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Chilling portraits of sociopaths in film

There have been countless depictions of sociopaths and other predatory personalities in film. Most are pretty bad, incomplete and/or inaccurate. But some have been dead-on.

And so I’ve canvassed my memory for what I regard as several notably excellent portraits of sociopaths in film. I’d be curious what you think of these performances (if you’ve seen them), and eager to discover, through you, new film/television portraits of sociopaths that ring disturbingly true.

In no special order, I’ll start with the original foreign film, The Vanishing, 1986 (not the subsequent and lame Hollywood remake). The Vanishing delivers-up one of the most sinister depictions of a sociopath I’ve ever seen. The fright derives less from graphic violence (there is none) than from the movie’s success at immersing you into the compartmentalized world of its principal character, who is seamlessly managing the presentation of a normal, well-adjusted family man, as he simultaneously and covertly pursues his secret life and morbid agenda.

Next is Unlawful Entry, 1992, a movie starring Ray Liotta as a local cop who smoothly enters the life of a young neighborhood couple (actors Kurt Russell and Anne Archer). Although somewhat formulaic plot-wise, the movie’s performances are impressive. Liotta’s sociopath—glib, charming and seductive—will make the hair on your skin rise. And both Archer and Russell vividly express the tension and alarm arising from their slow awareness that Liotta isn’t who he appeared so convincingly to be.

Richard Gere, in a somewhat unheralded role, nails-down a sociopathic cop in Internal Affairs, 1990. Gere gives a riveting presentation of the sociopathic mentality. Andy Garcia (actor), an Internal Affairs cop in Gere’s department, finds himself in the unenviable position of having to confront the slowly unfolding breadth (and horror) of Gere’s sociopathy. Garcia is also incredible. As in Unlawful Entry, the movie accurately shows how sociopaths can invade, lodge themselves in, and violate innocent, dignified lives.

One of the greatest performances of a sociopath I’ve ever seen can be found in Episode#44 of the former HBO series Six Feet Under. The episode is called, “That’s My Dog.” In it, David (actor Michael C. Hall) extends a random act of help to a road-stranded stranger, Jake (actor Michael Weston). David then finds himself overpowered by Jake, who, in the course of the episode’s hour, manages to embody virtually every relevant, sinister quality for which the sociopath is notorious. Weston’s demonic performance is astonishing. Hall’s as the traumatized victim of a sadistic sociopath is equally amazing.

Great performance, yes. Sociopath? Maybe not.

Dexter

Speaking of actor Michael C. Hall, I wonder what your take is on Dexter, the great Showtime Series in which Hall plays a sociopathic serial killer working, by day, as a Miami crime-scene forensics analyst?

I love this series, which is coming into its third season. But as disturbing a character as Dexter is, I would not characterize him as a sociopath. This is just a fun diagnostic quibble. Ostensibly, Dexter grows up a budding, violent sociopath. His father (or father-figure) recognizes the dark, evil side over which, as a boy and adolescent, Dexter seems to have little, and diminishing, control. The father sees that Dexter is compulsively, inexorably inclined to sadistic violence.

His solution is to somehow train Dexter to direct his sociopathic, homicidal proclivities towards cruel, menacing, destructive individuals. Best, if someone’s got to be snuffed-out by Dexter, it be someone the world will be better without!

And so Dexter becomes skilled, over time, at identifying individuals the world won’t miss; individuals as dangerous and creepy as he.

Why, then, is Dexter not really a sociopath—and indeed, diagnostically speaking, not even necessarily plausible? Because, despite his violent, murderous compulsions, Dexter is, first of all, a fundamentally sincere person. He is also loyal–for instance to his sister and a girlfriend. And while Dexter struggles to “feel” warm feelings, indeed anything—a struggle, incidentally, that he embraces—he knows how to have the backs of others, even where his self-interest may be at risk.

In a word, Dexter strives, against his darkest, most sordid inclinations, for growth. This is precisely what makes him and the series so fascinating, and precisely what rules him out as sociopath.

What do you think?

(This article is copyrighted (c) 2008 by Steve Becker, LCSW.)



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139 Comments on "Chilling portraits of sociopaths in film"

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Dr. Steve-

My husband loves Dexter (husband is not a sociopath!)….I told him…you validated me….he’s not a sociopath!

Psychos in the arts interest me, particularly artists: O’Keeffe; Picasso; Pound; Ted Hughes (poet).

ps

Anne Sexton too! (poet)

I think a sociopath can show what appears to be loyalty to a girlfriend or someone else, and they can also take action to have someone’s back, even though it appears to put them at risk. Why do I think this? I think if the girlfriend or someone else is someone they view as someone they “own” or have power over, and who will repay their act of loyalty in kind, if the person is someone who has utility to them, they will take action to protect the person. And if that girlfriend or other person is being mistreated or in some sort of trouble from someone OTHER than the psychopath himself, then I think it is also a game to them, to oneup that other person who is causing the trouble–to win over them. Even when it appears they are putting themselves at risk out of altruisim or concern to save someone else, it is really just to see how they can manipulate the situation to save the person, and it is thrilling to them to put their ownselves at risk, then get away with it and get themselves out of the situation and win the game. But if it actually came down to the wire of the girlfriend or person whose back they are saving or themselves, at that point, if they’ve exhausted all other options, then they’d throw the person under the bus.

Not long after I discovered this site and the painful realization I had been used and hurt by a sociopath, a friend introduced me to a very chilling recent film starring Judy Dench, “Notes on a Scandal.” So I watched this and recognized parts of her character that resonated darkly with what I had just experienced in my own life. There is a very dramatic plot to the film but theatrics aside, the elements of a sociopath are fairly clear I think. I saw the main character’s controlling nature, her victim’s approach to everything, an obsession with sexuality rather than deeper emotions, lying, deceitfulness, and manipulation. What horrified me the most was the ending. Without giving too much away, I will say that it struck me as incredibly painful since I recognized from my own horrible recent experience the way a shadow of a soul can so easily slip through the cracks and continue to charm, target, manipulate and eventually start over again. No remorse, no heart and no chance for redemption.

A movie to watch…”In the Company of Men”

Ironically I saw it a few years ago,and ended up living parts of it.

I blog on it here:http://holywatersalt.blogspot.com/2008/08/are-men-really-this-evil.html

here here; two that stand out to me right now are the woody allen produced film match point, i saw parts of my own s path ex boyfriend here. and also the series nip tuck the main character is a sex addicted s path type person. there are lots i know of in film and tv, will try and remember a few more. its chilling to see your own life experiences on film so correctly portrayed, but eye opening none the less. funny i watche d the movie above mentioned match point with the ex s path wonder if he recognised himself. thanks to you all.

Woody Allen is another psycho, I used to like his films until….
well marrying your daughter and living the debauchery for real…it’s like paying him to hear of his cruel exploits.

Ingmar Bergman….oh boy
I reviewed a film of his here:
http://holywatersalt.blogspot.com/2008/07/in-famous-narcissists.html

I watched the first 2 episodes of Dexter and was bored senseless.
But most importantly, he did NOT seem like a sociopath.

Personally, I think the series is dangerous, because it’s romanticizing psychopaths… and may give people the idea that all they need is the guidance & love of a good woman – like Dexter’s love interest. Or give parents a reason to beat themselves up thinking if Dexter’s foster father was able to make him lovable… ugh.

The character isn’t even a sociopath, period.

A sociopath could never have the sort of respectful supportive relationship interactions that he seems to have with his delicate girlfriend & his sister, real or faked – no real sociopath could keep up the facade so well it would be so consistent like that to those loved ones.

Furthermore, from his journaling voice-overs it’s clear that he CARES and WORRIES… or he wouldn’t talk like he does, and think so much about these things. Psychopaths just don’t do that type of thoughtful emotional depth of analyzing feelings or lack thereof, the way Dexter does. And to think they do is to assume they’re like the rest of us – and contemplative of their condition.
They’re not.
It’s complete fiction. Just a contradictory hodge podge for the sake of making compelling entertainment with shock value.

Anyway, I think the #1 pure example of a sociopath in film is “Gaslight”, with Ingrid Bergman.
Just a fantastic film overall.
And the absolute epitome of a sociopath at work.
He wines & dines her, sweeps her off her feet… He’s charismatic & charming. He’s taking her away from all this. He’s like a knight. He’s assertive, take charge.
And were there “red flags” in the beginning? Yes, even that is included in the story! He shows up when she asks him not to.
And then… you find out… sadly, before she does. Poor woman. It’s difficult & painful to watch at times.
It’s just the perfect depiction of a sociopath at work.

Thus where the term “gaslighting” came from.

In the movie “There Will be Blood” in which Daniel Day-Lewis plays a character named “Daniel” who is a scheming early 20th century oil man who adopts a baby to make it appear he is a widower raising his son alone, in order to appear respectable so he can con people.

The movie never SAYS that the Daniel character is a psychopath but to anyone who knows what a P is, it is apparent that he is.

There is also another psychopath in the movie, a country rube turned “preacher” who is at odds with the Daniel character. A pretty good example of many “phony preachers” who are simply after the money and the glory! “Turn on your TV folks, and send in your donations!”

The acting and the portrayals are excellent on both parts.

I tried watching There Will Be Blood but it was so blood thirsty and scary I didn’t finish it. I haven’t seen any of the other films as I don’t get access to many here in Asia. I would recommend the book ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’ by Lionel Shriver. It is about a woman struggling to bring up a child psychopath and raises the question of nature versus nurture. It is a chilling novel and must have been written by someone who knows a psychopathic mind.
Swallow

Dr Steve, That is why I said they show what “appears” to be loyalty. The point I was trying to get across is that they may “have your back”, but only if there is something in it for them like your utility, or the gamemanship for them in winning over whomever they are protecting you from. In other words, I think it is part of the game they happen to be playing at that particular time. Sorry, I didn’t get the point across very well. But yes, I completely agree that any loyalty they appear to be showing is not because they actually ARE loyal or have any feelings of true loyalty for you because as soon as the other person is not useful to them they’ll turn on a dime and be the one to stab the person in the back. Or at least that has been my experience in watching my ex P’s behavior, not only with me, but with other “firends” of his, and even his family.

Although this is not a movie, on the tv show House MD, he is supposed to be a sociopathic Doctor.

Dear Swallow

I read “We Need to Talk About Kevin”. It was an amazing book, heartbreaking and tough going at times but always compelling.

Not sure if this one counts based on the fact it is more a documentary more or less. The book and movie is called Small Sacrifices by Ann Ruth

[Ann Rule’s shocking and powerful account of the destructive forces that drove Diane Downs, a beautiful young mother, to shoot her three young children in cold blood.]

This book and movie chilled me to the bone!!!

Steve Becker: I think “Dexter” – it hooked you because you “fell for him” so to speak. (I don’t mean to say you have a romantic attraction – but I think there’s a nearly equally powerful platonic version of that draw) That’s what we’ve all done, isn’t it? We’ve ignored our unsettled feelings to start with, until we got used to it, and then started to think the person was actually a good friend, a choice lover, etc… 😉 We started rationalizing, fitting in the inconsistencies to fit what we want to believe…
Think about it. 😉

I’ve never seen it, and I refuse to watch HOUSE MD. Just thinking of it gives me chills, & makes me sick to my stomach.
The reason is, that a few years back I used to visit this one forum about toxic relationships. Unfortunately, most of the women were still invested in their relationships, thought “labeling” their husband/boyfriend/lover was “judgemental”, and refused to do it. So most didn’t know about personality disorders, or what it really means when someone’s a sociopath.
And several of the women on this forum were absolutely IN LOVE with House MD. And they defended the type. It was like they were determined to hang onto their unrealistic fantasy about men like that. It was painful to watch. Even when they’d say they knew it was a fantasy with one – they’d go after the same fantasy again, and then wonder.

I guess I should just be glad that I’ve found a point in my life where the seemingly positive narcissistic qualities I used to think were charming & compelling – well, they now make me nauseated. Even in a movie, if a character is just a tad too charming, or a tad too aggressive… I’m put off. So-called “Alpha Males” were never attractive to me… But now I actually have a bone-deep aversion to even being around them. I’ve noticed that the men I choose to be around now, even as friends & acquaintances, in work, social, and community stuff, all seem to be rather humble, kind, sorts. Same with the women. Gone are the emotionally striking friends of bravado that I now realize were so toxic to me. And the few jerks I have to put up with here & there, I steer clear of as much as possible – AND I have friends involved in the same things, that ALSO don’t like those jerks, and have no problem seeing them for what they are.

It’s like I can’t go back to before I knew about sociopaths & narcissists & such. The acceptance of the truth of it has SO sunk in completely, that I can’t even enjoy a fictional movie if the so-called protagonist of the story has sociopathic traits or is supposed to be a sociopath.

My friend last night told me her ex (who we both agree matches ALL the criteria of a sociopath) did something again, that on the surface can be seen as an oversight, but it shows how little he cares for her feelings regarding their child. She said to him something like, “You know how much that means to me, it’s really upsetting for me…” etc etc.
I told her that obviously the whole sociopath implications haven’t SUNK IN completely yet.
She asked me why.
I said, “Because if the full realization had sunk in, you wouldn’t dream of talking to him about your FEELINGS. Because you might as well just be handing him a gun and a box of ammo.”
She agreed. She has times where she shifts back into… feeding into his insanity.
Thus the benefits of NO CONTACT.
At this point, she still lets him come to her house to hang with their daughter & her son, when she’s not home, stuff like that.
Frankly, I think if it had really sunk in what it means that he’s a sociopath… She wouldn’t let that man anywhere near her kids, even his own kid. I know I wouldn’t want that man anywhere near any kids I care about.

Although watching programs with sociopaths in them may be “triggers” for some people, that really isn’t the case with me. I tend to watch the movie/tv program for the overall plot or storyline, although I do sometimes find myself analyzing the behavior and comparing it to my P and things he did if there happens to be a soiopathic type person in the movie or tv show. I like a wide variety of subject matter in shows, whether it would be something I would be interested in having in my “real life” or not.

On House MD I used to watch the program, but only saw it a few times this season. I liked the medical aspect/unusual medical cases the team of Doctors tried to solve, in spite of the fact one of the Doc’s just happened to be a sociopath.

I’m afraid if I tried to limit myself to only watching programs with characters in them that I thought was “good” I would be reduced to watching Barney. Well, maybe not, that big purple fella bouncing around singing gets on my nerves sometimes too. 🙂

The reason I don’t like sociopath movies is because they always take off their own masks at the end, which is really not the case with most people, I think. In real life it wouldn’t be as thrilling, probably, the aftermath of the “impossible” happening of some “nice quiet guy” doing unspeakable things would just be a bunch of neighbors standing around shaking their heads in disbelief.

My first husband used to constantly read and identify with spy thrillers. We used to tease him about this a lot, as he was quite paranoid and would often verbalize fears that “people” were out to get him, or that his co-workers were plotting against him. We even jokingly called him “the chameleon”, because of his way of trying to fit into whatever company he was keeping at the moment. Before we had children my friends and I often jokingly referred to him as “the narcissistic bastard”, which he thought was quite funny. Why was I so blind to what even I saw?

“The Hoax” Great movie about a sociopath

Presseject, I also saw Notes on a Scandal (excellent movie). The Judy Dench character was a classic psychopath and narcissist.

Has anyone ever seen House of Games? Joe Montegna’s portrayal of the sociopath is chilling.

This isn’t a movie I am going to tell about, this happened for real. My daughter-in-law who is an angel and I just adore, well her preacher, pastor or whatever of her church was arrested for robbing 6 bank’s. He used that money and the church’s money to pay for prostitutes. This happened about 6 years ago. My daughter in -law was devastated, the whole congregation was. I remember seeing this man one time. He was a phycopath….he only got 4 year’s in the pen because he never used a weapon when he robbed the teller’s. He just gave them a note that said give me all your money and I wont harm you….

Henry that’s awful.. the poor people.

James.. I read that.. Ann Rule is a great writer and she often writes about sociopaths. She became fascinated with them because she was a close friend of Ted Bundy’s and never could connect the “two Teds”, the evidence proved it to her, but even she, a true crime writer, couldn’t spot a sociopath sitting right next to her for months.

The Diane Downs case is so sad and incredible.. if you ever see her speak, she is obsessed with her own case and says nothing at all about her poor kids. Same with some of the other mommy murderers.. Susan Smith, and that woman that burned her house down with her kids inside it.. her 13 year old even called to ask his mom what to do from inside the burning house and his mom told him to just stay put and wait to be rescued… which, of course never happened.

A few year ago I got fascinated with “true crime books” and a friend and I would trade books and we were reading all these horrible books (there are thousands of them out there) on these grizzly murders and the horrible things these people did. After some period of time I quit reading that stuff and have a difficult time with it now because it makes me so angry, so I don’t read them any more.

One was about a female physician (maybe the one you were talking about above) where she was so mad at her x that she burned the house with the kids and told one that was out on a porch roof to go back inside. All but one of her kids I think died in the fire.

I think in a way maybe because my son was a murderer it made me get fascinated with these stories, also I was in California when the Charlie Manson thing happened and I followed it in the papers and on TV while it unfolded, and the tiral and so on. The fact that if he had short hair Manson looked a great deal like my P-bio father and had that same STARE in his eyes that my P-bio father did when he was enraged, might have had something to do with it.

I guess I’m not the only one that reads this stuff because it obviously sells. I did read a book written by Laci Petersen’s mother a while back as well. Apparently Laci’s family didn’t pick up on the fact he was a P until after the murder when he was obviously NOT concerned about her whereabouts, just like this girl in Florida is only concerned that no one is concerned about HER, they just want to concentrate all their concern on her missing (and probably dead) child. How inconsiderate of the press and the law to concentrate on the missing child. LOL

In a way I think our contact with the Ps is sort of like we had glimpsed “Big Foot” out in the woods, and we become fasicanted with the rumor of his existence so we read everything we can about a possible sighting. Our contact with the Ps makes us want to know more about how they think, what their habits are, like we are studying some unknown species or something.

I think “man’s inhumanity to man” is 99.9% the work of psychopaths.

Has anyone seen the film No Country for old men?
Textbook Sociopath which also Javier Bardem who played Anton Chigurh an oscar…Chilling portrayal, but more along the lines of a physchopath.
also a few more worth noting
White oleander… Michelle Pfeiffer is so DEAD on as a SP
According to a friend, this movie was used as a reference in her Physch class, to give a classic example of a sociopath.
a few more worth noting
Girl interrupted…Angelina jolie is supposed to be a sociopath
and if memory serves me correctly
a clockwork orange
Havent seen it in years, But i think Malcolm mcdowell was Supposedly cured of it, by the end.

I saw ‘Girl in the Park’ last night (2007 with Sigourney Weaver and Kate Bosworth) after recently discovering that someone I had trusted was a con man. In the film, a woman who has lost her daughter many years ago wants desperately to believe that a free loading young con artist could be her lost daughter. The improvisations and calculations involved on the part of the young con artist to insinuate her way into the woman’s life are very realistic. It is a simple movie without pretensions, but chilling for anyone who knows the inner workings of a con artist!

Kat_o_nine_tales

Yes, she is one of my favorite writers. Love her books. In fact I read all the ones you mentioned. After my ex left and learned about Personality Disorders I ran across her books. Have you read her book on the Peterson case. What insight this woman has!!!

But for some reason the Downs story was so sad! Plus it really made me mad! How in God’s name can anyone father or mother do something like this to their own children?? Using children are a tool to get whatever she wants! It really hit home for me, being so that my ex did the same thing (using a front of being a good mother) but thank God so far haven’t cross that line yet..

I often wonder what she tells (my ex) people when they ask her why she doesn’t see her children? There are four in all, two now adults plus my two. None want nothing to do with her. Really how does one explain that away? I remember once she (yes she was dead serious) asked me out of the blue. “James, why do people keep taking my children away from me?”. I just walked thru the door after getting off of work and it just blew me out of the water. I couldn’t believe it! The ones she were referring to are the ones she never tried to visit once! The same two she never did as ordered by the courts to do (pay child support, get a job and keep a insurance policy on for life and medical). Well, at the time I didn’t know what to say. So I just told her “I didn’t know”. I know I was a coward for not telling her the truth but I also knew how bad her temper was. I was a coward I know but God I was so tired of all the fighting and I really didn’t believe she wanted the truth anyway. I did try other times telling her the truth or what I thought but it always ended the same way with her giving me the silence treatment for days sometimes weeks on end. God forgive me, I just got so tired of the fighting..

steve becker; yes i watched match point with my ex s path not knowing it would a depiction of one, at the end he said that was good the bad man won in the end ! I WAS GOB SMACKED WHO SAYS SUCH A THING IF YOU WATCHED THAT MOVIE. another one that comes to mind is californication, its on tv a series with david ducovny, x files fame. he is a sex addict and i think a sociopath. anyone seen this .the main character in mtch piont is spot on he did a lot of things my ex does, especially getting so obsessed with the other woman, he cant stop him self. i think woody did a bit of research cause he got it so right. also my ex loved the series nip tuck i think he thought he was the main character in that show. another one that bother s me is two and a half men, it is funny but what a womaniser and slightly s path charlie sheen is in this one. maybe a bit of his true life who knows. any feed back, there are so many out there i tried to get the vanishing mentioned by some one here my local dvd hire store didnt have it shame i would like to see it. thanks again.

Like the sitcom two and a half men myself and so do my children. Well that’s guys for you..LOL

In fact my son told me that the main character Charlie Sheen is label a Narcissistic person in the series which was why I started to watch it and got hook on the other characters and Charley. Love mother and his brother wife or ex wife? What a dysfunctional family. Guess maybe that is why it is so funny. Also strange being a NPD (Charlie Sheen) that he show compassion for his younger brother and son at times during the series but yes I agree about the main character “What a womanizer!”..

Has anyone watched the “The Third Trimester?” I saw it l ast night and it had several P characters (one woman might have been a Borderline rather than a P)

The “Gabby” character is preg in the 3rd trimester, and she agrees to let her baby be adopted by a childless couple, it turns out that the man of the couple knows her from college, but doesn’t reveal this to his wife, the Gabby character tries to get the husband to leave his wife and go with her. She uses the baby to try to extort money from the wife, then from the couple, after the baby is born she demands 100K$, then drops that and wants the man.

The wife meets by accident the “Nick” character, he is a cop and she tells him her tale of woe about the GAbby character wanting the baby back and the extortion. A few days later, the husband goes to “duke it out” with GAbby and finds her dead…..I won’t spoil the total thing but like lots of “chick flicks” it has a happy ending (not realistic LOL) but the portrayal of the Gabby character (can’t remember the names of the actors CRS) is well done and gives a great portrait of the personality disordered manipulator. The “Nick” character may be psychotic but he does “come on” like a savior and wins the trust of the woman in the film by lies lies lies and mirroring.

James, I don’t watch TV at home but have occasionally seen the show you are talking about (Two and a half men) and I think ALL sit coms are funny because they are dysfunctional and REAL in some ways. They are stereotypes of course, but none the less real in terms of we are able to identify with them. If those episodes happened in real life they would be traumatic for all concerned but on a sit com they are funny, just like our humor is all about PAIN —we laugh at the guy slipping on the banana peel and falling down. We laugh about the drunk stumbling home etc. In REAL life none of this would be “funny”—

The Talented Mr. Ripley
Mumford

Both these movies creep me out to the max. Also the Vanishing and Gaslight. Ugh.

A movie that does an incredible job of depicting how hard it is to leave is “And never Let Her Go”. A Lifetime type of movie, but is chilling. Mark Harmon is in it, and I had a hard time watching because too many of the situations felt eerily familiar. Also, did not help, that he looked and sounded like the spath I encountered. A spath makes sure that if and when you leave, you bear the scars of the experience.

I am closing in on 1 year away from him. It has been really tough, and Dr. Steve was an incredible help in helping me recognize my own personality traits that inappropriately kept me connected to him. Understanding why you stayed can be key to keeping away should you ever spot it again.

Just watch Jerry Springer’s show … all chalked filled with anti-social personalities. A Real eye opener … I always found his show never had a need to find new material. It’s the downfall of our society shown on prime time. I remember writing to their show asking him to explain the flaws of said characters … after my e-mail (years ago) he now uses a closing at the end of his show with his personal critiquing of these characters.

I also remember the anti-socials I worked with … raving about some of the episodes and saying they were dead on. At least it allowed me to know what I was dealing with hearing these statements from co-workers… so I could just smile and walk away.

Peace.

I agree, the Diane Downs story is horrific. I believe they DID make a movie about it – “Small Sacrifices” with Farrah Fawcett, Gordon Clapp, Ryan O’Neal – 1989 made for TV movie, I believe. You can order it up through NetfliX, I believe.

No Country For Old Men – I was appalled and intrigued at Anton Chiguhr’s coldness. That would definitely be the LAST face I would EVER WANT to see coming at me. lol

Pacific Heights – Michael Keaton (plays a prototypical psycho), Matthew Modine and Melanie Griffin

American Psycho – Christian Bale (portrays the quintessential psychopath – and does it well!)

SE7EN – Kevin Spacey (too, too good in this role), Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman – I wouldn’t watch Spacey’s movies after seeing this one, until my daughter pulled the CLOCKWORK ORANGE treatment on me (strapped to a chair, eyes held open by “thingies” – jk – lol) and MADE me watch “American Beauty” – then I watched “Pay It Forward” (BOX of KLEENEX movie), and “K-pax” and he pretty much redeemed himself in my mind, for having played such a PERFECT PSYCHO in “Se7en.”

There are probably two dozen others – but these are just examples that jumped to mind in reading this thread.

~*~ Mags ~*~

Any of you seen “The Ice Harvest”? Quite a movie. So many, even Fargo. “Mr. Brooks”.. the only movie I ever liked Kevin Costner in.. the dude can’t act I swear, and in this one he played a pretty cold fish. But William Hurt made the movie for me, as the “voice” of his bad side. And of course… Anthony Hopkins famous character, Hannibal. I just really like Anthony Hopkins anyway, he’s a great actor.

I wouldn’t watch Jerry, but the couple of times I’ve been exposed to it, I noticed there is about one person per show who just smiles a little and doesn’t say much, and you can just picture him soaking up the drama and the pain like a vampire.

Also James.. I know. I had four with mine, he has no consideration for them, took one to live with him while still ignoring all the rest. The older ones are afraid to confront him because that will put them on his poop-list, the younger two just don’t care. As for me, I’ve given up wondering why he’s not concerned with his kids. I’m just happy he is OUT of their lives. I hope none of them ever get involved with him as adults, or I know exactly what will happen. He will do what he does to everyone, steal their identities and ruin their credit.

Watching the pilot of “Dexter” was the first clue that I was married to a sociopath. Then watching the entire first season is what gave me the tools to truly understand the sociopath I was deceived into marrying. I believe Dexter is a sociopath because you have to focus on his narrative – the truth that Dexter speaks, not his actions that are deceptively used to fool everyone he’s close to – including his sister and girl friend. His father had hoped to reform Dexter – his sister and girlfriend like to think he feels for them, but the first clue for me was Dexter’s narrative that said he was afraid to have sex with his girlfriend, because then she might be able to truly see how empty he truly was – I married a man I had never slept with. Our sex life was horrible – because I think during sex he was afraid that I was able to tell he was truly empty – that he didn’t “really” care about “ME” at all. Only after watching the 12 episodes of the 1st season of Dexter (on Demand while visiting my sister over Christmas vacation) I came home and immediately researched sociopaths and found this website – lovefraud.com. Divorcing my personal experience and seeing Dexter (although a character) in action has helped me understand that even though they are likeable, and loveable – they are truly monsters – and it’s something that’s beyond their ability to change. Normally I won’t have even watched something as gruesome and dark as Dexter – but I’m thankful that it laid the groundwork for me to “get it” and get it clearly and quickly – it has helped me fast track to my recovery – sociopaths are real, they don’t look like the boogeyman, they are really dangerous, and no matter how much they are loved, they don’t have the capacity to change – I learned all that from watching Dexter! Fortunately, I got it just 2 months after separating from my sociopath, started divorce processings 2 months after that, and divorce was finalized 15 long and crazy months later. I’ve been free (separated) exactly 2 years now from my sociopath – but fortunate that I’m NOT tormented by lack of understanding – thanks to Dexter.

the only reason i ever saw dexter was because my creature watched it…and to be with him i frequently succumbed to tv……and doesnt it just figure i came to like and pity dexter also….in one segment he was afraid to have sex…didnt know how to because he “couldnt feel anything”
another of his favorites is 2 and a half men….i HATED it, i guess deep inside i feared that is who he was…………not to mention that charlie sheen acts the true part in real life…..he has yet another woman pregnant…….he is such a loser

I just saw a real life documentary about a sociopath called

My Kid Could Paint

It was a good movie because it is real, but I found it hard to watch the narcissistic child abuse.

new world, mine too loves two and a half men and he wanted to watch it all the time when we lived to gether i hated it too charlie what a womaniser, think my ex related to the character and this is why he liked to watch it.

Maybe Charlie was “type-cast” NWV! LOL

I watch very little TV and only see the occasional show or promo for one when I am at a friend’s house and they have the tube on.

Humor (and what different people find funny) is interesting to me. Most “humor” is watching someone else get hurt—slip on a banana peel, or be embarassed, etc. but I find NOTHING funny about that show.

First, who in the world would let their young son live in such an environment?

To find the character “funny” for his indescriminate sex is revolting.

To find such a “role model” for a young boy “funny” is also revolting.

I can see, however, how a P would “like” that show. Also revolting.

Where is the PUKE emoticon when you need one?

oxdrover; it totally agree revolting on many levels. its on about twice a night in aus where i live too much it should be taken off air. its so sexist , and i find it degrading to woman but heeps of people seem to like it and think its funny . i dont get it. whats so funny about someone sleeping around at his age . ……… yuk.

Did anyone mention the movie “Body Heat” with Kathleen Turner and William Hurt? Tuner exploits Hurt’s character to the max … conning him before she set it up to meet him. He, thinking their meeting was random, Turner’s character playing him before they even met. Hurt plays an attorney who happens to have scummy clients … so he’s aware of the down and outs of society … Turner plays the neglected wife of a millionaire who’s work ethics are more than questionable. Turner gets Hurt to kill the husband so they can go off into the sunset together living off the murdered husband’s millions … to find to his horror … he’s picked up and incarcerated for murder … she’s long gone into the wild blue yonder (looking for her next victim) … having killed her best friend from H.S., stealing her identity … so it appears the killer wife and murderer are both punished for their deeds. Triple twist in this movie … seems that is what anti-socials are all about … all the multiple levels twisting and turning your life around to getting what they want. Ulterior motive at it’s best … live and upfront in our movie theatres … giving the anti-socials of the world ingenious ideas (mousetraps) to use against the rest of us.

I wonder if this movie was one of my EX’s favorites???

Peace.

I keep wondering why my ex-bf is so different from the usual sociopath.. he’s not a taker in most of his life, he’s the giver, always bending over backwards for people.. but he has this whole other side to him….

kat-

he’s not different, his act is how he gets the “take.”

Mine acts holier-than-thou, super-dad-of-the-year, offers rides to everyone…
it’s his in.

The key is theirs is not “selfless” giving, it’s an instrument of extraction.

Kat, if they didn’t PRETEND to be something they are not, if they let their REAL face and intentions shine through, how many victims do you think they would CATCH?

“You get more bees with HONEY than you do with vinegar”

They have to mask over the “other side” of them by pretending to be Kind and caring and giving—but they don’t give “gifts” of things or of “nice deeds” without ULTERIOR MOTIVES.

If I was trying to con you for say money, I wouldn’t say “look bitch I hate you, give me some money” I would say, “Darling, you are so beautiful, could you help me out til pay day?”

If they are trying to con you with sex or whatever, same thing. If they are wanting people to think they are “great” (NS) same song second or third verse. They don’t do anyting that they don’t GET SOMETHING out of it.

My X-BF-P used to go mow my mom’s yard (an all day job even on a riding mower) and mom said “He’s salting the cow to catch the calf” which is what the old frontier guys used to do when they let their cattle run wild, they owuld put out salt for the cow and she would bring her calf up with her and they would catch the calf. By appearing (to the cow) to be GIVING her something for nothing, they lured her in so that they could take away her baby. So they may be nice to your friends, nice ot your family, etc. to get these people thinking what a great guy they are so that your friends and family will influence you to stay with them when you start to bolt when the abuse starts. They are cleaver buggers! They are!

My donkeys think of work (what I call work) as “abuse” so frequently I go give them a treat of a slice of bread which they love and come to me for. If everytime I did that they would soon catch on and not come, but because I don’t work them every tiime I give the bread they never know when I will be “nice’or when I will be “abusive” to them. The lazy devils! ha ha But even with bread they won’t come near me if they know I have a rope in my hand to attach to their halters, so I have to keep it hidden. Also I will use one to catch the other, if I have one caught and I lead him off the other one WILL follow into the corral where he is trapped and can’t get away. So they use our children and other loved ones to catch us just like the guys salting the cow to catch the calf.

I see so many ways that they “train” us just like I train animals by perdicting their behavior under certain circumstances, and planning my behavior to counter what I don’t want the to do.

It is “humbling” to realize we have been “trained” just as I train animals, but I know that for so long when my mom or my P-son said “jump” I said “How High?” NO MORE. They can keep their damned salt, I’ll find my own!

hey K-o-line….I understand what your saying. my s is the same way…with his job he over helps people…and with me he will give me his last dime to help me if i needed it. Helps me with bills to if need be because he knows I am a single mother struggling. That is why maybe I get confused. I always read that s steal money and use people for what they want. Now he does do the control thing and uses the things he does for me at a later time…with “all that i have done for you you atleast owe me a conversation.” But it just so happens he has “conversations” with to many other women…oh and says that too…I dont love them like i love you, I dont spend money on them for helping them or seeing them…i made mistakes with them…now promises me all the love he has and for me to be his only one…but still is calling the other chick…hmmmmm

Ok try “Angela’s Ashes” and The father character, as depicted, is a perfect specimen I am familiar with, unfortunately.

Hi Dr S- long time, no?
Great post –
I’m interested in seeing the Oliver Stone movie “W” — from the trailers looks like our president may have some of the characteristics (not to be partisan or even disrespectful, but I’ve wondered if his decision making was dulled by prior alcohol abuse issues).

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