As absolute narcissists, all psychopaths think they’re extremely important. To them, the universe revolves around them and their needs. Everyone around them is either a target they will try to use to fulfill those needs or an obstacle to be eliminated in the pursuit of what they desire. For this reason, psychopaths surround themselves with individuals they can manipulate and brainwash, who idolize them. This not only gives them tools to machinate against others, but also supports the narcissistic bubble, sustaining their false sense of importance.
Imagine that you were raised by such a psychopath in a place where you weren’t allowed out of your house, you weren’t allowed to have friends, exchange opinions, learn, interact with others. Then the tyrant who raised you would assume the utmost importance, no matter how pathetic and insignificant he was in any objective sense. The psychology of cult followers and of those imprisoned by a psychopath has some similarities, particularly in the importance the psychopath assumes in their lives.
For cult followers or anyone who worships a psychopath, this importance seems to be a positive force: they have someone they consider superior to others, who makes them feel “special” and “superior” as well, by association. For those held prisoner by a psychopath, this importance is magnified by fear. In both cases, however, it is exaggerated and out of touch with reality: it is carefully created by the psychopath through brainwashing, intimidation tactics and isolation. For a very interesting and vivid account of how this happens, please see Jaycee Dugard’s account of her imprisonment by a pathological couple:
When their targets no longer idolize them or fulfill their demands, psychopaths often retaliate. They can’t tolerate when anyone bursts the artificial bubble of their complete and utter narcissism. Psychopaths are bullies. They often resort to intimidation tactics, such as stalking and cyberstalking, smear campaigns and various other machinations. Some former victims feel genuinely terrorized by them and live in a state of fear or even paranoia. They give them a power that they don’t deserve. This is not to say that you shouldn’t take the psychopath’s stalking seriously. Record every incident; report it to the authorities; take actions to protect yourself and your loved ones. However, don’t live in the shadow of the psychopath’s inflated ego or in fear of him. My friend and fellow writer, Sarah Strudwick, recently wrote an excellent article about this. She too has been cyberstalked by her psychopathic ex, but learned how to work through–and move beyond–the trauma, the anger and the fears that this experience has caused.
I recall moments during my childhood when I’d go to bed and my toys would create scary, large and looming shadows on the wall. The toys that seemed so benign during the day sometimes became frightening during the night. In a way, that’s what psychopaths attempt to do to victims who reject them; to those who do not sustain their distorted, inflated egos. They project scary, larger-than-life shadows through various tactics intended to intimidate and menace. Take their actions seriously, but not the psychopaths.
Psychopaths are trivial human beings. They don’t have any real human relationships and they don’t accomplish any constructive goals, except as a false mask. When you see the psychopath for what he is–a pathetic, insignificant human being–you cut him down to size. Don’t give the psychopath too much importance because, in reality, he has none.
Claudia Moscovici, psychopathyawareness
Dangerous Liaisons: How to Identify and Escape from Psychopathic Seduction