Portrait of a Sociopath
I have occasionally used the term sociopath to describe David Miscavige. I use the term advisedly, not as some random insult. Mainly because every description of a sociopath that I have read fits Miscavige to a T.
And please, don’t make the mistake of saying, “oh yes, sociopath – that’s the same as an SP. And I already know all about SPs, therefore I don’t need to learn anything further.” That’s known as thought-stopping, a phenomenon that deserves its own post. One of the biggest barriers to learning something is thinking you already know it.
In my opinion, “Suppressive Person” has always been primarily used as a political term in Scientology. Sure, there’s a list of “Characteristics of an Anti-Social Personality” in the Ethics book, but come on, really, when was the last time you saw someone methodically going down through that checklist before declaring someone? And when was the last time you saw someone declared SP who actually had a majority of those characteristics? No, it’s a way to label and isolate people who challenge the power and authority of the Church – and specifically these days, David Miscavige.
Still want to argue with me on this point? All right, consider this: according to PTS Rundown technology one cannot name senior Scientology executives or Scientology principals as one’s item in a PTS Rundown. And you wonder why people “can’t spot” Miscavige as an SP? Because they’re not allowed to. Technically.
My own view is that the reason Scientologists cannot spot David Miscavige for who he has nothing to do with not knowing how to spot an SP. It’s because they don’t know how to spot a sociopath.
All right. So let’s jump right in here with one of the most-used lists of the characteristics of a sociopath, as developed by Dr Hervey Cleckley, pioneer in the study of psychopathy and author of The Mask of Sanity, and Robert D. Hare, an expert in the field of criminal psychology.
1. Glibness and superficial charm: Glib is used here in the sense of being able to use language effortlessly to beguile, confuse and convince others. The sociopath is able to exude self-confidence and can be very convincing. They are also able to destroy others verbally. If you’ve ever been in one of David Miscavige’s four-hour or six-hour meetings, you know his ability to talk. And talk. And talk. His meetings are mostly him talking and others listening, and even when he contradicts himself, as he frequently does, he does to with absolute confidence and aplomb. And as to being able to destroy people verbally, well, he’s a master at that.
2. Manipulative and conning: Sociopaths do not recognize the individuality or rights of others, and so there are no checks on their behavior. They only see two types of people, suckers and sinners. People are either enemies or tools to be used. The sociopath discharges powerful feelings of terror and rage by humiliating and dominating others. Anyone who has met with Miscavige knows that this is an accurate description of the man’s actions.
3. Grandiose sense of self: The sociopathic leader always has to be at the center of attention. He has tremendous feelings of entitlement, and feels he is owed money and luxury by right. Just look at the pictures of Miscavige’s tanning room and private gym, as posted on Marty’s site. Just look at the elaborate Baroque sets he has to have behind him at events. Just look at the glossy color magazines he has published all to glorify himself.
4. Pathological Lying: Sociopaths lie coolly and easily. A sociopath in the position of a cult leader will tend to invent a whole belief system about his history and abilities. Miscavige has created such a mystique about himself, about how he was “chosen by Hubbard “ (he never was) and how he is the only person who can correctly interpret LRH’s works. At his direction, the spokespeople for the Church blatently lie about disconnection, forced abortions, staff abuse, RPF and anything else they are asked about.
5. Lack of remorse, shame or guilt: People, to a sociopath, are targets or tools. They are opportunities or obstacles. For a sociopath, the ends always justify the means, because they feel they are the only valid moral arbiter. I have never seen David Miscavige exhibit the slightest feelings of remorse, guilt or shame. He has never admitted to a mistake. Every failure or mistake is someone else’s fault.
6. Shallow emotions: Sociopaths can exhibit violent bursts of emotion, usually rage or anger, but these are usually calculated to produce a result. Positive emotions of compassion, love, warmth or joy are not felt or exhibited, except as a deliberate show to achieve some end. Miscavige can carry out the most brutal acts of abuse or humiliation without showing the slightest emotion, except maybe a kind of smirking humor.
7. Incapacity for love: The sociopath demands love and admiration from followers, but is skeptical and cynical about any love or loyalty offered. The ‘loyalty” of followers is sometimes tested in cruel and bizarre ways. “Musical Chairs” anyone?
8. Need for stimulation: The sociopath will indulge in bizarre behavior, punishments and lies. They get stimulation through unexpected outbursts, verbal abuse and physical punishments. Sounds familiar.
9. Callousness and lack of empathy: The sociopath makes no real connection with people, and often expresses contempt or ridicule for people’s real feelings. Whatever “people skills” they have are used to exploit others.
10. Poor behavioral controls and impulsive nature: When a child throws a tantrum, it can be annoying or frustrating. When an adult throws a tantrum, it can be terrifying. The sociopathic leader believes he is omnipotent, all-powerful and entitled to indulge any whim. Followers tend to rationalize and justify the sociopath’s behavior and hide aberrant behavior from outsiders.
11. Early behavior problems and juvenile delinquency: I don’t know Miscavige’s history, but it would be interesting to know if he was friendless, controlling and borderline criminal as a child.
12. Irresponsibility and unreliability: Sociopaths are oblivious to the pain they cause others, or the lives they ruin. It’s not their problem or their responsibility. Miscavige habitually scapegoats others. If there are any failures or mistakes, it is always others that are to blame, never him. Blame is a powerful weapon he uses to keep his followers submissive.
13. Promiscuous sexual behavior and infidelity: One question – where’s Shelly? Miscavige has had his own wife turned into a “non-person” and imprisoned at a CST ranch. Meanwhile his constant companion is his Communicator, Laurisse. It was also rumored here that he had an affair with Jenny Linson. In contrast, sociopaths often insist on strict sexual control of their followers, with forced breakups and divorces, enforced abortions, and splitting up of families. All of which Miscavige has done. Sex is a control and power issue to a sociopath.
14. Lack of realistic life plan and parasitic lifestyle: Sociopathic cult leaders live a luxurious lifestyle while their followers are impoverished – and Miscavige is no exception. His lavish parasitic lifestyle has been well documented.
15. Criminal or entrepreneurial versatility: A sociopathic cult leader can change a group’s operations or goals in order to make more money or amass more power – such as, say, switching a group from providing self-help services to constructing huge lavish buildings. When illegal or immoral activities and exposed, sociopaths will sometimes relocate, taking some or all of their followers with them.
Ordinary people, which is to say sane people, who are confronted with a sociopathic personality often do not recognize what they are looking at. The sociopath appears to be powerful, confident and very sure of himself. Having no experience in dealing with people who lack any empathy or moral compass, people will try to rationalize the sociopath’s behavior, to make sense of it. They will mistake his icy coldness and volatile temper for “intensity” or “dedication.”
I know I did when I was at the Int Base. Seeing a grown man throw a temper tantrum like a petulant child, scream and yell and threaten and even physically attack others is a shocking experience. People tend to blame themselves for making the leader mad, or for not doing a good enough job and upsetting him. We tend to take it all on ourselves, and make excuse after excuse for the leader.
Even years later, I was trying to make sense out of Miscavige’s behavior. But there is no sense to it. He is simply sociopathic, and as soon as Scientologists realize that, they will be able to deal with it appropriately.