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Are clinical “continuums” silly?

The narcissistic continuum?  The psychopathic continuum? The sociopath explained as being someone located at the apex of the narcissistic continuum?

Are clinical continuums silly? Maybe they are.

How “nice” are you? Well, maybe you’re somewhere on a continuum of “niceness.” At the apex, you are a super-nice individual; in the middle, sometimes very nice, sometimes less so; at the nadir, you are just an incredibly “un-nice” (or “mean”) person.

Hmmm. Wow. Somehow this doesn’t seem like a newsflash.

How sloppy are you? Well, couldn’t Robert Hare have developed clinically a “sloppiness” (versus a psychopathic) measure that places all of us somewhere on a “sloppiness” continuum.

With a score of 40, you are an incorrigibly sloppy individual, so sloppy that maybe society needs protection from you; with a score of 1-5, you are seriously, anally “neat,” so pathologically neat that society will DEFINITELY need protection from you.

The rest of us? We fall somewhere in-between, a fact that just doesn’t particularly astonish me.

Okay, I’m being somewhat facetious, but only somewhat. Because really, when you think about it, doesn’t every quality, literally every quality, encompass its own continuum? Aren’t we all, to say it again, on a continuum of EVERY quality there is to possess?

For instance, this article alone probably puts me pretty high up on the “annoying” continuum (and trust me, I can probably find a few others who might put me higher up on that continuum than I’d like to admit.)

Take the “intelligence” continuum—all of us, after all, fall somewhere between “dimwits” and “geniuses.” (If the self-testing IQ manuals mean anything, I fall somewhere on the this continuum beneath the orangutan and the llama.)

So a part of me (just a part) laughs when I hear that “sociopaths” are individuals way up on the narcissistic continuum. I could tell you, I think with some confidence, that “sociopaths” are individuals way up on the “dishonesty/deceptive” continuum. Or that sociopaths are seriously lagging on the “empathy/compassion” continuum. I think that would also be true.

We know that Al Gore invented the Internet. That places Al pretty high up on the “delusional” continuum. And Nancy Grace pretty much invented herself, which places her very high up on the “self-invention” continuum.

I’m going to bed soon, because I’m very tired; that must mean, at the moment, I’m way up on the “exhaustion” continuum.

Where are you on all of life’s hundreds of continuums?

To be “continuumed” in a future article.

(This article is copyrighted © 2012 by Steve Becker, LCSW.) 


Posted in: Steve Becker, LCSW

35 Comments on "Are clinical “continuums” silly?"

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  1. hens says:

    Ox,
    Why dont you live life on the edge and turn your thermostat down to at least 80 degrees, mine is on 72. Hey you cant take all that money with ya so mite as well be comfy and cool.
    I was sick the past few months and it feels so good to feel good. Again. So I relate with tired of being sick and tired, hope you get better soon. And yap being sick is not as bad as being under the spell of a sicko.



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  2. Back_from_the_edge says:

    I am a half hour late for whine and cheese, Ox…oops…sorry about mentioning the cheese, I cut it out of my life too. Never did care for it much, actually…

    Yum: your breakfast sounds so wonderful!
    Makes me so jealous just hearing about it.

    Have a nice night, Ox…

    Dupey



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  3. Back_from_the_edge says:

    hens: i live life on the edge every time i drink a glass of milk. Every time I eat a french fry or some other awful fast food. Bluck!

    I am so happy you are feeling better, Henry.
    You are definitely right about that: being sick is not as bad as being under that horrid toxic spell of a ‘sick-o’.

    (((hugs hens)))

    Dupey



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  4. kathy0707 says:

    I too prefer spectrum vs. continuum. I’ve given up at this point. As far as I’m concerned, a Cluster B PD is a no go. I’ve racked my brains re: is he an N, a milignant N, a psychopath and so I just say Cluster B.

    I’d like to make a comment on how much I hate holidays. They just remind me of all the holidays I spent alone with the Cluster B in my life without so much as a phone call. And then they make me kick myself for wasting so much time. So I guess my stupidity is somewhere on a continuum or it’s a spectrum disorder on my part.



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  5. hens says:

    kathy – I prefer saying I was ignorant, I didnt know what was going on. But thanks to my Life Lesson I am only stupid if I allow it to happen to me again. Some holidays are ruff with or without the spath involment. It really isnt that important if we diagnose them as a this or that, whats important is we educate ourselves about personality disorders in general. And learn how to set boundaries and be aware of user’s and jerks.



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  6. Back_from_the_edge says:

    users, jerks, psychopaths and sociopaths…

    THEY are the ignorant ones.
    You are right, though, hens: our ‘lesson’ has shown us to never be stupid by allowing it to ever happen again. No holidays are ruff without the spath, around here. In fact, they are more peaceful.

    Boundaries are like the most important thing we can do for ourselves.

    Yah, I am still here, posting over and over again, hens, in a state of shock…don’t really know why…



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  7. Ox Drover says:

    Yea, Hens I turned on the ac today…it was 97+ out side. I did get my first ripe tomato yesterday, over a month earlier than usual. The grasshoppers have eaten all my potted plants and the ground is parched dry. If we don’t get rain soon, it will be a total DISASTER! Pastures are parched and eaten to the ground. They could have baled the hay directly behind the mower it was so dry. Humidity is low though so that’s good I guess for how it “feels” but not good for the plants and soil. Just dries it out faster.

    Watering every day, even my trees are suffering already.

    I killed the 3 drakes, gonna make some salt free gumbo. the 3 hens are still laying 3 eggs a day…son D has high cholesterol we found out, so he is on meds for that now so I will have to quit making him eat 2-3 eggs a day! LOL

    I’m feeling better, but not up to much work, but did accomplish a bit today. Glad you are feeling better. You are right bein sick sucks, but not as bad as being with a sicko.



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  8. hens says:

    Ox. We have had a really wet spring, it’s raining now. As compared to last spring and summer it has really been nice.

    Dupey…You have to find your way through this. I know it’s hard and you have to deal with his stalking and harassing. I hope you can find some peace of mind soon.



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