March 13, 2007

Do sociopaths care what people think?

Yes! That's the problem. I'm getting corrected over at Dr. Helen's. Think she's right? Like her Bill Clinton example?
Think of the psychopathic and narcissistic traits of a Bill Clinton type--he was very sensitive to what people thought of him--almost to a fault in that he wanted to be loved and admired by everyone, yet lied to the American public about his affair with Lewinsky, and used friends to lie on his behalf.
Wait! Bill's psycho? Maybe he's just very human but way more talented than average. She's the psychologist though. I just riff in the psychology realm.

60 comments:

Fen said...

Got to go with Helen on this [an add the usual damn you Glenn you lucky sob] DYGYLSOB?

I think Clinton was diagnosed by a group of psychologists. I forget the details, but they agreed his sexual addiction and risk-taking behavior were the result of some mental disorder. I'll see if I can find a link.

Ann Althouse said...

But who will diagnose the psychologists? I will! They were all jealous of Bill's immensely greater success at doing the kinds of things they feel like doing too.

Bruce Hayden said...

I think I understand your concerns there. Helen's point was overtly political. But I think that she is right, and is using Mr. Clinton because he is the one we know best with these traits.

Let's start out with the obvious, Bill Clinton is very gifted. He not only is extrodinarily bright, but he also has a sort of charisma where people who meet him are swept off their feet by him when he concentrates on them. And when he got on TV, pointed his finger at us, and told us that he hadn't had sex with that woman, much of America believed him - partially because they wanted to and partially because he was so believable.

But behind that, Mr. Clinton is (or at least was up through his Presidency) a sexual preditor. Maybe not of the worst type, but bad enough that if he hadn't had such high office, he likely would have done time for it.

As bad, he apparently had a running contest with his wife throughout his Presidency to see what he could get away with. Her people would try to keep him away from all the willing women, and he would try to get around them. And, at least in the case of Lewinski, he suceeded.

But that would seem to be evidence of a very self destructive streak.

The sociopath side comes in because Mr. Clinton is so good at manipulating people, and does so for his own narcissistic reasons. Yes, he feels your pain, all of it, but he feels it only to know how to get you to let him have sex with your daughter.

I would suggest that the reason that people like this are successful is that there are a lot of people out there who do feel your pain, truly empathize with you, and want to take it away from you for altruistic reasons. I know some of them, and think of them as saints. But the sociopaths look like this to us, but are really cold, calculating, and narcissistic inside.

Freder Frederson said...

She is a psychologist! They'll give anyone a degree in psychology. First she mischaracterizes sociopaths and then she diagnoses Clinton as having "psychopathic" and "narcissistic" tendencies. I'll give her narcissistic (almost by definition you have to be somewhat of a narcissist to run for President). What a peach.

Fen said...

/here we go:

Antisocial Personality Disorder is chronic, beginning in adolescence and continuing throughout adulthood. There are ten general symptoms:

• not learning from experience

• no sense of responsibility

• inability to form meaningful relationships

• inability to control impulses

• lack of moral sense

• chronically antisocial behavior

• no change in behavior after punishment

• emotional immaturity

• lack of guilt

• self-centeredness

Freder Frederson said...

But behind that, Mr. Clinton is (or at least was up through his Presidency) a sexual preditor. Maybe not of the worst type, but bad enough that if he hadn't had such high office, he likely would have done time for it.

My God man, and you on the right complain about BDS! Why don't you tell us about all the people he had murdered in Arkansas, too (not to mention Vince Foster and Ron Brown).

Fen said...

She is a psychologist!

And a very sucessful one from what I hear.

They'll give anyone a degree in psychology.

Anyone but you :P

Try not reacting to this as a partisan. There's no need to attack her personally simply b/c you don't like her point ...unless of course you are not capable of forming a counterpoint?

Bruce Hayden said...

Ann,

I think that jealous is a bit much. Most psychologists probably had no interest in Mr. Clinton's job. And no one is denying his immense talents.

But to be fair, all we really have here is that Mr. Clinton is able to feel other's pain, and then manipulate it for his own narcissistic ends. To go the next step to being a sociopath, he would have to not feel guilt about that, and that the ends justified the means. I, and presumably Helen, are presupposing that. I think there is a lot of evidence supporting that, but it is not as clear cut as the rest since we just have his actions to go on, and can't really get inside his head.

Freder Frederson said...

Antisocial Personality Disorder

Sounds more like Bush than Clinton.

Bruce Hayden said...

Freder,

I suppose that we could go through the allegations of sexual predation one by one, and you can find some way to claim to discredit each case, like that Paula Jones was money grubbing trailer trash. Juanita Broderick asked for it, was lying, or something.

But in the end, I think that it would only make you look silly trying to defend the undefendable.

Yes, most of the women he actually had sex with did so conssually. But I think that there is a lot of evidence out there that he really couldn't always tell whether the women were willing or not, and repeatedly crossed the line.

You can shrug it off as CDS, but I don't find that a convincing refutation.

Fen said...

Sounds more like Bush than Clinton

[shrug] sounds more like me. And I don't care what people think. Ha.

Bruce is on target, and more objective than me. I'll leave the floor to him on this one.

Bruce Hayden said...

Freder,

Antisocial Personality Disorder

Sounds more like Bush than Clinton.


Now that sounds like a severe cases of BDS.

Freder Frederson said...

Try not reacting to this as a partisan. There's no need to attack her personally simply b/c you don't like her point ...unless of course you are not capable of forming a counterpoint?

Oh, so you, Dr. Helen, and Bruce, can put Clinton on the couch and analyze him based on your purely partisan hatred of him and deem him a borderline psychopath and sociopath (with precious little evidence other than he is a philanderer) while I must base my arguments entirely on rational arguments.

Fine, there is plenty of evidence Bill Clinton had a wandering eye and a weakness for the ladies. So have many politicians, including Newt Gingrich (who recently admitted he was having an affair with an employee at the same time Clinton was being impeached) and Fred Thompson (he is also quite the ladies man). If being a cad makes one a psychopath or sociopath, then a quite a large portion of male population needs to be locked up.

Maxine Weiss said...

Psychology makes things more complicated than they are.

The Clinton's and their problems stemmed simply from bad judgement.

When they came to Washington they underestimated their enemies.

You know the Reagans built bridges and embraced the other side. Katherine Graham etc.. Mrs. Reagan could laugh at herself with that Gridiron spoof.

It was completely different with the Clintons---who thumbed their nose at the other side and figured they were so powerful they couldn't be touched.

When you dare someone to 'come-and-get-me'....they will.

They were arrogant and smug.

I can walk on water.

I think Bill Clinton has one of the highest IQs of any President ever. Both he and Hillary--it's actually quite incredible those two together, one of the highest IQs around.

But we've seen very intelligent people exhibit a complete lack of judgement when it comes to their own lives.

Intelligence and judgement are two very different things.

And then the arrogance of thinking that you're on top, and can never be knocked down.

That's issuing a challenge to your enemies. And Ken Starr had been after them for years.

The Clintons played right into his hands.

Peace, Maxine

Fen said...

while I must base my arguments entirely on rational arguments.

That would be nice, instead of resorting to ad hom again.

BTW, all A's are B's, therefore all B's are A's is not a rational argument.

Maxine Weiss said...

Oh no, I'm trying to be nice to Dr. Helen, and even apologized to her----no sociopath me---but I really don't believe in psychology.

---As applied to real life human beings, who don't fit nice and neat into a label or classification.

I think it's great to study the field of psychology, especially Freudian psych from a classical/historical perspective.

It's a valid field of study.

Where it becomes sketchy is when you start to diagnose human lives, and predict human behavior, which nobody, not even the Gods...has been able to do with complete accuracy as of yet.

Thomas Szaz is my hero.

There's no such thing as "mental illness".

But there are a lot of crazy people who do crazy things, and bad judgement.

Lots of acting out. But "acting" is only that---it's not a disorder.

Peace, Maxine

Kirk said...

Bruce,

"He not only is extrodinarily bright, but he also has a sort of charisma where people who meet him are swept off their feet by him when he concentrates on them."

Speak for yourself. There's a significant class of people who see folks* like Clinton and run the other way, precisely because the "charisma" rubs them the wrong way. Though, sadly, this group isn't large enough to have done the country any good.

"And when he got on TV, pointed his finger at us, and told us that he hadn't had sex with that woman, much of America believed him - partially because they wanted to and partially because he was so believable."

Again, for those aren't charmed, that was one of his least believable moments--right up there with the Ron Brown funeral face-making.

------------------
*Apologies to RLC, but given Clinton's state of origin, I just couldn't help myself...

Maxine Weiss said...

The inability to resist temptation:

It's Biblical. It's not a disorder.

Why must every last vestige of human behavior be pathologized?

Peace, Maxine

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maxine Weiss said...

Yes Kirk. Go Kirk!

One person's charisma, is another person's ....Ronald Reagan.

Talk about charisma...Ronald Reagan was a heartthrob. Some of those pin-ups of him from the 1940s....he almost has this primitive "Tarzan" look. If you squint your eyes, young 1940s Reagan was Johnny Weismuller!

Bill Clinton looks nothing like that. He never had those movie-star, shiny, leading-man good looks, like something out of Hollywood 1940s .

I never understood the attraction. I thought he was very bland looking compared to the handsome Ronald Reagan.

And, I believe Reagan was actually taller. Heheheheh

Peace, Maxine

Fen said...

but I really don't believe in psychology

I used to not believe: I'm a former Marine, I'm tough. I don't need a head doc. Those are for pansies. I can deal.

But I'm a child to two alcholics. I survived it. At least I thought I did, until I went into counseling for depression. There's so much baggage, and it was really interesting to see all the negative and unhealthy things I was doing because I had "learned" them as a child trying to survive an alcholic household.

It helped when I didn't think I needed help. I no longer hate humans. It also helps that my wife domesticated me. She jokes that Fate's plan for her was to keep me from bringing the Apocalypse. You guys owe her, just so ya know :P

Maxine Weiss said...

Do you all think a young Clinton would have ever made it in Hollywood?

Clinton have those leading-man good looks ala Reagan.

IQ, yes. Clinton had one of the highest IQ, but so what? Clearly it didn't do much for his judgement. IQ is nothing if you don't have a sense of humility and morals = Ronald Reagan.

Speaking of movie-star good looks, it's ironic that we now have a Presidental front-runner who's nearly bald (Guiliani).

You know, we Americans don't usually elect bald Presidents.

I've always said whoever has the best hair, wins.

So, if this is gonna come down to a contest between Hillary and Guiliani....let's hope Hillary has a few bad hair days!

Peace, Maxine

Pogo said...

Re: "There's no such thing as "mental illness"."

Psychology does have a little too much subjectivity to it, as evidenced above by the Bush-no-Clinton fight on 'sociopaths'.

But few would argue that the homeless schizophrenic muttering to no one has a brain disease. Acting he ain't. Delerium after surgery is a demonstrable reproduceable psychological impairment, albeit brief. They're not acting either. And mania, the spend-$10,000-I-don't-have-euphoric state is clearly abnormal, and not a mere Thespian's mask. And major depression. Tom Cruise well aside, once you've experienced that blackness, and then been cured, well, just follow Brooke Shield's rage for advice.

Clinton may not be a sociopath. The key question is one only his victims could know: Does he have a conscience? But that's not really a scientific question either; rather more of a moral one. Psychology likes to classify such things as disorders, but I agree the concepts are quite arguable from a science perspective.

When asked from the perspective of religion, there's no doubt at all.

Patrick said...

The inability to resist temptation isn't Biblical, though maybe it's a little Augustinian.

That's why there's so much judgment going on in the Bible. Folks were culpable. That's also why the letters of Paul are filled with all manner of strong statements about not giving in.

Why does society conflate wrong choices with an inability to choose? A real inability to choose suggests an overwhelming compulsion that goes beyond just temptation.

Christy said...

Just curious. Did any other Clinton fans here not care about his hound dog ways? I liked and supported Clinton but I also believed Genifer Flowers from the beginning. I just didn't think it mattered. (Yes, my crystal ball is cracked.) I just figured everyone else was pretending to believe his denials because they didn't think it worth arguing about.

Maxine, Dear, how can polytheist you (not even the Gods...) not prefer Jung?

Bald is hot! In fact, I'd go so far as to say that bald is hotter than anything short of really fabulous hair.

Maxine Weiss said...

Pogo we've had this argument before, there's no such thing as mental illness:

1. People in delerium have a brain thing from the anesthesia.

2. The Homeless wandering the streets, mumbling to themselves......simply want a home. Asking nicely didn't get it for 'em, so why not employ other tactics that will really get attention !!!

christy: I can certainly appreciate baldness as a style, rather than a bad comb-over. All I'm saying is we've never had a bald President before.

Was Harding bald?

Glenn has the good hair.

Peace, Maxine

Mindsteps said...

While we all have opinions, psychologists need to practice particular care when engaging in diagnostic activities of all sorts, even of notorious or public figures, especially when they have not personally examined them. The American Psychological Association has published guidelines that inform the ethical practice of psychology, here is a link: http://www.apa.org/ethics/code2002.html#principle_c

Freder Frederson said...

The Homeless wandering the streets, mumbling to themselves......simply want a home. Asking nicely didn't get it for 'em, so why not employ other tactics that will really get attention !!!

Maxine, you are quite insane. And I am sure Pogo will actually back me up for once on this. Schizophrenia is an honest to God chronic illness that has well established symptoms and treatments. Homeless people who suffer from it aren't just trying to get attention. We even know when it is most likely to strike people (in the late teen years). Denying Schizophrenia or less devastating mental illnesses is like denying Alzheimer's (or do you think that is just an act too, because your grandmother craves attention).

That is why it annoys me that people like the esteemed Dr. Helen are so eager to claim Clinton suffers from some kind of mental illness rather than just being a misogynistic jerk. It trivializes the people who suffer from real mental illnesses every day.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Speak for yourself. There's a significant class of people who see folks like Clinton and run the other way, precisely because the "charisma" rubs them the wrong way.

Glad I'm not the only one. The first time I ever saw him on TV, the sound was off. I asked "Who's that?" and then his name popped up on the screen, labeled "presidential candidate." Then I said "Oh. Because he looks like he's lying, just looking at him."

The Democrat across the dorm hall came running over to say what a great guy he was, etc. I wasn't swayed. It was just something about how he carried himself.

Freder Frederson said...

Did any other Clinton fans here not care about his hound dog ways?

Well, I wouldn't consider myself a "Clinton fan", although apparently not hating him or considering him a serial rapist makes one a "fan". But, yes his hound dog ways concerned me.

That being said, I would rather have a president with the moral failings of Clinton than the moral failings of Bush. At least Clinton never tried to justify the use of torture which I consider a much greater sin than getting a blowjob from an intern and yes, even lying about it under oath.

Maxine Weiss said...

"If you talk to God, you are praying;
If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia.

If the dead talk to you, you are a spiritualist;
If God talks to you, you are a schizophrenic."



--Thomas S. Szasz, The Second Sin,
Anchor/Doubleday, Garden City, NY. 1973, Page 113.

_______________________________

freder: Go to this website, immediately.

http://www.szasz.com/

There is no such thing as mental illness.

Yes, I realize that means a lot of people are going to be out of jobs. Mental Health has been quite a cash cow for a lot of people who've profited off of others' acting out and misbehavior...

It's not simply my opinion, by the way.

Dr. Thomas Szasz (sp?) is a licensed psychiatrist.....and he says there is no such thing as mental illness. He's the one who coined the term....The Myth Of Mental Illness.

Simply doesn't exit.

But I do concede there are crazy people, in society, who do crazy things.

Peace, Maxine

JohnAnnArbor said...

Maxine, are you a Scientologist?

stoqboy said...

Antisocial Personality Disorder sounds more like Clinton? Or Bush? Sounds like both to me. I understand the current differences between Democratic solutions to issues and Republican solutions to those issues (but don't forget Clinton/welfare and Bush/drug benefit) . What I often don't understand is the distinction people see when talking about Democratic politicians or Republican politicians. These people are all the same; witness the mutation of Republicans and Democratics since 1994, they have essentially reversed roles. Preferring Democrats to Republicans (or vice versa) is like preferring chocolate chip cookies to toll house cookies.

Sissy Willis said...

In the case of a sociopath like Bubba, one must distinguish between caring what people think and caring about people. For these people, others are mere props in their megalomaniacal fantasies.

(I'm not a psychologist but play one in the blogosphere)

dadvocate said...

But who will diagnose the psychologists?

Good question. My father was a clinical psychologist and professor. I saw a lot of "weirdo" psychologists. More "different" people than in any other profession to which I've been exposed.

Fen - typical definitions of sociopaths don't account for the more successful, non-violent types. Here is a pretty good link regarding bosses and corporate sociopaths / psychopaths. There is a little quiz. Bill Clinton makes a high grade from my perspective. This sounds like Bill: " Does he make brief, dramatic displays of emotion that are nothing more than putting on a theatrical mask and playacting for effect? " I feel your pain.

Bush not quite so high but he may still make the grade.

Pogo said...

Freder; "It trivializes the people who suffer from real mental illnesses every day."

Well stated; I agree.

I have read Szasz before. His is quite a fringe opinion, and now with metabolic PET and MRI studies, his theories are being relegated to the remainder bin.

No matter. I do agree that Clinton is more of an immature cad. He's like a basketball star that starts believing his own hype, and begins to treat people like objects to be used. Hard to avoid this once one reaches the government hallways.

Freder Frederson said...

There is no such thing as mental illness.

I went to the website and read his debate on whether depression was an illness. What a goof! He used semantic tricks, changed his definition of "disease" throughout the debate and as soon as he is boxed in a corner brings up irrelevant points--usually objecting to involuntary treatment.

Pogo said...

Psychology must be understood as a rather nascent field encumbered by a high degree of subjectivity and definitional concerns.

As a result, the disorders one can reliably identify as "Diseases", with strong agreement between different practitioners, is rather small. Schizophrenia, Major Depression, Mania, and Dementia, however beget little discord (save from Szasz).

And Dr. Helen is very bright. She has written (and I have read her work) on teen sociopathy.

I take great caution in pretending to diagnose others, and those who are famous. I think Dr. helen has enough experience to recognize the "Narcissist" and "Sociopath" patterns with a single sniff. I am much less sure of my own ability there.

Revenant said...

Ann,

You're confusing caring what people think with caring how people view you.

It is very common for sociopaths and psychopaths to want to be loved, but themselves be incapable of actually caring how other people feel. This is the kind of mindset that, for example, leads husbands to beat their wives because the wives are failing to show unconditional love and devotion -- obviously insane, right?

Bill Clinton wanted to be loved. He did not, however, care much about other people; he used them like toilet paper. It is impossible to name a single person he wasn't willing to sell out in his own interests (even his own wife) or a person he was willing to stand by at personal cost to himself.

For what its worth, that sort of personality disorder is common in politicians. Nixon was much the same, as is (in my estimation anyway) John McCain.

TMink said...

OK, some of you need to think this through. The brain is an organ, like our other organs. Like other organs, the brain can become damaged or disordered.

Sometimes the disorder causes physical manifestations like epilepsy or parkinsons. Sometimes the disorders cause emotional or behavioral problems like schizophrenia or autism. It stems (heh heh) from the brain, which is an organ of the body. To deny mental disorders is to claim that the brain is sacrosanct and materially different from every other physical system. Sorry Maxine, sorry Scientologists, this is ludicrous and does not hold up to even a cursory analysis.

Some people get all bent out of shape in recognizing that behavior and emotions are influenced by the brain, which is an organ, and can become disordered. But anyone who has spent a moment or two is a psychiatric ward with ill people recognizes that brain disorders can cause emotional and behavioral problems. That part is not rocket science and it brings the motivation of the deniers into question.

For proof, photos even, just go to www.brainplace.com and look at the SPECT scans. Lots of people argue with theory, but it is much more difficult to cogently argue with the pictures.

Trey

TMink said...

Pogo wrote: "Psychology must be understood as a rather nascent field encumbered by a high degree of subjectivity and definitional concerns."

Well said, and I agree. Sadly, there is still too much snake oil and chicanery in the field. But identifying narcissistic tendencies and sociopathy is not that difficult. Personally I care more about President Clinton's policies than his tendencies.

And when I diagnose someone, it is written and submitted, usually to an insurance company. I cannot "diagnose" someone who is not in my care, it is irrelevent. I can certainly say that Michael Savage is bipolar, but it is merely parlor talk and Sherlocking if it is not submitted to a physician, mental health worker, or insurance company.

Trey

TMink said...

Oh and Ann, the psychiatrists diagnose the psychologists! God help us.

Trey

blake said...

If being a cad makes one a psychopath or sociopath, then a quite a large portion of male population needs to be locked up.

Hey! Fred's a feminist!

blake said...

Hey, if movies and TV have taught us anything about serial killers (the ultimate sociopaths), it's that they care how people view them.

That's how the hero flushes them out, right? By getting some willing reporter to write a provocative story with a lot of humiliating descriptions of him!

Invisible Man said...

Since we are all spending time giving random psychological opinions about people that we've never met before, shouldn't Dr. Helen be the last person throwing around the word narcissism. Having spent her time riding the blog-coattails of her semi-famous husband that has provided a bubble of self-importance greater than her traffic, along with a large bout of hypersensitivity evidenced in her frequent whining about being criticized in the blogosphere, I would have assumed that she has spent as much time looking in the mirror as she does watching for ticks in the former President.

Revenant said...

Invisible,

Contrary to your apparent beliefs, "narcissism" is not a synonym for "nepotism".

Obviously the popularity of Helen's *blog* is due to its association with Instapundit -- but when has she ever pretended otherwise? How does that in any way diminish her credentials as a forensic psychologist?

Maxine Weiss said...

Poor Dr. Helen had a heart attack after falling under the clutches of psychiatrists who diagnosed her as depressive and prescribed Efflexor.

Efflexor is a dangerous drug which causes heart palpitations and worsens heart conditions in those so predisposed.

(I've been reading Dr. Helen's blog)

Why are otherwise healthy 37-year-old women having heart attacks these days? Birth control pills, anti-depressants, analgesics, mercury poisoning (vaccines), caffeine, anti-hypertensives.....all interract with each other causing dangerous side effects.

They completely misdiagnosed Helen's condition tried to fob it off as Depression.....just like they do everything. Everyone's depressed, and every symptom, somehow leads back to depression. How fascinating.

They want to get people hooked on those psychtropics. And they don't care whether the side effects cause heart attack or not. Big Pharma + Mental Health Community = $$$$$

Dr. Helen has a malpractice case against the idiots who prescribed Efflexor. Can you imagine? Prescribing anti-anxiety pills for a MI.

Szasz is correct. Mental health is nothing but a metaphor, only now people are dying of the drug effects, and intentional misdiagnoses.

Peace, Maxine

Christy said...

All I know is that my ex-BiL is much easier to deal with, and functional, when he is on his meds.

blake said...

Easier to deal with, no doubt.

Nothing is more tractable than a corpse.

Not to disagree with TMink. Certainly there can be pathological conditions that affect the brain.

But the psychiatric treatments all seem to gear toward putting patients in that more tractable state.

Helen said...

Maxine,

Just as a correction, I had already had the heart attack when the doctor prescribed Effexor--I was having heart arrthymias from the heart attack which were causing panic attacks, which is why the doctor put me on the medication. I was not under the "clunches of any pychiatrists."

As for your take on mental health, Thomas Szaz is an idiot. I read and was interested in his nonsense in my teens and twenties but if you have ever lived with someone with schizophrenia or another mental illness, you will understand how life saving and utterly amazing some of the new psychotropic drugs are. Are they overprescribed? Yes, of course, but for those who truly need them, they are a godsend.

Brian said...

The first biography of Clinton was written a long time ago. It's called The Mask of Sanity, by Hervey Cleckley.

Helen said...

Brian,

The "Mask of Sanity" was written in 1941 and is a still one of the best books in understanding the psychopathic personality. There is a great chapter at the end of the book on the "Pseudopsychopath" that talks about those who are in high level professions who appear normal but who have psychopathic traits. It is definitely worth a read for anyone who is interested in learning more about the mind of a psychopath.

Freder Frederson said...

Maxine sounds like Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah's couch. Another idiot Scientologist who believes an insane science fiction author and denies science.

And Helen, shame on you. You should know better than diagnosing a person you have never met and basing a diagnosis on the sensational accusations of political partisans who were out to destroy a president.

Pogo said...

Psychiatry has a taxonomy problem in dealing with folks who have traits consistent with narcissism or psychopathy, but are not failures at life.

Many if not most of the diagnostic details fit except that the individual inquestion is actually quite successful from a societal standpoint. In fact, many of the worst offenders, the bully boss, for example, is lauded in the news and business journals.

They themselves have no concerns with their lives. They sleep like babies. They are often at the top of the food chain, heierarchically speaking. So how does this represent a disorder? It is this failing that, in my view, permits people like Szasz to skewer a valuable field.

The problem lies in that the disorder, in these highly functioning individuals, does not cause harm to them at all. Instead, they can cause immense harm to many others.

And we have no taxonomy for that.

Pogo said...

Psychiatry has a taxonomy problem in dealing with folks who have traits consistent with narcissism or psychopathy, but are not failures at life.

Many if not most of the diagnostic details fit except that the individual inquestion is actually quite successful from a societal standpoint. In fact, many of the worst offenders, the bully boss, for example, is lauded in the news and business journals.

They themselves have no concerns with their lives. They sleep like babies. They are often at the top of the food chain, heierarchically speaking. So how does this represent a disorder? It is this failing that, in my view, permits people like Szasz to skewer a valuable field.

The problem lies in that the disorder, in these highly functioning individuals, does not cause harm to them at all. Instead, they can cause immense harm to many others.

And we have no taxonomy for that.

TMink said...

Dadvocate wrote: "My father was a clinical psychologist and professor. I saw a lot of "weirdo" psychologists. More "different" people than in any other profession to which I've been exposed."

Ain't that the truth! As a profession I think we rival artists in terms of flake factor. I have a theory, well, two possible hypotheses as to why.

One is that a certain number of people in my profession get into it to try to understand or justify their own twisted lives. It pulls for a fair amount of pathology and most graduate programs, well real graduate programs, select students primarily on their ability to do well in an academic setting and further their major professor's research.

Second, those of us who do therapy spend hours every day in close contact with people's shadows. You get a taste for just how weird and twisted we are as a species. One thing I tell most of my patients is that I have a weird job where people talk to me about weird things and I do not freak out about it. I try to keep clear about how weird the job is, in hopes it will keep me from becoming too out there.

I think the process of years of close contact with struggling people who share their most troubling kinks and quirks wears down some of our inhibitions about our own peculiarities. So we become flakey. Like my spelling! Despite my dyslexia, I could care less how I spell. It is trivial to me.

One thing I notice a lot is that friends shake their head and chuckle over something I say, and I do not get why. I ask them what I said that was cruel or wrong and they generally say something like "I was thinking the same thing but I would NEVER say it." It is not that what I said was cruel or innacurate, but it was a bit disinhibited. But really, when you listen to how people and children have been tortured, mistreated, and abused on a regular basis, it changes you.

I pray it changes me for the better, but I know it changes me.

And thanks for the photo ID on my blog Dadvocate! It is nice to have a commentor who knows his cars.

Trey

Maxine Weiss said...

"And we have no taxonomy for that."

Don't worry, the DSM-IV will come up with something, to be sure. A code for everything. There isn't anything the DSM-IV doesn't cover.

I love the "we". Who's "we" ???

How telling: "we" vs "them".

freder and pogo: Don't make me angry, or else I'm gonna have Dr. Helen 5150 you, and send you all back to Bellvue!

Peace, Maxine

Maxine Weiss said...

"As a profession I think we rival artists in terms of flake factor."

There's that "we" again !!!!

I think calling it a "profession" is overstating it a teensy bit, now, don't you?

Artists? Oh, the grandiosity. The fake pride, and self-serving humility.

Let's patronize the public by calling ourselves flakes, so they can sympathize and reassure back at us, that "we" are simply the eccentric artists and elite keepers of the public trust we've always been.

At least until Tom Cruise attempts to shake down the Mental Health Industry cut off the money train.

$$$$$$$$

Peace, Maxine

TMink said...

Maxine, I am not proud that my profession has a lot of flakes. It is embarassing.

I say we because I am a licensed clinical psychologist. I mostly help adults and children who were sexually abused and tortured. I drive a PT cruiser, so you can decide if I am a scam artist or not. I am a professional because I went to college, then got a M.A. in three years, then a Psy.D. in another three.

You totally missed the point of my post, and went on a typical andti-psychiatry rant, then insulted me. Then you sign your post with "Peace."

I cannot think of anything kind or appropriate to say to you after that kind of treatment. You owe me an appology.

Trey

Tahir Mahfooz said...

You have to stop caring what people think. Yes, I am talking to you. How do

I know that this specific advice is critical for you? Simple. It is critical for everyone.

The entire world spends way too much time worrying about what everyone thinks about them. Right now, pause and take a moment to consider what you are missing out in your life because you are so worried about what other people might think.

Do you let other people control your actions, thoughts, and your life?

Please leave your comments or questions in the box below. I read each one and personally respond as quickly as I can. Stop caring about what others think. Enjoy your life your way!! How many things would you have liked to have done in your life but hesitated because you worried about what other people think? If you are anything like me, it is a lot. I do not even want to think about the opportunities that were blown in my life, or the moments that I did not fully embrace because I was too concerned with other people’s opinions. Do you have anxiety worrying about what people think? Is this normal?