The Alienated Sociopath: The Disaffiliated Type
The absence of a nurturant parent during a critical period may prevent the development of the normal capacity for love and attachment that, as social animals, we all presumably possess. We know that children whose innate proclivity for language is not developed during the early years may never learn to speak and it seems likely that our native affiliative tendencies also require stimulation and reinforcement early in childhood. There are children who seldom or never have nurturant, loving, or happy interactions with other human beings or whose approaches to their parent are unpredictably punished so that they become extinguished. Such a child will not develop the prosocial components of socialization and their inability to relate emotionally to other people makes his or her adult adjustment problematic. This incapacity for fellow-feeling may be as intractable as any innate defect of temperament, yet I classify such people as sociopaths rather than as psychopaths because their condition can be prevented in the same way that other forms of sociopathy could be prevented, by reducing the frequency of non-nurturant, incompetent parents.