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Anger over custody allegedly leads to salon shootings

Scott Dekraai is accused of gunning down eight people in a California beauty salon last week. He was allegedly enraged about a continuing custody battle with his former wife, who was a stylist at the salon. She was among the dead.

Read coverage of the tragedy in the Los Angeles Times:

Gunman kills 8 at Seal Beach Salon

Prosecutors seek death penalty in salon shooting case

Seal Beach shooting suspect was a haunted man

Dr. Liane Leedom sent the following letter to the Los Angeles Times. She gave permission for it to be reproduced on Lovefraud.

Family courts and Scott Dekraai

“There is a class of individuals who have been around forever and who are found in every race, culture, society and walk of life. Everybody has met these people, been deceived and manipulated by them, and forced to live with or repair the damage they have wrought. These often charming-but always deadly-individuals have a clinical name: psychopaths.”- Robert Hare, Ph.D. (This Charming Psychopath, Psychology Today, 2007)

As we work to sort out fact from fiction and to understand the motives and person of Scott Dekraai it is important to acknowledge that psychopathy is a psychiatric disorder that is present in its full form in about one percent of adults; thus psychopathic individuals may be among our friends, neighbors, coworkers and family members. These individuals are likeable, charming, and skilled in impression management and deception. Although incapable of real love and without conscience, they often present as caring and moral people. Because psychopaths do not love others and lack an internal moral compass, they are unfit to be parents. Despite the existence of psychopathy and the fact that this disorder is relatively common in adults who are parents, the family courts are ill equipped to deal with psychopathic parents.

Over the last 6 years, I have worked to document and understand the impact of parental psychopathy on children and partners involved in family court custody disputes. In reading the coverage of the Dekraai divorce and custody dispute I see many familiar themes that often arise in these cases. Because of space constraints here are just four:

  1. There is a multitude of neighbors and friends that attest to the putative psychopath being a “nice person,” “caring neighbor,” “great guy—¦etc. These people cannot reconcile the disparity between the person they think they know and the deeds that person is alleged to have committed.
  2. Although there is often a history of violent, abusive or fraudulent behavior on the part of the psychopath, there is a general failure to connect this behavior to the presence of the personality disorder. Even respected skilled professionals fail to identify the disorder and appreciate its impact on the former partner and the child.
  3. Psychopathic individuals often lie under oath in court and submit affidavits that contain false information. Although I have seen many cases of this, perjury in a family court context, even if proven, is not prosecuted. Instead, allegations imputing the moral character of the other parent remain part of the record and although false, take on a life of their own. I therefore urge caution regarding statements made by Dekraai with respect to his ex-wife. She is thusly discussed in an article, “Fournier said her ex-husband was deliberately trying to paint her as an ”˜uncaring selfish drunk.’ I don’t know who that person is that he is describing, but it certainly isn’t me.'”
  4. Although psychopaths expend a great deal of energy and resources fighting for custody and visitation they always continue to engage in actions that prove they are not concerned with the well-being of the child. Regarding the Dekraai boy, one neighbor is quoted as saying, “Then I’m thinking as a father, what’s the son going to do?”

Most custody cases involving psychopathic parents do not end with the literal murder of the other parent. However, the other parent is always victimized emotionally and financially, and their character is always assassinated. The children are always also victimized and left scarred for life, sometimes developing psychopathy themselves. It is my hope that this is a “teachable moment” for our family court system. The protocols that work well in the usual divorce/custody situation are woefully inadequate when one of the parties is a psychopath.


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The last article from the Los Angeles Times posted above is entitled, “Seal Beach shooting suspect was a haunted man.” Several people quoted said that he was a normal, happy guy until he suffered a terrible accident on a commercial fishing boat where he worked. After the accident they said he had a complete personality change.

I wonder if that was true – or if he had shown sociopathic traits all his life.

Donna,
this is such an important article because it highlights the cog/dis created by this man.

IMO, he was always the same man but carefully controlled when he was healthy. The pain of his injury used up the mental resources and will power, his psychopathy was finally revealed.

In my experience, pain can either turn us into monsters or create a more compassionate human being. I suffered from constant 24/7 pain due to being poisoned by my spath with strychnine for over 20 years. In researching the cause of my pain I encountered and read about many people with chronic pain and disease. I could relate to so many of them and this increased my overall empathy and compassion for humanity. I was not so compassionate as a young healthy teenager who believed I could lift myself up by my own bootstraps. Ironically, the attempt by the spath to take away my humanity just increased it. I believe this is due to my underlying capacity for empathy which just required more development.

In addition, I’ve been reading on other boards where spaths and other non-neural typicals post. Specifically, I remember reading from an alexithymia blog for people who can’t feel emotion. The bloggers were complaining about how much effort it takes to pretend to be “normal” all day. Some couldn’t hold down a job because they would not consider going out in public without their mask, yet it was too difficult to maintain it all day, so they would eventually quit. Pretending to be social and care about others was too overwhelming. This indicates that there is a lot of effort and will power involved for these people. Chronic pain would definitely make a mask slip.

And if there was no underlying capacity for empathy because of deep seated narcissism, then the result would be a chronic “why me? it’s not fair!” attitude that doesn’t leave room for finding meaning or connection to others in our pain.

Donna,

Having worked in specialty hospitals for the head and spinal cord injured patients, I am very well familiar with the effects of head injures in patients. In fact, my own step son, who suffered a severe head injury, and then meningitis so severe that we thought at the time it would leave him a comatose “vegetable,” suffered a FUNCTIONAL 50% IQ decrease, as well as became totally lacking in impulse control and judgment, though he still tested as having a VERBAL IQ of 120. Functionally it was estimated by Dr. James Moneypenny as being in the low 70s. My step son ended up dying in a car accident as a result of driving under unsafe conditions on ice three years later.

He looked the same after the brain injury, but there was very little left of the “person” we knew. He was paranoid, had the idea that he was physically deformed and that people could look at him and see this deformation. He was unable to do simple tasks that he had done easily before his injury. He could no longer remember the rules to simple board games he used to enjoy playing with the family. He was no longer gregarious, but if people outside the family would come to the house (a frequent event) he would silently slip away from the group and retreat.

I have seen other patients who did 180 degree changes in personality and became physically aggressive, paranoid, etc. as a result of head injuries.

A great deal depends on the portions of the brain that are injured, what the person was like to start with before the injury.

Dr. James Moneypenny, who I believe in deceased now, was a very well known neuro psychologist in Little Rock, AR, and also worked with psychopaths in the prison system in Arkansas. I attended one of his classes for medical and clinical psychology professionals on dealing with the prisoners and their families. Dr. Moneypenny told my husband and me at the time we had my husband’s son tested, that the “worst problem he will face, is that he has enough intellect left to REALIZE that he is functionally retarded. The EMOTIONAL impact on him from realizing this will be the worst part of him living with this.” I agree with Dr. Moneypenny’s assessment. For my step son, who was my favorite of my husband’s children, the emotional impact of realizing that he couldn’t do the things he loved any more was the most painful of all his losses. BTW his original injury was caused by a severe beating at the hands of 3 individuals who had done this kind of thing before, previous to the attack on my step son, leaving another individual in a wheel chair with a broken spine.

If the man in question had a head injury, he very well may NOT have previously been psychopathic, but with the inability to express his feelings in a positive way, and the multiplication of losses (wife, family, children, livelyhood etc) have “lost it” in frustration and rage. Or he may have been a psychopath who kept his worst rages under control until the head injury at which time he no longer had that little bit of impulse control.

Whatever the case, it is a SAD case for ALL involved and for their families.

Oxy,
I was thinking the same thing, but then I read that the man in question had NO HEAD INJURY, unless his brain is in his leg.

He apparently watched a woman get crushed to death and tried to save her. That’s when a metal cleat hit his leg and caused nerve damage, requiring surgery. So he is now on disability.

Pain, of course, does happen in your brain, so there is that connection, but it doesn’t damage it.

Skylar,

Okay, thanks for pointing out the NO head injury….but at the same time, CHRONIC pain can be a problem with severe depression, and possibly the PAIN MEDICATION (if he was on it) could be a problem with decreasing the impulse control. So there are lots of things that could have been problematic in this situation….not looking for EXCUSES for him or his behavior, but looking at the things that could have percipitated his lack of impulse control.

Even if he was an alcoholic and/or drug addict and THAT contributed to his lack of impulse control, HE STILL HAD A CHOICE to drink/drug or not. There are lots of chronic pain patients who use some pretty heavy duty drugs to control their pain (morphine pumps etc) but they DON’T go off and kill someone, or kill a bunch of people.

With my Uncle MONSTER, my ED’s brother. He was “oh, so NICE” when he was sober,, and SOOOO NASTY when he was drunk….but I think it is because he WANTED to be nasty when he was sober but didn’t have the balls to act that way, but the booze dis-inhibited him so he could act like he WANTED TO ALL THE TIME.

The few times I have been tipsy in my life, I got happy, wanted to tell everyone I loved them and hug their necks….which is generally the way I feel most of the time. I’m a touchy, feely, hugger and so when I am dis-inhibited, I HUG and express my LOVE. He was an angry, hateful man, and when he was dis-inhibited he expressed his hatred of others, especially women.

Yep, me too Oxy. When I’m drunk I’ll be so happy and loving and kissy and huggy and I call my BF all sorts of sweet names. I never act like that sober, it’s way too over the top.

Even the chronic pain for 20 years didn’t make me spathy. It was an experience that taught me. Like you are always saying about Victor Frankyl’s book, Man’s search for Meaning. The pain was so meaningless that it made me look at my life for deeper meaning.

Spaths don’t do that. They are like infants that, when in pain, can only rage. When drunk, their uninhibited state allows them to rage even more. I guess one way to find out the real person behind the mask is to get them drunk.

A friend of mine knows the one person who survived this rampage. ‘Hattie’ was shot and is recovering in a local hospital. Her daughter was shot and killed while doing her mom’s hair.

There is a huge problem in the Los Angeles and Orange County Family Law Courts in which judges seem unable to recognize psychopaths and their wily agendas. Some of these judges fail to recognize the dangers to the children in granting liberal visitation and in some instances, sole custody to disordered individuals.

I know of one case in which a parent who has been diagnosed by two psychiatrists as being a psychopath (as per court records) was granted sole custody. This same Judge honored the path’s Request for a Protection Order by restraining the sane and able mother of the child from seeing her little son for five years. This was after the Judge had received Police Reports and Dept of Child and Family Services reports indicating that the path should not have unsupervised visits, much less total custody and control.

This is not the only case in which this Judge has issued outrageous rulings; there are many more. There is currently a recall campaign against this Judge.

Brain injuries was a particular curiousity of mine b/c my father, a pedophile, was injured in a car accident. Brain injured in a coma for first six months. Did not remember he was married or had kids. Had to relearn how to eat, etc. Was in rehab for three years.

I CRIED uncontrollably at his funeral b/c I thought he died confused why I did not love him and could not bear to give him a good bye hug. I felt SOOO bad that he was so heartbroken but was too afraid to tell him about himself b/c I didn’t want to wake that part of him up after his accident. Yet years later, my youngest sister finally informed me that she was also molested/raped by him and it happened about 10 yrs after his car accident. If I had known, I’d have killed him. I know that about myself.

So where in the brain did that defect remain intact when so much else was destroyed?

Louise Rosen,

I know of one judge in California that is being targeted by some child protection groups and his OUTRAGEOUS rulings are being questioned. The judges have SO MUCH power and it is SCARY for sure.

I feel so sorry for the many families that are impacted by such rulings, and when I read here on LF about Dr. Amy Castillo’s children being murdered by her x husband to get even with her, AFTER she had warned the judge and the judge granted unsupervised visitation….I thought this was some kind of RARE event….but once I was tuned in to this kind of thing, it actually is NOT THAT RARE after all….Susan Smith murdered her kids, we had a woman here in Ark. that murdered her kids then put them in a car and pushed them into a creek to get even with her MOTHER who had criticized her lack of parenting, and on and on and on….parents killing kids for any number of reasons…yet the MYTH PERSISTS that NO parent would deliberately harm their own child. WTF? DUH?!

No judge should have absolute power over that kind of decision and there should be REASONABLE appeals for custody hearings and visitation hearings. This is not like there is NOT A CHILD(REN)’S LIVES AT STAKE! This is not reasonable for one person to decide such issues.

Ox Drover,

The Judge that I am referring to is a woman and has a history which indicates her bias against children. There are no juries in Family Law in CA; it’s all up to the Judge and this particular Judge favors wealthy male clients over mothers. She also favors certain highly paid celebrity attorneys.

The woman that I know has fought for her child for a number of years and exhausted her finances. I am trying to get an attorney to take her case to the appeal court on a pro bono basis. I can’t imagine the heartbreak that that Mom has undergone especially with being deprived of seeing her boy for five years. In the interim, the child is living with an abusive parent and is clearly in danger.

Louise Rosen,

No the one I am talking about is a male judge. I get an e mail notification from the California Protective Parents Association, and right now I don’t have the link to them, but you might be able to find it. It is a mostly “mothers” group, but they are banded together to fight the judges that do this sort of thing. They are kind of anti-male (some people say) but I actually dont’ think they are “anti-male” as much as ANTI-ABUSE. YOu might check the group out and see if they have resources that would help you, especially since you seem to be in California. I will see if I can find an old e mail from the group and forward it to donna to pas son to you or link to it here.

Wait a minute! I have forwarded some of this stuff to Donna and I bet she is much better organized with that than I am –CONTACT DONNA AND ASK HER FOR THEIR ADDY! They might be already aware of this female judge and may have resources to help your friend. Good luck! We need to take them down, ONE BAD JUDGE AT A TIME.

Thanks, Ox Drover, I’ll google search them.

I remember back in the 60’s this very same thing happened at a hair salon in Phoenix AZ, I think 8 were killed..it was a big deal back then – people were stunned and shocked…this kind of thing happens every day nowadays and people are just used to it I guess…crazy sick world.

Louise Rosen, I know Donna has the connection, so if you can’t get it on google, e mail her and ask at [email protected] she will be glad to share it I am sure. The group had a mother’s day march on Washington DC on Mother’s day this past year I think. Some people criticized them for having a “mother’s” group, but I don’t think that is a valid criticism for the group. Even if they were ONLY LEFT HANDED BLOND MOTHERS—any group against abuse is a positive I think. LOL

I think it is so terrible what this man has done in the Seal Beach shootings. However, is there enough evidence in yet for him to be judged a sociopath? It seems from one of the
articles I just read that he had been fine until his accident which then put him in great pain, both physical and emotional (after failing to save the woman who was killed) and was diagnosed with PTSD after the ordeal he went through. There was a comment from someone that he was very distraught over angry phone calls from his ex-wife, who apparently has had a drinking problem.

I just wanted to voice concern that there may be a rush to see the woman as having been the victim without perhaps really knowing the whole picture. Why could she not have
been wonderful to her customers and not a very nice person, even abusive with her closest partner -as we all have experienced and I know I did with my own ex-husband
who was an alcoholic and probably bi-polar. He could be very charming to all and then behind closed doors, very abusive. But in this case, it seems that this man is already
being judged a sociopath because of the heinous nature of his act. If he were a veteran back from Afghanistan, we might be more understanding.

Someone here probably has more information about this and I’m sure more will surface about details of this couple’s relationship. I don’t condone what he did, I just know
all of us have had our own days of rage over injustices and pain in our own lives and it is just so very sad that his exploded in this way.

persephone,

sorry but the dead person gets the sympathy. The murderer does not.

She had told people that he would kill her and he did. She was afraid. He told people she was a drunk when she was not. That is slander, they all do that.

He killed 8 people, not just one person. That is a sociopath’s behavior. What does it take for someone to register in your mind as a sociopath?

Persephone,

You are right that ONE bad act, however bad it is, does NOT make a psychopathic diagnosis….and I agree that this whole situation is HORRIFIC and sad for the victims of his act….whatever prompted it.

The man who did the shooting in Arizona that killed those people and gravely injured the congresswoman was deemed “insane”—and so NOT all instances of even multiple murder are committed by psychopaths.

I think the ONE ABSOLUTE thing that should be learned from this event (at this time at least) is that CUSTODY DISAGREEMENTS SHOULD BE TAKEN VERY SERIOUSLY BY JUDGES.

I too have been LIED ABOUT and lied to, and had stories told that I was trying to steal money from my poooooor mistreated and abused egg donor….and people who THINK THEY KNOW HER see only the 80+ year old, frail appearing SWEET LITTLE OLD GRANDMA with the heart of gold who is “Afraid” of her “abusive daughter”….but SO SUPPORTIVE of her grandson, who though a murderer and several times convicted felon because HE HAS REPENTED AND WANTS TO LIVE A GOOD LIFE…..PRAISE JESUS! And pass the collection plate!

So I can relate to having a psychopath and their dupes spread false rumors about me….and I think that most of us here can relate to that. The psychopath always paints the other one as abusive….but sometimes it takes a while for the TRUE picture to come out in any news story, so I’ll reserve judgment until more is known about WHY he “went off.” I doubt not that the “REST OF THE STORY” (as Paul Harvey used to say) comes out.

Oxy,

Thanks, you made the point clearer than I did. Let’s wait for the the rest of the story.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dj-jaffe/scott-dekraai-seal-beach-_b_1011672.html

the rest of the story.
he has attacked other people in his life including his stepfather. He is bipolar and won’t take his medications.

spath, bi-polar, whatever. He is toxic due to a cluster-B personality disorder.

While it’s all well and good to educate the public on the timeless danger of psychopaths, it’s also important not to jump to conclusions about whether any particular person is a psychopath based on insufficient evidence. Just because some guy went on the rampage and shot a bunch of people, that alone doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a psychopath. There are other reasons why people do these things.

One of the most famous mass killers for instance was Charles Whitman, a 25-year-old student at the University of Texas in Austin. In 1966 Whitman mounted a tower with an arsenal of weapons and fired on people below. He killed 16 people and wounded 32 others before he was cut down in a bold police action. There is no suggestion at all that Whitman was a psychopath. He did have some “issues” in his life. He came from a dysfunctional family where he had been physically and emotionally abused. He’d also had a drug problem with amphetamines. None of that could have helped his mental stability. However, his chief problem at the time was the worsening headaches that tormented him. After his death an autopsy revealed that these were caused by a brain tumor, which is almost certainly what made his behavior so irrational.

A number of conditions quite apart from psychopathy can underlie violent crimes. It doesn’t have to be a brain tumor. Drug abuse in itself is another. Quite a few people have killed someone while “out of their mind” on certain illegal drugs. That’s one more good reason to “Just Say No.”

Sometimes it’s a head injury. Perhaps the most notorious example of that was the serial killer Henry Lee Lucas. Lucas’s mother was an out-and-out monster who abused the boy in every way imaginable. Years later, CAT scans showed permanent damage to Lucas’s brain caused by his mother beating him around the head. Professional opinion was that these lesions would have seriously impaired Lucas’s ability to handle his emotions and control his behavior. Lucas eventually killed his mother, allegedly after she attacked him with a broom. Unfortunately he didn’t get around to doing it until he was 23. Somebody should have done it years earlier; it would have saved the world a lot of trouble. Nobody knows for sure how many other, innocent people Lucas killed.

Another truly sad case was of a Chinese man named Lock Ah Tam back in 1925. Lock was a successful and well respected businessman in Liverpool, happily married to a Welsh wife, with a son and two daughters. His life changed in February 1918 when a gang of drunken Russian sailors burst into a social club intent on causing trouble. One of them hit Lock on the head with the heavy end of a billiard cue, knocking him out. From that time on, Lock began to have sudden, inexplicable outbursts of rage that went away as quickly as they came. He began to drink heavily, and with his mood swings his business went downhill, causing him serious losses in 1924. He started raging at his family as he never had before, especially at his son. In his sane moments Lock seemed fully aware that he had a problem, and while he had not been physically violent to his family, he felt compelled to send his son away to university in China for the boy’s own safety. In November 1925 the boy returned. At a family party to welcome him back, Lock had another of his inexplicable outbursts of rage. This time he fatally shot his beloved wife and both of his daughters, aged 19 and 17. Afterwards, returning to his normal self, he called police and told them what he had done. Though he was ably defended in court, Lock was hanged for murder, a fate he didn’t deserve since he clearly had no control over his actions during his “fits.” While the cause was head trauma, I suppose these days he might be diagnosed as suffering from IED, or Intermittent Explosive Disorder.

Other mental conditions can lead to violence and murder. Paranoid schizophrenia is a common one. Of course most schizophrenics are not necessarily violent—but then most psychopaths are not serial killers either! But some are. So are some schizophrenics. Several well-known serial killers have been diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenics, including David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz, Ted Kaczynski the “Unabomber,” and the “Yorkshire Ripper,” Peter Sutcliffe. Another famous paranoid schizophrenic was George Metesky, the so-called “Mad Bomber” of the 1940s and early 1950s. His bombs injured more than a dozen people. Though Metesky had suffered a genuine injustice in life, undoubtedly it was his mental illness that caused him to react with such a violent campaign of revenge.

The list of conditions doesn’t stop there. Personality disorders quite different from psychopathy can drive the impulse to kill. Borderline personality disorder is one. But sometimes it’s difficult to attach a label to a condition in which somebody just “blows up” or “goes postal” after years of stress, accumulating a vast catalogue of grievances against someone in particular or the world at large. A good recent example in my mind is Derrick Bird, who last year went on a murderous rampage in Cumbria. Though Bird wasn’t a scrupulously honest man, neither are a lot of people, and I haven’t seen any indication that Bird was a psychopath. What is very clear is the way numerous things had progressively gone wrong in his life, making him increasingly bitter over the years. That he only had himself to blame for some of these problems is beside the point. Furthermore, matters were building up to a crisis as he saw it, and under all this mounting pressure Bird simply “blew up.”

Of course it can be argued that many people face hardships, disappointments and injustices in their own lives, and most of them don’t react to these stresses by going out and shooting people. That’s true, but so what? Car tires have a hard life too, being constantly bounced and banged over concrete roads and potholes, and most tires don’t blow up either. But some of them do. No doubt those that do blow up had a “weak spot,” a “defect” somewhere that most other tires don’t have. Perhaps the same is true of humans who “blow up” in unusual or violent ways. Perhaps they too have an unseen “defect” in their mental makeup that most other people don’t have. Under stresses that most other people would withstand, the “defect” gives way.

At least two psychologists who did their best to analyze Derrick Bird concluded that at the time, Bird was suffering from a recognised mental illness characterised by “delusional beliefs” Neither of these experts named any specific “illness,” at least not by this account—perhaps because there was more than one possibility. They did make clear however what was already obvious to anyone familiar with the facts of the case: that there was a paranoid nature to Bird’s distortions of reality. He suffered from exaggerated fears. He feared that his life was “over” because he would be sent to prison for tax evasion. Realistically, such a severe punishment was unlikely. More significantly, Bird believed that his own twin brother David, along with the family solicitor, was conspiring against him, to shop him to the authorities and get him in trouble. In fact they were doing their best to help and advise him in the legal problems they expected him to be faced with. With this kind of paranoid belief, it’s not hard to see how someone like Bird can come to believe “the whole world is against me, and always has been.” In their mind, this in turn “justifies” taking revenge against a supposedly “hostile” and “unfairly punitive” world.

This type of mental condition is quite different from psychopathy. In one way it’s almost opposite. Many psychopaths are remarkably immune to fear. With someone like Bird, it’s exaggerated fear that lies at the root of their obsessions—along with the all-encompassing hatred it gives rise to. Unlike psychopaths, who can kill without a conscience because they have no conscience, someone like Bird can kill because his rage at the world overcomes his conscience, or because in spite of his conscience he believes his revenge is “justified.” I don’t doubt that paranoia plays a large part in many mental conditions and acts of irrational violence.

So what about Scott Dekraai? He’s different again. Though it’s early days yet and it takes some time for the facts to emerge, I think one of the first tentative comments I was aware of was that his wife had claimed he was, quote, “unstable.” Perhaps that’s only stating what’s glaringly obvious, besides being about as vague as you can get! However, it did suggest to me that he was suffering from some mental condition other than psychopathy.

Another fact made clear at the outset was that there was a custody dispute over Scott’s young son, whom he doted on. Supposedly the boy was “his whole life.” The day before, Dekraai had lost some court action against his wife over this custody dispute, which was the trigger for the killings.

I was naturally tempted to think this meant his wife had won sole custody of the boy and Dekraai had been denied contact with his son altogether. This is a huge problem for many divorced fathers, if they’re unlucky enough to have a controlling, possessive, or vindictive ex-wife who succeeds in depriving them of contact with their own children. If they’re also expected to pay big bucks for the privilege of seeing their children raised by a harpy who hates them, that only adds insult to injury. Of course, fathers don’t usually react to this injustice by going out and shooting a roomful of people. But now and then they do. So I imagined that must be what pushed Dekraai over the edge.

I was surprised therefore to find out later that this was not what happened. If I understand this correctly, it was not that Michelle Dekraai won sole custody of the child. Rather, it was Scott Dekraai who was petitioning for sole custody of the boy—and he was furious because he didn’t get it! Apparently the judge recommended that shared parenting should continue.

Dekraai was asking too much, and that could put a different complexion on his personality. Either he’s very controlling and possessive himself, or he believes, rightly or wrongly, that his ex-wife is not a suitable parent. (The two don’t have to be mutually exclusive.) One news report said someone in the court system thought that both parents were behaving somewhat unreasonably over this dispute. Just because Dekraai had “issues,” that doesn’t mean his wife didn’t have some of her own.

On top of that, there’s the matter of Dekraai’s accident over four years ago that partially disabled him, and how that might have affected him.

However, all these details took a back seat in my mind when I read reports that Scott Dekraai had bipolar disorder. If that’s true, I have no doubt that’s the main defect in his mental makeup that led him to go on this rampage. Here’s one place where that issue is discussed. Allegedly Dekraai had once called 911 himself because he felt he was a threat to himself or to others… but got no help.

Here again, most people with bipolar disorder are not killers, just as most schizophrenics and even most psychopaths are not. But mood disorders of this kind come in several variations. Sometimes the condition is less severe, and sometimes it’s more so. And the mood swings it causes would explain perfectly why Scott Dekraai was seen as “unstable.” It also accounts for what seem like the glaring inconsistencies in his behavior.

People in the manic phase of bipolar disorder can be in a state of “impaired insight,” in which they perceive their own behavior as totally reasonable even though it’s utterly unreasonable! Also, the attitude they display while in that state can mimic some of the traits of narcissistic personality disorder—notably the “grandiosity” that so often marks the narcissist. For one thing I can see how Scott Dekraai, if in this state, could convince himself that He and only He was the “right” parent for his son—and anyone who disagreed or balked him was committing an unpardonable affront against himself.

Again, most people with bipolar disorder are not mass murderers. Most people who don’t get what they want in a custody dispute don’t go out and kill anyone either. When tragedies like this happen, many members of the public seem baffled about why anyone would do such a thing that most people wouldn’t dream of. Sometimes the explanation is simple, only it just isn’t obvious to everyone: that’s to say, the perpetrator was a psychopath. But at other times, as with Scott Dekraai—or Derrick Bird, or many others for that matter—it’s because the answer doesn’t boil down to any one single factor. There may be one “chief” factor responsible, but other factors are also necessary to precipitate the tragedy. Not all of these factors will be obvious to people at large. We find much the same with tragedies of a different kind, such as when an airliner crashes and kills people. Typically it’s not just one thing that went wrong, but a whole chain of events that led to the crash. In the same way, sometimes a whole chain of events must “go wrong” in a person’s life before they “crash” and kill someone.

Derrick Bird may have had a “mental condition” with a tendency to paranoia. But that alone didn’t make him a raving loony in the eyes of those around him, let alone a homicidal maniac. They all thought he was normal enough—just too easy to “wind up” (as they say in England). And if Bird’s life had gone differently, if he’d made better choices at one crucial juncture especially, he would have had far less to be bitter and resentful about. Even with his “mental condition,” he’d never have ended up a killer.

Conversely, he might have made the same mistakes and messed up his life somewhat. But he would made the best of it, and without that mental condition, that “defect” in his psyche, he’d never have ended up running amok the way he did. Put all this together, however—his tendency to paranoia and his sources of bitterness and resentment, and they made a deadly mix, leading him to “blow up” in a way that few people do.

So too with Scott Dekraai, I suspect. The main “defect” in his psyche appears to be bipolar disorder. Yet even with that, if his life had gone more smoothly, with fewer severe stresses, he would never have become a killer.

But divorce and the subsequent custody dispute were not the only storms he had to weather. Before that there was his accident in early 2007, the effects of which have been speculated about. Accounts say he behaved heroically at the time, trying desperately to save the life of a female coworker—an attempt that sadly failed. True, he didn’t suffer any head injury in the accident, as Lock Ah Tam did when a drunk Russian sailor clouted him on the head with a billiard cue. But the consequences for Dekraai were grave just the same. His leg injury was serious, and forced him to give up the work he loved. It changed his whole life for the worse. There must have been negative financial consequences as well. He suffered severe pain with his leg for a long time afterwards, which can’t have improved his temper. And psychologically, he’s reported to have suffered with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the accident. That’s not trivial. All this must have affected his mood and his behavior. And since the divorce from his wife took place later that same year, it seems more than likely the divorce was precipitated by all these consequences of the accident.

That’s an awful lot of trouble hitting the guy all at once. It devastated nearly every aspect of his life: his work, his finances, his marriage and family, his physical health, and his mental health. In spite of all that, if he hadn’t been bipolar, if he hadn’t had that “defect” in his psyche on top of everything else, I’m sure he’d never have cracked. But put all these factors together—along with others we may know nothing about—and they too formed an explosive mix that ultimately detonated.

Sometimes life is simple—however sinister—and we can point to psychopathy as the cause of a problem. At other times, as with Scott Dekraai, it’s more complicated. But that doesn’t have to make it incomprehensible.

I should add that bipolar disorder is not a “Cluster B” disorder. It’s not a “personality disorder” at all. It’s a mood disorder, which falls into a different category.

Dekraai didn’t get what he wanted. He therefore put on a bulletproof vest and killed as many people as he could to avenge this narcissistic injury.

Whatever the cause of the brain disorder, it doesn’t matter. The fact is that he had an narcissistic injury and a sense of entitlement to kill other people because he wasn’t getting what he wanted.

Nobody knows what causes spaths to become spaths. Genetics, upbringing, head injury or a combination of all plus more. It is probably different for different spaths.

Life isn’t easy for any of us and I have lots of empathy for spaths. I wish I could rescue each one of them. I feel that my mother is a spath and it is painful for me to know this. My ex is a psychopath and it pains me too. These are the two people I’ve loved most in my life. I’m not without empathy for them. But that doesn’t mean that I will look away from reality.

When I say that Scott Dekraai is a spath, it doesn’t mean I despise him. It only means that I am looking at the tip of the iceberg and can predict his behavior if he is set free.

Most of the time, I don’t hate spaths. I just know that they are hopeless. At age 40 plus, Scott is hopeless.

Edit:
BTW, I know my own ex-spath has behaved heroically many times. It’s his nature, he likes to save people. If there is drama, he will be in the middle of it.

Redwald, I agree with your well thought out and expressed analysis of this situation. I think before long the real story will come out and we may be able to get a much more clear picture of what drove him over the brink.

He may indeed be a psychopath, but he also may be a victim pushed too far who snapped, or any place in between those two polar ends. I will be following this story because I’m curious now about what really did go on.

http://belmontshore.patch.com/articles/profile-emerges-of-suspected-salon-killer

more about this moron for those who are curious.

I especially approve of the comments, in general.

he was already remarried. surprise, surprise! He had a caretaker because of his disability and he “fell in love” and married her very recently. Can we say “free servitude” ?

how does a man who is in love and newly wed, go off the deep end? It reminds me of my ex-spaths story of the woman he was dating who committed suicide. I always had a WTF? moment about that. They were together for 1.5 years and she killed herself. After 1.5 years with my spath I was walking on sunshine. (but of course I was very young and wealthy at the time so spath was extra nice) It made no sense to me that someone could kill themselves at that stage. It only makes sense when we know that it is shallow and fake. His life story is a replica of everything we read here on LF every day. Why do we have to question the cause? We will never know the cause. It’s a spath.

Redwald,

Thank you so much for your thoughtful analysis. We do need to be careful about saying someone is a psychopath or sociopath, because as you so ably express, there may be other issues.

It’s a difficult mission here at Lovefraud. On the one hand, we need to educate people that psychopaths exist and they are dangerous. On the other hand, we need to be careful about labeling anyone with any kind of antisocial behavior as a psychopath.

Most of us are not experts testifying in a court case that can permanently affect someone’s life, so our opinions don’t really matter.

The only time our opinions really do matter is in connection with our own lives. When we are making a decision about whether to let someone into our lives, I think it’s fair to err on the side of extreme caution. If someone is exhibiting any type of antisocial behavior, no matter what the cause, it’s a good reason to stay away from the person.

donna, so where do we draw the line? what’s too cautious and what’s too trusting?

and about Dekraai, i agree with Redwald. i’ve known a few people with bipolar disorder. one had a very severe form of it. in manic states, she actually saw hallucinations. she’d go on spending sprees which nearly bankrupted her family. she disappeared for weeks without telling anyone where she was going. if anyone tried to stop her, she’d become enraged and violent. i tried grabbing her once because she wouldn’t stop hitting her husband, and she tried to stab me with a steak knife. her husband finally forced her to go see a doctor, and they put her on meds. it took her awhile to adjust, but she’s ok now.

Redwald ~

Excellent post. Thank you so much for opening up this conversation.

Friends of ours have a son in his early thirties who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia several years ago. He has always been kind, caring and non violent. Early on in his disorder, before family and friends noticed anything out of the ordinary, he began stalking a young, rather famous actress. He somehow was convinced that she loved him. After sending her countless letters, he flew to another country to visit her. Although she had him arrested, she refused to press charges and instead contacted his family. She said she knew by his letters he was mentally ill and wanted to make sure he got help.

His parents then uncovered many troubling things that he had been keeping secret from them. Through family support, intense therapy and the right combination of medication, he is now a functioning member of society. He just recently had his first novel published and is in grad school.

If he had just been written off as a psychopath, he may never had gotten the help he so desperately needed.

Donna is so right in saying that lovefraud has a difficult mission, educating and warning society that psychopathic evil does exist, but at the same time we can’t loose track of our compassion for the people that truly do suffer from mental illnesses.

Again, thank you Redwald.

Ryoushi –

I believe that when you are faced with the possibility of a social predator coming into your life, your instincts will guide you. If you get a bad feeling, a gut reaction or just know that something is off, you should pay attention and trust your instincts.

The problem is that we are not taught to do this. Intuition is often ridiculed, when, in fact, it is our best way to protect ourselves.

The key difference is that for most of us discussing the Dekraai case, we have the luxury of withholding judgment until more information is known. But maybe a Lovefraud reader is a member of the affected families. If any Lovefraud reader is directly affected by the case, that is a totally different situation.

When we are faced with a decision of whether or not to allow someone into our own lives, I think the utmost caution is in order.

Ryoushi,

The biggest redflag around is when you know a person is hurting someone, knows about it, and yet for their own pleasure come up with the most diverse excuses for their amusement entitlement over the hurt of someone they claim to love, meanwhile wanting your sympathy for their ill choice. These are people I do not want in my personal life, not as acquaintance, not as friend, and certainly not as a partner. The problem is often you are almost compelled to follow their twisted logic. It takes an objective listening ear.

Ryoushi,

I agree with Donna and Darwin’s mom on this….some people who are mentally ill, with bi-polar and other severe mental illnesses, can do some pretty devastating things to others while in a manic or delusional state. It is also quite frequent that psychopaths ARE ALSO bi-polar, ADHD, or other diagnoses, and having ONE diagnosis does NOT preclude having another. I have known one particular psychopathic ex-con, who was PROFESSIONALLY DIAGNOSED with Anti-Social Personality disorder, ADHD, and Bi-Polar as well as he was also a drug addict. Talk about getting a basket full of bad eggs! He had them all and was in addition a pedophile who had molested 3 children under the age of 14. So, which diagnosis caused him to do all these bad things? ALL of them.

I have some friends who have bi-polar, but they take their medication and manage their lives with the help of the medical professionals.

I KNOW other people who have bi-polar but do not take their medications and their lives are big messes of thefts, drugs, poor financial management, irresponsibility, etc. I do NOT want these people around me or those I love. Where does the “bi-polar” that these people obviously (to me) have stop and where does their psychopathic behavior and high p-traits begin? I’m not really sure, and it DOES NOT MATTER to me because they are TOXIC—it does not matter if it is the uncontrolled bi-polar mania that makes them do what they do, or if it is psychopathy, the BOTTOM LINE IS THAT THEY ARE TOXIC TO ANYONE THEY COME IN CONTACT WITH AND CANNOT BE TRUSTED. I don’t think that they are likely to murder me, but I have personal experience that they will steal from me. I have personal experience that they will not add anything positive to my life and sure WILL add lots of negatives to my life.

This hits too close to home for me. My husbands ex is a sociopath with borderline personality disorder. She gained full custody of their 2 children in 2005 when the kids were just 9 and 13. Today the relationship between my husband and his kids is very strained to put it mildly….it is set on conditions, conditions of ‘her’ mood, how much money and gifts she and the kids get(child support is over (1200.00 monthly) and has never been 1 day late. She has poisoned their lives and minds forever….my husband has held on and not given up on them despite the $70,000.00 we have exhausted in atty fees, only to have the court refuse to see her lies and acts. She gets disability that we as citizens pay for…she has never worked to pay for her own benefits. She has never had to prove her disability, she convinced a crooked doctor here to claim she is disabled, tests to prove her disorder were never run. I can say that a empathetic part of me totally understands how this man felt. He had no excuse to kill innocent people that had nothing to do with the games these sociopaths play or the lies the are pro’s at stating continuously , but life would be so much better for the children and the victims that they constantly devour if they were no longer a part of our society. We all have a breaking point, I have to constantly remind myself to “Take my Power Back”! That’s all the hope we have…!

BethV,

Having had my own “murderous thoughts and desires” at times, I can relate to anyone who is “driven over the brink” by the continual and never ending attacks not only on us but those we love, by the psychopathic abusers.

Unfortunately, from a distance at times it is very difficult to figure out WHO is the psychopath—or are BOTH people disordered and just using the kids as clubs to hit each other over the head with.

While it APPEARS that this man is the one with psychopathy, because he was the one who did the killing…and he well MAY BE a psychopath. It is more common than we would all wish for it to be for someone who is a psychopath to kill the children in a relationship in order to “get back at” the other party. When Donna posted the story of Dr. Amy Castillo whose children were murdered by her husband who had told her he would kill the kids to get back at her, and the judge ignored her pleas for supervised visitation, and sure enough, he killed them. I have watched the news for reports of this kind of behavior and it is unfortunately NOT ALL THAT UNCOMMON…and episodes where the children are not physically KILLED must be much more common and probably don’t make the news, but still cause untold suffering.

I wish you and your husband can find PEACE within your selves because that may be the ONLY way you can come to some resolution. It is difficult to give up on one’s own children, and to admit that there is little or nothing one can do to have a relationship with someone you care about and love, I’ve had to do that myself, so I am aware of the pain that decision and acknowledgment causes…God bless you both.

thank you for your response, but i’m afraid i can’t take your advice. i have ptsd. i suspect everyone, and my intuition is often very wrong.

ryoushi,

Which advice can’t you take?

Most of us have PTSD….being paranoid (suspecting everyone) is part of that….and your intuition will be “off” for a while….but these are not PERMANENT CONDITIONS…

CAUTION around any person is a good idea, especially the ones you don’t know. Don’t give our trust, make people EARN your trust by being consistently honest and upright, treating you well (not “love bombing) but acting in a considerate, responsible and kind way. WATCH BEHAVIOR not just listen to words.

It will take time, but you will start to learn to TRUST YOURSELF again. You can train your intuition. (((hugs)))

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dj-jaffe/scott-dekraai-seal-beach-_b_1011672.html

Here is a very interesting article about this man, and his mental illness, and former problematic and violent behavior.

Bi-polar is often a difficult to treat disease, and patients don’t like the medication. In some cases, the disease isn’t all that severe, but in other cases, it is VERY severe and the patients may be literally psychotic, which is being OUT OF TOUCH WITH REALITY, even hearing voices.

It is obvious to me that this man’s condition (according to the information in this article) needed help, even if he didn’t want it.

Too many times I have seen, as this article points out, the more seriously mentally ill individuals are shuttled off to the criminal system rather than treated.

This whole situation is SAD to the max. I hope that it will be a WAKE UP CALL to the mental health system as well as to the police and courts.

Hey Oxy,

Thanks for the link. That is interesting, but I have to say it doesn’t tell us all that much. You are right that some people with extreme bipolar can have psychotic breaks and even “schizophrenia-type symptoms.” However, I think we have to wait till we hear more on this before making any final judgments….

Nevertheless, on the scant evidence available, I am getting the vibe of a highly narcissistic personality with a great deal of the entitlement mentality. (And almost no indicators of “paranoid schizophrenia.”) What’s more, you have to remember that there are literally millions of people with PTSD and Bipolar, who could never even have contemplated such an act. For that matter, I think another essential ingredient here is what they would have called in the the 18th century (with greater moral clarity, though perhaps less political correctness!) a WEAK CHARACTER.

Another way of putting it is that, short of schizophrenia or a total psychotic episode, someone with low narcissism, and a STONG character, would never have been capable of this. Of course, you can’t prove such things like “2 plus 2” – but nevertheless….

And there are a few RED FLAGS that have dribbled out, like the three failed marriages, the history of abuse, the fact that he apparently made threats in advance (which incidentally shows calculated premeditation, and somewhat belies the “psychosis idea”), and so forth. So again, I’m withholding judgment for the time being. But the fact that this guy pulled the trigger EIGHT times, and then didn’t even have the courtesy to shoot himself when he was finished! – that to me, points to a a deeply entitled, deeply narcissistic personality. Add to that the general character weakness (plus bipolar, or PTSD if one insists) and you’ve got a real toxic cocktail of a personality!

In short, I don’t disagree with you, but I say we should be careful about “medicalizing” something that is almost certainly a moral and a character issue at its core.

Moreover, this guy could well be a P or an S into the bargain! So at any rate, if you or anyone else gets any more info. please make sure to post it – I’m kind of interested now!

Constantine,
my brother had everyone believing that he was mentally ill since he was a teenager. My parents (supposedly) still believe it. I only figured out his “disorder” when I learned about narcissism.

And of course, he would never take any meds that the doctors gave him because he was faking it – though he did probably try them, just to see if he could get high on them. It’s just a way for him to get free state services. When he was a teen he emancipated himself then claimed he was nuts and they gave him free public housing. Now, by claiming to be nuts, my parents give him free housing.

My spath had an accident while working in the shipyards. There was an explosion that knocked him down. He claimed partial loss of sight. But he admitted to me that he had taught himself to do the eye test in such a way as to exagerate the lost vision area. In fact there is no lost vision area. If there was, he wouldn’t be able to fly the helicopter like a bat out of hell, just barely missing powerlines at the last minute.

When a person has shown themselves to be manipulitive, you can KNOW FOR A FACT that they will manipulate even their real ailments to their advantage. It’s called the pity ploy.

Dear Constantine,

Oh, I agree with you, there may be all kinds of “character (flaws) disorders” in this guy as well as the bi-polar….it is not infrequent that people have Bi-polar AND ADHD AND a personality disorder AND even add in drug problems as well….so there can be the QUAD-whammy involved. Just having ONE mental illness does not preclude ALSO having a PD, or other problems.

I think this guy, assuming he is guilty as charged, will get either death or life without parole…and frankly, I think the life “without” is probably gonna be OKAY with me. Just like the guy who tried to kill Pres. Reagan in my mind should NEVER be let out, this guy should never (IMHO) be let out.

Look at the woman in Philly who had the people chained in the basement….she had starved a guy to death and GOT OUT OF PRISON…WTF??? When will they decide to keep people like that in PRISON FOREVER TIL THEY DRAW THEIR LAST BREATH, and let the kid with an ounce or two of POT out????

I don’t “do” drugs, but you know outlawing them is NOT even slowing down the consumption of them any more than prohibition stopped the alcohol consumption….and if the profit were out, there might not be so many crooked cops—they just arrested a slew of crooked drug connected cops in my state!

I swear I am on a RANT today! LOL Mad at Wal Mart pharmacy’s incompetence in filling a simple prescription. The pharmacist knows me, though, from past and frequent mess ups— and she is really GOOD at bowing and saying “yes, ma’m, I’m sorry ma’m, I won’t charge you for it since we messed up AGAIN ma’m, ….” but I just get SO tired of having to do someone else’s job for them. LOL I wonder how people who don’t have at LEAST an RN in the family are able to navigate through the medical and pharmacy jungle of medicare, medicade, insurance and co-pays, much less GETTING MEDICAL CARE and the RIGHT MEDICINES.

What I don’t understand about the above case of these people held PRISONER is that some of them were “missing” for years! If they were LOST, couldn’t the family or the cops find out WHO WAS STILL CASHING THEIR CHECKS? DUH? I mean, I’m not even a cop and I could figure out if the people were MISSING, that I would FIRST check to see if their checks had been cashed, when, where and BY WHOM.

How about this MISSING BABY in Ohio? where the mother now admits she was PASSED OUT DEAD DRUNK when the child “disappeared”—-I think that even if she is found alive or dead, the mother should be prosecuted for CRIMINAL NEGLECT for being THAT DRUNK and no one else available to take care of the kid.

Oxy ~ I don’t want to get on your bad side today, I can tell Walley’s World did a number on you – BUT the missing baby is in Kansas City Mo., not Ohio – We here in Ohio have enough to live up to with the wild animals running loose and the Amish beard cutting maniac.

P/daughter was blacking out on a regular basis while caring for Grand as an infant. I am sure he could have been missing for days without her even knowing.

Did you hear this sorry excuse for a mother justifying her actions in an interview. She said it was perfectly fine to get drunk AFTER the kids were in bed, it was her right as an adult.

Oxy simmer down…

Thanks, Milo! You could NEVER GET ON MY BAD SIDE!!!! LOL

Yea, that woman though—where ever she lives—is on my BAD SIDE!!!! It may be her “right” as an “adult” to get drunk and pass out, but it is the RIGHT of the child to have someone SANE AND SOBER taking care of them 24/7!!!! UGH!!! grrrrrr (that’s the sound of me grinding my teeth!)

It is my right as a pharmacy customer too to get the RIGHT medication in the bottle! That’s why they go to SCHOOL and have to get a LICENSE to dispense pills.

Skylar, Oxy,

Hey guys. Yeah, I was thinking about this when we went out for dinner tonight… And I guess what bothers me is this general reaction that “we” (i.e., society) somehow let this guy down. Needless to say, I’ll be the first to admit that any civilized society worth its name, has a responsibility to take care of the people who are unable take care of themselves. But this idea, for instance, that we now need legislation that will force people like Dekraai to take thier psych meds, is just another way of attenuating blame, and of turning the aggressor into the victim.

In a word, Dekraai was a grown man, and if he chose not to take his antidepressants or go to counseling, etc., I don’t think it means we have to put on hairshirts and flagellate ourselves for not having sent the “Orwellian Pill Dispensing Police and Psychiatric team” to his home every day!

Again, I’m not saying Dekraai was a P or an S. Just that I hate this knee jerk reaction the media is always adopting, i.e., that it was somehow “OUR” fault. And that WE let HIM down. Humbug.

And you are right, Sky, you can pretty much get a general practitioner to give you pills for ANYTHING. However, I better not even get started on that, or I’ll be on a rant like Oxy! (I will say in passing, though, that I find the “Educational Pharmocological Complex” to be one of the great evils of our time.)

So who knows what this jerk really had. But in terms of “causality” I see no reason to give precedence to something like “Bi Polar,” when “Weak Moral Character Disorder” has an equal explanatory value! Of course, it might be a simpler matter to treat depression than it is to cure someone of “Chronic Slopover Personality Disorder.” (Known simply to the Psych. community as “CSPD.”) But aside from that small reservation, I think we would be better seved as a society if we placed greater emphasis on personal responsibiltiy. If nothing else, it would serve as a healthy corrective to this new spirit of “socializing” and/or “pathologizing” away all semblance of free choice and moral autonomy. Indeed, I think it’s time we stop making excuses for bad behavior and remember who the REAL victims are!

Constantine,
Maybe there is “something going around” because I’ve been in a ranting/anti-spath mood today too! Luckily I didn’t have the opportunity to hang out here on LF or I would have been obnoxious. 😉

Just from knowing my brother, I know that spaths see court-ordered therapy or psychiatrists as just another opportunity to manipulate. There’s no point in trying to help them. I think the best thing we can do with spaths, once we know what they are, is GIVE THEM ROPE.

I think this is what happened to OJ Simpson. Everyone knew what he was and how he would react to the information that his memorabilia was in that hotel. So I think the information was leaked to him. It was a total back spath and a good one.

As far as Dekraai, his behavior sounds like a classic case of embitterment disorder. That’s just a fancy word for someone who feels that life is unfair to them because they aren’t getting everything to go their way, so they scapegoat whomever they feel is at fault. Most of these people are men of an entitled class and they like to blame minorities and women.

Embitterment disorder is a new, more recent classification, but really it’s just another label for a narcissist. I guess we need labels because the lack of empathy can manifest in so many different forms. It gets confusing.

The only word that really works, to define what we observe in a spath, is EVIL. The word evil doesn’t have any loopholes.

See? Now I’M ranting.

Constantine,

When I worked in the community psych clinic we had some patients who were “chronically mentally ill” who functioned pretty well, as long as they came in monthly for their INJECTABLE medication which was COURT ORDERED. When they did not take their medication they were a “danger to themselves and others.” They also could not be “trusted” to take their medication.

Okay–fast BACKWARD to Nazi Germany and how they treated the mentally ill, as well as other “classes” of people. Then there is the debate about the guy who was “mentally ill” and was given the death sentence for his crime. If he took his medication so he was SANE ENOUGH to EXECUTE, then the state could execute him, but if he REFUSED his medication he would be TOO CRAZY TO EXECUTE…and I believe (correct me if I am wrong) that the US Supreme court said he COULD be medicated and thus made sane enough to execute….how about THAT for a “catch 22”?

I agree that people should be HELD ACCOUNTABLE for their choices and their actions—even youngsters—but at WHAT “age” is a kid that kills “responsible”? What about that kid (fuzzy memory here) that was 5 or 6 and pushed in the 3 year old to watch him drown???? Death penalty? Life without parole? Locked up in a mental institution for life? Til age 21? WHAT????

Back when I was a teenager (and knew ALL the answers to every thing in the world!) I had answers for all those questions, but now I don’t even have all the questions any more, I just know that there seems to be more GRAY than black or white. I guess I am seeing the world now more of a “bell curve” than a cut off point.

That article that Donna posted today in the thread about the woman and her cohort that held those disabled people prisoner for their SS checks….about the man who had studied psychopathy and had “rated” it on a scale of from “bad to horrible”—-sort of like the PCL-R only by rating the level of the CRIMES not so much the criminal.

I agree with you too, Constantine, about some GP that will give you “pills for anything”—remember that half of the doctors finished in the bottom half of the class, and the guy who finished last is called DOCTOR! LOL

I’m having a “come to Jesus meeting” with my Internist Tuesday about how my lab results were handled (or not, as the case may be) by the APN, the LPN and the office personnel who are The “gate keepers” and the voice mail which is “LIKE DIAL-A-PRAYER FOR ATHEISTS, THERE IS NO ONE THERE.” I am NOT amused in the least. At BEST there is a 7% death rate for TREATED Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and this is my 3rd time through the cycle. This same APN informed a friend of mine (that I had referred to this clinic) that he had “Chronic Lymes” when in fact, he had RMSF….fortunately the medication is the same for both….I realize that EVERYONE makes mistakes (including people who fill pill bottles) but at the same time, some folks make MORE MISTAKES than others and some mistakes are more CRITICAL than others. At least the pharmacist had enough sense to say “yes, Ma’m” and not make excuses for being an idiot, and that is not the case with the APN. I don’t generally get huffy unless someone is not willing to admit their error. I actually think 99% of medical malpractice law suits are because the practitioner won’t say “Yes, ma’m, I made a mistake and I am genuinely sorry.” I was fortunate that the supervising physician I worked with for most of my family medical practice was very good at saying “I’m sorry, I made a mistake” when he made one.

Rant on, Sky! EVIL is a great word and I think no one has a problem defining it!

Sky,

You’re ALWAYS in an anti spath mood! – but so am I, so don’t sweat it.

Anyhow, I think that whatever this guy had (including the possibility of genuine sociopathy), Narcissism was the core component. Hell, even the grandiose, “look at me in the spotlight” blood-soaked cliche of shooting eight people in a row, is CLASSIC narcissism: “You don’t give the spoiled little baby what he wants, then the spoiled little baby will just murder everyone!” – Of course, it doesn’t help that we live in a culture which constantly tells us we aren’t really real till we’ve had our first “million viewers”!

I’d never thought of the OJ memorabilia incident as a “backspath” – but if that did happen that way, then it was a brilliant move for sure. OJ is to all appearances a thoroughly loathsome human being, without a single redeeming feature.

By the way, there’s another book you might be interested in called “Columbine” by David Cullen. It’s a real page turner and it details the whole Columbine massacre from the beginning “planning stages” to the final day. But what’s really interesting is that one of the central themes of the book is the author’s contention that Eric Harris (i.e., the main instigator) was a full-blown psychopath. Cullen seems to be fairly educated about Psychopathy, and he makes an impressive case for Harris being an very high scoring P. You’ll recall, though, that at the time the universal stance in the media was that this was all the result of “bullying,” and the failure of school officials to properly intervene, etc. As he pretty convincingly shows, this was not the truth at at all – or at best just a small part of it.

I guess the moral here is that if you really want to understand things, don’t read newspapers or watch TV!

Oxy,

Well, I think I would settle for most of the “involuntary committal” laws that are currently on the books. For example, with the case of a schizophrenic who poses and obvious danger to himself or others, I don’t have a problem with taking him in and even locking him up against his will for a certain reasonable period. But I also think (being the good Libertarian that I am!) that I would draw the line for such interventions more at the extreme end, with the burden of “care” and follow up being placed more on the family and community than the State.

I guess what it amounts to is that no matter what you do, you are always going to have these little “eruptions of chaos” from time to time: we can tinker with this and that, but human nature being what it is, this stuff is ALWAYS going to be a part of life. That being so, my preference is to keep out as many unnecessary encroachments as possible. Some concessions are necessary, no doubt, I just don’t want the guys with white coats showing up at my house every morning at 7 AM with the legally sanctioned multivitamin! (And before you laugh too hard, consider that’s pretty much what they’re doing at the moment with our kids’ school lunches!)

Okay, so which one of us was ranting?!

In any event, make sure to take care of that fever of yours. That doesn’t sound pleasant at all, so I hope that passes sooner rather than later.

Constantine and Oxy,
your conversation reminded me of the time I had my brother committed – for a week.

I think he was 19 and I was 18. He had moved back in with my parents because he got kicked out of the public housing complex, if I recall correctly. I had already moved in with my spath, but I was visiting the parental units. For some reason, my spath brother decided to say that he was thinking about committing suicide. Well he already had us all convinced that he heard voices and felt that he was haunted by an evil presence. (Spaths use a grain of truth to convince us of a bigger lie, the only evil presence was him)

Anyway, I just reacted by picking up the phone and calling 911. They sent the men in the little white coats. Spathbro must not have been up on what he could get away with, at that time. I suppose he just repeated his statement because they took him to the mental ward for observation.

It’s interesting though, looking back, that my parents didn’t respond with any emotion. They didn’t visit him, nobody did except for me. He begged me to get him out and to tell the doctors that he hadn’t said what he said. I imagine they gave him drugs to calm him.

Anyway, he never used THAT pity ploy again. Although he does often tell my parents what to do with his body when he is dead. He wants to be cremated. My mother just responds, “well I don’t have the money, so I don’t know what will happen.”

Sky,

Just out of curiosity, does does your brother still claim to hear voices all these years later? And what was the deal with the “evil presence”? Did he actually witness haunting type phenomena, or was it just a “feeling” he got? You said your spath thought he was possessed, so I wonder whether or not they influenced each other in that regard? Very strange…..

Also, was your brother a better person when he was young? From the little you’ve said about them, your sister sounds more superficial and nasty, whereas he sounds more inwardly troubled and self-indulgent. And now that I think of it, do they happen to get along with each other? (And did you ever get along with them?)

Don’t mean to pry, but it is an interesting family dynamic. And I’m trying to piece together a picture from the scattered details you’ve mentioned…..

Anyhow, maybe that’s why your brother called the cops on you that time with the made-up story? There is no statute of limitations for their paybacks – as I’m sure you know!

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