Sanctuary for the Abused

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Most Psychopaths Aren't Killers - You Can't Always Tell

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excerpted from DON JUAN AS PSYCHOPATH
by Gordon Banks

Scientific study of the psychopath is hindered by the fact that the subjects recognize no defect in their own psyche, no need to change.

We mainly know them through the those captive populations who have had difficulty with the law and are institutionalized. Those who are "successful," can only be studied at a distance. While some psychopaths undoubtedly correspond to the popular view of the brutal killer, criminal, or rapist, many, if not most, do not.

Often they are referred to by the term sociopathy or antisocial personality, emphasizing the chaotic relationships with other people and society, but while this aspect of these personalities is most readily apparent, there are many other features of this character disorder having nothing to do with other people which also show considerable deviation from normal behavior. For this reason, I prefer the older term psychopath.

In recent years, there has been a growing realization that there are many psychopaths who successfully avoid trouble with the law, and estimates of the percentage of psychopaths in the population (formerly estimated at about 3%, based only on studies of prisoners) have been revised upward.

As is common in medicine, and especially in psychiatry, where there is often no "litmus" test which can be applied, diagnosis is a matter of nosology and categorization. This is bound to lead to disagreements between various authorities as to which manifestations warrant inclusion or exclusion of an individual from a given diagnosis. Naturally, this has led to various schools of thought on the subject of psychopathy.

Historical Overview
The 19th century physicians recognized that there were some walking among other men who were of sound reason and intellect, but when it came to the moral realm were "deranged". They described individuals who had no sense of right and wrong, no feelings of guilt or shame for wrongdoing, and had a marked propensity to lie, cheat, and engage in other activities which normal society considered reprehensible. (First labelled "moral insanity") During the last 40 years, psychopaths have been more intensively studied and recent research seems to indicate that they actually represent a variant of human beings with abnormal brain function.

Clinical Features

Guiltlessness
While the psychopath often recognizes that other people have a "conscience", and will feign remorse to avoid punishment, as Cleckley explains, "he shows almost no sense of shame. His career is always full of exploits, any one of which would wither even the more callous representatives of the ordinary man. Yet he does not, despite his able protestations, show the slightest evidence of major humiliation or regret. This is true of matters pertaining to his personal and selfish pride and to esthetic standards that he avows as well as to moral or humanitarian matters."[7]

Lack of insight and judgment
It is in this realm that the psychopath comes closest to the psychotic. While seemingly in full possession of his reasoning ability, by all the means of clinical psychology to test and assess them, the psychopath demonstrates an inability to comprehend the meaning and significance of his behavior for other people, and to judge their probable reactions to his behavior. He is often astounded to find that people are upset by his exploits. Although he knows intellectually what punishment is decreed for certain crimes, when caught, he puts up elaborate rationalizations and defenses, and seems surprised when he is actually punished.

...a lack of guilt and remorse, but a semantic lack of understanding of the concept of authenticity. Psychopaths can be thought of not as being hypocrites, but as actually not understanding or using language in the same way other people do.

Lovelessness
While the psychopath has likes and dislikes and fondness for the pleasures that human company can bring, analysis shows that he is completely egocentric, valuing others only for their enhancement of his own pleasure or status. While he gives no real love, he is quite capable of inspiring love of sometimes fanatical degree in others. He is generally superficially charming and often makes a striking impression as possessed of the noblest of human qualities.

He makes friends easily, and is very manipulative, using his ability with words to talk his way out of trouble. Many psychopaths love to be admired and bask in the adulation of others. With the lack of love, there is also a lack of empathy. The psychopath is unable to feel sorry for others in unfortunate situations or put himself in another's place, whether or not they have been harmed by him.

Inability to Form Meaningful Relationships
While psychopaths are notably sexually promiscuous, their inability to love or to show any but the most superficial kindness to others prevents them from forming meaningful relationships with others, including parents and spouses. The promiscuity seems more related to their lack of restraint than to an exaggerated sexual drive. Bizarre and indecent liaisons are common.

Fearlessness
The psychopath is remarkably free of both the psychological and physiological manifestations of anxiety[9]. They often pass lie detector tests, and are well known for their valor in war, risking their own lives, and often recklessly endangering their entire units and disobeying orders in the process. It is said that the decision often comes whether to award a man the Medal of Honor or to court-martial him, and the "Rambo" stories of former war heros in trouble with the law have basis in real life.

The famous psychopath, Aaron Burr, directly disobeyed the orders of his superior in winning a battle and fame during the American revolution.[10] It is this "bravery" that often helps the psychopath win the affection of followers and accord him a respected place in society, which is later disillusioned by his subsequent exploits.

Another aspect of the fearlessness, is the obliviousness of the psychopath to punishment. Not only does the threat of future punishment have no power to deter him, but actual punishment does not reform him.

Irresponsibility, Insincerity, and Unreliability
While the psychopath is charming and makes friends easily, those who come to rely upon him soon painfully find out that he has no sense of responsibility. Continually promises are made and broken without regard for the gravity of the consequences, for which the psychopath will then deny responsibility.

He can solemnly lie while looking the victim in the eye, showing no anxiety whatever.

Impulsiveness
The inability to restrain his impulses is what often leads to the downfall of the psychopath. While he theoretically knows what is considered proper behavior, and can even provide sage advice, it is in carrying out the actual process of living that the psychopath runs into trouble. There is a tendency toward continual excitement and stimulation.

It is this obliviousness to the consequences of risk taking that often leads to the uncovering of a "successful" psychopath who was previously well ensconced as a doctor, lawyer, teacher, politician, or some other respected person in the community.

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shared by Barbara at 12:09 AM


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4 Comments:

I am convinced that my ex is a sociopath/psychopath. I appreciate your posting! Thank you.
www.learninghealinghope.com
KT Martin

2:35 AM  

I strongly believe my psychopath would kill me

5:47 PM  

Barbara, I found this GREAT comment while linking through the above blogger. It doesn't necessarily go with this post but I LOVE when people are able to explain things. The website is "Escaping The "Trap" of Domestic Violence" and the title of the article being commented on is "I Got Flowers Today".

"Waneta Dawn said...
To "anonymous" who keeps making such hateful comments about the right of men to abuse and be in charge, and that wives must submit, take a look at I Timothy 5:14. Specifically, look up "guide the house" in the Concordance. Did you know the translators of KJV neglected to say that wives were told to be head of, in this case meaning ruler of, their families? The NIV and other versions translate it "manage their homes," which is also not accurate according to the concordance.

Also, you suppose that when the husband is said to be the head of the wife, that means he is her absolute authority. But when you look up "head" in the concordance, it says "the part most easily seized." (It sounds like you rule with the lower head, the part most easily kicked.) However, the job description for the "head" is found in Ephesians 5:25-29. Basically, the husband is to love his wife self-sacrificially, as Christ loved the church. There is absolutely NO directive to husbands to rule their wives. NONE. This self-sacrifice means that there is no room for a husband to demand his own way. If there is a difference of opinion, he is to lay down his way, even to laying down his life, for his wife. THAT is what the Bible actually says. The husband is to tenderly care for his wife, just like he tenderly cares for his own body. I think of how tenderly protective men are of their private parts. THAT is to be your attitude toward your wife. You don't order your parts around. Instead you are gentle with them, tenderly caring for them if there is a sore spot, or if they need to be bathed. You wouldn't THINK of beating them, of verbally assaulting them, of yelling at them because they aren't clean enough or don't perform well enough. In the same way you are NOT to yell at or assault your wife. Instead you bring to her what would feel good to her, (not to you!) whether soothing, caressing, stimulation, or binding up wounds.

Your meaning for the word "head" is made up by men like yourself. It is not the meaning of head in the original Greek. It is not the meaning Paul, Peter, or God put on the word. It is entirely male-crafted and anti-biblical. The context tells you that.

So when you read the word, stop focusing on phrases within verses, and look at the whole context. The whole context is that husband and wife are to submit to one another. The husband is called on to lay down his way and even his life for his wife. The submission required of him is greater than that required of his wife. Nowhere are wives told to lay down their lives for their husbands. In addition, the relationship of husband and wife is to symbolize Christ and the church. The church loves and submits to Christ BECAUSE He first loved us. In the same way, a wife submits willingly to her husband's loving actions. If the husband is demanding, abusive, and tells her she must submit, he is acting like Satan. For a wife to submit to him, would symbolize the church submitting to Satan, and is a horrible testimony to the world. That type of relationship certainly would NOT bring anyone to Christ. Not only that, it frequently drives children and wives away from God. Many women have left church because the church did not stand up against domestic abuse. Others blamed God for the abuse, and rejected God altogether. Is this unbiblical, husband-can-be-the-worst-jerk-he-chooses-to-be doctrine really what you believe God is endorsing? Surely, you know better than that!!

August 20, 2009 12:21 AM"

8:36 PM  

So true...many are driven away from the church and God because of the emotional and often, spiritual abuse done by psychopaths and the church(meaning the body not the building) often enabling the abuser. Psychopaths are so good at their deceptive ways, that the stories they conjure up can lead strongest of souls astray:( More need to be made aware of the realness of this evil. So many lives are being destroyed!

12:45 AM  

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