Apparently, not only are psychopaths and malignant narcissists the most likely people to develop a gambling problem, but they’re also more likely to take gambling to a dangerous, life-destroying level.
Study links gambling addiction to psychopathy.
In a recent study, researchers linked gambling addiction to psychopathy.
What makes psychopaths so different from other people?
The study suggests that psychopaths may process language differently from other people, likely due to both genetic factors and early exposure.
Psychopaths often have trouble understanding sarcasm and metaphors, which suggests that they may have difficulty with language processing.
The study authors point out previous research that leads them to believe this may explain why psychopaths differ from others. They also speculate that this could be a reason for the high number of psychopaths in prisons, where gambling games are common.
Psychopathic traits that lead to addiction to gambling
The traits most commonly associated with psychopathy that also lead to addiction to gambling include an inability to feel guilt or remorse and a tendency toward impulsive behavior.
The psychopath’s lack of empathy is confusing for many people since they can appear to understand how you feel.
But that’s because psychopaths experience only cognitive empathy, in which they can deduce logically what you might be feeling.
That means they can logically understand what you’re saying, but they don’t care and aren’t moved to help or stop hurting you.
How are psychopathy and gambling addiction issues connected?
While we know that psychopathy has been linked to many negative outcomes, the authors say they’ve found a new direct link between psychopathy and pathological gambling.
Researchers examined the relationship between primary psychopathy, secondary psychopathy, and problem gambling.
Primary psychopathy vs. secondary psychopathy (FYI)
Primary psychopaths tend to be more socially adept, whereas secondary ones are usually aggressive and impulsive.
Psychopaths who were high in urgency also used fewer harm-reduction strategies.
Primary psychopathy is thought to result from genetics, while secondary psychopathy—which results from trauma and their environment—can appear to manifest as high anxiety, the study authors said.
In the study, college students who gambled were asked how they would deal with situations in which their gambling might cause problems and what protective behavior strategies they used to prevent such things from happening.
They also answered questions to detect whether they might be prone to psychopathic behavior.
The assessment included questions about financial problems for the household and mental health issues such as stress or anxiety caused by gambling.
Researchers considered whether a person suffered from gambling addiction and the extent of such addiction.
Study Findings: Psychopaths are more likely to ruin their lives with gambling addiction.
Ultimately, they determined that people more likely to gamble away their money also tended to score higher on a psychopathy test and were more likely than other gamblers to have financial problems for their household and mental health issues caused by gambling.
And people with higher levels of primary psychopathy are less likely to stop or protect themselves when gambling, making their addiction worse.
The Recent Increase in Psychopathy Research Leads to New Insights
Because psychopaths are so difficult to deal with and tend not to form meaningful relationships, we’ve always been fascinated by their behavior.
This study sheds new light on the relationship between psychopathy and gambling addiction-related problems by identifying certain personality traits that may lead to addiction.
Takeaway: Psychopathy and Gambling Addiction
Simply put, people who lie, cheat and act without empathy are more likely to get into gambling problems. And because they also tend not to use strategies that would keep them safe from such problems, those issues are made worse.
All of that makes them more likely to ruin their own lives and the lives of anyone unfortunate enough to be close to them, including their closest sources of narcissistic supply.
Kramer, M. P., Peterson, R., Leary, A. V., Wilborn, D. D., Magri, T., & Dvorak, R. D. (2021). Psychopathy and Occurrence of Gambling Problems: The Role of Gambling Protective Strategies and Urgency. Psychological Reports. https://doi.org/10.1177/00332941211022998
As results from a recently published German-Danish research project show, these traits share a common ‘dark core.’ So, if you have one of these tendencies, you are also likely to have one or more of the others. Read the full study.
Resources for Psychopathic, Sociopathic & Narcissistic Abuse Recovery
While not all narcissists can be described as sadists, narcissism and sadism go hand in hand. Let’s explore the relationship between sadism and narcissism, as well as the psychology of sadistic narcissists.
How is sadism different than narcissism?
Once you begin to learn the traits of a sadist, you might have trouble distinguishing them from people who have narcissistic personality disorder. Both are manipulative, arrogant, disdainful, indifferent, critical of others, controlling of others, and lacking in empathy. Both will seek to isolate their targets through the use of contempt to encourage social alienation.
What is sadism?
Sadism is the enjoyment of cruelty in others, including in oneself. To be titled a sadist, this enjoyment must be intentional, not accidental. The term is derived from the name of Marquis de Sade, an 18th-century philosopher, and writer who got pleasure from inflicting pain on others.
The diagnostic criteria of the DSM-IV-TR, a catalog of distinctive symptoms used by mental health professionals to categorize psychological conditions, lists sadism as a potential symptom of certain personalities. In particular, it is considered a symptom of antisocial personality disorder, psychopathy, and paranoid personality disorder. In the context of BDSM, the term “sadomasochism” is used.
What are the traits of a sadist?
Sadists are known for their aggressive or dominant behavior that stems from a desire to impose their will on others, whether they be friends or strangers.
Sadists often portray themselves as victims of circumstances beyond their control.
Sadists are people who have a strong interest in inflicting pain on others, especially if they derive pleasure from the suffering of others. That sounds like a lot of online commenters, doesn’t it?
A sadist is someone who takes pleasure in pain, malice, or suffering.
They don’t care about their partners, their children or even themselves.
They often make you feel like an object without a past or a future or a reason to exist.
They can be charming at first but eventually, they reveal their true nature and make you feel small, insignificant, and worthless.
More than a third of people who are diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder reportedly have a sadistic side.
Narcissists tend to be self-absorbed and self-centered. They often have no empathy for others and have difficulty identifying with the feelings or feelings of others – which leads to a lack of concern for their well-being and safety.
A sadist enjoys inflicting pain on others or being the cause of others’ pain. This may include aggression, cruelty, lack of empathy, and indifference to victimization. In other words, people who exhibit these character traits tend to derive pleasure from the suffering of others.
Sadistic narcissists combine these two personality traits into one very dangerous combination: they enjoy inflicting pain on others and enjoy seeing others hurt as well.
What is sadistic narcissism?
If sadism is to love (and/or lust after) another person’s pain, then it certainly can coexist with narcissism. Sadistic narcissism seems to be almost ingrained into the person displaying it, which is sort of possible since it most often begins to develop as early as infancy and is dependent on how the mother bonded with the child, or not. It is often also the result of being controlled, ignored, over-controlled, and/or otherwise traumatized later in childhood during important developmental years. People who become sadistic narcissists often use their lack of empathy and cunning nature to get ahead in business (ethically or otherwise) and to attract the partners they want, who will often later become their victims.
What are the traits of a sadistic narcissist?
A narcissistic sadist is someone who has both a sadistic personality and a tendency toward narcissism. The narcissist-sadist combo is especially dangerous because it can create intimidation and fear in their victims, making them more vulnerable to further abuse.
Feel superior to others.
Can be shockingly cold to people, and also irresistibly kind and warm if and when it suits them.
Indifferent to punishment (which allows them to get away with things they wouldn’t otherwise be able to)
Use their knowledge of others’ weaknesses to control them.
Find pleasure in the suffering of others and in treating others as objects – in other words, they treat people like things.
Take pleasure in hurting others by inflicting pain or humiliation, or by taunting them with cruel jibes.
.How do you deal with a sadistic narcissist?
There are several steps you can take to deal with a sadistic narcissist.
First, you’ll need to recognize that the abuse is happening. Maybe that sounds funny to you, but it is really difficult sometimes to even recognize the abuse from a sadistic narcissist, thanks to the extreme mind games they’re prone to play. In fact, many victims will describe their abusive relationships as normal and even good before they realized they were being abused. Narcissistic abuse, in general, can be subtle and sneaky, so don’t beat yourself up if you’ve missed it.
After you’ve recognized the abuse and you’ve started to learn about what you’ve been dealing with, you’ll want to know more about both narcissists and about narcissistic abuse. This is normal – take your time and do the research you need to do to fully understand it. But don’t stay stuck in research forever!
You’re going to want to assemble a sort of support system to help hold you up during this process. Start by identifying the people closest to you who you can completely trust. Don’t be surprised if this group is very small. You can also look for local support groups if you feel comfortable with in-person support.
In any case, connecting with others who have also experienced being victimized by sadistic narcissists can be incredibly validating and can help in your recovery. Whether you’re worried about face-to-face contact because you’re afraid people will find out what you’ve experienced, or because you don’t like crowds, or because you’re struggling with fear or even just social anxiety, you might not love the idea of connecting in person.
How did Ross Rosenberg create his Observe, Don’t Absorb Technique?
“The Observe Don’t Absorb technique was created without knowing what I was doing,” Rosenberg told me, adding that it was 30 years ago when he’d been in an extremely abusive relationship. His partner at the time had BPD (borderline personality disorder).
“I realized had all the power over me if she could trigger me and get me mad, because she, like any person with BPD, would get angry, hurt me, and then cycle back and become in love with me again,” Rosenberg said. “And so the best way that she could feel better is if she could make me as angry as she was.”
Once he realized what was going on, he knew he needed to do something to protect himself.
“So, I developed this technique to safely and in a healthy manner disassociate from the environment and the person trying to trigger me or activate me,” he said, adding that the lesson comes from a George bernard shaw saying that goes, “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.”
How does the Observe, Don’t Absorb Technique work?
Rosenberg said that the whole point of the Observe, Don’t Absorb Technique “is the narcissist, when they want power over you, they want to get you into what I call their wrestling ring, and that is where they always are in control, and they have all the power.”
“So once they get a reaction out of you, through many techniques (including induced conversation technique), you lose your power because narcissists know how to fight,” he said. “They know how to manipulate, they know how to guilt and shame; and an SLD or codependent can never stand their own.”
“Essentially, the Observe, Don’t Absorb Technique is a way to safely disassociate from a narcissist who gains power by triggering your emotions and making you fight them in a fight that you can never win,” Rosenberg said.
What is Self-Love Deficicit Disorder?
Rosenberg said he’d never liked the term codependency because “codependency” is antiquated and it doesn’t really mean anything anymore.
“So I decided to come up with a replacement term, and it took me a while to figure out, but ultimately it was Self-Love Deficit Disorder, and that’s the problem,” he said. “And the person (with the problem) is self-love deficient, so SLDD for the problem, SLD for the person.”
He said he came up with these terms to help people understand that “what they’re suffering from not only has a name that fits the problem, but also gives you direction on what to solve in order to not to have that problem anymore.”
Ross Rosenberg’s definition of narcissism
Rosenberg said that as he was writing his book,The Human Magnet Syndrome, it was incredibly important to make specific diagnoses so that people knew what he was talking about.
“There are so many people out there on the internet, Youtube, TikTok, everywhere, that use the term, and they don’t have a mental health background,” he said. “So I don’t use the word narcissism; I use the word pathological narcissism.”
“These individuals have personality disorders as defined in the Diagnostic Statistic Manual used by psychiatrists, psychotherapists, and psychologists,” he said. “So I don’t use the term narcissist to talk about someone because that’s an ex that’s a description of someone is being narcissistic, but when I say pathological narcissist, I am talking about someone with a personality disorder.”
He added that pathological narcissists are harmful to the people around them and unable to understand or know what they’re doing.
“So, therefore, when I use the word narcissist, I’m using a term that is a clinical explanation of a mental health disorder.” Rosenberg continued. “So now there’s little dispute on who’s a narcissist or not because therapists, doctors. professionals such as I cannot use a term unless they fit the diagnostic profile.”
Ross Rosenberg on Gaslighting
“Gaslighting is a manipulative ploy used by pathological narcissists who have sociopathic traits,” Rosenberg said. “In other words, they know what they’re doing. They’re not the garden variety narcissist who’s oblivious to their narcissism.”
“Gaslighting is a manipulative, systematically perpetrated strategy that pathological narcissists use to control and often hurt their victims,” he continued, adding that narcissists do this by instilling a narrative about a person that something is wrong with them, when nothing was.
Or, he said, narcissits will manipulate you “with a problem they had that was originally mild, while systematically manipulating the environment to prove their narrative.”
Of course, the victim eventually recognizes this fake narrative and identifies with the problem. And, Rosenberg said, “As the gaslighter manipulates them to identify with the problem, he then builds a narrative that they are needy, unlikable, and would do better if they isolate.”
The Cherry on Top of the Gaslighting Sundae
“The cherry on top of the gaslighting sundae is then the gaslighter portrays himself as the only one that loves, accepts, and will protect the victim; therefore, the victim has taken on a psychological problem or disorder, feeling broken unlovable, and encouraged to isolate,” he said. “And then picking the person that has designed the whole plan. And then no one in their outside world – friends, family, or loved ones – can get to them to try to bring them back to reality. And therefore, they are trapped – and sometimes forever trapped – by the scheming, sociopathic, gaslighting narcissist.”