For the past few days,
I’ve wanted to write a post about those suffering with the Ebola virus and the very brave people who help them. Since this is a blog about psychopaths, I needed to find a way to connect them. I found my answer this morning when I went to the website of Doctors Without Borders. DWB has been fighting the epidemic tirelessly in West Africa. They posed this challenge on their site:
“A Day Without Touch is a solidarity challenge and fundraiser that raises awareness of the way Ebola ‘parasitizes’ humanity, using our most human impulses — to touch and care for those who are sick and in need — to propagate disease.”
“…Ebola ‘parasitizes’ humanity…”
Indeed it does. Psychopaths also parasitize humanity.
Ebola is a horrific disease that kills 50 – 70 percent of its victims in a terrifying and brutal way. But there is something else at work that is just as horrifying as the disease itself. Unlike diseases that infect people by spreading through the air, Ebola infects through close contact.
In other words, Ebola infects through love, by way of giving care to the sick.
“This virus preys on care and love, piggybacking on the deepest, most distinctively human virtues.”
~ All quotes in this blog post (except the first one) are from Benjamin Hale’s article, ‘The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola’
Psychopaths prey on their victims in the very same way.
Psychopaths who wish to ensnare someone in a false relationships first need to draw us close enough to be victimized. They do this by manipulating us into loving them. Our ability to love is what enables the psychopath to infect our lives, our hearts and our souls. And our ability to love is what enables us to get close enough to someone with a deadly disease to become infected, because we care more about them than about ourselves.
Direct contact with body fluids is the primary way Ebola spreads. What’s startling is that the virus itself CAUSES the production of massive amounts of body fluids so that it can perpetuate itself. It purposely causes victims to projectile vomit and have massive diarrhea, and to bleed from their eyes, ears, and gastrointestinal tract. When others care for them, these fluids infect them.
Viruses are intelligent in that way – they program their host to behave in a manner that ensures their goal is met, which is to infect others so the virus itself can stay alive. Rabies is another good example. It is spread through saliva, and what better way is there to get saliva into the skin than to cause the infected host to become vicious and bite? Scientists are unable to explain this phenomenon.
they program their host to behave in a manner that ensures their goal is met
“Every mechanism we have for caring—touching, holding, feeding, playing, warming, comforting, caressing — every mechanism that we use to bind us to our families and our neighbors, is preyed upon by Ebola…We are humans, and we will care about our children and our families even if it means that we may die in doing so.”
Even when things started going terribly wrong in our relationship – which, unknown to us, was with a psychopath – we were programmed to continue. We were unable to see the truth of what was happening because of their manipulation, and because we continued to see the psychopath as someone who was loving and trustworthy and who had our best interests at heart. The psychopath presented themselves to us in that way, and our human nature didn’t allow us to see them any differently, at least not for a while.
Psychopaths know this all too well, and it’s what makes their manipulation possible. They infect us by pretending to love us, and then when the incubation (idealization) period is over, the symptoms of infection (devaluation) start to emerge.
We start to realize that something strange is happening beneath the surface, but we can’t pull back. Love keeps us in the hot zone. The same thing happens with the caregivers of those with Ebola. Love will not allow them to step away and save themselves.
Love keeps us in the hot zone
“The lesson here is a vital one: People do not give up on humanity so very easily. Even if we persuade all of the population to forgo rituals like washing the dead, we will not easily persuade parents to keep from holding their sick children, and children from clinging to their ailing parents…The love and compassion that puts people at risk of infection will not stop in the Ebola zone. Humans can’t give them up, because it is fundamental to what we are,” Hale writes.
“People do not give up on humanity so very easily.”
“The problem is double-edged. Ebola threatens humanity by preying on humanity. The seemingly simple solution is to destroy humanity ourselves…But doing so means destroying ourselves in order to save ourselves, which is no solution at all.”
The problem is the same when considering psychopaths. They threaten our humanity by preying on our humanity. If we destroy the humanity in ourselves, a psychopath who attempted to victimize us wouldn’t have a chance. But doing so means destroying ourselves in order to keep ourselves safe, which is no solution at all. We would end up just like them, and life would be a meaningless void.
“The only one way to battle a disease that affixes itself parasitically to our humanity is to overwhelm it with greater, stronger humanity. To immunize Africa and the rest of the world with a blast of humanity so powerful that the disease can no longer take root.”
Likewise, we can immunize ourselves and each other from psychopaths with a blast of humanity. Help from others may be lacking because they are unable to understand, so this blast of humanity must come from us, in the form of support, validation, encouragement, and information. We can also try to immunize others who haven’t yet fallen victim.
“If we seek safety by shutting out the rest of the world, we are in for a brutally ugly awakening. Nature is a cruel mistress, but Ebola is her cruelest, most devious trick yet.”
Psychopathy is a cruel trick to us, and also to psychopaths themselves — although they will never be able to understand that.
All quotes are from the Slate article, ‘The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola,’ by Benjamin Hale
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