The cause of antisocial personality disorder is almost unknown; however most evidence over the years has pointed at inherited traits. As noted from the cases in the book “Bad Men do What Good Men Dream”, most of the antisocial characteristics stem from dysfunctional families (Simon, 1996).
None of the victims seemed to have a well and working relationship with the wife, children, or parents. Thus conflict is almost inevitable. The environment is another probable factor that leads to development of antisocial behavior. Parents of delinquent children in most cases indicate high levels of anti-social behavior.
Most parents of the delinquents are either alcoholic or criminals. The case draws especially from Jack Walker whose father was a drunkard and at one time the young boy contemplated killing the father. Further, most of the homes are characterized by divorce, separation or the absence of a parent.
Such children are further described as being cruel to animals in their teenage years and most of them will choose play mates who are similar to them in behaviors.
Most aggressive children are likely to experience some rejection and such rejection creates a feeling of rejection, and thus most of the times live as outcasts (Simon, 1996). Child abuse is also linked to antisocial behavior. Most ASP children are likely to have been molested as children. In many cases the process of abuse is somehow inculcated in the child and becomes part of growing up.
Further, erratic and inappropriate discipline amongst young children has been linked to anti-social behavior. Parents need to constantly check their children and steer them away from trouble while making sure that they obey the instructions given. Girls exhibit lower levels of anti-social behavior in relation to boys (Simon, 1996).
The deviant girls have fewer friends in comparison to boys and tend to stick in groups. Boys who are branded as being antisocial have displayed the same traits since childhood and have taken the behavior from their peers.
The Killer Gene
Serial killers are totally different from other murderers. They are mostly differentiated by the motive to kill (Simon, 1996). In many cases, homicides are only committed as a result of family disputes that range from family affairs to gang violence, lover disputes or financial constraints.
A psycho killer is however not a normal murderer as most of them are driven by a specific thing about their victims. Rather most of their victims display a similar characteristic. Additionally, due to sexual desires and the urge to satisfy some internal force, they end up killing not for money but for the fun of it. The possibility of a killer gene is however ruled out.
As aforementioned, most serial killers were nurtured to be so and one murder experience leads to committing of another similar or a more grievous crime (Simon, 1996). Jeffrey’s father claims that some medication the mother took while pregnant with him could have led to the killer gene. However, no medical research can ascertain this claim. In most instances drugs either deform the body and the mind, such that the child gets retarded but never transforming them to serial and smart killers per se.
People are genetically born with different gene make ups and the differences in human DNA do not necessarily create a serial killer. The main cause of serial killer behaviors as agreed among various psychologists is the surroundings as an individual grows up. Additionally, studies by modern geneticists show that it is utterly difficult to account for a killer gene in humans (Simon, 1996). The subject can only emanate from the interactions between the individual and the environment and other sets of individual variables.
Recognizing a Psychopath
Contrary to what many people think, psychopaths are not rough and evil looking. However as displayed by the psychologists, most of them have some superficial charm and are very soft speakers (Mahmut et al, 2008). Additionally, they regard themselves as very important although in reality they are not.
This stems from their eerie visions and the desire to have things work out their way. Further, they are very deceptive, exceptionally bright and can make up lies with ease. Thus despite many of them being in the FBI, fellow colleagues might find it hard to tell of their deceptive behaviors for many years. In fact, most psychopaths who “sell” their countries secrets are betrayed by the people they work with. Further, they lack empathy and have no pity for anyone in spite of the situation (Mahmut et al, 2008).
As noted, most of them begin by strangling animals, making them suffer at their mercy and deriving their pleasure from such. Thus the psychologist as noted would get sexually involved with his clients, doze in the middle of a client’s story and have no apologies at all, while describing them as “poor leeches that deserve what they are getting”. Most of the psychopaths have behavioral problems at an early age, are risk takers and behave very irresponsibly. For the men, most of them are involved in domestic violence acts.
As noted by Simon (1996), the psychopaths’ lack of empathy is the root cause of all their inhumane acts. It is human nature that if one can fully recognize the feelings of others, then it is bound that he will empathize with them and thus they are incapable of harming the other party. Simon also suggests that in many cases many evil people behave as such not because they do not understand other feelings; but because they only understand them too well and derive their gratitude from the pain, suffering and desire to be regarded as dangerous.
Not every criminal is a psychopath
Psychopaths are superficial and lack remorse for their actions. They lack empathy and are cunning. Additionally, they have a parasitic lifestyle and may have many marital relations. They also have high rates of impulsivity (Mahmut et al, 2008). Not all criminals therefore are psychopaths as many regret their actions.
They accept consequences for their actions unlike psychopaths who show no remorse or accountability for what they do (NBC, 2005). Breaking the law is regarded as committing a crime and therefore one does not have to be a psychopath to break the law or to become a criminal. Sometimes people commit crimes by accident.
For example, a person can hit another during a heated argument. Other times someone can engage in stealing because of circumstances like may be he or she does not have food to eat. All these are crimes that people commit either willingly or unwillingly. However unlike psychopaths, a person who commits a crime may not have planned to do it and he or she usually shows remorse for his or her actions.
Psychopaths on the other hand plan to execute the particular criminal activity and remain emotionless and detached from the whole incident (NBC, 2005). Many times, psychopaths are quoted as saying that they had to do what they did and that they do not feel sorry for their actions.
On the other hand, not all psychopaths are criminals. These are people who we live together with in the society. They may be our colleagues in the workplace, family members or may be a neighbor next door. They however have a great tendency towards criminal behavior (Mahmut et al, 2008). They are also driven by the need for power and as such can do whatever it takes to acquire it. This is what drives them to carry out criminal activities (Simon, 1996).
Psychopaths are everywhere in our society today and it helps a lot if an individual can recognize them. Despite the traits projected, some people are generally quiet and might be mistaken for psychopaths. It is therefore not accurate to label someone as a psychopath from their mere outward appearance or behaviors.
Branding a person as a psychopath may lead to very grave consequences in the person’s life and their relationships with peers. However, most psychopaths often have the impression of inflicting fear amongst their victims or buying their silence. It is thus very vital to keep an eye on any suspicious activities and later report them to the relevant authorities. Most of them could lead to very great losses, especially those who focus on selling the country’s high security details to the enemies for lavish lifestyles.
Mahmut, M., et al. (2008). The characteristics of non-criminals with high psychopath traits: Are they similar to criminal psychopaths? Journal of Research in Personality, 42: 679-692.
NBC. (2005, October 3). Inside the Scott Peterson Trial. Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/id/7068694/ns/dateline_nbc-books/t/inside-scott-peterson-trial/
Simon, R. (1996). Bad men do what good men dream: a forensic psychiatrist illuminates the darker side of human behavior. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.