A sociopathic person is walled off from their inner core. How they present themselves to the world is a facade. Their operational system is power. To relate to them by playing the power game is a losing proposition because they are masters of the game and they will win at all cost.
The Mask of Sanity: An Attempt
to Clarify Some Issues About the
So-Called Psychopathic Personality
is a book by American psychiatristHervey M. Cleckley, first published in 1941. It is considered a seminal work and the most influential clinical description of psychopathy in the twentieth century.
Cleckley, a pioneer in psychopathy research, coined the phrase mask of sanityto describe the psychopath’s ability to perfectly mimic a normally functioning person and to mask or disguise the disorder; a fundamental lack of moral conscience and internal personality structure. Despite the seemingly sincere, intelligent, even charming external presentation, internally the psychopathic person does not have the ability to experience genuine emotions.
On Thanksgiving weekend 1991, Nelson bludgeoned pilot William Nelson, her much-older husband whom she married after a four-week courtship, in their Costa Mesa apartment.
Then she skinned the torso, cooked the decapitated head and fried the hands in oil. She was arrested after she stuffed some of her husband’s body parts into garbage bags and offered a friend $75,000 to help her with the disposal.
Omaima Nelson contended her husband beat and raped her regularly, and said she killed him after a particularly brutal assault. A psychologist testified that she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and said she was psychotic.
She was convicted of second-degree murder in January 1993 and sentenced to 28 years to life.
The background story: Omaima was born in Saudi Arabia. When she was just six years old, her father ordered her circumcision. She said she screamed and screamed until some older brothers had to tie her down for them to perform this terrible ceremony. She immigrated to the US and married the very cruel Mr. Nelson. Consummating her marriage was excruciatingly painful. As time went on, her husband’s drinking problem became worse and each time he would beat her and sexually assault her. The last time, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, she said she snapped and broke a glass lamp over his head that disabled him. The rest is history…
Pictured above: Omaima Aref Nelson, 24-year-old nanny and model, in court in 1992. File Photo by Bruce Chambers, The Orange County Register.