Saturday, March 1, 2014

Mental illness for children: Disney's Frozen

I have nieces that are obsessed with the Disney movie Frozen. I haven't actually seen it yet, but they have explained to me the entire plot and I have probably heard them belting out the Let it Go song a couple dozen times. The song is sung by Elsa, the older sister of Anna. Elsa was born different, had special powers that she didn't understand or know how to control. A primary plot point of the movie is watching how Elsa learns to how to become her best self.

Since I am Mormon, I've been also been exposed to the "controversy" of how this movie promotes the "gay agenda" by encouraging children to identify as being gay, which has been hilarious. But, as my sister said "I think it's actually about sociopaths," tongue in cheek. Not surprisingly, however, many people have made serious parallels to mental illness, particularly bipolar disorder:

Disney released a new movie called “Frozen” last month, and in doing so, has provided us all the chance to begin cultivating awareness. The movie showcases two main characters — sisters, Anna and Elsa. Anna is a warm, charismatic social butterfly; her sister Elsa, bourn of a darker nature, and though wildly charismatic too, grows up to be more cold and emotionally withdrawn. These two characters symbolize the conflicting dual-nature of my manic/depressive personality — manifesting the ongoing struggle always, to overcome the great force of inner darkness so that my inner warmth and goodness can shine on through.

Why is this such a big deal for children to have this sort of role model for mental health awareness?

For me, Elsa is an important character not just because she needs to learn to accept herself the way she is, but because the writers show through her just how devastating and terrifying it is to fear your own soul. There is no terror and sadness like that of thinking you are bad and you do not want to be. It leads to a type of self-sacrifice that actually makes you unable to heal. On accident, Elsa's parents taught her to be afraid of herself and the only way to protect others was to sacrifice herself. So she shut herself off from the world, becomes filled with fear, and she never knows love and belonging.

Many people can relate to this archetype, especially people who have been physically or emotionally abused who were told they deserved the abuse because they were "bad" and that if they were just a good person then they would not get hurt. I am glad we finally have a character in mainstream media that shows how trauma can effect you and that bad behavior does not mean you are a bad person. (Which is why I love Elphaba from Wicked and the Beast from Beauty and the Beast.) My son says the most important line in the movie is in the song "Fixer Upper" that the trolls sing where they say: "People make bad choices if they're mad or scared or stressed." For some people if they are scared enough, even their ability to make a choice is taken away from them. I feel like this scene from the movie best shows Elsa's fear and how much she wants to never hurt anyone.

And these types of stories are one of the best ways to introduce children to these sorts of concepts, to teach them that there is nothing evil or insurmountable about mental illness, in themselves or in others. From G. K. Chesterton:

Fairy tales, then, are not responsible for producing in children fear, or any of the shapes of fear; fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon. Exactly what the fairy tale does is this: it accustoms him for a series of clear pictures to the idea that these limitless terrors had a limit, that these shapeless enemies have enemies in the knights of God, that there is something in the universe more mystical than darkness, and stronger than strong fear.


  1. Humans help humans. Or you help yourself. There is no god. The construction of a god can be helpful or dangerous.

  2. Haven't seen it but I do know as bipolar what it feels like to be both good and bad, based on my desires and mood.

  3. I have been following this blog since May of 2013.
    I knew about "Lovefraud" before coming here, and the VERY
    pessimstic viewpoints about "sociopathic reformation."
    I think another word for "sociopathic reformation" would be
    "criminal reformation."
    Not ALL Sociopath's are "criminals," and not ALL criminals are
    Sociopaths, but the sensational criminals who attract headlines
    are USUALLY folks suffering from ASPD.
    Every place but here, the outlook is "grim" for people suffering
    from "Cluster B' disorders. 99% of the literature says it is
    IMPOSSIBLE to surmount them. Could someone who comitted a
    horrible crime like Philp Chism "reform?" Would anyone
    welcome him back into society? He's only going to be caged for
    7 years. If there was some vestage of "hope" for his "reform,"
    we had best get on with it.
    Remember the film "Clockwork Orange?" It was about "scientific"
    ways to reform Philip Chism types.
    I'm more optamistic then most about reforming sociopaths.
    Anyone can reform, but only if they cease justifying narcacistic
    actions, and go through the "Dark Night Of The Soul." If only one
    out of a million could do so it would be worth it.
    For more information, read the books by Dr. Stanton E. Samenow.

    1. You are operating under rhe assumption that successful sociopaths don't exist. The thing to understand is, like all of the other personality disorders, there are many who interact and live in society quite well. You just don't hear about it, because of the lack of public awareness. There are plenty of high-functioning sociopaths who read this blog alone.

      Dr. Samenow's specialty is on criminal reformation. It is vital not to confuse this with sociopathic reformation. This is because one is not the same as the other. You can no more reform a sociopath into a non-sociopath than tell someone who is bipolar to stop having mood swings. What you can do is show them the advantages - a better way - of focusing it into a more socially benign form.

    2. Anon 501, I have great respect for Dr Samenow and his work as well. And absolutely love what you said about ceasing justifying narcissistic actions.

      Bob, thank you for picking a name. Makes things much easier. Feel free to all me Kat if you wish. It's my real name. "Bite me" sounds a little silly in conversation. I apologise for taking so long, it's been chaotic here and even now time is extremely limited. I have not had the time to catch up on the past few days of the blog, but I really wanted to say a few words to you.

      First of all yes, Dr Samenow is very much focused upon criminal reformation. He actually does so by showing them advantages, making them take responsibility for their actions and focusing them towards the more socially benign ways of living.
      He is fond of saying that sociopaths are not re-habilitated. They were never "habilitated" in the first place. They need to be "habilitated".
      Dr Samenow has no interest in turning sociopaths into anything but sociopaths who fuck up others and themselves less.
      He has pretty much no interest in people such as yourself who claim to be sociopaths and yet, don't really show dysfunction.
      I highly recommend his work as well.

      Second, I still have no idea why you seem so very determined to cling to this label. You show pretty much no sociopathic traits as far as I can see. I am highly aware that people act differently from how they write. But I am also aware that people who are highly intelligent can also present with some tendencies that might be interpreted as being sociopathic. I honestly think you are just that. Highly intelligent, logical and able to see through the usual bullshit of life better than most.

      The problem with clinging onto this label is that you will take whatever it is you do and twist it to sound sociopathic to justify it.

      Eg. charm and manipulation. I have yet to see any evidence of you having superficial charm or a manipulative nature.
      You say you skipped classes and manipulated your teacher and the shrink to the point that he used the term "anti social". You would be surprised to know just how many people skipped a lot of school, yet still managed to do well (I'm one of them, as are several of my friends).

      The fact that the shrink was aware of your manipulation tells me you weren't all that good at it.
      It's quite a common thing for the shrinks to see that a young man tries to manipulate others and skips classes and assume that this is simply the beginning of his spiral into darkness. The term "anti social" was thrown around all too often for simple... rebellion. Yet it seems like most of your diagnosis was based upon that. I have a good feeling that if he actually got to observe you now, he would not be saying such things.

      It is also quite easy for someone of your intelligence to obtain the diagnosis of "sociopath" later on in life by memorising the traits and presenting your own (in all actuality normal) actions to the shrink in such a way that it would make them see you as being sociopathic.

      Another example of how behaviour can be twisted: the example you gave of walking around a bad neighbourhood at night. You might twist it into being an example of fearlessness and impulsive nature and as such as being yet another trait.
      I say it's pretty normal and is done by many people on a regular basis. Very vast majority of them are not sociopaths.

      The main question I wanted to ask you before is why you are so determined to have this label? What's wrong with just being highly intelligent and rational, with a good bullshit radar?

      Also, how old are you?

    3. Being a proverbial jerk in conversation with others doesn't allow for continued conversation. I don't get a kick out being a jerk or a braggart, so I have no incentive to do so. I am, in a word, behaving myself. Remember, I'm a successful/high-functioning sociopath, not a low-functioning one. And it isn't just a personal suspicion or belief - two independent psychiatrists gave the diagnosis two different times, without either of them knowing each other. I find it ironic you think of me as a non-sociopath, even though I have disclosed my professional diagnosis. And I am middle-aged, to answer that question.

      As for your question, there is nothing wrong with those qualities you mentioned. If I have them, then I have them. However, I have both accepted what I am and have through the years made myself to be - as you call it - "habilitated". It was only after reading ME's book, did I start to "appreciate" it. Before that, I "just was".

      Do you consider ME a non-sociopath as well, even with her disclosed diagnosis? Does she seem significantly different? Is it because she has desired or imagined violence on someone? Or ruined people? As fair disclosure, I have done both. I don't gain pleasure from it, only the cognitive knowledge that I did what I wanted/needed to do. That is a difference from ME, but that being said, not all sociopaths are made from the same mold. She enjoys ruining people, while I just see it as a mechanism. As I had also noted previously, I do score high (past the threshold) - but not as high - as ME on the PCL.

      Besides, you attract more flies with honey than you do vinegar. So why behave negatively? If I did, the conversation would be less palatable and agreeable with everyone, leading to a general distrust and poor reputation with those in the conversation. Behaving properly just makes sense. It makes people more receptive - I have nothing to gain (it doesn't please me) and have something to lose (my weight in the conversation) by acting maladjusted. So I act adjusted.

    4. As an addendum, I understand your skepticism. While skepticism is healthy, in this specific case it can be acknowledged and dismissed. I have noticed more than one commenter who did not seem to behave sociopathically, even though they claimed the moniker. You may have noticed me calling it out a couple of times. It is a strange phenomenon, like some people desire the identification as a kind of pseudo-rockstar status. In real life, I don't want the public identity (nor practice it), due to the serious risks involved. But do note that, being a blog about sociopathy from a sociopath, it has attracted actual sociopaths. Why do you think I read the book and post comments in the first place?

      You can throw away any status on my account. I genuinely don't care, so long as it doesn't hinder reception during conversation. Or should I describe examples of how I have desired violence or ruined people? As a case in point, ME's disclosure of both did not turn out well for her. It ended up drowning out her message with a lot of people. Learning from her example, I decided not to.

      If you want irony in that, then know a faux-sociopath would have likely copycat ME's disclosure and spun a tale of suffering in their wake. This would be to gain exposure and feel good about it, because people would find the horror or disgust from it as a reinforcement to the sociopathic status (therefore, a reinforcement of the faux-sociopath's status). And I could have done that, without disclosing any of this to reveal the machination. But being an actual sociopath, I don't want people to feel horrified or disgusted of me, because with lacking the stimulation of celebritism, I don't benefit enough from the costs.

    5. Bob, you mentioned you have been twice diagnosed with it, and you have been self-reinforcing yourself to grow- or compensate for problems that are associated with this diagnosis. So, it’s really beneficial for some people like me that you are here. B.C. I do have a question for you. How do you handle situations that require your “emotional” responses. And by emotional responses I mean those without any utility. For instance, how do you handle a situation that only requires you to exhibit certain emotions for certain amount of time? I’m sure you have no problem doing it, but do you feel the toll afterward/during that fake exhibition. Do you reinforce yourself with the benefit of your outcome? Have you ever felt angered or outraged because of it?

    6. chameleon here! that sounds just like my work life. i grab whatever inner flotsam and mould it like a lump of clay into what i need. i used to feel drained when i made it too real and lost myself in it. now half the time i'm thinking about something else.

      people love attention. if you try to force a feeling you don't feel you'll just come off as weird. if you focus on them they'll never notice.

      and i cling to the label of empath and no one challenges : )

    7. You are super good, but don’t get any kind of flotsam, get pure clay! It sticks together better, just trying to be focused on you :). I got OCPD, can’t help it, thanks

    8. use the ocd as much as it uses you

      i was trying to explain to someone the trick of neither suppressing feelings nor expressing them, without much luck. you have to acknowledge them, then disconnect and let them pass through you. but you can transmute them too.

      at some point it's just pure energy and you decide whether it's anger or joy or whatever.

    9. First off for clarification, I do feel emotions. Just not very often, and at a reduced level. So I do lack it, but I am not devoid of it.

      As for faking it, it depends. Laughing, for example, is very easy. So is smiling. This makes being nice and/or jovial quite easy. Crying is the opposite in the spectrum - I am not even sure how to reliably fake it. I have genuinely cried before, though the number of times I can even recall them I could count with one hand. That being said, I had an immediate family member pass away when I was a boy and I did not cry. So even genuine levels are unreliable.

      If I have to fake it, it can feel both physically and mentally fatiguing. Physically would be facial muscles. Mentally would be significant loss of interest and/or irritability. I remember being around family (as a group) in instances of collective crying or anger (fighting). The former made me feel like an odd man out (not embarassed, but out of place) but otherwise detached, while the latter made me irritated.

      As for numerous smaller instances, it has ranged from indifference to irritation. It is a conscious effort - a mental expense - to portray a particular emotion. Especially for more than a moment or two. Internally I may find a situation as personally ambivalent (ie. not caring either way) to needless/excessive leading to annoyance. I have found being a receptive nice guy has lead to a surprising number of women crying on my proverbial shoulder regarding one break-up or another. I fake empathy and say a few things to help them process it, but after a while I find myself wanting to get back to the work at hand. I have to catch myself from turning away and betraying my lack of caring. The emotionality of these situations I understand - I consider it part of the small-talk/social conversation framework, and are purely incidental. But after an extended period of time, where someone in my position should be engaged in it, it gets wearing and I want to withdraw. The mask gets eroded.

      To summarize, the internal thoughts range from ambivalence to irritation. The longer I have to fake it in a given situation, the more it leads towards irritation. I should note I purposely separate irritation/annoyance from anger. I rarely get actually angry, and when I do it is an entirely different phenomenon.

    10. By the way, what do you mean by "reinforcing from the benefit of the outcome"? Are you referring to some sort of reward mechanism after successfully faking it? If so, the answer would be no. I just consider it a necessity - a requirement to having social interaction with someone. Success means lack of consequences or other negative after-effects. People talk to one another, and if my name is to come up in conversation, I don't want it to be critical. Lack of caring, while decidedly being neutral or uninvolved as far as my mind is concerned, is unquestionably negative in most people's eyes. Preventing this portrayal acts as incentive. This is annoying, but it is needed.

      These are all necessities for successful integration and personal progression in society. Because they are needed, I therefore do them. Most of the time, publicly anyways. I am not perfect - my endurance has limits, especially after a long day.

    11. Bob, you sound sick. Are you related to one of those UCD scholars?

    12. @ Bob, “Preventing this portrayal acts as incentive. This is annoying, but it is needed.” No offense, but I thought it was a touch sickening that someone allows himself to be “annoyed” just to protect his portrayal, while plays a very dirty sport- the type with no utility.
      @Zoe, you transmute a lot. Why? Do you get paid for your transmutation? I hope you grabbed enough clay to make something. Some clays are very sandy. And the costs of some clays are much higher than the enjoyment that one gets from making anything of it.

    13. It's not about allowing yourself to be annoyed. You become annoyed. That internal part does not change. What does change is how you externally act on it. Do you act annoyed, indignant, or otherwise irritated? Or do you act differently, despite the annoyance? Isn't the latter considered socially better?

      I also did warn about how it could seem horrific or disgusting. However for the sake of transparency and education - to give an example of an actual sociopath's thought process - I revealed that much. If you are concerned about it, it should be about what they do, not what they think.

    14. @ATouchND
      i'm artsie in a corporate environment where you either master the art of stroking egos or get fired. it's a world of big mouths with bits of brain attached. it feeds my non-paying hobbies so no stress.

      hey i like your clay analogy but what does it mean? please explain. just coming off a week long weather induced visual migraine so the thinking centres are a bit off. : )

    15. i see transmuting as selective sharing. if my boss is being a dick i find something inside me to put out there other than the "fuck you" he deserves. a little good karma. and i add a little of the "fuck you" like seasoning in such a way that it's never noticed. maybe not as good karma as without it but it makes me feel good just then.

      the cost is only to my ego, which i don't really care about.

    16. Zoe, You are a good artist. Don’t work for super-egoers. And also don’t count on flawed material/information (sandy clays). They never perform the way you expect. It’s not fun to watch that some ones artwork keep falls apart, because they just got bad material at hand.

      My husband makes good money and I have started my own small business, so I don’t have to suck up to any super-egoer. It’s easier for me that way, but good luck to you!

    17. thanks good luck to you too. i should get one of those maybe. ;)

    18. I don't judge, do it :). I'm utilitarian in all aspects of my life, not a narcissist. He makes enough, why should I kill myself?

    19. I meant, why I should kill myself working for an un-empathetic abuser for much less than what I deserve, and meanwhile ignoring what I have. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t make much, but I can’t betray myself, I truly believe in maximizing my resources. Plus, he is a good guy!
      I always navigate my ambitions, while keeping all my assets in my mind.

    20. Narcissism much? Or false sense of self inflated ego? Sometimes we may be using them and if you underestimate she may drop you

    21. Go Masterbate.

  4. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has been around since the 1970's and it's a great resource for families affected by mental illness. It offers support, advocacy, education, and community presentations. Breaking The Silence is a presentation made by volunteers at schools to teach students about mental illness and stigma.


  5. Even though I think it's clear that the latest trend in the media is the acceptance of homosexual relationships, I realize that it's kind of ridiculous to believe that it'll somehow turn everyone gay.

    'There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.'

  6. I don't get a bipolar vibe from Frozen. Sure, one sister is more outgoing than the other, but being withdrawn doesn't always mean someone is depressed, and both sisters' moods are at least partially influenced by external circumstances, while bipolar moods change for no external reason. Elsa, like Bruce Banner/the Hulk, gets uncontrollable powers when she's anxious or stressed. She withdraws to avoid these external triggers because her parents always told her to. If anything, she has some sort of anxiety disorder, or combination of personality disorder features, specifically the ones that deal with fearfulness, perfectionism, and poor impulse control. If I had to diagnose her I'd give her OCPD with avoidant and MAYBE borderline features. This is shown more in her interactions with Elsa, because although she has trouble controlling her own powers, she's still a very sensible person who dislikes recklessness and spontaneity. She is the first Disney princess (well, queen) to be blatantly against immediate marriage. She holds high standards for herself and others and lives in fear of not meeting them, most likely because of the pressure her parents put on her and the guilt she has over hurting Anna in their youth. She may even have a touch of PTSD, but I don't get anything about bipolar disorder from this film, not even if I combine the two sisters. Because not only is bipolar independent (for the most part) from external circumstances, but it involves a change in energy level, and neither sister has a very low energy level. Even Elsa has plenty of nervous energy. That's kind of her problem.

    1. Metaphor of the 2 sides of a bipolar.

    2. I get that and covered it, but I disagree that it accurately represents bipolar, as despite Elsa's "side" isn't consistent enough and is relative to the place she's in. Also, bipolar is about too much or not enough energy, and neither girl is off the walls with energy nor is one of them unable to do anything.

    3. That is not really accurate. Bipolar disorder is about changes in mood, not energy. Different moods (from mania to depression) can lead to different levels of motivation to do something, but that is an effect, not the cause.

    4. I have bipolar disorder, and have done plenty of research on it, so I believe myself to be knowledgeable. A reactive mood is not synonymous with bipolar disorder. That would be indicative of borderline personality disorder or something similar. Bipolar is a mood disorder, but it's not about being cranky versus elated. It's about lows versus highs, and although Elsa is isolated and anxious about her powers, she isn't really "low". Both her energy and outlook immediately change with her environment.

      Bipolar disorder is very much about energy--especially mental energy. That is why people in manic states tend to be able to socialize longer and tends to not need as much sleep, and why depressed people sometimes have trouble getting out of bed.

    5. High states are manic states (mania is synonymous with elation). Low states are depressive states. Graphically this is represented like a sine wave. The high waves are high states, while the low waves are low states, with a baseline level in-between representing stable.

      The energy exists. As I said, it's an effect that you live with. In this case, it is an effect you know first-hand. But it isn't the *cause* of it. A lack of mental energy doesn't cause depression - depression causes a lack of mental energy.

    6. I never said it was the cause. I said it's involved. And mania isn't always elation, nor is depression always feeling down. Many manic people become enraged and irritable, while many depressive don't feel anything at all when they're depressed. Anna may be the social one, but I'm actually more social when I'm depressed than when I'm manic, because mania often produces nervous energy and racing, intrusive thoughts.

    7. "Bipolar disorder is very much about energy--especially mental energy."

      When read out loud, it comes across as causal. However if it wasn't meant that way, then that statement makes more sense. And yes, manic episodes can lead to irritation - as you have experienced - or elation. That omission was an error on my part. But, as noted earlier, manic/depressive states lead to different levels of motivation, which is effectual.

      What was the disagreement/argument in the debate? While I have worked with people professionally who are bipolar, as a sociopath I have to admit there are nuances to this disorder which may be imperceivable outside of education or direct observation. First-hand feedback from a fair and rational source, such as yourself, could provide useful insight that is otherwise missed.

    8. Different levels of motivation are basically what I'm referring to, and that's a better way of wording it, but I don't think the sisters' levels of motivation are that different. Elsa may be introverted to the extreme, but she still desires to do things, which is why she leaves the city. She became motivated and happy when alone, while a representation of depression likely wouldn't have someone become that way. A depressed person isn't going to be instantly happy and motivated just from a change in scenery.

      It would also be offensive if they really were alluding to bipolar disorder, because the movie more or less supports the idea that all problems can be caused by love and a pat on the back. If it is supposed to be a metaphor for depression in Elsa's case, it invalidates the disorder, imo.

  7. Whatever the manifestation(s) may be, at its core, the archetype of Elsa is that of the traumatized individual. This is what makes it so unanimously popular.

  8. 'that there is something in the universe more mystical than darkness, and stronger than strong fear.'

  9. "Many people can relate to this archetype, especially people who have been physically or emotionally abused who were told they deserved the abuse because they were 'bad' and that if they were just a good person then they would not get hurt."

    Sorry to be a killjoy, but victims of psychopaths' abuse certainly feel this way...

    1. That is a modestly clever, if not obtuse, way to shoehorn in sociopathic villainy. It is widely accepted by professionals that sociopaths are not, in fact, bullies.

    2. Is it? Which professionals are these? Hare? Cleckley? M.E. herself, who states quite candidly that she is obsessed with power? Using deception to get people to do things - that IS bullying. Not sure what else you could call it, except maybe evil.

      It's very valuable to talk about the shame the mentally ill experience. But it is disingenuous, to say the least, to disregard the shame that victims of other people's insanity feel, as well.

    3. Psychopaths are not insane. You are thinking of Psychotics (Psychosis). Just because they have the word "Psych" in it, does not mean they are remotely related. If you had read the literature, you would have found this out. The root word "Psych" comes from "Psyche" or "Mind". As Hare puts it, Psychopaths/Sociopaths are quite sane.

    4. I was referring to an archaic concept - moral insanity, which does as much or more damage as any other type of insanity. The entire thrust of Cleckley's book is that psychopaths can be rational and still be insane (hence the title, "The Mask of Sanity"). You still haven't addressed the point of my original statement: that psychopaths are typically very abusive and leave permanent emotional damage. I repeat, it is disingenuous to discuss the struggles of the mentally ill and ignore the widespread repercussions of mental illness on the non-mentally ill. Of course, if you would prefer to think of psychopaths as mentally healthy, then the label "psychopath" loses its meaning. Psychopathy refers to a disorder. If you genuinely feel that psychopaths are not disordered, then M.E.'s original post on the stigma of mental illness has no place in a blog about psychopathy.

    5. That's a little better.

      First, yes, it is a disorder. It is a disorder in that it is different, and that it strays from societal norms. By its naked self, it is harmful in society. As for harm, all psychological harm inflicted on people causes lasting damage - that is not a hallmark of sociopathy.

      That all being said, it is important to understand that moral insanity in psychopathy is, in a word, out of date. That is based on the earliest works in the study of psychopathy - not the current. Cleckley released "The Mask of Sanity" back in 1941. It can not be taken at gospel, since it is not only early work, but also not definitive on the subject. It was, simply put, a start. Not the end.

      For a direct scholarly reference on the issue, read Whitlock's article "A Note on Moral Insanity and Psychopathic Disorders" (Whitlock, F.A. 'Psychiatric Bulletin' 1982, 6:57-59, published by The Royal College of Psychiatrists).

      Criminal and violent sociopaths can be abusive, but they are not all bullies. Some were also bully-victims, or neither. As for non-criminal and non-violent sociopaths, they can behave not only non-abusively, but also actually cooperatively.

      Want another scholarly reference? Read Arbuckle and Cunningham's "Understanding Everyday Psychopathy: Shared Group Identity Leads to Increased Concern for Others Among Undergraduates Higher in Psychopathy" (Arbuckle, N.L, Cunningham, W.A. 'Social Cognition' 2012, 30(5), pp. 564-583).

    6. Editions of Cleckley's book was published well into the 80s. The 1941 edition is not the last word. Yes, I know "moral insanity" is out of date. The term presupposes moral judgement and therefore is not well suited to scientific debate. I find it useful because it conveys that the psychopath is missing the emotional apparatus to give force to a moral code.

      Of course, psychopaths do not have to be bullies. They do not have to behave in any set way. But the behavior of the majority of psychopaths is what delimits the disorder. As to whether or not abusive behavior is a hallmark of psychopathy - as far as I can tell, it is part of the diagnostic criteria. A pervasive pattern of disregard for others rights, etc. etc.

      If you do not have a history of callously disregarding other people's needs and rights, you probably won't be diagnosed with psychopathy.

      I will read the article, thanks.

    7. Not quite. You do not need to meet all diagnostic criteria to be diagnosed with it. Just enough criteria.

      Also, abusive behavior is not a part of the criteria. For a less academically-obtuse read on the criteria, Psychology Today has an article called "What Is a Psychopath?", which you can read here:

      As a case in point, I don't have the violent trait. While I can experience irritation and frustration, I don't have the "...low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence". It should be noted that this trait is more indicative of ASPD than Sociopathy.

      As for giving force to a moral code, successful sociopaths can. However, this is based on a more utilitarian aspect than an emotional one. While sociopaths have the capacity to break moral rules, that doesn't mean they always will. The results (and survival/freedom) can be better when following society's moral rule than breaking it. A relatively close, but not perfect example, would be Kant's Categorical Imperative.

    8. By the way, Cleckley's use of "moral insanity" in his book was a secondary source reference to 19th century physician James Cowles Prichard, who described it in 1835.

    9. By my reasoning, pathological lying, tendency to manipulate, callousness, parasitic lifestyle, poor behavioral controls, and irresponsibility all point to abuse of other people. So I would say abusiveness is implicit in the diagnostic criteria. Is it possible to be diagnosed a psychopath and not display any of these traits?

      ...I knew it was a 19th century term. Why do you so totally doubt my ability to read?

    10. Because you emphasized later editions, implying a relation of more modern definitions to far older ones. Cleckley introduced his use of it in the beginning, which in itself stemmed even further back. The thing is, sociopaths are not morally insane. They just naturally lack inherent morals. A key difference.

      And yes, you can be diagnosed while not having all of them - just some of them. Using strict ASPD criteria alone, the PCL-R test only requires a score of 30 out of 40 to classify. This leaves a potential quarter of tested traits to either be diminished or not even included while still being diagnosed.

    11. Right. You just need some of the traits at varying degrees of intensity. You're right; you can leave out a quarter of the traits (5 out of 20). I listed 6. That was the point. Ok, I'm done. Thanks for the debate.

  10. From a certain perspective we can learn and ascend, but fallacies and flaws of reality will keep us on the track of truth: we are pieces of meat desperately clinging on illusions of consciousness.

    1. I apologize, but after re-reading what you said several times, I fail to understand either the point or relevance. What does this have to do with the above conversations?

    2. Mythologies and stories are useful for kids. Can we get back to reality now?

  11. how can a piece of meat cling to anything? this piece of meat is scratching its meaty forehead in puzzlement.

    or are you saying that consciousness is just an effect? the result of brain chemicals? in this case, this effect of brain chemicals, what we think of as consciousness, is under the illusion that it is conscious. and thinks of itself as a self.

    so technically it's not the meat clinging to an illusion, it's the illusion itself clinging to an illusion. the meat is just meat. it doesn't know or care about any of it.

    1. so here is the problem... an illusion can't cling. but if the meat isn't clinging and the illusion isn't clinging, where does the clinging come from?

    2. From the need of the meat to perceive, grab and eat.

  12. Nice and very helpful information i have got from your post. Even your whole blog is full of interesting information which is the great sign of a great blogger.

    Apple® - MacBook Pro® with Retina Display - 15.4" Display - 8GB Memory - 256GB Flash Storage

    Apple® - MacBook Pro® with Retina Display - 15.4" Display - 16GB Memory - 512GB Flash Storage

  13. Bob is an attention whore.

  14. I'm coming very late here, but I've just watched the film. For me Elsa knows that something inside herself, that she can't control, can hurt people. And then the reaction of the society (the others), is to keep her away from life, to limit her power. It means that if she can arm other people, she is pushed out of the society.
    Isn't it very close to sociopaths life?
    Anna, the sister, has suffered from her sisters powers, but decided not to be afraid and to continue to try to help her. Isn'it what every sociopath is wishing? that other people couldn't feel hurt?
    For the fact that Elsa finally is capable to love deeply...let's say it's not so easy in the real life! But let's notice the family relation between them (blood ties).
    There is an interesting thing in one of the song part, is that Elsa must understand that she can ALSO do nice things with her power. M.E. speaks about this quite often...a sociopath can also bring good things to the world.
    Let's also notice that Anna likes to "jump" on her sister to be close to her (would Elsa have hurt her if she didn't come too close to her?), she's full of life/feelings and naive.

  15. No matter what type of trauma or mental illness it may be a metaphor for I think saying love and support make a difference is a good message. It may not solve everything in real life but I know those things have made a huge difference in my ongoing recovery. If I didn't have anyone I could very well not be alive now.

  16. Did you know the directors say they designed Prince Hans to be a sociopath?


Comments on posts over 14 days are SPAM filtered and may not show up right away or at all.

Join Amazon Prime - Watch Over 40,000 Movies


Comments are unmoderated. Blog owner is not responsible for third party content. By leaving comments on the blog, commenters give license to the blog owner to reprint attributed comments in any form.