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For parents of sociopaths

Two terrible stories about sex and children

In Trenton, New Jersey, a 15-year-old girl sold her 7-year-old stepsister to a group of men and boys at a party for sex.

Read: Cops: N.J. teen sold stepsister, 7, for party sex on Msnbc.com.

In Wales, a 6-year-old was repeatedly stripped, sexually abused and physically assaulted by other children in her school.

Read: Horrific ordeal of girl, six, who was physically and sexually abused by 23 of her primary school classmates on Mail Online.

Links submitted by a Lovefraud reader.

How does ODD relate to sociopathy?

This week a reader asked about a disorder called ODD and its relationship to sociopathy. ODD or oppositional defiant disorder is a childhood disorder. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists:

In children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), there is an ongoing pattern of uncooperative, defiant, and hostile behavior toward authority figures that seriously interferes with the youngster’s day to day functioning. Symptoms of ODD may include:

Feeling guilty about a sociopathic stepson

Lovefraud recently received the following e-mail from a reader who we’ll call Martha.

I have a 33-year old adult stepson who I believe is sociopathic — he fits all the criteria. He has been a problem to the family ever since his mother threw him out to our house at the age of 13. By that time he was so oppositional there was no dealing with him in any reasonable way. We went through all the “standard” teenage issues with him — petty crime, running away, repeating years in school, counseling, adolescent psych facility, military school till we ran out of money, etc.

Society for the Scientific Study of Psychopathy, meeting highlights: At-risk children

This weekend I am reporting from the 3rd meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Psychopathy, where I also presented the results of the research Sandra Brown, M.A. and I did. In the next few weeks I will summarize the highlights of the meeting for you. One of the reasons I attended this meeting was to be sure the information we present to you on this website is up-to-date and accurate. Happily, I came away from the meeting confident, having had conversations with all the leaders in the field.

Can a 5 year old be a psychopath?

This week while reflecting on the writings that most influenced my thinking about psychopathy/sociopathy, I received a letter from a mother of a five year-old boy whose father shows many signs of the disorder. She wrote:

Do you believe that children can show signs of being psychopathic? If so do you teach them to suppress the way they really feel by masking the problems with fake feelings? Can feelings of love really be learned? Just because someone on the outside appears like they have feelings does that mean inside they have actually changed? As you know they are good actors. The skill is learned very quickly to lie to blend in with the others. I bought your book off Amazon I should be getting it today. And i am also reading Dr. Hares book. I will try to look at your book some more today.

Realities only family members know

Research into sociopathy/psychopathy has made a great deal of progress over the last 30 years. Even so, there is much that research does not address. For example, sociopaths are described as callous, lacking in empathy and without remorse for their hurtful actions. These sterile descriptors always fall short of really conveying the evil of the disordered.

A good 6 months before the Madoff story broke, I began a project to connect with the family members of professional con artists. The purpose of this project is to document the within family behavior of con artists and to link that “profession” to psychopathic personality traits. I have had good success connecting with family members and the exchange of information has been healing all around.

Sociopathic children and psychopathic traits during childhood

This is a very tragic story left by one of our readers:

My daughter was misdiagnosed with ADHD. Then bipolar disorder, then Oppositional Defiance Disorder. I stormed out of her psychologist office when she told me that she saw something “dark” in my child. That was when she was 7. When she was 8, her sociopathy increased and she purposely drowned my poodle. She also tried to smother my baby by my second husband. The strain of her and my carrying the baggage from my last relationship has driven he and I apart and we currently trying to file for divorce.

New study finds conduct disordered boys are just like their fathers

Although fearlessness is not part of the formal definition of psychopathy or DSM IV antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), it is widely recognized that this temperamental attribute is part of these disorders as well as their childhood precursors, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and conduct disorder (CD). Thankfully, not all fearless individuals are sociopaths but it appears that fearlessness is present in varying degrees in everyone with these disorders. (Interestingly some sociopaths do show anxiety. The exact relationship between anxiety and fearlessness is not completely understood.)

Prenatal smoking increases the risk of sociopathy

The prevention of sociopathy is something we all should be concerned about. Last week, we had an excellent discussion about sociopathy and lying. We all agree lying is the cardinal symptom of sociopathy, thanks to all those who posted comments. Your comments truly help those who are new to the site. Lying is part of the poor impulse control that sociopaths have. Poor impulse control or impulsivity and lying are recognized as central to sociopathy by every expert and diagnostic method. To prevent sociopathy we must start by preventing impulsivity. Unfortunately the brain structures responsible for impulse control are very sensitive to damage, especially early in life; although, damage to the frontal lobes can produce sociopathy at any age.

Children of sociopaths are twice cursed

Many have declared that the lack of a conscience is the defect that defines sociopathy. Therefore, understanding how the conscience forms will lead us to better understand this disorder. Researchers currently discuss two basic pathways to conscience formation. The first and most common path to conscience is through guilt. Conscience through guilt develops from fear of punishment. Children who are genetically at risk for sociopathy are often fearless and so have little or no guilt, as discussed last week.

The second path to conscience

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