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By | December 6, 2007 21 Comments

Inside the mind of a killer: What caused Hawkins to snap?

Yesterday a 19 y/o man named Robert Hawkins entered the Westroads Mall in Omaha, Nebraska with an AK-47 assault rifle and killed eight people before killing himself. News commentators have been discussing what happened and several are discussing the question of whether he was depressed and taking antidepressants. I think people feel better blaming antidepressant medication for these incidents because it is too frightening to accept that there are so many sociopaths (with the potential for violence) living among us.

Hawkins apparently had no arrest record prior to this event and was not known to be violent. At the time of the shooting he was living with the mother of a high school friend, Debora Maruca Kovac. He called her immediately before the shooting, saying he was, “sorry.” He also left a suicide note saying that he would now be “famous.” Ms. Kovac also said she took Hawkins into her home because, he “reminded me of a lost puppy that nobody wanted.” (Watch landlord describe phone call from shooter) Let this be a wake up call to those of us who have felt sorry for a suspected sociopath. Hind sight is always 20/20 when it comes to people who have the traits of sociopathy. Foresight is never as good.

Researchers have discovered that people with a lot of sociopathic traits fall into two groups. The first group are the “primary psychopaths.” Primary psychopaths are not neurotic, they are in fact immune to anxiety and depression. In his famous book, The Mask of Sanity, published in the 1940s, Dr. Hervey Cleckley described many people who were primary psychopaths.

In the 1980s, Dr. Robert Hare developed a widely used test called the PCL-R. He used Dr. Cleckley’s research to develop this test and his initial intent was to identify these primary psychopaths. The PCL-R has subsequently been used to assess thousands of people. Further research has identified a second group of psychopaths. These people have been called “neurotic,” and “secondary” psychopaths. Researchers who want to distinguish this group also call them sociopaths. This second group is much more common, than the first!

Neurotic or secondary psychopaths are more behaviorally impulsive and so are very prone to violence. This impulsivity also means they can’t control their emotions, so, different from primary psychopaths, these individuals experience a lot of negative emotions, anxiety, depression and anger. These emotions make others feel empathy for them.

Both primary and secondary psychopathy are caused by the human social dominance drive. In primary psychopathy this drive gives rise to a personality that has unshakable, high self esteem (grandiosity). Primary psychopaths perceive themselves as having status and ruthlessly pursue acquiring more status and defending the status they have. This is why they never admit fault and they are not able to experience shame.

Secondary psychopaths also have very strong dominance motivation. However, because they have poor impulse control, they have a hard time acquiring status and maintaining that unshakable grandiose view of themselves. When secondary psychopaths experience a status threat such as the loss of a job or love relationship, they are very likely to react violently; they also do not experience shame, but they do experience humiliation. While people who feel shame, submit and act remorsefully, people who feel humiliation blame everyone else and act aggressively.

Hawkins and his behavior fit the profile of a secondary psychopath. In the last two weeks, he reportedly lost his job and his girlfriend. Please understand that his desire to be “famous” reflects the abnormally high activity of his social dominance drive, as does his violent behavior. People who are not under the power of this drive shut down and feel shame/remorse when they have these setbacks.

The social dominance drive is behind all of man’s inhumanity to man. It is therefore very important that we learn as much as we can about it. Unfortunately there are very few researchers studying the role of dominance motives in human behavior. I know of only two in the United States. Furthermore, the role of dominance motivation in sociopathy/psychopathy is not acknowledged much. I hope to change that. I look forward to the day when news commentators stop talking about antidepressants as causing this behavior. It is only through acknowledgement and understanding of the dominance drive that we can begin to combat its effects.


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eyesopened

Thank you, Dr., for so clearly delineating the distinction between primary and secondary (or sociopaths) psychopaths. It’s very helpful.

changedforever

This is interesting Dr. I would like your opinion on my case. After I broke up with my ex. he went through a series of different reactions. The first week after I cut all contact with him he reacted like in panic with frequent phone calls but keeping up with the lie (denying that he cheated on me).
Then he changed his strategy and was aggressive and verbally abusive accusing me off creating the all story by myself for my convenience. (Still denying he cheated)
After he learned that his family and friends knew that we broke up because he cheated on me more than four times during our relationship, he reacted kind of humiliated, blaming me for exposing and humiliating him. (Still denying he cheated)
After almost three months he decided to go to his Church and I don’t know what happen or what he talked with the priest, but after that he reacted kind of remorseful for what he did. He decided to apologize and admitted his guilt and asked me to go back to him. He even told me he felt something good inside of him after they prayed for him in the Church. “He felt changed from inside” that’s his words.
Because all this didn’t work, now he is playing the victim. He is spreading around to his friends how much he loves me and that he even humiliated himself telling me the truth hoping for my forgiveness and so on, and begging them to ask me to forgive him and go back to him. I’m chocked because this is not the behavior I knew for almost seven years.
The funny thing is that now on people’s eyes it looks like I’m the bad one in this movie. Everybody is really sorry for him, telling me that he is being honest and he is suffering a lot with all this and I’m reacting like I have no heart and I can’t forgive him. This is the longest break up I’ve ever had. I don’t know how much longer?

Beverly

Pitanga. When I had suspicions my ex was cheating (maybe with men too) I thought I was going crazy, I tried talking to a family member of his, but she kept denying it all, saying he wouldnt possibly do that, he is a decent man. I had many break ups with my ex, some short, some longer. In hindsight, I should have stayed out Permanently on one of those break ups, but he was wily in getting me back. Because I went back to him, the damage to my mental welfare has been compounded and he is not around to pick up the pieces. He has destroyed the foundation of your relationship, WHATEVER he says or does, however much he professes to be repentent, do not take him back – you will regret it, I can assure you. Taking him back was the worst thing I did. Also kept telling friends about what was happening, and because they didnt understand what was really happening, i was told that maybe I was being abit needy etc. I allowed other people’s judgements to cloud my own. You must not take him back. It has been 3 months since I dumped him, but I am now suffering post stress symptoms, I cannot sleep properly, obsessive thoughts etc. You must make this the last breakup. Dont be fooled or intimidated by him, get yourself some support and protection and get out and stay out. Dont have any further contact with him either, dont let him suck you in. Change your phone number if and email if you have to. You know this man is wrong – keep him away from you

Beverly

Dear Liane, When my ex started ‘his behaviour’ I did alot of fact finding and thinking about people who are avoiders and pursuers, committmentphobics, afraid of intimacy, cheaters, sociopaths etc. What I a thinking is that alot of the core feeling seem to be the same. Avoidance and projection of pain, sufference in a love relationship. Could you cast any further information on this please.?

eyesopened

Beverly

I just wanted to thank you and so many others on this site – Southernman, Laman, apt/mgr, just for starters – for sharing your stories and letting us, who come across them here, find clarity and peace of mind.

We can see our experiences in all of your stories. I liken it to a police composite drawing – little random bits of information that form a common portrait. In addition, there have countless pieces of thoughtful insight that I count as gifts i.e., apt/mgr.’s gem: “I won’t make someone a priority in my life if I’m only an option in theirs.”

Your “bits and pieces”, expressed in such soul-baring letters, were what helped me make sense of something so wildly insensible and allowed me to to recover the strength and peace that was so elusive and the joy I wasn’t sure I’d have again.

I recently sent a note to Donna thanking her for creating this community. I wrote that I surprised even myself when I blurted out to my sister something I’ve never said before: “I’ve found my people!” I didn’t even know I was looking for people. I’m not the type who does.

We may all be here because of a sociopath (or two) but I have found in these posts we may share more than that. Perhaps, it’s the same nature that made us connect with a sociopath in the first place.

I only know that the bond I have found here, and for which I am so grateful, extends beyond that common experience.

For me, it’s been the growth and enlightenment we’ve all undergone; the vulnerability to share publicly such great pain, humiliation and devastation; the gentle kindness for each person’s particular stage of healing and recovery; and the pervasive sense of hope and resilience.

Most importantly for me was the acceptance, among so many here, of two core values of mine: compassion for animals and the respect for God, who has sustained me through so many things including, but perhaps most dramatically, my experience with a sociopath.

I hope everyone continues to share, suggest and encourage those who write and read the posts on this site. Like a pebble thrown into a creek, you’ll never know the number of people you have helped.

eyesopened

PS. I would also add that a common (and winsome) denominator in this group seems to be a defined sense of integrity – both in the character of the writers and in those with whom they will place their trust.

apt/mgr

To eyesopened,
I, too, found a common denominator amongst the ones here. I truly thought I was imagining the happenings in my life. I couldn’t think that a fellow human being could do what those in my life did. I know by comparison, that what I went through wasn’t as horrible as many out here, but the end result is the same. We come through it, and we wonder what happened. How could I have been so dumb? It’s almost surreal. To think that someone just wants to use me, was more than my mind could comprehend. I don’t do that, so I didn’t think anyone would do that to me.

I’ve heard many times since, that kindness is a weakness. Shouldn’t be. I just know now that some people get their jollies pulling a fast one on someone. If they would, from the get go, show their true colors, it would be easy to spot them. They are so cunning and deceitful. In my case, I thought I had found a kindred spirit in a man, of all things. Throw sex in the mix, and you have a perfect relationship that is so real. What a disappointment to find out it was just an illusion.

I have learned the hard way, and it’s hard to just walk away, but if they don’t reciprocate or initiate, then I’m done. It’s just putting energy into a bag that has no bottom. I read something before about a love bank. If no one makes a deposit into our bank, we become bankrupt and there is no one to care. So it’s up to us to determine whether we want someone to continue doing this to us. The sad part is, and I speak from experience, that some never find the freedom. I always knew there had to be more, but I didn’t think I had the right to choices, too. Stinking thinking. Some asked why I waited so long. I was waiting for the man I met. Now I know he never existed. Only for me to get me. Then he quit and became the real him. I don’t know him let alone like him. Because I have nothing to hide, I didn’t think others did.

These blogs let us see that we really aren’t alone and we can draw strength on each other’s experiences. And it really is okay to tell someone, no, I don’t do that to you and you can no longer do that to me. For we women, it’s important this day and age to have our income. Being independent is important, otherwise a man wants to own us and if he has no income, he’ll play the pity party, and we feel sorry for him, and before you know it, he has us. I think we women should set guidelines and go halves. If they can’t carry their part, then it’s over. I have a quote posted in my office. It says, ” A woman’s ability to earn a living is better protection against the tyranny and brutality of men than her ability to vote”, Victoria Woodhall. As long as we don’t rely on a man to provide for us, he can’t own us. We have to be careful though they don’t con us into taking care of them. That’s what happened to me because I was weak and needy. But I needed to go through that to be where I’m at. I’ve watched a lot of women totally dependent on their man, and he dies and they are left helpless. I don’t want that for me, and I made sure my daughters had educations and marketable skills so they can make it out here.

But I’m here to say that no man will ever do to me what my husband did and then a friend who said he wanted to help me. I’ve heard the lines and I’m so guarded anymore, that I don’t think I can trust a man again to the point I did before. Trust in my opinion, is just a license for them to do a number on us and we keep taking them back. They need to work for the relationship. I’ve been so taken for granted, that I don’t even want to share anything again. I just smile and let them wonder what I’m up to for a change.

I’m on the other side of the disillusionment but I still constantly wonder why. And what was the purpose. Now if anything is proposed, my catch phrase is, what will it prove? If there isn’t anything of substance to the proposal, and there isn’t something there to include me, I quit before I start. Maybe that is an awful approach, but to have been so used, I won’t allow it and if it happens it will be my fault. I want equality and mutuality. I won’t be a mother to a grown man. My mom, before she died almost 50 years ago, gave my oldest sister some sage advice. She said to never feel sorry for a man. My sister couldn’t understand that at the time. But basically once you feel sorry for them, you become their mother, provider and enabler. I don’t know what’s more depleting in a relationship, than being with someone who drains you of all emotions and gives nothing but grief. I digress, but this is a great place to compare and learn. Oh, if I just had this many years ago and knew what to look for, I could have spared my girls and I a lot of grief, but then, I wouldn’t know what I do now.

Beverly

I am interested in spiritual nature of life and I have stumbled across a website that gives alot of information on the energetic interplay of relationships – how we are hooked etc. Where as I dont wholly subscribe to any particular religion or philosophy – I am always interested in raising my consciousness and it certainly has helped me deepen my understanding. Try http://www.famousrabbis.com.

Beverly

For me, I have learned that I had a capacity to feel sorry for people who were down on life. Prior to meeting my ex, I had shouldered an alcoholic in my work beyond what I should have done professionally. What I dont want to turn into, is someone who is fearful of life and hard of heart. I am learning to protect myself from people who want to zap my energy. The one characteristic about the relationship with my ex, which I have never had with another ex, is the feeling of absolute exhaustion, a draining of my energy. In fact when we had our numerous break ups, I was pleased to see the back of him to recoup my energy. I have burnt the photos of my ex with his staring eyes, which gave me a shudder when I looked at him. Now I will block him out completely and carry on with the plans of my life, which I had before I was sidetracked ‘out of the blue’ by meeting him. It has been very therapeutic to meet others on this site who understand what destruction is caused.

apt/mgr

I, too, am afraid that I will become so cold hearted as far as relationships are concerned, that I will never be able to let go and feel again. I know I will always have compassion, when there is truly a need, but as for giving of myself freely, I can’t see it happening. It’s the incredible hurt I feel, that I could give of myself, and it meant absolutely nothing, other than to make me a target. To see something other than love in the eyes of the one who is the father of my children and knowing that he wanted to be mothered, rather than “wifed”, makes a mockery out of what should have been the foundation for family.

We talk here and read other places how these people just can’t connect and feel real. I always assumed that was a given for all. We are in the Christmas season, and there are so many women who have boyfriends and husbands who let Christmas happen instead of helping make it happen. That, too, drains a woman. She becomes so exhausted doing both parts and when a grown up is taking but giving nothing and thinks just by showing up, they did all that was required, makes one glad to see the back of their head going out the door. I’ve been able to connect with total strangers standing in a check out line, than with someone who used my body to satisfy his lust. There has to be something misfiring in their minds, to cause them to do what they do.

I agree with you, Beverly, that it drains a person so much when you have to do it all. This friend of mine, is the same. He only reciprocated when he thought there was something in it for him, other wise he just quit, but he wants me to keep doing my part. I’ve tried to get him to see how he just quit, and he said he didn’t. His excuse is that he changed. I said into what? It was just a stupid game he played. It has left me so uncertain and questioning myself. I can’t keep going around and asking if I’m doing life right. What I did worked for my children, so if it doesn’t for me, I guess, oh well. I just don’t know how they can be so obtuse. They are oblivious to the obvious.

I guess I’m more sad than anything. It saddens me that someone could live a life, that is short enough as it is, and not really get into it or approach it with so much anger, they miss the true meaning of life, but in my case and probably the rest of us here, they are right and I’m wrong. Compromise isn’t in their vocabulary. It’s their way or no way. They have so much pride that it prevents them from admitting they just might be wrong. I’ve been told I’m too deep for the ones in my life. Maybe that’s the problem. They are intimidated by me instead of the other way around. I’ve been told, too, that it sounds like my husband has been jealous of me. That could be too. But unless the problem is brought out into the open, it can’t be dealt with. I’m all for laying it all on the table and doing all we can to clear the air. But I’m all alone in my approach.

I know that if I can’t be with the ones I want to be with, I won’t settle anymore. I don’t want any more pretense in my life. I want truth and if that means I’ll be alone, then so be it. My kids all went their way and I’m pretty much alone. I “why” it all to death and wonder where it all went awry. I think my husband wanted a wife for different reasons that I wanted a husband. The commitment phobe will quit, and if they do, it has to be because they have their own agenda.

I guess if no one else believes us, we believe each other. We describe each other’s pain, so it’s not something we imagined. We actually feel the same thing. Emptiness. Void of a return. Them wanting something, but giving us no idea what they want. And if we don’t comply, we get punished. Neglect, excluded, verbal, silence, abuse of any kind to let us know we did something wrong but we don’t know what. We can have conversations and they walk away and we wonder what just happened and what did we talk about because it was so disjointed. It’s been a confusing journey and shouldn’t have been. The joy left. No one to laugh with, and share our deepest thoughts and hurts, because they are the ones who hurt us but refuse to acknowledge it and will turn it around and say, but look what you did? I guess we’ve all traveled that path, and I know for me, I feel at times like a displaced person. Like, how did I get here and now what do I do? I have to recoup and am just not sure I know which way to go. I’m someone who wants to finish what I started and hate loose ends, and I end up being a loose end. Not befitting a proper ending.

FYI:
“What do you make of a 19 year old multiple killer who reminded his landlady of “a lost puppy that nobody wants“?

I interrupt my series of posts on pschopaths and lying to consider a perfect example in the news right now – the Omaha, Nebraska mall-killer Robert Hawkins….”

apt/mgr

For me, it scares me at times to wonder who I’m interacting with and just what is behind the eyes. How well does one know anyone and just what they are capable of doing? I’ve watched many people go through the motions of living, but I have never, thank God, been around someone who hated other people and life to the extent this 19 year old did and the others who saw fit to end someone’s life. How sad, at that age, to have nothing to live for or hope for. And none of the people who died had done anything to him. Random acts of killing, just because. Makes me want to retreat from life. How do we know how someone will react if we reject their advances? So many take things personally and they want someone to pay for their misery. What evil lurks behind eyes that seem to know kindness and caring, but suddenly, the right something turns them into a maniac and no one saw it coming. We have to be so careful who gets our love and what they want to do with it. Love isn’t always love to those who have sick minds. That love will be turned into a torture chamber, but yet they will still call it love. I guess it’s safer to love at a distance.

eyesopened

apt/mgr.

Good point about “feeling sorry” for anyone in any relationship.

When I look back to the three or four times during my very bad experience with one sociopath, there were three or four times my “strong” self should have run.

I “felt sorry” for him – and for what I mistook as a serious lack of social ignorance or upbringing – after he profusely apologized.

Each time I did, though, I found myself more invested and mired in the relationship while at the same time losing more leverage in the relationship, I became more tolerant and less valued and, in the end, I was the one left holding the bag.

Coincidentally soon after that, I become friends socially with two women who matched many of the sociopathic markers. I noticed that one, who with her boyfriend pretty much lived off their friends, would cut them off immediately whenever they said “no” to her. She even told me her parents never told her no.

In both cases, I watched their behavior like I would watch a film without the soundtrack and deliberately chose not to feel sorry for them although one of them thrived on people’s sympathy. As a result, I didn’t invest myself, kept my balance and didn’t slide gradually down into being used, and easily extracted myself.

I handled the friendships so much differently than my relationship and suffered no damage as a result. I can see that in my case at least, feeling sorry for someone, was the crucial mistake.

Thank you for identifying that connection.

apt/mgr

To eyesopened,
I always thought sympathy and empathy were just signs of compassion and understanding. I never, in all my waking hours, thought someone had ulterior motives for wanting someone to feel sorry for them.

The first time for me was when I was 19 and just shortly after I met the man who was to become my husband and he was 34. We weren’t engaged but were very close. He had to have hernia surgery. It was to be his second operation. Rather simple procedure, but I know anytime someone goes “under the knife”, can cause complications. But I had faith and confidence and thought he did too. Right before he was to go in he had this break down of sorts and was so distraught. I asked why and he said he just knew he was going to die during surgery. That freaked me out, because he was healthy and he did this before. There was no consoling him and when he came to, he broke down, so relieved to be alive. He had me already then, because I was distraught right along with him. That set the precedent over the course of our married life. It got extremely worse after the children were born. Every time he got a cold, he knew he had pneumonia. He had a back surgery and needed blood transfusions and this was before they started screening for HIV. Well when they started talking about that, every time after , when he got sick, he just knew he had AIDS. As I reflect over those years, I see the pattern now that I couldn’t then, but I had no idea a grown man would do this to a woman he was having a sexual relationship with. I was so naive on the traits of a man and had no one to ask. I just went blindly along.

It was many years after the fact, that I finally asked a pastor friend what his behavior might mean. He told me from his years of study, that my husband wanted a mother. That told me something weird happened in his past concerning his true feelings towards his mother and grandmother. I just know it was a weird ride. I still think something misfires when a man has sex for the first time. There is something weird going on in his mind and he projects that to the woman of the moment. The pastor friend said, as sick as it sounds, when my husband had sex with me, he was actually thinking of his mother. That very easily could be. All the sex, didn’t change a thing between us and actually only got worse. I exhausted myself trying to please this human being who couldn’t be pleased. I’m done. I refuse to feel sorry for another unless I know for sure there is a reason. I will give my children the sympathy they need, but they never messed with my head.

I’ve learned the hard way to distinguish between mother-lover and the two don’t belong in the same sentence. Sometimes we women have a tendency to mother, but it’s only because this man is a pouty-wouty man who is childish. Not child like. He whines, moans and groans to get attention. If you don’t pay attention, he becomes more angry and will go out and find someone who will feel sorry for him. They are so very immature. I never would have thought a man who was 15 years older than I, would act like this. He has made me feel like some decrepit old woman. So I refuse to do that again, and if a man, in any situation, comes to me for sympathy, I’ll offer it to some degree, but I’ve become very aloof. I’m not going to let another man or woman, take me to that place in their mind that is very dark and morose. I want positive reinforcement and I guess I’m on my own. It sure helps to share our plights.

Beverly

My ex would call me nasty names during sex and this wasnt erotic talk, it was nasty stuff, which made me realise that deep down he hated women. The first time it happened, I am no prude, but I was quite shocked. All his sexual behaviour seemed to be cloned off porn sites he had seen. He needs women for love and affection but also hates them because they have the capacity to hurt him like his mother did. She abused him and also she did not defend him against the abuse of his father. He is acting out, but he is abusing in the same way his parents did, but the difference is that he has constructed a whole set of complicated thoughts and behaviours that lets him off the hook in his mind, without a thought for the poor partner.

apt/mgr

I shudder as I wonder just what was going through my husbands mind during sex, for him to turn it off immediately and become the angry man again. It’s been such an upside down world, that I just can’t see myself trying it again. To know there are several different trains of thought going through their minds, causes me to retreat. I couldn’t keep up with it. I thought if a man had all the creature comforts, he should be satisfied.

As I reflect, I have to pause and absorb my surroundings to realize I’m no longer there. They can’t do this again. They might try, but I will not get lost in a man again. I married with the idea that he was my protector, mutual nurturer, etc. I tell my daughters that if they could have known the man I met, they would realize where I’m coming from. The man I met is the one he is with everyone but me and our children. He can laugh and joke with others, but not us. That’s what is so mind blowing and what blew my confidence. How could he go from being one person to being someone I was afraid of and how could he turn it on and off at will? I guess I’ll never know because he won’t talk about it. So I just go my merry way and he does,too. It’s safer that way.

Espressogirl

Hawkins had been in the hands of psychiatry. Every school shooter to date has that history. Drugs change a personality drastically, making people do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do. The best site I have found is http://www.cchr.org that explains how and why that occurs.

Drugs change people. Psychiatric, street – they are all from the same kind of laboratories and they all cause chemical changes in a person’s body chemistry, creating antisocial behavior.

There are thousands of lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies right now for this very reason, and more and more psychiatrists are going to jail.

It is not to remove blame from sociopaths but to alert you to the primary cause. I would highly recommend checking out that site, and I will post my story on the main site as well.
After I recovered, I discovered what really happened early on to cause such behavior in my ex husband, and that was when I started to regain my sanity.

Grace63

I find all the discussions on lovefraud.com interesting. I am still recovering from my own experience with a sociopath and
also because I have been studying the human mind and have always been fascinated with it.

I have been plagued by many questions about how a sociopath’s mind works, and by some of the same questions the posters have posted in the past on these blogs.

But, I have to say something about the last post posted by Espressogirl…many of the readers, and many people in your community and mine must take one kind of psychiatrict drug or medication. And MOST DO NOT become murderers or indulge in antisocial behavior…most do NOT harm others as a result of taking these medications.

You say every school shooter to date has been “in the hands of psychiatry.” The logic you use is alarming; you could also say that all the school shooters were bullied, all the school shooters had a mom and a dad, etc. But, it doesn’t show a causal effect of any kind.

You say that “drugs change people. Psychiatric, street- they are all from the same kind of laboratories and they all cause chemical changes in a person’s body chemistry, creating antisocial behavior.”

Not all drugs are created in the same laboratories, homemade methamphetamine laboratories are not the same
as government regulated laboratories.

I still have many questions about sociopathy and psychopathy…and, I truly do like how my friend described my ex – “he’s got missing parts.” I believe sociopathy is on a continuum…but, he had many of the traits described on this site: no conscience, very little empathy, impulse control problems, a grandiose manner, lying pathologically.

And, he refused to see mental health counselors or a psychiatrist…he hated medications. Or so he said anyhow.

So, what is the primary cause of sociopathy? It certainly is NOT the pharmaceutical companies, antidepressants, etc.
I believe it is a combination of things…mostly the fact that person was born with a lemon for a brain. I believe it is mostly inborn. Some things can exacerbate the problem, just like some things can minimize the affect of the problem, especially if dealt with at an early age.

Sometimes I get bogged down “how could he do that.” Some things may never be completely understood…the main thing I have to be concerned about now…is taking care of ME — and avoiding such people in the future…he IS the way IS…and, that is all there is to it…

Peace to all

Espressogirl

The truth is, Hawkins and the other killers were in the hands of psychiatrists and had been treated with mind altering drugs.

Yes, it is difficult to stomach sometimes. Here is another site that explains more: http://www.newstarget.com/022330.html

There are also sociopaths who get off on being cruel and if you tried to change them they would injure or kill someone in order to be right, and to prove you wrong.

A whole different issue than school and mall gunmen.

Ox Drover

Since sociopaths existed BEFORE there were “chemical laboratories” I would say that not all psychopaths or sociopathic killers were created by “mind altering drugs” cooked up in laboratories.

“Causation” is not proven by the fact that “all killers were in the hands of psychiatrists,” even if that were the case.

99% of all Heroin users ate cornflakes as children. Does that prove that Cornflakes cause heroin use? Of course not.

Yes, antipsychotic and other medications do alter the mind, and generally for the better, though this is an ongoing learning process in medicine. In earlier days people who were mentally ill were considered demon-possessed or killed or confined by society. Today, with the medications available many people live productive and happy lives with medication.

Psychiactriac medication is not perfect, but in only the last 10 years great strides have been made as the human genome has been cracked, and as improved scans have allowed us to know more of what is going on inside the human brain.

Just as immunizations have allowed most women to raise their childrenn in the western world free from the “childhood” diseases that ravaged our fore-mother’s families so that they could hope to raise only a few of their many children. These same immunizations do have rare side effects and one child in many may actually be harmed by the immunizations, but the millions of lives that are saved more than compensate for the rare side effect in the overall good of humanity.

Smallpox and polio have essentially been eliminated from our world. Diptheria, mumps, measles, typhoid and many other horrible diseases are now essentially unknown, and these are the diseases that as recently as 50 years ago killed or disabled many children every year. Yet, there are those that are violently opposed to vaccinating their children because they do not understand how important it is to protect not only their children but other children from these diseases.

While I believe there is a mix of genetic and environmental factors that make sociopaths/psychopaths what they are, the cameleon factor in them, in that they can appear “pitiful and needy” and prey on the sympathy and empathy of others “like a lost puppy no one wanted” makes others vulnerable to their scams, cons, and advantage-taking. While this unfortunate young man’s actions (killing at random in order to be “famous”) certainly appear sociopathic, I have no way of judging what his lifelong pattern of behavior has been so won’t go so far as to label him sociopathic. There could be many other factors that came into play. I am sure the media will ferret them out for exposure though. However he may have also have been bi-polar, or some other mental illness instead.

The main thing about a sociopath or psychopathic person is that they have a life long history of antisocial behavior, not just one random episode.

While his landlord did not expect this kind of behavior from him, at the same time she did know that he was having some problems. I think we do need to be aware, though,, that any human being can behave violently under the right circumstances and if someone is obviously not “doing well” they should be referred for profesional help ASAP. Before my retirement as an advanced practice nurse, I would never Rx an antidepressant medication unless the patient would also receive therapy on a regular basis. I communicated closely with the therapist as well.

I have a son who is a psychopath, who is in prison for murder. My biological father was a psychopath as well, so I am well acquainted with psychopathic violence. My son was and is quite capable of convincing people that he is a “poor pitiful” person who needs their syjmpathy and help…but it is for his own purposes of manipulating them for the things he wants. My biological father was the same way. Both had life-long patterns of manipulative behavior, not just one or two random “psychopathic” deeds.

I think it behoves us all (as a society) to learn to spot the sociopaths and psychopaths among us. It is only the very trusting and naive among us (and I include myself at one point in time) that are conned by these people for extended periods of time. Both my father (I wasn’t raised with him only met him when I was an adolescent) conned me, and so did my son—for years, because I hung on to malignant hope that I could “fix” him, stayed in denial that his behavior was sociopathic even when it should have been apparent to the dullest of people. Until even I could no longer deny that my son was beyond redemption and I had to accept reality, as painful as it was.

Learning to “spot the red flags” that they DO give off, to spot the cracks in their masks (and the masks can be quite good) and to SEE beyond the dark vision of the illusion that they project and give up the illusion that we can love them into normalcy.

I still believe in helping people who want help, but not in enabling people who only want to use you. But at the very first sign that a person is lying or any other “red flag” they are out of my life. Permanently. Even a number of small pieces of the sociopathic puzzle—even ones I can’t exactly put my finger on, more a gut feeling (and I believe our instincts are very good at spotting these people if we will listen to them) I distance myself immediately.

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