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By | November 21, 2008 179 Comments

More confusion over antisocial personality disorder, sociopathy and psychopathy

This semester I taught both Forensic Psychology and Abnormal Psychology at the University of Bridgeport. The students there are an ethnically diverse group and I think are fairly representative of America’s young adult population. In both classes we discussed those individuals who have a “a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others.” I wrote antisocial personality disorder, sociopathy and psychopathy on the blackboard before we began our discussion. I then asked the students if they had heard of these terms and if they could tell me the definitions.

Only a small percentage had heard the term antisocial personality disorder, nearly everyone had heard the word sociopath, about a third had heard the word psychopath.

The next question to the students was, “What do all these terms mean?” Someone asked if antisocial personality referred to a person that didn’t like to be around others. Someone else said that psychopaths are “out of touch with reality, psychotic.” Most who heard the word sociopath associated it with criminality.

The students were shocked to discover that all three terms basically refer to the same disorder.

That same week, I spoke with an internet search expert. He told me that the term antisocial personality disorder is searched through Google about 5,000 times per day. The term psychopath is searched 60,000 times per day and the term sociopath is searched 110,000 times per day. These numbers are consistent with my survey of university students. My findings indicate that the American Psychiatric Association has done the public a great disservice with their boggled naming of the disorder.

An interesting historical fact is that this disorder used to be called “moral insanity.” Insanity is a legal term that indicates that due to mental defect a person is not responsible for his/her actions. Although many people believe that the morally insane have a mental (brain)defect there is considerable resistance to saying this absolves them of responsibility for their criminal acts.

This week we discussed the case of John W. Hinckley, Jr. the man who shot President Reagan and Mr. Brady, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to a mental hospital. A psychiatrist for the prosecution, Dietz testified that Hinckley viewed his actions on March 30 as successful. “It worked,” Hinckley told Dietz in an interview. “You know, actually, I accomplished everything I was going for there. Actually, I should feel good because I accomplished everything on a grand scale….I didn’t get any big thrill out of killing–I mean shooting–him. I did it for her sake….The movie isn’t over yet.” In short, Deitz saw Hinckley as a sociopath who was grandiose and trying to impress Jody Foster with his actions, though I believe he actually diagnosed him with borderline personality.

I reflected to the class that it seems that individuals like Hinckley and Dahmer (the serial killer) should be considered special cases of sociopathy and not lumped with the rest. There are sociopaths who are so grandiose and obsessed with power that they seem to lose touch with reality. Not that they are schizophrenic and have delusions or hallucinations, but their interpretations of the world cannot be construed as “normal.”

This is actually where the term “borderline” came from, as is used today to refer to “borderline personality.” The borderline is some point between neurotic and psychotic-borderline psychotic actually. So perhaps we could consider psychopaths those sociopaths who are so afflicted that their thinking and behavior indicate they have lost their grip on reality. Some psychiatrists do think of psychopaths as the worst sociopaths.

Should those with moral insanity who commit crimes be treated differently than others? Should John Hinckley be released now that he has been judged not psychotic? These are questions for another week.
See also:
http://www.lovefraud.com/blog/2006/07/30/confusion-about-sociopaths-pyschopaths-and-antisocials/

If you have a personal example of a sociopath’s “loose grip on reality” please share it with us in a comment.


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Elizabeth Conley

If anyone is having trouble with the definition of the three conditions, it’s probably because the experts haven’t agreed on the terms and definitions yet.

How can anyone intelligently discuss the topic when the definitions are not yet universally defined? As things stand, reasonable people end up talking past each other, which is sad.

Before I came here I defined ASPD as the overarching category, and Sociopathy and Psychopathy as two subsets of the condition, with Psychopathy being more severe.

That being said, I think Psychopaths are often better organized and harder to catch than Sociopaths. Sociopaths are more likely to do impulsive, stupid stuff. Psychopaths are sometimes able to live a lie so complete that no one suspects them until the company books are audited or their backyards are excavated.

The first time I became aware that a Psychopath was trying to manipulate people around me, I laughed. I could see he was trying to convince my husband to quarrel with me over something trivial. This struck me as funny, and I started to laugh. The look of thwarted malice and impotent fury that crossed is face (only for a brief moment), was telling. After that I started paying very close attention to the bad things that kept happening to people who worked at our helicopter squadron. Sure enough, much of it could be traced back to him, but rarely was it provable. He was really good at being evil. That’s why I think he was a psychopath. Every smile, every courtesy, every seemingly innocent act was designed to hide his malice. He loved to witness pain, and he loved being the cause of that pain even better.

I was so scared of him that I did everything in my power to stay in the farthest corner of the building from him and as distant in the chain of command from him as possible.

Ironically, I’m pretty sure he retired and went on to a very comfortable second career as a police dispatcher. If that doesn’t make your blood run cold, nothing will.

Wini

Elizabeth Conley: I too, tried to stay as far away from anti-social personalities I worked with as I could. Unfortunately for me, I am not a wall flower and “they, anti-social personalities” love to go after me. I believe they know before I do, that I am completely opposite of what they are, and hence, love their sadistic games to dump into my space.

Funny. I knew I couldn’t change their way of viewing life, so I gave up trying. I always believed that if I just did my work, stayed way back in the back corner, not to be seen, nor heard … no one would bother me because I was their work horse and they needed me to supply the completion of the work load.

So much for this theory. It did get shot to hell (LOL). My boss was hell bent on her personal destruction of me any way she could and she pulled in all the reinforcements to do just that. What a waste of time, money and energy. I used to always think (and still do) … if they projected all this time, money and energy on something positive, imagine what we could have accomplished?

Peace.

peterd

“You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you’re finished, you’ll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird… So let’s look at the bird and see what it’s doing — that’s what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.”

This is the quote of Richard Feynman – my favourite scientist (physicist) – he is an excellent example of critical thinker and I highly recommend getting to know his works and his life better 🙂

Many people know the name, few know the modus operandi of psychopaths – this is what really counts. In general such people use your own mind as a weapon against you by faking.

Any education in the subject of psychopathy should mind not to encourage the students to become like the object their study.

Peter

Indigoblue

MY Psyco was Given the opprotunity to leave my house by the sherifs Officers. He had Hit me for not wanting to listen to rap music because I had to work the next day ,I wanted to sleep!

He says Well I’m not a Superhero ! There where Three of them fully Packing and him abuck fifty soakin wet!

He leaves and it is raining. So within the hour He was back wanting In my house. 911-hes Back I have called three times! Sir do not call 911 again!

Superhero trys to come in threw the doors front and back!
Superhero not really thinking now picks up a stepping stone and breaks front window! Two pains w/six squares each.

I Escape through Garage door and run to finaly meet Sherifs Car. Get in the back and ride back to my house. Still Raining. Two more Backups arive. They knock on the front door and he answers! He does’nt even know that I am not in the house! Wow where or what was he thinking?
They Baker Act Him !

Fun Fun LOVE JJ

Ox Drover

Though I see that not all disordered personalities are identical in behavior any more than all depressed people are identical in behavior, but there are definitely some common factors in all disordered personalities and in all depressed people.

I think there are also “degrees” of depression and “degrees” of personality disorder, maybe from “bad to horrible” as nonen of the “degrees” of either are happy things.

Not all “alcoholics” or “drug addicts” are identical in behavior, some are “upstanding citizens” who hold jobs and at least to most people they interact with they are “Okay folks.” There are other alcoholics and addicts that are the “skid row bums” and live under the freeway or on a grate over the subway. There are those that are violent and those that are passive.

Because the “personality disordered” person may not have ALL the behaviors of ALL other personality disorders, it shouldn’t in my opinion cause so much confusion about the name.

People who are alcoholic can ALSO be depressed, or bi-polar or psychopathic as dual or triple diagnoses.

There are some diagnoses that are “X diagnosis” “severe type” or “Y diagnosis,” mild or situational.”

So maybe it should be just plain old “personality disorder,” X Y or Z type. Or “high functioning” or “low functioning” as a discriptive tag.

Trying to lump Ted Bundy into the same pot with Bill Clinton, though I consider both of them personality disordered, is not I think, descriptive of their disorder although I don’t think either one has a conscience. (I Don’t mean to get into a debate here over Clinton, this is JUST MY PERSONAL OPINION of the man from the facts I know of him and his behavior both here in Arkansas as Governor and as President.) But the point is that one man is a “serial killer” and the other is “successful” in life.

Many of the psychopaths that I hve known well and personally up close have been “successful” in life, if you consider being famous, rich, or at the top of their profession “success.” Those same “successful” people were also totally devoid of personal and relationship “success.” AGAIN, IN MY OPINION.

Elizabeth Conley

Oxdrover,

Bill Clinton was fascinating. He had amazing talent as a politician, and less zipper control than an unattended toddler in a candy shop. Wow! How his minders managed to go so far with him would be some story, if they’d ever talk!

Arguably, the Clinton administration was a successful one. That’s food for thought.

I’m interested in how people can thrive around the ASPDed because I think that’s useful information. In military service these personalities sometimes reach considerable rank. How can you make it through a 6 month to 3 year period under their supervision without going UA or winding up in the brig? Believe you me, many a service member would love to know. If you think explaining an ASPD to your family, friends and coworkers, try explaining to your commanding officer that your immediate senior is crazy mean! Good luck with that! Sometimes people just have to grin and bear it. That’s why I think coping skills for dealing with the ASPD would be helpful. There are good economic reasons why a civilian might try to grin and bear it too, at least long enough to find a new job. It would be better if that civilian could escape without actually being targeted by the unbalanced boss.

Then there’s family. I like to say: “Can’t live with ’em, can’t be born without ’em!” and mine are all kind and gentle people. If one of them had an ASPD or NPD I’d still try to muddle along. A few useful skills would be helpful.

Ox Drover

Dear Elizabeth,

I went to school with the husband of one of the women who accused Bill Clinton of beating and raping her, and quite frankly I believe her. I have met him (I don’t claim to have known him) and he is soooo smooth the term “Slick Willy” really applies.

I too wish I knew how to “get along” with a P boss, or a P business partner. I’ve had to deal with both of them. In fact, I’ve had a P boss on several occasions. My mother had a P boss and she (being the CFO of her company) ended up sending him to federal prison for embezzlement with her testimony.

I wish there was some way to “get along” with them without selling your “soul to the devil” but I haven’t found any other way. I can’t even imagine being in the military and having one be my CO. At least in civilian life you can quit, and I’ve done that several times.

I’ve met some of the prison administration at my P-son’s prison that I think are at least Ns if not Ps themselves, and it must rankle him completely to be under the absolute control of these other Ps who are in absolute control of his life and living conditions. Personally, I think he is getting his “just deserts” so I don’t have a lot of sympathy for him. At the same time, though, I think in a way he “gets off” on matching wits with them and gets reinforcement every time he is able to break the rules and “get by with” it. He can sit for hours during a visit and tell me how he managed to get around this “chicken shit” rule or that one and seems to glory in his ability to smuggle in contraband or violate small rules.

He even had an affair with a married and very attractive female major. I can only imagine tht she must have been pretty disordered herself for her to have taken such a risk to have sex with an inmate. If they had been caught, the major would have been prosecuted for rape, as having sex with a prisoner (who is supposed to be under their control and the inmate unable to say “no”) is a felony.

In 20 years he had 19 “major” rules violations that resulted in him being put in solitary confinement and/or transferred to another facility, and/or demoted from low security to high security. None of those included the many many smaller infractions he was caught and none of the ones he wasn’t caught at.

ONe of the most blatant Ps that I ever knew well was my bio-father who was very successful in his business life though his personal life was chaos. I knew another man (my husband used to be his private pilot and chief of aviation) and he was very well liked by people who knew him, he was a serial adulterer and had 4 wives, the last one putting up with him for 35 years no matter what he did, and I have no doubt he was a psychopath, but it worked for his advantage in business. My husband flew for another man tht from the tales I have heard I think was also a psychopath, but again, successful and well liked by everyone except his intimate family who reaped most of his abuse.

I don’t think this type of “successful” psychopath is rare at all. In many ways I think a social veneer and brains, overlaid with a calousness that allows them to fake the “Mr. Nice Guy” to people’s faces, but allows them to skin a gnat and sell the hide for tallow, makes it easier for them to be successful in business.

Doing your job, being open and honest, and trying to “do what is right” even when it is not popular is not going to endear you to the “Ps that bes.” They will shut you up one way or another.

Wini

Elizabeth Conley: I know with my boss, I would do whatever she asked. I was very professional when dealing with her. She undermined and insulted me at the same time she praised me. Believe me, I never took her praises to heart, but I did hear her insults. No matter what she did, I never let on one way or the other because I knew how ruthless she was in our place of employment for years before I worked with her. I always kept my distance from her but was always polite and professional and matter of fact business like when I had to exchange my working time with her.

Over the years she destroyed so many careers and she always came out smelling like a rose. It was amazing to watch. 24 years and not a scratch on her.

Then a subordinate of hers made his move and branched out from her due to a new upper management team that took over our place of employment. He started a new office and I was the last to be employed by him. He was one, if not, the most impressive bosses that I’ve ever had. He was so spiritually decent, it was incredible to work for a man like him. I thought I died and went to heaven.

Heaven lasted for about a year and a half and inner ranks took over our work place, pulling her up the ranks with them. My decent Angel boss went to another place to work and his team went to work for the wicked witch of the East.

The rest is history. When she first took us over, she demoted me twice with no written warning, no explanation except she didn’t need my title and I was demoted down one notch … then demoted again.

Of course, I turned the other cheek … but I only had one more demotion to go and I was automatically out the door which she was busy concocting and I knew it … so I waited for her to step over the legal line, which of course, she did.

And the rest is history.

Peace.

newworld view

peterd says

“Many people know the name, few know the modus operandi of psychopaths – this is what really counts. In general such people use your own mind as a weapon against you by faking.”

very profound…i am so happy liane that this is a part of you course….it leads to open discussion…..and yes it just may be more important to identify the mo of he bird, than what to call it…at least as far as protecting ourselves

Jen2008

Oxy said: “I went to school with the husband of one of the women who accused Bill Clinton of beating and raping her, and quite frankly I believe her. I have met him (I don’t claim to have known him) and he is soooo smooth the term “Slick Willy” really applies.”

There have been numerous women who have accused him of sexual transgressions. Doubtful they could ALL be lying.

I got within feet of Clinton and had him look directly at me with a big ol’ smile on his face. I thought, and the woman I was with thought, this was absolutely the most charismatic man either of us had ever seen. On the campaign trail this man OOZED charisma and excitement. It was electrifying just being near him. Too bad he is such a well documented asshole!

newworld view

i second that!!!!!

Ox Drover

I have a friend who was a VP for Student affairs at a very nice college. One of her co-workers, also a VP got drunk one night (this guy is a scum bag) at a conference and went into this “I wannna f*# you baby” bit and had to be literally dragged off her body by other VPS and take to his room.

A year later, he becomes the NEW PRESIDENT of that college and within a week she is FIRED. Not even in person, he sent her a letter and told her to be off campus by 5:00p.m. She was my boss (I was director of student health at that college, though I was “rented” from the local hospital who paid my salary) at the college. All of my peers (who were under her direction) treated her like she was a dog. My son and I took my truck and trailer and moved her out of her office and no one even did anything for her, or said anything. They peeped out of their offices but no one said a word. She was humiliated and frustrated and totally crushed to be treated in such a manner. He actually paid out her contract which had another year to go, and she immediately found another and better job, but none-the-less, it was a crushing blow to her.

This man is such a jerk, and if he isn’t a psychopath, he is close.

Bill Clinton did OOZE charisma and he was so slick if you and I and he were talking and let’s say you were rabidly anti-abortion, and I was rabidly pro-choice, even though we heard the same words, you would go away thinking “He believes just like I do” and I would go away having heard the same words, believing he believed just like I did. He WAS/IS SLICK.

I also belive that Hillary is just as bad as he is, though not nearly so slick. I am aware of several business deals that if he had not been governor at the time they engaged in them would have landed her in a federal prison in my opinion. AGAIN, just MY OPINION. So you know, any woman, also in my opinon, who would stay with such a jerk there has to be something amiss in her moral compass as well.

They don’t, in my opinion, have a “marriage” so much as a “partnership” in politics. Unfortunately, I don’t think they are much worse than the rest of the career politicians. My opinon on politics is that unless you sell your soul to the devil, there’s not much way you will advance in the profession. Just my little thoughts and they are worth what they cost you. Just my freely given opinon. LOL I’m a “Jeffersonian” in politics, and Jefferson as a man, had a lot of faults and so on, but his politics at least were honest and not self serving. I’m not so sure about any president since then.

newworld view

hey oxy….i do believe that…..will be interesting to see how she fits into the obama scheme of things

Wini

I told you Oxy, I’dl vote for you! It would be you and Maxine on the ballot. Can’t have Maxine for prez, she’d have to be your sidekick (LOL).

Peace.

Wini

Hey Oxy! Speaking of Maxine … is the cartoonist that draws her a friend of yours? Or, at least knows you?

Ox Drover

No, he doesn’t know me, but from an article I read about him, there are lots of women who think Maxine was modeled on them, but I KNOW SHE MUST HAVE BEEN MODELED ON ME! LOL

I wanna be just like her when I grow up! She’s my hero! I’m a crabby old biddy and proud of it! LOL My way or the highway! Golden rule: “He who has the gold makes the rules.” LOL My house, my rules. Respect’em or hit the road.

Lena123

Hi, just wanted to point out that Psychopathy and Antisocial PD are not the same disorder.

There is an increasing consensus that ASPD points to the behavioral aspect of criminality (impulsivity/aggression) but without necessarily suffering from Psychopathy (i.e. unemotionality). For example, a “sensitive criminal” is not the norm… but it could happen. A sensitive (highly emotional) person prone to bouts of impulsivity/rage could end up with a diagnosis of ASPD.

A Psychopath, on the other hand, may or may not ever engage in criminality, but he will invariably be callous-unemotional and lack empathy. There is no such thing as an emotional psychopath.

For Dr. Hare’s detailed explanation:

http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/display/article/10168/54831

Stargazer

I just finished reading Without Conscience, the Robert Hare book. This is probably the best book I can imagine on the topic. I think everyone on this site should read it. My jaw dropped when he talked about the types of victims psychopaths are attracted to.

Ox Drover

“A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME…..”

For what it is worth, the “fight” over “what to call them” or if we should give different names to the various shades of the TOXIC personality/behavior/emotions of a personality-disordered person or not, is all, to me, a moot point.

This confusion about what is what, and which is dangerous (they are all dangerous in one form or another) is I think keeping them from being recognized as dangerous by the general public and the “powers that be.” The Politically Correct crap that “there is good in everyone” is also another point that has kept the violent ones from being incarcerated at the rate they should be.

I agree with you, Star, it should be required readng for everyone, and maybe it would prevent a few people from becoming victims in the first place.

Indigoblue

Survay
Scale 1.——————-10. 10 worst 1=best

Rate your Psyco/Socio/Narsis/opd/ddp/doooodo :)~ LOVE JJ

BloggerT7165

And a sociopath is different from a psychopath. And differences do matter for those that are treatment professionals, researchers, etc. A gang member is a good example of a sociopath. They were not meeting criteria for being a psychopath prior to their involvement, met criteria during their involvement and do not meet criteria after they are no longer involved (for those that actually go pro-social). There are many examples out there of people like that. Where as the psychopathic gang member met criteria before, during and after involvement. It is important to understand how and why this occurs. At this point a psychopath is not curable but a sociopath is and that is important.

Now for those on the receiving end of an abusive relationship it does not matter what they are, what matters is avoiding or getting away from the abuse.

BloggerT7165

As Donna herself has posted on the Main page:

Some researchers think of a sociopath as someone who is socialized in an antisocial subculture, such as a gang.

Some people see this as a nature vs. nurture issue—”psychopaths” are born, “sociopaths” develop because of parenting and environmental issues.

newworld view

yes blogger t for the professionals there is a need to come to terms with the proper”labels” or diagnoses

for the rest of the world, there is a bigger need to understand their m.o. as peterd made earlier note of

the shows like 48 hrs display many of these creatures and i wish they would dedicate an extra hour after each show to explain to the general public what they are seeing

as many here point out also…it is important to stand up and take note that our pollyanna view that there is good in everybody..just aint so….

i have been accused by a patient or two of being a pollyanna and i took great offense to it, but maybe there were on to something

Stargazer

I think the labeling nuances become really important for parole boards and criminal hearings. For our purposes, we have all recognized enough traits to know our exes are personality disordered. According to the literature, personality disorders generally cannot improve. It is best to cut your losses.

I have always had a pollyanna philosophy, and it has made me very popular with different communities I belong to. I stand up for the underdog and show compassion for people who are acting like total jerks. However, this experience with the P was a real eye opener. It showed me that there are really bad people in the world who do not deserve kindness. I am a different person because of this. I wish I could put the rose-colored glasses back on, but it’s too late.

Wini

Stargazer: They can change … that’s not the problem. The problem is do they want to change?

Peace.

Ox Drover

It has not been so long ago that “mental illness” was blamed on environment 100% by professionals. Now, medicine has advanced to the point that we know that MANY PROBLEMS mentally and physically are a mixture of genetics and environment (Diabetes type II for example) and under the right conditions that “disease or disorder” will not manifest itself and under the “wrong” conditions it will be come a serious problem. Mental disorders are somewhat like that as well. There are others though that seem to manifest themselves no matter what environment they are in. The studies done on identical twins separated at birth and then followed throughout their lives shows that 80% of the time if one is a P the other one will be. Of course I would assume that the one diagnosed as a P met the total criteria for PCL-R and maybe the other one only scored a 20 instead of a 30, but would still be “disordered” as far as living a “normal” and functional life compared to others.

I wonder just how many people in the world would score a 20 or more on the PCL-R.

In any case, it leads me to believe that the vast majority of Ps are BORN with that tendency and environment makes some difference, but over all it tends to be more genetic than environmental.

I do agree that you can take a child born to the kindest nicest parents in the world and abuse that child, socialize him into violence and he is more likely to turn out “anti-social” and violent than not.

What do you think all the violent video games and media–movies, music etc—are doing to our youth’s culture? Exposing it to graphic violence–and what is happening? Our culture and society as a whole is becoming more violent.

The number of children “home schooled” in the US or placed in private schools is increasing every day because caring parents don’t want their children exposed to the violence in our culture and in our schools. I have a friend who is a teacher in a public school who was beaten almost to death defending a small female teacher from two youths who were 200+ pounds each and were beating her in the hall way while other students stood around and watched. NOTHING WAS DONE TO THESE STUDENTS for punishment, but my friend’s spine was cracked and he will never recover all the function he had before he got an elbow to the base of his neck, which caused him to be paralyzed for several days.

I realize the media is only part of the problem and it isn’t that before Television that our society was all love and enlightment, our (human) society has been violent since the day “Cain slew Abel” and televison violence didn’t influence that. Jealousy and greed did.

Prior to modern psychology the Bible and other writings described these people (psychopaths) as mean, despotic, evil, demon possessed, moral insanity, etc. etc. so the psychopathic personality disorder has been with us since Cain.

It is interesting to me the “conversation” that Cain had with God when God banished him. Cain was not repentent about killing his brother, obviously, and was telling God that his punishment was “too severe” and that someone would see him and kill him for what he had done.

God was supposed to have put a “mark” on Cain so that others would see this “Mark of Cain” and not kill him. It would be nice if the “descendants” of this first psychopath in recorded history had that mark on their foreheads or some other way to identify them so we could avoid them. I’m not sayiing that I believe that all psychopaths are descended from Cain in a physical sense, but in a moral sense, they have no more remorse than he is reported to have had.

My P-son doesn’t feel any remorse for his horrible act of murdering a girl, but instead, like Cain, feels that his punishment (being in prison and all that entails) is out of proportion to what he did.

If would be nice if professionals could agree on names and definitions and communicate those agreed upon definitions to the public so that “Joe Plumber” could identify a psychopath or a sociopath or an ASPD by their actions, but I doubt that is going to happen any time in the near future.

For those of us who know FIRST HAND the damage these toxic people do, the “name” doesn’t matter, we are learning instead to get the heck away from them as fast and as completely as possible and stay away.

Wini

Oxy: Great post. The reason Cain didn’t repent was that he refused to go humble in order to truly understand all the ramifications of his action. It is only when we stay humble, the way God wants us to live is when we can see and know clearly how we are suppose to live while housed in human form. Cain’s ego, as did Satan’s ego didn’t allow them to see their actions.

Peace.

bird

Wini, I want to correct your statement that “they can change”, because its important. The whole premise of being labeled a psychopath is that they can’t change. Even if these people wanted to be able to love, it is mentally impossible for them, and this causes many side effects like boredom and impulsiveness. They can’t change. That is why having psychologists in the prison is so important. They have to determine who can change through rehabilitation. And who can’t (aka the psycho). It’s a very important distinction in determining who they will let out on parole. The psycho cannot be rehabilitated, even if they want to. And if they let them out, they will do the same violent act again, even if they really don’t want to. Psychos can’t change, their brain is always going to have problems in their frontal lobe.

Now if they aren’t really a psycho, they just act like a psycho, then they might be able to change, it’s just that they don’t want to. But if they change their mind someday, there will be services available to help them become good people with good results. But, that is not a psycho.

Wini

bird: I think more research should be done on the reasons why they don’t want to change. What’s in it for them if they should change? Why would a selfish personality not want to be selfish anymore? There’s no incentive for being humble? They don’t care … that’s why they are not humble. Selfish and being self centered works for them.

That’s why we incorporated prison systems in the world. To house those that have no incentive to change.

Your mind is a muscle, just as the muscles you see on your body. If you don’t work the muscles in the brain for anything positive … all the negative is worked on. That most likely is what they are seeing when they view the mass areas of the brain.

Same way we grew up … we were taught right from wrong. We were praised for doing right and punished for doing wrong. Most of us figured out, it was easier in our lives as children to do right … As we continued doing what was right … different sensations happen to our minds, our bodies our souls.

Peace.

BloggerT7165

Bird that is one of the things that makes the label important. Sociopaths can change and there are many that have changed. Psychopaths do not change. ASPD can change and some do and some do not. There is no “diagnosis” of psychopathy or sociopathy in the US. The one that would fit would be ASPD for the adult with the extra that they did have or would have been diagnosed with Conduct Disorder early childhood onset (rather than the more common adolescent onset) as a minor.

And I agree completely that true psychopaths don’t change and it is not because they make a conscious decision to not do so. They think differently than most people and for some reason this is a hard concept for some folks to grasp.

BloggerT7165

I think more research should be done on the reasons why they don’t want to change.

Which would be flawed research from the start because you make the assumption that they don’t want to change. To paraphrase Harriet Hall:

that study would fall into the category of what I call Tooth Fairy science. You could measure how much money the Tooth Fairy leaves under the pillow, whether she leaves more cash for the first or last tooth, whether the payoff is greater if you leave the tooth in a plastic baggie versus wrapped in Kleenex. You can get all kinds of good data that is reproducible and statistically significant. Yes, you have learned something. But you haven’t learned what you think you’ve learned, because you haven’t bothered to establish whether the Tooth Fairy really exists.

Research has and continues to be done on this area. It has done for a long time. If it was simply a matter of choice it would make treatment options much much easier.

Stargazer

Asking why psychopaths don’t want to change is, again, imbuing them with a “human” nature. It is human nature to want to relieve suffering for themselves and for others, and we have the ability to introspect in order to do so. This means sometimes changing ourselves. Psychopaths do not have that self-reflective nature. They do no experience emotional suffering the way humans do. There really is a piece missing. Research has shown that all the therapy in the world cannot supply this missing piece. If you think of them as non-human, it goes a long way to understanding where they come from.

Wini

BloggerT7165: I’m saying what is it in our society that would satisfy them to change? NOTHING. Hence, why “normal” people are stepping out and doing what isn’t right… getting away with what they know is wrong … and here we go again, kicking off the sensations they feel in getting away with a vice. It’s a free for all out their in society … or haven’t you noticed. When was the last time you saw a president go to jail for his corruption? Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. It starts from the top and trickles down to us pe-ons in the world.

Hey, there are sensations that get kicked off in our bodies and minds that affect our every molecule in our bodies … and all that entails for focusing and conducting ourselves towards virtues in life. Same goes with the vices… focusing and living their lives in the vices … doesn’t allow the trip system to go off in their molecules affecting their brains and bodies … so what is getting tripped off … instead of a big ego trip … their muscles in their minds go dormant because the virtues aren’t being tripped off through life … and the molecules that get activated are made up of the vices.

Think about how you feel when you do something for someone. Good. Right? You have a warm sensation come over you. Why is that? Same thing if you should do something evil towards someone. How awful would you feel? You’d probably throw up too, because you aren’t use to doing something evil.

All these idiots did is condition themselves over the year to accept what was evil as good. They switched the sensations around in their own minds.

Now, it’s up to mental health professionals to work backwards with them to undue the conditioning that they did to themselves.

Peace.

BloggerT7165

All these idiots did is condition themselves over the year to accept what was evil as good. They switched the sensations around in their own minds.

That would be a sociopath rather than a psychopath. And a psychopath has not conditioned themselves over the years, they were like this even as children (prior to age 10).

Stargazer

Regarding the so-called “sociopaths” who are not actual psychopaths……..I think our society is becoming increasingly more antisocial. You cannot go anywhere without someone intruding on your peace with their loud private cell phone conversations. And they are encouraged to do so from earlier and earlier ages. I find it repulsive. People relate to gadgets more than to each other. And do people even remember what it’s like to just be present? Instead, we are supposed to be multitasking all the time, with our text messaging, IM, emails, cell phones, Ipods,……..where’s the humanity? It is very sad for me at 48 to see the direction society is taking–more and more mechanized.

Hi BloggerT:
What was my ex? Sociopath or Psychopath:

* Constant Lying
* Cheated on every woman…sets the next one up before he leaves the one he is with.
* I saw him commit Workers Comp Fraud and Tax Fraud
* Dominating
* Controlling
* Manipulative
* Evasive
* Verbally Abusive
* Physical Abuse – with me one time, with the ex alot.
* Jealous – Always accused me of looking at guys or trying to attract their attention.
* Temper – Broke things of mine in a rage – never replaced them.
* Never had a place of his own because he doesn’t or can’t pay rent.
* No Car – No Credit – Irresponsible with bill paying
* Lazy – Called out sick all the time because he just didn’t want to go to work. Quit 2 jobs over the 2 years I was with him.
* No Friends
* Didn’t sleep well in the night. Sometimes could be up till 5 am watching tv or playing video games.
* Put a standing fan in the bedroom and ran it all night because he needed the sound to go to sleep.
* Always working out…his muscles could never be big enough.
* Unable to say “I’m sorry.” Said saying “I’m sorry” doesn’t do anything. I can’t right the wrong he did.

BloggerT7165

I could not answer you. There really is a reason why people are required by law to be licensed before even starting to learn how to diagnose people. There is a lot more to diagnosing people than just checklists. But for those on the receiving end of the behaviors you listed does it really matter? All that matters is that it is hurtful abusive behavior that no one should have to endure.

A psychopath was psychopathic even as a young child. The example many use for this theory is a gang member. They may have been fine as a young child but they got older, got into a gang and they began doing anti-social activities and they look and acted no different than a “psychopath”. However as they matured and left the gang lifstyle they did change and no longer would meet the criteria for being a psychopath.

Elizabeth Conley

The impulsivity of Sociopaths cannot be emphasized enough. If you heard gunshots, would you run toward the gunfire, or away? If the police were cleaning out a crack house in your neighborhood, would you stand on the sidewalk and make a public nuisance, or avoid the scene? Need I go on?

From ministry in a community with a lot of moderately anti-social people, many drug users and a few sociopaths, I can give witness to the impulsivity. Most of these people crave excitement to such a degree that they run toward, rather than away from scenes involving dangerous confrontations.

Most street wise people can sense when things are going South, and make themselves scarce before shots are fired or blows are exchanged. As a rule, street-smart means knowing when to melt away without fanfare. Not so with the addicts, sociopaths and the moderately ASPD. They got this odd wild-eyed look on their faces, like a cat rolling in catnip. Nothing could drag them away ’til long after the exhausted police officers had filled out their last form, asked their last question, and left.

The one person I suspected was a psychopath would never have placed himself at personal risk. He got his jollies without ever sticking out his neck. He probably couldn’t resist hurting people, but he knew how to bide his time. The only thing in life that didn’t work for him was his marriage and his family. The rest of the time, being covertly vile worked out well for him.

BloggerT7165

I have seen impulsiveness in all three and the opposite in all three.

Iwonder here is an example of a Psychopath (a true case).

At 14 he was already in a State prison for Rape and his antisocial behaviors went back all the way into early childhood. He was released and was caught again for Rape while still a juvenile and when he was released again he got out and raped and murdered a woman and then abused the corpse. He conned the prison officials and clinicians who were working with him, conned them so well that 2 of them actually tried to get him an early release because he appeared to have made such good progress (note here that they had zero training in dealing with sex offenders or psychopaths).

Indigoblue

STAR!
SSSSSSSSSssssssss! Primal instinct! Survive at all Cost! Animale instinct takes place of maternal/parental edgeamKation! We are off to See the Wizard ? the wonderfull Wizard of OZ! all I want is a brain? LOVE JJ

Stargazer

Hi Indigo! LOLOLOLOL The snakeys say hi too!

Regarding the impulsive of psychopaths, mine was impulsive too. He knew he would have to move out of his townhome soon. And yet he started collecting snakes and giant enclosures for themin a very short time frame. Last I heard, he had a small zoo of them. It would be nearly impossible for him to move with all those snakes, who need to have heat on them at all times. He was too impulsive to just wait until after the move.

bird

I think impulsivity is key to this conversation. A psychopath might say to himself and mean it, I will never do that again. I mean, I really don’t want to kill people anymore! And then, the opportunity presents itself right in front of them, and boom they act out of impulsivity forgetting everything they had ever thought of, not thinking of the consequences, and the future hardly exists. They live in the NOW, and it is very much what will give them the greatest pleasure in the NOW. And they act. When it is over, they might again say to themselves, and mean it, I will NEVER do that again, and they mean it, but they only mean it right now. Right now they aren’t going to kill anyone. That is part of the dichotomies of the psycho, and part of the lies. I actually believe they believe all their lies. Because I saw it for my own eyes. They can say two opposite things at the same time and mean them both! And to them, they are both valid. You’re right Blogger, they think really differently.

Stargazer

Bird, this is what makes them so dangerous.

Well, my ex is grew up in Camden, NJ as a teenager. He was into the Gansta scene but only mentioned fighting to the extent of using fists. He said it was survival because he had to walk so far to school that his boys had to stick together walking through some neighborhoods in case they got jumped.

I know he was involved with some bad people when we first met. He was going out making a fast buck and I couldn’t get the total gist of it, but he described it like going along with very low-level members connected to organized crime where they would go around collecting money. He would be one of the guys that should the person not pay-up, would have to rough up the person. This organization had asked him to step up a level and carry a gun. They gave it to him but before he could go out with it, I talked him into getting out…for good. He had to have someone “vouch” for him. This person had to convince the high-er ups to let him out. I remember him on the phone in the kitchen telling this person, ” you have to vouch for me.” “I can’t do this anymore.” “I have a chance to have a real life with someone.” He had to take a ride one night. Either he was coming back, or they would have whacked him. He was scared shit. I waited..and waited. He came back like 4 am. He said they let him out. A few days later, he met with one of them and gave the gun back…which had to be melted down because it had a “history.” My ex never went back. He told me a few times he put himself in a position where someone actually put a gun in his mouth. He told me he prayed to God both times to let him live and he’d never do these things again. I’m not making this stuff up. Was he? I don’t think so. I knew he had a gun. I knew he wanted to tell me. I knew he wanted me to stop him before he got killed. He said he didn’t care about himself. The money was for his kids.

So, is he a sociopath or a psychopath? Maybe he was a psychopath that turned sociopath. Now he just gets money from women.

BloggerT7165

Bird the impulsivity issues in some is kinda like this. “Normal” people do “Ready, Aim, Fire” but people with severe impulse control issues often are “Fire, Ready, Aim”. And yes bird they really do think differently.

Wini

BloggerT7165: Thanks for clarifying that … I always thought they just fired, fired, fired at radom ..l didn’t think they bother to go through the other steps, even backwards. Just kidding …

Peace.

BloggerT7165

I dont think they step, I think it is more like a skip or a leap 🙂

Ox Drover

Dear Iwonder,

Everything he told you might have been a lie. I can tell you the “money wasn’t for his kids”—if he was involved in some of ths “organized crime” crap, him telling you was probably posturing to appear like a “big shot” to you. My advice is to stay away from people who either ARE or are pretending to be “crooks” of any kind.

It is like some of the Ps telling people they were FBI, Navy Seals, CIA or whatever…the pretending to be some “big bad dude” to impress others with their macho. It is amazing how many people try to pretend to be something they are not, have never been and could not ever qualify for, just to get a thrill out of play acting the part. Like little boys playing “Cowboys and Indians” and pretending to ride the range with the tough guys, shooting the bank robbers.

My bio-father, who WAS an amazing man and who had done some AMAZING things would still give an interview claiming to be and have done things that he never did. He contradicted himself so many times IN PRINT that it was hard to tell the truth from the fiction unless you really knew him. It was almost like he made them up as he went, oblivious of all the other printed stories about him that came right from his mouth. What Hare said about them contradicting themselves and not seeing that about what they said is a perfect description of how they are with telling tales about themselves.

BloggerT7165

Wini I posted this in the other thread but wanted to put it in this thread and for you to consider also:

All the ones I have interacted with all knew the difference between right and wrong. But it is hard to explain it. It is kind of like this. Do you ever break the speed limit when you are driving? If so do you know it is wrong? But you do it anyway right? Now of course there is a huge difference between that and the “wrongs” that a psychopath does.

But thats just it, to them there is no difference and they will in fact point that out in what seems like a flawed logic. Funny thing is I was just today watching a video of an inmate interview and he made the statement of what is a worse sin, stealing a cracker or killing someone? They are both equal in God’s eyes he said.

And that is it, its not just bs they are pushing they really do think this way. So I do not feel guilt or remorse for breaking the speed limit so why would I for doing X”

That is the best I can think of right now to explain how they have thought.

Wini

Iwonder: I met John Gotti, Big Paulie Costellano, and Sammy the Bull all in one night. Except, I hadn’t a clue to who they were until they came on TV a few years later.

I kept trying to serve Sammy the Bull drinks as he stood by the door way into the establishment. He would just say “no thanks” … his job was to watch over Big Paulie and case the entire room ensuring everything was kept under wraps. The door was locked to local patrons … that was a big RED flag … I would say … daaaaaaaaa again, masks of those that need to wear masks.

Peace.

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