Did you know that for every one hundred people, there are approximately two to four psychopaths? Originally, when I thought of psychopaths, I thought of the stone-cold killers that you see on TV. Turns out, they are more common than you’d think...
Dealing with anxiety meant that there were many times I struggled with certain social interactions. Surrounded by Psychopaths (by Thomas Erikson)seemed like a funny choice as there have been a few ‘difficult’ people in my life so I wanted to see how I could make life better for myself. This book offered me something unexpected though. It helps you deduce whether you think a person is a psychopath or not, what type of person you are (to help you identify how you can be manipulated) and then how to overcome those challenges.
The book basically outlines what a psychopath is and how they operate. A repetitive theme is that they do not experience emotions as we do but they can feign such emotion. The first half of the book is all about identifying the different personality types. He has a whole book on it (Surrounded By Idiots) which I have yet to read, but there are basically four personality types: Red, Yellow, Green and Blue. It’s unlikely that you are entirely one colour, but rather a combination of a couple. However, one personality type will be dominating.
Just to give an overview, red is ambitious, assertive and a little bit aggressive. Yellow is a very chatty type, enjoys being in the centre of attention makes people feel welcome but isn’t a great listener and tends to embellish the truth. Green is a stable personality type; doesn’t like change, happy to help but doesn’t like responsibility. Blue is very detail orientated but introverted. It turns out I’m more of a Blue personality type…
If you can’t identify yourself or others with any of the colours, then there’s a chance that you or the person you know is a psychopath.
The second half of the book gives you more information on how to protect yourself from being manipulated based on the colour you are. We all have different weaknesses and by being honest with ourselves about it, we can avoid being manipulated.
First off, I must say it’s a great read and really easy to get through. Each chapter was packed with information but if you aren’t interested in certain things (like if you resonate with a green personality, you might not want to read how a red can be manipulated), you can skip it easily. The chapters are clear and concise.
I was genuinely shocked at how common psychopathy is. It’s not that they want to ruin your life, but they want to live their life at the expense of others. If that means bleeding you dry then so be it. You’d only be willing though if you are being manipulated into it. It also made certain situations that I had with people a little clearer. Some people are manipulative but not psychopaths and this book helps you to recognise who you may really be dealing with.
One of the things I loved about this book, was how passionate the author behind the words was. He’s not trying to scare people but rather educate them so that we can enjoy our lives. It can be so hard to walk away from a toxic relationship but the point is, if a person isn’t willing to compromise or mistreats you for not giving in to their demands, then they do not love you. If you love yourself enough, you will walk away.
A lot of people aren’t keen on having their personalities put into categories, and I totally understand. But I don’t see it as taking away from us all being unique individuals, but rather what drives us and how we behave. There are predictable patterns in human behaviour and this book educates us in recognising it so that we can utilise it.
If you deal with a variety of people in your life or have problems with certain people, then I would highly recommend this book. It’s interesting, funny and a relaxing read. If you’ve read it, let me know what you think.
My Rating - 8/10