Psychopath Erasure (Part 2)

Today marked an important day in the sociopolitical landscape in the United States.  The United States Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the Constitutional right to marriage.  The weeping and gnashing of teeth as well as the numerous celebrations are plentiful and are not the focus of this post.  What segues into the heart of this post is the erasure that innumerable bisexual people are feeling right now.  Gay pride flags are plentiful but bisexual pride flags are nowhere to be seen.  Enemies, allies, and everyone in between are referring to the ruling as an issue of “gay” rights dealing with “gay” marriage, ignoring completely that bisexuals are subject to the benefits of the ruling as well.

Even though the outward appearance of a bisexual in a same-sex relationship may appear identical to that of the homosexual, there are important nuances and distinct experiences that are lost by distilling everything into an issue of homosexuality.  Bisexuals differ from homosexuals in many ways and can only be properly represented if they are taken as they are: as bisexuals.  This is no different than the psychopath that gets lumped into the same grouping as those with Antisocial Personality Disorder.  The two look familiar and aspects of psychopathy overlap with that of ASPD, but they are not the same.  In essence, the psychopath is erased by those focusing on the ASPD condition.  Just as the bisexual should reject erasure by the masses, so should the psychopath.

ASPD is a much simpler (in terms of diagnostic complexity) disorder than psychopathy.  Studies have shown – see works by Kiehl – that the brain structure and functioning of those with only ASPD differs from those whom are psychopathic.  Psychopaths are more likely to end up incarcerated.  Many more differences exist.  We lose the “flavor” of the disorder when we compare it to its outwardly similar, but entirely dissimilar, cousin of ASPD.  Just as bisexuals have unique needs and behaviors with respect to both heterosexuals and homosexuals, the psychopath has her own challenges that cannot be properly understood nor mitigated if she is lumped into the category of ASPD-only individuals.

Both society and psychopath should reject this.  It benefits everyone to know of the differences between psychopathy and ASPD and efforts to simplify the psychopathic condition effectively boil down to psychopath erasure.  The progressive mind should reject erasure of any kind regardless of whether it is for a “warm and fuzzy” group or not.  Individual distinctions and lives are lost when we reduce everything to similarity and reject the differences that exist between subdemographics.  The psychopath should be free to celebrate her differences without being silenced and she should be able to benefit from the knowledge that is gained inherently by treating dissimilarities as important.  Who knows?  Maybe the doomed picture that is painted of the psychopath would disappear if many took the time to see the uniqueness that the condition holds as a challenge from improvement on the subject and not just a refinement of the ASPD diagnosis.

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