Thursday, March 12, 2015

Now You See Them

Those of us who have had experiences with psychopaths know that the language of the psychopath is two-dimensional. They are, as someone once said, as “deep as a thimble.” An analogy is given of the psychopath as a color blind person who has learned how to function in the world of color by special strategies. They may tell you that they “stopped at a red light,” but what it really means to them is that they knew that the light at the top means “stop,” and they stopped. They call it the “red” light like everyone else, but they have no experience of what “red” really is.

A person who is color blind who has developed such coping mechanisms, is virtually undetectable from people who see colors.

Psychopaths use words about emotions the same way people who are color blind use words about colors they cannot perceive. Psychopaths not only learn to use the words more or less appropriately, they learn to pantomime the feeling. But they never HAVE the feeling.

The Psychopath - The Mask of Sanity
by Hervey M. Cleckley, 1941