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InvisibleToadie
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Registered: 09/27/02
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Know your enemy...The Psychopath.
    #3914318 - 03/14/05 01:55 AM (11 years, 11 months ago)

Here's a very interesting article on how psychopathy has deeply permaeated our society and what you can do to keep yourself from being hurt by one.

His family had a summer cottage by a small lake in the hills of Virginia. They vacationed there from the time Skip was 8 years old. He looked forward to his summers. There was not a lot to do there, but the one activity he had invented was so much fun that it made up for the general lack of excitement. In fact, sometimes back at school, he would picture himself playing his game by the warm Virginia lake, and he would chuckle out loud.

Skip was brilliant and handsome, even as a child. "Brilliant and handsome," his parents and his parents' friends and even his teachers would remark. He really was extremely smart?he could have made straight A-plusses?but getting Cs was effortless. Occasionally, he would even get a B, which amused him, since he never studied. The teachers seemed to be almost as vulnerable to his smiles and compliments as the girls were, and everyone assumed that young Skip would end up at a good high school and decent college.
His parents were "megarich," as the other kids put it. On several occasions when he was about 12, Skip sat at his desk, trying to calculate how much money he would get when they died. He based his calculations on financial records he had stolen from his father's study. The records were confusing and incomplete, but even though he could not arrive at an exact figure, Skip could see clearly that some-day he would be quite rich.

Still, he was bored most of the time. The amusements he pursued, the girls, fooling the teachers, thinking about his money, did not keep him energized. No, the only real relief from boredom was the fun he could have during the summers in Virginia. The first summer, when he was 8, he had simply stabbed bullfrogs with a pair of scissors, for want of another method. He would hold them and stab their bulging stomachs. Then he would hurl the corpses far out into the lake yelling, "Too bad for you, you little f_k-face froggy!"
He could spend hours at a time killing them. But by the end of that first summer, Skip was tired of stabbing the frogs. He decided he could do better, and it would be so great to make the fat little squirmers explode. When Skip got his hands on a set of fireworks, some were small enough to fit into the mouth of a bullfrog. So he shoved them, one by one, into the mouths of the frogs, ignited them,and threw the frogs high into the air.

Skip's parents heard the explosions, and they imagined that Skipper must be setting off fireworks by the lake. But they had long known realized that he was not the sort of child who could be controlled an( that they needed to choose their battles carefully. The firework: issue was one they chose to ignore. His sister Claire came running it with news of him blowing up frogs. Skip's mother turned up thier record player in the library as loud as it would go, and Claire tried to hide her cat.

SKIP HAS NO CONSCIENCE?no intervening sense of obliga tion based in emotional attachments to others. Yet, he is charming Just as it is difficult to imagine how we would feel if we had no con-science at all, it is also very hard to use one's imagination to construct an accurate picture of such a person. Amoral and uncaring, Skip
sociopathic. One might easily imagine that Skip grew up to be a psychopathic killer. Perhaps he murdered his parents for theft money. Maybe he wound up dead himself, or in prison. But nothing of the kind actually happened.
Skip is still alive, he has never killed anyone, not directly at least, and he has not seen the inside of a prison. To the contrary, though he has not yet inherited his parents' money, he has become successful and richer than a king. And if you met him now, encountered him as a stranger in a restaurant or on the street, he would look like any other well-groomed middle-aged fellow in a pricey business suit.
He did not recover or get better, but he became Super Skip.
With passing, if not stellar, grades, his charm and his family's influence, Skip did indeed get into that good boarding school in Massachusetts, and his family breathed a sigh of relief. His teachers still found him charismatic, but his mother and sister had learned that he was manipulative and spooky Claire would sometimes speak of "Skipper's weird eyes," and her mother would give her a defeated look that said, "I don't want to talk about it." Most everyone else saw only a handsome young face.
When college came around, Skip was accepted into his father's alma mater, where he became legendary as a party boy and ladies' man. Later, he even entered an MBA program. He had figured out that the business world was a place where he might master the game easily and amuse himself using his natural skills. His grades got no better, but his lifelong ability to charm people and get them to do what he wanted was refined.
When Skip was 26, he joined the Arika Corporation, a company that made equipment for metal-ore mines. To his new employers he seemed almost magically talented at motivating sales representatives and influencing contacts. For his part, Skip had discovered that manipulating educated adults was no harder than it had been to convince his young friends to buy fireworks. And of course lying, in increasingly elegant ways, came as easily as breathing.

Even better, chronically bored Skip relished the pressures of fast-track risk taking and was more than willing to take the big chances that no one else would. He went after copper in Chile and gold in South Africa, eventually making Arika the world's third-largest vendor of both shaft and open-pit mining equipment. Arika's founder, whom
Skip privately viewed as a fool, was so enchanted with Skip that he gave him a new Ferrari as a "corporate gift."
When he was 30, Skip married Juliette, the lovely, soft-spoken 23-year-old daughter of a celebrated billionaire who had made his fortune in oil exploration. Skip made sure that Juliette's father saw him as the brilliant, ambitious son he never had. Skip saw his billionaire father-in-law as what he was, a ticket to just about every-thing. And, quite accurately, he saw his new wife as a sweet, repressed gentlewoman who would accept her role as wife and social coordinator and who would pretend not to know that Skip's life remained just as devoid of personal responsibility and full of random sexual encounters as it had ever been.
Married, socially ensconced and bringing in close to $80 million a year for Arika, Skip was made president of its international division and a member of the board before his 36th birthday. By this time, he and Juliette had two little girls, completing his public disguise as a family man. His contributions to the business came with a certain price, but nothing that could not be handled. Employees sometimes complained that he was Insulting" or "vicious," and Arika was sued when a secretary claimed he had broken her arm while he tried to force her to sit on his lap.

The other board members began to refer to him as their "company prima donna." As the years passed, he received grants of more than 1 million shares, making him the second-largest individual shareholder, after Arika's founder. And, at the age of 51, Skip took over as chief executive.

Despite his success, Skip is a true tragedy. There is a central flaw in his nature. Skip has no emotional attachments to other people. His mother is to be ignored. His sister is to be tormented. Other women are sexual plunder. His employees are to be manipulated and used. His wife and his children are camouflage. Skip is intellectually gifted, and he is fabulous at the gamesmanship of business. But by far his most impressive talent is his ability to conceal from nearly everyone the true emptiness of his heart?and to command the passive silence of those who do know.
For even if you have caught on to his modus operandi, how will you call him out? Who can you tell, and what will you say? "He's a liar." "He's crazy" "He raped me in his office." "He's got spooky eyes." "He used to kill frogs." But this is a leader of the community, in an Armani suit. Just what are you accusing him of, and what proof do you have? And sealing his invulnerability, there are those who need Skip for one reason or another, including people who are wealthy and powerful.

What makes him tick? What does he want?
Skip is brilliant at winning. He can bend others to his will. He can make fools of his well-educated employers and even his billionaire father-in-law. He can cause these otherwise sophisticated people to jump, and then laugh at them behind their backs. If someone does complain, he can cut that person off at the knees with just a well-placed word or two.
Most of us have people to motivate us and to populate our desires. People drive our wishes and dreams?people who live with us, people who are far away, beloved people who have died, aggravating people who will not leave. Even the most introverted among us is defined by his relationships, and preoccupied with reactions to and feelings about other people. We are overwhelmingly relational creatures, and this is true all the way back to our primate ancestors. Without our primordial attachments to others, what would we be?
Evidently, we would be the players of a game, one that resembled a giant chess match, with our fellow human beings as the rooks, knights and pawns. For this is the essence of sociopathic behavior and desire. The only thing Skip really wants?the only thing left?is to win.

People whom we assess as evil tend to see nothing wrong with their way of being. Sociopaths are infamous for their refusal to acknowledge responsibility for the decisions they make or for the outcomes of their decisions. In fact, a refusal to see the results of one's bad behavior as having anything to do with oneself is a cornerstone of the antisocial personality diagnosis.

A person's tendency to possess certain sociopathic characteristics is partially inborn, perhaps as much as 50 percent. Studies indicate that the brains of normal people attend to, remember and recognize words that refer to emotional experiences more readily than they do emotion-neutral words. Lovewill be recognized as a word faster than look will be, and a greater evoked potential will result in the brain, very much as if love were a more primal and meaningful piece of information than look.

Not so for sociopaths. Sociopathic subjects, who have been tested using language-processing tasks, respond to emotionally charged words no differently than they do to neutral words. In sociopaths, the evoked potential for sob or kiss is no larger than the one for sal or list.
In related research using brain-imaging technology, sociopathic subjects showed increased blood flow to the temporal lobes, relative to other subjects, when they were given a decision task that involved emotional words. You or I might exhibit such an increased cerebral blood flow if we were asked to solve a mildly challenging intellectual problem. Sociopaths trying to complete an assignment based on emotional words, a task that would be almost neurologically instantaneous for normal people, reacted physiologically as if they had been asked to work out an algebra problem.

The prevalence of sociopathy in the United States seems to be increasing. A 1991 study, sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health, reported that in the 15 years preceding the study, the prevalence of antisocial personality disorder had nearly doubled among the young in America.

Some cultures contain fewer sociopaths than do others. Sociopathy appears to be relatively rare in certain East Asian countries. Studies conducted in Taiwan have found a low prevalence of anti-social personality disorder, ranging from .03 percent to .14 percent?impressively less than the Western world's average of 4 percent.

Few people would disagree that, from the Wild West of the past to the corporate outlaws of the present, American society seems to allow and even encourage me-first attitudes devoted to the pursuit of domination. Robert Hare, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of British Columbia, writes: "Our society is moving in the direction of permitting, reinforcing, and in some instances valuing some traits such as impulsivity, irresponsibility, lack of remorse." Other theorists propose that North American culture, which holds individualism as a central value, tends to foster the development of antisocial behavior, and also to disguise it. In America, the guiltless manipulation of other people "blends" with social expectations to a much greater degree than it would in more group-centered societies.

Perhaps the overriding belief systems of some cultures encourage born sociopaths to compensate cognitively for what they are missing emotionally. In contrast with our extreme emphasis on individualism and personal control, certain cultures, many in East Asia, dwell theologically on the interrelatedness of all living things. Though sociopaths fin East Asia) lack an internal mechanism that tells them they are connected to others, the larger culture insists that they are connected?as opposed to our culture, which informs them that their ability to act guiltlessly on their own behalf is the ultimate advantage. This would explain why a Western family by itself cannot redeem a born sociopath. There are too many voices in the larger society implying that his approach to the world is correct.

Had Skip been born into a Buddhist culture, would he have killed those frogs? Perhaps, or perhaps not. His brain would have been the same, but the people around him would have maintained that respect for life was necessary. Skip would still have been Skip. He would have felt no honor for the frogs, no guilt if he murdered them, but he might have refrained from doing so because his culture had unanimously taught him a lesson about how to fit in. Sociopaths do not care about their social world, but they do want, and need, to blend in. it

MARTHA STOUT, Ph.D., is a psychologist and clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School. She is the author of The Myth of Sanity: Divided Consciousness and the Promise of Awareness.

TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS.
In a contest between your instincts and what is implied by someone else's role?as a doctor, animal lover, parent? go with your instincts. Your unfiltered impressions may help you if you let them.

Your best self understands that impressive and moral-sounding labels do not bestow conscience on anyone who did not have it to begin with.

PRACTICE THE RULE OF THREES. One lie, one broken promise or one neglected responsibility may be a misunderstanding. Two may involve a serious mistake. But three lies say you're dealing with a liar, and deceit is the linchpin of conscienceless behavior. Cut your losses and get out. Do not give your money, your work, your secrets or your affection to a three-timer.

QUESTION AUTHORITY, especially when people claim that dominating others, violence, war or some other violation of your conscience is the grand solution to some problem. Do this even when everyone around you has stopped questioning authority. At least six out of ten people will blindly obey official-looking authority.

SUSPECT FLATTERY. Flattery is extreme and appeals to our egos in unrealistic ways. It is the material of counterfeit charm and nearly always involves intent to manipulate. Manipulation through flattery is sometimes innocuous and sometimes sinister. Peek over your massaged ego and take a closer look.

REDEFINE YOUR CONCEPT OF RESPECT. Too often, we mistake fear for respect, and the more fearful we are of someone, the more we view him or her as deserving of our respect.

DO NOT JOIN THE GAME. Intrigue is a sociopath's tool. Resist the temptation to compete with a seductive sociopath, to outsmart him, psychoanalyze or even banter with him. Instead of
reducing yourself to his level, focus on protecting yourself.

QUESTION YOUR TENDENCY TO PITY. Respect should be reserved for the kind and the morally courageous. If you find yourself pitying someone who consistently hurts you or other people, and who actively campaigns for your sympathy, chances are you are dealing with a sociopath. ?MS



Here is the original article:









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No statements made in any post or message by myself now, in the past or in the future should be construed to mean that I am now, or have ever been, participating in or considering participation in any activities that violate any local, provincial, and/or federal statutes. All posts created by myself are works of fiction.


Edited by Toadie (03/14/05 02:50 AM)


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InvisiblePsychoactive1984
PositiveCynicist
Male
Registered: 02/06/05
Posts: 3,546
Loc: California, Monterey Coun...
Re: Know your enemy...The Psychopath. [Re: Toadie]
    #3914792 - 03/14/05 03:54 AM (11 years, 11 months ago)

Interesting...

I see skip as someone who's parents didn't give a shit... nothing more. As a result, he didn't give a shit. (Morality/connection/understanding etc...)

/shrug

IMO psychologists tend to overexagerate and to read too deep into it.... surprisingly I've read no mention of tossing him a prozac... is this an older article?


--------------------
"Their is one overriding question that concerns us all: How can we get out of the fatal groove we are in, the one that is leading towards the brink?" Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
"We may not be capable of eradicating the corruption of reason, but we must nevertheless counter it at every instance and with every means." Dan Agin
"Politics is the best religion and politicians are the worst followers."
-It's ok to trip as long as you don't fall.
-Substance over Style.
-Common sense is uncommon.


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OfflineSWEDEN
Miracle of Science

Registered: 10/25/04
Posts: 2,577
Loc: PNW
Last seen: 3 years, 2 months
Re: Know your enemy...The Psychopath. [Re: Psychoactive1984]
    #3915897 - 03/14/05 01:02 PM (11 years, 11 months ago)

The message I think the author was trying to get across is that psychopathy, or specifically sociopathy, is given a favorable environment to thrive in Western culture. The problem is with the culture as a whole, and not the individual (who in a Bhuddist culture would have learned to respect life and emotions like love, even if he cannot truly feel it.) So tossing him a prozac may fix the individual but it is only a thumb in the dike, so to speak.


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OfflinePhluck
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Registered: 04/11/99
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Re: Know your enemy...The Psychopath. [Re: Psychoactive1984]
    #3916113 - 03/14/05 01:50 PM (11 years, 11 months ago)

I don't think you've ever met a real psychopath, if you think anyone would consider giving them Prozac. It's not an emotional problem for them, they don't feel bad.

I've known a couple, and it truly is like meeting someone without a soul.

Check these out:
http://www.swin.edu.au/victims/resources/assessment/personality/psychopathy_checklist.html
http://www.geocities.com/lycium7/hare-checklist.html

Psychopathy isn't like a mild personality disorder, and it doesn't necessarily mean the person is violent at all.

Have you ever met someone who was charming, friendly, outgoing, and very sociable... but who fucked over all his best friends, turned them into enemies, and moved on to the next group? Created elaborate drama in order to manipulate people for his own means?


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"I have no valid complaint against hustlers. No rational bitch. But the act of selling is repulsive to me. I harbor a secret urge to whack a salesman in the face, crack his teeth and put red bumps around his eyes." -Hunter S Thompson
http://phluck.is-after.us


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InvisibleYidakiMan
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Registered: 09/29/02
Posts: 2,023
Re: Know your enemy...The Psychopath. [Re: Phluck]
    #3916710 - 03/14/05 04:41 PM (11 years, 11 months ago)

I knew a guy that explained serial killers...
Heres a story
A mother dies and her two daughters show up at a funeral. One is single and one showed up with an unknown boyfriend. The next day the sister with the boyfriend is killed by the other sister. Why did she kill? Normal people will say jealosy. But a seriously fucked up individual will come up with this answer.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
To see if the boyfriend shows up at the funeral.


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OfflineGomp
¡(Bound to·(O))be free!
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Re: Know your enemy...The Psychopath. [Re: YidakiMan]
    #3916755 - 03/14/05 04:55 PM (11 years, 11 months ago)

your only enemy if any, is yourself..

:heartpump:


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InvisiblePsychoactive1984
PositiveCynicist
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Registered: 02/06/05
Posts: 3,546
Loc: California, Monterey Coun...
Re: Know your enemy...The Psychopath. [Re: Gomp]
    #3919039 - 03/15/05 02:19 AM (11 years, 11 months ago)

Quote:

Phluck said:
I don't think you've ever met a real psychopath, if you think anyone would consider giving them Prozac. It's not an emotional problem for them, they don't feel bad.

I've known a couple, and it truly is like meeting someone without a soul.




Sorry it was more of a Joke... Most Psychiatrists would tend to throw drugs at an issue rather then confront the situation from what I've experienced. (Note: I've met, and I've read about many a fucked up person)

.... Anyhow... all this medicine shit, and what not tends to get on my nerves... as most of it is rather ineffective in terms of "treatment" as it were.

The issue isn't some chemical imbalance, it's being raised poorly. Just my $0.02.


--------------------
"Their is one overriding question that concerns us all: How can we get out of the fatal groove we are in, the one that is leading towards the brink?" Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
"We may not be capable of eradicating the corruption of reason, but we must nevertheless counter it at every instance and with every means." Dan Agin
"Politics is the best religion and politicians are the worst followers."
-It's ok to trip as long as you don't fall.
-Substance over Style.
-Common sense is uncommon.


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InvisibleLe_Canard
Doesn't need no stinkin' badge.

Registered: 05/17/03
Posts: 93,507
Loc: Earthfarm 1 Flag
Re: Know your enemy...The Psychopath. [Re: Toadie]
    #3919113 - 03/15/05 02:36 AM (11 years, 11 months ago)

Fascinating stuff, indeed. Thanks for posting this. I believe I've come across a few Sociopaths in my time, and it's always been a mystery to me how one could be so self-absorbed, manipulative and uncaring....


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