Do you know a Psychopath?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Mikey, Feb 23, 2008.

  1. Mikey

    Mikey Psycho Gorilla Dad

    Pretty interesting article, not what I thought it would be. A few quotes:
    "The Unburdened Mind"
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I agree that it is pretty interesting. on the other hand I tend to avoid the "dark" when life is not as it should be as I think it causes confusion and at the least some complex analogies.

    Somehow (although I am far from Mary Poppins) I think an exploration of deviant behavior might not be in the best interests of most of us. Our
    fears are so darn real that stepping beyond may not be a good idea.
    Hugs. DDD
  3. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    My ex actually qualifies as a psychopath, tho is un-diagnosis'ed as anything. If it weren't for his parents and their money and desire to keep their name clean, he would be a felon serving time in prison.
    difficult child 1 couldn't keep money in the house because his own father stole it.
    I love my former in-laws, and they claim had they known then what they know now, they'd have initiated "tough love" long ago, but I'm not sure.
    They did finally kick him out of the house he was living in on them for free...but it took over a year, I think.
    (and my mother in law was a counselor, a few credits shy of her degree in psychology, but she was a very good counselor.)
  4. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Yep, my ex. My second one, to clarify. My first is just an idiot with a touch of Narcissistic Personality.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This is quite timely because I truly believe Cory is either anti social, sociopathic, or dissocial personality disorder. There are subtle differences in the diagnostic criteria and its very hard to explain. There are a few areas in all three that Cory doesnt fit but there is one huge one that fits him to a T. Psychopathy really covers all three disorders but one of the things that is very scary (at least to me) is that Without help, potentially psychopathic children will become adults who never remain attached to anyone or anything for long. They may end up living a "predatory" lifestyle, feeling little or no regret, and having little or no remorse - except when they are caught or about to be locked up. A psychopath is not necessarily a bad person. But they are prone to have problems with society, rules, expectations and relationships.

    There also doesnt seem to be a whit of treatment that can help a person like this unless they truly want to change and they never do unless its a way out of trouble in which case they are simply manipulating their world.

  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    My sophomore year at college I roomed with a freshman. Her boyfriend was "loved by everyone" but he was a really scary guy. She had dated him for several years, had endured 2 nervous breakdowns engineered by him (he was bored so he played with her mind) and was just unspeakably awful if you got ALL the pieces of the puzzle. Her parents didn't believe the things he said and did. For instance, he came over to the dorm in a hurry one day. Told her he had bad news, their was a car crash and her parents and 1 of her 3 siblings was dead. Made it sound REALLY REALLY convincing. Scary convincing. She paniced, lots of drama, and he just loved the drama. Finally the RA called her parents and dragged her to talk to them. He never did explain.


    It is something close to many of our minds here on the board. At one time or another, at least.

  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We can get misled into thinking that all sociopaths (aka psychopaths) are criminally insane. But in fact, they are VERY sane and generally not criminal. They tend to be law-abiding, but generally because they don't want to get caught or lose their liberty.

    I've known a few. A work colleague of mine definitely qualified - very charming, wooed the ladies, had the head of department totally on his side and did his utmost to sabotage me in my job, and almost succeeded. He would break rules constantly but talk his way out of trouble. His dislike for me was because I was immune to his charms (hence he labelled me a lesbian, which everyone believed despite my being married) and also because I was good at my job and this showed him up.

    My fast track to promotion stalled for six years, because of this bloke. Once he left - the entire atmosphere cleared up, we were all happier and suddenly we got a great deal more done, while feeling we were doing a lot less work. I was now running a laboratory that was a pleasant, productive place instead of an inefficient workplace where we had to constantly watch our backs.

    I have had two stalkers, both online. One also 'stalked' in other ways, constantly pumping my friends and family for information about me. He is still in the area but his interests have moved on. He fits the criteria.
    The other - she has moved away. It was only after she left that a few of us who had been badly hurt by her, began to compare notes. She would make up lies about people purely for her own enjoyment. She loved to hurt people and to 'play' with them, just for the fun of it. I was more on the fringe of it except for the internet stuff, where she went for my jugular and then printed out stuff I'd written, played with it, presented it along with a "Do you know what she is saying about you for the world to see?" note and sent it to various people. I was accused of sending this stuff to people myself. What was often on the printout with my name on, was often not my original words but had been 'personalised' to make it look like I was making a public personal attack.
    Her aim - to damage my standing, to keep me busy and to discredit me thoroughly.
    Some people still believe that rubbish, even after the evidence to the contrary cleared me. It taught me who to trust, and who to be polite to but never rely on.

    Another man I know NOW - borderline sociopath, I think. He, like that woman, seems to enjoy tormenting people. He doesn't seem to understand (or care about) propriety. If he can get a laugh out of making someone angry, he will. He is an artist, of sorts, but his creations are deliberately 'waffly' and confronting. He thinks it's funny to put together a weird mishmash of junk, give it a name that implies something high-faluting, and sit back and listen to the comments of the public at exhibition (our exhibitions - all you have to do is pay the fee and your work is on display). He's been open and honest with me about this, he has tried to involve me in his little schemes. "Look what I threw together in the shed over the weekend? That rock is from the garden, I found this stick, the old bird cage is from the rubbish dump and I strung some lights through it, called it something fancy, and it's hilarious to hear what people are saying. They think it's art! But the joke is on them!"
    I've seen him do it - he sits in the gallery, apparently engrossed in a book, and I see his shoulders shaking as he laughs to himself. I've listened too, and all I mostly hear is "What on earth is that rubbish?" But for every ten comments like that, all it takes is one, "Yes, I think I see what the artist is trying to say," and it's made his day.

    He does this with people too, not just sticks. Unfortunately with him, and with my former co-worker, they have their downfall moments too.

    One thing I'm intrigued by, and I have no evidence at this stage, but my artist 'friend' and my former co-worker were both Iron Curtain refugees in childhood. From parts of their stories they have shared (even sociopaths get drunk occasionally) I know that they had to, at some level, harden their hearts to shut off from any concern for others. It became a matter of personal survival, emotionally and physically. And I wonder how many sociopaths have been 'made' in this way?

    Sociopaths are remarkably common. The cleverer ones are often the most successful, and are less likely to be the criminals. Because they're good at getting away with it.

    Janet, I think you're right about Cory, from things you've shared with us before. And there's not a thing you can do about it.

    If you think you can identify a sociopath in your life, the first big rule is - detach. The second one is - stay below their radar. Do not be a threat to them. Do not be of interest to them. Do not get between a sociopath and what that sociopath wants, whether it be another person, or just a sandwich.

    And if you can't keep those rules - lay in some good insurance and ensure you have an escape built in.

  8. babybear

    babybear New Member

    I am convinced that difficult child's case manager from the day treatment program she was in last year is a sociopath. It scares me that she works with children that can be so easily manipulated, though she seems to get her kicks more from messing with the parents. She is very subtle. At the meeting to discuss my issues with her and her boss I was starting to believe I had just misunderstood. Thank goodness my instincts kicked back in after she left. As a matter of fact, I remember thinking "she lies just like Ted Bundy". Anyway, everyone loves her so she's still there therefore difficult child is not. Neither is her boss. I would guess she got the blame.

    Funny thing is difficult child has not had a single serious meltdown this year. Last year she had them frequently, especially after I had started challenging her competence. On the scary side... She showed up at the health food store where my office is located a few months ago just two days after someone at the school had asked me where I worked. She creeps me out big time!!
  9. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I hate to jump on the "My ex is a psychopath" bandwagon, but in the case of my kids' dad, it just might be true. Unless you are willing to believe that misguided thought patterns that could have possibly been altered when that person was very young have continued and strengthened into adulthood and beyond, complicated by severe alcoholism and Rx drug abuse ... are some people just too badly damaged (self-inflicted) and too far gone to ever change? I sincerely believe that he is. He was one of six children raised by the same parents in the same home - the other five are all fine upstanding citizens, decent, responsible, honorable people. Then there is HIM!

    He apparently was always the "problem child" in the family and began drinking when he was a very young teenager - it took over his life. If you don't know him well, he can seem very sincere and can make you believe that night is day. You soon find out that 99% of what comes out of his mouth is lies. He says whatever you want to hear, whatever will make him sound good, whatever will get him what he wants - there is no conscience there at all and truth isn't even an abstract concept to him. He lies, he manipulates, he twists things, all to his own advantage. When manipulation and persuasion don't work, he resorts to threats of intimidation, rage and threats of violence. Rules don't apply to him and if he can get away with something, all the better. Everything is always somebody else's fault, it's "not fair", and everybody should feel sorry for him. He can actually rationalize away and justify to himself everything he does, whether it makes sense to anybody else or not. He is truly the more selfish, self-centered person I have ever known. The whole world revolves around him and nothing else matters. I honestly don't think he has genuine feelings for anyone, only how he can use them to his advantge. Other people, even his own children, don't matter either, only so far as they can be "used" to get him what he wants. This is the man who "borrowed" his own son's name and SSN to run up bills he never intended to pay! But he still feels like the kids should feel "obligated" to him ... like they owe him something????? And in twenty years of a horrible, abusive marriage, he never ONCE said "I'm sorry" for anything - not to me and not to the kids - because he's NOT sorry and never will be! And he will NEVER admit that he has a problem with alcohol and drugs.

    The last 12 years since we divorced have been the happiest in my life! I avoided him as best I could and four years ago he moved out of state to be with his brothers and sisters. But I can never be completely free of him because he is my children's father. Quite honestly, I am surprised that he's still alive! Anyone who drinks as much as he does, mixes in Rx drugs (and who knows what else!) - then DRIVES in this condition, is on borrowed time. He's ALWAYS drinking and when he's drunk he's mean and beligerent and starts trouble. The kids were led to believe that he had held the same job and lived in the same place for the last four years, but apparently that's not true. He can't hold a job, has moved from place to place, and has borrowed money from all his family members with no intention of paying them back - after four years, they are finally seeing that they are enabling him and have refused to loan him any more money. Our married daughter (who has always felt sorry for him and tried to defend him) also loaned him money, which he faithfully promised to repay and never did. He actually called her again a few weeks ago wanting to borrow money and she turned him down flat! Then he called our son ten times in one day, wanting to borrow money, putting a real guilt-trip on him - he too turned him down. If anybody DOESN'T "owe him", it's my son, after the horrible way he has treated him! So he may finally be hitting bottom - at age fifty-something!

    He's never had any diagnosis because he's never believed that anything was wrong with him - it's everybody else! What do you think? Could someone like this have been helped when they were younger, if the proper interventions were in place? Or was he just "mis-wired" at birth and this is just who he really is? He is certainly a sociopath, but is he a "psychopath"? I honestly think that some people like him are too far gone to be helped, and certainly not if they are unwilling to admit that they are the cause of their own problems. I believe that when you have problems to start with, and when you drink as much as he has for as long as he has and you have killed off one too many brain cells, at his age he will continue his downward spiral and there isn't much anybody else can do but stand there and watch.
  10. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I was married to a NBK. They don't come much more persuassive, manipulative, beguiliing, romantic, or psychotic. There was a show on the ETV channel for a while about a famous psychiatrist that dealt with the people in prisons inside the prisons.

    After examination of my x ? It was noted that he "answered" to his own Master. Pure evil.

    And the scariest part of all - You'd never know it until you got to know him.
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Donna, from reading and other research I've done on this topic, I understand that "sociopath" and "psychopath" are used interchangeably. I think "Sociopath" is the more correct term, but I could be wrong, I've only been reading from a lay point of view.

    Your husband - if he either doesn't mean to hurt people, or is completely oblivious to how he hurts people and WILL NOT see the truth, then he may not qualify as sociopath. In my understanding, a sociopath KNOWS they are manipulating people, knows they are doing what THEY want, regardless, and they don't care. They know it is wrong, but consider it justified to "do unto others before they do unto you" because clearly, THEY are more important and more deserving than everybody else. These people are capable of caring about others, but not in the same way or to the same degree. Often they view their 'loved ones' more as possessions or extensions of themselves.

    The woman I mentioned - I likened her to the boy Kay in "The Snow Queen" story by Hans Christian Andersen; only seeing the world through a distorting lens, so everything nice looks ugly and despicable, with his heart hardened to a chip of ice. She would be introduced to a really good person, someone who is kind, does good things for others - and be immediately planning how to destroy that person's reputation. It was deliberate and calculated. She was secretly cruel to her friends, but used this cruelty to control them. To her enemies (such as her ex-husband), she was more open but still hid her actions where she could. She cultivated a friendship with a close friend's family, so she could then turn the family from loyalty to their sister, with lies and distortion ("Did you know that she once said that you were ...?") In doing so, she made them look through the same distorting mirror, and the wave of depression that seemed to follow this woman was like an epidemic, with her sardonic smile leading the pack.
    She never attacked me to my face, only via the 'Net. Once I realised who it was I stopped worrying, but never gave her the satisfaction that I knew. Instead I kept my mouth shut and my eyes open, and when she left I waited as people slowly began to see the light for themselves.
    The difference here, Donna, is I get from your description that your ex is in denial about what a nasty piece of work he is. This woman was not - she was proud of it. She saw herself as the puppeteer pulling the strings; she was more powerful than everybody else because she knew things about them and could make people respond predictably to her poison. As a result she despised people for their frailty and gullibility. And in there, I'm sure she despised herself at some level, and in THAT she was in denial - she maintained the fiction that she was physically beautiful despite advancing middle age, but had to constantly tell friends how lovely she was, as she looked in a mirror.

    I know it sounds like I'm being *****y here, but it's not intended - I found her fascinating and compelling, like a funnel-web spider I've observing from the other side of a window.
    I suspect she didn't want to 'play' with me in person, because of my physical disability. Because she was terrified of getting old and ugly, physical disability was similarly something she avoided having to even look at.

    A sociopath generally has a strong sense of personal superiority which justifies their antisocial actions. A sociopath in the workplace will tend to keep dissent simmering, among other people. They will seem to be apart from it, when in fact they are the ones causing the problems discreetly with a word here, a memo there. A weak boss who either doesn't see what is happening or condones it, is setting himself up for supplantation. Other co-workers can end up shattered by the experience; resigning even at the cost of career; losing their good reputation. The most skilled ones rise to the top - not like cream, more like pond scum. But they are not team players. They know how to manipulate and use people but in the long run, productivity suffers badly and a company can go under. They cannot work with others, but instead must be totally in charge and controlling.

    Sociopaths have no conscience, no empathy, although the clever ones can pretend well. But it is the actual lack of conscience, in reality, which flushes them out into the open for someone who knows what to look for.

    If you work with a sociopath, give serious consideration to changing jobs.

    If you live with one - move. Alternatively, make sure you are not seen as a threat, that you stay below their radar. Do not draw attention to yourself and they will probably find more interesting prey to play with.

    It takes all kinds to make a world...

  12. ShakespeareMamaX

    ShakespeareMamaX New Member

    Is THAT what's wrong with my husband?


    Another interesting fact (through all of my research on MS):

    Did you know pedophiles have a lesser amount of white matter in their brain than the average person?
  13. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    OMG Marg! You described him perfectly!

    "... a sociopath KNOWS they are manipulating people, knows they are doing what THEY want, regardless, and they don't care. They know it is wrong, but consider it justified to "do unto others before they do unto you" because clearly, THEY are more important and more deserving than everybody else. These people are capable of caring about others, but not in the same way or to the same degree. Often they view their 'loved ones' more as possessions or extensions of themselves."

    That's just mind-boggling! I'm not so sure if the, "do unto others before they do unto you" part is exactly true with him. It's more that other people are important to him only for what they can do for him or what he can get out of them. A perfect example is how he treated our children. He "cultivated" our daughter, promoted a special bond with her, treated her completely different than he did her brother. And he did his best to come between her and I, made her feel like she had to choose between us. She outwardly went along because she felt sorry for him, tried to understand him, believed everything he told her. And she was more than a little afraid of him and didn't want him to treat her the way he treated me. The payback he got from this was that she backed him up and told him what he wanted to hear. He felt that she was on his side. With our son though, he was OK with him when he was very young. But as he got older, he surpassed his dad in every way - he was bigger (6'5" now), much smarter, and better looking. Most people would be proud to have a son like him, but instead I think he saw him as some sort of "rival" who had outdone him ... and he resented him openly. And he wasn't as easily swayed as our daughter was, so he just wrote him off. I will never forget the day he told me that he always had considered our daughter to be "his" child and our son to be mine! He hurt and manipulated both of them, but in different ways. And now that our daughter has "turned against him" and refused to loan him any more money, he will be done with her too.

    A perfect example of how he treated our son and how nothing mattered but what HE wanted was when our son was in high school and had a big part in the class play. They were doing "Our Town" and he had a large speaking part. I was surprised that he even wanted to do it, but he really got in to it. Thirty kids and several teachers had worked on this play for two months. The week before the performances, ex's mother died in Florida. Our son barely knew his grandma, had only met her once, but he felt he should go to her funeral so he flew down with his dad. The first performance of the play was on a Friday, a week away, and another the following Sunday. Ex hem-hawed about what day the return flight was - come to find out it was the next SUNDAY MORNING - he planned to stay all week and demanded that son stay there with him. We could have paid a small fee and gotten son on an earlier fight by himself, but ex forbid it and raised such a stink that son gave in and stayed - he didn't have much choice. They could get no one to take over son's part in the play. So because of ex's selfishness, the Friday performance of the play had to be cancelled - after thirty kids had worked on it for two months. Sunday morning we went straight from the airport to the school and they did the Sunday performance, which went over well. They lost a lot of money by cancelling the main Friday evening performance and everyone was hysterical thinking they may have to cancel the Sunday performance too, but they pulled it off and did well.

    But none of that mattered because HE got what HE wanted! He just wanted son's company on the return flight and he got it! And I stayed married to that man for twenty years!
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    We adopted a full blown psychopath. He was only eleven at the time, but already had every symptom--charming exterior that made people like him--he set fires, killed animals and peed and pooped everywhere--and blamed it on the dogs. We didn't know he was actually torturing the animals, but the second time he killed one of our dogs we no longer thought racist neighbors were doing it, we finally figured it out. Duh! None of us suspected he was privately abusing t he younger kids either and they were too afraid of him to tell (and, yes, we gave our kids that "we'll always believe you" talk many times). This is a conscienceless person at the worst. He is 18 now and I cringe to think of him unleashed on the world (he hasn't seen us since we found out about the abuse). The worse part is he plays a sweet, innocent victim that people just love to mother and love. This is a nice looking boy (as I remember) tall, athletic looking, innocent, killer smile. I pity his girlfriends and their children. He had no understanding of his own behavior and has no memory of being abused himself, although obviously he was. He also may have had brain damage to a point, as he was exposed to drugs in utero and his birthmother did something to him that almost killed him (fed him too much water instead of milk). I do think there may be a genetic predisposition to this sad and scary disorder. I was since taught "If they seem to be too good to be true, they are." That applies to everyone. Nobody is as wonderful as psychopaths appear. They really know how to play up to your vulnerabilities before they move in for the kill.