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AIBU to think vile people aren't born that way?

(79 Posts)
Mollymoofer Sun 30-Nov-14 23:26:21

It's a conundrum, isn't it? I know someone who is causing so much damage to their family, children especially, but I know private things about their childhood that must have damaged them big style.

I've been accused in the past of being a bleeding hearted liberal.

AIBU to think if someone goes through life with no regard for others, it's because they've learned that from others at an early age?

hiddenhome Sun 30-Nov-14 23:30:25

Psychopathy is present at birth, but the cause of it hasn't been identified yet. People traditionally believe that a bad childhood causes it, but this isn't the case.

In cases of none psychopathic vileness, it's probably a mixture of temperament and upbringing. Many people who've had terrible childhoods are perfectly nice people. Other spoiled brats who were totally mollycoddled throughout their childhood can turn out to be vileness itself.

IgnoreMeEveryOtherReindeerDoes Sun 30-Nov-14 23:32:21

But how do you explain that when siblings have the same upbringing and end up polar opposites?

smokinggnu Sun 30-Nov-14 23:32:25

Whilst I can understand how someone with pressures might not 'adjust' well. I am very concious that they still choose their behaviour. They can choose to seek help to work at things. It might not be easy. But if you're actions cause a situation saying 'but my past' doesn't let you off. It's a clear sign that you need to work on something.
I used to do something negative as a reaction, but I didn't want to be controlled by my past. It's bloody hard. But still a choice.

BMW6 Sun 30-Nov-14 23:32:58

Hmm, it's the old debate Nature V Nurture. I'm sure some awful people are so because of an awful childhood, but plenty of others have had equally awful childhoods and have not grown up to be awful people.

And some truly awful people have had no childhood trauma to blame for their behaviour. They just seem to be born bad.

scarletforya Sun 30-Nov-14 23:33:01

I believe it's mainly nature rather than nurture.

Psychopaths are born. It's a neurological difference in the brain.

LineRunner Sun 30-Nov-14 23:34:59

It's a combination of environmental factors, genetics, and that mysterious throw of the dice.

hiddenhome Sun 30-Nov-14 23:36:52

I have observed that vile people seem to enjoy being that way. They have no reason to want to change. They seem to be quite content to cause misery to others. They must get something out of it that makes them feel good.

caroldecker Sun 30-Nov-14 23:39:43

Only you are responsible for your reactions. Everyone can behave properly.

wobblyweebles Sun 30-Nov-14 23:41:49

Mental illness doesn't exist then caroldecker?

Hmmmmm.

Mollymoofer Sun 30-Nov-14 23:41:54

Interesting responses, thank you! I'm not thinking of psycopathy, per se, but of someone who is behaving so badly and can't see that for themselves. Basically, friends of mine have broken up and he is using the children in such a bad way to get to his wife. His wife has been worn down by him over the years and now finds herself in a weak position through trying to appease him. So atm he has the kids and is influencing them in a very bad way, ie running his wife down in front of them, saying she doesn't care about them in front of them. He's trying to force her in a room with him and the kids to 'talk about things' but she's taken the decision not to do that because every conversation ends in a terrible argument. The kids are like ping pong balls, torn loyalties. It's heartbreaking. I know it goes on all the time but this is the first time I've seen it up close and I want to shake him.

Mollymoofer Sun 30-Nov-14 23:43:15

hiddenhome I know exactly what you mean, but isn't it to do with what makes you feel safe, familiar, strong, secure etc? More about oneself than others iyswim?

hiddenhome Sun 30-Nov-14 23:45:16

It's selfishness in that situation then Molly. Selfishness and immaturity. The inability to put others before himself. Nasty, bitchy and immature.

Mollymoofer Sun 30-Nov-14 23:48:48

It's true he doesn't seem to have the ability to put others before himself. I just can't relate to this when children are involved. Am I being too understanding, do you think?

hiddenhome Sun 30-Nov-14 23:49:40

Yes, it's about dominating others. This makes the vile person feel secure.

People who don't feel the need to be this way are mature, insightful and feel comfortable with who they are. They have a strong ego and don't need to put others down because they feel secure in themselves and in their decisions.

Nasty people are weak, but can't ever allow the world to see this weakness. They fear what they are and can't face it. They're cowards.

Coyoacan Sun 30-Nov-14 23:50:52

Psychopathy is present at birth, but the cause of it hasn't been identified yet. People traditionally believe that a bad childhood causes it, but this isn't the case

Not an expert, but that is not what wikipedia or my experience says. My ex-BIL was a diagnosed psychopath and he definitely suffered terrible emotional neglect as a child.

But yes, once you are an adult you have to take responsability for your actions and if you are psychologically damaged you should seek help instead of going on to harm the next generation. I have known some really amazing people who have managed to avoid passing on their problems to their children.

hiddenhome Sun 30-Nov-14 23:52:27

Perhaps they need mediation.

My ex partner behaved in exactly the same way. It was tough watching him do it to ds1. I can understand your frustration. You can't always negotiate with these types of people though.

hiddenhome Sun 30-Nov-14 23:57:02

Psychopaths have quite significant brain differences to non psychopaths. It most definitely is present at birth. I was watching a documentary only a few days ago about this very subject. The major researchers in this field state quite categorically that it's present at birth. A bad childhood can exacerbate symptoms, but it doesn't cause it.

Most psychopaths don't turn into savage criminals. Some even pass for normal people and manage to keep their urges in check.

SinisterBuggyMonth Sun 30-Nov-14 23:57:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hiddenhome Sun 30-Nov-14 23:58:48

documentary here

scarletforya Sun 30-Nov-14 23:59:21

The guy probably has low insight. He can't think objectively. His perception is that an injustice is being done to him. He's unable to understand the situation from his children's point of view. He probably has very little emotional intelligence.

So his tactic is to 'attack' what he believes is the source of the problem. He probably thinks in terms of 'I'm right, she's wrong'. He feels justified in denigrating his ex wife. He fails to see his own faults.

He doesn't realize he is an asshole. He thinks it's everyone else. He believes that.

DoJo Mon 01-Dec-14 00:04:11

But how do you explain that when siblings have the same upbringing and end up polar opposites?

No two children have the same upbringing. Even parents who are scrupulous about being fair and consistent have to parent the children they get who will never beidentical even if they are twins. Then there is birth order, circumstances, people and times change and there will always be situations which actively prevent children from being brought up in exactly the same way.

GarlicGiftsAndGlitter Mon 01-Dec-14 00:05:17

I subscribe to the theory that almost all human horribleness is due to childhood trauma. Different people, different children, in different circumstances, experience different things as trauma. Some of that response will be genetically determined. Two people with the 'psychopath gene', but different circumstances, might become adults with vastly disparate ethics, and two genetically 'normal' people might get messed up in very different ways by similar influences.

When it comes down to dealing with people who do horrible things, we can only relate to them as they are. We may understand the reasons for their unpleasantness, but reasons are not excuses. The person you know could probably change if he felt the need, but you can't make him do it. I often find I can understand a nasty person very well, but this doesn't soften my opinion on their actions.

Mollymoofer Mon 01-Dec-14 00:07:13

Thanks everyone. Yeah, a lot of you have described him to a tee. I think the situation may have reached a point where outside support is brought in. I just hope these people see him for what he is. He can be quite charming. I don't think he's a psychopath though. Fingers crossed anyway. Looking forward to watching the docu, thank you.

Mollymoofer Mon 01-Dec-14 00:10:37

Garlic that's a very good summation, thank you. When it's friends though, do you think you should get involved? My dp is very good at staying out of it and says I'm not qualified to help him. Of course I know I'm not, but it feels negligent not to tell him what I think. Though part of me thinks he's already had so many people try to help him over the years (not professionally) that there's no way anything I say can make a difference.

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