|archive 30 May 18, 2007
The Path of the Psycho
|Dr. Robert Hare, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of British Columbia, has spent more than three decades researching psychopathy. He has developed the Psychopathy Checklist (PCL) and its revision, the Psychopathy Checklist Revised (PCL-R) These lists have proven extremely valuable for the proper assessment of psychopathy.
Hare describes psychopaths as "intraspecies predators who use charm, manipulation, intimidation and violence to control others and to satisfy their own selfish needs." They lack conscience, they take what they want and do as they please, without guilt or remorse. "What is missing, in other words, are the very qualities that allow a human being to live in social harmony." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychopathy
Most people are familiar with some of the more widely publicized psychopathic murderers like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy. These are men have been quoted as having said some of the most bone chilling statements. For example, Ted Bundy said "I'm the most cold-blooded sonofabitch you'll ever meet and John Gacy called his victims "worthless little queers and punks". The "Yorkshire Ripper" , Peter Sutcliffe, coldly remarked that he was "cleaning up the streets" of the human trash". http://www.crimelibrary.com/serial_killers/notorious/tick/psych_6.html. And yet, however extreme these cases are, it is important to bear in mind that they did not initially present with their psychoses. They were obviously possessed of a certain charm or appeal to lure victims into their sick world.
"It must be remembered that even the most severely and obviously disabled psychopath presents a technical appearance of sanity, often with high intellectual capacities and not infrequently succeeds in business or professional activities for short periods, some for considerable periods .Although they occasionally appear on casual inspection as successful members of the community, as able lawyers, executive or physicians, they do not, it seems, succeed in the sense of finding satisfaction of fulfillment in their own accomplishments. Nor do they, when the full story is known, appear to find this in an ordinary activity." --H.Cleckley, "The Mask of Sanity"
In the 19th century, psychopathology was considered to be "moral insanity". But today, the definition has been broadened. It includes the "antisocial personality" or "sociopathology". The proverbial "person next door" could be a psychopath. The politicians you look towards for leadership could be psychopaths. Your Pastor, Priest or Rabbi could be a psychopath. And, lastly, the charming companion you are dating, or married to, could be a psychopath. I do not mean to scare you, but closing one's eyes will not make the situation go away.
How many of us have ever heard, or said, "But he promised to change"? I have heard that sentence many times and, sadly enough, I have also said it. A full description of one of my forays into the world of psychopathy is written about on my website www.judyandreas.com called Learning Life's Lessons.
Bob Hare admits that he too has been suckered in by a psychopath. "I'm ashamed that I fell for Jonathan. But he was brilliant, charismatic and audacious. He radiated money and power. (though in fact he had neither), while his real self---manipulative, lying, parasitic, and irresponsible..was just far enough under his surface to be invisible. Or was it? Maybe I didn't know how to look, or maybe I didn't really want to"
"There are psychopathic personalities in the highest echelons of government, and even within religious hierarchies in America. You can t just assume that a person with the title judge or hospital orderly got there honestly and won t manipulate the hell out of you." --Personal communication from Psychologist Schreibman to H. Cleckley, 2/10/86
One thread that runs true is the psychopath's inability to feel compassion. They often possess a deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed. "They do not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. In their warped minds, the end always justifies the means. When they show what seems to be warmth, love or compassion, it is more feigned than experienced and usually serves an ulterior motive. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises." http://www.exitsupportnetwork.com/artcls/socio.htm
As I mentioned earlier, politics is a field that attracts psychopaths. I am sure that this comes as no shock to my readers. Is it their lust for power? Could be. Are many of them groomed to "cremate their consciences"? I've heard tell. One thing is for certain. We are living in perilous times and many people have lost faith in leaders who have been caught lying and cheating repeatedly. History is being rewritten and those who have "eyes to see" are aware that much of what we learned in school has been fiction.
We have become disillusioned with the mainstream media as more and more lies are uncovered. We continue to watch the most obscene results of their commissions and omissions, like the devastation of Iraq. And so, in desperation, an ever increasing number of people have turned to what is called "the alternative media". We have become dependent on the Internet in our efforts to learn the news behind the news. However, I am sad to say that this group of supposed "truth tellers" is not free from psychopaths either. It has been infiltrated by agent provocateurs and haters of all shapes and sizes. They point accusatory fingers at one another, as well as their favorite hated target. Through distortions and blatant lies, they spread the most vile rumors and race hatred over the Internet.
Recently, I discussed this sorry state of affairs with a friend. During our conversation, she stated
"There are psychopaths everywhere. It is not about Jews, Christians, Muslims etc, but about psychological deviants who use those ideologies."
Psychopathy research is rumored to be raising more questions than it can answer. Is there any hope? Is there a cure? It pains me to inform you that, according to psychiatrists, the answer is a depressing "No."
"Shock treatment does not work. Drugs have not proven successful in treatment, and psychotherapy, which involves trust and a relationship with the therapist, is out of the question. Psychopaths are incapable of opening up to others. They don't want to change. " http://www.crimelibrary.com/serial_killers/notorious/tick/psych_6.html
So, what can we do? Perhaps a good beginning would be to hone our skills of observation. If we become familiar with the traits that these parasites possess, we will be less likely to run the risk of being food for their sick appetites.
Hopefully, the following list of psychopathic traits will help you avoid the pain and suffering that accompanies an encounter with a psychopath.
2.Grandiose sense of self-worth.
3.Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
6.Lack of remorse or guilt
8.Callous/lack of empathy
10.Poor behavioral controls
11.Promiscuous sexual behavior
12.Early behavior problems
13.Lack of realistic, long-term plans
16.Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
17.Many short-term marital relationships
19.Revocation of conditional release
20.Criminal versatility (Hare, 1986) http://www.geoffmetcalf.com/psychopath.html
Copyright Judy Andreas 2007