Sunday, March 23, 2014

Quote: Excuses

“The concept of disease is fast replacing the concept of responsibility. With increasing zeal Americans use and interpret the assertion "I am sick" as equivalent to the assertion "I am not responsible": Smokers say they are not responsible for smoking, drinkers that they are not responsible for drinking, gamblers that they are not responsible for gambling, and mothers who murder their infants that they are not responsible for killing. To prove their point — and to capitalize on their self-destructive and destructive behavior — smokers, drinkers, gamblers, and insanity acquitees are suing tobacco companies, liquor companies, gambling casinos, and physicians.”

Thomas Szasz

57 comments:

  1. In response to Melissas comment the other day, well I'd like to practice civil law.

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    Replies
    1. Wonderful!

      MelissaR

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    2. Addictions and sociopathy; this is an interesting parallel. In my opinion, in both cases:

      - there is a eagerness to destruct or damage oneself or somebody else.
      - the unrestrained behavior is self centered.
      - an inordinate amount of discipline is required to keep on the "straight and narrow".

      There are support structures in our society for people with addictions, if they care to use them. For sociopaths, there are currently left to their own devises to figure out a way, a code of conduct that works for them and the people around them. If they are not able to find and adhere to a suitable code, they are ostracized.

      OldAndWise

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    3. That is such a broad category as to be almost meaningless. Care to elaborate?

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    4. Yay!!! Put the fork down! Don't TOUCH a cigarette! ( you can't smoke 'em if you don't touch 'em ). ect, ect, ect.
      " the basis of all mental illness is an unwillingness to endure legitimate suffering". Stop crying. Look at what Jesus endured.

      Delete
  2. The incurable ills are the imaginary ills.
    Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

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  3. non compliance is a mental illness

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    Replies
    1. and i'm sick of it !

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    2. I am afraid only moderate compliance is normal for everybody (exept exeptions)

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    3. As an empath I think "silent respect for his/her illness" is the right attitude for superficial relationships with sociopaths.

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    4. I fully agree with you anon1049am, and it would be good if there were more people out there as understanding and enlightened as you are. The problem for the empath is when the sociopath does not allow the relationship to be superficial.

      With no doubt, sociopaths are experts at getting information and seeing through people, and using that knowledge either in private or in public to get a reaction from their chosen "target". Empaths usually do not know how to handle those attacks and damage their own reputation and self esteem by responding inappropriately. This usually brings resentment from the empath towards to sociopath, followed by ostracizing of the sociopath if possible, or oneself if not.

      There is still very little awareness of this particular "illness", if you want to call it such. The main advice you hear again and again is to stay away from them. Perhaps if there was a better understanding of the condition, sociopaths could better be integrated and their very special skills actually benefit society as a whole.

      OldAndWise

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    5. OldAndWise,

      If someone is going to target and attack me they are not going to be part of my life. I don't see what's so difficult to understand about that. Why would you continue to be around someone who targets and attacks you?

      MelissaR

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    6. MelissaR

      We do not always have a choice as to whom is part if our life. If a close relative or a co-worker is a sociopath, we may need to make room for them in our life. My point is that if there was better awareness and acceptance of sociopathy, there could be better harmony and less pain, destruction, awkwardness, hiding and running away for both sociopaths and empaths.

      Our society has learned to accept, even embrace most genetic, behavioral, physical and mental differences - people deformed by polio, people of different races, creed and religion, homosexuals, bisexual, transexual, people with down syndrome, autism, amputees, blind people, deaf people, etc. Are the sociopaths so different that they should never be accepted? Is our society too rigid to make allowance for them?

      OldAndWise

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    7. Oldandwise, are you an empath, who is still a little bit addicted?:)

      I think the collateral damage caused by sociopaths is greater than the damage that people with other deseases cause.

      Delete
    8. OldAndWise,

      Yes you do have a choice. Stop talking to people that harm you, find a new job, etc. It sounds like you would take our choices away. I don't wish harm on anyone, but it's my choice who I let in my life and who I choose to be around. If you wish to take that away from me, it's a signal that you will not be part of my life.

      MelissaR

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    9. YOU ARE RIGHT. Nothing to add.

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    10. You can not reduce sociopathy to fate and illness. They are able to modify their disease. The socios I know have enough aquaintances, a job, wife, children....so why pitty them, in one case I pitty the wife and I see all these addicted targets "fighting" against the charme and attention.

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    11. MelissaR,

      It certainly is your choice, Melissa, whom you let in your life and whom you choose to be around. The earlier post was only referring to the fact that you should have other choices besides cutting the sociopaths out of your life, if you feel your life circumstances do not permit it. Imagine a parent with a sociopathic child, or your sibling having married a sociopath, or a work place that fulfills you in every way except for the presence of a sociopath. Obviously, most people would not choose to put their child for adoption. And why should you feel forced to loosen or cut ties with your sibling and leave them to deal with the sociopath on their own when you are fully aware that your beloved sibling is at their most vulnerable? Isn’t that what the sociopath wanted, to cut you out of your sibling’s life? And why should you have to give up a job or career you really love?

      There should be other ways for non-sociopaths to deal with sociopaths besides running away. What I am suggesting is that awareness and education on both sides could go a long way towards finding more harmonious ways.

      The first time you are faced with a sociopath, your empathetic compass gets completely out of whack. I believe quite a few people on this blog (the non sociopaths) have been through this. The second time, you are more cautious, you can recognize the signs. You know you cannot appeal to their heart the same way you would with other people. You do not take what they say or do quite as personally anymore, because you understand their behavior a bit better. You know a bit better how to keep your distances or set boundaries.

      Am I making any sense?

      Squeezing years of personal experience in a few short posts unquestionably feels like an uphill battle...

      OldAndWise

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    12. yes, your making sense. I've experienced it too and can finally recognize the behavior AHEAD of time now, and not get run over by the train.( and yes, that's what it feels like!) I've taken back the reins to my life and will NOT be handing them over again!! I CHOOSE to have kind, respectful,people in my life and will treat them in kind. because that's who I am.

      Delete
  4. Yep, something is afoot here! The past 24 hrs. Is NOT "typical"
    M.E. behavior!
    This is not criticism at all. It IS curiosity.
    M.E. is young and healthy so it's unlikely a "physical" problem.
    Was she blindsided by something unexpected? We can only
    speculate what unless she tells us. We can play a game of
    "Twenty Questions" but that would get us no place.
    M.E. is the prototype of the succesful 21st century female
    sociopath: She has brains, beauty, charm, independance,
    sufficent wealth,a book that's doing a "respectable" business,
    and "muted" fame. Perhaps she's decided to "vanish" and
    rewrite the script of her life. She can do this in a reasonabably
    "safe" way, with her acquired "resources."
    I just hope she hasn't met the wrong man. That's often the
    downfall of lady sociopaths. But, in any case, SOMETHING is
    brewing.

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    Replies
    1. That's kinda funny for three reasons:
      1.) You really thought that out
      2.) You cared enough to think that out
      3.) And awww you care what happens to M.E [that's cute]

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    2. A sociopath meets "the wrong man." Thats a way to see it. I would think the sociopath would be seen as the "wrong" one by most people.

      If you have some need to care for people, there are better candidates out there. Like orphans, or people dying of hunger and disease. Contact the red cross and volunteer or something. Might be adventorous, maybe you'd meet a sociopath :O ... *play fancy movie music here*

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    3. Anon 3:25,

      As I gaze into my crystal ball I see the words "restraining order" flashing back at me.

      MelissaR

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    4. Lol MelissaR I agree with you completely

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    5. Nothing is brewing. It sounds normal for ME.

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    6. Maybe she fuckin got laid...damn, it was a Saturday you psycho creep...I agree with the other one...do something useful with your time...go help the needy or something

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    7. you would have made an awesome greek slave

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    8. Perhaps she has a life aside from her blog. Stop being a creeper.

      Delete
  5. It seems to me that this quote doesn't take into account the reality of fragmented consciousness. The more we are prone to compartmentalize (and anyone who is out of touch with their emotions tends to do this as a way of managing unpleasant emotional intensity) the less we deliberately choose "all" of our actions. Rather, each action is a function of the compartment it has been assigned to. In disordered individuals there are sick compartments but also healthy compartments. To judge a compartmentalized soul (never mind if there are hallucinatory delusions, which add to the mix) by one compartment is to miss the fact that that same person is likely capable of far better and far worse.

    If we expect others whose behavior we dislike to "take responsibility" for their least savory actions, the most effective way of doing this is to create an environment where it is safe to allow the healthier parts of self interact with the sicker parts of self. Both exist. In reducing compartmentalization, we reduce behavioral extremes because an individual has access to all of their faculties when they are faced with a moral dilemma.

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    Replies
    1. Excellent........

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    2. How reduce compartmentalization?
      Concrete please.

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    3. The "compartmentalization" you are referring to is actually the linear processing of human consciousness. Multiple "faculties" need to be strung in a series, but due to the limitations of the linear process individual links in the chain are improperly weighed or ignored/forgotten. Typically stronger links overwhelm weaker ones, so the end result (decision) is not actually fully weighed.

      Delete
    4. @ Bob- that makes sense but I also think it goes beyond linear processing. I think people who compartmentalize to an extreme degree engage in various defense mechanisms to keep different conflicting personas from showing up in the wrong circumstance. Case in point- the ruthless CEO who fires people who have children with cancer (and lose healthcare) who is loving to his/her own child.

      @ 10:31-
      Well, you reduce compartmentalization by trying to reduce situations where you actively present a false image. This doesn't mean you have to share every single thought/feeling you have in every situation, but it does mean that you don't pretend to be super religious in one and then go have anonymous degrading unprotected sex with strangers. In other words, don't choose to enter into behaviors in one context that you would actively condemn within another. Your personal values need to be reflected consistently within the different worlds you live in. There's not a "home you", "work you", and "secret you". There's just YOU.

      A good gut check here is to ask yourself if you are compartmentalizing is: "Would I be afraid if these worlds collided? Would the revelation of one to the other bring the sort of crisis that would force me to choose "one" reality that would necessitate cutting the other loose? (think of a man saying words of love to both the wife and the mistress)

      Cutting back on compartmentalization means that you sit with the uncomfortable realization that you can't have your cake and eat it too. You have to choose one option and mourn the loss of the other. With compartmentalization you trick yourself (and parties within both worlds) so you can have both, but risk losing everything if you get exposed.

      It's no fun giving up compartmentalization because it allows you to take more than your share of the good life because you get all of the goodies and none of the pain... until you get exposed as a person without integrity and then risk losing everything. That's why sociopaths have great lives until they screw themselves over when the artificial walls they have constructed come tumbling down.

      It seems like there would be no upside to giving up a life of compartmentalization (esp if you think you are smart enough not to get caught). But there actually are 2 huge advantages. First, there is a contentment and peace that comes from never having to worry if you have the appropriate mask on and how you can still make it work if a person from one compartment winds up interrupting your reality in the other compartment. There's no more panicking over potential exposure.

      The second is that you create a coherent narrative for yourself about who you are. A lot of people think their lives are meaningless. That's because they shift between different personas that have radically different motivations. What this leads to is being a person with a very schizophrenic sense of purpose. You lose the ability to find meaning in accomplishment in one compartment if it is in conflict in any part of the rest of your life. You can't savor victories you must deny. Instead, you are trapped seeking short term pleasure as your only source of satisfaction. Long term goals don't mean anything in terms of your identity if they can be abandoned at a moment's notice.

      To live without compartmentalizing is to live a deliberately chosen life on your own terms. You are free from the demands of each compartment that ask you to wear a mask (or else).

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    5. Thanks! Very interesting thoughts about integrity.
      10.31

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    6. Well said. Honesty? What a concept. Not having to lie all the time, and when your masks get crossed, and your exposed, dealing with the fall-out. Sounds like an exhausting and unfullfilling life to me. But is their any choice? My understanding is that it's a disorder with no treatment as of yet?

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    7. Certain 'friends' can't interact with other 'friends' because they know to much and to much has been exposed. A sad state of affairs.

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    8. a miserable way to live. Why not experiment with a different way? What if you simply experimented with nudging your personas to a middle ground with a sympathetic confession (or ten) not made under duress? Sociopathic people reading skills don't have to be discarded- they can be repurposed towards finding allies who will support your evolution.

      but choose wisely. There's nothing worse than an admitted ex sociopath pleading for mercy as part of a long con. Be sure you want integration because a track record of flip flopping will render you both exposed and beyond redemption in the eyes of most social networks.

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    9. Sounds like a dream come true, wish it could actually happen. Do you really think it's possible? What makes you think so? Unfortunately in my experience it didn't work out. Very sad. Two intelligent, interesting, individuals who were close, but can't be anymore because of personality disorders (sociopathy). (maybe only one person felt close and that person is delusional because they enjoyed friendship with a sociopath.)

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    10. I'd be willing to try, but your right ,it might just be a con on their part. I'd initially want to conceal it from social networks to protect all parties.

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    11. I think ME choosing to out herself by writing the book is an interesting case study in what the integration process could look like. Clearly she has suffered some serious short term losses. Only she can answer if it has been worth it.

      At the risk of sounding completely cynical, the most effective way to get your slate wiped clean is having some sort of religious conversion experience. Alternately, rising Phoenix like from the ashes of some great personal tragedy also gives you a bit more wiggle room in some circles. The thing is, the initial carte blanche has to be followed up by a lot of constructive action if people are to believe you.

      But if you can pull off a way of integrating your worlds by settling bad blood with heartfelt apologies to the people most likely to nurse long term grudges with an unqualified mea culpa- most people will adopt a "wait and see" attitude. The biggest obstacle is people's skepticism- the "why is he being so agreeable?" question. The way to solve this is to have some organizing principle that becomes central to the new, integrated identity. Back in the latter twentieth century the classic path was to marry "well" and become a family man.

      The one thing compartmentalizers have working for them if they truly want to integrate is this: people like to think "he learned his lesson" and whatever damage has been done is now accounted for. ME may have unintentionally tapped into some of this goodwill by "outing" herself. If the trend towards integration plays out with more prosocial behavior then people are likely to embrace her as a reformed sociopath who is virtuous for telling on herself. But it's a double edged sword. The penalties she will suffer if she moves back to compartmentalizing and then get caught will be much harsher.

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    12. IMHO, There will still be something "off" with those who manipulate others into thinking they have reformed. I trust until I don't.

      Bipolar Empath

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    13. well, it wouldn't be manipulation with nefarious motives if there was a genuine desire for integration.

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    14. Manipulation doesn't feel very good to the person being manipulated no matter what the motive.

      MelissaR

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    15. Define manipulation. I'd like to propose the idea that everyone is manipulative.

      As a mother who is most definitely not a sociopath I can tell you that I manipulate my children all of the time. I withdraw privileges when they misbehave. I provide incentives for good behavior. I practice selective attention. These behaviors on my part are calculated efforts to shape behavior to instill habits like brushing teeth, doing homework, and eating vegetables.

      I recognize that the role of parent is one where the power differential is appropriate (at least in the primary years), but it must be acknowledged that I manipulate my kids to persuade them to cooperate with me so I can structure our household in a way that allows me to meet everyone's needs with maximum efficiency.

      Where manipulation is not appropriate is when it is used to create/expand a power differential by deliberately priming a target to believe false/incomplete information that puts them at a disadvantage. Even as a parent, I recognize that telling stories about a boogey man or saying "Santa won't bring presents unless you bring mommy a gin and tonic" increases the power differential in a destructive manner.

      Purposely recrafting an image for deception's sake is problematic because it has nothing to do with reaching a state of integrity. It's just a variation on a theme of conning.

      That being said, a sociopath has a barrier to living honorably that more integrated people do not. Their ability to shape shift between different personas has the potential to undermine their ability to form social ties that are advantageous in a legitimate sense (think- job recommendations, etcetera) if their worlds collide. Constantly switching masks is effort consuming and makes having a core set of values nearly impossible.

      So what is a sociopath who wants to integrate do? Remember that they are living a very compartmentalized life. Changing overnight is hard because you have to start relating to all of those groups differently if you are to bring all the personas together.

      My observation that this is easier to do if their is a central organizing principle to explain the character shifts to all of the different groups, the sociopath who wants to straighten up and fly right is likely to find more social support. Reputations and character are interrelated.

      To become an integrated personality both reputation and character have to be addressed. In deliberately trying to change people's opinion of you there is always calculated manipulation. But this manipulation is only a problem if it is based upon deception and/or is motivated by a goal of manipulating a power differential for the purposes of exploitation. Simply rehabbing your image so people from different areas of your life can be introduced without a freak out ensuing is not a bad goal.

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    16. If I feel like I'm being manipulated or treated badly in any way, I have no desire to be around that person and that person is no longer part of my life. That's my choice. If you feel otherwise, that's your choice.

      MelissaR

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    17. O.k., this is an interesting proposal that should be considered. The sociopaths I've known can't pull it off. It's not in their nature. They will 'relapse' into one of their crazy episodes. But it's a nice idea.

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    18. I think that with such methods as a parent, you're only making them obedient. Sheep. They depend on you, they will seek to make you happy to be happy themselves. You are creating an army not a family. And concerning social interaction, they might grow accustomed to please others to feel happy, and they will never be independent.
      I wasn't raised that way, my parents were. My dad shut out his family completely (like MelissaR mentioned), & my mother has to grant wishes to hers, even if it's stressful. My parents gave me choices, not limits. Yes, they were put in such a way that to be obedient was beneficial, but I always had the other option just in case I disagreed & disregarded the incentive. I was never grounded. Because my parents believed that it would only arouse resentment or defiance. We only fight when they're imposing, because I'm a 'defying' one, as a sociopath.

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  6. When I was in college a book about Szasz was required reading. He was quite controversial, he really spoke his mind, and his views affected more than just the mental health field. His ideas were very thought provoking, but in the end I don't think his ideas brought about any changes. I agree with some of his opinions and some I don't. He is very interesting to read about.

    Thomas Szasz
    Primary Values and Major Contentions
    An introduction to the writings and thought of America's most controversial psychiatrist
    Richard E. Vatz and Lee S. Weinberg , Eds (1983)

    MelissaR

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  7. Yes, disease everywhere - hence the 12-step programmes. In the case of the psychopath, one reason I'd never buy the disease thinking is the amount of energy they invest in 'the mask', disguising who they are and, more to the point, the damage they inflict. If it really were a disease, they would be more inclined to let the chips fall where they may.

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  8. 12 step programs don't seem to do much good for sociopaths. Or maybe they do, they just can't control themselves sometimes. In Hare's book The Mask of Sanity, he states 12 step programs may be the only help for them and that it has helped some. (of course they want to control/run the group.) But maybe they could put their talents to use their. I've seen it, until there's a secret explosion.

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