Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sociopaths in literature: Persuasion

The charming, social climbing, unreproachable Mr. Elliot from Jane Austen's Persuasion:
Mr. Elliot is a man without heart or conscience; a designing, wary, cold-blooded being, who thinks only of himself; who, for his own interest or ease, would be guilty of any cruelty, or any treachery, that could be perpetrated without risk of his general character. He has no feeling for others. Those whom he has been the chief cause of leading into ruin, he can neglect and desert without the smallest compunction. He is totally beyond the reach of any sentiment of justice or compassion. Oh! he is black at heart, hollow and black.

93 comments:

  1. You know M.E., it’s interesting that you post about sociopathic-like characters in literature, film, television and so on your blog. I’ve always identified with the so called villains of many stories way more than I do the so called heroes. The first time I became consciously aware of this preference was when I watched “House of Cards”, a Masterpiece Theatre presentation that originally aired back in 1990. I was all of 16. In the villain protagonist Francis Urquhart basically lies, schemes, manipulates and murders his way into the prime minister position in Great Britain. And just when the intrepid reporter confronts him with the knowledge that she knows everything and the bad guy inevitably has to “pay for his crimes”, he throws her off of a roof, makes it look like a suicide and goes on to become prime minister. That was the end. I was so delighted! It was great fun. Ever since then, I’ve always rooted for the intelligent antagonist, anti-hero, heroic sociopath or magnificent bastard. (See TV Tropes.)

    Why? Well the heroes are often on the defensive while the villain is often on the offensive. The hero so often spends his entire time in the story reacting to what the villain is doing or trying to do. In this way, the hero is reactionary while the villain is progressive. Also, heroes often exemplify the virtues of the common laborer (hard work, blind loyalty, honesty, honor and so on) while the smart villain exemplifies intelligence, cunning and insight. These are the reasons why I’ve always identified more with Lex Luthor than with Superman for instance, or Ozymandias verses all of the Watchmen or Keyser Soze from “The Unusual Suspects”, or Emperor Palpatine versus all of the Jedi, or Randall Flagg from Stephen King’s “The Stand” or Peter Wiggin versus Ender Wiggin from “Ender’s Game”… man, I could go on and on. And usually do.

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  2. Peter? I preferred Bean's little buddy. What was his name again? Achilles?

    Peter came off as an idiot in the early books. He wasn't so bad as the series progressed, but I still liked Achilles better.

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  3. Peter Wiggin starts off as a regular bully in the original book, but a 3rd of the way thru he makes a speech to Valentine about knowing that at some point he’s going to run something because that’s his nature. He decides that it’s going to be the world rather than a corporation and he persuades Valentine to help him. I thought that was very cool. If you’d asked me in 8th grade what I wanted to do when I grew up, and if I were honest, I would have said rule the world. LOL I didn’t like Achilles. He struck me as too much of a garden variety bully. I did like Bean though.

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  4. http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/crime/2009/08/21/az.woman.tortures.ktvk

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  5. That woman is stupid.

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  6. posters often suggest a lack of empathy is not the defining factor for the Sociopath. I'm a cold s.o.b myself. I have no empathy for anyone. You'll find this with schizoids and recovering schizophrenics; we're often emotionally impoverished.

    I've hurt a lot of women and I neglect my pets. It's not deliberate. I just don't give a shit. The Sociopath and I share a heart of stone. Where we differ is I have no interest in power play or "Bastardry" as an S friend calls it. Breaking hearts and knifing others holds no interest for me. In contrast the Sociopath is obsessed with power and winning.

    I would put it to the group that "empath" on its own is an
    inadequate description of a "non-sociopath". It implies that a person without empathy is a sociopath, which is not always correct. May I suggest instead: "empath non-bastard"?

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  7. Well if I go by your definition, my sociopathic tendency schtick gets changed to just plain sociopath since "playing the game" (what you call bastardry) has been some of most of fun I've ever had. It was literally thrilling. I'm commenting on your comment anonymous because someone else made this distinction on that love fraud website just last night. (A word of caution on that site btw. It's vomit inducing. I wanted to keep reading but couldn't because I found the posters insufferable. Reading some of those posts was like drinking a cup of ipecac.)

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    Replies
    1. ^doesn't that make you throw up

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    2. Yes, just a little bit does.

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  8. Actually re-reading my post i didn't make myself clear; but I hope you get my gist. I hadn't seen it on lovefraud but it's a girly site and doesn't surprise me.

    Daniel: yes, reading your blog you do appear to sound very much like my S friend. Be careful though, a mark pushed him into a crevasse. Never underestimate your marks!

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  9. It's not that sociopaths need to play games with people, it's that they need to act like other people in order to fit in. The main difference between a sociopath and other people with low capacity for empathy is that sociopaths still want to fit in, for personal gain, emotional reasons or for amusement. Autistics and schizoids should not care, and those with NPD do not wish to fit in, but to have people feed their ego.

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    Replies
    1. yeah, not really true. auties do want to fit in, they just don't do it very well but often get better at it in time

      personally, I think everyone wants to fit in somehow, on some terms of theirs, and in the case of S, they urgently need to interact becasue without this there is not much original internal self content, they need others to be able to recognize themselves

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  10. Anonymous said, “Daniel: yes, reading your blog you do appear to sound very much like my S friend…”

    Actually this isn’t my blog. I’m just a lowly commenter. In the past I’ve been careful to state that I have sociopathic tendencies rather than say that I am a sociopath proper, hence my previous comment about using your definition. I wanted to study and examine the concept from a variety of angles to clarify the issue and leaving comments here assisted me in that effort. I’m pretty confident now that the underlying dynamics that give rise to the pejorative label of sociopath do apply to me. Mores the pity. :-)

    I think the distinctions you made in your second comment are pretty reasonable and to the point.

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  11. Something interesting was said by Daniel Birdick in his first comment on this blog:

    "...it’s interesting that you post about sociopathic-like characters in literature, film, television and so on your blog. I’ve always identified with the so called villains of many stories way more than I do the so called heroes...."

    I personally couldn't agree more when it comes to indentifying more with "villains" in almost any story. Mainly for the same reasons in which Daniel used to explain his reasons, the villian is typically the one who sets it all in motion, he's the one who pushes things too far, and when it comes to wits, its almost without debate that the villain can out talk, out charm, out plot the hero in any story....take aways Superman;s powers and no matter the will he has, Lex Luthor will without a doubt break him....

    The only real difference between the heros of the story and the villain, is the will to act. A villain always has to make the first move and destroy something or someone before the hero knows what it'll take to stop him. The villain seems to know what he is from the very begining, where as the hero needs to be shown.

    If someone was to use this hero/villain train of thought in the real world...well...then sociopaths would be ranked among supervillians.

    The downside is, in the real world, everyone has a little villain in them....sociopaths just embrace certian elements of it more then others.

    Personally, I am a grey rainbow, nothing is set in stone, it bleeds together ever so slowly and becomes grey all over to me.

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  12. Being a grey rainbow where nothing is set in stone allows me to freely move around. As Daniel also stated, I'm not your true blue sociopath either, though I have a gret deal of the traits, I wouldn't call myself a sociopath because I too wanted to do further research on the subject.

    Even after being clinicly diagnosed anti-social....I'd rather come to my own judgement on it rather then listen to a shrink...though for me too....this blog is making it harder to say otherwise.

    Maybe who ever is writing this is getting a kick out of knowing that by people reading his blog, they are realizing things about themselves. That alone is a bloggable subject. lol

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  13. I'm a normal but I identify with villains a lot more than the heroes in the stories. Why? Because many of those hereoes are so "Mary Sue" perfect, they can't be believable! It's like what the hell... the authors must be playing out their fantasies or something. In reality, everyone has moral ambiguity in their decisions and reactions and they'll change their stands, according to different moments or different moods. And if you come across someone who only has a "rigid right and wrong" moral code and who can't be swayed by anyone, run!!!! He or she is probably one of those crazy fundamentalists who think that it's okay to burn down someone's home and murder others, just to punish someone. Ah, how deluded the human race can be... lol.

    Anyways, some of the most interesting materials are probably those where there are no heroes or villains, only humans with different purposes and motivations. Too bad I've so little time and inclination to read fiction these days.

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  14. PLEASE FORWARD TO ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS/CONTACTS

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    A wife and mistress secretly team up to bring a cheating husband to his demise in their lives. They view his lies and deceit through each other’s eyes. They plan accordingly. He loses everything. He remains clueless of their alliance. This novel is based on actual events.


    CLICK THE FOLLOWING LINK TO GET YOUR COPY TODAY
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    THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT.

    KENDIA PERKINS

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    Replies
    1. I did not that girl is annoying.

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    2. she kept grabbing my ass

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  15. Jane Austen is a known sociopath.

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  16. I love Jane Austen. I'm onto Edith Wharton, though. I think I may like her better, despite the unpleasantness.

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  17. i like nonfiction better
    (omg aspie!!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. michael moore
      naomi klein (shock doctrine is verry informative)
      and ofc robert green and ofc robert hare)
      last fiction i read the world according to garp

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  18. We are all black at heart. We are taught from birth negative (bad) and positive (good) responses and the rewards or punishments for both.. Take away any reinforcements to either, no rewards, no punishments, just neutrals and WHO wouldn't want to be the villiain? We learn how to respond according to stimuli. The basis for either is rooted in self. Supplying our needs based on the rewards, we don't naturally choose good.....we choose good because we are conditioned to the rewards of "good".

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  19. We are all black at heart. We are taught from birth negative (bad) and positive (good) responses and the rewards or punishments for both.. Take away any reinforcements to either, no rewards, no punishments, just neutrals and WHO wouldn't want to be the villiain? We learn how to respond according to stimuli. The basis for either is rooted in self. Supplying our needs based on the rewards, we don't naturally choose good.....we choose good because we are conditioned to the rewards of "good".

    ReplyDelete
  20. We are all black at heart. We are taught from birth negative (bad) and positive (good) responses and the rewards or punishments for both.. Take away any reinforcements to either, no rewards, no punishments, just neutrals and WHO wouldn't want to be the villiain? We learn how to respond according to stimuli. The basis for either is rooted in self. Supplying our needs based on the rewards, we don't naturally choose good.....we choose good because we are conditioned to the rewards of "good".

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    Replies
    1. i'm black from the waist down

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    2. You know what they say

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    3. You know what they say

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    4. What do they say?

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    5. I would share but this god damn echo is annoying me

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    6. I would share but this god damn echo is annoying me

      Delete
  21. All men have a black part of them due to Adam's disobedience and the aftermath of that. In the last Age of time, the Millenium, that will all be gone, and the lion will lay down with the lamb.

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    Replies
    1. It could be that the evil will be living in the shadowlands (where it is not so nice) until they feel the pain of their victims. That's what past and present mediums are telling us. And they ALL have this SAME story.....

      I think the Catholics have it right - it is called pergutory. (misspelled)

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    2. ^Of course the jury is still out on this picture but, also, on Monica's.

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  22. Your labels are so informative! I have memorized them! Truly amazing!

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  23. Your labels are so informative! I have memorized them! Truly amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Your labels are so informative! I have memorized them! Truly amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  25. If you throw away all the Western labels, a PD may, at it's core, a misuse of personal power. What if the alphabet soup was honed down to simple essentials such as this.

    Each PD misuses personal power in a particular way. Hence, the way out is to reclaim every bit of one's personal power, as trying to change the world is the essence of a PD.

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  26. Truthfully i would rather die first.

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  27. I'm sitting home alone in the middle of hurricane Isaac. I am soooo freaking bored!!!!!

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  28. The roads are flooded. Driving wouldn't be the best choice for me now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Would you like company?

      Delete
    2. Eeeeehhhhhhh. Kinda. I just rented the hunger games on demand sooo hat should keep me entertained for the next two and a half hours.

      Delete
    3. i could come over after that maybe i just have to go check on my grammie first.

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    4. Or i could go check on her now and come over your call.

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    5. How do you even know we live in the same city? And when my parents come home after the streets unflood they wuld probably be a litle creeped out by the fact that I invited some person I don't know to come over...

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    6. We met in a past life.

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    7. Nice to meet you(again) I'm darrien and I get up in the middle of the night to eat raw potatos.

      Delete
  29. I have a new program for myself. I am forcing myself to go out with "normal" people in my everyday life. I am eschewing people with huge emotional issues and reaching out to people who have lives without a whole bunch of PD things going on.

    I am just being myself, as I am inside, not my whacked out self, nor my perfect self.

    I am getting very upset and exhausted as my whole world view is changing.

    My business is really growing and I deal, mainly, with professionals whom I get to know very well.



    I had parameters I thought made life how it was. That is all changing and I am totally exhausted. I don't know who I am anymore.

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  30. M.E. I think society is more accepting of the "black heart,"
    than it was in Jane Austen's time period. My point is we currently have a President that is a sociopath.

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    Replies
    1. And what exactly makes you think obamas a sociopath? Not that I'm for obama its just that there's pretty much no way you could diagnose a man you've probably only seen on TV as a sociopath.

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    2. thinking you can diagnose
      magical thinking
      schizoid?

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    3. The president is a Narc--Mal Narc, not a sociopath imo
      Bill Clinton is a sociopath.

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    4. Well, there is his autobiography and his brother George that is living in a hut in poverty. Also, he never shows a sense of urgency but always a sense of calmness. We never see compassion from him but, always, having that Cheshire cat grin.

      The main fact is he is a liar.......

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    5. ^I, agree, with 9:50 on him being a "covert malignant narcissist" and not a sociopath.

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    6. ^But I, believe Clinton is a narcissist.....

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    7. clinton and juanita broderick--socio all the way

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    8. Anon 9:49
      And how am I a schizoid?

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    9. Obama's my father and I never saw anything wrong with him, he's a wonderful nigger dad. Stop trying to give everyone a PD my father IS NOT sick.

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    10. What did my father do that was evil then? Don't go around calling my father an evil nigger without arguments.

      Delete
    11. "If the political winds blow in an ugly direction, I will stand with the muslims."
      Barry Saetoro - aka - Barack Obama

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    12. Jeez Louise--bot that I am surprised

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  31. "Now what you think is nothing might be something after all"

    - Mean Street

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  32. So monica, did that picture of ukan look anything like that "james" guy on facebook? or will you admit you were wrong?

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    Replies
    1. Hmm Hmm Hmm I was thinking about that, as you might guess. The verdict is not in, Friend, as I only saw a small bit of UKans face in the picture on SW.

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    2. where is ukan's picture???

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    3. It is on the Forum but only a bit of his eyes show, so one can't tell much by that.

      Delete
  33. UKAAAAAAAAAAAN.

    Let's do something. This damn hurricane is driving me mad. You haven't been answering my questions, which is not okay, but I forgive you.

    Mall? Burger King?

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    Replies
    1. I'm sorry i got busy filling out job apps. I have to turn them in tomorrow plus I have class. Can you meet me at the mall Tuesday afternoon. And thanks for forgiving me love.

      Delete
    2. Or we can do something else i'm damn sure ready whenever you are as long as i don't have somewhere to be.

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    3. Thanks a lot Ukan.

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    4. Really whatever you want to do. Thank you

      Delete
  34. Finding myself here too often to be quite honest. My sociopath is my obsession, but I am learning that my obsession with him is rooted so much deeper than my insatiable appetite for his mind. he has forced me to see me. I have spent my entire life running from me, covering up me, changing me, fixing me, but for the first time in my life, I am ACCEPTING me. I am learning who I am. It is a humbling reality when pain strips you down to nothing but yourself. There is no where to run, there is no place to hide. You alone become the rescuer of your own fate. Self reliance at its best and at its very worst. The demons must be faced and challenged on every level in order to survive. he has challenged my soul to fight for me. he is deep, extremely shallow, extremely mean, extremely sexy, extremely dark, extremely funny, extremely fucked up..........things I, at one time I would have considered myself "above".........that way of thinking is more dispicable than anything. I am all of what he is, I have just covered mine with masks and self dillusion.

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    Replies
    1. Beautifully written.
      I'm in the same boat as you. Always hiding, denying my true self, living for others. Life is too short and precious to spend it like that. It's hard to face and battle your demons and accept yourself fully, but worth it in the end.
      To thine own self be true.

      Delete
    2. Yes, Anon. I hear you, Sweetie. I know what you mean and I struggle with it, too.

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    3. Shut the fuck up monica

      Delete
  35. I have 2 glasses of win a night, since my son died. Thank God, I don't want more. But, I feel like we all want acceptance form each other, but we act so cool, so not needing, when we DO need. We really DO need.

    ReplyDelete

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