Example of a rape without NPD?

A teen in Texas has admitted to authorities that he took part in the twenty-person gang rape of an eleven year old girl because of taunts that he was gay if he refused to participate. Many people are discussing whether this is a good enough excuse or whether his seven years’ probation is sufficient legal punishment. I actually want to discuss it on a slightly different level that I feel encompasses all those others. I want to speculate on why he did it, because I think rapes like this one can occur for slightly different psychological reasons than do most rapes. And if we want to prevent rape, we have to understand why it happens in the first place.

I have talked before about assertions that most rapists have Narcissistic Personality Disorder, according to FBI profilers. There is definitely a shortage of study into what makes rapists tick, but if profilers find a narcissist profile helps them locate and successfully prosecute rapists, then there has to be something to it. This information has rubbed many readers the wrong way for various reasons. (And yes, I’ll be getting into the whole topic in more depth when I do the NPD series.)

Rape is different from most crimes in that there is rarely any incentive to commit it other than pure enjoyment – most rapists have a taste for rape (which is emphatically not the same as having a taste for sex). It really does take a particular personality type to enjoy rape and want to do it not once but over and over for a lifetime, as most rapists do. Hence the search for a personality profile that can enjoy torturing people – like NPD.

But there are exceptions, and this boy may be one. Sometimes there are other incentives to commit rape. This will be helpful to point back to during the NPD series, so you can see (a) no one’s saying all rapists are NPDs and (b) what is required to create a situation in which a non-NPD will rape.

Let me also be clear that I don’t know anything about this boy’s psychology. I don’t know if he’s remorseful. He may well be on his way to developing NPD. And let me be very clear on the fact that what he did is absolutely inexcusable, and my desire to understand why this tragedy happened isn’t about excusing the boy at all. You’re welcome to discuss issues of blame and responsibility in the comments, but I’m just talking about this to examine some reasons why someone who is does not get off on torturing people might become involved in a rape anyway.

  • Peer pressure. We warn kids about peer pressure because we know it’s extremely potent. Peers have ways of taunting each other into behaviors they would never engage in individually. Would this boy ever have sought out a victim and raped him or her alone? We don’t know, but it’s entirely possible the thought never would have entered his mind.
  • The teenage brain. Proper neuroscience (the kind that isn’t bent on proving that certain people are biologically superior to others) is finding the teenage brain undergoes massive reorganizing, oh, about every five minutes. It’s really an amazing process, but it leads to very poor decision making while it’s happening. Even teens who never got in trouble can probably recall making a decision or two they not only regretted but later found unfathomable (I know I can) – it’s just part of the maturation process.
  • Authoritarianism/crowd psychology. While adult brains are more stable and equipped to make quality decisions and ignore peer pressure, many simply don’t bother. They opt to defer authority to someone in authority, whoever that may be, and blame any undeniably bad decisions they make on the authority figure (at which point they rather mindlessly pick a new authority to follow). Studies consistently show that if an authority figure tells someone to act outside their own moral code, most do. In the Milgram experiment, the test subjects administer electrical shocks to a person who claims to have a heart problem (the shocks are not real – the person receiving them is part of the experiment and fakes the symptoms). Despite clear indications they are torturing someone (screams, convulsions, pleas about the heart condition), most subjects keep going. But it’s worth noting that they feel discomfort and stress. They do not enjoy what they are doing/have done. They experience remorse. Similarly, a gang can function like an authority figure, because the individual responsibility seems to be diffused – you feel you have plausible deniability. At least, until later, when it hits you what you’ve done – then your conscience, if it exists, beats you up.
  • Stockholm syndrome. I find most people don’t understand this one as well as they think. In a nutshell: when you are around someone who is hurting people, you know you are in real physical danger. If this person invites you to join them or sympathize with them, you may sincerely believe that standing up to them will only result in getting yourself hurt or killed, and will not save the person they’re assaulting. And in many situations, you would be entirely right. Before judging someone who has experienced this syndrome, think of rape victims who “cooperate” with rapists in hopes of reducing the brutality (or lethality) of the assault. Just being around someone who’s wantonly violent is always terrifying and highly stressful. We don’t necessarily make the most ideologically pure decisions when our very survival is at stake – nor should we be expected to, since those decisions might not be the most safe.

Any or all of these factors may have been involved in this boy’s choice to engage in a rape, and they illustrate how someone who has a conscience, empathy and remorse could get involved in a crime that normally requires a lack of all three. He may have seen the victim’s position was hopeless (she was going to be raped by many people, no matter what he did) and realized he could either put himself at serious risk against this violent criminal group (by letting them declare him gay and then proceed to harm him in the ways so many gays experience in this society), or he could get on their good side. It’s tempting to think we wouldn’t make the same decision, but most of us don’t know what it’s like to be around someone who obviously enjoys committing wanton acts of violence.

Of course, it’s also possible this boy participated more willingly than he’s let on, and he’s now backtracking not because he feels remorse, but to reduce the consequences of his actions. Again, you can talk about this, but I don’t see that we have enough information to begin to guess.

Society’s role

I’m also going to leave this part of the discussion to the commenters. I would like to emphasize that I’m a big fan of holding adults 100% responsible for their actions. I don’t care how badly someone was abused as a child – that does not force them to become an abusive adult (as indeed most survivors of child abuse do not become abusers). Talking about how society contributes does not relieve the individual of his responsibility. Of course in this case we’re talking about a teen, not an adult, so issues of responsibility become less simple. I’m not saying he shouldn’t have been punished at all, but it’s very possible he should not be punished to the same degree as as adult rapist.

That said, society does contribute a great deal to the situation that led to this tragedy, and that’s just one more angle you’re welcome to discuss.

Comments

  1. Casey says

    Since I’ll need more time to mull things over and come up with a real good response to the article, I’ll just say I’m flattered that you used the link I sent to make this. ;)

  2. Sabrina says

    Sums up what I was thinking as well. The mixture of peer pressure, crowd behaviour and fear for ones life is a vile cocktail – not just for a teenager.
    And even if that one boy didn’t have NPD there sure as hell were more than enough NPDs present at this particular crime. This is certainly yet another way that NPDs harm the people around them.

    That said, the idea that somehow being a rapist is better than being called “gay” is just nauseating.

  3. says

    Sabrina,

    YES – that’s something I considered mentioning, but didn’t because I’ll get into that more in the NPD series, but YES a thing like this would most likely be instigated by at least one NPD personality in the group.

    And I so agree with your second paragraph. That’s the sort of idea that male privilege leads to. We typically think about rape as something that happens mostly to women and children, which is true, but another way to look at it is that male privilege is the only shield against rape available to human beings (not that men are never raped, but their chances are considerably lower than women’s or children’s). So when you threaten to take away a man’s public manhood (or a boy’s impending public manhood), you are effectively threatening him with physical harm.

    Again, not an excuse, just trying to understand everything that leads to tragedies like this one.

  4. Lika says

    Thanks for addressing this. I was wondering about systematic rapes that went on during wars and colonialism which I think ties into this.

    I think the role society plays in things like systematic rape is that it gives someone with NPD who wants to rape the justification to do so by dehumanizing groups of people, be it women or another race (and if you’re a women of the “wrong” race, oh man) or queers (the fact that being called gay is unbearable in this case is totally making queer people out to be trash). Since they’re not seen as people, the person with NPD can use that to justify hurting them. I think it also gives a subordinate who wouldn’t have thought of joining in or doesn’t want to a momentary belief that it’s not wrong to rape someone who’s not considered human and that belief will help him get through the act. Or the scare that he’ll be less human (since gay equal not-human so you don’t want to be seen as gay) if he doesn’t rape.

    That’s my guess, that the way society dehumanizes certain population gives people with NPD the tools to push their agenda to rape on others. I think it’ll be a lot harder to NPD to convince other to rape with him if society saw everyone as human and equal.

    I also wonder if society conditions us to let NPDs take charge. If an NPD is put in a position of power, say, in the military, (and I sometimes wonder if the military deliberately wants NPDs on their ranks), it seems that society will allow that NPDs to lead their men to systematic rape women and taunt or pressure the ones who are reluctant to join in. Maybe the teen in this case came to an unconscious conclusion that society likes having people with NPD in charge or maybe that people with NPD get away with things so he should go along with it or they could make his life hell?

    (this is of course assuming the teen himself doesn’t have NPD)

  5. says

    Lika,

    I think this is all very true. Re: your last paragraph, this is something I’ve wondered for a long time, and I think it’s a combination of several things.

    (1) Humanity in general has just never understood NPDs properly – until now. I mean, Emily Bronte totally profiled one in Heathcliff, and it went right over the most educated heads from her time, and still does. People tend to assume NPDs really do have conscience in there somewhere, or loyalty… and they just don’t.
    (2) Some people understand NPDs just fine, but think they can use them as a weapon. And they can, to an extent, but the NPD’s loyalty is always to himself, so it’s a dangerous game.
    (3) Some people stupidly think a bully is a great protector. That just never works out like you think. How many times in history has somebody hired a militia to fight off an aggressor, only to have the militia turn around and take them over? Duh. People are stupid.

    So between ascribing them consciences that just aren’t there, or thinking we can control them when we can’t, people tend to let NPDs by with stuff. Plus, NPDs are willing to do literally ANYTHING to get ahead.

    I don’t know about the prevalence of NPD in the military. I actually think the military does a fair job of weeding them out (they really shouldn’t even be able to make it through boot camp, given the whole “surrender your ego to the group” vibe, and how that runs 100% counter to their most deeply held belief that the group should sacrifice itself to their egos, LOL), and it’s the NPD politicians who run the military who get other NPDs installed into authority positions they haven’t merited (and can’t).

    Now, the private sector just loves to put NPDs in power, so you’ll always find some of them amongst:

    –Clergy
    –Cops
    –Doctors
    –Politicians
    –Executives

    Because there is no “surrender your ego” initiation process with these jobs. They’ll take pretty much whoever is willing to work for that kind of pay, or go through the grueling schooling, or trample that many people to get there.

  6. SunlessNick says

    Jennifer Kesler,

    Emily Bronte totally profiled one in Heathcliff, and it went right over the most educated heads from her time, and still does.

    When Wuthering Heights first came out, there were plenty of critics who saw it as a “searing exploration of evil” (a quote, though I can’t remember where I saw it). It was only when it became widely known that a woman had written it that it got recast as a romance and Heathcliffe as a romantic lead.

  7. says

    SunlessNick: When Wuthering Heights first came out, there were plenty of critics who saw it as a “searing exploration of evil” (a quote, though I can’t remember where I saw it). It was only when it became widely known that a woman had written it that it got recast as a romance and Heathcliffe as a romantic lead.

    Oh, you’re right – we’ve discussed this before, and I always forget it. So the example I gave it not one of honest misunderstanding, but malicious cultural determination to condition women to think they should admire and want to marry NPDs.

  8. Lika says

    I actually think the military does a fair job of weeding them out (they really shouldn’t even be able to make it through boot camp, given the whole “surrender your ego to the group” vibe, and how that runs 100% counter to their most deeply held belief that the group should sacrifice itself to their egos, LOL),

    That’s a very good point. When I think rape, war/soldiers are one of the first things that comes to mind, so I thought the military would be looking for NPDs who could do things like rape, torture, and kill, and then sleep like a baby afterwards. I figured they’d be looking for human weapons like you mentioned in #2. Thinking about that now, it does make less sense to do that because of the loyalty factor you talked about (and considering how many veterans suffers PTSD, it’s also probably unfair to them.) It make more sense to look for people who are willing to deny themselves for the team so leaders could mold, goad, intimidate, or persuade them to do anything they want.

    and it’s the NPD politicians who run the military who get other NPDs installed into authority positions they haven’t merited (and can’t).

    *nods* I’ve been watching a lot of war documentaries lately and there does seem to be a history of NPDs in power, and getting subordinates to do their bidding under the guise of patriotism and a concept of hyper-masculine glory. I’m sure there’s lot of models of leadership in different societies, but this classic patriarchal model doesn’t seem to be going anywhere >_<

    ITA! Holy shit, this world certainly isn't a meritocracy. Society is more likely to reward someone who is a patriarchal asshole than someone who actually does anything.

    True story, I was telling someone about how the Incas and Aztecs knew astrology, mathematics, and were genius at engineering, and that person said, "if they were so smart, why did they lose against the Spanish colonists?" That person's view was basically it didn't matter how intellectual one was, if someone beat you up and destroyed you, that was the better person, even if they were dishonest and cheated to do so. I can't help but wonder if this idea of the patriarchal definition of "the weak" deserving what they get and the patriarchal definition of "the strong" should triumph is another way society contribute to the rape mentioned in this post.

    –Clergy
    –Cops
    –Doctors
    –Politicians
    –Executives

    Heh, all jobs that have a degree of control over other people’s lives. That’s unnerving.

  9. says

    Lika,

    Yes. And on a related note, someone recently left a comment here stating that NPD is merely a lack of affective empathy, and people who aren’t NPDs have it SO EASY, because we have a conscience to tell us when to behave, and poor NPDs don’t. I knew he was an NPD immediately (the whole comment was so “But what about MEEEE?”) and explained to him how imflammatory that was, and he explained that we’d been inflammatory saying nasty things about NPDs, and that he was one, and that it was genetic and he couldn’t having been born without a conscience.

    BULLFUCKINGSHIT. And see, this is why the article series is taking so long, because here’s another bit of disinformation I have to address. There’s never been solid evidence it’s genetic:

    http://narc-attack.blogspot.com/2007/03/is-npd-genetically-caused.html

    While you can’t prove a negative, and therefore this alone doesn’t rule out the possibility of genetic factors contributing, what good neuroscience also knows is that NO ONE is born with empathy. You typically develop it between about 18 months and 4 years of age. NPDs don’t, and that’s to do with abuse or neglect (this is not always an indictment of parents – sometimes, for example, a single parent simply doesn’t have the support to take care of a child correctly, so there is unintended neglect through ignorance and desperation rather than ill will on the parent’s part – this is what I guess Republicans are hoping to make happen more often by denying women abortion and birth control options).

    NPD is far more than a lack of affective empathy. In fact, “lack of affective empathy” has been applied to Autistics, and Autistics are very different from NPDs in that they WANT to learn empathy, and give a damn when they realize someone is upset (even if it’s a more intellectual than emotional damn), while NPDs unrepentently go around hurting people, and expect their victims to thank them. This is why I argue NPD is a character disorder more than a personality disorder. They do have a choice.

    If the guy who emailed me is in therapy and trying to overcome, then he DOES have a tough road. I will be acknowledging that in my article series. I do feel for anyone who’s got NPD and is actually bothered to try to overcome it. All 12 of them (joking aside, it is REALLY rare that they sincerely want therapy). If, as is far more likely, he’s gotten the diagnosis and taken in only the bits that made it sound untreatable, and then made up a bunch of excuses for not even trying to overcome it, then there you go. He’s out there, amongst the handwringing ignorant, selling a view of NPD that is actually a view of Autism, and co-opting the sympathy Autistics deserve for a bunch of creeps who choose to be creeps and are not forced by their “disorder” to be creeps. Nice.

    Similar social myths: rapists are really just pitiable men who’ve been denied pussy by uppity bitches, stalking is a sign of true love… yeah. All started by NPDs, about NPDs, for NPDs.

    And yes, the article will be talking about the ways in which NPDs are human beings and society contributes to their corruption. But I have zero tolerance for adults who tell me what a struggle it is to figure out the law and mores of your day when this information is available like never before, everywhere, even to those who lack a conscience to help make the process more instinctive.

    And btw, those who have a conscience know it’s not 100% helpful. That’s why we have to talk about privilege – it’s the insulation that lets your conscience remain ignorant of the hurt you’re causing. NPDs have no disadvantage when it comes to overcoming privilege, because none of us “feel” the sting of the hurt we cause when acting with it.

  10. jorge says

    NPD is far more than a lack of affective empathy. In fact, “lack of affective empathy” has been applied to Autistics, and Autistics are very different from NPDs in that they WANT to learn empathy, and give a damn when they realize someone is upset (even if it’s a more intellectual than emotional damn), while NPDs unrepentently go around hurting people, and expect their victims to thank them. This is why I argue NPD is a character disorder more than a personality disorder. They do have a choice.

    From what I understand, autism is the opposite of NPD in terms of empathy.

    Autistics, to some degree, lack cognitive empathy — the ability to discern and understand other people’s emotional states and pick up on their social cues — while their affective empathy is intact. An autistic person can empathize with someone on an emotional level *if* it is made clear to them that the other person is suffering. Sociopathic people and those with NPD on the other hand, lack affective empathy while having full cognitive empathy. Someone with NPD will sense that someone else is hurting but simply won’t feel any sympathy.

    So when I said that people without NPD have it easy, I wasn’t meaning to imply that they simply coast through life, making perfectly moral intuitive decisions one after another. Nor was I trying to imply that NPDs should be excused from any moral accountability for their actions. We should be held to exactly the same standards as normal people. But whichever way you cut it, you have to admit that it is *always* going to be more difficult for people with NPD to look out for others’ feelings. If it was just as easy for NPDs to do good.. well, then the disorder simply wouldn’t exist, would it?

    I agree with you that it’s very difficult to determine whether NPD is learned or genetic or a combination of the two, I based my assertion that my NPD is genetic on the fact that I grew up in a loving household, had a normal childhood, and have two siblings who don’t have NPD.

    But I have zero tolerance for adults who tell me what a struggle it is to figure out the law and mores of your day when this information is available like never before, everywhere, even to those who lack a conscience to help make the process more instinctive.

    You’re right. It’s not a lack of knowledge. I have a very good idea of what’s moral and what’s not. I have a very good idea of what will hurt people’s feelings and what will make people happy. And I make every effort to consider how every one of my actions is going to affect other people. But in the end, emotionally, I will never care about other people’s feelings. I want to be able to, and I’ve been trying for half my life, but I doubt it will ever happen. The best an NPD can do in the way of ‘recovery’ is to intellectually emulate the emotional processes that neurotypical people go through. We’ll never actually have those emotional processes for real.

  11. says

    jorge,

    You’re right – I got the empathy classifications backwards. I don’t know that NPDs have full cognitive empathy. As much as anyone else, I suppose, but neurotypicals vary with that, too. That said, you must admit there’s a LOT more to NPD than lack of affective empathy. ASPDs also lack empathy, and yet they manifest it very differently. It was very misleading of you to suggest NPD is that simple. Or that unavoidable.

    If it was just as easy for NPDs to do good.. well, then the disorder simply wouldn’t exist, would it?

    That’s not true. The disorder exists because it’s NEVER easy for ANYONE to do good, and NPD develops when an individual gets the sense (during brain formative years) that he needn’t bother, or is entitled not to bother, or that the world revolves around him doing what he pleases whether it’s “right” or not.

    I based my assertion that my NPD is genetic on the fact that I grew up in a loving household, had a normal childhood, and have two siblings who don’t have NPD.

    I didn’t say it was very difficult to determine. It’s pretty obvious that NPD is not genetic, I just said it’s just not possible to prove a negative in a scientific sense. I don’t know who approved your comment, but you twisted my words, and that’s against our comment policy.

    Anyhow, to respond to your reasoning: people are really bad at recognizing emotional abuse. All the families I’ve known (admittedly not a huge sample group, but still) that produced NPDs thought they were loving and wonderful, but the very subtle emotional abuse was obvious to me, someone who’s well self-schooled on the topic. Therefore I always doubt the assessment when someone insists a disordered personality came from a perfectly lovely background. This society is so in denial of what abuse is that very few people see it when it’s right in front of them.

    As for your siblings not having it: (1) that better supports the idea it’s NOT genetic, and (2) that’s absolutely typical. I’ve never seen a family fail to produce more non-NPDs than NPDs. If it worked the other way, NPDs would probably have outbred every other personality type by now.

    jorge: The best an NPD can do in the way of ‘recovery’ is to intellectually emulate the emotional processes that neurotypical people go through. We’ll never actually have those emotional processes for real.

    I think you’re not understanding what I’m saying. Yes, it’s always “easier” for people who have empathy to sympathize. But that does NOT make it easier for us to do the right thing. Doing the right thing can keep you poor, prolong abuse you’re experiencing, get you killed, cut down on your pleasure and cause you to miss opportunities. This – doing right – is what I contend is absolutely no more difficult for NPDs than neurotypicals.

  12. says

    Casey: We?
    Um….

    I don’t know what “we? um…” means, but if you’re not understanding the above quote, I’m saying that NPDs are at no more disadvantage than anyone else when it comes to seeing past privilege. Privilege is the top reason why mentally healthy people can cause harm and act like jackasses, and have no idea they’ve done anything wrong. Our empathy is no help there, because a big part of privilege is the way it hides social injustice from healthy consciences.

  13. Casey says

    Jennifer Kesler,

    Okay, I get it now, it’s just that you scared the crap out of me ‘cuz I thought the “we” in reference to NPDs was some kinda Freudian slip, sorry about that. I’m kinda having a REALLY low opinion of humanity in general right now, so much so that I guess I’m assuming the worst in people (I even believed a dirtsheet report that one of my favorite wrestlers smuggled a Malaysian slave into the US).

  14. says

    “We” was not in reference to NPDs. It was in reference to “people who act with privilege at times”, which includes everybody. I was just saying that privilege can cause anyone to behave harmfully, and the conscience isn’t up to recognizing social privilege – it takes the intellect to sort through that, and NPDs are at no disadvantage intellectually compared to the general populace.

  15. Lika says

    Jennifer Kesler,

    Thanks bringing up the question of empathy and autism. I had read this article about empathy and autism a while ago and had my old belief that empathy was something that good people had and bad didn’t questioned (in a good way). One of the commenter said, “I think it would be pretty sweet if, in addition to dispelling the myth that autistic people all lack empathy, we could also dispel the myth that lacking empathy is something we should be stigmatizing in the first place!” and it made me realize empathy is far more complicated than I originally thought it was.

    Yes, it’s always “easier” for people who have empathy to sympathize. But that does NOT make it easier for us to do the right thing. Doing the right thing can keep you poor, prolong abuse you’re experiencing, get you killed, cut down on your pleasure and cause you to miss opportunities. This – doing right – is what I contend is absolutely no more difficult for NPDs than neurotypicals.

    EXACTLY. I have two things to add on top of the fact that the world does not make it easier for us to do the right thing even if we do have empathy:

    1. Having a conscience doesn’t automatically mean knowing right and wrong. In my case, I know right and wrong exist, and I know that hurting people for profit, shits, and giggles is wrong, but that doesn’t mean I always know what is right or wrong. I actually spend a good amount of time CONFUSED OUT OF MY BLOODY MIND trying to figure out if something is right or wrong. Sometimes it’ll take me up to four hours to write a five paragraph LJ post because I spend a long time on each sentence wondering if anything I said could be hurtful. Not wrong – I’m okay with criticism – but I don’t want to *hurt* someone, and I don’t automatically know if what I’m saying could be hurtful.

    When I was a Christian, I’d disagree with a lot of the religion said, and then I’d have crying fits and anxiety attacks because I was so seriously confused if something was right or wrong. Having empathy and a desire to do the right thing did not magically grant me the ability to know if an action or thought was right or not. Critical thinking did more to help me figure out right or wrong than empathy did, and trust me, critical thinking takes A LOT of work.

    I’ll be honest – it’s fucking exhausting and frustrating for me to try to figure out what is right and what is wrong. It does not come naturally, it’s fucking work.

    2. In my experience, empathy can sometimes actually aid in NOT doing the right thing because I don’t want to hurt somebody. I admit, I do have an awful character flaw of being non-confrontational and not wanting to be seen as the bad guy (I am working on it<– see, doing the right thing takes work!), but sometimes it is a case that I know doing the right thing will hurt or discomfort someone and I don't want to see that person in pain or discomfort, even if they deserve it. And when they are hurt or discomfort later on, I feel like shit, no matter how much they deserved it and it was for the greater good. Having empathy did not make doing the right thing easier in those cases – it made them harder.

    jorge,

    But whichever way you cut it, you have to admit that it is *always* going to be more difficult for people with NPD to look out for others’ feelings.

    It’s like doing what’s right as I mentioned above — it’s SO much more than just empathy. A person can have empathy and still not look out for other people’s feeling because they lack a backbone. Or they’re too burnt out. Or they lack resources. Or they’re so busy with work and other things in life that they don’t notice. Or they’re just lazy (trust me, I know lazy people with empathy.) Or a bunch of other things.

    Oh, and neurotypical people can be just as clueless about when someone is in pain too. Or clueless about what to do. It takes a conscious effort, we still have to make a choice and then work on it to be aware of people around us, to want to care to see if someone might need help or attention, and then put in the work to figure out what to do and how to help.

  16. Lika says

    I’m currently watching Sherlock and a scene made me realize another way that empathy can be a hindrance to doing the right thing: using loved ones to get someone to do something wrong. If someone has power to hurt a loved one, hell, for some people, just the power to hurt anybody (I know if someone threatened me with hurting a child that I never knew, I’d don’t want that child to be hurt) that could be used against someone who cares about people.

    It truly isn’t that having empathy makes it easier. I hate to say this, but I don’t think having empathy is in any way empowering, not in the world that we live in. Empathy really isn’t going to help much if someone is holding your loved ones at gunpoint. The power lies on the other side.

    I’m not saying that people don’t have a responsibility to do right in a messed up world and aren’t responsible for their actions. I’m saying that power and oppression has just as much, if not more influence on someone to do right and wrong than empathy does. And if oppressive assholes are making it harder for people to do the right thing and care about others because they hold a certain control and power over them which they abuse, I think it makes far more sense to concentrate on ways to call them out and take the power away from them than trying to figure out if they’re deserving of any sympathy because they can’t emphasize as readily as others can.

  17. voodooqueen126 says

    I think jorge was implying that his narcissism was somehow recessive, so that whilst in what he believes to be a happy home, his two siblings did not inherit both negative narcissistic genes, and therefore do not have NPD.
    I can’t believe no one here is discussing MOA-3 repeat, which is linked to violent behaviour if the male (it’s x linked and there has a similar inheritance pattern to heamophilia) has been abused in childhood. Without abuse it’s a pretty positive gene; it makes men brave for sure (and thus likely to settle a place like New Zealand and attract a vast harem of women), I think it may also protect men from PTSD when they have to kill people in warfare, but that’s only based on Dave Grossman’s book “On Killing”..
    Basically certain genes make people vulnerable, and negative environments trigger them in a anti-social way, whilst a positive environment causes the gene to manifest in prosocial behaviour such as a willingness to explore and protect the tribe/in group

  18. says

    voodooqueen126, I assumed that’s what he meant, too. We actually have discussed elsewhere on the site (can’t find it now) that genes may make people vulnerable to developing PDs, and/or help determine which PDs they will develop if they’re going to develop any, but it remains that abuse seems to be crucial to the mix.

    (Side note: “violence” in males =/= NPD. Many NPDs are not physically violent, but get their kicks from psychological warfare. And many non-NPDs are violent. So the MOA-3 theory is much broader than NPD, and not the only genetic issue being looked at for some role in the disorder.)

    When most people say “genes” what they mean is that they were born as NPDs and nothing in their environment has any responsibility whatsoever in making them NPDs and nothing in their environment could have prevented that genetic trait from expressing itself as full-on NPD – that’s what Jorge was saying, and it’s a very dangerous view.

Leave a Reply

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

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>