The War of the Sexes

…and Cluster B

728px-Identify-a-Psychopath-Step-9.jpgIt has occurred to me that 99% of the complaints one sees on the Internet about us “horrible” Bees has to do with intimate relationships. Surely there are other areas in which terrible people can manifest their evil. We hear about “corporate psychopaths,” like Bernie Madoff, who ruin people’s lives economically. And about serial killers, of course. But most of these mentions are only in passing. It is in a love match that our evil can be seen in full bloom. The objects of these complaints are most often narcissists but psychopaths are a very close second. Borderlines and histrionics can do some of the things “victims/survivors” complain about but are less often cited. We have been called demons and reptiles. But the overwhelmingly greater proportion of misdeeds seems to be in male-female territory.

It is almost always women complaining about what narcissistic or psychopathic men have done to them. Almost, but not always. There is a very angry man who has made exposing the “evil” of female psychopaths his life’s crusade.

This man actually identifies by name the woman he has nicknamed “Medusa.” He calls her “the darkest creature known to man.” From his description, she sounds more like a borderline to me but whatever. I guess “psychopath” sounds worse and he is gung-ho on demonizing her. What terrible crime(s) is she guilty of? It turns out the crime is infidelity. Well, Johnson is entitled to his value system. Kind of hard to consider this on a par with mass murder. But I guess it felt like it to him. He goes on and on for almost two hours (but it feels like longer). He is also instrumental in something called a 21 Convention held in Florida to teach men how to be “ideal men.” Turns out that Anthony sees himself as another Howard Roark (The Fountainhead). I can’t imagine Howard Roark being “used” by a woman. The only woman he was involved with was a hottie named Dominique. Roark would never have whined about anything Dominique ever did. Only a weenie whines like this.

jacksonmacJohnson mentions one blog specifically. It’s called Psychopath Free. He holds up the book written by the blogger, Jackson MacKenzie, who also runs the blog. There is nothing unusual about what he says here. We are “social predators” and “love bomb” our prey, devaluing and discarding them as soon as we have got them under our thumbs. We tell them they are “too sensitive” and so forth. Why Johnson thinks this one is special is beyond me. But he sure looks like a sensitive empath, though.

728px-identify-a-psychopath-step-1Most hate-b blogs are by women. I have already posted the Psychopath’s Guide to Haters so there’s no need to repeat all that. But just get a load of the titles (all found in the above-named guide): Love Fraud, Stop Romance Scams, My Sociopath, Psychopaths and Love, Charm and the Psychopath, Dating a Sociopath, a new one from Psychology Today, Did You Unwittingly Fall for a Psychopath? It looks like all we psychopaths do is search for “prey” to seduce and break the hearts of.

728px-identify-a-psychopath-step-5A blog I recently came across has some excellent articles about borderline personality disorder. She pleads for understanding of the borderline and stresses that it is not her fault she has a disorder. Surprisingly, she reverts to the usual blather when on the subject of narcissists or people with aspd. Just look at the titles of her articles. 17 Things to never say to a girl with Borderline Personality Disorder as opposed to 5 Sneaky Things Narcissists Do to Take Advantage of You. This is the rule, not the exception. She thinks the person reading her articles, the “you” she is addressing is someone like herself. Funny how we often don’t know when we talk about people we could be overheard by the very folks we had been dissing.

Everyone wants love. Many love relationships end badly, meaning, not in a live of marriage, children and grand-kids. Not that those relationships are always all that great. It seems like romantic love, by its very nature, is volatile at best. Arranged marriages seemed to last longer than those by choice. Of course, that could be due to the greater difficulty of ending a marriage in those days. The 728px-identify-a-psychopath-step-12self-indulgent nature of people’s expectations in love also plays a role. If our feelings are the main parameter of a successful relationship, the fact that feelings change make for instability. For both parties to remain in love and committed for a lifetime…What are the odds? Even if one member of a happy couple stays faithful, the other might not. Most marriages begin when the couple is young. But people often change over the years. Raising a family is very different from dating. There are sit-coms about this. “Why don’t you ever take me out anymore?” wails the wife. Our culture also causes unrealistic expectations. We are sold romance but we get dirty diapers and confining careers. Devotion to future generations demands sacrifice and many people don’t have that kind of selflessness. Did the sociopath love me? wails the brokenhearted “victim.” “Either let it make you BITTER or BETTER,” suggests Dating a Sociopath.

728px-identify-a-psychopath-step-13Folks, I really think we have other things to do besides break hearts. Relationships don’t last. That’s why there are so many songs about heartbreak. They say psychopaths never take responsibility for our own wrong-doing. We always blame someone else. Can’t the same be said for empaths whose relationships didn’t work out? Psychopaths can’t be responsible for all love affairs that end badly. Take responsibility for your own  pain.

Friday the 13th

A couple of days ago, lightning struck our building and destroyed a “transformer.” I don’t know what that is but it is essential for power. So we lost power which means internet access, even my smart phone was losing power and no way to recharge. Service was finally restored tonight. It’s the night of the full moon. Tomorrow is Friday the 13th. How witchy is that?fullmoon

It looks even better on my new Limitless blog.

Psychopathic Songs

I could swear I made this page before. Yet I can’t find it anywhere. Must be my nonexistent ADHD (thanks, Dr. Staunton). Anyway, I’m creating it again.

I start with I am a Rock by Simon and Garfunkel. This song can be a psychopathy song or an autism song. Either way…

My next choice is Running Down a Dream by Tom Petty. “I felt real good like anything was possible.” Isn’t that the best feeling?

My next one is also by Tom Petty. It’s Free Falling, of course.

Next one is Behind Blue Eyes by The Who. Eva, you reminded me of this whole project by putting that song out there. I swear, this song was in my original (but missing) blog.

I end with Blank Space by Taylor Swift (of course). Yes. The high is always worth the pain.

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High on Fear

scaredIt is a commonplace that psychopaths are “fearless.” But we are easily bored. Risky, or fear-inducing behavior can be the antidote to such boredom. We can get high on fear. But is this just a psychopath thing? It seems to me that the average person can find fear enjoyable (as long as it’s under control). Why else do people flock to see horror films or go on scary rides at an amusement park? In Huxley’s Brave New World, life was so safe and predictable, they gave simulated experiences with chemicals because it was believed everyone needed a bit of trauma.

wavesofwaterThe less we experience uncalled for fear, the more we enjoy it or even long for it. There was a club I belonged to called The Suicide Club. It wasn’t for killing oneself. It was for scary and unpredictable experiences. For example, one time the members were “kidnapped” by leaders. We were blindfolded and taken in cars to an abandoned building where we had some sort of scavenger hunt. Another time we planned to go to a weekend visit with Moonies and see if we could be brainwashed. Definitely a group for the edgy. But psychopaths?

An article by Seth Augenstein, Psychopaths Feel Fear, But Not Danger, claims we do feel catmousefear but can’t access threats. Of what are we then afraid, I wonder. We don’t notice, he says, “what pressing dangers there are around (us)” but we “do have the capacity, in the long-term, to feel concern and worry for (our) own safety.” I should hope so. Otherwise, I might not have made any plans for my long term security. Oh, wait! I didn’t make many plans for that. Nevertheless, I do take care of my own well being. Although I don’t always charlieobey traffic lights, I also don’t step out in front of moving cars. I’m aware of danger but I don’t dwell on it, especially things that can’t be controlled. For example, I can see the possibility of Trump abolishing Social Security and my ending up in a homeless encampment. But I figure, if it happens, it happens. When I take risks, I’m mindful of danger. I guess that’s “fear.” When the worst happens, I’m calm and all about dealing with it. Fear seems to be for the unpredictable or uncontrollable. Action is the perfect antidote to fear. Maybe fear is just about the future. Staying focussed on present time, one needn’t feel fearful.

creepycrawlyCharles Manson knew a lot about using fear for enjoyment. Describing the experience of fear when on a creepy crawly mission, he said, “Well, I go into Malibu and I pick a rich house. I don’t steal, I walk into the house and the fear hits you like waves. It’s almost like walking on waves of fear.” He clearly sought fear as a thrill to be courted.

ikraIn the UK Channel 4 show, Psychopath Night, Kevin Dutton tests a group of student volunteers and gives the two highest scoring and the two lowest scoring the opportunity to do a bungee jump. The low scorers opted out. The high scorers chose to do the jump. The highest scorer, Ikra, was visibly afraid as she rode up to where she would jump from. Nevertheless, jump, she did and she thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

fearYes, fear can be a high when we are the ones who court it. Even when an unwanted threat comes into my life and I feel an undesirable threat, once I’ve overcome the threat, I feel an exhilaration the makes me feel more alive so perhaps I enjoy it retroactively, if that makes any sense. If not, I recall Manson’s words, “No sense makes sense.” Except longing for fear can really mean one is longing for the unknown.


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Empath or Psychopath

reddragonThomas Harris’ novel, The Red Dragon, is the precursor to Silence of the Lambs. The main character of The Red Dragon is a retired FBI detection named Will Graham. James Fallon, author of The Psychopath Inside, has written that Graham is really a pro-social psychopath. I found Fallon’s view of Graham jarring as it sharply conflicted with my own view.

When I read about him, I saw Graham as an empath whose genius in solving crimes was his ability to put himself in the mind of the suspect. Although useful, Graham found this ability upsetting since he didn’t like the way these killers thought. Of course, that very ability to intuit what the killer was thinking makes James Fallon think he is a psychopath, albeit pro-social.

idyllicThe book starts out in the beach house where Graham and his wife are leading an idyllic life. Jack Crawford, the senior officer on an current case, is there to persuade Graham to come out of retirement to help him. He says he needs his help as Graham is the best. Graham’s empathy is immediately in evidence. As they sit at a picnic table,

“Jack Crawford heard the rhythm and syntax of his own speech in Graham’s voice. He had heard Graham do that before, with other people. Often in intense conversation Graham took on the other person’s speech patterns. At first, Crawford had thought he was doing it deliberately, that it was a gimmick to get the back-and-forth rhythm going
“Later Crawford realized that Graham did it involuntarily, that sometimes he tried to stop and couldn’t.”

grahamIt’s true, of course, that a psychopath can mirror other people in order to manipulate them. But to do it involuntarily with no ulterior motive seems more empathic than psychopathic.

Graham doesn’t want to get involved in the investigation. Molly, his wife, doesn’t want him to do it either.  But his conscience and empathy force him against his will. “What the hell can I do?” he said. “What you’ve already decided. If you stay here and there’s more killing, maybe it would sour this place for you.” Sure Graham can empathize with the killers. But he also empathized with the victims. His empathy was always with him. In a restaurant, he empathized with strangers.

“He saw Crawford’s cigarette smoke bothering a couple in the next booth. The couple ate in a peptic silence, their resentment hanging in the smoke.
“Two women, apparently mother and daughter, argued at a table near the door. They spoke in low voices, anger ugly in their faces. Graham could feel their anger on his face and neck.”

mentalhospGraham had previously been psychiatrically hospitalized for depression after he killed a perp who had been about to murder someone. Although he shot the to save a woman’s life, he still felt “there must be some way I could have handled it better.” He got so depressed over it, he stopped eating and had to be hospitalized. After he had told his step-son about it, the kid asked him, “Killing somebody, even if you have to do it, it feels that willybad?” “Willy,” answered Graham, “it’s one of the ugliest things in the world.” Doesn’t sound like a psychopath to me.

The FBI psychiatrist, Dr. Bloom, said of him, “What he has … is pure empathy and projection. He can assume your point of view, or mine — and maybe some other points of view that scare and sicken  him. It’s an uncomfortable gift… what do  you think one of Will’s strongest drives is? It’s fear, Jack. The man deals with a huge amount of fear.”


on the other hand…

James Fallon had a very different take on Will Graham…

“My favorite example comes from the 1986 film Manhunter, starring Brian Cox and William Petersen. Cox plays Hannibal Lecter, a cannibalistic serial killer who was later reprised more famously by Anthony Hopkins in the films The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal. Lecter is characterized by his lack of empathy, his glib and charming manipulation of people, and his utter lack of remorse for his horrid and perverse behaviors. In short, he is what many would consider a classic psychopath and would probably have scored high on Hare’s Checklist. Real-life psychopaths who resemble Lecter account for the more sensational and extreme cases — think Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, or the Son of Sam.
“But according to Hare, there is an entire other category of psychopaths out there —  those who don’t score as high on the PCL-R but who still exhibit strong signs of classic psychopathic traits. These are people like the hero of Manhunter, the FBI profiler Will Graham, played by Petersen. Graham recognizes that he has the same urges and lack of interpersonal empathy as Lecter. Although he is not a murderer, he is, in fact, a psychopath, or at least a near-psychopath, what I like to call Psychopath Lite. He might score a 15 or 23 on the PCL-R, just under the 30-point score cutoff for full psychopath, but other than that, you might think him completely normal. When my wife, Diane, and I saw the film in 1986, she pointed to Will and said, “That is you.” (At the time, it threw me off a bit, but I decided she was referring to how nice and deep a guy Will was.)

Graham a psychopath? How can that be? He had a conscience, one that made him clinically depressed after a justified and necessary homicide; a conscience that wouldn’t allow him to bow out of helping to solve another case of serial murder. Knowing he hadn’t done what he could to stop the murders, he wouldn’t have even been able to enjoy his idyllic life any more. I have gone through the book, looking for evidence to support Fallon’s point of view.

smellyourselfHannibal Lecter, whom Graham caught, certainly either thought Graham was a psychopath or enjoyed taunting him with that possibility. When Graham visits Lecter in prison, enlisting his help, Lecter says, “”You just came here to look at me. Just to get the old scent again, didn’t you? Why don’t you just smell yourself?”

“Do you know how you caught me, Will?
“Good-bye, Dr. Lecter. You can leave messages for me at the number on the file.” Graham walked away.
“Do you know how you caught me?”
Graham was out of Lecter’s sight now, and he walked faster toward the far steel door.
“The reason you caught me is that we’re just alike” was the last thing Graham heard as the steel door closed behind him.

Graham’s nemesis, the tabloid newsman, Freddy Lounds, wrote,

He was brought back from early retirement to spearhead the hunt for the “Tooth Fairy.”
What went on in this bizarre meeting of two mortal enemies? What was Graham after?
“It takes one to catch one,” a high federal official told this reporter. He was referring to Lecter, known as “Hannibal the Cannibal,” who is both a psychiatrist and a mass murderer.
OR WAS HE REFERRING TO GRAHAM???

tattlerIn the course of the story, Lounds becomes a victim of the “tooth fairy” as a plan to use Graham as bait backfires on Lounds. Since Graham and Lounds had bad blood, one could speculate Graham deliberately set Lounds up. The facts are pretty scanty. The news story that they planted to draw the murderer was published in Lounds’ paper, The Tattler. It was accompanied by a photograph of Lounds and Graham. “Dr. Bloom was surprised to see Graham put a comradely hand on Lounds’s shoulder just before Crawford clicked the shutter.” Lecter accused Graham of deliberately setting the murderer on Lounds. Lecter wrote a letter to Graham…

Dear Will,
A brief note of congratulations for the job you did on Mr. Lounds. I admired it enormously. What a cunning boy you are!
Mr. Lounds often offended me with his ignorant drivel, but he did enlighten me on one thing — your confinement in the mental hospital. My inept attorney should have brought that out in court, but never mind.
You know, Will, you worry too much. You’d be so much more comfortable if you relaxed with yourself.
We don’t invent our natures, Will; they’re issued to us along with our lungs and pancreas and everything else. Why fight it?
I want to help you, Will, and I’d like to start by asking you this: When you were so depressed after you shot Mr. Garrett Jacob Hobbs to death, it wasn’t the act that got you down, was it? Really, didn’t you feel so bad because killing him felt so good?

***

Graham knew that Lecter was dead wrong about Hobbs, but for a half-second he wondered if Lecter might be a little bit right in the case of Freddy Lounds. The enemy inside Graham agreed with any accusation.
He had put his hand on Freddy’s shoulder in the Tattler photograph to establish that he really had told Freddy those insulting things about the Dragon. Or had he wanted to put Freddy at risk, just a little?

guiltywillIt’s against the nature of a psychopath to “agree with any accusation.” That’s a point for “empath,” I think. So, where do we stand? Fallon and Lecter are squarely on the side of Graham being a psychopath. Thomas Harris is on the side of empath, I think. Will Graham came to a very sad end. His marriage fell apart and the murderer he might have sicked on Lounds ended up getting to him. He lived to wind up in a hospital, knowing his marriage was over. A lot of sacrifice for other people. As a “pro social” psychopath, I would not choose this outcome to save the lives of strangers.

I’ll end this with a final word from Hannibal Lecter for not other reason than shits and giggles:

Dear Will,
Here we are, you and I, languishing in our hospitals. You have your pain and I am without my books — the learned Dr. Chilton has seen to that.
We live in a primitive time — don’t we, Will? — neither savage nor wise. Half measures are the curse of it. Any rational society would either kill me or give me my books.
I wish you a speedy convalescence and hope you won’t be very ugly.

Will Graham was physically ravaged by Hannibal Lecter and Francis Dolarhyde (the Red Dragon) successively. Each time, he ended up in a hospital with substantial wounds. He was on a mental ward because he got depressed over killing a murderer. No thoughts could be so ugly? And now he might be ugly. Empathy. I stick to my guns. He was an empath.

Reptilian Us

This is a lighthearted look at the foolishness found on the internet equating psychopaths with reptiles. True, we all have a “reptilian brain,” the most ancient part of the brain. So what? Every psychopath I know has the rest of the brain that is standard in every human. But reptiles have always been demonized in the West, starting with the snake in the Garden of Eden. Since psychopaths are demonized too, why not lump them together?

This is hilarious. We must include our favorite conspiracy nut, David Ickes

OMYGOD! They said reptiles walk on fire. I walked on fire once. Does that make me a reptile? But of course. All psychopaths are reptiles, aren’t we? But even Fox knows about it so it must be true.


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