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March 29, 2016 -- Millions loved Aunt Bee.

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 real actress, they say, was cold, obnoxious, and acidic. The fictitious character was warm, loving, and considerate.

Francis could switch on the Aunt Bee character at the director's cue, then abruptly turn it off.

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.

Those who have been victimized by psychopaths understand how deceptively convincing the Aunt Bee act really is.

Psychopaths are so effective 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.

The psychopath has two personalities. One is cold, calculating, glib and superficial. He pretends to be warm, kind, and considerate. One is real. The other is an act.

Those who don't know the Francis side of a psychopath are easily fooled by his Aunt Bee persona. 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. 

• 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.

If you've been the victim of such a person, this article is for you. My experience with an apparent psychopath may help other victims navigate back to normalcy.

• Meet my Aunt Bee

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.

Tim (not his real name) was a long-time friend. I trusted him empirically. My gullibility and inability to see his Francis personality is, no doubt, what led him to victimize me. 

• The first cue: Hidden disloyalty

Tim was a member of the congregation I served as pastor. At the beginning he demonstrated absolute loyalty to my work. I thought it odd, however, when congregants informed me that Tim 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. 

• 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: eyes. 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

A article in 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. [source
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. 

• Irresponsibility

Tim was a loyal 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 Tim was dependably undependable. 

Tim changed his address constantly. He seldom lived at the same location longer than a few months. 

• Demons vs angels

That was the fourth cue. Some believe psychopaths are actually demonic. 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 Tim moved frequently because he refused to pay rent. Like demons being evicted from heaven, Tim was constantly being evicted by his landlords. 

A related oddity was seen: Tim 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 accompanied Tim on many such occasions as he walked from room to room imagining himself living in the home or apartment. It never occurred to me that I was in the company of a legion of restless fallen angels who had been "house hunting" for thousands of years. 

I suppose Tim had visited at least a hundred such properties; probably more. It was bizarre behavior to say the least. Still, I was deceived by his Aunt Bee act. 

Tim once confided that his father frequently moved his family from home to home. Eventually his father abandoned the family for a woman younger than Tim'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.  

• Lack of realistic long-term goals

Cue number five is the fact that psychopaths lack long-term goals. I missed another cue. 

Tim was gainfully employed at one time. His boss treated him like a son. Tim's Aunt Bee personality endeared him to gullible people, including his boss. 

Realizing Tim was irresponsible, his boss bought a house for him. Apparently the employer deducted a portion of Tim's weekly paycheck as mortgage payments. 

• Impulsivity

Tim 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 Tim's boss filed a lawsuit to evict him. 

That was cue number six. Psychopaths only live in the present. Quitting a job doesn't bother them. They simply cannot fathom the future beyond the moment. 

Tim's former wife described him as a dreamer. He always had grandiose notions but never had the gumption, foresight, and intelligence to fulfill those dreams. What's more, his ideas were — quite frankly — stupid. 

• Promiscuity

That brings us to cue number seven. Psychopaths are given to sexual promiscuity. Tim created a scandal when he married a high school girl. The marriage was short lived, but produced a son. 

I later learned that Tim was pursuing a young woman; the daughter of a physician. Court records revealed 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. 

Tim 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, Tim managed to send the woman support for her "missionary" work. 

• Revocation of conditional release

Tim disappeared from my life for a period of years. 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 petty criminal behavior. Low-intelligent psychopaths often engage in small 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 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 jail sentence. Again, he returned to his criminal behavior; but the third offense landed him in jail for a year. 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." 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 eight. 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. The congregation accepts 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. 

Tim 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. Tim 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, he was too stupid to know he was stupid. 

• The first scam

Cue number nine emerged with a phone call from Tim. Again, I hadn't heard from him in years. Tim 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, Tim 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 Tim's home. (At the time he was living in the basement of an elderly couple. Psychopaths, you'll recall, tend to be parasites.)

Tim sold the end tables and kept all the proceeds for himself. Realizing Tim 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 Tim 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. Tim was playing his Aunt Bee role and I foolishly imagined myself the benevolent Good Samaritan. 

I assumed Tim 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 Tim's Francis personality, I was beginning to catch on. I explained to Tim 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. 

Tim changed his mind. Rather than loan him $2,000, Tim suggested I visit his son and pretend to purchase a junk Cadillac his son owned. Tim 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 Tim's son a check for $2,000 and even paid to have it towed to a location of Tim's choosing. I gave Tim 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. 

By now you may think I'm a bit of a sap for allowing Tim to continually steal from me. You would be correct. You may have also noticed that Tim started with a small scam — the end tables — and progressively took me with larger scams.

The largest scams were yet to come; but still I believed in Aunt Bee. 

• Pathological lying

Cue number ten emerged when Tim 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. 

Tim 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. Tim had no desire to be part of such a world system, and so he disconnected himself and was living for Jesus. 

Mel Gibson as Jerry in Conspiracy Theory
Tim suggested I watch the movie, Conspiracy Theory, starring Mel Gibson. Tim explained he was living a life similar to the main character, Jerry. Again, Tim was acting out a role to hide his psychopathic personality. 

In reality Tim 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. 

In hindsight I realize that Tim'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 Tim cloaked his Francis personality with religion. He was an actor playing the role of a religious zealot. It made convenient 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 Tim had been taken to court about fifty times or more within nearly fifteen years. Living off the grid was an effective method of avoiding more lawsuits. 

For the moment, however, I was still believing Tim was the best of friends; a male counterpart to Andy's Aunt Bee. 

• The fourth scam

Tim came to me with another business proposition. He had befriended the owner of a box manufacturing plant in a nearby town. Tim and I would sell boxes and share the commissions fifty-fifty. I, of course, would do all the driving because Tim 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. 

Tim supplied the plant owner with his son's Social Security number. On paper, his son was the employee. Paychecks were payable to Tim's son. 

That was cue number eleven

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 twelve came when Tim was evicted from his basement home by his elderly host. The woman's husband had died and she was relocating — without Tim. 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 Tim he could stay at my office until he found a permanent place to live. At first Tim 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. Tim 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 Tim move it. He was nonplussed. How dare I tell him what to do!?

Over the years Tim lived as a parasite in the homes of, perhaps, dozens of gullible hosts.

• The fifth scam

Cue number thirteen surfaced when, thinking I was being a good friend, bought Tim 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 Tim 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. 

How stupid could I be? Unbelievably stupid. I was convinced Aunt Bee was a real person. 

• Discovering Tim's Francis persona

Cue number fourteen arose while we were on a sales trip. The two of us were dining at a Lees Chicken restaurant. While returning from the restroom, I approached Tim from behind. He was talking on the cell phone I had purchased using data for which I was paying. I heard my name mentioned and briefly stopped to listen. To my utter shock and surprise I overheard Tim conspiring to keep one of our accounts for himself. From that moment forward I never again viewed Tim as Aunt Bee. Francis was exposed. I saw — for the first time — the Francis personality that I should have seen all along.

I took my seat and Tim 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. 

In hindsight, I should have driven off leaving him there. 

• Recording Tim's slander

On our next sales trip I installed a dash cam for the tenure of the journey. I would record where we went to prove commissions due. The purpose of the video camera apparently never occurred to Tim, even though it was positioned on the dash where he could easily see it. Tim apparently grew accustomed to the camera during future sales trips. He would openly discuss his friends, family members, and co-workers. Tim spent much of his time slandering others. Many of his rants were captured on video.

Cue fifteen was listening as Tim consistently slandered others. This thought never occurred to me: If Tim were slandering others to me, he was slandering me to others. 

• Projecting arrogance

Tim's favorite mode of slander was to accuse others of being arrogant. Psychopaths, I later learned, project their faults onto others. Tim was extraordinarily arrogant and considered himself to be exceptionally brilliant, even though he was homeless.

It was then I learned to video record my life. My home and vehicles are now equipped with video cameras. I seldom walk into a business alone without first turning on my smartphone's video recorder. 

• A cache of evidence

My 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. 

Click to enlarge
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. Tim often sat smack-dab in front of the camera while talking on his cell phone at my expense. Again, the conversations of Tim slandering his friends, family members, and co-workers were recorded. 

The videos remain on the hard drive. I often wonder how Tim's friends and family would react upon hearing his slander. Would they finally see beyond his Aunt Bee act and recognize a psychopathic personality?

• The woman at McDonalds

Cue sixteen came when a man and his friends began stalking Tim at night. 

Tim's Aunt Bee persona had befriended a young woman employed at a nearby McDonalds. Thinking Tim was a friend to be trusted, she shared personal information about her life. She told her friend, Tim, about her past love affairs and the children they produced. The woman was now happily married and was grateful that Tim provided a shoulder to cry on. 

Tim, however, divulged the young woman's past to other patrons at McDonalds. Tim's version of her life was less than flattering. His sordid tales made her appear to be a loose whore. 

Another employee overheard Tim's slandering and informed the young woman who, in turn, informed her husband. Night after night the young men would prowl the streets near my office, hoping to catch Tim and have a, uh, "conversation."   

Tim 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 Tim packed his belongings and moved into the basement of another elderly couple across town. 

Tim was as dumb as I was gullible. Fortunately, I got over my gullibility. 

• Ministers' observations

The question remains: Why was I so easily taken by Tim's Aunt Bee persona while others immediately sensed a scoundrel?

One pastor later told me that Tim's weirdness was apparent the first time he met him. Another pastor concluded much the same. The pastors' daughters characterized Tim as being "creepy' when they observed him walking around town with a cell phone 'glued' to his ear. 

A former pastor confided that he once considered inviting Tim to temporarily live in his home. An inner Still Small Voice changed his mind. 

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?

Could it be the three ministers were spiritually attuned to demons residing in Tim? Or was their insight due to years of encountering a broad spectrum of personalities?

• The sixth scam

Cue seventeen occurred when I phoned Tim. 

I asked Tim 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 Tim. 

It never occurred to me that Tim 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. Tim dined with us and I, of course, paid for Tim'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. 

Tim 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. Tim 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

Tim grew increasing irritable. He knew his scam was over. He could no longer use me or steal from me.

How a psychopath sees his victim
One morning I stopped to pick up Tim from his haunt at McDonalds. After asking if he were ready to go, he said, "That's a loaded question," and turned his head.

When psychopaths can no longer abuse their victims, they discard them. One psychologist compared this to discarding a used tissue paper: There is no emotional attachment and no guilt or shame. 

The psychopath loses no sleep and will often boast of his lack of empathy.

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 Tim had come about two weeks earlier and took the books. I was told that Tim returned the same night we met with the pastor and took the books. 

I called the police and filed a report. The detective summoned Tim for an interview. According to the investigator, Tim admitted to taking the books and selling them for salvage, but insisted I had given them to him. Another friend later informed me that Tim was actually hiding the books in a tractor trailer at the box factory. 

• Reams 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 Tim'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. 

Tim had been sued multiple times by creditors, business owners, and landlords, the documents revealed. 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 litigation files. In addition to the dozens of court actions involving my psychopathic friend are, perhaps, innumerable criminal acts that never prompted court actions. 

• Trail of tears

Because the pleasure center of the psychopath is stimulated by hurting others, it is almost certain that the psychopath has left a trail of individuals he has hurt. The psychopath's trail may have begun in his childhood. 

Tim's trail is documented by court records. As previously noted there are almost certainly scores — perhaps hundreds — of victims of his scams who didn't bother to sue him; I being one of them. 

• Nice guys finish duped

James Fallon is a noted psychologist who
lectures extensively on psychopathy
Over the years I had been Tim's best friend. I provided him a place to live for three years; possibly the longest he's ever stayed at one location. I paid for his cell phone service, provided him meals, and volunteered to drive him to view real estate that he could never manage to buy. What's more, I helped him acquire several sales accounts that he otherwise would not have. To my knowledge I did nothing that would hurt or offend him. Nonetheless, he continued to scam me for years. 

That experience prompted me to study the psychology behind such weird behavior. It was then I learned that Tim 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.

I now believe I understand Tim's behavior. I don't know, however, why some of us are so easily duped while others are not. 

• 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 victims or the 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. He would keep her money. Fortunately, a hero sensed the underlying Francis and exposes the Aunt Bee as a fraud. 

Tim displayed that same psychopathic behavior. 

Tim "gaslighted" me by accusing me of being an arrogant atheist. In Tim'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 Tim simply discarded me like a used tissue because he could no longer scam me. 

I was being gaslighted. Tim undermined the perceptions of others by portraying himself as the hyper-religious icon of morality while I was portrayed as the evil atheist. 

In spite of Tim's religious persona, he seldom attended church. 

"They profess that they know God," the Bible says, "but in works they deny him." 

In Tim's case the "works" are documented by reams of court records and video recordings. 

Incredibly, many still believe him. How can I fault them? I believed him for decades! 

• The gaslight trail

During the three years Tim 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. 

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 Tim. 

Here's an example: While speaking with a friend and financial adviser, I urged him not to disclose my personal finances with Tim. I was a bit surprised when he responded, "Yeah. I know."

He explained that Tim had encountered his wife at Walmart. Even though I never met his wife, Tim had convinced her that I was the epitome of evil. 

The irony is that Tim had also eviscerated his wife during one of our sales trips. The woman owned an interior design business. Tim had convinced me her work was shabby; that she lacked talent. As Tim had convinced me she was incompetent, he convinced her that I was the persona of evil. To phrase that in the vernacular: As Tim trashed talked about her to me, he trashed talked about me to her. 

Tim likely convinced many others that the woman lacked decorating skills and, as such, may have cost her thousands of dollars in sales through his slanderous loose tongue. He displayed no remorse or empathy for the damage he had done to her business. And she was wholly unaware of his devious slander.  

Likewise, I don't know how many people hate me solely base upon Tim's slander of me. My gaslight trail may include dozens or even hundreds. The destruction caused by gaslighting is, perhaps, the most devastating aspect of trusting a psychopath. 

• Duper's delight

Duper's delight 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. 

Tim 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: Tim and I were leaving the box factory when his former employer drove by. It was very important to Tim 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 Tim slandered. Tim 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 Tim 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 peculiarity — is intended to cause pain to the victim. It is another opportunity for the psychopath to experience pleasure. 

• Unrestrained

As the biblical demoniac could not be chained, Tim 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 Tim holding up his thumb during a conversation as he was slandering his former boss. "He wants me under his thumb," Tim said; then pressed his thumb on the car's dashboard to emphasize his point. 

Tim would be bound by no one. 

• What to do 

If you have been victimized by a psychopath, here are some suggestions.

• 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 an Internet support group for victims of psychopaths. 

• 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 Tim'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 20 percent of America's prison population are considered psychopathic. The general population is about one percent psychopathic.

• Be prepared to record yourself.

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.

• Don't seek revenge. 

There's no need to seek revenge on a psychopath. They have a penchant for hurting themselves. So, why bother? 

This is why I don't reveal Tim's real name, publish his court records, or publicly publish videos of his slander.

Again, psychopaths tend to harm themselves. There is no need to get in harm's way. 

Examples? There are plenty. 

• Richard Kuklinski — better known as the Iceman — may be an example of an extremely violent psychopath. 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 does. Kuklinski seemed oblivious to the reality that he was finishing last. 

Like KuklinskiTim was self-delusional and carefully cloaked his psychopathic personality. Even Kuklinski's wife and children were unaware of his criminal activity until his arrest. Tim'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 Madoff's Aunt Bee personality twenty years earlier, you would have sworn he was getting away with massive theft. 

Chances are the psychopath who is attacking you will, also, self destruct. That is made evident by the fact that about 20 percent of those incarcerated in America are psychopaths compared to one percent of the general population. 

If nice guys finished last and psychopaths outsmarted the system, we would expect prisons to be filled with nice guys. In reality prisons are filled with bad guys. 

Most advisers discourage victims from seeking revenge. The reason is quite simple: Low-intelligence psychopaths hurt themselves. It's akin to a bully punching himself in the face. 

Tim is homeless, broke, and has no future. He lives in a perennial state of self destruction. 

• The demoniac described in Mark chapter five was self destructive. He frequently cut himself. 

Tim 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 Tim lives in basements and spare rooms of friends. Both Tim and the demoniac were homeless freeloaders. It's a form of slashing oneself. 

If I wanted to hurt Tim — and I don't — I could do no more damage than he does to himself. The worst thing anyone can do to him is leave him to his own devices. 

Furthermore, most psychopaths have a trail of tears. Chances are the psychopath in your life is already being pursued by other victims. 

Tim is finishing last and, like the Iceman, doesn't seem to know it. 

• Learn from your experience. 

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. 

• Congratulate yourself. 

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. 

You can be considerate without being vulnerable. Use your experience to teach and encourage other victims. 


The 20 traits of most psychopaths include:

glib and superficial charm
grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self
need for stimulation
pathological lying
cunning and manipulativeness
lack of remorse or guilt
shallow affect (superficial emotional responsiveness)
callousness and lack of empathy
parasitic lifestyle
poor behavioral controls
sexual promiscuity
early behavior problems
lack of realistic long-term goals
failure to accept responsibility for own actions
many short-term marital relationships
juvenile delinquency
revocation of conditional release
criminal versatility

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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  1. EXCELLENT article. Thank you for posting this.

  2. The movie 'Primal Fear' with Richard Gere and Ed Norton also how cunning and manipulative they can be.