Psychopaths and sociopaths are likely to appear friendly and generous. They are masters of deception, adept at faking emotions they don’t actually have—compassion, remorse, or humility—to win trust or gain power over others. Behind a convincing facade of respectability, intelligence, and high moral standards, they operate outside of standard ethical boundaries; recruiting lower-level psychopaths to do their bidding and manipulating normal, “good” people into accepting or supporting their shady agendas.
I just stumbled across this article from the Seattle Times, published in 2003, and written by Alex Tizon. When reading about serial killers, you can’t help wondering if there is just something special about the Pacific Northwest. This article puts those thoughts into some context.
That is the persona of many con artists, abusers, paedophiles, and killers. Ted Bundy was handsome and educated. The number of young women he raped and killed has not been determined, but it may have been more than 200.
Bernie Madoff was trusted and well liked. He ripped off whoever he could, even his old friends.
Since, in the majority of cases, people who indulge in abuse are selective about whom they abuse, other people are typically surprised—or in disbelief—when hearing that someone is experiencing on-going and periodic abuse from someone they know and have always seen as nice and friendly. “Nice and friendly” is the persona of many conmen, abusers, and killers. Although many folks really are as nice and friendly as they seem, some most definitly are not. Like Ted Bundy.
“When it comes to nature vs nurture I’ll say this: A psychopath is born, a sociopath is created.”
It is well established by scientists that psychopaths are born without the capacity for empathy. The parts of the brain and certain connections that are responsible for giving us a conscience are different in psychopaths. Upbringing and childhood experiences will affect other aspects of an individual’s personality but they do not cause this disorder. A psychopath can come from a loving family and have had a good childhood. Ted Bundy is an example. For the rest of us, it’s very important to understand how they function and to know that they will not change, no matter how kind and tolerant we are towards them. If anything, they will take advantage of a well meaning person. They regard compassion as weakness. Many of us compensate for our feelings of inferiority in different ways. Psychopaths and narcissists are different. They genuinely believe that they are superior and entitled to special treatment.