Friday, December 11, 2009

An outside perspective

A letter from a reader:
I was just reviewing recent media articles about psychopathy on-line and stumbled across your blog.

I am a doctoral intern in clinical psychology at a forensic state hospital in California. Psychopathy is fascinating to me. Aside from its unique neurological, interpersonal, and even existential attributes; the legal and social implications of psychopathy's marginalization in society is huge. It seems your blog clearly and convincingly (not surprising) addresses the injustices psychopaths face- injustices I find again and again in the forensic setting where I work.

As health care providers, psychologists are trained to uphold equal client rights and ensure every individual's dignified treatment. This is regardless of diagnosis, crime, history, or personality. However, when it comes to psychopathy, it's incredible how quickly clinical providers are able to abandon these previously held ethics, not realizing that they are adopting the unempathic tendencies they explicitly persecute in the psychopath. I am further amazed at the legal and hospital standards set for psychopathic admits, standards that practically necessitate the psychopath to contrive and manipulate their evaluators to believe they are no longer contriving or manipulating, lest they spend the rest of their lives in corrections.

So, while I go up against hospital administration on my end, I want to also convey my admiration of your well-informed and thoughtful blog in the hope that what is better understood may be less feared. Based on history, psychology, and statistical likelihood of danger; I'll take one psychopath with their wits about them over 99 "normals" driven by fear, any day.

Thanks for sharing your experience and for encouraging an interesting and important discussion.


  1. "Based on history, psychology, and statistical likelihood of danger; I'll take one psychopath with their wits about them over 99 "normals" driven by fear, any day."

    That's not something you hear everyday. Talk about open minded!

  2. i think it would be incredibly fucked to have a dr. label you a sociopath/psychopath in your medical history. talk about messing up someones life. to call this a disorder is really doing a disservice to, at the very least, to 1 of 25 or 50 people out there. imagine if they were all diagnosed! y'all don't seem so crazy, and seem to understand right from wrong. the "fringe" group that really loses it, is no different from the fringe in any group, be it religious, racial or whatever.

  3. I think this is partly how all the lying and manipulation begins . . .

    In some respects the 'lack of conscious' is not evidence of devious intentions, it's just the absence of any moral intentions. You learn pretty quickly that there are consequences if you do not share the values of your peers, family and community. So you lie and dissimulate to conceal the absence of moral sentiment . . . And soon it's just easier and more satisfying to lie and mislead people about everything.

    It seems a full airing of these tendencies in a clinical setting would follow you for life. And if you happen to be on the wrong side of the law you might never feel free again.

  4. so after trolling this site for a couple of months, i get the impression that the majority of socio/psycho s are basically making it through life without the extremes that make "normal" (whatever that is) people so afraid of them. that the small percentage have fucked up on such an extreme scale that society would almost rather isolate, brand and pretty much burn you on a stake (if it weren't such a sociopathic thing to do.)
    and why, because some dickhead got a group of medical professionals to agree that because some of you don't fit in it is okay to publish their opinions and now you all are fucked because it says so in their book.
    i think i would be pretty pissed. it is a modern day witch hunt. i think it is offensive and it really doesn't affect me, other than it just is wrong. isn't there a way that you all can't overturn this "diagnosis". it's been on the books, what, 30-40 years? i am not sure and i am too boring, mild mannered, workin for the man in a cubicle and lacking the "get up and go" to go look it up. maybe i am just getting a soft spot for all you "ne'erdowells", cause it seems a shame to let them bull doze your futures without a fight. fuckit. i am going to crank that meatloaf song that dirty has been posting here and wake up the fucking neighborhood!!!

  5. it doesn't affect you becuase you aren't the one being hunted. but yes, the majority do not proceed to act according to the extremes made out of them.

    it isn't so much the need to overturn what is in the books so much as it is to change the mindset of the people who write those books.

    oh, and meatloaf sucks.

  6. I think this is just hilarious. A sociopath without empathy who considers empathy a weakness convinces someone that the medical system should treat sociopaths with empathy.

    Empathy's a bad thing... except for when we get it!

  7. are the new featured comment, don't let it go to your head.


  8. Lol, white-washing pathology isn't really one of my goals, but I will take any advantage.

    I think taking the perspective that every sociopath who is not incarcerated is just a misunderstood minority is naive.

    Knowing myself, I would never really trust someone who I knew was like me. Which is not to say I'm repressing evil intentions either . . . it's just never that simple.

  9. i agree! i think meatloaf sucks too!! lol but that video, i tried twice and couldn't get past the first 30 seconds. but when you see where in the comment posts dirty was posting it, well, i thought it was very funny, (assuming it was a joke.)
    and i just saw that featured comment thing...i feel honored :p tks

  10. something seems odd when there is a large group of people, most never clinically diagnosed, and most not criminal to the point of disrupting society, and a medical community that seems to favor treatment for the large group that is meant for the tiny portion with the extreme issues. and, what does the medical community wish to achieve with this harsh blanket treatment? also, at what point does the rights of the individual come into play? or do they ever come into play? (once diagnosed.)

    i don't agree with the term "disorder", i think a lot of it is a means to get people prescribed more drugs to keep them from "feeling".

    a vicious cycle. does it ever end?

  11. "Based on history, psychology, and statistical likelihood of danger; I'll take one psychopath with their wits about them over 99 "normals" driven by fear, any day."

    Wow, this guy is seriously off the wall. A lot of sociopaths use fear and the flight/fight mechanism in so called 'normal' people to control them and use them for their own means.


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