Sunday, 10 February 2013

Psychopathy and the People Among Us

Been thinking a lot about psychopathy lately. Been a psychopathic week for me. I am re-reading all the Homolka documents again. And I thought about the link posted by a friend on the brains of psychopaths and how they differ from the normal population. Does that mean they are created differently? Are they a different species? Are they sick? Regardless, they should still be neutered at the first sign of psychopathic behaviour. They do not play by the same rules as we do and they do not have the same values as we do. And that is our problem on so many levels. They count on us judging them by our value system and that is where we fail again and again and again. They cheat, lie, manipulate, change facts, and distort the truth as they see fit. They know the difference between right and wrong. And they don't care. As long as it suits their needs. I saw one person tell a horrific story, crocodile tears glistening in her eyes....until she turned. And then the smirk appeared. Not a tear in sight.

Six percent of people are psychopaths. One in one hundred. One in every four classrooms. They are our neighbours, roommates, friends, lovers, husbands, wives, teachers, students, co-workers, doctors, lawyers, business partners, etc. Chances are, you know one. Or have met one. Or are living with one. They are charming, friendly, easy to talk to, persuasive, happy to help or offer advice. To a point. To the outside world, they are concerned citizens, helpful, caring and only looking out for others. But if you dig a little deeper, you see the cracks. You notice the help comes in the form of offering others to help. Or giving advice how you could do it better. Or how you are doing it wrong. Nothing that involves them. Unless it makes them look better. 

In meetings or group settings, they are the most hard working, without saying anything concrete, the busiest, without being able to pinpoint any one thing, in the most meetings, and are the brightest person in the room. When something is mentioned, they have done it, done it better, done it smarter, done it first. Their team is the smartest, the only ones that know what is really happening and everyone should be listening to them. They lead the team, the unit or the country. And everyone follows them. If something fails, it was the fault of someone else. If it succeeds on any point, it was because of them. 

If any idea is brought up, it is a stupid idea, unless it is theirs. If someone else's idea is seeming to succeed, they will do whatever they can to make it fail. And blame that person. 

They are adept at finding weakness in others and hammering on that weakness until that person breaks. Once this happens, they have won and are now in control. 

I was raised by a psychopath. And it was an incredible learning opportunity. Lead me to my career choice, my writing path, my stance on Ethics with a capital E, my views on morality, organized religion, and self-professed prophets. He honed my instincts to a sharp point and gave me the ability to read people in a matter of seconds, taught me to read body language before listening to words, taught me to rely on instinct and not on other's charm. Taught me that making snap judgements on people is seldom wrong and if people show you their character, believe it.

It made me a better listener. It made me look for motive. And it made me realize the majority of people are good.

I look for detail in things and patterns. I look for reasons and make connections when others can't see them. It makes me see the bigger picture and look further down the road. 

I trust...but verify. I love....and protect the ones I love. I give my children the benefit of my experience .....but let them decide for themselves. I let people in.......and cut them off just as quickly if they show me their character. I will help others....unless they refuse to help themselves.

I will not put up with drama and living crisis to crisis. Attention seeking, victim mentality, self-sabotaging behaviour is a waste of my time. 

Being raised by a psychopath was an experience that gave me many gifts. I am open......until I am betrayed. I love unconditionally.....until I am betrayed......I help until I cannot.

Yes I judge others. I have to; it is self-preservation. I was taught this by the age of three. I learned that not all family members love each other and have their best interests at heart. I learned that not all parents love their children and that not all homes are safe. I learned that the dark is evil and monsters do exist. I was taught that not all motives are healthy and clear and without consequences. And that acting on your urges leaves life long scars.

I learned that bullies are cowards and when you challenge them, they back down and move onto someone else.

And, above all, I learned that love is a gift. That when given to someone worthy, it grows and transforms and destroys all the evil in the world.