowhere to be found. His duck-and-dupe strategy was working.
So how was Ted able to convince Ramada Inn to rent him a conference room if Ted had no permanent address?
He apparently used a friend's address without that friend's knowledge or consent.
How do I draw this conclusion? You can imagine my shock as I was reviewing this court document and discovered my business address — 422 1/2 Fifth Street — was cited as Ted's address!
This, by the way, was years before my beloved Aunt Bee moved into my office.
View document here ►
Public court records indicate that a protective order was filed against Ted in 1999. Ted once complained that a physician ordered him to stop bothering his daughter. Apparently Ted had a love interest that was not reciprocated. The individual named in the complaint may be that daughter.
The document records an "EMERGENCY PROTECTIVE ORDER ISSUED."
I don't know how much aggression an offender must demonstrate before a judge approves a protective order. My understanding is that such actions are not issued unless there is substantial evidence to merit the order.
View document here ►
The above citations prompt a number of observations.
First, all of the court actions sided in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendant. That is, Ted was guilty in every single instance. Ted's proclivity for explaining "really big misunderstandings" was rendered moot under the scrutiny of an impartial judiciary.
Second, the sheer number and frequency of court actions affirm serial criminal behavior. Each dupe I experienced — scammed out of the investment for end tables, refused loan repayment, duped into buying his son's car, stolen accounts, refused to reimburse cell phone overages, and a host of other slights — was a scam in a long series of scams over many years involving countless victims. It's analogous to a conveyor belt moving boxes down the line. The scams I experienced were just a few of the many "boxes" in Ted's conveyor belt of dupes of many individuals and businesses.
Third, convictions had no discernible affect on Ted's behavior. This is akin to revocation of conditional release.
Fourth, it seems incredible that Ted managed to dupe so many for so long while no one doxed him. That is, no one bothered to do a background check. Then, again, who would suspect Aunt Bee would have a criminal record?
Fifth, it is fortunate that at least one person investigated Ted's criminal past and exposed the Aunt Bee character to be an act.
Part 8: Affecting faith
One would think that being duped for years by a trusted "Christian" friend would challenge my faith in God. My exposure to Ted's psychopathy did little more than pique my interest in the psychopathic phenomenon.
Ted's slander didn't challenge my faith in religion. Rather, the significant number of Christians who believed his slander did challenge my faith.
That is, the same church folk — including myself — who believed God raises people from the dead also believed Ted's slander. If we were mistaken on the latter, how do we know we're not mistaken on the former?
Ted's ability to dupe so many others, therefore, prompts the question: Why do we believe what we believe?
Ted postured himself as my most trusted friend. Why did I continue to believe him?
What's more, I listened for countless hours as my trusted friend scandalized others through seemingly endless rounds of slander. Why did I believe him?
Why do others believe him when his slanders me?
The answer to the above questions is simple: We are genetically programmed to believe absurdities.
• Genetic predisposition to believe nonsense.
The fact that so many church people readily believe Ted's slander is evidence that our belief system is seriously flawed. That's not an indictment against church people but, rather, an observable aspect of human nature.
There are 7.4-billion people alive today of which no two agree totally on everything all the time. At the most only one person can always be totally correct about everything. The conclusion: Everyone is wrong about something at some point in time. We are all delusional to varying degrees. We all believe absurdities; and we all think we are correct!
To illustrate this point, imagine three individuals — a Baptist, a Mormon, and a Jehovah's Witness — are confined to a room and denied release until they come to agree. The three emerge from the room within minutes. All agreed that he was correct and the other two were loons.
We possess an innate predisposition to believe a broad spectrum of absurdities ranging from conspiracy theories to religious fairy tales to slander.
The same component of our brains that enable us to believe fanciful slanderous lies also allow us to believe in fanciful religious dogmas.
Here are some examples.
Over 1-billion humans subscribe to the faith of Hinduism. That's 1-billion individuals who believe they're related to cows.
Belief in witchcraft led to an unpleasant outcome for 20 people during the Salem witch trials. Witches are still murdered in sub-Saharan Africa.
A friend once informed me that there are space aliens called reptilians who live inside the moon. There are other races of aliens called whites and grays; the grays being sinister beyond comprehension. When I asked my friend if he was a Scientologist, he became irate and demanded to know, "What kind of nut do you think I am?!"
On the other hand, one of the most honest people I know is an avowed and vociferous atheist who demonstrates the "fruit of the spirit" — love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control — without the benefit of religiosity.
The benefit of people believing slander is described more fully in my Commandment 10 noted below.
Again, Ted's psychopathy did not challenge my faith. The significant number of Christians who believe his nonsense is a slam-dunk indictment against the folly of their faith.
Part 9: What to do: 10 commandments
Here are my personal ten commandments for protecting oneself against the angst caused by psychopaths.
1. Thou shalt seek qualified counseling.
If you've been victimized by a psychopath, consider talking to a professional counselor who is well versed in psychopathy. Consider joining a support group for victims of psychopaths.
2. Thou shalt seek qualified legal advice.
In some cases you may also need to talk to an attorney. Psychopaths frequently view themselves as being above the law. This may be attributed to their narcissistic nature. It was made evident in Ted's multiple court actions and his decision to go off the grid to avert legal contests.
In spite of their exaggerated self perception, psychopaths are not above the law. In fact, about 23 percent of America's prison population are considered psychopathic. The general population is about one percent psychopathic.
3. Thou shalt record thyself
If you are a victim of a psychopath, be prepared to record any forthcoming encounter. Most cell phones are sufficient. Laws regarding recording others vary from state to state. You will want to be familiar with you state's laws.
While Ted circulates unfounded slanderous accusations, hours of video recordings and piles of court records combine to provide a mountain of empirical evidence that punctures gaping holes in his Aunt Bee persona. They also serve to disprove his slander.
4. Thou shalt dox thine offender
The term dox is short for documentation.
Because psychopathy is pathological, many psychopaths literally cannot change their behavior. Consequently, the criminal psychopath likely has a history of court actions, both civil and criminal. Documentation of these court actions are public record and can usually be obtained through the office of the county clerk where the psychopath resides or has resided.
Here's a rule of thumb: Usually, the older the psychopath, the more court actions and subsequent documentation is available.
After years of being hauled into court for a string of civil and criminal actions, Ted made himself judgement proof by quitting his job, refusing a drivers license, refusing to use his social security number, etc. In effect, he made himself virtually untraceable.
You may also want to ask your friends to record encounters with your psychopath; particular if he is spreading slander. Most of your friends carry devices such as cellphones, tablets, laptops, etc. Recording can easily be activated.
My psychopath is unaware how many of my friends are prepared to record his libelous slander.
5. Thou shalt not seek revenge.
There's no need to seek revenge on a psychopath.
Here are six reasons why:
First, there are likely others seeking revenge.
Psychopaths tend to have a history of abusing others. Consequently, they typically have a long list of enemies who are actively seeking revenge. So, why bother?
Ted seemed to be in a perennial state of fright and flight; always looking over his shoulder while hiding from his revenge-seeking victims. I don't need to seek revenge. There are plenty of others who are doing it already.
I honestly worry for Ted's safety and often wonder how he manages to escape incarceration, being physically assaulted, or even murdered by angry victims.
Second, revenge may be affirming to your psychopath.
Your acts of revenge are affirmations that the psychopath was successful in hurting you; otherwise, why would you seek revenge? Your efforts to "get back" at your psychopath are his trophies. Why reward him?
He is pleased that you are wasting your time and investing your resources on him. Your acts of revenge may actually stroke the ego of your psychopath and feed his narcissism.
Third, it may only give him pleasure.
Your psychopath may find pleasurable stimulation in your revenge. Why? Because your revenge is an expression of your emotional pain. And it is his observation of your suffering that appears to trigger the release of dopamine in the psychopath's brain. Granted, I'm neither a neurologist nor psychologist, but I have observed my psychopath as he pleasured himself playing cat-and-mouse games with his victims.
It is a bizarre cognitive dissonance. My psychopath seemed to find satisfaction, affirmation, and pleasure living in a perennial state of fright and flight. It's akin, I suppose, to the thrill of being terrified on a roller coaster.
Fourth, revenge is God's responsibility.
If you are a Christian you may find solace in II Thessalonians 1:6, "Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you."
In Romans 12:9 we read, "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."
Fifth, it doesn't work.
Psychopathy is generally believed to be inherent. Psychopaths do not change because they cannot change.
A psychopath will not 'learn his lesson' or feel remorse. It's biologically impossible. His behavior is innately woven into the fabric of his very being. His lack of empathy for others is also innate. He will not 'learn his lesson' because he cannot learn to be empathetic or feel remorse for his victims.
My psychopath lived at the bottom of a perennial dog pile. In spite of years of court actions and countless victims who sought revenge, his psychopathic lifestyle continued unabated. There will never come a point in time when he will end his slanderous assaults against me due to feelings of remorse. Contrition, on his part, is out of reach. Seeking revenge will not change that. Consequently, as long as he has access to persons who know me, there will always be a stream of gullible people who will hate me as a direct result of opening themselves to Slander. It's a tragic outcome; a life-long payback for being compassionate to my "friend in need."
Sixth, psychopaths have a penchant for hurting themselves.
Again: So, why bother?
Let's assume that I wanted to seek revenge on Ted. What could I possibly do to hurt him that he isn't already doing to himself?
I can't force him out of his job; he refuses to use his Social Security number necessary for normal employment.
I can't force him to be homeless; he's chosen that lifestyle on his own.
I can't force him to be destitute; again, he's chosen his own lifestyle.
I could encourage others to attack him; but he's managed to provoke the anger of scores of victims on his own.
I can't even conspire to cost him his drivers license; he's given that up voluntarily.
It would be pointless to encourage his victims to sue him; many of his victims already have sued him.
Attacking his reputation would be a wasted effort; he managed to destroy his own reputation. This is why I don't reveal Ted's real name, publish the entire trove of court records, or publicly publish videos of his slander.
As noted earlier, Ted is reminiscent of the demoniac who slashed himself. Ted seems to be in a perpetual state of self abuse.
Again, psychopaths tend to attract revenge from victims and harm themselves. There is no need to get in harm's way.
Examples? There are plenty.
• Richard Kuklinski, as mentioned earlier, is an example of an extremely violent psychopath. Known as the Iceman, he may have murdered as many as 250 men during his career as a hit man.
In an interview The Iceman explained why he began killing as a young man. "Nice guys finish last," he explained.
Ironically, Kuklinski made the statement from a prison where he died at age 70. If dying in prison while serving five life sentences isn't finishing last, I don't know what is. Kuklinski seemed oblivious to the reality that he was finishing last.
Like Kuklinski, Ted was self-delusional and carefully cloaked his psychopathic personality. Even Kuklinski's wife and children were unaware of his criminal activity until his arrest. Ted's son, siblings, and mother seemed oblivious — even defensive — to his criminal behavior. Then, again, I was also duped for decades.
• Ted Bundy self destructed. His charming Aunt Bee personality didn't save him when justice came calling. There was no need for the families of Bundy's murder victims to seek revenge. The serial killer was ultimately executed for his crimes.
• Bernie Madoff self-destructed when his Ponzi scheme was uncovered. Had you known about Madoff's mischief twenty years before his arrest, you would have sworn he was getting away with massive theft. He didn't get away with it.
Chances are the psychopath who is attacking you will, also, self destruct. That is made evident by the fact that about 23 percent of those incarcerated in America are psychopaths compared to one percent of the general population.
If nice guys finished last while psychopaths routinely outsmarted the system, we would expect prisons to be filled with nice guys. In reality prisons are filled with bad guys and disproportionately populated with psychopaths who arrogantly believed their brilliance could steer them clear of justice.
Most advisers discourage victims from seeking revenge for the reasons mentioned above. Low-intelligence psychopaths who follow a criminal track hurt themselves. It's akin to a bully punching himself in the face.
Ted is homeless, effectively broke, and has no apparent future. He lives in a perennial state of self destruction, hiding, flight, and fear. I could not possibly do the damage to Ted that Ted does to himself. Once again, why bother?
Ted's arrogance blinds him to reality. He doesn't understand how foolish he looks in the eyes of so many others. While he imagines himself to be Jerry of Conspiracy Theory, others view him as a pathetic homeless incapacitated creep who exists in a bizarre fantasy world of his own making.
The worst thing anyone can do to him is leave him to his own demonic-like devices.
• The demoniac described in Mark chapter five was self destructive. He frequently cut himself.
Ted slashes himself by abdicating a normal lifestyle. He slashed himself when he wrote bad checks, he slashes himself each time he is evicted, he slashed himself every time he failed to pay his bills, he slashed himself by forgoing a normal home life, etc. It's as if he is possessed by evil forces hell-bent on doing him irreparable harm.
The demoniac mentioned in Mark chapter five lived in tombs, much as Ted lives in basements and spare rooms of friends. Both Ted and the demoniac were homeless freeloaders. It's a form of slashing oneself.
I suspect the demoniacs mentioned in the New Testament may have, in reality, been psychopaths.
Ted is finishing last and, like the Iceman, doesn't seem to know it.
6. Thou shalt learn from thine experiences
About one percent of the population is psychopathic. Many victimize more than a hundred individuals within their lifetime. Consequently, the odds that you will be the victim of at least one psychopath is about 100 percent. Use your experience to defend yourself and other victims.
7. Thou shalt not blame thyself
In my research on psychopathy I learned that victims often punish themselves, asking, "How could I have been so gullible?"
Psychologists estimate that about one percent of humans are psychopaths. You didn't create them and it's not your fault they exist.
What's more, they're not going away.
Unless you're willing to become a hermit, you simply cannot avoid them in the future and you could not have avoided them in the past.
8. Thou shalt congratulate thyself
The fact that you've been the victim of a psychopath strongly suggests that you possess a kind, empathetic and considerate nature.
What's wrong with that? Nothing.
However, you can be considerate without being vulnerable.
Use your experience to teach and encourage other victims.
9. Thou shalt expect a lifetime of repercussions
I still encounter people who believe Ted's slander. Former friend's refuse to speak to me because they believe Ted's screeds. Ted receives pleasure by causing his victims pain. And there are few things as painful as being rejected by former friends. That is what drives him to continue to slander me and others.
That will likely continue for the rest of my life.
Furthermore, because psychopathy is pathological, Ted will almost certainly continue to slander me as long he lives. Considering we are about the same age, I can expect a lifetime of repercussions; the unjust punishment for being kind to my friend by allowing him to live in my office for three years and investing countless hours on road trips helping him secure an income.
Expect the same.
10. Thou shalt be grateful that your psychopath did this...
No, you should not be grateful that you were emotionally or physically abused. Many victims of psychopaths are wounded for life. Some are driven to suicide.
There is no gratitude in any of the injurious calamities that befall victims of psychopaths.
I am not grateful to Ted for scamming thousands of dollars nor am I grateful for his painful slander. I am not grateful for the harm he caused, perhaps, hundreds of others.
I am grateful, however, for this one thing: Ted's slander culled my friends. Thanks to Ted's slander, I was able to distinguish between my true friends (those who refused to listen to his slander) and my false friends (those who eagerly embraced his nonsense).
Ted separated the wheat from the chaff among my friends and acquaintances.
• Hands off my neck, until...
There's nothing as welcoming as the angelic smiles and warm hugs of church people. I've learned, however, that those who hug your neck on Sunday may wring your neck on Tuesday.
Sunday's angelic smile turns to Tuesday's demonic glare.
The difference between Sunday and Tuesday? Monday!!
On Monday the church people listen to slander. They believe the slander causing their angelic smiles and tender hugs to turn to demonic glares. Usually it takes little more than few minutes to poison a receptive mind.
In essence they are saying, "We'll love you until we hear slander about you. Then we will hate you."
Sorry, but I don't need that kind of love. Love that is conditional on slander is not love at all.
Until Ted began gaslighting me, I never realized how precariously fragile friendships really were. A years-long friendship can be obliterated by a few minutes of slander.
• Benefits of distrust
I don't like distrusting church people. However, I can't not distrust them.
The benefit of that distrust is a psychological calibration. It compels me to view church people with suspicion if not outright contempt. That provides a layer of protection from their malice.
The mere sight of a country church once evoked illusions of solace and contentment. I now view church buildings as little more than collection centers for bitterness, backbiting, bile, and two other b-words I'll forgo mentioning.
(Students of the Bible may smile as they recognize that my calibrated perceptions are actually attune to the "inspired word of God" that portrays God's people — from the wandering Hebrews to the brawling congregants of Acts 6 — as constantly being at each others' throats.)
The sound of gospel music is no longer a source of inspiration and encouragement. Rather, gospel music is a trigger mechanism that reminds me of more hateful glares than I care to remember. Gospel music is like a button: When I hear it, the button is pressed forcing images of demonic glares to flood my mind; memories of stern-faced church people who hold me in contempt simply because they opened their own minds to a demon named Slander.
The presence of church people is also a trigger. Again, Kenn's Law #152: I still like to be around church people if for no other reason than to remind me why I don't like to be around church people.
Ofttimes I channel surf through religious programming and pause long enough to refresh my mind of the — pardon the neologism — bogusosity of "the faith." And, no, I'm not going to dial your 800 number.
• Test the spirits
In summation, I no longer trust friendly church people; at least not until they've been tested by the fire of slanderous gossip.
Some pass the test. Many fail.
John's epistle may allude to this. He wrote, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God."
When a church person hugs me, I wonder: Will this person hug me after he listens to Ted's slander?
Again, some will. Many will not.
Oddly, therefore, I see a benefit when church people are exposed to his slander. It helps me identify dependable friends while purging those I cannot trust.
As noted above, a number of ministers sensed Ted's odd behavior. They can be trusted.
Other people listen to Ted's slander and believe his every word. He has an amazing capacity to "explain things;" to clear up 'big misunderstandings.'
The glares of contempt that emanate from those who've opened their minds to Ted's Slander are nearly always unmistakable. With few exceptions, I can immediately sense the "demon" from Ted.
It's as if God was allowing Tim's legion of demons to unintentionally provide a hedge of protection; shielding me from faux friendships as their warm angelic smiles turn to demonic glares.
At first it seems painful to lose friends. Then I realize they had never been true friends at all.
I wasn't losing friends. I was culling frauds.
The 20 traits of most psychopaths include:
glib and superficial charm
grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self
need for stimulation
cunning and manipulativeness
lack of remorse or guilt
shallow affect (superficial emotional responsiveness)
callousness and lack of empathy
poor behavioral controls
early behavior problems
lack of realistic long-term goals
failure to accept responsibility for own actions
many short-term marital relationships
revocation of conditional release
All 20 are seldom present in any one individual. Trained psychologists use the checklist to score suspected psychopaths using a prescribed method.
Related articles about psychopathy:
Psychology Today: What is psychopathy?
WebMD: Why psychopaths don't feel your pain
[PDF] An fMRI study of affective perspective taking in individuals with psychopathy: imagining another in pain does not evoke empathy
Videos to consider include:
James Fallon, Neuroscientist - A Scientist's Journey Through Psychopathy
Psychopath -Full Documentary (Mind of a psychopath)
Dr Robert Hare discusses the diagnosis of psychopathy
How well they wear their masks
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