“There’s a killer on the road”…

This powerful, suspenseful poem chilled me.

Eye Will Not Cry

dark-man

~

Lost within his life’s direction…
He took the wrong train connection…
His destination is unknown…

His eyes survey the gathered crowd…
A quiet coach, no noise allowed…
He sees her sat alone…

Keeping her eyes on the book…
She was bewitched by just one look…
She’s chilled to the bone…

She doesn’t even know his name…
His evil crimes or hidden shame…
Or his heart that’s made of stone…

He’s craving her undivided attention…
She’s floating in an air of tension…
Into confusion she is thrown…

Trying to avoid his charming stare…
It could be fun, if she’d only dare…
Common sense on hold…

A spark of innocent conversation…
Ignites thoughts of dark temptation…
Her confidence has grown…

She begins flirting with her hair…
In his trap, shes now been snared…
She plays with her phone…

Fallen for his devilish smile…
His journey becoming more worthwhile…
But time has…

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Sociopath vs. psychopath: is there a difference?

psychopathy

I’ve been using the terms psychopath and sociopath interchangeably on this blog, even though I’m aware there are differences between the two. I was curious enough to Google what the difference is, and came across an article in Psychology Today that explains how they are alike–and how they differ.

How to Tell a Sociopath from a Psychopath
By Dr. Scott Bonn

Many forensic psychologists, psychiatrists and criminologists use the terms sociopathy and psychopathy interchangeably. Leading experts disagree on whether there are meaningful differences between the two conditions. I contend that there are clear and significant distinctions between them.

The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), released by the American Psychiatric Association in 2013, lists both sociopathy and psychopathy under the heading of Antisocial Personality Disorders (ASPD). These disorders share many common behavioral traits which lead to the confusion between them. Key traits that sociopaths and psychopaths share include:

A disregard for laws and social mores
A disregard for the rights of others
A failure to feel remorse or guilt
A tendency to display violent behavior
In addition to their commonalities, sociopaths and psychopaths also have their own unique behavioral characteristics, as well.

Sociopaths tend to be nervous and easily agitated. They are volatile and prone to emotional outbursts, including fits of rage. They are likely to be uneducated and live on the fringes of society, unable to hold down a steady job or stay in one place for very long. It is difficult but not impossible for sociopaths to form attachments with others. Many sociopaths are able to form an attachment to a particular individual or group, although they have no regard for society in general or its rules. In the eyes of others, sociopaths will appear to be very disturbed. Any crimes committed by a sociopath, including murder, will tend to be haphazard, disorganized and spontaneous rather than planned.

Psychopaths, on the other hand, are unable to form emotional attachments or feel real empathy with others, although they often have disarming or even charming personalities. Psychopaths are very manipulative and can easily gain people’s trust. They learn to mimic emotions, despite their inability to actually feel them, and will appear normal to unsuspecting people. Psychopaths are often well educated and hold steady jobs. Some are so good at manipulation and mimicry that they have families and other long-term relationships without those around them ever suspecting their true nature.

When committing crimes, psychopaths carefully plan out every detail in advance and often have contingency plans in place. Unlike their sociopathic counterparts, psychopathic criminals are cool, calm, and meticulous. Their crimes, whether violent or non-violent, will be highly organized and generally offer few clues for authorities to pursue. Intelligent psychopaths make excellent white-collar criminals and “con artists” due to their calm and charismatic natures.

The cause of psychopathy is different than the cause of sociopathy (1). It is believed that psychopathy is the result of “nature” (genetics) while sociopathy is the result of “nurture” (environment). Psychopathy is related to a physiological defect that results in the underdevelopment of the part of the brain responsible for impulse control and emotions. Sociopathy, on the other hand, is more likely the product of childhood trauma and physical/emotional abuse. Because sociopathy appears to be learned rather than innate, sociopaths are capable of empathy in certain limited circumstances but not in others, and with a few individuals but not others.

Psychopathy is the most dangerous of all antisocial personality disorders because of the way psychopaths dissociate emotionally from their actions, regardless of how terible they may be. Many prolific and notorious serial killers, including the late Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy, and Dennis Rader (“Bind, Torture, Kill” or BTK) are unremorseful psychopaths. Psychopathic killers view their innocent victims as inhuman objects to be tormented and violated for their amusement.

Contrary to popular mythology, most serial killers are not mentally ill or “evil” geniuses. See my related article: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wicked-deeds/201406/serial-killer-myth-1-theyre-mentally-ill-or-evil-geniuses

tedbundy ed_gein
Although both were deadly serial killers, Ted Bundy was a psychopath who gave a good impression and knew how not to get caught; Ed Gein was most likely a sociopath who acted more impulsively, was more disorganized and didn’t give a very good first impression. Though both men’s crimes were equally heinous, Bundy’s eyes seem “colder” than Gein’s.

Although the traits of a psychopath more closely resemble those of a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) than those of the more impulsive, disorganized sociopath, both are actually described here as variations of ASPD, not NPD. Once again, if ASPD is really “NPD on crack” then it follows that NPD and ASPD are both on the same spectrum, with ASPD (and psychopathy/sociopathy) at the top of the spectrum. If this is in fact the case, people with NPD, even malignant narcissists, may border on psychopathy, but would not actually qualify as true psychopaths.

Here’s a little graph I devised to illustrate where all the Cluster B disorders may fall on a spectrum. These are just my guesses and are not based on psychological research, just my instinct and gut feelings.

psychopathy_graph
Click image to enlarge.

The most evil man I have ever seen

Here’s another addition to my Museum of Narcissists:

This devastating documentary (from 2000) about Melvin Just, a psychopathic sexual abuser who systematically destroyed all his daughters and his 3 stepdaughters (and killed a nurse but was never charged) paints a graphic picture of highly malignant narcissist who seems as thoroughly evil as the devil himself. His wife, dying of lung cancer during the time of filming, appears to be a malignant narcissist herself, not much better than her husband. She may have been under his thrall so long (and was such an enabler) she became evil herself. Psychopathy is contagious.

The pitiful daughters and stepdaughters are shells of what they could have been; they all are addicted to drugs or alcohol and appear to be living in grinding poverty. They all seem like they’ve died inside–their cynical laughter and hard attitudes cover scars so deep they can probably never heal. These are all wasted lives. One of the older daughters, Ann, was highly intelligent and read a lot, including books about famous psychopaths. She made the connection and identified her father as a monster just like the killers she read about. But even though she seems less damaged than her sisters, she suffers from depression and suicidal ideation and has tried to attempt suicide several times.

Melvin Just is one of the most evil people I’ve ever seen. During his interviews he shows absolutely no remorse for his heinous actions and keeps denying any wrongdoing. He also has the opaque, dead, black eyes that very malignant people are known for. It’s hard to look at him even in video without feeling like his evil could somehow infect you.

The way the daughters react to his funeral at the end is both hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time. These are incredibly tortured women.

Famous people who have NPD

parishilton

This is not my own list, but I agree with most of the people listed in this blog post.

Here is the entire article:

There are many people all around us that suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), more commonly referred to as narcissism. There are many well known individuals who display characteristics of narcissism, if not full blown NPD. They range from politicians to celebrities, from ministers to business leaders. Some writers and researchers believe that successful and famous people have acquired or situational narcissism; they do show narcissistic traits but only after they have worked hard, sometimes for years, to get there. But that success often produces a personality pattern replete with narcissistic traits. Others believe that these people were narcissistic to begin with and sought out opportunities and fields that would satisfy their narcissistic needs. Either way, once they become famous it leads to narcissistic thinking and behaviors; they have lots of money and/or fame, don’t wait in line at restaurants or events, have limo service, and are asked for photographs and so on. This often leads to demanding behavior, feeling they are above the law, becoming more exhibitionistic and many have public social or emotional meltdowns (frequent run-ins with the law, drug and alcohol abuse, attempting suicide, etc.).
Let’s take a look at some of the famous people who show personality traits that suggest narcissism. Most of them show grandiose thinking and exaggerated self-importance, many believe or fantasize about the power they have, most believe they are special, need to be admired and feel entitled. Many dictators and criminals had or have narcissistic personalities as well as the Hollywood celebrities; some are negative role models and some are positive. Hitler and Stalin both had grandiose self-images as did Casanova, Marquis de Sade, Peter Sellers, and the heart surgeon Christiaan Barnard. Other likely suspects are Madonna, Margaret Thatcher, Paris Hilton and O.J. Simpson. Here are just a few of the many that come to mind:

hitler

Jim Jones
Saddam Hussein
Warren Beatty
Ryan O’Neal
Alec Baldwin
Sharon Stone
Elvis Presley
William Shatner
Joan Crawford
Pablo Picasso
Ike Turner
Lee Harvey Oswald
Donald Trump
Kayne West
Charlie Chaplin
Marlon Brando
Eva Peron
Simon Cowell
Liberace
Adolph Hitler
Joseph Mengele
Joseph Stalin
Ted Bundy
O.J. Simpson
Paris Hilton
Madonna

donaldtrump

The author also has Marilyn Manson on the list, but while I do think he has psychological issues, I don’t think that he is a narcissist. From what I have read of him, he has exceedingly low self esteem and was bullied in school. Narcissists are rarely victims of school bullying.

Many of these people are successful and talented entertainers, and as such have contributed in a positive way to the world, so while they may be narcissists, some of them are probably not malignant narcissists or psychopathic (this just means they are less high on the narcissist spectrum than people who have contributed nothing to the world except evil and misery or have led a parasitic, exploitative lifestyle. Some may even possess small amounts of empathy and give generously to charity.)

simoncowell

Here’s a few others I would add (not a complete list by any means):

Kanye West

The Koch Brothers
Rush Limbaugh
Ayn Rand (she glorified narcissists in her books and a serial killer was her role model)
Scott Peterson
Osama bin Laden
Susan Smith
Jodi Arias
Dick Cheney
Sarah Palin
John Edwards (D-SC who cheated on his wife while she was dying from cancer)
Joel Osteen
Bette Davis
Joan Crawford (may have been Borderline rather than NPD)
Bing Crosby
Mick Jagger
Ted Nugent
Justin Beiber
Nikki Minaj
Most televangelists
Most Reality TV stars
Many rap and rock stars (narcissism is part of their whole badass “package” but it may not be genuine)

justinbeiber

Many people have accused Barack Obama of being a narcissist, but I disagree.

I found this interesting chart showing different high-profile professions and the corresponding level of narcissistic traits. Not surprisingly, Reality TV scores highest. (Click to enlarge the chart)

narcissistchart

The distinctive “look” of psychopathy: gazing into the face of evil

blackhole
Gaze into the void…

Psychopaths and malignant narcissists are very good at putting on masks to get others to trust them. They can seem warm and charming when they want to. But sometimes they can be caught when their mask is momentarily down (usually when they’ve been called out–or caught), and it’s here when we see the emptiness and evil inside them.

I’ve described this look before–I’ve seen it on my mother’s face and it gave me nightmares for weeks. I saw it once on my ex’s face when he was drunk and angry. It’s not so much a demonic look (which has a sort of life to it) as a dead, lifeless look that is far worse. It’s a malignant look that makes you want to get away from them fast. Like there’s nothing inside them except an vast and endless black void of nothingness. It’s like standing at the precipice of a black hole, and what can be more terrifying than some nameless void that can suck you into itself–and can even swallow light?

Many people have mentioned the intense stare a psychopathic person will fix you with, even when they are trying to charm you into trusting them. During the “wooing” phase, you may think this intense stare indicates attentiveness and strong interest in you as a person, but actually all they’re interested in is how they can use you and later destroy you. Make no mistake–they are predators out for the kill. If you have met someone who seems to stare at you excessively, or in a predatory way that makes you uneasy, that person is probably a psychopath or malignant narcissist trying to get their hooks into you. RUN LIKE HELL.

I don’t think evil is the opposite of good. I think evil is the opposite of somethingness–evil is pure black nothingness. Here are some examples of the dead, reptilian eyes of known psychopaths and malignant narcissists.

dennis_rader_1973
Serial killer Dennis Rader

jodiarias
Convicted murderer Jodi Arias. Her trial footage shows as many fake tears and mask-changes as Scott Peterson’s and none of her “emotions” seem genuine.

scottpeterson
Scott Peterson, unfaithful husband who murdered his pregnant wife and unborn child.

susansmith
Susan Smith, who murdered her two young sons by sinking them in a car she drove into a lake because she wanted to please her lover, who did not want children.

SO.0511.Mothers2.HO
Actress Joan Crawford (“Mommie Dearest”), who was an alcoholic and abusive mother to two of her adoptive children (some reports classify her as having Borderine Personality Disorder with Histrionic and Narcissistic elements, rather than NPD)

In some cases, psychopaths show a distinctive smirk or sneer. Their eyes may twinkle, but it’s a hard, cold, glittering twinkle that is malevolent and creepy. Behind the twinkle, the eyes are still reptilian and dead. You may see this look when they think they’ve pulled one over on you–or perversely, when you’ve pulled one over on them–and they are ready to kill you either literally or figuratively. Here are some examples of this look:

Osama Bin Laden Headshot
Osama bin Laden, fundamentalist Islamic mastermind who ordered the attacks on the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon in 2001.

charlesmanson
Mass murderer Charles Manson, who never killed anyone himself but had his cult of followers do his dirty work for him. Some think he’s psychotic and therefore not responsible for his actions, but he’s a psychopath who knew exactly what he was doing and has never shown an ounce of remorse.

dickcheney
Former Vice President Dick Cheney, the brains behind the disastrous and dishonest Bush administration and our “preemptive” invasion of Iraq. Cheney and his cronies bailed out or pardoned corporate criminals like Halliburton. How could you trust a man with a face like that?

kochbrothers
The Koch Brothers, multibillionaire CEOs who by their words and deeds have shown their disdain and comtempt for the “little people” which includes both the poor and middle class. These jerks have zero empathy and seem very psychopathic.

ojsimpson
Former pro football player and actor O.J. Simpson during his famous 1995 murder trial. This insolent expression became his trademark look while he was on trial.

tedbundy
Serial killer Ted Bundy’s infamous look of psychopathic glee. *shudder*

unknownwoman
I don’t know this woman, but she is a malignant narcissist who apparently gets her jollies making the people who lived in her building miserable. Someone on another website about narcissists was being attacked by her and called her out. I wouldn’t have included her here, but this is one of the most frightening looking people I’ve ever seen. Her eyes look like those solid black eyes you see in horror movies of demonic people. I have no doubt this woman is as evil as she looks.

richardramirez
Serial killer and alleged Satanist Richard Ramirez.

I’ve also included this Court TV program covering the arrest and trial of murderer Scott Peterson. Notice how he uses tears to manipulate the police and interviewer, but how insincere he seems and the way he arranges his facial features into whatever “mask” he thinks will help his case. There are those who insist he is not guilty (and I had my doubts too) and of course being good looking like Ted Bundy, he had a number of “groupies” who defended him, but he’s an intelligent manipulator and after watching this video, I absolutely believe Scott Peterson killed his wife and unborn son in cold blood.

The spectrums of autism and narcissism

einsteintedbundy
Einstein is known to have been autistic, and Ted Bundy was a malignant narcissist of the worst kind.

Most people today are aware that autism runs on a spectrum, but many people do not know that narcissism (psychopathy) also can be found on a spectrum, running from mild to the most severe just like autism.

In autism, the spectrum looks like this:

Severe autism: The patient seems profoundly retarded–may not even be able to dress themselves, eat, or go to the bathroom without assistance–but may have a special ability, such as having a photographic memory of dates, or baseball scores, or a talent for art or music. Here you will find the “idiot savant” phenomenon, which I think is really just that the autistic person has focused ALL their intelligence into one or two narrow interests. As is true of all people with autism, they do not “connect” with caregivers the way neurotypicals do, and avoid physical touch or interpersonal contact, even from infancy.

Moderate autism: The patient can function and may be attracted to repetitive tasks and routines, and becomes easily upset if their routine is disrupted. They may engage in repetitive actions such as headbanging or echolalia, but is able to learn if given special instruction to suit their unique learning needs and can possibly be mainstreamed into regular education later. They may focus all their energy and intelligence on the things that interest them to the expense of anything else, but they can be very knowledgeable about the things they like. Keep in mind, people with moderate or severe autism are NOT retarded, but for whatever reason have shut themselves off from the world and from social interaction.

Mild (high functioning) autism; sometimes known as Aspergers Syndrome: Aspies function more or less normally in most things, and don’t usually need to be placed in special education programs, but they are likely to be very awkward socially. This can range from completely avoiding contact with others, to odd behaviors like one-sided conversation where there is no awareness the other person may have lost interest, interrupting the other person, or just having an odd, formal or pedantic way of speaking. The reason for this is Aspies cannot read social cues the way neurotypicals can, and as a result are likely to be shunned by their peers and bullied. Most Aspies however, are very intelligent, and many of not most “nerds” are actually high functioning autistics. They can be successful if they are encouraged to develop skills and knowledge in whatever interests them and can find a career that doesn’t require a lot of social contact. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help them improve their social skills even though being able to read social cues will always elude them. Albert Einstein was an extremely high functioning person with autism, but he didn’t learn to speak until he was three years old and his teachers and parents thought he was retarded.

In Narcissism, the spectrum looks like this:

Mild narcissism: People who are mildly narcissistic should probably not be considered psychopaths. They may not even fit the criteria for NPD. Many people with Cluster B personality disorders such as Borderline personality disorder, can be quite narcissistic but because they have the capacity to feel some remorse and empathy, they’re not true Narcissists, but they have enough N traits to belong on the low end of the spectrum. In some cases, however, they can become psychopathic.

Moderate narcissism (NPD): People with moderate NPD can be psychopathic. They are dangerous lovers, friends, and family members who care very little about others, although there may be occasional times they can feel remorse (usually this “remorse” is more because they got in trouble, not true concern about the person they have hurt). Unlike those with Antisocial Personality Disorder (sociopathy), Narcissists are unlikely to engage in criminal behavior, or at least not the sort of heinous crimes that will land them in prison. However, they are immoral and their actions may border on the illegal or they may commit a crime if they think they can get away with it. But because they want to maintain a squeaky clean image and gain others’ trust, they may avoid committing crimes altogether.

Malignant Narcissism (psychopathy): These are the true psychopaths, who think nothing of using, abusing, and hurting those close to them. They are expert liars and manipulators, and not only do not feel shame and remorse, they may also have sadistic impulses and actually enjoy watching their victims suffer (moderate narcissists just don’t care). These are extremely dangerous people but because they are also attractive and charming (at first) they are good at getting others to do their bidding before completely destroying them. Victims of the MN can suffer all sorts of severe mental disorders such as major depression, C-PTSD and may even attempt or commit suicide. My ex-husband falls into this category.

Psychopath or Sociopath?
There is some confusion (and it confused me for awhile too) as to what the difference between a sociopath and a psychopath is. They are very similar, but a sociopath is basically someone with Antisocial Personality Disorder rather than narcissism. APDs can be very narcissistic, and they are similar to Narcs in other ways too, especially in their lack of a conscience. Like narcissists, they show little to no remorse.

The person with APD is much more impulsive and not as skilled or savvy in planning out their actions. They do not think before they act. Hence they are far more likely to break the law and be in prison than a person with NPD.
You will find NPDs in the top echelons of business, government, and religious organizations and they all too often weild great power, which further boosts their already inflated self-image. APDs will rarely if ever reach the top of these “respectable” professions because they are too impulsive and lack the self-discipline to attain those levels. Many if not most people with APD are in prison or have at least had some trouble with the law. There has been some speculation that while the person with NPD knows the difference between right and wrong but just doesn’t care, the person with APD may have trouble distinguishing right from wrong. Does that mean if they could learn the difference, they would become narcissists instead?

Serial Killers.
Serial killers may be either sociopathic (APD) or psychopathic (Malignant Narcissists). Narcissistic killers are far less likely to be caught than sociopathic killers.

Ted Bundy presented a very good impression to his victims (even working in a rape crisis center) and was good looking and well educated. He had a law degree and a charming, trustworthy demeanor. He also planned his crimes in a manner where it was difficult for him to be caught for a long time, and even after he was caught and sentenced, passed himself off as an expert in serial murder, and before his death, his theories were actually used by police and forensic specialists to help identify and profile other killers of this type. Ted Bundy was a narcissist and a psychopath.

Ed Gein was a sicko who didn’t take care of his appearance, didn’t make a good impression, lived in a filthy hovel filled with body parts, and did not plan his crimes in a very organized manner. He basically acted on impulse. When he was overwhelmed by the urge to kill and cannibalize again, he would just go out and do it. Of course, like Bundy, he didn’t feel remorse and even took pleasure from the torment and horror he caused in his victims, but his actions were impulsive and strictly done to fulfill an immediate need. Ed Gein was a sociopath who probably had APD.