“Splitting” is considered a characteristic of people with Borderline Personality Disorder. It means seeing people as either all bad or all good. But they’re not. Most people — no, all people are a combination of traits. “Good” and “bad” are subjective.They usually refer to what is beneficial or harmful to our egos. Really? I thought only psychopaths are supposed to be so fixated on our own well-being. But, guess what! Everyone is looking out for number one. Even the most selfless look out for their well-being. Otherwise, they wouldn’t survive.
Everyone thinks in terms of “good” and “bad,” even when we know better. It’s human nature. But most of us realize that people are a combination of both. Splitting is considered a “symptom” of a personality disorder because represents unrealistic thinking. Although I’m not a Borderline, I can relate. We want to avoid the bad and reach for panaceas. The panaceas change from time to time. Sometimes, it’s a noortropic. Sometimes, it’s a political candidate. Sometimes it’s a job we want. But we, well, I, sometimes think my life would be so much greater if only I had fill in the blank.
But with splitting, the panacea is usually a person. And the panacea’s evil opposite is also a person. I just made an interesting discovery. I was on one of the anti-path pages and I realized that these haters are also guilty of splitting. They see narcs and ‘paths as the BAD and empaths (themselves) as the GOOD. (The most alert reader will notice that I’m also guilty of splitting, making the authors of these pages the BAD. I call them “haters,” after all. Oh, well, I’m only human and they do direct an enormous degree of negativity at a group I belong to. Disclaimer: I realize these “haters” are human too and have good qualities as well.)
A dandy blog I recently discovered called Flying Monkeys Denied states, “We’re not Narcissists, Sociopaths, or Flying Monkeys… we’re Empaths.” Claiming Empathy is like flying a banner, displaying a badge of pride. I belong to some Facebook groups relating to Cluster B, Psychopathy and Sociopathy. Members of these group sometimes express skepticism that all the members are genuine. Who is the real deal and who is a “wannabe?” I wonder if the same thing happens among self-proclaimed “empaths.” I don’t think every NT (neurotypical) is really an empath. The Mind Unleashed defines empathy as “when you are affected by other people’s energies, and have an innate ability to intuitively feel and perceive others. Your life is unconsciously influenced by others’ desires, wishes, thoughts, and moods. Being an empath is much more than being highly sensitive and it’s not just limited to emotions.” Do the Flying Monkeys Denied test members for empathy. “Personality disorders” can be “diagnosed” by professionals. I doubt if they “diagnose” people with empathy as it’s not considered a disorder.
The blog addresses the reader as if it is assumed s/he is an empath. “Simply knowing (from an intellectual standpoint) that a person who is attacking you is guilty of egocentric and toxic thinking can help you depersonalize and compartmentalize abusive key terms, mind control methods.” See? You are the good guy. Anyone with whom you are at odds must be the bad guy. How do they know? Anyone can be reading their blog, even someone like me.
Cluster B consists of four “disorders,” Histrionic, Borderline, Narcissistic and ASPD. The latter is used as a stand-in for psychopathy or sociopathy. Many psychologists think ASPD is inadequate as a substitute term but that’s another subject. The people on Flying Monkeys Denied, however, expand ASPD to four separate categories:
- “Sociopath” (accessible using the hashtag #Sociopath) ~ a hyper desensitizing emotional response to being victimized or traumatized at an early age
- “Psychopath” (accessible using the hashtag #Psychopath) ~ people with aggressive or violent antisocial personality tendencies by nature and nurture
- “Narcopath” (accessible using the hashtag #Narcopath) ~ Narcissists with comorbid Anti-Social personalities
- “Dark Triad” (accessible using the hashtag #DarkTriad) ~ Malignant Narcissists with comorbid Psychopathic or Anti-Social personality tendencies
I notice they define a psychopath as someone with “violent antisocial personality tendencies.” This is incorrect. Some psychopaths are never violent. The biggest dispute with using ASPD as a stand-in for psychopath is the behaviorist focus on external behavior rather than the inner workings of the mind. You can be emotionally detached, unempathic and conscience-free without ever performing a violent act. The last two categories really look like one. A “Narcopath” and “Dark Triad” are both defined as “Narcissists with comorbid Anti-Social personalities.” I think these empaths just can’t decide whom they dislike the most, narcs or psychopaths so they created a category lumping both together. Whatever. Anyone under the ASPD umbrella is bad news.
We are told, “If you see a Narcissist or a Sociopath walking into a bar, you are hanging out at the wrong club. Stop duck hunting, excuse yourself politely, and run — don’t walk — to the nearest exit. Narcissists and Sociopaths cannot control their impulse to lie, manufacture chaos, engage in crazy-making behaviors, and socially destroy clueless targets by betraying confidences, engaging in serial cheating, and/or spreading false rumors about them behind their back compulsively all the time.” Sadly, so often people don’t realize that when talking about people, they may be speaking to the very person they are talking about. Psychopaths have been the subject of discussion by psychologists, psychiatrists, pundits and “recovering victims.” We have been portrayed in Hollywood drama, the subject of documentaries. Our speaking for ourselves is a fairly recent occurrence. Now we have a voice in the blogosphere, on Quora and even in books. We are still demonized and I doubt that this will end anytime soon. As with anything that is demonized, we are also glamorized. This can’t be an accident. I think it is splitting again. The thing we find most unacceptable acquires a certain allure. Jung talked about it.
The truth is that we are just people, neither devils nor angels. Empaths aren’t angels either. They do plenty of terrible things. We are all individuals, all a combination of qualities, some of which are probably in conflict with each other. The reification of a group of people is a way of stylizing them, raising them to the level of a Platonic ideal. Just remember, an ideal is just that. It’s an abstraction not part of the universe we really live in.