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Reflections on antisocial behavior (Part 2): It’s genetic!?

Behavior genetic studies of children, adolescents, and adults all report that the overlap of antisocial tendencies (broadly defined) with other psychopathic traits (e.g., interpersonal, affective) can be explained by common genetic factors.
-Robert Hare, Ph.D.

The most profound things researchers say about reality are often so difficult to understand that the average person wants to turn and run away when the researchers begin to speak. The statement above might have that affect on you but stick around because I want to explain it this week. This statement gets to the heart of the most important controversies regarding sociopathy/psychopathy.

First I will give you a definition of antisocial behavior that one of my students came up with. I think it is very good:

Antisocial behavior means things people intentionally do that infringe on other people’s rights to live their lives. Antisocial behavior is hurtful.

Notice that antisocial behavior is purposeful and reflects the person’s underlying motives. The link to personality lies in this link to motives. Many personality traits are a reflection of an individual’s preferred motives and pleasures.

Antisocial tendencies don’t reflect a simple callous indifference, they reflect behavior that is motivated and goal directed.

With that out of the way, I will give you a simple translation of the statement:

People who hurt others a lot have similar personalities. The same genes produce both the hurtful behavior and the “hurtful personality type.”

The above statement appears in an article entitled, “The role of antisocial tendencies in the psychopathy construct.” In this paper Dr. Hare lays out an argument that antisocial tendencies and the psychopathic personality type are inseparable. You can’t separate habitually hurtful behavior from the personalities of the people who have this habit. Furthermore, the same genes play a role in the development of habitually hurtful behavior and the development of the hurtful personality.

I’ll say it again another way. You cannot separate the evil someone does from the evil someone is. It also appears there is an evil gene or more likely, evil genes. If you are wondering if a person you know is a “sociopath/psychopath” use this statement to guide your thinking.

If a child you love has the genes of a sociopathic/ psychopathic person you should be motivated to understand all of this. As I considered the implications of genetics for myself and my family I asked a number of questions.

1. Many papers say the “psychopaths” as diagnosed by a checklist interview (The PCL-R) are different from “sociopaths” or those who have “antisocial personality disorder.” Well if that is true, do they have different genes?
2. What do we know about the evil genes themselves and what they are doing?

With these questions in mind, I read the scientific literature looking for evidence that psychopaths have their own special genetics. In the end, I discovered what Dr. Hare says, that there are genes that increase the likelihood of antisocial behavior including its extreme- criminal behavior. There are also genes that link to the personality traits of hurtful people and criminals. The genes appear to be the same genes.

Furthermore, there is a genetic connection between hurtful behavior, addiction and ADHD. That is why I decided to subtitle my book “A guide to overcoming your child’s genetic connection to antisocial behavior, addiction and ADHD” and NOT “A guide to overcoming your child’s genetic link to a psychopath.”

The bad news is that since all these disorders are genetically linked we have to worry about our kids’ risk for ADHD and addiction in addition to their risk for sociopathy/psychopathy. The link between alcoholism/addiction and psychopathy/sociopathy has been known since the 1940s, early writers like Dr. Cleckley (author of The Mask of Sanity) commented on it.

Now what do we know about the nature of evil genes? In my book, I explain that studies seem to show that these genes code for certain temperaments. The list of temperamental traits I came up with is on page 166 of my book and is given below:

Inborn
Attribute
Definition
Aloof Difficulty forming and enjoying attachments
Impulsive Defective impulse control
Fearless Lack of fear
Outgoing Strong desire to explore social and physical environment
Dominant Strong desire to be at the top of the pecking order
Anger-Prone “Hair-trigger” for anger

I am always on the lookout for other people’s lists of the genetically determined temperamental traits associated with antisocial behavior and sociopathy/psychopathy. In their book, the Psychology of Criminal Conduct, Drs. D.A. Andrews and James Bonita discuss the search for the “crime gene.” They summarize the findings as follows:

“The findings from family lineage, twin, and adoption studies also converge and conclude that there is a genetic component to criminal behavior. It is not criminal behavior per se that is inherited but temperamental characteristics such as impulsivity, sensation-seeking, and negative emotionality that are inherited.”

Notice the overlap between their list and mine. Outgoing and sensation-seeking are the same thing. Being anger-prone is part of negative emotionality.

If you have read my book, you know that it paints a picture of hope for the kids that carry these genes. Just look at the list for yourself. Probably the most worrisome temperamental trait on the list above is aloofness. However, an inborn tendency toward aloofness does not have to translate into antisocial behavior. If a detached child can be taught to engage in prosocial goals, then the detachment won’t be as much of an issue. For example, there are many interesting occupations that do not require a lot of social interaction. These are ideally suited to those with a tendency toward being aloof.

An awareness of the list of temperamental traits a child may have been born with is an important first step in guiding that child. If you know the list, you know what to look for and you can come up with strategies to make the best of your own child’s temperament. Rather than trying to make a child into someone he/she is not, it is better to try to work with who he/she is.

Notice that several of the traits are also associated with leadership potential. So the same list of genetic traits can lead to the development of a contributing prosocial person or an antisocial person depending on environmental factors. Genetics plays a role in antisocial tendencies and psychopathic personality traits but a person is not only the product of genes. Parenting, adult mentors, peers, educational opportunities and physical health may all make a difference.

A child with poor impulse control does not have to live with a high level of disability any more than a dyslexic child has to live with an inability to read. Both groups of children require special education to overcome their genetics.

The radio just quoted “a joke” from the late night talk show host Conan O’brien, “They have had a hard time finding jurors for the upcoming OJ Simpson armed robbery trial”¦ They are having a hard time finding a jury of his peers”¦ those who have gotten away with a double murder.”

OJ Simpson exemplifies all the writings about inborn temperaments, antisocial behavior and psychopathy. He has a history of antisocial behavior including domestic violence and more. He also has psychopathic personality traits. No one will deny that the man has a number of gifts that likely have a strong genetic basis. These gifts range from athletic talent to interpersonal charisma. It appears from my vantage point that all of these gifts have been used directly and indirectly for evil.

To summarize then, the temperamental traits that lead to the evil a person is and the evil a person does can also can lead to the good a person is and the good a person does. The direction that any given person’s life takes is influenced by many things including parenting, peers, trauma and perhaps most importantly, personal choice. Genetics puts a person at risk but does not necessarily determine his/her destiny.

For more on guiding and parenting children with genetic risk see Parentingtheatriskchild.com and my parenting blog.


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93 Comments on "Reflections on antisocial behavior (Part 2): It’s genetic!?"

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Freewill.

Dear Dr. Leedom,

Thank you for this insightful and well written information on the gentics of psychopathic behavior.

As you know, I have a Psychpathic son in prison for murder. My biological father was a blatant psychopath, and enjoyed being feared by others. He was a criminal, but managed to elude the law for his crimes, which thank goodness, my son has not been able to do for the most part.

Your connection between ADHD and psychopathic behavior is interesting to me, in that my other biological son is quite ADHD, but has never been a problem child as far as lying or aggressive behavior is concerned, and my “perfect” child was the one who turned out to be the psychopath.

I’ve worked with many chldren who are ADHD in clinical settings and children who are ADHD and conduct disorder as well, and I can tell you that those that are BOTH are scary creatures prone to acute and impulsive violence, and almost gleeful about it.

I had long suspected that “temperment” is heritable simply from a scientific point of view, though for a long time our society seemed to say that a child is born a “blank slate” that environment programs to be “good or bad”—it has been well known for probably thousands of years that in animals temperment pretty well breeds true. Various breeds of dogs have different and fairly consistent temperments and proneness to aggression. Some breeds of dogs are very prone to aggression, though there are ocassional examples of a more passive disposition in some individuals.

Why social science would try to say that humans are NOT genetically programmed as the dogs, cattle, horses, and other animals that are selected for various traits baffled me. We are, after all subject to all the other biological trueisms of genetics and why “temperment” and “behavioral tendencies” would be exempt from those “laws” I couldn’t figure out.

For years people had noticed that many adopted kids did not turn out well in spite of having “good” homes, but it was attributed to the “trauma” the children got from “being adopted” not to genetics. Now, finally medicine and sciences are accepting that this “Adoption syndrome” which is all to common is the result of genetics. Most of these children come from personality disordered young women who give up their “healthy infants” for adoption or the state takes them from the mothers and places the for adoption. Babies available today are not from the “good girl” and the “football captain” who give up their babies for adoption any more, but from the disordered and discarded genetic. Not that all of these children are hopeless, or should be discarded, but at least parents wanting to adopt should be aware of what they are taking on in the way of genetics.

Not all children, thank God, of psychopaths are doomed to be psychopaths, or to get all the genes that predestine them to be psychopathic behavior, but enough do that it is still a concern to me, and I know it is to you as you have a child by the psychopath.

My father sired 4 kids that I know of, me being the oldest and only one of us seems to be a psychopath. I am a bit ADHD, but more hyperactive than attention deficit, and one of my sons is ADHD but not psychopathic, and one son is a TOTAL psychopath and very aggressive, controlling and violent.

I can produce a “family tree” on both my mother’s and father’s side, FULL of psychopathic people back to before 1840 on a couple of the lines. My x-husband’s father is no doubt a psychopath so my son got the double whammy from both sides of his genetics, with BOTH grandfathers being psychopaths, and several of his great grandfathers being psychopaths.

My other biological son has, after all this mess and chaos with his brother, decided to remain childless because of the risk of passing on the genetics to future generations. Though I would very very much like grandchildren, I can’t argue with his decision in the least. I wouldn’t keep or breed a bull or a cow that had the genetics for aggression or the animal equivalent of psychopathic behavior, in fact, I extensively culled my herd for temperment that was dangerous. The ONLY aggressive behavior I ever tolerated in any animal here on my farm was if it was PROTECTING THEIR YOUNG, otherwise if a cow even shook her head at me (a form of warning and aggression in cattle) I would have her and ALL her offspring on the next load to the butcher. Because of that rigid culling, in a breed otherwise known for being docile to humans, my cattle are all very docile, but will still protect their young from predators, but don’t see me as a predator.

I am truly glad that social and medical scientists are accepting the fact that temperment and behavior are at least somewhat genetic. I think that knowing that might help parents of children who are “unhelpable” learn to let go. Though, even though I “knew it” I still hung on to malignant hope that somehow my son could be “saved”—because I have had a son in prison I have become at least causally acquainted with others who have criminal children (mostly sons) and I see that malignant hope in those parents. The “stand by your kid” philosophy, “no matter what, he’s my kid” “there’s some way I can help him” etc etc. and many families pauper themselves trying to find some magical way to “help” Junior go straight. While not all convicts and criminals are psychopaths, it is well known that the 20% or more who are do 75 or 80% of the violent and repeat crime.

I’m bright and educated on genetics and medicine, with a major in biology and it still took me a loooong time to put that knowledge to WORK in my life. I hope that your book is a run away best seller and that the spreading of this information gets to every person in the world. You have no idea how much I appreciate the work you are doing for parenting the at risk child, which if it doesn’t help the all the children, at least will educate the parents to what to expect and how to protect themselves from psychopathic offspring if parenting isn’t enough to over come the genetics.

Of course none of us really know 100% how our parenting effects our children vs what is hereditary, but I do know I raised a very ADHD child into a successful adult who had empathy and impulse control, has a work eithic and a conscience, and is a caring and good man. But whatever happened at puberty (and one instance before that) turned my “perfect” child into a monster of rage and control, with arrogance beyond belief and no empathy or conscience, but in fact, is PROUD of the horror of his crimes. It was only when he let his mask slip and I SAW the pride in his eyes, saw the true demon behind the mask, that I was finally able to let go, and turn him loose. To give up the malignant hope that my son was “human” instead of PURE EVIL. The similarities between him and my Psychopathic biological father are uncanny, even their hand writing and facial experessions, way of moving. All there, yet they never met.

If that isn’t the family genetic curse, I am not sure what would be.

I think this is interesting in respect to my baby being at risk for anti social behavior due to fathers and grandfathers genetics. I not only have to be extra careful when rearing, but I will also need to ensure that I discuss the risks, when the baby gets older, that its offspring have to anti social behavior. I wonder if there are suggestions on not only how to explain to a child its parents personality disorder, but also explaining the risks their offspring have in carrying the gene.

OxD I really think it is interesting that your son has made a decision to not have children in fear of passing on the gene.

Dear Bird,

There was a long time when parents were BLAMED because their children had schizrophrenia as being “bad parents” because it was supposed that babies are born a “blank slate” as far as their mental and emotional development was concerened. Now, it is finally becoming apparent to medical science what farmers have known for “ever” that personality/disposition is linked to hereditary effects.

My X DIL had the gene for muscular dystrophy, and all her uncles had died from this horrible condition, yet she chose to have children, and had a son who had this terrible condition. Her daughter has a 50:50 chance of haivng this gene to pass on to her children, so does she get tested? Nope–“I don’t want to know” (her daughter is also personality disordered too)

Diabetes, and high cholersterol and all those other “metabolic” diseases are hereditary as well. Plus there are many many mental health issues that are hereditary from depression on up.

At least people and science are becoming more aware of this and that we are not JUST products of our environment, but of our genes as well.

Dr. Leedom, and you, and many other women have had children with these Ps, before they realized that their partner was a P. And somewhere on one of the articles here it was mentioned that 25% of the kids in a public housing project in England were being sired by Ps. WOW! Of course, not every child born to a P becomes a P. In my father’s case it was 1 out of 4, but we all in one way or another, got the environmental damage from him. The other three from birth, and me for a couple of years as a teenager.

Plus, my own P-son is a “carbon copy” of my P-bio father in too many ways to be coincidence—from facial expressions to hand writing, to murderous behavior and high IQ.

My son C, who was married to the P for 8 yrs (his first marriage) at first after the divorce thought about the fact that he might get married again and have children of his own, but then, after learning more about the hereditary nature of the psychopathic personality disorders decided NOT to ever have children. Not to “take the chance” to pass on the genes.

It’s kind of a “crap shoot” when you have children anyway, but if you end up having children with a P, the risks are higher. Humans, unlike specific breeds of animals, have a more diverse range of genetics. Tall men marry short women, the off spring may be very tall or very short, or inbetween or some of each, whereas a “breed” of animal is pretty uniform in genetics and the off spring are more predictable. Some breeds of animals are so uniform in genetics that they are almost carbon copies of each other, depending on what traits were selected for. Some breeds of cattle, like the Spanish fighting bulls, are selected for a nasty aggressive disposition, where other breeds of cattle have been selected for gentle dispositions. If you cross a Spanish fighting bull with a cow of a more gentle disposition, you have no idea what you could get—gently, aggressive or inbetween, but the aggressive gene(s) could lie dormant even of the offspring were continually crossed with the gentler breed for a couple of generations.

Rare is the family “gene pool” that doesn’t have an Uncle Monster abusive relative, or a drug addict, or an alcoholic aunt, or a wife beating cousin, or the convict in the family. With the diversity of our human gene pool,, and the P gene(s) scattered in so many families, and it most likely taking several genes rather than just one to produce a P, it is really a crap shoot. My son does realize though, that he has the double whammy, of P genes on both sides of his family, and probably on both sides of those, so has a HIGHER THAN average chance of having those genes to pass on. As Dr. Leedom also said there is a high correlation between ADHD and Ps, and my son C is ADHD, though he is NOT a P, but he probably has some of the P genes. My P-son is NOT ADHD though, but he does have the lack of impulse control, whereas my son C with the ADHD has learned impulse control. Kind of interesting I think. Anyway, I would never have advised him to make that choice, I think it is up to each individual to make their own reproductive choices (at least in our society) but at the same time, I would never advise him to have children either.

But, you, Bird, are FOREWARNED, and you know that you will hve to take extra precautions with Birdie as Birdie grows, and when the day comes, Birdie will make the decisions to have children or not. Hopefully, too, being advised what a P is, Birdie will not choose a P mate. It’s just like if Birdie’s father had diabetes, you would start out teaching Birdie from the very first how to eat properly to help prevent onset, or to manage it well if it did happen. So you are a leg up on the mother who does NOT know what PPD is, and can do everything humanly possible to raise a child that will have a conscience, will bond, and be a loving and wonderful person. And, keep in mind, that NOT 50% of Birdie’s genes are P genes because I am sure that your P also had some NON-P ancestors, so there is a good chance Birdie will be “normal” in any circumstances. You know I am very attached to you and your baby, Bird, and I do not dispair at all that you had a child by the P, because you are such a caring and good person, and if any child has a chance at growing up to be like YOU, then that child has a great hope. ((((Bird & Birdie))) ps–BTW, you never told us if Birdie is a boy or a girl! But in any case, pinch his/her little cheeks and give him/her a big hug from Aunty Oxy!

By not having children, because of a “gene theory'” one allows the psycho to win again. This is eugenics. We can a have tendency toward many diseases- and avoid them by diet, exercise, txt, and rearing.

There’s no guarantees in this life- but by purposefully not having children one loses out on the most rewarding, beautiful, tiring and sanctifying gifts a human ever receives.

Genes are not destiny- God gave us freewill. Psychos are not insane, they are purposefully evil.

Birdie has a good chance as any, even better because you are so aware and concerned. : )

DEar HWS,

I had a discussion today about this very thing, with a gentleman who had been married to a personality disordered woman for many years.

I won’t try to second guess my son’s decision to not have children based on the genetics of our family being so rife with psychopaths, any more than I would have with any person whose family had some other (horrible) genetic condition.

Yes, you can miss out on many things if you do not have children, but there are children who do need homes that are available for adoption, so adoption or fostering is another way to “have” children. To have biological children when you know that your biological children have a high chance of having an inherited disorder and living a short, unhappy, painful life is an individual decision that I think is left to the potential parent to make.

I agree, genes are not destiny and even psychopaths have FREE WILL. A person who has the genes that make them tend to become addicted to alcohol or drugs has the OPTION TO NOT DRINK, OR TAKE DRUGS. The genes do NOT force them to drink or do drugs. So, to me, drinking or druging is a CHOICE.

My friend and I today talked aobut his X-wife and what she did and how she behaved. She had a P for a father, who sexually molested her, so he tended to “not blame” her because she had a hard upbringing as well as the “genetics”–but while there is no “cure” or “successful treatment” for a person who is a “full blown adult P” I don’t think that the Ps are without choices in their behavior, any more than the alcololic is without choices—they can both choose to do what is “RIGHT” or “what is WRONG”—but at some point, some alcoholics decide that they don’t WANT to quit drinking and so they continue to drink. Some alcoholics decide to quit drinking and do so. Some alcoholics quit drinking but are still “dry drunks”–i.e. not drinking, but still being controlling, anger filled, abusive jerks (Ps?)

My friend was concerned because he couldn’t believe that God would make someone who “couldn’t control their behavior” and then hold them accountable. My thoughts experessed to him were that I don’t think they ALWAYS couldn’t control or didn’t want to control their behaivor, but at some point, they reach a point that they dont’ WANT to control their behavior because “for them, it is successful” –i.e. gets them what they want.

Dr. Viktor Frankl’s book, “Man’s search for Meaning” which he wrote after his years in a Nazi prison camp during WWII, demonstrates by his observation how some people who “had it hard” were stronger, kinder, better peoople afterwards, and others became angered and vengeful, and became abusers themselves, feeling entitled to abuse others because they were abused themselves. Why the different responses to the same conditions? “The same sun that hardens the clay, melts the wax”–i.e. The SAME CONDITONS get different results depending on the composition of the the object that they effect. People are different. Some “abused” children become great individuals and others become abusers themselves. WHY? Because of the different reactions that they had to the abuse condtions. We (bloggers here) have all been victimized and are trying to heal, to become better, more thoughtful and wiser individuals. But, are we a “cross section” of ALL victims? I think not. Many victims choose to stay victims, or to become abusers themselves, or to become bitter and feel that the world and life has been unfair to them. The people on this blog, for the most part seem to all be working on healing, and I define that as recovering, learning why we were victims in the first place, and how to move on in our lives with more understanding, caring and caution, but without bitterness and anger and holding a grudge. I would not have any idea what the percentage of victims do learn and recover vs those that stay victims or that become abusers themselves. Maybe someone else would have those statistics (if such there are) but I think WE have choices, and the abusers do have choices, reagardless of WHAT the genetics are. They know that what they do (in the way of abuse) is not “right” yet they chose to do it because it is what they want to do.

If the PPD was 100% genetic and they had no choice, then I would say let my murdering P-son out of prison, it’s not his fault, he was born a P. You can’t put him in prison for killing someone because he had no control over his behavior. I KNOW THAT IS NOT TRUE. He is just as accountable as I am for the CHOICES he makes. He is responsible for his choices, as I am. My Uncle Monster who was an abusive alcoholic and only abused his wife and other women when he was “drunk”—but he had a choice to drink or not to drink. He chose to drink, knowing that he did this kind of thing when he was drunk. But HE DIDN’T CARE, AND HE MADE HIS CHOICES. Therefore, he had the choice to abuse or not, and he chose to abuse and to drink, reagardless of his genetic make up.

PS. Two of my uncle Monster’s children chose not to have children, and one had one child and adopted another child with Fetal alcohol syndrome, mentally retarded, and other severe mental health problems. (knowing at the time she adopted the boy that he had these problems.) None of my uncle Monster’s children drink alcohol. I drink very little alcohol, and my sons also drink very little alcohol.

Dear all,

It’s been ages since I’ve added any comments of my own on this most endearing website. I still read as much as I can in the limited time I’m allowed due to work and other activities.

Many of you know me and some may not, but I just wanted to share the progress I have made after literally a life time of being in the presence/being involved with personality disordered individuals. Beginning with a most evil psychopathic biological father.

The man was evil, no doubt, and I swore a valid oath to myself as a child that I would be the complete opposite of everything he was. And I have been successful in creating a positive, fulfilling, loving, peaceful life for myself. But this powerful transition has been a slow going, steady process for the past 4 years.

And, I never would have truly learned to respect and truly love me for who I am without the continued guidance, strength, compassion and mercy of our Beloved Lord.

Wow, the joy in my heart and soul sometimes overwhelms me but I am so grateful, so appreciative of every wonderful blessing in my life.

For all you dearhearts who still consider yourself unworthy, unlovable, undeserving of the truest most beautiful happiness possible, that couldn’t be further from the truth. You most absolutely deserve to be at peace, to have serenity and joy in your precious lives.

Stand up for yourselves and shout…”I am me! I am wonderful! I am strong, independent, a fighter through and through! I love myself and I am loved deeply!”

Guess what? That above statement is truth personified.

Believe it, learn it and live it.

Peace…love….joy to you all lovely people. 🙂

Dear JaneSmith: I am so glad to hear that you’ve work through your pain and have now found your harmony and peace. Yes, harmony and peace is what everyone should strive for. Someday, every one, every where … after working through the pain created in their lives … will find the peace and serenity. It’s work, but it’s worth it. As for the individuals in the world that create pain towards others, it is a cry that they too are in pain. As Bill Cosby quoted another – “Hurt people, hurt people”.

Peace and serenity to all. After you find that new found harmony in your life and grow into compassion again, you will see them through different eyes.

Peace.

First, I wish there was clarification of the statement “link between addiction and psychopathy” to clarify that NOT all people with addiction problems are psychopaths or have hurtful personalities. While it’s true that addiction can lead to hurtful behaviour, many of those same people are not hurtful once they’re no longer under the influence of the addiction. For example, the many abused women who become alcoholic is historically significant. It’s not uncommon for deep-feeling, caring people, to find themselves in horrible situations (like a horrid abusive marriage, or in terrible combat during a war), and take to drinking to escape, and thus become alcoholic. That’s a big difference from the sociopaths who use mind-altering substances to get some thrills.

I’m thinking the ADHD link is similarly dicey.

In fact, I suspect that sociopaths with behaviour problems in childhood, and sociopaths who utilize mind altering substances, are actually MISdiagnosed as having ADHD or addiction. When really, the drug use or the behaviour are simply SYMPTOMS in some sociopaths. (Whereas in a regular non-sociopath person, ADHD or addiction might be the actual problem.)

But about the genetic issue… I well understand at first how the concept is daunting, and something you don’t want to believe. Because most of us want to believe there’s good about everyone, or that everyone is a good person “deep down”. Or regarding the person we know who is nasty, who we are close to – we don’t want to believe it’s hopeless. But I have since come to believe that learning aboutt the hopelessness is the kindest thing that could happen. I no longer waste so much time on some people, who I used to waste time on, and invariably be disappointed – or worse. Once I realize someone is probably not capable of being anything other than detrimental, I don’t worry about giving them chances, or worry about being nice to them – that sort of thing. It’s been liberating really.

As for children who exhibit the traits. I think I guess parents just need to do the best they can to not instill violence & abuse into the kid’s life… but I tend to believe Dr. Hare’s attitude, as I understand it – that a bad upbringing can make a sociopath worse – but even so, a good upbringing with wonderful parenting, can’t make a psychopath into a loving caring empathetic individual.
“Dexter” is, I believe, a tempting but dangerous myth… that can lead to parents of these sociopaths blaming themselves for something that’s not really their fault.
I have the greatest sympathy & respect for those parents with grown sociopathic children they’ve had to cut out of their lives because of the detriment – or in order not to enable their hurting of others. It must be really difficult and saddening… but I think it’s best for everyone, including the sociopaths.

AMEN, WP!

We would all LIKE to BELIEVE that “there is good in everyone” but as we say here “It ain’t so, McGee” (I don’t know where that saying came from but I’ve heard it all my life!)

Parents whose children are born with Muscular Dystrophy, or Spina Bifidia or develop cancer, or 1,000 other problems might like to believe that there will be a “cure” some time before their child lives out their lives in pain and disability, but having FALSE HOPE is I think worse than accepting the TRUTH that there IS NO HOPE FOR A REMISSION/CURE.

In my career in medicine I have seen people whose ELDERLY parent had ZERO quality of life, was brain dead and yet, the family KEPT HOPING FOR A MIRACLE. The statistics are there, there IS NO HOPE that your 90 year old grandmother with a stroke that left her speechless, unable to breathe on her own, etc is going to get off the ventilator and go home to you, walking and talking.

I blame the media to some extent, and I also blame physicians that WILL NOT SPEAK THE TRUTH ABOUT THERE BEING NO HOPE.

When my husband suffered third degree burns over 95% of his body and inhaled the flames as well, he was STILL alive, (thank God in no pain, because he was literally cooked an inch deep and the nerves were fried) THERE WAS NO HOPE THAT HE WOULD LIVE more than a few hours at most.

Yet, when I got to the hospital (I had been at the crash site at the time of the aircraft crash, the first there) so as a medical professional I KNEW the prognosis, Yet in the hour that it took me to get to the hospital the physicians were “trying to preserve life” in my husband. When I came in they did not say to me, “We are so sorry Mrs. Drover, but Mr. Drover has NO HOPE of surviving more than a few hours. Would you like to go be with him?”

Instead they inundated me with WHAT THEY WERE GOING TO DO TO TRY TO SAVE HIM, send him 2 hours by helicopter to another major burn center, ya da ya da.

I looked at the physician and said “WHY?” The physician was at a temporary loss for words and said “Oh, but that’s the BEST burn center in the south.” I again repeated “Why” and he had no answer. I told him that I was an advanced practice nurse, that I was at the crash site, and I KNEW MY HUSBAND WOULD NOT LIVE, so I DID NOT WANT ‘EXTREME MEASURES” TAKEN. My husband was conscious, and alert and oriented, but by the time I got there he had a tube and a ventilator and could not speak. But I communicated with him and he “answered” by moving the only part of his body not burned, one foot. HE KNEW he was not going to live long. I KNEW, our family knew, and we were allowed to DEAL WITH IT.

People who have a LOVED ONE, whatever the relationship is, NEED TO KNOW THAT THERE IS NO, ZIP, ZERO, NADA, NONE, HOPE that the person will “change” and grow a conscience any more than a child born without arms is going to grow some. What you have is what you get!

I don’t believe that the TOXIC behavior which the genetics predispose toward can’t be somewhat altered by EARLY environment, but you are still not going to be able to “make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” IF the genetics are strong enough.

I think in the case of my P-son that the genetics were SO strong (both grandfathers were Ps) that there is little if any likelhood if I had been as good a mother as the “Virgin Mary” herself as a mother, he would still have been what he is A VIOLENT PSYCHOPATH. I’m not claiming to have been a perfect mother, but I can stand here and say “Under the circumstances I was handed, I did a GOOD job. I have ONE son, who is ADHD and he is a GREAT human being. The other child is a psychopath.

I can see that there are a high percentage of ADHD kids that are ALSO Psychopathic, but I don’t necessarily think that the link is CAUSAL, I think it just makes the immpulsivity worse.
(I think Dr. Leedom said that the link is high, and also to Bi-Polar) I can easily see where having each or either of these problems would make the P-genes have a worse “outcome” or be more apparent.

Having EITHER Bi-polar or ADHD without having the P genes makes life hard enough for people. Having either one of those \AND the P-genes is a night mare.

Yes, it IS difficult to cut off your own child because of their “disability” (in this case Psychopathic) but I only wish I had NOT held on to the malignant HOPE of thinking I could do something for him. I’ve seen other families destroy themselves as well “trying to help, Junior, he’s my son/daughter, I just can’t desert him/her.”

One of my friends I just found out has had to cut off her P-son. She doesn’t even know what a psychopath is, but she knows her son is “evil” and she isn’t going to enable him. I know her pain, but she is doing what is the ONLY possible solution for HER and the rest of her family. Amputate the cancerous, dangerous part of the “family body” so that the rest can live. Peace.

Oxy: God knows when you will be conceived and when you will die. It’s in how we live that counts … not the years or the days or the hours.

That’s what people forget or don’t want to be reminded of… it isn’t the quantity of our lives (time spent down here), it’s the quality of our lives.

I remember what my father always told me … If one person, just one person misses you the day you die, then your life was worth living.

Peace.

I’d like to add my favorite saying. I don’t know who wrote this, but it is so true.

We have this life that soon will pass, only what we do with love will last.

Peace.

Wini,

You are absolutely right on that, and the saddest thing is that there is NOT ONE PERSON, except possibly my mother, who will give a hoot if my son were to die to day, or who would weep over his passing. I realize, sadly, that if I were notified today that my P-son were dead, my feeling would be one of RELIEF, not grief, and I have no doubt that his brothers would feel the same. He has spent so much time in prison that he has NO “FRIENDS” except those that he made in prison, and most of those are just like him. I can’t see them weeping over him.

Oxy: I do believe that we are a clean slate when born. I think the “bad seed” type of babies know instinctively when born how to get their way with people. If the caretaker missed 1 time picking them up, the child knows and goes balistic making mommy figure running around the clock feeding, rocking etc. changing diapers, singing lullabys etc.

As a child grows … they absorbed their surroundings … not just what their parental figures are providing … but TV, friends down the street, what’s at school etc. etc. etc. Does the kid like the person in the white hat, on the white horse, or do they think the guy with the black hat, on the black horse is more interesting? It’s how a person perceives their life that starts them on the path of how they are going to turn out. No offense to any parents out there who think you had a big part of raising your child … you did as far as the bare essentials, love, etc., but you really are background noise until they mature into their late 20s and start to talk with you and dad again.

My parents always told all four of their children that we were all different and they loved us all – in our own individual way. And of course instilled that we were family … yadda, yadda, yadda and could you try to get along???? Even on their deaths beds … both of them … making us promise to stick together as a family. I’m smiling as I’m writing this … very clever of them to do this … the final guilt trip to abide by … but I understand that is out of love and that blood is thicker than water etc.

My oldest sister and my middle sister and I butt heads all the time. All 3 of us are from the same family, yet we perceive life differently. When the older two can’t get their way with me, out comes their manipulative tactics … to overcome and conquer. Who cares if these tactics are right or wrong … their egos are making the decision … not logic.

Anyway, I feel this is the same for what is known as the anti-social personality. They do know right from wrong but choose wrong … cause of movies like “Ocean’s Eleven, the newest version and the one with Sinatra and Martin etc.”. Growing up as kids … who wouldn’t want the glamorous lives of what they saw in the movies … today’s kids have Clooney and Pitt and the rest of them to idolize as sexy criminals robbing millions out of Sin City USA – Las Vegas. Hey, the industry creates this crap to entertain and make money … young kids know this on one level, but on the subconscious level … didn’t movies like Oceans 11 hit a cord with these kids … the little girls can be like Julia Roberts and the little boys want to be Pitt and the rest of the cast that played in the movie … plus movie sequels to the same old story line … bad over trumping the boring good. Bad, getting what you want, when you want, any time you want … and looking at the sexy babe I get on my arm after its over. And, hey, they don’t show the devastation in any detail to those that got robbed? They don’t show the years of turmoil and confusion of undoing what the Black hatted heroes did?

What movie did the good guy have out in the last 20 years – oh “Dave”. And maybe a few more.

Hollywood glamorizes the anti-social life .. I lean more towards the theory that it is learned behaviors … conditioned in the subconscious of children at first … then as the child grows and the ego takes off … they know they are accepting the bad boy/girl side to life. It’s acknowledged and accepted.

I’m laughing as I write this next sentence. My EX loved John Wayne movies. Me thinking he liked Wayne for being a good guy … in hindsight, he was watching these movies to perfect his con of looking and acting the part of the “nice guy”.

Peace.

Wini,

As far as “original sin” I feel that a child is born SINLESS, but as far as being a “clean slate” genetically, I will have to differ there. Some children are born to be tall, some short, some chunky and some slim, those are the genetic potentials that they come with already in the genes, and assuming that a child whose genetic potential is to be 6′ 8″ isn’t starved as a child, there is a good chance he will be that tall. A child born to be 5’6″ isn’t going to be 6’8″ no matter what you feed him!

Some children are born with brighter potential intellects than others, and some children are born mentally challenged so that they will never be able to care for themselves. Those things are GENETIC. Environment can help to over come some of these things, but not totally alleviate them.

I have a friend who is dyslexic and yet he became an engineer. He had a lot of difficulties in overcoming that and when he sends me an e mail I don’t so much as “read it” as “decipher” it. LOL In fact I kid him about it and we have a good laugh, but it is a fact of his genes.

My son C is ADHD, and he definitely sees the world from a perspective that is different than mine, even though I am also a bit hyperactive, and since the airplane crash I have been attention deficit for sure. CRS.

Children who are born with the genetic predisposition to be alcoholics have a gene that makes alcohol more addictive to them than to the child who is born without that gene or genes. Environment (whether there is alcohol available to that child and at what age) will determine whether that gene is EXPRESSED or not.

Environment has a relationship to Ps to some degree, but just as environment cannot totally over come the height or IQ of a child, any more than you can take a wolf pup away from his mother at the moment he is born and suckle him on a pointer bird dog and make him into a pointer. He is going to grow up to be a WOLF no matter who bottle feeds him or how. He has the genetics of a wolf and he is going to want to hunt prey.

My Border Collie as a lot of the same instincts of a hunting wolf, but through thousands of generations of selective breeding, those instincts have been refined so that those instincts can be used and the dog trained to herd sheep or goats, hogs or cattle and NOT kill them. But if I let my Border Collie run loose, he would be over in the neighbor’s pasture herding his cattle and someone would put a bullet in his head. He cannot be allowed to run freely like I did my Great Pyrenees dog, because her wolf instincts had been honed through 8 or 10,000 years to stay with and guard her “flock” and in her case, her flock didn’t roam so neither did she.

In fact, having a Pyr which guards, and runs off anything “chasing” livestock from the place, getting her used to allowing my Border Collies to “work” (chase) the goats and sheep took some doing. But, they are smart animals and she got used to having MY Collies herding animals, but no others.

Yes, environment and training can have and does have influence on all of us and what we are, how we act, and what we think is right and wrong, what behavior we will accept and what we will not, but GENETICS is what you are born with and what the environment gets to work on. Unfortunately, there are apparently some children born that have enough of the P-gene(s) that the best of parents couldn’t environmentally alter them enough to keep them out of prison or to get them to bond to other humans.

Not that I think that they are 100% destined, they have choices, just like the person with the alcoholic gene has a choice NOT TO DRINK, but I think their choices are difficult, more difficult than they would be for someone without those genes, but choices, none-the-less. Just like it is “easier” for the alcoholic to choose to drink than it is for him/her to choose NOT to drink, it is easier for the P to choose to act like a P than it is to choose to NOT act like a P. But once they have set of soundly down that road, there doesn’t seem to be any place to turn around and go back, and even if they could turn around and go back, they don’t WANT TO.

Oxy: Then there’s the sensations to put into the mix. Some people hear what you are saying, others feel what you are saying … I see what you are saying … what you are saying leaves a such and such taste in my mouth. Daaaaaaaaaa, but we all have free will. Do your homework on your own, figure out how to do it, gain the confidence and get to stay humble that you know how to do it (don’t have to brag) … as the other child pays or bullies someone to do his/her homework for them…. didn’t learn how to do the work, didn’t learn the lessons … still handed in the work to the teacher … no one called him/her on it … what did this kid learn? That they were still rewarded for getting the assignment done and their ego got inflated (bragging to themselves or others what they got away with).

Big difference of living the way God wants us to live versus living from your ego. Righteous way to live is doing it God’s way … and all that is learned from it. Unrighteous way of living (through your ego, shooting from your hips) you learn how to be a bigger and better bs artist, not gaining confidence and knowledge of how to do anything … just gaining a bigger and more inflated ego … looking down your noses at the masses … we’re all a bunch of flunkies for believing to take the righteous paths in life.

A blogger the other nite mentioned a girlfriend growing up in her home town … best friends and how this woman ripped the hearts out of all the boys, then men she dated. The entire town ignores her now … she’s aged and not liking it much not being 17 again, forever …playing her ego games on folks. Moral of the story, her superficiality is driving her over the edge … I’m sure she’s still conning others, but at a lesser level than having the whole world as her oyster when she had her youth.

Same in my town. An old time hooker parlayed her $$$ into politics and real estate. She had it made it financially and socially … anyone who was anyone or no one came to her restaurant … she was never left out in the cold or lonely for entertainment with people flocking into her place or having the insight scoop into what was happening in the state. She was in her 90s I think when she passed on. Her trade mark clothes … mini skirts, bleached blonde hair, go-go boots … summer or winter, that’s what she wore (variation of). She always thought herself the same age her entire life … always 17 or 18, (the madame) never aging gracefully and comfortable in her own skin. Always the ego in full force projecting out to the world. Don’t get me wrong, I believe she was a nice person … it was her ego wouldn’t/couldn’t let go of her youth, when she was at the top of her game. She used to chance young teenagers down the city streets whistling to them to come with her. Some guys were nice and played up to her, walking her across the streets … others turned and ran and called her names. It was sad to see that happening and it was nice to see the guys who were good to her, kissed her hand while they left her at one corner or another. Gentlemen, just being gentlemen, just because.

So I do think it’s how your mind perceives your world that creates you and with the medias blasting into every room of our house to play games on egos to buy this or buy that … cause if you don’t, you’re a looser … has a lot to do with it.

Peace.

Oxy: Both sets of grandfather’s drank. Both my parents did not abuse alcohol or drink other than socially. Both parents didn’t know from one day to the next if their dads (my grandfathers) were going to be good daddy or monster daddy due to the intake of alcohol in their systems.

My father made a conscious decision at the age of ten years old … that if he ever was lucky enough to marry and have children he would treat his wife like gold and his children that way too. Actually, my father treated everyone like gold … no matter who they were. He unconditionally loved everyone, and vice versa, people loved my dad.

My godfather (my dad’s older brother) also refused to drink because of the craziness of having an alcoholic father and my aunt (their sister) can’t stand the smell of beer … reminds her of the smell coming from the basement as my grandfather and his siblings mixed their crazy brew.

What I’m getting at is being consciously aware of how you want to live. That’s half the battle. What we think is what we are.

As I stated before my Dad used to tell all of us when we were kids … you can live a happy life or you can live a miserable life … it’s up to you how you want to live it. How you perceive life … is the glass half full or half empty. There is nothing floating around the world written in stone that says you must be this way or you must be that way.

Peace.

Hands down, absolutely there are genetic reasons — one of the ADHD genes is for “response ready” behavior and very advantageous if you live in a nomadic tribe in Kenya — or, probably if you were a Viking or other explorer during the early eras of human-civilization. (This is the dopamine receptor 4, 7 repeat allele).

Kind of a problem if you’re in the suburbs. (There used to be a credit card commercial with Vikings getting jobs in the mall that is a good illustration, I think — the Capitol One cards? )

I need to read Dr. L’s and Ms. B’s books, and the research is coming out fast and furious in this area – regards, Swivelchair

Actually Swivel new research on ADHD has shown something very interesting, something that explains a few things. A recent study found this:

Turning to a sensitive technology called amperometry that uses a small carbon fiber to “listen in” on how single cells release or transport dopamine, the Galli and Blakely laboratories discovered that the altered transporters were running backward at an exaggerated rate, literally pushing dopamine out of the cell.

“We think this activity would short circuit the normal synaptic transmission process,” Blakely said. “Instead of the precise ‘pop-pop-pop’ of dopamine being released from vesicles (tiny packets of neurotransmitter), there’s a cloud of dopamine bleeding out, and the dopamine signaling system is not as sharp as it should be.”

To their surprise, the investigators also found that amphetamine blocks the leak of dopamine through variant transporter. Normally, amphetamine does just what the mutation does – it causes the dopamine transporter to run in the reverse direction.

“This observation unifies the action of these drugs and strongly suggests that backward-running transporters may be an important mechanism in ADHD, even for those who do not have this particular mutation,” Blakely said.

Researchers studying the dopamine transporter have found that there are multiple ways to cause the transporter to run backward, Galli pointed out, and the team is now screening other genes in the “network of signaling pathways that target the transporter and reverse dopamine flow” as potential contributors to ADHD risk.

BloggerT7165, really? Wow. That’s wild.

The cells spit out the dopamine, but with amphetamines, the cells keep the dopamine in. I wonder what it is in the dopamine transporters? Ca2+ transporting?

I’ll look it up, but if it’s a matter of ion gradients, then that’s a whole other thing, and probably treatable — with amphetamines. (Duh.)

I wonder if the ADHD behaviors can be parsed out (like, in Dr. L’s above post – anxiety or agitation or novelty seeking), and then each one has a different dopamine-aspect (or, my guess, serotonin, too).

As far as the criminality aspect, the whole affiliative behavior gene thing seems to be important – vasopressin, oxytocin, bonding trust, etc. The vasopressin receptor mutations related to lack of bonding (this was in the news recently – the men-who-cheat-genes) probably play a role in criminality.

I mean there may be a genetic predisposition to thinking it’s ok to steal from people in your life, because even if they kick you to the curb, you aren’t bonded with them.

Dear Swivel and BloggerT,

VEry interesting information. I have a son who is ADHD, and my bio-father who is also a HIGH LEVEL VIOLENT psychopath is very “HYPER” but not attention deficit. I tend to be “hyper” but not attention deficit (AT LEAST NOT UNTIL LATELY, when I got PTSD after my husband’s plane crash/death (I was a witness) now, I have distractibility, though it is improving with treatment for the PTSD.

I can trace the P genes through both sides of my family, and for several generations, and my sons’ grandfather’s are both Ps. Of my two biological sons, one is ADHD and the other is NOT ADHD but is very Psychopathic. He is currently in prison for murder.

I’m a retired Advance Practice Nurse, but also have a degree in biology and have bred and raised several species of animals (cattle, horses, dogs etc) and have thought for most of my life that “personality” was inherited. By culling my cattle herd for “disposition” I easily eliminated “flighty” and “crazy” cattle for more docile ones. Aggressive behavior has deliberately been bred into the Spanish fighting bulls, and in to various breeds of dogs, so if it works in animals, why would humans be “different”?

My P-son, who has never met my P-bio-father, is so much like him that it is spooky. He doesn’t really “look” like him, but his facial expressions, his manner of speech, and his hand writing are very very similar. My ADHD son is a look-alike for my P-bio father but has none of his mannerisms at all.

Though there is still some controversy over how effective it is, when my ADHD son,. C was young (1st grade) I chose to put him on the Feingold diet (certain foods eliminated, and all artificial colors and artificial flavors, chocolate eliminated) He did very well on the diet, and though I never told him it was about his behavior (I told him it was for his nasal allergies) he voluntarily stayed on it) He is a well functioning human being today, holds a very complex job and is a highly thought of employee. He has a functioning conscience and I am very proud of how well he has done and the kind of man he has become. And sure’nuff in contrast to his P-brother.

I have worked professionally with other ADHD children who are “budding” Ps and by age 10 or so are uncontrollable and dangerous. Medications help a bit, but even in patient treatment seems to have little benefit on these children who seem “bent on destruction.”

Dr. Leedom also put a thread up here about the correlation of Bi-polar and Psychopathic behavior. Something in the neighborhood of 1/3 of Ps are also bipolar. Or vice verso (CRS kicked in).LOL

So . . . what are the candidate genes, then? I don’t understand the delay. Is it that we don’t have the numbers for a normal base? Are they using the nonsensical DSM-IV as a selective device? Do they want huge numbers in the s/p selection? In my opinion, start by analyzing the genetics of “Clark Rockefeller” or Thomas Capano or Wayne Williams.

http://pathwhisperer.wordpress.com

Path there is no one gene that is the cause. And genetics is only part of the issue. It is a combination of genetics and environment that brings this all to fruition.

I don’t doubt that there’s no one gene. However I can’t agree that environment is an equal component. I don’t doubt that ennvironment plays a role, but not always, in determining whether a p/s takes a criminal path. But it would play no role in whether a p/s is a caring, empathic individual, in my opinion.

It’s worth noting that Thomas Capano and Ira Einhorn would generally have been considered responsible, upstanding citizens if they hadn’t resorted to murder in response to the insult to the s/p ego (i.e., lovers wishing to leave).

Path a while back a group of identical twins who were up for adoption were deliberately separated at birth into different adoptive homes and followed. One of the interesting things was that in 80% (or thereabouts) of the cases if one child turned out to be psychopathic the other identical twin did as well, though raised in an entirely different environment.

There is also a high correlation between all children of psychopaths that are adopted out being more apt to be psychopathic than a child who had no parent who was a psychopath but was adopted out, even though they are not raised in an environment with a psychopathic parent.

Even the concept of “personality” being heritable in humans (although it is obvious it is in breeds of ainmals) is actually a fairly “new” concept to professionals it seems. For years people believed a baby was a “blank slate” on which environment wrote, but now there is a great deal of evidence that we are NOT blank slates when we are born, but have tendencies for many things. Environment can alter some of them and some of them it won’t. But we are a combination of genetics and environment, not a product of one OR the other, but of BOTH.

Just like all dogs came from wolves many generatons ago. If you take a wolf pup off its mother the second it is born and rear it on a beagle say for example, when it grows up it will NOT BE A BEAGLE, it will be a maladjusted wolf. If it had stayed with its mother and the pack, it would have been a well adjusted wolf because its environment would have matched its genetics that were developed in that environment over many generations.

In a dog-eat-dog world where human genetics were developed, the P-genes probably had some survival advantage or there wouldn’t be any left, but in our society today (at least in western society) where there is more or less enough food and other resources to go around so that people don’t regularly starve to death in our world any more, or die of malnutrition, it is NOT adaptive in any way I can see, yet those genes persist and are passed on. In fact I think the males tend to spread their seed far and wide by haivng children with many differnet women and moving on to leave the women to raise the child without the father’s help, sort of like some kinds of birds lay their eggs in other bird’s nests then move on, leaving more offspring than if they had built their own nests.

I have a Psychopathic son, a psychopathic biological father, and other psychopaths in my family. I was not raised by my P-father, and my P-son has never met my father, but their personalities are almost carbon copies. My son is in prison by the way for murder. His most recent crime was to try to have me murdered by one of his friends he met in prison.

I don’t think anyone said it is an equal component. With 6 billion people on the planet there is going to be a a number of factors that are different for each unique case. And genetics are not destiny/fate in regards to this. We may be predisposed to alcoholism yet never become alcoholic. We may be predisposed to aggression yet not lash out.

Environment plays a bigger role than some think because of something that many do not consider. My shoe strings example hits on it somewhat. The more you do something the more it becomes a habit, the more your brain physically changes to match it, the more it becomes you. Why do you tie your shoes the way you do? Because you just do. Why do you act X way? Because you just do. The more you do something and the longer you do it often makes it harder to stop or change that later.

Plus you have to take into account that there may be mutations of genes that affect how people react to environmental factors.

And if we believe that psychopaths are completely genetic then they are not really responsible for their behaviors are they? It means there really is no choice involved if it is purely genetic. I highly doubt that it is 100% responsible.

Ox – It’s not really a new concept its just that with WWII and what occurred there, many people got scared off talking about or even thinking about genetics in regards to these various traits.

I am a firm believer in the MBTI personality traits descriptions. Several of the personalities are much more amenable to sociopathic behavior. Check it out sometime, they are a great help to understanding your family members, I think.

Blogger,

Yes, I know what you mean about people being “scared off” of talking about genetics, but there once was a time when it was “politically correct” to believe the world was FLAT but it didn’t change the shape of the world or the FACTS. LOL

People who are geneticly inclined to be tall make better runners than people like my sons who are short and stocky, but my sons can lift weights for two days and look like a body builder and the tall skinny guy can lift weights for years and still not be Pumped up. LOL There are just some things that are genetic and environment has an effect on how those things are DEMONSTRATED. If the child is starved before birth from the mother’s malnutrition or starved after birth it will have an effect on how tall or how muscular or how strong the bones are in that child regardless of what his genetics are.

If a child is badly abused it will have a big effect on how that child’s mind and personality develop, etc.

Not only that but if the mother takes drugs, alcohol, or is under great stress when she is pregnant it will have an effect on that child’s development.

No, I do not believe that psychopaths are 100% genetic, or 100% environmental but a combination of both, but I put MORE weight on the genetics for at least SOME of the psychopaths than on environment. With the identical twin studies turning out 80% P or Non-P I think that puts a pretty good weight on genetics, but it does give HOPE to parents of children who have one psychopathic parent that they can possibly avoid their child becoming one.

Ox,

We are on the same page then 🙂 I am one of those that believe in the difference between a sociopath and a psychopath. I am also one of those that think to many lay people are ready to call someone a P,S, or N when they are really just jerks (who have traits of the P,S, or N).

I also agree that we are influenced by genetics a lot more than some care to consider. But I also know that, unlike my dog, humans have the ability to overcome these things. The problem is that this is not so for everything. Your example about height is one.

I also fear (and in a way am happy I won’t be around for it) for the future. With advances in genetics it is only a matter of time before people will want to try selective breeding via genetic manipulation and that is a path that is very dangerous to everyone. One of the problems I fear is that many of the traits people would try to eliminate are not, in and of themselves, bad. Aggression and Anger are not bad. Manipulation is not bad. The list goes on and on. It is what people do with these things that causes the problem. By trying to eliminate some of these things we run the risk of turning into uncreative compliant drones and that worries me more.

BloggerT7165 said: “I am one of those that believe in the difference between a sociopath and a psychopath. I am also one of those that think to many lay people are ready to call someone a P,S, or N when they are really just jerks (who have traits of the P,S, or N).”

I definitely agree with the above. I had a boyfriend once that I probably would have looked at the PCL-R (if I’d known about it at the time) and said oh my God he’s a psychopath! IF I had not later ended up with an actual psychopath. The boyfriend, IMO, was just a garden variety badboy type who sometimes engaged in jerk behavior. Yeah, he was a pain in the a** as a boyfriend and he loved the ladies, but a sociopath, or psychopath–nah–not even in the same ballfield IMO.

I, personally, think you could look at the majority of people on the planet and at some point in their life, under certain circumstances, they are gonna demonstrate some of the traits on the psychopathy checklist, at least in a mild form, (excluding the criminal ones). But do they demonstrate the traits in a consistent manner across most areas of their live over the long haul–nah.

I also don’t believe in the “successful” psychopath. I think they can have short stretches of success. But very short stretches. If a successful psychopath can be found, I think he or she should be put on display in a museum or something cause I wanna see him/her. 🙂

Wow !

OxD

Wow ! you mention Facial Expressions WOW!

I have an album Of Pics Just of (it) ! See How obssessed I was ? but what you Relate is So true! In (its) pics you can see a Hollow empty distant Nothingness! now there are pics when (it) is happy those look Great ! but it is those pics that appear hopeless that are truely telling

LOVE Jere

Guys,

I don’t differentiate between a “socio” and a “psycho”-path, but I do agree that there are DIFFERENCE OF DEGREES OF VIOLENCE (physical and emotional) in personality disordered people.

Just like there are people who are 4′ tall and people who are 7′ tall, there are people who are on the “short end” of psychopathic behavior and people who are on the “tall end” and more people are in the “middle” of the Bell Curve of psychopathic behavior.

If you take “normal” behavior and make a Bell curve out of it, it will sometimes “overlap” with the Psychopathic behavior, because even “normal” people do “bad” or “uncaring” things at times, but the PATTERNS of behavior of the people who are personality disordered fall within the range of the Psychopathic Bell Curve. Most fall within the mid-range.

There is enough confusion about the “terms” that you call THEM (whatever term you use) I don’t think it matters a rat’s behind WHAT YOU CALL THEM EXCEPT “PERSONALITY DISORDERED” That covers all kinds, all ranges and it doesn’t matter if they are on the “low end” or the “tall end” they are ALL TOXIC to relationships.

“Hair splitting” about the difference between Ns and Ps (by whatever name) to me is a useless waste of time (though I have spent many hours doing it myself LOL) if we just say “that person is personality disordered, they are not going to change” it covers ALL CONTENGENCIES of the relationship, GET THEM OUT OF YOUR LIFE FOREVER IF POSSIBLE. At least out of your “zone of trust” and move on with your life.

Learn to spot the RED FLAGS of PERSONALITY DISORDERS and do it EARLY so they won’t have you hooked too deeply and the separation won’t hurt so badly for you.

Indie,

I know of two facial expressions many s/p’s hold in common. One is your “Hollow empty distant Nothingness” and the other is the purpose driven predatory stare. I once watched a psychopath try to convince this young guy that he could make him a model, all the while staring at him with the most intense, blinkless, cold concentration in the world. Obviously, imo, he was trying to figure out the hook to manipulate the young man. These stares should be paid attention to.

Imo, almost all male s/p’s are bisexual (or even pansexual) but they feel no more loyalty to their gay lovers than they do female lovers. Look at Sen. Larry Craig’s behavior, ‘I’m not gay, I only take my pleasure where I find it.’

I know that LOOK TOOOOOO only to well

When he got angry it was a death stare !

Is this a true comment? “almost all s/p are bi-sexual” I already overanalyze the situation. God knows I don’t want to add to that the possibility that he could have been and I somehow didn’t pick up on that. Having had him put me in possible jeporady just by sleeping around with OW is already enough to have had me stressed out.

I believe it, Gemini. Although my story was about a female, I wouldn’t put it past her. She’s up for anything. And normal sex gets old and unsatisfying to them. That’s why it has to become more dangerous by having multiple partners, strangers, and the secret of sex while married to someone else. She had a huge problem with masturbation, and a list as long as the day of men she had cheated with. Every week, it’s someone new, and I’m sure she’s never lonely. If she thinks it’ll get attention for her and turn somebody on, she’ll do anything with anybody.

Okay – Now I’m going to starting to get paranoid. I’m a HUGE hypochondriac and get tested and have been every 6 months in the year that I’ve known him but I have a feeling I’m going to analyze this to death now.

I need someone to tell me to calm down and breath. One of these days I’m going to fool around and have a heart attack.

Gemini_Fairy: Have you read Tolle’s book “A New Earth” yet? He has parts of his book that teaches you how to go into the “now” focus on this minute, to be at peace with yourself, this minute, right now.

As soon as you train yourself in this theory (it’s beginning meditation at it’s simplist form), you can go silent in your mind and be at peace with yourself and your surroundings. Oprah’s site has his instructions on tape for free. Log on, give yourself a password and listen to his classes he had on-line with people from around the world. I find his voice so soothing.

He isn’t judging anyone … he explains the ego and how some egos (he calls them obnoxious personalities) get out of control by them, listening to their own nonsense, inside their heads.

Peace.

pathwhisperer: Great insight … well said.

Peace.

Oxy: I too believe there are degrees of their pathology, but, just give them time to get to the BIG TIME.

Some are caught before they can act out further … Thank God for the “real” people doing their jobs and not just giving us lip service and picking these selfish people up and incarcerating them for a few years or for good … life sentences so that can’t do their damage to others.

Peace.

DEar Gemini,

I used to teach sex education to college students, and believe me PARANOID does not even begin to tell you what I think about having sex exposes you to.

It is like playing “Russian Roulette” with your partner —and if you can’t trust them, you are loading all the chambers, not just one! I’ve seen some horrible stats on the percentage of “sex workers” in the US who are HIV+ (Whores, for you who don’t know the new PC termonilogy) LOL

But there are many diseases that condoms don’t even slow down, and if you think that they are ONLY 90% effective in preventing pregnancy even when they don’t break, what is the percentage of disease prevention?

I am NO PRUDE, believe me, but to me, having “casual” sex with ANYONE of any sex, under any circumstances is SUICIDAL. There is no one in this world who likes sex any more than I do, but I would not even consider having sex with anyone that I was not thoroughly convinced I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, and convinced that they were not having sex with anyone else. Even under those circumstances, I would be tested first and them tested as well.

To me, sex is a “bonding ritual” between two people who want to spend their lives together. With the diseases out there today, many of which (not just HIV) are life threatening Hep A, B, C, etc, Herpes, HPV etc. and there is no “cure” for any of these diseases….getting in the sack with someone is a BIG decision, not just something to be controled by passion or have a “few too many” beers/drinks and let your inhibitions slide.

I don’t like living celebate, but until and if I find someone I can trust and love and who wants to be with me forever (and proves that by their behavior) NOPE—I’ll just stay “pure as the driven snow.” LOL

Plus Oxy, you forgot to mention … for every person you sleep with, you are actually sleeping with their sexually history of partners (and they, your sexual history) and so on and so forth … So how many people are really in your bed? The numbers are staggering to say the least.

Best thing for anyone to do is to write the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, GA and ask for a copy of their epidemiolgical guide for sexually transmitted diseases (pictures of those that have said disease). Let me tell you, quit the eye opener.

Peace.

The number of (straight) married men looking for sex with gay men is staggering. There are bi-sexuals and buy-sexuals. I would say most sociopaths are try-sexual – they will try anything if it get’s them satisfied and feed’s their ego.

I know all about the D.L. explosion. I admit I wasn’t wise when it came to him. In the beginning I thought I COULD trust him. It just sort of scares me. The whole thing scares me but Wini (btw – I have the book – two copies in fact but haven’t started reading it yet) you are right and I have to learn how to quiet my mind and be at peace. I overanalyze and worry about everything. I have since I was a child. My mom said that I used to constantly come out and check on her when I was a little girl.

Thank you all. I think I’ve calmed down a little bit.

Henry: What you have written is so true.

My girlfriend’s nephew who happens to be gay … repeatedly tells us that fact … for the last 20 years he’s been insisting on telling women this same truth … today, they call it on the low down or whatever it is they call it.

He told us that we were so naive about some men out there … they do want their sex, anyway, with anyone that will satisfy them … at the time they are thinking about it … and isn’t that almost every hour on the hour (LOL).

So ladies, think again, not only about the sexually transmitted disease you can heal with today’s medical assistance, but those diseases that become permanent in your life, never to rid yourself from them … plus, there is the cervical cancer, breast cancer … cancer of the “this”, cancer of the “that” … stress from this, stress from that …

Peace.

Gemini_Fairy: the link I gave you is missing the last “p”

it’s full site is:

http://www.abusefacts.com/articles/Givers-Takers.php

Funny it was the “P” that was missing …???

Peace. YEs, the “P” are the missing links in life (oh, I’m cracking myself up).

My PSY had no problem haveing sex with anything that would have sex w/him. He once knew that a girl he liked and liked him at first had HPV It did’nt matter ! I once asked him. That is your faviorite Toy why would risk it ? he said condoms are an inconvience in the heat of the moment. I said think about what you just said. It does’nt matter to them ! I am pretty sure he knows he will never have a relationship ! He is a phasaude/shell he has nothing but his looks and nice clothes ! nothing else !

Henry: Is the try-sexuals like those that like sea food? See food and eat it. (LOL).

Now we have a new word … try sexual. Mmmmmmmmh, now watch this word take off in society (laughing out loud again).

Peace.

Too funny. Try-sexual. But these sociopaths would be all like, “That’s disgusting. I can’t even believe people do that! You wanna TRY it???”

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