Actually, psychopaths (literally, “diseased minds”) are not insane. They’re troublingly deviously predatory, for sure. However, they’re not psychotic. They exhibit the penultimate character disturbance. Still, their character dysfunction does have some neurobiological roots. For it seems that psychopaths can’t feel like he rest of us feel. They grossly lack empathy. And some have absolutely no capacity for it. Their brains don’t work like most of our brains do. Accordingly, they lack the very things we most equate with being human: the capacity and willingness to care. They’re nature’s only known intra-species predators. And they exploit and victimize with no compunction or remorse.
Presently, there’s no treatment for severe character disorders. This is especially true when it comes to psychopaths. Moreover, there’s evidence that trying to teach empathy to those who grossly lack the capacity for it only makes them potentially more dangerous predators. But as I’ve been writing about, fortunately most disturbed characters don’t fall into this category.
Psychopaths have the most malignant and intractible form of narcissism. (See: Malignant Narcissism Goes Beyond Haughtiness.) However, that doesn’t mean that all narcissists are psychopaths. And not all people with narcissistic traits have a Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
Because severe character disorders currently can’t be treated, our only hope is to manage them as efficiently and effectively as possible. However, that’s proven to be a most daunting challenge. How do you curtail or contain someone who is shamelessly bent on victimizing?
In the coming weeks, I’ll be talking about how to recognize someone on the psychopathy spectrum. And I’ll be talking about why some folks have trouble forming a healthy conscience.