Whereas most posts about Psychopath Free and their recovery
cult community date back two or three years, the problem remains of interest – that of unsuspecting people putting their trust in self-proclaimed gurus of interpersonal dynamics, on the internet, when they feel confused or hurt by the behaviour of those close to them.
The temptation is certainly there for most of us, when feeling unable to cope with a situation, willing to process it through the presumed wisdom and objectivity of others.
Pop psychology (I prefer the more picturesque French equivalent, “psychologie de bazar”) has never gone away, offering simple and quick – sometimes radical – solutions to complicated problems.
Evidently, there are similarities between us in the way we behave; however, we are all unique, down to our DNA. A person is a microcosm of experiences, emotions, abilities and attitudes. Likewise, a person ca be a hundred different things to a hundred different people, depending on their relationship to them. Who do you trust when trying to weigh the positives against the negatives in someone’s character? By different people, one might be described as a good father, awful ex-husband, good employer, terrible neighbour, trusted friend and brilliant mind according to former teachers.
Of course for some, the bad overwhelmingly outweighs the good – the Ted Bundys and Jeffery Dahmers of the world.
Yet even for people history has voted on there will be those with a different perspective. I remember watching a documentary about Idi Amin, the former Ugandan dictator; his nieces saw him as gentle and harmless (the guy murdered scores of people and kept a human head in his freezer for a laugh). I also remember the footage of Pinochet being finally arrested, with family members running after the car in distress.
My point is – a person’s character cannot be defined by the evaluation of a single individual. All such evaluations are subjective; they are based on limited interaction, in most cases (no, not Fritzl). Of course we all need a system of filtering those we interact with, for personal guidance; it goes without saying.
When using labels such as “narcissist” or “psychopath”, one should understand they are extremely strong notions and should not be thrown around lightly. They are definitive; they do not describe what someone does or says at a point in time, but what someone is.
There is no going around that to find nuance, once this label has been applied. The person applying it will by default absorb all other traits and dangers associated with it and assume the “subject” incorporates them all, which can be very distressing, not to mention unfair to the labelled individual.
For this purpose it’s very important to be sure, beyond reasonable doubt, of the notions applying.
Loosening the criteria for identification, which is what “do-gooder” sites such as Psychopath Free engage in, is irresponsible. Their bid of “spreading awareness” is an almost sinister celebration of the increasing number of people claiming to identify narcissists and psychopaths left, right and centre, with no guarantee of being accurate.
Whilst the internal practices of the forum – described in great detail in this blog category by former members – now affect less people since they stopped taking on new members, the phenomenon remains and is not limited to PF.
Scores upon scores of content creators with a claim of expertise start websites, vlogs and forums aiming to “help vulnerable people” pinpoint the toxic individuals in their lives by “diagnosing” them with one disorder or another, by ear.
They do it knowing they are not professionals and have no expertise aside from the grudge held against a former partner or family member (the vast majority of these sites and channels are based on exactly that). Knowing that their sheer enthusiasm of spreading unverified, improvised information might mislead people into making radical life decisions.
Some of them prove to be complete frauds (the now defunct DoNM is an example), out to sell improvised courses or therapy sessions in order to make a living or pay for luxuries. Making a living is fair enough – but not by screwing with people’s heads.
To this day, unsuspecting people continue to be fooled by the “psychologie de bazar” Psychopath Free offers – a vilification of those who have caused emotional harm, as a staple or not, and an exemption from introspection for those choosing to label them with these disorders without having spoken to a professional.
In this situation, there will predictably be many false positives, with all prospective consequences arising from them. Those behind PF, or any other such platform, have no concern over the real lives being affected.
For these sites, being the victim of a narcissist or psychopath has become an identity, a badge, a uniform – a product. And how does one get people to buy a product? They make it appealing to as many people as possible, regardless of their actual need for it, or lack thereof. That translates into book sales, membership fees (where that applies), views (ad money, where that applies) and donations, either direct or through platforms such as Patreon.
What comes with membership is a subtle – or not so subtle – shaming when one fails to embrace their newfound principles. And we see this with feminism, the MRM, religions and so forth – they offer “salvation” to those temporarily in need of venting or something to hold on to, out of emotional distress.
In conclusion to this long post: life is short, full of unexpected events, and belongs to the beholder – not to others and their standards for a perfect existence (which they often hypocritically claim to have achieved – a nod to the Catholic church).
No one is spared suffering, regardless of the qualities, possibilities and expectations they start out with. There is no “formula”, no “right” or “intended” track, a deviation from which should be considered a tragedy by default. There is no such thing as one’s life being a rose garden “if only” they correctly applied all the directives of a “life coach” or “group of peers”(read cult).
People survive in any way they can. The rest can shove their orthodoxies where they fit best.