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Born, not made

There’s a movie out now. A psychological drama, of sorts. Not gonna say which, but folks be talkin’ about it a bit online and such as it is one that makes you think.

For those who’ve seen it, the story provides a great reminder that psychopaths are real. They are not “made” or formed by ill-luck or bad parents: They are BORN — and, yes, their parenting and boundary-setting received when young, or lack thereof, can impact their impulses to harm, torture and kill for not all psychopaths kill and torture, though they all do think of it. A lot.

Our modern society tends to throw around words such as “sociopath” and “psychopath” as if they are interchangeable. They are not.

Psychopaths tend to be good looking, tend to be smart, tend to even be a bit charming and are always calculating. They’re not impulsive (that’s the sociopaths), and they’re not sloppy (that’s the sociopaths).

They’re born without empathy and there is no fix. It’s a brain thing.

They’re also not trying to “get fixed” as they see Us (the rest of the population) as the ones with the problem–not Them.

The American Psychological Association says “About 1.2% of U.S. adult men and 0.3% to 0.7% of U.S. adult women are considered to have clinically significant levels of psychopathic traits.” Whether those numbers are spot on, a little over or a little under, I don’t know; but I do know with statistics like that, you may likely have — or have had — a couple-few in your life.

Tallying how many of them exist as a percentage of the population is a fuzzy area of data collection as there is a lot of disagreement in the field and the DSM keeps getting changed. Psychopath is no longer the term: antisocial personality disorder is the diagnosis of the day. But, really, whatever it’s called and however those affected are tallied, the important thing to remember is they are born as such, and–like it or not–they are part of the span of the human experience.

There’s an interesting story of a brain researcher, Dr. James Fallon, who accidentally discovered he was a psychopath, though he insists he’s a nice one. A couple years ago, I listened to a video of his experience and how he discovered this information about himself.



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