I wrote recently about how many faux psychopaths seek to erase their uniqueness in order to blend in with the antisocial crowd. While such a thought process is ultimately flawed, it does play to neurotypical biases. Antisocials recognize the uniqueness of each individual who is psychopathic or otherwise antisocial while the neurotypical seeks to paint us as replicas of a master prototype. They do not want to admit that the psychopath can just as easily attempt to walk a prosocial path as they can a dark and disturbed one. It ruins the narrative to find out that some psychopaths are not abusers, not murderers, not delusional, so on and so forth. In the neurotypical’s echo chamber, these voices add up and paint us all as one.
There is a great disparity in the amount of information available on the differences between male and female psychopaths. Having read most commercially available books on the subject, I’ve noticed that researchers go for the low hanging fruit – the population of men’s prisons. As a result, the overwhelming majority of texts preface their works by saying ‘female psychopaths surely exist but for the purposes of this work we shall only use masculine pronouns.’ This is unacceptable and reminds me of a certain Arrested Development subplot where Tobias does something similar with his own work ‘for convenience.’ I should also note that the overwhelming number of studies and books refer to Caucasian, heterosexual males.
The truth is, we don’t know much about the differences (or prevalence) female and other psychopaths encounter. There are a few case studies out there but very little on the “big picture.” For transparency, I warn the reader of my works to extend my experiences to either biological sex. The interactions of sex, gender, and antisocial behavior for transgender individuals are especially unknown.
I finished Kent Kiehl’s The Psychopath Whisperer last night and am nearly finished with James Fallon’s The Psychopath Inside as I write this. Their views on psychopaths and their “complexity” differ greater than night and day. As I read Kiehl’s book, I felt an existential crisis trying to reconcile my own complexity with the simplicity of the criminal psychopaths that he studied. His psychopaths did not show comorbidity with any other disorders (so we are led to believe) and were cookie cutter copies of one another. I, meanwhile, am Bipolar and Borderline in addition to psychopathic. Did the PCL-R get my diagnosis wrong? Was I really not psychopathic? Given his focus on criminal psychopaths and the way that the information was presented, it certainly seemed possible. Was all of my work this past year for nothing?
I brought my concerns to my therapist last night. We noted that there is still little research on the 23% of adult psychopaths that are not incarcerated. Also we noted that the focus of Kiehl’s book was with psychopathy and the studies presented had little interest in comorbid disorders anyway. There is simply too many unknowns. The PCL-R had assessed me as psychopathic and ASPD (and Borderline for that matter) did not explain as much complexity as psychopathy certainly did. There needed to be more research.
Humans do not fear black and white so much as they fear shades of grey. Take sexual orientation for example. Much of western society is starting to come on board for what is broadly termed as ‘gay rights’. Gay and straight are becoming more and more accepted as viable options for one’s sexual orientation. However, what of the bisexual? Bisexuals are still rendered invisible or untrustworthy by the homosexual community and are considered a fetish by many in the heterosexual ‘community’. Many homosexuals are fine with other homosexual or straight people, but the bisexual is merely a ‘closeted’ homosexual or a person that greedily soaks up heterosexual privilege to them. This degrading view has dwindled somewhat since the height of second-wave feminism in the 80s and early 90s but I still run into these stereotypes. I should know, I am bisexual and I used to work for an organization heavily involved in LGBT issues. It isn’t that homosexuals or heterosexuals are unable to comprehend the bisexual, it is just that they are disgusted (or interested) by the possibility that a continuum of sexual orientation exists and that it is not binary. [Read more…]