The Psychopaths Among Us

I have been doing more reading on psychopathy and it just so happens that the leading researcher in the field of psychopathy is Dr Robert Hare who is with the University of BC right here in Vancouver. He has studied psychopathy for 35 years, won many awards for his work and developed the list if traits that is used to this day to identify psychopaths. He started his research into psychopaths when he was a prison psychologist and realized they stood out from other personality disorders because they had no conscience and he feels the only way to reduce the devastation they cause in the lives of every one who crosses their path is to find out as much as possible about them and educate society on how to recognize and protect themselves against them.

He says that by far they are the most dangerous of all personality disorders, including schizophrenia because all other disorders are detectable by obvious outward signs that a person is not right in the head, the psychopath is able to hide his disorder and go undetected by even the most experienced of psychologists, himself included. Whereas a person with schizophrenia may hear voices telling him to do something the psychopath does things because he wants to and enjoys the feelings of power he derives from destroying people’s lives. Plus they never see themselves as having a disorder and consider themselves superior to mere mortals.

I watched a video on his research and it said that the psychopath’s brain is visibly different than a normal person’s brain and it is missing the capacity for guilt, empathy or a conscience. He also stated that although the psychopath/narcissist is lacking that capacity upbringing does play a key role in how the psychopath functions later in life. If he is raised in an abusive home he will more than likely be a much more violent and volatile personality, less able to blend into society whereas someone raised as JC was in a very Christian home with strong moral fiber he will probably be able to blend into society much easier because although he does not feel guilt or remorse he has been taught the proper way to act and that by pretending to conform to normal prescribed reactions to situations he is able to function well enough day to day that he doesn’t end up in jail and for the most part fools everyone except the ones closest to him.

There is a link to a video I found interesting below where they discuss the different psychopaths and how society as a whole is growing more tolerant of psychopaths and they can be revered in many cases because they often hold positions of power and are very charismatic (like most if not all the world powers, who are driving the world into a financial ruin and care nothing about the consequences of their insatiable need for power on the rest of the world.

When I look at how devastating JC can be on one person’s life the magnitude of the destruction he could cause if he was a world leader is terrifying.

AND because it is genetic it can be passed down through the generations, even scarier.

The article I was reading answered the question of what is the difference between a sociopath and a psychopath and as I thought they say that a sociopath demonstrates the same lack of empathy but his disorder is brought on by his environment through his developing years and there is more hope of helping a sociopath regain some conscience through intensive therapy. So far there is no cure for psychopaths and that is what Dr Hare hopes to some day figure out, a way to detect it soon enough in children that they can somehow develop that part of the brain that so far does not develop normally in these people.

I copied and pasted a section of an article he wrote for Psychology Today  “The Charming Psychopath”  and it is below along with a link to the full article. Dr Hare also has a website for survivors of psychopathic abuse http://aftermath-surviving-psychopathy.org/

 http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199401/charming-psychopath

Can Anything Be Done?

In their desperate search for solutions people trapped in a destructive and seemingly hopeless relationship with a psychopath frequently are told: Quit indulging him and send him for therapy. A basic assumption of psychotherapy is that the patient needs and wants help for distressing or painful psychological and emotional problems. Successful therapy also requires that the patient actively participate, along with the therapist, in the search for relief of his or her symptoms. In short, the patient must recognize there is a problem and must want to do something about it.

But here is the crux: Psychopaths don’t feel they have psychological or emotional problems, and they see no reason to change their behavior to conform with societal standards they do not agree with.

Thus, in spite of more than a century of clinical study and decades of research, the mystery of the psychopath still remains. Recent developments have provided us with new insights into the nature of this disturbing disorder, and its borders are becoming more defined. But compared with other major clinical disorders, little research has been devoted to psychopathy, even though it is responsible for more social distress and disruption than all other psychiatric disorders combined.

So, rather than trying to pick up the pieces after the damage has been done, it would make far greater sense to increase our efforts to understand this perplexing disorder and to search for effective early interventions. The alternatives are to continue devoting massive resources to the prosecution, incarceration, and supervision of psychopaths after they have committed offenses against society and to continue to ignore the welfare and plight of their victims. We have to learn how to socialize them, not resocialize them. And this will require serious efforts at research and early intervention. It is imperative that we continue the search for clues.

Excerpted from Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us (Simon & Schuster) by Robert Hare, Ph.D.Copyright 1993.

A Survival Guide

Although no one is completely immune to the devious machinations of the psychopath, there are some things you can do to reduce your vulnerability.

  • Know what you are dealing with. This sounds easy but in fact can be very difficult. All the reading in the world cannot immunize you from the devastating effects of psychopaths. Everyone, including the experts, can be taken in, conned, and left bewildered by them. A good psychopath can play a concerto on anyone’s heart strings.
  • Try not to be influenced by “props.” It is not easy to get beyond the winning smile, the captivating body language, the fast talk of the typical psychopath, all of which blind us to his or her real intentions. Many people find it difficult to deal with the intense, “predatory state” of the psychopath. The fixated stare, is more a prelude to self-gratification and the exercise of power rather than simple interest or empathic caring.
  • Don’t wear blinders. Enter new relationships with your eyes wide open. Like the rest of us, most psychopathic con artists and “love-thieves” initially hide their dark side by putting their “best foot forward.” Cracks may soon begin to appear in the mask they wear, but once trapped in their web, it will be difficult to escape financially and emotionally unscathed.
  • Keep your guard up in high-risk situations. Some situations are tailor-made for psychopaths: singles bars, ship cruises, foreign airports, etc. In each case, the potential victim is lonely, looking for a good time, excitement, or companionship, and there will usually be someone willing to oblige, for a hidden price.
  • Know yourself. Psychopaths are skilled at detecting and ruthlessly exploiting your weak spots. Your best defense is to understand what these spots are, and to be extremely wary of anyone who zeroes in on them.

Unfortunately, even the most careful precautions are no guarantee that you will be safe from a determined psychopath. In such cases, all you can do is try to exert some sort of damage control. This is not easy but some suggestions may be of help:

  • Obtain professional advice. Make sure the clinician you consult is familiar with the literature on psychopathy and has had experience in dealing with psychopaths.
  • Don’t blame yourself. Whatever the reasons for being involved with a psychopath, it is important that you not accept blame for his or her attitudes and behavior. Psychopaths play by the same rules—their rules—with everyone.
  • Be aware of who the victim is. Psychopaths often give the impression that it is they who are suffering and that the victims are to blame for their misery. Don’t waste your sympathy on them.
  • Recognize that you are not alone. Most psychopaths have lots of victims. It is certain that a psychopath who is causing you grief is also causing grief to others.
  • Be careful about power struggles. Keep in mind that psychopaths have a strong need for psychological and physical control over others. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t stand up for your rights, but it will probably be difficult to do so without risking serious emotional or physical trauma.
  • Set firm ground rules. Although power struggles with a psychopath are risky you may be able to set up some clear rules—both for yourself and for the psychopath—to make your life easier and begin the difficult transition from victim to a person looking out for yourself.
  • Don’t expect dramatic changes. To a large extent, the personality of psychopaths is “carved in stone.” There is little likelihood that anything you do will produce fundamental, sustained changes in how they see themselves or others.
  • Cut your losses. Most victims of psychopaths end up feeling confused and hopeless, and convinced that they are largely to blame for the problem. The more you give in the more you will be taken advantage of by the psychopath’s insatiable appetite for power and control.
  • Use support groups. By the time your suspicions have led you to seek a diagnosis, you already know that you’re in for a very long and bumpy ride. Make sure you have all the emotional support you can muster.

 

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3 Replies to “The Psychopaths Among Us”

  1. I don’t believe there’s any difference between a sociopath and psychopath and neither is open to learning other than to put on a display of changing to help their manipulations further. A sociopath or psychopath uses eg therapy to become better at what they do, even better at wearing that mask to trick people and drain them of energy , since they’re predators. These people are lethal and I quote Robert Hare in my book Toxic No More. Keep safe All…

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    1. You really have to believe a man who has dedicated his whole career to trying to figure these “people” out. If he says they can’t be helped I tend to believe him, and when he says they are the most dangerous people on the earth I believe him and if after 35 years he has not witnessed one changing or come up with some sort of “cure” for them I truly doubt there is one out there.

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  2. Thank you
    It appears i can’t stop thinking about him. I did leave him but it’s taking EVERYTHING in my power to stay away. I’m somewhat compelled to help him…he needs to be loved…
    He says his wife committed suicide by jumping off a cliff in los angeles crest…now I’m not so sure.
    It appears there’s some kind of control..,.can’t stop thinking about him. Maybe im the sick one.

    Confused

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