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False beliefs about sociopaths are very dangerous

Donna Andersen has been a great friend to me and has done so much for victims of sociopaths. She deserves an award. The latest thing she did for me personally was to lend me her copy of The Psychopathic Mind by J. Reid Meloy. When I initially thought about reading the book it was more expensive than it is now; the price has come down quite a bit. That is good because I am going to have to buy Donna a new copy since I’ve marked up the entire book with notes about material to discuss here. My overall reaction to the book was negative to lukewarm until I got to page 318 (that I’ll discuss next week). After that page, I came to believe that on the whole this book is a great contribution to the field.

This week I want to use a quote from a judge to begin to discuss some of the myths regarding sociopaths. Here is the quote found on page 359:

“Well I tell you, the world is full of productive sociopaths. Some of them hold high public office. Some of them are lawyers. It could be that a couple of them are judges, and sociopathy by itself is not necessarily a dangerous condition. It can be productive. I think it was Clarence Darrow who commented on that…”

Let’s cover these numerous false assertions out of order.

  1. Sociopathy by itself is not necessarily a dangerous condition. This statement is completely, absolutely, categorically FALSE. Sociopathy/ASPD/psychopathy is always a dangerous condition. It is the most toxic personality poison and only a drop in a swimming pool of water will sicken an entire city. By definition sociopathy involves serious harm to other people and a track record of serious irresponsibility. If these characteristics are not present, the individual is not a sociopath!
  2. It can be productive. Sociopathy is never productive. Unless you measure productivity by ruined lives and the number of dead bodies left along the road. But where would the judge and possibly Clarence Darrow get the idea that sociopathy is productive? These people are confusing sociopathy (a disorder) with the power motive or dominance drive. It is this motive that is both productive in terms of leadership and harmful in terms of aggression. This motive is present in all humans to a certain degree. The aberrant unmitigated expression of the power motive that is seen in sociopathy is neither normal nor productive. Sociopaths may be productive in spite of disorder not because of disorder. See the next point.
  3. Some of them hold high public office. Some of them are lawyers. It could be that a couple of them are judges, Connecting this statement with describing sociopathy as a benign, productive condition is where the judge goes wrong. When sociopaths manage in spite of disorder to attain the power they crave, the results are disastrous for society.
  4. The world is full of productive sociopaths. This statement is partly true but this truth is not a reflection of points 1 and 2 above. As a group sociopaths are hands down losers. They die at early ages, get many more serious illnesses, and abuse substances. They usually end up losing everything and occupationally disabled. There is an appearance that the number of productive sociopaths reflects the disorder, simply because of the sheer number of sociopaths in the country. At any one point in time a given sociopath may be “successful” but that is only a snap shot. There may be a few who die before they fall but these are the extreme minority. Since there are so many sociopaths even this extreme minority may seem like a lot. If you consider the life histories of sociopaths two truths emerge. Sociopaths waste energy hurting people that could have gone into building rather than destroying. Also, the only reason they survive is that others help them. They may have power but they are by no means autonomous. This is the great irony of the disorder, antisocial individuals require a society to survive and operate!
  5. I am still trying to verify the origin of these false beliefs on the part of the legal profession stems from famous lawyer Clarence Darrow. If anyone can produce a quote, I would be grateful.

If you think about it, this judge is exemplifying a reasoning error due to lack of training applying research to practice. It is very difficult to apply group data to an individual because any one individual at any one point in time may not display all the characteristics of the group.

The message is clear. Judges and lawyers should stop rationalizing the leniency they extend to sociopaths. They should realize them for the dangerous, parasitic individuals they are. They should stop enabling them by forcing us to be with them. That “us” includes former spouses, children and society at large.



93 Comments on "False beliefs about sociopaths are very dangerous"

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  1. OxDrover says:

    Sweet Gem,

    Send Davy out for 3-4 dozen eggs! Go out into the back yard where there is room, set up some photos of the biatches, and stand back and THROW!!!!! Have your self a big match and see how many bulls eyes you can land with the eggs!

    The thing is that your anger is HOT now, and it will be for a while! So, sit down and write them “tell off” letters (you’ll not mail them of course but write each one and re-write it until it is perfect! That will let some more steam off the anger!

    You can’t suppress the anger and too much giving into it either is counter productive, so you have to comem to a mix of the two, supressing it vs. letting it blow. Studies show that the more we act out the madder we get and the madder we stay, so this is just one stage of the “gettin’ over it” but it’s okay, so FEEL IT till you get tired of feeling it! ((((Hugs)))) You know I know where you are darling! But you are coming along nicely toward that NIRVANA OF INDIFFERENCE. (((Hugs)))))



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  2. geminigirl says:

    Dearest sweet Oxy,
    THANK YOU! for all your loving words of encouragement. You help me more than you know. I know you have BEEN THERE and got the Tshirt, {nota Tshirt we want, however!]
    Im still finding it all so painful, but I guess this is NORMAL as I try to process thru years and years of shiat.Good idea re the 3 dozen eggs, except Ive already thrown away every pic I could find of the biatches past the age of 12 or so.Tore them up first, and that felt good! The hardest one to rip up was the one I told you about, the copy of which Id sent to Baron de Givenchy.
    Now Ive whetted everyones curiosity, I may as well share this with you all,{I told Oxy about it in a private email.}
    Years ago,-in 1984, actually, not long after Dave and I were married,we had some studio portraits done of us and the girls,
    who were then 18,{Claire,} and 20,{Deb.}
    C was studying fashion design at college–, paid for by my ex, Dave and myself.The portrait of her was so stunning, I had 6 copies of it made,around 8 by 10 inches , and sent them all, witha nice hand written letter, to 6 of the major French fashion houses in Paris. Asking if theyd be kind enought toshow my beautiful and talented daughter around the Spring collection at their fashion house.Bit of a nerve, I know, and all but one fashion house ignored my letter.But ONE! Baron Hubert de Givenchy, of the House of Givenchy, replied in PERSON! in a hand written and signed letter,saying “how lucky my D was to have such a kind and loving Maman.”
    He went on to say that he would PERSONALLY show her round his Spring collection, and that she was to use this letter as a
    “carte blanche ” letter of introduction.
    Now as most people know its almost imposible for anyone except the likes of Diana Vreeland of American “Vogue”,
    or Princess Diana,or Christina Onassis or Grace kelley to geta personal intro to a major fashion House in this way, so this letter from the Baron was like PURE GOLD!!
    My brother Bill, had invited C to travel to Paris with him in April 1985, , so I gave her the letter, told her to guard it with her life, and waited with baited breath for her return, to see how shed got on.
    When she returned to Australia, I asked her how the visit to the House of Givenchy went.
    “Oh, I didnt go,” she said. “I had no time, and besides , I had more important things to do.!”
    Can you begin to imagine how I felt? I cried. What an opportunity! To be shown round the Spring collection of Givenchy, asa young fashion student! Not to speak of the snub to the Barons kindness. I couldnt get over it. She will NEVER get sucha chance again.This was26 years ago, and I can still feel the searing dissapointment and shame that the Baron was snubbed for his kindness.
    Baron Hubert de Givenchy is now dead. Her chance to meet him is gone.If shed tried to think of a worse way to “put the boot in’ and kick me,I cant think of one. I now see it was a deliberate “GOTCHA!! Back atcha!!” to me, but it really backfired on her. Just goes to show they will really cut of their nose to spite their faces, if it means a successful spath attack can be pulled off.So, I took the remaining lovely photo of her,out of its gold frame,-the same one Id sent to all these fashion houses in 1985, and tore it to shreds, So beautiful on the outside, like the shiny red apple, but so ROTTEN on the inside.
    I saw from a recent pic of her at age 44,on FB, her lovely looks are now GONE. she has more lines an d wrinkles than I do!!And Im 71!!{Kind peeps say I look 60, so I choose to believe them! LOL!!}
    So, thats the saga about Baron de Givenchys kindness to a young fashion student.And her cruel snub of him, and betrayal of my kindness.
    Love,and thanks again Oxy, you are a legend in your own lunchtime!! Mama Gem.XXx



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  3. OxDrover says:

    Dear Gem, you say such sweet things! Thank you! and BTW you DO look less than 60! NO LIE!!!

    Well, draw a devil’s face on some paper and throw eggs at it! LOL

    And I am seriouis about the writing them a final good bye letter. Wrap it in some meat and throw it to the crocodiles at the local zoo! Well, no, just float it away in the ocean, wouldn’t want to give the crocs a belly ache! Or burn it and let the ashes float on the wind to them.

    Don’t go to your grave thinking about those b1atches like our sweet New Lily did. It isn’t worth it.

    I took a nice walk this evening. I’ve had the AC off for two days now and humidity is down and temp is more seasonal (lower) Son D is gone to a gun and knife show and then tomorrow to an Eagle Scout ceremony. One of his kids is getting his Eagle Scout. He has gotten a big lot of his boys through their Eagle Scout ceremony…kids from under privileged homes and others that never would have made it without D. He’s a good guy!

    BTW–quit looking at FB!~ BOINK!!!! ((((Hugs))))) and my prayers for you sweet Gem.



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