A few years ago, I read a fascinating book by Dr. Martha Stout called The Sociopath Next Door. I reviewed the book on Epinions and have included my review at the bottom of this page for your perusal. It's a very good book and I wish I had brought my copy of it with me to Germany. I am reminded of it this morning as I consider something that happened in our local community the other day.
A father posted about a scary incident involving his daughter. She was walking home alone when she was confronted by a strange man who said he wanted to talk to her. The girl said no and kept walking. The man continued to try to engage her, so she ran from him. He chased her. Fortunately, she was able to escape.
The father of this girl was very upset-- livid, actually-- that his daughter would be harassed this way on a military installation. Most people who were responding to his post were very kind and comforting. They commented on how scary the situation must have been for the girl and expressed happiness and relief that she was okay. The vast majority of commenters were outraged that this had happened in our community and were very supportive.
There was one commenter, though, who seemed to be taking a rather adversarial view. He questioned the father's version of events. At one point, he even called the father a nasty euphemism referring to a certain part of the female anatomy. When he was called out for being so contentious, the trollish commenter changed his tone to one that was superficially more supportive. He commented that he himself has daughters and would be concerned about their welfare. Then, curiously, he asked the father if his daughter had been able to tell if the person who had confronted her was a grown man or a kid.
I had noticed this particular commenter before. He struck me as being intelligent, charming, and even funny. My initial impressions of him were somewhat positive to neutral. He didn't make me suspicious. In fact, at first blush, he seemed likable. But then I saw him in action last night and my mind changed.
I'll be honest. I hadn't been paying strict attention to this guy's comments, other than noticing that they had turned the mood of that thread noticeably pissy. The father whose daughter was confronted responded in a hostile way when the commenter asked him to clarify his daughter's story. Then I saw the way he changed his tone and it seemed to me that he was trying to knock the father off guard.
A couple of ladies in another local group noticed some sketchy posts the commenter had put up in a different private group. The posts did not suggest that he was a concerned father of three girls or even someone who respects women. He posted a joke about how all of Taylor Swift's songs are about guys leaving her and none were about blowjobs. He also posted a picture of a woman in tiny bootie shorts and no top. On the very tiny shorts was written "Fuck me like you hate me." I took a look at the man's Facebook page and the photo that appears at the top of this post was once used as his cover photo.
One of the ladies dared to ask, "Do you think maybe the commenter is the one who harassed that guy's daughter?" I have to admit, after weighing the evidence and taking a good look at the guy's comments, I kind of wonder that myself.
Let me be very clear. I have no idea if the commenter was the guy who harassed the girl who was trying to walk home. I also don't know if he's a sociopath or a narcissist. However, the things he's posted are very suspicious. One thing I've noticed about narcissistic types is that they usually don't really hide. They thrive on drama and get off on seeing what kind of havoc they wreak. All sociopaths are narcissists, but not all narcissists are sociopaths. The fact that the commenter had once used a photo with a caption about sociopaths is very telling, even if it could be explained away. Bill looked up the photo and said it came from Sherlock Holmes. Even so, my question is why would a normal person even want to suggest that they might be a sociopath?
According to The Sociopath Next Door, one out of every twenty-five people is a sociopath. Our local Facebook group has over two thousand people in it. Chances are good that there are a bunch of sociopaths lurking around in there. I, for one, am going to keep my eyes peeled.