Do you think you would ever fall for a psychopath or narcissist? Most intelligent women think they wouldn’t. But skilled manipulators target all kinds of people. So can your smarts outwit a predator? Let’s find out.
How Likely Is It for Intelligent Women to Fall for Psychopaths and Narcissists?
We all like to think that we are intelligent enough to see behind the mask of a psychopath, but are we? Before we talk about intelligence, let us examine the characteristics of psychopaths and narcissists.
Psychopaths are charming, intelligent, and tend to be well-liked in society. They may have powerful jobs and earn a higher wage. They are also glib and have the gift of the gab. I mean, what’s not to like?
On the other hand, narcissists have perfected the mask they hide behind. They present their best side to the world, they have an over-inflated view of themselves and will lie and cheat to maintain this façade.
So it’s clear that we are dealing with some pretty devious characters here. But shouldn’t self-respecting intelligent women be able to see through the lies and manipulation? Not necessarily.
Studies have shown the opposite to be true. In fact, women are attracted to psychopathic traits.
“Psychopathic men have a personality style that makes them appear attractive to women in dating encounters. This may be because they are extra confident or feel at ease or know exactly what to say to get the attention of women,” Kristopher Brazil, PhD candidate at Brock University.
In one study, an assistant engaged in a two-minute dating scenario conservation with males. She asked the men what they liked to do on a first date and recorded their responses. After the questions, the males completed assessments of psychopathy, socio-sexuality and social intelligence.
These videos were then played to 108 young women who were asked to rate the attractiveness of the men. The study found women rated men with psychopathic tendencies highly. In other words, they found psychopaths more attractive.
So it seems we are predisposed to find psychopathy attractive, but can our intelligence help us to sort out the manipulators?
Why intelligent women can’t help falling for psychopaths and narcissists
We judge people by our own standards
Psychopaths use their charm and intelligence to get what they want. They have no conscience so will use any means necessary at their disposal. Now, the problem with this is that most people are not psychopaths. However, we assume that everyone acts the way we do.
We believe we all share the same moral compass, the same values and are decent at heart. We cannot imagine how people can act in a despicable way. If it’s not in our nature, surely it can’t be in anyone else’s.
But of course, this is not the case. Just because we wouldn’t cheat or lie or gaslight someone, it doesn’t mean that others won’t.
We all believe we have empathy for other people, but some are born without empathy. They have no regard for other people’s feelings. They have no conscience.
The other problem is that not every psychopath is like Hannibal Lecter. Some psychopaths only tick a few points on the Hare’s Psychopath Checklist. In fact, studies show that psychopaths will use their charm and deceit in the short-term in order to snare their victims. But they can’t keep this pretence up long-term. Why? Because their selfish needs are their ultimate goals.
In other words, they’ll only schmooze you until they’ve got what they want.
Psychopaths are excellent manipulators
The other problem is that psychopaths and narcissists are born manipulators. They have this innate talent to charm, deceive and play the ordinary person. They’ve spent years, decades even, perfecting their craft. So they know exactly what to say to turn you on, to hold your interest, to keep the spotlight on them.
“Psychopathic men are really good at pretending to display what women are attracted to. They’re really good at putting on this mask, and making themselves look attractive . . . You exude a larger-than-life presence, and give off an impression of greatness.” Kristopher Brazil
Psychopaths will make you feel like the most special person in the room. They’ll flatter and charm you, and you’ll feel like the luckiest girl in the world. But of course, they only do it to get what they want.
These types of manipulators are always confident. They are at ease with themselves, and intelligent women find confident men extremely attractive.
Psychopaths also have a box of tricks up their sleeves when it comes to manipulating someone. They pull you into their circle by telling you false secrets about someone. They draw you in by revealing a confidence they shouldn’t have.
They will often do small favours and then ask for a larger one in return. This elicits trust and a desire to reciprocate the help.
We care about our loved ones
One way psychopaths and narcissists are able to fool intelligent women is because they are incapable of the most basic human emotions. In fact, studies have shown that they only mimic emotions to blend in or deceive people around them.
“Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) research indicates that psychopaths are incapable of experiencing basic human emotions and feelings of guilt, remorse, or empathy.” Corporate Psychopath expert Paul Babiak and Forensic Behavioral Consultant Mary Ellen O’Toole
In relationships or the work environment, having no emotions can have a huge benefit, especially if you want to gain an advantage over someone. On the other hand, if you are an emotional person and care deeply about your partner or colleagues, you might agonise over decisions you have to make.
Overly emotional people can feel guilty about breaking up with a partner. So much so that they put it off. Bosses may put up with shoddy work because they feel responsible for their staff.
Caring for other people can clearly be a disadvantage in certain circumstances. It can interfere with the way you do your job, or how you cope in a relationship.
How can intelligent women recognise a psychopath or narcissist?
I’m saying intelligent women are not less likely to fall for psychopaths or narcissists. In fact, it’s difficult for anyone to resist their charms. So how can you resist?
Do other people question this individual’s actions?
Sometimes we can be so under a person’s spell we can’t see the wood for the trees. Are you ignoring advice from close friends? Do family members raise concerns about this individual? If multiple people are worried, you should be too.
Does this individual pick on your vulnerabilities?
Psychopaths have a pathological need to damage their victims once they are drawn in. In fact, they are driven by their victim’s vulnerabilities. They can’t help themselves. If your new boyfriend has turned particularly nasty and was once charming, he might be a psychopath.
Does he play mind games with you?
Gaslighting and mind games are favourite manipulation tools for this individual. It’s how he gets his kicks. If you start questioning yourself, thinking that you are going mad, you could be a victim of a psychopath.
It doesn’t matter how intelligent woman you are. If a psychopath or narcissist has you in their sights, it’s only a matter of time before you become their victim.
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