I work in a clinical setting that has some very challenging personalities and I don’t mean the patients. I have become more aware of my gut feelings when interacting with select individuals. It is so interesting how your initial connection may be good and even for awhile after. But when the dam breaks and that nice person suddenly isn’t so nice anymore………watch out. Can you give me some behaviors that I can watch out for and then what to do to keep myself safe. — Lanie


A. It is true there are all types of personalities around us. We all have quirks and certain neurotic behaviors but for the most part we are functional and easy to work with. Then there are the personalities, as you describe, that fall out of this category.
Two difficult and challenging types are sociopaths and narcissists. And trust me, you work with some. You don’t usually see them coming towards you. It happens later; you feel your gut tightening or you really begin to hear what they are saying. At this point you trust your instincts and refuse to make excuses for them.
1. Lack conscience
2. Cannot love
3. People do not matter
4. Extremely dangerous
5 Always playing the pity card – huge warning sign/appealing to our sympathy
!. Lack empathy
2. Experience psychological pain but lack insight to decrease their pain.
3. Appear to care about you.
4. Intense insecurity
5. They are the main focus in their world.
Once you have identified someone who appears to have some of the above characteristics it is best to interact only as necessary. Keep your personal information to yourself. Stay in your head. Females are especially vulnerable due to their more emotional nature and believe me these individuals can spot you 100 yards away.
“Everyone, including the experts, can be taken in, manipulated, conned, and left bewildered by them. A good psychopath can play a concerto on any one’s heartstrings.’ Robert Hare, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia.


Vicki L Mayfield, M.Ed., R.N., LMFT Marriage and Family Therapy Oklahoma City

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