No Body Count, No Disorder

A disorder is made up of individual traits that come together to wreck oneself or others.  A destructive trait, while problematic on its own, is not sufficient for the declaration of a disorder.  There is a certain degree of self-destruction required for a set of behaviors to register as truly disordered.  You have weak and shallow emotions?  Great.  Maybe this is problematic as you feel that you are missing out on the richness of life.  However, it takes much more than that to register as psychopathic, for example.  If your life is going well, as are the lives of those around you, then you are probably not psychopathic.  I know that some authors, such as James Fallon, push the validity of psychopathy in those that would not register as such on the PCL-R, for instance.  To me, this is insanity.  Why should those that live non-disordered lives lay claim to the struggles that those with the disorder (and/or those around them) have?  Ideally, one would not wish to be psychopathic.  Why would you want to have a malady of the soul, after all?

If we put the same scrutiny on those that claim to be psychopaths in the absence of disorder that we do on other mental illnesses and disorders, the idiocy becomes even clearer.  Borderlines certainly would not be sympathetic toward those that merely have black and white thinking – while having stable interpersonal relationships – as compared to those that are self-harming and have extremely unstable interpersonal relationships.  One that is Bipolar would not be amused by someone having a “good day” when they are fighting the dangerous throws of mania.  So on and so forth.  Psychopathy is not a superpower.  It is not something to yearn for.  The reality is that most psychopaths are in prison and most of those that are not in prison have ruined lives as well as a trail of others’ ruined lives that follow them.  Sure, maybe it is “nice” to be unconcerned with the struggles and achievements of others.  However, the impulsivity, the lack of long term goals, the explosive anger, unstable interpersonal relationships, and so on should be regarded as unproductive for a life well lived.

For these reasons, I believe that people must show a significant degree of disorder to be recognized as psychopaths and I would say that the PCL-R is a sufficient tool for modeling this.  Approximately 1% of the general population is psychopathic according to the rigid measurements that the PCL-R provides.  Many more are antisocial (ASPD), of course, but to recognize disorders for what they are worth, we must be stringent with our criteria.  We must reject those that claim to be psychopathic when they show no self-destruction or interpersonal turmoil.  We must reject those that wish to be something they are not.  There may be merit in analyzing the differences within the larger group of those that lack affective empathy, but for the purposes of acknowledging disorder for what it is, we must remain focused on where true destruction lies.  If there is no body count, there is no disorder.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *