Dangerous Personalities describes four dangerous personality types and what we can do to defend ourselves.
- Be aware of your physical surrounding and who you get emotionally close to
- Take any warning signs very seriously
- Predators especially have no conscience, moral or ethical stops. Stay away
The most dangerous personalities are those who behave other normally.
Narcissist, the Predator, the Paranoid, and the Unstable Personality
Narcissists believe they’re above the law and above society’s rules.
They will lie, cheat or even kill if it’s in their best interest.
Joe Navarro says that an example of two narcissists Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skillingare, the men behind the Enron scandal.
Lay and Skillingare cooked Enron’s books and encouraged their 20.000 employees to invest in Enron, resulting in thousands of people losing their life savings.
What makes them narcissist, says Navarro, is another typical narcissistic trait: entitlement. The two of them believed they were entitled to get every single (stolen) penny.
Barnie Madoff is another example of dangerous narcissism, highlighting a sense of superiority and a lack of empathy.
Let them know early on that you won’t tolerate disrespect
Emotionally Unstable Personalities Fear Abandonment
Emotionally unstable personalities are like victims searching for an oppressor.
They store and remember wounds, whether real or imagined, and use them as ammunition.
Emotionally unstable individuals have a huge need for love but little ability to maintain a healthy relationship. You can find a lot of them in cults because they offer unconditional acceptance without the need of building a solid relationship.
My Note: it feels to me here that Navarro is describing a borderline personality disorder.
Don’t get dragged down into their emotional drama. Be especially watchful they try to blame you for it. If you’re in a relationship with it and they continuously threaten suicide, harm, self harm or hold the relationship hostage, consider moving on.
Paranoid personalities see threats everywhere and from anyone.
President Richard Nixon was paranoid. Navarro says that we can see it in by his growing list of enemies and in his claims that he couldn’t confide with anyone.
Hitler was also paranoid, as he managed to put string together 2.000 years of unconnected events to build a case against jews.
Navarro says that paranoia was beyond Paul Jennings Hill’s homicide of Dr. John Britten. Hill, a right-wing Christian extremist, believed it was OK to murder doctors performing abortion to save unborn children.
And paranoia can lead people to join hate groups such as KKK and Aryan Nation.
My Note: I didn’t see a big connection between those two examples. And I don’t see paranoia as a major reason to join hate groups.
Keep your distance if they try to recruit you into their false vision of reality. Do not try to change their minds as there is no changing these people’s minds.
If the solution to their false beliefs is violence distance yourself and consider alerting the police.
Predators have no conscience.
They are cold, remorseless and completely indifferent to the harm they cause.
This is the kind of mind that makes serial killers.
It seems here like Navarro is describing low functioning psychopaths. Also read:
- Do good and evil overlap
- Is Trump a sociopath
- Sociopaths signs
- Psychopath Free
- The Psychopath Test
- Snakes in Suits
- The Sociopath Next Door
They will try to control you and coerce you. It might be physical, mental or both. Distance is the best solution.
Comorbidity and Traits Overlap
Sometimes the traits of dangerous personalities can overlap.
Navarro says that one trait has the tendency of heightening the others, and only make individuals more dangerous.
Ask yourself the following:
- Do they negatively affect your emotions?
- Do they behave antisocially, unethically and erratically?
- Are they manipulative?
- Do they often act impulsively and out of control
- Do they have a strong need for instant gratification?
Tips for Avoiding Dangerous Personalities
- Establish boundaries and enforce your boundaries
- Stay active in the day: highest rates of violence occur between 8:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m
- Keep emotional distance before you get to know people very well
- Always be aware of your physical surroundings
Real Life Applications
As much as you look left and right before crossing the street, always take stock of your physical surroundings. And simply be aware there is some dangerous people out there.
Overall, I found Dangerous Personalities to be somewhat similar to Emotional Vampires in that it seeks to popularize the complex psychology of personality disorders.
But there were a few elements I didn’t like, including:
Stigmatizing & Fear Mongering
Navarro says that dangerous personality can be nice but not good because being good means having honorable intentions.
I find that’s a very broad brush with which to paint emotionally unstable people. I have had relationships with emotionally unstable people, and while at the height of their emotions they could have been dangerous, that doesn’t make them mean or devoid of goodness.
You Can’t Diagnose People From Afar
Dangerous Personalities diagnoses people without ever having met them. How can it say for example that Enron’s Jeff Skilling and Kenneth Lay were narcissists and not, say, sociopaths?
Sensationalism Makes It Poor Psychology
Dangerous Personalities to me is sensationalism-seeking.
I wouldn’t personally consider emotionally unstable people to be dangerous. I wouldn’t even consider people manipulating others with suicide threats to be highly dangerous since most of them do not really kill themselves. And of those who kill themselves, the vast majority don’t take any other lives with them.
How Did Were Dangerous Personalities Picked?
I gotta wonder how narcissists and emotionally unstable made the list of “dangerous” personalities.
For Laymen But It Could Only Make it All More Confusing
People who have been reading or know a thing or two about mental disorders will be put off by the label and category-lumping.
Predators for example are sociopaths, psychopaths and possibly malignant narcissists. And emotionally unstable are histrionic and borderline. But the author does not identify his categories by these names and I gotta wonder if that will help the layman or further confuse him.
Good Book to Make People More Alert
Dangerous Personalities can serve to raise alertness on the dangers that some personalities can pose to us and to the people we hold dear.
I loved Navarro’s previous book What Every BODY is Saying and Dangerous Personalities is not bad but not that good either.
I didn’t have too high expectations for a book that was going to analyze famous events and personalities looking for diagnosis. Such a book had to be pop-psychology of low-ish order, I thought.
In the end it was an entertaining read, it taught me a few things and it strengthened a few concepts. But in my opinion it’s a pop-psychology book looking for sensationalism.
However, I much appreciate the fact that Dangerous Personalities can serve a great deal to raise awareness of the dangers of this world.