Dr. Michael Stone said, on the British TV show, Psychopath Night, “Psychopathy is like diamonds. It’s forever.” He was voicing the opinion of most professionals on the subject of psychopathy. A dissenting voice has come from David Bernstein, appearing in a video which has recently been included in a blog by Lucky Otter, Down the Rabbit Hole. Dr. Bernstein claims that a cure has been discovered. His school is called Schema and the particular technique is called Reparenting. Schema isn’t married to Reparenting. Both have existed independently of one and other. They have been brought together in Holland where they are practiced on some prisoners in their penal system.
Wikipedia defines Reparenting, “as a form of psychotherapy in which the therapist actively assumes the role of a new or surrogate parental figure for the client, in order to treat psychological disturbances caused by defective, even abusive, parenting.” According to Wikipedia, “Schema therapy was developed by Jeffrey E. Young for use in treatment of personality disorders and chronic DSM Axis I disorders, such as when patients fail to respond or relapse after having been through other therapies (for example, traditional cognitive behavioral therapy).”
I’ll be frank. The very concept of reparenting gives me the Icks. Dr. Bernstein makes a big thing of arguing that psychopaths have a vulnerable side. Huge surprise! I already know I have a vulnerable side. Do I want to expose it to a therapist? Not really. But some people just love the idea of people like me surrendering to empaths and becoming empathic. Dr. Bernstein keeps emphasizing in his speech how hardassed his patients were. The more of a badass, the greater the victory. This reminds me of certain Chick Comics in which a hard-as-nails gangster softens up and “accepts Christ.” Dr. Bernstein begins his speech by describing two such badass psychopaths who break down into tears. He seems to be attached to the image of a psychopath crying. But they had both become seriously ill before they cried.
I have to ask myself, “What’s wrong with me the way I am?” My answer is, “Not a damned thing.” Yes. That’s very grandiose of me. I love being grandiose. Grandiosity works. Why should I become somebody else? Because society thinks I should? Because Lucky Otter thinks we are evil? “But sometimes they can be caught when their mask is momentarily down (usually when they’ve been called out–or caught), and it’s here when we see the emptiness and evil inside them.” I never fail to be surprised when people think it’s alright to call other people “evil,” especially based on the expression in our eyes.
Lucky Otter is a nice person. She really wants everyone, even psychopaths to be redeemed.
“God, please show these broken people who have made so many bad choices and act out toward others–usually because as children they were shamed for their own vulnerability by abusive caregivers or parents–that they do not need to rely on primitive defense mechanisms, abusive or aggressive behavior, or a “false self” in order to survive and be happy. Please show them the beauty of their own inner vulnerability and that being sensitive can be a great strength and is never a weakness. Please lift the scales from their eyes and show them that the things they have learned to believe about themselves and others are lies–and the truth is the opposite of what they have always believed. Please remove the fear and shame keeps them trapped inside cold, dark walls that separate them from their own vulnerability and the light of your grace. If there’s a glimmer of their original soul left in them, please help that spark grow like a mustard seed within them and burn away the darkness that surrounds it.”
She has blogged about Beth Thomas, a child considered psychopathic, although children aren’t supposed to be called psychopaths, who was “cured” by something called Rebirthing. (Rebirthing? Reparenting? There seems to be a theme.) The picture of grown-up Beth is supposed to show how psychically healthy she is. To me, the face shows a lot of anxiety. My own blog about this is called Tough Love Success? For those who consider us evil, I guess the nicest thing they can wish for us is that we can have a personality make-over. Since so many blogs are devoted to writing us off the face of the earth, I guess this is an attempt on the part of an NT to find us acceptable.
So why does it give me the “icks?” Because I love myself the way I am. Beyond my grandiosity, I actually view myself as a work of perfection. (A work in progress? Sure. But even the process of my development, with changes and all, is an underlying shining diamond. Thanks, Dr. Stone.) Aleister Crowley wrote, “Every man and woman is a star.” I don’t accept the idea that I am sick or “broken.” Sure, my path is a lonely one, a path not much traveled. But it is my own and it is stellar.
The patients of Dr. Bernstein and his team are convicts doing hard time. Those who can’t be “helped” by psychiatrists are sent to a place where they are given up as hopeless. They will probably never get out. That certainly helps explain why they allow themselves to be “reparented.” Do they really break down to be remolded into a more acceptable model? I don’t know. It’s not as if we aren’t capable of crying for an ulterior purpose. Dr. Bernstein reminds us of a shrink who discovered to his consternation that a patient who had been “making progress” under his care had actually been making a chump of him. He found that out when he read the man’s diary. Dr. Bernstein’s successes can be of the same sort. I think he realizes that.
If I were facing hard time in prison, I would probably accept “reparenting” if that were the price of a possibility that I might some day be free. But I wouldn’t feel good about it. I don’t want a conscience. I don’t want to feel guilt and shame. Above all, I don’t want to be like everyone else. As a psychopath, I am able to see things they can’t see. To me, they are often blind. I don’t want that. I don’t want to become a little child again and go through a lot of messy pain. I don’t feel guilt so I don’t want to do penance.