Wanna Live, Human?

a question for each of us…

is the human a lemming intent on it’s on destruction?

I mean, really. Do you believe in science? Science tells us we have, maybe 12 years in gretawhich we can get it together to stop our suicidal emissions to save the planet before we will have destroyed it beyond our ability to fix it. Greta Thunberg has been crying out as a voice in the wilderness. Some of us are even listening and working on solutions. One of those people is Bernie Sanders. He’s running for president. But he has to get the nomination first. And he is up against a “Democratic” establishment that seems manifestly insane. They are insanely opposed to progressive forces in their own party even if those are the only forces that have a chance of saving the planet. They attachment to neoliberalism are more important to them than saving the planet. YES. That IS insane. There’s no other word for it.

I am 76 years old. I’m going to die in a few years no matter what you nut jobs decide to do about your planet. Yes. I’m psychopathic enough not to really give a flying FUCK what greenpublichousinghappens to this ill fated planet after I’m gone. If you want to destroy everything of beauty and brilliance here, that’s your call. Too bad for those of you who wanted to save it. Those of you who vote for inertia will have won by default. My sympathies are with those who are trying to save the earth. If you naysayers were at least honest with yourselves and admitted you choose death, I could respect you. But living in denial as you are doing only curdles my guts with disgust. I can’t even look at you. Go, die if you must.

High FIVE TO Bernie Sanders, Alexander Ocasio-Cortez, Naomi Klein, Greta Thunberg and the other great folk I didn’t name but who deserve to be included here.


charlielinusI just read something from Christianity.com about a Christian message slipped into Peanuts. In Crosswalk.com, Just Drop the Blanket: The Moment You Never Noticed in A Charlie Brown Christmas gives the usual Christian sermon and I realized why it must be difficult for Evangelicals to believe in climate change. They expect God to take care of everything and probably think it shows a lack of faith to think we have to solve the problem. But then I thought further. The average person isn’t used to thinking he or she can be responsible for either creating or solving any major problem on earth. If it isn’t “God” doing it, it’s the corporations. I’ve been guilty of such thinking myself. When scolded to take matters into my own hands, like don’t waste resources, for example, my response has been, “What about the big companies who squander resources in a major way? What is my two-cents worth of waste or thrift going to matter as long as they are doing their thing?” This kind of thinking assumes we, the “little people,” have no power and no responsibility. It’s the thinking that keeps us powerless. It’s the kind of thinking that keeps revolution from happening.

… which takes us back to the original question. Will we choose action? 

Her Mother, the B

My Mother the Psychopath: Growing up in the Shadow of a monster
by Olivia Rayne

my-mother-the-psychopathBeing a psychopath, myself, I read this book with fascination and trepidation, the former for obvious reasons; the latter because I am used to seeing my kind vilified in books of this type. The subtitle alone, unfortunately, suggested the latter to be the case. Humanity has a sad propensity to demonize whichever members of it’s species other members can’t identify with. Even “monsters” such as Donald Trump couldn’t have caused very much mischief had it not been for large numbers of ordinary voters who put him into office.

In this case, Olivia Rayne tells the harrowing tale of her first 22 years of life growing up in a complicated relationship, not with a monster, but with a complex woman whose intricacies made for a very difficult, often dysfunctional life but from which Olivia survived to grow into a vibrantly stunning young woman. Her best friend, Sofia Nelson, says of her, “Olivia is bright, funny, playful and vivacious. I thought she had an infectious laugh, a warm smile and a quick wit.” Olivia’s mother didn’t seem like a monster either. Sofia says, “I was also struck by what a lovely mother (Olivia) had. When I first met Josephine I observed her zeal, the way she seemed genuinely interested in everything and everyone around her. I noticed her smile, her earnest eye contact, the heartfelt way she talked. On each occasion we met, I thought, what a magnetic woman. Later, I noticed the gifts she sent Olivia that came to the office: designer shirts, dainty gold necklaces, sets of expensive make-up. ‘You’re so lucky!’ I would say to my friend. ‘Your mum’s so generous.’ Olivia would smile thinly and say nothing.”

Before the book, Sofia wrote an article with the same title. Note, it is written as if in the first person although Sofia, not Olivia, was the author. The names were changed as well. Josephine became “Joan” and Olivia became “Katie.” I am not always sure who has written what in the book whether it is Olivia or Sofia because of this. The title page lists both names, Olivia Rayne and S.M. Nelson as author. On the copyright page, it says “Olivia Rayne has asserted her right to be identified as the author of this Work in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.”

oliviaWere Olivia’s memories recovered memories? If so, who helped her remember? How authentic are the memories? Most seem like regular old memories most of us have. But one, for her third year of life seems problematic and it is one of the most disturbing. On Christmas Eve she and her family were visiting her grandparents (father’s side)

There was a sinking in my stomach, because I did remember that Christmas. In my mind it was a happy Christmas. I remembered the photo from that day, that for years was pinned to our fridge. It was right in the centre so every time you went to fetch a drink or snack it floated in front of your eyes. The bottom corner was folded u p, and whenever I looked at it, I tried to flatten it down, to protect and preserve it, this precious pictorial proof: proof we’d been happy, evidence I’d been loved.

In the photo are my cousins, my grandparents, Mother and me. We’re gathered in the living room and Mother’s kneeling by the sofa,  holding me from behind. Her chin is on my head, her curly hair on my shoulder. She’s beaming up at the camera, at my father standing behind it. My hands are clasped together, my eyes wet, my cheeks pink, my round toddler’s tummy straining against my velvet dress. There’s torn wrapping paper in front of  us, jigsaw puzzles and games and new books on the carpet. On the coffee table are glasses of  half-drunk wine, chocolate stars wrapped in foil, plates of mince pies with thick smears of cream. We looked full and happy and hearty.

When I looked at that photo I thought I remembered it. I thought I remembered charging around the living room, hot and breathless with excitement; eating mince pies until my little belly stuck out; that my cousins took turns poking it and squealing with laughter. I remembered that — I did. I did.

Or did It? Was it just the photo that made me think I remembered? I knew that I remembered one thing from that day: Mother, gently stroking my forehead. But what else?

‘Do you really not remember what happened that day?’ Granny asked, and I shook my head, squeezing my eyes tight. The memory of Mother stroking my face hovered in my mind but I pushed it aside. What was behind that? At first there was only grainy darkness, but as I dug there were flashes of something else: a floor, a cold floor; pain, heat. I thought there was another memory there — a door, a silhouette? — but it was bleary and it made me feel nervous. What else?

I couldn’t see. I didn’t know.

‘Tell me what happened.’

So Granny told me, and as she spoke the gaping holes in my mind refilled, and my meticulously constructed memories shriveled away as though they were burning.

letmeoutIt’s dark. it’s night-time. I’m locked in the bathroom, lying on cold tiles, sobbing and crying for Maman to let me out. I’m rattling the bathroom door in desperation, pleading and weeping so hard I can’t breathe. Please let me out, Maman, please open the door. I feel sick, I ‘m scared. I’m scared, Maman. Maman! She’s standing outside the door — I can see her silhouette through the glass — but she doesn’t say anything she doesn’t respond.

I’m hot, I’m tired, my head hurts. I press my cheek to the fold floor to cool myself. I’m lying face down, arms spread wide, feet turned out. Sobs hiccup through my chest but still she doesn’t come to me. I call for her, again and again, and I know she’s listening because I see her silhouette turn towards me. Still she says nothing.

This is what Granny told me about the Christmas I thought I remembered.

It was Christmas morning. Granny came into the living room where I’d slept with Mother and Father. She was carrying a tray: mugs of coffee for the grown-ups, hot milk for me. My parents were still lazing on the pull-out sofa, and as Granny came in, Mother sat up with a smile.

‘Morning, Jean!’ she said brightly, ‘Merry Christmas!’

‘Merry Christmas, Josephine!’ Granny replied. ‘Merry Christmas, Clive!’ She glanced around the room, looking for me. ‘Where’s Olivia?’

‘Oh,’ Mother said, and there was a pause. ‘She’s in the bathroom,’ she added, picking up her coffee and sipping it slowly. Granny glanced at the bathroom door adjoining the living room. Her bookcase, that old, heavy mahogany bookcase, was dragged across the door like a barricade. Granny’s head flicked back to my parents. My father was making a great show of blowing on his coffee, staring straight ahead at the wall. Mother was watching Granny steadily,  unflustered, smooth as silk.

‘Why is she in the bathroom?’ Granny asked. She remembered that her voice quivered, but she didn’t know why. Mother sighed, shook her head like she was in pain.

‘She kept her father and me awake until the early hours. She wouldn’t stop crying, howling for attention like a little madam, so in the end we had to lock her in the bathroom for the night.’

oliviarayneA doctor finally examined her. It turned out Olivia had a severe ear infection and a fever. The grandmother said, “Well, I suppose we know why she was crying.” Josephine shot back, “None of us are mind readers, Jean. If Olivia doesn’t tell us what’s wrong, how are we supposed to know?”

That certainly is a story of great callousness towards a sick three-year-old. The grandparents look like credible witnesses in any case. I would like to know if the child’s health was neglected to the same extent through out the rest of her childhood but there are no other anecdotes of a similar nature to compare that one to. Josephine’s pattern involves an extraordinary degree of engulfment. She didn’t seem willing to let Olivia have any privacy in which to develop a private or separate identity. She seemed more narcissistic than psychopathic, constantly demanding exhausting quantities of supply.

josephinelacroisJosephine would alternate between acts of kindness and acts of cruelty. She seemed to think her extravagant kindness required extreme shows of gratitude from Olivia which were never good enough. “Her voice was sweet, but her words sharp as a blade. She has a thing for pet names. I was alternately her darling, her love, her sweet angel face — or a fucking bitch, a stupid whore, a sad disaster of her past. I was her sweetheart, her flower, the love of her life, but also a slut, a pervert, a cockroach ripe for zapping. One week she was my best friend, teaching me to paint, reading me my favourite stories, spending hundreds on me to paint, reading me my favourite stories, spending hundreds on baking kits so we could make cakes together; the next, she wouldn’t even speak to me.” She reminds me of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie or Joan Crawford. Olivia goes through the checklist, hitting every psychopathic trait and citing it in her mother’s behavior.

Glib, superficial charm? check
Lack of empathy? check
Need for stimulation? check. She was always moving to another country
Criminal tendencies? check. She stole from a couple she worked for
Impulsivity? check. She fled the country to avoid theft charges.
Pathological lying? check. Made up a story smearing the people she had stolen from accusing them of causing a boy’s death.
Cunning and manipulative? check. She wanted to move from a beautiful place but her family wanted to stay so she picked a fight with next door neighbor. Then she poisoned a pond she had created and stocked with fish that were pets of Olivia and pretended the neighbor had done it.
Early behavioral problems/Juvenile delinquency? check. Her parents confirmed wild, delinquent behavior when she was a teenager.
Sexual promiscuity? check. Parents confirmed.
Grandiosity? check. “Aren’t I just the best mother in the world?”

Of course these are traits of psychopathy. The restlessness, the constant moving to new and more interesting places.  But don’t they also apply to narcissism? What else, in addition, do narcissists need? Validation of their superiority. They need to be reassured over and over that they are adored and appreciated and worshipped. We psychopaths just want to get what we want. Our self-esteem doesn’t depend on what others think of us. Some things about Josephine I find really psychopathic.


For example, the way she locked a sick child in the bathroom because she was weary of hearing her cry and demand attention. Yes, we can be really selfish and insensitive. Not that we will.

Poisoning her child’s fish to expedite her will to move is pretty damn low but a  psychopath could do it. What wouldn’t a psychopath do? Put all that energy into getting her daughter to dress a certain way. Or to go with a certain boy friend. I think she would have to be a narc to do such things.


And what of Olivia? Her submissiveness was hard to take. I understand it, of course. She was trained to submit from an early age. So much pain at the hands of this larger person combined with intermittent acts of kindness and love. But despite my understanding,  I still wanted to shake her. Nevertheless, I still did notice she had a true talent for happiness despite everything. Josephine would take her away from all her supports, her friends, her loving grandparents, a school she loved and Olivia would find her new situation a new source of joy. A true survivor. Or was the josephinelacrois1intermittent nurturing Josephine gave her enough to foster an inner health. Olivia even acknowledges gratitude to her for making her the person that she is today. Of course, that was a process. Before she broke completely free from Josephine, Olivia fell in love with Sean, a man who really was a psychopath (as well as a coke freak). He had a strange relationship with Josephine by which he kept bringing her (and her money) back into Olivia’s life. But when Olivia was finally finished with Sean and Josephine, Sean was wise enough to realize it and let go long after Josephine was still stalking and damning her daughter for freeing herself irrevocably.

Whether Josephine was a psychopath or a narcissist, she was certainly a Cluster B and an interesting person.

Only treatment is a bullet in the head

georgesimon.pngDr. George Simon wrote an article entitled Is Psychopathy Genetic? Under the article was a long discussion by anyone who wanted to comment. One, in particular, caught my eye.

Only treatment is a bullet in the head. That’s how the inuit used to deal with them. They are not human.

“Al” was referring to psychopaths…

A few days ago, President Trump made his notorious tweet about four freshmen congress women “of color” (as the media calls them)

“So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the squad.pnggreatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run,”

This tweet aroused outrage from practically everyone who wasn’t a fan of Trump. His tweets were denounced as racist. I concur. However, what I wonder about is why racism is (rightfully) denounced while another group seems to be free game for anyone with a vicious tongue in his head. I’m speaking, of dsm5.pngcourse, about the person with the user-name “Al.” Psychopathy is generally considered a “personality disorder” although not listed in the DSM in favor of “Anti-Social Personality Disorder” included under Cluster B, is frequently considered an extreme subset of same. It’s not considered nice to speak ill of people with a “psychiatric condition” but people who would blanch at the thought attacking someone for his/her race think nothing of making a remark such as the one quoted above about psychopaths. Interestingly enough, this forum is moderated and “provocative” comments edited. So the suggestion that we be “treated”  with “a bullet in the head” isn’t “provocative” enough to be edited.
Psychopaths against humanity 99 percent 1 percent Ralf NeumaierDr. Simon, himself, says in his article, “Some have suggested that psychopaths might rightfully be considered a different species because they’re so different with respect to the critical attributes that most of us think define us ‘human.'” But continues, “there’s certainly no solid scientific foundation for that notion.”
I don’t know why the status of “being human” is considered such an honor. As a species, homo sapiens have a blood spattered record of cruelty and exploitation of other life-forms with which we share the planet. It’s popular to call psychopaths “predators.” Yet the human species is as predatory as they come. We eat other animals, perform scientific experiments on them (including giving them cancer), make them work for us and perform genocide on those species designated as “pests.”
humanity.pngYet kindness is considered “humane.” We consider kindness to other humans humanity. Human life is so exalted (in theory anyway) that the Bible says, “Thou shalt not kill” humans. Trouble is our history on this planet is full of acts in inhumanity by humans to humans. No act is too heinous to have been visited by people against their fellow human beings. Slavery and genocide have been practiced on each other since it all began. The United States was founded upon both of these atrocities. But our history books have sanitized it. I know. I was educated in a public school. We still call some people “monsters” as we do to the Nazis. Yet rip children (the purest of the pure) from the arms of their mothers and throw them into concentration camps (excuse me, detention centers). The same people who consider abortion murder are okay with atrocities performed on the innocent children of non-citizens. 
mans-inhumanity-to-man-is-heart-breaking-but-mans-inhumanity-29155770.pngHow do we handle the cognitive dissonance of inhumane humans? One favorite way is by only handling acts of other countries by a standard that would label them as inhumane. Hmmm… haven’t I seen “externalization of blame” listed as a trait of psychopaths? The same acts performed by inhumane others are practically non-existent when done by us. Nazis performed genocide on the Jews. But Americans love Indians. Sad that they died out but not our fault. And when an act we can’t deny like enslaving Africans we have another explanation. The devil made me do it. We worship God who is all good. The bad comes from a fallen angel. God created him too but it’s not His fault he turned evil. God also created human beings. But humans are all sinful. It says so in the Bible. “For the heart is desperately wicked.” And “All have sinned. All have come short of the glory of God.” A perfect, omnipotent and good God created Satan and sinful humans. But He loves us humans despite our flaws (with which He created us). But, since we are sinners, He will damn anyone who doesn’t worship Him with the right name.
sacredlife.jpgEnough with this cognitive dissonance! Humans are exalted above all other life forms on Earth. We do evil but at least we have a conscience and feel bad about the evil we have done. Whole libraries of books have been written about human evil. We know we do wrong but we humble ourselves before our God and beg forgiveness. We forgive ourselves and consider ourselves “good” people (who can’t help sinning). Yes, a small minority of us humans are really evil. They are “monsters.” We emotionally dis-fellow them from the human race. Just as God and Satan exist, good people and monsters exist. Just tow the line of acceptable behavior, and you may be amongst the sheep instead of the goats.
goodevil.pngSuch is life in a morally dualistic universe. Some religions, Hinduism, for example, worship gods who are capable of both good and evil. The Goddess, Kali, for example, is both creator and destroyer, as is her consort, Shiva. Perhaps Hindus feel differently about themselves than do Christians and Jews. I wouldn’t know. I wasn’t raised in a Hindu culture. And I’m a psychopath so I already consider myself beyond good and evil. I’ve done things I consider ethically wrong. I just don’t tear my hair out about it. Would I really be a better person if I felt guilty for it? People say I don’t feel guilt because I don’t feel empathy. Those who feel empathy consider empathy a great goodness. Yet empathy tends to be very selective. I know vegans whose empathy for animals doesn’t allow them to eat meat. Yet these same empathic vegans can be enormously callous to those who don’t live up to their moral code. Trump supporters apparently don’t have much empathy for “illegal aliens” or even their children.  Evangelicals, who are a big part of Trump’s base, felt empathy for aborted fetuses. They even go into detail about the suffering of those fetuses. Yet children taken from their parents, made to live in filth, must not suffer in a way that fetuses suffer.  How many Zionists empathize with Palestinians? They are good people and Palestinians’ suffering doesn’t signify since they are terrorists.
againstempathy.pngAgainst Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion by Paul Bloom debunks the self-congratulatory smugness of empaths. Empathy is an emotion some people feel. Do emotions make people better? Or is emotion a form of indulgence? Everyone wants to feel good. Don’t people who main moral guide is empathy indulge their feel-good emotions? It’s easier to empathize with a cute little kitten than a hideous leper. But who suffers more? A leper or a kitten stuck up a tree? Add to that emotional or moral ugliness, empathy is even harder to come by. I once argued with someone who defended the detention of “illegal aliens” by pointing out that they had broken the law. They were criminals.
charles_manson.pngSociety has been striving to become kinder, more compassionate and fairer for years. While once it was accepted without question that other races and other cultures were not as important and deserving of empathy as our own, most of us have come to a point where racism is considered the moral leprosy that it is. While psychotic people were excluded from the group of people we could identify with, it is now considered bad form to look down on the mentally ill. While many people admit all kinds of humans deserve compassion, some of us want to extend the compassion to animals as well.
Excluded from most people’s decision to treat with humanity, are people who are still demonized, those who are considered morally bad. Those monsters include Khrushchevpsychopaths, pedophiles and those who defend things most people consider evil. I can understand the thinking. Evil is that which shouldn’t even exist. Our minds try to construct a universe that makes sense. Whatever exists in “our” universe that doesn’t make sense is EVIL. We want to make a universe that makes sense. But, as Charlie Manson (whom most people call a psychopath) says, “no sense makes sense.” We are all here and, short of genocide, we have to put up with the presence of the Other whose presence doesn’t make any senseBut, as Khrushchev used to say, CO-EXIST. 


The following article by Autistic Hoya was included in today’s Psychopathic Times. It is very politically correct but I decided to reblog it because it discusses concepts like psychopathy and antisocial personality disorder in interesting ways. Some people I know would do well to read this. NOTE: I will be adding emphasis to certain passages. I made some sentences RED for emphasis. I particularly like the point about professionals labeling people who don’t submit to their authority as suffering from “antisocial personality disorder.” I have long held that these concepts support the mainstream values of society. Resistance is a form of “mental illness.”

Vigil 2013.png
“The trouble is that once you see it, you can’t unsee it. And once you’ve seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There is no innocence. Either way, you’re accountable.” — Arundhati Roy

24 September 2013

Psychopathy: Racism and Ableism from the Medical-Industrial Complex

Trigger warning/Content: Disability-related slurs and other ableist language, mention of rape, racism, and ableism.

Edit: In the original post, I neglected to ntion the connections between Antisocial Prsonality Disorder and Cnduct Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Dsorder, nd structural racism, sxism, and ableism. typos b/c eited from pphone.

Psychopathy: Racism and Ableism from the Medical-Industrial Complex

When we commit to examining our language and our ideas and deconstructing the ableism we find in them, we must make a full commitment, no partial or half-hearted commitments allowed. When we stop using “autistic” and “retarded” as insults, when we realize the urgent need to stop scapegoating mass murder and rape on “mental illness” and “emotional instability,” when we learn to stop referring to our political opponents as “blind,” “deaf,” or “crippled” in their ideologies, we must also critically re-examine our use of the psychopathy label.

This constructed term of art does not in fact refer to an accepted diagnostic label in psychiatry or psychology. In the recently-replaced DSM-IV (the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), the closest label was “Antisocial Personality Disorder,” a diagnosis that still exists in the current DSM-5. The DSM-5 also contains the newly created diagnosis of Conduct Disorder. The diagnostic criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder and Conduct Disorder come perhaps the closest to the lay definition for psychopathy that is usually intended when the term is invoked.

The lay definition for psychopathy typically goes like this:
Someone who has little or no empathy for other people and no real control over their behavior.

Psychopathy is usually invoked when referring to either

  1. violent people, such as murderers, serial killers, school shooters, terrorists, or rapists, either by the mass media or by legal professionals, including prosecuting and defense attorneys, judges, sentencing advocates, probation and parole officers, and corrections officers and prison guards
  2. other disabled people, such as autistics, people with mental health or psychiatric disabilities, or learning disabilities (though usually when a person in this group has been accused of or formally charged with a crime)
  3. members of oppressive classes, such as wealthy people, cisgender men, or abled people, and especially when the member of the oppressive class is in a position of political power in addition to apolitical structural power

Yet, as noted before, psychopathy is not even a medical or psychiatric diagnosis. It doesn’t exist in the DSM-IV nor does it exist in the DSM-5, and as much as I hate lending any further credence to the medical-industrial complex’s state-sanctioned and socially-approved authority, this is important to recognize. Even the medical-industrial complex does not officially recognize psychopathy as a diagnosis. 

On the other hand, Antisocial Personality Disorder is recognized as a psychiatric diagnosis by the medical establishment. And who are the people typically diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder? They are overwhelmingly poor students of color who frequently have other disabilities. Antisocial Personality Disorder, the diagnostic category that comes closest to approximating the lay definition of “psychopathy,” is a tool for criminalizing poverty, blackness and brownness, and disability. It is the diagnostic label to legitimize non-compliance as a mental health problem.

Refusal to take psychiatric medications? Non-compliant. Doing poorly in math class? Non-compliant. Stimming in public? Non-compliant.

If you are non-compliant, you are anti-social. You are mentally ill. You have Antisocial Personality Disorder. You are a psychopath.

The language of pathology, of mental illness, of disease, of disability, has long been used to reinforce existing structural oppressions like racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, binarism, cissexism, and ableism. I spoke at UC Berkeley this past Friday on the need to recognize and move beyond ableist metaphor. Ableist metaphor is all-pervasive in public discourse, in academia, in grassroots organizing, in progressive and radical movements as well as in conservative, neoliberal, and nationalist movements. Ableist metaphor draws on the language of disability to characterize, to denigrate, to attack, to rhetoricize, to politicize — and it does so based on the presumption that deviation from typical thought, movement, emotional processing, communication, bodily/mental functioning, learning, remembering, sensing is evidence of defect, deficiency, disorder, and ultimately, moral failure. And if this is so, then it is certainly justifiable to refer to one’s political opponents as blind or deaf to progressive ideas, or to refer to structures like capitalism or anarchy as social diseases, or to refer to violence visited either by individuals or oppressive systems as evidence of psychopathy.

To use psychopathy as the lens through which one views systemic or individual violence — the violence of capitalism or patriarchy, for example, or the violence of a single serial killer or rapist — is to reinforce the structural power of the medical-industrial complex, and to do so at the expense of disabled people, poor people, and people of color who have been victimized by the labels of non-compliant, anti-social, and psychopathic.

To defend the use of this term as medically accurate is to imply that you have knowledge that an individual has been medically assessed as and diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder or Conduct Disorder, which in itself, cedes control and power to the psychiatric establishment and the medical-industrial complex. It presumes personal medical knowledge, it reinforces the creative fictions of these diagnostic labels, and it enables the systems of violence that use the language of disability to pathologize and ultimately, to dehumanize.

Be precise in your language, and say that oppressive structures are violent and manipulative. Say that those who abuse their structural positions of power act with reckless disregard for other human beings. Say that they are callous and unabashedly wielding the power that comes with their privilege.

But don’t call them psychopaths.

I’ve experienced enough ableism in my life to last me several lifetimes. I don’t need fellow radicals feeding into ableism.

Normal Psychopaths


An article by Jessica Brown, This is How Normal Life Feels as a Psychopath, is very spot on. A large part of my own motivation in blogging about psychopathy is the belief that with all the talk that goes on about us, we should have our own voice(s) to speak for ourselves. Ms. Brown talks about the misconceptions about psychopaths created by Hollywood and the media. I concur. But there are also misconceptions created by people who identify as “victims” or “survivors” of psychopaths. See A Psychopath’s Guide to Haters. So, without further ado, here is a reblog of Jessica Brown’s article:

Featured Stories

This Is How Normal Life Feels as a Psychopath

Everyday, nonviolent psychopaths say they’re nothing like the psychopath we see on our movie screens

Go to the profile of Jessica Brown

Illustration by Jessica Siao


Listen to this story

Not so long ago, a woman was sitting on a plane, minding her own business, when the man next to her made several attempts at conversation. Jane, let’s call her, assumed the man was drunk, so she didn’t bother being friendly or making any effort with him. But her unfiltered behavior didn’t go unnoticed, and at the end of the flight, the man politely suggested she might be a psychopath.

That comment resonated enough with Jane that she looked up the term “psychopathy” when she got home. She recognized herself in the descriptions and tried to talk to her sister about it, but her sister seemed hurt and offended. So Jane took it back and said she wasn’t a psychopath and that she didn’t mean it.

That reaction isn’t surprising, says M.E. Thomas, author of Confessions of a Sociopath. “What are the implications of someone you know being a sociopath? Maybe that they don’t love you after all, at least not in the way that you thought they did,” Thomas says. “Maybe that they’ve had bad thoughts about you. Maybe that they’ve manipulated you or hurt you in ways that you weren’t even aware of at the time. Maybe you go back through your interactions with them and doubt their intentions or their feelings for you.”

In recent years, the violent, manipulative psychopath has become so pervasive in popular culture that it’s hard to find a Netflix series about anything else. After watching 400 movies made between 1915 and 2010 to identify “realistically” portrayed psychopaths, Belgian psychiatry professor Samuel Leistedt concluded, “It appears that psychopathy in the cinema, despite a real clinical evolution, remains fictional…Most of the psychopathic villains in popular fiction resemble international and universal bogeyman, almost as ‘villain archetypes.’”

Away from our screens, however, psychopathy is not a monolithic disorder with clearly defined behaviors. It’s nuanced and widely misunderstood, according to James Fallon, a neuroscientist who incidentally discovered his own psychopathic traits when examining his PET scan as part of an unrelated research project.

“The only thing really accepted is antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), which is a subpart of psychopathy,” Fallon says. The latest edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines ASPD as a “pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood.” Psychopaths are considered to have a severe form of ASPD.

“I don’t like the assumption that because these four letters exist next to my name in my medical notes — ASPD — I should be treated with a great deal of suspicion.”

Scientists estimate that the prevalence of psychopathy in society varies between around 0.2 and 2 percent, and research suggests that those with psychopathic traits are more violent than those without. But experts, also acknowledge that not everyone with a diagnosis is violent, including Fallon.

“I’d never hurt the people I know. I’ve put people in dangerous situations, but I’ll do it with them. I like the thrill, so for me it’s just fun, but most people can’t go there. They still hang around with me but just won’t fall for any traps,” Fallon says. “They’re looking for me to pull a prank on them, but I’ve never manipulated a stranger. They’re very safe around me. I have a rich life with lots of friends, so why lie and put people in true danger?”

Thomas, an attorney and law professor whose book details her life as a self-described nonviolent sociopath, says there is truth to the questions people might ask themselves in Jane’s family’s position, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In the process of being open with people about her own diagnosis, Thomas lost one friend and many professional opportunities, but most of her friends eventually came around.

It would be much easier if people didn’t have misconceptions around psychopathy, she says. In her book, Thomas writes that he calls herself a “sociopath” instead of “psychopath” because of the negative connotations of “psycho” in popular culture — even though psychosis is not a characteristic of psychopathy. For those with an ASPD diagnosis, these popular misconceptions can have serious consequences.

Scout Bolton calls herself a nonviolent, high-functioning sociopath. She was diagnosed with ASPD nine years ago at the age of 20, while under the care of a mental health team for bipolar disorder. Bolton had been getting into fights, dealing amphetamines, and had even been arrested. But today she has a stable life with good friends, a supportive fiancée, and her first child on the way. She blogs about how to turn antisocial traits into positives.

“They’re very safe around me. I have a rich life with lots of friends, so why lie and put people in true danger?”

Because of her diagnosis, Bolton explains, people interpret her positive traits negatively, assuming her confidence is narcissism and her social skills are manipulation — medical professionals included. “Doctors will write you off and believe everything you say is a manipulation,” she says. “I don’t like the assumption that because these four letters exist next to my name in my medical notes — ASPD — I should be treated with a great deal of suspicion.”

Bolton is so affected by the public perception of psychopaths that she often stays indoors to avoid interacting with people. “My life is colored by how hidden I feel, and sometimes it makes me quite contemptuous, to a point where I don’t want to leave the house,” she says. “It’s not aggression or depression. I’m not worried anything bad is going to happen, but I just don’t want to interact with anyone, because I know I’ll go into an overdrive of resentment and a feeling of injustice, so I stay home, lay low, and stay isolated.”

This judgement toward people with ASPD is particularly unfair, Fallon argues, because they’re not responsible for thinking the way they do. “People with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) get obsessions and rituals, but they know they’re irrational,” he says. “Someone with a personality disorder has similar thoughts as someone with OCD, but they think their behaviors are good and true.”

Another unfortunate consequence of pop-culture psychopathy is the fetishization of its dangerous side, which, Bolton says, is a particular problem for women. “We’re here to bring exquisite fire and fury into the lives of the terminally bored, whether we made that decision or not,” she says. “But when people get in relationships with us, they quickly find that all the things they found irresistible about us were a fantasy, and when we fail to live up to that masturbatory illusion, we’re demonized.”

Sexual fantasies aside, the growing public fascination with psychopaths interferes with the lives of nonviolent psychopaths in strange ways. This is something 38-year-old Becky, who also has ASPD, found when she signed up for Facebook to talk to others about her diagnosis. The popularization of psychopathy, she says, has roused people — usually young men who haven’t been diagnosed with a personality disorder — to request membership to the Facebook group she runs for psychopaths. She says people often open with the question, “Have you killed anyone?”

Some psychopathic traits can be attributed to being abused as a child, research has found. Bolton was diagnosed with conduct disorder as a child, which is defined as the display of aggressive and antisocial behavior in children to the extent that it interferes with them leading a normal life, according to the UK’s Royal College of Psychiatrists. Conduct disorder often leads to a diagnosis of ASPD later in life.

Bolton argues that the link between ASPD and childhood trauma makes it even harder to justify the judgements against people with the diagnosis. “If you’re a child going through a hard time at home and you’re reacting with impulsive, tearaway behaviors, you’re written off,” she says. “You’ve become the problem. But what child decides to become a sociopath, just for a laugh?”

Fallon, who attributes his nonviolent nature to his happy upbringing, says he has a series of genes called “warrior genes,” which are thought to be a risk for aggression, violence, and low empathy, but only in those raised in an abusive environment. Being raised in a positive environment can offset some of the genes’ negative effects. “I grew up really good-looking, really athletic, and I got everything I wanted all the time. I don’t know what I’d do if life was bad, because it’s never been bad,” Fallon says.

While the damaging stereotype of the psychopath has far-reaching consequences, Fallon, who helps writers in Hollywood gain a realistic idea of psychopathy, says things are improving. “We’re no longer seeing much of this idea of the psycho, somebody out of their minds, growling and sneering like a mad dog,” he says. “This doesn’t describe a lot of people with psychopathy.”

While Bolton feels unfairly judged because of how psychopaths have been portrayed, she doesn’t want to see the disorder completely censored. “I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to portray real psychopathy,” she says, citing Netflix’s Mindhunter as “a really good portrayal of psychopathy.”

“I like how what seems like benign, and even positive ASPD, seems reflected back in the show’s protagonist,” she says. “I’d like to see more of that.”

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Catholic Theology


A Deeper Reality Revealed Through Catholicism

by Brent Withers


StPeterChristmas2018While almost everything written about psychopaths (with the exception of the writings by Kevin Dutton and James Fallon) informs us that we are evil, this gem goes even further, subjecting our condition to deep theological analysis. As the title promises, this theological analysis is that of Catholicism. Unlike Calvinism, Catholicism teaches that “God does not predestine anyone to the eternal loss of their soul.” Everyone has the possibility of salvation, even the psychopath. However, “[t]he real, and only cure for the psychopath is a repentant heart.” But I’m under the impression that everyone has to have a repentent heart to get into heaven. “For all have sinned. All have come short of the glory of God.” That’s a Biblical quote popular with Protestants and probably also Catholics. That’s why the last sacrament offered by the Catholic church is Extreme Unction, performed at the Catholic’s deathbed.

scansThe article begins with a pretty correct description of psychopathy as agreed by modern scientists. Brain scans show differences in our brains that distinguish us from the “normal.” This brings Mr. Withers to his first problem. “However, by emphasizing the biological basis for psychopathy, you implicitly negate the capacity of the human will to exercise free choice.” Like the good Catholic that he is, Withers insists on free will. I agree with him about this. The links below with my thoughts on free will and moral responsibility explain how I got to that conclusion. But I differ radically from Withers on some of the deeper implications. My position is that psychopathy gives me greater freedom to choose my actions. Without a pesky conscience to tell me what I should and shouldn’t do, I am, in Nietzsche’s words, “beyond good and evil.” I have, in the words of Camus, “the sublime indifference of the universe.” Furthermore, it is in my self-interest to be considered responsible for my deeds. A responsible criminal has civil rights. A person who cannot be found responsible is treated like a mental patient (or is one) and doesn’t even have the right to be treated like an adult.

inhumanpsychopathAccording to Withers, the very state of being a psychopath is a choice, and a sinful one, at that. “What sets the psychopath aside is that their behavior is contrary to our human nature. The perverted will, which seeks inordinate evil, makes a series of deliberate choices that leads to the distorted world view of the psychopath, where people become objects, and where their interior life becomes completely disfigured. I hope to show the reader that, ultimately, what makes a psychopath is both—the rejection of actual grace and the love of evil.” It would seem the psychopath has our own kind of “original sin.” Kind of what the Bible says about the “unpardonable sin,” the “rejection of the holy spirit.”

noregretsWithers’ statement separates him from most scientific thinking on the subject with is a kind of biological determinism. Most believe that psychopaths are born, not made. We don’t really have the choice to be psychopaths. As psychopaths, sure, we can choose our actions as freely as anyone else. But we don’t get to choose whether or not to be psychopaths. Now, a difficulty of science is the dogma that children cannot be called psychopaths. The brain is still developing and, only when we have reached adulthood, can we truly be diagnosed as psychopaths. If that’s true, we do develop into psychopaths in the course of our lives which would allow for a decision to be made as Withers believes. On the other hand, so many psychopaths acted like psychopaths from earliest childhood that some psychologists want to reject that dogma. Still, on Withers’ side is the belief that the brain is as much the creation of our thoughts and attitudes as our thoughts and attitudes are the creation of our brains. It would be a good idea to give brain scans to children, especially those called callous unemotional, to see if their brains are psychopathic already.

bornnotmadeEven psychologists who speak of the person’s thoughts, etc., affecting the brain still speak like determinists. Either it is nature or nurture that makes us psychopathic. Kevin Dutton speaks of epigenetics. Both nature and nurture play a role. They are interactive. Even he doesn’t mention free will. Everything in science has to have a cause which is not free will. I believe my will is free. It’s an every day experience that I make choices. In that way, I am like God. My will is a causeless cause. When the Bible says God created us in his image, isn’t free will what is really meant?

There is no God where I am

atheismI will state here and now that I don’t believe in “god.” Sure, there is the problem of where everything came from. But calling this unknown “god,” begs the question. By naming the unknown “god,” we are conning ourselves that we know more about the unknown than we do. When religious folks challenge me by saying, “If God doesn’t exist, who created us?” I reply, “Who created god? Where did god come from?” The real question here is that of infinity. Our finite minds can’t really grasp infinity. Yet infinity is real. Any time we try to think of a finite universe, our minds automatically picture a border. Where there is a border, there logically has to be something beyond it. And, then, what is beyond that? Infinity confounds our brains and makes us realize how limited our understanding really is. No wonder man created god.

hellI did try Catholicism on for size. I have a Catholic baptism and I practiced the religion for maybe a year. I let it go during an acid trip when the whole absurdity of it became inescapable. I walked away from Catholicism with no regrets and no backwards glances. I find all religion absurd for many reasons. The absence of evidence for it is a really good reason to reject it. Another really good reason is the contradiction between the two propositions:

God is Love. God loves us.

If we don’t worship God, He will send us to Hell where we will be tortured for all eternity.

I don’t think I need to belabor the point any further. The truth of this is obvious.

What is Evil?

evilreganSomething that is omnipresent in Withers’ article is the mention of “evil.” I have always been fascinated by the idea of evil. I admit it. You can chalk one for your team, Mr. Withers. But have you, Dear Reader, ever tried to define evil. Catholics like Withers believe that God is the good and all that willfully departs from God is evil. But I reject all revealed “truth” as I reject belief in god. So I have been hard-put to define evil. Once I belonged to a forum for Setians (members of the Temple of Set, i.e. Satanists) and non-Setians. I asked members of the forum to define “evil.” The answer that I found most satisfactory came from one of the nons. He defined evil as anything that so contradicted our sense of what was or should be in the universe that it outraged our sensibilities. That makes “evil” a completely subjective concept. I think that’s right. So each of us knows what is “evil” to hirself. Withers believes in God and the Devil. God is the Good and loves us. The luciferDevil is the enemy of all that is good and natural. We psychopaths made a decision to side with the Devil and, therefore, became psychopaths. Our sin caused spiritual wounds that are highly repulsive. “The human soul is spiritual and, therefore, invisible. The question remains: How does the ugliness of an invisible and spiritual soul explain how the brainwhich is physical and visible when scanned—show abnormality in structure and function? …. It is a possibility, that if we live a life which is entrenched in mortal or deadly sin, this will flow into the physical bodily domain. This is because of the profound unity that exists between the body and soul.”

alinskyWe psychopaths surely look a bad lot when examined in terms of Catholic theology. We don’t have empathy for other people. We treat them as objects. Catholics believe in love. One can almost forget about the Holy Inquisition during which people were burned at the stake. One can almost forget the way the Church covered up pedophile attacks on altar boys. I wonder what the souls of those who did those things looks like. The Church has improved since the Inquisition but Catholics are still burning witches, it seems.

I want to give Saul Alinsky, famed radical, hated by the conservative establishment, the last word for his irreverence and sense of humor. His dedication to Lucifer in his Rules for Radicals:

Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins-or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom-Lucifer.

No. He was not a psychopath. He was far too social for that. He sought to unite the have-nots to gain collective power.



“Disordered Characters”

'I'm quite full of myself. I don't want you to tinker with that.'Psychiatry and Psychology are considered to be among the healing arts and, as such, the patients, those who are the professional concern of practitioners of those two fields, are supposed to be the objects of their caring. But they don’t always feel an inclination to care for everyone. Case in Point: Many of these professionals have long had a problem understanding how to deal with the folks they call psychopaths. Too often, we are seen as the bad guys and don’t always seem to fit the mold of psychiatric patients. Hervey Cleckley was one of the first to define us in a way 'I let my conscience be my guide, and it turned out to be a sociopath.'that modern man understands with his book The Mask of Sanity. He was nonplussed by the way his psychopathic patients seemed … well … normal. He made a checklist of  psychopathic traits which Robert Hare followed with an updated checklist that is used today. Both Cleckley and Hare found us rather baffling. Cleckley was confounded by people who came under his care as patients in whom he could find “no nervous or mental illness” but whose behavior was problematic enough for him to label psychopathic. Hare studied psychopaths in Canadian prisons and found himself victim of con jobs by these very people.

Much of the discussion about psychopaths is centered on advocacy not of the psychopaths but of our “victims.” That must create some cognitive dissonance for professionals who seem more concerned for people around us than of us, whom they have defined as the sickies. That dissonance is enhanced by the fact that most psychopaths don’t see ourselves as sick or having a problem. Yet, in a world where medicine has replaced morality, they can’t call us evil. Or can they?

Some psychologists/psychiatrists do exactly that. M. Scott Peck, M.D. wrote a book bethsuccess1called People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil. Martha Stout wrote The Sociopath Next Door, a book that makes no pretentions of concern for the sociopath but only our “victims.” A child named Beth Thomas has been much documented on the internet as a “child of rage.” This girl wanted to kill her entire family and tried to do it. A psychologist called Connell Watkins took over Beth’s life and applied a technique called Reparenting. Watkins had already killed a patient with an even more radical technique called Rebirthing (see Tough Love Success). Beth was treated with Reparenting and pronounced cured. The picture of the adult Beth raises a red flag for me. The woman’s face looks anxious, not healthy.

George K. Simon Jr., Ph.D. has his own take on psychopathy and what he calls character disorders. His book, Character Disturbance, hardly mentions the word psychopathy at all but describes people with a “character disorder” in a way that makes it clear that’s what he’s talking about. The use of the term, character disorder, raises a red flag as a departure from personality disorder. By calling it character disorder, Simon is injecting a moral judgement that has long been considered anathema for psychologists. He is quite upfront in saying that the old method of psychoanalysis doesn’t apply to people with character disorders. Psychoanalysis is suitable for people suffering from neurosis, a condition more prevalent in Freud’s time. Neurosis and character disorders are on opposite sides of a spectrum, he says. The only alternative to neurosis and character spectrumdisorder is something called “self-actualization altruism.” Those who are “self-actualized” are very rare, perhaps don’t even exist. So most people are either neurotic or “character disturbed” to varying degrees. He even admits to having some character flaws of his own.

cbtSimon calls his method of treating people with character disorders cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT). Neurotics are treated by helping them gain insights. “Disordered character” as he calls us, already know why we behave as we do and, instead of insight, need confrontation of our conscious efforts to manipulate. If neurotics are suffering from an over-abundance of conscience, we have an under-abundance of same. Psychopaths, of course, have no conscience at all. Simon advises therapists not to concern themselves with out feelings. It is our behavior that has to be curbed. And our thinking needs to be corrected.  He admits, “almost every therapist I know has at least a mild aversion to behavior therapy. Most seem to regard it as ‘cold’ and mechanical.” Surely, most psychopaths have no desire to change. It’s a wonder he has patients who aren’t compelled to be there by court order. But many “character disorders” are mild, falling short of psychopathy. Remember, it’s on a spectrum. I guess confrontation works on them. Simon sees them as not having developed character, something they can do with his therapy.

the-good-psychopaths-guide-to-success-paperback.pngThere is another approach to treating psychopaths, especially those in prison. It doesn’t attempt to dismantle the psychopathy. It is a pragmatic realization that more pro-social behavior can bring about better rewards. We are very reward-driven, after all. Why not use that. Society bases a lot of its structure on reward and punishment to get people to support it.

Since everyone who isn’t “self-actualized” is somewhere on the spectrum of neurosis-character disorder, we are all either pathetic or bad. Short of becoming self-actualized, we must always be moving up and down the spectrum, picking our poison. Even the therapist is on the spectrum. Hmmm…………………..


Politics and Psychopathy

libertarianismLiving in California, I am surrounded by progressives. These people love to equate psychopathy with right-wing views. Of course, libertarianism, the politics of individual freedom of choice, seems to be very compatible with psychopathy and what is called libertarianism is often synonymous with right-wing values of the “free market,” in other words, untrammeled capitalism.

The reality is that psychopathy is not married to any political viewpoint. A forum for “sociopaths” I once belonged to polled us for our politics and it turned out that we represented all positions on the political spectrum. A valued friend who is a psychopath is even a socialist. So I object to progressives equating progressive politics with empathy and demonizing the most reactionary politicos as psychopaths. Sure many or most progressives have empathy for the poor and downtrodden. But that isn’t the only factor that goes into progressive positions. Membership in the 99% is reason enough to be progressive in our own self-interest.

To my surprise and amazement, I have just come across a website called Disordered World which looked, at first glance, to be just another place for dissing psychopaths and ianhughesnarcissists. But, surprise of surprises, this one has a sort of right-wing slant. It is the brain child of one Ian Hughes, who has a book called Disordered Minds. The blog lists world leaders and prominent politicos as examples of psychopathy and narcissism. They are “Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao, Islamic State, narcissistic bosses, Noam Chomsky, religion and evil, and more…” Interesting how Hitler hasn’t made the list but Noam Chomsky has. While rich people are usually right-wing, Noam Chomsky is an anomaly in that he is wealthy but supports progressive causes. The right hates him for that.

noamchomskyMr. Hughes devotes an entire page  to Mr. Chomsky, whose “disorder” is evident by the way he thinks. His view of “how the world works” reveals his disordered mind. What are the three tenets of Chomsky’s political philosophy that so damns him?

  • The U.S. government is subordinate to private power
  • The US government uses war as a tool of economic policy
  • Inequality is written into the system by the rich

The truth of these positions seems self-evident to me. If these beliefs indicate a personality disorder, Chomsky has a lot of company. Why thinking these statements are true indicates the presence of a personality disorder isn’t explained. Hughes has made similar statements, himself. How his ideas differ from Chomsky’s ideas isn’t clear.

us-imperialism-by-latuff-2007-political-cartoon-drawingIf ruthlessness and lack of empathy are psychopathic traits, the ruthlessness with which the United States has enforced it’s imperialist rule and the lack of empathy evident in the application of it’s policies should make the leaders in the White House and State Department candidates for the title of psychopath but none of these people are listed. Only Chomsky, who criticizes them, is listed. Apparently criticizing the wealthiest 1% is reason enough.


Elsewhere, Hughes praises a book called Living Well at Others’ Expense by Stephen Lessenich which claims that the all-too-obvious economic inequality isn’t really the fault of the rich. Everyone is “complicit.” There is some truth to this. When capitalism became increasingly toxic, it developed into imperialism which divided the rest of us, aside from the super-rich, into waring factions. By conferring privilege on some parts of the population, the 1% gained the complicity of the privileged. But it just will not do to blame everyone as a way to give the rich, who have us doing their bidding, a free pass. Lessenich knows the system needs to be dismantled and replaced with something else. But he doesn’t know with what. With Hughes demonizing all socialists, I think we can count socialism out as the alternative to capitalist-imperialism.

Let’s look at some of the other “disordered” people on the list.

  • Pol Pot, Cambodia
    Pol Pot, another “leftist” technically but not really progressive. The campaign was cruel in the extreme. It had all the earmarks of fanaticism. Are we to label all cruelty “psychopathic?”
  •  Stalin. Another “leftist” if you can call him that
  •  Mao. You get the drift

Hughes may go on and on about people like Pol Pot, Stalin and Mao. To his credit, he does add Trump later in his blog once Trump is elected. But why pick on Noam Chomsky? And what about Chomsky’s ideas that made him one of the monsters? Oh well. Too much for my head. Time for a holiday in Cambodia.

How Addiction Leads to Personality Disorders

REBLOG FROM https://luckyottershaven.com/2019/04/29/guest-post-how-addiction-leads-to-personality-disorders/

I am reblogging this article by Sharon Torres which I found on Lucky Otter’s Haven. It’s right on the topic of Cluster B.

How Addiction Leads to Personality Disorders
By Sharon Torres

Personality disorders such as narcissism and sociopathy are often blamed upon the nature vs. nurture model. When people’s brains are wired to have these kinds of problems and it is coupled with childhood trauma, these are possible causes of having a psychological disorder.

However, there is another side of the story where personality disorders don’t just come from childhood trauma nor a natural brain wiring–it comes with the development of an addiction. I hope that my experience with being in a relationship with someone who is suffering from both addiction and a personality disorder will provide you with insight into how one caused the other and vice versa.

My story of narcissistic abuse

I was a naive girl in college back in my home country. I always dreamed of having a perfect relationship so I kept myself free from exclusively dating unless I was certain. My cousin then invited me to a social ball at this college, and this is where I met my dashing, charming, ex-boyfriend.

My ex was a senior of my cousin, so he was required to introduce me as his partner in the social ball. This young and handsome bachelor was known among his batch mates and he was known as the heartthrob of his class. This is where it began–after the party, he added me on Facebook which was to my surprise! I wasn’t even able to take a hint that he noticed me.

After hours and days of talking, the friendship quickly grew to something romantic. Looking back, I believe it was the love bombing phase in our relationship. Since he knew that I took the bait, he was eager to win me.

This romantic phase turned sour when we eventually became a couple after 3 months. I started to feel neglected, and I discovered something he had hidden from me throughout that getting-to-know-you phase–he had a drinking problem! Still, my rose-colored glasses stayed on. I was determined to “change” him and make our relationship better.

Little did I know that those hopes were just that–mere hopes. He was deep in denial of his drinking problem, and when he had fits of rage he would say things that he didn’t mean. He would threaten to break up with me, curse me, suddenly stop responding to my calls, blaming me as being too “controlling.” He would even talk to other girls just to show that I was easily dispensable. Being naive as I was, I thought that these were normal relationship conflicts. I took the verbal and emotional abuse as though it was something that I should work on. When he was sober, he would lure me in again through his sweet words and coaxing. The pattern repeated itself again and again, which ultimately tore my self-esteem.

My relationship with my ex was full of heartache and pain, until one day, I chose to free myself from this vicious cycle. It took me one whole year to finally get away from this narcissistic abuse after months of hoovering and questioning my decision. Needless to say, I do not regret my decision. I am happily married now to another man, and the difference was clear as day. Looking back, I realized how one’s personality can change due to having an addiction problem.

Why is addiction linked to personality disorders?

Addiction of any kind, whether it is drugs, alcohol, or other substances, can affect a person’s physical, mental, and emotional state. The addictive component found in these substances changes the brain’s wiring through continued use. In the case of alcoholism, the brain is led to the release of endorphins, which are the natural feel-good hormones of the brain.

The problem with continued, increasing use of these substances is that it quickly escalates from tolerance into dependence. When the brain and body are dependent on drugs and alcohol, functioning without it becomes a disaster–this causes the multitudes of withdrawal symptoms, anxiety, distress, and the dreaded changes in personality.

According to several Colorado addiction resources, a person who is addicted to substances may show one or more of the following traits:

Impatience. When a person suffers from substance use, it is their source of comfort and gratification. Without it, they may often find themselves having an attitude of impatience. They are impatient towards their partners, become unreasonably demanding towards others, or may show fits of rage because of their inability to wait.

Easily aggravated. Anger is another issue that may often appear due to substance use. When the body is largely dependent on drugs or alcohol, it may easily suffer from physical symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, cramping, or fevers. Additionally, it can also affect the person’s mood because of the many discomforts without the substance.

Impulsive. When combined with being easily aggravated, people who suffer from substance abuse and personality disorders tend to say or do things that they may regret later. They are prone to getting in physical fights, reckless driving, having multiple partners, or doing other dangerous acts that could affect them or their loved ones.

Manipulation is one of the hallmarks of personality disorders such as sociopathy and psychopathy. People who are highly manipulative will do anything to get what they want–without a sense of morality of their means to get there. In the same way, people with addictions can use other people and situations to their advantage, and this is because they need the immediate pleasure of consuming the substances they need.

Abusive. Abuse is not just through physical means. They can also involve verbal and emotional abuse, which are hard to determine especially if you are blindsided in your relationships. Most people who suffer from personality disorders along with substance abuse will use rudeness, cursing, and other forms of hurtful words at their peak of anger. A steady, loving relationship ensues respect from one another–and although conflicts are bound to happen, it does not involve hurting each other physically or through words. If you are a victim of abuse, seek help right away.

It is important to understand that people suffer from personality disorders due to their genetic or familial predisposition to them, from an abusive or neglectful early childhood, or from other early trauma. They learn that using substances make them feel “in control” of their disorder. In the same way, people also develop personality disorders due to continued substance use. It is a two-way cycle that exacerbates and increases the risk for both.

If you feel like a loved one is suffering from a personality disorder coupled with substance abuse, there are addiction resources to help them out. They offer medical treatment, counseling, and lifestyle rehabilitation to help them take a shot at recovery and to manage their personality disorders.

Sharon Torres is a freelance writer who is chronicling her experiences through this thing called life. She believes that if you always move forward in life then there is no need to look back. Her favorite writer is Phillip K. Dick.

Visit Sharon’s blog at: http://sharontorreswriter.blogspot.com/



Science is about what is. Morality is about what should be. In the Middle Ages, Western man believed God was micro-managing everything. There must not have been much of a divide between science and morality in those days. God’s will was automatically the ultimate good and the way things were the expression of that will. I guess things were a lot simpler then. If anyone tried to question those verities, he was burned as a heretic.

Reason, Enlightenment and Renaissance made things a lot more complex (and more interesting). Man came to understand that what is was not the same thing as what should be. Sure, it all had to be God’s will as long of God was believed to be in charge. But God’s will wasn’t always the good. God allowed evil to reign for limited periods of time with the understanding, of course, that the good would eventually win.

Atheism opened up a whole lot of other possibilities. Without God’s will and the Bible, man had to figure out what was good on his own. Hence, philosophy replaced theology. All that uncertainty must have given man the willies. Thank gods science was developed at a pathway to certainty. But science was limited in that it was only allowed to study what is, not what should be. Still, society seems pretty settled on the nature of good and evil.

Of the many fields of scientific inquiry, psychiatry and psychology are the most loosey-goosey and, hence, the least certain. Still, those who labored in those fields usually tried their best to stay true to science. Below are some exceptions…


  • Simon Sez. Psychologist George Simon thinks psychopathy should be called a “character” disorder instead of a personality disorder because we are bad people with a bad character. So imagine my surprise when I read that this same man has said we are born this way.
  • Malignant Narcissism.
  • Science and Morality. In a pluralistic society such as ours, philosophy and religion are considered the realm of the individual. That is simply because people can’t agree.
  • Shrinkocracy Anyone? The shrinks are trying to take over the world. This one issue of Today’s Psychopathic Times has an article suggesting psychiatrists vet political candidates to see if they are mentally healthy enough to serve as president.