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Friday, May 10, 2013


To continue with my recent series on sociopaths who don't need's Ariel Castro (in case you're not sick of the nonstop coverage of his crime by now). A recent NY Post article about his "suicide note" caught my eye.

We don't really have to know any more details about Castro to know that he was a sociopath. But I was curious to see how many different facets of his sociopathy would emerge.

In his note he had evidently scoffed at his victims' stupidity in getting into his car in the first place. (See? It was their fault for being so stupid.) A sociopath will always find a way to blame his victims (and thus, by implication, escape blame himself).

Castro said that he was a sex addict, and that he needed help. "Sex addiction" is a "disease" of those who have next to no impulse control in the first place -- like sociopaths. And to say that he needed help exudes misplaced self-pity, another sociopathic specialty.

Castro regularly beat his late wife, and even kept her tied up in the basement. Sociopaths always want to dominate and control.

When a hospital worker came to her aid after she had returned their multiple times with injuries from Castro's beatings, and developed a personal relationship with her, Castro accused the man of molesting his daughters. (The court dismissed all but four of the 27 charges, and the man was given a suspended sentence, although it appears he was innocent of all the charges.) There are no depths to which a sociopath will not stoop to accomplish his aims.

It is ironic that Castro himself used "check" his daughters to make sure their virginity was intact. (A sociopath will always accuse others of what he himself is guilty of.)

While doing all of this, Castro would often play salsa tunes on his bass guitar at local nightclubs, and to those who knew him casually, appeared perfectly normal. He also worked as a part time bus driver and was described as a "great guy" by a couple of his neighbors. A sociopath can always put on a mask of congeniality when it suits him.

And look at that baby face (above). Castro's not handsome, but on the other hand, he doesn't look like a monster, either. (Real monsters, i.e., sociopaths, rarely do.)

FInally, even though Castro wrote a "suicide note," he didn't kill himself. (Sociopaths rarely commit suicide unless they've been caught and are about to lose everything; Castro hadn't been caught as of 2004, when he wrote the note.)

As I said, the only piece of information that you need to know about his sociopathy is the fact that he imprisoned those girls for ten years. But it's always informative to see the other aspects of someone's sociopathy at play.

The thing to remember about sociopaths is, every sociopath has every trait of sociopathy, whether or not you witness all those traits in action. Sociopathy is alway all-encompassing. I think of this every time I hear someone excuse a sociopath's behavior by saying something like, "Oh, he has a dark side, but don't we all? Anyway, he has a lot of good qualities too."

Ariel Castro had a lot of "nice" qualities too. He enjoyed playing his guitar at local nightspots. He played with neighborhood children, even giving them rides on his four wheeler. He was a responsible bus driver who was a local homeowner.

Sure, he had a dark side. But really, don't we all? I mean, why do you have to focus on just his bad side? He had his good points too.


Anonymous said...

I watched his two brothers (who initially were arrested with Ariel, the police thinking that they were also guilty of Ariel's crimes) on the news this a.m., telling how they're not like their brother, Ariel (it almost seemed comical, listening to them). It's not funny, the two of them having gotten sucked into their brother's craziness. I'm sure they're ticked! Now, they're in the position of trying to defend themselves, convince the public of their innocence. I imagine the brothers' are wondering how the _ell they got into this mess.

John Craig said...

Anon --
I'm sure you're right, they must be ticked. I remember when the news first broke, and the three brothers' pictures appeared on the wires; all three had a similar look, what I think of as the "mug shot look": unshaved, bleary-eyed, the look people have when they've just been arrested for drunk driving at 2AM. I guess what I'm saying is, they LOOKED as guilty. But I guess they're not, and they have the right to be irked that their names got dragged into this.

W O D said...

I read that the brothers appeared very relaxed in prison and took it in their stride. Sleeping well even through the taunts of the other inmates.

John Craig said...

W O D --
That's quite telling, actually. They were brothers, so they probably weren't all that different psychologically. I always wonder about the families of serial killers, or even run of the mill sociopaths, that way. They've got to be cut from pretty much the same cloth.

Anonymous said...

"In his note he had evidently scoffed at his victims' stupidity in getting into his car in the first place. (See? It was their fault for being so stupid.) A sociopath will always find a way to blame his victims (and thus, by implication, escape blame himself"

This is about all anyone needs to know to diagnose him a sociopath. No one else is going to come up with such pathetic excuses to project blame onto their victims. What is it with sociopaths and their constant need to project blame? I mean, I get that they're narcissists and thus incapable of ever being wrong, but still...

As for the sex addiction, I agree - it's only people with very little impulse who'd get "addicted" to something like that. Another thing lots of sociopaths seem "addicted" to is Internet trolling. I've met one who would spend the whole day on his laptop writing abusive messages on all sorts of websites for fun. Most people would find that a rather tedious way to spend time, even people with nasty personalities. So I often wonder whether the trolls I meet online are just sociopaths trying to entertain themselves. Who else, other than them, would get a thrill out of spending hours on end writing abusive messages? It all reminds me a bit of schoolchildren getting a thrill out of writing graffiti.

John Craig said...

Anon --
You understand perfectly.

Interesting point about trolls; I'd never really thought about that, but it makes sense. It's a way to spread dissension and bad feelings without exposing yourself and having to fear repercussion.

Thank you for that.