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Comments for Psychology, Philosophy and Real Life

Looking at life through the prism of psychology, philosophy, mental health and more. Originally created by counsellor, psychotherapist and philosopher Dr Greg Mulhauser, this blog is now the work of an international team of contributors.

Last Build Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2017 21:34:42 +0000


Comment on Growth Dilemma for Narcissists: It’s Always Someone Else’s Fault by Linda

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 21:34:42 +0000

This information is so helpful. I was married to a man who always, unfailingly, played the victim. He blamed someone else, or the situation for everything bad that he did. He made rediculous excuses for anything he did that he got caught at. I am glad to understand that he has a character disorder not that I am crazy.

Comment on “Dexter” and the Truth About Psychopaths by Dr George Simon, PhD

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 14:57:20 +0000

You are so very largely correct, Tracey, that I almost hate to further clarify and correct. You are correct in that the difference between what we have always called the antisocial or dysocial personality and the psychopath (or alternately sometimes called sociopath) is the difference between the hot-headed, rebellious, social norms violator (by definition, the antisocial or dysocial) and the heartless, conscience-devoid and empathy-lacking predator (called psychopathic by Cleckley because of the nature of their irrational mental processes that appeared to border on a type of "moral insanity" and called by others as sociopathic by those who chose to focus on the social predatory aspects of the pattern). Robert Hare has returned us to a more popular use of the psychopath term, largely because his research has clearly shown the brains of these folks don't work like normal brains, especially in the empathy capacity department, although it's not yet clear whether the "bad wiring" is there from birth or predisposed from birth. Antisociality can be a part of the predator's modus operandi (Hare calls this the non-essential factor 2. But the defining factor is the malignant narcissism rooted in no empathy or conscience. That's how folks like Madoff and Peterson can appear benign and even upstanding but also be so heartless and exploitative. I've studied this for over 40 years. And I know there's a lot of misinformation out there both in the popular books and even in the more recent literature. If you do a full historical review, I think you'll find what I've said here accurate. It's too bad that even clinicians and researchers have been so loose with terms over the years. Really, the social sciences are the worst when it comes to specificity and accuracy of language. One of my pet peeves!!

Comment on Gaslighting Revisited: A Closer Look at This Manipulation Tactic by Anonymous

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 06:22:39 +0000

Thank you. I have the Sheep book and will be definitely be getting the other one. I experienced this recently by a colleague- direct report (we are therapists) in what felt like a sanctioned gaslighting by management. As the person's supervisor I have been subjected to deliberate mean spirited and non cooperative actions in which my colleague has influenced the other teammates to follow her lead. I saw many flags, and certainly felt the hostility..which was witnessed by all. I knew in my gut it was taking a turn for the victim play card right before it happened, but still felt a bit sick as it played out during a mediated meeting where my agreement to go along and "forgiveness" were really just rhetorical if we're to move forward. I am taking refuge in the fact I know who I am. This made it easier to recognize, and I also learned I am the first to stand up against this person...who has been character disordered for several years and simply does not and will not own up to her actions. Things escalated as soon as I started firmly and quickly responding to attempts to manipulate me. It still doesn't make this easy as now I feel I have to withhold parts of who I am from someone pretending to play straight...and those who chose to save themselves. That was the surprising part fir realizations were swift but late. How to handle?

Comment on “Dexter” and the Truth About Psychopaths by Trace Latham

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 04:09:15 +0000

I think you're overlooking a very important distinction when you use the terms sociopath and psychopath interchangeably. While both are characterized by antisocial personality disorder, one CAN be a sociopath without being a psychopath. The difference lies essentially in the the existence, or lack thereof, any type of conscience, ie whether or not they have a code of ethics or morality that they react to and allow to guide their actions. For example, a sociopath may understand that stealing your wallet is wrong at a fundamental level, and they may feel guilty for doing it afterward. He/she doesn't truly empathize with the victim of his or her crime, but there is a negative emotional response to it. Some sociopaths recognize this characteristic in themselves, and routinely struggle against their baser desires, if only to avoid feeling guilty or ashamed of their behavior. A psychopath, by constrast, lacks a conscience entirely. If he steals your wallet, he lacks the ability to feel guilt for the act, though he can mimic the behaviors of others (shock or outrage at the theft, etc) to avoid detection, or even fake remose if he is caught-however, unlike a sociopath, who has a conscience, no matter how weak, the psychopath only parrots these emotions as tools in their arsenal to manipulate situations for their own benefit. Based on multiple case studies by Anne Rule and the original Behavioral Science Unit of the FBI (since expanded and renamed the Behavioral Analysis Unit), while we can say that all serial killers are psychopaths, we cannot say all sociopaths are serial killers, so the distinction is a very important one, even if we don't quite have all of the biological vs environmental cause/effect quite figured out yet.

Comment on Therapy is Good for Business by Robin

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 18:30:02 +0000

What an interesting, thought-provoking article. The statement that "we neglect or suppress emotions at our peril" is a profound truth. It is so important to take care of our emotional health, and this well-written article conveys why in a powerful way.

Comment on Gaslighting as a Manipulation Tactic: What It Is, Who Does It, And Why by P

Sun, 19 Mar 2017 20:11:29 +0000

I am currently going through some terrible gaslighting by a women I tried to help. From the outside she looked very trustworthy. Now I have learned that until you know a person you don't know a person. What they do, who they are married to etc. does not mean that they are not a person capable of terrible gaslighting etc. Now having to try and endure all the horrible things she has done to me. Can't do much about all the damage can only stay as far away as possible.

Comment on The INFP Personality Type: More than a Dreamer by Joseph

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 13:08:55 +0000

I am 42 with 5 children and an ESTJ wife I have known that I'm an INFP for a number of years now and yet the challenges are still all here. I am conflicted with loyalty and loneliness when it comes to family life.

Comment on Neurosis vs. Character Disorder: Contrasting Needs in Therapy by Graham Travé

Sat, 11 Mar 2017 09:36:17 +0000

I really get what you are posting here. I also like and recognise your description of people occupying a position on a continuum with character disturbance and neurosis. Maybe it is entirely possible that in highly disturbed personalities that have several parts that different parts can behave in line with a place on the continuum you describe?

Comment on Healing Traumatic Memories, Part 2 by Shae

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 12:45:09 +0000

What happens if you have no memory of the traumatic event and the feeling or memory is implicit? Since my rape 12 years ago I have been unable to hold down a job as I get triggered very heavily into fleeing. (I was drugged with Rohypnol and attacked by a work colleague at a team building weekend.) Now I have tried to soothe myself into staying put, I have tried visualisations, I have tried willpower, I have tried exposure therapy more times than I can count but when the panicked feeling hits (usually within 3 days of being in the job) I just walk out and don't look back. I get an overwhelming sense that if I don't leave I will be annihilated! (Yes that is a strong word, but that's how it feels.) Shortly after there is a relief of being safe. Now consciously NONE of this makes sense to me and I feel awful that this is beyond my control, but I am curious to know how I can access whatever is causing this to allow me to move forward and get unstuck in my life. All areas in my life are suffering. I have no relationships, my money is running out. There is no area in my life that PTSD has not affected. I have seen tremendous improvements by using the principles of Neuroplasticity, however how do you change an implicit memory or feeling when there seems to be no accessing it?

Comment on Can Psychologists Read People’s Minds? by Michael

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 19:47:35 +0000

From the first paragraph she quotes ' at first, I thought it was a joke.' This shows on first impression she was unsure and needed more time. I'd be sure 'at first' after 10 secondes I knew what I thought was right