Monday, November 06, 2006

Psychopaths and the facade of normalcy

So much of what I have learned in the last few years regarding the behavior of psychopaths is fathomless to most of us. It is hard for a person of conscience to understand how someone could not be able to feel empathy or guilt, shame or fear. The conscienceless don't feel love and can not form attachments to people, even their spouses and children.

Most disturbing of all might be the psychopath's ability to conceal his/her behavior and to blend in with society. Most psychopaths look perfectly normal and can be very charming and nice. They are doctors, lawyers, CEOs, ministers, law enforcement offiicials, the list is endless. Some can go their whole life without anyone knowing what is behind the facade of normalcy.

Psychopaths learn to mimic the emotions of others to appear normal. It is only when you are willing to look close that you can see that something might be wrong because sometimes they don't get the emotions right.

Because only victims see the psychopaths' dark side, the conscienceless can convince all those around them that they are normal and their victim(s) are the crazy ones. It can extend to family, friends, coworkers and even the general public. Dr. Robert Hare, in the book Without Conscience, talks about this very problem - "Psychopaths are very good at putting on a good impression when it suits them, and they often paint their victims as the real culprits". Victims often find it difficult to get anyone to understand what they are going through. Psychopaths like to blame someone else for their behavior and do not want to be held accountable for their actions.