Sunday, February 12, 2012
"What Do You Do If You Raise a Psychopath?"
I was just reading the latest news blurb about O.J. Simpson. Apparently, as O.J. sits in prison, he still reaches out to verbally attack anyone who fails to conform to his idea about how the world should operate. The height of irony is that he sits in prison, not for the two murders he committed, but for a lesser crime. There is no doubt in my mind that the legal system was hell bent on correcting the error of acquittal granted him by a jury more accustomed to the street justice of West Central Avenue than that of the U.S. court system. However, I believe O.J. is in jail because his sense of self-worth, despite getting away with murder, was such that perhaps unconsciously, he sought punishment for himself for the horrors he committed.
As I thought on Simpson's situation I couldn't help but think about what his mother is thinking. Does she think about what she may have done to prevent the development of her psychopathic son? One personality profile I found on line reported that, despite the warm and friendly public persona O.J. presented to his business associates, he was, in private, an abusive and over-controlling monster who tolerated no one who disagreed with anything he said. Those who knew Simpson reported that he could be friendly, sentimental, generous and fun-loving but could, in the blink of an eye, turn into an abusive monster. During these rants no one was safe from these abusive tirades, be it his wife, his family and anyone else who would cow-tow to his ravings. Even his mother was not spared the abuse as Simpson had little regard or respect even for those who raised him.
None the less, the nation was shocked to wake up in 1994 to news reports that Simpson was a suspect in the murder of his wife and an unknown man. How could this be?, a nation wondered. Was the warm and friendly guy who leaped airport benches promoting Hertz Rent-A-Cars a murderer? We were soon to learn that indeed Simpson's public persona was startlingly different than his private one.
As the trial progressed a parade of witnesses came forward to relate personal experiences of a monster quite out of control. While presenting to his public and business associates the portrait of a sincere, eager-to-please and endearing human being, this same psychopath was abusing the only people he could be certain would not reveal his dark side; his family. From what I've read on this, a psychopath is quite keen on knowing his limits; he will only abuse those who care about him the most and, accordingly, the most likely to protect others from seeing the inner monster. A psychopath is inner-directed, feels that anyone who fails to agree with him is a threat, creates an artificial existence in which only his life, his feelings have value and denigrates and abuses anyone who is weak enough to tolerate it. The psychopath preys on those he loves, believing that their failure to disagree with him denotes "weakness"; he fails to see that they simply wish to preserve the peace and is not an endorsement of his views.
So what is the family of a psychopath to do? Many will enter into a denial of the situation since the alternative is against all familial leanings. Others will endure the abuse until repeated occurrences of such abuse leads them to a final sad conclusion; they will endure the abuse no longer and sever the relationship completely and forever. When that finally occurs it can be a cleansing release, an uplifting of the soul that says I will from this day forward refuse to be abused. My life has more value than this.
It is not that easy for a mother. I do not know much of Simpson's mother, or Hitler's, or Stalin's...or for that matter, the hundreds of thousands of parents who are abused and given less respect than the most casual business associate. There is simply no comfort for any of them.
The final justice I guess is that, like Simpson, fate always steps in to smooth out the karma. The psychopathic abuser will usually slip into abuse mode at the wrong time; at the office..or in a non-tolerating public arena. When it finally happens the psychopath will sit in some dark corner of some remote place and wonder how it all came undone.