Thursday, February 28, 2013

Phobias & Fears in Psychopaths

"You are all writing about instilling fear in others as a means to control them. But I was wondering about something:

How about your own fears? Do the people you are controlling never fight back? Would there be a way for them to scare you off? If there are even people killing themselves because of the bullying, wouldn't it be more logical for them to seek revenge on you??

And you write somewhere most psychopaths have phobias.. I am trying really hard to understand...everyone says that psychopaths are fearless.. but then they have phobias and it somehow seems as thought they are afraid to lose control? And shying away from real confrontations?

And: what would happen if 2 psychopaths fight for the same thing?

I'm not sure if you'd want to answer those questions, because it might be like showing your vulnerable sides.. but I am just really curious and trying to get my head around it."

Instilling fear in others is just one of several techniques. You will usually use more than one technique at the same time, not only fear - though in some cases it may be the most effective one.

Sometimes people will fight back, it will happen now and again because you just can't always predict another person's behavior in every detail, no matter how good a psychologist, how experienced and agile a manipulator, and how skilled a judge of character you are, because like all human beings you can't always be as alert and effective as you might want to be. Usually a person may try to fight back in cases and situations where you have underestimated them, or when you've overlooked something that could not have been foreseen.

When it happens that somebody chooses to fight back, it doesn't scare or frighten me. I believe I can speak for most psychopaths when I say that the prospect of retaliation, maybe even against my own life, is just not enough to make me feel afraid the way it does other, normal, people. Indeed, it may actually intrigue and excite me, though it will just as often be more likely to anger me - especially when we're talking about a person I consider to be "a subject of mine". The key word here is 'mine', because as I get to know somebody and gain control over them, I develop a sense of ownership, like you consider a family member, or maybe a dog, to be 'yours', to be something you own in a sense, and so it makes me very angry if someone attempts to break the bond of ownership - without my approval it's an act of defiance, and anger is an emotion I feel much easier than fear is.

However, people rarely fight back, and the natural reason for this is that almost all psychopaths choose their victims very carefully and would never approach someone whom they sense might put up any serious fight. There are exceptions, of course, but they are the fewer.

The reason why psychopaths can seem unbeatable is that we have so much experience with what we do, we have been building a 'knowledge database' about human behavior and the mechanisms of psychological dynamics and have practiced and honed our expertise in using this knowledge effectively throughout our lives. This is what we are good at, this is what nature has build us to be predisposed for becoming good at.

If the psychopath's inherent potential could be understood and his reality - the way he experiences life and everything he hears and sees happening around him - could be acknowledged as just as real as the way everybody else feels and think and see life, the unique talents could be put to use in a satisfying way for everybody, not just to the individual psychopath or just to society, but for the human species as such. And it would add to the variety of the human experience and thus the human potential, because it is all so very intrinsically connected. In a sense you can say I'm talking about a kind of 'Holistic World View' here.

Now to address your mentioning of Phobias... It is true I've mentioned that many psychopaths appear to have some kind of phobia, and irrational kind of fear that is hard to deal with because it is irrational, and which therefore can tend to hand on well into adulthood or even throughout the individual's life. But it is important to remember that Phobias and Fears are not the same thing. When you experience fear you are afraid of something specific, something you can touch, feel, smell, or put into words and anticipate through logical deduction and/or experience.

A phobia can - in spite of everything - be approached, and it can be overcome, if the phobic individual is willing to do the work, but it is hard work and fewer rather than more people succeed eventually. But some psychopaths who have a phobia do beat it, and they are generally better suited to succeed due to their otherwise very low fear response and capacity for fear in general.

They'll do what is needed to deal with their phobia, and - in my personal experience - they also tend to be more likely to try it than normal people are (provided we're talking about a phobia that actually interferes with the person's ability to function within the standard he sets for himself), and I believe this has to do with that fondness of control, of testing your boundaries, and even of testing how far you can push yourself in the face of a 'terror' that has no real name or origin that you can apply with name or place, and which psychopaths are so prone to have in excess.

From your choice of words I sense you may expect me to avoid this topic because I might feel some kind of shame at not being perfect or by admitting to having experienced something that was unsettling and uncontrollable (at the time, anyway). I can only tell you that I feel no such shame, nor do I feel less powerful for having admitted to not be made of titanium. The need to seem omnipotent and flawless is the element of some sociopathic people, but not for the psychopath.

If it seems like being strong means something to the psychopath, it is because him seeming to be strong means something to you. It is always about you, my subject, my target, my would-be-friend, my companion, my colleague, my lover; it is never, ever about me, the psychopath. Therein lies the main difference in how the normal majority of people and the psychopath function and place their focus and preference of focus

Monday, February 4, 2013

Naming A Psychopath.

This article is about Naming Psychopathic Individuals in Public Space or Forums. The article was meant to be a written in two parts. One Part would be About the Personal Aspects and Implications surrounding Pointing Out Someone - or Being Pointed Out - as A Psychopath. The Second Part would be About One or More Known or Famous Individuals, Being Pointed Out and Named as Psychopaths, and my Personal Views and Standpoints about this.

Alas, I haven't been able to make 'Part 1' ready for publishing as it was planned, which of course I regret. I am instead going to publish what was meant to be 'Part 2' of the article, and the rest will have to wait until a later day or night, when I am less busy.

Alright, here we go - let's See if we can Name a Psychopath...

Just this past week I received an email from a Reader who asked me - among other things - if I could tell whether or not one or more of a few named celebrities are psychopaths. I'm going to respond here with regard to one of the named celebrities and will explain why I do not believe this particular guy is a psychopath. And that being the case, I don't see why I shouldn't explain it 'publicly', so here goes...

Keep in mind, however, that like any other person representing a minority, I cannot be sure to recognize any other psychopath with a 100% Certainty Rate, it just isn't possible(1*). In the present case it is also worth noting that I haven't had time to research the person whom I was asked to confirm or refute to be a psychopath. So I ran a search on Youtube and found video of moments between 'on-air' takes from a guest appearance of our subject, hosted by a fellow well known TV personality.

The video I have uploaded with this article can hopefully give the Reader an idea about what I am referring to when I talk about a Professional Persona versus a more Private You - the 'you' that you tend to only display under more private and relaxed circumstances - and why it is situations like that I look for first when I'm trying to determine if someone may be a psychopath.

"For a while I was pretty convinced Jerry Seinfeld could be considered [a Psychopath]. His affect and emotion is really shallow, he is very self-centered and also quite manipulative (especially when you imagine his personae in not set up context). Don't get me wrong though - love Seinfeld!"

Seinfeld does not show some of the important traits that would make me view him as a possible candidate for a psychopathy diagnosis. - I can't know this for sure, of course. As always, an investigation including a thorough check-up into his past with interviews of people who have known him throughout the years and at various periods of his life - most significantly his parents and family, his friends, his school and hobby teachers and coaches, neighbors, ministers, and so on - would be required. But also people who have had more sporadic contact with him, f.x. officers who were present at a time when he was arrested for speeding (if such ever occurred, this is Just an example of what COULD be an experience from his past!) would need to be included. 

Again, some psychopaths are just too good at emulating normal behavior, and they'll slip through the needle's eye until they blow it in some other way. Maybe that's the case with Jerry Seinfeld, but I don't think so, and I have a number of reasons for believing I'm right when I say he isn't a psychopath: He's consistent and really puts a lot of effort into preparing and creating good comedy (By the way, comedy really isn't a psychopath's typical domain - but never say never, of course). There are also things about his handwriting that suggests he has plenty of emotions. His laughter is often spontaneous which is something you rarely see in psychopaths (though obviously a psychopath's 'staged laughter' can be very hard to spot).

That said, Seinfeld may be controlling and narcissistic (as you mention in your mail), and Narcissism and Psychopathy can in some respects be hard to distinguish. But then, most high profile performers and creators in the entertainment industry have a Narcissistic Streak, which again will be naturally nourished if you work and thrive on success in that industry. - Another thing to note is that learning to be (sometimes VERY) assertive is another trait that can be mistaken for a psychopathic trait, just as is that certain air of Personal Charm. If you're an entertainer of any kind you cannot survive without it.

- I haven't watched Seinfeld or his shows much nor closely, and after all I've still only been out of prison for approximately 2,5 years, most of which time I have spend in part on rebuilding my business relations, and on providing articles to please the committee and the board in charge of the psychopathy program I'm participating in (and being subject to), and who therefore has a lot of saying in how much freedom I get, if I am to retain it, or if the whole thing is going to be recanted and I'm going to be thrown back into prison. But I've just taken a look at what I could find about him, and it is my conclusion that Seinfeld probably is not a psychopath.

(1*) - for reasons that should be at least somewhat clear when taking into account what I try to explain in several articles: Psychopathy is a spectrum, there's no 'completely psychopathic' individuals, but there are plenty of 'somewhat psychopathic' individuals, and more over, psychopaths can be surprisingly different from one another in spite of the similarities - which, on the other hand - are often well hidden and only observable in subtle ways.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Can Psychopaths Feel Loneliness?

A Reader asked me about what it is that drives a Psychopath and if we can feel Lonely. Below here I answer these questions...

"Can [Psychopaths] Feel Loneliness? If it is loneliness, what is Loneliness to you? Is it Emptiness, or Boredom, or Restlessness, ...?"

I Can't speak for other psychopaths, really, because I've never discussed the subject with anybody I knew to be psychopaths. The topic just never came up, and I think the reason for this is very likely that to most psychopaths the concept of Loneliness isn't part of how we think and how we perceive life and situations, so it isn't really 'real' and doesn't figure as part of most psychopaths' past experiences. And in the cases where it does, it doesn't seem important or memorable enough to the individual for them to bring it up or think about it.

For me personally, I don't think I can feel Loneliness. I've never felt lonely, not even when I was in solitary confinement in prison, and that lasted for several years. So I don't think I can answer the question about what loneliness is to me, because it doesn't really exist to me. But being alone for extended lengths of time can lead to boredom, and that leads to restlessness and eventually frustration and even anger. But it's got nothing to do with feeling loneliness, it is not about feeling or not feeling loneliness. It is about not getting the stimulation you need, not having any means or sources of fun, nothing interesting to explore - like f.x. people. To me other people can be very interesting as well as fun.

"[Is it] some other Unbearable Feeling you can't quite distinguish, or some itch you can't scratch, that keeps you on the move, keeps you searching, always?  Is it feeling...forlorn?

My need for stimulation is the only emotion that can at times feel unbearable, which happens in situations where I am physically unable to take necessary action and find a way to satisfy the need, such as during some periods under imprisonment. But my need for stimulation, or being cut off from seeking gratification, has nothing to do with feeling Forlorn. There is no sense of having been abandoned or of being lonely.

When an urge to go and seek out stimulation or excitement comes over me, I don't feel forlorn, and where company is concerned it is far more often me who leave others than it is others who leave me. When I leave somebody or someone, it is usually because I feel my needs are no longer being met, and more often than not it is my need for stimulation that is no longer being fulfilled - though it can also be other kinds of needs, f.x. in the form of knowledge that somebody could and did provide until the supply ran dry. While I was in my teens there would sometimes be monetary needs.

To the majority of psychopaths, myself included, it is all about having a good time, feeling excitement and feeling good. 'Feeling good' often relates to feeling in control and feeling able to 'run' other peoples' lives, but again feeling forlorn doesn't enter the equation.

But where I differ from most people - though of course there are others like me - is in that for me to feel satisfied I need to feel I have learned something or am learning from whatever experience I am having. Stagnation is the ultimate deadly toxic, both in terms of how I experience things and in terms of how I think and understand reality as a whole. I really have a wish to grow and evolve, to become stronger and better at being me, at being who I am and who I am going to become in the future.

I constantly aim to find the best way to function, a way that will generate the highest possible degree of satisfaction and gratification in every sense of the word. And it is this, I believe, which has brought me to eventually study the possibility of turning cooperating with my surroundings into something that can bring me new experiences that are at least as exciting as what I've experienced in the past. Being useful, helpful to others and contributing to society in some form or other, is part of the plan that will hopefully lead to that result. It is not because I have become less selfish than I always was, but I may be smarter.

Still, nothing of what I have described has anything to do with being or feeling forlorn. People will still come and go in and out of my life, and I will still feel fine about it just as I have always done. I do on occasion - though rarely - feel a certain connection with somebody I get to know, but I don't feel forlorn when and if I leave them, or if they leave me.

So at the end of the day I still cannot describe what loneliness is to me, because I have never felt it. Apparently it isn't part of my reality or life experience.