Synchronicity and Cognitive Bias: Why we suddenly start seeing sociopaths everywhere!
The following is featured in my newsletter – volume 1, issue 3.
There is a natural phenomenon that occurs once we experience or learn something new — we suddenly start seeing repeated glimpses of and frequent allusions to the experience and what we learned from it everywhere.
Many refer to such experiences as coincidences, synchronicity, Baader-Meinhof occurrences, selective attention, or the recency effect.
And we have all experienced this phenomenon:
Remember when you first started to learn how to read and suddenly, as if by magic, words and letters started floating past you everywhere you looked? The stop signs, cereal boxes, and magazines were always there. They simply didn’t interest you before you learned what the symbols meant.
Or you buy a red car and suddenly you start noticing everyone seems to be driving a red car, too?
Or you think about changing your diet, and suddenly you feel like you are getting bombarded by news related to the importance of diet and nutrition.
Even the content of this newsletter could be an example of a startling coincidence for you today, in this moment.
Whatever you call it, it happens a lot in healing and recovery:
We become absorbed in the subject matter and develop a cognitive bias for sociopath awareness and education, and begin to see sociopaths EVERYWHERE!
It’s not like the sociopaths weren’t always there, and we’re suddenly manifesting them due to some type of paranoia. Nor are we sociopath or narcissist magnets who somehow attracted these types of people into our lives. Everyone is surrounded by the 1 in 25 among us. Everyone. We are now the lucky ones who can identify and “sense” them better than others, better than we could before.
Like that line from “Sixth Sense,” we really can see (sense) dead people (sociopaths) now.
We couldn’t before, because how would we know to refer to something as some “thing” if we did not have the knowledge that that some “thing” existed?
Before we learned about sociopathy, we applied what we already knew about ourselves and relationships to the abuser and the toxic relationship. We defined the sociopath in terms of ourselves and the familiar, which is why we failed to understand the sociopath for what he/she was/is.
However, once we became educated and learned about sociopaths and finally understood the dynamics behind why our specific relationship was toxic, we experienced freedom and relief and thoughtfully came to the conclusion that sociopathy awareness might explain other failed relationships from our past and in the present.
So we began the practice of using this new tool of sociopathy awareness and applied it to other situations and relationships as they happened or were remembered from our past.
Many of us, after much time and reflection, determine that our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, long-time friends, co-workers, or even the coffeehouse barista we never liked are sociopaths or, at the very least, highly narcissistic.
But sometimes we were/are not always right in our conclusions of people, and our awareness is on overdrive and acts unfairly and labels individuals a little prematurely. We witness a person doing or saying something that is rude or selfish, and we immediately jump to a conclusion and say to ourselves, “Bam! She’s a narc! I know it!” In our hastiness to judge, we fail to remember that we all possess narcissistic tendencies to a degree depending on the circumstances, our age and maturity level, and our awareness of self.
For example, teenagers are all highly narcissistic. All of them, even the quiet and unassuming ones. It’s unfair and unwise to label teenagers as having personality disorders considering a teenager’s brain has not fully developed nor have teenagers figured out their identity in the first place. Most selfish and disrespectful teenagers spend the majority of the time failing at relationships, romantic and platonic, and become deprogrammed over time to behave better. Being a teenager is a rite of passage into adulthood and a painful time of trial and error. It’s those among us who emerge from their teens and early 20s with that primal brain still undeveloped that we must learn to spot and discern.
Awareness of sociopath abuse, psychopaths, and other pathological types opens up new ways of looking at and dissecting our current, past, and future relationships. We can use the tools to improve ourselves and how we interact with others, and we can also use the tools to determine who is worth the hard work it takes to establish and foster healthy relationships moving forward.
What we learn today impacts how we dissect, deconstruct, and digest our environment and the world moving forward. There is no denying that we will continue to see patterns, coincidences, and red flags of behavior that will immediately lead us to ask, “Could that person be what I think she is?”
The key to forming conclusions about others that are more right than wrong is to continue practicing and applying what you learn about sociopath awareness and to continue nurturing and fostering your intuition.