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  1. Dr-David-Banner

    Psychopathy (meaning)

    I am getting my teeth into a new angle, so to speak I notice there is a large generational gap in understanding old (scary) terms like psychopathy. The original term for "Asperger's Syndrome" was Autisic Psychopathy. We can first drop the adjective "autistic" and look at "psychopathy" in isolation. Is it as scary as it sounds? Out of interest I've looked at a few criminal cases of psychopathy which have traumatic childhood as a common denominator. It all boils down in simple terms to very low empathy. There is a major breakdown of emotional responsiveness or correct interaction with the emotions of others. In my own view, this can create childhood issues in understanding right and wrong because initially morals arrive instinctively. However also in my view you can learn morals and ethics later in life in other ways which is why generally autistics have a "moral compass". What most people don't know is that when Hans Asperger researched psychopathy, it was exactly the same concept. His patients had low empathy and could have antisocial behavioural problems. Today they tend to favour just saying "low empathy" as part of an autism spectrum issue. I have been surprised to see though in criminal psychology they will use psychopathy in its less positive aspect. Back as far as the 1920s, Jewish clinician Grunya Sukhareva first described psychopathy as requiring some social factor. Put simply, her patients had experienced strict and possibly uncaring childhood plus authoritarianism. They showed very low empathy and lack of emotion. If you observe emotionally normal people you will see social bonding interaction such as eye contact, smiling, hugging, crying if someone else is upset and "feeling" their pain. This is all very healthy and necessary although my only gripe is neurotypicals so often fail to emphasise with animals. This I view as selfish. Thus psychopathy is a huge aspect of Asperger's research and there are times when he was disturbed by it. If we now take Leo Kanner's Early Childhood Autism diagnosis and add it to Psychopathy we get Autistic Psychopathy. Final point: Having suffered psychopathy from early childhood I concluded 50 per cent of the condition was negative and creating insurmountable barriers to friendships. I have tried to mellow out or at least be more aware.
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