lf1

The “Functional Female Sociopath”…..Good For Society?

According to various opinions, not all sociopaths are created equal. There are the “non-functional” sociopaths (i.e., serial killers) and “functional” sociopaths (i.e., successful sociopaths).  The functional female sociopath uses her lack of empathy to annihilate those pesky male counterparts (or, frankly, anyone who gets in the way), paving the way for woman-kind.

Yay them!  Right?   I mean, why can’t functional female sociopaths be on the same playing field as functional male sociopaths?  Well, they can be.  And they are.  The last time I checked, evil is still evil.  You can put a dress suit and lipstick on it, or you can put starched collars and neckties on it, sociopathy is still a blemish on humanity regardless of how you dress it up.

What I’m referring to is the piece Donna posted last Monday (May 19, 2014).   HuffPost Live featured a live chat discussing Digg.com’s article “The Female Sociopath“, featuring the article’s author Merve Emre, Donna, Dean Haycock (author of Murderous Minds), and a diagnosed female sociopath.

Merve’s article describes pop culture’s fascination with femme fatales (e.g.,  Amy Dunne in the novel Gone Girls).   Personally, I don’t think the fascination with “bad girls” is anything cutting-edge (see Susan Hayward in Valley of the Dolls (1967), Jean Gillie  in Decoy (1946), Marie Windsor in The Killing (1956), etc.).  What disturbed me was the article seemed to paint sociopathic women in a heroic light.

I was also shocked how Donna and Sandra L. Brown were disparaged.    Donna took a leap of faith by sharing her past with the public – at the risk of being torn down by naysayers – in order to help others.   A few minutes perusing Donna’s website and one will see the countless people she has helped.

Sandra, meanwhile, has a Masters Degree in Counseling and is the founder of many mental health programs.

It seemed ironic, then, to champion women’s rights, yet promote those who destroy other humans beings and then discredit the women who educate and support those harmed by these monsters.

In Merve’s defense, she did state in her response to Ester Bloom’s article (as well as in her HuffPost Live chat) that she wasn’t endorsing female sociopaths, nor referring to the pathology of sociopathy, but was rather addressing the casual way in which the term is thrown around and how it is applied in daily life (such as women in the workplace).  I re-read Merve’s article hoping I somehow missed latent sarcasm, but the glorification of female sociopaths loomed too large to ignore.  I felt nauseous, because I know the real thing is not admirable in any way.

First of all, I completely agree with Donna and Dean Haycock that labeling fictional villainesses as sociopaths is a slippery slope.  Too often the condition is misrepresented.

Case-in-point:  Merve states that “Unlike [run-of-the-mill crazies], the functional sociopath isn’t ‘dismissible’ as a slave to her emotions.”  Ah, but they are.  They are slaves to their condition, which fully dictates their emotions.  Unlike healthy women, they do not have the free will to  turn their emotions “on” or “off”.  They do not have the free will to show genuine remorse or compassion.  Oh, they may “feign” kindness, but at the end of the day they still succumb to their apathy-inducing  illness.

The reality is, there is nothing appealing about a true sociopath.  Having been raised by a psychopathic mother AND father, I am very aware of what it looks like in real life, as well as how gender played a role in each of their conditions.   I experienced life with them on a daily basis for nearly 40 years.  I spent years working with psychiatrists:  the psychiatrists who tried (and failed) to protect others from my mother (as well as my mother from herself) and the psychiatrists who helped me heal from the aftermath of my parents’ evil.

Alyona Minkovski began the HuffPost Live chat with “How similar are [sociopaths] of real life, and the fictional variety?  These questions were posed in a new Digg.com article aptly entitled “The Female Sociopath.”  However, nowhere in this article did I glean even a hint of how tragic real-life sociopathy is.

Meet my mother:

A woman who lied to, stole from, and cheated her children for the sheer thrill of it.

A woman who framed and gas-lighted her children for the joy of seeing them suffer.

A woman who invented ways to destroy her older children’s marriages because she couldn’t stand the thought of anyone being happy (not even her own offspring).

A woman who slandered others to ruin their careers, simply because she “didn’t like them.”

A woman who belittled, tormented, and abused her terminally ill husband, just because he was in a weakened state and couldn’t defend himself (yes, my father was also a psychopath, but cancer left him a shell of a person in his last days).

Worst of all, a woman who took pleasure in mercilessly tormenting her Down’s Syndrome child (my little brother).  A woman who reminded him on a consistent basis that “daddy is dead” because she found it empowering and fun to make him cry.

A woman who sometimes did/sometimes didn’t give her Down’s Syndrome child his heart medication simply for the thrill of having his life teeter in her hands.

I guess the intended meaning of Digg’s “The Female Sociopath” was lost on me.  Instead, I  saw sociopathic women being blanketed as a group of misunderstood but admirable underdogs who –  if society would just gave them a chance – (cue the Stuart Smalley music) they would be good enough, smart enough, and dog gone it, people would like them.

If my little brother were with us today, I think he would beg to differ.



14 Comments on "The “Functional Female Sociopath”…..Good For Society?"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Wendy – Thank you. If the author of the article and the HuffPost host had any idea of what sociopaths were really like, I don’t think they’d be so glib about them.



    Report this comment

    • Blanka says:

      It’s that glibness that gives me the feeling that people who promote sociopathy in that way are only seeking ways to promote themselves. In many stories, the femme fatale – no matter how vengeful or violent – is a nevertheless seen as a “heroine” – La Femme Nikita, Catwoman, et cetera. Comparing the sociopath to these weather-worn women opens a door for the author/host to entertain herself with the illusion that she has tapped into the mind of such a character and, thus, can be made comparable to that character. The sociopath I used to know, a male in this case, used to sport a Jesus-looking haircut and beard and would compare his “greatness” to that of Martin Luther King Jr. It was one of the most pathetic sights I’ve ever seen.



      Report this comment

  2. NotWhatHeSaidofMe says:

    Whenever I run into people who are unable to name a sociopath as evil, or if they have any admiration for them, or if they think that a sociopath has a positive roll in society, I see RED flags. It means they are receiving some kind of benefit, whether they are a sociopath themselves and are promoting status, or a sycophant who admires the ruthless, or any number of reasons, the end conclusion is that anyone who advocates for such evil has a deficiency within themselves.

    Sycophants can be just as dangerous as a sociopath because they will act on the sociopaths behalf in order to gain the approval of the sociopath. They don’t realize that sociopaths NEVER approve of a person, only of the act that was done, as long as the evil act did not interfere with their hidden agenda.

    Personally, I think this was a set up contrived by sociopaths or their minions.

    Donna is being openly targeted because she is seen as a threat. They want to stop her from empowering the victims of sociopaths.



    Report this comment

  3. Jan7 says:

    makes me wonder about the women who wrote that original article…could she not have empathy and compassion for another human being??? Something is amiss with her logic…most people want to protect the victims she seems to want to protect the abuser..not normal. It could mean that she herself has a sociopath in her close circle who has conditioned her to feel sorry for a sociopath as we all know sociopath are masterful at conditioning people to feel sorry for them and once you escape their grips you have to undo that conditioning or it could mean she has some traits.

    As for the phase “highly functioning sociopath” it just makes me laugh because my ex h would fall into this category but he actually never did any work he just manipulated everyone with pity play to get them to not only do their job but also his…it was like watching a bunch of worker bees providing for the queen bee. He always always needed “help”. Even when my divorce papers delivered to him he tried to get me back under his grips by saying he needed “help” by then I was fully educated on his manipulative ways and sent an email back listing all of his family members names and his friends who could help him and stated that my name was not listed for good reason I would never help him again…he knew that his con game with me was up.



    Report this comment

  4. slimone says:

    Thank-you Wendy! So well said. So right on!!! I responded on the other/original thread that this is just a preposterous premise for the advancement of human/women’s empowerment. Completely irrational and ignorant. Harmful in it’s lack of understanding.

    Your paragraph about the case-in-point is so concise. They are emotional robots, with one setting: the ME setting. Period. This is NOT someone who has freedom of emotional choice.

    Further, the author is also suggesting that to be fully emotional is to be crippled. This is the OLDEST criticism of women’s right to equality in the UNIVERSE. Come on! We are too emotional to be leaders, money makers, decision makers, and powerful people in our own right? To be emotional, to have a full arsenal and choice of emotion, is a HANDICAP?

    Wrong! That is spath speak. Period. However, I am not calling the author a spath. Just that she is spewing such ancient rhetoric, that she cannot be taken seriously. She is young, and looks like trying to be ‘cool’, smart, savvy. Instead she looks trite, ignorant, and dismissable.

    Jan7. I love that you provided your ex with a list of family and friends who would help him. I got a real belly laugh from that. GOOD on YOU!

    And, NotWhatHeSaid….I agree. Think of the classic vampire movies. The vampire always has that little creepy man, who is addicted to the vampire’s approval, who is doing his bidding, and making sure he is protected from the community he is feeding off of. The last vampire I got bit by had the same thing going. Generally one strong healthy woman (was me for awhile) providing him with a steady supply of life-blood (or another way to think of it is as the ‘sacrifice’), and then a whole group of ‘followers’, who he keeps at a certain distance so as not to abuse them too badly, that he uses as his front. These are his creepy little men. They don’t understand that they are just like the little man in the movies, lugging his coffin and ‘props’, keeping him safe from too close an inspection. And these folks at a distance LOVE seeing woman after woman being sacrificed. It helps them feel safe, and like they are too special for him to get rid of. They can place all their fear and loathing onto the women who pay the ultimate price.

    Slim



    Report this comment

    • Jan7 says:

      Slimone…glad I could make you belly laugh 🙂 yes, it is funny looking back at the time I hit the send button I felt very empowered to have taken back my control and power from him. like the old saying states…Knowledge is power…and learning about sociopath’s and all the con games they play really does give you one of the keys to the universe.



      Report this comment

  5. Slimone – I think some people think they are too smart to get sucked in by a sociopath! When you said “trying to be cool, smart, and savvy”, it reminded me of someone who used to pooh-pooh my siblings and I. She was a very calm, cool, collected lady who thought we were a bunch of over-dramatic sissies. So, when I tried to warn this lady about our mom, her reaction was “Oh PUH-leeeeeeze.” Long story short, our mom chewed her up and spit her out. Our mom nearly destroyed her career and left this lady a quivering mess.

    How does that saying go……”pride comes before the fall?”



    Report this comment

    • slimone says:

      So true Wendy. My friend was talking with a woman a couple of months ago and they stumbled on the subject of the spath I knew. And the woman was like ‘What was your friend thinking?….I would never fall for that!’.

      Well, my friend just shook her head. She knows full well that any of us can be taken down the rabbit hole

      People just cannot imagine it happening to them. Now, maybe she wouldn’t have fallen for ‘this one’. But, if she runs into someone who wants what she has, has a personality disorder, and then figures out her ‘number’. You know the rest.

      Pride does come before the fall. Humility and gratitude comes after the healing. I am not saying that everyone who is targeted is prideful. But I was. I was lots of things I am not now.

      My pride took the form of being able to change other people with my love. My therapist pointed out to me how much hubris it took to believe this, and how much blame I had taken for what had befallen me in my childhood to cement that belief into my psychology.

      It wasn’t pride in the sense that most of us think about it. But, instead, it was formed in me because I grew up thinking just about everything was my fault. So, by childish logic, the solution must also be totally my responsibility. And boy did I try to fix people. One personality disordered person after another.



      Report this comment

      • NotWhatHeSaidofMe says:

        slimone,
        I told someone about my ex and to be careful because he lied by omission and innuendo. Their reply to me was “He might have done that to you, but by gosh, he sure won’t do it to me”. They were saying that I deserved it, and that their relationship was “special” so he had no reason to do it to them. My ex is now the recipient of their entire estate in the will, and the man is in very bad health.

        Did I mention that my ex likes to be very nice to old people who have no family?

        If, at the beginning, I saw my ex do ANTHING to me like was done in those last years, I’d have RUN. Those weren’t red flags, those were 2×4’s. But… that’s not the way sociopath work. My ex was the most charming man that people would meet. That’s the initial observation of so many people, “He’s SO charming!” and yes… many of them would actually giggle.

        ps totally relate to being raised as everything was my fault. so whenever people were mean, I looked to myself to fix whatever went wrong. I have healed a lot because I no longer carry other people’s shame on my shoulders.



        Report this comment

  6. Stargazer says:

    Trying to find a useful purpose for a sociopath is like trying to find the useful purpose for a tornado. They are kind of fascinating to watch until they destroy your house.



    Report this comment

  7. aintgonnatakeitnomore says:

    I’ve said it once, I ‘ll say it a thousand times if I have to. Ignorance is bliss.
    Period.
    You don’t know WTH ur talking about!
    Walk a mile in my shoes.
    Etc
    Etc
    Etc
    And idc to argue with a ignoramus, God bless you. What I would give to be ignorant.



    Report this comment

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.