Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Socio or Psycho? Which Path to Choose


A great deal of Trump's mental health has been of issue of late, from his Niece to the incessant ramblings of Trump regarding his cognitive test, we have no doubt regardless of a professional diagnosis that the man is an asshole. What kind is debatable, narcissist, histrionic, shade of dementia are all potential contenders. What I find fascinating is that it brings to mind many other crazy mother fuckers of present day history, some serial killers, others Gurus and Cult leaders whose proclamations and delusions did not lead to murder but may have contributed to suicides and other mental health crisis have been the subjects of many a podcast. Morbid is one that reviews old serial murders from the Galveston 11 to John Wayne Gacy, as well as other murder cases that are headline news. The other podcast series produced by Wondery covers many crimes and misdemeanors by egos who have had few problems when it comes to skirting the law and that includes famous financial and political cases where arrogance is considered a positive trait. They produced one on Jeffrey Epstein and they have another on a less criminal but no less dynamic individual, called Guru, The Dark Side of Enlightenment. The story centers around the criminal and civil cases of James Arthur Ray, who was an Oprah-endorsed self-help teacher who achieved fame, fortune, and influence. This was during her obsession over the charlatan who devised The Secret. I love Oprah but have always noticed how she was drawn to charlatans and proselytizers, from Tony Robbins to that idiot Dr. Phil, so this is just another on the Oprah stage of gypsy's, tramps and thieves that managed to parlay this into a professional circus. And this podcast does an excellent job showing the dark side of idoltry. I hope they do one on the Yoga idiots who have also used that platform for sex and exploitation. It is another industry ripe with it.

But it takes two and by that I mean someone with charisma and the other with less than it. Usually these are women who these idiots prey upon and some men do become engaged with a movement but I often see that they are there for their own personal gain to also have sex with members and find dates. That certainly explained the case with Charles Manson but if you note even with the most recent case centered on the Nxvim, it is about sex tied to money. Not always but sex is a great free gift with purchase. The Wondery podcasts are almost always about those subjects including another Dirty John, which has been made into a series showing that women regardless of professional success find that men are the only thing that seem to matter. God are all women cum dumpsters. I was and it nearly killed me. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. I will never let another man near me again but when you are alone in a society that demands we partner off and be in a family dynamic you do gravitate to anything or anyone who can bring relief. Listening to the girls dish on Morbid about their true crimes it is rare to see a woman profiled but they have found that in the current case of Lori Vallow who is sociopath that will be on the list by breaking that glass ceiling when it comes to serial murder. Yay! I guess

So what makes a sociopath? Well no idea but I found this essay and thought once again this could describe a few people I know. Ethan comes to mind as he wants to be some type of traveling Preacher, suffers from clinical depression, has no empathy or ability to express it and is an amazing sycophant that it defines a skill set like no other. He of late had a reading group with a friend over true crime which like all things that Ethan expresses interest in is likely over, another trait that I do find disturbing, the inability to stay focused on any subject or plan - other than violent text and sections of the Bible. There is something there that screams run for the door and run far away. Anytime I need to remind myself why I need to stay clear I go back to the scripture citations and bizarre ramblings about that and I know there is something truly wrong with the boy more than being depressed. His own personal history parallels the subject of Guru and down to the need to surround himself with needy women (myself included) it speaks volumes. I thought I was helping him and when he realized he could not play me as he once thought he did me a favor and pulled away, right at the same time I knew he was lying. That voice never stopped playing in my head and my intuition about him to this day tells me he is not who he seems to be. And I want nothing to do with either.

We all know them, even perhaps love them and that is the problem.



How to Distinguish a Psychopath From a ‘Shy-Chopath’
Psychologists are debating whether the presence of one trait – boldness – is the key to determining if someone is a psychopath, or just a garden-variety criminal.

The Conversation
John Edens

What makes a criminal a psychopath?

Their grisly deeds and commanding presence attract our attention – look no further than Ted Bundy, the subject of a Netflix documentary, and cult leaders like Charles Manson.

But despite years of theorizing and research, the mental health field continues to hotly debate what are the defining features of this diagnosis. It might come as a surprise that the most widely used psychiatric diagnostic system in the U.S., the DSM-5, doesn’t include psychopathy as a formal disorder.

As a personality researcher and forensic psychologist, I’ve spent the last quarter-century studying psychopaths inside and outside of prisons. I’ve also debated what, exactly, are the defining features of psychopathy.

Most agree that psychopaths are remorseless people who lack empathy for others. But in recent years, much of this debate has centered on the relevance of one particular personality trait: boldness.

I’m in the camp that believes boldness is critical to separating out psychopaths from the more mundane law-breakers. It’s the trait that creates the veneer of normalcy, giving those who prey on others the mask to successfully blend in with the rest of society. To lack boldness, on the other hand, is to be what one might call a “shy-chopath.”
The Boldness Factor

About 10 years ago, psychologist Christopher Patrick and some of his colleagues published an extensive literature review in which they argued that psychopaths were people who expressed elevated levels of three basic traits: meanness, disinhibition and boldness.

Most experts in the mental health field generally agree that the prototypical psychopath is someone who is both mean and, at least to some extent, disinhibited – though there’s even some debate about exactly how impulsive and hot-headed the prototypical psychopath truly is.

In a psychological context, people who are mean tend to lack empathy and have little interest in close emotional relationships. They’re also happy to use and exploit others for their own personal gain.

Highly disinhibited people have very poor impulse control, are prone to boredom and have difficulty managing emotions – particularly negative ones, like frustration and hostility.

In adding boldness to the mix, Patrick and his colleagues argued that genuine psychopaths are not just mean and disinhibited, they’re also individuals who are poised, fearless, emotionally resilient and socially dominant.

Although it had not been the focus of extensive research for the past few decades, the concept of the bold psychopath isn’t actually new. Famed psychiatrist Hervey Cleckley described it in his seminal 1941 book, “The Mask of Sanity,” in which he described numerous case examples of psychopaths who were brazen, fearless and emotionally unflappable.

Ted Bundy is an excellent example of such a person. He was far from unassuming and timid. He never appeared wracked with anxiety or emotional distress. He charmed scores of victims, confidently served as his own attorney and even proposed to his girlfriend while in court.

“It’s probably just being ast to some extent, disinhibited – though there’s even some debate about exactly how impulsive and hot-headed the prototypical psychopath truly is.

In a psychological context, people who are mean tend to lack empathy and have little interest in close emotional relationships. They’re also happy to use and exploit others for their own personal gain.

Highly disinhibited people have very poor impulse control, are prone to boredom and have difficulty managing emotions – particularly negative ones, like frustration and hostility.

In adding boldness to the mix, Patrick and his colleagues argued that genuine psychopaths are not just mean and disinhibited, they’re also individuals who are poised, fearless, emotionally resilient and socially dominant.

Although it had not been the focus of extensive research for the past few decades, the concept of the bold psychopath isn’t actually new. Famed psychiatrist Hervey Cleckley described it in his seminal 1941 book, “The Mask of Sanity,” in which he described numerous case examples of psychopaths who were brazen, fearless and emotionally unflappable.

Ted Bundy is an excellent example of such a person. He was far from unassuming and timid. He never appeared wracked with anxiety or emotional distress. He charmed scores of victims, confidently served as his own attorney and even proposed to his girlfriend while in court.

“It’s probably just being willing to take risk,” Bundy said, in the Netflix documentary, of what motivated his crimes. “Or perhaps not even seeing risk. Just overcome by that boldness and desire to accomplish a particular thing.”

Seeds Planted in the DSM

In the current DSM, the closest current diagnosis to psychopathy is antisocial personality disorder. Although the manual suggests that it historically has been referred to as psychopathy, the current seven diagnostic criteria for antisocial personality disorder mostly fall under the umbrella of disinhibition – qualities like “recklessness,” “impulsiveness” and, to a lesser extent, meanness, which are evident in only two criteria: “lackwilling to take risk,” Bundy said, in the Netflix documentary, of what motivated his crimes. “Or perhaps not even seeing risk. Just overcome by that boldness and desire to accomplish a particular thing.”

Seeds Planted in the DSM

In the current DSM, the closest current diagnosis to psychopathy is antisocial personality disorder. Although the manual suggests that it historically has been referred to as psychopathy, the current seven diagnostic criteria for antisocial personality disorder mostly fall under the umbrella of disinhibition – qualities like “recklessness,” “impulsiveness” and, to a lesser extent, meanness, which are evident in only two criteria: “lack of remorse” and “deceitfulness.”

There’s no mention of boldness. In other words, you don’t have to be bold to have antisocial personality disorder. In fact, because you only need to meet three of the seven criteria to be diagnosed with the disorder, it means you don’t even need to be all that mean, either.

However, the most recent revision to the DSM, the fifth edition, did include a supplemental section for proposed diagnoses in need of further study.

In this supplemental section, a new specifier was offered for those who meet the diagnosis for antisocial personality disorder. If you have a bold and fearless interpersonal style that seems to serve as a mask for your otherwise mean and disinhibited personality, you might also be diagnosable as a psychopath.

Can a Psychopath be Meek?

Whether this new model, which seems to put boldness center stage in the diagnosis of psychopathy, ultimately will be adopted into subsequent iterations of the DSM system remains to be seen.

Several researchers have criticized the concept. They see meanness and disinhibition as much more important than boldness when deciding whether someone is a psychopath.

Their main issue seems to be that people who are bold – but not mean or disinhibited – actually seem to be well-adjusted and not particularly violent. In fact, compared with being overly introverted or prone to emotional distress, it seems to be an asset in everyday life.

Other researchers, myself included, tend to view those criticisms as not particularly compelling. In our view, someone who is simply disinhibited and mean – but not bold – would not be able to pull off the spectacular level of manipulation that a psychopath is capable of.

To be sure, being mean and disinhibited is a bad combination. But absent boldness, you’re probably not going to show up on the evening news for having schemed scores of investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars. The chances that you’ll successfully charm unsuspecting victim after unsuspecting victim into coming back to your apartment to sexually assault them seem pretty slim.

That being said, timid but mean people – the “shycho-paths” – almost certainly do exist, and it’s probably best to stay away from them, too.

But you’re unlikely to confuse them with the Ted Bundys and Charles Mansons of the world.

John Edens is Professor of Psychology at Texas A&M University.

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