Interest in the most severe form of character disturbance (psychopathy) has grown rapidly in the past several years, thanks mainly to the research conducted by Dr. Robert Hare of Canada and others. And one of the more interesting findings to come out of clinical studies on brain functioning is evidence of a possible biological basis for the psychopath’s diminished capacity for empathy. So does that mean that the most seriously disordered characters among us – or for that matter, all disturbed characters – are simply born the way they are?
It’s been established for some time that genes play a significant role in the makeup of those individuals eventually diagnosed with such conditions as Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD, sometimes also now termed Dissocial Personality Disorder or DPD). And while the concepts of psychopathy and sociopathy have been around for a long time, neither has been recognized as an official disorder (although it’s likely that the upcoming revision of the official diagnostic manual will include the key aspects of psychopathy as a variant form of APD). Historically, the evidence for a genetic predisposition to APD has come from studies of monozygotic (identical) twins reared apart. The fact that the twin of an individual with an antisocial behavior history is more likely to show the same kind of behaviors despite being raised in a different environment argues for a genetic predisposition to the disorder. And it’s of particular interest that twin studies have shown that the key component of psychopathy (i.e. lack of guilt or remorse and callous use and abuse of others rooted in empathy deficits) also appears to be influenced by biological factors. The “concordance” rate between twins reared apart for the various traits associated with APD, DPD, psychopathy and sociopathy is not strong enough to confirm a strictly genetic basis, but there can be no doubting a strong biologically-based predisposition. And one fairly recent study on monozygotic twins reared apart demonstrated that the biological predisposition toward empathy deficiency shows up even in children as young as 7 years old (see: Evidence for Substantial Genetic Risk for Psychopathy in 7-Year Olds).
In the past several years studies of brain activity in individuals meeting the criteria for psychopathy have yielded some groundbreaking findings. CAT scans reveal that with psychopaths, areas of the brain typically associated with emotion, especially the integration of emotion with other mental constructs, do not operate in the same manner as they do with normal individuals. Show most people a picture of something typically associated with a sentiment (e.g., a wedding ceremony), and areas of the brain that process information about the event as well as areas of the brain involved in emotion both show activity. But show the same image to a psychopath, and although the area of the brain recognizing the image or event is active, the area of the brain typically associated with an emotional response appears dormant. Other brains studies measuring different aspects of the integration of emotions with other human experiences have shown the same abnormalities when it comes to psychopaths.
So, what does this all mean? And would it be fair to say that all the disturbed characters among us are simply born the way they are? Naturally, the answer is not all that simple. Suffice it to say that many of the traditional assumptions about traumatic or impoverished environments being the “cause” of some of these conditions have now been rightfully and significantly challenged. There are biological factors at work and some of these factors are strong contributors to some of our more serious character disturbances. And there at least appears to be a strong genetic component to an individual’s capacity to experience empathy, guilt, and remorse. And while all this might come as welcome news to those exasperated parents who used to blame themselves and who we used to blame for raising monsters, there’s still a lot we don’t know about all the factors that contribute to someone becoming a full-blown psychopath.
While for some time I was nearly alone in the field, many other professionals are recognizing the broad continuum of character disturbance that plagues society these days. And while much of the research of late has focused on the most extreme cases (i.e. psychopathy, sociopathy), we’re gradually coming to understand more about the entire spectrum of character disturbance as well as the various factors, the presence and intensity of which might largely determine the kind of character disturbance that might develop. We’re also gradually coming to understand the phenomenon of character disturbance within the context of evolutionary history. There was a time – back in our more primitive days – when two of the factors we now think of as highly problematic: fearlessness and the capacity for the remorseless perpetuation of violence, were the very qualities the tribe valued most in its dominant leaders. The truth be told, psychopaths probably helped us survive and get to where we are. But in an evolved and civilized world, they have little place. They’re natural predators, but there are no wild beasts to slay. So, as Hare notes, they’ve become intra-species predators (which is why in both of my books I suggest that the most appropriate descriptive label for these personalities is “predatory aggressive”). They’re also not killing each other off in great numbers in tribal wars. As a result, they’re now estimated to make up between 2 – 5 percent of the population.
In In Sheep’s Clothing, I expose the manipulative characters who fall just short of being true psychopaths. And In Character Disturbance, I not only outline the entire spectrum of character dysfunction but also address the biological, environmental, and other factors thought to contribute to character development. And I make the case that the degree to which genetics outweighs other factors as the main causal agent for a disturbance varies. Suffice it to say, however, that when it comes to severe character disturbance, the evidence is strong that biology might be the greater culprit. That’s why it’s so important to cultivate good “radar” for the predators among us and to keep a safe distance. We’re not in caves anymore and we don’t need a champion with ice water in their veins slaying every potential threat for our survival. And we have to remember, that given their predatory instincts, and the lack of dragons in our midst, if we’re not careful, they’ll prey on us.
Some have suggested that psychopaths might rightfully be considered a different species because they’re so different with respect to the critical attributes that most of us think define us “human.” But there’s certainly no solid scientific foundation for that notion. Nonetheless, during my many years dealing with psychopaths, I was most struck by the fact that many considered themselves not only very different from the rest of us, but also clearly superior to us because they did not carry with them the vulnerability that typically accompanies having feelings and a conscience. And it’s their pathological sense of superiority, a truly malignant narcissism, that gives rise to their sense of entitlement to prey on those they regard as inferior creatures.
Whether it’s the result of genes, a peculiar mindset, an ingrained pattern, or even an evolutionary variation, psychopathy is a very different and dangerous animal indeed. And according to DeBecker, nature has given us the “gift of fear” (e.g., hair standing up on the back of our neck, uneasiness and queasy stomach, etc.) to alert us when we’re in the presence of a predator. Unfortunately, some of us fail to trust our instincts and allow ourselves to be taken in by the the great charm of which they’re capable and to fall under their spell. And by the time the spell is broken, it’s often too late. That’s why, as I advise in all my writings, it’s so crucial to trust your gut over your heart or even your head. And when your gut tells you you’re in the presence of a predator, run!
280 thoughts on “Is Psychopathy Genetic?”
Psychopathy is without a doubt genetic. My x-husband is a psychopath . . and my X-son (brought up by me exclusively) is a clone of his psychopathic father. i.e., the lying, the blaming, the aggression, the need to dominate, the need to win, the inappropriate rage outbursts, the constant put-downs, the manipulation, the sense of entitlement, the lack of empathy & compassion, the unbridled narcissism, the sadism…the EMPTY SHELL!
Is there any treatment for this ? My mom was in exactly same condition as you. She divorced my father and i am in her custody. The trouble is i am too a clone of my father(i think that, not her) because i have felt and committed all those actions which make me a psychopath. But i want to change myself, i don’t want her to think that her efforts went in vain. I do not want to end up like my triple-damned father, who used to beat her every night after getting drunk and sometimes for no reason at all. He used to dominate us, abuse us. He made our life hell !! I repeat i do not want to be like him, but sometimes i just can’t stop myself from doing those psycho-things, it makes me feel so helpless. For example – Lying, i don’t know why i lie, i feel like i am on auto-pilot.. PLs help !!
Reckoning with a problem is such an important first step. And yes, there are several help options available. Although I can’t give direct advice here, I can give you some options to consider when seeking the right kind of help that you might find useful. Contact me through the back channel, using the “Contact Dr. Simon” feature.
You are not a psychopath if you are able to realize you’re a psychopath. I think these would be considered sociopathic tendencies, which a significant portion of society suffers from, including my father and myself. I recall my father once sh*tkicking me for serving my own food at the dinner table after he said he was dishing it out. The emotional abuse through my preteen years is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I don’t believe Dad is capable of reconciling his issues, let alone admitting there are any, but I am very aware and swear to never become that. You are obviously on the same path
Ross, Im not sure about the first sentence in your post. I think they do realize it but don’t admit it CERTAINLY! Although some do.
Yeah thats true beca use antisocial people nowdays have information at their hand so they can identify T. Themselves.
As a psychopath myself, I’ll freely identify it to people who care about me. The disorder implies that you’ll do anything to get what you want, which may not be violent. If you can get that by being honest better than lying, any psychopath will admit it.
The stigma associated with it generally discourages it.
Charlie, I’m not understanding your post exactly.
Ross some do know they are psychopathic in fact probably most of them. Take Sam Varknin for example. He is a self confessed psychopath claims to have taken Hare’s PCL and is one. He wrote Malignant Self Love – Narcissism Revisisited. He’s done a lot of UTubes free which are actually very good. He does indeed have first hand knowledge of their behaviors and motivations. I recommend listing to him.
Ross, psychopaths can be aware that they are psychopaths. Being self-aware of this does not make one not a psychopath, though feeling guilt and wanting to treat it does exclude the possibility of full-blown psychopathy. Kane is most definitively not a psychopath, if what he writes in his comment is true. The words reflect guilt and wish for treatment, which makes me believe he rather suffers from psychopathic tendencies, and as you said, he is probably more of a sociopath than a psychopath.
Good for you Kane. Admitting you have a problem and seeking help proves you are not pre-destined because of gentics. You can control your life. Its unfortunate your hardrive got programmed when you were young, but like a computer you can reboot and make a permanent change. My advise…..try yoga. Its something new, deeply spiritual and will create a new part of your brain that will be pure, calm, beautiful and free from the viruses that haunt your old hardrive. Wish you luck!
Hmm…not that his approach to yoga would be more sincere, and Not that yoga isn’t good for some or even all, but I have witnessed first hand a psychopath get into yoga rather religiously and it didn’t do him a damn thing, he was still just as narcissistic and unemotional as ever, maybe he was hiding it better with his yoga phase, perhaps even more so now (seemingly) because he recently stopped doing yoga.. But I think it’s because his yoga phase was fake, it was another type of mask to be this healthy spiritual guru and it was a way to find the prey that he preferred (hot, fit yoga women both young and old) and it made him seem like a leader because he was so into it, but he was manipulating me at this time heavily and I know that he was absolutely disturbed even though he was doing tons of yoga every day, it didn’t make a damn difference. He later found a new type of prey (a different kind of woman to be into that was some how preferable to his own logic) and ceased to do yoga and found something more appropriate to be into to seem more charming for those kinds of women.
I’ve seen a psychopath get into yoga, and I’ve always thought of it as a form of “virtue signaling”. Seems most of their personality was just trying to create an image and social circle that benefitted them.
I notice that many disordered individuals use props in their personalities to show the world how great they are. When you look deeper and get to know the person you realize it’s all a sham.
You aren’t a psychopath. If you were, you wouldn’t care about being like a psychopath, at best you wouldn’t want to be perceived as one because it might stand in the way of you getting what you want. Normal people can even do crappy things and half of them may not even care much, for you to be disturbed by indicates that you’re good and figuring stuff out.
Well, whether or not that person “is a psychopath” or not, they successfully disrupted this comment section…..which was originally discussing whether psychos were genetically mutated or not. Great job psychopath (or non-psychopath!). Now all we see are endless boring repetitions about whether or not this person is a Cluster B or not. Since I’m forced to comment on the ORIGINAL TOPIC due to it being derailed by a (probable troll), I’ll give my two cents: They are BORN that way. The Bible says so in both Genesis 3:15 and Psalm 58:35: “The wicked are estranged from the womb; They go astray as soon as they are born, (corrupt genetics), speaking lies. Their poison is like the poison of a serpent; They are like the deaf cobra that stops its ear (conscience/reasoning) Which will not heed the voice of charmers,(truth tellers)….Charming ever so skillfully.”
Psalm 58:3-5 not 58:35
I doubt that you are a psychopath, as you want to behave differently than your father, but feel compelled to behave as you sometimes do. These are feelings psychopaths don’t have. Some psychoanalytic terms to look up are “reversal of self and object,” and “projective identification.”
I would have to ask you to honestly reflect. Do your Sociopathic behaviors truly concern you, make you feel guilty or cause you regret? Why? Is it only due to fear of getting caught? As a treatment provider, I will tell you that Sociopaths do not experience true remorse, guilt or grief over their actions. Not unless those actions caused them to be caught/jailed. You say you’ve committed terrible crimes and are a compulsive liar. That is completely possible, without you being a Sociopath! That’s very good news. Your rehab depends on your COMMITMENT to your recovery (not whether you have a shitty Therapist, are stressed out, had a great/horrible day). GOOD LUCK!!!
Sociopaths and Psychopaths are not encouraged to go to therapy. It does not help them.
Only treatment is a bullet in the head. That’s how the inuit used to deal with them. They are not human.
We convict a man of a capital offense in criminal court and sentence him to die after a jury comprised of qualified citizens vetted rigorously by the defense counsel for impartiality unanimously finds him guilty beyond any shred of doubt—a decision reached at the conclusion of rigid and elaborate court proceedings conducted in a manner adhering without fail to the rigid rules of order and procedure which govern a trial whenever prosecutors internd to argue for the death penalty. All of that costs millions and millions of dollars and requires hundreds of hours of effort from already busy judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, expert witnesses, courthouse staff, etc. Finally, if the smallest breach of protocol occurs, the defense counsel will appeal the ruling, which may very well be overturned by higher courts—then a man found guilty of a capital crime walks without a sentence and powerful people at the DA’s office watch their lucrative careers evaporate into thin air. A hell of a lot goes into a trial if sentencing guidelines of charges leveled forego years and cells and toothbrush shanks for the needle. Lots of smart people are watching very closely. All of that, and still we hear from time to time of men executed only to be posthumously exonerated of all guilt years later for this reason or that. If we’re going to be killing people for being diagnosed with a medical condition, then those diagnostic criteria are going to have to be bulletproof, as are the doctors who apply them and the means by which they do so. Dealing with a cognitive issue we really know almost nothing about is totally impossible. We might as well just draw people for execution at random, eliminating the need to pay doctors and erect medical facilities. It’d be pretty much as accurate. Your input here is so utterly absurd, I honestly hope you were just trolling for someone like me to come along and go ballistic. I’d rather fall for it completely than believe that someone so stupid actually walks the earth, voting and reproducing and having abortions of logical thought whenever confronted by tasks of cognition slightly more complex than chewing gym without forgetting to contract the heart’s chambers in sequence to keep from going into cardiac arrest and quite literally dying because you’re far too dumb to live. What a way to go. Going out in a blaze of glory, as they say
Your articulate vocabulary was very telling. Good luck with your deeeep insecurities.
You R idiot. Sociopaths Psychopaths BiPolars Narcissists Are Mostly 83% Of Time Male Monsters in Human Form, And 17% Of Time Female Monsters in Human Form, And Both My Father And Sister R Sociopaths : Child Of Such Lunatics May Or May NOT Grow Up To Become Lunatic.
it is Rare And NOT Common For Children To Have Behavior But it is NOT impossible, Since Some Children Display Such Evil Behavior. it is More Obvious After Child Become Teenager Or Young Adult Or Adult, And His (Or Her) Evil Behavior Will Grow More Evil the Older He Gets.
This stuff about psychopaths is interesting. I am not sure what to think. I could “try” to sympathize with someone who’s suffering, and try to ignore that he’s responsible for his condition, good or bad, and recognize I can’t live your life. That’d make me cruel, right?
I could touch on the hypocrisy portrayed by the general population towards untilitilian actions in exchange for emotional ones. That of course makes such people easier to manipulate, and the manipulation can go any way the protagonist wants. Any sensible person aware of this would never deign to trust such people-yet such are the norm, and always have been.
The learned Dr. Simon presents an essay on psychopathy, no doubt well thought out, but not thoroughly inspected.
Why would I say that? Do you ever consider your community as a whole, your nation as a whole, people psychologically as a result of this push to eliminate psychopaths? What is a psychopath anyway?
So many questions, such few answers. However, let’s refer to the Bible. People love to say it is a book about God. I’d say God made a man write a book so that he can look at himself and see how ridiculous he is.
Because man truly is ridiculous. You have science, won’t use it. You have the law, won’t apply it. Have common sense, will not use it. You can claim to have a heart, as though having one absolves you from following the 10 commandments given to Moses.
My biggest surprise is man had to be given those commandments under penalty of death before he could follow them, yet it was the most sensible thing to do at the time.
Let’s all stop this pretend game. Not one of us is God. Not one of us truly understands who he is. But if we try a little bit, you might find you are a man, and if you try a little harder, you might become a better, more capable man. This psychopathy study, I am not sure what it does, but I can see, it does not help man at all.
You better believe that utterly stupid people walk this earth. First rule of stupidity – no matter how many stupid people you think exist, the number is far greater. 87% at least, being very conservative.
Nice. But much too well thought out for the people reading here. The clientele here are looking for someone to blame, not necessarily for a means to solve issues that are beyond their ability to solve. Why do I say that? No common sense is applied to this problem
I agree with AI 100%
There are people (non autistic and autistic)
And then there are monsters (psychopaths, narcissists, sociopaths, antisocials)
I dunno, for anybody to classify an entire group of humans as “monsters,” to say that they aren’t human, to reflexively and without a shred of empathy state that the only adequate response to their presence on this earth is a “bullet to the head,” those sentiments, more than anything else written in this comments section, stand out as being the most likely to have been written by a psychopath.
Look, psychopaths either can or cannot control their behavior, depending on which specific behaviors we are talking about, and some behaviors can be corrected for with intensive psychotherapy, depending on whether the problem behaviors are associated with primary or secondary psychopathy. Either way, it’s not logical to just kill them because they are a risk to the community and/or society at large. I ask you, if a person suffered a traumatic brain injury, such that they lost all Impulse control and the activity in their emotio- cognitive region was severely reduced, influencing them to compulsively harm other people (say, a compulsion to grab and choke), I doubt you would be calling for their execution, despite the fact that neither the sufferer of debilitating brain injury nor a primary psychopath is capable of controlling their violent/harmful urges. In fact our legal system is built around the concept that if a person commits a crime, either without their knowledge or understanding, or in direct opposition to their conscious intent and desire, they are not guilty of that crime. It’s called mens rea. So if a person is plagued with an urge to commit violence despite the fact they do not want to do so (perhaps they don’t enjoy it, or they simply calculate the reward is not worth the risk), yet they are unable to control themselves and perform a violent act, they are not guilty of the crime. That’s NOT to say of course that they should walk away scot free. No, it is for these individuals that we have built and provided mental care facilities. They may never be well enough to live outside these institutions again, but the fact that we put such people there instead of in prison is a testament to modern society’s evolution and enlightenment when it comes to the topic of mental health treatment.
In the other case, that where the psychopathic individual has control over their urges yet chooses to act on them despite knowing full well the consequences that lay in store for them should they get caught, I ask you: how are they any different that non-psychopathic repeat offenders of violent crimes? Unless we’re talking about murder, a crime which a person can be sentenced to death for whether the urge that led them to do it was rooted in a behavioral disorder or not, no State in the Union, nor the Federal courts, nor any civilized country in the world sentences prisoners to death for being repeat offenders. Even if they’ve NEARLY killed three people, the most draconian legal punishment, which is arguably California, mandates life imprisonment for a third serious or violent felony, not the death penalty. The truth is modern prisons are secure enough that we can be reasonably sure once we put someone in there we can make it so they never hurt another living soul for the rest of their life. Often the solution is solitary confinement, but that’s infinitely more compassionate than sentencing someone to death for committing ANY heinous, heartless act, so long as that heartless act never crosses the line into murder.
We simply don’t kill people for anything except being guilty of murder, and even then only a fraction of States in the Union do so, and an even fewer number of first world countries outside of North America do so either. Criminal punishments are, in a ways, a response to the infringement of an individual’s rights, so unless the right that has been infringed is the right to life, there cannot be any justification for exacting a punishment of death on another human being, no matter how lacking in empathy they may be, nor how much of a nuisance their presence is to society.
Really, this kind of bloodthirsty rhetoric, à la “put a bullet in their head,” is the LEAST helpful, LEAST productive thing that could be said here. I can now agree with the sentiment that Internet comments sections should be censored for harmful speech, and, let me tell you, THAT is quite a feat for you to have accomplished. I truly didn’t think there was anything that would change my mind in that, but telling psychopaths they are monsters and that the best thing for them is a bullet in the head? THAT is some truly awful shit. Your comments should be removed post haste.
You are not a psychopath. A psychopath by definition does not feel remorse for their actions. They feel no empathy or compassion.
If you were a true psychopath you would not care how our mother feels about her efforts.
I am not a psychologist but I have a lot of experience with abused and traumatized children. I am also raising a psychopathic child. I think you should look into the possibility that your issues have to do with the anger, hurt and betrayal that you and your mother have endured at the hands of a very brutal man.
I would suggest seeking therapy before labeling yourself with this horrible defect.
Good luck to you!
Those That Empathize With Evil Lunatics Are Dangerous idiots That Are Equally Dangerous As Evil Lunatics In Human Form. Both Types Of These People Need To Be Removed From Human Gene Pool is Polluted With Evil Gene That Needs To Be Removed And Soon As Possible, Since There was and is Battle Going On Between Evil And Good People, And Evil is Winning Because Good People R Gullible idiots Or Naive That Do NOT Understand The Obvious Danger Posed By Evil People Disguised (!) As Normal People.
No Mercy To : Sociopaths Psychopaths BiPolars Narcissists Are Mostly 83% Of Time Male Monsters in Human Form, And 17% Of Time Female Monsters in Human Form, Have Taken Over ALL Sectors Of Society Of Human Society in ALL Areas Of Power And influence And Authority, and including Almost ALL Mangers Are Sociopaths Psychopaths Narcissists.
And Both My Father And Sister R Sociopaths : Child Of Such Lunatics May Or May NOT Grow Up To Become Lunatic. Normal People Need To Be And Use Caution ++ Courage and OUTLAW Evil People From Managerial Jobs.
it is Rare And NOT Common For Children To Have Behavior But it is NOT impossible, Since Some Children Display Such Evil Behavior. it is More Obvious After Child Become Teenager Or Young Adult Or Adult, And His (Or Her) Evil Behavior Will Grow More Evil the Older He Gets. And, Either Bullet To Head Or Using Guillotine is ONLY Solution To Getting Rid Of Evil People, Once Deciding To Be Evil Will Almost Never Change Back to Being Good. Young ignorant Person Can Change To Good Person, but opposite that Of Good Person After Becoming Or Choosing To Be Evil Will Remain Evil : it is Similar To Mad Cow Disease Where NOT Normal Proteins Cause Or Change Normal Brain Proteins (Prion) into NOT Normal, is Analogy (!)
One Must Learn To Recognize Evil Behavior For What iT Obviously is (!)
Meditation can help raise self-awareness, as well as time alone in nature, forest, mountain climbing.
Thanks to epigenetics if we are self aware we can positively influence our genes.. emotions.. also recommend reading The Fall by Steven Taylor..
I appreciate your sentiments about the power we have to influence our internal and external environment. What you call epigenetics, I would describe as miraculous though. It seems like more of a spiritual phenonomenon? That being said, I believe miracles happen all of the time. I just can’t source them!
Good point, although I’ll take the opportunity to play the grammar police and mention it might be more correct to say, “recent advances in the field of epigenetics suggest that at least some heritable phenotypes can be influenced by environmental changes at any point in our lives.
Although based on all currently available evidence the most prolific and detrimental psychopathic traits are have a strong genotypical origin, and no changes made to one’s environment will have an effect on those traits.
I agree, this is a good point and needs deep consideration. I have attached a link which relates to what you are talking about. However, I do have other input on the psychopath.
Hello. I am psychopath, and I was also abused by my family. Don’t let that nature-nurture ruin your mindset. You have choices. If you choose to forget the pain and anger, you can free yourself, your descendants and make the world a better place. Don’t blame others and take account for your own acts. That’s a first step.
Being fearless, ruthless, detached, cold and manipulative is perfectly ok if you use it to change the world and help vulnerable people. Don’t believe me? Watch Harry Potter again from Dumbledore’s perspective.
(You Sound To Be Such Person) Person That is Sympathetic To Evil Lunatic(s) Such Person is BiPolar, is Person With Split Personality Of Good And Evil.
Embrace your nature. You are not evil. Don’t listen to people who want to control you “for your own good”.
There is no way out if you are a psychopath, no tools available to help you. Most of these people will torment you or try to destroy you.
Find out how your mind works, and learn how your society works, and be an adult within your world.
The reason people complain about psychopaths, is because they lack the tools to deal with them effectively at any level. So they want you to change to make up for lack of ability to understand.
They die nothing wrong to you, but sentiments won’t get you anywhere. Do the right thing.
First thing a psychopath has to do, is live his life like a normal human being. since he is not treated like a human being in the first place, that presents a lot of problems. Dr. Simon and the rest of them here, are not really helping, but I am not here to bash him.
If you are a psychopath, you must work on your self-control. You don’t really have an option. You are unfortunately, not normal. Once you gain self-control, you will find out that you have gained too much control. In short, you done picked up your chips,mate. Make them work for you. The dumb survive as well. You sound like you have some intelligence. Make it work for you. The world is not a bad place, really. Oh, and just remember, the world isn’t inside your head, or the other guy’s, or the expert on psychopaths either.
Let’s all look on the bright side. We are human beings. Try your best to make things work, alrighty?
Yes, there are treatments. TMS and psilocybin are both capable of improving empathy, and RNR programs in prisons (which includes CBT treatment) do have an effect on psychopathic criminals and their behavior.
Reading your words its like if I my self had written them….I go through this pain every day of my life with my son who has all those personality traits you describe and he is the son of a psychopathic person my ex husband….
Oh my God Sarah. I’m in the same predicament. soon to be ex husband and son. how do you deal with the son if you don’t mind me asking? mine is a young adult.
The key to understanding this is to understand how you were attracted to a psychopath in the first place. It is very likely that you partly created this situation, and that you also see your son as more like his father than he really is.
Tim,, you might consider your own place on the sociopath continuum. Of course if you are a sociopath someone else mad you do it?
I hope your not serious. You have ONE personal experience and it MUST be true. Have you ever wondered that maybe your son was just into his father more and developed some of his same qualities due to living with him? Children adapt to their environments. For example, if a child listens to, I don’t know, rock at a young age, then as he gets older, he will have a preference towards it since it’s what he grew up with. If your ex-son was raised with a psychopath, then he may become psychopathic too. What you stated is like someone else stating that they once saw a turtle that was angry around other turtles, and one of those other turtles was also angry.
Points well taken, Alex. As all my articles on the topic assert (as do my book), biological factors are only a part of the picture, albeit in some cases, a greater part than we once thought. I resisted a forceful contest to the comment here because Sarah and I have debated this point before, and quite intensely. But many factors shape personality development (e.g., temperament, biology, early learning and environment, cultural “reinforcement”, etc.) and the extent to which one factor or another plays a more dominant role in someone’s character formation varies. It’s always dangerous to paint with a broad brush or to overgeneralize based on unique experiences (Freud made this very same mistake when fashioning what he thought were general rules about human behavior based on his observations of one very small non-representative group of patients). And one does have to be able to explain why some folks, despite the most optimal of environments turn out horrendously evil whereas others, despite the most hostile and neglectful environments emerge with a most impressive character. That’s why the longstanding “nature vs. nurture” debate has always been a red herring of sorts. It’s not an either-or thing. Both, along with other factors, play roles in character formation, and as I mentioned earlier, the degree to which any factor or cluster of factors plays a more dominant role varies from individual to individual.
Appreciate your point but if there is a spectrum?
there are some who will develop into extremely callous psychopathic adults no matter how well they are managed or “trained” in their youth.
What do you get if you educate a true psychopath?
An educated psychopath …
more manipulative and some would say all the more dangerous because of this.
as they now have been given the skills to essentially get away with their awful behaviour whilst avoiding jail.
They are truly irredeemable individuals once you really know them.
A “good” upbringing that would suit am empathic child with appropriate and reasonable discipline does not necessarily suit the psychopath, they are adaptable and literal and are adept at feigned innocence , in my youth growing up with my older brother he was the insufferable little adult when the chance came…
monsters breed monsters and my parents saw nothing wrong with him , they treated us all as psychopathic , they dont trust eachh others words and never will…communication becomes who can sound the smartest and be most “right”….
growing up round that was a fucking nightmare i tell you…
the irony being i went to jail for belting a psychopathic cop and read a few books on the subject.
they can never admit to their psychopathy they dont really have the capacity to quite understand the concept.
except my brother,,,hes read every book on the subject but he will still call you “fucking crazy and deluded” without knowing quite qwhat flavour of crazy he himself is.
its genetic and there is no treatment you just got to keep an eye on them and dont trust a fucking word they say.
Psychopaths do understand that they lack a conscience and empathy – they just don’t see it as a problem. If they deny it, it is just another con.
“monsters breed monsters and my parents saw nothing wrong with him , they treated us all as psychopathic , they dont trust eachh others words and never will…communication becomes who can sound the smartest and be most “right”….”
I’ve wondered myself whether psychopaths fool others psychopaths, too. Not to be Captain Obvious here, just to point out a detail interesting me: In the case of your family, at least, it would seem psychopaths expected each other to deceive. And apparently hadn’t enough trouble with that?
Not a good place to answer, I do believe most psychopaths do sense one another, example such as a fictional vampire can sense or smell another one. There seems to be a pecking order though depending on the intellect of the psychopath.
Narcissists seem to have a similar sense depending on where they are on the continuum, intellect and other conflicts and facters such as paranoia etc…, can play a part in this too.
BTOV, from what I remember, you’ve met way more of such than I have. Thanks for tipping in.
Then again, can it even studied empirically? Psychopaths (not-so) obviously are slick, consummate, pathological liars, but it ain’t the only thing. We can only compare what each of us has seen and exact dynamics are in the fog.
I understand what you are saying. However, if the son is not psychopathic and has empathy and his limbic system is in tact then he can mirror back psychopathic traits while not being one. For example, I take care of someone who had a very abusive, narcissistic or psychopathic father. He is not a psychopath himself as he does have a considerable amount of empathy, he is also on the autistic spectrum. However, he learned some of his father’s strategies which have long frustrated me. In saying that he’s been an excellent teacher in order for me to hone my own strategies for dealing with his. He is not motivated by malice but clearly demonstrates total lack of emotional maturity stunted anywhere between that of a 4 – 7 year old (I notice that in all of them though). He was never well socialised lacking good manners, cordial social skills, emotional reasoning and does not respect other peoples boundaries and again not maliciously or callously, simply because he did not evolve past a certain point nor did he receive responsible guidance. For example he will poke people and laugh their face and once at a birthday party of a friend he was on the dance floor pushing people and laughing. It is like taking a 7 year old out in a 76 year old body, he might be able to have a couple of beers but he’ll do other things that shock people. I stopped him from drinking anything heavier than light beers a good while ago. When a child only has maladaptive parent/s to mirror back to him/her it is going to impact that child’s development. How can emotionally immature parents raise an emotionally mature child? Unless that child has additional care givers who do then that child is going to be severely emotionally handicapped.
your so, so much right!!!!!!!!
My God! You have described exactly my situation. I am sure my ex husband is a psycopath – there is no other explanation for is sense of entitlement, need to win, lack of emotion, and the pleasure he takes in wrong-footing people (particularly me). My eldest son is exactly the same. The one difference is he seems to be aware of his personality disorder and is seeking psychiatric help.
I would love to know how you have survived with this situation.
NOTE: THIS COMMENT HAS BEEN EDITED BY THE MODERATOR DUE TO PROVOCATIVE TONE AND CONTENT. Your “ex” son? This seems to me a cruel thing to say.
(THE COMMENTATOR HERE APPEARS TO ASCRIBE TO THE NOTION THAT ALL BEHAVIOR IS LARGELY LEARNED): I think you may have a bit more to do with both your SON’S (not ex-son) and your ex-husband’s behavior than you’re willing to admit.
If he was brought up by you exclusively, I have to assume that he learned a great deal of these behaviors from you.
Ex-son though…. wow… This to me sounds like there’s some dysfunctional all-around in this family.
I WOULD ASK ALL COMMENTATORS NOT TO SHY AWAY FROM SERIOUSLY THOUGHT-PROVOKING COMMENTS BUT TO STILL BE CAUTIOUS ABOUT BLANKET ASSUMPTIONS AND THE TONE OF COMMENTS. THANKS!
“If he was brought up by you exclusively, I have to assume that he learned a great deal of these behaviors from you.”
You might say that, but after watching my adopted nephew grow up form the age of 2 in a loving supportive, caring and non abusive household, I strongly disagree.
Psychopaths can be made or born. Environment can play a role, but does not have to be involved. For example, my nephew’s psychiatrist informally diagnosed him at 7 as a budding anti is a psychopath who hurts animals, punches people in crowds, lies and manipulates. His parents have gotten his treatment, therapy, specialists and supportive activities to no avail.
He may conceal his psychopathy better now as a result of this theraputic “training”, but it has not changed who he is as a person. Although his genetic history is unknown due to his adoption, I would bet that one parent is a violent sociopath. This child was born with this brain. No therapy, no treatment environment and no different adoptive parents would change who he is.
If he were an animal, he would be euthanized for the safety of those around him. As a person, he is allowed to prey on people and live his life while others hope for the best. All I can say is never assume that everyone has some good inside them. That is a cliche. Psychopaths do not have a good side. They are manipulative, cunning and have no remorse unless it serves them to pretend that emotion.
The child may have been severely abused, or treated like an object, resulting in attachment disorder.
Psychopaths are born not made. I have researched these types extensively. The common denominator found in them is the MAO A gene mutation known in neuroscience circles as The Warrior Gene. It is a monoamine oxyidase inhibitor and literally puts the brakes on the amygdala which is the part of the brain that controls aggression, appetite, sex, eating, sleeping etc. In psychopaths due to this gene mutation (there are several varieties of this mutation causing differing levels of impairment) it is found those with a certain mutation 2R or 3R are associated with increased violence and aggressiveness especially 2R and it is this variant known as The Warrior Gene. That is only one facet of this serious condition. There is much information at the link provided below (and this is just one study) to show there is a brain malfunction in the amygdala of psychopaths even though the MAO A correlation is not mentioned. There is significant data available for those who wish to learn as much as they can about this condition available. It’s a good choice to make to understand why these individuals literally malfunction.
Interesting information. Are they looking for an excuse for these beasts not to be responsible for their crimes?
I think they are. To put it one way – once you know a White Pointer shark is a White Pointer would you allow it to swim with your children? To understand them is a good gauge in order to make a wise choice. Do I or don’t I. Just because their teeth are this long due to this – does it make them any more safe? Hell No.
Regarding your psychopath-White Shark correlation.
While it is indeed of paramount importance for parents to protect their children from those members of society who might harm them, our concern for our children and our desire to provide that safety is not nearly sufficient enough of a reason to justify the forsaking of our time honored, deeply revered institution we call our justice system. I would be correct, would I not, to say you’re suggesting that individuals who are deemed to be excessively risky to public safety should be preemptively arrested, jailed, and possibly even sentenced to death if the risk is extreme enough?
As much as I never want my (potential future) children to have to contend with living in a world they must share with genetically predatory, cunning, malicious psychopaths, I can’t see how the world would be made a better place by imprisoning people for crimes they haven’t committed yet. The system it sounds like you’re proposing is even more extreme than Minority Report style precrime law enforcement. In that story the people arrested had already confirmed in their own minds that they wanted to commit a crime, and began working towards their execution of that crime. What you seem to be suggesting is arresting people who are not guilty of anything except “having genes which make it much more likely they will commit a crime, compared to the statistical societal average.”
Call me old fashioned, but I’m not convinced anyone should be imprisoned or punished for a crime unless they actually committed that crime, were subsequently arrested, then tried, found guilty by a jury of their peers and sentenced by a judge.
These reflexive suggestions, like killing problem members of society, or imprisoning them before they ever get a chance to do anything harmful, are clearly not well developed, rather, they are lazily conceived and undeniably lacking in serious consideration, offering our community nothing more than the opportunity to waste time. And yes, I would wager it is unlikely my request will result in any kind of change for the better here, but seeing as this is a scientific-slanted blog could we all stop using the comments as a place to direct our personal animosity towards the subjects of this blog (those with certain behavioral disorders) and/or to pat each other on the back when a post “scores a point for our side!” by leaving a particularly excoriating comment about psychopaths, narcissists, etc?
You are clueless.i grew up in a family of predators,aka,pyscopaths.my poor father and I never had a chance.until you have to deal with them don’t pass judgement.i just passed a niece to her sister who is a full blown psycopath.i will not raise one alongside my own children who are not.while she was here we were pawns on a chessboard for her amusement.she abused my youngest regularly,manipulated everyone she met,lied,cheated ,stole and acted on every threat she ever made.all of these psychopaths are ex family members.they are all dead to me and quite frankly,I don’t care what you think about that.again,you have no idea what you are talking about.these predators prey upon your emotions,of which they don’t possess for amusement and personal gain.love for them is another weakness to exploit.btw…that niece was an 8 yr. old child who knew exactly what she was doing and merely perfecting her art.the only thing that child was naive about was being a kid.
Wise choice – I’d have done the same. We can’t allow these predators loose on our kids or anybody else once we know what they are and they can’t be fixed or cured.
Strange that this comment is considered provocative and not the comment it was replying to. Calling a son your “ex-son” is colder than ICE (the anti-immigrant police).
I don’t want to go into what was provocative and what wasn’t… if someone generalized a single incident, and other pointed out this flaw in reasoning.
Regarding “calling ex-son is colder than ICE (the anti-immigrant police)”…
Most if not all Americans have several “ex-girlfriend” or “ex-boyfriends”.
A large number of them have “ex-wife” or “ex-husband”, sometime more than 1 “ex-“.
What is wrong if some of them have “ex-son”. Some son deserve that label.
Again, there is nothing wrong if some have “ex-mother”. Not all women who conceive and produce a child, are saintly holy “The Mother”.
my x father was a psychopath and I’m glad I only share some of his negative qualities although he did try to push more on
Do you think psychopathic behaviour can be learnt from a parent? My son’s father shows all the signs of being a psychopath, but having spoken to members of his family, his father (my son’s grandfather, who I never met, and who my partner hated until the last few weeks of his life) was a true psychopath. As I cannot discuss his behavior with him (calls me crazy, obviously!) I can’t truly tell whether or not his emotions are real. Is the lying, cheating, stealing, cold-heartedness and manipulation just something that he’s learnt? Or am I just clutching at straws and looking for excuses for his inexcusable behaviour?
I think you are just clutching at straws and looking for excuses for his inexcusable behavior. Simple thing is that if there is a bad behavior then it must be corrected. Period.
While many of the dysfunctional traits run in families. Like father, like son. Like son, like grandson, and so on. Psychopathy is quite extreme, it may have biological root or it maybe learned behavior. And, if it is learned behavior, then it is something that particular person choose to learn very early on in his life.
I suspect you are just dealing with a character disturbed person. You may want to read more blogs around here to get to know the characteristics and behavior of character disturbed person.
Thank you Andy for your quick reply. I suppose I was hoping that if it was just a learned behavior then maybe I could help him to see the error of his ways, to change him, as opposed to it being his true, built-in personality that would be unchangeable. But I understand what you are saying, and will take your advice onboard. I have been naive, and I suspect I have quite a battle ahead of me. I pray that my son does not grow to be anything like his father. Many thanks again
Regarding “maybe I could help him to see the error of his ways, to change him, as opposed to it being his true, built-in personality that would be unchangeable”
They see, but they disagree. 🙂
That is one quote from Dr. Simon, that you may come across it in blog or book.
Basically quite often, a character disturbed person is very aware of everything that others want him to adopt, but they just do not care about that, because their current ways get them what they want.
Character disturbance is something I had yet to come across while trying to figure out how his mind works. Have just ordered a book to help me to gain some understanding! I thought that maybe psychopathy was a little extreme, but could find no other explanation. Thank you again.
It may be more helpful to read several blogs here to find what make sense for you. Books also cover same things, and it is lot more organized, so you can keep one copy permanently as reference.
I’ll do that. Thank you!
iWas Thinking That Thought MySelf, Since My Sister Was NOT Born as Evil Lunatic, But She Learned To Be Evil And Cunning From OUR Evil Father, is Evil And Cunning, And Victims Of My Evil And Cunning Father Was Me And My Mom Were Both Scarred For Life By His Constant Deception And Emotional Abuse.
Sarah, genes can also be affected by the environemnt of previous generations. There are better studies related to this, but there isn’t much soecifically on psycopathy that proves it yet https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/blame-the-amygdala/201301/evolution-and-the-psychopath
Regardless, they know its wrong and fulfill, their own sick desires regardless, of what society dictates. In all this they themselves would not let anyone subject them to the same treatment they perpetrate on others. I think this speaks volumes in lieu of scientific studies many of which like they man said were subjective. They know what they do is wrong and still do it to fill their desires.
How do they know it’s “wrong”, to a psychopath, there is nothing showing anything they’re doing is wrong, once you bring in the idea of right and wrong you’re going into personal beliefs. Psychopaths do not care about “right” and “wrong” because it’s nonexistent to them, their brains do not let them see or experience things as we do. If you or I would happen to be born psychopath we would do the exact same as them, put yourself in the mindset of a psychopath and you’d understand right and wrong is not that simple from that lens.
me too , just found out my daughter is one also 🙁
Man. You love your family, don’t you? A woman who speaks so horribly of her son is no better than a psychopath. You ought to be ashamed. There’s a silver lining in everyone, and you are wrong to not at least to look for it in at least your own child.
You too need a clone of such husband and son. Once they suck the life out of you over decades, then I will ask 2 line summary of them. I am sure your summary of your husband will be spot on. But try highlighting the silver lining of your son in that limited word space to got. When your son’s word cut through you, sigh and exclaim that he got a way with words!
As mother of a son, she certainly got lot of responsibilities, especially when her son was young & immature. But highlighting silver lining in grown up rotten shit is not one. So, stop trying to use shame tactic.
No relationship is worth living in your very own personal hell house.
You ought to be ashamed, to come here and label a person a psychopath because she speaks and acknowledges the truth about her son. So what if he’s got a silver lining, if it’s filled with crap it’s tarnished.
You want her to be a typical
person who says “He’s a good boy! He would NEVER do anything like that!
I see a lot of discussion about dishonesty, the lying, and a lot of behaviors you don’t like. Almost as though you have lost your ability to control your own attention. Not being able to control your own attention is a bit problem, in fact, it means nothing but trouble for you.
Wake up. Look around you. Find something to appreciate about life. There are people living around you, and they have to be doing something right to be alive. Find out what it is. Find something fun to do. Weren’t ever young and happy before? What changed? Does it have to take a psychologist to tell you that you are an adult and maybe life should be a little bit more pleasant?
If this hasn’t occurred to you, and you do nothing but complain, it is your fault, 100%. Stop looking for the bad. Cultivate the good. Now, start living your life. Bye
I lived with one. There were a few times when he talked about the roots of his — what we called mental disorder, the dark hole inside him — and he thought it began in babyhood. He *knew* as a small child, suffered from terrible nightmares then, then as he grew just started to run amok, confident that he could game anyone… and did.
The rest of his family had issues, but were mostly very supportive of him all his life. Nice upstanding folks. Maybe sometimes it jumps generations.
I should add that his parents reported nightmares. It could have been, he was manipulating them with “nightmares.” He manipulated me with “anxiety” as in, ‘why did you lie to me? Well, I got anxious.’ Ha.
40 Years ago I was awarded my PhD in Psychology on a thesis of the criminal psychopathic offender. I published it in book form in Afrikaans my home language. I am South African and was for 18 years involved with the Prison Department and when I left I was the first prison clinical psychologist and head of the Psychological Department.
In spite of the fact that genetic and neurological studies were very limited because modern technology was not available I indicated in my book that there are indications of a constitutional (genetic/hereditary) and neurological basis combined with some environmental factors which predispose individuals to psychopathy.
I plan to update my book with the latest scientific research as indicated in your fascinating article above.
Predators don’t lack empathy or feelings like psychopaths. It’s wrong to compare the two.
Not sure of the validity of the distinction you’re trying to make here, Dan, or the support you have for your contention. Perhaps you could explain a bit more and clarify. Perhaps it might be a matter of semantics. The link between the predatory victimization of others and impaired empathy capacity or the capacity to compartmentalize empathy, however, is extremely well-established. It’s true that not all persons who engage in some types of predatory behavior are full-blown psychopaths, but a lack of concern for the welfare of others, rooted at least in part in deficient or compartmentalized empathy, is almost always at play in predatory aggression.
Sorry Dan but someone with empathy or regard for others can not be a predator. In saying that in the animal kingdom predators care for their young, even crocodiles carry their newly hatched in their mouths for a time. But their brains aren’t wired the same as ours. They don’t have Burger King or Safeway of whatever you have in the US. They have to hunt and kill in order to survive. Human predators much like psychopaths have no business in the civilized world (if you can call it that) as there is no need for them to be predators. The humans of native tribes who chose to live as such also have to kill prey in order to survive and care for their families.
You are all over the place, then what is your view on cannibalism that has been found in tribe?
What is your personal view on the solution to predation of man, ie. the psychopath?
I am referring specifically to indigenous peoples before the Anglosaxon invasion such as the native American tribes and the way they lived, hunting buffalo etc. The native Australian aboriginees also did similar as did the Inuits. They did not take what they didn’t need in order to survive. I didn’t raise the subject of cannabilism which is another topic entirely. Hunters in hunter and gatherer societies may be considered predators, they are not necessarily cold calculated predators murdering and committing mayhem for pleasure or because they can. That is the distinction I was trying to make. If a member of the tribe was found to be psychopathic or broke the general rule of law of the tribe they would be outcast as to keep them in the tribe is dangerous to the entire tribe.
What is my personal view on the solution to predation of man. It’s simple – self awareness. Self work and to know who we are and to strive and undertake our best endeavors to work toward being the best people we can be for the benefit of ourselves and others which means deconstructing our own egos. It is a holistic approach if we want to fix the world we have to start with ourselves. Further it is the goal of gnosis which is essentially at the core of every culture and religious teaching the globe over including the indigenous tribes.
When you decide to put the effort in and search for your authentic self, that is the self who was before all the programming and defense mechanisms were constructed. The original you that existed in innocence. This often means disrupting the life you have: the structures, beliefs, and especially your core relationships. What and who remains standing may render your old life unrecognizable. And this is not a one-time occurrence. If you are observant, you will be called to push the detonator again and again. This is both a promise and a warning. In the pursuit of your authentic self, make no mistake, there will be wreckage. – Ken Wilbur
I can attest to the above statement. The wreckage he speaks of is not destructive wreckage. I discovered after doing the self work that my original friends were only friends as they appealed to my ego self and what remained of me after had nothing in common with them whatsoever. I simply moved on and found others more in alignment with who I am today in other words people more imbued with virtues as opposed to vices. Predatory humans have certain characteristics that make them easy to spot and the only defense we have is being able to recognise them and make the choice to stay well clear.
I WARN THEE WHOSOEVER THOU ART OH THOU
WHO WISHEST TO PROBE THE ARCANES OF NATURE ,
IF THOU DOST NOT FIND WITHIN THYSELF THAT WHICH
THOU SEEKEST NEITHER SHALT THOU BE ABLE TO
FIND IT WITHOUT. IF THOU IGNOREST THE EXCELLENCIES OF THINE OWN HOUSE HOW DOST THOU INTEND TO FIND OTHER EXCELLENCIES? WITHIN THEE IS HIDDEN THE TREASURE OF TREASURES OH MAN,KNOW THYSELF, THUS THOU SHALT KNOW THE
UNIVERSE AND THE GODS
INSCRIBED UPON THE TEMPLE OF DELPHI
I guess my point is it is up to each and every one of us to contribute to our planet our home in a sustainable, loving and caring manner. We as a society need to go back to living in harmony with this planet and not destructing it or each other. The only way we will achieve this is by finding our authentic selves. If you look at the Western Anglosaxon society it is by and large psychopathic. Do I like living here in this sick society anymore – I’m in Australia? Not particularly but all I can do is pick and chose very carefully those who I bring into my inner circle.
thumbs up symbol (if I could put one here).
I agree with most of what you have said. This world has lost themselves in the Bling of the world and therefore themselves.
The great Lakota Chief Sitting Bull said:
The love of possessions is a disease with them.
I welcome you come over to the new topics Dr. Simon is providing and add your thoughts and experiences to the conversation.
Hi Dr Simon. My father is a classic & authentic psychopath. He meets every single definition and criteria for a psychopath (not sociopath). Thankfully I seem to have inherited all his good traits (intelligence, heightened emotional/people awareness, leadership qualities, etc) but none of his psychopathic ones. Which in the end was my saviour growing up as I was able to see right through him when no one else could and it in fact honed my radar for abnormal behaviour saving me from the resultant self destructive behaviour many abuse victims experience. So against all odds, despite the abuse and manipulation I was able to come out of it on the other side damaged certainly but in many ways stronger and more able. There is no doubt that being in a situation like that, if you are lucky enough to come out the other side, promotes a very deep rooted and rapid sense of character development and maturity that take most people half their life to achieve. However, my concern is not for myself but for any future children I may have. Are the odds high that those children (particularly the males, as I know psychopathy is highest in males) will inherit the genetic & brain abnormalities of my father and therefore be pre-disposed to psychopathic behaviours? My children will be raised in a loving, well adjusted and balanced home environment but as per your article, twins raised in separate environments still displayed similar traits, thus this issue is rapidly becoming recognised as a genetic pre-disposition. I don’t want to be selfish and have children if there are very high odds that they will suffer the same fate as my father. I also don’t think it’s fair to expose society or my partner to a potentially dangerous criminal if that could have been avoided, just because I want a family one day. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks.
You might find some of the many articles I’ve written on psychopathy helpful, including not only those I’ve posted on this blog but also other articles posted on popular international blogs (e.g., http://www.counsellingresource.com) as I address in these articles the current state of our understanding about the biological factors thought to be at play. Suffice it to say, however, that while it is fairly well-established that there is a genetically-based predisposition for the development of the condition, we still know very little on personality development in optimal environments in a child predisposed to the condition. And we know even less about personality development in a predisposed child where detection has been made early and appropriate early interventions have been employed. We also lack sufficient, reliable data on the probability of passing the predisposition along (especially via genetic contribution through the mother) to advise all children of a genuinely psychopathic parent to not have children.
It appears fairly obvious that you possess some highly desirable personality characteristics of your own. It would be great if we could reliably predict whether you might necessarily pass those traits on to your children or predict what the most likely combinations of predispositions resulting from the co-mingling of traits of your partner might be. But the state-of-the-science is just not there yet.
Thank you so much for taking the time out of your already busy day to not only answer my question but answer it so fully and promptly. It really means a lot to me and it is greatly appreciated. Based on your response it would seem that at this stage we just don’t possess the required level of understanding to predict accurately whether my children will be at risk. I think in that case the best way to look at it would be the same as assessing any risk in having a child. Which is that, unfortunately, as much as we want them to lead a happy healthy life and as much as each child deserves that, the reality is not everyone is so lucky. We can’t stop having children just because something might go wrong because you can do everything right and it still happens. I just wanted to rule out the option only if it was fairly certain that it would happen but that doesn’t seem to be the case. So I guess all I can do is raise those children with love, fairness, balance and boundaries and hope for the best 🙂 And I will certainly look into those articles you mentioned, thank you for suggesting them. Kind Regards.
As a sidebar, I forgot to mention that all my experiences left me with a really wonderful gift…..a high aptitude for understanding human behaviour coupled with a healthy fascination of how the brain and behaviour works thus leading me to a career in Psychology. I am in the early stages of my degree right now. So you never know, perhaps one day you might be reading my articles on this very topic 😉
Now THAT’S profiting from one’s experience! Bravo!
I’ll definately read your articles and doesn’t have to be one day, post them now and keep posting the more and more you learn and grow along the way. I instantly related to your situation. A lifetime of being dominated by psychopaths and narcissistic people. It’s all i knew but slowly started to see over years that I and my younger sister as opposed to my two elder siblings were similar in high intelligence and being able to understand human behaviour and see alot more about a person than others but we have empathy. I have too much sometimes and it sounds like i’m tooting my own horn, it’s not bragging, it overwhelms me and I find myself habitually use to the mentality of “i have to help”. I get walked over alot but trying to change this happening and seek as much knowlege as possible and surround myself with similar minded and compassionate people. I have two boys and thought with nothing but psychopaths and narcissists in my life… i swear i’m a magnet and taken many blows but finally becoming aware that it isn’t me, it is them and i need to distance myself from them and seek knowledge on prevention from future revictimization and establishing firm boundaries on what is allowed and not allowed and that respect should be given by both sides, not just one. I look forward to reading both Dr. Simon’s articles and yours aswell. Your going to excel in life. Good luck friend :-)I got my mission to look forward to, spreading awareness and using my experience to educate parents of signs of peodophiles and women about signs of how psychopaths lure women in with a false charm and to help other women with further revictimization as adults. I got my whole 30 years of daily experiences with different ones male and females. They are all i have known in life, but i have true friends my whole life still here to help me handle them and help me recover everytime i’m left picking up the pieces of the chaos around me. I believe your mind turns off auto-pilot and starts to function only when addressed with a problem, i have had 30 years of constant dramas around me. i may have done average at school but this field of experience has given me so much knowlege with depth that others couldn’t possibly understand. Always take a negative and turn it positive. Like my ex’s, negative but my kid’s – POSITIVE! Life is a lesson and will never stop repeating until you learn from it. I’m finally ready and learnt more than many i know could believe and thats without even really knowing the other 90 percent, and it’s time to focus on me and help others with my knowledge. We victims or shall i say survivors whom were once their victims and seen as weak to them are in fact their biggest threat in stopping them and exposing them. It’s our duty to use our knowlege to not only educate others but also ourselves. Keep writing guys. I’ll be reading. 🙂
As the empathic child of two psychopaths and a having a psychopathic brother, even though they had me fooled for years in an epic game of cat and mouse, switching roles between them betraying trust and colluding to maintain a sense of emotional confusion that did in fact drive me nearly totally insane until i realised i couldnt trust any of them or even at times any one they had been talking to!
My life thrives when ive away from them but one call from my father (usually on his birthday or when he has an “event” or something he wants to brag about.) still makes me want too samsh the furniture….their cheek and callousness is unreal.
Its got to the point you emotionally open up to them and they are just silent, and then ask about the waether or something like it aint no thing they would find my brothers subtle torture of my person so very funny.
until i belted him and they would then utterly chastise me and molly coddle the little fucker whilst he grinned smugly.
if you meet or know apsychopath…warn everyne you can and get the fuck away from them,,,they are truly worthless.
Fgfghfh, what a terrible set of circumstances you have been dealt. It makes me angry just reading it and as usual I just don’t understand why people have to be this way and do the damage they do, especially to children. Sounds like you are well on your way to separating from these people and that you do limit your contact. I hope you continue that process because as you have seen yourself, few stand much chance of ever being anything other than what they are. Good luck!
Don’t communicate with your brother and parents. It’s unjustified hope that makes you accept their calls. Giving up hope is harder than it sounds. It’s a taste of death.
Dr.Simon,I am the daughter of a psychopath. I am not a psychopath,my children whom I watch closely are not and so far 3 grandchildren are not.it does not appear at this time to have continued down my line.my sister and brother are psychopaths,I know without any doubt that at least one of my sisters children is a psychopath and maybe all 6 are.i only know for certain that her 8 yr old is.she lived with us for 6 months.there is no doubt.i suspect at least 3 more are as well but cannot say for certain.my brothers children do not appear to be.is it possible to skip some children’s lines entirely or is this something that can lay dormant for generations and reappear.how many generations does it take of seeing no signs before one can say,all clear?
I greatly respect your work on character disorder – a few years ago finding it was a Godsend. It helped me make sense of my own rather traumatic introduction to it.
However, I believe that some of the basis you reference for a biological role for psychopathy is at least suspect. I am not saying there is no biological role. I think we’d agree that we don’t know. But I am additionally saying that the recent indicators relied upon to show some such role actually don’t show much of anything, certainly not a significant role. It may be that better studies will eventually clarify things and prove this biological role, but the data available now does not.
You referred to two areas of such evidence: CAT scans and identical twin studies.
CAT scans of psychopaths indeed do show a lack of involvement of the amygdala (emotional center) in their response to emotional stimuli. However, what is not known is whether such a state of affairs in the brains of psychopaths is a cause or a result of their condition. These kinds of scan studies are “cross-sectional” (one-time and after the presence of the condition) as opposed to “longitudinal” (multiple scans showing brain condition over time). The brain scans of alcoholics and even borderline personality disordered people have similarly shown marked differences in cross-sectional comparisons from scans of unaffected control subjects in response to stimuli. This fact alone has been illegitimately equated with showing a biological or genetic cause or role underlying the condition. But when longitudinal studies are done to test brain scan results over time in response to treatment, the scan results of those with BPD indeed change and begin to look more like the healthy control scans. Their brain function actually changes. Such longitudinal studies show then that scans simply show “what is”, not “why it is” or “how it came to be” or what is causing anything at all. Yet the implication is that with psychopaths, their scans must be showing defective emotional centers which leave them emotionally handicapped. Newer studies show this isn’t necessarily the case. (This link is to a study where fMRI scans were done before and after Dialectical Behavior Therapy was delivered to those diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disordered and their brain scans changed… http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/special-reports/neurobiology-borderline-personality-disorder/page/0/1 ) So a brain scan result may seem to indicate a biological role, or it may simply be showing a biological result, one which itself is perfectly apt to change. A biological result is not a biological role – at least not in the sense that it plays a part in producing the condition.
Mono-zygotic twin studies (or TRA – Twins Reared Apart studies) have been largely used the same way as brain scans – to suggest something they don’t actually prove – but twin studies are actually even less reliable. There just simply has not been any such study where a statistically significant sampling of identical twin (psychopaths) were separated at birth, raised in meaningfully different environments, located as adults, and then diagnosed as psychopaths, such that anyone could reasonably conclude that genetics or biology trumped environment (or to what extent they did). The most famous of these studies is the Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart (MISTRA) was flawed by a number potentially disqualifying factors:
– Many twin pairs experienced late separation, and many pairs were reared together in the same home for several years
– Most twin pairs grew up in similar socioeconomic and cultural environments
– MZA correlations were inflated by non-genetic cohort effects, based on common age, common sex, and other factors
– Twins share a common pre-natal (intrauterine) environment, and the MZA pre-natal environment is more similar than the DZA pre-natal environment
– TRA study findings might not be (or are not) generalizable to the non-twin population
– In studies based on volunteer twins, a bias was introduced because pairs had to have known of each other’s existence to be able to participate in the study
– MZA samples were biased in favor of more similar pairs, meaning that studied MZA pairs are not representative of MZAs as a population
– The similar physical appearance and level of attractiveness of MZAs will elicit more similar behavior-influencing treatment by their social environments
– Twins sometimes had financial and other types of incentives to exaggerate or lie about their degree of separation and behavioral similarity, and their accounts are not always reliable
– There were several questionable or false assumptions underlying the statistical procedures used in the studies
– MZA pairs were not assigned to random environments
– There was researcher bias in favor of genetic interpretations of the data
– In cases where evaluations and testing were performed by the same person, there was a potential for experimenter bias in favor of twin similarity
And MISTRA didn’t look at Psychopathy specifically (nor have any others I’m aware of). The twin study case for a genetic role in psychopathy, I think, is largely based on studies which purport to show that identical twins receive up to half of their IQ and other personality traits from genetics. They simply don’t prove even this much, much less do they prove a role to any degree for genetics in psychopathy. Again, this may change with better constructed studies (my sense is any such role if it exists will be EPIGENETIC, where environment alters gene expression, an area showing itself to be vastly more influential in all manner of physiological pathologies than gene inheritance; and an area which wasn’t even in its infancy when these twin studies were conducted), but it isn’t there now.
There is and always has been a strong agenda for showing all forms of maladaptive behavior to be largely caused by biological factors. There are many questionable reasons for this. I simply think we need to be very careful about assessing or characterizing what the data actually shows.
That is quite academic and critical analysis! 🙂
In general we forget the statistical rule “Correlation does not imply causation”. And, then there is huge researcher bias especially if study is quite subjective in nature.
Child May Or May NOT Become Evil Lunatic If One Or More Parents Are. Both MY Sister And Her Husband Are Sociopaths, But There Son is Good, is Similar To Me. MY Sister Was NOT Born Evil Lunatic, But Learned Her Behavior From My Evil Dad is Evil And Cunning, Who Chose His Behavior After NOT Understanding Clearly the Advise That His Father (My Grand Father) Given To My Dad About importance Of $. So, Evil is Sometimes Learned Behavior. So, if You R NOT Evil, (THEN) Offer Good + Healthy Environment For Your Children To Best Of Your Ability, Since Most People Vary in Their Ability To Earn income $ Varies, is Partly Based On Luck+Opportunity
Hello Dr.Simon I just want to say I just can’t believe that genes
have the upper hand in this development. will as we know some people have higher risk to cancer due to their genes but if they take care of themselves they won’t get cancer by god will so their got to be someways to protect those kind of people from becoming psychopath right ??
And also we know that we all have Spiritual Intelligence which contain • wisdom • compassion • integrity • joy • love • creativity • peace
• help others and improve society by using a higher dimension of your intelligence .
I think having true spiritual intelligence requires certain emotional development. Something psychopaths, manipulators, bullies and other people with deficient moral integrity don’t have.
It’s the sweeping generalizations (e.g., “we know that we all have”) that get us in trouble, Eman. The biological components of psychopathy (notice, I didn’t say merely genes) and their causal influence in the condition are very well-established. And very few clinicians have spent much of their careers dealing with severely disturbed characters. I know first hand how much easier it is to be and work in the world of neurotics, where “wisdom, compassion, joy, love, integrity,” etc. are more common.
Dr, is there a posibility that, aside from brain trauma, a person could lose the ability to empathize later in life? For example: could a person 40 years of age, after experienceing the loss of a child, or extreme betrayal or abuse by a loved one that resulted in astrangement, be traumatized enough to become a kind of sociopath?
There are many possible scenarios under which a person’s once intact capacity to empathize becomes diminished. An adverse response to extreme trauma is only one possibility. Loss of certain cognitive capacities through disease is another. And while certain behaviors that might result from such an impairment might look like psychopathy or sociopathy, it wouldn’t be fair to say that they’re the same thing.
Thank you very much for the reply.
If it isn’t organic, and there used to be real empathy, it’s what a person won’t face that causes a “blind spot” in an otherwise empathic person. For example, a person who refuses to feel grief over an overwhelming loss that lacks empathy for the grief of others.
Here’s a question I hope you’ll weigh in on. According to articles about research done by Mehmet Mahmut and Kevin Dutton, not all psychopaths are criminals. But, my friend getting a PhD in Psychology says this is incorrect and that these researchers are using the term psychopath incorrectly; they should be using the term sociopath because Hare is the standard and Hare requires one to be a criminal in order to be a psychopath. Is this true? It’s very confusing to us lay people trying to understand the differences and when we see and hear all this conflicting information we don’t know who we should believe. Thanks in advance for any response.
Your friend has Dr. Hare’s assertions completely wrong. Hare points out that while all criminals are not psychopaths, some of the worst criminals are psychopaths. And he definitely does not insist you must be a criminal to be a psychopath. In fact, he was among the first to empirically demonstrate the “2 factor” model of psychopathy (and BTW, he uses the term psychopath as opposed to sociopath) and insists that only the first factor, which is the callous, heartless, remorseless, and senseless use and abuse of others rooted in severe empathy deficits is the essential factor for psychopathy, whereas the second factor or social parisitism, criminal behavior, etc. is a sometimes accompanying feature but not essential to the condition.
Now as for all the confusion about the terms psychopathy, sociopathy, and antisociality (which are all indeed rampantly misused even by professionals), that’s a whole other matter, and one I’ve written about in several posts on the subject and in my book Character Disturbance. Your friend is right when he says there is rampant misunderstanding about these concepts and terms.
Dr Simon, I have read your article with great interest. I believe psychopathy/sociopathy is genetic. I have two children, raised the same way. One is neurotic, sensitive, conscientious, too feeling; the other meets all of Dr Hare’s criteria for psychopathy. From the time she was born she was different. My question is: how do you raise a teenager with this traits? Tough love, consequences? Easier said than done. I have always been someone who mothers with feeling, but I am now realising this is not the way to go with a sociopath teenager. I am unable to find much literature on raising these children.
Hi Lilly, I have the same experience with my kids. All you can do for either of them is provide guidance and consequences according to your values. The one with the conscience will be able to make the proper self-guided behavioral choices early on. The one with no conscience will *always* need outside controls, way past his childhood. Rest easy knowing that you are doing your job, and you can do no more.
oops, I meant “her” childhood. My daughter, 23 yo, is the psychopath,(my son is not.) She is a lovely person, until the self-ishness makes her betray people who think she is their “good” friend. It is not the way she was raised, but it happens nonetheless. Honesty is not part of who they are, and no amount of consequences will change that. I have seen that getting caught, and being punished, just makes the psychopath perfect their lying ways. Again, I say, just rest easy knowing you are doing your job as mom. 🙂
Thanks for your reply. I’ll pass it on to my friend.
My family is living proof that psychopathy can be traced genetically. It is neurological and I would like to change terminology to something akin to emotional retardation. My observations are that psychopaths simply are born incapable of having a conscience. The state of not having a conscience then manifests different personality issues, (the most prominent being telling lies without remorse.) There are many “successful” psychopaths in my family, and only a couple that resorted to crime.
Butterflies in the stomach, and goosebumps, and nausea are unknown by psychopaths, which leads me to conclude the neurological aspects of them being physically disconnected from their unpleasant emotions.
Tina, I wonder if they NEED their extreme behavior?? because they have to turn up the volume in life to get it to register? The drama, the sexual deviancy, the tendency to get bored with everyday levels of life, love, etc…. So they need to magnify life in a weird kind of way.
Tina, Do you see any evidence of the psychopaths in your life LOVING others? Like genuine caring behavior? Or do you see them more shallow in their connections to other’s?
One of them have admitted to me that he needs the extremes because the feelings are fleeting, if even present. My brother, (who at first broached the subject by telling me that he thought he had Asperbergers) said that he doesn’t immediately know when something bothers him. Example – troubles with his girlfriend. He said that he gets diarrhea the next day, and that’s the signal that it’s important. But he still can’t feel “bad”. lol. No nervousness during the troubles, he says.
My family is all I know, as far as being “loving” is concerned. It isn’t true love, it is convenience. When it comes down to it, “Out of sight, Out of mind.” But, when you’re around, they show “love.” And with some of them, if you let them know (that you know they are psychopathic), then they will purposely choose not to be around you because they can no longer “fool” you into thinking they understand feelings… they are all different from each other. They have the common facet of being really the most fun people you will ever meet! Darn, because they only can care about themselves.
I asked one of them if he ever “suffered”? He asked, “What does that mean?” He was over 40 at the time, and he only had nausea once in his life – when he was seriously physically injured. He was really amazed by it. Until that experience in his late 30’s, he had thought all his life that people make themselves throw up.
Another tidbit I have gleamed from observing my family and other families like us: The ones who are not psychopaths, tend to be narcissists. It is hard to tell the difference, but what I see as the “test” – Psychopaths enjoy manipulating feelings (it can’t be done to them), so they like easy targets (children and dogs). Narcissists don’t like children nor animals. Just based on my 45 years of study… Luckily (tic), the psychopaths I know are the ones that mostly like to manipulate people into feeling good (telling them what they want to hear), instead of making people feel crappy.
Amazing observations Tina. Thank you for sharing. More later keep posting!
This interests me. I can point only to my personal experiences throughout the years with my wife and her mother (they are extremely similar in displaying levels of psychopathic behaviour) and have noticed that my wife in particular exhibits behaviour that suggests she is narcissistic. She is extremely selfish and seems to have little or no recognition or concern for others. She must always come first and resents the suggestion that others may have issues and challenges to contend with that are on a level with, or even, dare one suggest, worse than her own. In other words, I see her as a narcissist AND as a psychopath (in not having any concern for the feelings of others, any empathy, will never apologise for her actions or display signs of regret).
Forgive my enquiring, but presumably it is entirely plausible that a manipulative individual can be both a narcissist and psychopath?
Danny……..ALL Sociopaths/ Psychopaths are narcissists. A lot of times you will here the term Malignant Narcissist.
I think I may have read Tina’s comment a little too literally. Either way, a very helpful link thanks Puddle.
Danny, be aware that that article was written in 2008 so it’s a little old.
To add a bit, here. All of the aggressive personalities, including the predatory aggressive (psychopath/sociopath) are narcissists through and through to start with. It’s a variation on a theme. The pure narcissist knows he’s/she’s better than the rest, the aggressives are out to prove it and dominate those perceived as weaker and unworthy. Now psychopaths have the most malignant form of narcissism in their character. They see themselves as a superior form of the human species. All other humans (those with empathy, conscience, etc.) are an inherently inferior sub-species in their view, and therefore justifiable prey. Victimizing one of these sub-humans is no different than stepping on an ant.
Disgustingly disturbing! But very well worded…..very clear summary Dr. Simon. I need to print that on a business card and keep it in my pocket!
Thank you, that cleared up so much …Wow, thank you!
Danny, try this……………..
“The psychopath will sit back, reflecting on
his infidelities, and laughing, think, “I’ve
still got it.” He will mean, “I’ve still got the ability to maneuver these women like a
puppeteer.” This will amuse him. The narcissist will sit back, and likewise think, “I’ve
still got it.” But he will mean,“I’m still attractive. Women still find me irresistable. I’m
okay, for now.”
I know one who wanted people to think he was neurotic if anything, to explain some of his odd or selfish behaviors, he often talked about certain types of trauma but if you either gave him too much sympathy by being angry for him for example he would reprimand you for it and make you feel bad somehow. Yet, if you ever challenged anything he said you wind up feeling guilty. He is also persuasive and often just dying to have power over others and talks about starting new religions for example, or other narcissistic ideas but they always change over the years, nothing is consisting except the manipulation and his personality under the mask. He also would make wildly strange facial expressions to show basic thoughts or feelings, like during a conversation and he was showing that he was thinking for example, so he’d blink a lot and smack his lips, but it was exaggerated and strange, like unnatural and forced, and he goes through phases of different personalities it seems, yet, if you had him alone, and he was eating for example, it would be very caveman like, no emotions, he can eat disgusting things that no one else could stomach, like raw meat smoothies, and even kill a cockroach with his hand and continue eating while doing so, without blinking an eye or hesitating even for a moment with surprise or fear, most of his closest friends will say he either has no emotions or they will give a long spiel about his philosophy or make other excuses but no one ever wants to admit that someone has character flaws like this, and I was included. I always made excuses for him and somehow always found myself feeling sorry for him, weakened, humiliated, and more insecure than ever. And his compliments to me were always what I wanted to hear whenever I was about to leave or he wanted something, othertimes his compliments would start with ‘we’ like ‘we are really talented’ or something, even when there was no evidence that he possessed that which he was complimenting me on
” I always made excuses for him and somehow always found myself feeling sorry for him, weakened, humiliated, and more insecure than ever. ”
Yep, I can relate…….they count on this tendency in others.
I can really relate to this: “He also would make wildly strange facial expressions to show basic thoughts or feelings, like during a conversation and he was showing that he was thinking for example,” For me, if I was talking about a struggle, insecurity, problem I was having he would stare a little too intently and nod like he was really listening, but it was very exaggerated. Also he’d have this weird-almost smile on his face, which I thought was unnerving, like he was somehow happy with my struggle. But really who could ever think a person was like that, so I just kind of ignored it or wrote it off as me “reading more into it” than I needed to.
But now when I look back (or when I forget myself and divulge some current issue with him) I wonder what my gut is trying to tell me; from new insight into his character I truly believe I’m not reading more into it, almost everything about him has a purpose. I know I’m jumping to conclusions, but I wonder if it’s 1) he’s happy that I’m upset about someone/something else and it isn’t him, 2) he’s happy that I’m in distress about something and wondering how he can come out looking like the hero, 3) or he’s happy I’m divulging a problem or insecurity, so he can tuck it away at use it to his best advantage at a later time.
I know I can’t change this, but I can keep my problems to myself, remain like a stone wall when he is around, give him as little to work with to manipulate me as possible. It is hard, sometimes I forget, and I slip. Oh well, one day at a time, keep moving forward, learn from my mistakes, retrain my brain to remember even though he victimized me, that doesn’t mean I need to BE the victim. But wow, there are so many little things.
“I know I’m jumping to conclusions, but I wonder if it’s 1) he’s happy that I’m upset about someone/something else and it isn’t him, 2) he’s happy that I’m in distress about something and wondering how he can come out looking like the hero, 3) or he’s happy I’m divulging a problem or insecurity, so he can tuck it away at use it to his best advantage at a later time.”
He is probably thinking about something else or like a baby…….has a bizarre smile because he has gas or just pooped his pants.
I have chosen to champion the cause of reliable scientific (neurological and genetic) testing of a person’s EQ in cases where a psychopathic person would have the potential to cause lasting damage. (As drug and STD tests are used to determine fitness as desired). My history of bad experiences causes my belief that persons seeking positions of trust – entering relationships (romantic or business), becoming parents, running for political office – need to be asked for their EQ. When people have information on a psychopath’s lack of empathy and conscience, they can have an educated choice about whether to allow the psychopath into their lives. When the gamble is lost, the foreknowledge of their condition will soften the blow. I aim to help prevent the shock that results from total betrayal. Traumatized victims cannot function, and their suffering dominoes upon their families, friends, coworkers, and civilized society. I have created a domain to share my knowledge: http://www.harlantaylor.com/faq.html
This will really confuse you but confusion is the name of the game it would seem. I KNOW Dr. Simon understands and, God love him, he sure tries to impart his wisdom to us…….but i still don’t get it!! LOL!
Psychopathy as genetically inherited is an idea based on twin studies, raised apart. That sounds like a sound experiment on face value but is it really? So much ‘evidence’ on inheritance is based on identical twin’s, reared apart, studies. What these studies fail to take into account is that twins share the same prenatal environment. Gene expression is going on like never before during intrauterine life. Genes expressing according to the uterine environment ie the chemicals, nutrients and electricity going on inside the Mother’s body. If the Mother is living with a psychopathic Father, we can relatively safely assume she is a stressed woman. How can this affect her developing baby? I believe there are factors affecting the development of psychopathy that are yet to be recognized. I had two boys to a full blown psychopath and neither has developed into one. The second has had to really work on developing empathy, which I recognized in him around the age of four. He is now a very altruistic person who wants to devote his life to a career that leaves the world a better place than he found it. He was the youngest of three kids until he was six and then had a sibling born. Being in a big family also gave him daily opportunities for experiencing empathy.
Juliette!! I have thought the exact same thing! I was incubated in t toxic alcohol environment and have a much milder version of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome so it’s of great interest to me and possibly why my thinking about the twins studies goes in the direction you describe.
Are you familiar with Arthur Janov? He is a huge proponent of intrauterine development and how it affects a baby among a host of other beliefs on early child development. He was the author of The Primal Scream which goes way back (no pun intended). He sends out news letters and I think you would be VERY interested in reading his non mainstream thoughts about exactly what you are saying.
His news letters are called Janov’s Reflections On The Human Condition and I signed up for them a year or so ago.
Thanks Puddle, I did go to the link and sign up. I’m pretty sure I read the Primal Scream in my homebirth-hippy days although I can’t remember any of it! I did a primal regression once during that time at a workshop I took part in, it was pretty freaky. I heard of him again this year, when I listened to the presentations on youtube of Dr Gabor Mate, he quotes Janov and I saw on Janov’s page that Gabor Mate gives a comment on his work. You would really find Mate’s work interesting too. One of his areas of research and specialty is FASD. He has a website and many of his lectures are on youtube. The idea about twin studies isn’t mine, it’s his. When I first heard him say it, I thought..how obvious, why hasn’t anyone ever said that before! He is sooo right on so many things. His other big thing is addiction studies and he treats severe addicts in his clinic. I had been on a mission earlier this year as I started to realize I was in another toxic relationship to analyze myself, lol and that’s when I came across Mate. He is so engaging to listen to too. He speaks of attachment, intrauterine life, how stress affects us. So much of what he is saying makes sense for us neurotics. I wonder too how much the two bottles of gin and 40 cigarettes per day affected me. My Mother also vomited non stop for the full pregnancy and couldn’t keep anything down except mylanta. I never received colostrum went straight to a bottle and was farmed out to day care at six weeks. It’s amazing I was born with a working brain at all. How resilient is human life?! I’m interested to know how you feel FASD has affected you if you want to say so but I understand if you don’t, I sometimes wonder if I have any effects. I am almost allergic to alcohol. I get poisoning when most people would get tipsy. It would have to have something to do with what my Mother did, don’t you think?
Juliette, FASD has many ways it affects people whose mothers drank during pregnancy so I don’t know about your intolerance to alcohol. That was NEVER the case with me, I took to it like a duck to water. I don’t think I ever threw up drinking unless it was just volume overload during a drinking game with chugging? Without a doubt though, I had the worst hangovers of anyone I’ve ever known. Even as a child they had to be on the look out with me and alcohol……hit and run beer/ drink thief. TODDLER! I really can not explain how FASD affects me Juliette, not in writing. All I know is that it’s VERY similar to trying to explain the results of being in one of these relationships……the similarities are amazing to me. It was brought to my attention for the first time by the psychiatrist I have spoken about, the one who started crying when I stopped seeing him, the one who straightened me out after the family practitioner had me all messed up on Paxil. I apparently filed it away in my brain somewhere and left it there until this mess with Spathtard when the relationship coach said I needed anger management classes (typical of what the victim goes through?). I got on the internet to look up information on anger management classes and FASD and anger issues was staring me right in the face. Dot’s connected and the former Psychiatrists words came back to me like it was just yesterday he had said them. At that point I started looking into it in earnest. the rest is another complicated series of contacts, education and events ending with neuropsycological testing and an assessment by the genetics clinic where I live. Actual diagnosis is pFAS (partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome). FASD is almost in the same league as Psychopathy in a way, a very yet to be fully understood condition. WAY under diagnosed, especially in this country. Canada is the leader in FASD research, diagnosis and “treatment”.
Juliette, there is just so much to say about it and I’ve been invalidated about it on websites before so……….
It’s pretty unusual to even get a diagnosis as an adult for a variety of reasons, the first being the tell tail facial feature of FAS often disappear or lessen greatly by adolescence. But like a professional gardner sees weeds in a garden when the casual on looker only sees the beautiful flowers, people trained in what to look for can see what others can’t. The smallest percentage of people who have been affected by alcohol in utero show facial anomalies but that does not !mean what so ever! that you haven’t been damaged. It really is an invisible disease in the majority of cases and the ramifications of that are huge! It is not curable or technically treatable. The damage can be buffered somewhat during a certain developmental window though. Fas brains are not “plastic” and don’t respond to the types of treatments used on other types of brain injuries when a brain that was normal is damaged, strokes, TBI, etc. I have a great link for a talk that was given by a researcher in neuroplasticity from Canada to a group of people who are involved with FASD . The guy kind of annoyed me but you may find it interesting, I did.
Thanks so much for that. I remember hearing something about people affected on the FAS as sometimes being too trusting of people too. I’ve known kids who were clearly Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and had that ‘look’ too, they seemed what other people would label ADHD in their behaviour and one was a girl labelled conduct disorder but when you take into consideration the family environment that bathes the fetus in alcohol to begin with, I’d start looking at the chicken and the rooster too before I blamed the alcohol for everything! There are so many labels these days, that I tend to take them all with a pinch of salt and look with an open mind at people as living breathing examples of the wonders of nature. Bizarre as it sounds after my family history, I was labelled as gifted at 12, with a high IQ and placed in accelerated learning environments at school. Not that it made me smart at all in the true sense of intelligence, quite the opposite probably. I just had a good memory and coordination. I also had a huge amount of altruism as a child, compared to other kids. Later in life I was labelled as too altruistic and told that, that was a problem! When I was a child it was labelled amazing, when I was an adult it was now a dysfunction! lol Considering my prenatal and childhood environment I have no idea how I had a high IQ as a child. So we are all a combination of so many things and the labels just don’t really describe us as individuals or mean much to me at all in the grand scheme of things. Especially psychiatric labels from the DSM and the behavioural criteria for them, I think the whole book is a joke actually. Opinionated crusty old lady I am!
ADHD is the most common initial misdiagnosis for FASD……..and was for me.
Yeah Juliette……your “smarts” come across loud and clear!! 🙂
Puddle, I can really understand your reluctance to elaborate too much but I think I’m getting what you say. I’ve read that book ‘The brain that changes itself’ as my introduction to brain plasticity and now that you’ve reminded me I remember hearing Gabor Mate say the same about people on the FASD spectrum, that their plasticity was compromised. Maybe he is one of the Canadians who are championing the cause. Good to know that you got the little p before it! That’s fascinating that you were attracted to alcohol even so young. I have ordered the Continuum concept in paperback. After reading the peek they give you on Amazon I really wanted to read it all. I’m going to give it to my new daughter in law, who has just announced her pregnancy to my son/2nd child. So thanks for pointing it out to me, even though I’m already a convert, I really want to influence this young woman without being the ‘pushy Mother in Law’. I’ll have a look at the fas link you gave tomorrow. I didn’t realize either that Janov had written so many books on his general ideas and not just prenatal development…Ah so many books I want to read now and not enough sleep! 🙂
FASD is not a lable or a disorder or a personality disorder or a disease. It’s actual physical brain damage, neuroligical damage, etc. And in some cases the physical damage can be seen in MRI’s. there are tell tail, visible indications, especially in the corpus callosum. another thing that it can look like is Aspergers. I test significantly high for aspergers but don’t exactly meet the profile. But when I asked the state FASD coordinator if someone can have both she said yes, but they can also share many traits.
The trusting thing for me is very true but I would describe the problem differently and i have just figured this out recently. It’s not a matter of trusting for me, it’s a matter of not being able to apply the lessons I’ve “”learned”” in the current situation. VERY hard to describe. It’s an in the moment, almost hyper focus on just right now. for instance, even during this whole mess with spathtard and the indescribable pain it caused…..you would think I would LEARN not to talk to strangers openly? Nope, I sing like a bird. I have a perfect example but don’t have the energy to type it all out right now. Anyhow, it’s very weird because I know this about myself and it actually creates suspicion of others in a backwards way but it’s pointless suspicion and distrust because it doesn’t alter my behavior in the moment. Just so hard to explain.
Yeah I get it Puddle! I’m pretty sure that Alcohol Acquired Brain Damage in adult alcoholics does the same thing with applying learning in the ‘now’ amongst other things. Gee, we can tie ourselves in knots trying to reconcile all this knowledge in these types of relationships, trying to look for answers and explanations for theirs and our behaviour. It still goes back to blaming ourselves somehow for being victimized. I still want to know what I could have done better though and to help myself avoid it in the future. I could happily stay single forever at the moment. I truly can’t see myself ever being able to negotiate trust with a man again, it’s going to be too much effort too fragmenting and traumatizing and I’d rather do a million other things that made me feel good and left the world an even better place than I found it.
yeah…..I hear you loud and clear on the single and lovin it front but truth be told, I really don’t WANT to be single…..but I accept it and remain “open”.
In my opinion, time around someone at a safe distance is the only way to avoid this in the future, a long term plutonic courtship but not even that, a friendly involvement AND having shared friends with this person. The caveat??? They can maintain their mask indefinitely with people who are not REALLY involved with them. BUT……with the safety of a plutonic friendship, you are way less likely to get tangled in their deceptive web. For me it has to be TOTALLY plutonic, like do NOT touch, hug, rub, etc…..no friendly back/ foot rubs, no holding hands……I am WAY too easily hooked by physical touch even non sexual touch. As I’ve said…….Spathtardx made SUCH a point of “just holding” me the first night I was with him. Just SO transparent to me now.
For clarity, FASD is not a mental disorder and from what I’ve been told, there is little mention of it in the DSM. it’s physiological assault? Damage, not sure what you call it.
Puddle, I read the article and thankyou it really cleared some things for me. Like why maybe I didn’t get my cognition and left/right communication more damaged because I wasn’t bathed in alcohol in the 2nd trimester and also maybe why I do have some difficulty at times understanding humour pitched as sarcasm. Like when people tell a joke with a straight face I have always as far back as I can remember, taken people literally when they joke in this way then end up realizing that I am in fact really gullible sometimes…which could have something to do with me not previously seeing through the masks of CA’s. Btw, I had a platonic friendship with Bambam for 9 months before I let him near me physically, it was one of the reasons I decided to trust him! So who can find a guy that is willing to go for a couple of years now? any takers…I don’t think so. My best bet is to work on my own boundaries, ability to perceive correctly, giving off the signals that I am not easily manipulated and developing the courage to take the risks knowing that I can protect myself when necessary without walking around with my hair standing on end, my back arched and my claws out! lol.
Juliette, there is a chart available SOMEwhere on one of the FAS websites that shows the different stages of pregnancy and what part of the brain can be damaged.
The humor thing? I can very much relate to. It made me laugh to read that!! 🙂
The part about BamBam…..well,,,,,,that is not encouraging news and I personally doubt if I could go the necessary length of time. Touch is a gaping hole in my life because …….well for many reasons….but it is an easy manipulation target for sure and he was on it like a duck on a june bug!
hey, I’m doing a research paper on the topic of ‘Is psychopathy genetic/Inherited?’ If anyone could send me a link of a website that has reliable research papers on this topic or any other useful info please send 🙂
Besides the studies on twins, it is obvious if you study the genealogy of the largely inbred organized psychopathic dynastic families like the Rothschilds and Saxe-Coburg Gotha, it becomes clear that psychopathy is a trait that can be purposefully bred by carefully selecting breeding stock that clearly exhibits lack of empathy and conscience. This would make psychopathy a genetic disorder.
Have you ever read any of Lloyd deMause? It’s not pretty! So I do wonder if a psychopath can’t also be created through epigenetic factors.
I think the creation of a secondary psychopath may have some epigenetic factors. But clinical psychopaths seem to be genetically born with the disorder. Unlike schizophrenia that usually comes on in late teens early twenties—psychopaths clearly exhibit traits very early in life–even preschool.
Walt, I’d love to be a fly on the wall of Spathtards childhood. I know practically nothing about it but you are right, the signs are there early on from what I understand. Interestingly, my brother and I are both adopted so there is no way of knowing what genetic factors came into play in the development of his disfunction but I can assure you he had plenty of “nurture” issues that I’m sure didn’t help whatever genetic predispositions he may have had. probably akin to pouring gas on a fire.
Also, I don’t know much about the primary vs secondary psychopath differences. I’ve heard the terms used but haven’t really explored.
What traits can be noticed in preschool? Aren’t most 5 years olds selfish?
I self-identified as a sociopath for a while, but I’ve become increasingly convinced that many of the traits associated with sociopathy, while perhaps somewhat founded in biology, are trained mental behaviors. Personally, I learned to turn off emotion so that I could more easily adapt to stressful situations. I’m sure others have done the same. Moreover, my personal experience and reflection suggests that it is our society as a whole that trains us, and which gives the context for the expression of sociopathic traits.
For instance, we live in a society in which winning is everything, and in which those with power and wealth are held up as paragons of success. Again, in my experience, a sociopath is merely someone who, for whatever reason, is able to (or unable not to) put all social and emotional concerns to the side while they seek to attain success. In general, they get their idea of what success is from social cues, from the media, and from their families.
Early on, success is simply a matter of meeting one’s needs (or what one perceives as needs), but those needs become increasingly complex as we develop as social beings. It is my personal theory that the expression of sociopathic traits is so ugly in our society precisely because our society is itself so uncaring and ugly. Assuming that sociopaths are a relatively small percentage of the population, it seems odd that our society itself seems to practice sociopathic behaviors. How else could homelessness persist? How else could the wealth gap be so large? How could so many support the bombing of innocent people in other countries under the label of collateral damage? How could we continue buying products made by children in cramped, poorly-ventilated factories? Ultimately, when confronted by the ‘other’, be another nation, tribe, religion, etc., you see sociopathic behavior emerge in people who show no sign of it in their normal lives.
What we notice and label as sociopathic in poor individuals is often seen in a more positive light in those who are raised in affluence and who have more socially accepted goals to attain to. One cannot make money speculating on the price of rice in developing nations if you have empathy for the people affected by your actions. One cannot continue to work as a deep-sea oil driller after the series of recent accidents if you have empathy for the sea life, or the livelihoods of the people affected by such disasters.
Imagine how sociopaths would behave in a society where kindness was the primary currency (instead of the current system where you can be a total jerk to everyone, but if you’re rich you can still prosper personally), and in which the heights of social status came about in response to how helpful someone was. In such a society, the lack of empathy and conscience associated with sociopathy would not necessary be a hindrance. When what society sees as successful is essentially good and benign, then people who are motivated without distraction to attain social success will actually be helpful.
Someone can APPEAR helpful to further their own PREDATORY agenda that is about hurting others for own pleasure.
I agree whole heartedly J. I’ve seen it repeatedly in my own experiences with disordered covert agressives, psychopaths. A suposed good deed can be a Trojan horse that merely opens the door for future damage and allows them acesd to what they are really after. It just one of the things you can only see and understand after the fact, one of the jagged pills the victim is left to swallow.
I met with the lawyer who is helping with the contractor debacle the other day and she was such a perfect example of how hard it is to comprehend these types if you are someone fortunate enough to never have encountered one. I explain things to my trauma councilor and she fills in the blanks effortlessly. She deals with these types all the time but I say the exact same things to someone like this lawyer and she just can NOT grasp that someone like Spathtard and contractor guy could/ would do something so distructive intentionally. The word ” intentional” is the pivitol point.
Michael, that was a very good post and some very good points, things I think about frequently. Value conflicts for me when it comes down to the practical aspects of life. And it’s all so multifaceted, intertwined and complex.
J, did you read any of the Loyde Demause link I posted? Not sure if I got the name spelled right there.
I didn’t. I may at some point, though.
I am sure that my father is a psychopath. About 15 years ago I could not point my finger at what it is he has and was hopeful that whatever it is there is help for it but I could feel that there could never be help for him because not once did he ever feel remorse or guilt for the pain he caused my mother, myself, my sister and brother… I am sure that neither myself, my brother, nor sister are psychopaths. I myself have too much love to give and the same for my brother. Sometimes I worry about my sister as the abuse from my father has affected her the most and I feel that she is lost and angry and is unable to manage her life, but from the way she cares about weak or poor people tells me that she is not a psychopath either. Now what I am worried about the most is that I am a Mother of a beautiful 10 month old girl and my husband and I would like more children. I also have a feeling that my husbands father was a psychopath as well. I can tell from the stories that he and his mother have told me. Similar to my father, his father hurt them, did unthinkable acts to cause them pain and never felt remorse… What I am worried is that people and doctors are suggesting that it may be genetic, some people even make comments such as it may skip generations… I think it is more complicated than that but at the same time am so afraid! I would not want my children to be psychopaths, I do not want them to go through the hell of psychopathy, to cause others pain, to cause pain to themselves, and so on…. and I also want to finally be free of the darkness that my father has put us through and I want my children to be free of that too! Please advise, should I worry about my children potentially being like my father as it may be genetic?
Michael what you describe is the imperfect human with faults who feels guilty and remorseful for pain and suffering existing in the world, like yourself who questions how we can buy products made by children in a 3rd world country. BUT that does not make us psychopaths because we can feel that it is wrong to have children work and we suffer with them when looking at a product produced in such environment! The psychopaths are those under whose pressure and leadership or due to whose violence children fall under such circumstances and the idea is to remove those psychopaths from our society! If 3 – 5% of the population are psychopaths then that is not a small number at all!!! That is extremely huge given the fact that they are willing to do anything for power! I believe that a lot of the wars, greed, torture, and pain caused in the world is due to the leadership of those insane people! However, as you said, we the rest, who come in very different ways are responsible for what is going on in our world. It is up to us to stop those psychopaths from committing their insanity. And the problem is that while the psychopath has been diagnosed and very well defined the rest of us have not been yet put into clear groups as to what our diagnosis is. There is a huge percentage of people in the world who just wants to be comfortable, sit on their couch and not worry about anything but their stomach, their family, their children, without considering the fact that just because your child is doing well today that does not mean that your grandchildren and their grandchildren will be doing well if things continue at this pace of ignorance. However, this ignorance does not mean that there is no empathy. Perhaps there should be a name for that group who is not interested to fight but does feel and does hurt and does feel guilty for the terrors happening in the world. Also, perhaps, it is part of evolution to slowly move towards recognizing the causes of the injustice in this world and to evolve towards fixing and eliminating evil, and that is if you believe that we are progressing and moving towards a better future for all of humanity and that our journey and suffering is not for nothing. I personally believe that if every single one of us does good and teaches good to their children then that is a move towards a better world and that will aid in eliminating evil. Furthermore, as to eliminating evil that is another subject, as to what does that mean? We cannot just get rid psychopaths for example. We are still responsible for taking care of them and helping them survive but that has to be in a way where they can no longer harm innocent human beings…
You people are silly..a psychopath will NEVER admit they are a psychopath. Period. Done. You’re not special, you just want attention if you state that you are “sadly a psychopath”….don’t make a fool of yourself..SMH.
You are not,
Who are you talking to?
iAgree About What You Said : psychopath will NEVER admit they R or could be psychopath. Period. Done. (( You’re Not special, You Just Want Attention if (if)
you state that you are “sadly a psychopath”….doN’t make a fool of yourself ))
I have read most of these comments and most are technical and very scientific. I applaud research being done to see wherein lies the cause of the illness. However, there is nothing technical or scientific about living with a psychopath. I was ‘raised’ by one if you can call a childhood without love and full of fear being raised. My father killed his first small pet animal at the age of five, and lied to his mother about what happened. And the rest is my herstory. My father, today at the age of 87, remains an emotional, psychological and physical abuser of all women that have had the misfortune to be in his lair. He is like a lion, he goes for the weakest part of the body, the heart. He destroys girls and women and leaves them in his dust. Men hate him because he lies and manipulates them too. He is all about power and standing on someone’s head after he has put them down. He gains great pleasure insulting races, religions, lifestyles, homes, clothes, pets, cars…housekeeping skills. There is nothing he does not sneer at, even education and career choices. He sits in judgment over all of his, and not his, domain. I would like to see research being done on identifying and believing the kids that are at risk to these freaks. And the women that marry them. There has to be help somewhere for those trapped in the houses of these creeps. The houses are nice the man very well dressed, the women and kids are presentable…but, he is the peacock. There needs to be questionaires in schools about how safe a child feels at home. A wife needs to be asked in a doctors office, or somewhere safe, how safe she feels..and that it does not get back to the husband. I needed a champion, I needed saving, I needed a home and love. I needed someone to listen to me and take me away from him. My mother and sister needed this too…but sadly, none of us made it out in one piece. My mother had her first nervous breakdown when I was 7. HE made her go for electric shock therapy, in the 1960’s. That destroyed her…it was a temporary fix for a problem caused by him. He is the one that should have had EST. She moved right back in with the cause of her illness. She had two more. When I was 13 my 18 year old sister had a nervous breakdown and hid in her room for 2 years with ulcers. Guess who caused it. Guess who did nothing. Guess who was disgusted that the women in his house were ‘sick in the head’. When I was 12 my father held me up against a wall by my throat, with my feet dangling and said ‘if you were a man I’d kill you’. I was an A plus student and had never misbehaved. I was an honors piano student and all of my teachers loved me. This psychopath threatened to kill me. Why you ask. Because I dared to tell the mother of a school chum that my father was mean. I had never voiced those words before. It got back to my father..and a death threat was the result. My mother bless her does not even remember it happening so she blocked it out with many other things he did. She ended up with Frontal Lobe damage and at 82 she remembers little now from my childhood or hers. This waste of skin ruined my mothers mental health then proceeded to cheat on her for years before finally leaving us hi and dry when I was 17, for a woman that was only 3 years older then my sister. I will not bore you with details..but, I don’t care if they find out if it’s genetic or not, I know it is…my sister is a psychopath. She went from a scared hermit to full blown psychopathy, manipulation, lies, cheating, rage. I quit talking to her 4 years ago. I escaped this horrid life destroying gene, thank God. After years of cat and mouse with both of them I disowned them. I am almost 60 and I am finally in the healing process. As a child I was the only kid I knew that did not have love. I lived a completely loveless life..sadly, I picked men that treated me horribly because I just wanted love. It wasn’t, it was ownership. I had 2 divorces from manipulative mean men.I had so much love to give…but my daughter has benefited from all of it. I now can see through the lies, manipulation, anger, threats, snarls, that ‘weird smile’ when they are insulting someone to their face and enjoying it. My father has destroyed myself and my daughter, 3 wives and one long term lady friend who he cheated on. That is when I stood up to him for the only time in my life and told him to do the right thing for once in his life and tell her he was done with her but don’t cheat on another one. Being a narcisstic psychopath he wanted both women. He threatened me to not to tell his lady friend. He never knew if I would or not..so he started a campaign of revenge against me and as a result, my daughter. It was not subtle, it was very obvious. In his arrogant and narcissistic state he thought I was too stupid to see right through him. We rented from him and he started an eviction process, for no reason, that took him over 1.5 years to accomplish. He had no leg to stand on, and you can’t claim a psychopath’s revenge on an eviction notice. I have not spoken to him in 2.5 years. He does not care, he is merrily living his life with what everwoman he has taken up with…no remorse, no guilt, no accountability for causing his own daughter and granddaughter, to have a breakdown over the eviction. It was very difficult to fight a professional liar and manipulator to not be homeless. He pulled every trick in the book…but he forgot I am not stupid. We fought long and hard but he won…but, in the end, we won. We disowned him and he will never see us again, or know where we live. Trust me, I don’t care if they find out if it is genetic…I will not stand over his, or her, grave and weep. The weeping is done..the little girl in me is healing because I had to defend not only myself against him but my own daughter. We won. Run, don’t walk, away from a freak like this if he or she is in your life. Don’t spend your life trying or thinking you can fix them..they don’t want to be fixed. They love who they are whether they know the ‘diagnosis’ or not. A true psychopath does not know they are a psychopath, they think they are brilliant and indestructible. They love power and control and the high they get from hurting others. By the way, my father came from a large, bible believing, loving, normal busy farm family with a mother that was a good woman and a father that all siblings respected. None of his siblings were like him one bit. He thought they were all idiots. Enough said.
Thanks you for sharing this, Lilacorn, and good that you and your daughter have made it out. This shows the meaning of the word ‘hell’ in the purest sense, if there ever was any. It’s beyond dreadful that any human being even can develop without restraints or second thoughts about doing whatever they may come up with and it’s also dreadful that “normal” humans’ minds don’t necessarily stand extremely painful and troubling facts that could prove to be their undoing very quick.
I myself knew one guy I’ve refered to as Viper here. He not only liked to gossip about and badmouth others, including me, he also assaulted me, telling afterwards that I assaulted him(before changing his story to me and him agreeing to a fight, which I don’t know how many believed). He also, later during senior high, followed and assaulted one other boy, because this boy had accidentally bumped into him in the hallway once. Viper also dated a girl and the relationship became emotionally abusive, eventually escalating to physical violence and in-your-face overt verbal abuse and domination. The girl did escape, though, and got help, even though Viper managed to avoid accountability thanks to some slick lies, evasions and back-up from his female friend whose head he had filled with thoughts like his.
While I don’t think Viper is a psychopath or a sadist, he’s, beyond any doubt, a callous abuser, bully, pahological liar, control freak and responsibility-avoidant manipulative jerk, who thinks deep inside he’s superior to others. Your father sounds like him in so many ways, except even more extreme and of course, also psychopathic, with control-freakery and malignant narcissism quadruple servings.
“A true psychopath does not know they are a psychopath, they think they are brilliant and indestructible.”
Interesting detail here. I don’t know about this. Some could know exactly what kind of a person they are, even if they don’t verbalize or think about themselves in that word. They are still fully conscious of what they are like. Perhaps some could know what the word is that applies to them so perfectly. That varies, but this is all just speculation that we can’t really find out by any realiable means.
My husband is a psychopath hitting all 9 qualifications on the nose. He is presently incarcerated, obviously. We have a 2 month old baby boy (in my care) so naturally I have dedicated myself to research linking psychopathy, sociopathy to genetic predisposition. Some days I feel like we are miles ahead of anything catching up to my sweet little baby boy, other days I am so afraid for him that I sink into depression for days. We all want to pave a smooth road for our children, so their lives are easier than ours were. But I am up against a wall. I keep a very watchful eye out everyday for any kind of sign that he may exhibit that shows he is different. So far his startle reflex is fully functional which is extremely relieving!!! Anything else will take time to gauge.
Hi, I am new here and it does seem that most here have been speaking for some time. I came on here due to wanting to understand what made a psychopath … and if it was genetic. Over the years I came to realize that most likely one or both of my parents were psychopaths. One of the reasons was it appeared that they derived pleasure choosing / or singling out children to make into bad guys. The forms of abuse were holding head under water, while beating with plastic (to not leave a mark). This was one of the best and clearest. It was not to teach it was torture! It wasn’t until a recent conversation with my mother that I felt the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. This incident went back some forty or more years. We were talking about things that happened…and she was in blaming mode. (My father who was a drunk was pretty abusive…so he almost always was put into the role of the bad guy. He is passed and one of the things he said that made me wonder was “You are the closest thing I ever came to love and I am sorry I never showed you , I really didn’t know how.” It was a revelation for me.) In the conversation with my mother she said something about a dog . I wanted her to realize how insane it was for a child of 10 to have to take the dead and rotting body of a dog out of the basement, dig a 5 to 7 ft hole carry the carcass over 25 ft,and bury it! She tells me, “I thought you killed the dog” Like she was saying, “how was your day”… I was stunned and found myself trying to find my mental footing. I stopped and I asked, “what would make you think that?” She said, “that is what your father said.” I know that is not true. I was 10 years old Gigi was a large doberman how could I do this. She said, “That is what your father said.” Well to say the least I felt like hell and didn’t know what to think or feel. I since have realized this woman has been killing animals all of my life! A few years back she had a one eyed cat that she kept in her basement. One day my sons and I went down to clean and feed the cat and there was a ton of this white powder all over the floor. I asked what is this? she said it was to kill the bugs, I said Pirate is down here you can’t put Boric acid on the floor…are you crazy? She is a chemist…she knows! I put the cat in a cage put a mask on my face and started to clean it the best I could. As you must realize one no matter how abused never wants to really see how crazy their parents are. I spent the majority of my life in therapy. Never really telling their secrets. Usually talking about how crazy and horrible I was. How my life situations were always getting worse and worse”r” … no matter how much I tried. I have, had depression and anxiety nearly all of my life. My brother is also badly affected. We were most often the bad guys. My brother for being a boy and me for looking like my father. My brother has been hospitalized several times for schizophrenia/ manic disorder and any other thing they can find… rule out nothing, just keep him medicated. The thing is I was a bad kid, I ran away , I stole, I cut out of school… I Wanted to die or just be invisible since I can remember. I was first told I was borderline and later diagnosis as Depressed. Later told I has PTSD… on and on . I don’t know what I am or have! I have been able to pretty much function well enough to raise two very well adjusted young men. Now at 60…I look at the past and wonder how did I survive? and what did I pass on to my children? I worked very hard at being the best parent I could be . never hit tried to make their punishments fit the crime…and was not belligerent … although I did have outburst most of the time I took myself out of the situation and would come back only when I was able to talk civil! So although this is only a synopsis of what went on are my parents Psychopaths and if so how does one not pass this sort of behavior on? And how do you spot it before it is too late?
Cher, Welcome. Your story is very sad and quite horrific. I commend you for doing your best to rise above it with your own children! You have questions that would be best answered by Dr. Simon and you can contact him through the “Contact Dr. Simon” link below on the right hand side. That is where I think you should start. You are welcome here but your background story is fairly severe and I certainly don’t feel qualified to answer your questions regarding your parents. I do want to encourage you to do some more reading here and feel free to join in the discussions. People will try their best to offer you support.
I honestly came across this website while reading some articles about pyscopathy expecting a well written piece based on research and knowledge, yet all I found was this and I can’t even finish reading all the comments because if they are not 13-years-old being children saying they are a psychopath and need help and then give some silly excuse as to why they believe they are one then they are bitter women saying their ex-spouse is a psychopath because he treated them badly and then go on to point fingers and blame. Honestly, get over it I’m sure all the problems in the marriage wasn’t him and just because now you are hurt and whatever else then you must think he is a psychopath. It’s all whining and/or biased information. I am a 23-years-old woman “diagnosed” as a psychopath since my early teens. Yes, I meet the criterias and then some for say the least. For a dr that is supposed to have 30 years of experience in the field you seem to very biased in the sense that you paint every psychopath to be evil in some way even if not a criminal. I admit that i have not read all the articles you have written in the subject, but the few i have read seem to have the same tone and shameless self pluggin to buy your books for more on the subject.I no longer attend therapy but as a kid I did. I’ve gotten a cat scan done where they showed me pictures and to see my brain activity and how it reacted to the images shown to me. As a teenager all I understood was that they put me in a machine and when they showed me some pictures my brain didn’t “lit up” like a “normal” person’s brain should. Not until I got older and did some research about this things my parents and psychiatrists have been telling me all my life did I truly understood that they had a name for people that were like me. It seemed like I finally understand why everyone else wasn’t like me (and yes, I say that because honestly not once did I wonder why I wasn’t like everyone else because I never wanted to be like “them”) To me the way my brain functions has always been better even before I was old enough to understand psychopathy better. I have the opportunity to make a choice purely based on facts without feelings getting in the way, something “normal” human beings lack. And being a woman something normal women do not well as its been shown women let their emotions play a big role when making a decision even if it is a key part of something. Either consiously or unconsciously it just they way all normal people are wired. I grew up in a very loving and well off family, yet I’ve always had this thoughts and I’ve always been this way. Am I very manipulative? Yes, and in my career it’s only made more successful. Every trait that I have due to my brain lacking the ability to feel empathy and remorse and not having true feelings or as its referred to being a psychopath has made me a better person in every aspect of my life. Everyone gets hurts, everyone has had some childhood trauma or will suffer one later on in life, all humans go thru hardships just because there are some of us that may be the one inflicting this pain or not being victims and simply doing things that we want for any reason doesn’t make us evil. I’m sure if you were to ask my exs-boyfriends they would agree that I am all the things described as a psychopath and even tho some may have some negative feelings about me not one would call me evil and if I wanted to go back each of them would take me. That I know for a fact. I’m currently in a very good relationship were from the beginning he knew what I was and even tho he did say he could never date someone like me at that point in our friendship we have now been dating over a year. Yes, things do always have to go my way but in no sense does he feel like I abuse him to get it. Not every way to get ones own desires fullfilled have to be “evil” he is an all American boy, plays sports, grew up with a large family, likes to work on cars an all around very manly man. Him being aware of what I am only makes him understand me more. Honestly, I know if I were to write down every thing I’ve ver done there would be a lot of saying what a horrible person I am but I know im not a monster. If anything I know in this world only the fittest survive and I will survive. Maybe it’s time to stop playing victims and going for your true nature. We all have some things left in us from the days were truly only the fittest survived. Not all of us walk around killing people, some of us know how to get what we want without those type of actions. And for those of you who say a true psycopath wouldn’t admit to being one or know, well here I am. Why wouldn’t I admit something I’m proud of? It makes me a better person I can be more rational than anyone because feelings don’t cloud my judgement maybe if all “normal” human beings tried being more like us there wouldn’t be so many whining in this comments and this world wouldn’t be what it is.
May, the Darwinian concept of the fittest surviving has recently been overthrown, in favour of more sophisticated understanding of complex organization. Studies show that even on a simpler biological level, coordinated effort; being able to act from mental maps that rely on empathetic response is favoured over the ‘go it alone’ route. Mushrooms, for example, rather than competing, expend far more energy cooperating through mycelial networks. And they not only cooperate together, they cooperate with trees and other plants, who btw, also cooperate more than compete with each other.
What is so tragic is that the psychopath thinks him or herself very strong and independent, yet often leads a parasitic existence, where they have to fake care and concern so that they appear to be symbiotic.
I am so sorry for your brain damage but realize that there is some small comfort for you, growing up in a society that rewards hyper competition and the wondrous philosophical efforts of fascists like, Ayn Rand.
Bless you and thanks for tuning in!
May I’m not so sure that being a psychopath makes someone the fittest to survive. It is emotion, perception and sensation that come into play for survival. And many full blown psychopaths end up alone and on the scrap heap. Not exactly survival of the fittest! Also they cannot stand to be alone. Emotion is exactly what keeps people from being alone, it helps form connections on a deeper level. Even so I do wonder does your boyfriend mind that you don’t have real feelings of love for him? I would think that in the end is what fizzles out all relationships, and he may move on but of course you will be equipped to deal with that as you say. One thing though I would add you say you don’t harm people which is good so I would think you have some moral conscience which is something full blown psychopaths lack and is probably the worst trait in what makes psychopaths “evil”. I know people who are not exactly compassionate people and don’t let their emotions get in the way but they have a conscience and that does not make them a psychopath. Their brains just work differently and they are not nasty people either. There in lies the difference, someone who is nasty is harmful, simple but the truth, regardless if their a psychopath or not! I am no expert but I’d probably ask for a refund from your psychiatrist!
You Do NOT Sound Like Psychopath, Rather idiot. LOT OF Doctors ARE MOSTLY incompetent, and Should NOT influence Your Decisions Based On Diagnosis, is OFTEN FALSE, Usually Given To females, because females R More Often Gullible, MORE Gullible Than Guys, But Many Men Can Also Be Gullible, But Usually With Authority Figures, When it Comes To Men Can Also Be Gullible, But With Authority is WHY Foolish Men Obey Foolish Orders From Their Mostly Foolish Governments
And I could add to my post or go back to fix the grammatical errors but after all it really does seem like only children read it so its not like its going to matter anyway.
May, that would take too much effort now wouldn’t it? I’m realky not sure why you found your post realivant to anything anyone here has been discussing but I dont. Thank you for not adding to your post or correcting your grammatical errors, I think it’s perfect just as it is.
I think anyone can understand even something this basic. I wasn’t writing to the comments or even trying to add anything to the whining fest going on. So yes, you are welcome. I’m glad it wasn’t taken like every other whiny boo hoo I had a horrible thing happened to me and now I’m either blaming the other person or I think I’m “broken” please help me. My comment was a comment meant to stand on its own. You are welcome, and even my phone that has a mind of its own with auto correct couldn’t stand to keep going.
And as it turns out, your post was actually very helpful May because it spurred the lovely people here to respond to it and they made some beautiful points about, in spite of the at times “down side”, why we are grateful for our emotions and would not have it any other way. Thank you May!
I think , too, that May, does have emotion, as primitive as it must be. She has expressed irritation and annoyance about ‘whiners’. Being irritated, particularly in the extreme, is an emotion. And although she doesn’t get parasitism, I wonder if she can appreciate irony. She is whining about so called ‘whiners’.
How exactly is it that most psycopaths live a parasitic lifestyle? Isn’t a parasite an organism that’s feeds off of another organism harmining them in the process and its not a mutual relationship. One the parasite benefits therefore the other one is being harmed or at least having some negative effects. So unless they recently changed the meaning of that too, I don’t see at all how it would apply to me and/or people like me. From a young age I learned how to “mirror” other’s feelings and I’ve lead my life like that applying that technique in every relationship in my life being professional or personal. Not once did I harm anyone by doing so and since it was something taught to me at first from my psychiatrists it was not one sided or just beneficial to me. Not only they were the ones teaching me, but I know they also learned from me to help other psycopaths that may become their client later on. Every dr I’ve ever had was very interested in the way my brain functioned and from no point were those relationship parasitic.
And there is no reason to be sorry for my “brain damage” as there is not any brain damage. I would find that rather insulting if it wasn’t because I know that all the people that come here are only reading negative information about the subject. If anything my brain functions at a better capacity than other people because I don’t have things like feelings getting in the way. So no I’m sorry to you for having to be a slave to your feelings even tho its been shown that feelings aren’t exactly the best thing to let you influence your choices. There is not one example anyone can tell me that would lead me to believe being “normal” and having feelings is better.
Feelings and emotions are just fine May and it is possible, and not uncommon, to be able to have feelings and emotions yet also make decisions using your brain as well. At least we have the option, you don’t. If you truly are a psychopath and you can’t experience emotions and feelings, then how do you know not having them is preferable to having them? I couldn’t name one person who is able to experience emotions who would want it any other way.
To chime in a bit here: most psychopaths don’t in fact lead a parasitic lifestyle (antisocial personalities, or as some would label: sociopaths do, but psychopaths often don’t), which is why such lifestyle characteristics are not essential for the diagnosis. And it’s the capacity of many psychopaths to be both charming and socially quite high-functioning that is often the doing-in of their victims. Now I know you assert yourself to have been diagnosed a psychopath (whether you truly are or not I have no way of knowing), and I also understand that you take issue with my expertise on the subject, but I’m confident the research backs me up on this, as it does on my other assertions, and if you wish, I can provide you additional information if you contact me via the back channel.
Dr. Simon, This kind of threw me…….
“most psychopaths don’t in fact lead a parasitic lifestyle (antisocial personalities, or as some would label: sociopaths do, but psychopaths often don’t), which is why such lifestyle characteristics are not essential for the diagnosis.”
I’m wondering what your definition of parasitic is? Do you mean that most are employed, live independently, etc?
Yes. That’s what I mean. And I suppose it’s all a matter of semantics and definition, but Robert Hare has written extensively about this. While all psychopaths use, abuse, and exploit in various ways, which would technically qualify as parasitic (and predatory) behavior, it’s not central to the pathology that they lead socially parasitic lifestyles (i.e. doing nothing for themselves, freeloading and mooching off others). That’s why you can have folks like Bernie Madoff or various heads of corporations, political leaders, etc. appear so socially well-adjusted yet be so dangerous. The core of psychopathy is not social parasitism but rather, as Hare asserts, “the callous, senseless, and remorseless use and abuse of others,” rooted primarily in the psychopath’s deficient capacity for empathy or their incredible capacity to compartmentalize empathy. Does this make sense?
Dr Simon, thank you SO MUCH for that clarification. I think I will print it, laminate it and carry it in my wallet! 😉
I hope you are well and thank you for stopping in!
Dr Simon the compartmentalization of empathy is something I’ve wanted to know about. Some time ago you mentioned it on your Character Matters program and I really wished I could ring in but couldn’t to clarify something. If they have the capacity to compartmentalize does that mean at times they can show some form of empathy but at others can switch it off so they can do the horrible things they do?
That’s exactly it, Tori, and it’s an insidious quality few authors highlight. I’ve written several posts about this both on this blog and on the http://www.counsellingresource.com site. And I expound a bit about it in my book Character Disturbance as well. If you want to witness a most chilling example of this based on real life events, rent the movie or read Truman Capote’s landmark book In Cold Blood. I reference this in some of my posts on the subject and also frequently at workshops. There’s a scene in which one of the invaders of an unsuspecting rural family shows compassion for an old woman who is frightened and has the chills and who kindly puts a shawl over moments before coldly taking her life (merely because he doesn’t want to allow for the possibility of being identified). Predatory, homicidal pedophiles are notorious for this kind of behavior as well.
Dr Simon, couldn’t it be that there is a difference between “showing compassion” and actually having and feeling compassion? Acting compassionate because it furthers your agenda and fleshes out your mask or serves some roll in convincing your target that you really do care about them would is different than actually feeling compassion and producing the behavior that goes along with genuine compassion, no?
Thank you for making the distinction between parasitic and predatory behavior. There is such a cloud of confusion about so many of the finer details of psychopathy. Then, there is further confusion regarding properly defining and differentiating the two strategies.
Thank you Dr Simon for that clarification, and you’re right about very few writer’s making that clear distinction and it’s one that I think is a stand out and as insidious as you say. I’ve seen that compartmentalization at work and it is insidious. As anyone involved with one of them doesn’t see what’s coming, they are taken completely off guard. Your sketch from In Cold Blood illustrates that perfectly at the high end of their violent behaviour. It sends chills up the spine.
As LisaO said it’s at the heart of the confusion they create.
Dr. Simon, I think it does come down to semantics or splitting hairs as far as what constitutes “parasitic”, but not quite. It seems like there is a lot on the table with this topic. I think I’m starting to see another side to this but there are so many variables as well! When you have someone like Bernie Madoff or a high ranking politician thrown into the mix, compared to someone like a body parts collecting serial killer it certainly makes for a very hard to piece together picture. I’m really not sure I’m picking this
“compartentalizing empathy” aspect either. It always seems, even after this long trying to understand what they are really all about, it always just beyond my reach! Like trying to catch a soap bubble, as soon ss you do it pops.
You Do NOT Understand Real Or Actual Meaning Of Efficiency, is Determined By Combination Of Logic And Emotions, Meaning Too Much Of Either Causes One To Make BAD OR WRONG Decision or Judgement Or Choice Or Action Or Assumption
is WHY Women Being Emotional Have Tendency To Make Wrong Decisions And in Or For Other Side Of Spectrum Men Lacking Emotions Make Wrong Decisions For Because Lacking Emotions Causes WRONG Analysis OF DATA, Require Both Logic And Emotion in Correct Proportions, Similar To Baking, Where Any One Or Set Of ingredient[s] R in Wrong Proportion(s) Will Result in Ruined Product, is Also Same For Manufactured Product Such As Car, Where if incompetent Managers And CEO Place Wrong Emphasis On Wrong Part Of Car, Will Produce Defective Car/Vehicle.
That’s where you are wrong, you do not have the option. Because to do such a thing or even be capable of doing something like “turning off” your feelings would mean that you no longer qualify as a normal healthy human being. Therefore, no you people that call yourselves the normal and the standard have to realize that if you have gone thru such a traumatic event where you are actually capable of doing such a thing then something must have changed radically in the way that your brain works. I on the other hand can choose to take other’s feelings towards it or even acknowledge what a “normal” person would be feeling in such a situation and assess it that way. I can’t speak for everyone that is a psycopath but we are capable of learning how to “mirror” emotions that if chosen to we can and we do use them on a regular basis. As many articles love to point out we are very good at hiding and charming people, we can’t be that good and not learn how to apply those so called feelings you seem so fond of.
May, you are inacurate in many of your observations and conclusions. Also, showng a lack of understanding about how the encounters some of us here have experienced “function”.
May, even ‘normals’ lose empathy for people who they deem dangerous, incorrigible, who they feel are cruel. It would be a very limited existence to have this void of feeling for everyone, though, on a permanent basis.
I imagine most people have experienced this state of apathy or no feeling, for everyone, at one time or another usually due to stress or illness. We have also experienced ego dystonia and ego inflation to some degree at one time another, too, usually due to unique and temporary circumstances. I am using the royal we, hoping that most here would agree. They are all unpleasant states of being for normals, because these states drive a wedge between us. It is our connection to others that extends and expands our emotional reach, bumps up our joy. Imagine May, if you could not only experience your own excitement but could also experience ecstatic states through the empathetic response. You can live your own emotional life and the emotional life of others. It is a very rich experience as compared to the cramped austerity of the pathological. Of course the downside is normal also feel their own pain and the pain of others. It’s a trade off they/we/I are happy to make.
Who paid for your psychiatrist, btw? I imagine your parents did. That would make the relationship between your parents and shrink symbiotic. Your parents had the money. The psychiatrist provided the service. Beautiful! Perfect clownfish– anenome relationship. Now you, being the recipient of all of this largesse would actually be what we would call a parasite. You dig?
May, I welcome your comments and knowing it isn’t emotionally biased is refreshing. I think we can all use another’s perspective and it helps me to take a step back and look at the situation. I completely agree people need to embrace both sides before labeling others. Labeling comes from not understanding or willingness to put yourself in the other’s shoes. I feel that blaming others is not taking accountability for your participation in the relationship.
I feel that ‘mirroring’ can be a good thing. Adapting is making others more comfortable in social situations is being considerate. I’m in a 10yr relationship with a sociopath and love it. Lack of emotions isn’t lying, manipulative, etc. We all process things in different ways. EVERYONE manipulates in some form or another. An infant uses it to obtain needs. We manipulate schedules to accommodate changing plans. I think of it as learning to interact with others. I know it can be used in horrible ways. I am here because of interaction with someone who is borderline and have witnessed what people are capable of.
I am concerned about rather aggressive replies to others posters giving their opinions. I’m not seeing May’s comments directed at anyone personally. On a site that promotes learning about others and oneself, I would like to believe we should welcome other opinions. It doesn’t happen often, but I think it’s incredibly shitty to make judgemental remarks about a persons financial/social status in obtaining care. How can you make those comments and not expect the same. I have been reading a long time and I was really put off by the response to trying to participate in the discussion. (Not that I’m whining. LOL). I like this site and what it has to offer. As I have said before, “Sometimes you have to ask yourself, Maybe I’m the Asshole”. Thank goodness NO ONE is perfect.
~I also guilty of mislabeling myself. I had misinterpreted antisocial as having social anxiety and not the textbook explanation. whoops.
If I’ve understood a thing from others’ discussions, it would seem that getting actively and deliberately fooled(and anyone can be tricked in some way some of the time), deceived, exploited, hoodwinked, misled and lied to by another person is one thing. It’s another when two people have problems of whatever kind feeding off each other and adding to the mess, even without people involved wanting. Someone’s style of coping apparently can be problematic, even if it’s not manipulative in intent. And for my understanding, again, sometimes different things can be at play between people or the additional factor X.
How much a person has honestly tried to make things better as opposed to uncaringly or perhaps even deliberately making a worse mess of a relationship must speak for itself. Sometimes a bit of self-reflection is a lot of help, whether it’s to see what process led to one getting duped, what derailed good and rational intentions or what problematic pattern has been playing out, though it’s not all and I don’t claim it to be all, considering a bunch of issues that come from having been in a troubled relationship.
You make interesting points, too. I wouldn’t
A goof on my part! I originally was going t say “I wouldn’t claim”. Then forgot it there at the end. Oops.
I have just stumbled upon this very interesting website. What a difference from 50 years ago when
I tried, from the age of 15, to find out why I was so incredibly unhappy. I am 68 now. My only recourse was to try and read as many books as I could lay my hands on. I live in South Africa and my home language is Afrikaans. I could barely speak three words in English. There were not any books on psychology and related subjects in Afrikaans at the time, bar lots of religious literature, since there was no separation between church and state and the official government sanctioned
Afrikaans churches had a field day with constant indoctrination through religious publications.
Over the years, as my English improved and I read many books on psychology, philosophy, medicine and anything that was deemed to be helpful, a picture started forming like a huge puzzle on the wall.
Both my parents were psychopathic and/or sociopathic individuals. My childhood was horrific, with constant beatings, being called every insulting name in our language, and having been beaten unconscious at the age of 5 by my father. He also hit me on the forehead with a walking-stick-like Zulu weapon when I was a baby of 18 months old. It should have killed me but it didn’t.
My older brother told me my forehead was black and blue for weeks after. I was not taken to a doctor. My mother went totally insane on me when I was about 12 years old. Her blatant hatred for me was very destructive.
I forced myself to read books that seemed very difficult at first, but I persevered, eventually understanding a lot of what I read, but not all of it. Books included Summerhill by A.S, Neill;
The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff; All of Alexander Lowen’s books; Several books by
Alice Miller and finally the one that changed my whole life: The Primal Scream by Arthur Janov.
I read 7 more of the 16 books he has written so far.
In 1980 I arrived in Los Angeles to undergo Primal therapy. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. During the open-ended sessions in a room with nothing else in it but the carpet and the thick padding on the walls, and a therapist who gently listened 98% of the time and may
sometimes have uttered fewer than twenty words during an entire session. I was not labelled or analyzed. I was not given advice about how to live my life. My feelings were not explained to
me. I was not interrupted when I connected with deep painful feelings that resulted in untold rage, beating all sorts of shit out of the padded walls, then dropping to the floor, wailing like a baby for
as long as it needed to be, often for an hour or more with silent moments in between. Then the anger again, then the wailing, and so on. The relief I felt afterwards is indescribable.
Dr. Arthur Janov does not believe in the labelling of neurotic afflictions and I agree, now that I
have been able to express the severe trauma I suffered as a child, by connecting with my feelings
and having been able to let the pain flow out through my emotions. It is a slow journey that can
takes hours, days, weeks, months and years. Nothing is forced. Given the right conditions, our
mind-body knows exactly how, when and how much pain to expel. The secret lies in being able
to help a patient reach what is called the feeling zone, where one is neither in too much pain nor
too well defended. This may be done either by prescribing medication for one patient, or with
a different approach for another patient.
Above all, what I learned, is that parents should allow babies to cry their pain out by being with
them, holding them if they want to be held, not shushing or shaking them, with total silence, no
matter how long it takes. The same with toddlers, small children, teenagers and also adults.
Never ever lock a baby in a room by itself to “cry it out” ! That is a double whammy of trauma.
Allow so called “temper tantrums” by quietly sitting with the child, and letting her have her hour
or two of crying and anger. Doing the above will cure any baby, child or teenager of pre- and postnatal trauma, the pre-cursors of psychosis and all other neuroses. If all parents can do that, then just that alone will bring us so much nearer to creating healthy humans.
Welcome Fanie! What a beautifully writen post. Thank you so much for sharing your story and your journey of healing. I receive Arthur Janov’s newsletter and I KNOW what he teaches and what you have summarized is 100% true. I feel it in my inner being so strongly.
I’m sorry for your horrendous child hood abuse and trauma. I’m just so sorry. What a survivor you are, just an amazing story Fanie.
Your English is excellent and I honor your strength and determination to heal.
I would love to go to Janov’s facility and hope to someday, I know it is expensive and I have animal to care for right now but someday maybe.
There is no doubt that the person who tried to distort me for some twisted reason zeroed in on a very very primal wound of mine, several probably. He ripped that wound open and then spit in it.
I wish you continued healing and happiness Fanie. Thank you again for sharing.
Fanie, thank you for sharing your story with such dignity and courage. I’m so sorry you had to live through such horrific trauma as a child but I am glad you found a way to healing. Also thank you for sharing your way to healing and I only know a little of Dr Janov and read a book on Primal therapy and must admit I don’t know all the ins and outs with it but what you explain seems to me a healthy way to express pain. It always made sense to me that urge to let it all out in a safe place, I think there is something very natural to that but our society frowns upon it because we must be in control. I’ve read a lot about listening therapies and empathy based therapies that allow people to talk about their experiences and move through to another phase of therapy on their own accord like CBT. I think it’s important to be heard or to at least express all the built up pain.
I also agree very much with your ideas on caring for babies and children. I’ve never agreed with the leaving of baby to cry it out, if a baby cries it needs attention. I remember with my first child the nurse telling me I need to get my baby into a routine. Feeding four hourly and letting it cry because otherwise I wouldn’t have a moment to myself and I would spoil my child. That didn’t make sense to me then nor now and I think things have changed now.For some reason human beings like a nice neat respectable package that fits with our lifestyles. Going back to the basics of nurture with love can only make for a healthier society that’s where it all starts. Thank you for sharing your lovely thoughts Fanie and I wish you continued happiness. 🙂
Thank you Puddles and Tori for the welcome. I somehow lost this site and it took me a while to find it again. I would so love to be able to make everyone aware of the wonderful work of Dr. Arthur Janov. He was slated by mainstream psychologists and psychiatrists at the time his first book became an international best seller. Just to give those who are interested an idea of how things have changed, I am posting reviews of his latest book “Life Before Birth” , by other professionals:
Quotes for “Life Before Birth”
“Life Before Birth is a thrilling journey of discovery, a real joy to read. Janov writes like no one else on the human mind—engaging, brilliant, passionate, and honest.
He is the best writer today on what makes us human—he shows us how the mind works, how it goes wrong, and how to put it right . . . He presents a brand-new approach to dealing with depression, emotional pain, anxiety, and addiction.”
Paul Thompson, PhD, Professor of Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine
Art Janov, one of the pioneers of fetal and early infant experiences and future mental health issues, offers a robust vision of how the earliest traumas of life can percolate through the brains, minds and lives of individuals. He focuses on both the shifting tides of brain emotional systems and the life-long consequences that can result, as well as the novel interventions, and clinical understanding, that need to be implemented in order to bring about the brain-mind changes that can restore affective equanimity. The transitions from feelings of persistent affective turmoil to psychological wholeness, requires both an understanding of the brain changes and a therapist that can work with the affective mind at primary-process levels. Life Before Birth, is a manifesto that provides a robust argument for increasing attention to the neuro-mental lives of fetuses and infants, and the widespread ramifications on mental health if we do not. Without an accurate developmental history of troubled minds, coordinated with a recognition of the primal emotional powers of the lowest ancestral regions of the human brain, therapists will be lost in their attempt to restore psychological balance.
Jaak Panksepp, Ph.D.
Bailey Endowed Chair of Animal Well Being Science
Washington State University
Dr. Janov’s essential insight—that our earliest experiences strongly influence later well being—is no longer in doubt. Thanks to advances in neuroscience, immunology, and epigenetics, we can now see some of the mechanisms of action at the heart of these developmental processes. His long-held belief that the brain, human development, and psychological well being need to studied in the context of evolution—from the brainstem up—now lies at the heart of the integration of neuroscience and psychotherapy.
Grounded in these two principles, Dr. Janov continues to explore the lifelong impact of prenatal, birth, and early experiences on our brains and minds. Simultaneously “old school” and revolutionary, he synthesizes traditional psychodynamic theories with cutting-edge science while consistently highlighting the limitations of a strict, “top-down” talking cure. Whether or not you agree with his philosophical assumptions, therapeutic practices, or theoretical conclusions, I promise you an interesting and thought-provoking journey.
Lou Cozolino, PsyD, Professor of Psychology, Pepperdine University
In Life Before Birth Dr. Arthur Janov illuminates the sources of much that happens during life after birth. Lucidly, the pioneer of primal therapy provides the scientific rationale for treatments that take us through our original, non-verbal memories—to essential depths of experience that the superficial cognitive-behavioral modalities currently in fashion cannot possibly touch, let alone transform.
Gabor Maté MD, author of In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction
An expansive analysis! This book attempts to explain the impact of critical developmental windows in the past, implores us to improve the lives of pregnant women in the present, and has implications for understanding our children, ourselves, and our collective future. I’m not sure whether primal therapy works or not, but it certainly deserves systematic testing in well-designed, assessor-blinded, randomized controlled clinical trials.
K.J.S. Anand, MBBS, D. Phil, FAACP, FCCM, FRCPCH, Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology, Anatomy & Neurobiology, Senior Scholar, Center for Excellence in Faith and Health, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare System
A baby’s brain grows more while in the womb than at any time in a child’s life. Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script That Rules Our Lives is a valuable guide to creating healthier babies and offers insight into healing our early primal wounds. Dr. Janov integrates the most recent scientific research about prenatal development with the psychobiological reality that these early experiences do cast a long shadow over our entire lifespan. With a wealth of experience and a history of successful psychotherapeutic treatment, Dr. Janov is well positioned to speak with clarity and precision on a topic that remains critically important.
Paula Thomson, PsyD, Associate Professor, California State University, Northridge & Professor Emeritus, York University
“I am enthralled. Dr. Janov has crafted a compelling and prophetic opus that could rightly dictate
PhD thesis topics for decades to come. Devoid of any “New Age” pseudoscience,
this work never strays from scientific orthodoxy and yet is perfectly accessible and
downright fascinating to any lay person interested in the mysteries of the human psyche.”
Dr. Bernard Park, MD, MPH
His new book “Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” shows that primal therapy, the lower-brain therapeutic method popularized in the 1970’s international bestseller “Primal Scream” and his early work with John Lennon, may help alleviate depression and anxiety disorders, normalize blood pressure and serotonin levels, and improve the functioning of the immune system.
One of the book’s most intriguing theories is that fetal imprinting, an evolutionary strategy to prepare children to cope with life, establishes a permanent set-point in a child’s physiology. Baby’s born to mothers highly anxious during pregnancy, whether from war, natural disasters, failed marriages, or other stressful life conditions, may thus be prone to mental illness and brain dysfunction later in life. Early traumatic events such as low oxygen at birth, painkillers and antidepressants administered to the mother during pregnancy, poor maternal nutrition, and a lack of parental affection in the first years of life may compound the effect.
In making the case for a brand-new, unified field theory of psychotherapy, Dr. Janov weaves together the evolutionary theories of Jean Baptiste Larmarck, the fetal development studies of Vivette Glover and K.J.S. Anand, and fascinating new research by the psychiatrist Elissa Epel suggesting that telomeres—a region of repetitive DNA critical in predicting life expectancy—may be significantly altered during pregnancy.
After explaining how hormonal and neurologic processes in the womb provide a blueprint for later mental illness and disease, Dr. Janov charts a revolutionary new course for psychotherapy. He provides a sharp critique of cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis, and other popular “talk therapy” models for treating addiction and mental illness, which he argues do not reach the limbic system and brainstem, where the effects of early trauma are registered in the nervous system.
“Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” is scheduled to be published by NTI Upstream in October 2011, and has tremendous implications for the future of modern psychology, pediatrics, pregnancy, and women’s health.
As a general rule, I am sceptic of heavily advertized path breaking theory/therapy that “revolutionize” something.
One thing that comes to my mind is that it is very easy to advertize and sell anything with infant association. So, any therapy that goes even before that and promises “life-long” “rewards”, will be good bait for full-time rich mothers.
I thought limbic system is reptilian brain. Something that produces animal behavior of fight or flight. It sounds very odd that some childhood trauma affects the reptilian brain… something like a calf getting a scare from tiger and growing into neurotic cow? I will probably wait for 30-40 years of statististical proof or scientific proof for revolutionary psychotherapy, before submitting myself to such unknown, benevolent, and godly powers.
Good to know it helped you.
Sorry, but some type of big claims require analyzing with sharper katanas.
It is good to be sceptical of everything out there, especially these days, where anyone can post absolute rubbish on the internet and instantly procure a million followers. I will not be able to convince you of the simple fact that Primal therapy is a cure for neurosis. You may find one day
that your scepticism is actually the one thing that prevents you from ever finding a cure for your own neurosis. You need to listen to your heart, if you can.
Also try to educate yourself fully with the latest findings by researchers who are independently qualifying these day what Dr. Arthur Janov postulated over 40 years ago.
We have three brains:
1) The reptilian brain or viscera, our earliest brain that develops during the first trimester of gestation. Any intrauterine trauma during that period gets laid down there as a very deep imprint. Imprinted trauma on this level compounds (amplifies) any other hurts that may follow. This is is the largest component of any pre-cursor for the development of psychopathy.
2) Then during the second trimester the limbic system develops, which is our feeling brain, and which allows us to love and develop attachment to others etc. Children who were not allowed to express any feelings, e.g. anger and crying, or who were not held and loved by a caretaker, may exhibit one or more of a whole range of neuroses, such as depression, ADHD, bipolar, etc. Some may also become intellectuals or even pre-psychotics.
3) Our cortex/neo-cortex develops during the third trimester and continues to develop for some time after birth. Damage can also occur here and you have someone who gets labelled “intellectually challenged”, or there may not have been enough (or too much) intellectual stimulation during her formative years.
Talking to someone who is hurting simply does not and cannot help at all. You are talking to the wrong brain, i.e. the intellectual brain, and totally ignoring the imprints that lie deep down in the other brains. Those brains do not talk, but they have ways of expressing the trauma. If allowed to
do so, then healing will take place.
The buzzword amongst researchers these days is Epigenetics. Six weeks after conception, when an actual life is now forming, the total condition of the mother, e.g. emotional- physical- any and all kinds of serious stress such as financial stress etc. can and will affect the foetus. Her diet, whether she smokes or drinks lots of coffee, takes in alcohol or drugs, will all feed into the new life that is growing inside of her. Also her unfelt trauma from her own childhood.
“Epi” means after, or on top of. The phenomena of epigenetics alters the already established gene structure within the foetus, altering the set points. All of the above-mentioned trauma is experienced by the human organism as PAIN. Pain is destructive to any organism. However, evolution saw to it that we have a built-in “repair kit” if I can call it that. A new-born baby cries immediately upon exiting the womb because of a history of pain. If it is allowed to cry as much as it needs to, then the acquired pain will leave its system. If it is only able to cry that pain out (and all other trauma and hurt that has accumulated through its lifetime), then it is called primalling.
Arthur Janov’s work resonates entirely with those who are still in touch with some of their feelings. Not only did it work for me, but for many thousands to date. Have you read any of Janov’s books before criticising his work? I wish you well in your search.
Why is there so little information out there for adults who grew up with a psychopathic parent? I would appreciate any direction anyone has to offer…I have seen some blogs out there, but overall they lack substance.
The genetic and hereditary aspects of this disorder are of interest to me. I am sure that my father is a psychopath, and it seems that my half brother (father’s son), and my full brother display psychopathic traits. However, my younger brother and older brother display milder behaviors and traits.
In regards to my father’s psychopathy, he was well socialized (he is in prison now). In that, my grandparents were very loving individuals who did their best to improve his behavior. They sent him to Catholic school, and summer programs, and they indulged, protected and nurtured him. So, my father was highly abusive, but also well groomed, and charming. Furthermore, he considered himself a “family man”. So, he was always taking us on some fun activity, buying us things…But if I broke something he bought me I might get beat. Or, he might tell me have told me I was fat and stupid after we went out on the family boat…It was all very contradictory.
I do think that my father’s sister is not very emotionally intelligent, and have some strange behaviors themselves. It is almost like she has a great many blind spots which has rendered her incapable to fully relating to people on an emotional level. The psychopath may be the one in the family who has the highest degree of expression of psychopathic genetic influences. But, I believe that other people within the family can have mild to severe psychopath-like traits without the full-blown disorder. I wonder if there are any studies out there that look at the brain structure of family members of the full psychopath? I don’t know if technology is strong enough to detect weakened functioning in areas of the brain vs. severe deficits.
How can I leave a message for Dr Simon?
Click on contact above (on top right).
I mean how can I ask a question of Dr Simon that I don’t wish to be published due to names? I have VERY interesting info about a 4 generation bloodline where EVERY SINGLE one of the 14 males are in/out prison all their lives …..not a single male in this particular family is NOT APD and/or diagnosed Psychopathic/sociopathic ….. All names can be googled for factual proof!
I have never posted a comment on any website before and I was in need of help. I have had a difficult time believing myself that by definition my father and sister are both full psychopaths. I have struggled to understand many things from my past or discuss this at all. Thank you very much for sharing.
Welcome to the forum,
With the coming holidays it has been rather quiet here . I can’t comment without knowing more specifics and especially by whose or what definitions you are basing your conclusions on. There are some good books out there I would recommend you read. Robert Hare is the leading specialist in the field and has written some books another author as I recall Martha Stout. I would encourage you also to read all of Dr. Simons books.
There is a lot out on the net and all can’t be taken as gospel truth. There are clear patterns of behavior and thinking that is cut and dry and once you start reading the pieces start falling into place. I would be very careful and educate yourself as much as possible.
Many times it is hard to understand things from our past, this won’t happen until we start talking about it. I hope I was of a little help to you.
Survivors might be helped by visiting https://www.reddit.com/r/raisedbynarcissists
Melanie Tonia Evans approaches this subject so deeply. She focuses on the quantum energy that we are and our ability to transform Victim mentality Energy into thriver energy. What you think and believe about yourself in this world does convert to electromagnetic frequencies and chemistry….all can be sensed by predators. What if it’s not about analysing the abusers, but about taking full responsibility for self love and self trust …..as was mentioned at the end of the article…..we are a brilliant pieces of kit with instinct to protect ourselves. Lets trust it more and notice how we have less abuse in our reality.
I know from my own experiences that I am on the psychopathic spectrum. To speak so black and white about the limitations of a psychopath makes no sense. Treatment is possible, only more difficult the more severe the condition. To say that a psychopath is a person who is 100% incapable of feeling empathy or remorse is a strong statement and excludes understanding the complexities of nature, nurture and epigenetics. Psychopaths and psychopathic murderers have expressed their feelings of a lack of empathy from others. There is a deep story to be understood in people who qualify past the ‘cut-off’ point.
A psychopath is a psychopath, you either are one or you aren’t. Given where you are on the spectrum determines the degree of heinosity of your thought processes and when you may carry out these deadly deeds. Many say they love and haven’t the foggiest idea of what love is or entails.
Given, one has the knowledge of their capabilities of psychopathic behaviours and conditioned potentials, I can only implore these individuals to get the specific help they state is available by Medical professionals.
I question why one would chose this particular blog to look for answers they seem to already know other than they want to engage in conversation. When one has run the wheel full gamut and nothing has changed except the obvious that they are in need of professional help, everything else becomes a moot point.
I think it is clear in everyone’s mind who the CDMNSP are and what they are capable of. There comes a time when one becomes so deluded they believe their own lies. The irony of it is, everyone else clearly sees the lie except the delusional liar.
I understand your points. Without assuming any intended offense, are you suggesting that I could be lying to myself? I could be, but I have questioned myself enough to know I am crazy and that I need love in order to live.
Heinosity is a subjective word implying good or evil are things that exist. Rather, I would say that happiness and suffering are the more accurate explanations to our human lives. Where someone takes pleasure out of doing harm to others, they are merely giving themselves short term stimulation and not truly addressing their needs. This could be a long debate on morals, spirituality and evolution of course.
Those who say they love but don’t understand, I cannot speak for, because I do have love. But there are times in life where I truly do not feel it. Sometimes I can feel restlessly hungry for stimulation, robotic or empty. I can only imagine that a psychopath would feel this way most of the time. The more I act on quick stimulation and distract myself from life’s ultimate goal, the more I slip down the slope of “heinosity”. That is, I have allowed myself fall victim to something I did not fully understand, and it took a lot of vital conditions to bring me to life. My battle is not over and I see so many people losing because they do not know what the battle is, especially someone with a neurological condition.
Are you suggesting that here is zero hope for a psycho to be “normal”?
“psychopaths and murderers have expressed their feelings of a lack of empathy from others”
Is that before or after they kill them?
Generally after, because they are not discovered until something big happens. But those who have not murdered can feel a sense of hell from society. Of course they could be lying after murder, but when they know they are on death row and talk about it there is some kind of desperate need for human care, however faint it may be. I don’t think human care can be appreciated if one does not have at least some feelings of love towards the carer. Psychopaths have been rehabilitated in the past. Studies claim that psychopaths can only be trained to manage their condition. But the conditions required for an unempathetic person to feel empathy are rare in today’s fast paced world. When a person has psychopathic traits due to epigenetic inheritance, the chances are slim that they can be “cured”. The right environment would require a complex community plan. That would either be very expensive or require a community of people to desire dedicating a large part of their lives to such a project. It may also be possible if the person has the will to go through tough personal tests and meditation alone, but guidance is more realistic and safe. I don’t claim to be an expert. But life’s experience tells me that it is possible, however very challenging.
“Generally after, because they are not discovered until something big happens. But those who have not murdered can feel a sense of hell from society”.
Neither of the above statements relate to empathy what you appear to be referring to is frustration and blame. Frustration at being discovered and the sense of hell you are referring to is (IMHO) transference/projection. FACT: Nothing is ever a psychopath’s fault.
“Of course they could be lying after murder, but when they know they are on death row and talk about it there is some kind of desperate need for human care, however faint it may be. I don’t think human care can be appreciated if one does not have at least some feelings of love towards the carer”.
Lying comes as naturally as breathing to psychopaths. I’ve watched many interviews with serial killer psychopaths on death row. The interviews I’ve seen in particular Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacey neither of them demonstrated anything other than raw, cold blooded contempt for being on death’s row and humanity at large. Care didn’t enter the picture. Ted Bundy still proudly boasted and continued to inflict suffering on some of his victims’ parents by refusing to reveal where the girls bodies where buried right up until the point of execution.
“Psychopaths have been rehabilitated in the past. Studies claim that psychopaths can only be trained to manage their condition. But the conditions required for an unempathetic person to feel empathy are rare in today’s fast paced world”.
You can not be trained to feel. You can be trained to act. You can not reactivate a part of the brain that has been atrophied with any amount of training. I’ve seen the act before, a CD on whatever part of the spectrum can only feign empathy and care. Their entire demeanour exudes disingenuity. They are like another species of human altogether. The condition for all intents and purposes appears to be an anomalie.
When a person has psychopathic traits due to epigenetic inheritance, the chances are slim that they can be “cured”. The right environment would require a complex community plan. That would either be very expensive or require a community of people to desire dedicating a large part of their lives to such a project. It may also be possible if the person has the will to go through tough personal tests and meditation alone, but guidance is more realistic and safe. I don’t claim to be an expert. But life’s experience tells me that it is possible, however very challenging”.
There are no slim chances of cure – there is no cure. This has been determined already and well documented. With regard to epigenetic inheritance studies are still ongoing in this field. It has been well documented that psychopathy is epigenetic. How the variance in gene mutation affects the psychopathic spectrum would be very interesting. Dr Simon would be the one to answer that question as I’m sure he would be aware of the most recent developments in this area.
The latest statistics of the actual percentage of the population is terrifying recent figures have suggested it is as high as 35% of the population affected by this condition. I sincerely hope those figures are inconclusive and totally wrong. Therefore the 1% represented in the DSM is pie in the sky stuff and from my own personal interactions with them it had to always have been higher.
With regard to rehabilitation I would consider this more along the lines of fantasy and high hopes. I am aware of Sam Varknin (I’ve mentioned him before on this forum) a self confessed psychopath who claims to have been determined as psychopathic in accordance with the PCL and who wrote a book called Malignant Self Love – Narcissism Revisited. He also produced a vast array of UTube videos explaining (and very well too I might add) what makes narcissists tic. While he remains very controversial he does have considerable, demonstrated knowledge in this field. I’ve listened to nearly all of his docos and read excerpts of his written material. He demonstrates an extremely high level of intelligence and writes in a very straight forward, no nonsense unemotional way. I believe he is legitimate. What is his motivation? He’s never revealed that as far as I know. Would it be to educate society about these people or would it be to sell books or both? I won’t lose too much time pondering that one, although I am impressed he’s put his condition to good use. I believe that’s about as rehabilitated if you could call it that, as one could get and quite possibly represents the upside of psychopathy. The fact I’ve just expressed that last sentence bellies belief. However, there is only one of him I am aware of and our current population is estimated at approaching eight billion. If psychopathy affects 35% of the population, as current research indicates then that is one in 2.8 billion (of varying ages) who represent the upside of psychopathy – not reassuring and the odds are certainly not in humanities favor. I for one would be the first to be absolutely delighted if ever someone managed to find a cure for this condition.
Good question Eudox! So Allen, since you know you are a psychopath, what kind of treatment are you getting? If your not a psychopath, are you then a sociopath. If ones intent is to kill/destroy a persons soul, mind, spirit, cause them to commit suicide or ruin them financially, destroying families, ruthlessly destroying one by drugs, sexual abuse, whatever it is that destroys another without any regard to another living being, cannot be painted in shades of grey.
You either care or don’t care, love or hate, you either build or destroy, it is either right or wrong. I am not going to argue semantics here. From my personal experience, the psychopaths I know, enjoy the thrill of the hunt and the ultimate end game is to destroy. The only thing that holds them back are the consequences of their actions and for many, this isn’t a deterrent either. “Catch me if you can?”
I highly suggest you seek treatment before the day comes you cross the line.
Welcome back BTOV – I was just explaining that exact same thing to a friend of mine who was starting to excuse extremely bad criminal behavior on Wifi and electro magnetic radiation. I just explained much like you did, the contrary. Trying to rationalize total disregard for others by way of any excuse is a kin to the devil made me do it and nothing more.
Hi BTOV & Eudox.
There is another perspective to each of the arguments you have made Eudox. And those arguments are subjective and can only be as good as the mainstream research available today. In many cases you are correct. But greater insight is required to fully understand these things. I don’t know how well versed you are on the state of scientific research. Within the confines of funding, stage of progress in a field and repetition of studies, results are very often falsely publicised and ‘reinterpreted’ as fact. And the lines become a lot more blurred when it comes to psychological or social research. The discourses are endless and our ‘researched’ understanding of any human mind is very limited – though some ‘argue’ otherwise.
I am merely on the spectrum, BTOV. Sometimes I care, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I am inhibited by fear of the consequences, sometimes it’s out of respect. That is quite common human behaviour. Quite severely unempathic traits pop up regularly with most people, but do not remain constant. This is very observable in anthropology and sociology, and explains the Eudoxia’s 35% figure more optimistically when you take into account the areas of research that are only beginning to unfold. (Unfortunately, psychology, the social sciences and – interestingly relevant – sustainability studies do not cross over enough in research. I wish I had the time to be that interdisciplinary).
Under certain conditions, we can be compelled to take the less caring path. If one is closer to the far end of the spectrum, whether by nature or nurture, a case for choice is nearer impossible. Again, the necessary conditions for a person to see beyond their own, say, physical needs or their immediate desires must be present for them to make that jump. Treatment these days is not at the level that goes beyond mere training, and eco-socio-economic factors must be taken into account.
I learn to connect more with other people’s needs by slowing down my appetite for quick satisfaction, looking into my deeper self and past, understanding social history, receiving unmet needs, recognising how I feel when needs are not being met, and meditating. I’m not advocating dogma when I say that religions teach very practical and highly advanced steps for people to develope themselves along the ‘psycho-empath’ spectrum. (Again, this is only novel in modern scientific research, but is already showing fascinating results).
At the same time, ‘sin’ or excessive behaviour, such as rage, depression or gluttony, can lead a person towards the negative end of the spectrum and can trigger genes in their offspring. Human history can tell us a lot about why we act the way we do, and examples of rehabilitation also exist throughout history.
Psychopaths and empaths are both products of extraordinary evolutionary and environmental circumstances. It requires extraordinary circumstances to turn one into the other. This does not get observed in research. But it is observed in the unique and complex lives of millions of individuals. I know from experience and from observing countless materials (contributing to very young fields of researching) that the right conditions make huge differences in individuals’ lives.
If we are to debate what it takes for a person to go through these changes, we have to discuss the separate steps involved. The starting point is the most difficult for people to understand. Why does a psychopath make a conscious choice to find love in their life? A load of factors are required for them to take that step and that’s just the beginning.
There is an unobjectionable quantity and quality of materials based on human experiences that back my claims, and the maturing of research is only beginning or right around the corner. If you guys are open to believing that my point of view is more than just wishful thinking, you will at the very least become more adept in your critical arguments. But I hope that you can both hear me. And in more people hearing about this, it makes it easier for the research to gain traction, for disciplines to become more collaborative, and for me to gain the empathy required to continue my own journey.
Eudox, it is an interesting question about Sam Varknin’s motivations alright. But your opinions about him being the rarest and best example of rehab is utterly false and non-factual. However, repeating what I said previously about this fast paced world, there is little room for most people to make steps beyond what he has made. The environmental, social and economic aspects are critical. Other than than the extensive genetic and psychological research, I am well versed on this subject through the social sciences, and I know enough about the former to see that it has not synergised nearly enough with the latter.
Hello again Eudoxia,
You make useful points. Indeed we cannot compare psychopaths with fish & reptiles. James Fallon’s experience is certainly interesting:
“But why, in the light of the fact I have all of the biological markers for psychopathy, including a turned off limbic system, the high risk genetic alleles, and the attendant behaviours, including well over half of those listed in the psychopathy tests and low emotional empathy, did I turn out to be a successful professor and family man? One most likely reason is that although I have the genetic makeup of a “born” psychopath, some of those very same “risk” genes in someone showered with love (versus abuse or abandonment), from childbirth through the critical first few years of life, appear to offset the psychopathy-inducing effects of the other “risk” genes.” https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jun/03/how-i-discovered-i-have-the-brain-of-a-psychopath
You said “despite having the same physiology”, psychopath’s brains differ from ours. You mean they have the same physiology – except for the “switched off” limbic system? Again, the condition of being so trapped inside a shell of instinct would make the path towards empathy very challenging. From my experience, I have at times sought people in the belief that I am normal or caring, when in fact it was many times for self gain. But at the same time, I often seek to bond with and help people because I genuinely care. I’ve almost experienced both sides and managed to view both sides from both perspectives. And I can tell you that what we understand about brain physiology is only the tip of the iceburg.
But this behaviour is pretty normal. Most of us can feel temporarily remorseless towards others when we are in bad moods or going through long term stress. I can only assume that a lack of love, or perceiving love, would be enough to keep a psychopath from making any progress – as a perceived lack of love has made me quite cold. It took me a journey of many years to wake up to what people were trying to give me all my life. I received love from people, but it was never enough. People have their own problems to deal with. There have been so many times in life that I could have gone down skid row. And the pressure is so full of complexity. I would love to have had the chance to see scans of my brain throughout life.
I tell you, being an animal that evolved from the wild, it makes sense to me that we all have work to do on this journey for empathy.. not just to satisfy our scientific definition, but the ultimate experience of empathy, of compassion, of love… evolution is irrelevant here. The experience itself is a terrain outside the realm of science. Again, each scientist knows a certain amount and other non-scientists know a certain amount. We are all behind in our understanding of complex creatures. No conclusions.
“FOR” AND NOT “FROM”
Being a psychopath, how can one even begin to know what love is?
As far as Vacknin, I have read almost all his works and watched his videos. I don’t know if it was ever proved he is a true psychopath. I find many of his videos very true to form regarding narcissism, sociopathy and psychopathy. From my extensive involvement with his sorts and study in this area, Mr. Vacknin given his past record is an opportunist, he supplants his ideology, logic and his truth as the truth and expert in this field. At the same same time using misnomers of fact for the sake of his probable confusion and scam artist abilities.
Mr. Vacknin does provide a service to individuals trying to make sense of, this selfish “Sickness.” I also find Vacknin to be a liar, a scam artist, and a parasitic leech profiteering from the misfortunes of others that have been preyed upon by his sorts.
I do appreciate your responding and hope you continue to do so. I am very interested in understanding and puzzled by a few of your comments and would appreciate if you could answer a few of my questions. At this point in time I don’t have time to go there.
Are you willing to keep posting?
I will thank you for having a considerate conversation.
BTOV you just described a psychopath! If I could slot in an emoticon with a thumbs up I would :-
yes, this conversation is important to both of us Have you seen this video, by the way? Not exactly about psychopaths, but touches on what we’re all capable of https://www.ted.com/talks/philip_zimbardo_on_the_psychology_of_evil#t-1074920
Allan, Eudox and others,
I would say this conversation is important to many of us. Speaking for myself, it is of a personal interest to me as I have family members that are CDMNSP. I haven’t time to respond at this time. I would like to reread the posts from our conversation thus far and then respond. I would also like to ask you questions and vis a vis to keep a dialog going and perhaps an understanding.
Can we agree upon this? Also, as long as we are not confrontational in a derogatory way to you personally, vis a vis, we will show respect for one another’s boundaries. Please understand many of us have suffered immense pain, torture and even death by the hands of the CDMNSP.
This is how I personally feel and do not speak for the others on this site. I will also watch the above link and then respond.
Allen, I did ask, being a P how can one know what love is? Can you explain or define what you feel love is?
I would absolutely like to continue this conversation.
Well, I’m not a total psychopath first of all, so it is not easy for me to explain it to someone who lacks such experience. If you are asking because you do feel love and have been taught that a psychopath does not feel it, I would first beg to question whether any human feels zero love.
If you are asking because you think you lack this feeling/value, I can guess that you are searching to understand it for a number of reasons. You may be a tormented soul who is clouded by unconscious trauma. You may also have arrived at a point of numbness, where either your restlessness, your dormancy and/or your intellect dominates over your other faculties. A psychopath would need to be motivated, either by survival instinct, some sense of suffering or by mere choice to make significant lifestyle changes in order to gain or heighten that experience. And your will to do so must not simply be by mindlessly enduring self inflicted pressure, though this will undoubtedly play a part in the transition. If you lack will to change it might be difficult for you to identify any suffering inside of yourself. But if you can pinpoint any feelings from within yourself, whether of comfort or discomfort – this will help guide you on your journey of discovery.
By the way, about crossing boundaries, although I will make an effort to be respectful, we will likely cross eachother’s unintentionally and potentially get emotionally involved at some point in the discussion. Furthermore, to fully learn about one’s own psychopathic or traumatic traits/scars/habits/memories, it is essential that boundaries are crossed in order to unearth the feelings which we bury and leave unresolved. This would actually lend a clue to the journey for love. So, I will try to be sensitive with your feelings, but at times I will not hesitate to provoke. If you disagree or do not understand then please let me know.
Can you tell me exactly why you’re asking this question so that I can better answer?
I believe the question was directed towards your understanding of love for you personally. Do you love? Do you feel/have empathy towards others? Do you genuinely care for the well being of persons close to you. Do you have close personal relationships?
Sorry if I’m bothersome with all of these questions. I’ve got lots more – but I’ll save them for another time
it seems I can’t reply directly to your comment. Perhaps the strands have reached their limit?
As I said I am on the spectrum, I meant that I am not a psychopath but have traits – which could be pretty ordinary. So yes, I feel love and have close relationships. But I can be quite detached and often evade affection. I often find myself not caring about another person’s misfortune, but I can also feel quite strongly about another person’s misfortune, to the extent that I become debilitated – all the more reason to be heartless and consider others only for fear of punishment. A true psychopath would have very little of the debilitating feelings because they are so deeply trapped in the blind search for self gratitude.
But I question just how far gone they are. If they have any feelings at all, I think they are capable of empathy. They would also have to learn to have love for themselves if they are to feel for others. Empathy from another being can aid in this process I believe. If a person has absolutely no feelings, then they are a robot and would have no need to care for their own safety beyond basic instinct or scientific curiosity.
I find it hard to believe that anyone can be at zero %. To perceive oneself as a monster, would make it more difficult to have the belief or will that gaining/growing feelings of love is possible. Maybe there are people at 0.01%. And one ember is all it takes to spark growth. Then we can get into scientific and spiritual discourses and propose the lighting of an ember, i.e. the creation of life – either from AI, “divine” choice or randomly occuring entities in nature.
Hello Allan and BTOV
Your points are well articulated Allan and very interesting to hear. I totally concur with you on the study of this field being subjective. No amount of acadamia will ever be able to accurately report on data that has been extropelated for the purpose of studies in this field. The human mind is deeply subjective and the mind and consciousness cannot clearly be proven is a product of the brain. What can be measured is how the brain responds to stimulus. There is currently a global debate occurring in this area involving PhDs of many different disciplines along with Sat Gurus and other higher disciplined spiritual teachers even some with PhDs and this debate has been occurring for well over a year – it appears to be a circular argument. What has become evident though is – as an evolving race coming out of an extremely negative period of time fraught with many challenges what is needed are new perspectives. The old ways no longer work and are in fact breaking down. This is not to say they are all wrong, but what is required is the need to build upon the existing models of what is known and what is correct. The human condition is very complex. The old nature vs nurture argument should not be an argument at all, from my observation it is a case of both. The psychopathic spectrum is a breakthrough and from this basis it can more accurately evaluated. It would be fair to say that a psychopath via genetic inheritance if raised in a loving environment would/could turn out very differently to one raised in a hostile abusive environment. Under strict behavioral guidelines of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable and given the necessary guidance and emotional support required a psychopath could develop with the full capacity to self evaluate and manage their condition much like you are doing and thereby adjusting their behavior accordingly. This would be rare, however, an hypothesis was addressed in some literature I read some time ago. If parents (providing both where healthy) were aware the possibility existed via genetics their child could be genetically compromised and consequently be on the spectrum that with proper guidance that child could be “rehabilitated”. In this context, the word rehabilitated doesn’t really apply as it implies correction and a return to normal but if they were never for all intents and purposes “normal” to begin with how can they return to a state they never were? In this context normal would include the full utilization of one’s limbic system.
With reference to your fourth paragraph you mention the method you use to bring yourself into alignment particularly with self observation which is important. A core teaching of sprituality is the ability to be self aware requires consciousness which according to many teachings and that to which I have observed within myself relates to all centers being fully operable. The centers of which I speak are not necessarily connected to the brain but are relative. This has been hypothesized by Paul McLean with his Triune Brain model (please google this as it is another topic of sorts??) it was rejected by neuroscience at the time. However McLean is a neuroscientist and he begs to differ and so do I since and I have actually proven it to myself and it leads to Gnosis which is more than just self observation but is a spiritual journey.
I can actually see your point of view unfolding which is what has surprised me. I have been involved with many CDs both in the corporate world and on a more personal level. None of whom have ever struck me as even remotely conscious of anything outside of their own world that always focus on. May I ask how you were diagnosed and if you can tell me about your childhood orientation? Because I am most curious to know.
Vaknin is an interesting dude to say the least and I agree with BTOVs observations. I was not suggesting he was actually rehabilitated my only point was he was making a positive contribution to society. It would be good to know his childhood orientation as well. It was primarily your comment about rehabilitation I found curious and the way you express yourself and that you have addressed certain areas that I find interesting because I think I may know what you are referring to.
At some point in time (and soon), spirituality and science must align because it is the only way forward. It is not either/or much like nature vs nurture. We as a race, and this applies accross the board – must learn to confront (without judgment) and accept (without warfare) our differences and co-operate, seek to understand and collaborate with each other as opposed to conquering those differences by enforcing our will on others. We have to collectively work toward a solution. The challenges we face today as humans are so vast it defies anything contained within the official historic record to date and it starts with us – first as individuals then as a collective. If we do not do this now we face destruction.
Your input here Allan has been most refreshing and gives me hope that this concept is not doomed. That we as humans not individual races but as humans (one race) – can rise above those challenges and work toward bringing them into balance.
I agree with much of what you’re saying.
I do think that a child could be considered “normal” to begin with considering that they would have inherited non-psychopathic genes as well. At the same time, epigenetics gives room for hypotheses regarding a kind of evolution, in that efforts can change a person within their lifetime – because it is of benefit to them – and can further be passed on to their children. I have difficulty at least doubting the hypothesis that a person can gain heart during their life because I have witnessed how people coming from a lifetime under pressure become liberated by love. It is the most sung about and celebrated “fact”, yet it seems not to be well studied.
I have self diagnosed myself, not based on any checklist but by my own observations of my behaviour, and with the help of family and friends who have pointed out things that I have done to hurt them. Have many memories from childhood that were both, what some would call, “evil” and compassionate. I remember wanting to destroy people and I remember wanting to save people from minor harm. And I am thankful I have had the privilege to clearly have sensed both sides quite strongly and gain valuable understanding of the world. As life has gone on, I have not felt much hate but I have felt disgust for others, or judged them as stupid or insincere and disregarded the desires of other people. This has been both to pursue my own unmet needs and to teach people lessons. When I do feel myself having much darker thoughts about people, I shame myself because it is culturally unacceptable. But if I allow my dark thoughts to pass through me, I can understand them and let them fade away. How can psycho’s rehab in a society that defines right from wrong, rather than simply observing health from a context of cause and effect?
I still have deep and dark feelings which I sometimes fear could be destructive. But I think this is very much connected to trauma of both nature & nurture and a lifetime of pent up frustration in a world that bombards our senses and toughts, and constrains us into boxes to serve seemingly psychopathic hierarchies. While I believe we all can be somewhat psychopathic, I believe it is our collective fear of driving our culture forward that perpetuates and sometimes amplifies these tendencies in us. But as long as we do not go completely over board, which many of us have already, all this chaos also offers us much for understanding, poetry and quite possibly spiritual evolution. And that’s probably both the empath and the psycho in me who are appreciating this.
I don’t know about Vaknin, so I cannot comment. But I know there are plenty more stories of hope out there. And it’s difficult to be receptive to such stories when you’re not fully awake. So I notice these stories more and more as I learn. Therefore, I also argue that the challenges can seem greater before we learn and that it is merely our unfamiliarity with solidarity that poses us with a unique modern challenge.
Thank you both for your warm responses.
Interesting Allan and I’ve taken on board your replies.
I sort of understand it like this. Psychopaths unlike other types can’t be liberated by love. They can not feel love, they can not feel compassion, they can not be empaths they have no empathy. It is one of the core characteristics that make them a psychopath. They do not feel shame or guilt they have no remorse. In other words they have no conscience. They are callous, calculating, remorseless people they have no love, no ability to love, and totally devoid of consideration or respect for others. Master manipulators extraordinaire, it’s what makes them hard to spot – initially but there is something else. Eventually it only makes them incredibly stupid and tacky because they lack impulse control, yet they think the rest of us are stupid and some of us humans are. Because they lack that vital survival skill it causes them to err on the side of arrogant self destruction and they can only keep up appearances for only too long before they are spotted. Seasoned veterans of abuse at the hands of these monsters causes them the irreversible ability to sniff them out. that’s because they earned their seasoned veterans ticket < now remember that one. Eventually within these parastic predators, cracks start to form because they think they've sucked in so many people they finally come against some who aren't stupid or gullible or manipulable and they are not used to this. Plus psychopaths are too damn arrogant for their own predatory good. Manners maketh Man. And they simply have none.
Lack of empathy, compassion, consideration, guilt, shame, remorse, general over inflated self importance and superiority, coupled with no impulse control (did I mention arrogance?) is what grants them immunity to freely and casually: hurt, humiliate, harm, abuse, manipulate, steal, demolish, brutalize, torture, torment, hunt down, stalk, lie, cheat, set people up to fail or frame for a crime, slander, malign or commit murder without any concern, other than getting caught. They are Masters of horror and exceptionally good at impression management but for the lay person only. Because they are so vile and they know it, they need to berate and tear down in order to make themselves better. More often than not psychopaths project their worthless and foul attributes onto others and then accuse them of the very things they are guilty of.
For example, they don't lose sleep at night if Joe Psychopath beats the shit out of his wife because he thinks she looked at him the wrong way or questioned him why he was late home. His superior status is what gives him full permission to beat her to within an inch of her life knocking her unconscious then locking her in the shed without food or warmth while he's inside by the hearth of the fire, drinking beer and watching the game. Then just for fun and additional ego and power boost to his already over inflated and hyped up malicious superiority; decides she isn't suffering enough and kills the family dog. In his sick mind it's all justified for the reasons I've just mentioned then he'll sit their smirking because he's now had 2 wins. Then he makes his kids go out and bury the dog because he didn't punishing anybody enough (3 wins now) plus the dog was annoying him anyway and after all she really loved that dog (that's 4 wins – what a score what a mighty powerful man he is) – all the while granting himself kudos because he taught "the bitch" a lesson.
While the kids are out burying the dog he'll be on the phone telling his friends that his poor deluded, violent and sick wife has just had a nasty fall down the stairs which is why they won't be going to the bbq on Sunday. Yes she's had another one of her crazy screaming fits when he found the dog she killed to get back at him for being late home. He feigns uncontrollable sobbing because he claims convincingly enough he works so hard and has to work overtime to support her expensive lifestyle and doesn't understand why she does this to him when he loves her so much and does everything for her!!! Then, as he further explains in his grief that during her tirade she tripped and tumbled down the stairs. Yes, yes, yes he sobs, he's going to make sure she gets all the help she needs. She's a very sick and disturbed woman but her injuries are just superficial and she's in bed resting after he calmed her down and explained to the kids the dog was hit by a car. After all he didn't want them to be hurt or too upset because their mother killed the dog. In the meantime he's texting his lover to let her know he'll be there shortly – he's got that annoying, whining bitch under control and she won't bother him any further. He further explains to his friends how he loves his wife so much and all the anxiety, pain and trauma she's causing him is taking it's toll and he finds it difficult dealing with day to day life because she's so crazy.
When the kids come back in crying he tells them to go to bed explaining there will be no dinner tonight because their mother has had one of her episodes again and she's in bed. She needs her rest and he can't trust them to do the right thing as they don't respect others and they can’t see her because she hates them for making her kill the dog to punish them in order to teach them a lesson. So he's going to lock them in their bedroom so his dear wife gets the rest she needs after her terrible fall down the stairs. He demands they be up and dressed for school in the morning when he feels comfortable they will behave and not to tell anyone or they will probably get their mother locked up in a mental institution. He insists he must protect the family he loves so dearly because he’s such a good father.
Meanwhile she's out there in -9 degrees in a Tshirt, broken face, bleeding, bruised with no heat, no mattress and no blanket on the cold concrete floor BECAUSE – BECAUSE she dared to challenge him by asking him why he was late home.
Well I'm here to say and much like BTOV I can't speak for anybody on this forum except to say that we don't like psychopaths.
I'll conclude with this (and this is in my view only) – because they resemble nothing like any life form on Earth. No insect, no animal, no snake, no fish, no bird, no primate, no empathetic human tortures others for sheer delight, power and control. Psychopaths and we can argue semantics forever and I don't care how they are created or how they got here they are just not human.
I was going to give an example of emotional abuse only but I thought I'd demonstrate its brutality graphically so I used physical violence instead in case you can’t paint pretty pictures in your head. But I'm sure you get the point. At the end of the day to a psychopath the scene I described above and buying a bunch of flowers is all the same. To a psychopath it’s just another day at the office, changing a car battery or buying a loaf of bread.
Rehabilitation – nope I don't think so and I've really given this some careful consideration. But I’ll share this with you Allan – earning a seasoned veterans ticket is the hardest degree in the world and not all are up for it. However, if one earns a seasoned veterans ticket it makes them mighty fine human beings where they learn something valuable that can never be relinquished. They understand what being human is. They personify the saying: There is nothing stronger than true gentleness and nothing gentler than pure strength.
Allan just one more thing. In the movie, The Silence of the Lambs was the serial killer a psychopath do you think?
Yes, Buffalo Bill certainly seems to be a psychopath. Are you asking me to see how far I am from you at perceiving this?
for me the 0% compassion idea of a psychopath is fictional or at least it is fictional to assume that they are incapable of going from 0% to 0.1%. You may be aware of the example of Chimps and Bonobo’s. They became separated from their common ancestor by the Congo river. Both species are very similar, but behavioural studies and brain scans reveal striking differences in their empathy levels. Bonobo’s evolved in a resource rich, uncompetitive and predator free environment, while chimps evolved under scarcity and threat from other animals.
Humans similarly have experienced both conditions and evolved perhaps more complexly under these conditions.
You could compare the empathy levels of a shark or crocodile with a dolphin or primate and wonder what exactly made them evolve empathically so different. Was it god’s choice or do linear pathways simply make us this way? And what then makes empathy real if it is nothing more than a survival instinct? You could even start bringing these wild extra terrestrial theories about angels and reptilians into it. The point is we don’t know.
If humans evolved to have empathic gene suppression, perhaps some people have mutated to be in excess of this. It is a far fetched theory to suggest that a person is just born a complete robot without any such potential faculties for empathy.
Furthermore, the culture of shame and punishment exists so deeply in our society that it is near impossible for a psychopath to be given the opportunity to confess their lack of remorse and go on a path of recovery. Confession doesn’t simply exist as a tool to manipulate and control the masses, it has a profound effect of liberating an individual from their lonely burden of secrecy. We tend to need each other to understand and help ourselves.
A person who is so lacking in empathy that they ignore or destroy others, is in greater need of this understanding yet is the most demonised because of a lack of it. It is very difficult for a non-psychopath to give empathy to a psychopath because they do not feel anything in return. This again refers to religious practices, where the weak souls are more dependent on others in order to feel love within themselves. Then, people who can be quite heartless can also be more independently capable of generating love. That is, in the complexity of society, there are plenty of relatively strong people who hold high morals but still are not completely liberated from the need to receive love from other people in order to give love back.
Please read my reply to Lucy above.
You are right that not everything is binary, 0 and 1. It is not always clear white and black, and everything is shade of grey.
The difference is when you see very dark shade of grey, you see little bit of white. Others when see very dark shade of grey, they just call it black. The difference is in perspective. It depends where one stands. For a person standing on the darker side, he will obviously want others to recognize 0.1% whiteness that is left in him. But for most people 99.9% black is simply black, especially since they were at the receiving end of it.
A difficult situation, that I think we can only realistically deal with if we as a society start discussing general mental health issues a lot more. With greater solidarity and less distraction from silly consumerist things, we can deal with stuff that really hurts people.
It’s been a long while since this post. I’ve since done more research in this area but am now taking a break from it. The difference I can see with Bonobos and ordinary chimps is that the latter was raised under survival conditions. Bonobo’s where not they were raised in a more nurturing environment. The same can be said for children if they are raised in an environment deficient in emotional nurture they will adopt a survival mode in which to operate.
I’ve just finished reading a book written by Dr Gabor Mate (you can listen to his talks on UTube). He clearly states that if a child is deficient in emotional nurture their brains simply do not evolve the neurological capacity to fire up properly – “what wires together fires together” it renders them incapable of developing empathy. His book is about addiction to either substances or certain maladaptive behaviors such as narcissism (my description).
He gave an instance of I think it was Romania where an entire village was destroyed. The small children mainly babies were raised in an orphanage under sub standard conditions. All of them developed this brain malfunction similar to that seen in psychopathy.
Vestigiality is a process where emergence occurs by normal evolutionary processes, typically by loss of function of a feature that is no longer subject to positive selection pressures when it loses its value in a changing environment. Such as loss of flying capacity for certain species of island dwelling creatures and and certain sea creatures who adapted to land dwellers.
With regards to this process in humans under the current environmental and cultural conditions such as predatory capitalism and rampant consumerism in the West it could be seen as a result of an anti type of vestigiality. Our current environment is not condusive to life in general. People are raised in a dog eat dog culture – look out for your own turf and f**^ everything and everybody else. This is not acceptable and s in fact intolerable it is totally anti life and necrophilic by orientation. I believe this is deliberately engineered by those at the top of the chain of command, the elite of the world – why? Because it’s good for their bottom line which is why. Take a look at the current level of fear being generated globally. I am taking no notice of it all and giving no energy to it.
In their arrogance and hubris they believe they are above God it’s actually very Lucifarian thinking but typical of them. This is what we are actually up against, however, in saying that there is a divine plan and as these parasites are not divine in nature it will inevitably fail.
What I am about to say is going to be highly controversial and I am not going to continue into a debate on it but how I see it is thus: those of biophilic orientation will continue to evolve those of necrophilic orientation will continue to devolve. The devolution process is being deliberately engineered and it’s all to do with transhumanism. What the elite of this world ideally want is a Borg type of mentality – a perfect human slave. They want a human race consisting of good little automatons who do as they are told. end of story.
What am I doing about it? Personally I’m re-working myself. Doing more deeper inner work that is condusive to living my highest purpose in alignment with nature and life itself. We have to evolve ourselves into a better higher state by making the former redundant. That’s how life operates.
DITTOS Talking about hitting a homerun with bases full!!!!!!!
We are all seasoned veterans here wouldn’t you say BTOV and we’ve all well and truly earned our tickets :-
By the way guys,
I just want to speculate for a while. You might not see much value in these ‘what if’ questions, but they are important to ask if we are to explore beyond what we know.
comparing brain scans of ‘normal’ people with psycho’s, can we fully determine at this stage that psycho’s are missing everything required to have empathy? Perhaps future research will show that empathy can exist in parts of the brain that are still active among psychopaths. Perhaps certain areas of emotional intelligence can be stronger in a psycho than in most people, but they lack a more rounded condition. “the individual is biased more by functionally mature limbic regions during adolescence (i.e., imbalance of limbic relative to prefrontal control), compared to children, for whom these systems are both still developing, and compared to adults, for whom these systems are fully mature” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2475802/
I can see how many narcissistic people, such as some celebrities, can possess very strong emotional faculties that seem comparatively numb among ordinary folk. Yet they can lack the expression to perhaps be as empathic (or to follow the rules of what our ‘adolescent’ society ‘demands’ as remorseful) – perhaps partly because they are so different. I know this is barely anecdotal, but making observations about people who are not fully psychopathic can help us at least ask questions about more extreme cases.
Comparing this field of study to other areas, I don’t imagine it is prioritised on the funding list. Just speculating, but you could also ask what kinds of people choose to study these particular subjects. Is there a bias? Worth pondering anyway. Bias is quite common in science. Why not in a field of study that is central to so many dramatic stories in our history? It certainly seems to have been left understudied until only recently: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/may/12/how-to-spot-a-murderers-brain
Interesting, from above article: “the more you look at the data the clearer the evidence that abuse or neglect or poor nutrition or prenatal smoking and drinking have a real effect on whether or not those healthy neural connections – which lead to behaviour associated with maturity, self-control and empathy – are made. The science of this is called epigenetics, the way our environment regulates the expression of our innate genetic code.”
Evidence of changes in limbic activity due to environmental factors? “a greater alteration in the white matter is associated with a more ruminative state” http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0037561
More on imbalances in the limbic system and scientists saying they don’t know enough. But I don’t know how far they’ve come since: http://www.bipolar-lives.com/bipolar-brain-imaging.html
You could brush off my questions by pointing out the naivety or ignorance in them. But it is more naive not to participate in speculation, when it is for the sake of exploring the power of imagination. Asking ‘stupid’ questions is what makes a real scientist discover the unknown angles.
Allan the pathology of both Lector and Buffalo Bill is complex and not fully addressed in the movie, the book reveals the history of Buffalo Bill. The pathology of Lector doesn’t become clear until a later novel.
Your thinking is somewhat ubiquitous and returns back to a central point. It’s interesting how you can compare sharks and crocodiles to dolphins and whales. Sharks and crocodiles have no capacity or brain function to produce empathy that would require a limbic system of which sharks and crocodiles don’t have. Dolphins and whales have empathy as per their brain physiology and by behavioral observation, they also have a neocortex. Dolphins and whales are mammals. A shark is a fish and a crocodile is a reptile neither of which species has a limbic system, or a neocortex therefore they have no capacity for empathy nor is it necessary for their survival regardless that crocodiles carry their young in their mouths until a certain point. That is not empathy it is instinct. The limbic system evolved in order for mammals to care and bond with their young as the young are not able to take care of themselves. Offspring of mammals also need to be taught how to survive by their parents without that guidance, in the wild they are dead. Fish and reptiles don’t need to be taught survival skills.
Humans by design have empathy but the fact is some don’t have it and for those who don’t have it it has been shown to be a malfunction within the brain itself. You seem to think empathy is something that can be switched on, switched off or a choice to use or not. You appear to lack sufficient understanding of brain physiology. In order to understand this topic further I suggest you acquaint yourself with brain physiology and understand how the brain of psychopaths works differently to ours despite us having the same physiology.
Further to the above, I should have reiterated I was referring to psychopaths specifically not all people who lack or appear to lack empathy. The brains of psychopaths are found to have abnormalities in the limbic and paralimbic structures that effects the regulation of emotion and social behavior – fMRI’s and PET scans have indicated dysfunction in these areas and that’s only touching the surface. Psychopathy is considered a neuropsychiatric condition. In order for you to understand this condition study, not speculation is necessary.
Further to this post of some months ago. Hard core addicts also have this anomaly identical to psychopathy and has been evidenced by fMRI and PET also (Dr Gabor Mate).
Dr. Simon, you certainly are building quite a career for yourself. Most people of science such as psychiatrists and psychologists avoid moralistic, value laden terms such as “character disorder” because morality is not the province of science which is supposed to be objective, not subjective. But I see you have a lot of fans who have been dying to stick it to psychopaths and others they don’t approve of. Bravo! And all those books you’ve written. Why, you may become more famous than Robert Hare. Is that your ambition. I have to say you look like a narc.
It is always good to know others perspective. You may be right, though I do not think so. I certainly know for sure what has helped me. That includes books, blogs, and commenters… not just here but other unrelated places too. And I am grateful for that. And, I give two hoots about hidden agenda or grandiose plan of anyone else, auther, blogger, commenters including you.
Ever heard about Adam’s invisible hand?
Interesting you mentioned that Andy. The invisible hand of Adam Smith – irrational self interest as opposed to rational self interests that benefit the few not the whole. Yes our economic system has become a destructive parasitic machine reaching hyperdrive. Headed up by viscous predators exploiting this planet for their own greed. Same as locusts.
Hmm…. ENVY and JEALOUSY, cross my mind.
ENVY it reeks of envy. They always view things in terms of everybody must be after something as it’s the way they relate to others and the world. They arrogantly assume others are just like them but not as smart. Mark Twain once wrote: ” It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for certain that just ain’t so”. Their arrogance and puffed up self importance and delusional superiority is bringing them unstuck because they just can’t help but expose themselves now.
They fail to understand the concept of genuinely helping others because that motivation comes from our emotional center. A concept of which pscyhopaths will never comprehend because it’s impossible. Compassion is absent and unattainable within them. I wonder if they ever wonder why they are the way they are themselves? That question inspired me to write a poem about them.
These days as more and more of them are being exposed they appear to be getting more desperate. Their little digs become painfully obvious and clearly show their underlying motivation. Mainly thanks to excellent books written about this species of subhuman – people like Dr Simon and others’ work is invaluable to the extent as it acts like disinfectant in order to neutralize this the scourge from our planet. This knowledge is urgently required so non CDs can recognise them sooner then act as a front line of defense against them. It’s a bit like sunlight to vampire.
Do you mean Frontline? Frontline is what you put on our poor dogs so the ticks can’t attach and drain their blood and leave them with Lyme disease.
On the other hand if science could come up with such a medicine to protect the innocent, unsuspecting from the predators, just think what a better world this would be. I guess that might be to simple a solution.
BTOV – if only! The front line I was referring to is us here on the ground having to deal with them on a day to day basis. Knowing what they are about, knowing what motivates them if you could call it motivation and knowing how to recognise them. As we all know here it requires education and of course first hand experience!
It’s like the 100th monkey syndrom, when enough of us know enough about them we are become the front line of defense against them. Meaning we have to share our knowledge with others who are ignorant of these predators when they are up against them. We need to understand our own co-dependance on every level in order to preserve our self esteem so that it becomes an ingrain mechanism. What I mean by that is, many of us are simply unaware of how other’s perceptions of us affect us. Once we realise it doesn’t matter how we are perceived by others particularly CDs because nothing we can do or say otherwise will alter anything. We just have to accept their faulty perceptions of us and let it slide like water off a ducks back. That way they can’t get under our skin and render us nervous wrecks. Resistance is useless! LOL it only enhances our own suffering and who the hell wants to do that. It is up to us to investigate areas within ourselves – our weaknesses, blind spots to see how they are getting to us in order to seal the gap.
As their methods of parasitism are obvious to us after suffering a great deal at their hands we understand the behavior. Knowledge of course gives us a lot more insight. It’s one big AH HAH moment is it not? That’s how I am seeing it – it’s been in interesting journey. It’s the jigsaw finally piecing together. Right what’s next. How to disarm them, keep them at arms bay so they no longer see us as a target and show and help others to do the same. We become the front line. This will provide the antiserum needed to heal humanity once we become highly attuned and adept at protecting our own sovereignty.
Once we do that and once it becomes ingrained and this could take generations it will end up making CDs ineffective no longer able to operate as they usually would hence being able to gaslight us enabling us. We’ll be able to see them. They become incapacitated in their malevolence – God knows how long that will take but it has to happen. It’s called evolution in accordance with the divine plan. They are like locusts – anti life. If you have ever seen a movie called The Heretic (Linda Blair) it was the sequel to The Exorcist it provides a clue. It speaks about the good locust, the reason locusts swarm is because of the beating of the wings in a set way that is automatic and ingrained in the locusts – it makes them hostile to life on this planet. The good locust must learn to not beat it’s wings and the locusts won’t swarm and damage crops. They take their place in the life cycle of this planet in a way that is life supporting rather then life defeating.
We must learn to turn the CDs into good locusts. I know that will probably sound crazy to some but when you really ponder it?? Why have we continued to suffer at the hands of these predators. Because we are subconsciously allowed it. We must learn to not allow it. By curing us we cure them.
“this species of subhuman – people like Dr Simon”
Nah. Dr. Simon isn’t “subhuman.” It ill behoves people to call other people “subhuman.”
interesting results. Scientists Tried to Replicate 100 Psychology Experiments and 64% Failed:
One should factor in power of incentives.
The original author’s publication wouldn’t have made it, or at best faded into obscurity, had they not “unknowingly” exercised their influence to get desired results.
Same way, the author for current study, wouldn’t made it had his results been less spectacular.
In future, another study of this study will probably not make the cut unless author proves all that was wrong in this result.
On the other hand, if you are in the presence of a non-human predator, it is generally a really *bad* idea to run. Predators instinctively chase what runs from them, because that’s how prey behaves. Animal predators are sometimes confused by prey that doesn’t run away (depends on how hungry they are though). Human psychopaths seem to find the fear or anger response in their victims to be entertaining. In some cases, it might be beneficial to stand up to the human predator, if you can do it calmly without challenging them.
I agree with most of what you say and a most intuitive response. This all depends on the scenario and each would take a possible different reaction. Most individuals, unless well versed don’t think these things through due to emotions etc., or are completely inept with dealing with human predators of this sort.
It takes a very savvy individual to stand up to the human predator in a way they are unreadable (poker face) to the human predator. I find the less said in a positive position of strength, such as only a Yes or No reply is best. Otherwise, to CYA because they are capable of anything use an attorney of strong character or law enforcement. This puts one in a position of strength and lets the predator know you mean business. It also, depends on the the other cluster deficiencies at play.
You state it might be beneficial to stand up to the human predator, if you can do it calmly without challenging them. This is all fine an good on the part of a principled person, however, at first opportune time they will challenge you,
this just opened Pandora’s Box. You may be able to do this, however, skilled medical professionals and law enforcement are easily manipulated and knocked of balance by the predators.
Remember, the human predator has the preditorial instincts of a carnivor and its natural to eat their prey. So I caution anyone once they know they are dealing with a predator to put as much distance between you and them.
There may be another optiOn other than running or standing your ground and that is to disappear in plain sight by being super dull– like human Muzak, or faded wallpaper.
The trick is – stop being prey period. What I have found is CD are not interested in those they are unable to evoke/provoke an emotional reaction from. They lose interest very quickly and turn away if they can’t get any supply from us. That’s all well and good so long as we can recoginse them and we are able to use that knowledge as a form of self defense.
Then there are those who fall prey to these human predators as they become enamored by their spell i.e. their seduction. The can go for long periods of time basking in the glory of this seduction until they are claimed as property by the CD and the gaslighting, manipulations and abuse commences. I am speaking in terms of romantic relationships only at this point. Emapths and Co-dependants are particularly sort after prey of these parasites simply due to their staying power and quality of high level emotional responses (narcissistic supply) they get from these types.
Empaths have a lot of endurance and staying power due to the fact they feel obliged to “fix” the frozen adult child that screams in front of them demanding attention, pacification and unwavering commitment regardless of their shoddy behavior. The Co-Dependent stays due to fear of rejection. Because there is so much of this going on and in all reality it has been for a long time. It’s just that it was hidden from view for many years. This is no longer the case.
Many people regardless of their orientation as long as they are not CD basically have their own unconscious insecurities that CD relish in and delight in triggering. I’ve recently come across the description for CRAP which is fear of criticism, rejection, abandonment and persecution. A co-dependent absolutely. Many empaths and a great deal of neurotics as well have a lot of crap they need to come to terms with and claim ownership of. This is where we need to close up any gaps in our own psyche and reprogram ourselves in order to ensure we can no longer be triggered by these often hidden wounds and I mean by anybody not just CD. It’s how we evolve ourselves.
From my own personal experience I went through two very separate but almost identical abusive relationships that sent me inside to find my own flaws relative to how I allowed this to occur and I have to say without any hesitation that – WE ALLOW OUR OWN ABUSE. Many people can and probably will scream in horror at that statement but that’s a fact unfortunately.
If a person is sufficiently evolved then they will neither run away to or from nor stand frozen in front of a human predator. They will stand in their own truth and integrity. They know who they are and they know who they are not. They will not allow others to demean or stomp all over their boundaries. They will not waver and have no fear of losing anything. This is the only way we can achieve complete liberation from these sub human types so they no longer have the actual desire to take us on because they won’t like how we taste.
It was time for me to do a deep introspective house cleaning on my own inner psyche. Now that I have found out all there is to know about narcs and their kind (well all I need to know anyway) – I believe we can only go so far here before it becomes an obsession that we become addicted to. I am breaking my own addiction here.
I have decided to take my own thorough and constructive healing on board now in order to evolve myself to the highest level I can. This requires a lot more work on my part. I will know when I will have achieved that because I will no longer be triggered by anybody. It’s all very well and good saying yes I can still be triggered but remain cool, calm and collected and yes I can do that. However the CD or others are still applying damage sorry to say but yes they are. My next step is NOT being triggered at all and that requires more work.
That’s the direction I’m taking at the moment simply because I know at every level of my being it is the only direction I can take that will lead to a full authentic life.
Good for you and your ongoing evolution! I think we all have ‘crap’ to work on. It is probably part of being a social animal…but…I know I am too sensitive to abandonment and criticism. They may be linked. And if I work on those, of course I am less likely to be the victim of some disordered creep. The side benefit is I will likely be just easier to get along with, in general!
It’s all good!
I enjoyed reading your post about the vestigial and transhuman objective. I wonder though, if there is a pro-human (biophilic) self correcting mechanism here. The creation of the silicon infrastructure could certainly be hijacked by nonhuman and necrophilic forms of life. I think this may be a real threat and one we may have to be very conscious of as a species emerging into the greater family of higher intelligence.
But, so far, the Internet can enhance the biophilic by keeping us connected and ramping up our humanity. I confront the singularity (as you do,) by taking a good look at myself, my flaws, weaknesses AND my vulnerabilities TO it. The hive mind is not a loving mind set, nor is it ‘evil,’ per se, but it is not individuated. And the psychopaths, without much inner life and limited powers to discriminate along very subtle lines may be, ironically, quite vulnerable to being swept up in its cold inhuman currents.
Anyway, sounds like sci-if! Wanted to let you know that I think I get your drift and appreciate the contribution.
Love your reply Lisa trust me.
“I wonder though, if there is a pro-human (biophilic) self correcting mechanism here”
Yes it’s us!
Fascinating topic. I reached this article by searching on adoption and propensity for genetic sociopathy.
I have a beautiful young daughter that is forming her character and meeting emotional milestones as she should. I’ve been blessed to have her.
Her father was adopted at birth and four years ago was diagnosed with ASPD. I left him shortly after our child’s birth because of the impact his behaviors had on myself and our child. His behaviors were very aggressive and he was privately smug about his abilities to manipulate people around him to whatever he wanted them to believe or do.
His upbringing was absolutely stellar. His adoptive parents were a doctor and a school teacher that retired to give him all the love, attention, and education that they could. He grew up alongside a brother (also adopted but from a different bio family) who flourished under this care. Not so for my child’s father. He’s spent his life preying on those around him wracking up criminal charges and lawsuits and causing a lot of damage for others. He has 3 children, none of which he’s raised, the oldest daughter also carries a diagnosis of ASPD and has abandoned her children to the state in which she lives. It’s always baffled me that such a stable loving home situation could create this until a dna test revealed who my child’s biological father was, a man that had recently died in prison serving 45 years for child molestation and conspiracy to commit murder. There is obviously a strong genetic component.
I wondered if everyone might carry the genes for psychopathy even if they don’t exhibit the genetic traits at all themselves. Even two very nice people might have a psychopathic offspring because the gene is carried hidden there in everyone. Similarly two psychopaths might have an empathetic, sympathetic kid because that is also carried by everyone.
Perhaps every individual is walking around with the genes to make up a complete balanced community, (or, as you point out, what would have once been a complete balanced community, psychopathy once probably being essential for our survival, but now, more of a problem). I’ve often noticed people seem to have contradictory personality types in their children, both demons & angels, predators and saints. Perhaps it is always so, making it virtually impossible to get rid of the gene by breeding.
Or it is more that you get some family lineages that are distinctly psychopathic, while there are other family trees where it is completely absent?
Enjoyed “In Sheep’s Clothing” by the way.
I truly believe, through personal experience that psychopathy is generic, my family is not huge, however through generations there are many of them in our family, even having being raised differently, the results are the same. These people cannot be helped, they are devoid of all emotion.I do feel for them, as going through life without the capacity to love or feel for anything is indeed tragic, however I recommend that you stay away from them, kindness is weakness to them, and then you will just get used and abused. They enjoy inflicting pain and destruction on others, sadly this is what gives them pleasure, incomprehensible to the rest of us, but true….get away and stay away, they are malicious, manipulate and totally self serving, and they can play a very long game to get what they want, which they will, no matter the cost to others, hateful, hurtful and harmful, and I can certainly attest to the fact that they cannot be stopped or helped.
The comments on this site have encouraged me to seek more answers.The stories told are familiar .I previously believed that psychopaths were very rare, but i now realize
there are a large number in the community.At least showing strong characteristics.Are they able to be cured or just kept clear of? My sons partners behaviour has been most destructive ,particularly towards my son,ending up with police involvement They have a 2 yr old girl. Is she going to inherit her mothers character traits ?Or can we some how bring up a normal loving child The parents have seperated.
I am not an expert but have read a bit on the subject that might be helpful. The main thing about psychopaths is they lack guilt. Apparently if someone with the genetic tendency to lack guilt is brought up well, treated fairly and reasonably, not abused, taught the value of hard work, they might grow into a very successful person, a top lawyer or professor, not violent or a criminal but probably very aggressive, not to be crossed. Just because a parent is psychopathic it does not mean their child will be. Probably everyone has some psychopathic characteristics, it’s like salt on food, a bit on your food is necessary and enjoyable, it’s a tough world sometimes after all, best if you can be at least a little tough sometimes, but a lot is very dangerous, no good at all.
I think Eudox has pointed out critical information regarding psychopaths and in a clinical light of what we now know about how their brain is wired. A malfunction if you will to be deplete to care about others at all unless the target is of use to them.
You see, psychopaths are everywhere and they commit atrocities continuously in their callous treatment of individuals. How about the Bernie Madoffs of this world, the world bankers that buy and sell peoples lives everyday. How many people have have died, lives destroyed, families destroyed by the life sucking psychopaths who kill in a obfuscated (legal) way having complete disregard for human life. Ut happens all day long and they walk among us, smiling and singing.
Just think of how many people have committed suicide because of the psychopath, (The White Pointer Shark). I have had my share of interactions with psychopaths and I am lucky I am not dead. Yes, its a slippery slope, though you may change your mind once you have experienced being their target and managed to live through it.
I give Kudos to all who understand who the psychopaths truly and expose them for who they really are. I completely agree with Eudox.
Maybe you should go visit Tudors site or Vacknin or any other of the these internet crying, whining psychos and lend them your sympathies. I bet you change your tune when it is you who is their victim……
I haven’t quite followed this thread, but your statement about people who have committed suicide because of a psychopath spoke to me. I, having been the target of a CDN in his ruthless attempt to financially and emotionally destroy me, sank to a low I’d never dreamed I’d be at while enduring his abuse. I was chronically abused by him, I’m talking two years, with no recourse to make him stop, unless I’d give him what he wanted. My mind went to that dark place thinking there was no hope for me for a future, wishing I’d be run over by a truck and killed. That’s what a CDN can do to an otherwise healthy person.
BTOV, you’re right, Michael may change his mind about these physcos or whatever else they are, if he’d been the target. Once they’re determined to destroy to get what they want they know no bounds. It’s mind fuckery at its worst.
There was a great deal of difference between my family and others. One example was that when I said something which I knew was funny, no one laughed It was not the least amusing.But when I said the same thing to others, the could not stop laughing. I took my family’s reaction or the lack thereof as if it was some strange personality. One day I chanced upon reading in great detail about psychopath. I discovered why I was always being lied to.
Any achievement I made, was frowned upon or ridiculed never praised and no sign of encouragement. Everything I felt, could not be shared because they were incapable of feeling at all. Both of my parents and my two brothers were exactly the same. My wife is the same and my daughter has inherited her traits. You may well ask why I married, I live in Pakistan – no one marries because they love each other, marriages are arranged and divorce a social taboo. My daughter’s condition is such that she cannot neither talk or greet, like her mother cannot understand emotions. This is a living nightmare.