More Madoff — for sociopaths there is no such thing as an ingroup

Madoff Even Scammed His Own Sister

Bernard Madoff’s own family was not spared from his greed and the Ponzi scheme that is said to have pilfered a massive $50 billion from unsuspecting investors. He is now said to have scammed millions from his sister, who is now desperately trying to sell her Florida home.

This is always a shock to people.  Everyone thinks that crooks and the corrupt have an ingroup in which they are caring about individuals.  John Gotti, for example, seemed to genuinely love his family.  However this is not true for sociopaths.

I recall an episode of Unsolved Mysteries that featured an “evil couple” consisting of a criminal sociopath and his corrupt normal wife.  Plan A, the crime (an impulse killing over an insult to his imperial sociopathic ego), failed, i.e., they were caught.  Plan B, their defense was failing.  So wife suggested Plan C, escape through faked suicide.  However, he neglected to inform her that he had a plan C1.  He salted the escape with real evidence, her body.  There is no such thing as a cherished ingroup to a sociopath.

Ripples of Madoff scandal spread everywhere

Your spirit and love of life have touched and changed all who knew you,” one friend of 40 years wrote in a paid death notice for [Norman] Levy that ran in The New York Times. “You taught me so much. I’ll cherish our relationship forever.”

The friend was Bernard Madoff.
. . . . .
In the summer, both families headed to the Hamptons.  . . .

For more than 30 years, the Levys also entrusted their personal investments to Madoff. When they chartered the Betty and Norman F. Levy Foundation, which reported assets last year of $244.4 million,  as the vehicle for their charitable giving, they again put their trust in their longtime friend.

My father believed in Bernie Madoff,” Norman Levy’s son, Francis, . . .  said in a recent interview with FOX Business News. “The one thing he said about Bernie (was), “If there’s one honorable person, it’s Bernie.”,4670,RipplesofaFraud,00.html

That’s why they are called confidence artists, they truly inspire confidence.  But what’s a sister, friends of 40 years or neighbors to a sociopath, let alone charities and co-religionists? We’re all suckers to them.

I once worked with a very vivacious young woman, a real life-of-the-party type, uninhibited and fun loving.  She used to call us, her friends, “Suckers” and then laugh, and we’d laugh too.  But it was no joke. (This individual is worth expanding on. We shouldn’t have been surprised. She often regaled us with her wild and wacky life:  Great Adventure (an amusement park) had taken her picture and ordered her to never return (sociopaths in the absence of authorities they respect such as bosses or the police can really go wild); she said she sometimes slugged medical and dental personnel when getting shots (in the face of the pain, she totally dropped the adult self control act and her true primitive self came forward — she was an animal under attack and she had to respond.  With any sociopath or possible sociopath it is a very good idea to note at what point they lose the facade of self control.); and finally she said that cats and dogs generally hated her instantaneously (perhaps this indicates that cats and dogs have an innate sense of fairplay, I don’t know).)

Yet one more interesting twist, is that Madoff’s parents may themselves have been conartists.

Madoff’s mother tangled with the feds

The late Sylvia Madoff was registered as a broker-dealer in the 1960s but left the business after being cited for failing to file reports.

Accused Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff was not the first person in his close-knit family to run afoul of federal authorities.

In my opinion, Bernie’s genetics and brain structure should be studied for clues to his crimes. Is Bernie Madoff one of the “mimics walking shoulder to shoulder with us, who share no fellow human feeling, no empathy, no conscience” (to borrow my own phrase,  It seems likely.

It should never be forgotten that he was a past Chairman of NASDAQ.  Why would investors question the bonafides of a person who once had that responsibility?  In my opinion, no one, no matter what their position, education or background, should be exempt from consideration as a possible sociopath or SAP (socially adept psychopath).

5 thoughts on “More Madoff — for sociopaths there is no such thing as an ingroup

  1. I think you’re correct in surmising that relationships between sociopaths and their children do vary from one sociopath to another. And I think one reason that may be depends on the neurotype of the child.

    If you’ve read M. Scott Peck’s “People of the Lie,” you’ll recall the cases of “Bobby” and “Roger,” two adolescent boys undergoing psychiatric crises who were in the care of parents who, to all appearances, seemed sociopathic.

    For those unfamiliar with this book, Bobby, a depressed teen whose older brother had committed suicide with a .22 rifle, was then given THAT VERY SAME RIFLE as a Christmas present. The depression spawned – or aggravated — by his brother’s suicide reached critical mass; he stole a car, crashed it, and ended up in the hospital where Peck first observed him.

    Roger’s case was more subtle, and, I think, more spiritually lethal. In the course of attempting to treat Roger’s deepening depression, Peck noticed that Roger’s parents seemed to be engaged in a relentless campaign to break Roger’s spirit by undermining his attempts to achieve autonomy and individuation at every possible opportunity. Roger too eventually engaged in some mildly criminal behavior in the course of Peck’s acquaintance with him, and his case was not resolved as satisfactorily as Bobby’s was.

    Although the methods of attack used were superficially dissimilar, they both appeared to be those of sociopathic parents against neurotypical children, whom the sociopathic parents may have seen as, to use the phrase of Andrew Lobaczewski, “not quite conspecific.”

    Neurotypically normal parents of neurotypically normal children enforce a standard of conduct and model a quality of human feeling that is generally grasped and assimilated by all parties involved, depending on the age and maturity level of the children. And in the area of discipline, parental sanctions against theft, aggression and other socially undesirable behaviors are likewise expressed and eventually, if sometimes grudgingly, absorbed. But if neurotypical parents have a neuroatypical child – one who is sociopathic, in the context of this discussion – then a tension develops between the normal parents and the sociopathic child, who continually thwarts the parents’ expectations that the child adhere to the parents’ standard of conduct, one that the sociopathic child likely sees as absurd and contemptible. The parents rarely perceive the true nature of the child’s psychological unlikeness to them, thanks in no small part to the socially ingrained assumption that all humans share the same character structure, and they continue in vain to attempt to instill in the child the psychological orientation natural to them, generally doing so with an underlying sense of self-recrimination.

    But since sociopaths tend to perceive their difference from the majority early in life, sociopathic parents of normal children thus perceive the psychological difference between themselves and neurotypical offspring more easily, and again, a tension develops, but given the sociopathic proclivity for attacking what they perceive as weakness in normals, the lack of ability to nurture in general, and the lack of narcissistic identification with the normal child because of the difference in character structure, they systematically destroy the child psychologically. Bobby and Roger both displayed the evidence of psychological trauma that Lobaczewski noted was the result of subjecting psychologically normal individuals to the control of psychologically abnormal ones. And sociopaths seemingly do not question their child-rearing methods regardless of the devastating results of their “care,” dismissing negative outcomes as some deficiency in the child as Roger’s parents did with Roger. I suspect that some of the reasons behind Roger’s parents’ claim that they had no problems with Roger’s ten-year-old sister may have been that a) she was of their neurotype and Roger was not; b) she had not yet grown to the stage at which she would begin to threaten their control over her via the normal course of maturation; or c) both.

    There is some evidence that sociopathic family members collude against those who are not sociopathic – for an example of this, check out Ann Rule’s book “Everything She Ever Wanted.”

    From only information in the news, I couldn’t begin to imagine what the neurodynamics between Mark and Bernie Madoff could be in this regard, and out of deference to the family’s grief and need for privacy, I wouldn’t even try. But I think these dynamics must be examined far more closely in the general course of looking at family conflict and destruction.


    • Interesting. I remember Bobby’s story, I don’t remember Roger’s very well. It seems to me that Bobby’s parents could very well have been sociopathic but the majority of the book is about the rigidly narcissistic, which has a totally different causality. These are people who choose perfection over humanity. Your points still stand however. It’s also entirely possible that Peck did in fact confuse the rigidly narcissistic and the sociopathic here and there, the victims’ experiences are quite similar for example. I last read “People of the Lie” over ten years ago, I should read it again.

      Let me add that narcissistic parents are definitely poisonous to their children. In my opinion, they (or one of the parents) know that they have made a “death in life” choice and resent a child who wishes to attain a “lived life” and will do anything they can to destroy that child’s spirit and autonomy. Don’t get me started on narcissists, but they are boiled and pickled in self hate, and they hate anyone who has more life force than an amoeba. Narcissistic therapists will also try to destroy their clients, to feed the fire of their insanity.

      But as I say, don’t get me started on narcissists, I make no claim to be able to maintain equilibrium on the subject. I don’t even care if I successfully communicate what I have to say, I just open a vein and let it flow. But I rattle on . . .


    • What a tragedy. Parenting is definitely the achilles heel of sociopathy. It’s also a source of mystery to me. I was very curious to see if Bernie would attend the funeral (he did not). The parent child relationship does seem to be an area of variability from one sociopath to another. Or perhaps not. The investigators said that Jeffrey MacDonald seemed somewhat attached to one of his daughters — the knife stab wounds showed hesitation marks.


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