Damn you, James Fallon, and your little book, too.
The self-proclaimed psychopath is very rarely a true psychopath. I have, much to my misfortune and boredom, spent hours reading post after post of whiners and sycophants claiming to be psychopaths. What I find most of the time are weak, pathetic losers, mostly teenagers with a few adults spattered about, looking for a little sympathy and/or a place to fit in.
The thing is, it takes quite a bit of intelligence, perception, and a keen sense of introspection in order to determine whether or not you are a genuine psychopath. Most psychopaths lack the ability of deep introspection in order to make the connection and go about their lives ignorant of the origins of their unique qualities. Take Dr. James Fallon, for instance. This brilliant man lived for 58 years as a psychopath, albeit seemingly lower on the spectrum, without knowing it. His friends and family always knew something was a bit off about him, but for the most part he got along well, even earning his doctorate and becoming a successful neuroscientist. It wasn’t until he saw an MRI scan of his own brain that he realized something was different about him. Even still, according to him, it took a bit of a fact-finding mission on his part to truly confirm his own self-diagnosis. So, given that Dr. Fallon is an obviously bright individual and still didn’t have some profound epiphany one day after reading about the Hare Psychopathy Checklist, how do these pseudo-psychopaths expect anyone with half a brain to believe them?
From what I’ve found, most of the self-proclaimed psychopaths are simply loners who have had some bad experiences in their lives, perhaps because they are socially awkward, not particularly good looking, have been victims of bullying, have dissimilar interests than their peer group, or have a an inferiority complex disguised as a superiority complex. Maybe even all of the above.
Carl Jung, a world renowned Swiss psychiatrist, was famously quoted as saying that “Wherever an inferiority complex exists, there is a good reason for it.”
This could not ring more true in the case of the self-proclaimed psychopaths that seem to be popping up everywhere. One would think that psychopathy is becoming the new ADD. It is the cool band-wagon mental disorder du jour and everyone seems to be hopping aboard, proudly boasting of how traumatized their minds are because daddy didn’t give them any attention, how they always knew they were different somehow, or they just don’t seem to fit in with everyone else at school.
Most of these people seem to congregate around M.E. Thomas’ SociopathWorld.com website. They send in emails offering their adulation and claiming that her book opened the door to their own or a friend or relative’s psychopathy or narcissism. How unlikely these all-too-frequent cases are cannot be overstated.
Most sociopaths or psychopaths just don’t really care about their condition because it works very well for them. The commonly heard phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies perfectly in this sense. Psychopaths don’t see themselves as broken, and rightly so, so why should they “fix” themselves?
Another group of people (again popular to Thomas’ site as well as psychopathfree.com) are those that have experienced a bad relationship and now seem to have diagnosed a relative. Parents and spouses seem to be “diagnosed” ad infinitum. It’s all quite laughable, really. Yes, I realize that there are statistically millions of actual psychopaths in America alone. It doesn’t mean, though, that we’ve reached some profound societal pivoting point in which psychopaths all feel accepted and they’re now safe to come out of the proverbial closet. In most cases, it seems likely to me that all of this might quite the opposite effect and it may not fair well for empaths in the long run.
The vast majority of psychopaths do not want to be found out because then their game is up. All of the popularity surrounding psychopathy and the individual research it inspires is indeed arming empaths with most of the right tools necessary to determine if someone they know is a psychopath. To the empath’s advantage, there is no such thing as a 100% successful psychopath. The mask always slips somehow owing to a myriad of conditional situations. If an empath remains vigilant, they will eventually catch the slip. The problem with all of this soaring popularity surrounding psychopathy is that it’s only serving to entrench those like me even further. It makes us take even more care to keep the mask in place, to keep the game going which renders identification a much more arduous task.
Anyway, back to the point of this post. The soi-disant psychopaths of the internet are simply malingering children (whether grown or not) who simply want a little attention. It would seem that they want to fit in by not fitting in and, by virtue of the accepting, nurturing nature (not qualities of a psychopath) of other psuedo-psychopaths, they find their place for a while. These people may indeed have a psychological problem, but it certainly is not psychopathy. Psychosis mixed with a pinch of Narcissism, maybe? Who knows? It’s only a matter of time before these morons flock to another fad du jour within the mental disorder community.