Stark Raving Sane

There is a common misconception that psychopaths are “crazy” or otherwise delusional.   This often leads to people confusing the condition with psychosis, for instance.  The psychopath is perfectly sane.  She is aware of her effect on others, but she does not care.  The only delusion is that of extreme narcissism – often times without accomplishments to back up such egocentrism – but that is not the focus of others when they claim that psychopaths are insane.  Others making this claim are positing that the psychopath is merely a caricature of destruction that has no internal bearing as to the mechanisms that cause such destruction.   These people are wrong.  The whirlwind of destruction that the psychopath engages in is often reasoned and is often a result of narcissism combined with a lack of concern for others.  This may seem alien to the neurotypical, but it is perfectly sane and calculated.

That isn’t to say that the psychopath may cause destruction just to see things set ablaze.  Unmotivated antisocial behavior is common in psychopaths, but a lack of justifiable cause for one’s actions does not equate to insanity.  Just as we all breathe, only rarely considering the mechanism that keeps us alive, the psychopath can seize the moment for shenanigans without being conscious of the reasoning behind committing such antisocial actions.  We would not consider the problematic gambler to be insane, though we may consider his actions disordered, and we would not consider the nomad insane, so why would we consider the psychopath to be anything but sane?

I often wonder if those around the psychopath question her sanity as a crude defense mechanism.  When confronted with something alien, the human mind seeks to rationalize what he has been confronted with.  I wonder if neurotypicals put the “crazy” label on psychopaths simply because the truth – that the psychopath is aware of her thought processes and actions – is anathema.  Regardless of the reasoning, it is incorrect to believe that we are anything but sane in the absence of other organic psychiatric conditions.  Give a little credit; psychopaths tend to know what they are doing and they tend to be good at what they do.

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