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Monday, September 22, 2014

Victims of violence

Two recent commenters, after the post "Jacked," mentioned that female victims of abuse often invite that abuse.

Glen Filthie said:

A cop friend summed up domestic abuse beautifully, as far as I am concerned. He says, and I quote almost verbatim - that domestic violence is almost always a case of two idiots fighting, and the smaller or weaker idiot losing.

Having been 'volunteered' for charity work at the local battered women's shelter on occasion - I wholeheartedly agree. 99% of those 'abused women' are anything but victims.

And Andrew said:

I recently spoke to girl who worked at a battered women's shelter and she said exactly this:

"After half a day working there I wanted to go and get drunk and beat the shit out of them."

It's generally considered grounds for banishment from public life to even broach the possibility that some victims of violence might somehow bring it upon themselves. And this post is certainly not a brief in favor of violence, no matter the circumstance. But these commenters (and the people they quoted) did have a valid point: certain people are more likely to provoke rage than others.

Every case is different, but it seems a reasonable conclusion that narcissists and sociopaths provoke more anger than most. Ergo, narcissists and sociopaths are more likely to be victims of violence, and not just domestic violence.

We are all angered the the same types of behavior: hypocrisy, selfishness, and dishonesty. And those character traits cluster among the same people: narcissists and sociopaths. Think of the person you've most wanted to hit. Wouldn't most people feel the same way about him (or her)?

Most of us don't get violent, but those with fewer inhibitions might. (Those with fewer inhibitions tend to be sociopaths themselves, which is why two sociopaths, or even two narcissists, are often a combustible mix.)

Agatha Christie understood sociopaths extremely well, even though the term hadn't yet entered the psychological jargon during her era. In fact, she based Murder on the Orient Express on this premise. When detective Hercule Poirot arrives on the scene to find out who had killed the murder victim, he found that every single person on the train but one had motive, since all had some connection to the three-year-old girl the victim himself had murdered.

(In the end, Hercule Poirot and his friend who runs the railroad decide to attribute the murder to an unknown stranger who boarded and left the train undetected.)

I'm certainly not suggesting all victims of violence invite their fates. Many are just normal people who are victimized by sociopaths.

But it would be surprising if a disproportionate percentage weren't narcissists or even sociopaths themselves.


Steven said...

do sociopaths get upset and cry when somebody close to them dies?

Steven said...

shit, sorry if there was a gap at the bottom of my post. I'm working on it! ha

John Craig said...

Steven --
No gap that I can see.

I think that in general sociopaths are less deeply moved when someone close to them dies. They may cry and act histrionically and even use their "grief" as an excuse for misbehavior, but their nature being what it is, I get the impression they actually feel it less.

Steven said...

oh so they can feel it a bit...they aren't completely unmoved?

Perhaps there are different degrees of sociopathy? It would be hard to believe those who kill their own parents for their money would feel any sadness at their death.

I wonder then at what point does narcissism become sociopathy on a population continuum...

are narcissists dishonest? is it true that the more narcissistic the mroe dishonest, even among non sociopath narcissists?

John Craig said...

Steven --
I would have to imagine that if a sociopath's child dies, they feel something, even if the usual mix of emotions is more heavily tilted towards rage and a little more lightly towards regular, genuine grief. Then again, there are those, like Diane Downs, who can kill their own children and feel nothing. And, as you point out, those who kill their own parents.

I think all sociopaths by definition represent the extreme 3% of the population.

I think narcissists are more inclined towards dishonesty than non-narcissists, but they're not "pathological liars" the way sociopaths are. There's also that element of them thinking they're better than they are at everything. So, for instance, if I thought I was a great fighter -- which I'm not -- but if I actually thought I was, and publicly claimed to be, would that make me "dishonest," if I actually believed it myself. I think there's a lot of that sort of thing going on with regular narcissists.

There's probably a continuum among narcissists, to answer your question, more so than among sociopaths, all of whom represent pretty much the extreme of those types of traits.

Steven said...

3% is arbitrary though, isn't it? Why not say 4% or 2%?

There is basically no fundamental difference...its just a continuum with an arbitrary cut off point?

thanks for answering my questions..

John Craig said...

Steven --
You're right, could be 2, could be 4. But the general consensus is that sociopaths are 2-3% of the population.

Anonymous said...

As far as narcissists go, how dishonest and un-empathetic they are seems to depend upon whether they are clinical narcissist or "colloqial" narcissists. The first kind have to have little to no empathy (that's one of the essential criteria), and the literature suggests that they lie very frequently. The kind of narcissist that most people think of when they hear the word is more likely to be "selfish but good-hearted" and, while more prone to "white lies", is nowhere near as dishonest as the clinical narcissist.

So there definitely is a continuum, and a lot probably depends on whether or not the person has a brain defect that restricts their range of emotions, like a sociopath but less severe, or whether they were simply spoiled.

Anonymous said...

Having attended a funeral service (for a suspected sociopath), this man's six children (from his second wife) and their offspring, not one of them cried during the church service and also during the actual burial service. The only one who shed any tears was the widow. Interestingly, his two oldest children and their offspring (from his first wife) never attended their sociopathic dad's funeral. None of the children displayed any emotion whatsoever during the funeral and burial services.


Steven said...

If you define sociopathy as the extreme 3% in narcissism then yes sociopaths are 3%. If you define it as the extreme 2% the its 2%. It just depends how you choose to define it but the general idea is the extreme end of narcissism. Gotcha. I guess what I was asking is whether the more narcissistic you are, the more like a sociopath you are...there's no fundamental difference..its just a matter of extent.

On the topic of the post, a combination of stupidity and stubbornness is an annoying combination. Impatience is also annoying.

Mostly I find that other people's anger towards me makes me more angry than anything. Also the perceived injustice when they are dismissive of how I feel or what I think is true or are not being fair to what I have done.

The more egotistical somebody is, the more annoying they are and the more egotistical you are, the more annoying you find them!

Anonymous said...

If you want to see how a narcissist acts at a funeral look at any videos with Amy Winehouse's Dad in it.

Amy Winehouse was probably BPD which is often the outcome of children from narcissistic parents.

I've only once felt like hitting a woman, she is a narcissist and I would like nothing more than to feel my fist connect with her head. It gives me sympathy for people like Mel Gibson who on reflection showed great restraint.


John Craig said...

Birdie --
Interesting, thanks. In the end, I guess, sociopaths get the love they deserve.

John Craig said...

Steven --
That's a great comment about egotists, so true. Put two of them in the same room and it's definitely a combustible mix.

John Craig said...

Andrew --
I know exactly how you feel.

Mel Gibson's ex, Oksana Grigorieva, by the way, is unquestionably a sociopath. I wrote about her here:

Anonymous said...

Hey John,

I heard the sociopathic Oskana's tapes

You can hear the:

-Emotional baiting
-playing the victim
-the emotional numbness

It would be enough to turn a gentle man into an alcoholic, raving lunatic...umm hang on?

Luckily the goods ones are no match for these types.


John Craig said...

Andrew --
That rings true. Oksana's a classic sociopathic gold digger. Gibson was already an alcoholic by the time he hooked up with her, so she can't be blamed for that, but she did do a great job of goading him into a rage which she could then tape and take to the authorities.

Gibson seems to have gone on steroids recently, which are supposed to result in 'roid rage, but my guess is he's got much more peace of mind than when he was with her.

Anonymous said...

"what kind of woman calmly goads a guy on to these heights of fury and then surreptitiously records him?."


I suppose her response would be something to the effect of: "define goading."

John Craig said...

Anon --
Ha! You're probably right.