STUDIES IN PSYCHOPATHY : How Psychopaths View The World (part2)

Not only do they covet possessions and power, but they gain special pleasure in usurping and taking from others (a symbolic sibling, for example); what they can plagiarize, swindle, and extort are fruits far sweeter than those they can earn through honest labor.And once having drained what they can from one source, they turn to another to exploit, bleed, and then cast aside; their pleasure in the misfortune of others is unquenchable. People are used as a means to an end; they are to be subordinated and demeaned so that the antisocial can vindicate themselves…

The causes of this sociopathic disorder have been narrowed to several factors through research. One of the primary causes of sociopathic behavior is believed to be neurological abnormalities mainly in the frontal lobe of the brain. This area is also related to fear conditioning. The abnormal anatomy or chemical activity within this area of the brain may be caused by abnormal growth (possibly genetic), brain disease, or injury. This theory has been supported by much research using positron emission tomography (PET) which visually shows the metabolic activity of neurons within the brain (Sabbatini, 1998).The amygdalae, two small regions buried near the base of the brain, have long been known to affect aggression, sexuality and recklessness. Recently, they have also been shown to affect how people interpret the emotions of others. Subtle damage to the amygdalae may explain many of the characteristics of psychopaths – including the difficulty of getting through to them emotionally. It may be that they simply cannot “see” emotions in others.

The psychopath is a manipulator, who knows exactly what makes us tick and knows how to manipulate and influence our feelings.

They have the talent to spot “kind, caring” women.

Mimicry is often used to convince others that the psychopath is a normal human being. He does this to create a false empathy with his victim. The psychopath will try to make you believe he has normal emotions by spinning some sad tale or professing profound, moving experiences; the truth is, most psychopaths go through life as in an incubator, touched by few and having no real compassion for others; but they will lie to convince you that they have normal emotions.

The pity factor is one reason why victims often fall for these “poor” people.

Lying is like breathing to the psychopath. When caught in a lie and challenged, they make up new lies, and don’t care if they’re found out. As Hare states,

“Lying, deceiving, and manipulation are natural talents for psychopaths…When caught in a lie or challenged with the truth, they are seldom perplexed or embarrassed — they simply change their stories or attempt to rework the facts so that they appear to be consistent with the lie. The results are a series of contradictory statements and a thoroughly confused listener.” [Hare].

Often, their behavior serves to confuse and repress their victims, or to influence anyone who might listen to the psychopath’s side of the story.

Manipulation is the key to their conquests, and lying is one way they achieve this.

One almost amusing example of how psychopaths lie can be exemplified by a man who’s footprint was discovered at the scene of the crime. “No, that’s not my foot” he said, even though everyone knew he was lying.

This is how psychopaths operate. They will deny reality until their victims have a nervous breakdown. Often, the psychopath will turn on the victim and claim that the victim suffers from “delusions” and is not mentally stable.

The psychopath is primarily distracted and impressed by his own grandiose self-representation, which often leads to him unwittingly telling people things that lead to his detection. They often forget the lies they told and tell contradicting tales, which often makes the listener wonder if either the psychopath is crazy, although in this case the psychopath isn’t really crazy — he’s just forgotten what lies he’s told.

The most amazing thing, however, is their selective memory. A psychopath might not remember the promises he made to you yesterday, but he will remember something from the past if it suits his purposes in some way. They often do this whenever they’re confronted or caught in a lie.

Most psychopaths are very arrogant and cocky. However, when charming a potential victim, they say all the “right” things and make you believe they are kind-hearted souls; not always, but often enough. The truth is, psychopaths are not altruistic and do not really care about friendships or ties.

Guggenbuhl-Craig states that ” they are very talented at appearing much more humble than the average person, but are hardly so.” Some are also able to feign concern about the lower classes and profess that they are on the side of the underdog, the poor, and so forth. A psychopath may claim, for instance (if he’s from a low socioeconomic class), that he dislikes rich people intensely, but at the same time, he will inwardly yearn and envy what they have. He is like the narcissist, desiring to reflect a false image of himself through his possessions. Among his possessions are included human beings: girlfriends, wives, and children.

Some psychopaths can even be very fond of animals (contrary to the common viewpoint), but still view them as objects in relation to themselves.

In general, most psychopaths will brag endlessly about their exploits and “bad” things they’ve done (often called a warning sign, which will ward off careful souls), but more often than not, the woman who is fascinated by him will not listen to reason, even if she is warned by others who know him about his past behaviors.

Why? Once again, because the psychopath makes her feel so “special.”

Please ladies, if you’re stuck on any man who is like this, you must come to terms with the fact that it is NOT his REAL personality. He is only playing a ROLE for you.

Dr. Black states that one of the most obvious signs of psychopathy is the way the individual will brag about his experiences, no matter “how unsavory…his apparent comfort with his deviant behavior, the ease with which he discuss(es) breaking every rule, (is) consistent with ASP (psychopathy).” [Black, 68].

The psychopath is filled with greed inside, relating to the world through power, even though, as I said, on the outside he can claim to be on the side of the disenfranchised or the downtrodden. I knew one who liked to repeat phrases such as “they have to stop keeping my brothers down” but he didn’t mean a word of it. He was actually a racist. The psychopath can also often identify himself as a revolutionary.As mentioned, psychopaths often claim to settle for second best (being their own worst enemy) and then think they deserve better. This may be manifested in the way they seek power — either through money (i.e. material goods), manipulation and/or treating people as objects. By enacting such behaviors, the psychopath is also trying to “get back” at society and the world, in order to gain retribution. They will spend their entire lives doing this, whether they are rich or poor, or whatever their social background may be, although studies have shown that they often come from an impoverished or lower socio- economic background and/or social status. (In one of Dr. Donald Black’s studies, many of the men were “overwhelmingly white, blue collar, lower middle class, and married, and most had not graduated from high school.”

What is very disturbing about psychopaths, besides their sense of special entitlement, is the complete lack of empathy for normal people, for “antisocials (psychopaths) seem to lack a conscience, feeling little or no empathy for the people whose lives they touch…the antisocial effortlessly resists all regulation, unable to see beyond his self-interest or to adopt standards of right versus wrong.”.

Not all psychopath are uneducated low-class misfits. Some of them are quite handsome and have good careers, and use this all the more to their benefit. Take a look at Ted Bundy; my friend’s mother once went on a double-date with him and claimed he was the nicest person. His mother said he was the “best son any mother could have.” Bundy was also apparently quite good-looking, which made him even more dangerous. So not all psychopaths are derelict, low-class, high school drop-outs, there are many who also work in professional occupations; the fact remains that there are just more psychopaths who come from impoverished backgrounds than not.

Also, not all psychopaths are calm, cool, and collected. Some of them appear strange or odd, and their behavior can be eccentric or unusual. I believe this is what can confuse victims most often. Psychopaths often appear intense and “electrifying”. Do not be misled if someone appears harmless, “foolish”, or seems offbeat. An “angelic” visage can also often fool people. Just picture John Wayne Gacy in his “clown costume” as he entertained children as one example.

Another example which someone on the “Victims of Psychopathy” board came up with was Bill Clinton and his “goofy” yet loveable demeanor (so is Clinton really a psychopath? Many believe he is).

A psychopath (he was diagnosed anti-social) I knew used the harmless cover-up quite well. Everyone thought he was very funny. I did too, at first. Then, little by little, I realised there was something “not right” about him. At first his seemingly harmless pranks were charming, but after a while, he became more of a nuisance and disrupted our work environment, which created havoc and tension between employees. I’ve learned, a psychopath can use these disguises for his own hidden purpose.

Regardless of race, social class, or occupation, however, the psychopath is dangerous to society, for “the nature of ASP (psychopathy) implies that it wreaks more havoc on society than most other mental illnesses do, since the disorder primarily involves reactions against the social environment that drag other people into its destructive web…The despair and anxiety wrought by antisocials (psychopaths) tragically affects families and communities, leaving deep physical and emotional scars…”.

There is much to the psychopathic personality which is baffling and disturbing. 1 in about 25-30 people are psychopathic (also known as sociopaths or anti-social — the correct title being psychopath.) Since the majority or them are men, wendy wrote to warn women about the dangers, especially women online, which I believe is a favourite “new medium” which appeals to psychopaths. I have personal experience with this subject as well. This is because “antisocials (psychopaths) are not just characters in our fictional or true-life entertainments. They are family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, or strangers we may encounter every day.”

Pamela Jayne, M.A., writes that “30% of men are sociopathic.” [QFG note that she is not using the term “psychopath”.] If about every three out of ten men I may meet are psychopathic, I would assume this is not something to take lightly. According to these statistics, that would mean every three out of ten men and maybe every one out of ten females.

The truth is, we do not really know exactly how many individuals are psychopathic; however, there seems to be a rise in the prevalence of psychopathy and that is why some claim that numbers are higher. Dr. Black claims that psychopathy leads right behind depression, along with schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder, which is an astounding fact.

[QFG note: Hare says that Psychopathy is MORE prevalent than depression, schizophrenia and BPD. For all we know, many people who are depressed, become schizophrenic, or develop BPD, do so as a result of interactions with psychopaths. Psychologist Andrew Lobaczewski says as much in his book “Political Ponerology.”]

Psychopaths are often witty and articulate and almost always “glib.” They can be “amusing and entertaining conversationalists, ready with a quick and clever comeback, and can tell unlikely but convincing stories

They can be very effective in presenting themselves well and are often very likeable and charming. To some people, however, they seem too slick and smooth, too obviously insincere and superficial. Astute observers often get the impression that psychopaths are play-acting, mechanically “reading their lines.” 

…They may ramble and tell stories that seem unlikely in light of what is known about them. Typically, they attempt to appear familiar with sociology, psychiatry, medicine, psychology, philosophy, poetry, literature, art, or law. A signpost to this trait is often a smooth lack of concern at being found out.” 

One psychopathic individual I knew claimed that he had a genius IQ and that he was studying several different majors at college. “When I found out I had a genius IQ, that’s when all my trouble started” he said. I asked him, “Why?” He replied, “‘Cause I’m too smart for my own good.” In the end I found out these were lies because he was, in fact, a high school drop-out.

[QFG note: Being a “high-school drop-out” doesn’t mean that a person is NOT a genius. In fact, considering the U.S. education system, it is very likely that many geniuses WILL drop out due to frustration and boredom.]

Despite their failures, psychopaths have a very “narcissistic and grossly inflated view of their self-worth and importance, a truly astounding egocentricity and sense of entitlement, and see themselves as the center of the universe, as superior beings who are justified in living according to their own rules.”

They often come across as “arrogant, shameless braggarts–self-assured, opinionated, domineering, and cocky. They love to have power and control over others and seem unable to believe that people have valid opinions different from theirs. They appear charismatic or ‘electrifying’ to some people.” The psychopath is callous, remorseless, and unempathetic, although at first glance he may not seem that way. He is often exceedingly witty, chameleon-like, charming (but not always, especially when not in a “good” mood), the person who attracts a circle of admirers around him at every party, but more often that not, he is usually avoided — once people find out what he’s really like.

STUDIES IN PSYCHOPATHY : What Is a Psychopath ? part 1

Psychopaths cannot be understood in terms of antisocial rearing or development. They are simply morally depraved individuals who represent the “monsters” in our society. They are unstoppable and untreatable predators whose violence is planned, purposeful and emotionless. The violence continues until it reaches a plateau at age 50 or so, then tapers off.

Their emotionlessness reflects a detached, fearless, and possibly dissociated state, revealing a low-state autonomic nervous system and lack of anxiety. It’s difficult to say what motivates them – control and dominance possibly – since their life history will usually show no long-standing bonds with others nor much rhyme to their reason (other than the planning of violence).

They tend to operate with a grandiose demeanor, an attitude of entitlement, an insatiable appetite, and a tendency toward sadism. Fearlessness is probably the prototypical (core) characteristic (the low-fear hypothesis). It’s helpful to think of them as high-speed vehicles with ineffective brakes.

Certain organic (brain) disorders and hormonal imbalances mimic the state of mind of a psychopath.

There are four (4) different subtypes of psychopaths. The oldest distinction was made by Cleckley back in 1941 between primary and secondary.

PRIMARY PSYCHOPATHS do not respond to punishment, apprehension, stress, or disapproval. They seem to be able to inhibit their antisocial impulses most of the time, not because of conscience, but because it suits their purpose at the time. Words do not seem to have the same meaning for them as they do for us. In fact, it’s unclear if they even grasp the meaning of their own words, a condition that Cleckley called “semantic aphasia.” They don’t follow any life plan, and it seems as if they are incapable of experiencing any genuine emotion.

SECONDARY PSYCHOPATHS are risk-takers, but are also more likely to be stress-reactive, worriers, and guilt-prone. They expose themselves to more stress than the average person, but they are as vulnerable to stress as the average person. (This suggests that they are not “fully psychopathic.” This may be due to distinctive genetic variations.)

They are daring, adventurous, unconventional people who began playing by their own rules early in life. They are strongly driven by a desire to escape or avoid pain, but are unable to resist temptation. As their anxiety increases toward some forbidden object, so does their attraction to it. They live their lives by the lure of temptation. Both primary and secondary psychopaths can be subdivided into:

DISTEMPERED PSYCHOPATHS are the kind that seem to fly into a rage or frenzy more easily and more often than other subtypes. Their frenzy will resemble an epileptic fit. They are also usually men with incredibly strong sex drives, capable of astonishing feats of sexual energy, and seemingly obsessed by sexual urges during a large part of their waking lives. Powerful cravings also seem to characterize them, as in drug addiction, kleptomania, pedophilia, any illicit or illegal indulgence. They like the endorphin “high” or “rush” off of excitement and risk-taking. The serial-rapist-murderer known as the Boston Strangler was such a psychopath.

CHARISMATIC PSYCHOPATHS are charming, attractive liars. They are usually gifted at some talent or another, and they use it to their advantage in manipulating others. They are usually fast-talkers, and possess an almost demonic ability to persuade others out of everything they own, even their lives. Leaders of religious sects or cults, for example, might be psychopaths if they lead their followers to their deaths. This subtype often comes to believe in their own fictions. They are irresistible.

Sociopaths have always existed in varying form and to various degrees. They have been known by various titles. They have been studied using various techniques, and through the years their ailment has been blamed on various causes. But one thing never varies: all sociopaths share three common characteristics. They are all very egocentric individuals with no empathy for others, and they are incapable of feeling remorse or guilt.

While the psychopath has likes and dislikes and fondness for the pleasures that human company can bring, analysis shows that he is completely egocentric, valuing others only for their enhancement of his own pleasure or status. While he gives no real love, he is quite capable of inspiring love of sometimes fanatical degree in others.

He is generally superficially charming and often makes a striking impression as possessed of the noblest of human qualities. He makes friends easily, and is very manipulative, using his ability with words to talk his way out of trouble. Many psychopaths love to be admired and bask in the adulation of others.

With the lack of love, there is also a lack of empathy. The psychopath is unable to feel sorry for others in unfortunate situations or put himself in another’s place, whether or not they have been harmed by him.