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By | May 29, 2013 21 Comments

Critiquing expert views on sociopaths, part 1: CNN blogger on Ariel Castro

People who have committed horrific acts have been in the news a lot recently. Prime examples are Ariel Castro, accused of holding three women captive for 10 years in Cleveland, Ohio, and Jodi Arias, convicted of viciously murdering her ex-boyfriend in Mesa, Arizona.

Who is so heartless and cruel that they can engage in these terrible behaviors? The answer is probably that the perpetrators are personality disordered. So various mental health experts have been writing blog articles on the cases and personality disorders, which Lovefraud readers have been forwarding to me.

Some of the statements made in the articles I agree with, and some I don’t. So I’m going to write a series of critiques of the articles. My views are based on:

  • My experience of being married to a sociopath
  • Two Internet surveys, each with more than 1,300 responses, in which Lovefraud readers described experiences with sociopaths
  • More than 3,700 cases I’ve collected from Lovefraud readers
  • Experts who I believe “get it” when it comes to these disorders, especially Dr. Liane Leedom (who was also married to a sociopath).

Please read the first article by Dr. Paul W. Ragan, a psychiatrist, which appeared on CNN.com:

Ariel Castro’s alleged abuse, sadism is all too common

Where sociopaths come from

I agreed with what Ragan wrote, until he got to this point:

Where do people like Castro come from? Male batterers often grow up in families fraught with strife, conflict, neglect and violence.

The basic theory is that deleterious early life experiences of the perpetrator cause developmental arrest of their psychological maturation and personality formation.

In my opinion, Ragan’s explanation of where sociopaths come from is total garbage.

Research has now determined that psychopathy/antisocial personality disorder originates from a combination of genetics and a bad early environment. What happens is that an individual is born with a genetic predisposition for the personality disorder, and then early experience, such as bad parenting, enables the genes to “express.” Essentially the genes get turned on, and the personality disorder takes hold.

If a person is born with a genetic predisposition to sociopathy, it often means that at least one parent is a sociopath. As Lovefraud readers attempting to co-parent with sociopaths know, they make lousy parents. Even if they aren’t overtly abusive—which many are—they are neglectful and disinterested in the welfare of the child.

That’s why the best a healthy parent can hope for is that the sociopath disappears from the life of the child. Even then, the genetic predisposition may be so strong that a parent who tries mightily to raise the child to have empathy and a conscience may not be able to overcome it.

Ragan, the psychiatrist who wrote the article, mentions none of this. Instead, Ragan says that Ariel Castro had the opportunity to grow into a normal, healthy adult, but his early experiences derailed him.

Emotional needs of the sociopath

Then Ragan wrote the following:

What happens is that the individual is left with deep emotional needs for which they feel totally inadequate to get met.

Their self-concept is so impaired and their self-esteem is chronically so low that they feel totally unable to compete in the normal adult game of attracting and keeping a mate.

At this point, when I first read this article, I choked on my breakfast. Have any of us ever met a sociopath with “deep emotional needs”? Or a sociopath who feels “totally inadequate”?

And excuse me, according to the thousands of people I’ve spoken to, sociopaths are exceptionally good at attracting mates, and many of them do keep people around for decades, which is unfortunate for their partners.

Here’s another major fallacy: Sociopaths do not have low self-esteem. Instead, they have incredibly high self-esteem, a major sense of entitlement, even when they do not have the accomplishments to back up their lofty views of themselves. If their actual resume is thin, they just lie.

Anger and rage

Okay, I need to take a breath for the next paragraph. Here it is:

When their attempts are met by failure, their impaired moral development and lack of empathy coupled with unbridled anger and rage lead them down the road of violent possession of their “partners.”

A sociopath’s impaired moral development and lack of empathy have nothing to do with failure in the mating game. These are the characteristics sociopaths are born with, which then take over the personality. The “unbridled anger and rage” is typical sociopathic dominance and aggression.

So why did Ariel Castro engage in violent possession of the women? First of all, he liked it. I assume, like all sociopaths, that Castro has excess testosterone. In The Moral Molecule, which I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, author Paul J. Zak says that high levels of testosterone are associated with a desire to punish, so that some men experience inflicting punishment as exceptionally rewarding. (This is less likely to happen in women.)

Secondly, Castro probably experienced extreme “duping delight.” Sociopaths love to know they are getting away with their actions. Castro kept these women right under the noses of everyone in the neighborhood and even his own family. He must have been chuckling to himself for years.

Finally, what sociopaths really want in life is power and control. Ariel Castro had total power and control over those three women for 10 years. He wasn’t angry. He was in hog heaven.

Dr. Ragan’s article is frightening. When so-called “experts” have such a poor understanding of the sociopathic personality disorder, and get to write about what they don’t know on CNN, it’s no wonder the rest of us are confused.

 Critiquing expert views part 2: Psychology Today blogger on psychopaths who care

 


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Imara

I wonder what it would take to FLOOD CNN offices with enough mail that they would take to being careful of what they allow to be printed!!!
I’m on it!! subscribers and lurkers please do your part…Advocacy is one of the best tools to heal!!!

fightforwhatsright

Excellent article and critique, Donna. I have believed for years that every human is 50/50 on Nature vs Nurture unless they have a physical brain damage occur that changes them.

Imara: Great idea about contacting CNN. I will try to contact them and perhaps let them know about this web site so they can research more. Most people, including the “experts,” out there, are too scared to admit that there are a lot more sociopaths than the ones who get found out after years of horrific behavior. And they need to stop the same old stereotypes. It is just like the “loner” stereotype. Yes, some psychos are living in a hut in the middle of nowhere planning something crazy. But, all people who like their own company and identify with an introverted personality type, are not problems. Most sociopaths have families, professional standing, often go to church, join organizations, and people think they are great because they are extraverts. But, the can always find someone to say that a neighbor “never saw them” or “they didn’t have many friends” even if that isn’t the case.

In my opinion, Castro is a pedophile AND a sociopath. He prefers young girls. Like Donna states above, sociopaths are charming and can usually get many of the WOMEN they want. But, what is the ONE thing they aren’t legally allowed to have? Children! So this pedophile wanted to play a power sociopath game with societal mores and kidnap little girls.

Tea Light

Whilst it is the case that a disordered parent will feature in the lives of many psychopaths and negative childhood experiences will ensue, what needs to be emphasized again and again is that fact that psychopaths are not insane. They know what society around them considers acceptable and unacceptable. They are not under any psychotic delusion that “God is making me do this” . They are accountable therefore for their actions, difficult childhood or not. Castro took great care to hide his crimes. Because he knew they were crimes. And he rationally wanted to avoid detection and capture. For me the essential point about psychopathy is that no matter how astonishing and abhorrent and seemingly insane their actions are, they are sane. They are rational. And need to be treated as such by the legal system.

Obviously Dr Ragan didn’t know very much about sociopathy.He related to it the way normal people’s emotions are.How frustrating for those of us who are trying to explain sociopathy to others!

When I read (and also watched the video) about how Castro comforted DeJesus’ mother;hanging fliers and playing music at the vigil,I thought “egads,he had nerves of steel!The arrogance!”

I felt so bad for the daughter who had stayed by his side all these yrs when the family split up~~~and immediately thought of my oldest daughter,who probably feels the same way!

I’m so glad the girls worked together to survive,and have been rescued.But this is a terribly disturbing case!

Spath cannot really be compared to Castro,but he has that same arrogant attitude.And he can “act” mentally unstable.But I did some research and found that sociopathy isn’t considered a mental illness-atleast in that it doesn’t prevent the law from prosecuting.So if the law will prosecute such cases,why should anyone else put in their mind that such a person deserves special consideration due to their thinking the person is mentally unstable?!

fightforwhatsright

Good points TeaLight and Blossom: Sociopaths know exactly what they are doing. Even if he tried to go for the “not guilty due to insanity” plea, people very rarely get permission from courts to do that. It is getting more and more rare for people to even try that plea as research continues to show that people with any mental illness can plan ahead. IE: I have PTSD and Agoraphobia, so I plan when the best time for grocery shopping would be for me. A sociopath (especially pedophiles) plan ahead and enjoy planning out what they will do so as not to get caught if they don’t want to get caught, or to get caught if that thrills them.

Sharon C.

I agree with nearly everything but I have another take on this:

“At this point, when I first read this article, I choked on my breakfast. Have any of us ever met a sociopath with “deep emotional needs”? Or a sociopath who feels “totally inadequate”?”

I can apply this to my stepdaughter- who manipulated and continues to manipulate using the guilt and pity of others, and getting it- because of her “deep emotional needs”. She learned this young and continues now into her mid-20’s. Her “deep emotional needs” translates into her having a powerful sense of entitlement due to her own mentally ill mother behaving with a mixture of sociopathic, bipolar, and personality disordered ways. Because her mother had issues, she uses this against my husband in a callous and bullying way- demanding what she wants from my husband. If he doesn’t give in, she whips out the “big guilt weapon”- angrily screaming at him: “My mother’s DEAD!” as if that alone should convince him to hand over whatever money/services she wants. He owes her everything, because her mother was a lousy mother and died when she was 18.

She portrays herself in “deep emotional pain”- and maybe it is, to her- but she somehow came to believe that she deserves to hurt other people and get whatever she wants because she’ll cry at the snap of a finger for what she wants. And because tears flow, my husband believes she feels pain. Its always pain associated with herself, and NEVER for anyone else. I do not accept it, and we do not get along- she is the only one I know of who repeatedly interrupts her father at work with phone calls (that he is not allowed to keep getting) and insisting he order her a pizza to where she is hanging out or she will kill herself, because her mother is dead.

And she plays up on being helpless and inadequate. Do it for me- because “I can’t! Wahhhhh!” like a big baby. And this is a HUGE manipulation. My marriage almost ended because my husband pitied her so terribly and was guilted into doing what she wanted. She got mixed up with thugs right before graduating high school and decided to drop out and have one’s baby (and then neglect it and go on a drug binge for years” all while guilting thousands of dollars out of my husband, the whole time using her “inadequate” and “loser” portrayal because the pity got her what she wanted- lots of money without having to work for one cent of it.

I am convinced she is a sociopath- I have read it all- and even the disorders past doctors tried to diagnose her with never fit and their treatments failed. The only thing that hit the nail on the head for me was attachment disorder, which we all know is the same symptoms as a sociopath in adult disorders. So, I think any sociopath will gladly portray themselves as needy and inadequate if it plays on the feelings of the one they want to control. I know this because she simultaneously acts inadequate and like a bully at the same time.

Delores

I suggest that you read Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss by Hope Edelman before you write your step-daughter off as a psychopath and get her some grief counseling ASAP. Your step-daughter might be using a manipulative tactic but people do not become sociopaths because their mother dies. They may use manipulation or other tactics because they are lost. The loss of a mother can be acted out by a duaghter in several ways but it is a coping mechinism, not a mental disorder. Remember, psychopaths are born that way and one trait does not make one.

My mother died when I was 18 and it destroyed my life because no one was there to help me through the grief, self blame and growth to my own self-automoty. Death of a mother is a unique and devestating psychological event for a daughter especially during her teen years. This book might save her life…and yours too. This young woman needs grief counseling and understanding, not blame. Allowing her to manipulate her father and blaming her is child abuse on top of her devestating loss of her mother. I know you do not see it that way now and that is why I recommend the book.

I am begging you to get her the help she needs before it is too late. I have been there and seen it in other daughters who lost their mother at a critical time in their lives…before being able to grow up. The book will open your eyes to her acting out and how she can be helped.

4Light2shine

Wow Sharon it sounds like you’ve got her figured out pretty well. It also sounds like her devices are very effective. The death of her mother will continue to be a powerful resource for her to exploit maybe even for the rest of her life. My Pseudowife uses the death of her father years ago very subtly and very effectively to purchase the emotional bond she can cultivate and later exploit in any number of ways. I would be extra careful if I were you and don’t underestimate the power that she can exert over others to do her bidding. It’s incredible how those with raging entitlement issues who refuse to take accountability for their actions will find others to justify their entitlements and try to shelter them from taking any accountability . Mine just sits back and with supreme confidence smiles while others scramble to protect her. So you pretty much have her number. You see the manipulation. So don’t forget that. It’s an act. The tears, a tool, and you see it. Your poor husband. I can’t imagine what that’s like for him. So listen to your own words, she plays, she portrays,she uses, she manipulates. Overwhelming sadness over the loss of a loved one is not manifested by the exploitation of others. Be strong Sharon C.

Donna-

I’m glad you wrote on this topic. There seems to be so much conflict related to Antisocial Personality Disorder and how sociopathy and psychopathy relate. While I’m not a therapist or Psychiatrist, I’ve done considerable reading on the subject…. the result of marrying a psychopath and seeing the genetic effects on my son.

Even though my son rarely saw his father as he was growing up, their characters were so identical it was mind boggling. It gave me a clear understanding of the strength of nature in the developmental mix.

It was clear very early on that he had limited empathy. He slammed his pet rabbit’s head into a wall when he was 4 years old and killed him. He wasn’t angry. He wanted to know what would happen to him if he did so. He had absolutely no remorse. In the third grade, he got a teacher fired for hitting him. The man never touched a hair on his head. He was dismissed from 4 schools. If someone stumbled and fell in his path, he’d walk around him and treat him with disdain. He stole. He drank. He smoked weed and he hated me because it was my job to attempt to instill morality and decency. He provoked, enraged, and broke my heart by eventually telling me, “Now that I’m independent, what do I need you for?”

My son was not an abused child. He was loved, nurtured and cared for, however he was abandoned by his father. And that abandonment taught him how to be an abandoner…..just another tool in his inhumane arsenal.

I often hear of folks who think that the disappearance of a disordered father is a godsend. I’d say there is no clear path to prevent disordered moral reasoning in a child whose genetic mix includes a pre-dispostion to pyschopathy.

Had Dr. Ragan done a bit more digging in the annals of collective wisdom on the subject, he might have understood the influence of nurture a bit differently. The prevailing wisdom is that pre-disposed children who grow up in abusive homes are more likely to exhibit greater violence. But that does not mean that pre-disposed children who grow up in nurturing homes will not be violent or cruel.

While the influence of nurture seems to trend a child into a less violent or more violent path, it does not seem to deter them from the basic cruelty that allows them to exploit others.

The difference between a sociopath and a psychopath seems (simply put) to be at their developmental core… did the person evolve with no empathy because they lack the chemistry that would provide them with empathy or did social interaction deter their empathetic maturation? Either way, not having the ability to care about another’s pain, even if you can cognitively recognize that they are suffering, is similar in each. It deters their moral reasoning. They evolve without conscience. Whether a psychopath or a sociopath, they are mean.

From what I’ve understood, by the time a child reaches the age of 8 years old, if empathy has not developed, it is unlikely to do so. It seems imperative in a child’s development to address their sense of empathy as early as possible because it holds the key to fully functional moral reasoning. The quicker society catches on to the role empathy plays in moral development, the quicker the proliferation of antisocial personality disorder will be deterred.

Joyce

UnOccupy:Psycho:Paths

I have read the three critique articles. Great Job Donna! I just want to bring up Simon Baron-Cohen concept of cognitive vs. affective empathy. Cognitive empathy allows toxic individuals to perceive their victims mental states and they can choose to take advantage of that but feel no compunction to help someone in distress. Normal-pathy, a person with affective empathy, once they understood someone was in distress, would probably try to help. This relates to Baron-Cohen’s work with autistics. They have trouble with the cognitive part (perceiving distress), but when they know someone is in distress they will act to help(affective). Conversely, a toxic will perceive distress (cognitive) and act to take advantage or ignore. At least this is my understanding of it. Genetics is also an interest of mine.

I came from a narcissistic family and my oldest sibling was Downs syndrome. They also are characterized in what I have read as lacking empathy (cognitive), but having affective empathy. I know some parents of autistic and Downs get upset at the idea that their children are perceived as not empathetic, because they have seen them empathetic in a case where they understand someone is in distress. They may appear to be non empathetic if they are unable to perceive the distress and hence do not respond with empathy.

The next of my siblings is a high level NPD and my parents were both NPD’s. I don’t know where I went wrong, but I am the white sheep of the family of Black sheep. I don’t really know about my Downs syndrome sibling, because he died before I was born. Downs syndrome victims are prone to heart failure.

Carrie

From my limited contact with a disordered character I would have to say in my experience they do know when others are in distress but if they are getting what they want they really don’t care. I had always believed people had some good in them but through this interaction and a job that involves many disordered characters I have changed that opinion. I believe that people who lack empathy, conscience and I would add are lazy, do so because they can and whilst people excuse and enable their behaviour they will continue to do so. I was one of those enablers. I feel sure they continue to behave as they do because they can and above all they like winning. They want it all without giving anything in return and in their minds why would they change their behaviour when they can take whatever they want. The person I knew was certain we were very similar because we could see behind the masks people wore. There was a difference – I try to see the good in people, disordered characters see people’s vulnerabilities and then use those findings to manipulate and exploit them. This particular person had 4 children by 4 different women, none of whom he stayed with or supported, women and children ( emotionally or financially) unless it suited him to do so. I believe most of these women were already single mothers and so were easy to exploit, grateful for a man who wouldn’t condemn them and also easy for him to continue living as he wished, seeing other women etc: It’s hard for a single Mum to socialise and meet guys, get babysitters so why would they question their man going out when they were probably really glad of the limited relationship and company when it came their way. To me that really is not a sign or some-one lacking in self esteem or confidence. He knew the easiest women to latch onto so he wouldn’t be questioned and he could continue living as a single man, going home for the odd night of passion when there wasn’t anything else on offer. If that is not premeditated and malicious I don’t know what is, surely he knew exactly what he was doing but just didn’t care? I have always felt very fortunate I wasn’t one of the 4 and feel real empathy and compassion for them all, even though I don’t know any of them I feel sure they were kind women who were used and thrown away when the guy tired of them and something ‘better’ came along.
Interestingly I once asked him how come in the 3 years I had known him he had never apologised to me for anything. I said that although I had always had his best interests at heart there had been occasions when I had apologised because I felt I may have inadvertently hurt or wounded him and yet he had never once said sorry to me. his answer was ‘ why would I , I have nothing to be sorry for’ ? Kinda says it all.
Great articles and scary that psychologists are still blaming a troubled childhood. As the last member shows not ALL people from troubled parents become troubled. Mine , in his mid fifties, still blamed his mother for his inability to commit to anyone. At what age do you start taking responsibility for yourself – ah so much easier to blame some-one else. And what is also worrying is if people who have suffered this kind of abuse go to an approved therapist and their beliefs are as stated above the abused will not only not find the support and validation they so deserve but may be re-traumatised by the ‘professional’ they have turned to for help.

bluemosaic

Thanks Donna for posting this. This makes it very clear as to why there are so many misperceptions out there about Narc’s./ Socio./Psycho. People want to believe they were abused and that is why they are so destructive, cruel,evil and malicious. Why do we not see evil exists anymore?
Spath’s have absolute self-esteem, from my experience. My ex-BF thought he was God’s gift to all women and in his professions.
He truly enjoyed exploiting a woman’s vulnerabilities and causing her shame and humiliation. These “tell’s” occurred when he was drunk.
I am grateful he did not keep me longer, painful as the discard was. I no longer pray for his soul, I pray for the women he may target.

Bluemosaic

4Light2shine

I just wanted to say to Jm and UnOccupy how much it means to some of us who are relatively new at all of this to be able to benefit from the years of research and applied wisdom you’ve shared with us. All Donna’s work here is so important, but then when others also with wealths of knowledge weigh in the resulting education the rest of us receive is invaluable. So thank you, and please continue to share your pearls ( or should I say perils ) ?

Beyond simply not caring,they decidedly will use the information their cognitive empathy elicits toward causing harm. The psychopath will feel accomplishment at undermining their victim.

When they “love-bomb”, it is merely the investment they make to benefit at their victim’s expense. Their pay-off will vary widely from money, sex, affection, and even for something as basic as simply knowing they got over on someone.

They use their ability to comprehend people as a means to satisfy their personal needs and wants whereas people with virtue will use that same information to lend a helping hand.

In my book I wrote a bit about the lack of balance that exists with psychopaths. They rarely exhibit the ability to weigh the impact of their behavior vs. even a slight, momentary gain they produce for themselves.

Often, when a victim tries to relate the behavior of a psychopath to a would-be-supporter, it’s met with doubt because there seems to be so little to have been gained by their atrocious acts. Well intended folks expect “reasons” and look for “reasoned behavior” in the acts of others. They will often foist blame on the victim because they think in terms of cause and effect. The fact that the victim hadn’t “caused” the “effect” does not apply in a predatory relationship, but if they’re not familiar with antisocial personality disorder, they would simply not know.

serenity12

To be honest at first when I heard the word sociopath and blogged here for the first time I was so trauma bonded and brainwashed that I actually thought I was a sociopath. I was afraid that I was using the word “sociopath” as an excuse for a rough relationship that I didn’t want to take blame for…but through therapy and this site I learned that he was WAY worse than what I had thought and as we progressed toward the end how disturbed this man actually was.

My point: For me what Ragan describes as his definition is SPOT on with who my ex was. He came from a war torn country, witnessed death, abuse, neglect and in turn abused me so badly with EXTREME mental manipulation over a course of 5 years that had me so warped.

In the end he did turn violent, he was SO promiscuous, made me feel that I was crazy and could never do any better then him.

I believe that he is right that an abusive up bringing is definitely a cause of psychopathic tendencies, but I believe its not the ONLY reason. Its a nature vs nurture debate and I think it swings both ways.

Psychopathy is a genetic pre-disposition. I noticed my son’s lack of empathy very early on in his life. I wish Dr. Leedom’s book had existed when I raised my son, but it didn’t, and I struggled to instill morality in a child who lacked the basic component.

The similarity between father and son is ironic, given that the father had little to do with his son up to the age of 6, and then disappeared altogether from his life.

Around the age of 18, he was working with a psychiatrist who recommended he look up his father. He learned that his father was an extraordinarily wealthy man (through the association with his long-time girlfriend,) and began creating havoc in my life while cozying up to his father. The final blow came when he eventually told me, “Now that I’m independent, what do I need you for?” I’ve barely heard from him in 5 years.

Relationships to a psychopath are very shallow. Even a maternal bond carries no weight. Love never crosses their minds. My son is very good looking and intelligent. He has pieces of his father’s charm, lies, cheats and steals with no remorse. While he’s a bully and quite capable of being abusive, he’s not one of the Hanibal Lechters of the world. The very little solace I have out of raising him is that he could have been worse.

From what I understand of the recent commentary on the subject, a sociopath and a psychopath are separated merely by the core that produced the lack of empathy in the child. A psychopath acquires it in their genes, while a sociopath comes by it through social interaction as they develop.

Since very few of us have the medical skill to examine the basis of development for each and every predator that exists, conjecturing how they came by their antisocial behavior can only be theory. But whatever caused it, the result is the same lack of humanity that expresses itself in countless ways.

I believe that it was Dr. Hare that expressed that a child who is pre-psychopathic is more likely to become violent when raised with violence. But there is no indication that a pre-psychopathic child will not become violent when raised in a home with no violence.

We can only hope to create an awareness in society over the importance of empathy, both cognitive and affective, in the development of a child’s moral reasoning so that parents can intervene to provide as much direction as possible in each child’s early years.

For those who question my divulging information about my son, I write under my maiden name, which is not his name.

Joyce

Erdelyi

I started “collecting” sociopaths in high school. One of my best friends was a spath. I was totally oblivious for 15 years. Even though this boy was a simple platonic relationship, we were so close that he was like my brother. Even my mother was enamored of him. His behavior was quirky- but not “dangerous” or violent. Things often didn’t add up. But because he wasn’t particularly distructive or overtly mean- nobody paid attention. My sister and I just shrugged it off until one day we realized he was stealing money from us, jewelry out of the family jewelry boxes, CLOTHES from our closets…well, thru a series of odd events we realized he was a transvestite with a lot of “boyfriends” (return customers). His own family realized this and did things like paid for all the clothes he shoplifted, took his car away, kicked him out of the house when he stole stuff from purses and pockets at his own father’s shiva! My sister and I went to the library and took out books on “Abnormal Psychology” until we found the “personality disorder” that fit his “lifestyle”! This was in the early 1970s. Since then I’ve met many more! Often my girlfriend’s husbands, boyfriends, one father even! One thing that is not often mentioned on “developing a spath” is that they seem to “begin” with lying and stealing. Small stuff. They get away with the small stuff and DON’T GET PUNISHED. So they step it up a notch! Well, THEY STILL DON’T GET PUNISHED….Quite rapidly they realize that they can get away with baldfaced lies- even really obvious lies and people just let them get away with it. So in a VERY SHORT TIME- they realize they can just do as they please because they can simply TALK themselves out of getting into “trouble”. Often they lie and the person who is actually telling the TRUTH is considered the liar! And it just goes on…

Erdelyi,
You make a really good point about how many of these individuals start out by lying;then when they get away with lying and don’t receive punishment or “consequences”,they become arrogant and feel what they’re doing is “normal”.The last two sentences of your post is so true,as I’ve experienced!

Blossom-

By the time they get to you as an adult, their pattern of psychopathy or sociopathy is well established. If they don’t have empathy by the age of 8, they are unlikely to ever develop it. Where there is no empathy, there is no conscience.

While it’s true that chidren without empathy are prone to lie, cheat or steal, it is not accurate to assume that their parents made no effort to impart consequences- and so their disorder snowballed.

My son killed his rabbit at age 4 with his bare hands. He had never seen or been confronted with violence in his life.

I made every effort possible to raise my son to be a morally intact individual. Children who are disordered do not respond to consequences. They do not relate to cause and effect. It’s like talking to a wall. In fact, any effort to impart a consequence will simply make them excessively angry. Rules don’t apply to them. Common decency does not exist in a relationship with them. Time-outs don’t matter. Reasoning doesn’t matter. Psychiatry didn’t help, in fact, it made the problem worse.

My son ran away several times at my insistence that he obey the rules. Living with a disordered child is a heartbreaking nightmare.

For every male psychopath or sociopath out there, there’s a mother. And it’s often a mother who loves them and did everything possible to raise and nurture them. Some kids are simply encouragable.

Joyce

Joyce,
An incorrigible child, or “black sheep of the family”,as they used to be called,has got to be the heartbreak of every mother;the frustration for every father.

I think about my own in-laws.When I really think about it,I think they must have just finally given into exasperation.They wanted to do what was right.Spath wouldn’t live by their rules.He wouldn’t live by the rules of the Catholic school.So he and his brother were placed in public school.He didn’t follow the rules there either.He would start out with ‘minor’ offences,but before long,he was into serious trouble.His father knew the ‘right’ people,and he got him out of ‘hot water’.Years later,his dad was still yelling at him,telling him what a loser he was,and reminding him of all the times he got him out of trouble.It was a dysfunctional family~but I know there was alot of frustration that wasn’t handled properly!

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