No matter how much they abuse their partners, toxic people will always have a loyal following of fans clapping for everything they do. These people are blinded by shallow flattery that the manipulator uses to control them. This fan club changes often, as none of their friendships are deep or meaningful in any way. All that matters is constant attention and adoration. Anyone who fails to provide this mindless reinforcement will promptly be replaced with someone who can. — PsychopathFree
I want to acknowledge that writing on toxic personalities has been eye opening. Even though I read my first book on the subject in 2006 and read more after that, the discovery of the damage these personalities can cause has been staggering. I don’t think I fully understood the actual span of control or impact that toxic personalities hold. I always read and understood about the singular focus that the toxic personality was destroying a single person. I was not completely in tune by the wide spread destruction caused to everyone who surrounds them; even though it was written about in the books and research papers I read.
The group that until this journey into writing was somewhat lost on me was the “Fan Club”. After reading all the content I can find on the fan club group, I think that the word “fan” is harsh in some cases, and completely accurate in others. In some cases, the toxic personality has aligned themselves with other toxic personalities and yes these are true fans. However, from my research, reflection on my personal experience, and discussion with clients I have come to the conclusion that most of these “fans” are wounded unaware victims, just like their main target.
The power that a toxic personality gets is not the result of a single person, but from the group of “fans”! We currently have one of the most powerful nations in our world being run by someone who many have said fits the stereotype of someone with “antisocial personality disorder”. This has left most of us shaking our head and asking “How?”
The simple answer is the Fan Club. With this past election we can truly see the cognitive dissonance of the fan club. The fan club refuses to see the damage or immediately forgive all the hurt and pain the toxic person is causing. They believe the toxic person without question! They will justify the toxic persons behaviour; do you remember the line “it’s just locker room chat”.
The toxic person will claim they are benefiting the fan club and giving the people what they want. But, when they are done not only is the target destroyed, but also many of the fans. The fans will look to see the next saviour out of their pain. The next person who will tell them everything that is wrong with their life can be fixed by blaming the last person. The fans will likely give the next toxic person the adoration and power they want and desire thinking this time it will be different.
16 Traits a Toxic Person is Your Leader
- They have a grandiose idea of who they are and what they can do or have done: Listen to the stories, they are amazing, the best, or have done it all. They know everyone, because they are friends with everyone. (In lots of cases they do know lots of people “this is a big part of their hook for fans”.)
- Is preoccupied with talking about unlimited success, power or brilliance: We all want to follow great people and we all want success. But it’s always about them and if they are in your life you find yourself being star struck by how bright “they/you say their star is”.
- Demands blind unquestioned obedience: A common phrase of toxic people is “If you do exactly as I say, you will have all that I have!” With a toxic personality this never happens within the fan club, you never get what they “have”. Look around the group and see who is “truly” succeeding? Any success for the members of the fan club will be attributed to the toxic person and how in tune they were to your needs.
- Members of the club instantly pull away or are cut away: This may be someone who seemed like they were totally in tune with everything going on. This is a clear sign they came close to seeing the house of cards being built, they held no further value and were cut away, or they saw the damage being done and ran. They realize that running is safer/easier than standing up to the toxic person.
- You hear stories about how the toxic person is always the victim: It can sound like this “my “ex” did this to me and I was the perfect wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, or just friend.
- Woe is me: In all cases the blame is always on another person and the toxic person has always been wronged. They never say what they did!
- Is financially exploitive: If you have money they want it, they may put others in financial risk for their own gain with promises of greatness (see number 2).
- Has exaggerated sense of power: Toxic personalities are always bending or breaking rules.
- The finish line is always changing: If you work for them, have business with them or are trying to move through the fan club ranks. They are always adding things for you to do, be, or say. If you do something they will tell you why it was wrong if you change what you said later they will tell you why it is still wrong.
- Takes advantage of members of the club: Beyond financially but guaranteed emotionally and in some cases sexually.
- Publically devalues others: If someone is being cut away they will talk behind their back, likely saying things like “they brought to much drama to the toxic persons life” or “they just did not get it what I was saying”. No matter what way it happens it will be the others person fault.
- Constantly boasting about accomplishments: This goes beyond basic “I am proud of me”. They will talk how everyone is seeking out their expertise (maybe even the experts).
- Every one else are sheep: The problem is in what they are not saying out loud “you are sheep as well”. If everyone is wrong or sheep are you not also everyone?
- Will be highly dependent on tribute or compliments: You or others are always saying how great they are. If they feel the compliment is not deep enough they will ask for details. They may give you compliments as well, yet when you look back you will see how shallow they really are.
- You have been treated with contempt or arrogance: Likely, they have chosen words or actions to hurt you. Somehow it became your fault, as you did not understand how they were really trying to help you. This is “Gas lighting” in any healthy relationship communication is two ways and both parties need to come to the table.
- You await orders: You find yourself always running to them for guidance and what to do next.
This list is not exhaustive at all, in most cases there is 40-50 red flags of toxic people, also toxic people may not display all of them as they have come accustomed to a certain few that work really well. I hope it helps and let me know in the comments what you would add.
If you are a fan club member don’t be disheartened, yes some of the things you may have done or said for the toxic persons approval had some deep negative impact on you or others. Understand the skill these people have, that we are all susceptible to the fan club role. I admit I have been taken in a few times by someone’s charm, skill and personality. Even Dr. Robert Hare, who wrote several books on psychopathy, and is one of the experts on the subject stated, “that even when he was interviewing them in prison for his research and for the book “Without Conscious”, was sucked in.” And they were already in prison.
So if you are in this fan group, you are not alone. Remember, if you are in this group, you can leave, find support and find your own healing. Any relationship with a toxic personality leaves pain in some form or fashion. So If you have questions or concerns or need support feel free to reach out to me send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you like what you are reading, I would love and need your support to do the work I am doing. People who do not have the support or recourses greatly benefit from your support. Please consider supporting me through my Patreon site at www.patreon.com/stevenarchambault I can also set up single benefactor support you can message me at email@example.com for this.
Keep chasing those cars…..
With Love, Respect and Admiration
Here is the link to a more extensive list of traits by Joe Navarro https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/spycatcher/201208/dangerous-cult-leaders