Anti-Social Personality Disorder/Sociopathy; What It Means and Why We Need To Start Paying Attention
Recently I’ve written quite a bit about Anti-Social Personality Disorder, and Sociopathy. Let me reassure you, it is not because I’m morbid or secretly Anti-Social myself. Essentially I have two reasons for my “fixation”; 1) I have a 3 year old daughter and what I see going on in this country deeply disturbs me and 2) You hear a lot about Anti-Social Personality Disorder and/or Sociopathy, but no one ever really explains what those words mean.
I promise after this I’ll move on, at least for a while, to something new. (Maybe Borderline Personality Disorder:) But for now let’s begin with a brief explanation of Anti-Social Personality Disorder (ASPD).
The DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statisical Manual of Mental Disorders) explains ASPD as follows; “a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15.” It then goes on to list 7 characteristics, which if you are unfamiliar with the disorder may not explain it very well.
Here’s the general profile of an Anti-Social:
1. Incapable of feeling empathy and/or remorse for others
2. Engages in “parasitic” relationships, “uses” people and then discards them
3. Extreme difficulty dealing with stress and/or anxiety, easily becomes aggressive
4. Superficial charm and/or affect. Seems like they’re “faking it”
5. Manipulative. There is a motive behind everything they do
6. Limited range of emotions, basically anger is about it, and even then they typically only show it through physical displays and cannot express it through words
7. Inability to accept consequences and/or responsibility for their actions
8. A sense of entitlement and/or grandiosity
I think that paints the picture fairly well.
Most people will find themselves in one or two of those characteristics, but don’t worry. Everyone “acts” in an Anti-Social way at some point in their lifetime. The difference is someone with ASPD isn’t acting, that’s who they are, and that is a very important distinction.
There are also a couple of common misconceptions about Anti-Socials. One is that all are “criminals” or “murderers”, specifically serial killers, and although most criminals are Anti-Social, not all Anti-Socials are criminals. In fact, many end up in business because business encourages Anti-Social behavior; money at all cost. There are also a number of them who are attracted to jobs in law enforcement and the military, although they are supposed to have safeguards preventing them from getting in. (Anti-Socials would make great soldiers except they don’t follow orders or care if other people get killed).
The second misconception is that only males are Anti-Social. Studies are showing more and more that the number of female anti-socials is very close to that of their male counterparts. Part of the reason for the discrepancy is simple gender bias. No way “Sweet Little Suzy” is a Sociopath.
Okay, we’ve established what ASPD is, why am I “fixated” on it at this point in my life? Easy.
We are seeing Anti-Social behavior everywhere! The number of people being diagnosed with ASPD is rising in the United States and no one knows exactly why. We are also seeing ASPD onset earlier in children and young adults; Conduct Disorder. (ASPD is still considered an adult only diagnosis because it’s essentially a death sentence. There is no treatment for the disorder).
But the thing that truly disturbs me is that Anti-Social behavior is not only becoming acceptable, in some cases it’s actually celebrated and defended. Take Anne Coulter for example. (Sorry Anne, but you’re so easy).
In my last post, I included a quote Anne made about how she regretted the fact Tim Mcvey didn’t “bomb” the New York Times building. She made this comment two weeks before the first anniversary of 9/11. People from all over the country rushed to her defense blaming “political correctness”, and claiming it was only a “joke”.
Fifteen years ago not only would have Coulter been fired, her career would be over. Today, she suffered a little backlash and has sold millions more of her books in which she continues to say outrageous things. Why? Why is such behavior tolerable or even lauded?
Or what about the Don Imus case? He basically called the girls on the Rutger’s basketball team “niggers”, remember he used the word “jigaboos”, which is just another way of saying it. Again, millions rush to his defense, and say what about “Rap Music”? They’re right, what about Rap Music?
Rap musicians parade around glorifying the “Gangsta” persona. The truth is most of them don’t know a damn thing about being a “Gangsta” and are simply pimping it to make money. A Gangsta is no one to be admired. And the Gangsta lifestyle is nothing you strive for, it is something you fall into because they are few or no options. They do a disservice to those who are fighting to change the aftermath of generational poverty and racism in this country. And they glorify a lifestyle that is often violent and remorseless.
But there are less obvious signs that all is not right on the Western Front. I mentioned before that kids are using the Internet to harass classmates they don’t like. As result of this harassment several kids have committed suicide.
While the anonymity of the Internet is great, it can also be dangerous. People are more likely to act in ways they normally wouldn’t if they’re anonymous. The reason is that in groups or in anonymous situations people do not feel as responsible their actions. (This is why many surveys are anonymous. People are more likely to speak openly if their name or “identity” is unknown). If the behavior cannot be linked directly to them then they are somehow relieved of the responsibility and consequences of said behavior. It also has to do with our desire to “fit in”, and to be “accepted.” If others are acting a certain way many people will join in so as not to “stand out.”
We also see it in our politicians. Bill Clinton shamelessly humiliating his family so he can play semantic games for just a few more days or weeks. We see it in “The Decider’s” arrogance and grandiosity, which his apologists confuse with “Resolution” and/or “Steadfastness”. (Martin Luther King Jr/Malcolm X/Gandhi were “Resolute” and “Steadfast”).
We see it in our “Celebrities” whether it’s Mel Gibson ranting about “Jews” taking over the world or Brittney and Paris driving around drunk with no panties. (Brittney has two children).
Behaviors considered unacceptable not too long ago are becoming more and more part of our everyday lives. We are growing desensitized as a society, and the consequences are dire.
As I stated, there is no treatment for Anti-Social Personality Disorder, you cannot teach someone to have a conscience. Once a person loses their humanity, their ability to empathize or identify with others, it is too late.
We are getting close to the edge. Coulter’s already suggested killing her opponents. What’s next, actually doing it?
~ by fairlane on May 10, 2007.