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Monday, May 07, 2012

Sign of Psychopathy

I know a young man who began to show signs of psychopathy at a very young age. Once I was watching ants carry things a LOT larger than themselves and when the kid walked up, I pointed out one particular ant that was carrying a really large bit of whatever it was. Instead of showing a normal childhood curiosity, the kid simply smashed the ant with his shoe.

He's the youngest psychopath I'm aware of meeting. I've watched his behavior with fascination and noticed a few things about him that I had never seen before. I've been noticing one of the behaviors in someone else who I suspect of being a psychopath and I find the similarities striking, especially considering that the kid was 13 and the new psychopath is in his 60's.

When the kid would do something wrong (more accurately, when he got CAUGHT doing something wrong) he would eventually want a hug from an adult. Somehow, this kid thought that a hug signified that he was forgiven and the "problem" was behind him. I stopped hugging him during those times because although I really do care about the kid, I didn't want to reinforce his negative behavior. I still hugged him when he did something positive, I'm not a psychopath myself.

Forward to yesterday, I know a person who I consider to be a psychopath. Until he leaves evidence of a crime, I can't do anything about his presence in this complex. But, I don't make it a secret when he's annoyed me and he seems to annoy anyone who is within 20 feet of him. Because of "deficiencies in comprehension and appreciation of others’ experiences and motivations, lack of tolerance of differing perspectives and diminished understanding of the effects of own behavior on others", this guy has no clue how to behave and he also has a stunning lack of shame. He doesn't understand why he shouldn't be allowed to throw trash out of a car window because he cannot consider the rest of the planet in his own mind. 

I have nothing against smokers, most of them are basically pretty conscientious about their habit. But this guy is the type who lights cigarettes in cars with the windows all shut, no matter who else is in the car. I've only met one other such person in my entire life. You would think that I would have been safe outside but I wasn't. He sat right next to me and smoked without a concern in the world. Of course the smoke was coming straight at me and no amount of hand-waving or fake coughing could stop it. I finally got up and moved away from the lady I was chatting with when he asked what was bothering me. I told him what was wrong without holding back how rude I considered his behavior. He apologized and I dismissed the entire situation but he wouldn't let it end like that. 

He walked over to me with his arms out and went to hug me. 

Under the right circumstances, I can be an extremely affectionate person. But, I don't like PDA's and I don't like stranger hugs. I actually had to say, "I don't want to be hugged." That started him off trying to scold me and embarrass me by implying that a hug is a wonderful thing under any circumstances and there must be something wrong with me for refusing the hug. But, I'm not as unaware of other people as is he so I knew that most people would understand what was happening.

Unfortunately, psychopaths, "feel no shame or anguish, thus reprimands and punishments have no effect on their behavior. Their behavior is driven by shallower impulses, such as sexual arousal, frustration, boredom, greed, and irritability." Nothing I do around this guy will sink in and nothing my girlfriend does about her son will help either. The only thing I can do is point out a sign that I've picked up on as it relates to psychopaths. They actually believe that a hug, a kiss, or even sex will erase a dirty slate. 

Not even close.


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