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psychopathic?

(8 Posts)
deliakate Mon 08-Aug-11 00:18:08

Discussing the horrific norwegian murders over dinner, and one of the party brought up the fact that norway has a max prison sentance of 28 years. There was some debate as to whether this is true, and another person said they had heard the law was going to be changed before the trial starts so that there can be stricter penlties. Person one said "tut, how much is that going to cost" - with the tone of voice in desbelief as to the ongoing selfishness of the man. Person two paused and then said "less than the people he killed would have cost over their lifetime - with benefits, health bills etc, blah blah" We were all astounded - this is a weird mind right, to lack so much empaathy?

catsareevil Mon 08-Aug-11 00:26:28

The max prison sentance is 21 years, but apparently this can be increased in increments of 5 years if the person is still felt to present a risk.

deliakate Mon 08-Aug-11 00:30:15

ok- but what do you think of the comment?

bubblesincoffee Mon 08-Aug-11 00:34:14

People often talk about situations like this in a way that comes across as very removed from the humanity of it. I think that's understandable. We all know an awful thing happened, but tbh, it's so huge and so devestating that I find it hard to really get my head round the true horror of it. I actually can't even begin to comprehend what it must have been like to be there, or to lose a family member in such tragic circumstances, and I consider myself to be quite empathetic!

I don't think talking about the tragedy in Norway from a political pov is that terrible, and it certainly doesn't make someone psychopathic.

dadof4 Mon 08-Aug-11 00:34:50

Lack of empathy is one of the twenty factors devised by Bob Hare which identify a psychopath, yes.

Glibness/superficial charm
Grandiose sense of self-worth
Pathological lying
Cunning/manipulative
Lack of remorse or guilt
Shallow affect
Callous/lack of empathy
Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
Parasitic lifestyle
Poor behavioral control
Lack of realistic long-term goals
Impulsivity
Irresponsibility
Juvenile delinquency
Early behavior problems
Revocation of conditional release
Promiscuous sexual behavior
Many short-term marital relationships
Criminal versatility

The more matches, the more psychopathic the person is, so I understand.

Just read Jon Ronson's book yersee, so now I'm an expert ;-)

catsareevil Mon 08-Aug-11 00:35:25

I dont think that that comment on its own would warrant deciding that someone is a psychopath. Some people think they are funny, some people like to shock, who knows?

MoominsAreScary Mon 08-Aug-11 01:18:11

We were told during mental health training that it's very rare to come across a true psychopath and that we would probable only meet a hand full in our whole careers, they Sound like arseholes but not psychopaths

Kallista Mon 08-Aug-11 01:39:27

Yes, what a bizarre comment. I don't know if such people have psychopathic traits, or more just a general lack of empathy towards others.
I think there are many reasons for this. Eg. one girl I know can be like this but I think she has built a wall around herself because she's been badly hurt most of her life. She does actually care very much - she helps lots of her friends out to the detriment of herself - but to hear her talk you wouldn't think it. She says she doesn't 'feel' emotions because she knows she may have a breakdown if she lets that happen - very sad.
Also some nurses, police, paramedics & soldiers I've met can seem very hard - as they have dealt with some horrendous things in their jobs. If you don't develop a bit of a hard shell in those type of jobs then you can burn out - however, some people get very cynical & lose their empathy for others -which is a real shame when they started their careers with the best intentions.
But then..there are those soldiers I know of who say they 'enjoy killing'. Or criminals who steal from vulnerable people; and burglars who break into the homes of elderly people. Did such people have any empathy for other humans to start with?
I find people that have little empathy for others with no reason very hard to understand, but I have met them - and they have come from all backgrounds. So maybe such people are actually born with psychopathic traits. Even more scary: - perhaps we all have those traits in us to a greater or lesser degree, & it just takes certain situations to allow those traits to become visible (war is a good example - look at how 'ordinary' people became minor war criminals in most towns in the Bosnian war).

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