How much detail should I go into, how much proof of sociopathy should I offer?

A comment (https://pathwhisperer.wordpress.com/2010/01/25/the-psychopathic-personality-and-human-evolution-and-why-cant-women-recognize-psychopaths/#comment-1108) got me thinking on this topic.  After thinking about it my answer is ‘not much.’

As I see it, my problem is similar to proving that giraffes live in every town square (assuming of course that they did).  The question wouldn’t be one of proof but rather why couldn’t the majority of people see the giraffes — no “proof” would be sufficient.  My task would be to work on what was stopping individuals from seeing those giraffes.

In the past people, who think they have never known a sociopath and don’t expect to during their lifetimes, have asked me to prove that a mutual acquaintance was a sociopath.  And I have tried to do so.  I wouldn’t bother again.

In this blog I’m trying to “infiltrate” the reader’s thought processes, to plant a seed that may lay dormant until the reader needs the problem-solving knowledge and thought processes that I am offering.  My aim is to get readers thinking about sociopaths, to enable them to recognize the flavor of sociopathy and eventually to get them to develop the tools to recognize them.  But there is no 4-step method to do it, no 1-2-3-understand technique.

In western society we basically believe everything understandable is understandable by everybodyThis is not a bad thing, it has given us the scientific method for example.  But if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.  It is narcissistic (which is another trait of western society, particularly anglo-saxon) to imagine that dry reason will take us into the depths of the human soul.

In a comment of mine (https://pathwhisperer.wordpress.com/2008/05/12/welcome/#comment-1110) I used the phrase “shiny arrogant faces” and described instant “OMG, that person’s a sociopath” recognitions.  Later I was wondering how that would strike readers.  Well if the reader already relied on flash insights in their life, that would encourage them to continue to do so.  If they did not, I’m trying to tell them that they actually aren’t deaf, dumb and blind.

As a professionally trained non-professional actor (call me a hobbyist if you wish) I believe the power of the human mind is in the subconscious.  In acting you understand your character’s motivations, you give him your soul and life experiences and then you get out of the way.  What makes art art is the expression of truths that can’t be put in words.

Narcissists (those who overvalue the mind/words over the soul/emotions) generally think they are superior to the emotionally driven.  However often they are seeking to simplify their world and avoid the complexities of the soul and human motivations.  Thus they often insist that everyone else should be as deaf, dumb and blind as they are.  I am trying to crack that somehow.

In a sense recognizing sociopaths is akin to blues aficionados stating who they consider to be blues singers and who merely singers of blues songs.  There is nothing democratic or formula-istic about it.  If one is not a blues fan one has no opinion of any import.  In the end the lists will overlap but not to a hundred percent.

Some may object to this comparison on the grounds that it’s not scientific — and absolutely it’s not.  Well if you want science go to brain structure and DNA.  Recognizing sociopaths is a “soul task” — particularly if you wish to be able to sometimes recognize SAPs (socially adept psychopaths) who could never be caught by checklists and/or questionnaires.

The idea that checklists and delineated behaviors could identify sociopaths (particularly highly-intelligent passing or successful SAPs) is akin to asking for rules to know when another means the words, “I love you.” It’s not going to happen (and, as they say, if you have to ask you will never know).  It’s also akin to the judgment-impaired asking for rules to recognize the trustworthy.  Again, an impossibility.  I do pay attention to behaviors and rough checklists but in the end I have to “feel it” to believe that someone is a sociopath.  Actually there are many areas to pay attention to — any sign of arrested development, which covers anything from personality development, sense of humor, to small behaviors and physicality.  But the “flavor of sociopathy” is essential (and I cannot define it) for we all have our child selves still within us and these selves will sometimes come forward.  And finally, certain arrogances, a coldness belying humanity, certain weird eyes, etc.

I think it’s worth mentioning that many of the things I look for as signs of possible sociopathy, I actually often noticed throughout my life.  But if I could go back and talk to my young adult self, my younger self would remain unconvinced.  My younger self would say, ‘I see what you are talking about but why should I believe they mean what you say.  I think they are just relatively minor traits but you say they are signs of a dichotomous form of humanity without a conscience.  I just don’t see it.’

4 thoughts on “How much detail should I go into, how much proof of sociopathy should I offer?

  1. Hello, I often read google posts to see if there actually is anyone out there who gets it. This is the first time ive ever replied. Im dissapointed with the checklists everyone links. You said it was a matter of the soul, that is why Im responding. First, let me impress on anyone who might read this that there is noone studying you! Ive been watching since my eyes saw light . There is no need to study. I see everything you are by the gait of your walk, the way you hold your cellphone, how long you wait as you look to see if theres a car crossing. In that time I know you. If youre interesting we might meet. If we did I would be what you needed. You dont even know what you need, only want. You would love me, youre friends would be suspicious but it wouldnt matter because by then I would already be liked and respected by your family. You might think thats manipulation. What are my goals? Ill tell you then you can decide. Ive seen your mind. Ive seen your soul and your heart .I saw in an instant everything you are, every experience that made you that way and what you ultimately will be. I will own every piece of that. It will be mine to keep. I will not leave until you are broken. So, quit spreading those tired old lies disguised as insight that Im after money or Ill cry to invoke sympathy. I couldnt think of anything more boring

  2. For example I often pick out psychopaths in a coffee shop. Most people are on their laptops and totally oblivious. Psychopaths often will sit there with no lap top emmanating this vague creepiness. Kind of half tuned into to all the energy around him. I think they kind of feed on other peoples energy. I thgink they do it by making people nervous and feeding on the nervous energy. They do little subtle things like make eye contact but not smile. Talk to themselves, sing to themselves. They act slightly off, slightly overly friendly but not enough to cause anyone to say anything directly to them.

  3. I have a weird thing where I can tell when people are thinking about me. I can feel it. This goes for everybody. With psychopaths its a very disturbing sensation. So its a tip off. But other people probably don’t have as highly developed intuition. Most people can sense if someone is staring at them and most people feel uncomfortable in a situation where everyone is looking at them.

    So everyone has this ability they just aren’t tuned into it. So this is probably why most people can’t detect psychopaths. They are too oblivious to other peoples emotional states and thought processes. Probably I’m a reverse psychopath in a way. More empathetic than most and so I have this strong reaction to psychopaths.

  4. I have a nine year old son. Amongst his acquaintance I have observed 2 sociopaths. One was clearly detectable at the age of 4, the other at 7.

    Once the Hare indicators are pointed out to people, they almost universally agree on these kids. I suspect that they are relatively easy to detect as kids merely because their social skills are less developed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s