“Psychopaths (whatever you want to call them) exist. I believe in the veracity of the Hare Checklist. I believe Hare is right. And I think that psychopaths can be — maybe always are — terrible malevolent forces. And I totally sympathise with anyone who gets caught up with one.”
First off, psychopath doesn’t just mean someone who cuts you up with a chainsaw — though the majority of people who do things like that are psychopaths. What’s the definition?
Psychopathy is a personality disorder that has been variously described as characterized by shallow emotions (in particular reduced fear), stress tolerance, lacking empathy, coldheartedness, lacking guilt, egocentricity, superficial char, manipulativeness, irresponsibility, impulsivity and antisocial behaviors such as parasitic lifestyle and criminality.
So which professions (other than axe murderer) do they disproportionately gravitate towards — or away from?
Most of the professions on the right require human connection, dealing with feelings and most of them don’t offer much power. Psychopaths, by their very nature, would not be drawn to or very good at these things.
On the other hand, most of the roles on the left do offer power and many require an ability to make objective, clinical decisions divorced from feelings. Psychopaths would be drawn to these roles and thrive there.
Perhaps you’ve had your fill of these sordid accounts — the celebrity gropers, the pedophile priests, the fondling in the locker room shower, the witnesses who look the other way. Why do we look the other way?
1. Abusers buff their reputation by throwing themselves into charity work. Used his philanthropy both to identify vulnerable children for his personal sport and to inoculate himself against suspicion.
2. They cultivate an aura of flamboyant eccentricity.
3. They use “the subtle early maneuvers of victim selection,” the screening out of children who object or who are supervised closely by parents, the testing, ingratiating, “grooming” and “desensitizing the target with an ever-expanding touch,” the escalation of abuse.
4. They often decline to bring a sexual abuse cases to trial “due to lack of evidence.”
5. Psychologists understand pretty well the web of confused affection, guilt and fear that silences the victims in these cases. But what stifles the suspicion of adults? Or it was the star culture. Men who reach the top in business, sports or entertainment are too powerful and too intimidating to be taken on.
“One subtler theory is that everyone looked away because we love winners, and we need them to be good people because that means the world is fair. Think Lance Armstrong. A community, in other words, needs its pillars. You would think the first imperative would be to protect the children. But by protecting the pillars of the community, we let ourselves believe we are protecting the community itself.”
Making a crossroads a moment of profound and lasting change and learning how to thrive when life’s changes descend upon us can be learned.
The key to weathering life’s crossroads:
1. Do not settle for normal. When our habitual response leads us to what is expected and customary — when we choose ordinary — we can expect the unremarkable.
2. Do not resist. Attempting to control, manipulate or force things to happen is a typical response to the fear that comes with change. Some of us will be so fearful that we refuse to make a change without understanding that even if we choose not to make a decision or take action, this in and of itself is a choice. Our learned way of coping with stress and uncertainty should be reevaluated constantly as we evolve in this world. Move with the changes instead of against them.
3. Trust your deepest feelings for guidance. We all know, deep within ourselves, what we need to do — what we know, how to think, when to trust — during times of crisis. We can learn to access and trust our innate wisdom; it is personal and always available. Through this, we will know how to adjust our course, move toward our personal destiny. When we don’t follow our inner guidance, we feel a loss of power and energy.
4. Dream bigger. Change what you expect from life and then create a plan and work to cultivate the right conditions for your growth and success.
5. Limit distractions and strive to create balance in the midst of chaos. When we let go of our own or other’s agendas and when we push away the demanding concerns of the moment, we are able to hear our own thoughts. Do less at the moments of crossroads and give yourself the gift of time — time to be in the present moment. Respect the value of being here and now. Ask yourself, “What is the one area of my life that needs more balance?”
6. Failure is just another way to start again. When we face a crossroads with fearlessness and the choice turns out to be prosperous, we are hailed as a genius or visionary. When our choice creates failure, then we are judged harshly, ridiculed and diminished, and it has the potential to make being fearless more difficult when we face the next crossroads. We must remember that failing creates not only additional opportunities for success, but fosters courage and determination in those of us who are brave enough to attempt it.
When I’m faced with fear at life’s inevitable crossroads, I have learned to “let it rip” and charge “no holds barred” into the abyss — if for no other reason than to see what is there. I have emerged out the other side bloody and battered at times, but I’m stronger for having risked, taken a stand, trusted and believed.
There is consensus that we must create and seek out tolerance — tolerance of lifestyles that challenge our “normal,” cultures that exists side by side in our strip malls and tolerance of words that others use to express their opinions. But instead, of valuing patience, understanding and accepting our differences, we are using our words to indulge in prejudice, hate and incite violence. I see this not only in our political discourse where common ground is no longer valued; I see it in family court where compromise is viewed as weakness; in families where doors slam shut before conversation is attempted and in countries where death is the solution to different.
Buddhist belief in Psychopaths:
In the Mahaparinirvana Sutra the “icchantikas” (i.e., a species of being who can never attain Buddhahood) are deeply evil.
They don’t believe that all beings have the Buddha-nature.
They wish to harm others.
They take pride in their twisted views, and live lives contrary to the Buddhist precepts. Especially, the icchantikas conceal the evils they have done some of which are grave in nature.
Nor are they capable of repenting their sins. As far as their spiritual capacity is concerned, they have “no capacity for saddharma” (true Dharma).
The Buddha refers to icchantikas as “the incurable ones.” …
The rest of this article from zennist.typepad.com makes the link with psychopaths and goes on to discuss the pervasive nature of the problem in society.
How many times have we heard from well-meaning friends and family members that the solution to our problem was to “just let it go”? My stepdaughter recently asked me, “I want to let it go, but how do I do it? What does it really mean?” Her sentiments echo the frustration of many who understand the need to let negative thoughts and beliefs go but are not sure of the steps to take to make lasting and positive change. And others wonder if “letting go” is really a cure-all and if so, how do we learn to let it all go?
What Is Letting Go?
We have all heard “Let go and let God,” and the importance of letting go is well-documented by many spiritual leaders and self-help teachers. Yet, there still seems to exist an underlying confusion about what letting go is. Letting go is simply an alternative to control. Letting go is to leave things or people as they are — letting them be. I am not advocating that we do nothing in our lives to help ourselves or our community. Quite the opposite: Letting go is the releasing of the control and the need or expectation for these things to occur. When something we desire and work hard for does not materialize in the way we had planned, we have the option to put this in perspective by ways of understanding that we are still the same person or to cultivate regrets and vow to control even more. When we are able to let go of the outcome, we are then able to start again without carrying the emotional labels of failure, fear, anger and loss. These negative emotions interfere with our ability to let go and experience the life we want.
There will never be a time in our lives when we are in control of everything. Control does not have to be our truth anymore. It does not have to be who we are. We attempt to control as much as possible under the influence of being a good parent, managing the company well, predicting problems and solving them for our community or making changes to our own lives. It’s the attempts to control that lead us to grasp tightly to people and things. And moving forward is difficult with the heaviness of your past weighing you down. Holding on tightly leaves little room for movement and nothing interferes more than fear and control. When we are invested in the control of something or someone, we tend to inflate the outcome to an importance that causes us to suffer. When we live in the present with our focus and tight grip on the future, it feels as if today is here just to serve tomorrow’s agenda.
How do we let go of things?
Redefine what you believe: You can redefine what you believe to be possible, and this affects what is available to you. In every moment, there is a chance to let go of whatever is troubling you and feel peaceful. Move in the direction of your purpose or toward that, which feels good. Yes, make the statement every morning: “I want to feel good.” See where this leads you. When you are focused on what makes you feel good, watch what you choose to eat, whom you choose to talk to, where you to go, what you choose to experience with the conscious thought of wanting to feel good. You may also notice what you do not choose — and that could be control and attachment. Know that some things may need to be let go and rest assured that new things will emerge.
Take responsibility: Many times when we need to let go, we are focused on what someone else did that was wrong, instead of what we could have done better. Identify what you are learning and develop a path to closure. Remember that self-worth is a function of self-honesty — cultivate it.
Feel it fully: If you disconnect from your feelings, they still exist and will affect everyone around you — not just the person or situation who inspired your anger. Give yourself a rant minute or two… use it for a momentary release only… not as a way of being, to harm another or as a habit. Channel your discontent into new and positive actions. Before you can let go of any emotion, feel it fully. Cry it out. Work it out through exercise. Laugh it out. Use meditation or yoga to bring you into the present moment, where letting go is easier.
Allowing: You can live your life allowing or controlling. When you find yourself controlling or attached to a particular outcome, remember that letting go does not mean getting rid of something or someone. The relationship, the job or the illness is not the problem; the problem is grasping or needing something to happen to make you feel okay. You can learn to let it go by laying it aside and putting it down gently without any kind of drama.
Shut it down: Stop listening to the destructive force of your own mind or others. People that keep you in a negative space make it difficult to let those circumstances, conditions and thoughts go. Focus on cultivating the right conditions for your growth. You have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it. Letting go allows kindness and love to move into the space that was previously occupied by control. Become comfortable with everything new. Newness is change.
Forgiveness for yourself: Begin by forgiving yourself — it is a gift that will change your direction. When we stop blaming others, take responsibility and forgive ourselves, we will be able to let go. We make many choices, such as who the parent of our child will be, what job we will focus on, the divorces, the friendships, the battles we choose to engage with and forgiving ourselves helps letting the guilt or blame go.
Our thoughts are not a lifestyle unless we choose it. We can choose to let them go. When you let things go, you can then reintroduce yourself to you, as life will be different.
FIVE TOP WARNING SIGNS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) received 27,401 domestic-related crimecalls – one every 19 minutes…
Many of the signs women are taught to interpret as caring, attentive, and romantic are actually early warning signs for future abuse. Some examples include:
INTRUSION: Constantly asks you where you are going, who you are with, etc.
ISOLATION: Insists that you spend all or most of your time together, cutting you off from friends and family.
POSSESSION AND JEALOUSY: Accuses you of flirting/having sexual relationships with others; monitors your clothing/make-up.
NEED FOR CONTROL: Displays extreme anger when things do not go his way; attempts to make all of your decisions.
UNKNOWN PASTS / NO RESPECT FOR WOMEN: Secretive about past relationships; refers to women with negative remarks, etc.
How often do we find ourselves in a situation that seems un-winnable or, in the extreme, impossible? When this happens, it is difficult to make sense of the things that have happened to us. There are situations that, regardless of what we do, will change us forever. When these life-altering events happen, we can expect a period where a lack of perspective dominates our life.
How do we move forward when everything has changed?
5 Ways to Cope With No-Win Scenarios
Acceptance — Resignation that your life will not be the same again. This is the hardest situation to overcome. When circumstances have taken the life you cherished and enjoyed away from you, what stands in its place may never measure up. When we focus, however, on what we are missing instead of what remains, we will suffer longer. We must agree that our life has changed and make the decision to move forward embracing that change.
Fight — Anger may be what we need to push ourselves forward out of complacency or despair. Fighting as an alternative can keep you focused when the odds are stacked against you. If fighting is your only alternative, then don’t give up. Do not give in to fear. Fight to make things rights again, to make something better or fight to move in a different direction. As the saying goes, “Live to fight another day.”
Compromise — We may not feel like we won but neither will we lose everything. This choice is less drastic than fighting, but a settlement can help in resolving things so you can move on. No-win scenarios can trigger stress responses in the body, and compromise helps alleviate this distressing condition and it makes for a better choice in some instances.
Healing — This is the perspective you need to search for in all challenging situations. Repairing that which is broken in our lives allows for balance to reemerge. Healing as it relates to illness may show us that in the course of our illness, cure may cease to be an option, but remember that no hope of a cure does not mean no hope at all. When you receive the information that the illness is serious, it can feel like a no-win scenario, but with a support team who can help manage the challenges you’ll face, you can live with a serious illness for as long as possible and as well as possible.
Creative — Even though we are intelligent and organized, being in what feels like a no-win scenario makes it hard to keep things straight. Think of solutions that you have never tried or maybe tried in the past but didn’t work. Try again. Looking at your scenario with “fresh eyes” can lead you to a new perspective and ultimately a solution. Know that people are willing to help, and becoming comfortable asking for assistance, advice or information may lead to additional opportunities that were not available before. When we diligently look for solutions and “open every door” that is available to us, we will find that there are fewer no-win scenarios.
Something positive remains after all devastation; it may take years to see it or lifetimes to understand it, but it is there.
We are acutely aware of being under the influence of many things: drugs, alcohol, jealousy, manipulative media, and racism. We fight to create awareness so we can move beyond the influences of these negative emotions and situations. Just as important as letting some things go, there is the importance of bringing new things toward us. One of the influences that we can and should embrace is joy. Being under the influence of joy has the ability to shift your focus and change the trajectory of your life.
How Can I Create Joy
Redefine who you are. Do not allow others’ opinions and attitudes define you. You know who you are, and even if others up until now have not seen the real you or supported you, it does not change who you are. If you wish to change, create a new vision and move steadily toward it through incorporating new thoughts, actions and beliefs.
Emerge Through Crisis With love and respect for yourself and others intact.
When we carry the burdens of every crisis (lesson) on our backs, we become hunched over. It is not necessary to carry the weight of rejections, fear, loss and disappointment with us throughout our lives. Life is hard, and if we can learn our lessons and not be diminished by them, we create the conditions to experience joy.
Willing To Let Joy “In”
When we rush through events and moments by being results driven, we do not see the joy that is available. When we think back to the precious moments with our children, if we let our fatigue or worries take precedence over the moment, that moment is lost forever. Be conscious of those times when joy is present and acknowledge it, enjoy it and be grateful for it. Promise to allow joy to stay once it arrives.
When you are in the midst of turmoil, uncertainty, pain or sadness, remember to be love in action — and this includes forgiveness. In every dark moment there exists its opposite. Continue to hang on and know you have the strength within you to find joy. It is there — I promise.
It seems that fear is manufactured before our eyes through the news and our interactions with others, and it appears most often without our permission and it permeates our lives. Because fear is contagious, it can control us effortlessly, if we let it. The destructive power of fear no longer has to control our lives.
How to Reduce Fear in Your Life
1. Monitor your thoughts. Watch for fear-producing emotions such as anger, sadness, jealousy and judgment. To be negative is easy. When negativity is allowed to flourish, it generally will produce more fear. Choose thoughts that produce emotions that make you feel comfortable in your body: love, happiness, peace, joy.
2. Place painful memories of the past on pause. Just because something happened to you or someone else in the past and it had a negative outcome does not mean it will happen again. The pain of something that happened in the past is an indicator of the need for a change in direction. Once you evaluate the memory, you will be able to see the situation more clearly, and if nothing can be changed thenstop thinking about it immediately. When you allow yourself to recall a fearful memory, you pull yourself out of balance. Change what you are doing. Spend your mental efforts and energy on creating a new direction for you.
3. Do not hang on to your fears — fear of illness, fear of financial loss, fear of losing someone, fear of death, fear of losing your “stuff,” the fear of rejection or the fear looking stupid or weak. When we choose fear, we are making the choice to keep fear inside of ourselves and in doing this, we let fear dictate our futures and we limit our options for greater security, peace and comfort. No matter what challenges life gives you, you can choose to respond in a new way.
4. Become calm. Work at being the “calm in the eye of the storm.” We can prevent ourselves from becoming overwhelmed with the extreme situations surfacing all around us. Regardless of what is happening in your life at this moment, know that you have the strength, courage and wisdom you need to move forward without fear.
5. Find a way to let fear go and start again. No one who has been in the grip of fear would underestimate the challenge that lies in front of us in order let fear go. Finding strength, balance and faith will save us from debilitating fear. As we know from experience, fear and faith cannot coexist… you must choose one. Let us find the determination to choose faith over fear.
Each moment of our choosing builds upon the previous moments. Our thoughts, words, feelings and actions are powerful beyond our knowing. It is critical that we stay focused on the positive possibilities, and let the unrealized fear dissipate. Let this moment be your starting point, so to speak, for a release of fear, and enjoy the peace and comfort that will surely take its place.
Psychopaths make up an astounding 1 to 2 percent of the general population and occupy virtually every niche in society. Often ruthless, callous and completely devoid of empathy, they impose an incalculable toll on individuals and society. And science is increasingly learning that psychopathy may actually be a genetic disorder — one that could eventually be eliminated.
There’s growing consensus among clinicians and neuroscientists that psychopathy does in fact exist as a meaningful and identifiable personality disorder. A growing community of experts are starting to use psychopathy as a clinical diagnosis.
In terms of definition, psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by severe emotional dysfunction, especially a lack of empathy and remorse. Psychopaths exhibit consistent disregard for the feelings of others and the rules of society. They are completely unable to recognize such things as anger and fear in individuals, either based on facial expressions or verbal exclamations. In terms of behavioral traits, psychopaths are generally regarded as being callous, selfish, dishonest, arrogant, aggressive, impulsive, irresponsible, and hedonistic. At the same time, psychopaths often exhibit higher than average intelligence and a superficial kind of charm.
Scientists are increasingly finding a genetic basis to psychopathy . Work in genetics has revealed that the heritability coefficient for psychopathy is a shocking 50%. Psychopathy, it would appear, runs deeply in the family.
But while genes may be a key factor, there’s still plenty of room for environmental factors. It’s thought that, while genetic factors may generally influence the development of psychopathy, the environment still affects the specific traits that predominate.
It’s also worth noting that virtually all psychopaths exhibit anti-social traits as children , but that half of them “grow out of it”. This gives therapists hope that the condition could be treated environmentally.
Psychologist Robert Hare, a leading expert on such matters, has argued that psychopathy may actually be adaptive. He has observed how many male psychopaths have a pattern of mating with and quickly abandoning women — and as a result, have a high fertility rate. His contention is that these children may inherit a predisposition to psychopathy.
And there appear to be physiological differences between psychopaths and everybody else — a recent study showed that the psychopathic brain has significantly less grey matter in the anterior rostral prefrontal cortex and temporal poles than the brains of both non-psychopathic offenders and non-offenders. These areas of the brain appear to be important for reading other people’s emotions and intentions, and seem to be active when people think about moral behaviour.
Neuroscientists have also found that the amygdala is impaired in psychopaths. The amygdala is responsible for stimulus-reinforcement learning and responding to emotional expressions, particularly fearful expressions. It is also involved in the formation of both stimulus-punishment and stimulus-reward associations.
At first blush, the estimate that 1 to 2 percent of all people are psychopaths seems astonishingly high. In a country like the United States, this implies that there are between 3 to 6 million psychopathic Americans. Psychopaths also make up roughly 15 to 25 percent of the prison population, and are responsible for the lion’s share of brutal crimes and murders. And according to the neuroscientist Fabrice Jotterand, psychopathy affects 3 to 5 % of all CEOs.
But not all psychopaths are dangerous. Given the high prevalence of psychopathy in our gene pool, and given that many seem to fare rather well in society, it’s fair to say that we run the risk of generalizing about this condition and pigeonholing all psychopaths as being inherently dangerous.
Robert Hare, co-author of Snakes in Suits , takes a hard-line when it comes to psychopaths, referring to them as “intraspecies predators.” He argues that they lack the very qualities that allow humans to live in social harmony and is concerned about their ability to blend in, undetected, in a variety of surroundings, including corporate environments. By conceptualizing psychopaths as remorseless predators, he feels we can better understand what often appears to be senseless behavior.
Indeed, it may very well have to be the human toll that’s considered. Psychopaths, given their indifference and often insatiable desires, can harm people in any number of ways, whether through physical violence or ruthlessness in the workplace. It’s the continuing prospect of having psychopaths around in the general population that may eventually determine whether they should be filtered from the gene pool.
Psychopathy is not an all-or-nothing proposition. Like autism, it falls along a spectrum. The Hare Psychopathy Checklist , a standard inventory used in law enforcement, has a top score of 40. Psychopaths tend to get a bit scary when they score in the early 20s. A very demented and dangerous psychopath would score around a 30. As journalist Jon Ronson has noted , “There are absolutes in psychopathy and the main absolute is a literal absence of empathy. It’s just not there. In higher-scoring psychopaths, what grows in the vacant field where that empathy should be is a joy in manipulating people, a lack of remorse, a lack of guilt. If you’ve got a little bit of empathy, you’re kind of not a psychopath.”
This is why Ronson and others feel that some psychopaths make for great CEOs. “I think the other positive traits for psychopaths in business is need for stimulation, proneness to boredom,” Ronson told Forbes. “You want somebody who can’t sit still, who’s constantly thinking about how to do better things.”
Taking a step back, an overarching question that needs to be asked is one about end-goals. What’s more important: changing someone’s behavior, or changing a person’s state of mind? A consequentialist would argue that it’s behavior, and that it doesn’t matter what a person thinks or what kinds of empathic impairments they might have — all that matters is how they act. Subsequently, an argument can be made that, if we can root out criminally harmful behavior, our task is done.
But as Robert Hare has argued, that may not be good enough. The absence of empathy, he argues — the very definition of a psychopath — will always result in malevolence.
That may very well be the case, but the truest expression of humanity is the ability to extend empathy towards others — even those incapable of mustering empathy themselves.
When we realize our life is not working — financial hardships, abuse, unfriendliness, weight gain, bad relationship and/or an unfulfilling job — there are a few habits we can let go of to change our reality immediately. Change is swift and permanent when we choose to make certain mental, spiritual and physical adjustments. The hardest part is being comfortable with change. To let go of the habits we created is difficult, but the rewards of creating new and positive habits can be life-changing.
The seven habits that can hurt you:
The Habit of LYING
A lie does not become truth if you say it enough. A lie does not become truth if you say it louder. Little white lies are never little to the person being lied to. Lies can eventually begin to erode your self-esteem and those relationships based on truth and honesty.
Choose this instead: truth. The day we stop lying and start speaking the truth, we will feel a change. Speak the truth, no matter what. Our only hope of becoming a better person is by adopting the habit of speaking the truth.
The Habit of FEAR
Fear can be so ingrained as a habit that even a loud sound can produce the adrenaline of the flight or fight response. Adrenaline can create a great deal of emotional and physical stress within the body, and when left unchecked, it can reduce your ability to handle the small problems, which occur throughout the day.
Choose this instead: Fear and faith cannot coexist, so choose one consciously. Do not spend your thoughts on anticipating trouble; thoughts create your reality.
The Habit of Living in CHAOS
Chaos is created in the mind when we fill our lives with noise and drama. I believe our environments can program us to perform certain behaviors and if you find yourself with someone or somewhere that adds chaos and unpredictability to your life, change your environment and/or the person you are with.
Choose this instead: Silence in place of constant noise, creates a space for us to release the stress that causes this habit. Try living with the concept of “less is more.” Enjoy less stress by choosing less chaotic activity, less TV, less Internet usage and fewer “drama queens.”
The Habit of SELF ABUSE
Self-harm is always something we can learn to control. Why do we treat ourselves harsher and more critically than our worst enemies would? Do your anger and your blame take center stage in your life? Are you living it over and over again?
Choose this instead: Heal yourself and let this story go. Change your environment because changing your scenery can help a bad habit become less tempting and available. Limit your interactions with people who encourage your bad habit. Surround yourself with people who love you and who will teach you to love yourself. What is more important than love?
The Habit of FAILURE
All who achieve expects failure, but when it becomes a habit, you have stopped learning from what came before and have started expecting failure as a way of life.
Choose this instead: Failure is necessary before we can begin again.
Failure is nothing to be feared… what you should fear is giving up or aiming too low. Laughter, true laughter, not a joke to demean, is guaranteed to change your mental state in the midst of experiencing failure. Seek out laughter. Start again.
The Habit of WORRY
Worrying about what may never happen — the plane/car may crash, bad things will happen to our children, someone will hurt me and/or I will be taken advantage of — can lead to unwise decisions because they are based on fear. Worry is caused by this anxiety, and it can lead to unhappiness.
Choose this instead: Be in the moment when you can clearly see you are safe. Learn to control your worry so you can make better decisions. Filling the void left by your old habit with a more positive activity can help you avoid falling back into your old habit.
The Habit of WHEN MORE IS NOT ENOUGH
Resist being driven toward having more: more technology, food, money, and relationships. This behavior can lead us toward isolation and superficial status in all areas of our lives.
Choose this instead: Focus on being more, not having more. Replace this habit with something new and positive in your life: beauty, community closeness and compassion. Become undisturbed by loss and gain. Unclench your heart and allow it to breathe with peace and the knowing that you have enough.
Be fearless in your efforts to let go of limiting and unhealthy habits. Remember to be patient, as habits take time to release. And lastly, replace your old habit with something new that shows you and the world who you really are!