Archive

Psycopath

On May 1, The New York Times (usually a good source for news) published a reprehensible article first-person guest columnist T. M. Luhrmann called Is That God Talking?” The author is an anthropology professor and really should have known better.

The basic gist of the article is that people who hear God talking to them are normal. The “talking” meaning hearing acutal words spoken out loud as opposed to intuition, coincidence, vivid dreams or the other crap theists claim is their God “speaking” to them.

Are you kidding me? Now, many people may believe that they heard God, but this this is not normal. The voice of God is used as an excuse for someone to do somthing that they really want to do anyway. There is a theory that the original meaning of the third commandment “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain” really meant “Don’t speak for God” rather than “Don’t swear.”

In other words — don’t say that God told you to do something or selected you to present a message to the general population. Speaking for the rest of humanity, I can say that you should save your breath. We’re not interested.

Anyone who cliams that God is talking to them is insane. It’s called religious mania. Get them help immediately or at least, leave the immediate area. Definately do not do anything that the person claims God has “instructed.”

Even the article itself noted that people with a prominat prayer life tend to be more prone to “hallucination-like events.” The article should have emphasized this point rather than make a bald statement that hearing God is normal.

Hannibal It takes a lot for me to watch a new television series because, quite frankly, most new American TV sucks donkey balls. But I gave Hannibal a go when it premiered earlier this month and (to my utter astonishment) found that I like it.

The title character refers to Dr. Hannibal Lecter and takes place before Lecter was captured. For those of you who’ve been under a rock since 1992, Lecter was a psychiatrist, artist, gourmet chef and (oh yeah) serial killer who cannibalized most of his victims. I like the show. It’s cast well. It has a killer soundtrack and some really evil situations.

Does this mean I’m crazy? Probably not. The folks at American Decency hate it and they’re loopy as loons. Perhaps I just yearn for the good old days when serial killers would have the decency to murder their victims one at a time. Oh, by the way, my cousin was running in the Boston Marathon when the explosions went off. She’s fine. I nearly went apeshit waiting to discover what happened to her, though.

When I watch a show about a cannibals and serial killers in order to relax, I know that real life has gotten WAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY too stressful.

If you’re just not depressed enough and/or are looking for yet another reason to hate Adolf Hitler, check out Hitler’s Niece: A Novel by Ron Hansen (Harper; 2000.)  This is a biographical novel in the tradition of Irving Stone (best known for his Van Gogh novel Lust for Life).  The author does fudge history a little bit but lists all of these deviations in the book’s Afterward.

Why am I including a book on Hitler in a mental health blog?  Well, three reasons:

  1. A book on Hitler is a book about a psychopath
  2. People struggling with the decision to commit suicide often dwell on the problem of evil.  The big problem being — how come these evil fucks get away with being evil fucks?  Yes, Hitler committed suicide but he reached the top of his profession and enjoyed the fruits of success long before Hitler and his crew had to go to the Bunker.
  3. It’s my blog — I’ll do what I damn well like.

The book centers on the relationship between Hitler and his niece Angelika “Geli” Raubal.  It is a piece of fiction but if even half of what Hansen wrote about was true, that’s still a pretty grim half.  Geli was found shot to death on September 18, 1931.  Although officials at the time ruled it a suicide, some evidence points to it being a murder.

This is a truly haunting book that would make Stephen King green with envy.  I am a domestic abuse survivor and so couldn’t help but identify with the Geli character.  My abuser was no Hitler (it was like living with Hannibal Lecter’s dumber younger brother) but he still could have killed me.

Which brings up another question — why do women find psychopathic men attractive?  Granted, a true psychopath is very charming and seems perfectly sane (hey — he’s got high self-esteem)  but eventually their true colors show.  There are probably STILL women who wish they could bang Hitler.  In my case, I didn’t know my guy was psychopathic until I was deeply involved in the relationship.  I also was suffering from untreated mental illness, which I guess is a reasonable excuse.  Still, I hope I never fall for another psycho.

Hitler wound up with a lot of kinky fan mail but he also was able to seduce an entire nation.  There have been many psycho leaders before Hitler and many after Hitler  And we all know that will happen again sometime in the near future.  People just like to be abused, I guess.

Usually when I do these little book reports for this blog, it’s often to warn you not to read the book. I’m happy to report that this is not the case with The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson (best known for his bestseller The Men Who Stare at Goats.)

Are you a psychopath? How do you know? Actually if you wonder if you might be a psychopath, the chances are very high that you are not a psychopath. There is a test given to suspected psychopaths, where a mental health expert sees how you score on 20 questions known as the Hare psychopathy test.

The book is delightfully quirky with a strong narrative voice. For example, Ronson buys a copy of the DSM-IV and promptly diagnoses himself with twelve mental illnesses. It also shows his misadventures with Scientologists, who are adamantly opposed to psychology or psychiatry.

The book also looks at the history of treating psychopaths and how this history blends into everyday problems of dealing with psychopaths, which are estimated to make up about 1% of the world’s population. Most psychopaths aren’t locked up. They can still hold down jobs and often excel at their jobs. Ronson looks at one CEO multi-millionaire who made his fortune firing people and closing down manufacturing plants.

This is a short (11 minute) newsmagazine piece done by ABC (Australia for the A here) about children who show psychopathic tendencies (such as abusing animals.) There is now a brain imaging test which clearly shows that these children (described as “callous” as opposed to “psychopaths”) have abnormal brain responses to viewing pictures of people in distress. While normal children are upset by these pictures, the callous child just couldn’t care less. Unfortunately, punishment (including inflicting physical pain) has absolutely no influence on changing the behavior. But getting the child to look at your face may help show that the feelings of others can greatly impact his or her world.

Anyway, I’ve prattled long enough about this. Enjoy.

This is an excellent documentary about people suffering from egomania or narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).  People who are narcissists probably won’t seriously try to commit suicide, but anyone living or working with them probably do.  Although this documentary focuses on white male narcissists, it can happen to women and men of other skin colors, too.

There are about nine traits of NPD and you do not need to have all 9 to be diagnosed with it.  You only need 5 and need to show those symptoms Don’t worry — it’s difficult to be diagnosed with NPD since there are many other personality disorders that have some symptoms.  Perhaps the scariest part of the video is discovering that some people in England really do talk like actors in EastEnders.

This documentary lasts just over 47 minutes.  If you don’t have enough time to watch the whole documentary, check out Narcissism 101.  Enjoy.