Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fearful Faces - What Do I See?

What Do Psychopaths See in Fearful Faces?

In yesterday's quoted article the first sentence stated that all Psychopaths share two characteristic traits, the first of which was described thus:
[An] inability to empathize with others' emotions, such as the fear in a person's face...

This for me rang a bell. I have learned that there're some facial expressions that I didn't automatically see for what they are.


This photo is titled 'FEAR'.

Is she Worried? Surprised? Thoughtful? Slightly Annoyed?...
No, she's Afraid!



Fear is one such emotion. So I very early on decided to teach myself how to determine when someone was afraid (of me - since when I met fear in other people it was most often me they were afraid of). And I found a few markers that have since been quite consistently effective in alerting me to when someone is afraid of me.


What I look for is this:

  • When someone becomes hesitant in responding to what I say or do.
  • When they hold their gaze at me - not on something else.
  • They stop blinking for long periods of time.
  • Their pupils become larger (if I'm close enough to see that).
  • They hold their breath or it becomes rapid.
  • If they start sweating, often above their upper lip and/or at their brow.
  • They widen their eyes.
  • Their face becomes pale (blood run to their brains and muscles and away from the capillary tubes in the skin surface - and also away from their digestive organs, but that's knowledge and not something I can see).

Those are some immediate Symptoms of Fear.

If I can break their frozen state, their eyes will often flicker and their faces become flushed red (blush). Also, their movements will still be stilted.

.....

Those are symptoms of fear that I now notice automatically, but I had to learn them like others learn how to swim, f.x.

It was natural to me to use this kind of system to learn how to recognize the way people behave, and I didn't think more about it for many years, mainly because I took for granted that this is what everybody do, that this is how everybody learn how to recognize emotions in others. I even used to think I was somewhat slow in this regard, since everybody else seemed to naturally understand every emotion they saw in others and in each other. It was only because I realized that they didn't seem to know how to use this natural skill of theirs that I instead of feeling actually slow, instead felt superior, and I used to scorn silently scorn others for their blindness in this regard.

.....

But once again, I have learned something of late which I never contemplated before:

It seems the difficulties that we psychopaths have with recognition of certain facial expressions - which is otherwise a normally build-in skill - are directly connected to the same kinds of emotions which we either do not have the ability to feel at all, or which in some cases some psychopaths for various reasons apparently can feel in a vague (Shallow?) sort of way, but rarely do.


So I taught myself to recognize fear, and I am fairly adept in doing so - if I am prepared and know there're circumstances present in a situation which will normally trigger this response.
In such situations I can see it, I can use it, choose my reactions or responses and thereby direct the line of events.

But give me a picture of someone who is afraid when I'm in a situation and place where I recognize none of the fear triggering elements, and I can be somewhat confused unless the expression is exaggerated.

So what do I see in a face of someone who is afraid, if I can't see their fear?

I have been subjected to many tests over the years, and the recognition of facial expressions is just one of a certain type of tests which are constructed to find out about details and aspects in a person's cognitive and behavioral functioning. And it follows naturally thereof that I've speculated and been asked about what I saw when I didn't see what apparently was there.

.....

There's not one answer, but several to what I see.

For example, I often think Frightened people look Surprised, or Worried, sometimes they look to me like they're Bored or Uninterested, and sometimes they look to me as if they've just silently asked a question and are now waiting for an answer - not necessarily from me, they can be looking at a spot on the wall or at 'nothing'.


In the case of the last example people often seem to me as if they've suddenly become heavily mentally retarded. Maybe it's something I read into their expression because I know from experience, that when people look like this, they become very slow, rigid, confused and just plain dysfunctional.

It is a type of situation I've had problems with handling - especially when I was younger - because I would become so frustrated with these people's sudden inability to understand normal speech or carry out a simple, very easy to understand order, I would sometimes loose my temper and make things worse.

Sometimes this would happen even when I could find no reason whatsoever for anyone to become afraid of me. And in such situations I did not WANT people to be afraid... or I would have given them what I would call a reason... But in these situations I hadn't done so, and that made me feel as if they were opposing me somehow. Ridiculous, of course, since people don't become afraid as a means of rebellion, quite the contrary. - And I wasn't stupid, so I understood this, and I did get myself in check.
But I can still remember vividly those first times when I would start to yell and threaten the poor victims. No wonder they didn't snap out of it, heh...


Still, even to this day people becoming afraid of me when I do not want them to do so, can be very frustrating. Fear is a strong emotion, and once it's triggered - intentionally or not - it can be difficult to handle and re-direct in a hurry.

.....

Now a days I never yell, threaten or physically hurt people when they become afraid of me without my consent. And it does happen, still. I also still don't know what triggers it, for I honestly can't find anything wrong with my behavior, mannerism or tone of voice, etc..

___

11 comments:

TheNotablePath said...

Your closing statement, yeah man, I know what you mean. It sucks, and sometimes that fear never leaves them because they think something is off about you. Go figure, right?

Facial recognition tests for me are tough. I usually score pretty well, not because I can always identify them (honestly, only about half) but because it is usually multiple choice and the other emotions usually seem nothing like what is displayed. If it was fill in the blank, I would be pretty screwed :)

For me, I notice some of the things you mention, but mostly, I just realize they are more jumpy around me, more skittish. You know? Suddenly I'm either the elephant in the room, or the monster, depending on whether they're paying attention to me. It sucks when you don't want it. It's excellent when you do.

Anonymous said...

this is re:
Now a days I never yell, threaten or physically hurt people when they become afraid of me without my consent. And it does happen, still. I also still don't know what triggers it, for I honestly can't find anything wrong with my behavior, mannerism or tone of voice, etc..
----well, if you can't find anything wrong it means you are not as intelligent as you appear to be judgeing by your writing. I guess this entry might be a joke but let assume it isn't. --This sentence is just absurd -wtf??

Anonymous said...

It has been proposed that non-psychopaths can experience a sudden feeling of uneasiness, fear or a 'creeping sensation' when in the company of psychopaths; this is probably due to an old reflex to being exposed to an intraspecies predator.

Perhaps that explains this inexplicable fear you speak of.

Anonymous said...

....an evolved response to predators.. as Dr House would say.

Season 6- Remorse.

Anonymous said...

Hate to admit it but that scared woman looks like she wants it, like she is being seductive. yeah yeah I know, that's messed up.

Anonymous said...

Predatory comparisons can be a slippery slope; Seems to me more like an alien observing what to that individual is alien behavior. They must observe, try to replicate and hopefully at some point master emulating it. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

I think the reason sometimes that people are scared of me in the same way you describe is because a, they have empathy and can tell i'm down a dark road they would fear to ever travel themselves,
and b, i'v been told and heard a few times that I get a really dark look in my eye, which I suppose is the same as my first point but without the empathy factor.

Also people can sense a persons character a bit. You too can probably tell most of the time when a psychopath is near you, without verbal cues ect. to give it away. It takes one look from a distance sometimes and people shit themselves, even though they are perfectly safe.

Anonymous said...

Your understanding of the world and other human beings is so thin. People who are ensouled and experience empathy understand you guys very well but you cannot understand us and you never will. There is a lot you will never understand because your lacking so much.

The sad thing is that you all seem to come to the conclusion that you are special and chosen. You see us as the ones who are lacking in something but the truth is the complete opposite. You have no true sense of self. You have no core. You are sensationalists who can never be fully satisfied. Look up the hungry ghost in the Tibetten book of the dead. You are always hungry and your satisfaction lasts only for seconds if your lucky.

People who speak so casually about murder and the look on their victims faces are cold blooded and have reptillian brains. You have no light and you are an empty husk for demons to jump in and rule you. I know because i have met these empty demon infested people before and they always think they're superior. YOU ARE NOT. YOU ARE EMPTY and when you die your spiritual joureny will end, because when the brain and body die there is nothing to left to reincarnate. YOU ARE SOULLES. GET IT!??

P.s.. stop putting ''evil'' in quotes like it's something that doesn't exist. How dare you after describing the look on your victims face before you killed her/him.

You might also wamnt to look up phsychic vampires. You NEED ensouled beings, you need us to survive but we do not need you. You need our light, our creativity and our blood becuase you have no light yourself. All you can do is mimick. You are truly fucked. AND EVIL.

Anonymous said...

We understand people like you very well but you do not understand us and you never will. You don't understand because you are lacking in so much. You need our light and our creativity, our blood and our souls becuase you have none of these things yourself. You need us but we do not need you. In fact, teh world would be a better place if you were all killed at birth. You are only capable of mirroring other people, that is all. Copying and mirroring. You are empty husks and therefore totally open to demonic posession. Ever wandered why the government is always trying to breed more of you soulless beings? Oh and by the way, you are not chosen or special. Every psycho believes this, it's a huge joke to the wrest of us! You need more attention that a 6 year old at Christmas. You are empty and soulless. You have no sense of self. your inner world is a hall of mirrors that hold no truth.

Zhawq said...

Anon, Dec. 8. -15, 8:36 AM - Part 1:

"We understand people like you very well but you do not understand us and you never will."

I disagree. Basically it's a two way thing, we don't understand you AND you don't understand us. However, since we are the minority and generally surrounded by groups of normal people, we study you and gain at least a certain level of understanding of you. But we also imitate you in many ways which makes it difficult for you to understand us because we appear to be like you.

"You don't understand because you are lacking in so much."

We don't understand certain things because we lack in certain things, that is true. But don't pretend to understand us better than you do, history shows that you have very little understanding of us, generally speaking. However, I'm hoping to help change that as best I can.

"You need our light and our creativity, our blood and our souls becuase you have none of these things yourself."

I believe we need each other and that we both have the things you speak of, but in different ways that complement one another.

"You need us but we do not need you. In fact, teh world would be a better place if you were all killed at birth."

See that is where you're wrong. This too is an age old problem throughout the history of mankind. You always find groups of people who are somehow different from the mainstream norm and you blame us for all the wrongs in the world and forget that all beings have two sides, dark and light. What you propose here is no better than what Hitler did when he tried to create his paradise on earth where only the clean and orderly have right to exist. When will you learn that you can't purge our species' from all evil by chasing and victimizing minorities.

Zhawq said...

Anon, Dec. 8. -15, 8:36 AM - Part 2:

"You are only capable of mirroring other people, that is all. Copying and mirroring. You are empty husks and therefore totally open to demonic posession."

These words shows perfectly how little you know about my kind and how deluded you are. It is sad to see the same mistakes taking place over and over even as people write and say that they'll never repeat such atrocities.

"Ever wandered why the government is always trying to breed more of you soulless beings?"

What? The government is not trying to breed more or less of us. Wherer did you hear this nonsense?

"Oh and by the way, you are not chosen or special."

This is something you as an individual cannot decide for others, it's a spiritual matter and only my life story might show if it is true. Then again, it might not. As I said, it's a spiritual matter.

"Every psycho believes this, it's a huge joke to the wrest of us!"

You're right there's a tendency among people like me to have this feeling, but I fail to see why that makes it a joke. I can mention an example that I find to be quite the contrary, and I'm pretty sure the families of Jim Jones' victims agree, or the victims of the Warren Jeffs pedophelia.

"You need more attention that a 6 year old at Christmas."

You don't have to exaggerate, I can understand you just fine when you just say what you think to be the truth. You're quite clear in that regard, and if I had a better propensity for feeling sadness I'd be weeping now.

"You are empty and soulless. You have no sense of self. your inner world is a hall of mirrors that hold no truth."

I don't know where you read that, but I cannot personally relate to it. I have a very strong sense of self and always have had that. As for the mirrors inside I don't even know what you mean by that, my thoughts lead to other thoughts just like they do for you.

And I am far from empty. You make the same mistake once again right here in that you fail to understand that psychopathy is a spectrum on the human condition, we are not all alike or equally much psychopathic and nor are we equally much antisocial.

Do some study on recent research about psychopathy and you may learn something. At this point all you have is prejudice and we all know where that leads: Nowhere.