The reddest red flag is perverted behavior. Leave out the sexual connotation: I use that word perverted because it means "thoroughly twisted" or "turned backwards." Any act can be perverted. Perverted behavior is the extreme opposite of what is called for. This is behavior that goes against nature, behavior that makes you want to pinch yourself.
In other words, it's a surprise, a shock, the last thing you expected.
Like maybe everyone in that classroom was sitting up straight with all eyes riveted upon Teacher and you could have heard a pin drop. Ka-BOOM! He flies into snarling rage at some kid he won't identify as though that kid just flipped him the bird or something.
Or maybe you've been dating him for six months, and he has been saying from day one that he wanted you marry him. You finally tell him you love him. Ka-BOOM! He gets mad and tells you that you don't love him. And demands that you wear your hair a different way. If you really love him, you will, you know.
In my experience, afterwards you are unable to say what the blow-up was even about. That isn't normal. When you have an argument with a normal person, afterwards you can say what it was about.
Though such off-the-wall flights into rage are the most memorable instances of perverted behavior, they aren't the only kind. In fact, other kinds are more telling.
For example, take a situation that has a nearly irresistible pull on the heartstrings. Imagine that some person in the room is suffering great grief and sorrow and breaks down into tears. Seeing that affects normal people like gravity, attracting them to that person to comfort her or him. But what does a narcissist do? The exact opposite. Remember, she must deny attention to that person, and she can't stand to see anyone else give attention to that person. So, you'd think anti-gravity was impelling her out the door on the far end of that room as she hurries out jabbering cheerily about everything BUT what is going on.
That's what I mean by "perverted" reactions to things — weird, backwards reactions to things. Behaviors that make you feel like you just stepped into The Twilight Zone and need to pinch yourself.
It's always a sign that a person is dangerous in some way. Perverted behavior is characteristic of psychopaths and malignant narcissists. Normal people rarely exhibit perverted behavior unless under extreme pressure to do so, and even normal people are dangerous at such times. For, that's when "normal" people all look the other way to allow things like the Holocaust while pretending that they don't know what's going on.
Inappropriate laughter is an example of perverted behavior. I'm not talking about the inappropriate laughter that sometimes comes from a nervous or self-conscious person, or from people under a great weight of fear, pressure, or sorrow. That's a release, and we understand it. I'm talking about inappropriate laughter that makes you wonder where it came from.
For instance, when the Challenger (space shuttle) exploded on take-off, we saw it live on television. As with the 9/11 Attack, the networks replayed the spectacular footage every two minutes while shocked America got the news and gathered around television sets. One narcissist I know of was so in need of getting his stunned co-workers' attention off the TV and onto himself that he put on a comedy act, parodying what the victims were saying to each other as the rocket plummeted into the sea. Though his fellow workers were scared to death of becoming the object of one of his persecutions, they were shocked at this chilling display of inhumanity and could manage only nervous laughter at the creep's attention-getting jokes.
That happens only when the victims aren't regarded as human beings. Either because they have been demonized by dehumanizing caricatures in propaganda or because the laugher is a psychopath or narcissist.
Other examples of perverted behavior are:
· reacting with contempt to what should evoke sympathy
· reacting with aversion to what should attract
· reacting with anger to what should please (such as finding some mysterious offense in an attempt to suck up)
· getting angrier in reaction to what should appease (Narcissistic Rage)
In short, whenever you see a backwards reaction to something, believe your eyes and ears. Accept this behavior's perplexity and know what you know — that there is something seriously wrong with that person. And don't forget about it tomorrow when he's Dr. Jekyll again.