Psychopath Erasure

Psychopathy is a real and separate disorder from Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD).  Innumerable academic studies have concluded that psychopathy is distinct and real via confirmatory factor analysis – a statistical technique.  Neurological studies confirm differences in the paralimbic system between psychopaths and those only exhibiting ASPD.  The paralimbic system is much more “atrophied” in those with psychopathy.  Yet, many refuse to acknowledge psychopathy as real.  Some perceive the disorders existence as being pure oppression by criminological circles.  Others cite the DSM, the “Bible” of psychiatry and proclaim that it must not be real.  In all cases, a pandemic of psychopath erasure is in play.

Numerous studies by academics including Robert Hare and Kent Kiehl have confirmed neurological differences in those called psychopaths versus those simply diagnosed as ASPD.  Anticipatory anxiety is nearly non-existent.  The areas of the brain controlling empathy and emotion are atrophied.  The corpus callosum – the construct connecting the hemispheres of the brain – is thicker.  Etc. etc.  These distinct – and statistically significant – differences create the framework for differentiating psychopathy from ASPD.  Yet, many cover their eyes and ears and proclaim psychopathy is not real.  Rather than honoring our individuality, they attempt to place us in the same group as vanilla ASPD individuals.  This would be akin to referring to humans only as primates rather than a distinct species simply because the baseline is the same between us and apes.  Does that truly make sense?

Psychopathy is not in the DSM.  Neither is stand-alone self-harm either.  The DSM is an important tool for standardizing most diagnoses but it suffers from the same problem that the Psychopathy Checklist – Revised does in the psychopathic world:  it reduces the space of all combinations of mental conditions into a finite and unquestionable set.  Those ailments that are in the DSM are regarded as legitimate and treatable and those that are not are written off as unimportant.  Consider the individual that self-harms without other Borderline Personality Disorder symptoms.  They would be classified as having no mental illness according to the DSM.  That does not make sense.  Neither does it make sense for a distinct group of antisocial individuals to be left out because the governing body can’t agree on its existence.  Via the previous paragraph – it does exist.  This is yet another example where the scientific and the clinical realms are at odds.  Such a struggle should not imply that the items they disagree on do not exist, however.

Most baffling in nature are the camps that refer to psychopathy as an ableist construct.  Those in this camp cite the prevalence in criminological circles regarding use of psychopathy assessments.  Note, that academic research was conducted long before it became standard in criminological circles to use the PCL-R to measure recidivism.  Note, that in the absence of “legitimacy” granted by the DSM, it can only appear in criminological circles.  Of course it is going to be used as a recidivism tool.  I do not agree with the consequences, but I cannot deny the fact that psychopaths are more likely to recommit crime than simply ASPD individuals upon release.  To emphasize: criminology is not the first group to refer to psychopathy and the fact that it does is based out of statistical significance, not arbitrary reasoning – even though the loss of individuality is unfortunate.

All of this points to and reiterates the fact that psychopath erasure is real.  For myriad reasons, others wish to lump the psychopath with the ASPD individual and to ignore the very real, and statistically significant, differences that exist between the two groups.  It is an attempt by the neurotypical to silence us and our existence.  I wish it were merely a case of “out of sight, out of mind,” but I fear that the real reason is much more nefarious.  The NT simply wishes us to go away and they will render us mute by any means that they can.  Academia can prove our existence all that they want, but the uneducated mass will always seek to eliminate the wolves among the sheep.

Image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Use of this image should not imply endorsement by the image author, John Phelan.

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