Thursday, July 28, 2011

Psychopath Children. (Part 1)

Psychopaths, when we are kids, see people display emotions that we cannot ourselves experience or confirm. But if we attempt to express this, we are met with rejection and denial.

We get punished and shunned when we don't display the same kind of emotions that others do, and the explanations we receive appear to be meaningless and unfounded to us.

To say something like:

"How would you feel if someone hit you? That's why you should not hit other kids!"

...makes no sense to a psychopathic child, but we quickly learn that we have better pretend to understand or else...! This is how we learn that nothing is what it seems and that pretense pays.

How do you propose that a child can understand that this is not how everybody do things when we get praise if we do it well and are punished if we don't?

Add to this that we soon find out that we can use other people's emotions against them, we can often control them and make them do what we want, and we can get what we want by using tactics that others would feel bad about and therefore do not use, because we ourselves feel fine when we do it. All this to us proves that we must be stronger than everybody else, so how come everybody else keep saying we are wrong and that all those who seem to suffer so easily and are so easily controlled are better than us? To a child this doesn't make sense!

But it might make sense if our caretakers understood that there really are different kinds of emotions in different kinds of people and that not everybody have the same ability to feel empathy - or remorse, for that matter (I understand why empathy is a useful emotion to encompass, but I'll probably never understand what is useful about remorse). Not having the ability to feel empathy has nothing to do with being evil, it is a neuro-psychological predisposition that the child - or the adult - has no saying in. We are born that way, and we cannot choose to learn how empathy feels.

Let's for the sake of getting my idea across say that psychopaths are like computers and normal peeople are like dogs. Psychopaths can not choose to learn how empathy and loyalty feels anymore than even the most sophisticated computer can learn to understand poetry from an emotional perspective. It doesn't mean computers aren't useful, they're useful but in different ways than f.x. dogs who have deep instinct for loyalty and will generally be willing to die for their 'tribe'. Normal people didn't choose to be born with an instinct for loyalty and cannot choose to not feel it anymore than a dog can choose to not have empathy for their group or have loyalty for their group's alpha dog. But abuse a dog or try to program for the wrong operating system, or download a file with a trojan horse to your computer, and both the dog and the computer will become dysfunctional.

There are programs so rare hardly anybody know they exist, but are they evil because they aren't compatible with Windows?


Anonymous said...

"How would you feel if someone hit you? That's why you should not hit other kids!"

It should be "Would you like it if someone hit you? If you don't like it,don't do it to others"

What really annoys me, is people who complain about how others have treated them badly, yet they treat people badly themselves.

Nick London said...

Well said, as I've mentioned in my emails I had emotions for most of my youth and definitely when I was a child. So in that respect I differ from you.

I know to a certainty that I have no emotion or empathy now which allows me to better understand the psychopath side of the morality equation. Since my break from emotion occurred over time I think of myself more as a sociopath than a psychopath. I'm still a little hazy on all the differences.

Anonymous' comment is interesting because it represents an idealogy that I carried early in my life. However, at this point I can honestly say that everything you write makes sense. Without emotion or empathy you truly don't have the ability to connect with other people the way a normal person can. Normal people just could never understand the gravity of what it means to be without love and they're too frightened by the concept to properly understand it.

Zhawq said...

Anon 5:09,

We are told these things many times by different people who use different words. It is not because we don't understand the meaning of the words. We do understand the message: "You should do it to others because you don't like it being done to you, yourself!".

But it is not logical to a psychopathic child: I do not get anymore or less hurt or uncomfortable when someone does something to me whether or not I do or don't do the same thing to others!

I understand your annoyance towards people who complain over things they're guilty of themselves. I understand the mechanism.

But that is not what I'm doing. I'm trying to find a solution to a problem that normal people complain about. We, the psychopaths, will be fine whether or not anything changes. We're good survivors. If we had great issues with our fate in general (and in general our fate can be anything from sitting on death row to sitting in the White House) you'd see plenty of websites like mine, but most likely with a somewhat different approach to the content.

Try to understand what I'm saying here: I am doing this for you! For the majority of people and all the sub-groups belonging to the majority, it is for the non-psychopaths and non-antisocial individuals! I do not do this for other psychopaths. I don't hold any attachment to other psychopaths and I know they couldn't care less about me. We're rather special in this sense, we really do not have an inward sense of belonging.

Zhawq said...


there are a number of so called disorders that are very much like psychopathy but which differ in origin, in how they came about.

Anon's ideology. It's hard to disagree, isn't it? :)
But it's a good example of the lack of emotional bearing that morals have to psychopaths. If we can do the deed and then gain something from complaining when someone else does the same deed, then we certainly will complain.
I know that so will lots of people (though they're not likely to admit it), but they won't feel good about it, they'll possible even feel bad about themselves for a while afterwards.

I'm about to send you a mail (hopefully in a few hours)... '^L^,

Andreas said...

We do understand the message: "You shouldn't do it to others because you don't like it being done to you, yourself!".
But it is not logical to a psychopathic child: I do not get anymore or less hurt, or uncomfortable, when someone does something to me, whether or not I do, or don't do, the same thing to others!

This was such a fascinating statement that I had to reread it several times.
The statement is perfectly factual but what struck me as odd, was the fact that it was also irrelevant to what the 'scolder' was saying.

I understood the scolder's intentions, rather readily. The unusual bit would be that I would never have stopped to think about what I thought about it. For as long as I can remember, I knew that using my thoughts and feelings to interpret the behaviour of others was a wasteful effort. So, it would not have occurred to me to intuit my interpretation. On my own time, perhaps but not whilst interacting.

Do their feelings make a difference on how I would feel, and subsequently act? No, not really. What would affect me are the consequences of what their feelings would create. I've always interpreted the feelings of others as reality, because their feelings have real world consequences. Which makes me the most cautious and thoughtful person that most anyone would meet but also terribly manipulative (yet not mean), since interacting means I either attempt to directly impact one's emotions, or I directly avoid impacting said person's emotions; there is no being me, so to speak. I do like me :)
Too fascinating. It is funny how one can be both aware and unaware of one's own character. I'll have to put a greater emphasis on what I think. For this I will say thank you Zhawq.

Ettina said...

"I understand why empathy is a useful emotion to encompass, but I'll probably never understand what is useful about remorse."

That statement seems odd to me. I think remorse is just a kind of empathy - it's empathy for someone that *you* have harmed.

Anonymous said...

I have a handicap psychopath teen I adopted. She puts her hair balls to mark her territory like a dog does when it pees. She puts them in shoes, pockets of clothing, etc. But, she esepcially loves to put it in other children's toys, clothing, etc. I have tried everything to get her to stop. She still does it (hair cuts don't matter, removing hair brushes, she doesn't care). She could care less about consequences. She delights in negative consequences and upset. So, last idea was to do the same to her. Each child cut off pieces of their hair and put it all along her room and things. She threw a fit that wasn't normal. It was really freaky, as if you could see she was furious in feeling like she was losing control over the other children (but the other children grately enjoyed this even as it was like therapy to say-no more). I keep cutting her hair, but she will rub her head against walls or do anything she can to pull it out to plant hairballs. Nothing I have done works. Second problem, she looks for opportunities to cause upset. She will fake her needs (it took taking her to Shriner's to find out that she hid the fact that she was independent and could do everything on her own-dress, which was hidden for two years). She thew a massive, enormous fit when we stopped this game. She is obsessed with control and can't cope with losing it. She will create issues like flooding the bathroom with her poo, peeing on the floor or towels (we had to take all towels out of bathroom-she won't pee on her own), hiding things and pretending things are lost, etc. Any suggestions from a pyschopath angle? We are having to consider putting her in an institution because she is impossible to live with. So, we are desperately trying everything we can to try to prevent this (counseling-joke, neurofeedback-made more games, books, advise from moms with RAD kids, camp, etc.). I am running out of ideas. I am only including two problems. I could probably write a book (we filled a journal full of games just in the past couple of months). She has NO emotions, remorse, etc. The right hand side of the brain is barely viable, according to brain scan. She is exactly as you describe. Definitely narcissistic, as well.