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Newest Member: AmIDreaming41 (45703)

User Topic: Evil - the psychological definition
erzulie
♀ 3293
Member # 3293
Default  Posted: 3:28 PM, September 27th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

So I went to see my own therapist - a highly recommended clinical psychiatrist who specializes in marital issues, lying behavior, and depressive disorders.

I spent the first 30 minutes giving Doc a Reader's Digest version of only the facts of what has occurred. I deliberately removed any opinion pieces or emotional categorizations. I told him very frankly that I am obviously not objective, but ... I did my best to lay it out there, bare and honest, in all its gory detail.

Doc gave my marriage a wholly grim prognosis. He said it's one of 3 things. (1) He is a narcissistic sociopath. (2) He is "very, very ill" from childhood damage, neglect and emotional abuse. (3) I am full of crap and was just giving him a line of hooey (he had to say that, as he just met me).

Assuming we can rule out (3), Doc said the chances of repairing either (1) or (2) are slim to nil. (1) would be impossible, as it's just how those kind of people are wired, and (2) would require honest self-examination and years of intensive psychotherapy, with no guarantees for rectifying the lying behavior, ever.

Doc said WH absolutely was not looking for a way out of the marriage - he was, from the get-go, looking for a way to perpetuate my dependency upon it, as that feeds his 'narcissistic supply'. He said there was a good chance that he envies my independence and would actively do whatever he could to thwart that. He said that WH's lying behaviors and adulterous antics were not just a source of ego boost for him, but also a way to passive-aggressively get back at me for the things about me he envies. Doc said that WH's greatest feeling of loss will not be of me, his life, the dogs, any of that - but of the feeding we all did of his ego. Doc said he'll be quick to find other sources from which to replenish; Doc strongly encouraged me to brace myself for that, as it would likely happen long before we ever split officially. Doc said without those sources, a narcissist in essence 'starves'.

Doc said not to waste time expecting any empathy, because a narcissist has none to offer. He did what he did because he felt entitled to do it. Doc said the only silver lining there is that, as long as WH is getting that 'supply' from somewhere else, he'll be much more manageable to deal with versus if he isn't.

Doc commended me for my boundaries, and gave me some great tools to take with me next week (when I see WH with the MFT) to guide the discussion.

Doc said if I could get my session recorded, he would listen and give me his professional opinion - not sure how well that would go over. Doc also urged me to see if I could get the MFT to administer the Millon Personality Test, to assess the severity of the disorder I'm dealing with...

He was adamant about a book recommendation - he said I absolutely needed to read this, as it would be critical to helping me see the forest through the trees, and understand what I'm dealing with.

Reading the book description that he recommended gave me the chills:

People of the Lie[edit source]
First published in 1983, People of the Lie: The Hope For Healing Human Evil (ISBN 0 7126 1857 0) followed on from Peck's first book. Peck describes the stories of several people who came to him whom he found particularly resistant to any form of help. He came to think of them as evil and goes on to describe the characteristics of evil in psychological terms, proposing that it could become a psychiatric diagnosis.
Evil[edit source]
Peck discusses evil in his book People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil,[7] and also in a chapter of The Road Less Traveled.[6] Peck characterizes evil as a malignant type of self-righteousness in which there is an active rather than passive refusal to tolerate imperfection (sin) and its consequent guilt.[6][7] This syndrome results in a projection of evil onto selected specific innocent victims (often children), which is the paradoxical mechanism by which the People of the Lie commit their evil.[7] Peck argues that these people are the most difficult of all to deal with, and extremely hard to identify.[7] He describes in some detail several individual cases involving his patients. In one case which Peck considers as the most typical because of its subtlety, he describes Roger, a depressed teenage son of respected, well off parents.[7] In a series of parental decisions justified by often subtle distortions of the truth, they exhibit a consistent disregard for their son's feelings, and a consistent willingness to destroy his growth. With false rationality and normality, they aggressively refuse to consider that they are in any way responsible for his resultant depression, eventually suggesting his condition must be incurable and genetic.
Some of his conclusions about the psychiatric condition that he designates as "evil", are derived from his close study of one patient he names Charlene.[7] Although Charlene is not dangerous, she is ultimately unable to have empathy for others in any way. According to Peck, people like her see others as play things or tools to be manipulated for their own uses or entertainment. Peck states that these people are rarely seen by psychiatrists, and have never been treated successfully.
Evil is described by Peck as "militant ignorance". The original Judeo-Christian concept of "sin" is as a process that leads us to "miss the mark" and fall short of perfection.[7] Peck argues that while most people are conscious of this, at least on some level, those that are evil actively and militantly refuse this consciousness. Peck considers those he calls evil to be attempting to escape and hide from their own conscience (through self-deception), and views this as being quite distinct from the apparent absence of conscience evident in sociopathy.[7]
According to Peck an evil person:[6][7]
Is consistently self-deceiving, with the intent of avoiding guilt and maintaining a self-image of perfection
Deceives others as a consequence of their own self-deception
Projects his or her evils and sins onto very specific targets (scapegoats) while being apparently normal with everyone else ("their insensitivity toward him was selective" (Peck, 1983/1988, p 105[7]))
Commonly hates with the pretense of love, for the purposes of self-deception as much as deception of others
Abuses political (emotional) power ("the imposition of one's will upon others by overt or covert coercion" (Peck, 1978/1992, p298[6]))
Maintains a high level of respectability, and lies incessantly in order to do so
Is consistent in his or her sins. Evil persons are characterized not so much by the magnitude of their sins, but by their consistency (of destructiveness)
Is unable to think from the viewpoint of their victim (scapegoat)
Has a covert intolerance to criticism and other forms of narcissistic injury
Most evil people realize the evil deep within themselves but are unable to tolerate the pain of introspection, or admit to themselves that they are evil. Thus, they constantly run away from their evil by putting themselves in a position of moral superiority and putting the focus of evil on others. Evil is an extreme form of what Scott Peck, in The Road Less Traveled, calls a character disorder.[6][7]
Using the My Lai Massacre as a case study Peck also examines group evil, discussing how human group morality is strikingly less than individual morality.[7] Partly, he considers this to be a result of specialization, which allows people to avoid individual responsibility and pass the buck, resulting in a reduction of group conscience.
Though the topic of evil has historically been the domain of religion,[7] Peck makes great efforts to keep much of his discussion on a scientific basis, explaining the specific psychological mechanisms by which evil operates. He was also particularly conscious of the danger of a psychology of evil being misused for personal or political ends.[7] Peck considered that such a psychology should be used with great care, as falsely labeling people as evil is one of the very characteristics of evil. He argued that a diagnosis of evil should come from the standpoint of healing and safety for its victims, but also with the possibility even if remote, that the evil themselves may be cured.
Ultimately Peck says that evil arises out of free choice. He describes it thus: Every person stands at a crossroads, with one path leading to God, and the other path leading to the devil. The path of God is the right path, and accepting this path is akin to submission to a higher power. However, if a person wants to convince himself and others that he has free choice, he would rather take a path which cannot be attributed to its being the right path. Thus, he chooses the path of evil."


Walking out of his office was the first time I've felt sane in almost a month. Everything made sense, was clear, and I felt like a stranger I had just met once was better able to answer so many unanswered questions that had been plaguing me.


A saying for my SI Family: "We may not have it all together, but together we have it all".

Fooled twice - almost exactly 10 years apart.


Posts: 3377 | Registered: Jan 2004 | From: California
HurtsButImOK
♀ 38865
Member # 38865
Default  Posted: 3:40 PM, September 27th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

According to Peck an evil person:[6][7]
Is consistently self-deceiving, with the intent of avoiding guilt and maintaining a self-image of perfection
Deceives others as a consequence of their own self-deception
Projects his or her evils and sins onto very specific targets (scapegoats) while being apparently normal with everyone else ("their insensitivity toward him was selective" (Peck, 1983/1988, p 105[7]))
Commonly hates with the pretense of love, for the purposes of self-deception as much as deception of others
Abuses political (emotional) power ("the imposition of one's will upon others by overt or covert coercion" (Peck, 1978/1992, p298[6]))
Maintains a high level of respectability, and lies incessantly in order to do so
Is consistent in his or her sins. Evil persons are characterized not so much by the magnitude of their sins, but by their consistency (of destructiveness)
Is unable to think from the viewpoint of their victim (scapegoat)
Has a covert intolerance to criticism and other forms of narcissistic injury

Ooohhh that is chilling to read. If my X ticks all the boxes do I get a prize (aside from the freedom I gained)

What is the difference between 'evil' and a sociopath?

Glad your session helped you.


Me: Awesome - 35.... ummm, not anymore

"I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel". –Maya Angelou


Posts: 756 | Registered: Apr 2013 | From: Australia
erzulie
♀ 3293
Member # 3293
Default  Posted: 3:45 PM, September 27th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Peck considers those he calls evil to be attempting to escape and hide from their own conscience (through self-deception), and views this as being quite distinct from the apparent absence of conscience evident in sociopathy.[7]

An evil person avoids their conscience. A sociopath simply doesn't have a conscience.

Evil involves a choice.


A saying for my SI Family: "We may not have it all together, but together we have it all".

Fooled twice - almost exactly 10 years apart.


Posts: 3377 | Registered: Jan 2004 | From: California
HurtsButImOK
♀ 38865
Member # 38865
Default  Posted: 3:50 PM, September 27th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I think that is where I get confused. My X lacks empathy but understands societal norms regarding behaviour eg murder = wrong.

He can also produce crocodile tears when forced to face his fuckedupness. Its just not something he can do on his own most times.


Me: Awesome - 35.... ummm, not anymore

"I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel". –Maya Angelou


Posts: 756 | Registered: Apr 2013 | From: Australia
erzulie
♀ 3293
Member # 3293
Default  Posted: 3:57 PM, September 27th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

A sociopath can't help it.

An evil person can; they just choose not to ...


A saying for my SI Family: "We may not have it all together, but together we have it all".

Fooled twice - almost exactly 10 years apart.


Posts: 3377 | Registered: Jan 2004 | From: California
phmh
♀ 34146
Member # 34146
Default  Posted: 4:01 PM, September 27th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Are you still thinking about taking him back? (I thought you were for sure going to leave?)

I know for me, knowing that XWH is almost certainly NPD/sociopath made the decision to leave that much easier, even though he begged me to try again.

I'm sorry you're going through this, but I do know that much happiness awaits you.


Me: BW, divorced, now fabulous and happy!

Married: 11 years, no kids

Character is destiny


Posts: 3456 | Registered: Dec 2011
anewday78
♂ 39357
Member # 39357
Default  Posted: 4:20 PM, September 27th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Another good read is The Sociopath Next Door. It really explains the superego vs conscience and provides case study-like examples of the different types of sociopaths we encounter each day. I have my doubts about this "evil" label - the lines are often blurred when comparing evil to sociopathy. They are pretty much one-in-the-same. A sociopath CAN "help it." Much of our understanding of right and wrong is shaped by social constructs - rules put in place by society as a whole. Sociopaths are well aware of social constructs and skillfully use them to fool the outside world - it's their understanding of social constructs that actually forms the "mask" they wear.
They are masters at manipulating their public behaviors to fall in line with social constructs. Those same social constructs that guide decent behavior are tossed to the wayside when nobody's looking - a choice guided largely by lack of conscience. Their inability to empathize with others is what drives their contempt for others. That contempt is what drives their devious actions. How can we gauge whether or not a person is "avoiding" his or her conscience when the odds are high that he or she simply does not have one? Because he or she demonstrates an understanding of right and wrong? Perhaps that's just evidentiary of the fact that he or she is well aware of social constructs - a necessity for any sociopath who wishes to effectively fool his or her prey.

Posts: 350 | Registered: May 2013
HurtsButImOK
♀ 38865
Member # 38865
Default  Posted: 4:22 PM, September 27th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I think phmh's questions are good. Apologies for t/j your thread.

What do you need and want in life? What makes you happy, safe and secure? Can your WH do that? Now that you have been given more information on which to ponder, do you think you can stay with WH?


strength to you erzulie.

ETA- I wonder if labelling him 'evil' with the ability to make a choice causes you to hold onto hope that he could 'one day' be the man you hoped he was.

[This message edited by HurtsButImOK at 4:25 PM, September 27th (Friday)]


Me: Awesome - 35.... ummm, not anymore

"I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel". –Maya Angelou


Posts: 756 | Registered: Apr 2013 | From: Australia
erzulie
♀ 3293
Member # 3293
Default  Posted: 5:40 PM, September 27th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Quite the opposite, actually.

I don't want to spend my life with an evil person.

It is staggering to consider that is what I've been doing these last 11 years ...


A saying for my SI Family: "We may not have it all together, but together we have it all".

Fooled twice - almost exactly 10 years apart.


Posts: 3377 | Registered: Jan 2004 | From: California
Catwoman
♀ 1330
Member # 1330
Default  Posted: 6:05 PM, September 27th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I agree with the therapist's diagnosis, because it sounds so much like my ex.

They truly have no clue as to the feelings of others. My ex described his affairs as a "prank." Where I come from, a "prank" is TP-ing the neighbors or tipping an outhouse. An affair, especially after seeing the damage from the first affair, is NOT a prank. But they cannot relate to that level of emotion in the least,

Another good read is "Why Is It Always About You." It talks at length about "shame-dumping," which is an NPD reaction to dealing with feelings of envy, shame and inadequacy. In order to avoid shame, which is the NPD's kryptonite, they must tear down the cause of the shame. They must destroy and belittle the source of the envy. It is probably very true that the very things he berates you for are the things he admires the most about you. He tears you down because he wants to be that way and isn't.

With regards to ego kibbles, remember that negative ego kibbles can, to some NPDs, be just as gratifying as normal ego kibbles. For the past 10 years, I have been involved in an ever-escalating circular argument with my ex over payment of alimony and kids' expenses. We have gone back to court 4 times on contempt charges. Each time, he pays right before the hearing date, negating my case. It is maddening. He does it to be deliberately difficult. To remain something around which I must spin. I have come to the conclusion that it will not stop until I am dead. Seriously.

Brace yourself. This one is a particularly rocky ride. We are all here to help.

Cat


FBS: Married 20 years, 2 daughters 25 and 22. Divorced by the grace of GOD.
D-Days: 2/23/93; 10/11/97; 3/5/03
Ex & OW Broke up 12-10
"An erection does not count as personal growth."

Posts: 29707 | Registered: Apr 2003 | From: Massachusetts
gonnabe2016
♀ 34823
Member # 34823
Default  Posted: 6:12 PM, September 27th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Brace yourself. This one is a particularly rocky ride. We are all here to help./quote]
A-Men to that!


"Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive." - Sir Walter Scott

In my effort to be *concise*, I often come off as blunt and harsh. Sorry, don't mean to be offensive.


Posts: 8181 | Registered: Feb 2012 | From: Midwest
Housefulloflove
♀ 38458
Member # 38458
Default  Posted: 11:23 PM, September 27th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

(((ezrulie))) It is a whole bottle of bitter pills to swallow.

militant ignorance

Wow! This is such a perfect description of my ex lives that I might just change my signature. Militant ignorance sums up his life.

In the beginning learning about NPD gave me great relief. Now it makes me sick. Evil describes it well and I'm having a VERY hard time coming to terms with having spent 10 years with someone capable of anything. Technically we're all capable of horrendous things but most humans have a conscience that limit them and empathy. To know that the man I spent so many years with was capable of hurting me and my children in any manner without remorse is so scary. I wish I could cut him out of our lives entirely but I can't. All I can do is pray that circumstances prevents him from doing any hurtful things he wants to do.


Me-29 Starting over
ExWH-29 Probable NPD, PA, manchild
3 beautiful young children
DDay 1/20/13 Admits PA
No remorse so NO R. DIVORCED! 9/2013

Posts: 541 | Registered: Feb 2013 | From: USA
Topic Posts: 12

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