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The Definitive Text on the Psychopath,
This review is from: Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us (Paperback)
In this seminal textbook, David Hare, distinguishes psychopathy from mere antisocial behavior, the main criterion used by the DSM-IV-TR to diagnose the Antisocial Personality Disorder.
The disorder appears in early adolescence but criminal behavior and substance abuse often abate with age, usually by the fourth or fifth decade of life. It may have a genetic or hereditary determinant and afflicts mainly men. The diagnosis is controversial and regarded by some scholar as scientifically unfounded.
Psychopaths regard other people as objects to be manipulated and instruments of gratification and utility. They have no discernible conscience, are devoid of empathy and find it difficult to perceive other people's nonverbal cues, needs, emotions, and preferences. Consequently, the psychopath rejects other people's rights and his commensurate obligations. He is impulsive, reckless, irresponsible and unable to postpone gratification. He often rationalizes his behavior showing an utter absence of remorse for hurting or defrauding others.
Their (primitive) defence mechanisms include splitting (they view the world - and people in it - as "all good" or "all evil"), projection (attribute their own shortcomings unto others) and projective identification (force others to behave the way they expect them to).
The psychopath fails to comply with social norms. Hence the criminal acts, the deceitfulness and identity theft, the use of aliases, the constant lying, and the conning of even his nearest and dearest for gain or pleasure. Psychopaths are unreliable and do not honor their undertakings, obligations, contracts, and responsibilities. They rarely hold a job for long or repay their debts. They are vindictive, remorseless, ruthless, driven, dangerous, aggressive, violent, irritable, and, sometimes, prone to magical thinking. They seldom plan for the long and medium terms, believing themselves to be immune to the consequences of their own actions. Sam Vaknin, author of "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited".