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Real alpha men... or sociopaths?

The topic of this post is derived from this:

Quote from Bel on May 25, 2023, 11:46 pm

EDIT: I was reading an answer on Quora that said that real alphas are loyal, considerate, assertive, fierce in defending those who need... but they are more subtle than dark triads.

The way I interpret it, is that dark triads especially tend to showcase immediately and in quick succession high-power alpha male behaviors.

Why do they do it? Because it works.

So if they do it, a normal person who is high power can also learn to adopt quick behaviors that showcase "good power"... in a good way.

However, the main idea that is spinning through my head is the following:

Is it really possible to be a real alpha man without being a sociopath?

The quote from Quora above is from a guy who allegedly slept with 2500 women. Lucio said it was a list of "aspirational values" rather than a reality-grounded list.

That got me thinking. I scrolled the Quora user's post history and, while most of his posts were seemingly "normal" and he showed even more "caring and consideration" than normal, in one crucial post he acknowledged he was basically a psychopath, had always been a psychopath and was even formally diagnosed as such.

Just this single factor tells you he is lying everywhere about his "caring and considerate behavior".

In my personal life I also found there is a definite link between high-power, on the one hand, and narcissism, sociopathy or psychopathy, on the other hand.

In other words, I can count to probably almost zero the number of people who I met that were high-power and that at the same time were not dark triads.

There is more than that: in my own path toward high-power, I see myself adopting behaviors that were formerly impossible and that can only be described as "not caring/not giving a fuck about some people".

Or this idea of being able to showcase in a short time "high-power behavior", that came to my mind lately and that - I have to admit - is directly derived from the sociopath's playbook.

I now wonder if there is a definite link between higher power and sociopathy.

The overlap between alphaness and sociopathy

Initially I thought one could be high power while maintaining basic social decency and goodness.

However, I am now beginning to doubt it.


  • being higher power means interacting with sociopaths and dark triads more. Since they are solely focused on it, they tend to rise. This means that being higher power means seeing the worst of human nature, and risks getting one jaded.
  • being higher power means interacting with more people, and having more opportunities - more clients, more friends, more dates. This means having a higher chance of seeing bad people and bad behavior, and risks getting one jaded.
  • being higher power means having to defend both from willing and from unwitting attacks to power. Unwitting attacks require sometimes shaming "innocent people" to defend oneself.
  • sociopaths usually interpret high-power behavior in others as the other being another sociopath... could it be that this is grounded in reality, instead of projection?
  • there is a definite link between high-power and deception. I have observed that most high-power people tend to hint at a picture of how they conduct their life that is markedly different in crucial aspect from what they actually do. One simple example: the marketers who teach the scarcity ruse and tell clients to only use it when it is real, but then use it everywhere.

Jordan Peterson seemed to me a model to conduct one's life as high-power while being a force for good, but as we saw even him made an alliance with another guy who clearly is not a force for good.

The link between high-power and deception

There is a definite progression most dating teachers make between what made them personally successful, what they initially teach, and what they later start preaching.

One of the most famous dating teachers out there had some effective programs that were the first he released. As he got into a long term relationship and changed the focus of his business, he released some programs that were absolutely useless in attracting women, contained advice that went counter to what he initially used to teach, and just plain didn't work. He even released some interviews in which he distanced himself from some behaviors of some other dating coaches that he himself had advocated.

We discussed on this forum the tendency for highly successful people to give out a "politically correct version" of what really works for them.

The simple reality of the matter seems to be that one just cannot say some of the things he does to be successful in one area of life, without coming across as a sociopath.

What differentiates a normal alpha from a sociopath?

Since high power is not the difference, there must be something else.


Maybe the only test that counts is if one keeps the capacity to lose some power to prioritize another's well-being at one's expense.

But with high-power comes a definite "higher capacity" to selectively inhibit empathy.

So the question is: can you really be an alpha without being a sociopath?

Maybe not.

Lucio Buffalmano, Kavalier and 2 other users have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoKavalierRobertoPower duck

Great post and deep question.

There would be much to say, and we also touched on this topic both in the articles, reviews, and some forum threads.

In some thread I may have said:

You need to have some of that poison in you

There definitely can be some overlap in behavior.

On the other hand, behavior and personality/temperament aren't the same.

That already blurs everything because behaving in a certain way, in a certain sphere, that a sociopath doesn't

Weaving a coherent narrative around this topic would require hours -may be an article soon-?

So some random thoughts:

  • Only a "good person" worries about this topic
  • Sociopath  and value giver ("force for good") must not necessarily be in antithesis (albeit a sociopath may be a lot less likely to be a value giver than a non-sociopath, it's far from a given)
  • I'd be careful of definitive conclusions and definitions, and I'd avoid labels when we can't be sure of those labels.
    • Psychopathy is a physical abnormality, sociopathy is a diagnosis, we have no way to make sure who is who, so I generally stay away from those labels and prefer "POS / SOB" or similar
    • Alpha male also has a standard definition: it means being at the top of the hierarchy. However, it's often used in a way that overlaps a lot more with "high power behavior" than the standard definition. I'd define which one we're talking about because it changes things
    • If we're talking about "behavior that is more likely to help you climb the hierarchy" or "behavior that makes people think you're an alpha", then there's a huge overlap with "high power behavior", but still it's not exactly the same.
    • high-power behavior is also a precondition to climbing hierarchies almost anywhere, but it's not exactly the same as "alpha male behavior" and even less so of "behavior that's likely to be seen in a sociopath/psychopath" (albeit, again, there's certainly an overlap)
  • Jordan Peterson is generally a force for good BUT a hyper-conservative. That hyper-conservatism means he's not always a value-giver to the world and society. Especially if you happen to go against his view of what the world should be like. Hyper-conservatives suffer whenever things change and/or escape their more black-and-white traditional views They tend to make those "weird people" who escape their black-and-white world suffer, too (and the more power they have, the more they repress them_
  • Ben Shapiro is a lot less "force for good" than Peterson, I agree. He has less of a drive to help and add value, and his drive is more "my worldview, fuck who pays the price for it". Peterson fell for that trap and got radicalized, and while Shapiro is more passion-less and business-driven, Peterson is actually pained by the diversity
  • I personally doubt many honest conservatives can even be full-bown psychopaths or Machiavellians. At least, not very selfish or effective ones. Machiavellians know better than to worry about trans athletes because there's nothing that would advance their life in those issues. Exceptions apply when they fake caring to lead other conservatives and gain power
  • Many PUAs or serial players tend to be high-dark triad, but not all are full-blown and not all are high-dark triad at all. and many learners of PUA material aren't dark triad at all, and that's in part why they even need that material. There's also a review of a book where I go deeper into it (P.S.: it helps if you name the people you're referring to, Bel 🙂 )
  • I think you can most certainly be an alpha without being a sociopath / psychopath
  • I think you can most certainly be an alpha without being a SOB / POS
  • I think you can most certainly be a sociopath/psychopath and SOB / POS and be an alpha mal
  • BUT... I think being able to act / think like a dark triad man is incredibly helpful to climb hierarchies, and almost a precondition in any highly competitive environment as most workplaces and larger groups are.
    • HOWEVER, being able or willing to take tough decisions, do what it takes to win, or momentarily suspend your general value-adding stance towards life doesn't mean you're a general value taker, and doens't necessarily qualify you for a diagnosis of sociopathy (and even less so of psychopathy, which requires a physical malformation)
  • I think being able to act / think like a dark triad man is incredibly helpful to be a "force for good" in life, and almost a precondition if you want to have a significant impact.
  • Most "aspirational values" such as "loyalty", "honesty", etc. have limited or no overlap with gaining power, status, or reaching the top (ie.: becoming an alpha male). They're pure naive self-help at best, and willingly or subconsciously manipulative to handicap others, or to foster a better society for all, while the professer of aspirational values defect himself
  • Most "aspirational values" can be a hindrance if over-applied, or if applied at the wrong time ("loyalty" is the biggest BS of them all to me, even if, and especially if, you want to be a force for good. Loyalty must be earned, over and over. Only a manipulator and value-taker would push loyalty as a virtue. Not by accident armies around the world use it)

Uff... There went my goal of making this briefer :D.

Basically, I see things as more complex.

There are many constructs that overlap, countless exceptions, and lots of grey areas.


Going extremely subjective would be an even bigger mistake.

You can still draw lines and differentiate among characters (generally "good" and "not so good", at least in intentions), moral compass (who has one, and who doesn't even have one), value givers (VS value takers), etc.

And of couse it's even easier and more possible to draw lines between mindsets/thinking patterns/behavior that advances you, gains status, power, or mates, and the behavior that doesn't (which is what this website is al about).

Finally, I also agree with you in good part:

You can't be "always good and pure", or always add value to everyone. and expect to advance in life -or, at least, be the most effective at it-.

That's the whole point of this website, after all:

Helping good people not be too good, always too good to the point that "good" turns into "loser".

Kavalier and Bel have reacted to this post.
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

I was referring to David DeAngelo/ Eben Pagan. Here’s the interview where he reneges on everything that he had learned and taught:

Lucio Buffalmano and Kavalier have reacted to this post.
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