That’s right, it is time for another debunking. Actually, it will be four debunkings because there are four articles to address. This particular suggestion comes from a reader. If you run across an article that you would like torn apart send it to me, and I will do so.
In these types of posts, I have no interest in attacking the author. There is no value in that. I have no problem dismantling incorrect information, however, so let’s do so. These articles all come from the same author. One of her posts was sent to me, and I found three more hosting similar disinformation.
We shall start with her claims regarding ASPD:
Character Analysis: Antisocial Personality DisorderThe psychology of the psychopathic personality
Antisocial Personality Disorder, also known as psychopathy or sociopathy, is surrounded by exaggerated myths and stories. When we think of this disorder, we picture someone who is a criminal, with an absolute lack of conscience, scary eyes and violent tendencies. But is that all there is to the disorder?
First paragraph and we already have problems. ASPD is not also known as psychopathy or sociopathy. This suggests a couple of problems. One, it suggests that ASPD, psychopathy, and sociopathy are the same thing. You might think this if you think that the DSM has any value past being an insurance repayment manual, but it doesn’t. I spoke about this here:
Fair enough though, not a lot of people are going to dive into the creation of the DSM. It is presented as the end-all, be-all of diagnostics in the world of psychology, and many people will never know how pointless of a “bible” that it is. ASPD has nothing to do with psychopathy or sociopathy, and arguing that it does is a point of ignorance. I spoke about this here:
Antisocial Personality Disorder is essentially an attachment disorder and people who have it exhibit a dismissive-avoidant attachment style. The typical characteristic of someone with the disorder is a strong desire for power and control. This, however, does not necessarily manifest in the form of seeking money or status, but more so as a desire for mental and emotional resilience.
No. Just so much no here. ASPD is not an attachment disorder, it is an externalization of negative things into the world. It can be diagnosed in literally anyone that behaves appropriately. What it does not do is speak about the cause, but as it is a behavioral diagnosis, the cause can be a thousandfold.
An example would be someone with NPD who also has antisocial traits. This in no way makes that person a psychopath. That makes them a malignant narcissist. A person cannot have NPD, someone with severely unstable self-esteem, and have them also be a psychopath, someone that has unassailable self-esteem. Psychopaths cannot experience trauma, NPD requires trauma to exist in the first place.
“The typical characteristic of someone with the disorder is a strong desire for power and control. This, however, does not necessarily manifest in the form of seeking money or status, but more so as a desire for mental and emotional resilience.”
This is completely inaccurate for psychopathy, but is right on point for someone with one of the forms of NPD. Psychopaths don’t care about power, nor are we seeking mental and emotional resilience. Psychopaths have no issue with mental and emotional resilience. In fact, this is considered part of the diagnostic criteria. It’s fine if a person doesn’t know this, but they probably should not be writing articles on psychopathy, sociopathy, or ASPD if that very basic information eludes them.
A psychopath is essentially an individual who seeks freedom from emotional bonds with other people because in his world view dependency, trust, love and affection all lead to helplessness and therefore are traps to be avoided. People with this disorder don’t like to be or want to be attached to anyone, because they perceive attachment as a weakness and something people will use against them to try to subjugate them. As a result, they tend to be extremely preoccupied with winning and not being defeated, not showing any weaknesses or vulnerabilities and not being controlled by other people or societal norms and standards.
*Head on desk*
Nope, and not even close. Where did this idea come from?
Psychopaths do not process oxytocin. The oxytocin receptor in the psychopathic brain is mutated. That means that there is no ability to experience chemical love, trust, bonding, jealousy, as well as several other aspects that oxytocin is responsible for. There is not a “dislike” for attachments, there is a complete physical inability. I don’t see attachment as weakness, I see it as unrelatable to me. I get that other people hold it in high regard, but that has no impact on my life. It is one of those things that makes my experience and that of the neurotypicals in the world completely opposite.
Psychopaths have no interest in “subjugating” people. For that to be a thing we would first have to care about other people. That’s the thing about psychopaths, fundamentally we are entirely self-focused. There is no care about other people. While that may come across as cruel, which I have spoken about before, it is just how we are wired. Psychopaths also are not preoccupied with being “defeated”, “winning”, or “being controlled by other people or societal norms and standards”.
Psychopaths aren’t preoccupied with anything. That’s sort of part of being psychopathic. We don’t worry, we don’t think about others, and we live in the moment. The reason that we have no issue violating social standards or laws has nothing to do with “being controlled by other people or societal norms and standards”. It has to do with the absolute lack of care for any of these things. We get that ya’ll have a social ballet that we are expected to follow, but it hasn’t the value to us that you place in it.
People follow social norms and laws because being cast out of the tribe denies them of a fundamental need that psychopaths do not have, and that is the need for others. Neurotypicals are open emotional circuits that require other human beings to survive. Psychopaths lack this. We are closed emotional circuits. We are concerned with ourselves, because we are all we need for personal fulfillment.
Psychopathy is an attachment disorder and all attachment disorders result from childhood trauma. Early adverse experiences in any form can affect a child’s ability to attach to a primary caregiver.
Emotions are not only critical for survival but also their development depends on the child’s interaction with his environment and caregivers. In other words, children develop emotions through their relationships with their caregivers. If the primary caregiver is responsive to the child’s needs, the child starts to reach out and trust more and his brain eventually learns to relate to people and form secure attachments. On the other hand, children who have been raised in any condition that doesn’t allow for healthy attachments, miss out on a key developmental stage of the brain. Psychopathy is a primitive disorder where the brain is so underdeveloped that the emotional range of someone with the disorder is very shallow.
You know how psychopaths are always accused of thinking themselves superior to the rest of the world? It amazes me that psychopaths being uninterested in being neurotypical, or wanting anything to do with neurotypical emotional experiences means that we consider ourselves superior, but a paragraph like this is considered totally normal thinking by NTs.
This paragraph begins with absolute nonsense. Psychopathy has nothing to do with attachment. It is a genetically coded variant brain structure, and a difference in how the brain processes things. It is coded before birth, and a psychopath is a psychopath from the moment that they draw their first breath. Attachment has nothing to do with it, nor does how a psychopath is parented. Yes, environment can cause an antisocial psychopath, but they only account for about ten percent of all psychopaths. Environment does not cause psychopathy, genetics does. Also, psychopathy is not a “disorder”. Yes, our brain is different. That in no way means that it is underdeveloped.
I have no interest in being neurotypical, and having decreased emotional experiences is a boon to me. It is certainly not something that I wish were anything different for me. If you are judging a “developed brain” against the standards of a neurotypical brain, you are making the assumption that neurotypical is a better state of being. You may think that for yourself, but that has nothing to do with reality, it is simply your hubris speaking. Neurotypicaltiy has no appeal to those of us that aren’t. I do not bemoan your desire to be as you are, but deciding that people that aren’t like you somehow do not hold as much value as human beings, that seems to be rather self-obsessed.
Someone with shallow affect is in a neutral and unemotional state most of the time but events can trigger an emotional reaction for them. And it’s not a case of not being able to feel certain emotions but more that they are short lived and not very intense. So, psychopaths can feel fear and anxiety but it’s more of a physical reaction they would feel it in their stomach and not something long lasting. Most of their feelings are thoughts only. In other words, they can feel anxiety in the form of paranoia and hypervigilance but they are rarely “emotionally” anxious. Recreational drugs and alcohol don’t work on psychopaths effectively either. They can feel physically high but they don’t get the happy euphoric feelings to the same extent normal people do. Despite the fact that they have a tendency to abuse substances, they don’t suffer from withdrawals like normal people.
This is the most accurate paragraph of the entire post, but that does not mean that it is very accurate at all. Yes, psychopaths have shallow emotions, for those emotions that we can feel. However, there are several emotions that are missing for us, which I discussed here:
Emotions for psychopaths, those that can be felt, are shallow in nature. This is because of how the brain is formed. The mutated oxytocin receptor means that all emotions that relate to oxytocin are lacking. There are others that are lacking as well. For instance, I can be angry for a moment, but I will never experience rage. Rage is a very intense emotion, which means that it will never happen for me. I can’t even imagine it.
She makes the claim that psychopaths can feel fear and anxiety, but only in their stomachs. This is somewhat true, but it isn’t fear that we are feeling. Fear is a two-fold experience. It is the physiological response, and the emotional experience combined. Psychopaths lack the emotional response, and only have a physiological one caused by adrenaline. I went over this in detail here:
She then goes on to say:
“Most of their feelings are thoughts only. In other words, they can feel anxiety in the form of paranoia and hypervigilance but they are rarely “emotionally” anxious.”
Paranoia is described as:
a mental condition characterized by delusions of persecution, unwarranted jealousy, or exaggerated self-importance, typically elaborated into an organized system. It may be an aspect of chronic personality disorder, of drug abuse, or of a serious condition such as schizophrenia in which the person loses touch with reality.
Yeah… psychopaths don’t experience any of that. There are no delusions of persecution, no jealousy, no exaggerated self-importance. I know what I rock at, I know what I suck at. I have no pride about what I am good at, I simply acknowledge it. I have no shame about what I suck at, I simply either do my best to improve at it, or if that isn’t possible, I find something else to do. Neither one makes me better than anyone else. There also isn’t hypervigilance either. That is related to PTSD, not psychopathy. Someone with PTSD can have antisocial traits, so that is likely where that conflation comes from.
However, this passage:
“Recreational drugs and alcohol don’t work on psychopaths effectively either. They can feel physically high but they don’t get the happy euphoric feelings to the same extent normal people do. Despite the fact that they have a tendency to abuse substances, they don’t suffer from withdrawals like normal people.”
is mostly accurate. Psychopaths can’t get addicted to things, and the feelings of euphoria don’t happen with us. The part about many psychopaths using drugs comes from the fact that all studies on psychopathy are done in prisons, and the cohort will be constructed of mostly people with ASPD, not psychopathy. A lot of people in prison abuse substances, and a lot of people are in prison because of substances. Fifty to eighty percent of people in prison qualify for a diagnosis of ASPD, whereas less than fifteen percent qualify for a diagnosis of psychopathy. Most of the conclusions drawn about psychopaths are drawn from badly designed and populated studies.
Contrary to popular belief, psychopaths are unlikely to use physical violence towards their partners, friends and family. The abuse they perpetrate towards their loved ones is usually in the form of emotional neglect. They deny any feelings of dependency and emphasize how little they care about their partners. They also tend to show this with their behaviour as opposed to simply verbalising it. For example, they might not say ‘I don’t care about you’ to their partners’ face but instead act completely unconcerned in regards to their whereabouts and well-being. They might push them into having an open relationship and give their partners freedom to do whatever they want. Jealousy and possessiveness would indicate dependency and a level of care, whereas indifference would imply detachment. By making sure they are always presenting an indifferent façade and going out of their way to prove that they are not emotionally attached to anyone, psychopaths make their partners feel not worthy of being loved and cared for.
This one is mostly based on the neurotypical perception of psychopaths and how we deal with others in relationships. It is not entirely incorrect at the beginning. The perception of others when it comes to how psychopaths experience relationships can seem very dismissive. It can feel unbalanced, it can feel unequal, all of this is true. It is also up to both partners to find a way to deal with it. A psychopath will never experience chemical love, that does not mean that we do not have our own version of love, which is cognitive love. I spoke about that here:
She then says:
“They deny any feelings of dependency and emphasize how little they care about their partners.”
It isn’t that we deny it, it isn’t there. We are fiercely independent in nature. There is no need of others emotionally, and while there is certainly investment in the structure of the world, making other humans necessary for a good life (I don’t farm for instance), that doesn’t change the fact that there is no need of other people. Their services, sure, but not them as people. This can be very hurtful to other people that are unaware of how we internally function. Hell, it can be very disquieting even when people do understand how we internally function, but that doesn’t change the fact that while you may need us, we do not need you. We choose to be in that relationship, it is not something that we are depending on to make us in any way happy. Also, psychopaths have the responsibility to make sure that they meet their partner’s needs in ways that makes them feel wanted.
There is a fundamental disconnect between how psychopaths relate to people, and how NTs do. As I mentioned, both partners are going to have to make serious adjustments in order to be in a relationship with one another. She then goes back into the perception of NTs over the reality of psychopaths by saying:
“They also tend to show this with their behaviour as opposed to simply verbalising it. For example, they might not say ‘I don’t care about you’ to their partners’ face but instead act completely unconcerned in regards to their whereabouts and well-being.”
I don’t ask about anyone’s wellbeing unless I am masked. I assume if they aren’t okay, they will tell me so. If they say nothing they are fine. This is because this is how it works for psychopaths. We don’t complain. It isn’t in our DNA to do so. We have no need of regaling others with our state of mind. We are contained beings. I don’t need other people to reassure me, I have nothing that I need support on, and unless I say otherwise, I’m fine. We assume this is the case with everyone. We do not understand this need that NTs have of discussing every little detail of their lives, nor do we have a concept of bottling things up. If it needs saying, it is said. Otherwise, there will be silence.
“They might push them into having an open relationship and give their partners freedom to do whatever they want.”
This is not something that I have any interest in doing. I do not have the time or patience to deal with multiple people. I have no interest in seeing other people and dealing with their nonsense, nor do I want to be bothered with my SO bringing any of that home for me to have to hear about. Partners are with me alone, or they are on their own.
However, I can see this being something that a psychopath might consider in whatever circumstances that they have. If you have a particularly needy partner, shoving that emotional cacophony onto someone else for them to handle, I can see that being a win.
“Jealousy and possessiveness would indicate dependency and a level of care, whereas indifference would imply detachment.”
Nope. Psychopaths simply don’t have the ability to feel either. Both are oxytocin-based emotions. As it doesn’t bind to the receptor that we have, it passes through our system unused. Therefore, no jealousy, no possessiveness. Again, it would be best if a person understood these things prior to writing about them.
“By making sure they are always presenting an indifferent façade and going out of their way to prove that they are not emotionally attached to anyone, psychopaths make their partners feel not worthy of being loved and cared for.”
This one actually makes me laugh. It is the epitome of “I don’t understand anything about how psychopaths function”. To believe this you have to be assuming that psychopaths experience the world as NTs do. We do not go out of our way to demonstrate not being attached, and if you actually knew anything about psychopaths, you would know that the “façade” is anything that we do that makes it seem otherwise.
Psychopaths literally do not need other people. However, we understand that NTs are wired differently, and have to attend to those needs for a variety of reasons. The largest of which is to blend in. Unless we look like we think and feel like everyone else, we get the torches and pitchforks at our doors, and we know that. The mask is the creation of the same emotional experience of those around us. That is literally “the façade”. It isn’t the other way around, where we feel all the things that you do, but we have nothing better to do but make you think that we don’t.
I am not denying that a psychopath that fails at meeting their partner’s needs causes that partner pain. It isn’t as though that is the goal, however. Just as this article clearly demonstrates that the author does not understand the first thing about how we think, we definitely do not understand the need for others that neurotypicals have either.
For us, we are just placating what you are telling us you require. We will do what we can to meet those needs, but we do not share them. We have no concept of your suffering because someone doesn't call you, text you, ask how your day is, care about whatever drama you have going on with your friends. None of that is important to us. We have no care about whether or not you call, text, ask how we are, and we don’t indulge in the drama nonsense. It holds no value to us. When you are around, we will enjoy your company. When you aren’t, we don’t think about you much. even if you happen to cross our minds, you aren’t missed. We will see you when we see you, speak to you when we speak to you, otherwise, you aren’t going to occupy our time. It’s not an indictment of you as a person, it’s just how our minds work.
The assumption that psychopaths are just doing these things to cause pain is laughable. It is the victim mentality on display, and demonstrates how clueless neurotypicals are regarding how we function. It is clear to me that this person is completely focused on neurotypicals’ wants and needs, and assumes that they are valuable to anyone other than them.
They aren’t to a psychopath. We do not share your needs, and the expectation of us to meet them, and the condemnation when we don’t is hubris. We do so in order to blend in, and when someone comes along and improves upon my preferred state of solitude, like my Significant Other, and like my inner circle, I will do what I can to accommodate them in my life. It is just part of mutual relationships. When we fail to do so that isn’t because we are d*cks looking to cause harm in the world. It is because you guys are very different than we are. Interestingly, we are expected to know everything about what you guys need, want, and how you function, but there is this abject void of understanding of us. Yet people still feel the need to write totally inaccurate articles about us, and then when we disagree with the claims within them, somehow we are the ones that are wrong.
Overall, this article is mostly incorrect. It draws from many of the myths that people think of psychopaths, not accurate information. It is not too different from many posts about psychopathy, because people who decide to write about psychopathy have no idea how far down you have to dive before you can begin to make sense of it. There is no comprehension of how much garbage, misinformation, and bad science are attached to psychopathy. Instead of actually doing solid research, they instead are depending on Hare to do the heavy lifting, and will draw their conclusions based on his faulty work.
There will be three more of these, all from the same author over the next few posts.