Why do some people become psychopaths while other don’t? Here’s my take on how it all fits together….
A follower named Kyle recently dismissed Dr. Robert Hare’s contributions to our body of knowledge about psychopathy. He also seemed to think that the impacts of iphones, and societal brutality is at the heart of the disorder. His remarks are what prompted this post.
While I’m not a clinically trained therapist or medical professional, and won’t compare my knowledge to the likes of Dr. Hare or Dr. Paul Zak, here is my basic understanding- that I convey in the interest of shedding light.
Everyone has DNA that passes along to them in order to create their brain chemistry…..
If you add blue paint to yellow, you get green. When you mix blue with red you get purple. And the shading of each color can be modified by the additions to the mixture.
Consider the initial color as your brain chemistry and the additives as early childhood development. If you start with white paint, you’re more likely to get a pastel shade. If you begin with black it’s unlikely that you’ll end with a pastel. (And please do not relate to this metaphor as if I’m comparing races.)
Our brain chemistry, environments, nurturing, intelligence, etc, are like the paint that’s all thrown into the mixture.
Mental health professionals still argue about the difference between sociopathy and psychopathy.
What you’ll see in DSM are various forms of “Cluster A,” “Cluster B”, etc, personality disorders, under which psychopath and sociopath fall as Anti Social Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissism, etc.
Dr. Scott A. Bonn from Drew University describes that sociopaths tend to be more opportunist in their harm while psychopaths are more deliberate. He also explains that sociopaths, whose disorder develops due to social impact and early childhood abuse, can, in fact, have a degree of emotional empathy while psychopaths cannot.
Both, in fact, are harmful and when you meet someone you recognize as either a sociopath or a psychopath, you need to get away from them. There is no cure for psychopathy, only self-imposed moderation, which can change at will. Sociopathy is also unlikely to change and you will be subjected to continued harm in your attempts to cure the problem.
Development of psychopaths
Simply put, two children can live through the same nightmare, be subjected to similar abuse, or no abuse, and still develop differently because they began with DNA that painted their personalities and responses to stimulation differently.
While psychopaths begin with brain chemistry and brain structures that limit their emotional empathy, where they end up in the spectrum of moral development will differ like snowflakes. Even though snowflakes are unique in appearance, they contain many similarities.
- They’re all frozen atmospheric moisture,
- They’re all white.
- They’re all cold to the touch.
- They all melt when heat is applied.
All psychopaths lack emotional empathy and fail to develop emotional bonding. Simply put, they have no conscience. How that affects their development will differ with each individual. When a small child lacks emotional empathy, and has a psychopathic parent, that child should be considered “at-risk” for developing psychopathy.
Psychopaths relate to others depending on their needs and wants, not caring. It’s a physical attribute based on the DNA that produces their oxytocin and other neuropeptides.
Even though they don’t have an emotional stake in moral behavior, and are not guided by conscience, society’s laws require that everyone refrain from harming others. Psychopaths intellectually know what is harmful, even though they don’t emotionally relate to that harm. Therefore, psychopaths are also responsible to obey society’s laws. They know what society deems wrong and right.
Sociopaths are more driven by impulse and expedience
While they are less calculated in their harm, their impacts can range from simple lies to grotesque brutality.
The highly charged sexual, competitive, brutal, me-centrist publicly displayed drama we frequently witness today gives both psychopaths and sociopaths in-the-making a guide to emulate. When they see others behaving badly, there is no deterrent to prevent their doing so as well.
Not everyone will respond with disregard for society’s welfare because of what they witness.
In fact, morally intact people may find their calling in supporting causes that result from their exposure to harm. . But those who have the brain chemistry that inhibits conscience and bonding will be better able to justify causing harm because of the harm that they see. A child who may have been only a pastel psychopath, one with nasty, inconsiderate behavior, could develop a far more seriously deplorable code of conduct as a result of their experiences and exposure.