How do psychopathic individuals choose their victims?
Many individuals with psychopathic features are opportunists who seek to take whatever they can from those around them, viewing others as merely a source of “supply.” If they detect something in someone they find interesting or that can help them achieve their agenda in some way, that person has the potential to become a victim. However, it is likely that there are some people whom they view as having more or less “potential” than others.
Those with psychopathic features often seem to have an uncanny ability to home into basic human vulnerabilities. This often puts them in unique positions, where they are able to gain the upper hand. Uninhibited by conscience, they initially assess the utility of those around them freely and equally. They then tend to narrow their choices to those they find unusually trusting or vulnerable. Sometimes, simply having normal personality traits qualifies an individual as vulnerable. Other times, they sense that an individual may be susceptible to their advances due to hardship or an unfulfilled need. Some psychopaths are predatory in nature and can quickly evaluate who might be willing and able to help them achieve what they are looking to accomplish. They can identify a potential victim’s “Achilles Heel” and capitalize on it.
Individuals who are openly trusting or generally seek to find the good in others are more apt to find themselves targeted than those who tend to challenge others to “prove” themselves. However, most people tend to attempt to see the good in others. As a result, this natural inclination to respect and trust often leads people to rationalize or minimize the odd or unusual behavior that does occur in exchanges with psychopathic individuals. This makes almost everyone fair game.
Psychopaths often try to present themselves as “saviors” to those they view as potential victims, offering “support,” relating to their plights and misfortune, or telling their own tales of woe and victimization (which may be distorted or entirely fabricated). Those on the receiving end often believe what the psychopath tells them, which can lead to sympathy, which in turn, contributes to feelings of intense connection. Though red flags may be present, many potential victims lack the ability to listen to or interpret their gut reactions. Many people may genuinely feel that the psychopath is sincerely interested in them.
At this point, an individual who is being targeted is usually unaware of the psychopath’s true intentions. In addition to any possible vulnerabilities potential victims may have that can make them more receptive to their advances, psychopaths also look for those who will “invest” in relationships with them. Often things may feel wrong. However, in the absence of any solid reasons or evidence as to why things do not feel right, the relationships, whether romantic, business, or otherwise, often continue. The simple passage of time can further deepen the connections and perceived obligations to the psychopath. It may seem that victims are weak, but this is not the case. Normal human vulnerability should not be confused with weakness. Anyone has the potential to be targeted. Psychopathic individuals do not appear to care whom or what they use or ultimately destroy.