The Psychopath Code by Pieter Hintjens
This book may well prove controversial. Packed full of practical examples and observations, I wonder exactly what the author has had to endure to come up with a volume about psychopathy and how to survive it. The author is relentless and thorough, and has produced a book that makes depressing reading, at times. But far more importantly, he develops several convincing theses – which work well for me – to explain not only what psychopathy is, but why, in evolutionary terms, it exists: Using a basic ‘predator and prey’ model, it is easier to see what we can do if we are in any kind of relationship with any kind of psychopath.
The author explains in detail the mechanisms we can use to help us notice those whom we might consider psychopaths, and, more crucially, enables those whose lives have been blasted by them, to find ways into recovery. The question that those who live with abusers are often asked is, ‘Why don’t you just leave?’ but, as the author makes clear, you cannot ‘just leave’ if you take with you an entire catalogue of negative beliefs (‘It must have been something I did’) and negative patterns that you have learned to accept in close relationships overshadowed by psychopathy.
I have read Hintjens’ book twice, each time finding things to reflect and learn from. The examples he cites are convincing, the explanations he offers are well thought out, and his solutions for the re-discovery of our personal power are strong and helpful. He does not claim to have all the answers, but he has enough of them, even in such a controversial field, that I can ponder, reflect, and make up my own mind. And if I do meet a psychopath – it turns out, I have not met very many – I can understand what makes them tick without becoming embroiled in fruitless personal introspection about what I could have done differently. I love having the power at my fingertips to observe and become more aware, without worrying that there was something I could have done better, something I should have understood. When things go wrong, it is tempting to blame ourselves: ‘If only I had been more…or less…’ The Psychopath Code’ makes it clear that the best we can do is wise up, move on, and learn from our mistakes.
You don’t have to agree with all its ideas to find this volume beneficial. The basic themes are all there, and leave us room to develop our own views and insights. That in itself is very empowering. Thank you, for a most useful volume which tells me, in relatively few words, not only how to spot psychopathic behaviour, but what I can do if it fixes its laser beam on me.